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Ezra Klein: June 28, 2009 - July 4, 2009

Sarah Palin in Charts

I'm surprised to see that there's still some effort to rationalize Sarah Palin's resignation as some sort of pre-2012 masterstroke. As Bill Kristol wrote on the Weekly Standard's web site, "if Palin wants to run in 2012, why not do...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 3, 2009; 8:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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John McCain Tweets

The news about Palin broke around 3 this afternoon. And like, I imagine, a lot of people, I was curious to know what John McCain thought of his former running mate's decision to resign the governorship of Alaska. Luckily, McCain...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 3, 2009; 8:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Sarah Palin Resigns

Well. That was weird. The main thing I'd point out about Sarah Palin's dazzlingly incoherent farewell is that it's pretty clear she wrote it herself. The proof is in the punctuation. The transcript was posted to her official Web...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 3, 2009; 8:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Tab Dump

• Can I convince you to read a really long article about an urban farmer? • Why can't Mark Sanford just go be in love somewhere else? • A quick guide to the food-and-politics blogosphere. • Is Harry Reid tough...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Tab Dump  
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Blogospheric Navel-Gazing

Laura may be right that it's harder to get links for a good post in the modern blogosphere. But, as she's proved today, it's still pretty easy to get links for a post about the blogosphere, which suggests that we...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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The Problems With The Employer Mandate

Tyler Cowen wants to know whether I support a mandate on employer to provide health insurance or pay some sort of tax. The correct response, I guess, is define "support," kemosabe. The employer-based system is a dumb beast. I don't...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 5:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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It's The System, Stupid

The main thing we could do to improve the functioning of the legislative process would be to dissolve the U.S. Senate. Its composition is wildly anti-democratic, its rules are aggressively anti-majoritarian, and its culture holds all this aloft as...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Government  
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'The Daily Show' Takes On the Myth of the Rational Market

You know, I don't want to brag, but I actually met Justin Fox. The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cJustin Foxwww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJason Jones in Iran I've read Justin's book and it's sort of...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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In Case You Were Insufficiently Depressed About the Job Numbers

In April, a "mere" 322,000 people lost their jobs. That was part of the whole "bad news, good trend" thing that had everyone talking about green shoots. In May, economists predicted a pretty similar result: 350,000 lost jobs. They...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 3:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Economy  
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Should Newspapers Be Funded By the Government?

Moral of the day: Selling access to government officials who are willing to contribute their time and power to the media's cause is a bad revenue model for newspapers. Another way of saying that is that newspapers should not...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Journalism  
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Lunch Break

That painting, and more, at BadPaintingsofBarackObama.com....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 1:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Post-Post Chat Transcript

Today we talked Chicago restaurants, pay-to-play schemes, and, of course, health-care reform. The transcript follows: Washington, D.C.: Did you know about, or participate in, this? And do you feel that's an appropriate action for a newspaper? Ezra Klein: No. No....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 1:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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The $172K Club

$172,200. That's what the top White House staffers make according to tdocument showing the annual salary of every staffer of the White Staff. The scale tops out at $172,200, and includes such luminaries as Rahm Emanuel, Larry Summers and Robert...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 1:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Live Chat Today

At noon Eastern. You can submit questions here or ask them live at noon. I imagine you have a lot of them today. Update: This is starting...now! Come by!...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Primary Documents: The Congressional Budget Office's Score of the HELP Bill

You want the document? CBO_HELP_Title_I_07-01.pdf What you're seeing there are the tables the CBO gave to the HELP Committee estimating the impact of various parts of their bill on various parts of the health system for each year between 2010...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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More From the HELP Bill

The good score, as I explain below, is primarily a function of the employer mandate. But there's much else in the bill worthy of note. The individual mandate: If you have affordable coverage available to you -- and I don't...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Lobbyist Salons

I had the unhappy experience this morning of waking up to a story about my news organization offering lobbyists the opportunity to chat health reform with government officials and Washington Post reporters -- for $25,000 a seat. There are two...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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CBO Gives Us the Key to Health-Care Reform: The Employer Mandate

The big news of the morning is a new version of the Senate HELP Committee's health-care reform bill that seems to have everyone confused. The short version is this: CBO estimates that by 2019 the bill will cover 21...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 2, 2009; 10:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Tab Dump

• Another good idea for reforming our bad Congress. • It's really astonishing that Bernie Madoff got away with this. • Speaking of which, Richard Cohen used to have a crush on Ruth Madoff. • Is it time to start...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Tab Dump  
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Does Medicare Pay Below "Cost?" (Wonky!)

Over at Movin' Meat, Shadowfax has a useful reply to my post on Medicare's method of payment. In particular, he makes the important point that Medicare overpays many specialists and underpays many primary care providers. Agreed. In fact, one...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 6:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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An Interview With Wal-Mart Spokesman David Tovar

In the post below, I offer some analysis of Wal-Mart's letter embracing, among other controversial elements, an employer mandate in health-care reform. Earlier today, I interviewed David Tovar, a spokesman at Wal-Mart. A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 5:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Wal-Mart Comes Out for Health-Care Reform

It was March of 2007 when I first spoke with Andy Stern about his unlikely alliance with Wal-Mart on health reform. It wasn't exactly a natural partnership. And it seemed likely to end it tears. SEIU, after all, helps fund...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 5:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Is Our Agricultural Policy Making Us Fat?

So long as I'm having a food-policy sort of day (you've checked out the new column, right?), I may as well talk up this paper significantly complicating the picture on the relationship between agricultural policy and obesity. It's a pretty...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 4:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Food  
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The Problems With Cost-Benefit Analysis

Kevin Drum has a smart post on the difficulty of applying cost-benefit analysis to long-term issues like, but not limited to, climate change : I didn't get involved in this conversation for a simple reason: I've been on both the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 4:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Do We Need the Agricultural Committees?

Over at the Progressive Farmer, Chris Clayton argues that, contrary to my contention earlier this week, getting rid of the agricultural committees is a bad idea. He makes some good points. But ultimately, I'm unconvinced. In fact, I fear...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 3:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Food  
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Lunch Break

This day is going a bit slowly for me. So here's Philip Zimbardo giving his TED lecture on a neglected contributor to happiness: the way we orient ourselves toward, and thus experience, time....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Lunch Break  
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Public-Private Competition Is Not New

This is a good point from Jacob Hacker and Rahul Rajkumar: In many areas of American commerce, private and government programs comfortably co-exist. FHA insured loans and non-FHA loans, Social Security and private pensions, public and private universities -- all...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Magic Pizza Vending Machine

Arguably, I shouldn't be expecting too much culinary authenticity from a pizza vending machine. But this vending machine is in Italy. My understanding is that putting, say, pineapple on a pizza in Italy is punishable by death, or at least...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Food  
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Passing Health Reform Isn't Enough

Over at The New Republic, Jacob Hacker and Rajul Rajkumar consider our future in a "World Without The Public Plan" (cue ominous music). But I'm not really convinced that the simple presence of a public plan would ensure success as...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 11:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Two Sides of the Financial Rescue

I don't really know how to summarize a post that I'm linking to because it is, itself, uncommonly clear summary of the past year in Treasury thinking. But since I don't trust you all to simply read what I link...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Financial Crisis , Solutions  
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A Smart Critique of the Public Plan (Sort Of)

Last night, I argued that it was long past time for the debate over the public plan to get specific. In response, longtime commenter Wisewon -- who doesn't seem to be commenting much on the new site -- e-mailed his...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 10:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Gut Check

I never imagined there were so many possible political puns involving the word "plate." Among my favorites were Lindy 47's "The Plate Department" and Amsilver's "Plate of the Union." But after sifting through the hundreds of terrific suggestions, we eventually...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Food  
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Why Henry Waxman Should Sacrifice a Goat to the Congressional Budget Office

If we've learned anything from the last few months, it's that we are all, on some level, slaves to the Congressional Budget Office. I thought I was pretty familiar with my analyst overlords. But Jon Walker has connected a few...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 9:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Tab Dump

• "The paradox of poetry is that so many more people write it than read it." • Wal-Mart backs an employer mandate in health reform. More on this tomorrow. • Are asset bubbles good for us? • A look back...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 6:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Getting Specific on the Public Plan

Sen. Olympia Snowe is among the handful of Republicans who agree that private insurers haven't done a good enough job to be trusted with the provision of health insurance. But she doesn't think we should go straight to a public...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 6:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Sen. Bernie Sanders and the Coalition of the Unwilling

Earlier this month, the Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown reported that Max Baucus (D-Mont.) had joined with Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) to form the "Coalition...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 5:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Democrats Have 60 Votes. What Will They Do With Them?

In a 5-0 decision earlier today, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that "Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under Minn. Stat. § 204C.40 (2008) to receive the certificate of election as United...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 3:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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The Three Bears of the Public Option

According to early documents and consistent reports, the health reform plan that the Senate Finance Committee is considering won't have a public option at all. Rather, it'll have some variant of Kent Conrad's co-op compromise. The House plan, meanwhile, has...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 2:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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What Should Cap and Traders Do If China Doesn't Want to Cooperate?

The story so far: In the hours before Waxman-Markey passed the House, a provision was added to the legislation requiring the White House to impose a carbon tariff on the imports of countries that don't have limits on their greenhouse...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 1:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Lunch Break

As an American, I was sad to see our improbable run at the Confederations Cup final come to an end (though I did sort of agree with Adam Serwer: We didn't deserve it.). But as a half-Brazilian, I was glad...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Lunch Break  
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Coal State Democrats for Cap-and-Trade!

National Journal's Ron Brownstein has a cool interactive graphic allowing you to view the Waxman-Markey vote on different dimensions. The image above shows what happens if you sort the results by "coal states." The effect isn't inconsiderable: As Brownstein...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs , Climate Change  
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More Hill Commentary on the Health Insurance Exchange

A House-side staffer responds to the missive I posted earlier. Just saw the most recent posting. I'm guessing your Hill staffer is on the Senate side, the House side takes care of this! In the Tri-Committee draft proposal, after one...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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If Machiavelli Could Twitter

The big critique of Twitter -- a critique that I, at one point, shared -- is that a human being can't sneeze in under 140 characters. Why should they be able to think at that length? But Gideon Rachman...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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The Wall

Late last week, I was summoned to a windowed meeting room overlooking the White House to sit with members of one of Washington's nimbler, smarter think tanks. The assembled thinkers tried to convince me that Barack Obama was missing...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 11:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Government  
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Good News!

From Well Blog's list of 11 medical myths: Knuckle-crackers are no more likely to have arthritis than those who don’t make annoying popping sounds with their fingers. It's good to know that the only people I'm hurting are those around...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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It's All About The Capital, Baby

Noam Scheiber had a nice chat with some sources over at the Treasury Department about what happened to the loans portion of Timothy Geithner's Public-Private Investment Partnership (PPIP) program. The answer? The program was meant to raise capital. If...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Financial Crisis , Solutions  
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More Thoughts on the Health Insurance Exchange

After yesterday's post on the weakening of the Health Insurance Exchange, a Hill staffer e-mailed some related thoughts that are worth publishing. In particular, she notes that closing the Exchange to the employed is going to do terrible things to...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2009; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Tab Dump

• Okay, now people actually are writing on "A Supposedly Fun Blog." • Is this crisis a good time to rethink federalism? • Analyzing the House vote on Waxman-Markey. • The dark side of Twitter. • How God converted an...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Tab Dump  
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Does Medicare Work by Dictat?

A couple of conversations I've had recently have convinced me that people are confused in an important way about how Medicare -- and thus a possible public plan -- sets its prices. So here's a crude explanation: Congress creates what's...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 6:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Health , Health Coverage  
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Quote of the Day

Thomas Sowell predicts our future under Barack Hussein Obama: A quadrupling of the national debt in just one year and accepting a nuclear-armed sponsor of international terrorism such as Iran are not things from which any country is guaranteed to...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 6:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Designing the Health Insurance Exchanges

I've said before that the Health Insurance Exchange is arguably the most important element of health-care reform. And I'm worried about it. Just like there's a strong and weak version of the public plan, there's a strong and weak...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 5:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Deficit Hawkery for Thee, But Not for Me

I was amused by this nugget in today's New York Times: Republicans’ primary objection is the Democrats’ push for a public health insurance plan that would serve as an alternative to private coverage. Republicans say such a plan would cause...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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A Fate Worse Than Tariffs

There's been a lot of chatter over an amendment inserted into the Waxman-Markey bill that would impose trade penalties on imports from countries that haven't set limits on greenhouse gases. Barack Obama, for one, has spoken out against it. Tyler...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 2:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Health-Care Stories for America

A few weeks ago, Barack Obama's Organizing for America put out a call for health-care stories from its members. Thousands flooded in. Now they're online. This one, from Tristan, is particularly brutal: I had health insurance through my employer after...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 1:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch Break: RIP Billy Mays

A bad week for awesome, entertaining people. Here's Mays ordering from a drive-through. Guy had a good sense of humor about himself. Here's a longer remembrance from a true informercial junkie....

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 12:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate

I agree, as you might imagine, with Jon Cohn's reality check on the public plan. But I also think that when you're trying to decide how important the "public plan" is to the overall success of health reform, you...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Some Straight Talk on the Times

There's a lot of sky-is-falling talk about journalism in general and the New York Times in particular. But over at Ad Age, Nat Ives and Bradley Johnson take a look at the company's actual financial position and conclude that things...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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This Week's Think Tank

Agricultural policy, health-care reform, and a yawning long-term debt, oh my! 1) Is the problem with our food system that people don't have enough access to good food? Or that they have too much access to bad food? The USDA...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 11:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Paul Krugman vs. the Climate Deniers

Paul Krugman has a nice response to the variant of global warming denialism favored by the statistically illiterate. [A] lot of climate-change denial rests on spurious short-term comparisons: you pick a warm recent year, say 1998, and say “well,...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 10:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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How Jon and Kate Could Kill Health Reform

Liza Mundy had an op-ed over the weekend arguing that Jon and Kate's marriage could have been saved if their health insurance had covered in vitro fertilization, which carries a lower risk of multiple births. Jon and Kate "Plus 3,"...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 10:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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In Praise of a Healthy Status Quo Bias

This is a smart post from Mike Rorty: the thing that worries me about the Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) approach to this issue is that there is always an implicit “do-over” cost in CBA. If we start a marketing campaign, hire...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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On the Passage of Waxman-Markey

On Friday, the Waxman-Markey climate change bill stumbled across the finish line in the House. Supporters had been hoping for a 20-30 vote margin. They secured, instead, a seven-vote win for a nearly broken bill. The optimistic take on this...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 29, 2009; 7:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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