Timothy Noah

Morning (OK, Afternoon) Reading Assignment
October 25, 2011

My friend Phillip Longman has for three decades been one of America's most creative, common-sensical, and non-doctrinaire thinkers on public policy. His latest piece (in the Washington Monthly) is the best proposal I've ever seen for how to get Medicare spending under control without making seniors pay 68 percent of their medical bills out of pocket (as the Congressional Budget Office says Rep. Paul Ryan's voucher proposal would) or creating a shortage of doctors willing to treat Medicare patients (as Democratic proposals to cut reimbursement to providers might).

GOP Rank And File: Off-Message Again
October 24, 2011

I'm liking rank-and-file Republicans better and better. Earlier this month we learned that they favor Obama's plan to tax the rich. Now we learn that a 55 percent majority of them think Wall Street bankers and brokers are "dishonest," 69 percent think they're "overpaid," and 72 percent think they're "greedy." Fewer than half (47 percent) have an unfavorable view of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Thirty-three percent either favor them or have no opinion, and 20 percent haven't heard of them. Also, a majority favor getting rid of the Electoral College and replacing it with a popular vote.

Eric Cantor, Lake Wobegon Egalitarian
October 21, 2011

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) was supposed to give a major speech about income inequality at the University of Pennsylvania this afternoon, but he cancelled it, apparently fearing that protesters would disrupt the event. Now that I've read the prepared speech text, though, I wonder whether he cancelled because ... well ... he didn't have much to say on the topic.

Rubio Fibbed About His Parents' Exile But ...
October 21, 2011

 ... he still killed Liberty Valance. So back off!

More Inappropriate Touching
October 20, 2011

Ann Gerhart of the Washington Post drew a different conclusion from me (see "Inappropriate Touching") about Mitt Romney touching Rick Perry during the last GOP debate. I said it was a winner for Romney because it made Perry look like the child and Romney like the grownup. A classic stupid power play that worked.

McArdle: Inequality Is So Five Minutes Ago
October 20, 2011

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Inappropriate Touching
October 19, 2011

 I saw some inappropriate touching at last night's GOP debate. Lets go to the tape: "Attractive people aren't afraid to make physical contact," Elizabeth Kuhnke writes in Body Language For Dummies."They know the powerful effect an appropriate touch can have. Touching can be used to encourage, to express affection or compassion, and to show support." Hmm, that doesn't sound like what was going on here. Elsewhere Kuhnke writes, "When another person touches you, that person is implying that a bond exists between the two of you.

Doug Schoen's Cup of Tea
October 18, 2011

Doug Schoen looks at the Tea Party and he finds "the most powerful and extraordinary phenomenon in recent American political history." The political elite ignore them at their peril. Doug Schoen looks at Occupy Wall Street and he finds a group with "values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people." The political elite embrace them at their peril. A new Time poll shows that that 54 percent of respondents have a view of Occupy Wall Street that is "very or somewhat favorable," and that 27 percent of respondents have a view of the Tea Party that is "very or som

My Darkest Thoughts Are Not Dark Enough
October 18, 2011

Over the last few decades, as a fall off in enthusiasm for newsprint, or news, or reading, has caused the ranks of professional newspaper journalists to dwindle, a vast nonprofit sector has arisen to interpret the state of the professional news media. I'm not entirely sure why it has arisen now, when there's less and less of a professional news business to interpret, but I suspect it largely has to do with finding jobs for newspaper reporters after they reach their 40th birthday.

Occupy Lenox Hill Hospital!
October 17, 2011

Maybe some of Occupy Wall Street's (bottom) 99 percent should peel off from Wall Street and occupy Lenox Hill Hospital instead. The September issue of Health Affairs, a peer-reviewed journal about health care policy and economics, has an interesting article ($12.95 fee for non-subscribers) about health care inflation by David Auerbach and Arthur L. Kellermann, both of the RAND Institute.