Two McSweeney’s classics

1. E-mail Addresses It Would Be Really Annoying to Give Out Over the Phone.
2. I’m Comic Sans, Asshole.

Tree of Life

Opening May 27th! About Terrence Malick:

There is a touch of Stan Brakhage (who was a fervent Malick admirer) in this poetic ambition: to film the things of the world (people, animals, flora and fauna) before they acquire their names, before they coalesce into firm shapes, objects, identities … Indeed, Brakhage made a film called “The Animals of Eden and After” – and could there be a better title for the cinema of Terrence Malick, with its obsessive central myth of Eden before and after the Fall?

More here.

Healing an Oakland hospital system

Lanky, charismatic, and a rising star in the health-care industry, [Wright] Lassiter could have become just one more executive casualty when he took the job as CEO of the Alameda County Medical Center in Oakland, California, and its flagship, Highland Hospital. Instead, he did what seemed impossible: He turned a shockingly mismanaged urban safety-net hospital system in one of America’s most violent cities into a model for other public hospitals. He trimmed costs without any significant cutback in services — in fact, services have been greatly expanded. A new $668 million hospital building is under construction. Six years on, the center has turned a positive margin every year but the last, when a new auditor required it to set aside more money for pension costs; so far, it is on target to break even this year.

More here. (Via)

Paul Krugman: Left of center

For a century, liberals have been chasing the same organizing idea: to perfect the welfare state—the soaringly aspirational, deeply flawed apparatus of Social Security, public health insurance, and progressive taxation designed to guarantee a secure middle class—and to extend its protections to every American. A year ago, after Obama’s health-care reforms became law, that project looked closer to completion. Now we are debating the terms of its erosion—with Republican proposals to cut the benefits of Medicare and Medicaid, conservative efforts to repeal protections for labor unions, and an emerging Washington consensus that the costs of a broad welfare state may be beyond what Americans will willingly pay. The White House meeting this past December [with Paul Krugman and other left-of-center economists], viewed in retrospect, seemed to mark the end of the expansive first part of Obama’s administration and the beginning of an austere second phase. Krugman, departing, found himself left in the position that every purist fears, holding blueprints for impossible buildings.

“I think what people like Paul Ryan are trying to do is set us on a glide path to a much harsher society,” Krugman now says. “A country in which, step by step, more and more people are cast out into a situation of not having health insurance and poverty, and so we slide back to a Victorian notion that life is full of evils and that’s too bad but that’s the way that God made the world. That large numbers of the poor, large numbers of the elderly just live in dire poverty and don’t have health care because life is tough.” For two years, Krugman has been arguing that this trajectory might have been averted if only Obama had been a little less deferential, a little more demanding, a little more alarmed. And so Krugman has given the debate on the left its shape: whether the president could have mounted a more effective defense of the welfare state, and whether liberalism’s tragic flaw is Obama’s instinct for conciliation or his leading critic’s naïveté.

More here.

Where do they get all their energy?

Boy, am I beat. And it’s not like I have some crazy life where I’m working three jobs and going to night school. No, I just have one job and a small apartment. I don’t even have a pet to look after. Even so, it seems that no matter what I do, there’s always more. If they put another eight hours in the day, I might be able to catch up on the laundry list of chores I have, or even just my laundry, if I were lucky. But you know who really gets it done? Homosexuals.

More at The Onion here.

I am a camera

Feminism vs. the market

Mike Konczal, on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day:

A contract, like a marriage contract or like a labor contract, can be “freely” entered into but still contain elements of coercion to it. Coercion can still be the central characteristic of it. That the market is a series of voluntary transactions, and any outcome of it just, is an illusion. How to pull away that veil is the project, and feminist thought gives us a start on it.

More here.