Friday, June 26

Please verify your password?

I posted this question to Yahoo answers, and after no one was able to help me, they deleted it.

Please verify your password?
When I try to access my account, I get prompted to "Please verify your password" every time I enter my password using Firefox, IExplorer, and Chrome...again & again & again. I've tried changing the password, deleting cookies, restarting my computer. I may never use my yahoo mail account again.

Saturday, June 20

Rarely does anyone weigh facts before deciding what to believe

Rarely do any of us sit down before a table of facts, weigh them pro and con, and choose the most logical and rational explanation, regardless of what we previously believed. Most of us, most of the time, come to our beliefs for a variety of reasons having little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning. Rather, such variables as genetic predisposition, parental predilection, sibling influence, peer pressure, educational experience and life impressions all shape the personality preferences that, in conjunction with numerous social and cultural influences, lead us to our beliefs. We then sort through the body of data and select those that most confirm what we already believe, and ignore or rationalize away those that do not.

Sunday, June 14

A victory for public health?

The legislation happens to make it more difficult for tobacco companies to market smokeless alternatives to cigarettes that are far less lethal because they contain fewer carcinogens than cigarettes and don't enter the lungs. And while reducing the tar or nicotine content of an individual cigarette might make it "safer," it will also induce some people to smoke more to achieve the same fix -- the same way people often compensate for lower-calorie foods by eating larger servings.

Then there's the bill's exemption for menthol from the ban on flavored tobacco products. Menthol happens to be the most popular cigarette flavor, and the Journal reports that the Congressional Black Caucus pressed for the carve-out. Menthol brands account for less than 30% of the U.S. market but are favored by 75% of black smokers. Black public health officials understandably have opposed the exemptions. But black lawmakers apparently believe that banning an unhealthy product used by a disproportionate number of black voters is the greater evil.

What's also clear is that prohibiting menthol would especially hurt Lorillard, the top menthol cigarette maker, and Philip Morris, whose Marlboro Menthol is the second-leading menthol brand after Newport.
A victory for politics as usual.

Politics as usual = shooting oneself in the foot

The Pay Czar and Compensation Issues--Posner's Comment
[General Motors and Chrysler] are fast-failing firms that need to be able to offer high salaries to attract able executives. Between efforts by the "pay czar" to limit these companies' flexibility in compensation, and the efforts by Congress to limit the companies' ability to import vehicles and close plants and dealerships, the government is doing to best to minimize its chances of ever recovering its $60 billion investment in the two firms. This is called shooting oneself in the foot, or, alternatively, politics as usual.


Any monkeying by government with compensation practices, especially below the top level of management and especially in financial firms, will impair the ability of American firms to compete with foreign firms. The banking business is thoroughly international, and unless all countries act in lock step with the United States in regulating compensation practices, many of our ablest financiers will be lured to foreign banks.

Thursday, June 4

United States, Banana Republic

The United States' economy will regain the world's confidence when its government (first Bush, now Obama) stops behaving like a banana republic.

When it behaves responsibly in fiscal affairs. When it ceases to print currency without a parallel increase in production. When it no longer interferes in the market with arbitrary rescue operations to bail out companies, like General Motors, that are condemned to disappear because of the rejection of consumers, the pigheadedness of labor unions, and the insensitive stupidity of management.
To paraphrase the Chinese, this (should) "hurt the feelings of the American people." And like those many things that "hurt the feelings of the Chinese people", too bad it's true.

Why not start with Medicare?

Medicare is a huge, single-payer, government-run program. It ought to provide the perfect environment for experimentation. If more-efficient government management can slash health-care costs by addressing all these problems, why not start with Medicare? Let's see what "better management" looks like applied to Medicare before we roll it out to the rest of the country.
But instead,
a report that claims that Medicare is wasting 30 percent of its spending thinks it's making a case for making the rest of the health care system more like Medicare.