• Malpractice 'Round the World

    By Nick Beaudrot This is Nick Beaudrot of Electoral Math , here. I'll be helping out Ezra this weekend, providing y'all with a numerical look into the current state of the political world. Which is good timing on Ezra's part, since he just brought up the subject of malpractice costs and the insurance industry's bogus claims that costs are on the rise; a few months ago, I took a look at the question of just how far out of line US malpractice costs are by comparing the medicolegal systems of several countries: France , Britain , Germany , Japan , and Sweden .
  • Triangulators?

    With the DLC conversation in the post below raging forward, I think this is one misconception widespread enough it that its correction should be bumped up to the front page: The DLC has nothing to do with triangulation . They don't. Not at all. Triangulation was entirely Dick Morris's word, idea, and concept. Morris, a mostly-Republican operative, thought Clinton could take the good from both sides, drop the bad, and thus transcend partisan differences. So the triangle, with bottom point "a" being one party, bottom point "b" being the other, and the top point being the President rising above both. That's not what the DLC wants. They believe they've created a new ideological structure, similar to how neoconservatism has brought new foreign policy ideas to the Republicans party, they want to bring new domestic ideas (and occasionally foreign) to the Democratic party. They want a party that's more market-based, more concentrated on growth, more deficit-centered, more concerned with...
  • Who's Divisive?

    Kos says : As we strive to find our core convictions, and define who we are and what we stand for as a party, the DLC is one of the roadblocks -- a divisive, fundamentalist organization willing to sell any and all progressive ideals to the altar of big business. And anything that threatens their dominance has met with their ire -- be it Howard Dean, the netroots, or regular people suddenly interested in transforming and reforming the Democratic Party. And then, next paragraph, Kos says: Democrats have a choice to make -- stand with the DLC, or stand with the grassroots and netroots of the party. It's interesting that Democrats with a strong sense of self -- those who truly know what they stand for and are unafraid to say so -- are those least interested in the DLC's snake oil. If you want to blast the DLC for being a divisive organization that lashes out towards those they don't like, then you better be an inclusive organization that respects differences and allows for tents including...
  • My That's a Big Nose You Have, Senator Schumer

    Methinks subtlety is not The National Review's strong point .
  • Malpractice in Practice

    Reporting from the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival, Kurt Andersen mentions this portion of Bill Clinton's speech: He said the Democrats are wrong to deny that malpractice suits don’t drive up medical costs. No, they're not. Generally, this sort of high-minded concession to conservative talking points gets ignored, or argued via anecdote. Happily, we don't have to do that anymore. The latest issue of Health Affairs published a study assessing the cost of malpractice premiums, litigation, and payments, in addition to potential expenditures from so-called "defensive medicine". The verdict? This stuff doesn't matter . I'm going to bullet point through the study because, to be honest, this stuff pops up too often for the evidence against it to languish in policy journals. • Are More Malpractice Claims Filed in the US? Yes. The authors compared domestic suits with those in Canada, Australia and Britain (all countries with a similar, British-based legal system), and it turns out litigious...
  • Maniacs

    Well now that's fucking scary.
  • Larry Lessig on ER

    Electronic records are one of those everybody-agrees ideas that sane people are begging doctors to implement and medical offices are dragging their feet on. Medicare, though, is trying to change that. With electronic files, patient records are not stuck on pieces of paper in endless files, but are on a screen at the touch of a key. The computers alert doctors to do medical tests and avert errors by warning when they write a prescription for the wrong drug or the wrong dose. Patients can often see their own files and even make their own appointments, online, from their homes. But most doctors have balked. The systems cost tens of thousands of dollars, and doctors worry that the companies selling them and providing support will go out of business. Many use computers to file health insurance claims, but only 20 percent to 25 percent of the nation's 650,000 licensed doctors outside the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs are using electronic patient records. Now, however,...
  • The Food Police

    Julie Powell has an op-ed today that I, as a Californian who frequents Whole Foods and buys organic, completely agree with: What makes the snobbery of the organic movement more insidious is that it equates privilege not only with good taste, but also with good ethics. Eat wild Brazil nuts and save the rainforest. Buy more expensive organic fruit for your children and fight the national epidemic of childhood obesity. Support a local farmer and give economic power to responsible stewards of sustainable agriculture. There's nothing wrong with any of these choices, but they do require time and money. When you wed money to decency, you come perilously close to equating penury with immorality. The milk at Whole Foods is hormone-free; the milk at Western Beef is presumably full of the stuff - and substantially less expensive. The chicken at Whole Foods is organic and cage-free; the chicken at Western Beef is not. Is the woman who buys her children's food at the place where they take her food...
  • Where Roberts Is

    One interesting subtext of the Roberts nomination has been the repeated, repetitive, even obsessive conservative declarations that conservatives know this guy and this one, he ain't no Souter. Well, fine, he may not be. But what's odd is that Democrats are saying something similar, though completely opposite. Roberts' many friends across the aisle are assuring the papers that Bush just nominated a nonideological, intellectually honest guy. Conservative, sure, but conservative in the way Democrats can respect, which is to say not very conservative at all. That's a weird contrast. Both sides think, deep down, very secretly, that he's the sort of conservative they like, either an extremist or an impostor. Sounds much like Clinton, where New Democrats thought he was their boy, liberals though he was their boy, and he ended up being circumstance's boy. But were I conservative, I wouldn't be so relieved that folks in the know were flooding the airwaves with assurances. Whichever direction...
  • When The Life of the Mind Becomes the Size of the Pecs

    This is crap. A travesty. A crime. Nick Confessore, of TAPPED, The Washington Monthly , and now The New York Times , is down to 4th place in Gawker's "Hot Men of the Times" contest. He deserves better. And you can make it happen . Incidentally, where's the "Hotties of the blogosphere contest?" Matt Yglesias v. Josh Chafetz. Josh Marshall vs. Andrew Sullivan. Kevin Drum vs. John Derbyshire. Michael Berube vs. Daniel Drezner. Roxanne vs. Malkin. Jeralyn Merrit vs. Eve Tushnet. Me vs. Someone Like Me. All proceeds go to charity. Then we can make a calendar, travel to America, have a big fight, return, make up, and sell the movie rights . This is gonna be great. And, in case you forgot the original point here, go vote.