Links, 2/24/10

Busy. Not too much to share:

  • Megan McArdle, “Secretary LaHood Says We Don’t Need to Make Tradeoffs between Safety and Utility” – from the article: This is about the tenor of most of the hearing–I haven’t seen so much posturing since I graduated Miss Elliot’s Charm School for Gentlewomen and Girls.  It’s clear to me that there have been some real problems with Toyota cars.  But it also seems like the hysteria and the hype are rapidly becoming unmoored from any actual danger.
  • Jay Cost, “The Return of ObamaCare, Part 1” – How Congress’ reconciliation rules work. From the article: Early in the year, Congress passes a budget resolution that sets revenue and spending targets that instructed committees are supposed to meet. The House and Senate Budget Committees can then compile the committee-drafted products into a reconciliation bill. Reconciliation is optional, though in recent years it has become pretty regular.Reconciliation bills have a privileged status on the Senate floor. There is no debate on whether to begin consideration of a reconciliation bill. Proposed amendments must be germane to the bill. Debate on the bill and any amendments to it is limited to 20 hours. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “vote-a-rama,” this is where it comes from: when the time limit for debate on a reconciliation bill has been reached, remaining amendments are voted on in quick succession. All of this is designed to facilitate Congress in making a budget plan, then actually sticking to it.
  • Safety considerations re: troops in Afghanistan – using more air power, despite the recent accidental killings of civilians, may not be a bad idea when all things are considered (h/t Josh). Moreover, snipers are a huge threat to Marines currently. Better helmets are a must (h/t David).
  •, “Even more on the Coming War Over Public-Sector Pensions” – self-explanatory.

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