Assorted Links 9/16/09

No American Should Have to Choose Between Health Insurance and Getting Drunk

  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, September 17, 2009
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, September 23-25, 2009
  • Statistical Analysis: Yer doin’ it Wrong! – “The study on the determinants of college graduation rates is making a big splash. However, its analysis is, with all due respect, crap. Correlation is not causation, there are generally multiple explanations for a correlation and it is not correct to simply pick one and assert its truthfulness.”
  • Swine Flu And Vaccines – “Per the Times, the swine flu is likely to peak this season in late October, before the vaccine has been made and distributed in vast quantities. Unless I utterly misapprehend the Congressional timeline, it follows that the non-timely government response will be in the midst of the debate over national health care reform.”
  • As Predicted: A Psychic Failure – “the fact is that nobody, no professional nor amateur psychic gave any indication that there would be a major terrorist attack in New York City or Washington in September 2001.”
  • Post Cash for Clunkers Sales Suck – “Any automotive analyst worth their salt could have told you–did tell you–that Uncle Sam’s $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program was going to suck the oxygen right out of the showroom. Really, this is one for Johnny Carson.”
  • “Too big to take a pay cut” – “We should stop using political favors as a means of managing an economic sector. Unfortunately, though, recent experience with health care reform shows we are moving in the opposite direction and not heeding the basic lessons of the financial crisis. Finance and health care are two separate issues, of course, but in both cases we’re making the common mistake of digging in durable political protections for special interest groups.

    One disturbing portent came over the summer when it was reported that the Obama administration had promised deals to doctors and to pharmaceutical companies under the condition that they publicly support health care reform. That’s another example of creating favored beneficiaries through politics.
    . . .
    In short, we should return both the financial and medical sectors and, indeed, our entire economy to greater market discipline. We should move away from the general attitude of ‘too big to take a pay cut,’ especially when the taxpayer is on the hook for the bill. If such changes sound daunting, it is a sign of how deep we have dug ourselves in. We haven’t yet learned from the banking crisis, and we’re still moving in the wrong direction pretty much across the board.”

  • No Bickering or Thinking: Just Do It: Understanding Obama’s new health care agenda – “Those who claim that President Barack Obama’s speech on health care this week wasn’t a glorious success are fooling themselves. A Washington takeover of health care never sounded so enticing or fun.

    Just ignore the specifics, because when the president says he welcomes substantive new ideas, he means that if you have the nerve to offer any ideas–as Whole Foods’ CEO, John Mackey, did in The Wall Street Journal last month–his allies will attempt to destroy your business and reputation.”

  • Three Myths about the Crisis: Bonuses, Irrationality, and Capitalism – “With a year having passed since the start of the greatest economic crisis in our lifetimes, you’d think we would know a lot more now than we did then about what caused it. Yet by the spring of 2008, a three-part conventional wisdom about the crisis had taken hold that still governs mainstream thinking about what happened and why–even though there was never any evidence in favor of the conventional wisdom, and there is now much evidence against it.
    . . .
    Contrary to popular belief, then, the crisis of 2008 is best described as a crisis of regulation–not a crisis of capitalism.”
  • Public Information and Public Choice – “If we’re going to be bound by the decisions made by regulatory agencies and courts, surely at a bare minimum we’re all entitled to know what those decisions are and how they were arrived at. But as many of the participants at the conference stressed, it’s not enough for the data to be available — it’s important that it be free, and in a machine readable form.”
  • American Masculinity Redeemed – “Well, apparently, just when I thought the entire country was going to slink off into the shadows and let the gang wearing the black hats rape the schoolmarm and plunder the Farmer’s & Mechanic’s Bank at will, a righteous badass has stepped forth. (Stark but stirring theme music plays in the background). Today I read of his manly exploits in the NY Times:”

One Senator’s Thoughts on the CPSIA
“You elected me to lead, not to read.”

  • Musical training may help the brainstem choose – “Those with musical training may be better at picking out an important or complicated sound in a room than those without.”
  • The Digital Lawyer Crosses the Border – “Many, if not most, lawyers who carry laptops have some form of a ‘paperless’ law practice and carry many client files on their laptops, hopefully encrypted or, at least, password protected. One of the nice things about having a laptop is using it as a desktop replacement to carry everything with you.

    That laptop probably can no longer travel across the U.S.border with you. Whether top military grade encryption protects your information from the Department of Homeland security or just presents a professional challenge for them is for you to decide.

    But, if you just need access to a few files and know you will have Internet access at your destination, you can always just e-mail them to yourself and leave them in your inbox. You could also use an online document repository or VPN or one of several other secure solutions for remote access to files.

    Bottom line: These rules probably give every law firm a great justification to buy a Netbook or two for overseas travel. Cleaning up every confidential file from a laptop used as a primary workstation before traveling overseas would be too big a pain and cost more in lawyer time than a Netbook.”

  • “Your Tweets They Are Belong To Us” – “I think all lawyers need to examine Twitter’s NEW terms of service very carefully. As the author of this post points out, when Twitter can: ‘use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)’, I have to ask: ‘Are you kidding me?’. I am an old dirt lawyer. In real property law, if you can enter on to the land, use it in any way you wish, stomp on it, dig out the minerals, and just generally fool around on it, You Own It.”
  • CPSIA (the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) – “I’ve got an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal on CPSIA (the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) and Congress’s unwillingness to reform it despite its calamitous and unnecessary impacts on the children’s product business, especially its smaller participants. If you’re new to this site, here are some pointers for further reading about the issues raised in the piece:”
  • By me @ Wired: The Superconducting Super Collider – “Finally, my story about the Superconducting Super Collider, in Texas, makes it into the world. I first pitched this story to Wired in October, 2006, on the back of an interview I conducted with Johnnie Bryan Hunt.

    JB Hunt was a multimillionaire and former member of the Forbes 400, who I interviewed him for All The Money in the World, in 2005. If you live in America, I guarantee you have seen one of his white trucks, with a yellow-and-black ‘JB Hunt’ logo, on the road somewhere.”

(see next link about parking on the wrong side of the street)

  • File this under: Property rights problem, things that sound like – “Upon climbing into my car this morning, I found the following note under my windshield wiper, verbatim:
      Please park on your side of the street. No one from this side (block) parks on your side! Seriously, this has become a problem, park on your own side and be courteous to us as we are to you.

    Since the Steelers game was last night, I needed a nice pick-me-up this morning, and this note did the trick nicely.”

  • Gut Bucket Blues – “Johnny St. Cyr offered to start off with a banjo solo, an idea Armstrong liked. Then Armstrong, whose voice had been silenced on the hundreds of records he had made to this point, decided to make his personality immediately known by shouting encouragement to each member of the group during their solos. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved this record; it’s as if Armstrong could not possibly wait another session longer without letting his personality and natural ability as an entertainer shine though. ‘Oh, play that thing, Mr. St. Cyr, lord. You know you can do it. Everybody from New Orleans could do it. Hey, hey!’ It’s a blast. No wonder it was chosen as the first Hot Five to be released…listen for yourself:”
  • Dressmaking 101 – “The one body area a woman is most worried about is her hips, thighs and butt. Right? So why would a designer ever make a dress that specifically brings more attention, weight, and bulk to that area?”
  • Top 10 Tactics for Protecting Your Stuff – “5. Erase your hard drives the permanent way. … 4. Uglify gear you don’t want grabbed. … 2. Know where to hide your money”
  • Canon VB-C500VD Vandal Resistant Mini-Dome Camera – “The VB-C500VD will have an MSRP of $999 and will be available in mid-October, just in time to protect your home against toilet paper and smashed pumpkins.”
  • PaperFix: Staple-free stapling – “The PaperFix that I’ve owned for all these years is silent in use, completely ecological, and the ongoing cost is zero. I reach for it at least a few times a day and with one firm press of the top can bind about 6 to 8 pages (depending on paper thickness) together.”

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