SDB Evening News Reads for 081211: Appeals court rules health care law unconstitutional

It is Friday afternoon, and the weekend cannot come fast enough.  For today’s news reads I have lots of different items to highlight for you.  Some of these links you may have missed, and some are just updating news we have talked about this week here on Sky Dancing.

Okay, first thing, if you did not read Dakinikat’s post, The Audacity of No Hope, then go read it now!

H/T to Boston Boomer for this link, today the White House got some bad news about Obama’s health care law as a Judge Rules Health Care Law Is Unconstitutional –

A U.S. district judge on Monday threw out the nation’s health care law, declaring it unconstitutional because it violates the Commerce Clause and surely reviving a feud among competing philosophies about the role of government.

Judge Roger Vinson, in Pensacola, Fla., ruled that as a result of the unconstitutionality of the “individual mandate” that requires people to buy insurance, the entire law must be declared void.

“I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one-sixth of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform and regulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute
has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here,” Vinson wrote.

“While the individual mandate was clearly ‘necessary and essential’ to the act as drafted, it is not ‘necessary and essential’ to health care reform in general,” he continued. “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void.”

Department of Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said the department plans to appeal Vinson’s ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

This particular ruling is being seen as the strongest decision against Obama care since many courts began hearing cases claiming the law unconstitutional.

Appeals court rules against Obama healthcare law – Yahoo!

The Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also ruled that the rest of the wide-ranging law could remain in effect.

The legality of the so-called individual mandate, a cornerstone of the 2010 healthcare law, is widely expected to be decided by the Supreme Court. The Obama administration has defended the provision as constitutional.

The case stems from a challenge by 26 U.S. states which had argued the individual mandate, set to go into effect in 2014, was unconstitutional because Congress could not force Americans to buy health insurance or face the prospect of a penalty.

“This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives,” a divided three-judge panel said.

Ironic that this decision comes from Atlanta, when in a suburb just north of the Georgia capital, Thousands line up for free dental services in Woodstock  |

Thousands of people stood in line for free dental services Friday at a church in Woodstock.

Hundreds of people lined up overnight to receive free dental service. Woodstock First Baptist Church teamed with Georgia Mission of Mercy  to begin a two-day FREE, dental clinic for low- or no-income adults who cannot pay for dental care.
Hundreds of people lined up overnight to receive free dental service. Woodstock First Baptist Church teamed with Georgia Mission of Mercy to begin a two-day FREE, dental clinic for low- or no-income adults who cannot pay for dental care.
Thousands of people waited in line overnight at Woodstock First Baptist Church for free dental care.
Thousands of people waited in line overnight at Woodstock First Baptist Church for free dental care.
The two-day clinic at First Baptist Church of Woodstock on Hwy. 92 is being sponsored by the Georgia Dental Association and its Foundation for Oral Health.

“The line went around the building, all the way through the parking lot and around a warehouse,” said Dr. Richard Smith, who practices in Atlanta. He estimated the line at 2,000 yards and said that at its peak, 4,000 people were in line.

What does this tell you, when 4,000 people are lining up to get free dental care?  I wish I could have gotten in line myself. Since losing health insurance in late 2007, my husband and I haven’t had the funds to get even basic 6 month checkups.  Like so many we are in that group of people that make just over the federal limit to receive free or low cost medical care.  It is this area of population that falls through the cracks, and unfortunately it becomes more apparent when services like this in Woodstock get so many people waiting to receive care,  the local police had to stop people getting in line.   As the article continues, Dr. Smith,

… said there were 100 dental chairs set up at the church and more than 1,600 volunteers, including 300 dentists a portion of them being students at an AllStar Dental Academy. “We’ve got hygienists we’ve got dental assistants working, there’s oral surgeons extracting teeth, we have endodontists doing root canals … we’ve got people here to feed them; it takes an army and this church has just been absolutely incredible.”

He said it is the first such event in Georgia on this scale.

Smith said the  people are in line who do not get treated Friday can return on Saturday. Police were not allowing any more people to get in line Friday.

Dr. Michael Vernon of Augusta said he was moved by the patients’ response to the massive effort.

“Two the first three patients that I saw actually sat in the chair and cried because they were so appreciative of what we’re doing here and it just made me feel good about being here,” he said.

What can you say about that?

In other court news, the Supreme Court May Consider Whether Companies Can Be Sued Over Human Rights –

Recent court rulings on the question of whether oil companies and other multinationals can be sued in U.S. courts for alleged human rights violations overseas has made the issue ripe for Supreme Court intervention, possibly as early as this fall.

Oil companies Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp. have been battling allegations that they played a role in human rights abuses in Nigeria and Indonesia, respectively.

Shell won a major victory last year when the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell that there was no corporate liability under the statute.

The Nigerian plaintiffs in that case have now filed a petition (pdf) with the Supreme Court. The justices will likely consider whether to take the case sometime after they return in October from their lengthy summer recess.

We don’t know if the SCOTUS will agree to hear this matter, but the NYT’s is suggesting there are signs that the court will take up this appeal.

This next link is a bit funny to me, funny and sad.  Mitch McConnell Called For Rich To Pay Their ‘Fair Share’ In 1990 Ad

The Republican Party’s dogmatic opposition to raising taxes has been a consistent obstacle to patching together a broader deal to decrease the nation’s growing debt. And for Democrats with good long-term memories, it’s not only causing some irritation — it’s also prompting a bit of nostalgia for days past.

That’s because some of the same GOP lawmakers holding the line on taxes today once presented themselves as willing compromisers on the issue in the past. The most recently unearthed example, pointed out Wednesday by ThinkProgress, comes courtesy of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who ended his 1990 reelection campaign with an ad titled “Fair Share.” In it, the Kentucky Republican — in the midst of a increasingly tight contest — positioned himself as open-minded on the subject of tax rates.

“Unlike some folks around here, I think everyone should pay their fair share, including the rich,” McConnell declares in the ad.

If only these people did not sign some ridiculous pledge to an anti-tax rich-ass man, promising they would not raise taxes.

Boston Boomer had a great post this week on the riots in London, here is an update on that…Riot death toll hits five as waves of looters face court

The death toll from the English riots has risen to five after a man who was attacked by a mob as he tried to stamp out a fire died in hospital.


More than 1500 people have now been arrested in towns and cities hit by rioting earlier this week and more than 500 charged with offences related to the four days of disorder.

There is talk about shutting down service to Twitter and Facebook when London has violent riots like this in the future.  Let us see what happens with that.  In Philadelphia a new curfew goes into affect today in an effort to stop the flash mob violence that city has seen this summer.

BBC News – Mixed feelings over Philadelphia’s flash-mob curfew

Philadelphia’s authorities have ordered a weekend evening curfew for under-18 years old in an effort deter teenagers from wreaking havoc in so-called flash mobs.

As Britain looks to America for answers to the rioting that has rocked England over the last week, the BBC’s Laura Trevelyan visits Philadelphia to see how its new measures will work.

The phenomenon known as flash mobbing, where groups of teenagers gather after alerting one another via mobile phone, Twitter and Facebook and rampage through the town centre, has frightened residents and alarmed Philadelphia’s city government.

While the scenes haven’t been as violent or as sustained as those in urban England in recent days, crowds of teenagers have beaten and robbed people and shops have been damaged.

Some may have heard about a drunken man that urinated all over a 11–year old girl while taking a JetBlue flight from Oregon to JFK airport in New York.  It turns out this drunk was an 18–year old US Skier…US Skier Tossed Off Team Over in-Flight Urination – ABC News

An 18-year-old was dismissed from the U.S. Ski Team’s development squad after he was accused of getting drunk and then urinating on a fellow passenger aboard a JetBlue flight.

Robert “Sandy” Vietze, of Warren, Vt., was detained by police at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday morning after arriving on a red-eye flight from Portland, Ore.

Get this…

Vietze was nominated to the development team this spring after excelling as an alpine skier at the Green Mountain Valley School, a top ski academy and high school in Waitsfield, Vt., where tuition runs as much as $42,384 per year. He had been scheduled to compete on the national ski team’s developmental squad for the 2011-2012 season.

A Port Authority Police Department detective wrote in court documents that Vietze told him he had consumed five or six beers and two rum and cola cocktails before boarding the flight. He said he passed out in his seat and awoke to find himself being yelled at by the father of a 12-year-old girl.

Damn, that is some list of drinks for anyone to consume, let alone an 18–year old.

In Orlando, Judge Melvin Barry has made a decision on the Casey Anthony probation issue regarding charges from pleading guilty to check fraud.  Casey Anthony Ordered to Return to Orlando Florida to Serve Probation – ABC News

Casey Anthony, the Florida woman acquitted of murdering daughter Caylee, must emerge from hiding and return to Orlando, Fla., by Aug. 26, a judge ordered today.

Judge Belvin Perry issued a written order that Anthony, 25, must report to the Department of Corrections in two weeks to serve a year of supervised probation.

Anthony’s probation stems from a check fraud conviction in 2010. Prior to her first degree murder trial, Anthony pleaded guilty to stealing checks from her best friend Amy Huizenga during the time that Caylee was missing.

And lastly, yesterday I had this news up about the dinosaur fossil that proves Plesiosaurs did not lay eggs, but got pregnant and delivered live babies. Here is a picture of the fossil that shows the embryo skeleton inside the mother’s fossilized bones. Pregnant Fossil Find Shows Plesiosaurs Had Live Births | Geekosystem

For nearly 25 years a spectacular fossil that could answer scientists’ questions about an ancient marine reptile lay buried in the basement of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The fossil was of a plesiosaur, a large four-flippered creature that roamed the oceans some 78 million years ago. But it wasn’t just any fossil, this fossil was pregnant.

The fossil shows the mother, around 470 cm long, carrying a single fetus, around 150 cm long. The fetus has 20 vertebrae, shoulders, hips and paddle bones, and is believed to be about two-thirds grown. This is the first case of a pregnant plesiosaur fossil, and it shows that the creatures gave birth to live babies rather than hatching eggs. The finding also suggests that the creatures cared for their young similar to modern day whales and dolphins.

See it? It is so freaking cool!

Well, that is my round-up for today, anything new you would like to comment about? Let’s have it.

9 Comments on “SDB Evening News Reads for 081211: Appeals court rules health care law unconstitutional”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Great roundup, and thaks for the photo of the pregnant plesiosaur skeleton. Amazing! I still love dinosaurs–I was one of those kids who read all about them when I was little.

    • WomanVoter says:

      Psst, we won’t tell anyone that the plesiosaurs is 78 millions years old…Flat Earth…thingie 😯

    • madamab says:

      Me too, BB! I was a fanatic, and still love them.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Oh yes, me too. Loved anything about dinosaurs. When I was a kid, I went to Washington DC three times…and each time the Dinosaur exhibit was closed for “cleaning”. Which meant all I could do was have my dad pick me up so I could peek through the little round window in the door, and see the big dinosaur shaped displays under the white sheets.

  2. WomanVoter says:

    The sad thing, is that the court ruling has no baring on the 93% rate increases and the 300% increases for 0-30 age group (greates rate increase). Today a social worker friend said she wouldn’t vote for Obama due to the health insurance increases and that she doesn’t take her children in when they have the flu and that they are charging her 50 a pop for the vaccinations and is dreading her bill from the ER, due to all the co-pays.

  3. northwestrain says:

    More about the USPS layoffs and possible Union busting. I found a follow-up on TPM via Memeorandum (generally I avoid TPM gang of 0bots but the US mail involves all of us).

    One point that came up repeatedly in our discussion last night about the crisis in the postal service is that the USPS is apparently subject to a regulation that requires it to pre-pay pension and health care obligations 75 years in advance, something that is required of no other government agency. And a substantial amount of their budget shortfall is tied to that regulation.

  4. northwestrain says:

    Dental care is one of the huge gaps in US medical care/insurance whatever.

    We are a third world nation — when citizens line up for free dental care in this country.

    Repeat that in almost any place in the US and I think that we’d see similar photos of long lines.

    Someone suggested that DC politicians need to be stripped of all their (payed for by the citizens) health care and pensions.

  5. Peggy Sue says:

    The story about the free dental clinic in GA is poignant, Minx. Particularly the detail of the first couple of patients breaking down in tears. My family dentist goes to South America every summer with a church group, providing free dental service to people who otherwise would never see a dentist. Looks like he could stay local and provide the same sort of service.

    Wasn’t there another clinic-type service done earlier? Maybe last summer or the summer before that. For free health checkups/medical services, I think. The response was the same–lines out the ying-yang, people standing with their kids for hours and hours, waiting to see a doctor.

    Sad day in America.

    But I applaud the people who put this clinic outreach together and the dental professionals who participated. Good one on them!

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Yes, I think there was something about a health fair that got a lot of people line up looking for care.

      Hearing about the few patients that cried brings some humanity to the story too. Something I think those politicians in DC don’t have.