Archive for June, 2012

The most over-the-top response to ObamaCare ruling

What’s your favorite reaction to Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare?

  • A. Glenn Beck’s $30 T-shirt offer, because no tragedy is so tragic that it can’t be used to separate a few suckers from their dollars.
  • B. Rep. Jean Schmidt spiking the football … in her own end zone.
  • C. Roy Nicholson’s channeling of Jefferson Davis by way of Blanche DuBois.
  • D. Matt Davis’ rendition of “The Song of Angry Men” from Les Miserables
  • E. Rand Paul’s failure to pass a vision test.
  • F. Ben Shapiro and the stupidest tweet of the week. No exaggeration.

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I’m trying to decide which right-wing reaction to Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare is my favorite, and I just can’t settle on one winner. So maybe you could help me.

Here are your options:


A. An angry Glenn Beck — but I repeat myself — referring to Chief Justice John Roberts as “the Dread Pirate Roberts” and announcing that his website would be selling T-shirts featuring …

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A little music, and a little perspective

It’s been a rough if interesting week in the world of politics and here on the blog as well. Emotions have flared, expectations have been dashed. Time for the healing power of music, I would say.

But as important as politics might seem to some, a little perspective might be in order. I’ve got a couple of folks in my personal life — relatives by marriage, technically, but over the years they’ve become much more than that description could ever imply — who are facing health issues. One of them has already gone through the fire, so to speak, and has emerged safely on the other side; the second is about to begin that voyage, and we’re gonna make sure she comes through it as well.

So … this one is for Wendy, and for her best friend Ted.

– Jay Bookman

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The orphaned RomneyCare thrives nonetheless

Its daddy may have abandoned his child and repudiated all paternal responsibility, yet RomneyCare lives.

Kennedy successor

“Here in Massachusetts for the last six years using a model just like national health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, we have reached 99.8 percent of children, over 98 percent of our overall population with insurance. We are healthier by any number of measures, the cost of health care has come down on a per capita basis, it has not busted the budget. There are more businesses offering insurance to their employees today than before health insurance went into effect, so all the list of horrors that Gov. Romney talked about, that the congressional Republicans have talked about were not actually reality here in Massachusetts where we have tried that.”

– Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick

Some additional facts and figures:

– As Patrick indicated above, less than 2 percent of Massachusetts residents lack health insurance. Nationally, the average is roughly 16 percent …

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Supreme Court strips Romney of favorite argument

So how does Mitt Romney, the architect of RomneyCare, attack ObamaCare from this point forward?

Until now, Romney has claimed that the individual mandate is fine as policy when implemented at the state level. In fact, he has said repeatedly that he believes he did the right thing as governor of Massachusetts.

In a GOP debate in January, for example, Romney defended his plan on its merits, arguing that “everyone has a requirement to either buy it or pay the state for the cost of providing them free care. Because the idea of people getting something for free when they could afford to care for themselves is something that we decided in our state was not a good idea.”

However, while Romney argued that such an approach was right for Massachusetts, he also argued that it would be unconstitutional to implement it at the federal level. That was his get-out-of-jail card; that was the core of the distinction that he attempted to draw between RomneyCare and ObamaCare:

What was good …

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Chief Justice Roberts singlehandedly saves ObamaCare

The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 margin, sidesteps the Commerce Clause debate and validates the individual mandate as a constitutional exercise of Congress’ taxing power.

As a result, almost all of the act is upheld, thanks to Chief Justice Roberts siding with the majority. But by saving the law through the taxation argument, the court sidesteps endorsing an expansion of the commerce clause.

Fancy judicial footwork by the chief justice, I’d say.

The four justices in the minority wanted to toss the whole thing out, which again speaks to the role that the chief justice played. He wasn’t willing to go there — too radical an outcome for him, apparently — and he found a way to avoid it.

In fact, the deeper I read in the opinion and the dissents, the more apparent it is that Roberts undertook a major rescue operation. He was not willing to let the court take what he deemed to be a radical, even partisan course that would undermine its institutional credibility.

This ruling is as much …

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Will the Supremes be ObamaCare’s real ‘death panel’?

It is, if you think about it, kind of ironic.

As ObamaCare was being passed, conservatives complained that the entire U.S. health care industry was being remade in secret with the results being “crammed down their throats” by a majority allegedly uninterested in negotiation. Little to none of that was true, but in this debate truth had been pummeled, kicked and left to die in an alleyway months earlier anyway.

Now those same conservatives eagerly await while the entire U.S. health care industry is remade in true secrecy, by unchallengeable edict issued from private chambers by nine robed figures haughtily and altogether immune to public opinion.

Once the announcement is “handed down” — a telling phrase, that one — sometime around 10:15, I’ll post a running analysis as I speed-read through the opinion, much as we handled the immigration ruling earlier this week.

It’ll be days before the dust settles on this one, and months and even years before the wounds from it heal. It has …

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How do you say ‘Energiewende’ in American?

The answer is, you don’t.

The Germans have a reputation as hard-headed, practical and technically capable, and that reputation is being borne out — so far — as Germany moves quickly toward green energy. In 2000, the highly industrialized country produced just 6 percent of its electricity through renewable sources such as wind and solar; by 2011, that number had jumped to 20 percent.

And as Technology Review points out, the biggest step is yet to come, with Germany aiming to meet 35 percent of its electricity needs through renewables by 2020:

In 2010, the German government declared that it would undertake what has popularly come to be called an Energiewende — an energy turn, or energy revolution. This switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy is the most ambitious ever attempted by a heavily industrialized country: It aims to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent by mid-century.

The goal was challenging, but it was made somewhat …

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GOP: Massive campaign donations should be secret

From the LA Times:

“WASHINGTON — During their long campaign to loosen rules on campaign money, conservatives argued that there was a simpler way to prevent corruption: transparency. Get rid of limits on contributions and spending, they said, but make sure voters know where the money is coming from.

Today, with those fundraising restrictions largely removed, many conservatives have changed their tune. They now say disclosure could be an enemy of free speech.

High-profile donors could face bullying and harassment from liberals out to “muzzle” their opponents, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a recent speech.

Corporations could be subject to boycotts and pickets, warned the Wall Street Journal editorial page this spring.

Democrats “want to intimidate people into not giving to these conservative efforts,” said Republican strategist Karl Rove on Fox News. “I think it’s shameful.”

The Times’ story goes on to document a wide-ranging effort by conservative groups …

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A peek under the robes of an increasingly partisan court


" … just another political body"

In another 5-4 vote Monday, and without bothering to hear arguments in the case, the U.S. Supreme Court blithely tossed out a longstanding Montana law that barred corporations from making campaign contributions in state elections. States’ rights, it seems, must bow to corporate power in the Roberts court.

Or as Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock noted afterward, “It is a sad day for our democracy and for those of us who still want to believe that the United States Supreme Court is anything more than another political body.”

Bullock’s condemnation of the nation’s highest court as just “another political body” may sound harsh to some ears, but it is depressingly accurate. The Montana law had been on the books for 100 years, and for most of those 100 years its constitutionality had not been called into serious question. It was considered well within established law.

The absurd notions that have now forced its demise — corporations are people …

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Supreme Court restricts impact of Ga. immigration law

NOTE: This post contains some material previously published on this blog. It is posted here as the electronic version of today’s AJC column.

Publicly, Gov. Nathan Deal embraced Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on illegal immigration, claiming that “it appears the court has upheld the major thrust of our state’s statute: That states have the right to assist in enforcing federal immigration law.”

However, there’s a noticeable undertone of caution in Deal’s statement, and in similar statements by Attorney General Sam Olens. Both men seem to realize that when read in its entirety, the court’s 5-3 opinion to overturn much of Arizona’s controversial immigration law also spells trouble for Georgia’s law.

As Deal notes, the court did recognize that “states have the right to assist” in enforcing federal immigration law. However, the key word in that phrase is “assist.” The five-justice majority was quite clear that the federal government has total authority over immigration law, and …

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