Medical Malpractice 'Crisis' Ends

 What happened to that malpractice insurance crisis? Americans for Insurance Reform reports that malpractice premiums have stabilized and may soon be actually falling, relative to medical inflation in general. They call it a "collapse in insurance rates" and a return to a "soft market":

   A "hard" insurance market is characterized by higher rates, less competition and limited coverage. This is the result of the cyclical nature of the insurance business. Prior to the "hard market" of the last two years, the last such "hard market" occurred in the mid-1980s. But like today, the insurance cycle turned after two to three years and prices began to fall. This had nothing to do with tort law restrictions enacted in particular states, but rather to modulations in the insurance cycle everywhere. . . .

    From the late 1980s until late 2000, the nation had enjoyed a "soft" insurance market for over a decade - with rates of liability insurance not only stable but down, at least in real, inflation-adjusted terms. But the cycle turned from a "soft" to a "hard" market in late 2000. . . . "The hard phase of the insurance cycle clobbers American businesses and professions every ten to fifteen years," said Hunter.

More after the jump.  Links at the Silentweb

There's more...

Abandoning Gun Control

[This started as a comment in Chris's main-page post.]

The numbers on guns, per year, from
Fatal accidents: 1,100
Suicides:  18,000
Homicides:  14,000

Why do liberals and progressives want gun control?  To reduce gun-related violence and deaths.  Chris asks, rightly, whether gun control measures actually accomplish this goal.  I think the answer has to be: "some, but only a little bit." So if it's not really that effective, why do we do it?

I think there's three sources of this argument:

[more after the jump]

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Boston Paper: Long Lines Cost Kerry the Election

(via Rick Hasen's Election Law Blog:)

Boston Phoenix: Questioning Ohio

Questioning Ohio
No controversy this time? Think again.


[ . . . . ]

But there are at least two valid reasons why we should keep our eyes trained on November 2. First, a Phoenix analysis suggests that more Ohioans may have tried to vote for Kerry than for Bush, and couldn't -- in which case by rights W. should be packing his bags and shredding his files, rather than plotting his second-term agenda.

Additional text after the jump...

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No Mandate: 2004 EV Cartogram Maps (FIXED LINKS)

Here's a link to my two maps.   One is by EV size, the other by population.  Really, it's still a 50-50 nation.

I'd post them in this Diary, but graphics are disabled.

My blog: the Silentweb

A DailyKos front-page diary also has a great link to several cartograms at the U. Michigan

Update [2004-11-8 10:1:37 by Silent E]: Links fixed

GOP 2006 Dream: 60 in the Senate

I warn you now: we cannot play too much hardball in the Senate.  All this talk from the GOP about rewriting Senate rules has a serious undercurrent:

In 2004, Bush won 31 states.  If the Senate were to split along those lines - Dems retake New England, GOP the north plains, etc. - the GOP would get 60+ seats.  Collectively, Dems hold 4 of the six seats in Montana and the Dakotas.  Can we afford to lose them by forcing an endless stream of party-line votes?

In 2006 we are vulnerable again.  18 Dem seats are up for re-election, against only 15 GOP seats.  Those include solid red-state seats in:

  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • West Virginia

as well as red swing states
  • Florida
  • New Mexico
  • Wisconsin

Blue State GOP seats are limited to:
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Maine

Bush and the House and Senate GOP will push hard on this - they will want to force as many difficult votes as they can.  They will calculate that even if they lose some of their Blue state seats, those northeastern Reps are all soft moderates.  They'd rather replace them with some real fire-breathers.  At a minimum, they can polarize the country further, and they might increase their majority again.

Sign from God to the Palestinians

Occured to me last night:  this was the sign from God.

Wednesday: Bush wins re-election.
Thursday: Arafat in a coma.

It doesn't much clearer than that.  Now if only we can figure out what it means.

Help Wanted


Moderate popular Democratic governor of
mid-sized Red state.  Send resume and
state's electoral value by email to:

Equal Opportunity Notice:
Applicant need not be a Southerner,
but how many mid-sized northern Red
states are there?

Can Kerry Win Provisionals

[I was finishing this up when I saw the concession news.  It's closer than Kerry thinks.  A LOT closer.]

TAPPED has an interesting point about the breakdown of provisional ballots.  According to Ohio's 2004 election results, the county-by-county breakdown of provisional ballots does not obviously favor Kerry.  For example, there are almost 24,800 from Cuyahoga County (central Cleveland).  If the provisional ballots follow the popular returns, Kerry would net fewer than 20,000 additional votes.

But: Ohio Sec. State Blackwell has said that 90% of 2000 ballots went Dem.  Hmm... what was the county-by-county breakdown in 2000?  In 2000, there were about 100,000 provisional ballots counted (numbers range from 98 to 108K); in 2004, there are probably about 150,000 (10 counties have not yet reported).  

Cleveland: The Cleveland Plain Dealer says that of in 2000, there were only 23,000 provisional ballots from Cuyahoga county (central Cleveland).  Increase of about 8%.

Athens: Dan Tokaji at OSU says Athens County (home to Dem college town of Ohio University) only had 1200 provisional ballots cast.  This year, there are 2500.  More than doubles!

Columbus: The Columbus Dispatch reports that in 2000, Franklin County issued about 12,630 provisional ballots, of which 10,168 were valid.  This year, there are 14,400 issued.  A 14% increase!

Cincinati: The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that there were 16,000 provisionals cast in 2000.  Hamilton County this year accounts for 14,400.  That's an 11% increase.

The key result is that it doesn't matter that the provisional ballots are spread all over the state - that's what happened in 2000, and Gore still got a huge percentage of them.  Kerry could do the same.

GOP Spin: Florida Felon Voters?

Expect the wingnuts to go overboard on this one.  And, as usual, expect few of them to actually read the story...

The article points out that the GOP's list is based on the Florida Sec of State's flawed felon database, which means that many of the people on the GOP's felon-voter-list' are actually ALLOWED to vote.  (Even if they were convicted of felonies, they have had voting rights officially reinstated).

Four people are mentioned in the article by name.

  1.  GOP Mistake: voter who had his rights restored, votes Kerry.
  2.  GOP Mistake: voter who had his rights resoterd, votes Bush.
  3.  Actual felon, fruadulently voted for Kerry.
  4.  Actual felon, fraudulently voted for Bush.

GOP error rate? 50%.
Net fraudulent votes for Kerry?  ZERO

(via Rick Hasen's ElectionLawBLog) St. Petersburg Times:

"GOP: Florida Felons Already Voting"

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Republican Party said Thursday that more than 900 felons already have voted illegally or requested absentee ballots, triggering another controversy over the party's aggressive efforts to identify Floridians who might be unqualified to vote.

There's more...

5 Votes: the margins of defeat in Florida 2000

5 VOTES: Understanding Florida, 2000

Here's a game to play with your favorite winger:

Q: What was the real margin in Florida 2000, before the U.S. Supreme Court sElected the pResident?  
A: 5 votes.

NEVER FORGET - NEVER AGAIN  (read the rest and recommend: it's long, but good)

There's more...


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