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Ezra Klein: October 18, 2009 - October 24, 2009

Tab dump

1) "We often hear about people who are unlucky in love, but what of those who are unlucky in the business cycle?" 2) Jacob Hacker makes the case against the trigger. 3) American spends a staggering amount of money on...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 6:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Why hasn't Olympia Snowe pulled the trigger?

“Historically, ‘trigger’ mechanisms have not been successful, and they are not a substitute for a strong public health insurance option,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller in a statement released today. “A ‘trigger’ simply delays price competition, which in turn will...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 5:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Styles of expertise

Tyler Cowen offers some "sentences to ponder":: Experts are more persuasive when they seem tentative about their conclusions, a study soon to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests. But the opposite is true of novices, who grow...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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The nightmare scenario on the public option

Imagine Reid puts Schumer's pulibc option proposal -- the national plan that states can opt-out of -- into the bill. The bill comes to the floor, and it loses Snowe and one or two centrist moderates. Byrd is sick and...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 3:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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White House to Reid: We hope you know what you're doing

Things have gotten real complicated, real quick, on the public option. This roundup of contrasting quotes and statements, for instance, has a Keystone Kops quality to it. I've spent a fair bit of the day trying to figure out...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 3:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Does banker pay matter?

There have been two arguments for limiting bankers' pay. One is that it's a way to punish executives at corporations that took a taxpayer bailout. The other is that it's a way to reduce the incentives for taking risks and...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 12:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Financial Regulation , Solutions  
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Lunch break

The wonderful comic XKCD gets animated. As Shadowfax says, "There's no limit to what geeks will do with too much time on their hands." I Love xkcd from NoamR on Vimeo....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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A gang of one

Word on the street is that the White House has told congressional leaders that it supports a public-option trigger in the final bill. Other administration sources are denying the story. It's a good, old-fashioned who-the-hell-knows? It's always hard to...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Pelosi's game runs deep

Even if Nancy Pelosi does get 218 votes for a public option with Medicare rates plus five percent, there's virtually no way any such bill gets signed into law. The Senate probably doesn't have the votes for a straight...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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'There are idiots. Look around.'

John Meriwether's first hedge fund, Long-Term Capital Management, failed in 1998, and almost brought Wall Street down with it. His second hedge fund, JWM Partners, closed this summer. Now he's setting up a third hedge fund, based largely on the...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 10:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Politico reports that Pelosi doesn't have the votes for the 'strong' public option

From Mike Allen: House Democratic sources say Speaker Nancy Pelosi determined last night that there are NOT the votes for a “robust public option,” meaning the Speaker will likely move to one of the two other, weaker public options being...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 10:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Tab dump

1) Enough with the states. Let's empower the Metropolitan Planning Organizations! 2) One could imagine a lobbying industry that's good for America, where various interests balance each other out and expertise is widely shared. But that's not the lobbying industry...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 6:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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America's unusually democratic democracy

Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein has a good follow-up post to my comments on the unexpectedly decisive roles individual legislators play in the policy process. This, he says, is part of what makes America great. Our legislature (both Houses!) is...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Congress  
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House health-care bill likely to cover more, cost families less, than Senate bill

The House of Representatives is readying itself to release three delicious flavors of health-care reform. One of the bills will have a public option trigger. Another will have a level-playing field proposal. And the third will have the Hardy's...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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How the pharmaceutical industry's lobbyists cost America $378 billion

Karen Tumulty and Michael Scherer have an excellent article on how the pharmaceutical company bought its way to total victory on health-care reform. I'd summarize, but it's really better that you read it....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 3:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Snowe: If the bill has a public option, I will support a filibuster

Olympia Snowe is making it very clear where she stands on the public option: "Would [inclusion of a public option] be enough for you to vote against the cloture motion?" a reporter asked Snowe on her way off the Senate...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 2:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Congressmen matter

The public option options are a good example of one of the really striking elements of the legislative process: Senators just dream this stuff up. In theory, that's obvious. Bills don't come from the Bill Fairy. They come from senators...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 2:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Tom Toles on financial regulation

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 2:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Chat transcript

Ezra Klein: It's noon. I'm starving. But before I can eat lunch, I have to finish this chat with all of you. Grumble grumble grumble. It's a good thing I like you all so much. _______________________ Washington: Which house members...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Lunch break

Rainn Wilson -- better known as Dwight from “The Office” -- gives a lesson in vandalizing a home. Sigh. That makes me feel young again....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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A difficult graph for health-care reformers

For people, like, well, me, who think that the health insurance exchanges have a real shot at lowering health-care costs throughout the system, the graph above is difficult. For conservatives who believe that the key to constraining health-care costs...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Cutting bankers' pay

The Obama administration is getting serious on bankers' pay: The Obama administration plans to order companies that have received exceptionally large amounts of bailout money from the government to slash compensation for their highest-paid executives by about half on average,...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Financial Crisis , Financial Regulation , Solutions  
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Live Chatting

Today at noon. Submit questions here....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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A guide to the public option compromises in the Senate

There are three "compromise" public options currently being considered in the U.S. Senate (and yes, I know many argue that the public option is itself a compromise, and there's something to that). Ben Nelson is advocating one. Olympia Snowe...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Why does Sarah Palin suddenly care about the dollar?

Matt Drudge, Sarah Palin and variety of other right-wing cranks have become oddly interested in the falling price of the dollar recently. Their argument, however, does not seem based on a desire to see America orient itself more toward...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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The doctors vs. the Republicans

Well, the "doc fix" failed. Rather than reworking the Medicare payment formula that Congress doesn't follow, Congress will keep the formula on the books (and on the deficit projections) and simply ignore it on a year-by-year basis. Democrats got off...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 22, 2009; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Apologetic tab dump

No real tab dump today, as I'm rushing around more than I'd like to admit. But since I'm off to moderate a discussion of delis, tonight's recipe is Michael Ruhlman's guide to making your own short rib pastrami. Mmmmmm ......

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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What about quality? An interview with Peggy O'Kane

The National Committee for Quality Assurance is among the leading organizations in measuring health-care quality and developing systems and interventions to improve it across the system. On Thursday, it will release its latest State of Health-Care Quality report. Today, I...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 4:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Health , Interviews  
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The counterintuitive conventional wisdom

Speaking of bizarrely counterintuitive articles, and with the ostentatious contrarianism of Super Freakonomics still on everybody's mind, it's worth saying that there's nothing contrarian about being contrarian in elite intellectual circles. Indeed, the really contrarian move would be to try...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Creed is not a good band

Slate magazine is part of The Washington Post-Newsweek International family, and so I love them like family. But it's hard to read this and avoid the conclusion that they should be burned to the ground....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 2:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Lunch Break

Can coal solve all our problems? It is clean cheap. Coal - watch more funny videos...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 12:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Is this why Republicans can't support health-care reform?

Imagine a world in which there are only 10 people. All of them want to buy health care. But some of them are sicker, or older, than others. Two of the 10 people cost $10 to cover. Two of...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Save the deli!

The delis are dying out. The art of pastrami is being lost, and let's not even talk about the difficulty of finding a decent matzoh ball soup in D.C. But David Sax, author of the new book "Save the...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 11:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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A proud bipartisan tradition of budget gimmickry

This is an extremely strange paragraph from Dana Milbank: Senate Democrats wanted to protect doctors from scheduled cuts in Medicare payments over the next 10 years, but there was a problem: Doing so would add a quarter of a trillion...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 11:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health Economics  
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The goal posts have moved on the public option

Brian Beutler caught up with Sen. Ben Nelson to ask about new poll numbers showing that not only is the public option popular, but a partisan bill with a public option is more popular than a bipartisan bill without one....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Obama: 'Sometimes Democrats can be their own worst enemies'

Christina Bellantoni has the details: "There are going to be some disagreements and details to work out ... but I want to say to you Democrats, let's make sure that we keep our eye on the prize," Obama said...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Health Reform  
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Comparing the HELP and Finance bills

David writes in: I was wondering if you could explain what is in the HELP committee bill that's not in the Finance committee bill. I think I speak for a lot of people who have been following the HC debate...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 10:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Will lower health-care costs mean higher wages?

As we went over yesterday, the theory of the excise tax is that employers will buy less costly health-care plans and put the money they save into wages. Most of you had one question in response to that, which was...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Health Economics , Health Reform  
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Tab dump

1) Real median family income, 1947-2007. 2) Is Rihanna's new single a justification for staying in an abusive relationship? 3) Mike Rorty's introduction to geo-engineering the planet. 4) The Wire's Omar endorses Jon Corzine. Well, that race is over. You...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Harry Reid: “We’re leaning towards talking about a public option”

“We’re leaning towards talking about a public option," said Harry Reid at a press conference today. Greg Sargent, along with a lot of other reporters, thought this was a weird comment. I think it reveals more than people realize,...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 4:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Inequality of obesity

Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why he's been blogging so much about the intersection of obesity, class and race: It's the world I live in. The buses in Harlem heave under the weight of wrecked bodies. New York will not super-size itself,...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 4:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Health  
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The case for taxing health benefits

From commenter Brad Gabel: Here's the case for taxing some health benefits: I have a 45 percent marginal tax rate (federal, FICA, Medicare, and state) and a 10-year-old diabetic child. In other words, because I get my health insurance through...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 3:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Explaining the excise tax: part 2

Sigh. On the same day I publish my long explanation of the excise tax, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities publishes their even longer explanation of the excise tax. You just can't win against these wonks. But their report...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 3:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Health Economics , Health Reform , Health Reform For Beginners  
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Explaining the excise tax

If a new tax is passed and no one actually pays it, can it fund health-care reform? It sounds like a zen koan for public policy students. But the Senate Finance Committee is banking on it. That is, in short,...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 1:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Health Economics , Health Reform For Beginners  
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Lunch break

Chef Jose Andres and David Letterman agree: Spanish television is better. So too is Spanish cooking, as Andres demonstrates....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 1:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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D.C. booze

Ever thought D.C. happy hours were weirdly expensive? Well, you were right. While restaurants are dropping food prices, beverage prices are still going up. Surprisingly enough, Atlanta — not LA or NYC — has the most expensive dinner entrees. As...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 12:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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The individual mandate is popular

From the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll: Would you support or oppose a law that requires all Americans to have health insurance, either getting it from work, buying it on their own, or through eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid? Support...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Health Reform , Polls  
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Industry honcho: Insurers "strongly support reform!"

Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, took to The Post's op-ed page this morning with a defensive op-ed affirming her organization's support for health-care reform and attempting to rehabilitate the roundly mocked report they released last...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Ron Wyden vs. the Democrats

Yesterday, the Democratic Senate leadership sent out its daily talking points to its members' offices. Among them was the relatively anodyne argument that, "Under our [health-care reform] plan, if you like what you have you can keep it, but if...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 11:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Senate  
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Why legislation is so long

After the Senate Finance bill had been worked over in committee and amended six ways from Sunday, it was released onto the wilds of the Internet for all citizens to read. That was not a symbolic gesture: The bill (pdf)...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Is the Obama administration lying about the cost of health-care reform?

Among the moment's big right-wing talking points is that the CBO numbers for Obama's health-care reform are some sort of scam, and the bill will actually cost a lot more than is being projected. It's a nice story, but...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 20, 2009; 10:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Tab dump

1) Gilbert Arenas vs. Balloon Boy. 2) Why are children's films so dark? 3) Dow 10,000 in rhyme. 4) Twitter is making a wine? Recipe of the day: Wild mushroom ragu macaroni....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 6:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Public option more popular than bipartisanship

Washington Post-associated blogger Greg Sargent looked over the new Washington Post poll, and it's got the most relevant question on the public option that I've seen: Which of these would you prefer most -- (a plan that includes some form...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 5:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Health Reform , Polls  
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Pelosi's public option plan

TPMDC's Brian Beutler takes a look at Nancy Pelosi's sneaky strategy to pass the public option: Ask CBO to score it, and then make public the score, showing that a bill with a public option can do more at less...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 5:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Chamber of Commerce gets punk'd

This morning, the Chamber of Commerce called a news conference to announce a rather major change in policy: They were going to cease opposing efforts to address global warming and throw the weight of their organization behind the bills...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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California dreaming

A new estimate out of UCLA suggests that health-care reform will extend coverage to more than four million Californians who wouldn't have had it otherwise. That means coverage will hit 93 percent in the most populous state in the nation,...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 3:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Why the Senate Finance Committee vote mattered

"The Senate Finance Committee vote was a relatively small procedural hurdle in itself -- despite all the hoopla," writes Josh Marshall. I see where he's coming from, but I'm not sure that's actually correct. In my reporting, nothing has...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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(Real) live blogging

If you like this blog but would prefer to see the live-action version, I'll be giving a talk at the George Washington University Hillel at 8 tonight on health-care reform, the problems of the Senate and whatever else comes to...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 1:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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D.C. dining

Tom Sietsema's 10th annual dining guide is out, and it's not only useful for District residents, but also a surprisingly good read. I've already made a reservation at Rasika....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 1:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Food  
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Lunch Break

Hugo Chavés plays air guitar and the health-care reform debate gets real, real melodic. All this and more in the latest Autotune the News....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 1:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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How the CBO would estimate your grocery list

So long as I'm recommending Lori Montgomery's profile of CBO's Phil Ellis, this is a pretty good explanation of how the CBO does its work: Much of what the CBO does is akin to trying to forecast your grocery bill...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Budget  
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The most powerful man you've never heard of

We talk a lot about how Harry Reid, Max Baucus and Olympia Snowe are deciding the details of health-care reform. But you can make a pretty strong case that none of them are as powerful as Phil Ellis, and in...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The dangers of geoengineering

I've long been a proponent of exploring various "geoengineering" responses to global warming, but that's largely because I'm a pessimist about our political system's ability to address the issue in anything even approximating a timely manner. The idea that...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Harry Reid and the public option

Politico's Pulse offers this rundown of Harry Reid's evolving thinking on the public option: WHY THE SENATE BILL MAY INCLUDE A PUBLIC OPTION: The public option was front and center again yesterday, with President Obama’s senior aides reiterating the...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Politics of Diabetes

Rachel Dry reports on a new study showing the reactions of Democrats and Republicans to news articles about diabetes. Turns out political affiliation does a good job predicting people's reactions to public health problems: When Democrats read articles emphasizing the...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health  
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Thinking of opening a restaurant?

Phil Mott, an assistant professor at the Les Roches School of Hospitality Management at Chicago’s Kendall College, has some advice for you. Q. When someone comes up to you and says, “I love food, I love people, I want to...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 10:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Food  
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Super Feminomics

Super Freakonomics is really two books in one: Some of the chapters are based on a deep data set that reveals interesting insights about the underlying subject. Half of the chapters are not based on any data set at all,...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Books , Economics  
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Getting Specific About Transportation

I've not been following the Virginia governor's race terribly closely, largely because I don't live in Virginia. But I do occasionally drive in Virginia (particularly to go here), and I do Metro out to Virginia, and so I'm interested...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 8:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Urban Policy  
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