this week i

toured the cherry blossoms, winter still in the air.

warmed up at the caribbean party at the o.a.s. indoor jungle.
have been listening to the california honeydrops on repeat.  usually have a hard time getting into music written after 1979, not this.

spotted an odd line of exclusive porta-potties.


this week i

published the most exciting paper of my career so far.  the new health reform law expands private insurance to cover an additional 24 million americans.  who are they?  if they're going to be your new group of patients, you might want to know.

got quoted in congressional quarterly's healthbeat newsletter.  "no, said anthony damico, one of the authors of the study."

like this time of year.

watched a double-header on deep sea conservation with mark.  apparently, bioluminescence is the most important communication tool in the history of life.  also started whale wars, led by one of the founders of greenpeace - later kicked out for being too radical.  they throw butyric acid onto japanese fishing boats to ruin a catch.

said sayonara to kirsten yet again, but this time over the best food in town.  she's leaving for switzerland to figure out what to do with the new malaria vaccine.

waited in line..

for south africa night at the smithsonian

..and some good live music.

cooked myself the easiest delicious meal in my repertoire.


this week i

published this brief describing the importance of income determinations when testing americans' eligibility for medicaid or these new health reform law-created insurance exchange marketplaces.

found my people in the new york review of books.  this is our work.

thought the life i hope to lead would look good in cartesian coordinates.
repeat the wisdom, 'one of the best rewards of traveling is homesickness.'

wonder, if an alien spacecraft appeared in the sky, how quickly currency would become worthless?

got puppeee linux working on my asus eee pc 701sd netbook.  fast.  light.  $100.

realized the misleading nature of two-dimensional maps, especially when comparing distances in equatorial vs. more polar regions.  for example: the way the crow flies, miami to seattle is only about one hundred miles further than the east-west length of brazil.

caught up with every nyrb and lrb to the end of 2010..

tony judt on confidence in language

the communicative shorthand of their hardware has begun to seep into communication itself: “people talk like texts.”

sheer rhetorical facility, whatever its appeal, need not denote originality and depth of content.

shoddy prose today bespeaks intellectual insecurity: we speak and write badly because we don’t feel confident in what we think and are reluctant to assert it unambiguously (“it’s only my opinion…”)

if words fall into disrepair, what will substitute?  they are all we have.

..and on the way to run an education system

my supervisors were supremely uninterested in public performance of any sort.  it was not that they were indifferent to exam results; they simply took it for granted that our natural talent would carry us through.

universities are elitist: they are about selecting the most able cohort of a generation and educating them to their ability—breaking open the elite and making it consistently anew. equality of opportunity and equality of outcome are not the same thing.

..and his obituary.

hell is a nontransferrable experience.

death should not be allowed to define life.

karl rove

speaker pelosi's face conveyed abject horror, as if she had just seen a favorite family pet slaughtered.

peace between individuals, why not nations?

"they kept saying i was a shitty arab, and i said, 'you may shit all over me, but that doesn't make me shitty.'"

"i've got five demographic problems," he would cheerfully tell anyone who asked

effective north korean propaganda

security forces are said to have staged a number of public executions to quell building unrest.

dogs in china ate better than doctors in north korea.

a rather distinct brand of exclusionary racialism modeled closely on the mystical nationalism of hirohito's imperial japan.

the top of the food chain

when scientists disagree among themselves, everyone else stops listening.

that conservation is not about  managing wildlife as much as it is about managing ourselves

if huey long were still governor

desserts of a decade of sanctions

kashmir off the front pages

when it comes to reporting crimes committed by states considered friendly to the west, atrocity fatigue rapidly kicks in.

the kennedy-johnson transition of power

beginning with the first reports that kennedy had been shot and up until the funeral three days later..90 per cent of american households watched the coverage, for an average 31.6 hours each.

war in lebanon

the rivals are israel and syria, neither of which can afford to let the other win uncontested control of the country.

louisiana oil

a vast area of the ocean is now the scene of a cover-up

governing back to reality catalogued 502 promises that obama made during the campaign.  at the one-year mark the totals showed that he had already kept 91 of them and made progress on another 285.

american boys in afghanistan

war is a lot of things and it's useless to pretend that exciting isn't one of them.

today's supreme court

ruled that the first amendment permits congress to imprison human rights activists for up to fifteen years merely for advising militant organizations on ways to reject violence and pursue their disputes through lawful means.

hacking and journalism

an international disgrace that so few western journalists have been killed in the course of duty, or have been arrested in the course of duty.

burmese elections

physicist tinkerers

the most influential museum in the history of the world

a science museum shouldn't be pretty and under glass

more on the middle east

rabbi ovadia yosef, the spiritual leader of the shas party, a member of netanyahu's coalition - recently called for the annihilation of the arabs.

what does clinical research look like when everyone is in it for the money?

drug companies need 'treatment-naive' subjects who, like the 'ready to recruit', are easier to find in the developing world.

some people even manage to make a living as professional guinea pigs..prostitution.  'they are penetrating your body..and they don't care about what you are thinking.'

the world's worst deliberative body

about 8 percent of major senate bills in the 1960s were subject to our decade..70 percent.

the current sixty-vote senate makes the prospect of most serious liberal change unthinkable.  what we have now, as madison and hamilton warned, is minority rule

unions, environmental groups, and liberals should confront the fact that it's not a lack of presidential will that is the chief impediment to their agenda.  they should mobilize accordingly.

family history of the washington post

a millennium of yemeni politics

medical spending

if we are going to reduce the cost of medical care significantly, physicians will have to change the ways they now use all medical resources, whether drugs, diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, or hospital facilities.

the use of medical resources in the us is not determined by the interplay between supply and demand, but mainly by supply.

a nation of forgetful immigrants

if the catholic experience in the united states holds any lesson it is that becoming american also means asserting one's constitutional rights, fully and forcefully

david simon's new creation

baltimore as a total system, in which every neighborhood and every institution exist in some relation to every other and people behave according to the incentives and choices they find set before them, more than according to whether they are good guys or bad guys.

kashmir's line of control

an agreement must be favorable enough to kashmiris for pakistan's army to save face, but not so favorable as to provoke an unmanageable backlash from hindu activists in india.

a century of kabul

in a single battle lasting 21 days..kabul is destroyed as a functioning city, and as a consequence 'culture in all its forms dies.  the theatre dies and the magazines and newspapers die, the bookshops and the archives and the museums die'

thank you baltimore

the unholy bargains everyone makes in the maelstrom of societal injustices

home of edgar allan poe, h.l. mencken, babe ruth, and billie holiday

they open season four using a nail gun..snoop and chris fill up abandoned row houses with bodies, creating a charnel house straight out of poe.

hamid karzai has two brothers who live in the baltimore area

a good churchman is always up in everybody's shit

questions for educators

how little we truly know about how children learn

the lives of modern pirates

our meal of spaghetti and camel meat

by their own admission, they are driven by one thing only: cash.

the entire local economy revolves around hijacking ships


hands al-qaeda a propaganda victory

chiang kai-shek's wife

a one-night stand with wendell willkie, roosevelt's republican opponent in the 1940 presidential election

the war in mexico

the struggle over drug distribution

reagan..declared the narcotics trade a threat to national security

cheap and highly subsidized american corn flooded the mexican market.  local farmers were unable to compete: 1.1 million small farmers and 1.4 million others dependent on the agricultural sector lost their livelihoods.

if the government ran google books

thomas jefferson.."knowledge is the common property of mankind."

equip the smallest junior college in alabama and the remotest high school in north dakota with the greatest library the world has ever known.

before the 2010 election

nearly a third of americans actually agreed that it was "definitely" or "probably" true that obama "sympathizes with the goals of islamic fundamentalists who want to impose islamic law around the world."

sainted reagan ran deficits in six of his eight presidential years.

from 1950 to 1963..the top marginal rate on very-high-income earners..was just over 90 percent.

development failure in afghanistan

the enemy is being scattered, not decimated

$455 billion

like trying to hold on to and bathe a soap-covered, aquaphobic toddler who's in the midst of a raging temper tantrum

the fate of a species

american aggression started in 1812

an american invasion of canada

the closest vote for a declaration of war in american history

the acquisition of canada would be "a mere matter of marching."

a deceptive documentary about charter schools

77 percent of public school parents award their own child's public school a grade of a or b, the highest level of approval since the question was first asked in 1985

there are twice as many failing charters as there are successful ones

foolish to believe that teachers alone can undo the damage caused by poverty and its associated burdens

charter schools compete to get higher test scores than regular public schools and thus have an incentive to avoid students who might pull down their scores

50 percent of those who enter teaching leave within five years

the resurgence of npr

"driveway moments," because listeners were so hooked that they would linger in their cars to hear the end of a piece even once they'd gotten home.

the most trusted source of news in the nation.

limbaugh's reach

lincoln's wartime policy shifts

one pilot project supported by the lincoln administration to colonize several hundred black volunteers on a haitian island was a failure

the death penalty

the fifth circuit..upheld the death sentence of an inmate whose lawyer had literally slept through the trial

the state's demand for finality wins out over truth

the world that most americans have found it convenient to ignore

the hitch with development work

the international aid system..still actively supports dictators

the average cameroonian is poorer today than when biya took power in 1982

benevolent autocrats have the distressing habit of not staying benevolent

facebook reduced

the real zuckerberg's eyebrows never move

rosebud-meet erica.

is it possible he just loves programming?

the movie places him in the roman world of betrayal and excess, but the real zuckerberg may belong in the greek, perhaps with the stoics

the opponents of intellectual property

makers of ideas would henceforth have to live on prestige alone

the torture spark

a fearful symmetry: the training routines undergone in boot camp by soldiers themselves.  recruits who 'screw up' undergo stress punishment: they're forced to hold heavy weights, to stand for prolonged periods, complete demanding numbers of push-ups, to crawl.  when interrogating prisoners, soldiers turned to techniques they had experienced themselves.

jack bauer..cited by the supreme court justice antonin scalia

a former us marine..charged with premeditated murder (then dubiously acquitted for lack of evidence) after firing 60 rounds into two unarmed iraqi detainees in april 2004, has just stood for congress in north carolina's seventh district (he lost).

causal links between very different sorts of things

in the world of science, there is physics.  everything else is just stamp-collecting.

make sure that the strategy we choose can be undone or altered with reasonable ease.

jon stewart and the sanest population in the western world

if we amplify everything, we hear nothing

moderation or death

glenn beck's libertarianism

when challenged on the o'reilly factor in august, beck reiterated his libertarian credo that "if it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?"  when o'reilly insisted that gay marriage was a menace, beck mugged a frightened face, stared into the camera, and asked, "will the gays come and get us?"


the privatizing of gains and the socializing of losses

reactions to november 2nd 2010

if someone has burned down your house you would not fire your new contractor because he has not rebuilt it overnight and then hire the arsonist to finish the job.

one powerful symbol the democrats could capture..fairness

a high degree of economic inequality is not compatible with political democracy

the advertising on google's search engine was responsible for 98 percent of the company's $22 billion in revenue

had the internet not been neutral back in the 1990s, "barnes and noble would have destroyed amazon, [and] microsoft search would have beaten out google"

irrational exuberance about the potential of social media

the future of the newspaper industry

hard to be depressed by the thought that your product has a huge new audience

the wikileaks episode(s) shows both what the digital media can and can't do.  its release of information is unprecedented: but it is not journalism.

more on the state of burma

in our rural areas people are still using oxcarts.  oxcarts are in museums in thailand.  if you take a photo of a village in burma with its thatched huts and rutted roads, it looks exactly as it would have a hundred years ago.

the state spends less than 1 percent of its budget on education and health care combined.


this week i

updated this snapshot detailing the relationship between insurance costs and worker compensation.

live in an amazing time and place. can pack nothing but clothes and things to read, sleep on a plane, and wake up across an ocean..

..or more precisely, in ghana.

carpooled east to togo.  this friendly fellow bought me a coconut, which i promptly spilled all over myself.

reverted to an all-pineapple diet.  pinch me.

added benin to the list of nations that have rejected my entry at the border.  sorry canada, you're not alone anymore.

drank water by the bagful.

admire the serenity of togo..

the internet is admittedly primitive..

 ..just another place to catch up on reading.

felt welcome despite the lack of tourist infrastructure.  nothing says mi casa es su casa like a complimentary used toothbrush.
watched foosball down by the watering holes..

and full-sized soccer amongst the strongest senses of balance on earth

..never too early to start.  how does one say 'training wheels' in togolese?  seau bleu!
hired a motorcycle to the border.  he kept turning off his motor when driving downhill.  i kept getting hit in the face with butterflies.  couldn't decide if that's fantastic or horrific?

found something holy about the waterfall..

perhaps the inspiring bats circling overhead

..or maybe the nonconsensual baptisms.

felt inadequate..

..and insignificant.

passed a few days in the villages.

mustn't forget this is still our everyday world.

practiced falconry, but with monkeys.

avoided eating chicken..

ok ham too

..hope you like fish.

walked above the rainforest.

sought the coast.

received a few marriage proposals.  probably the haircut.

found fisherfolk..

a superior species of seagulls

..and other unexpected beachcombers.
saw the history of the slave trade..

 ..and doors of no return.

got a stupid tan.  n.t.s. no more button-downs by the ocean.

have to say: all in all, we have a lot in common.

appreciation of alcohol. and god.

unscientific faith in alternative medicines

innovative mosquito bite prevention

we care about safety, but never let it ruin our fun.

we win political campaigns, b.a.m.n.

we look for convenience in our shopping venues

we are civic-minded when it's not too costly, and also love wheelbarrows.

we coordinate t-shirts for every occasion (mandatory zoom-in)

rested, recuperated.

returned home.