Erich Almasy: “My wife and I have been in Canada for ten years and despite some initial concerns about quality of care, we have never encountered any serious issues with the system. Unlike the United States, where even the best employer-paid plans always fell short, with us making up the difference. By the way, many employers in Canada supplement the provincial system with ‘premium’ support such as private rooms and free prescriptions.”


. . . announces that the recession is over (after a fashion) and includes this excerpt:

For 60 years, policymakers have relied on a series of simple tools for combating slowdowns and promoting growth: the Fed cuts interest rates, government slashes taxes, and a deregulated Wall Street provides easy money. All of which spurs debt-fueled consumption and the movement of goods and services around the globe.

No more. The Fed literally can’t cut interest rates further—the overnight interest rate it controls is at zero. Given the deficits and Democratic control of Washington, the prospect of broad-based tax cuts are slim. Americans are still stuffing cash under the mattress. “The last several recoveries were not sustained because they were based on bubbles, they were led by consumption, and they enhanced inequality,” says [Larry] Summers. “The president’s emphasis is on having a different kind of expansion.”

The Obama administration’s strategy rests on what some might call industrial policy or excessive government intervention—or even creeping socialism. I call it “the smart economy.” It means eschewing the blunt economic instruments we’ve always used and focusing resources and rhetoric on strategic sectors: renewable energy/green technology, infrastructure, broadband, and health care. It means making investments to run vital systems more intelligently and efficiently, thus creating a new infrastructure on which the private sector can work its magic. This philosophy, legislated in the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, holds that a mixture of targeted investments, tax credits, subsidies, reforms, and direct purchases can preserve or create jobs in the short term, improve America’s economic competitiveness in the long term, and catalyze private-sector investment.

113 MPG

Hubert Heller draws our attention to the 112-horsepower Opel Eco Speedster, an ultralight diesel “concept car” that got 113 miles to the gallon – way back in 2002 –reaching a top speed of 155 mph. Watch it here. (Any chance of building a bigger, slower model with cup holders that gets, say, 70 miles to the gallon?)


Tom Anthony: “Big brains and big money (Craig Venter and Exxon) are tackling the algae-plus-CO2-to-oil opportunity – as reported here. Venter has a reputation for achieving the very difficult in impossibly short times, i.e. mapping the entire human genome years ahead of the times that experts initially predicted it would take. Hopefully, he will succeed again.”


This one, suggested five weeks ago, may certainly go higher, but with its having nearly doubled since then, I sold mine yesterday.


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