The study found that patients who received stents stayed in hospitals 1.2 days longer than those who received medication. The average cost of care for stent patients during the first 30 days of treatment was $22,859, compared with $12,683 for those using only medication, according to the study. The cost difference narrowed after two years, but patients using medication alone saved $7,000 on average. According to the study, an estimated 100,000 heart attack patients in the U.S. do not need stents, which could translate to savings of $700 million.
To me, I think the scariest part of the current recession is its inherently global nature. For all the sturm und drang of our domestic political debate, there’s no way for us to get back to economic health without other people reviving their economies and consuming more. Given our massive pre-crash trade deficit, it’s just impossible to see adequate demand coming from the U.S. consumer. It needs to come from the countries that, pre-crash, were running big surpluses. Rich surplus countries like Japan and Germany need to, instead, run at least modest deficits. And a poor high-growth countries like China ought to running big deficits as foreign capital finances its development. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. But instead before the crash capital was basically flowing uphill.
Unfortunately, to do this right means you need actual international coordination of stimulus measures, the subject of my new TAP piece. There was some initial talk of this when it looked like Germany wasn’t going to do any stimulus at all. Then folks got sucked into our congressional debate, and Germany agreed to a modest stimulus. But that’s probably not good enough. They need to do a stimulus that’s really big relative to their GDP, and that needs to be part of a larger global coordination that has all the non-trivial players pulling in the same direction. There’s no precedent for that kind of thing. But the alternatives that there are precedent for—the Long Depression of the late-19th century and the disastrous war that ended the Great Depression—are really terrible.
Last December, France and the Netherlands co-sponsored an unprecedented U.N. declaration calling for a worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. Sixty-six countries signed the nonbinding declaration, including most of Europe, Japan, Australia and Mexico. However, the United States joined China, Russa, the Vatican and members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in refusing to support the measure.
– [France's human rights minister Rama] Yade and the Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, said at a news conference that they were “disappointed” that the United States failed to support the declaration.
– “The Bush administration is trying to come up with Christmas presents for the religious right so it will be remembered,” said Scott Long, a director at Human Rights Watch.
But as with a number of other important issues, the new Obama administration has come with a change in attitude and a new position. At preparations for the U.N.’s so-called “Durban Review Conference” on racism and xenophonia in Geneva, the U.S. offered support for a proposal to condemn “all forms of discrimination and all other human rights violations based on sexual orientation”:
The Czech Republic on behalf of the E.U., with the support of New Zealand, the United States, Colombia, Chili on behalf of the South American states, the Netherlands, Argentina and a few others, took the floor in support.
While the measure faced resistance and eventually failed, U.N. Dispatch’s Mark Leon Goldberg notes, “Still, it’s relieving to see that the United States is now back on the side of the enlightened on this issue of basic human rights.”
During the Bush years, the tendency was for people of a progressive bent to have a gloomy take on the state of the economy while those on the right were more likely to produce works like Jerry Bower’s opus The Bush Boom: How a Misunderestimated President Fixed a Broken Economy (answer: by completely destroying it!). Back on January 7, I wondered if this meant we were in store for optimism inversion in which the right would start painting things as gloomy while the left emphasized the positive.
Thus far, that doesn’t seem to be happening. Instead, as part of their argument against the president’s recovery plan, conservatives are minimizing the extent of problems. Thus things like this remark from Karl Rove flagged by Brian Beutler:
[I]f Republicans predict economic doom, they will overplay their hand. The Democratic stimulus will slow recovery, but not stop it. Recessions don’t last forever and, if history is a guide, sometime late this year or early next the economy will rebound on its own.
The politics of this aren’t so difficult to figure out, but it’s an interesting change—or rather, lack of change—in the valence of gloom and doom.
Last month, former Bush chief of staff Andrew Card criticized President Obama for not requiring a jacket and tie in the Oval Office, claiming that it brought a “kind of locker room experience” to the White House. Obama Senior Adviser David Axelrod hit back at Card recently, saying that “[w]e’re wearing short sleeves because we have to roll up our sleeves and clean up the mess that we inherited.” According to a new Fox News poll, 68 percent of Americans agree with Obama and Axelrod:
But when Obama decided to ditch the suit coat in the Oval Office some people took offense, such as former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card who said there should be a “dress code of respect” in the White House. The public is a little more button-downed about it: 68 percent are okay with a more “relaxed and casual” dress code, while 26 percent think a coat and tie should be required in the Oval Office.
Ezra’s main point is that coverage that’s utterly trivial and that poisons public understanding of crucial issues that effect the lives of billions of people is rewarded by the market, and that Politico does a good of delivering on coverage that’s utterly trivial and that poisons public understanding of crucial issues that effect the lives of billions of people. This is true, but it seems more like a rationalization for bad behavior than a reason to do it. These are hard times for the journalism business, but that doesn’t mean that people in the media should stop holding each other to any kind of reasonable standards of quality and responsibility. I don’t think the existence of a market economy should be seen as giving everyone ethical carte blanche to totally ignore the welfare of their fellow citizens when going about their business.
Recently, the Wonk Room unmasked the fifty-two men who work with Marc Morano, the environmental communications director for Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), to obfuscate the threat and deny the scientific consensus of man-made global warming. This core network of conspiracy theorists and right-wing media operatives generate stories for broadcast by the conservative media network, from Glenn Beck to George Will. But one other man is especially responsible for getting their work out — Matt Drudge. Drudge is a masterful editor, countering real headlines of the climate crisis with tales of “global cooling” and scientific skepticism.
As it turns out, practically every single one the Drudge Report’s headlines of climate misinformation uses a story constructed by Morano’s minions, as the following review of recent Drudge Report headlines reveals:
Today, former Republican senator George Allen spoke at the Capitol Hill Club on “The Future of Hispanics in the GOP,” hosted by the Republican National Hispanic Assembly. Allen — who was disgraced after calling a young man of Indian descent a racial slur in 2006 — was trying to make the case on why Republicans need to be more tolerant on immigration. Dave Weigel captured some of Allen’s remarks:
I grew up in a football family. In sports, what you have is a level playing field…you don’t care about race, all you care about is who can help you win. Team America has to have that same competitive spirit!
People at the event also joked that Allen was an “honorary” Hispanic.
When congress passes very thick pieces of legislation, it’s common to hear opponents complain that members haven’t even read the bill they’re voting on. I do think it’s important that members inform themselves about the content of legislation and consider their votes in a serious way. But it can’t be emphasized enough that actually reading legislative language isn’t going to help anyone understand what a bill does. Kevin Carey, for example, does us all a favor by summarizing several provisions of the stimulus related to state use of education assistance funds and then plays a prank by directly quoting one provision:
They will, and here I quote directly, “comply with the requirements of paragraphs (3)(C)(ix) and (6) of section 1111(b) of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)) and section 612(a)(16) of the IDEA (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(16)) related to the inclusion of children with disabilities and limited English proficient students in State assessments, the development of valid and reliable assessments for those students, and the provision of accommodations that enable their participation in State assessments” as well as “comply with section 1111(b)(8)(C) of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(8)(C)) in order to address inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers between high- and low-poverty schools, and to ensure that low-income and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers.
I know enough about this issue to know that ESEA is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the main federal law authorizing federal financial assistance to schools whose most recent instantiation is also known as No Child Left Behind. IDEA is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which is, as per the title, related to education of people (“individuals” to make the acronym work) with disabilities. And a real expert perhaps knows what section 1111(b) and section 612(a)(16) are, but I certainly don’t. And neither do members of congress. If you want the members to understand what the law does, you don’t want them wasting time reading the bill. You need to let specialists read the bill and summarize it in real English. Then members—and the public, for that matter—can read the summaries and ask questions.
Speaking to the Justice Department in honor of Black History Month yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that “we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.” When it comes to discussing race, he said, the U.S. is “essentially a nation of cowards.” He said that the Department has “a special responsibility,” and that as long as he is Attorney General, the Department “must — and will — lead the nation to the ‘new birth of freedom’ so long ago promised by our greatest President.”
Apparently, the notion that the DOJ might “lead the nation” in protecting and upholding justice greatly alarmed Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. Interviewing Juan Williams this morning, she declared that “addressing racial ills…strikes fear down the spines” of conservatives:
KELLY: He said they [the department] has a special responsibility in addressing racial ills. That — that strikes fear down the spines of many conservatives in this country, because they don’t want the Justice Department taking us back to the day when they get heavily involved in things like affirmative action, and things like voter registration rights. [...]
WILLIAMS: What you will see I think is more aggressive enforcement in terms of existing civil rights laws. And that was the fear that the existing civil rights laws were not being enforced by the Bush justice department.
KELLY: Well a lot of people thought that the Bush Justice Department sort of got us back to the point where we were — we were being reasonable.
Part of conservatives’ “fear,” according to Kelly, is that Holder would change the DOJ’s focus on voting rights. “The Bush administration was all about voter fraud, some of the Democrats more about voter registration rights,” she said. She’s right: As former head of the DOJ’s Voting Rights section Joseph Rich detailed, under Bush the DOJ “notably shirked” its traditional duty of protecting minority voting rights:
It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.