Items of Interest
So – it’s been a while, huh? I’m going to start blogging more regularly. I’m going to kick things off tonight with some items from around the web that I’ve been meaning to comment on.
Up first is this <sarcasm> fantastic </sarcasm> article on how the GOP is finally rallying around Mitt Romney over the issue of Gay Marriage over at the Politico. Here’s a quote from someone particularly fired up about it:
“What I’m hearing from folks around the country is: ‘Game on, we’re in, we will do whatever is necessary to elect Mitt Romney now because Obama has shown where he really stands,’” Brown said
I read this crap and it makes almost (*almost*) want Obama to win just to shut the thumpers up. With all the truly important issues facing us over the next president’s term, THIS is what rallies you to get out and support the defeat of a committed socialist? Repealing Obamacare isn’t enough to fire up the GOP to vote for Romney. Avoiding the largest tax increases in history isn’t enough to get them fired up. The prospect of standing by while Iran becomes a nuclear state isn’t enough. No, what REALLY fires up the base is that TWO MEN WHO LOVE EACH OTHER might actually be allowed to marry each other! THE HORROR!!!
Next, is Paul Hsieh’s first op-ed for Forbes.com. It’s a fantastic piece on the flawed notion that the fee for service system is responsible for the increased costs of Health Care.
Suppose you received part of your salary in the form of a tax-exempt “food plan” which covered your meal expenses except for a nominal co-payment. If your out-of-pocket expense for a steak dinner was only 10% of the actual cost, you’d likely consume more steak than if you paid the full cost yourself. How many of us would be prudent diners if we ate out every night on the boss’s expense account? Similarly, it’s no surprise that patients covered by tax-exempt employer-based health insurance spend more than patients with HSAs. (The special tax exemption on employer-provided health plans explains why Americans typically receive health insurance through the workplace, but not their car or homeowners insurance.)
This popped up on Facebook the other day – it’s a fascinating time lapse video showing the evolution of Europe from 1000 AD to the current day. There’s also a longer version linked in the video that identifies some of the important events that were occurring as the map changes.
Last – there’s a story from Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker (it’s an excerpt of his forthcoming book) on the Citizen’s United decision and how it evolved from a case of limited scope to a sweeping precedent overturning years of campaign finance law. I’m a Supreme Court junky, and love reading whatever “inside details” I can on the operations of the court, and this doesn’t disappoint. Some have disagreed (rightly, I think) over Toobin’s characterization of Chief Justice Roberts’ role in the case, but the story is fascinating, nonetheless.