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Tab dump

1) Sarah Palin's foreign policy doctrine, or lack thereof.

2) A small win for Ron Wyden and choice.

3) Brad DeLong is puzzled by America's political economy.

4) Paul Krugman on the "phantom menace," though not the one you're thinking of.

Recipe of the day: My family won't go for this, but I always liked Mark Mittman's idea to braise turkey.

The Senate wanted to wish you a good weekend, but they couldn't schedule a cloture vote on the resolution until tomorrow.

By Ezra Klein  |  November 20, 2009; 5:30 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Excise tax: 'a rare win-win opportunity'
Next: Talking about talking


speaking of turkey and thanksgiving....

Posted by: jkaren | November 20, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I scratch my head why you haven't mentioned this, Ezea:

It's a topic you've talked about before, yet here it is in a Democratic Health Care Bill against all odds.


Posted by: toshiaki | November 20, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Good for Wyden for sticking to his guns. As I said before I don't anyone will dare claim this benefit, which basically marks you as a workplace troublemaker, but if he can figure out how to expand it, it could be a good thing.

Posted by: bmull | November 20, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like they're talking about an "amendment" rather than it being included in the Merged Bill going to the floor.

If it's an amendment, it needs 60 votes.

It won't get 60 votes.

It doesn't matter than Wyden has had GOP co-sponsors on this in the past. They won't support any Dem amendments. Then it's a matter of bleeding off just 1 member of the Dem Caucus. Big Health will bleed off more than one.

That's why Wyden's amendment was gamed in FiCom. If it passed FiCom, it would have been merged as neither Dodd nor Harkin would have been against it. If forced to actually vote on it in FiCom, it would have been difficult to kill without either Baucus or Conrad joining Blanche. So they played their phony game of it not being scored (though it had been) to keep it out of the Merger.

If it was in the Merged Bill, it would take 60 votes for an amendment to remove it.

I'll be happy if it passes. It won't pass.


Posted by: toshiaki | November 20, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse


come on now. that's 100% false. in the SFC it was Kerry and Bingham and Baucus who shot down Wyden's ammendment. Ensign seemed intrigued by it (sad that he had no idea what it was at the outset though).

It was Kerry who was the strongest vote to kill it on behalf of a large employer who spoke to him on it that's based in MA.

I'm not in disagreement that Republicans won't vote for anything in this (and why should they because the bill sucks) but don't make it seems like the Republicans destroyed it in committee. Democrats did that all on their own and in fact Democrats have the clear majorities everywhere. Everything in this bill is 100% Democrat and when it fails miserably Dems will pay the electoral price.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 20, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Why Oh Why Don't We Have Better Economists?

I do hope the undergrads at Berkeley get someone who's a better liberal than Brad so that they get some perspective.

The guy is nothing but a mouthpiece for Rubin/Geithner -- has been since his days in the Clinton Admin.

His argument here is a wonderful example. Basically it's: the banks were sick, we nursed them back to health (by dumping a trillion dollars on them), so move on -- nothing to see here.

No questioning of the system that led to this disaster nor any urgency to see it fixed.

The very definition of an apologist for the status quo (give or take a trillion dollars of tax-payer money).

Posted by: leoklein | November 21, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse


you mean those undergrads now paying 32% more and sitting-in because of increased costs due to the liberal nature of California and the ridiculous spending that has drawn them to bankruptcy annually??

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 21, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse


There's an important article in the Wall Street Journal today, "The Henry Ford of Heart Surgery
In India, a Factory Model for Hospitals Is Cutting Costs and Yielding Profits", at:

It's about how smart and high economies of scale and specialization can dramatically reduce medical costs and increase quality. These economies of scale bring up issues of natural monopoly, or closeness to natural monopoly, which implies a strong government role can greatly increase efficiency.

A sample of the article:

Dr. Shetty, who entered the limelight in the early 1990s as Mother Teresa's cardiac surgeon, offers cutting-edge medical care in India at a fraction of what it costs elsewhere in the world. His flagship heart hospital charges $2,000, on average, for open-heart surgery, compared with hospitals in the U.S. that are paid between $20,000 and $100,000, depending on the complexity of the surgery...

But Jack Lewin, chief executive of the American College of Cardiology, who visited Dr. Shetty's hospital earlier this year as a guest lecturer, says Dr. Shetty has done just the opposite -- used high volumes to improve quality. For one thing, some studies show quality rises at hospitals that perform more surgeries for the simple reason that doctors are getting more experience. And at Narayana, says Dr. Lewin, the large number of patients allows individual doctors to focus on one or two specific types of cardiac surgeries.

In smaller U.S. and Indian hospitals, he says, there aren't enough patients for one surgeon to focus exclusively on one type of heart procedure...

Dr. Shetty's success rates appear to be as good as those of many hospitals abroad. Narayana Hrudayalaya reports a 1.4% mortality rate within 30 days of coronary artery bypass graft surgery, one of the most common procedures, compared with an average of 1.9% in the U.S. in 2008, according to data gathered by the Chicago-based Society of Thoracic Surgeons...

Dr. Lewin believes Dr. Shetty's success rates would look even better if he adjusted for risk, because his patients often lack access to even basic health care and suffer from more advanced cardiac disease when they finally come in for surgery.

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | November 21, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse


We had this discussion at the tome. Conrad and Baucus joined with the GOP in killing the amendment on the procedural claim that it hadn't been scored. I linked to the video leading to the vote, and who from the Dems joined the GOP in voting to kill it.

Was Kerry rough when the amendment was being debated/discussed? Yes. But he wasn't the won who killed it.

Are you forgetting Conrad holding his blackberry up to display that bs message from the "CBO" about what they scored that turned out to be false?

Come on now. You know what you're saying is 100% false.


Posted by: toshiaki | November 22, 2009 4:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm still interested in whether anyone thinks this will pass as Ezra implies he thinks will happen. And whether it's not entirely clear that by gaming it out of the FiCom bill that Baucus and Conrad didn't ensure that it wouldn't be in the merged bill, and thus wouldn't need to reach 60 votes to *remove* it rather than now to insert it.


Posted by: toshiaki | November 22, 2009 4:08 AM | Report abuse


I've watched it several times too. You may consider Conrad and Baucus (R) but they're Dems. They're the ones that killed it. Ensign for all his warts (and they're many) seemed intrigued by the choice it gave people.

in the end it was Dems (conservative ones possibly) that killed it.

And for those that think Baucus is trying to kill this reform remember it sounds as if his mother is dying and yet he flew across country to make this key vote. He wants to do this but he wants to do it right it seems to me. Too bad "the right way to do this" left the station a long time ago.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 22, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, you realize you're probably the only one on Planet Earth who believes the state budget problems are "due to the liberal nature of California".

Worth a laugh, but that's about it.

Posted by: leoklein | November 22, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Bittman's braised turkey is pretty awesome. I think I may actually make it for Thanksgiving this year.

Posted by: birdm | November 22, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

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