by Jon DeVore, 03/31/2010, 10:36 PM

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, a Democrat, is the first state AG to announce he will file a brief supporting the new health care law. From KATU-TV in Portland:

In an interview with KATU News reporter Anna Song Kroger said, “I think if you look at the Supreme Court’s cases on the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution over the last 70 years, it clearly suggests that the government has the power to regulate insurance and indeed to require people to either buy insurance or to pay additional taxes to help pay for insurance.”

As you more than likely know, Washington AG Rob McKenna, a Republican, has joined up with about twelve other AG’s to support a Florida-based lawsuit against the law.

If you go to the KATU link above and click on the “video” tab, you can watch about a ten minute interview with Kroger. It’s not the greatest interview, because the reporter seems to have only a rudimentary grasp of the constitutional issues at stake, but since Kroger is a professor and constitutional scholar you kind of figure he can write a good brief. He kept making the point that it’s important the courts hear from states who hold the law is constitutional, perhaps an indication that there will be others doing the same as Kroger.

I really don’t think Rob McKenna and Bill McCollum (and the rest) have any idea what is going to hit them. The best constitutional minds in the country are lining up against them. All Rob McKenna can do now is double down with the Tea People and The Seattle Times, which right now is advertising a “live chat” with McKenna scheduled for 12:45 pm tomorrow. That would be tomorrow, April 1. Yeah, I know. It would be funny if it weren’t so damn transparent and pathetic.

by Goldy, 03/31/2010, 3:06 PM

I’ve received several comments and emails taking issue with, or downright offended by, my characterization of the pro-Chihuly “museum” forces at last night’s public hearing as a bunch of “rich, old, white folk,” as well as the implication I made that the forum was stacked in such a way that most of us on the other side didn’t get a chance to speak.

Well first of all, yeah, my headline was intended to be a little derogatory and hyperbolic. Big deal. So a couple of people of color spoke in favor of the proposal. And the Republicans always manage to get a couple of people of color to speak at their otherwise homogenous conventions.

Don’t take my characterization at face value? Here’s how The Stranger’s Cienna Madrid described the assembled throng:

Last night’s meeting at the Seattle Center on the proposed Chihuly Museum starred nearly 400 men and women in suits, most tied to the Seattle Center, Space Needle, or slick PR firms, all hustling for a project that would benefit the tourist industry, reading their scripts beneath a striped tent-top and bulbed sign that spelled out “Whirligig.”

Moderators Bill Block, Seattle Center Advisory Commission chair, and Seattle Center director Robert Nellums kicked off the meeting with a stump speech on how the Chihuly Museum would benefit the Center. City Council Members Sally Bagshaw, chair of the parks and Seattle Center committee, and Jean Godden, an alternate member of the committee, were also there to hear testimony.

But that testimony was stacked. This was more of a circus than a public meeting.

The Seattle Center brought its own public comment sign up sheet with them and the first hour of comment was wholly devoted to blowing Chihuly’s glass—the audience heard from the CEO of the Space Needle, a Seattle Center Advisory Board member, Seattle Center business managers and financial officers, and a hotel concierge representative. [...] Less than 10 people in two hours spoke against this project.

Cienna was wrong on one point; she left before I did, and about two and a half hours into the meeting I finally had my two minutes to speak; not that there were many folks left in the Center House to hear it. It’s also true that about an hour into the proceedings the moderators started pulling names from the middle and back of the sign up sheets, so as to present a more diverse selection of speakers. But my post from the scene, laboriously typed out on my iPhone between 7:00 and 7:30 PM, was an accurate report at the time.

So what were the main arguments for the proposal?

A.) Dale Chihuly is a great guy who gives stuff to schools, and thus deserves this tribute.

Well, maybe he is, and I’ve got no reason to doubt the character assessment of the hundreds of friends (and two or three PR firms) he had there wearing “Yes for Chihuly at the Needle” stickers. But I’m guessing there are a lot of great guys in Seattle, and we can’t offer all of them the opportunity to lease scarce downtown parkland at $11 a square foot. Chihuly is a widely admired, world renowned artist whose talent and fame have made him an extremely wealthy man, so not only don’t I find the “great guy” argument all that convincing, I find it hard to muster any sympathy for him or the Wrights should they feel snubbed by the proposal’s less than enthusiastic public reception.

B.) Seattle would be crazy to turn down a “gift” like the proposed Chihuly “museum.”

The word “gift” was used repeatedly by speakers supporting the proposal, as was the word “museum,” when in fact, neither of these two words are really accurate.

Let’s be clear, the private, for-profit facility the Wrights have proposed is neither a “gift” nor a “museum,” Chihuly or otherwise. Museums have permanent collections; the Wrights’ glass house would not. Even the “$50 million worth of glass art” Chihuly has pledged will merely be displayed on loan, and may be removed entirely once his initial five year contract is up. The Wrights’ lease on the other hand, would continue for another 25 years at least.

What this is, is a gallery, gift shop and catering hall, conveniently located at the foot of the Space Needle where the Wrights could easily cart the food over from their existing catering business. Hell, for all we know, the $50 million worth of glass that Chihuly promises will be just as for sale as tchotchkes in the gift shop. And if Chihuly were to pull out at the end of a five-year contract, what we would be left with is a glorified Fireworks… a nice enough shop, but one which you can already find in malls throughout the region.

C.) The economic prosperity of the Seattle Center, indeed the entire region, depends on building this “museum”

Again and again the subject of money was raised, with the pro-”museum” speakers pointing out how desperate the Center is for revenue while in the depths of our current economic downturn. And while that may be true, I don’t think it pollyanna-ish to suggest that our economy won’t stay in the dumps forever.

Proponents argue that the $11/square foot the Wrights are willing to pay is above market rates for the Center, and that we should be grateful for the half million dollars a year that would generate. But the Fun Forest was already paying $350,000 a year, so it’s not like we’re looking at that much of an increase. And besides, this is public parkland we’re talking about. Since when do we evaluate its value by rental revenue per square foot?

No doubt if this proposal is rejected, that portion of the Fun Forest will remain vacant for a couple years as the economy recovers and the city raises the revenues to implement the master plan. But the alternative to being patient is selling off a 1.5 acre chunk of the Center for at least several decades, if not in perpetuity. So… what’s the rush?

D.) The proposed Chihuly “museum” would prove a tremendous upgrade to the Center’s current, “scary” facilities.

One speaker even suggested that his wife and young children were “afraid” to go the Seattle Center in its current state, but that the Chihuly “museum” would help turn this around. Really. A guy who thinks the Center is too scary and unsafe a place to bring his young kids has the balls to tell us what to do with its redevelopment.

The I’m-a-suburban-white-guy-who-fears-my-kids-might-run-into-some-hippies-and/or-dark-skinned-people bullshit aside, the proposal doesn’t really provide much of an upgrade at all. In fact it keeps the existing, bland brick building where the indoor amusements are currently housed, although it promises to green it up a bit by growing ivy on the walls or something. Now that’s what I call the making of a world class museum.

So yeah, while I eventually got my chance to speak, I stand by my on-the-ground characterization of last night’s meeting, and the cultural elite who packed the hall. In fact, I’m tempted to merely dismiss them as a PR orchestrated hiss. But that will have to wait for another post.

UPDATE:
The Stranger has more on what they’ve dubbed “Glastroturf,” including the $25 gift certificates folks are being promised for joining the PR-firm-organized “Chihuly at the Space Needle” Facebook group. Really.

Anyway, you can email the mayor and the council by clicking here, or click through to the Stranger’s post for a list of all their email addresses and phone numbers, and let them know where you stand on selling off Seattle Center land for a for-profit gallery, gift shop and catering hall.

by Goldy, 03/31/2010, 1:07 PM

One of the most hotly contested U.S. House races this November will be for the seat in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District that Democrat Brian Baird is vacating. And I truly believe that the Dems’ best shot at holding this seat — and in fact improving on it — is State Sen. Craig Pridemore, a progressive yes, but also a genuine populist with the ability to connect with voters during these troubled economic times.

But don’t take my word for it. Stop by Seattle’s Spitfire Restaurant tonight between 6 and 8 PM and meet Pridemore for yourself. And if you like what you see, don’t just share a pint with him, share a little campaign contribution too.

by Lee, 03/31/2010, 12:08 PM

I can’t believe Goldy hasn’t posted this yet:

The University of Washington billed it as a debate among distinguished law faculty over whether the new federal health-care law is constitutional.

But while the four panelists at a packed event Tuesday may have differed on some of the finer points, they all agreed on the big question: They said the new law passes constitutional muster and that various lawsuits arguing the opposite — including the one joined last week by state Attorney General Rob McKenna — have little merit or chance of success.

Even John McKay, the former Republican U.S. attorney for Western Washington (who was forced out in 2006 under contentious circumstances) said that while he sympathized with some of the political issues in play, he thought the lawsuits lacked merit. In fact, he questioned the timing and thrust of the cases: “One way to say it is, that this has to be seen as a political exercise,” he said.

Moderator Hugh Spitzer noted the lack of a vigorous dissenting voice.

“I will say that we tried very hard to get a professor who could come and who thinks this is flat-out unconstitutional,” he said. “But there are relatively few of them, and they are in great demand.”

Spitzer, an expert in state constitutional law and a UW affiliate professor, said afterward that organizers even considered setting up some kind of video conference to provide the counter perspective. But in the end, he said, the lack of professors taking that position spoke to the merits of the arguments. He said organizers did not invite McKenna because they wanted to stick with academicians.

Maybe they could get someone on the Seattle Times editorial board instead.

UPDATE (Goldy):
Well, I had been working on a post, but since Lee beat me to it, I’ll just tack on a couple comments here.

First of all, I watched the entire forum live via the TVW feed, and while it was rather striking how unanimous the participants were on the lack of merit of the lawsuit, good law professors that they are, they did make every effort to explore all the angles and underline which legal points on which the attorneys general have the best chance of succeeding. It’s just that nobody thought their best chance was much of a chance at all.

Which brings me to the Times article, and its focus on the lack of dissent at the forum. I’m not sure why reporter Nick Perry should have been so surprised, as the lawsuit has been almost universally condemned by legal scholars as meritless. Unless, of course, Perry’s starting point was his own paper’s editorial page, which vigorously insists that McKenna has a “good case.”

The problem is, unlike the legal scholars participating in this forum, the Times’ editors are about as familiar with constitutional law as they are with the inside of their own colons. Indeed, considerable less so.

So note to journalists everywhere: there aren’t always two sides to every story. Sometimes there are multiple sides. And sometimes, one side simply has its head up its ass.

UPDATE, UPDATE (Goldy):
After reading the initial bit of trolling in the comment thread, attempting to discredit the forum because moderator Hugh Spitzer (gasp) contributes to Democrats, I’ve decided to embed the TVW video below. So now folks in the thread have no excuse for being ignorant. (Or at least, no more of an excuse than they normally do.)

by Goldy, 03/31/2010, 11:00 AM

Seattle Jew cancels his subscription to the Seattle Times:

After the PI closed, we refused to change to the Times because, to be blunt, the Times seemed to have much too little news.

Recently, my wife responded to a “special offer.”

We want to cancel the Times. Your editorial opinions seem more appropriate for a Tea Bagger newsletter than for the sole remaining Seattle newspaper. The writing is often poor, but the endorsement of Rob McKenna’s actions is over the top. Mr. Blethen needs a course in Government 101 .. as well as lessons in grammar. We do, after all, have a government of checks and balances based on law. If an AG has the independent ability to decide that he or she can determine the state’s interest, doesn’t that create the office as nearly a fourth branch of government?

I thought that the concept of our courts is that parties to an action must be able to show an interest in the action. IF Mr. McKenna can not show that he represents the interests of the State, then who does he represent?

Perhaps he represents Mr. Blethen?

Over 19,200 citizens have joined the “Washington Tax Payers OPT OUT of Rob McKenna’s Lawsuit” Facebook group over the past week, yet the Times dismisses our opposition as a mere “politically orchestrated hiss.”

So if you’re sick and tired of being disrespected by Frank Blethen and his cronies, cancel your subscription and send a copy of your correspondence to me, and I’ll be happy to post it to HA, with or without attribution.

by Goldy, 03/31/2010, 10:13 AM

Of course, how could Jon Stewart not be funny when he’s got the whole lesbian-bondage-themed-nightclub-GOP-scandal to work with, but his aside on the NY Times headline on the story is a perfect commentary on one of the least discussed factors behind the newspaper industry’s precipitous decline: its self-imposed stodginess.

by Goldy, 03/30/2010, 7:00 PM

The Seattle Times has twice editorialized in favor of a sham process to placate opponents of the proposed Chihuly “museum,” and that’s exactly what we’re getting at the public hearing tonight at the Seattle Center.

The hearing didn’t start until 6:30 p.m. but Center employees, the arts board member crowd, and other surrogates of the Wrights and Chihully were lined up at 3:30 to sign up for all the speaking slots. An hour into the hearing only one person had spoken against the proposal, and yet according to City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, emails and phone calls are running 10 to 1 against.

Go figure.

As for me, I’m the 201 person signed in, so I doubt I’ll get the chance to voice my opinion. But I suppose that’s what folks here mean by “process.”

by Darryl, 03/30/2010, 6:51 PM

DLBottle

Join us tonight for an evening of politics under the influence at the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally. We meet at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. beginning at about 8:00 pm. Stop by even earlier and enjoy some dinner.

Sure…it won’t be quite as fun as spending other people’s money at a bondage-themed strip club, but there’ll be a good selection of beers….



Not in Seattle? There is a good chance you live near one of the 351 other chapters of Drinking Liberally.

by Goldy, 03/30/2010, 5:13 PM

Um… could somebody on the Republican side of the aisle — you know, those breathlessly opposing, on both policy and legal grounds, the health insurance mandate within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — please explain to me the difference between this mandate, and that within their own Social Security privatization proposals that would require Americans to invest a portion of their paychecks with private financial firms?

And don’t tell me that under Social Security privatization, you still have the option to stick with old government run system, because you have the same exact option with the so-called health insurance “mandate”: don’t purchase private insurance, and the federal government will just take the cost of the premium out of your paycheck in the form of a tax. You know, just like Social Security.

Honestly, how is it constitutional to require economic participation on the one hand, but not on the other? Or are Republicans just a bunch of grandstanding, unprincipled hypocrites?

by Goldy, 03/30/2010, 2:43 PM

So far, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna has attempted to have it both ways. On the one hand he insists that he supports the notion of health care reform. On the other hand, he insists on joining a lawsuit seeking to rule unconstitutional a provision without which the entire reform effort would collapse.

Let’s be clear, without the insurance mandate, the main provisions of the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the elimination of exclusions for preexisting conditions, and the common practice of “rescission” once policyholders get sick — would be entirely unworkable.

Why? Well, if there is no mandate that you purchase insurance, yet insurance companies couldn’t reject you due to preexisting conditions, then it would be in your economic self-interest to only purchase insurance once you got sick. And with only sick people paying premiums, the premiums would be unaffordable.

So without the requirement that you or your employer purchase private insurance, there can be only two alternatives. Either rescission and pre-existing conditions remain a prominent feature of our health insurance system, or we move to a single payer system in which government is the sole insurer, and there is no private insurance to be mandated.

Considering his recent public embrace of the Teabaggers, it’s hard to imagine McKenna endorsing the latter, so I can only assume his supposedly principled opposition to the recently passed bill implies support for the former. By filing this lawsuit, Rob McKenna is inherently defending the rights of insurance companies to deny you coverage, either by excluding pre-existing conditions, or by searching for technicalities with which to justify cancelation of your policy once you get sick.

And… well… as a Democrat, I sure hope he runs on that in 2012.

by Goldy, 03/30/2010, 12:26 PM

McKennaComic
Courtesy R.R. Anderson

by Goldy, 03/30/2010, 10:50 AM

Remember yesterday morning when in my layman’s refutation of Attorney General Rob McKenna’s lawsuit, I suggested that the federal home mortgage interest deduction would be an apt analogy to the implementation of the insurance mandate in our new health care reform law? Well later that day, that’s exactly the analogy that University of Washington law professor and constitutional expert Stewart Jay used to refute McKenna’s argument that the insurance mandate is somehow unprecedented:

“They are giving you tax benefits for entering the private market in some fashion. So for example, I get to deduct the cost of my mortgage – with a private bank – on my income taxes every year. In effect, I’m strongly encouraged to buy a home. So that’s the whole point of the deduction,” Jay said. “The fact that (people) are being encouraged to buy private instead of public insurance is an extraordinary argument for a Republican to make. If what he’s saying is true, the problem is corrected by eliminating private insurers from the system.”

Huh. So the question is, if the analogy is so obvious that even a layman like me could see, why can’t McKenna? Is he that bad a lawyer, or is he simply being disingenuous in claiming a loftier goal behind such obvious political grandstanding?

by Goldy, 03/30/2010, 9:43 AM

Former Seattle Times subscriber K.J. relates her conversation with customer service:

I called and cancelled my subscription. I told the CS rep that I was insulted the Blethen’s would call my opposition a “politically motivated hiss,” and instead of hissing I was cancelling my delivery and to be sure to tell Mr. Blethen I hadn’t forgotten about the time he shot his neighbor’s dog.

CS rep didn’t seem to know that story.

Over 19,000 citizens have joined the “Washington Tax Payers OPT OUT of Rob McKenna’s Lawsuit” Facebook group over the past week, yet the Times dismisses our opposition as a mere “politically orchestrated hiss.”

So if you’re sick and tired of being disrespected by Frank Blethen and his cronies, cancel your subscription and send a copy of your correspondence to me, and I’ll be happy to post it to HA, with or without attribution.

by Lee, 03/30/2010, 6:10 AM

The medical marijuana trial in Shelton of a terminally ill woman and her husband continues tomorrow morning:

What: Mason County v. Karen Mower and John Reed
When: Wednesday, March 31 @ 9:00 a.m.
Where: Mason County Courthouse, 419 N 4th St. in Shelton
Map

If you happen to have the day off, please consider making the trip down to Shelton to show your support.

by Goldy, 03/29/2010, 7:16 PM

Note to Teabaggers: you lost the war.

And by “war,” I don’t mean the battle over health care reform, although you lost that too. No, I’m referring to the Civil War, or as many in your ranks surely refer to it, “the War of Northern Aggression.”

See, if you really look closely at the Teabaggers’ pseudo-legalese re-imagining of the Commerce Clause and the 10th Amendment, it’s clear that they apparently believe that they live in the Confederate States of America, whose constitution, while largely based on that of the real America, failed to grant its federal government sufficient power to do the kinda things national governments need to do in order to prosper and survive… you know, like directly raise the revenue and armies necessary to win a fucking war.

Or as one historian famously put it, the Confederacy “died of states’ rights.”

So yeah, the Teabaggers already lost the states’ rights war. First on the battlefield in the 1860′s, and then in the courts and the Congress a century later. And these United States of America are eminently stronger for their loss.

So I guess it’s wrong of me, as I sometimes do, to ask the Teabaggers why they hate America, when they clearly love America. They just love the one on the wrong side of history.

by Jon DeVore, 03/29/2010, 5:03 PM

Please lecture us about fiscal responsibility some more. I guess you can argue, however, that lesbian bondage-themed clubs are a form of free market enterprise.

by Goldy, 03/29/2010, 2:56 PM

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell at yesterday’s health care reform celebration, introducing Washington’s 20-year-old Basic Health Plan to Attorney General Rob McKenna, explaining why it allows WA to opt out of the mandate if we choose, and urging him to “innovate, not litigate.”

by Goldy, 03/29/2010, 12:58 PM

Yet another disgruntled ex-reader cancels their subscription to the Seattle Times:

Editor
Seattle Times

By this email I am canceling my subscription to the Seattle Times. Your endorsement of Rob McKenna’s self-serving challenge to the constitutionality of the health insurance reform bill argues that the suit is a challenge to Big Insurance that progressives should approve. The idea that the Seattle Times supports the challenge out of a concern for the power of corporations in American life lacks any credible evidence in the editorial positions historically taken by the Times.

The Times has every right to support McKenna’s efforts to tack the gubernatorial shoals of Tea Parties and Clubs for Growth, but doing it with a lecture about what liberals should believe grates one last time too many on me. Lawsuits are supposed to be filed in a good faith belief in the positions advanced. Unless he is dumb and, therefore not qualified to be Governor, McKenna cannot believe that this lawsuit has merit. When McKenna files and the Times endorses a suit against corporate personhood to overturn Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, I’ll re-subscribe.

I’ve learned to live without the PI. Living without the Times will be like noticing it’s not raining.

Jan Bianchi
Attorney at Law

Nearly 19,000 citizens have joined the “Washington Tax Payers OPT OUT of Rob McKenna’s Lawsuit” Facebook group over the past week, yet the Times dismisses our opposition as a mere “politically orchestrated hiss.”

So if you’re sick and tired of being disrespected by Frank Blethen and his cronies, cancel your subscription and send a copy of your correspondence to me, and I’ll be happy to post it to HA, with or without attribution.

by Goldy, 03/29/2010, 11:11 AM

I am not an attorney (much to my mother’s chagrin), yet longtime readers of HA know that when it comes to analyzing legal issues I’ve proven extraordinarily insightful, dating back to my first year of blogging, when I completely pegged the court decision in the BIAW/Rossi challenge of the 2004 gubernatorial election, months before the trial. And I didn’t just predict the result; I explained the legal grounds behind Judge Bridges’ ultimate decision.

So with that and other subsequent legal feathers in my cap, I’d like to take a moment to present a layman’s refutation of Attorney General Rob McKenna’s politically motivated lawsuit, that concisely explains just some of the reasons why his arguments are total bullshit, but without a lot of legal mumbo jumbo. It’s not complicated, so I’m sure even the Seattle Times editorial board can follow along.

And speaking of uncomplicated, let’s start with a recent comment from an HA regular, the aptly named Troll:

If a Republican President signed a bill requiring all U.S. citizens to purchase a handgun, and the Washington State AG filed a lawsuit saying that was unconstitutional, would Goldy say his lawsuit was absurd?

I guess the quick answer would be “No,” depending on the specifics of the law, and the legal arguments within, I would not find such a lawsuit absurd. Which gets to the heart of the absurdity of McKenna’s lawsuit, because this is not an apt legal analogy at all.

See, the recently passed health care reform legislation does not require that all U.S. citizens purchase insurance, it merely provides a tax incentive to those of us who do. If you are not covered by an employer, and if you have not purchased your own individual policy, and if your income is above certain levels, and if you don’t hail from a state that has opted out of this mandate by implementing its own qualified health insurance system, you will be required to pay an additional federal tax, starting at the greater of $95 or 1% of income in 2014, and rising to $695 or 2.5% of income in 2016, up to a cap of the national average premium on a bronze plan. Both the minimum tax and the cap will increase by the annual cost of living adjustment.

Now, some might argue that this is still a mandate to engage in some sort of economic activity because it targets a tax at those who refuse, but one could easily flip this perception around. What it really is, is a flat, 2.5% federal income tax — much along the lines of what is already imposed to fund Social Security and Medicare — but for which the law provides a substantial exemption to those who choose to purchase private health insurance.

And don’t attempt to bog down this discussion in jibberish over whether this is a “tax” or a “fee” or a “penalty” or a “mandate” or whatever. The courts have long been consistent that lawmakers need not jump through such semantic hoops; if a law is constitutional worded one way, it is constitutional worded another, as long as the practical application is the same. And clearly, our tax laws are filled with provisions intended to encourage some economic activities and discourage others.

Along these lines, a better analogy than Troll’s theoretical handgun mandate would be our current home mortgage interest deduction. The federal government does not actually mandate that we all take out big mortgages to buy homes and condos, but it grants huge tax advantages to those who do, essentially penalizing renters. Think about it: with the extra tax revenue from eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction, the federal government could lower the base tax rate on all of us.

So, if the health insurance mandate-cum-exemption is unconstitutional based on the contention that it compels individuals to engage in an economic activity, then so too would be the home mortgage interest deduction, and any number of other federal tax incentives. And I sincerely doubt that McKenna would choose to join a lawsuit seeking to deny Washington homeowners this very popular deduction.

Not to worry though, because the federal government clearly has the constitutional authority to impose a tax to pay for health care (it does so now with Medicare), and it clearly has the constitutional authority to grant deductions, exemptions and other tax incentives in order to encourage or discourage certain forms of economic activity. And from a practical standpoint, that’s all the health care reform bill really does.

Nothing radical there.

As for the other main legal contention in McKenna’s lawsuit, that the new law amounts to an unprecedented encroachment on state sovereignty by requiring states to dramatically expand their Medicaid programs and the inherent costs therein, well, that’s just a load of crap. No state is required to participate in Medicaid, but since the federal government picks up over the half the cost, all states choose to do so, and the courts have long established that Congress has the right to attach conditions to the money it provides.

Likewise, there is no requirement that states set up an insurance exchange. If a state fails to set up an exchange, the federal government will merely step in and do so on behalf of its citizens. Not sure how that meets the definition of “mandate.”

So there you have it. From a layman’s perspective, McKenna’s legal arguments amount to much ado about nothing. And while I don’t put anything past the machinations of the highly partisan and activist Roberts Court, I’m pretty damn confident that this layman is going to prove to have a better grasp of the law than our state’s attorney general.

Which, honestly, is kinda sad.

by Goldy, 03/29/2010, 9:23 AM

Another former Seattle Times reader cancels their subscription:

To whom it may concern,

Independently, within hours of Attorney General Rob McKenna’s announcement Monday of his lawsuit to stop federal health care reform, both my wife and I had joined Facebook groups and signed petitions opposing the lawsuit. We did so because we were appalled and angry that an elected official would unilaterally take a step, for crass political purposes, so completely at odds with the desires of a vast majority of the constituents he has taken an oath to serve, as well as almost all of the federal officials (8 of 11) those constituents have elected.

And today I open up our copy of the Seattle Times to see, in the first sentence of your editorial supporting McKenna, the anger and revulsion we have had in common with pretty much everyone I’ve talked with this week sneered at, in the editorial’s very first words, as a “politically orchestrated hiss.”

Fuck. You. Please cancel our subscription immediately.

Of course, Mr. Blethen, and his sycophants on the Times editorial board, have every right to espouse editorial opinions at odds with the majority of people in the city whose name stains your masthead. (Have you considered “Lubbock”? It’s a better fit.) We’ve come to expect it, particularly since the demise of the P-I. What you do *not* have the right to do is gratuitiously insult us, and expect that we will remain your customers, even as your news staff and coverage continues to shrink and other media outlets emerge that do a better job of covering almost everything you publish.

We have remained home delivery subscribers out of loyalty. This is how you view your loyal customers?

No wonder your business is failing. Don’t let us stop you. Please add us to your list of disgusted former customers.

If you’ve canceled your Seattle Times subscription, send a copy to me, or relate your phone conversation, and I’ll post it here on HA, with or without attribution.