Monthly Archives: February 2010

David Geffen, Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell

According to The New Republic and others, we now know who Carly Simon was singing about in “You’re So Vain”. Turns out it was David Geffen, the head of her record label at the time. Apparently Simon “resented the effort he put into promoting rival Joni Mitchell”. As it turns out, Joni Mitchell also wrote a song about David Geffen: A Free Man in Paris.

Here’s the latter:

Danny Williams and the Canadian Health System

To me it’s sad that Americans are latching onto Danny Williams going to the U.S. for heart surgery as some sort of proof that the Canadian health care system is deficient compared to the U.S. system. Indeed, at the Health Care Summit that the President recently held, Obama indirectly mentioned him.

To me,  Danny Williams actions prove nothing about the Canadian health system. Indeed, this article by Andre Picard, Williams’s heart surgery choice was based on ignorance in the Globe and Mail, argues that much better and more conclusively than I can. I highly recommend it.

Rather than pull down the Canadian system, Americans should focus on shoring up their own system, with its excess costs and millions of uninsured, and not pay attention to the likes of Danny Williams. I was going to say more about him, but the less said about him, the better.

Farmville on Facebook is like Mom Jeans

Don’t believe me? See Your Mom Is On Facebook. Which gives me an excuse to post this:

The more I read about Facebook and the more I use it, the more I wish there was something else that did what they did but alot better. I believe alot of people feel the same way. So where is the competition?

District 9: a Canadian film?

I didn’t think so, until I read this at the Torontoist blog, which said that:

District 9 was directed, written, edited, and scored by Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell, Julian Clarke, and Clinton Shorter, respectively—all Canadians. (Blomkamp was born in South Africa but moved to Canada as a teenager.) The film, however, was produced by Peter Jackson’s Wingnut Films (New Zealand) and financed by QED International (USA).

I think it is a great film, period. It’s good to see so many Canadians on it.

How the world works now: Erykah Badu connects to Paul McCartney via twitter

Erykah Badu needed to get Paul McCartney’s permission to sample from one of his songs. What could have taken days or weeks traditionally was done in hours, most by using twitter.

Now, it’s not all magic, of course. Badu who contacted Lenny Kravity, who connected her with Paul’s famous daughter, Stella McCartney. Those are likely not people who are going to respond to just anyone’s tweets. But the directness and quickness and connectedness of twitter is something that everyone can experience. This is just one famous example of it. Expect more to come.

Most developed countries in the world have near universal health care coverage, save Turkey, Mexico and the United States

For more data like this, see OECD Health Data 2009 – Frequently Requested Data

Why governance is hard

Here is an interesting chart from the blog, The Monkey Cage:

Based on this chart, Salon concludes:

Rank-and-file conservatives actually like big government.

In 2008, the American National Election Study asked a national sample whether federal spending on 12 different programs should be increased, decreased or kept about the same.

As the graph above illustrates, the respondents who identified themselves as “conservative” or “extremely conservative” had little appetite for specific spending cuts.

….Amazingly, the survey found that, on average, 54 percent of them actually wanted to increase spending.

Interestingly, foreign aid will also be a very small part of the U.S. budget, compared to military spending and social security. But those are some of the areas that conservatives are less interested in cutting spending. And if conservatives are not interested in cutting spending, I suspect in alot of case, liberals in the U.S. are not interested either.

And this is why governance is hard. People want the government to use less of their money (in the form of taxes), but they still want the services that governments provide. Having your cake and eating it too is challenging.