Assorted Links (3/24/2013)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

When Hope Tramples Truth

“It is easy to trace disasters like the Euro and the Arab Spring to the bursts of unfounded optimism that gave rise to them. So why is pessimism so often ignored?”

Unfit for Work: The startling rise of disability in America

“In the past three decades, the number of Americans who are on disability has skyrocketed. The rise has come even as medical advances have allowed many more people to remain on the job and new laws have banned workplace discrimination against the disabled.” The other “startling” fact from this NPR article is that there apparently exists a fairly lucrative “business opportunity” for firms which help state governments move “disabled” people from state welfare over to federal disability status. For example, one such company asked for $2,300 per person from the state of Missouri for effectively converting its state welfare recipients into Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants. In other words, substantial transactions costs are apparently being paid by state taxpayers to transfer the costs of state welfare programs over to federal taxpayers…

Health Insurers Warn on Premiums

Here’s a very interesting (ungated) Wall Street Journal article concerning some of the “unintended” consequences of Obamacare…”Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation’s biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans.”

Memo to Staff: Take More Risks

“Want to succeed? Embrace failure…. Extended Stay CEO Jim Donald said employees were afraid of taking risks. So he is handing out “Get Out of Jail, Free” cards to 9,000 employees. They call in the card when they take a big risk on behalf of the company – no questions asked.

New York’s Coolest New Museum: MoMath

“Bloomberg’s Tom Keene goes to MoMath, the first math museum in the United States.”

Preach Like Your Faith Depends on It – 10 Big Ideas

“They can be as huge as a new constitution or as tiny as a medical microchip. In this special report, TIME explores innovations that are changing the way we work, live, pray and play.”

Jeremy Lott on the Media’s Pope-O-Rama

“How well did the popular media do in covering the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Conclave of Cardinals, and the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I?”

Failing College

“Why are we screwing up the world’s best higher education system?” Here’s the answer in a nutshell, “Students arrive on campus underqualified, courtesy of an American public school system that has flatlined in quality while tripling its per-student cost. They do less academic work yet receive better grades than their parents did. And their post-college job prospects are dim, with unemployment rates for recent grads hovering at 12 percent.”

The America that works

Quoting from The Economist, “This is the America that China’s leaders laugh at, and the rest of the democratic world despairs of. Its debt is rising, its population is ageing in a budget-threatening way, its schools are mediocre by international standards, its infrastructure rickety, its regulations dense, its tax code byzantine, its immigration system hare-brained—and it has fallen from first position in the World Economic Forum’s competitiveness rankings to seventh in just four years.”

The Doctor Will Not See You Now. He’s Clocked Out

“In The Wall Street Journal, Scott Gottlieb writes that ObamaCare is pushing physicians into becoming hospital employees and the results aren’t encouraging.”

The New Power of Memory

“Sharp recall skills have proven themselves key to future success, scientists have found. A look at what some call mental time travel.”

Soda Ban Ruling a Devastating Defeat for Mayor Bloomberg

“The judge who struck down Mayor Bloomberg’s nanny state soda ban issued a sweeping opinion that does everything but hand Mayor Poppins his umbrella and carpetbag.”

Medicaid Expansion Too Good to Be True

“If implemented, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion will cost Michigan taxpayers $2.25 billion over the next 10 years. Fortunately, legislators can still defend state taxpayers by saying “No.””

Intrade, R.I.P.

“From the Intrade website: “With sincere regret we must inform you that due to circumstances recently discovered we must immediately cease trading activity””

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