Archive

  • Working for Health Care

    While we're talking health care, this is a great point by Nathan Newman. Springboarding of Toyota's decision to build a new plant in Canada so as to take advantage of their lower health care costs (Canada's care saves employers $4-$5 an hour on each employee), Nathan writes: Ironically, tightening trade rules increasingly disfavor direct government subsidies to industry-- the US and the EU are fighting before the WTO, arguing that US federal and state subsidies of Boeing and EU financing of Airbus are both illegal under trade agreements. The WTO just declared US subsidies to the cotton industry illegal under trade agreements. Which means that providing national health care (like a strong education system) may emerge as one of the few legitimate subsidies governments can provide to encourage industry to locate in their countries. And the United States is increasingly finding itself in a terrible economic disadvantage internationally because it refuses to create a national health...
  • Too Many Treatments

    Business Week's got an interesting article doubting the benefits of coronary heart surgery. Apparently, bypass operations and angioplasty, save in the most severe of cases, do shockingly little in the way of risk reduction. Patients who undergo the operations are no less likely to have or die from a heart attack than those who don't. There may be some benefits in symptom reduction, but even that's questionable. The reason seems to be a reevaluation of how heart attacks work. While the old conception held that ever-increasing plaque buildup eventually narrowed arteries to the point that no blood got through, it now looks like the plaque actually breaks off into clots, and the clots block arteries causing attacks. That's why so many heart attacks strike unexpectedly and why there's so little evidence linking narrowed arteries to heart attacks. Seen that way, widening the arteries won't do much: it's lifestyle changes and certain medications that reduce plaque and tamp down on bad...
  • Anniversary

    Today's two-and-a-half years with Kate. Wow. I'll be back tomorrow.
  • I Want Silver Surfer's Truck

    Via Defamer , it seems that Fantastic Four isn't only a bad movie, it's a bad toy line : there has never been a more ridiculously stupid and insulting toy than the Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV (with Light-Up Headlights!). And this is why: The Human Torch has no need for an "All-Terrain Vehicle"--because the last time I checked, the Human Torch can fucking FLY. Has anyone told the Human Torch that it might not be safe to sit on top of a gas tank when one is on FIRE? Nice message to send the kids, assholes! [...] What does the freaking Human Torch need with headlights anyway? HE'S ON FIRE! File under Movies I Will Not See. No way I'm replacing the glorious afterglow of Batman Begins with Fantastic Four. And so long as I'm talking culture, how great of a song is Warren G's "Regulate"? Fucking great was the answer you were looking for. It just popped up on iTunes party list after years of aural absence. Brilliant stuff.
  • Blogospheres

    This week, the biggest blog on the left and one of the largest on the right decided to purge their comment threads of disruptive influences. Kos's smiting was aimed at conspiracy-theorist leftists who were blaming Blair and Bush for the London bombing. RedState.org , for their purging part, is declared jihad on leftists in their comments. Enough has been said about the right's distaste for comments that I'll not waste your time by charging that trampled ground, but it's nevertheless interesting that one of the few prominent sites in the conservosphere consciously attempting to build community and foster discussion is rapidly lifting the drawbridge and ejecting liberals into the moat. I've got conservatives on my blog. I've got conservatives in my e-mail. And while it's not always pleasant to read their rebuttals and rejoinders, I've always figured it's part of the conversation. Why hasn't the right done the same? Matt thinks it's because of our parents. Atrios and Kos always had...
  • No More Polls?

    As Kevin notes , there are now more cell phone subscribers than landline subscribers in the US. My girlfriend and I are a good example -- two cells, no landline. The question, then, is how long before this starts violently skewing poll results. Pollsters are legally barred from calling cell phones. Cell phone users, to some degree or another, make up a different demographic profile than the rest of the country (skewed young and economically mobile), and may have different political opinions than the land users. This got a lot of attention in 2004 but, in the end, the polls turned out almost exactly right (indeed, those who harp on the exit polling forget that nearly every poll in the country got the results within the margin of error). As the country switches to cell phones, though, that won't last forever. So when's the tipping point?
  • So True

    Wolcott : Kevin Drum says he's going to let out a primal scream if one more commentator praises Londoners for their collective "stiff upper lip" in carrying on in the face of adversity. Me, I'm more of a groaner, though I appreciate British understatement and placid fortitude as much as anyone. The curious thing is that so many of the rightward bloggers and Fox Newswers who are hailing the Brits for their quiet stoicism and pluck don't seem to realize they're issuing an implicit rebuke to themselves and their fellow Americans. They're saying, in effect, "You've got to admire the Brits for showing calm and quiet perserverence after these explosions--they don't get all hysterical, overdramatic, and overreactive the way we Americans do." They don't seem to realize the example shown by Londoners might be a lesson to them, a model they might follow instead of playing laptop Pattons at full volume every time they feel a rousing post coming on.
  • The New Marriage

    You know, a lot's being made of Rick Santorum's new book, particularly the many parts where the good senator's pen slipped and wrote something honest. Most of those parts have to do with the great evils of feminism, of female career advancement, of two wage families, of modern life. But -- and deep breath here -- that's okay . Dobson and Robertson and Falwell and Bauer like to pin the tail on the homo when fulminating against marriage's enemies. But that's silly. Homosexuals don't threaten today's marriage, they simply codify the defeat of yesterday's. When Santorum slips and blames emancipated wives, he's actually being the most honest of the bunch. The fundamentalist conception of marriage as a duty demanded by God made perfect sense when it was an obligation imposed by society. Back then , partners were chosen for you, reproduction was required (the upper class would divorce the infertile, the lower class often only married the already-pregnant), and women were locked into the...
  • Fox vs. France

    Via Sam Rosenfeld , John Gibson turned in a column today that's the deranged spawn of mother ignorance and father idiocy, it's as uninformed and obviously incorrect as I've seen these things get: The bombings in London: This is why I thought the Brits should let the French have the Olympics (search) — let somebody else be worried about guys with backpack bombs for a while. But, all Thursday proved is that they come to get you anyway. And, by the way, they come and get their own too: So here's John Gibson's mental timeline of the bombings: July 6th: London gets the games. Yay London! July 6th, afternoon: A terrorist cell puts into action their plan to bomb whoever got the Olympic Games. They import materials, download train schedules, case drop-off points, and plan the attack. In 8 hours. July 7th, 8am: Bombs go off. Idiot. The bombs were timed to disrupt the G8 conference, not the Olympic announcement. Terrorist attacks can't change locale on a dime -- they need to be planned and...
  • It's Not Fear

    This is a very weird pro-CAFTA argument by Daniel Drezner: For Democrats convinced that the Bush administration has pissed away U.S. soft power, answer me this question: what kind of a signal does the U.S. send to the rest of the world when its legislature says, in effect, "We won't ratify this deal because we're scared of six states that combined are smaller than the Czech economy"? Improved access to our markets remains one of the best incentives the U.S. has to proffer to the rest of the world. If we deny even hemispheric allies this benefit, what do you think the rest of the world will think? How peculiar. Either Dan hasn't actually read Democratic criticism of the bill or he's drawn radically wrong conclusions from what he's seen. Most Democrats -- at least those who normally support free trade agreements, and are thus making this one's life hard -- despise the human rights portions of the bill, the total abdication of the responsibility to use access to our markets as a carrot...

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