Legendary bust Darko Milicic says he’s going to look to head to Europe once his contract expires at the end of this year. It’s probably a good idea. The odd thing about Darko is that having been a such a disappointment as the number two pick in a draft that included Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony he’s now probably become underrated. He’s a below-average player, but so are half the guys in the league. There’s at least one backup center on every team, and Darko fits right in with the rest of ‘em. People don’t give Solomon Jones a hard time, but they’re basically the same. But Darko will never wear off the taint of his draft class and his foreigness—if he goes to Europe he’ll be a pretty good player and everyone will forget about it.
But man oh man how much better-off would Detroit have been if they’d managed to trade down in that draft?
There are a number of different dimensions to the idea of reducing health care costs. One of the most important ones is, I think, simply improving the efficiency with which health services are delivered. But a pure green eyeshades approach sometimes winds up slighting the promise of these methods. Thus, this otherwise excellent piece (PDF) on reducing health care spending from The New England Journal of Medicine (via Bruce Bartlett) ends up being oddly dismissive of something that sounds great to me:
We also examined “value-based” insurance designs, in which drug copayments for patients with certain chronic diseases are reduced to give them an incentive for taking their medications regularly. Substantial evidence suggests that lower copayments lead to better adherence to drug regimes among patients with chronic diseases, but the effect on total health care spending would probably be small, since the resulting reduction in the use of hospital and other services would be relatively modest.
What I think this misses is that we’re talking about a “relatively modest” reduction in costs that’s achieved 100 percent by improving the health and quality-of-life of patients. That’s a really good idea! I don’t think it’s at all clear that high levels of national health spending would be all that problematic if it were also the case that the spending was all arranged in a very efficient, quality-of-life-improving kind of way. But it isn’t. Consequently, measures that actually succeed in both reducing costs and improving health outcomes are hugely valuable.
Via Brad DeLong, a fascinating paper (PDF) by François Velde:
The French government currently honors a very unusual debt contract: an annuity that was issued in 1738 and currently yields 1.20 Euros per year. I tell the story of this unique debt, which serves as an anecdotal but symbolic summary of French public ﬁnances since the 18th century.
Turns out to have been a very bad contract the government signed back in 1738.
On Wednesday, Sarah Palin excitedly announced on Twitter that she was going to be running a 5K Turkey Trot charity race in Washington state on Thanksgiving day. Large crowds of people turned out to catch Palin at the race, hoping to get the chance to meet the former Alaska governor. Palin, however, quit the race early to avoid many of her fans:
Palin had announced on Twitter that she would be running the 5k race organized by the Benton-Franklin Chapter of the Red Cross.
She didn’t finish the race, opting to leave the course early to avoid more crowds at the end. About 40 minutes into the run, word started trickling out to people gathered at the finish line that she was gone.
Wonkette also points out that Palin said she wasn’t going to be making a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving because it was “too much work.”
I wasn’t paying enough attention to the news yesterday, I guess, because this morning was the first time I read about the Draft Cheney movement:
“The 2012 race for the Republican nomination for President will be about much more then who will be the party’s standard bearer against Barack Obama, the race is about the heart and soul of the GOP,” said Christopher Barron, one of the organizers of the Draft Cheney movement. “There is only one person in our party with the experience, political courage and unwavering commitment to the values that made our party strong – and that person is Dick Cheney.”
I know some liberals who are excited about the prospect of a joke candidate like Sarah Palin or Dick Cheney getting the GOP nomination in 2012. Not me. The basic fact of the matter is that power tends to alternate between the two political parties. Ultimately, the nation’s interests require both parties to nominate the best people possible. So I hope the Republicans find someone who’s very smart and compelling and does an excellent job of identifying and explaining the flaws in Barack Obama’s approach. Cheney couldn’t possibly win a presidential election . . . unless somehow he could, in which case the country would be set for a world of pain.
At any rate, if you’re looking for a disturbing experience click over to this Swedish video personalization site and when it asks for a photo of you or someone you know, upload the Dick Cheney picture from Wikipedia.
I was checking out Dwight Howard’s stats and noticed that this year his field goal percentage (0.626) is higher than his free throw percentage (0.599). That led me to wonder if anyone’s pulled this trick over the course of a full season, and it looks like both Ben Wallace and Shaquille O’Neal did it regularly.
The key thing I would note about Howard is that even though his free throw percentage is very poor, him going to the charity stripe is still a fairly high-efficiency offensive play—just less efficient than most people’s free throw shooting. The same was true for Shaq in his heyday, but more recently he’s started turning in seasons where his free throw percentage is well below fifty percent, which turns it into a real liability in certain situations.
Michael Mann, one of the country’s leading climatologists, has coauthored a major new review and analysis of climate science since the 2007 IPCC report. Mann, Director of Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center, is much attacked by the anti-scientific disinformers because of his work on the paleoclimate “hockey stick” reconstructions of temperature over the past couple of millennia. Contrary to what the disinformers continue to say, however, the hockey stick was essentially vindicated by the National Academy of Sciences (see NAS Report and RealClimate.org).
Since some of his email exchanges were made public by the recent illegal hack of documents from the University of East Anglia, he has also distributed a response to various members of the media and bloggers, which I reprint in full below.
Mann is a coauthor of “The Copenhagen Diagnosis,” in which the 26 leading climate researchers document “the key findings in climate change science since the publication of the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.” They “conclude that several important aspects of climate change are occurring at the high end or even beyond the expectations of only a few years ago”:
Without significant mitigation, the report says global mean warming could reach as high as 7 degrees Celsius by 2100.
This morning on Fox News, former Bush political adviser Karl Rove summarily dismissed the “draft Cheney” rumors, and did so by mocking Cheney’s characteristically curmudgeon voice:
FOX: Karl, would Dick Cheney have any chance in running for the Oval Office in 2012? His favorability ratings were on the rise at last check, but still very low.
ROVE: Well, look, that’s a question we don’t even need to ask. Cheney’s been asked this question himself this past week, and I will quote Vice President Cheney when he was asked would you run for President in 2012. He said, [Rove doing Cheney impression] “Not a chance.”
I mean, look, he’s not running. He’s not running. [Rove doing Cheney impression] “Not a chance.”
Interestingly, in his eagerness to dismiss even the slightest hint that Cheney might run, Rove never offered a positive word during the segment about Cheney’s service as Vice President. “There are limits as to what Dick Cheney could be called upon to do for the country,” Rove said. Watch it:
Many right-wing activists had urged Cheney to make a run for president in 2008. In a piece titled “Cheney’s Chance,” The New York Sun wrote in 2007, “For those of us who are concerned with extending Mr. Bush’s campaign for freedom around the world and cutting taxes at home, a Cheney campaign is attractive.”
In this week’s Newsweek, Jon Meacham argues in favor of a Cheney presidential run, writing that it would offer the American public an opportunity to render a clear verdict on the Bush record.
“Because Cheney is a man of conviction, has a record on which he can be judged, and whatever the result, there could be no ambiguity about the will of the people,” Meacham writes, adding, “A campaign would also give us an occasion that history denied us in 2008: an opportunity to adjudicate the George W. Bush years in a direct way.”
One of the saddest shows I’ve ever attended was a lightly attended effort by Rainer Maria at the Black Cat a few years back. With an up-and-coming band, a sparse crowd can be exciting—maybe you’re catching a wave—but to see a band on its final tour drawing much smaller crowds than you remember from years past is sad. It was especially sad because, musically speaking, the band wasn’t fading away at all. Their final album, Catastrophe Keeps Us Together is, in my opinion, their best (and their other work is good too). But the winds of trendiness had shifted against a band that could be derided as “emo” and the album was greeted to things like a mocking review and a 4.8 rating from Pitchfork.
But screwing around on the old iTunes on the train yesterday, I heard one Catastrophe song (“Bottle”) then immediately started playing the rest. This is a damn good album. And I was glad to see with some googling, that not all critics were as clueless as Pitchfork—here’s a positive review from The Onion. The title track comes conveniently with a pretty cool music video:
Loosely related: Was hanging out with my buddy Tim from high school over Thanksgiving and we got to talking about The Box and couldn’t remember/agree if The Box used to have ads as a revenue source on top of whatever people paid in order to request videos.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Nov 28, 2009 at 9:46 am
Solar arrays are seen at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, NV. The Air Force can start using more renewable energy and become more energy efficient while saving taxpayers money. This guest post by Alexandra Kougentakis, Tom Kenworthy, and Daniel J. Weiss was first published here.
Reliance on foreign energy sources and global warming pose major threats to the United States’ security. A report by the Center for American Progress earlier this year determined that “America’s dependence on foreign oil transfers U.S. dollars to a number of unfriendly regimes, while robbing the United States of the economic resources it desperately needs for domestic development and American innovation.”
The problem is particularly acute for the Department of Defense, which is the world’s largest consumer of energy and whose military operations and facilities consume significant amounts of energy. In its 2009 report “Powering America’s Defense,” the military research organization CNA describes both domestic and overseas defense installations as “dangerously oil dependent, wasteful, and weakened by a fragile electrical grid.”