* Canadian PM Harper criticizes Parliament for interfering with government (line from James Nicoll)
* Deciphering monkey calls
* Google may stop censoring in China
* Europe: social democracy works, and doesn't lead to stagnant economies. Column and blog; the latter looks at military spending as %age of GDP, to refute the common claim that the US can't afford social democracy because we're defending the free world.
Actually, it'd be fairer to say we can't afford social democracy because we're spending too much for health care (for which we get lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, and lots of medical bankruptcies and economic distortion). Defense spendings are 1-3% of GDP... US might have drifted up to 4 or 5% what with the not-so-defensive wars. Health care spending is 8-10% for most developed countries, 15% in the US or maybe 17% by now. Obviously if you have an extra 9% of your economy handy, then it's easier to afford good schools and free child care and such, because you can have people doing useful things rather than treating prostate cancers that won't kill people or building yachts for doctors.
* Also (old), French family values. Less GDP/capita, a lot more vacation time. Something which is hard to negotiate with an employer for most people -- and even harder to negotiate on a coordinated basis, with the whole family or your friends getting vacation time.
* Europe may be okay, but the Euro currency may not be, which leads to the open question of how many currencies an area should have. He talks about closeness of trade and easy of labor mobility, and economic compensation between differently affected regions: the US is one country, the EU still isn't. Also, monetary and fiscal policy. I view it as a case of the problems that arise when levels aren't coordinated. One currency, one monetary policy, 20+ fiscal (though supposedly constrained) and employment policies, legally but not culturally or linguistically free movement. We have a different example in the US: the vaunted ability of the 50 states to experiment in undermined by free trade and travel mandates. Not that those are bad things, but they make the natural level of economic regulation and taxation be federal, not state.
* Quotes of economists denying the bubble even as it happened
* Racism and health care
* Technical: Combining the House and Senate bills, national vs. state Exchanges
* If reform is a windfall for insurers, why did they oppose it?
* The problem with Senators getting leverage by acting as if they'll oppose a bill: they convince their constituents it's a bad bill, and take blame for finally voting for it.
* How Wall Street drags down the economy
* Federal Reserve profits
Links from him:
* Mortgages are business contracts, not moral committments, and the penalties for non-payment are right there, surrendering the house. So feel free if you need to, businesses do all the time.
* Reid and color bias