Friday, August 28, 2009

Best Line Ever

Another gem from Ezra Klein, about the need for both compromise and idealism, as exemplified by Teddy Kennedy:

There's been a lot of talk in recent days about how Ted Kennedy proved the greatest of the three brothers. JFK was an inspiring, but ultimately ineffective, president. RFK never had the opportunity to prove himself. But Ted Kennedy eventually learned an important lesson. At the beginning of his career, he saw things as they were and asked, "Why?" By the end, he dreamed things that never were and said, "How can that pass the Senate?" And that's the relevant question right now: It's not why we don't have a better system. It's how this deal can pass the Senate. No more regrets.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Why The Health Insurance Market Is NOT Competitive

Via Ezra Klein (the policy wonk du policy wonk of Health Care):

Employees, in other words, don't worry too much about the cost of their health insurance because they think their employer is picking up the tab. Employers don't worry too much about the cost of health insurance because they know employees are picking up the tab. And so there's no real constituency for cost control. If either group were actually experiencing the full cost of health insurance, the constituency for reform would be a whole lot larger than it already is.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Is It Just Me...

Or did superefficient, "outcompete that USPS dinosaur," FedEx just outsource delivery of my pants to...the Post Office???

On a side note, the "New Berlin Facility" in question is RIGHT NEXT DOOR to my office. So despite it being not 300 meters from me, FedEx needs the ever so outmoded postal service to get my pants to, you know, my door.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Required Reading

From Josh Marshall at TPM.

At this point I don't know why we bother. These guys will keep going until there are lots and lots of bodies piled up. No one in the Republican Party will take any responsibility. And every time the Repubs are out of power, it will happen again.

I'm tired of it, discouraged that I wasted any time on serving this country, and candidly, I can't figure out whether we should encourage them to actually secede or "Go Galt" or whatever the fuck they call it THIS week, or if we should just leave.

The problem is, if I were Canada I wouldn't let those crazy-ass Americans in to wreck the fuck out of my country like they did theirs, no matter HOW liberal they are...

Monday, August 17, 2009

I Could Do This Guys Job Better Than He Does...Make Me The CEO Of Whole Foods

I could use the seven figure income and I guarantee you I could avoid doing something this dumb...

Outlined by Matt Yglesias.

Shorter version:
When you're the CEO of a company that caters to liberals, it's really fucking stupid to go out of your way to piss them off.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The REAL Health Care Debate We're Having

I want to be extremely clear about the implications of my previous post. There are two, and only two, possible outcomes from what's going on this summer:

1) We choose once again to maintain the status quo...likely for at least 3 or 4 years, or

2) We do something that makes the system at least marginally better than it is now.

You'll note I didn't say, "Make it worse." That's because there is no way to make the system worse than it is. The only way to even claim that it's possible is to hold to a Faith Based Free Market Tautology breathtaking in its inability or unwillingness to confront reality. As I said earlier, businesspeople are not inspired to give consumers their best. They might or might not ACTUALLY give consumers the best offering, but that is incidental to what they're actually doing, and sadly all too infrequent. In my time in the cubicle jungle I have to say that confusing, lying to, or ignoring customers seems to be considerably cheaper and as effective, if not more so, than actually providing superior products and services (aka, Ayn Rand gets bitch slapped by reality).

So let us be clear. Either something is done, and it's at a minimum a marginal improvement on the current system or we PRETEND that we're delaying things to produce a better plan, when in fact we're delaying things to kill the reform effort. I'd love to say to guys like Grassley and Baucus, "If you think the current system should be kept in favor of any reform, just have the fucking balls to say it...I'm sick and tired of the goddamned concern trolling you guys are doing."

Will the result be perfect? It's in the sausage factory. Of COURSE it won't be perfect. I'd like to see a public option at a minimum. But no matter what comes out, it'll be better than the steaming pile of dog's vomit we currently call a health care system.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why Government Health Care Can't Be Any WORSE Than Private Health Care

Via Kevin Drum, discussing a particularly Kafkaesque episode with his cellular service provider (in this case, Verizon), and the whole episode's tie-in to our current health care debate:

Frankly, my dealings with the government, on average, are better than most of my dealings with corporations. The government might sometimes provide poor customer service just because they lack the motivation to do better, but corporate America routinely provides crappy customer service as part of a deliberate and minutely planned strategy. I'll take my chances with the feds.

Yes, yes. I know. "DMV." "Lazy gummint workers." "Cell service is an exception." As is credit card service. And cable TV. And high speed broadband service (where it differs from CATV that is). As is petroleum. As is financial services. As are cars.

You know what? When there's that many exceptions to the, "Free markets are best for customers," rule then the rule is just WRONG. Get over yourself, business guys. You don't work that fucking hard to provide superior service. You work that fucking hard for an in-ground pool and vacations in Costa Rica. If you need to screw your customers to get the pool and the jungle tour, you just try to keep the mark on the gaff as long as possible.