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Here’s what action on privatization will get you:

David Cameron has squandered the Conservatives’ new year lead as voters turn against his health reforms, according to a Guardian/ICM poll. The Tories are down by four percentage points in a single month, slipping from 40% to 36% since January.

Labour is one point ahead, on 37%, with Ed Miliband’s party up from 35% last month. The Liberal Democrats slip back two to stand at 14%, and the combined total of the smaller parties has climbed by four points, to 13%.

As the prime minister hosted a special NHS summit, which excluded the professional bodies most opposed to his health and social care bill, the public is siding with those royal medical colleges who want the legislation ditched.

An outright majority of respondents, 52%, say that the bill – which would overhaul NHS management, increase competition and give family doctors more financial responsibility – should be dropped. That is against 33% who believe it is better to stick with the plans at this stage.

Which is to say, push more costs onto providers and introduce some kind of a Medicare Advantage-like program to complement, shall we say, the NHS (MA “competed” with Medicare at 150% the cost or so). But once again, the lesson is reaffirmed that steps toward privatization just aren’t going to be stomached by the voters of this or really any other electorate.

As usual, the worst news here is for the Liberal Democrats. But this would be a golden opportunity to tear their misbegotten alliance asunder, if they wanted to. Whatever the logic behind it at first, it’s pretty clear that the new Tories are essentially the same as the old Tories, only with dumber leadership. Even Thatcher never messed with the NHS. Clegg must have decided to go all-in with this alliance, hoping things will get better before it’s too late, but as we Democrats have learned here in the US, passively waiting for the economy to get better isn’t where you want to be in politics.

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Is there anything more irritating that an error message that gives you no information about the error that occurred?

Was it a network error? Is the server down? Is the authentication service not working? Where can I go for more information on the problem? Can I do anything to resolve it?

Speaking as a former programmer, the problem lies mainly  in either laziness or bad customer experience design.

If there was a software user’s bill of rights: fully descriptive and helpful error messages would be at the top of my list. To make it grandma friendly, you could do the explanatory bits via a “more info” link.

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It never ceases to amaze me how much of a mindbogglingly shameless bullshitter you have to be to go into advertising.  I can’t decide whether this quote about Microsoft’s new logo makes me want to throw up or cry:

We wanted the new logo to be both modern and classic by echoing the International Typographic Style (or Swiss design) that has been a great influence on our Metro style design philosophy…

It was important for Microsoft that the new logo didn’t try to emulate faux-industrial design characteristics such as materiality (glass, wood, plastic, etc.). It has motion – aligning with the fast and fluid style you’ll find throughout Windows 8…

Our final goal was for the new logo to be humble, yet confident. Welcoming you in with a slight tilt in perspective and when you change your color, the logo changes to reflect you. It is a “Personal” Computer after all.

Oh, and the logo is shitty too:

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This can’t be good.  It appears that Google+ has been leaking Ezra Klein’s private family photos due to flawed privacy settings.

Since joining Google Plus, I’ve uploaded a couple of photo albums with personal pictures. But I set my permissions very tightly: They’re only visible to a very small number of friends. And, it turns out, the world: Seems that those photos have been turning up in Google image searches. And not just mine: Of people who aren’t even on G+, much less my friends on it.

It’s not a big deal. None of the photos were embarrassing — they’re just shots of family, and private events. And they’re down now. Deleted from G+. And I won’t put any more up. The experience has made me trust this social network quite a lot less. And if you’ve uploaded photos that you don’t mean for the world to be able to search, you may want to run a google image search on yourself and ensure they’re not showing up there.

Beware.

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Via SFist, a very intriguing notion by Tom Goldstein:

But taking all of the criteria into account, as things stand now, there is only one candidate who otherwise fits the bill of the ideal [Supreme Court] nominee:

Kamala Harris (47), Attorney General of California […]

I do not know a ton about Harris personally, but everyone knowledgeable with whom I’ve spoken has been very impressed.  Having won statewide elected office in California, it is unlikely that she has significant skeletons in her closet.  In 2015, she will be fifty years old.  She is regarded as a liberal and death penalty opponent, but her background is almost entirely in law enforcement, and she has written and spoken in great detail about criminal justice policy.  She opposed referenda that would legalize medical marijuana and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants; she prosecuted parents of truant children.  Like the President, she is biracial.  She has also long been well known to the Administration, having been the first California elected official to endorse Barack Obama’s candidacy.  (Her brother-in-law is Assistant Attorney General Tony West.)

He says that the timing would likely be pretty poor, that an opening would most likely occur during Harris’s campaign for re-election as AG or while positioning herself for a run for Governor. So who knows. But she’s definitely an impressive figure that I think would be confirmable. She’s light on judicial experience, but she’s qualified for the job and I like to see some diversity in background on the Court. Citizens United was the product of groupthink to a some degree, I think. Harris’s role in the recent mortgage settlement has definitely attracted quite a bit of attention, and it’ll be great for the state, we could seriously use the money (homeowners in particular will really be helped out by it, and they need it). She’d have a great roll-out, perhaps even better than Sotomayor’s since Harris is more accustomed to operating in the media limelight. Lot of positives there. And I don’t really think the death penalty has much juice in it left as a polarizing issue–her failed GOP opponent in 2010 went at that angle so ferociously, one could have worried he was going to load up a Baretta with hollowpoints and go up to SF to prove a point. But I could be wrong about that–where was birth control a month ago?

I’d definitely like to see another Californian on the Court. If freaking Arizona got two Justices for twentysomething years, why can’t we get two for a few years until Tony Kennedy infuriates both sides for the final time? Goldstein also mentions another Californian, Ninth Circuit nominee Jacqueline Nguyen, as a possibility. She is getting bumped up after being appointed to her district judge post by…Barack Obama. Pretty cool if he could push her all the way to the top, no?

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It’s been something of an unusually ranty week for me, which is odd because I’ve been in a better-than-usual mood. So I’m taking a breather and passing on this:

A lavish New York penthouse with panoramic views of Central Park has become the most expensive apartment ever sold in the city.

Russian fertiliser magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev – said to be the world’s 93rd richest man – spent $88m (£56m) buying the Central Park West pad.

It is thought to be for his 22-year-old daughter, Ekaterina Rybolovleva.

The 6,744 sq ft (627 sq m) apartment was sold by American Sandford Weill, a former head of banking giant Citigroup.

The penthouse stands atop 15 Central Park West, a landmark building designed by architect Robert Stern.

I’d definitely recommend clicking through–the floor plan is ridiculous, and this is what the interior looks like:

The inside of the penthouse apartment at 15 Central Park West

Image courtesy of the BBC

I don’t know what 22 year old is going to want alone to live in something that enormous and isolated and imposing. At that age I was renting a room on the Central Coast that was about the size of a mid-range sedan, so I guess I can’t entirely get into that mindset, but still. This is more like Citizen Kane stuff, like where Charles Foster Kane lived before Xanadu. There are plenty of expensive lofts that a billionaire could give to his kid, but I guess none would quite “make the statement” that this one does, and get the guy a lot of ink for being so rich.

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Lev filed this under:  

It’s been something of an unusually ranty week for me, which is odd because I’ve been in a better-than-usual mood. So I’m taking a breather and passing on this:

A lavish New York penthouse with panoramic views of Central Park has become the most expensive apartment ever sold in the city.

Russian fertiliser magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev – said to be the world’s 93rd richest man – spent $88m (£56m) buying the Central Park West pad.

It is thought to be for his 22-year-old daughter, Ekaterina Rybolovleva.

The 6,744 sq ft (627 sq m) apartment was sold by American Sandford Weill, a former head of banking giant Citigroup.

The penthouse stands atop 15 Central Park West, a landmark building designed by architect Robert Stern.

I’d definitely recommend clicking through–the floor plan is ridiculous, and this is what the interior looks like:

The inside of the penthouse apartment at 15 Central Park West

Image courtesy of the BBC

I don’t know what 22 year old is going to want alone to live in something that enormous and isolated and imposing. At that age I was renting a room on the Central Coast that was about the size of a mid-range sedan, so I guess I can’t entirely get into that mindset, but still. This is more like Citizen Kane stuff, like where Charles Foster Kane lived before Xanadu. There are plenty of expensive lofts that a billionaire could give to his kid, but I guess none would quite “make the statement” that this one does, and get the guy a lot of ink for being so rich.

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