Thursday Reads: Holder Witchhunt, SCOTUS and Health Care, Colorado Wildfires, and Mocking MittPosted: June 28, 2012
UPDATE: Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act, Including Individual Mandate!
Since today is going to be a mostly serious news day, I’ll begin with a silly story. A new survey by the National Geographic Channel found that 65% of Americans think President Obama is more qualified to handle an invasion from outer space than Mitt Romney.
And lest you are tempted to dismiss this poll as pure silliness, the study also found that 36 percent of Americans think UFOs exist, while another 48 percent aren’t sure. Which means that at least some of the respondents judging the presidential candidates’ alien-fighting abilities may see it as a plausible scenario. (According to the poll, 79 percent also say the federal government has been hiding information about UFOs from the public – which may actually say more about the public’s overall distrust of government than its views on aliens.)
UFO = Unidentified Flying Object. Of course UFOs exist. Haven’t we all seen things in the sky that we didn’t recognize? Whether these objects are of extraterrestrial origin would have been a better question. Now the ones who want to “befriend” a visiting alien–those people have got to be looney tunes. But this story isn’t as silly as I originally thought, since it’s obviously just an ad for the National Geographic Channel.
And now the real news. Today will be a big day for politics junkies. Will the House go through their idiotic plan to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress? Will Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy decide to vote to keep the current Supreme Court from going down in history as a laughingstock?
Eric Holder Witchhunt
On the Holder issue, I think the House probably will call the vote, especially since some Democrats are planning to vote for the contempt resolution because they’re scared of the NRA.
Cognitively challenged Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown today called on Holder to resign.
“He can’t effectively serve the president,” Brown said last night on “NightSide” with Dan Rea — in a one-man debate after Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren chose to sit the event out.
Going at Holder on the eve of an expected contempt of Congress vote tomorrow, Brown said, “For the best interest of the country, I think he should step down and resign. He’s lost the confidence of the American people. Certainly he’s lost the confidence of Congress. He misled Congress. They have a right to know.”
That quote is from the ultra-conservative Boston Herald, so I’ll interpret for you. The “debate” referred to in the article was an appearance on a conservative radio talk show that Brown proposed as an alternative to the public debate that would have been sponsored by U. Mass. Boston and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
The announcement came shortly after representatives of Vicki Kennedy said she would not agree to Brown’s demand that she remain neutral in the race, in exchange for the senator’s participation in a late September debate she had proposed be hosted by the University of Massachusetts Boston and Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
Barnett had said Monday that Brown would participate only if Kennedy, president of the board at the Kennedy Institute, not endorse in the race and that MSNBC not be the broadcast sponsor of the debate.
Instead of “debating” with Scott Brown on a rinky-dink local conservative radio talk show, Elizabeth Warren appeared on Rachel Maddow’s national cable show last night.
Scott Brown and Darrell Issa are both complete idiots, IMNSHO.
The SCOTUS Decision on Health Care
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that the Roberts and Kennedy will both vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act. I think, based on what they did with Arizona’s immigration law, that Roberts and Kennedy will also vote to uphold “Obamacare.”
When this happens, Antonin Scalia may freak out completely and embarrass himself even more than he did after the Arizona decision. And then perhaps his friends and colleagues will sit him down and suggest that he retire and get his own radio talk show.
At Slate, Judge Richard Posner harshly criticized Scalia’s behavior as political.
The nation is in the midst of a hard-fought presidential election campaign; the outcome is in doubt. Illegal immigration is a campaign issue. It wouldn’t surprise me if Justice Scalia’s opinion were quoted in campaign ads.
Would Chief Justice Roberts be proud of his Court if that happened?
House progressives say they will introduce a single-payer plan if the law is struck down.
The last thing House progressives want is for the Supreme Court to strike down President Barack Obama’s health care law. But if the high court rules Thursday that some or all of the law is unconstitutional, progressives are ready to renew their push for the model of health care they wanted all along: the single-payer option.
“It’s easy to see it’s a good idea,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Huffington Post. “It’s the cheapest way to cover everybody.”
Ellison said all 75 members of the caucus have already signed onto a bill by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to create a single-payer, publicly financed, privately delivered universal health care program. The proposal would essentially build on and expand Medicare, under which all Americans would be guaranteed access to health care regardless of an ability to pay or pre-existing health conditions.
Now, now. We don’t want to give Scalia a conniption fit, do we? He would be more likely to agree with libertarian economics blogger Tyler Cowan who thinks the wealthy naturally will have better health care and poor people should just die if they can’t afford health insurance.
A rejection of health care egalitarianism, namely a recognition that the wealthy will purchase more and better health care than the poor. Trying to equalize health care consumption hurts the poor, since most feasible policies to do this take away cash from the poor, either directly or through the operation of tax incidence. We need to accept the principle that sometimes poor people will die just because they are poor. Some of you don’t like the sound of that, but we already let the wealthy enjoy all sorts of other goods — most importantly status — which lengthen their lives and which the poor enjoy to a much lesser degree. We shouldn’t screw up our health care institutions by being determined to fight inegalitarian principles for one very select set of factors which determine health care outcomes.
The health care decision should come out around 10AM, and I’ll update this post when the news breaks.
Mitt Romney Report
I know everyone is just dying to know what Mitt Romney is up to. Well yesterday he had quite a hissy fit about the Washington Post article on how he pioneered outsourcing when he was at Bain Capital. He actually sent some of his representatives to the Post to demand a retraction! As you might imagine, the Post wasn’t intimidated.
Good grief! They even gave a Power Point presentation! What a bunch of crybabies. And on Hardball today, Howard Fineman reported that Romney campaign staffers complained to him that Obama has been running lots of negative ads against Romney. Hey Mitt, politics ain’t beanbag.
From today’s Washington Post: Mitt Romney shifts focus from Post article on Bain to health-care law.
On the eve of the Supreme Court decision on President Obama’s health-care law, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney predicted Wednesday that “they’re not sleeping real well at the White House tonight.”
He said that the court’s decision is a constitutional one, but that “one thing we already know, however, we already know it’s bad policy and it’s gotta go.”
Romney’s comments marked a shift in focus after several days in which his campaign sought to deflect attacks from the Obama campaign over the role that Bain Capital, his former firm, played in the overseas outsourcing trend that accelerated in the 1990s.
Obama, Vice President Biden and top campaign operatives have seized on a Washington Post article published Friday that said Bain Capital invested in companies that specialized in moving work overseas. The Obama team released tough ads in the swing states of Iowa, Ohio and Virginia on the subject.
Romney tried to “work the refs,” but he forgot that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Now he’s irritated the Washington Post. Not real smart, Mitt. Yesterday, even Rush Limbaugh dissed the Republican candidate.
Colorado Wildfires (and More Mitt)
The wildfires in Colorado are really getting out of control.
Firefighters struggled on Wednesday to beat back a fiercely aggressive wildfire raging at the edge of Colorado Springs that has forced at least 35,000 people from their homes and was nipping at the edges of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The so-called Waldo Canyon Fire, fanned by gusting winds, has gutted an unknown number of homes on the wooded fringes of Colorado’s second-most populous city and prompted more evacuations as flames roared out of control for a fifth day.
President Barack Obama plans to pay a visit to the area on Friday to view the damage, the White House said.
The blaze flared Tuesday night with sudden ferocity and quickly overran fire containment lines, invading the northwestern corner of the city. But officials have declined to characterize the extent of property damage there….
The blaze left an orange hue over Colorado Springs, and a smoky haze hung in the air, so thick in places that the giant, roiling pall of smoke that continued to billow into the sky over the city was obscured from the ground.
Local TV station channel 9 news provides a summary of fires in many different locations. It’s really shocking how widespread they are. Yesterday the fires threatened the Air Force Academy, and many residents there were evacuated.
Voters who live in Colorado and other states where there are disasters like fires, mudslides, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, should be aware that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney opposes federal disaster relief and would probably eliminate FEMA if he were elected. He thinks natural disasters should be handled by individual states. From one of the debates last year:
Here’s a transcript:
KING: Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?
ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…
KING: Including disaster relief, though?
ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.
Because “our kids” will have a great future if they go through an earthquake or other horrible disaster and there’s no federal help for the state they live in to recover. Brilliant!
That’s about it for me. I’ll just leave you with this bit of good news: Eric Cantor may be in trouble
New polling from Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, one of the more reliably conservative districts in the country, shows surprising vulnerabilities for Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, especially on the issue of women’s health.
In the poll from from Harrison Hickman obtained exclusively by ThinkProgress, voters say they would support a pro-choice candidate over a candidate who is pro-life by an unexpectedly large margin, 68 percent to 23 percent. The finding comes after intense media coverage of efforts by state Republicans to mandate transvaginal ultrasounds prior to obtaining an abortion, a procedure described by critics as “state-sponsored rape.” The resulting backlash from women in Virginia forced Governor Bob McDonnell (R) and his allies at the statehouse to moderate their efforts.
Eric Cantor has a 100% rating from the National Right To Life Committee.
asked about Cantor specifically, voters disapprove of his handling of government spending, health care and reigning in the budget deficit, three key issues that Cantor and House Republicans have campaigned heavily on since 2008.
While Cantor is not among Republicans who are considered at risk by political prognosticators, 43 percent of voters would replace Cantor compared to just 41 percent who would reelect him.
So…..what’s on your reading and blogging list today?