Video of the day

Learned from this cool Atlantic post about all the cool stuff that’s happening on vimeo.  Here is the grand-prize winning Vimeo video.  Very cool– watch it.

The Constitutionality of the ACA and the politicization of the Supreme Court

Great post by Drum:

Two years ago, when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the idea that its individual mandate provision was unconstitutional was laughable. There was no case law, no precedent, and frankly, no serious argument that the federal government’s Commerce Clause power didn’t give it the authority to mandate purchase of health insurance if it wanted to. That’s why Democrats didn’t bother looking for a clever alternative—many of which were available—in order to avoid including an explicit mandate in the law. They didn’t think they needed to. Of course it was constitutional. Even Randy Barnett, the law professor who popularized the activity/inactivity distinction that opponents latched onto as their best bet against the mandate, initially didn’t really think it was anything but a long shot...

For all practical purposes, Kerr is agreeing that conservative judges don’t even bother pretending to be neutral anymore. They listen to Fox News, and if something becomes a conservative talking point then they’re on board. And that goes all the way up to the Supreme Court…

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.

Well, let’s surely hope that doesn’t happen, but I’m sure worried.

Photo of the day

From Time’s photos of the week:

Ali Hashisho—Reuters
June 9, 2012. A stray dog stands on a rubbish dump at the seafront in Sidon, southern Lebanon. The dump, located near schools, hospitals and apartment blocks in Lebanon’s third biggest city, has partially collapsed into the Mediterranean sea several times.

The ethics of choosing to reproduce

Interesting (if a bit long) piece in the times about the ethics involved in choosing whether to have children or not.  Y’all know my views on this and I did find this first part a bit annoying:

In fact, people are still expected to provide reasons not to have children, but no reasons are required to have them. It’s assumed that if individuals do not have children it is because they are infertile, too selfish or have just not yet gotten around to it. In any case, they owe their interlocutor an explanation. On the other hand, no one says to the proud parents of a newborn, Why did you choose to have that child? What are your reasons? The choice to procreate is not regarded as needing any thought or justification.

One word: biology.  Yes, humans are super-duper evolved animals who have the ability to overcome our biological legacy in myriad ways, but let’s not pretend we’re not animals when you get down to it.  And we all know the single greatest imperative of pretty much organism– passing on its genes.  Nonetheless, I did find this essay quite interesting.  I thought this was the key portion:

The burden of proof — or at least the burden of justification — should therefore rest primarily on those who choose to have children, not on those who choose to be childless. The choice to have children calls for more careful justification and thought than the choice not to have children because procreation creates a dependent, needy, and vulnerable human being whose future may be at risk. The individual who chooses childlessness takes the ethically less risky path. After all, nonexistent people can’t suffer from not being created. They do not have an entitlement to come into existence, and we do not owe it to them to bring them into existence. But once children do exist, we incur serious responsibilities to them.

Because children are dependent, needy and vulnerable, prospective parents should consider how well they can love and care for the offspring they create, and the kind of relationship they can have with them. The genuinely unselfish life plan may at least sometimes be the choice not to have children, especially in the case of individuals who would otherwise procreate merely to adhere to tradition, to please others, to conform to gender conventions, or to benefit themselves out of the inappropriate expectation that children will fix their problems. Children are neither human pets nor little therapists.

Great points.  I love being a parent so damn much and it seems so natural to me that it’s sometimes a little hard for me not to judge people who choose to remain childless.  But I’m getting there.

Robert Samuelson: dishonest moron

There’s so much wrong with this Robert Samuelson column on the ACA.  As a general rule, I feel like I’ve got much better things to do than to point out stupid columns by stupid conservative columnists, but I just couldn’t let this particular point slide by:

(5) The ACA discriminates against the young in favor of the old. Government policy already does this through payroll taxes that have young workers subsidizing Social Security and Medicare benefits. The ACA compounds the effect by forcing some young Americans to buy insurance at artificially high premiums that would pay for the care of a sicker, older population.

Hello– that’s called insurance!!!  Of course the young and healthy subsidize the old and sick.  And good drivers subsidize bad drivers.  And people who’s home don’t burn down subsidize those that do.  Those young and healthy are going to be old and sick themselves someday and be damn glad there’s new young and healthy to subsidize them.  Not to mention, sometime young and healthy people actually get sick or have accidents.

Ahhh– just pathetic.

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