Hold the Mayo. It's a business, too. (Harold Pollack, New Republic)
Alec MacGillis had a nice Washington Post piece on the Mayo Clinic’s low provision of care to Medicaid patients and the even more dicey policies of Mayo’s Glendale, Arizona site to stop accepting Medicare primary care patients...Mayo and other flagship institutions provide excellent, sometimes surprisingly cost-effective care. Yet how should we think about these institutions in light of the reality that many choose in varying degrees to channel their services towards a relatively privileged slice of the American population?
Flagship institutions such as Mayo provide crucial models of best-practice innovation and care. [But] admirable as they are, they are not charities in the normal sense of that term. They are also economic animals that respond to business opportunities and imperatives.
Soon designers will bring an ecology state of mind to all their work - whether it's toys, shoes or furniture. (Allison Arieff, NYT)
“Let’s say the market needs a new bath toy. The [designer's] typical approach is to look at form, function and the market. But here, we’re leading with the material, and if the material doesn’t do exactly what we need we can go back to the chemists. Essentially, we’re trying to bring material science into the discussion.” This can pave the way toward our using more healthful products, made from renewable and/or recyclable resources, rather than the plethora on the market now that have a negative effect on our health and the environment.
The 2009 recovery was made in Washington. (John Cassidy, New Yorker)
The U.S. government has succeeded in getting the economy growing again much quicker than most people expected, myself included—and, from the end of last year onward, I was a relative optimist. Next time you hear somebody criticizing Washington for being incompetent, or railing about the evils of big government, you might remind them of that fact, or simply direct them to the Web site of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, which compiles the G.D.P. report. The numbers tell the story.
Too little of a good thing: A jobs recovery requires a Son of Stimulus. (Paul Krugman, NYT)
Suppose that the economy were to keep growing at 3.5 percent. If that happened, unemployment would eventually start falling — but very, very slowly. The experience of the Clinton era, when the economy grew at an average rate of 3.7 percent for eight years (did you know that?) suggests that at current growth rates we’d be lucky to see the unemployment rate fall by half a percentage point per year, meaning that it would take a decade to return to something like full employment.
Goodbye to the age of newspapers. (Hello to a new era of corruption.) (Paul Starr, New Republic.)
This is no time for Internet triumphalism: the stakes are too high. Nearly all other news media, except for online news, are also retrenching, and--particularly at the metropolitan, regional, and state levels--the online growth is not close to offsetting the decline elsewhere. Despite all the development of other media, the fact is that newspapers in recent years have continued to field the majority of reporters and to produce most of the original news stories in cities across the country...Online there is certainly a great profusion of opinion, but there is little reporting, and still less of it subject to any rigorous fact-checking or editorial scrutiny...No online enterprise has yet generated a stream of revenue to support original reporting for the general public comparable to the revenue stream that newspapers have generated in print.
Rush Limbaugh's race obsession. (Jonathan Chait, New Republic)
Limbaugh has repeatedly cast Obama's agenda in racial terms. ("Obama's entire economic program is reparations.") Before Obama's election, some reporters found an undercurrent of fear among certain white voters that the election of a black president would usher in a wave of revenge against white America for its history of slavery and discrimination. Limbaugh has stoked those fears:
The days of them not having any power are over, and they are angry. And they want to use their power as a means of retribution. That's what Obama's about, gang. He's angry, he's gonna cut this country down to size, he's gonna make it pay for all the multicultural mistakes that it has made, its mistreatment of minorities.
As the blogger Conor Friedersdorf has detailed, Limbaugh hurls charges of racism promiscuously. Obama? "[T]he greatest living example of a reverseracist." Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates? "[A]n angry racist." Sonia Sotomayor? "She's a bigot. She's a racist."
The Obamas' taste in art. (slide show) (James Gardner, New Republic)
So what do the Obamas' choices say about them? They may well be the first couple in the White House to prefer abstraction to representational art.
Nicolas De Stael, "Nice," 1964.
Should Obama let Afghanistan trample his domestic agenda? (E.J. Dionne, New Republic)
At a White House dinner with a group of historians at the beginning of the summer, Robert Dallek, a shrewd student of both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, offered a chilling comment to President Obama.
"In my judgment," he recalls saying, "war kills off great reform movements."
Did Karzai play us for fools? (Jason Zengerle, New Republic)
How many "Friedman Units" for Afghanistan? (Spencer Ackerman, Washington Independent)
Ah, the Friedman unit, that beloved Internet tradition denoting the six-month increment many pundits believe will prove decisive in any war, only to be subject to an endless addition of … Friedman units. [In a NYT article today, a White House official says]: “We’re going to know in the next three to six months whether [Karzai is] doing anything differently — whether he can seriously address the corruption, whether he can raise an army that ultimately can take over from us and that doesn’t lose troops as fast as we train them.”
Really? We’ll know in less than a Friedman Unit? That actually seems like a rather short period of time. And the quote seems dubious. If Obama orders an escalation of troops, as he’s likely to do, then the United States will effectively be reducing its leverage on Karzai. So the Friedmans will roll onward. Will Obama work around Karzai, focusing on sub-national governance? Will Karzai let that happen?