Archive for November 20th, 2009
A medium-sized popcorn and medium soda at the nation’s largest movie chain pack the nutritional equivalent of three Quarter Pounders topped with 12 pats of butter, according to a report released today by the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The group’s second look at movie theater concessions — the last was 15 years ago — found little had changed in a decade and a half, despite theaters’ attempts to reformulate…
Very interesting article by Joanne Kenen in The American Prospect:
Year after year, Republicans try to pass legislation that would limit medical malpractice awards. Fix the tort system, they argue, and we fix rising health-care costs. And year after year, Democrats resist placing arbitrary caps on awards to people who may have suffered from an egregious medical error. The fight plays out like a predictable old Western — good guys versus bad guys. Depending on your politics, the villain is either the greedy doctor or the greedy trial lawyer.
Health reform invites a fresh look at malpractice. The Republican tort-reform agenda hasn’t magically fixed what ails American health care in states that have tried it. But progressives can test new models of medical malpractice reform because — done right — they may lead to a more consistent, more timely, and more equitable approach to compensating people who have been harmed. As Ezekiel Emanuel, a bioethicist and White House adviser on health policy, writes in his book Healthcare, Guaranteed:
There’s little question that the system is broken … Numerous studies have shown that the majority of patients who suffer a medical error are not compensated, while a select few win outsized awards. And on average, patients must wait nearly five years to resolve claims and receive payments from a malpractice case — six if the case is related to the delivery of a baby.
The experiences of individual patients and families in the legal system can be wildly inconsistent, creating what the Republicans with some justification call "jackpot justice." Meanwhile, doctors complain of malpractice premiums that vary enormously depending on the state and the medical specialty, from around $10,000 to $100,000 or higher. Beyond addressing these problems, new methods may also encourage a more vigorous "culture of safety" in a country where some 200,000 people die each year from medical errors, hospital-acquired infections, and avoidable complications — many of these safety challenges are systemic, not the fault of individual sloppy doctors.
Health-care reform isn’t just about covering more Americans and controlling costs. It’s also about quality. Repairing health care requires "delivery-system reform" — moving away from inefficient and inconsistent care and toward more coordinated, value-driven medicine. But it’s hard to get doctors enthused about adopting a "less is more" approach if they fear lawsuits from patients who think less is simply less and believe they have an inalienable right to more and more. More CT scans. More back surgeries. Even more colonoscopies. Overtreatment has many causes — the idiosyncrasies of a physician’s training, local practice patterns, the doctor’s bottom line. But many experts believe that limiting "defensive" medicine, which is notoriously hard to quantify, would at least remove one barrier to fixing the broken system. Economists may believe that "defensive medicine" is less of a problem than doctors do. But it’s the doctors who have to accept the new care models — and get their patients to follow…
For hunters of very small game (squirrels, rabbits, and the like), the combination .22 rifle and .410 shotgun has long been a mainstay. But now that has been taken to the next level: a bullpup design (receiver behind the trigger/handgrip). Take a look:
I think it looks awesome. The trigger guard is the cocking lever. Much more info and more photos here. This would be great if I lived on a farm with some acreage devoted to black-walnut trees (and thus squirrels).
Saying that critics are “understating the criminal justice system’s capacities,” two top Bush Justice officials came out in support of Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other Guantanamo detainees in federal court. Writing in the Washington Post, Jim Comey, former deputy attorney general and U.S. attorney in Manhattan, and Jack Goldsmith, a former assistant attorney general who now teaches at Harvard Law School, wrote that the move is “unlikely to make New York a bigger target” and that civilian courts are a proven venue for terror trials:
[T]here is no question about the legitimacy of U.S. federal courts to incapacitate terrorists. Many of Holder’s critics appear to have forgotten that the Bush administration used civilian courts to put away dozens of terrorists, including “shoe bomber” Richard Reid; al-Qaeda agent Jose Padilla; “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh; the Lackawanna Six; and Zacarias Moussaoui, who was prosecuted for the same conspiracy for which Mohammed is likely to be charged. Many of these terrorists are locked in a supermax prison in Colorado, never to be seen again.
In terrorist trials over the past 15 years, federal prosecutors and judges have gained extensive experience protecting intelligence sources and methods, limiting a defendant’s ability to raise irrelevant issues and tightly controlling the courtroom.
Comey and Goldsmith are hardly the first conservatives to support Holder’s faith in the U.S. justice system. In a joint statement prepared by the Constitution Project, David Keene, founder of American Conservative Union, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and former representative and presidential candidate Bob Barr wrote Sunday, “We are confident that the government can preserve national security without resorting to sweeping and radical departures from an American constitutional tradition that has served us effectively for over two centuries. … The scare-mongering about these issues should stop.”
Each of these is breathtaking in its own way, and I highly recommend clicking through on all three:
The GOP is simply not interested in governing and has no sense of responsibility. They are frivolous and some verge on actual stupidity: inability to think and grasp ideas, no sense of logical argument, and constantly contradicting themselves.
UPDATE: The Dick Armey one is so rich that I have to post the whole thing. It’s by Lee Fang at ThinkProgress:
Yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee held a hearing on the implementation of the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus. Republican members invited former GOP Majority Leader Dick Armey, who now leads the corporate front group FreedomWorks, to testify as their expert witness. After listening to Armey argue at length about the merits of even having any government intervention in the economy, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) asked him if he supported the unemployment compensation provisions of the bill. Armey said he might, but conceded that he had not read that portion of the bill. Van Hollen then extracted a confession that Armey had not even read the bill at all, even though he was appearing as an expert and repeatedly goes before the press to criticize the stimulus:
VAN HOLLEN: Let me ask you think. You keep saying ‘if there were,’ did you read the Economic Recovery bill?
ARMEY: No I didn’t. I had no reason to read it, I wasn’t voting on it.
VAN HOLLEN: You’re commenting on it an awful lot, both here and in the press, about the Economic Recovery bill. We ask members of Congress to read it when they vote on it and are considering it. You’ve said a lot about it, so I’m a little surprised that you have not read it. […]It seems to me we owe it to people we are communicating with we have an understanding an read the information.
Ironically, as part of an effort to obstruct and derail the bill, Armey launched an online petition called “ReadTheStimulus.org.” In another bit of irony, although he postures as a fierce ideological opponent of the stimulus, Armey actually worked as a lobbyist to help businesses gain from the stimulus. According to disclosures, he was paid to lobby on behalf of Cape Wind Associates and the Medicines Company on the stimulus. His son, Scott Armey, who runs his own lobbying shop, has also worked with businesses to gain stimulus funds.
That looks damn good to me. The perspective is almost Renaissance. (Full disclosure: I know little about art and its history.) Read about the painting in this article in The Independent by Tom Lubbock:
Classical art is often given a classic status. The works of the ancient Greeks and Romans have been taken up by many later artists as supreme examples. At least that’s true of their statues and buildings. But when it comes to paintings, there’s a problem. Very little remains, and what remains is puzzling.
For instance, we have no idea who painted this Still Life with Peaches. We have no idea what other works its maker did, and only a very limited idea about the works of contemporaries. The Roman still lives that have survived mostly come, like this one, from Pompeii and Herculaneum.
They were mural paintings, preserved (ironically) by the lava of Vesuvius, while the paintings in other cities, such as Rome itself, were destroyed or faded away. Was the art of these two provincial towns inferior to the art of the capital? If we saw real Roman painting, would that make the work that’s survived look very average? Or is this as good as it got?
The Still Life with Peaches comes from a room in Herculaneum. It wasn’t a …
Continue reading. And thanks to The Eldest for the pointer.