Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sometimes the headline is the story

Microwaving Peeps With a Beloved Children’s Book Author.

"Conservative" dems?

Since the two dems currently threatening to help Republicans filibuster the health care bill both have spouses that work for the health care industry, and receive tons of money from from that same industry, can we please stop calling them "conservative" Democrats, or, even worse, "fiscally conservative" since the public option they're opposed to would save money for everyone not in the health insurance business? Can we just call them "corrupt"?

In other news, this is childish, but very funny.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So What Is the 'Opt-Out' Compromise? | Talking Points Memo

Josh Marshall lays it out.

I would go a bit further and say that opting out will end up being an economic loser in the long run for any red states that choose to go that way, as new companies will probably be more likely to relocate to states with the public option.

At least, that's what I think will happen, because I think the public option is good policy. The nice thing about this compromise is that we'll be able to gather actual data that either refutes or supports that hypothesis.

In the short term, I don't think this is the best approach in terms of the public good, but I do think it might be better long term policy in terms of gathering data and building a strong national healthcare policy.

Spooky Ruins

This Old House has a nice photo gallery of old ruins and abandoned buildings that includes this creepy description: "The bright snowscape and generous space evoke a sense of peace and harmony—until one looks closer to discover frantic scratch marks still left on the walls."


Monday, October 26, 2009

My latest million dollar idea

One of the problems in our current healthcare system is that it discourages people from starting their own business, because their healthcare is shackled to their jobs. So if we fix that, what's going to happen? Are the best and brightest employees going to start jumping ship in order to start their own businesses? That's got the potential to be a huge problem for big corporations, and I have a potential solution, inspired by our former president's latest foray into inspirational speaking:

De-motivation seminars. It should be pretty cheap to set up, actually. The vast majority of small businesses fail within a couple of years, and a lot of those people end up bankrupt. That means there are tons of people out there with very compelling stories about how they had a nice, safe, boring job in a cubicle somewhere, but they left it all behind to chase their dreams and ended up bankrupting their families and ruining their lives. The nice thing is that we can probably pay these people peanuts, and then charge companies a ton to help them keep their employees chained to their desks by fear of bankruptcy.



From Failblog.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Middle of the night insight

If the news networks were doctors, MSNBC would be the specialist who drives a fast car and loves to prescribe the latest drug, even if there's an old one that works better. CNN would be the grizzled old doc who hasn't read a journal article in 20 years.

Fox would be your friend's uncle who claims to have one year of medical school, but really has a Ph.D. in exercise physiology from some internet school, and currently runs a macrobiotic bookstore and libertarian restaurant, whatever that is.

It should be noted that I don't actually get any of these channels.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Holding Action

This weekend, I replaced one thermostat, one garbage disposer, 8 cabinet door handles, and two lightbulbs. There was some increase in functionality with some of those replacements, but mostly it was just about keeping the house working properly. Sometimes, that's enough, I guess.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This analysis would seem to support the repeal of helmet laws if and only if the rider has a current organ donor card.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How I woke up

The last thing I remember from the dream was a trio of women in my hotel room, the oldest and largest of which said, "Ms. Taylor said you have need of vashing your hair. You vill disrobe."

At which point the kid woke me up, thank God.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


I've been watching, and tonight's episode was annoying. There was what seemed like a significant bit of dialogue early on between two of the major characters about who's going to pick their daughter up from school, and then the protagonist, who said he was going to pick her up, runs off to Germany.

I'm expecting him to realize at some point that he got caught up in work and forgot his daughter, but she's not mentioned or shown for the rest of the episode. That little bit of dialogue was, I guess, supposed to just be filler, but when you have a character say "I'm going to do this thing," and they don't, that's a plot point, not filler.

Maybe I'm making too much of a little thing, but I spent half the show worrying about his daughter. When the promos for the show are constantly saying "Everything is important," you can't just drop threads like that.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Giant Pool Of Money

This Planet Money podcast, called The Giant Pool Of Money is fascinating. One of the more interesting thoughts it triggered is that the global store of capital (the Giant Pool of Money) was bigger before the collapse than after, and that recent government expenditures haven't really grown it much beyond what it was at the peak of the housing boom.

I know a lot of people are worried about inflation, and one of the biggest arguments they make in support of that idea is that governments are going to have to print more money in order to support their stimulus packages. But a tremendous amount of money simply vanished in the collapse, and some portion of the "new" money is simply replacing it. At least, that's my intuition. I may be completely misreading the data.