Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Politics Thursday

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* I’m shocked, shocked to find Mitt Romney caught being disingenuous about health care reform. Jonathan Chait has more lying liars on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, while Scott Lemieux explains another reason why even a radically activist Roberts court would be reluctant to declare the mandate unconstitutional:

But let’s say that Bush v. Gore vindicates the strongest form of legal realism and that we will soon see that Supreme Court justices are purely political actors. Would striking down the individual mandate ultimately advance conservative policy goals? Almost certainly not. On the one hand, it would be easy for Congress to get around the decision by simply structuring the tax differently and constitutionally, restoring the status quo. But what if Congress can’t? In some ways, this would be worse for conservatives — unless Congress was also willing to repeal very popular regulations (which even conservatives concede is a non-starter), the result will be the bankruptcy of insurance companies and a paved road to socialized insurance.

* Rachel Maddow had a pair of very striking pieces on right-wing incitements to violence last night.

* The health care reform reconciliation sidecar goes back to the House for technical reasons. It’s expected to be about a few hours delay. Incidentally, Steve Benen has issued marching orders on what we’re supposed to call the new program: ACA, the Affordable Care Act.

* The latest support for my theory that the GOP can’t hold its perma-No in the wake of Obama’s health care victory comes from Bob Corker (R-TN):

“This is so unlike the health care debate,” said Corker, noting that some of his Republican colleagues have made misjudgments on that point over the last month. “I don’t think people realize that this is an issue that almost every American wants to see passed. There’ll be a lot of pressure on every senator and every House member to pass financial regulation.”

* On the other hand, Republicans are apparently planning another Bunning-style freakout, this time starring Tom Coburn. In other Senate obstructionism news, the Republican objecting to any Senate committee business continuing past 2 PM was North Carolina’s own Richard Burr. Here’s still more on the breakdown of Senate procedure from Donkeylicious.

* How the Times‘ bias killed ACORN.

* And an amazing story from local alt-weekly Independent Weekly: N.C. eugenics survivors seek justice.

At 82 years old, Agnes is not sure she’ll live to see when or if the proposed compensation is paid. She appreciates the efforts being made in North Carolina to reconcile its eugenic past by acknowledging what she and thousands of others in our state went through. “It’s nice to know there are people out there that really care about your rights.”

Elaine, Agnes, Willis and Nial wonder why the American values of equal protection and individual liberty did not apply to them, and there are no simple answers to give them. They were caught within an ideological framework that said it’s acceptable to toss aside ethics and trample over the most basic of human rights if someone is perceived to not meet certain social expectations.

Now in her mid-50s, Elaine Riddick is one of the younger survivors of North Carolina’s eugenic sterilization program. From her apartment on the 32nd floor of an Atlanta skyrise, she has a beautiful view of the entire city. She says she has been able to obtain some measure of peace, which she attributes to her faith in God and finally letting go of the self-blame that she carried for years. Her adult son, Tony Riddick, whom she describes as “brilliant,” still lives in Winfall and owns his own computer electronics company.

Elaine has a loving boyfriend who, she says, takes good care of her and has a positive relationship with her son and siblings. Still, sometimes the cruelties from her past come back to haunt her. “Sometimes I think, what is happiness? Am I really happy? I don’t think I will ever be happy, because of what they took from me.”

Elaine was sterilized without her consent (or even knowledge) after giving birth to a child at age 14. She had been raped.

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