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Premature postmortems

Grantland Rice, a popular American sportswriter of the first half of the 20th century, gave us an often-quoted homily to sportsmanship: “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, he writes — not that you won or lost — but how you played the Game.” In losing American political campaigns, Rice’s second line is often changed to “he writes not that you won or lost but how you place blame.”

In Georgia, a capitalist struggles

MCDONOUGH, Ga. — In a sun-dappled square decorated with scores of entrants in the community’s Halloween scarecrow contest, a balky sound system enables, if barely, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate to exhort a few hundred people, mostly supporters, to urge neighbors to vote to reduce Sen. Harry Reid to minority leader. The exhorter is David Perdue, a glutton for punishment who has been campaigning incessantly for 15 months and may be doing so for two more.

Dreading Ebola

One of the profound challenges of our age is how to evaluate risk from complex threats. At one level, experts provide scientific facts about, say, the transmissibility of a disease, and they can quantify the prospects for contagion. At another level, human emotions measure risk with irrational but powerful gut feelings.

Why partyism is wrong

A college student came to me recently with a quandary. He’d spent the summer interning at a conservative think tank. Now he was applying to schools and companies where most people were liberal. Should he remove the internship from his resume?

No easy way to put a lid on health costs

Critics of the 2010 Affordable Care Act complain that it doesn’t do much to control the health care costs that are becoming unsustainable for families and businesses. In fact, the law does many small things; the latest is the grant program announced recently to teach Medicare and Medicaid doctors new ways to offer higher-quality, better-coordinated, more cost-effective care. The four-year goal is to turn $840 million in grants into $5 billion in savings — a number that sounds big until it’s compared with the nearly $4 trillion in annual health care spending in the United States. The modesty of the effort reflects the reality that there’s just no easy way to put a lid on health care costs.