The Wednesday Curator – 11/26/14

Last Wednesday morning, Mike Nichols died. An amazing talent left behind a loving wife and family, together with a truly amazing body of work. Here’s the New York Times obituary by Bruce Weber, along with Remembering ‘Comic Meteor’ Mike Nichols by Scott Simon for Morning Edition Saturday on NPR.

The Talk of the Town lead column in the November 17 issue featured Steve Coll, with Two More Years. Mr. Coll is a great, great reporter (and the dean of the Columbia Journalism School), and the author of Ghost Wars:  The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden,… Continue reading

Posner, Northwestern & Chabad

Judge Richard Posner, mentioned here before, is a Senior Judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has served for almost 33 years. He still teaches at the University of Chicago, part-time, and he’s written almost 40 books and hundreds and hundreds of articles. The Journal of Legal Studies says he’s the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century.

Appellate court judges like Judge Posner are charged with making sure that in lower court proceedings, rules got followed. Months or a year or more later, they function as the instant replay. They check the trial judge, making sure he or she called… Continue reading

Market-Based Health Care

I am not an economist … but I am a sentient being and I buy stuff, so I know something about markets! And when I hear paeans to “market-based health care” I get cranky. Really cranky!

Let’s get some terms straight. Markets exist to buy and sell goods and services. Someone sets a price, and negotiations may or may not occur. At Safeway you pay $3.49 for a box of cookies; at the Ford dealership you expect to pay a negotiated sum for that new F-150.

Fair market value represents the result of a market based exchange. I’ll spare you… Continue reading

Candy Bars

The Mesch, Clark & Rothschild booth was all set up and ready for the Tucson J’s first annual Family Wellness Expo. (An excellent event, by the way, and Tucson people should all attend next year!) I had my tip sheets for wills and other end-of-life issues. (We used the booth to talk about estate planning as part of family wellness; more on this topic soon.) Banners. Easel, with only two extra parts after set up, and it never fell down! Quiz sheets, business cards, candy bowls filled with little chocolates. Ready to go!

Five minutes before the start, along… Continue reading

Our Shrunken Congress!

We’re here to talk shrinkage, “the act or process of shrinking.” Now, nothing explains shrinkage better than this exchange from a well-loved sitcom. (Laughing yet? If not, you didn’t click on the link.)

I read The Extraordinary Smallness of Washington—the subtitle is Institutional Shrinkage Marks the Politics and Governing of the Bush-Obama Era—in The National Journal on Tuesday. (The subtitle sent me to shrinkage.) Ron Fournier, the author of the short piece, sums up his premise in his fourth sentence:  This is an era of titanic challenges and tiny politics.

I wonder—and worry—often about our having what it takes… Continue reading

The Wednesday Curator – 11/19/14

Two weeks have passed since the election. Notions about new dynamics seem quaint already, what with talk about an impending government shutdown, impeachment, etc. One piece really resonated with me on this topic generally; it’s Elbert Ventura’s October 31 review of The Stranger:  Barack Obama in the White House by Chuck Todd—yes, the Meet the Press guy—in the Columbia Journalism Review. Money quote, from the review? “’Obama’s logic had no place in an age of ferocious unreasonableness,’ Todd writes, a pithy diagnosis of his—and our—predicament.” I don’t know the political scientist who has yet written the case study about what… Continue reading

Same Sex Marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee: An Analysis of DeBoer v. Snyder

DeBoer v. Snyder, No. 14-1341, is one of six cases, consolidated on appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, addressing same sex marriage. In a 2-1 decision on November 6, the 6th Circuit became the first circuit court which refused to permit same sex marriage in the aftermath of Windsor v. United States.

The majority opinion was written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a well-known conservative judge from Ohio. The case is about process, Judge Sutton tells us. His second sentence reads:  “From the vantage point of 2014, it would now seem, the question is not whether American law will… Continue reading

Health Insurance: Getting Personal!

Open enrollment is here under the Affordable Care Act. That means we’re in “get ready for crap” mode, where anything and everything that is wrong with healthcare gets blamed on the ACA aka Obamacare. Think Benghazi, only local!

I take the health care thing personally. Pre-ACA, I was uninsurable in the private market, dependent for coverage on AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System), which had a plan for self-employed individuals. (AHCCCS is Medicaid in Arizona because, well, we’re Arizona. My state was the last state to adopt Medicaid, and we go our own way!) Our insurance program depended on… Continue reading

Focus

I ran across Why Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Are So Successful, in One Word earlier today. It’s a short piece by Greg McKeown, and it’s worth a look-see.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are close. Very close, in fact! The Buffett money ends up, mostly, in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the two men are bridge and burger buddies. (Bill Gates’ late mother introduced her son to Warren Buffett.)

So what’s the word? Focus, both as a noun—having one—and as a verb, i.e., to focus. Mr. McKeown provides examples of focus in both ways, and even… Continue reading

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