What I’m reading/seeing lately:
1. The National Spelling Bee is on Twitter! This is Bee Week in DC and they’re live tweeting the competition. My brother, George, won the National Spelling Bee in 2000 and I have several other siblings who have placed highly at Nationals. As an aside, why don’t I have a wikipedia entry?
2. A friend and budding viticulturist, Tammy Jones, is visiting wine country in the Rhone Valley. You can read her blog here. Of particular note is her visit to the Barruol estate in Gigondas; Louis and Cherry Barruol are well respected negotiants and made a phenomal 2007 Cotes-du-Rhone rouge from 100% syrah that is one of the best wines I’ve tasted in the past year.
3. Sotomayor’s legal history reviewed in the NYT. Of particular note is the discussion about how female judges are “more sensitive to claims that strip searches of young girls are unduly intrusive”. It is an implicit argument that diversity in the judiciary is good. It also provides a good paradigm for thinking about Obama’s comments on how a good judge displays traits like ’empathy’ and ‘compassion’ and when it matters.
4. On a related note, the Republican party is scrambling to attract women and minorities. I have long argued that though it’s not the case that the Republican party hates women (or for that matter, black people), it is the case that they are really indifferent to the concerns of people who don’t have money.
5. From Paul Krugman, why the military wasn’t involved in Katrina rescue efforts (turns out Rumsfeld didn’t think it was necessary). Money quote from Bush: “Rumsfeld, what the hell is going on there? Are you watching what’s on television? Is that the United States of America or some Third World nation I’m watching? What the hell are you doing?”
6. From Tyler Cowen, the relative value of health care. Key line (from Ralph Sisson): “Two economists working at Dartmouth, Katherine Baicker and Amitabh Chandra, found that the more money Medicare spent per person in a given state the lower that state’s quality ranking tended to be. In fact, the four states with the highest levels of spending—Louisiana, Texas, California, and Florida—were near the bottom of the national rankings on the quality of patient care.” Perhaps the best way to control healthcare spending is to stop spending money on healthcare?