Quick hits (part I)

1) The San Bernadino terrorists and social media?  Apparently not so much after all.  Drum points out that this false story was broke by the same NYT reporters who led us astray on Hillary’s email.  Ummm, liberal media bias?

2) Nice Op-Ed on physicians‘ ethical duty to consider financial costs in what they do:

A 2014 Health Affairs study showed that Medicare, and American taxpayers, could save $18 billion over the next ten years if doctors switched to Avastin. The extra $1,950 paid for every dose of Lucentis could be used for children’s vaccines or health insurance for uninsured Americans or in a multitude of other valuable ways.

I believe doctors should contemplate a new ethical duty: to spend healthcare dollars cost-effectively. Our resources are limited and healthcare costs continue to escalate. Doctors should remain free to prescribe Lucentis and Eylea; but, in most cases, we can fulfill our ethical duty to both patients and society by recommending the most economical choice.

3) On a positive front, the news media is over its obsession with missing white women.

4) Greg Sargent on why Hillary should be worried about Rubio.

5) German Lopez says “Next time someone says evolution isn’t real, show them this video.”  Good stuff, but I don’t think people who say evolution is not real will be persuaded by something as simple as, you know, evidence.

6) Jim Newell points out if John Boehner had made the same deal Paul Ryan just did, the right would be up in arms.

7) Is the middle class disappearing because they are getting rich?  Yes, says AEI.   Or maybe it’s just rent-seeking.

8) After explosive growth in popularity, the love affair with Greek yogurt is over.

9) Gary Sernovitz on what Hillary gets about Wall Street that Bernie doesn’t:

To truly address all five of the issues associated with Wall Street would mean restricting its power or profits at their source. While Sanders’s plan misses what this source is, Clinton’s plan wouldn’t fundamentally alter it. But, as the final paragraph of “Middlemarch” reminds us, the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts. There is political courage in Clinton’s refusal to proffer a magic mallet that can both bust up the banks and, in a leap of logic, make Wall Street less powerful or income inequality go away. And within her palpable exasperation with Sanders’s bank-focused rhetoric lies her case for her candidacy: her experience with the realities of the world equips her with the tactics to handle big, complicated issues.

10) There’s a great documentary on the making of the original Star Wars that I watched years ago.  As far as I can remember, this Slate article distills the essence of it into a a three-page story with embedded videos.  Quite good stuff.

11) One thing I have in common with Ted Cruz— we can both quote liberally from The Princess Bride.

 

12) Yglesias‘ nice contrarian take on the fed rate hike.  And a nice Eduardo Porter take on the benefits of more inflation.

13) Kathryn Schulz shares the best facts she learned from books in 2015.  I need to read some of these.

14) Will Saletan on Ted Cruz the liar.

15) Excellent Lee Drutman piece on the limited impact of ad spending in the primaries.

16) Of course it is wasteful to send lots of marijuana offenders into treatment they don’t actually need.

Angell argues that the large numbers of people ordered into marijuana treatment could delay access to treatment for users of harder drugs. HHS data shows that nearly 40 percent of those seeking treatment had to wait a day or more to be admitted. More than 15 percent faced waits of a week or more — time that can be the difference between life and death for people in dire circumstances.

The HHS data shows that marijuana users accounted for more than a quarter of all drug treatment admissions in 2013, which means that court-ordered marijuana treatment is taking up more than 1 out of every 10 beds in the nation’s drug treatment facilities — at a time when prescription painkillers and heroin are killing record numbers of Americans.

17) The story about the NC town that was afraid of solar panels was astoundingly poor journalism.  I never linked/shared because I knew there had to be much more to the story.  Of course there was (but that didn’t go viral).  David Roberts explains the real deal.

18) Despite Chicago apparently believing that virtually no police need to be actually punished for wrong-doing, they are sure paying out a  lot of money to victims’ families.

19) Star Wars as Ken Burns‘ style documentary.  So awesome.

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