Posts Tagged ‘“Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?”’
* Another great Muppet thing that never was: Douglas Adams and Jim Henson tried to develop a TV special about the Muppet Institute of Technology.
* Given Politco’s track record, I think we can expect Mitt to make a comeback in the next few days.
* The Boy Scouts have a pedophile blacklist dating back to 1919. Of course, they never actually involved the cops, or, you know, did anything about it. Heavens no.
* Will Self, “The Trouble with My Blood.”
* And just for laughs: A spokesman for Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) is facing criticism after advocating violence against female Democratic senators in a Facebook post.
My question today… when is Tommy boy going to weigh in on all the Lilly Ledbetter hypocrites who claim to be fighting the War on Women? Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.
“Acid in Female Senators’ Faces: Opinions Differ.”
* …when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.
* …according to this New York Times piece, working conditions have gotten so bad that advertisers can now depict utopia as… taking a lunch break. But of course it’d never work in practice. Be realistic.
* Finding out Talking Points Memo pays bonuses for traffic is like finding out Santa Claus is as crooked as everybody else. Terrible.
* SMBC presents a superhero for our times: the Iron Sociopath.
* Fraggle Rock‘s Dozers will get their own TV show. Yes, please.
* Next up in the “definitive takedown” series that has made An und für sich so rightly famous and so terribly feared: the ontology of Aaron Sorkin.
One could criticize Sorkin’s ontology for lacking depth and nuance and view the family structure as artificial and forced, but that is not a flaw so much as the entire point. Every Aaron Sorkin show starts from the same radical subtraction and carries the same basic axioms to the same absolutely rigorous conclusion. Sorkin’s universe is one in which a repeated reassertion of a rudimentary structure is the sole alternative to absolute chaos. Given the absolute lack of inherent “character traits” or “motivations,” their stereotyped relationships are the only thing keeping the “characters” from descending into a total — albeit clever — glossolalia.
* Pennsylvania looks to disfranchise 10% of its population to prevent voting fraud it can’t prove has ever happened. Why not just have the military install Romney as king and get this over with? It’d be quicker and more honest.
* I’m an academic, I don’t do it for the money: In Defence of Unpaid Academic Positions. Note: not actually a defense!
* What this means is that in graduate school we get used to working for nothing, even as we’re expected to invest heavily in expensive professional development activities. By attending conferences, we pay for the opportunity to present our work to our (future) peers, who are the primary “gatekeepers” to academe. This system helps to perpetuate privilege because only “those who have afforded to work for free will get jobs. The vicious circle is maddening” (Ernesto Priego, July 2, 2011, Twitter).
* Of course, there are perks: Drunk professor forces students to sit through 23-hour-long science exam.
* This time our New Four Horsemen–who claim to be market-oriented Republican justices–struck at an approach supported by the market-oriented Republican presidents who appointed them, thought up by market-oriented Republican ideologues to be the market-oriented Republican approach to keeping the market-oriented health insurance system from collapse. Fred Rodell understood that supreme court justices are for the most part moral and political actors first and text- and precedent-oriented legal technicians second.
* And on the actually-existing-media-bias beat: just don’t mention the science.
Not only did John Roberts apparently switch votes, he apparently wrote the bulk of both decisions.
* I definitely picked the wrong week to stay off the Internet: SCOTUS plays the best and biggest game of “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional” of all time. It is! “The decision was 4-1-4.” Why Did Roberts Do It? How and Why Did Justice Roberts Do It? The right goes bonkers, claims Roberts is mentally ill. Did Roberts change his vote at the last minute? Did he? Did he? The long, sad twilight of Anthony Kennedy. Antonin Scalia, ranting old man. Did Scalia Scare Off Roberts? Ilya Shapiro: We Won Everything but the Case. And Ginsberg kills it. Ruth Bader Ginsberg, hero. More (oh, so much more) from SCOTUSblog.
* Should we be surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual mandate and most of the Affordable Care Act? From the perspective of constitutional doctrine, the Supreme Court’s decision follows from 75 years of unbroken precedents.
* The important questions: Two-Thirds of Americans Think Barack Obama Is Better Suited to Handle an Alien Invasion Than Mitt Romney.
* The important questions: Did Nick Fury break the law when he refused to nuke New York?
* Jimmy Carter: The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights. Abandoning? Champion? Human rights? Let’s start over.
* College students are facing a roughly $20 billion increase in the cost of their federal loans, despite a much-heralded deal in Washington to contain the expense of higher education.
Starting Sunday, students hoping to earn the graduate degrees that have become mandatory for many white-collar jobs will become responsible for paying the interest on their federal loans while they are in school and immediately after they graduate. That means they’ll have to pay an extra $18 billion out of pocket over the next decade.
Meanwhile, the government will no longer cover the interest on undergraduate loans during the six months after students finish school. That’s expected to cost them more than $2 billion.
* Watch out: here comes the Big Rip.
* Jesus wept: “We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive,” the platform says, adding that it supports teaching “common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups.” In Arizona, where Republicans banned multicultural programs, students in those programs actually out-performed their peers. Texas Republicans also believe “controversial theories” such evolution and climate change — which aren’t controversial at all — “should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced.” There’s more: the GOP also opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” because they “focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
‘If Someone Like Scalia Can … Decide That Wickard Isn’t a Binding Precedent, Then the Idea of Binding Precedent Is Essentially Empty’
Justice Scalia spent his career as a lawyer, law professor and judge in that legal world – a world in which Wickard was no more eligible for serious reconsideration than Brown v. Board of Education or Marbury v. Madison are today. It ought to be obvious that if someone like Scalia can, at this point in a half-century-long career, decide that Wickard isn’t a binding precedent, then the idea of binding precedent is essentially empty, which in turn highlights the inevitable emptiness of the idea of any useful distinction between law and politics.
But this is not obvious, least of all to Justice Scalia, who I have no real doubt actually believes the things he says and writes, no matter how many times his public acts contradict his avowed beliefs. Scalia believes in a version of the rule of law whose existence is refuted by nothing so well as his own career. And that ultimately is more disturbing than a career dedicated to the most self-consciously manipulative Machiavellianism.
* We move more earth and stone than all the world’s rivers. We are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere all life breathes. We are on pace to eat to death half of the other life currently sharing the planet with us. There is nothing on Earth untouched by man — whether it be the soot from fossil fuels darkening polar snows or the very molecules incorporated into a tree trunk. Humanity has become a global force whose exploits will be written in rock for millennia. Welcome to the Anthropocene.
High quality liberal arts on-line education is not cheap: where it has been modestly successful in providing a decent education, as at the UK’s Open University, it does not break even–far from it. Why? Open University courses are built by teams of researchers, are annually refreshed, and are intensively staffed by high-level academics. OU is an expensive tax-supported operation, designed from the beginning for workers and other students unable to leave homes or jobs to obtain a college education.
* “Julian Assange” is a bit, right? It’s got to be a bit. He wouldn’t be the first person to live for decades in an embassy.
* Why is spam so terrible? A new paper argues it’s a way of weeding out people too smart to fall for spam.
* And I must admit, I’m a little verklempt: Life in Hell has finished.
Ezra Klein, fresh from arguing that political leaders’ utterances don’t matter, explains how political leaders’ utterances moved anti-mandate legal arguments from the fringe to the mainstream. Meanwhile, here’s Kevin Drum:
If the court does overturn the mandate, it’s going to be hard to know how to react. It’s been more than 75 years since the Supreme Court overturned a piece of legislation as big as ACA, and I can’t think of any example of the court overturning landmark legislation this big based on a principle as flimsy and manufactured as activity vs. inactivity. When the court overturned the NRA in 1935, it was a shock — but it was also a unanimous decision and, despite FDR’s pique, not really a surprising ruling given existing precedent. Overturning ACA would be a whole different kind of game changer. It would mean that the Supreme Court had officially entered an era where they were frankly willing to overturn liberal legislation just because they don’t like it. Pile that on top of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United and you have a Supreme Court that’s pretty explicitly chosen up sides in American electoral politics. This would be, in no uncertain terms, no longer business as usual.
* An inspiring New York Times op-ed argues we should just let go ahead and let the banks own students outright.
* Let’s admit it: The US is at war in Yemen, too.
* “I have some grudging admiration for them,” said Akhil Amar, a professor of law and political science at Yale and author of a book on the Constitution. “All the more so because it’s such a bad argument. They have been politically brilliant. They needed a simplistic metaphor, and in broccoli they got it.”
* A USA TODAY investigation, based on court records and interviews with government officials and attorneys, found more than 60 men who went to prison for violating federal gun possession laws, even though courts have since determined that it was not a federal crime for them to have a gun.
Still, the Justice Department has not attempted to identify the men, has made no effort to notify them, and, in a few cases in which the men have come forward on their own, has argued in court that they should not be released.
* Interview with a john. What’s most striking, I think, is the extent to which specific knowledge of these women’s sometimes brutal exploitation has no apparent effect upon his behavior at all.
* Chilling fact of the night: “Texas uses fourth grade reading scores to project the number of prison cells they’re going to need 10 years later.”
* LGM has your Wisconsin pre-postmortem.
* And tonight’s dystopia: Behold the London Olympics’ Creepy ‘Brand Exclusion Zone.’
The most carefully policed Brand Exclusion Zone will be around the Olympic Park, and extend up to 1km beyond its perimeter, for up to 35 days. Within this area, officially called an Advertising and Street Trade Restrictions venue restriction zone, no advertising for brands designated as competing with those of the official Olympic sponsors will be allowed. (Originally, as detailed here, only official sponsors were allowed to advertise, but leftover sites are now available). This will be supported by preventing spectators from wearing clothing prominently displaying competing brands, or from entering the exclusion zone with unofficial snack and beverage choices. Within the Zone, the world’s biggest McDonald’s will be the only branded food outlet, and Visa will be the only payment card accepted.
* If the Court does declare the act unconstitutional, it would have ruled that Congress lacks the power to adopt what it thought the most effective, efficient, fair, and politically workable remedy—not because that national remedy would violate anyone’s rights, or limit anyone’s liberty in ways a state government could not, or be otherwise unfair, but for the sole reason that in the Court’s opinion our constitution is a strict and arbitrary document that denies our national legislature the power to enact the only politically possible national program. If that opinion were right, we would have to accept that our eighteenth- century constitution is not the enduring marvel of statesmanship we suppose but an anachronistic, crippling burden we cannot escape, a straitjacket that makes it impossible for us to achieve a just national society.
* Guantanamo Lawyers: Obama Gets Away With Legal Moves Bush Wouldn’t Have.
* Justice Department officials have known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people, but prosecutors failed to notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled.
Joke’s on you, Henry Paul Monaghan! Turns out the Constitution is just a piece of paper after all.
* The Atlantic profiles Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid.
* Upcoming energy collapse got you down? The Army is ready.
* And Republicans and Democrats finally agree! Gallup: Mitt Romney least popular Republican nominee in modern history within own party.
We can argue about whether President Jefferson was right to try to impeach Justice Chase. But there’s no question that he was right to say that impeachment is an option for justices who undermine constitutional values. There are other options, as well. We might amend the Constitution to establish judicial term limits. Or we might increase the number of justices to dilute the influence of its current members (though FDR could tell you how that turned out). In the end, however, it is the duty of the people to protect the Constitution from the court. Social progress cannot be held hostage by five unelected men.