Happy 40th birthday to my car

Happy birthday! 40 years ago this Grand Prix SJ rolled off the assembly line in Detroit. The last car that my grandfather Earl Case ever owned. And — having launched a successful Pontiac and Buick dealership in rural Illinois — Grandpa loved his cars. I bought it from my grandmother 10 years ago (she cut me a deal), and it’s still running beautifully with only 63k miles. Grandpa’s dealership – once known as Case Motor Sales – exists to this day as Route 1 Chevy Buick in Momence.

Grandma, Tim, Grand Prix - November 2007

Should health care operate more like public schools?

In the New Yorker, Atul Gawande implies that the problem with our health care system is that it isn’t like our K-12 education system:

During the next two centuries, we relied on government to establish a system of compulsory public education, infrastructure for everything from running water to the electric grid, and old-age pensions, along with tax systems to pay for it all. As in other countries, these programs were designed to be universal. For the most part, we didn’t divide families between those who qualified and those who didn’t, between participants and patrons. This inclusiveness is likely a major reason that these policies have garnered such enduring support.

So let’s imagine a world in which the health care system is like our system of public education:

(1) There are local “health care districts” administered by elected politicians.

(2) The HC districts establishes a “local clinic” in each neighborhood.  You’re asssigned to your local clinic and required by law to submit to care.

(3) You’re allowed to “apply” for access to clinics outside your neighborhood, if those clinics “have space.”

(4) Most of the best doctors choose to work at the clinics in the wealthier, whiter neighborhoods.

(5) Therefore, the clinics in the wealthier, whiter neighborhoods provide better care.  They are also full-up with wealthy, white patients.  They’re required by law to turn away the poor, brown folks from other neighborhoods who try to gain access to their doctors.

(6) Each clinic is given an “allocation” of doctor positions, so that the ratio of doctors-to-patients is the same across all clinics.  Salaries, however, are determined by seniority.  The doctors in the upscale clinics make more money, because they typically stick around longer, because the upscale clinics are quite nice places to work.  So the upscale clinics actually have larger budgets for doctor salaries, despite the fact that their patient base is healthier.  It’s redistribution in reverse!

(7) It’s virtually impossible to fire a doctor.  Because they’re doctors!  You can’t fire someone who is a doctor.  He/she needs to be protected.

To his credit, Gawande identifies the root of all our health-care problems: the moment when the federal government made employer-provided health insurance tax deductible.  This whole mess springs from that decision.

But please don’t use K12 education as the model for reforming health care.


What’s wrong with America? College rankings

My alma mater Pomona just got named by Forbes as the #1 “liberal arts university” in the country, ahead of Harvard, Stanford, and everyone else. I think I’m supposed to be feeling pride, but what I’m really feeling is COLLEGE RANKINGS ARE THE DUMBEST F’ING THING IN THE WORLD, NO MATTER WHO GETS FIRST PLACE.

And, yes, I loved Pomona. But I’d love it even more if they asked to be taken off this stupid-ass list.

No link!

NYT reports from the dark depths of Mitch McConnell’s soul

I hate headlines like this:

McConnell in Private

If Mitch McConnell is doing something “in private,” then how would the NYT know?  How would anyone know that?  It’s an incorrect use of the word “private.”

In the error, the NYT reveals just how gullible they are.  If we are to believe them, then here’s what happened:

  1. Mitch McConnell had a private emotional experience of doubt.
  2. Wittingly or unwittingly, McConnell honestly and accurately communicated his internal doubt to someone in his inner circle (his wife?  his chief of staff?).
  3. That confidante decided that he/she had a duty to make it publicly known that the majority leader was experiencing a specific emotion.
  4. He/she reached out to a reporter at the most celebrated newspaper of our time and honestly and accurately described McConnel’s emotional state.
  5. The NYT dutifully passed along this important information to the public.

Isn’t it possible that the NYT might have been played by McConnell or his staff?  How can you write this article and not admit that your source likely has a vested interest in having the NYT readership think that McConnell is experiencing doubt?

If I’m McConnell, my emotions have gone way beyond doubt by this time.



Kevin Williamson on the “giant dork parade”

Kevin Williamson at the NRO:

A great many of these young men have an interest in evolutionary psychology and evolutionary sociology — they like to think of themselves as “alpha males,” as though they were living in a chimpanzee troop — but it never occurs to them to consider their own status as rejects and failed men in that context…The fantasy of proving that they are something else is why they dream of violence and confrontation.

By violently confronting these folks, we give them exactly what they want.

The ACLU has the better approach.

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