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OpenMarket: Eli Lehrer

  • Bill Frist on Chronic Disease

    February 12, 2008
    My former boss, Bill Frist, has a very interesting piece in today's Miami Herald. A quote:

    Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, emphysema, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, cause more than 60 percent of deaths around the country and almost 70 percent in Florida. Not surprisingly, they consume more than 70 percent of our healthcare budget.

    America's failure to focus on them has become a scandal. We have the best doctors in the world and spend the most on medicine. But Americans live shorter lives and have worse health than residents of other wealthy countries.

    Frist and his co-author Dan Crippen (a former CBO head) could have gone even further. Although chronic disease is a more important issue than the access issues that Democrats tend to complain about or the cost issues...
  • State Monopolies

    February 11, 2008

    You miss one very important part of the history of the yellow cab company in Chicago: It succeeded as a business almost entirely because it had a state-granted monopoly. Although the article you cite doesn't quite make it clear what Hertz actually started in the first place was a livery service not what we would think of as a taxi service. (Why else would it talk about response time if it was picking people up on the street?) During the notoriously corrupt 1920s, when most of the Chicago City Council was literally in the mob's pocket--the company Hertz sold his business to lobbied the city council to pass a law allowing for the establishment of taxi-service-as-we-know (fare regulated) it and granting the company that bought out Hertz a near-monopoly on its...
  • At CPAC and Depressed

    February 7, 2008
    I'm at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and I'm discouraged. I'm a pro-life, pro-gay, pro-market, pro-gun conservative who hates terrorists and central planning with equal vigor. In the past, going to CPAC has energized me. I've headed co-sponsorship efforts, served as an MC in general sessions, and appeared on panels. In the past, the conference has left me with the idea that a movement of freedom-loving Americans who respect tradition can really make a difference. Now, I feel like I'm watching a crackup in progress.There's no sense of unity here. It's also clear that marginal ideas--some good, others bad, but none of them practical--have captured far too much attention. Even if it were a good idea to abolish the Federal Reserve--and I don't think it is--I don't think that it's worth much energy to think about it since it's simply...
  • Let's Keep Taxis

    February 6, 2008

    I'm all with the D.C. cab drivers and I disagree with your post. Anyone with a not-terrible driving record should be free to operate a livery service that picks people up when they call and set whatever rates they think best. And, best as I know, that's the case in most of the country and in D.C. as well. Without regulation, everything would turn into a livery service. I think this is a bad idea.

    Taxicabs as we know them exist by virtue of government regulation. One of their main features is that they all charge the same price and--within each city--are all similar in size. Without some authority regulating taxis, it would be difficult and quite dangerous to simply hail transportation without a reservation. On-the-street transportation would dry up. A system that requires reservations will almost always...
  • Stupid "We Care About the Environment" Statement of the Day

    February 3, 2008
    Compliments of Ted's Montana Grill--founded, owned, and named after Ted Turner.
    Ted's Montana Grill is an eco-friendly company, so please
    do not print out this email unless you really need it.

    Uh, thanks.
  • The Real Problem in Detroit

    January 28, 2008
    In the last few days, I've been following the saga of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick with the same fascination I often reserve for car crashes. Briefly, even as his city has continued its never-ending stream of economic hard luck, Kilpatrick allegedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds to carry on an affair with another city worker and then fired several police officers who might have exposed him. The officers sued, Kilpatrick denied having an affair, and a jury awarded them nearly $7 million.

    Last week, The Detroit Free Press...
  • Poorly Run Charities: A Solution

    January 17, 2008
    Today's Washington Post carries an interesting, dirt-filed piece about a the Veterans' charity Help Hospitalized Veterans. The group spends only 31 percent of its revenue on programs and exists mostly to distribute craft kits to veterans in the hospital. It seems to have high overhead, pays over a half million a year to its founder and his wife, and spends a lot on fund raising. The Post explains:
    Some recipients of Help Hospitalized Veterans' direct-mail solicitations said they were surprised by the frequency and heft of the mailings. "Those guys are relentless," said James Lynch, a veteran from Merced, Calif. "These guys seem to hit me from twice a year to every four months. Anytime they're spending money...
  • Mob Justice in Bolivia

    January 15, 2008
    Thor Halvorssen's wonderful Human Rights Foundation has published an important new report on Bolivian president Evo Morales' efforts to introduce a system of "communal justice." (A summary of the report is here.) The report explains:

    “Communal justice” is an Inca practice derived from ancient custom law that currently allows local leaders to impart justice directly for crimes perpetrated by members of their indigenous communities, bypassing the Bolivian legal system. The practice sometimes involves communal leaders engaging in rituals such as consulting coca leaves.

    Violence, often of the most barbaric kind, is a common feature...
  • But Does This Distract From the Real Problem?

    January 11, 2008

    I agree with the intentions of Rep. John Boehner and company in issuing the Little Book of Big Government that you wrote about.

    But, having looked at it, I question the book's reliance on examples of "oh look, they overspent on this" or "oh look, here's someone who ripped off the government." As the nation's largest employer and purchaser, the government is going to be victim of fraud and have some loopholes in its purchasing process. The really expensive washers came from a contractor who fraudulently exploited a loophole in government purchasing rules and will go to jail for having done so.

    The real problem, I think, is not waste per se. With a few exceptions -- Wal-Mart, Toyota, Southwest Airlines -- big companies are at least as top-heavy as much of the...
  • Notes from the (Virtual) Trail

    January 11, 2008
    I couldn't resist posting this gem from a Radar magazine article speculating that Ron Paul has Asperger's syndrome (a mild form of autism):
    In Ron Paul's universe, meet-ups don't necessarily happen in real life; just last week, there was a 240-strong World of Warcraft rally in which avatars from across the nation came together. According to the World of Warcraft Insider, "The rally started outside Ironforge with approximately 240 players (with 400 members in their RP Revolution guild) and traveled to Stormwind, Westfall, Booty Bay, Ratchet, and finally Orgrimmar."

    When it comes to this form of "campaigning" I am:
    a) Enough of a geek myself to understand that the above sentence has a double meaning.
    2) Am reminded...


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