Links 4/28/14

SF readers: Please come to our CalPERS hearing this Friday, May 2, 2014, 9:30 a.m., Superior Court of California, Department 302. That’s on the third floor of 400 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 ().

Daily Mail

Mashable

Deadspin

Times Insider. GM NC.

Bloomberg

FT

Le Monde Diplomatique

Pando Daily

Times. Film at 11.

McClatchy

Boston Globe

McClatchy

Another Word For It

Vice. More flexians.

Ukraine

Bloomberg

Times

Credit Slips

Reuters

Reuters

The Nation

Guardian

Reuters

  Globe and Mail

FT

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Canindia

Boing Boing

PBS ().

 Daily Mail

The Atlantic

Politico

WaPo. Please kill me.

FT

ObamaCare

Politico. 834s story #1. So how come Obama didn’t summon Jeffrey Zeints to fix the back end, too?

Judicial Watch. 834s story #2.

Guardian. Neoliberal war on health care is international.

Health Affairs

Angry Bear. : “One such suggestion was to require individuals to participate in a long-term care insurance program, similar to how the Affordable Care Act has structured regular health insurance participation by including an individual mandate.” A hustle here, and a hustle there… 

WaPo

The Confluence. Tiny houses are cool.

History News Network ().

Enlightenment Economics

New Economic Perspectives. Hat tip allcoppedout for “groaf.” Another meme — Propagated!

Farnham Street

Antidote du jour:

two_lions

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

111 comments

  1. Jim Haygood

    ‘According to multiple sources close to the situation, Toyota will be relocating its US headquarters from the LA suburb of Torrance to Plano, Texas.’

    Exchanging a top marginal tax rate of 13.3% for zero … yeah, that’s a tough decision.

    They’re gonna miss them palm trees!

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Oh. And Texas law enforcement is ever so much more honest and respectful of citizens’ rights and property.

        Of course they don’t pay taxes. Cops just steal what they need for their salaries.

      2. voltaic

        And Toyota is leaving an Obamacare state to relocate to a state that has the most uninsured. TX refused Medicaid expansion leaving tens of thousands more without health insurance. TX is also the #1 state for mercury pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, Texas’s power plants led the nation in smog-forming pollution from power plants. Toyota is doing what businesses do best; lowering the bar…..

    1. bob

      Jim, are you really that naive to believe that Toyota pays taxes?

      I bet their TX rate will be negative, counting any economic development grants/financing.

  2. Banger

    The NYT link to “A White House Split Over Russia” goes to Bloomberg. At any rate, the article basically says that some in the WH want a harder line than the one Obama is taking. I think the split is ideological and political. I believe war and the strategy of tension is the way the national security state has of keeping its power–without tension, bloodshed and so on what are all the men with guns supposed to do? On the other side, those who favor the “global marketplace” don’t want to hurt business over silly border disputes–Europe is backing off from strong action against Russia and Obama is going along with them while having Kerry shoot of his mouth and spread whatever lie de jour he can find. The ideological struggle between realists and neocons may come down to a struggle between the nation-state and the corporate sector not just in the U.S. but in Europe and Russia.

    1. [email protected]

      “U.S. Plans to Hit Putin Inner Circle With New Sanctions” (Bloomberg) finally provides the missing “Why?” in the Ukraine saga. Putin and his ilk are skimming money from the Russian petrocomplex, and the West believes that only it has the right to do this. This is essentially two groups of rich people fighting over who gets to steal from the poor. That’s why the West is now targeting INDIVIDUALS instead of governments. It’s a pissing contest among the rich.

      1. lambert strether

        Obama seems to believe deeply in targeting individuals. First, drones; now, Russian oligarchs. The tit-for-tat payback is obvious and will come in due course. By then, of course, Obama will have Secret Service protection for the rest of his life so, no problem!

        1. William

          Nice connection! It did seem odd to me that he was going after individuals, and Putin’s wealth too apparently. I wonder if that is mostly an American strategy? Was Carter the trend-setter in the freezing of Iranian assets?

          Isn’t Obama turning out to be a most unsavory character? I recall the comment made by members of a black woman’s leadership group, I believe early in his presidency, who said that “he has no moral compass.”

        2. optimader

          “…Obama will have Secret Service protection for the rest of his life so, no problem…”
          Which level of Dante’s Hell is that?

        3. bob

          He spends his weekends golfing with a Swiss banker. Sounds like an oligarch to me.

          Obummer will be the first billionaire ex-prez. Will we have to pay for the security detail for his big cat collection? Shark filled swimming pool? What about luxury space flight? Submarine rides with Jeff?

        4. bob

          Also, attacking individuals with economic sanctions is a slap fight.
          Inherent in the money laundering and tax evasion scheme we have today is plausible or complete deniability.

          They pay good money to NOT have their name on their money.

    2. Jackrabbit

      But Banger you have said that you have no direct knowledge of the “struggle” that you speak of. You simply imagine that the debate you knew to have taken place 10-20 years ago is continuing.

      As far as I can see, policy makers with real power are neocons and neolib ideologues. Each of these groups is in sympathy with the other (if not outright agreement). Where is the ‘struggle’? Anyone that disagrees is weeded out.

      Look at academia. Who do we hear from? How many prominent realists have spoken out to oppose policy / march to war, exceptionalism, etc?

      1. Jackrabbit

        Kissenger penned a “lets be reasonable” Op-ed in an attempt to head off Russian action and maintain the gains made via “facts on the ground”. While his Op-ed has makes some attempt at representing a “realist” point of view, his subsequent silence shows that it really was just a stratagem.

        A recent article in the NYTimes (front page) paints Obama has a moderate who listens to realists but it is largely “Dear Leader” propaganda. The “it could be worse” angle is reminiscent of 11-dimensional chess with the Republicans. Paying attention to what he DOES instead of what he SAYS reveals that Obama/Obama Admin true colors.

          1. optimader

            “Kissinger make the current crop look good”

            Kissinger reminds me of Nosferatu from a Planet w/ 1.2X Earth gravity.
            If you’re retiring about compromising on evil sociopolitical/stuff, HK is the wrong place to start.

            FYI: Methods of destroying suspected vampires varied, with staking the most commonly cited method, particularly in southern Slavic cultures.[41] Ash was the preferred wood in Russia and the Baltic states,[42] or hawthorn in Serbia,[43] with a record of oak in Silesia.

          2. Banger

            Nixon was the last liberal President–has gotten a bum wrap because of his hubris–he was, btw, set-up on the Watergate break-in if you look into it a little more deeply (check out Russ Baker’s take on Watergate in Family of Secrets).

  3. Klassy

    overuse in healthcare: This phenomenon was perfectly illustrated in the WSJ today in the article “Drugs Aim to Treat Frailty in Aging”. There is a discussion of drugs to treat muscle wasting. First, you must call it by a more impressive and scientific name. Easy enough– just put the latin words for muscle and deficiency together to get “sarcopenia”. Worked for osteopenia. We’ve already pathologized aging, so that’s out of the way. They still need to get regulators to define sarcopenia as a disease. Uh, there are ways to take care of this too. Once you do that, how many people can you sell to? They’re looking at 15-20% of the population over the age of 65 or 70, but an “even bigger market” would be include those with muscle wasting caused by chronic illness.
    There are concerns of course. Maybe these drugs would fall into the wrong hands– bodybuilders. I’m sure Novartis (one developer) is deeply worried about this.
    Once you’ve finished to process of marketing innovating and have your clinical guidelines in place, you can start minting the money.
    It does require a leap of faith for us– that this drug has no toxic side effects, but we’ll probably be able to make this leap (as long as we don’t have all the info). We’ve done it before.
    In the end, more money for pharma, less for caregivers.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Both of my parents died in 2011 within 4 months of each other. They were in their mid-80’s. They were “Medicared” to death.

      Not surprisingly, their overtreatment began in earnest after a dispute between their Medicare supplemental insurance company and their long-standing “healthcare” providers forced them, in their 80’s, to find a whole new roster of practitioners. This led to massive redundancies, reevaluations and re-diagnoses that were confusing, at best, and terrifying, at worst. Have I mentioned that they were IN THEIR 80’s?

      It was as if the previous 20 years of treatment had never existed. But no “harm” was done–all of this “healthcare” was “free,” albeit duplicative. (Herein lies a cautionary tale for any patient with a chronic condition forced to change providers due to Obamacare. You may find that your health history just vaporizes and you will need to start over.)

      And so my comment with regard to the linked article would be this. As an incipient “movement,” “Choosing Wisely” should adopt a strong, unambiguous label FROM THE GET GO. The issue is OVERTREATMENT, not overuse.

      “Overuse” just sets up the age-old blame game. The patient, particularly the Medicare patient who gets everything for “free” demands all this “treatment,” so what’s a poor “practitioner” to do?

      YOUR JOB, DAMMIT. Do your job.

      1. William

        Nice differentiation of “overuse” vs. “overtreatment.” Unfortunately, as NC articles in recent days have delved into, practitioners doing their job now will result in exactly the scenario you describe that happened to your parents.

        What a horribly complex game the healthcare situation is for Americans.

    2. Yves Smith

      How about making old people lift weights???

      There are studies where people in their 80s were giving instruction and started lifting weights 3x a week. It lowered their biological markers for age by 20 years on average.

      And I bet you any day those results beat whatever that stupid drug does. Weight lifting is the single best thing you can do in the anti-aging category.

      1. Ernesto Lyon

        Absolutely.
        Weightlifting, especially free weights with heavy (relative) loads, are one of the best things you can do for yourself healthwise.

        But nobody’s going to get rich selling barbells and plates.

      2. Klassy

        Yes, lifting weights is great to preserve muscle. Still, everyone isn’t going to weight train and some people might not be able to. I just see that as with Alzheimer’s, money that could be better spent on human helpers is diverted to drugs.

        1. William

          The foundation of any physical therapy treatment plan is resistance training. There are ergonomically designed weighted devices that make this activity accessible to anyone. Some you can find in sporting goods sections of larger department stores, the kind joggers use which can be employed by sedentary people as well. More specific medical designs are available through medical device stores or on-line.

          1. Klassy

            Resistance training is great, but there are other age related changes that makes older people susceptible to falls. My mother resistance trains, but it did not save her from a bad fall. I would recommend everone do some strength training, but some older people can’t due to short term memory loss.

      3. lee

        MAKE me lift weights? Not as long as my trigger finger works ; ) On the serious side with a bad back I prefer those stretchy doohickies. Easier for travel too.

      4. neo-realist

        Would pushups suffice in the absence of free weights (or the money to buy them or pay to join a gym to use them)?

        1. Ernesto Lyon

          Bodyweight exercises can replace weights to a degree. They are better than doing nothing.

          Your body is a “use it or lose it” type deal.
          I recommend Mark Sisson’s site for fitness: . HIs book “The Primal Blueprint” is a great place to start.

  4. TarheelDem

    Judicial Watch might get more than it bargained for in its inquiry into healthcare.gov.

    What might appear is the fact that individual insurers performance in writing code for their systems to handle the communications with the healthcare.gov backend was really the bottleneck. If there were 1500 insurers, for example, there were 1500 communications routines that had to interface the incoming healthcare.gov information with all of the relevant systems that the insurer had to update to enroll a new patient who (individual policy) was also a new member.

    What also might appear is the correspondence with individual Republican states who were following Cato Institute’s sabotage plan by canceling their state exchanges midstream; the last to cancel was North Carolina in July 2013.

    One suspects that Judicial Watch has carefully outlined its information requests so as to avoid airing these issues and focusing on HHS systems programming exclusively.

    It’s very easy to get sucked into a halo-and-horns effect on Obamacare in which one thing being wrong means that everything must be wrong.

    1. TarheelDem

      And then there is Oregon, which announced its transition to the federal exchange this week.

          1. Andrew Watts

            It’s not as bad as you think Lambert.

            When it became obvious that Cover Oregon was going to fail the state hired people to process the paper applications in late October. Which is more secure than relying on the exchange. While almost all of the money was from the feds. So I don’t care how much money was squandered on contractors. It’s a perfect excuse to clean up that local corruption and a rhetorical weapon to wield against the Democrats.

            The Democratic Governor of Oregon was re-elected with less than a 1% margin of the statewide vote. If a majority of the registered Republicans in a certain county had voted for the Republican candidate he would’ve lost. (I guess I “forgot” to vote the party line that day.) The last time we were able to squeeze his balls we got a favorable budget with a sizable sur, made public pensions close to fully funded, received the pilot program at Portland State to free students of debt, and other things I really shouldn’t gloat about publicly.

            In other words, that’s winning.

  5. Andrew Watts

    RE: US policy reform grinds to a halt ahead of midterm elections

    Why organizations like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are pushing hard to immediately pass something I do not understand. The longer Congress remains idle the closer the NSA is to losing it’s legal authority to conduct mass surveillance.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Senator Wyden was considering reading some classified things into the Congressional record right after DNI Clapper lied to his face. I was vocally against this at the time due to the fact that Congress could be relied upon to dither right around the time when the NSA needed it’s legal authority to be extended. The Patriot Act provisions are up for renewal in 2015 and I believe the FISA bill provisions are in 2016.

          But then Edward Snowden just had to f— that plan up. Oh well. This isn’t the kinda thing that should be rushed into anyway. A knee-jerk response might have been a disaster.

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Kindergarten show canceled so kids can keep studying to become ‘college and career ready.’ Really.

    No mention of whether this school was one of those “superior” NY charter schools that Cuomo is so eager to defend. Or whether this decision was a Walton/Gates-inspired “improvement” of the American “education” system.

    This bit of boilerplate was a little chilling, though:

    The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers and problem solvers.

    In a Nehru jacket and little cap, Chinese Peoples Workers Party kinda way.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If they want internationally competitive coworkers, they can also put in a national entrance examination here like the ones a lot of ‘competitive’ nations have now.

      1. allcoppedout

        They have lots of kindergarten shows in China. Must be to show off them nice little ‘ats.

  7. Jesse

    Bob Schieffer: Romney may consider 2016 run if Jeb Bush doesn’t WaPo. Please kill me.

    I almost lost my coffee when I read this one. Sometimes the notes make the links worth scanning even moreso than the articles themselves. Its the little things that make life worth living. lol.

      1. Vatch

        Maybe Ted Cruz will win! I don’t know how it could happen, constitutionally, but people say that he’s a viable candidate. I just don’t understand why the birthers aren’t furious about the possibility of the Canadian born Cruz becoming the U.S. President.

        1. McMike

          lol. Back when the Governator Arnold was an up-and-comer, there was a lot of chatter in the proto-birther channels about changing the Constitution to allow him to run for POTUS.

          In other words, their deeply held convictions are, ahem, flexible.

        2. cynic

          Actually, they are, but you to go to the right sites.

          They also have issues with Jindal and Rubio as well.

    1. Cal

      Try and find the story on Covenant light junk bonds and payments going to Bain Capital. So much for Mitt’s “business experience”, basically sucking the marrow out of the bones of the corpse of the American economy.

      I recall reading it here a few days ago and can’t locate it on the search feature which is lousy in this software.

      1. Jim Haygood

        “Some of the least-creditworthy companies are even selling notes that may pay interest with more debt, which BMC Software Inc. did for its $750 million payout to a group led by Bain Capital LLC.

        “With defaults by the neediest U.S. borrowers approaching record lows, buyout firms are taking advantage of the Federal Reserve’s (FDTR) easy-money policies to extract payouts by piling more junk debt onto the companies they own.”

        ————

        Here come the Federal Reserve rangers riding over the hill! (Sorry; joking.)

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Exclusive: The Extended Donald Sterling Tape Deadspin

    I SO wish every black NBA player would refuse to play another game until this guy was drummed out of the corps.

    Shut down Plantation NBA during the playoffs, make this guy a complete pariah and send a message to every sports team owner, athletic apparel peddler and media parasite out there.

    Sports doesn’t happen in America without black athletes. Fat, bigoted, pompous white “owners” couldn’t be more expendable.

    1. barrisj

      Re: D Sterling – he wasn’t the only white person of any raised profile to beat on black people last week: the “Sagebrush hero” Cliven Bunker had his made-for-YouTube rant on life on the plantation and how beneficial it was for conserving the “Nigroe” family unit; and there was – not to be upstaged – “The Donald” ranting on about how Obama “bops and jives down those helicopter stairs…”, or whatever. Somehow I missed that the past week was in fact “Hate Black People Week”, because there surely was a lot of hating going on.

      1. nobody

        “Cliven Bunker had his made-for-YouTube rant on life on the plantation and how beneficial it was for conserving the “Nigroe” family unit…”

        There was no such rant; when you listen to the whole segment in context it is obvious that he was saying something very different. He was saying that he was troubled by the fact that “you look around and we’re all basically… white people,” and he wants to figure out how to get African-Americans and Mexicans to ” join us and be with us” and come to the next Bundy Ranch party.

        The whole video is here; the segment in question starts at 12:06:

      2. participant-observer-observed

        Even more troubling, is re-segregation of our public schools. This is serious regression toward apartheid.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      An interesting bit of news, from CBSSports:

      Believe it or not, Donald Sterling was set to receive the lifetime achievement award from the NAACP next month.

      It’s interesting, because, apparently, what is news now is not a surprise to many. This is from Ray Ratto of csnbayarea:

      Donald Sterling has been turned loose upon us all now, despite the fact that he has been a problematic figure on racial lines for decades.

      It will be interesting to hear more from

      1. Other NBA owners
      2. Other professional sports owners
      3. Other NBA players
      4. NAACP – what was its LA chapter doing awarding the man?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “Believe it or not, Donald Sterling was set to receive the lifetime achievement award from the NAACP next month.”

        Oh, I’d believe it.

        Most don’t know that the NAACP was formed as an alliance between Jews and Blacks, which has resulted in the current relationship between the two groups, as articulated by “Massa” Sterling.

        ” Blacks no longer perceived the division as one between the persecutors and their victims – including Jews – but between those with white skin and those with black. Through the eyes of Blacks, Jews became Whites with all the privileges their skin color won them, regardless of alliances they had in the past.

        As early as the first two decades after World War II, James Baldwin, Kenneth Clark and other Blacks encouraged liberal Jews to give up the “special relationship.” This came in part from a fear that the Jews’ determined belief in their bond with Blacks would eventually become offensive and, paradoxically, provoke Black anti-Semitism. The prospect of this shift was incomprehensible to Jews who believed that their own history, culminating in the Holocaust, defined them as oppressed and thus incapable of being the oppressor. And yet, as Baldwin pointed out in Georgia has the Negro and Harlem has the Jew, each time a Black person paid his Jewish landlord, shopped at a Jewish-owned store, was taught by a Jewish school teacher, was supervised by a Jewish social worker, or was paid by a Jewish employer, the fact of Black subservience to Jews was driven home”.

    3. neo-realist

      Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott talked sh*t about black people/players too—“Never hire another n*****. I’d rather have a trained monkey working for me than a n*****”.

      The problem with Sterling is he, like Schott, was publically expressing negative opinions about blacks that many other sport franchise owners hold as well, but tend to express them in informal settings.

      Bill White, who was once the President of MLB’s National League, once said that if I really spoke out against racism in baseball, that no black person would ever sit in his chair again—“I deal with people I know now who are racists and bigots”.

    4. Skeptic

      Professional and collegiate sportz are rotten to the core, no need for a Sterling. Sterling is the usual “one rotten apple in the barrel” syndrome where folks think getting rid of one guy will solve all the problems. Professional teams are, in the main, owned by hedge funds or oligarchs, the same type of slime as in the financial world. As for collegiate sportz, they are just ing machines for the pros with the same lack of moral compass. Of course, most Americans, even progressives, have little understanding how things work in the Sportz World and root for their teams, buy the gear and the sponsoring products. Score: 1%, 1, Progressives 0.

      1. Klassy

        Here is the more “progressive” version of the plantation mentality:

        Northwestern to players: you don’t want a union gettin’ between us, do you?

        Also, you could go with any Obama speech given at an historically black college.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Surely we can do this in parallel. One of the nice things about the USM stuff was that students and faculty supported each other. (I agree with you on systemic priorities, but walk, chew gum, eh?)

  9. Cal

    Part of Toyota’s decision to leave L.A. is also traffic. You must plan your day around it unless you want to sit for hours in your car. A simple trip from west of the 405, the San Diego Freeway, to central L.A. is at least an hour each way.

    Demographics might also figure in. West L.A. is very nice, as are certain other hip areas, but most of the basin is turning into a crowded Mexico City north with few chances it’ll advance economically. Here’s a very useful interactive map from the L.A. Times breaking down the L.A. area into it’s regions, and the neighborhoods within them along with crime and demographic charts.

    1. Ken Nari

      Toyota is moving out of SoCal because there are too many cars.

      Isn’t that like increased violence causing drug gangs relocate to better neighborhoods?

    2. Propertius

      The DFW metroplex is hardly low traffic. Not as bad as Houston, mind you, but still pretty bad – and there’s no sprawl like Texas sprawl ;-).

    3. participant-observer-observed

      SoCal used to belong to Mexico, and some families of people have been living here for hundreds of years regardless of what it was called by missions or governors. In other words, it has ALWAYS been Mexico-city North. It is also still inhabited by people who know how to grow food on the land, and a place where Cesar Chavez has plenty of landmarks named after him (including streets of course).

      Maybe Toyota is moving to Texas because BMW, Audi, and VW (Germany) rule LA, followed by Detroit Camarros and Mustangs, and pickup trucks!

      With Mexican border near by, and ports at Long Beach, we get first pick at lowest prices, and lower on auctions on what doesn’t get retailed.

      True, traffic is #2 worst in the country (after DC). If not traveling during rush hour, it is okay.

    4. mellon

      The irony – When I moved out of California in it took at least 5 or 6 hours to get on the open road and out of traffic. We had to drive north for quite a way to find a bridge that was not overwhelmed by traffic. And that was a normal day, imagine if there had been a disaster.

  10. Cynthia

    Re: “When Less Is More: Issues Of Overuse In Health Care”

    The best and perhaps only way to reduce the overuse of, say, cardiac stenting is to remove the profit motive for doing this type of procedure. That can be done by simply reducing how much insurers reimburse doctors and hospitals for doing cardiac stent procedures. A lot of this reimbursement money doesn’t go towards paying physicians to perform these procedures anyhow. At least this is true for teaching hospitals that are classified non-for-profit providers. A sizable amount of this money goes towards paying for too many overpaid and overqualified RNs working behind the scenes in cath labs. The RNs who schedule procedures and handle insurance issues could easily be replaced with a equally competent and qualified clerical staff for half the price. And even though an RN or two is needed to serve as a management team for the cath lab, it’s absolute overkill to have a layer of assistant managers working under them as well. Most of what these managers and assistant managers do all day is hobnob with sales reps and brown nose physicians. The whole arrangement is pretty sickening if you ask me, which is why I had to transfer out of the cath lab. If you are one who believes in putting most healthcare dollars into direct patient care, as I do, you’ll never be promoted into management. It’s as simple as that.

    As I have said before, overhead costs are much too high in hospitals. And hospital costs are largely why healthcare costs as much too high. So if your goal is to cut healthcare costs, you must first get hospital costs under control. And this can largely be done by cutting overhead costs in hospitals. But the problem is that you have a system and a culture, if you will, in hospitals that rewards those who specifically make cuts in direct patient care. This is a problem because most cuts in direct patient care end up being spent on things that nothing to do with providing patient care, which ultimately leads to higher overhead costs. I don’t know for sure if this sort of wasteful way to spend healthcare dollars is being done by most hospitals, but I do know for sure that it’s being done by most teaching hospitals with a non-for-profit status.

    1. lambert strether

      “you have a system and a culture, if you will, in hospitals that rewards those who specifically make cuts in direct patient care”

      “you have a system and a culture, if you will, in hospitals education that rewards those who specifically make cuts in direct patient care teaching”

      And so on.

  11. ashley davis

    Why are there no recent articles on Ellen Brown’s run for CA treasurer? Are you opposed to this Yves? I read your blog every day and am not a business person, but rather, an artist who draws information/inspiration/education on world events from your blog. Please explain your stance on Ellen Brown for treasurer CA for the non-business types.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      NC doesn’t take assignments. If you want to draw attention to a topic, the best way for you to do that is with a link in comments, hopefully with a (short, focused) quote and some analysis. Do your own work, we won’t do it for you.

    2. Yves Smith

      This is not a political blog. This is a finance blog that does political economy.

      We barely pay attention to issues involving state governors, except when they strike us as germane or entertaining. State treasurers’ races are not not on our beat.

      1. Ashley Davis

        I just thought if Ellen Brown were able to push public banking through in CA that would be a big deal on a larger economic scale. Thanks so much for your reply.

  12. zephyrum

    On canceling the kindergarten show: “In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.” – Mark Twain

  13. susan the other

    Two Links: The Guardian on the hyped UK economy with references to Manchester U’s report on teaching economics, with Andrew Haldane’s forward invoking Adam Smith’s forgotten book “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” which advocates cooperation over competition. Also a mention of a book written by Wolfgang Streeck, Sociology Prof at Cologne U, “Buying Time.” His thesis is that since the 70s all western governments have been buying time to preserve the old order and using neoliberal projects to accomplish this first by inflating the money supply and public debt (the better to siphon) and then adding private debt, austerity, and QE. If anyone has read “Buying Time” I’d appreciate a book review.

    And the other item was NEP, JD Alt’s article “Groaf and Contrakshun” was great – almost a dialog between NC reader-commenters and NEP. “Groaf-Jawbz” is a new meme! And some simply refer to this as “JG.” More please.

      1. allcoppedout

        We could do with spontaneous outbursts of the ‘I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go’. At one university we wore ‘I’m working for Mickey Mouse’ and whistled the Dwarfs’ theme as we walked down corridors.

        I laugh out loud at the idea people are listening to argument. We need songs!

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers

      Pity you did not also mention the Observer/Guardian thread on the UKIP being expected to gain the highest percentage of the vote in May’s Euro Elections.

      Seems like the three main neoliberal legacy parties are running around like headless chickens, just a shame that UKIP are like the US Teabaggers, rather than a left-of-centre grouping- and despite this fact, many left-wingers are going to vote for the fruitcakes to put the boot into our Westminster snout in the trough bottom ers.

      1. allcoppedout

        I think I am going to vote “for” UKIP as a two-fingered gesture. I wonder if we could create a virtual world in which we could vote for what we want – if that got big enough it might swamp the current constitution.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Possibly an could establish a form of parallel sovereignty. The technology’s patented, which makes it dubious to me, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea.

        1. mellon

          Here is a guide to four preferential voting methods and one nonpreferential voting method, and an evaluation of their various aspects mathematically.

          Top page:

          the four preferential methods:

          4 Preferential Voting Methods

          Preferential voting methods are those methods that use information from a preference schedule (a ranking of candidates in order of preference).

          The Plurality Method

          The Method of Plurality with Elimination

          The Borda Count Method

          The Method of Pairwise Comparisons

          A NONPREFERENTIAL VOTING METHOD

          Top page:

    2. allcoppedout

      He did manage to pimp his book and rather confuse groaf-jawbs with a desire for the green living of said book. One has to wonder a bit about these cross-posting blogs and what they are selling.

  14. direction

    Baby eagle number two just hatched! The eagle nest cam link was featured a bit late last year on a rainy day so the visibility was low and the eaglets were grown, but this week is 100% sunny and the babies are super fresh, so check out the live cam for wobbly cuteness if you, dear reader, need a further antidote this week.

    Enjoy!

  15. Garrett Pace

    Mental Model – Complex Adaptive Systems

    FTA, quoting Keynes: “professional investment may be likened to those newspaper competitions in which the competitors have to pick out the six prettiest faces from a hundred photographs, the prize being awarded to the competitor whose choice most nearly corresponds to the average preferences of the competitors as a whole…It is not a case of choosing those which, to the best of one’s judgment, are really the prettiest, nor even those which average opinion genuinely thinks the prettiest. We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be.”

    I am reminded of the election cycle, where vague notions of a candidate’s “electability” are the most important criteria that voters make their decisions on. So we aren’t even choosing the lesser of two evils anymore, but rather what we think millions of other voters will think the lesser of two evils is.

  16. G3

    Recently heard Arnold August, the author of the book “CUBA AND ITS NEIGHBOURS Democracy in Motion” speak in town. Cuba has direct democracy at most levels !Candidates are nominated by the unwashed/peasants unlike here where they are (mostly) nominated by the parties. What a concept !And no money in politics ! The talk was very interesting. And he strongly emphasized that he is not calling it the best system and lists problems in his book. But overall it is much better than what we have here – bourgeois democracy with 2 party duopoly – in the great USA. Here is his website where we can find links to interviews etc :

  17. allcoppedout

    I loved the video of the heron using bread to bait fish. But why is this news? Surely we already had anglers pegged as bird brains?

    1. craazyman

      that only applies to bait fishermen, not fly fishermen.

      It’s a sad day in nature to see a heron resorting to techniques you’d expect from a fat dude sitting on a beer cooler with a pack of Marlboros and a pick up truck parked next to a stocked pond.

        1. allcoppedour

          Let’s face things square, In the UK the question is how the heron knew how to fill in all the forms at the food bank to get the bread. As for scientific search, how does the bird get enough bread for a satisfactory sample size? In booming Britain the heron and the Daily Mail reporter probably did a deal to concoct the story in the food bank queue. Both make good eating according to the fly fisherman trying to catch the two brown trout in Bradshaw Brook in the park where my dog is negotiating a take over of the Town Hall with the weasels.

  18. Lord Koos

    Federal water for pot growers — I’m sure this won’t be settled until the corporations have figured out how to make the max profits from from pot growing… once that happens you’ll see the laws change quickly.

  19. Jackrabbit

    I find and to be the most interesting sources of Ukraine news/views.

    Moon of Alabama today:

    Ukraine: Useless Sanctions And Then What?
    Today the U.S. sanctioned Clearia Toiletskaja, chief janitor of the Kremlin and other Russian personalities near to President Putin. Should Putin not react to this the U.S. will take more serious measures.

    The professed purpose of these sanctions is to make Russia stop what it is allegedly doing in east Ukraine. But Russia is not doing anything in east Ukraine. The White House, in cooperation with the New York Times, attempted to fake evidence thereof but even that did not work. Russia is simply doing nothing.

    Maybe that is the real problem the White House has and maybe that is the real reason for piling up sanctions. Russia must be made to do something. Could it not finally march into east Ukraine and thereby give the dearly desired justification to start a big war in Europe? Please Putin, do something. Otherwise the White House will have to put up more sanctions and then even more only to be laughed out of Europe where none of the big players is willing to follow down that path.

    The project of capturing the Ukraine, to then kick Russia out of the Crimea port, to then be able to kill off Syria is failing. But the neocons are not known for giving up. What is Obama going to do next?

    1. Jackrabbit

      PS I don’t agree that “Russia has done nothing” in east Ukraine but they have likely been accused of doing far more than than have done.

    2. vidimi

      for my money, john helmer over at dances with bears has churned out some of the most lucid analysis of the ukraine crisis, delving in much deeper than most other commentators.

  20. Vatch

    I read the short article in the link “Net Neutrality – Priority Check” in which Patrick Durusau, the author, says:

    I remain puzzled over the “sky is falling” responses to rumors about possible FCC rules on Net Neutraility…

    He goes on to cite a U.N. survey in which telephone and internet access was number 14 on people’s list of concerns. Higher on the list were such things as a good education, better healthcare, an honest and responsive government, better job opportunities, … , access to clean water, … , political freedoms. He just can’t understand why there’s so much worry about the threat to net neutrality. What he doesn’t understand is that if we lose net neutrality, it will be even harder to ensure that people get a good education, better healthcare, political freedoms, etc. Even today, when we still have net neutrality, many of the items on the U.N. list are out of reach for billions of people.

    In the 21st century, net neutrality is one of the most crucial bulwarks we have against tyranny.

  21. willf

    to Peter “prime fighting age” Beinart’s spinning of Hillary Clinton’s indefensible attack on Snowden.

    1. Patricia

      And yet, Trevor Timm ends with, “It’s very possible she was just testing the waters about how to react to the issue of NSA surveillance. We hope she will takes these facts into consideration and adjust her opinion accordingly. Bill Clinton was much more conciliatory and nuanced about people’s anger over the NSA when he made comments a few weeks ago, so it would be easy for her to switch gears.”

      Yeah, and also, “Well, we just, ummm, hope very much that, uh, this unpleasant cereal, uh, killer-type person, ummmm, will reconsider what, you know, he’s been doing to the, uh, people in our neighborhood, erp…oh, excuse me!”

  22. gordon

    The Guardian piece on “Booming Britain” has an on-link to a book by Wolfgang Streeck called “Buying Time”. It sounds interesting. There is a review here:

    No doubt there are other reviews around. There is also a long article in New Left Review which seems to cover a lot of the book’s ground:

  23. JTFaraday

    re: Antidote du jour

    “good morning starshine, the earth says hello…”

    Oh heck. Let’s go for two:

  24. mellon

    Curcumin, the yellow stuff in turmeric (the main ingredient in curry) is neuroprotective against Alzheimers. People in India who eat a lot of curry never get Alzheimers.

    Lets hope the sickness industry never tries to make curry illegal?

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