Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Claudia Rosett I think nails the Obama thing:
'new era of responsibility” — the advance-leaked theme of his inaugural address (though Bill Safire makes a good case that the address actually had no memorable theme). Is he talking about individual responsibility? (It has a great track record; I’m for it.) Or is he talking about collective responsibility? (Apart from providing for the common defense, it is far more problematic). Does he expect us to be responsible for paying our own bills? Or does he expect us to be responsible for paying each other’s bills? There is a big difference.'

'New era of responsibility' for other people's bills is it.
Ricardo Caballero appears to have nailed the credit crisis best response.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I hope Dick Morris isn't right.
A professor at the University of Chicago offers a couple of appropriate options for dealing with the credit crisis. The bad bank option was also discussed in the Wall Street Journal today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Possibly the best, and certainly the first truly great, inaugural address, Jefferson's in 1801."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Glenn Reynolds links to an argument for a corporate tax rate of zero as an economic stimulus.
I have to get into the discussion of the 'Palestinians' and Israel 'with' Ron Rosenbaum' and Megan McArdle. Mark Twain would be impressed with the renewed interest in the 'Holy Land.'

Friday, January 16, 2009

I was originally impressed with this Geithner guy, now not so much. He took off, for child care, from his 1040, the cost of sending a kid to camp. BS; it isn't an applicable charge to the credit. The credit tapers at his income level, 300K+. He didn't pay M-care and Social Security on the income from the IMF. I do my taxes; and I know that. A person is as likely to 'do their taxes' without tax preparation software as a student is to do a term paper with a typewriter. Anytime you change a number this triggers a cascade of changes which it makes the preparation time 3 x as long. The IRS adds the numbers itself; so he would have heard from them earlier otherwise. What he would have done is overridden the advice of the software. A candidate for Secretary of Treasury makes these 'innocent mistakes;' come 'on. Obama's comments are in the service of denial. Free Exchange, link left, has some other critical views.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rhetoric and reality re: the Obamas. I'll still have my Illinois flag out; perhaps Lincoln's dream will somehow find a happy ending.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Megan Mcardle has a recent blogpost suggesting that Medicaid and Medicare should be combined. This led me to leave my thoughts which, I think, shed some perspective more generally on medical practice:

From the standpoint of a practitioner, the populations served and burdens (and rewards, even apart from financial) are substantially different. To combine them would probably reduce interest of physician participation in serving the populations. A couple of the issues. For populations that are not billed directly for their services, a lot of times their relationship is with a clinic and not, to some extent, an individual provider. For instance, a 'retired' Army orthopedist may close his private practice and work 20 hours a week at a VA hospital. Almost all medical school practices are of the type of an institutional relationship. So potential frustrations about rate of individual procedure payment or compliance with appointments are obviated by salary and opportunities to participate in supervision, research, and educational conferences. For a purely private practitioner, the rule may be 'the first third of the patients you see, you pay for your overhead; the second third, you keep body and soul together; and, the last third, you make money.' Medicaid's payments and bureaucratic impediments to achieving work or payment impedes you from achieving any of that; so treatment may be done, to the extent it is, in the interest of treating 'the broad range of patients.'

In the case of patients seen through an institution, it is the institution that conveys the 'price mechanism' to use the language of a critic of socialism.
Martin Wolf has a great article, insightful with sobering prospects for the next couple of years. It's in the Financial Times.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The virgin Birth

Some reflections provoked by Ann Althouse. I kind of like what a Rabbi Zimmerman said: that the word 'virgin' in Hebrew meant a young woman. Beyond that however Catholic tradition has it that Mary had taken a vow to God of celibacy. The priestly vow of celibacy relates in a way to being like Mary who was called. Catholic understanding of Jewish betrothal at that time is that the two were in a sense married in such a declaration but the husband was to go out and build a house for them before taking her to live with him. Psychologically, some people who are prone to anger do, at a certain point of anger, have periods which they don't remember. It looks like there was a looming conflict in the relationship of Mary and Joseph. Fill in the blank here. Beyond that, part of the Gospel story is that Jesus is of the line of David. That line comes through Joseph.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Look Away, Look Away

Recently finished a novel of that title by Ben Haas. It was copyrighted in 1964, a novel about a mythical Southern State and a Negro's struggle for civil rights amid the culture of a persisting Confederacy. Structurally it is like War and Peace in that you are in the life of the various characters successively with bridging description of events from a narrator's position. Charming and thought provoking. I got the above novel at the Salvation Army which is in part a reference for where the local culture has been.

Now that Ron Rosenbaum has written on Valkyrie, I recall 'Plotting Hitler's Death' by Joachim Fest. A great book. That one I took to Half Price books for nothing.