Saturday, February 23, 2013

As noted here, "Even Singapore, which is often touted by U.S. conservatives as a market-oriented forced-savings alternative to a universal health insurance system, relies heavily on price controls to keep costs down." Is Maryland the future?
The implied personal advice of this long article is that if you have a medical bill for more than a few thousand dollars and you're not on Medicare, then don't pay it before hiring a medical billing advocate. (Or do the bargaining yourself.) Private health insurers bargain hospitals down, but not by enough. Also, as explained towards the end of that long article, "Put simply, with Obamacare we’ve changed the rules related to who pays for what, but we haven’t done much to change the prices we pay."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dig, baby, dig?
In my time in the field it's been far from uncommon to come across a mass of shattered and eroded bone splinter that just a few weeks ago would have been a magnificent skeleton if only someone had found it sooner. This is going on all the time all over the world and quite simply the only way we can really make a dent in the problem is to dig up more material, faster.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The coca in Coca-Cola:
The Coca-Cola we know today still contains coca -- but the ecgonine alkaloid is removed from it. Perfecting that extraction took until 1929, so before that there were still trace amounts of coca's psychoactive elements in Coca-Cola. As Dominic Streatfield describes in Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography, the extraction is now done at a New Jersey chemical processing facility by a company called Stepan. In 2003, Stepan imported 175,000 kilograms of coca for Coca-Cola. That's enough to make more than $200 million worth of cocaine. They refer to the coca leaf extract simply as "Merchandise No. 5."

The facility is guarded.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Federal Reserve in December 2007: the majority, but not all, were behind the curve.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Friday, February 08, 2013

I expect the Right will sooner rather than later re-focus away from lower taxes on high-earners towards lower taxes on families. The question is whether these cuts will "paid for." I would love for the big distorting income tax deductions for mortgages and state income taxes to be dropped, but that is unlikely to happen. (I expect structural federal deficits will get a lot worse before they get better.) That Democrats have agreed to keep middle-class taxes low is a victory for the Right. Republicans just pushing for spending cuts and lower taxes for the upper class are not offering any carrots to the middle class. It's a losing political strategy.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Monday, February 04, 2013

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Friday, February 01, 2013