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[snip] "Medical justice today . . . is worse than random," writes Jeffrey Pariser, executive director of the legal-reform group Common Good, in Legal Times (June 28). "Most errors go uncompensated. At the same time, according to a Harvard medical practice study, 80 percent of claims are made against doctors who made no medical error at all. . . . Our nation needs a reliable system of medical justice--one that protects patients against bad practices, compensates victims of malpractice adequately, protects caregivers who act reasonably, and interprets standards of care so that all participants know where they stand and where they must improve." He suggests that specialized health courts might fill this bill.

[snip] "Many university graduates have been taught just enough economics to be dangerous," reflects Daniel Immergluck in his new book, Credit to the Community: Community Reinvestment and Fair Lending Policy in the United States. "One thing that the recent devotion to free markets has done is conceal the highly political nature of banking and credit markets. . . . In fact, government agencies and actions created, subsidized, and institutionalized most of the fundamental infrastructure of today's credit markets. This includes the long-term fully amortizing mortgage; the secondary markets that make mortgages cheaper and more plentiful; the mortgage-backed security, which has enabled the growth of entirely new lending industries; and all sorts of standardization and discipline that have enhanced the stability of the financial services industry. The prime rate, the term loan, the adjustable-rate mortgage, the junk bond, and other financial devices came into existence only after legislation was passed allowing these concepts to become reality."

[snip] Sleep soundly. According to a September 14 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission "is not following up to verify that all violations of security requirements [at nuclear power plants] have been corrected or taking steps to make 'lessons learned' from inspections available to other NRC regional offices and nuclear power plants."

[snip] Born to be tall, born to be rich. "Inequalities between families persist strongly from generation to generation," writes economist Bhashkar Mazumder in the "Chicago Fed Letter" (December), reporting on his research showing that about half of the earnings inequality in the U.S. can be explained by family and community influences during childhood. "This is roughly the same magnitude as the sibling correlation in height."

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