50% of Congress Are Millionaires
“The nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics reports at least 268 of the 534 lawmakers were worth an average of $1 million in 2012. These millionaires are the people debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage, which affect people with far fewer resources — it’s no wonder that it seems we’re seeing such a ‘Let them eat cake!’ attitude from many elected officials.”
Maddow: Did Christie Retaliate Over Supreme Court Filibuster?
Why would Christie risk being caught over harassing a small town mayor? Rachel Maddux suggests there is more to it:
“Kansas Court Could Kill the Right to a Decent Public Education”
“In 2012, tea party-aligned legislators in the reliably red state of Kansas, backed by deep-pocketed outside groups, were able to purge Republicans they viewed as insufficiently devoted to Governor Sam Brownback’s (called Brown Shirt by many) right wing agenda. Since then, Kansas, like North Carolina, has become a test bed for conservative policy-making.
Deep spending cuts to education, health care and other social services were central to that agenda. And this month, the Kansas Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in a lawsuit precipitated by those cuts which could have profound consequences for public education in America.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said it will hear a challenge to an Ohio law that forbids candidates and issue groups from making false campaign statements.
The case, involving an anti-abortion group’s claim that Ohio’s False Statement Law violates free speech, will likely be argued in April, with a ruling announced during the last months of the Supreme Court’s term in May or June.”
We could not get SCOTUS to hear a fundamental case concerning the lack of capacity resulting from brain disorders and yet they will hear this nonsense? ~85 case are heard annually by the court.
“More Evidence of the Demobilizing Impact of High Housing Costs“
“Those of you who read Tim Noah’s important article in the November/December 2013 issue of the Washington Monthly will recall his argument that the gap between high housing costs and middle-class incomes is distorting what would otherwise be a market-driven migration of Americans to places with higher wages and more opportunity. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson has more on the housing cost problem.”
“How Bad are Junk Healthcare Polices“
Everyone seems to concentrate on the loss of healthcare policies resulting from Insurance Companies making changes to the low cost policies or canceling them altogether. In either case, what healthcare insurance companies do as well as employers and states; the fault does not lie with the PPACA. Neither does anyone look to see what the policies consisted of in content.
Dianne Barrette’s story was widely covered in the media after she found out that her $54/month policy was getting cancelled and a new one would cost ten times as much. (Red flag alert: Before the ACA’s subsidies, there was no such thing as good individual health insurance for a 56-year-old for $54 a month. Prices like that disappeared a generation ago.) As it turns out, Barrette’s policy would have paid $50 towards doctor visits and some limited preventive care, but otherwise it covered almost nothing.
We know that Barrette’s old policy was worthless. But what did real health insurance in Florida cost prior to 2014? The statewide average monthly premium for individual health insurance in 2012 was $243/month. For a 56-year-old, the premium would have been significantly higher.
Barrette’s income makes her eligible for a sizable subsidy on a 2014 plan, bringing the cost of real health insurance down to the $100-$240/month range. The 2014 plans are better quality than even the non-junk plans that were being sold in 2012. And yet someone like Barrette, earning $30,000 a year, will pay less in 2014 than she would have for a real health insurance plan in 2012, even though the new policy is better.” Read more at the site.
“The legal march to personhood (and de-personhood)”
I live in the increasingly backward state of Michigan, which appears to have found the “WayBac” mechanism to take it back to the fifties when abortions were done in alleys, minorities rode in the back of busses, and poverty was at its highest. The state has even made it impossible for abortion to be covered on the exchanges unless women buy a separate policy. I found this article by “Digsby” to be interesting.
Digsby: Keep in mind that the laws were never so designed before. It may have been true that women did not have the same rights as men. But this new approach is making them have fewer rights than a fetus that cannot survive outside the woman herself. That is just bizarre. And this movement is growing.
Lynn Paltrow at National Advocates for Pregnant Women has been tracking these laws for years and advocating for women to be full citizens in the eyes of the law. In 2010, she wrote a piece for The Huffington Post exposing the move towards ‘personhood’ as part of this sinister agenda. She points out that recognizing the humanity of others has never before come at a cost to an entire class of people. When women were recognized as equal citizens under the constitution, this did not come at a cost to men. She states that “efforts to legally disconnect fetuses and to grant them entirely independent constitutional status would not merely add a new group to the constitutional population: it would effectively denaturalize pregnant women, removing from them their status as constitutional persons.
Worth the read even if you do not agree with abortion as this has now taken a different hue.
What would you say about prenatal personhood in the future when more advanced medical technology allows fetuses to be removed overnight for intervention and then returned to the womb to complete gestation? More to the point, what will the courts say — will they allow one class of fetuses “slave” and the other “free”?
If you are discerning you may notice a bit of irrational social instinct at work here — though I’d have a devil of a time trying to delineate it.
Roe — as Sandra Day O’Connor admitted while reaffirming it — was the “worst of the worst of American jurisprudence.”
Roe’s mistake according to most critics was to impose a substantive judgement on the value of the fetus that should have been left to legislatures — deciding that fetal life was not compelling enough to override constitutional privacy (judges are to limit their opinions to what the words of the law mean). But as Harvard’s Laurence Tribe — most quoted liberal law professor in America for 40 years — put it: “One of the most curious things about Roe is that, behind it’s own verbal smokescreen [he had been comparing it to Lochner v. New York, the seminal substantive due process case], the substantive judgement on which it rests is nowhere to be found.”
HLR, Vol. 87:1, p. 7
Actually Tribe missed what was wrong too: Roe was not a compelling interest test — Roe was what I call a “consensus test.” Roe’s key words: “In view of all this [in view of what —soon to be president of Stanford Law — John Hart Ely called Roe’s unnecessary surveys] we do not agree that, just by adopting one theory of life, Texas may override the rights of the pregnant woman that are at stake.”
IOW, Roe held the legislature to the judicial standard of not deciding on the basis of a controversial substantive opinion!
The judiciary itself, OTH, could have legitimately adopted the medical consensus on when life begins — somewhere between 14 to 20 weeks I would surmise.
[Here it starts to seem impossibly convoluted just because the list of Roe’s egregious errors is so long.] Instead Roe declared the judiciary “not in a position to determine when life begins” — listing 5 alternate theories, three of which were theological along with quickening and viability … unable to determine when life begins at 4 weeks overdue* but no trouble at 12 weeks early arrival. Right.
* Jewish Orthodox theology supposedly thinking life begins a birth.
Viability — in a separate issue — was declared the substantive point at which the unborn baby becomes substantively compelling enough to override the fundamental right to privacy.
Laurence Tribe on this: “One reads this paragraph several times before becoming convinced that nothing has been unintentionally omitted.
‘This is so because at this point the fetus is presumably capable of meaningful life outside the womb; therefore there are logical and biological justifications [without mentioning one].’
“Truly this mistakes a ‘definition for a syllogism’ [quoting John Hart Ely] and offers no reason at all for what the Court has held.”
HLR, Vol. 87:1, p. 4
The list goes on: possible human life should be considered a compelling interest — ipso facto — unless you discriminate against one class of human children depending on their condition of dependency (or your peanut size limbic system, your social instinct center, doesn’t grok them). You claim this costs another class of human beings? Sounds like a definition for syllogism to me. Law — should — maketh the more precise thinker. In everyday terms, we jail parents who don’t take care of their children for 18 years — not just 9 months.
I am not an attorney; although, I have plenty of court time. I asked Bev if she would drop by to comment on your questions. Maybe JackD might show up also as he is an excellent attorney also. I will have to think about your question(s) and maybe answer later.
I can’t speak to all the legalisms, but I do remember the bad old days before Roe, and I have been growing increasingly concerned over what I see not just as attempts to overturn Roe, but to go beyond and take us back to the days when women were property. Digby alludes to this, I think. If the law can force a family to keep a body on life support to serve as an incubator, or criminalize a pregnant woman’s behavior as harmful to the fetus, why would it be a stretch to force women to become pregnant, at the direction of the state? If we are merely to be wombs, why only legislate against women already pregnant? Why not force them to be, like it or not? This is a slippery slope indeed.
I would hope you talk a moment and read JackD’s comment. I think he hits the nail on the head.
The Maddow piece must be listened to in its entirety — it presents a much more likely scenario than any piffle about endorsements, and one to raise dread in any voter at the possibility of that man becoming president. Racial and partisan punishments all come into this story, though it was the people of Ft. Lee that actually felt the stick.
If CC would close down the busiest bridge in North America to punish his political rival (State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, whose district includes Fort Lee) then what would he do as president to Americans represented by somebody who miffed him? Or worse, what would he do on the world stage? “Accidentally” drop a pony nuke near Jedda?
Maddow’s case is convincing, and much worse than I would have expected. Don’t skip it.
Not to diss your comment as it is significant and I will look at the entire Maddow commentary; but, “piffle about endorsements” for life time appointments of judges has a huge impact on states and the nation. Think about Thomas, Alito, Kennedy, and Roberts.
Brain-Dead Woman Forced to Stay on Life Support Because She’s Pregnant By Amanda Marcotte
Being horrified that a brain dead woman is being kept alive to support a — starting at 14 week gestation — fetus just sort of boggles the mind. A brain dead woman is not a legal person, FWIW.
Freedom to lie gets into weird spots. I’d say that law is going to be unenforceable in almost all cases, even if people try to stay within it. The amount of weasling and framing that goes on in politics…it’s really hard to prove anything.
You may wan to go back and reread “Freedom to Lie” as it was entangled with “Kansas Court Could Kill the Right to a Decent Education.” Freedom to Lie in front of SCOTUS has some far reaching implications.
I had a posting error which I just fixed to make two of the articles untangled. My mistake in acronyms.
Dennis and Run, regarding the Roe v.Wade issue, I have always been curious as to why some insist that a legislature is better qualified to define the beginning of life than a court. It seems to me that neither really is so qualified. To the extent that education figures into it, the odds are that the judges are better educated generally than are the legislators but I’m not sure that education is the bright line. It does, at its core, seem to me to be a judgment of each individual based upon that person’s moral and ethical sense which is probably ultimately informed by the person’s intuition and “gut sense”. For the life of me, so to speak, I don’t understand why some third person’s intuition and gut sense should overrule yours or mine.
In other words, it’s the woman’s choice inasmuch as it is her body and, ultimately, her problem, and no, I don’t think you or anyone else can stand in for the fetus. You aren’t it and it isn’t you.
run75441, Sandi, JackD,
Just for fun in the future when fetuses may be removed temporarily for medical interventions: suppose only one twin is removed and then returned. Will the stay behind twin only become a legal person when rejoined in the company of its, now, legal person twin — or will the stay behind become a legal person once the traveler sees the light of day? 🙂
Whatever the answer, birth is a funny way to parse the full rights of a baby is it not?
Babies who are brought to term and born healthy still do not have full rights as a person. There are legal distinctions between people of different ages. Arguing otherwise is disingenuous. A fetus of 3 months, one of 6 months, one of 9 months, a newborn, an 18 year old, and a 21 year old are all treated differently by the law.
Not everyone is equal.
Several good points have been made here, but it boils down to the tension, I think, between those who believe that a woman has rights that should not/cannot be trumped by an unborn fetus, and those whose religious beliefs may or may not truly inform their acceptance of that idea.
It also seems to me a lot of folks are pro-life until a baby is born, then it’s on it’s own. If it’s unlucky enough to be born to a single, teen mom, or worse yet, if it’s born into a poor household and born with severe health issues, tough noogies. So call me cynical, but I question the validity of such protestations of “pro-life” sentiment.
A few years back, I went to DC and marched in support of Roe v Wade, and was accosted by a pro-lifer, holding his bleeding fetus signs aloft. I stepped to the curb and asked him how many unwanted babies he had adopted, and he sneared, “I don’t have to answer that!”, and I said, “Oh, hell, yes, you do!”
The fact that these moralists are coming after contraception again makes me believe this is more about control over women (through their bodies), and less about the sanctity of life.
“This is a guest post by James Lawrence Powell.
I have brought my previous study (see here and here) up-to-date by reviewing peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals over the period from Nov. 12, 2012 through December 31, 2013. I found 2,258 articles, written by a total of 9,136 authors. (Download the chart above here.) Only one article, by a single author in the Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences, rejected man-made global warming. I discuss that article here.”
Did you mean to post to this thread??? 🙂