Monday, January 28, 2008

Lolcats... no cheezburgr pls kthx

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fairness or Capitalism?

Check out this excellent Freakonomics piece about the pharamceutical industry.

Zola Horovitz makes an excellent and illuminating point about the rising costs of healthcare in the U.S, and the prescription drug costs underlying much of it. "The U.S.," he states, " is subsidizing prescription drug prices for the rest of the world." How so?

Because we pay "free market" prices that subsidize the R&D of new drugs which are globally consumed, while people in other countries get the benefit of these drugs at a fraction of the true cost - because their governments set price controls.

Well, of course.

Where I differ is in the issue of what to do about it.

Horovitz argues that we should force other countries to pony-up for their share of development costs, if they want to enjoy the benefits of new drug development.

This sounds a bit like the rich kid in class complaining about the kids at the next table getting a reduced-price lunch.

Most of today's American citizens benefit from resources (natural and human) that were stolen or exploited by earlier Americans. Was it fair when we wiped out millions of native Americans with smallpox, thus entering a cultivated and well-tended land empty of most competitors? Was it fair when we denuded Africa of millions of its able-bodied inhabitants and used them as slaves to enrich our economy? Is it fair that we use up far more than our share of the world's natural resources per capita, and pollute more per capita than the rest of the world?

No. Fairness doesn't enter into colonialism, or the free market. And Americans have come to equate democracy with "free market" capitalism. We're not willing to use the kind of democratic socialist methods that have let other governments collectively bargain about prices, or collectively acknowledge that
we as a society are supporting development of new drugs, and so we are, individually, left to fend for ourselves in the market.

Which really sucks if you're a poor, uninsured or underinsured American.

But not as much as it sucks to live in many Third World countries.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oy, baby!

If you have any Jewish kids in your life, buy this CD. It was recommended by friends whose 4-year-old loves it, and baby Chalal has been dancing to it for the last couple of days.

I haven't checked out Oy Baby 2 yet, but it's on our wish list.

Bad Cohen loves it that this is a Northwest family company, and the music made by people who met up at the B'nei Brith camp in Lincoln (Oregon). Yes, Virginia, there are Jews in Oregon. ;-}

The vocals are wonderful (with the possible exception of the children's choirs - there's only so much 5-year-old singing I can tolerate) and the close harmonies on some of the songs are realy evocative.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Edited, not Pwned

Finally, I've found a site where my comments can be controversial again! I guess DovBear is just getting too leftwing, now that Ed is gone.

See the fun over at Hirhurim

Thursday, January 10, 2008


At the prompting of his HR dept., BoTH has outlined some great goals for the coming year:

Sleep more. Read interesting stuff. Understand the parshas better. Learn more of other languages. Stuff more into my memory. Eat things I haven't eaten before. Avoid dealing with the inane.

Which has led me to think about my real goals for the next year:

Get more excercise and more massages. Get baby Chalal on a consistent sleep schedule. Find a way to connect with my shul/community/spirituality despite having a full-time job, a toddler, and a sick husband in grad school. Do more girls' nights out with friends and good wine. Take a vacation. Lighten up. Have fun. Try new recipes. Have friends over at least once a week. Enjoy reading about the inane on blogs. :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

What hole does the amoeba-shaped peg fit in?

For a year and a half now, Bad Cohen has been suffering from progressively severe symptoms of some undiagnosed illness. Possibly more than one illness. Hard to say. No diagnosis.

So, not only have we spent lots of money on futile tests, but he's had the fun of feeling very very ill, without any outward physical markers or biomedical name to validate to others that he is, in fact, ill. His spouse (moi) has tried to be sympathetic, make sure he gets enough rest, eats well, etc., while also swinging back and forth between thinking, "if only I can help him enough, I'm sure he'll get well" and "damnit, I can't do everything myself! You're just being lazy/hypochondriac/depressed..."

Not to mention that the doctors really don't want to deal with him. Since, you know, he just points out that they don't, in fact, have all the answers. That not everything fits neatly into their current model of biomedicine.

Without a diagnosis, they can't treat him, they can't even "manage" his "disease." All they can do is speculate, and research, and send him on for more and more tests, to new and different specialists.

Anyway, all of this is just me venting, and also a short explanation of why my blogging has dropped off lately.