Monday, November 8, 2010

The last day of Indian Summer in Colorado

Can the Democrats take back the House in 2012?

Here’s an interesting take on what the election means to the Democrats. Not good news for them.

To everyone's surprise, Nancy Pelosi wants to return as the Democrats' leader in the next Congress. But if she's hoping for a big Democratic year in 2012 that would give her the speaker's gavel back, she might want to look closer at Tuesday's results: BASED ON THE BREADTH AND SCOPE OF THEIR LOSSES, IT IS GOING BE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE FOR DEMOCRATS TO RETAKE THE HOUSE IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS.

While Democrats’ historic loss of at least 61 seats (results are still pending in a handful of districts) can be traced to a diverse set of factors, the majority of the Democrats defeated were either elected to Republican-friendly seats in the wave elections of 2006 and 2008 or were long-term incumbents who represented heavily GOP districts. The seats in that latter category are likely gone for good, while many in the former are clustered in a handful of states where GOP state-level gains will ensure that they are fortified in next year’s redistricting trials, making them even more difficult for Democrats to take back than they were entering the '06 and '08 cycles.

R.I.P.: Al Gore’s Chicago Climate Exchange Has Died

I used to read a lot on AGW on a daily basis, now not so much. Here is just another example of why.

Global warming-inspired cap and trade has been one of the most stridently debated public policy controversies of the past 15 years. BUT IT IS DYING A QUIET DEATH. In a little reported move, the CHICAGO CLIMATE EXCHANGE (CCX) ANNOUNCED ON OCT. 21 THAT IT WILL BE ENDING CARBON TRADING – the only purpose for which it was founded – this year.

Although the trading in carbon emissions credits was voluntary, the CCX was intended to be the hub of the mandatory carbon trading established by a cap-and-trade law, like the Waxman-Markey scheme passed by the House in June 2009.

At its founding in November 2000, it was estimated that the size of CCX’s carbon trading market could reach $500 billion. That estimate ballooned over the years to $10 trillion

President Obama isolated from Democrats ahead of 2012

President Barack Obama has performed his act of contrition. Now comes the hard part, according to Democrats around the country: reckoning with the simple fact that he’s isolated himself from virtually every group that matters in American politics.

CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS CONSIDER HIM DISTANT AND BLAME HIM FOR THEIR HISTORIC DEFEAT ON TUESDAY. Democratic state party leaders scoff at what they see as an inattentive and hapless political operation. Democratic lobbyists feel maligned by his holier-than-though take on their profession. His own cabinet – with only a few exceptions – has been marginalized.

His relations with business leaders could hardly be worse. Obama has suggested it’s a PR problem but several Democratic officials said CEOs friendly with the president walk away feeling HE’S INDIFFERENT AT BEST TO THEIR CONCERNS. Add in his icy relations with Republicans, the media and, most importantly, most voters and it’s easy to understand why his own staff leaked word to POLITICO that they want Obama to shake up his staff and change his political approach.

It should be a no-brainer for a humbled Obama to move quickly after Tuesday’s thumping to try to repair these damaged relations, and indeed, in India Sunday, he acknowledged the need for “midcourse corrections.”


Read more:

Better to be sick in America.

Americans have one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world, but also one of the best and this study shows that Americans are getting their money’s worth.

OLDER AMERICANS ARE LESS HEALTHY THAN THEIR ENGLISH COUNTERPARTS, but they live as long or even longer than their English peers, according to a new study by researchers from the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London.

Researchers found that while Americans aged 55 to 64 have higher rates of chronic diseases than their peers in England, they died at about the same rate. And AMERICANS AGE 65 AND OLDER -- WHILE STILL SICKER THAN THEIR ENGLISH PEERS -- HAD A LOWER DEATH RATE than similar people in England, according to findings published in the journal Demography.

The paper was co-authored by James Banks and Alastair Muriel of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and James P. Smith, distinguished chair in labor markets and demographic studies at RAND.

"If you get sick at older ages, you will die sooner in England than in the United States," Smith said. "It appears that at least in terms of survival at older ages with chronic disease, the medical system in the United States may be better than the system in England."

The study expands upon an earlier analysis by Banks and Smith that found that Americans aged 55 to 64 suffered from diseases such as diabetes at rates up to twice those seen among similarly aged people in England. The trend was observed across all socioeconomic groups.

The American health care system (really an assortment of systems) is expensive. But IT DELIVERS A NUMBER OF BENEFITS. One is mentioned above: It does a better job of managing and treating chronic diseases of old age. But that's not all. It also does not make people wait as long. A person who has, say, a bad hip who has to wait for months to get it fixed loses work (which costs both the individual and the government money) and experiences a lot of pain while waiting. The queues that are characteristic of cheaper health care systems impose costs on customers/supplicants.

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