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A glance at the economists on both sides of #1 is interesting. Lots of prominent names on both sides. And lots of health economists on the side of the government.

Perhaps this is unsurprising. It is consistent with the sense that hiring/publishing of health economists is biased toward liberal academics. Stephen Bainbridge has noted the same type of "discrimination" among law school faculty. A look at the conservative economists has more "public policy" based names as a percent of total signors.

If it's not bias in hiring, I don't know what else explains why free-market economists rarely wind up becoming "specialists" in health care policy. In the end, I just don't think that a "comparison of economists" on the healthcare briefs is all that enlightening at all...

If you are of the mindset that a health care authority could "fix" things, then theorizing about methods is an intriguing proposition. If you believe that any government intervention, no matter how noble, will result in pareto worse conditions, then you would be much less inclined to study such interventions.


Women are easily awed by frivolous skills, men denigrate the skills of other men to boost their own status. What else is new?

"Lost your wheel?" is both original and funny. I am sure none of those people who said it had heard it before, even though they were not the only ones able to come up with it. It seems he, as a man, is just denigrating other men's humor skills!


Making off with his unicycle on a bicycle would be funny, more slapstick though.

+1 to Cliff. Never ridden a unicycle, but have a recumbent bike and a tandem, which occasionally gets ridden solo -- always a source of amusement. Men bond with humor, women with sympathy. Nothing new there. Academics are often humor-challenged. Nothing new there.

Re #1 -- aha! so economics is just as political and value-laden as law!

#1 is a steaming pile. Neither letter has anything to do with the legal issues and the author thinks you can get free health care at a hospital! Good luck with that!!

You can't get free health care at a hospital? Why, next you'll tell me there is no such thing as a free lunch...

Ugh, I don't like those quotes from the Kim book at all. The World Bank deserves better.

#5 seems along the same lines as Apple's trademark on "i" (as prefix). And certainly it is the case that some of the Xbook sites have been directly playing off of Facebook.

A "facebook" (without the capital "F") is a generic term for a membership directory that includes photos.
That suggests that "Facebook" is a weak trademark (a la "Windows") and that they'll be in for a rough ride.

Oh, I'm sure that they will be. Apple has had a heck of a time with the "i" prefix.

There certainly are cases that are obviously trading off of Facebook's name and popularity, but I agree that proving it will be possibly more headaches than it's worth.

Apple does not have a trademark on "i" as a prefix. It does have a family of i- marks, which makes it more likely that a likelihood of confusion will be found with other i- marks on similar goods. However, there are many i- marks that are not owned by Apple.

Facebook may not be the most distinctive trademark, particularly for certain services, however it is famous. And in trademark law, fame counts for a lot.

Yes, and "Facebook" deserves a high level of protection, despite its lack of distinctiveness. That doesn't generalize to ___book, unless there is other evidence of an attempt to trade off facebook's name (ie, a copycat logo)

Like Cisco's "IOS" which has existed (and been the gold standard for networking) for something on the far side of 30 years before the first iPhone was built...

Well, I find it interesting that we just accept this notion that emergency room is 'for free' and there is nothing we can do about it. How about making emergency room service not for free? Of course they wouldn't refuse helping people but what about changing people afterwards? I doubt very much that most people who use emergency rooms will *never* have money to pay for it. The government would in a way continue to finance the ER visits but eventually a large part of that cost would be recovered.

In that case the argument against the mandate would make more sense.

The idea of the mandate is also to have folks get medical care (preventative, diagnostic, etc) to prevent having to go to the ER for it.

"I doubt very much that most people who use emergency rooms will *never* have money to pay for it. "

Illegal immigrants routinely give false information, so you'll never be able to track them down.

It's not for free! Try going to the emergency room and getting free care!


That is my experience also. However, we keep hearing that this is free so I assume hospitals are not denying service *and* not pursuing people too much if they don't pay. Of course we will have illegal immigrants who don't pay or simply people who are truly poor and can't pay. Is that really a problem large enough that would justify the 'free rider' problem? I am not sure.

Regarding preventive care, problem is that the mandate will not force people to use preventive care. My company has one of the best health plans out there and many of my co-workers are fat, don't exercise and have bad teeth. A lot of the people without insure are young, carefree people who simply won't go after doctors even if you pay them.

Why don't we have plans that provide more granular options and are available for the people who really want them?

If I were dictator, I'd cover the ER out of local government revenues just like police and fire protection. Given historical data, I've got an idea how much
I need to budget, and I push that into property taxes. You want to have a fancy ER where there's a 2 minute wait for having a heart surgeon look at your broken toe?
Well, you're going to pay for it, and you're going to know exactly how much.

At the same time, I'd provide some level of immunity to the ER to allow them to turn people away based on triage requirements. Sniffles? There's a private MinuteClinic across the
street that'll be happy to take your insurance. If it turned out to by super-hyper-immunosuppresive TB and you died the next day without having visited the private clinic? Tough sh*t!

Love the toys article. We need stores like that, especially since some countries don't seem as friendly to our toys:

Re #2 Manitou Springs is just down the road from the conservative evangelical Christian stronghold of Colorado Springs and comes about as close as one can to Route 66 style kitsch in Colorado (Route 66 itself bypassed Colorado by a Southern route), with a sprinkling dash of a colony of local artists. It's places like this that one means when one talks about "enclaves of the past".

The individual mandate makes perfect economic sense, but it is also the most patently unconstitutional part of the health care act. It is a federal intrusion on state and individual powers and rights.

Had the bill been fashioned as a tax and expenditure program, it would have at least met the same constitutional muster as social security. Then again, this court didn't get to rule on social security.

I see a 5-4 or 5-3 split along party lines. Kennedy could flip, but not when the stakes are so high. The implications for future mandates are staggering. I don't think Kennedy will open that door.

When I was 12 I bought a Schwinn unicycle and spent several hours a day for a week learning how to ride it. They are very hard to learn to ride, but like a bike, once learned you never forget. Unicycles are an extremely inefficient way to travel. Perhaps 10x the energy per foot traveled as walking.

They are doing something goofy for a reaction. Women react with "concern" but what we really find interesting is that men react with humor? What are we doing here people?

I see no questioning of the assertion that "buying something made in the USA helps our economy".

Isn't there room for a classic discussion of whether the USA is better at making toys than something else? If somebody buys an expensive domestically-produced toy, that will benefit the manufacturer. But it might not benefit the buyer.

(Incidentally, production of expensive Steiff bears was repatriated from China to Germany after a brief experiment with outsourcing. Quality wasn't high enough).

There is no other plausible explaination of the profound differences in human populations. If I were to make a list of the top 1000 mathematicians of the twentieth century probably 30-40% would be Ashekenazi Jews an extremally small proportion of the world's population. I don't think this can be explained by wearing funny skullcaps and eating Gefilte fish.

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