Friday, July 31, 2009

House committee give Big Pharm big market

High-tech drugs given 12-year monopolies.

It is awfully hard to bring down health-care costs if Congress keeps rolling over on drug companies.

China reports a stunning 13 million abortions last year

A perfect storm of government-mandated family size and a secretive government which withholds sex information from the young.

Apparently, contraception is difficult to come by as well. So those lucky few who know to take steps to avoid pregnancy can't take those steps.

This jumped out at me as well: Nearly half of Chinese women seeking abortions used no contraception. Which means that 6.5 million women in China used contraception but still got pregnant, which sounds like a real educational problem.

One of those simple ideas that can yield big dividends

Lighter colored roofs cut energy costs.

Most of us, of course, can barely afford our mortgages, let alone a new roof. But millions of people this year have to put on a new roof anyway, and lighter colored shingles will cut down energy costs substantially.

I had to get half of my roof replaced last year because of a leak, and the roofing guy talked me into getting light gray shingles instead of the dark brown ones that we had. Glad he did. Now, I just have to save up some money to do the other half of the roof...

On Gates-gate

Great comic.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why the free market can't fix the health care problem

Krugman on why the free market can't cure healthcare.

Krugman makes an important point (one that Obama is trying to now make) that the problem isn't health care per se, but health care insurance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Insurance coverage of abortions?

In the larger debate over health care reform, er, health insurance reform, the far right seems particularly focused on their belief that a government plan would force taxpayers to cover abortions. This is a particularly small argument to make, IMO, but it does raise the question: What percentage of current plans already offer abortion coverage? The answer? No one seems to know.

New York as Lego City

Hey, I recognize some of these places!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rick Rolling?

Cool mashup. HT: Andrew Sullivan.

The identity politics of the Right

While McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as running mate was one of the more obvious examples of the Right playing its own brand of identity politics, James Kirchick is exactly right in his critique of Harry Alford in his post.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Changeable Book

Hemingway classic coming out in a new, cleaned-up version.

I remember working at Macmillan many years ago when it owned Scribner. There was one book by Hemingway that we would not grant permission to reprint from, since each of the three heirs wanted 50% of the income from any sub-rights deals.

The Hemingway estate should be Exhibit A in the argument "Why we need a shorter copyright term in the United States."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Frank McCourt, RIP

Frank McCourt, the American with deep Irish roots, passed away of cancer, at age 78. Yahoo reprints the AP story.

I typically never read biographies, but the grip of Angela's Ashes was tight and didn't diminish even after I finished it. A terrific, horrifying, and amazing book.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lazy blogging

Many bloggers are lazy.

The flip side of the huge army of bloggers overlooking mounds of data is that many of the aren't really reading, understanding, and forming coherent opinions on the topic. They are skimmers. Most of them are just looking for stuff that matches their own biases--the internet is a sort of arms bazaar for those people, where they can go from table to table gearing up for the fight.

The problem (among many) is that these are the self-appointed "new news" people. And on complicated issues like climate change, health care, and the economy skimming for sound bites is a huge disservice all around.

I don't have an answer here, BTW. I'm just sayin'.

Tomato be gone?

Fungus threatens crops.

In the dead of night, Amazon comes creeping...

Amazon deletes George Orwell's 1984 from their Kindle catalog--and from individual customer's Kindles.

Obviously Amazon screwed up and thought they had rights. But their "fix" made it much worse for them from a PR standpoint.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Media, left, right, and center, kissing ass

South Carolina's The State has pulled together sympathetic conservative media emails received by Sanford's office while he was out.

I don't think the story is so much about conservative media bias, because that has been self-evident all the time. I do think that the deeper story is how quickly media, of any sort, are willing to bend over in return for access. Glenn Greenwald has been all over that issue for years now, but it comes through very clearly in looking over this piece.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The mind of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin decides to flex some policy muscle on cap-and-trade. Conor Clarke slaps her around a bit.

As has also been pointed out, Palin's piece (ostensibly about cap and trade) neglects to use any of the following words: pollution, emissions, carbon, or global warming.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Good economic news?

Jobless claims take a dip.

Good news. Hard to tell, at this point, if this is a sign of recovery or not. But good news is good news.

No black kids in the pool!

A black kid can grow up to be president, but in 2009 black kids can't swim everywhere, it seems.

A report on Philly's FOX News 29.

Apparently they were unaware that the camping group was mostly black before they took their money to swim.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The nuclear option

I've been a big fan of making sure that nuclear energy is included in the mix when we talk about energy independence. Many liberals (and even Greens) are coming to agree. Taking tips from the French on reducing nuclear waste can only help matters.

Increase the bounties!

It doesn't work in, say, Afghanistan and Iraq, but perhaps securities fraud can be uncovered just by increasing the rewards for those who bring it to the attention of the SEC.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Judge blocks distribution of Salinger "sequel"

Word is that the author & publisher thought Salinger would come around once he read the book. Idiots.