May 24, 2008
The stupidity of health insurance executives never ceases to amaze me. “We’d rather pay for a $2000 emergency room visit than a $200 medication.” Smart. Good call, genius.
I just read a Robert Ludlum novel, The Bancroft Strategy. Those kind of books are enjoyable, but really kind of disposable. This one was a little different, because it featured a villain with a somewhat interesting plan.
The “villain”, Paul Bancroft, controls a massive charitable endowment. Without going into too much detail or giving anything away, Bancroft attempts to do what they call “venture philanthropy”- giving with defined benefits in mind, monitoring for outcomes and defunding programs that don’t perform. Bancroft takes it one step further, using sophisticated computer modeling to determine possible outcomes for their various plans, and at times using actual paramilitary types to carry out their more nefarious plots-ie killing bureaucrats or ministers or even presidents who won’t allow their plans to go forward.
There’s a twist, of course, and plenty of whiz bang stuff that would make a fine Matt Damon movie, but the notion of full analysis of potential outcomes, and outcomes of outcomes, makes the mind spin with counterfactual possibilities. Remove Saddam Hussein? Fine. Is the next guy even worse? Interesting stuff from an author who doesn’t always provide you with such grist for thought.
May 25, 2008
“To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”
“Word for Word” consists of a selection of Ted Kennedy’s speeches, including the 1980 Democratic Convention “The Dream Will Never Die” speech. It was excellent, of course, and really reminds you why he is one of the titans of American politics. Even his more recent work, exhorting the Senate to pass an increase in the minimum wage, was exhilarating. Of course, he’s not dead yet, but these kind of retrospectives are probably coming in buckets now.
Interesting discussion on “No Agenda” about the rise of inappropriate informality. I have long been against this. You don’t know me, don’t use my first name. My company always tries to claim that use of a first name is friendly and inviting. I think that’s wrong-it’s inappropriate and rude to use first names with someone you don’t have a relationship with.
The rest of “No Agenda” was borderline unlistenable, which it usually isn’t. They both didn’t know things they should have known, like the nature of US campaign finance law, and talked about things they knew nothing about, like art. It sets my teeth on edge when people who are smarter than me don’t act that way.
It is interesting how much of today’s world is really built on nothing at all-real estate values, fine art, money. There’s no inherent value in it unless we all agree there is. And when we stop believing in it, or when a group of someones does, we have problems.
Twitter seems to be going bananas. This morning, I had 20 minutes or so of uninterrupted messages, and now it’s just started again-50 messages and climbing, one right after the next. It’s mostly the same stuff, too. Thank goodness I have unlimited messaging.
The Obama team just apologized for the twitbombing. They’re having issues. Then again, aren’t we all?
I’m so tired. Mentally, physically, psychosocially. Tired of mankind.
I think this week’s On The Media is a repeat. They mentioned a “Twelve Word Novel” contest that they ran, that I think I mentioned before. It dovetails nicely with the “Six Word Memoir” concept.
“Alone again, he mused. ‘This kidnapping stuff is getting old,’ she said.”
Douglas Feith is on To The Best of Our Knowledge. Douglas Feith is a tool. That being said, he’s repeating the same old line-well, it was a confusing time, and we just wanted to prevent another 9/11. Yeah, Doug, but what separates human beings from the bunch of moral degenerates that populate the Bush Administration is that a human being will slow down and reassess actions already taken, whereas all you people have ever done is deny and obfuscate and confuse and refuse to back down on anything. Mistakes we can tolerate-hamhanded hardheaded refusal to admit a mistake costs human lives and is inexcusable.
Today in Oakland, Boston lost again, Jon Lester going down this time. After the triumphant homestand, Boston has lost 3 straight.