Tyler Cowen does some cursory research and suggests that health insurers may not be all that profitable. Thus, the implication seems to be, they must not be the villain that would-be reformers sometimes make them out to be. But their profitability is not the crux of the problem; profits may be held down by the effectiveness of competition from other insurers. And it is this competition that then prompts their most egregious practices, such as rescission. It’s not the level of their profits, it’s the fact that are a for-profit concern that rubs reformers who want a public option, I suspect.
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Like the Season
Releasing: 20 October
Seattle singer/songwriter Josh Ottum has his debut album Like The Season marked for release on October 20th.
The 12-song album is what Ottum calls a collection of “personal greatest hits”. To help with this, Ottum got together with drummer James McAlister (Sufjan Stevens, Richard Swift), multi-instrumentalist Casey Foubert (Pedro the Lion, Sufjan Stevens) and engineer Jon Ervie (Modest Mouse, the Presidents of the United States of America).
The singer has come far from his childhood aspirations—making instructional golf videos in his backyard and sending promotional photos of staged skateboard moves to famous skateboard companies. Since delving into music, Ottum has toured with the likes of Alexi Murdoch, Stereolab, Cold War Kids, Rosie Thomas, Midlake, the Sea and Cake.
The first single, “It’s Alright” is now available.
01 It’s Alright
02 The Easy Way Out
03 Who Left the Lights On?
04 Pipe Dreams
05 Freedom is as Thick as a Heart
06 If this Mirror Could Only Talk
07 Having Your Around
08 Like Ourselves
09 My Book
10 Follow Me
11 Heaven the Great Cocoon
12 Do You Really Want to Know?
Everything Comes and Goes
Releasing: 10 November
When I think of Michelle Branch’s forthcoming country album, Everything Comes and Goes, I think of a conversation about God I had with an old girlfriend. I said that I didn’t believe but thought that true belief exists as a part of someone, on an essential, inviolable level, and there’s nothing anyone can say or do to compromise it. She looked at me like I was a third-degree blockhead, so I conceded that yes, perhaps the belief or disbelief that at first blush seems so essential and inviolable is actually the product of eons of cultural conditioning, concerted assaults from sinister, powerful forces in the world; this made sense intellectually, but was still a viscerally unsatisfying concession.
Judging from her new single, “Sooner or Later” (not a cover of the 1971 Grass Roots hit), Michelle Branch country songs aren’t all that different from Michelle Branch pop songs. The guitars are a bit twangier, and when she pronounces “about” it sounds more like “abayowt”, which is not a word, but the chords are still simple, and the lyrics are still melodramatic in so calculated of a way as to remain completely unobtrusive.
It won’t be her first country crossover effort (see: the Wreckers’ Stand Still, Look Pretty), and she’s still cooing just as coyly as she was when she first came out with whatever song it was that made so many of the shy brunette girls in my high school class want to learn guitar. She was speaking to people then and she’ll speak to people now. All the PR dollars in the world can’t mess with that certain je ne sais qoui that connects artist and patron: you’re going to love the new Michelle Branch, or you’re not. It comes out November 10th.
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac
Releasing: 18 December 2009
Set in Roman Egypt, Agora concerns a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity with the hopes of achieving freedom while also falling in love with his master, the famous philosopher and atheist Hypatia of Alexandria.
Please take a step back so that American audiences may begin mass exiting the theater. But seriously….
This is the second English language film from acclaimed Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar, whose first- The Others, was an enormous critical and box-office success. Will he be able to repeat that with Agora? Well, early reviews have been generally positive and have not given much reason for audiences to suffer through another Troy-esque debacle. And although it sounds as if the stunning visuals and great performances (led by the stunning and talented Rachel Weisz) don’t quite overcome the bloated 144-minute running time or a sometimes unfocused script, this certainly seems like one to mark the calendar for.