Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Late night news roundup

Ezra Klein dissects the latest health insurance agency report:

This is the house they've built: an insurance market where plans are written for the healthy and all legal efforts are made to exclude the sick. That's meant premiums are somewhat lower than they'd otherwise be, but only because the people who most need health-care insurance aren't able to afford it, or in some cases, aren't able to convince anyone to sell it to them. Now that arrangement is ending and they're scared that they can't provide an affordable product to the people who need it. They may be right, but it's evidence of how deeply perverse their business has become, not of what's wrong with health-care reform. When they say that the individual market would be cheaper in the absence of health-care reform, they're saying the individual market would be cheaper if they could continue refusing to sell affordable insurance to people who need health-care coverage.

This isn't an argument against health-care reform. This is proof of its necessity.


A federal judge refused today to dismiss a lawsuit challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage, setting the stage for the nation's first trial on the constitutionality of a law allowing only opposite-sex couples to wed.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, in a ruling from the bench in San Francisco, said a trial was needed to resolve crucial issues, including whether gays and lesbians are persecuted minorities entitled to judicial protection from discriminatory laws. He has scheduled the trial for January.

SOME ANALYSTS THINK THAT IRAN, having gotten this close to being a nuclear power, may be ready to make a deal:

“If the Iranian endgame is to keep enrichment, and if the United States’ endgame is to make sure there are no nuclear weapons in Iran, then it can be a win-win,” said Trita Parsi, author of a book on Iran and president of the National Iranian American Council, an independent advocacy group in Washington. “Those who have been criticizing the administration for compromising or giving Iran a concession, they are wrong. It is not a concession to adjust to an unchanging reality.” ...

Tehran knows that actually deploying a weapon could undermine its regional strength by driving smaller oil-rich neighbors to seek their own nuclear umbrella, presumably from the United States. Rather, experts say, Iran’s intention all along was to strengthen its hand in dealing with the West, to achieve legitimacy, security and recognition of its leadership in the region. Iran’s meeting with the United States and Western powers in Geneva brought it within reach of those goals.

More on the notion of "nuclear latency" from Juan Cole.

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