Open thread



  1. 2

    Blue John spews:

    “62% Say Congress Is Doing A Poor Job”
    I’d agree with that. So what’s your point?

    The republicans are obstructionist money conservatives happily serving their corporate masters. They will do anything for a buck and a vote, regardless of what that does the middle class and America.

    Too many Democrats are wimping out to the republicans, unable to use their spines.

    I’m still going to vote mostly Democratic, cause they still stand for more of what I value than republicans do. Obama on his worst day is better than mccain (sell his soul for a vote)/palin (tea bag half term quitter) ever would be.

    And I’m working to get better democrats elected, ones with spines.

  2. 3

    Shemp spews:

    Math lesson for the WEA:

    If Reichert’s seat flips, that would be a net gain of 2 for the House democrats.

    Thought question:
    have you recently checked just how close the House is to flipping to Republican control? And just how do you think that event would play out for teachers?

    myopia can be a debilitating ailment.

  3. 7

    Some Republican Dullard (it's satire people!) spews:
    Lawsuits Accuse Megachurch Leader of Sexual Misconduct

    ATLANTA — Two young men in Georgia said Tuesday that the pastor of a 33,000-person Baptist megachurch, Bishop Eddie L. Long, had repeatedly coerced them into having sex with him.

    Obviously, an attempt by liberal atheists to destroy America. But, we’re on to you. You wont get away with it this time, like you did when you framed that God Fearing Patriotic, Real American, Mike West.

  4. 9

    rhp6033 spews:

    To paraphrase Churchill (I believe), the only thing worse than a Democrat in office is … well, anybody else in office.

    Voters are getting a good look at the Republicans this year, and once they get beyond the sound bites and the vague generalizations, they don’t like what they see.

  5. 10

    Daddy Love spews:

    I know of 700 billion reasons not to extend the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2%.

    And by the way, the president’s plan to cut taxes AGAIN for income under $250K (because he already did once, you know) will lower EVERYONE’S taxes, including Paris Hilton’s, Steve Ballmer’s, and yes, even Steve Forbes’.

  6. 11

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Here is another way of look at it–
    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Likely Voters now say the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken the week ending Sunday, September 19. That’s down a point from a week ago

  7. 12

    Michael spews:


    Yep, and 10-15% of voters want to take the country in the direction that you do. Just because the news is bad for Obama doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

  8. 13

    Mene mene tekel Upharsin (there goes the neighborhood) spews:

    Some important changes happen tomorrow concerning healthcare.

    I don’t see any Republicans running against the changes.

  9. 14

    Clinging to my guns and religion spews:

    Another lame DelBene ad = another snooze of a Goldy post. Is this the best she’s got?

    There are some real horseraces this election year, Goldy. Suggest you stop carrying Zuzan’s water and post about races that might generate candidate-specific comments on the comments thread.

    Just a little advice from me to you…………

  10. 15

    notaboomer spews:

    you’ll know delbene is surging if and when the “why did she fail to vote in 6 of last 9 elections” ads start appearing. if you don’t see those, she’s toast. oh and why didn’t she vote cause that is fucked up?

  11. 17

    Don Joe spews:

    This week’s Doublex on Slate is a conversation, under the heading “Decoding Christine O’Donnell,” between Hanna Rosin, Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick. Lithwick’s contribution is particularly interesting:

    When Palin and O’Donnell mix and match their zeal for the Bible as immutable and perfect and their zeal for the Constitution as equally immutable and perfect, I suppose it has the practical effect of healing the schism between “values” conservatives and libertarian Tea Partiers. So, points for that. But it also has the effect of confusing the heck out of those of us who don’t see a lot of evidence in the Constitution itself that it was intended to either enshrine biblical dogma or be treated with biblical reverence.

    When I read that, I was immediately reminded of quite a bit of the rhetoric that we find from the HA trolls here. Am I alone in that assessment?

  12. 19

    slingshot spews:

    DJ, you’re only alone when you refer to them as ‘HA trolls’.

    Most of us prefer to refer to them as pathetic idiots.

  13. 20


    Remember the emergency supplementals during the Dumbya years?

    The wars were totally “off budget”.

    So the Bushies could hide their profligate spending on wars of choice.

    Now Obama doesn’t hide war spending. This contributes to the Faux News/wingnut propaganda that Obama is a “big spender”.

    This is hurtful in the short term but when the war spending finally does wind down it will help Obama win re-election.

    Sorry wingnuts. Losses for Dems in the near term. Wild wins in 2012.

  14. 21

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 17

    On the one hand you have conservatives who believe the Constitution means, well, what it says. They believe a mechanism for altering it does exist, and that those who can believe it to be fundamentally flawed, like your president, can alter it to fit their world-view if they can garner the popular will to do so. Or they can choose to abide by the law of the land.

    On the other hand, progressives see the Constitution as a set of gentle suggestions with no legal standing. A sort of pretty centerpiece to the national table, with no functional role in government. They believe that changing it to fit the socialist views they hold isn’t desirable, as they don’t possess the popular appeal to accomplish such changes. Rather, they will erroneously interpret plain English to mean the opposite of both what it says and what the writers said about it. Knowing that in the court of popular opinion about this document and what it says about the proper role of governmetn they will lose every time they choose to ignore it. Or to pretend against all evidence that it supports their interpretations. Or to threaten the Supreme Court if it dares to rule against their policies, ala FDR.

    This is sharply different from seeing it as immutable or perfect. Nor is it seeing the Constitution as akin to Holy Writ.

    But then, liberals have such a tenuous grasp on reality that this kind of silliness is par for the course.

  15. 23

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 13

    No. What you see is insurance companies refusing to insure kids at all effective on all new policies written after today, due to democrats forcing them to insure already sick children with no existing policy.

    What you see is insurance premiums going up radically accross the board as insurance providers struggle to find a way to survive insane Democrat rules. Like insuring already sick adults soon. Like insuring everyone, whatever risk category they inhabit. Like, well, like anything democrats ever did. It sounds pretty, and it looks nice from a distance. But it has no more chance of working in the real world than a snowball has of surviving the Mojave.

    What you see is insurance companies doing exactly what any village idiot (but not a single progressive interestingly) could have told you they would do. They are protecting their business at the expense of their customers.

  16. 24

    Steve spews:

    “But then, liberals have such a tenuous grasp on reality that this kind of silliness is par for the course.”

    There’s just no end to the horseshit you spew, is there, Lost?

    “insurance companies refusing to insure kids” “Like insuring already sick adults soon. Like insuring everyone, whatever risk category they inhabit.”

    Rather, let them all die slow, horrible deaths. And out of my sight, please.

    “They are protecting their business”

    So what should it be, Lost? Business as usual? Or do we choose life? Choose business and you should be the one to look a little girl in the eye and tell her that she has to die because business must be protected and she has a pre-existing condition.

  17. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 Really? Who’s got the White House? And the governor’s job? Who controls both houses of Congress? And both houses of the Legislature? Who’s the minority party that can only compete in the South? Hey, dude, I’d rather be me than you! Being you sucks.

  18. 27

    Michael spews:


    The entire rest of the developed world and a big chunk of the third world have universal coverage. It can work there, but it can’t work here? We can’t have what Costa Rica has?

  19. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Tea Party Hypocrite #10-003459876-03

    Joe Miller, Tea Party darling and Alaska GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, took thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies on land he owns in Kansas, according to news sources.

    Fucking hypocrite.

    The largest federal welfare program, Aid For Dependent Children (AFDC), never exceeded 3% of the federal budget. This program provided cash to pay for rent, food, clothing, and other necessities for children who were victims of abandonment, divorce, abuse or neglect, or the death of a parent. Typically they lived with a single mom, although it should not be overlooked that a significant percentage of one-parent children live with their dads. These kids did nothing wrong and didn’t deserve to go hungry — they were just unlucky.

    Mean-spirited Republicans have decried welfare spending for years. They call these children’s parents “welfare queens.”

    (In fact, federal statistic show the average AFDC recipient received welfare for 13 months while transitioning into the workforce, and never went back on welfare again. Like so many other GOP legends, GOP claims about “career welfare recipients” and multi-generation welfare families are bullshit.)

    Yeah well let me tell you something. The biggest fucking welfare queens of all are Republican-voting farmers. That’s right, the farm subsidy program — which hits taxpayers in the wallet and hits consumers at the checkout stand — dwarfs the AFDC program. Those Republican-voting farmers are the all-time world champs when it comes to sucking on the public tit!

    Like I said: Fucking hypocrites. Show me a Republican and I’ll show you a fucking welfare-grubbing hypocrite!

  20. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @23 Under your twisted free-market philosophy, insurance companies would insure only healthy people if they could get away with it. Can you type “60% profit margin”? Yeah, I think insurance companies should be regulated. And I think all kids, not just kids of successful parents, deserve health care. Fuck you, lost. And fuck the goat you rode in on, too. Ooops, I think Mr. C already beat you to it!

  21. 31

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @24 “look a little girl in the eye and tell her that she has to die”

    Oh that’s easy for conservative assholes who care only about their own bank balance.

  22. 32

    Don Joe spews:


    On the one hand you have conservatives who believe the Constitution means, well, what it says.

    Well, that certainly explains why so many conservatives seem to ignore the “well regulated militia” clause of the Second Amendment or the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. On it’s face, you’re peddling a line of bullshit.

    More importantly, however, you make my point for me. Denying the very existence of ambiguity in the Constitution is nothing more than a pathetic excuse to avoid having to deal with the fundamental issues. You can close your eyes and click your heals all you want, but that won’t change, just to cite one example, the fact that the establishment clause of the First Amendment is open to a number of different interpretations.

    That’s Lithwick’s point. Conservatives want to do the same thing to the Constitution that they’ve done to the Bible–turn it into a rigid set of rules that’s open to one and only one interpretation. Their interpretation. And the only rhetorical justification conservatives are willing to put forth for their interpretation is an appeal to authority.

  23. 33

    Don Joe spews:


    What you see is insurance companies refusing to insure kids at all effective on all new policies written after today,

    No. From Reuters:

    Furthermore, several major carriers — including Cigna, WellPoint and CoventryOne — have already said they will end child-only health policies rather than extend coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, as the Affordable Healthcare Act stipulates as of September 23. [emphasis added]

    That’s not the same as “refusing to insure kids at all.”

    As for increased insurance premiums, that’s another load of bullshit. Insurance premiums have been on the rise for the past decade (see here from 2006). Indeed, the very next paragraph following the one in the Reuters article I quoted above reads:

    In reality, analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as well as independent groups estimates the added cost of healthcare reform will be no more than one to two percent.

    Insurance companies wanting to blame the Affordable Healthcare Act for their premium increases had better well come up with a pretty damn good explanation. I sure as hell am not willing to take their word for it.


    What you see is insurance companies doing exactly what any village idiot (but not a single progressive interestingly) could have told you they would do.

    Bullshit. Progressives we’re almost unanimously in favor of a public option which would have put the lie to any form of insurance company shenanigans. Conservatives were the ones who fought tooth and nail against the public option. You want to blame anyone for insurance company underhandedness, you really don’t need to look anywhere but in the mirror.

  24. 34

    jcricket spews:

    What you see is insurance companies doing exactly what any village idiot (but not a single progressive interestingly) could have told you they would do.

    Progressives have said all along that health care should not be included in the ‘for profit’ industries at all, and we should head into a single payer scenario like other civilized nations on earth.

    That health care still remains at the mercy of for-profit insurance companies is directly laid at the feet of conservatives – republicans and blue dogs.

  25. 35


    What I love is all the “right wing lunatics” crying constitution 24 / 7 but when Bush was wiretapping, torturing US Citizens, locking up people without the right to see a lawyer, or a speedy trial, these same hypocrites didn’t say a peep. Cuz they wuz askered. We had a constitution then too, and they didn’t say a word when Bush and Cheney were urinating on it for fun.

    There is no way the word Republican doesn’t mean hypocrite in any way. Their party is built on lies, deceptions, red herrings, and total bullshit.

    It’s a good thing for Republicans all their supporters are completely brainwashed though. Only an idiot would vote for a Republican that was helping the corporations that were destroying their lives for pennies a share.

    The word Republican makes anyone that loves America want to hurl.

  26. 36

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    RE 27

    Universal health care is universal poor quality health care at great expense.

    Canadas L&I is using private clinics for injured workers. This is because excessive wait times for care mean that recovery times are from 2-6 times longer than in their universal care system. Care costs more because these longer wait times mean an easily treatable injury complicates by the time the patient finally is cared for. Put simply, the system is so bad even the government which pays for it won’t patronize it. I’ve a friend living in Italy who thinks socialized medicine there is a joke. Doctors who could give a damn, because they’re paid whether they do or not combine with outdated facilities to make him come here once a year for dental and medical care rather than trust socialized medicine.

    In the US it is illegal most places to deny urgent care to anyone. The liberal tropes about dying kids and so on are simply not true. Don’t believe me? Look at Childrens Orthopedic right here in Seattle.

    Go to an emergency room any night of the week and look at the 40% or so of patients with a head cold or other non-emergent issue and no money to pay the bill or insurance. They will still be seen, I gaurantee it. And you and I will pay for it, as these folks have no interest in doing so themselves. Or indeed in making any effort to properly care for themselv33es at all.

    Re 33

    I appreciate the correction regarding child insurance. Frankly, I heard the news blurb while discussing an upcoming project with a client. Should have fact checked before writing.

    Otherwise, you will pay higher premiums. If auto insurance carriers had to all drivers regardless of license status, prior accidents or driving record you can bet your car insurance would rise. What makes you think this insanity is any different. Oh, yeah. Now I remember. It’s because I, who take care of myself and maintain my health will now be expected to pay for every doughnut eating couch potato with heart disease. Well, begging your pardon, the hell with that.

  27. 37


    Goldy, eight out of the eight crooks who used to run Bell, California are all Democrats.

    Seems to me, you have some explaining to do.

  28. 38

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 32

    I don’t deny ambiguity in any language, English included. Tom Stoppards line was ‘you understand we are tied down to a language which makes up in ambiguity what it lacks in style.’

    What I do say is that most of the ambiguity can be rectified by original intent. Ample writings during Constitutional debate and even during and after the Revolution, letters written to family and friends, the Federalist and a host of other writings exist to tell us what was meant by most of the wording in the Constitution. We can go from there to amend the document as changing times dictate. And through the process provided.

    Liberals understandably dislike the idea of original intent. FDR’s blatantly unconstitutional over-reaching would have caused a second revolution from these men as surely as the sun rises in the morning, to take but one example. In point of fact and principle the founding fathers were simply no friend of most of the canon of liberal or progressive thought.

    So what is done (on both sides, see the Patriot Act for reference of conservative abuses) is to pretend that we have no way of resolving the ambiguities, so we embrace them. We are supposed to make of the Constitution a document so elastic in meaning as to be worthless for the purpose of defining appropriate government actions. By this you can sidestep the entire laborious amendment process. By this view you can shift with whatever prevailing political wind is blowing and call this the law of the land.

    Sorry, but that’s no way to make a body a law on which to build a nation. Nor, by denigrating the very real meanings in areas you disagree, will you be able to protect the basic rights enshrined in that document. After all, if the Commerce Clause can mean anything you like, freedom of speech can mean anything a police officer likes.

  29. 39

    proud leftist spews:

    lost @ 21
    I used to think you had a functioning mind. Your post here shows me that you don’t. You are, simply, a fucking idiot. I understand the
    Constitution a helluva lot more than you do, having actually finished law school, and reading the thing all the time. I sue to protect constitutional rights. I have a lot more respect for the document than you do. I get it. You don’t. You, lost, are now in the same category as Cynical, as far as I’m concerned. That means you only care about rightwing ideology. Farewell, fucker.

  30. 40

    Don Joe spews:


    Universal health care is universal poor quality health care at great expense.

    A friend of mine died last summer, because the Affordable Health Care act didn’t go into effect soon enough. She waited to have a doctor look at a problem she was having until it was far too late for anyone to do anything about it. Let your conscience wrestle with that one.

    Oh, yeah. Now I remember. It’s because I, who take care of myself and maintain my health will now be expected to pay

    Stop right there. That friend of mine who died last summer practiced yoga and thai chi on a regular basis. She ate a healthy diet, and wasn’t overweight. She did everything a person could be reasonably expected to do to keep up her health without the assistance of a health care professional. She’s still dead.

    Now, I’ve given a specific example that counters your generalization about unnamed, fat and lazy doughnut eaters. You’ve offered absolutely no evidence to justify your generalization. Ball’s in your court. Please see if you can find any evidence to show that even a minority of people who didn’t have health insurance did not have health insurance because their life-style choices precluded them from obtaining that coverage. “Common sense” claims of fact don’t fly. Data. Sourced. Get to work.

  31. 41

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Proud (though God knows why…)

    I take this to mean you have no response to content, so will lower yourself to personal abuse in lieu of argument.

    And I already told you how I feel about comparing your love for the Constitution (or this country or anything else) with mine. It’s an entirely pointless excersize I won’t waste time on.

    Actually you, RHP, Don Joe and a few others used to be interesting to discuss issues with. Maybe the proximity of the elections is taking away your edge, but this seems no longer true in your case.

    Congratulations. You’ve officially become Rujax.

  32. 42

    proud leftist spews:

    Actually, you’ve gone nuts. I engaged with you when others here told me you were just another wingnut idealogue. I kept at it, nonetheless. I think the others were right. Maybe it is the proximity of the election that has made you go nuts. There is, however, no more moderation in your spewing. Sorry, man, that’s just the way I see it.

  33. 43

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Don Joe,

    My sincere condolences on the loss of your friend. Politics aside, anyones’ life is precious, and the loss of it is deeply felt by any halfway human being.

    And the stereotype wasn’t fair. But the whole concept behind the Act, I understand, is the spreading of risk across a broader pool. You, your friend who took care of herself, and those on the higher risk end of the spectrum are all in the same pool. This is supposed to lower costs for all. It does this by taking young and healthy citizens, forcing them to join the pool and carrying the costs for those who consume more health care. As these folks age, they start to become the recieving end of the risk pool, with their kids and grandkids assuming the costs. Is this your understanding as well?

    I won’t ask the specifics of your friends issues or why she couldn’t see a physician before it became too late. That’s a personal matter, and likely re-opens wounds.

    I will say that whether you deal with health insurance, single payer or public option all medical care revolves around a scarce resource. So long as this is true there will be a cut off, and some folks will be on the wrong side of the cut off. Some will die for lack of care, whether in Canada, Norway, China, or the United States. It is awful, but it is inescably true.

  34. 44

    glort spews:

    LMFAO @ obama getting completely fucking PWN3D by one of his own supporters….

    f-ing classic!

    this presidency is a complete disaster….

    obamao is gonna be one-and-done come 2012

  35. 45

    proud leftist spews:

    We’ll see. Obama is a bit smarter, and cares about the citizenry more, than GWB. History will treat him far kinder than your last president.

  36. 46

    Don Joe spews:


    I don’t deny ambiguity in any language, English included. Tom Stoppards line was ‘you understand we are tied down to a language which makes up in ambiguity what it lacks in style.’

    Of course you do. To wit:

    What I do say is that most of the ambiguity can be rectified by original intent.

    Unfortunately, it can’t. The Constitution is the result of compromise between 50 different members of the Continental Congress, often with 50 different ways of understanding what a particular clause meant. And that’s just the Continental Congress. What did it mean to the people in the various state conventions who ratified the Constitution?

    There is no such thing as a single “original intent” to which we can appeal as a means of resolving the ambiguity.

    Liberals understandably dislike the idea of original intent.

    Quite a few conservatives also reject “original intent” for the very reason noted above–namely that there is no such thing as a singular “original intent.: Not the least among these conservatives would be Antonin Scalia.

    Scalia, by the way, is a different form of “originalist.” Scalia thinks that the Constitution should be interpreted using the meaning of the words at the time the Constitution was written.

    There are a couple of problems with Scalia’s approach, not the least of which being that it puts us squarely back into the problem of ambiguity.

    In point of fact and principle the founding fathers were simply no friend of most of the canon of liberal or progressive thought.

    That’s not a statement of fact. It’s a statement of opinion. Moreover, it relies rather heavily on a complete misrepresentation of the “canon of liberal or progressive thought.” In other words, your opinion is little more than the slaying of another straw man.

    If you want to make such a claim, then go about the actual work of citing some supposedly liberal judges who hold these opinions that you ascribe to liberals. Inferences don’t count, here, because your inference merely begs the question. Quotes, preferably with links (like the one I’ve provided above regarding Scalia) are the required work product.

    Personally, I think the Constitution is a broader form of document than regular statues. It articulates a number of broad principles that can only be fully understood by applying those principles to specific sets of facts.

    This isn’t a strictly liberal point of view. One of the more articulate proponents of this broad view is Judge Posner of the 7th Circuit–a Reagan appointee. See, for example, Posner’s essay, “What Am I? A Potted Plant?”:

    Many provisions of the Constitution, however, are drafted in general terms. This creates flexibility in the face of unforeseen changes, but it creates the possibility of alternative interpretations, and this possibility is an embarrassment for a theory of judicial legitimacy that denies judges have any right to exercise discretion. A choice among semantically plausible interpretations of a text, in circumstances remote from those contemplated by its drafters, requires the exercise of discretion and the weighing of consequences.

    The primary problem with the originalist/textualist approach espoused by people like Scalia is it’s denial of reality. It’s impossible to write a document that covers every possible set of circumstances. That necessarily leaves gaps, and it’s the purview of judges to fill in those gaps. It’s what judges do. To deny this is to assume the ostrich posture, and Scalia’s originalist/textualist argument is little more than a self-deceptive cover for the very real judicial discretion that he does exercise.

  37. 47

    proud leftist spews:

    Don Joe,
    You just killed lost. “Original intent” is a concept built on nonsense on stilts. Beyond the frivolity of trying to perceive of how those of more than 200 years ago thought of anything, how do people like lost account for all the amendments since? There have been gamechangers like the 14th. The Constitution is a living document. That is its beauty. lost doesn’t get that. Madison did not conceive of the internet, but understood that ambiguity is a beautiful thing that just might anticipate change. So, he wrote ambiguity into the Constitution. lost would, and does, argue, that somehow we can divine the thoughts of those who lived long ago, and that we can divine how they would approach a much changed world two centuries later. Nonsense, of course. Pure nonsense. Original intent people do not recognize the wisdom of the framers. lost is lost.

  38. 48

    Don Joe spews:


    First of all, the point of bring up my friend wasn’t to elicit some form of sympathy. The point was to blow away the stereotype, and, while I appreciate you acknowledging the nature of the stereotype, I don’t think you still get the point. You wrote:

    But the whole concept behind the Act, I understand, is the spreading of risk across a broader pool. You, your friend who took care of herself, and those on the higher risk end of the spectrum are all in the same pool. This is supposed to lower costs for all.

    Yup. The larger the pool, the lower the aggregate costs. That’s the whole concept behind insurance–spreading the risk across the largest pool we can get.

    It does this by taking young and healthy citizens, forcing them to join the pool and carrying the costs for those who consume more health care.

    Two problems here. First, the individual mandate was a compromise solution to the problem of risk pool that was imposed by the conservative opposition to the public option. If you’re going to point a finger at progressives over the individual mandate, than fairness dictates that you point another finger at conservatives who opposed the one provision that would have obviated it.

    Second, your construct here belies one of the fundamental facts regarding health care in this country, namely that the primary reason people don’t have health care has little to do with whether or not they’ve made bad personal choices. A vast majority either cannot afford any insurance coverage whatsoever (like my friend) or suffered some injury or contracted some illness that rendered them uninsurable.

    You want details, the Kaiser Foundation has tons of data on who is uninsured and why they’re uninsured.

    I will say that whether you deal with health insurance, single payer or public option all medical care revolves around a scarce resource.

    Gads. No shit, Sherlock. What was your first clue? As usual, you get half way to actually engaging the real problem, and then jump back to your old, familiar and hackneyed responses.

    Health care isn’t just a problem of maximizing available health care. Were that the case, then a purely market solution would be fine.

    The problem with a purely market solution, however, is that maximizing available health care can result in a situation where a handful of people get all the health care they need while the majority of people get either no health care at all or get far less health care than they need. The fact that poverty exists in market-based economies should be sufficient proof of this conclusion.

    With health care, maximizing access is at least as important as maximizing what’s available. Using the jargon of Economics, it’s not just an allocation problem. It’s also a distribution problem.

    The policy challenge is one of finding a way to maximize access without sacrificing too much in terms of the quantity of health care that’s available. There will be some sacrifice.

    Now, is the current legislation an optimal solution to the problem? Nope. As happens from time to time, politics got in the way of good policy. But, for that politics, conservatives deserve at least as much of the blame as progressives do.

  39. 49

    Michael spews:


    Lost is so lost that I chose not to follow up on my comment about how every other developed country seems to have managed to cover all their people.

    Sorry about your friend.

    I’m another person that thought Lost might actually be worth talking to, but he’s not.

  40. 50

    Don Joe spews:


    You just killed lost.

    Not entirely. I know where he wants to go: some diatribe about liberal “activist judges.” The problem, there, is Robert Bork.

    There was a time when the terms “judicial activism” and “judicial restraint” had, at least in political science circles, reasonably objective definitions based on the exercise of the power of judicial review–namely the authority of the courts to declare a law unconstitutional. As one would expect, examples of judicial activism involved the Court declaring a law unconstitutional while judicial restraint involved letting a law stand on Constitutional grounds.

    Much of this predates even the use of the term “judicial activism”. Felix Frankfurter was one of the most articulate advocates for judicial restraint ever to sit on the Court.

    The problem arose when Robert Bork needed a pejorative term to refer to liberal judges, and, borrowing from less rigorous sources, stuck the word “liberal” in front of “judicial activist,” thereby turning what was once a rather neutral term into an instant pejorative.

    In the process, however, he had to redefine the word. If “liberal activist judges” are to be considered the bane of American society, then what do we do about the fact that one of the more liberal justices ever to sit on the Court, the aforementioned Justice Frankfurter, was one of the most vocal proponents of the antithesis of “judicial activism”?

    The end result is that we’ve lost a critical construct for discussing the role of judicial review in America. Justices now, on both sides of the aisle, invoke the power to declare a law unconstitutional by whatever justification they can conjure up to justify their political views. Despite his protestations to the contrary, Justice Scalia creates just as much new law as any of the supposedly “liberal” activist judges of the past.

    When cast in the original political science terms, however, there’s a rather simple set of principles that justify liberal policies on Constitutional grounds. When an issue involves civil liberties, then the Court should be as activist as reasonably possible–a sort of general “strict scrutiny” standard for any legislation that would impinge on individual liberty. On issues that do not involve civil liberties, however, then the Court really ought to defer to the authority of the legislature to reflect the will of the majority.

    The problem that conservatives have is that they want the Court to forget individual liberties on things like sexual preferences and freedom of religion (indeed Caroline O’Donnell invoked majority rule on just this issue at the Value Voters Conference this past week), but want the Court to ignore majority rule on issues where the Constitution is largely silent with respect to individual liberty.

    By the way, property rights is one of the areas where the originalist approach breaks down entirely in terms of the political ends that conservatives want to achieve. Economic liberty wasn’t associated with individual liberty until the late 18th, early 19th century and wasn’t fully articulated until Hayek wrote, The Road to Serfdom–in the 1940’s.

  41. 51

    Puddybud sez, Ask ylb, TEH HA DATABAZE KEEPA at home spews:

    What I love is all the “right wing lunatics” crying constitution 24 / 7 but when Bush was wiretapping, torturing US Citizens, locking up people without the right to see a lawyer, or a speedy trial, these same hypocrites didn’t say a peep. Cuz they wuz askered. We had a constitution then too, and they didn’t say a word when Bush and Cheney were urinating on it for fun.

    Ohhhh Factless… Puddy has a two word answer to your drivel… Noam Chomsky! If you don’t get it, ask TEH HA DATABAZE KEEPA ylb for assistance.

    See ya!

  42. 53

    Kid Yid spews:

    What right-wing hit man said this: “An interesting little man but very jew …”

    [A] Self-hating David Horowitz
    [B] Right-wing hit man David Brock before he grew (up) and became a left-wing hit man
    [C] Hairy harridan hit man Anne Coulter
    [D] manoftruth
    [E] Reinhard Heydrich

    About what interesting little very jew was the right-wing hit man speaking?

    [A] David Goldstein
    [B] Christopher Hitchens, who discovered a phantom Jewish ancestor
    [C] Hillary Clinton, who discovered a phantom Jewish ancestor
    [D] Pee Wee Herman
    [E] Lee

  43. 54

    Kid Yid spews:

    Attentive readers will recall an earlier reference to Arthur James Balfour who wrote a book about blind faith in godless science.

    Attentive readers who are a little Jewish may recall that Balfour was the author or sponsor of the Balfour Declaration that gave a green light to Jews, Zionists, and Jewish Zionists who want launched a holocaust against saintly peaceful Palestinians. Or so we’re told by hep progressives like Jimmy Carter. So it must be true.

    Question: Does progressive Barack Obama believe that little Jew crusaders launched a Balfour-style hostile takeover of sovereign Palestine? Does progressive Barack Obama want the little Jewish occupiers of the Palestinian homeland to turn left and keep walking until their yarmulkes float?

  44. 55

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    You KLOWNS have been asking for the Republican Plan for the economy, security, healthcare etc.
    Here it is–

    You will find lots of specifics….most you will disagree with. However, they are quite specific.
    I think this is awesome.
    I’m glad they waiting until a month or so before the ballots went out.
    The Dems will likely blast the whole plan rather than try criticize it point by point for the simple reason that it makes sense to most real Americans.

  45. 56


    I think this is awesome.

    Yeah you would. From the same article:

    “Congressional Republicans are pledging to ship jobs overseas; blow a $700 billion hole in the deficit to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires; turn Social Security from a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble; once again, subject American families to the recklessness of Wall Street; and take away patients’ rights,”

  46. 57

    Alki Postings spews:

    So the anti-fact anti-science anti-reality Republicans want to spend more more more (bigger military, keep social security, keep medicare) and take in far less (give big tax breaks to rich folks) and then complain about the budget. Ok. Anti-reality, but ok.

  47. 58

    cuba libre spews:

    What right-wing hit man said this: “The Cuban model doesn’t even work” anymore.

    Hint: It was the right-wing hit man who probably launched a hit on JFK. Even worse, evil capitalist Ronald Reagan came back and forced Cuba to privatize:

    And last month, President Raúl Castro began a process of dismissing or transferring some 20 percent of state employees—a major move, given that the government employs more than 90 percent of the country’s labor force.

    That’s from “News” (We’re All Socialists Now) week.

  48. 59

    Gman spews:

    @55 – still doesn’t exclude Child Sex Slavery. Republicans still want Child Sex Slavery for all their heterosexual constituents.

  49. 60

    jackass rabbits spews:

    As if “News”week apostasy weren’t bad enough, there’s Carper’s with another hit from The Mendacity of Hope:

    Reagan’s policies began a massive, decades-long transfer of national wealth to the rich. Under Bill Clinton, who shamelessly appropriated the Reaganite agenda, the transfer was even more dramatic …

    Since the early 1980s, the Democratic Party has largely abandoned its commitment to policies that serve the material interests of most Americans and has joined the Republican Party in a shameless competition for the patronage of large corporations and the superrich.

    Shamelessly shameless.

    Obama outspent McCain two-to-one during the last election, and there is no reason to believe that all or even most corporate spending will ultimately be channelled to the party of Abraham Lincoln and Sarah Palin. On the contrary, Democrats are likely to benefit as much or more than the G.O.P.

    So we’re citizents united to buy us the best damn Democrats that money can buy. Gotta make you liberal progressive wingers proud.

  50. 61

    Blue John spews:

    Wasn’t the constitution interpreted to mean “separate but equal” was valid before it was interpreted to mean it wasn’t?

    Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in private businesses, under the doctrine of “separate but equal”.

    The decision was handed down by a vote of 7 to 1. “Separate but equal” remained standard doctrine in U.S. law until its repudiation in the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.

    Their interpretation of the constitution correct then but not correct now? SEVEN judges found separate but equal was good law.
    Seems the constitution can be interpreted in different ways depending on the times.

    Are you saying we should should go with the “Original intent” of the founding fathers and ignore the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education decision? How do you decide what decisions to pick and choose to apply and ignore?

  51. 62

    worf spews:

    Since the American Revolution was fueled largely by anger at special tax breaks given to the largest ‘multinational’ of the era, I’m pretty sure the ‘original intent’ of the framers, even if it could be divined now, is not quite what folks like lost wish it to be:

    A pamphlet was circulated through the colonies called The Alarm and signed by an enigmatic “Rusticus.” One issue made clear the feelings of colonial Americans about England’s largest transnational corporation and its behavior around the world: “Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given simple Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men. They have levied War, excited Rebellions, dethroned lawful Princes, and sacrificed Millions for the Sake of Gain. The Revenues of Mighty Kingdoms have entered their Coffers. And these not being sufficient to glut their Avarice, they have, by the most unparalleled Barbarities, Extortions, and Monopolies, stripped the miserable Inhabitants of their Property, and reduced whole Provinces to Indigence and Ruin. Fifteen hundred Thousands, it is said, perished by Famine in one Year, not because the Earth denied its Fruits; but [because] this Company and their Servants engulfed all the Necessaries of Life, and set them at so high a Price that the poor could not purchase them.”

    Yet today’s conservatives wish to interpret the ‘original intent’ of the framers to bolster their argument for ‘free markets’ and to rail against regulation of business. Go figure.

  52. 63

    worf spews:

    Ezra Klein on the “specifics” in the GOP “Contract on America 2.0 redux”:

    You’re also left with a difficult question: What, exactly, does the Republican Party believe? The document speaks constantly and eloquently of the dangers of debt — but offers a raft of proposals that would sharply increase it. It says, in one paragraph, that the Republican Party will commit itself to “greater liberty” and then, in the next, that it will protect “traditional marriage.” It says that “small business must have certainty that the rules won’t change every few months” and then promises to change all the rules that the Obama administration has passed in recent months. It is a document with a clear theory of what has gone wrong — debt, policy uncertainty, and too much government — and a solid promise to make most of it worse.

    Take the deficit. Perhaps the two most consequential policies in the proposal are the full extension of the Bush tax cuts and the full repeal of the health-care law. The first would increase the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and many trillions of dollars more after that. The second would increase the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next 10 years, and many trillions of dollars more after that. Nothing in the document comes close to paying for these two proposals, and the authors know it: The document never says that the policy proposals it offers will ultimately reduce the deficit.

  53. 64

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 61: The facts, as determined by the trial court, can themselves make a difference.

    In the Brown case, the judge allowed testimony showing that the school systems were not, in fact, equal, based on a number of factors (spending, teacher qualifications, bus transportation availability, etc.). In additions, sociologists testified that segregation itself had an impact upon the student’s perceptions of themselves and their own role in society, which impacted their future education and workplace performance. Based on this testimony the Brown court held that segregation is inherently unequal.

    Of course, the federal district court judge hearing the Brown case could have simply dismissed the complaint in pre-trial motions citing Plessy, saying that it was stare decisis (settled law) that segretion was constitutional. But the judge did not, and allowed the evidence to be submitted at trial, over objection.

    The courage of those federal district court judges hearing civil rights cases in the South during that period cannot be overstated. They and their families still had to live among the whites in their communities, and were the targets of ostracisim, vandalism, and some threats of violence which had to be taken seriously in the age of church-bombings and cross-burnings.

  54. 65

    rhp6033 spews:

    Worf @ 63: Great writing by Klien, he hit the nail right on the head.

    Since the early 1980’s the Republicans have campaigned by sloganering and sound-bite. Their whole strategy has been to promise to cut taxes, then let the Democrats take the blame for the consequences. They don’t make the difficult policy choices, that would be – you know – actual WORK.

    I noticed they didn’t bring out the term limits proposal, like they did in 1992. Then it was convenient for them to do so because they were running against popular long-serving Democrats in quite a few districts. The Republians avoided the debate over which candidate was more qualified by simply asserting that a long-serving official should be ousted simply because he had served for a long time. Of course, quite a few Republicans who had been elected on a “voluntary term limits” pledge quickly reniged on the promise thereafter.

  55. 66

    Mene mene tekel Upharsin (there goes the neighborhood) spews:

    re 44: this presidency is a complete disaster….

    Really? What about the health care reforms that go into effect today and the fact that one of the major set-pieces of the new Republican contract on America is to repeal health care legislation?

    Bring that Trojan Horse right in the gates, wingnuts.

  56. 67

    Blue John spews:

    @61. But my point is….

    Either the constitution is a flexible document, open to interpretation and nuance, allowing for new information and changing times,

    Or it’s not, and rulings like the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education decision is invalid because it goes against the “Original Intent” of the founding fathers. We can never leave the mind set of the 1700s, unless it’s explicitly defined in a constitutional amendment and even those, must interpreted in the context of the 1700s.

    Lost and the constitutionalists seem to feel that we must follow the “Original intent” regardless of the consequences.

  57. 68

    Blue John spews:

    This is my irritation
    It’s like the bible. If a person says they follow the bible literally and completely, then they have to take the bad with the good and stop eating pork and shellfish and letting their woman raise their voices in church and wearing clothing of two fibers and stone their kids for back talking to them.
    If they are going to follow the “original intent” of the constitution, then they have to take the bad with the good, and the rest of society should be aware of what that means. Because unlike personally following the bible, it affects America.

    And I’m sure lost would comment very articulately and sounding very hurt that I would think such terrible things if we went all constitution-ily.

  58. 69

    Blue John spews:

    @68. Oh yeah, and in the bible part, they have actually start caring about the poor and being more like the compassionate Jesus

  59. 70

    Steve spews:

    @68 In this way, I see the constitution as being little different than building construction codes. Both require interpretation. The final arbiter of interpretation would be the U.S. Supreme Court for the former, and the Authority Having Jursidiction, whoever that is, for the latter. For Lost to say that it “means what it says” seems to me to be just another display of his ignorance delivered with his usual, and very tiresome, unwarranted smugness and arrogance.

  60. 72

    masaba spews:


    I haven’t read all of the subsequent comments in this thread, but I did read this one about farm subsidies.

    My uncle is a cotton farmer. For years and years and years my dad and I have listened to him bitch about people who get ‘welfare.’ He’s a wingnut in many regards (he thinks we should have a flat tax), but his incessant demonizing of children and families who receive a few months of government assistance is probably the worst.

    For years my dad and I would bring up the fact that my uncle was receiving farm subsidies (a euphemism for farmer’s welfare, in my opinion), but my uncle would always shrug it off as he was working for that money, ‘How do you eat without farmers,’ or other such nonsense. My response to the latter question was, ‘How much cotton do you eat, David?’

    Recently, I found a database which shows the amount of money the US has paid to individuals in the form of subsidies over the last few years. Over the past 15 years, I found that my uncle has averaged over $120,000 yearly. Needless to say, any feelings of my own superior genetic makeup were dashed when I discovered this little fact. Can you say hypocrite?

  61. 73

    proud leftist spews:

    Steve @ 70
    lost’s claim that the Constitution “means what it says,” and that its meaning is readily apparent to anyone who can dial up what the drafters intended (which he, of course, can do) identifies him as: (1) hopelessly naive; (2) mendacious as hell; (3) brain dead; or (4) all of the above. How is it possible to have rational dialogue with folks like this?

  62. 74

    Steve spews:

    @73 “its meaning is readily apparent to anyone who can dial up what the drafters intended (which he, of course, can do”

    Lost’s ouija board must work one hell of a lot better than mine. Although when I ask it if Lost is a putz, the answer is always “Yes”. At least the board gets that one right.

    “How is it possible to have rational dialogue with folks like this?”

    I believe that it’s not possible and never have. I know you tried your best, PL, but I really believed from the day he first showed up here that it’s purest folly. I’ve known more than a few personalities like Lost’s. I’m pretty certain that he’s as in love with his own voice as he is with his writing. He would likely talk his fool head off and, instead of listening to any response, his head would continue churning impatiently, wanting to keep spewing his inane thoughts. So I’m also pretty sure that if we ever had a face to face conversation with the guy that it wouldn’t play out any better than it does here. At least it would be one hell of a lot more satisfying in person telling the stupid twit to STFU.