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Archive for the ‘law’ Category

The new healthcare law has more or less fallen of the radar screen lately. Here are two stories that give me a warm fuzzy feeling about it.

First from Politico, health care is going to cost more than previously thought:

Congressional Budget Office estimates released Tuesday predict the health care overhaul will likely cost about $115 billion more in discretionary spending over ten years than the original cost projections. The additional spending — if approved over the years by Congress — would bring the total estimated cost of the overhaul to over $1 trillion.

And from the Washington Post, seven more states to join suit against the legistlation.

This Friday, seven more states will formally join a lawsuit originally filed by Florida and 12 other states in late March. The suit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Florida, contends that Congress lacks the constitutional authority to mandate an individual’s participation in an insurance plan, and that it has infringed on states’ rights by requiring them to extend coverage to more low-income residents without fully funding the additional cost.

Go get ‘em!

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I figure I’ll sound smarter if I rip off Thomas Sowell.

First, I want to rat out Philo.  He seems like a nice guy.  And I bet he was a serious nerdgeek in his day.  But he was easily led astray by the fidgeter-miscreant-note-passer par excellence, me, yesterday at a working group hearing in the Texas legislature yesterday.  The reason I like sitting next to Philo is that he cares more about my tiny feelings than he cares that the State Representatives notice that he’s giggling in the fourth row before he gives testimony.  So he laughs at almost everything I write in my running commentary about the witnesses.  As an added bonus, he wrote the funniest comment of all, his only one to my 15 or so, while simultaneously writing his testimony and laughing at my jokes.  If we had gone to college together, he would have gotten the “A,” I would have gotten the “C with commendation.”  By the way, that is how I went through college.

Speaking of college, I have been to several of these hearings with this particular committee, and I haven’t been to one yet where the chair fails to mention the grad school he went to.  Often, he goes on to mention that other committee members went to Harvard and Princeton.  It’s the Ivy League Litany.  There’s even one member who has mentioned, on more than one occasion, something that someone said when he was at Harvard…at a leadership conference [sotto voce].

Other randomness: our accident-prone dog was found to be bleeding profusely from a gash behind her ear in the wee hours of the morning.  I opted for the “let nature take its course” strategy, which paid off because she clotted nicely and we took her to the vet at a reasonable hour.  We couldn’t tell, really, because of all the blood-matted hair, what the nature of the injury was, and thanks to her generally stoic and slightly senile nature, we didn’t even know how or when she got injured.**  So I dropped her off at the vet and called later to see if she was ready to be picked up. Yup, said the tech.  “We cleaned the area, shaved it, and glued it back and she’s good to go.”  Glued it back?  I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask what they glued back.  Anyway, she’s back and the damage only cost about 40% of emergency treatment rates.

** This is not unusual with her.  She was once stabbed by a deer (those antlers are sharp) right above the collar bone but she hardly bled and didn’t limp or anything.  By the time we noticed it (“Oh, lookie here: Stripes gotta big ol’ hole in her chest”) the vet said it was healing nicely that’ll be $50 please.

Meanwhile, in other news: Arizona’s soon-to-be law cracking down on illegals is pretty draconian,  but when Nina Easton did her best to sound moderate in her critique of it,  Bret Bair got more worked up than I’ve ever seen him.  Granted, his “worked up” is Keith Olbermann’s comatose, but it made me sit up.  He said (paraphrasing from memory) that Arizona had the highest kidnapping rate int he world last year and that the cartels and the drug/human trafficking were making south Arizona a no-go zone (like Mexico proper, in other words.)  To that, Nina Easton said that the state should crack down on employers to cut off demand for illegals.  This obviously is a non-sequitor.  We’re talking violent crime and drugs: tossing the guy in the WalMart warehouse back to Mexico isn’t going to reduce the cartel activity.

Meanwhile, Elena Kagan is not a lesbian. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  The best part: Anita Dunn rebuking the CBS blog for saying so with this: “The fact that they’ve chosen to become enablers of people posting lies on their site tells us where the journalistic standards of CBS are in 2010.” I think this whole pot-calling-kettle thing is racist.  And for once, we Republicans are way ahead of the curve on CBS. I seem to recall an incident in 2004“Courage.”

Meanwhile, apart from all the other fishiness surrounding the Goldman Sachs suit (no warning, announced in middle of day on a week day, coincident with Obama’s Slayer of Financial Titans Act, etc.) I would like to point out that the person that the SEC has named as a bad guy isn’t the “boss,” he’s a trader.  He may have been intimately involved with shenanigans that may or may not be prosecutable in court, but he isn’t the “big fish.” He is, however, a French citizen living in London.  I think that’ll be pretty convenient for him and BO’s cronies back home.  Prediction: Goldman pleads down from charges involving stuff none of us really understand to misdemeanor spitting on the sidewalk, gets a slap on the wrist that has a monetary value of something less than they donated to BO,  Chuck Schumer, and Kirsten Gillibrand**, and we call it a day for Super Dooper Crimestoppers of the SEC, aka Bernie Who?  **BO “is not embarrassed by Goldman Sachs contributions” so he’s keeping the nearly $1 million the firm donated to him.  Hey, he takes a lot of money from a lot of people.  Good to know that his personal embarrassment is the measure here.  From my experience, pols are pretty shameless, so no rebates, folks.

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OK, I’m just as happy seeing al-Awlaqi meet his maker and however many virgins.  But, for those of us who did take the whole FISA debate seriously, and that whole due process rigamarole that the Bill of Rights blathers on about, and as someone who felt the sting of the sarcasm embodied in the bumpersticker wisdom of “Go Ahead, Take My Rights; I Wasn’t Using Them Anyway” I just wanted to ask: where are all the Lefties on this?  I mean, this is a guy who actually IS an American.  Has he been tried, even in absentia?  What about “guilty until proven innocent?”  What about Miranda? Oh, I see.  That only works for Nigerian Jihadis who have had the great good fortune to land mostly intact on American soil, even if that wasn’t the plan (Philo- you’re the music guy- can we have Abumutallab’s theme, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” cued up?)

Where is the ACLU? Has anyone uttered a peep about this? Is all the angst about rendition spent and we have none to spare for the imminent smithereenhood of an American citizen?  Isn’t vaporization somewhat worse than waterboarding or getting the Quran wet?

And I’m not asking rhetorically here.  I really don’t think we should be assassinating American citizens by executive order.  There should be a trial, in absentia, and if found guilty of say, treason (huh- that has a nice old fashioned ring to it, doesn’t it?) he should be stripped of his American citizenship.

You know, Roman justice was pretty brutal, but one of the perks of citizenship was that you had the privilege of being beheaded if you were to be executed.

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The SCOTUS

This is the number one reason I didn’t vote for Obama, the Supreme Court. His appointees will cause detrimental effects long after O is gone.

http://www.redstate.com/jrichardson/2010/04/04/stevens-retirement-makes-way-for-second-obama-scotus-pick/

All legislation must at some point pass through all 3 branches of government (what were they again??). At the judicial branch, Obama will have the courts bent solidly leftward that many Constitutional tests will be ignored in favor of his agenda. The SCOTUS was a thorn in FDR’s side so much that he wanted to expand the court’s numbers in order to pack it in his favor. Obama has the luxury of aging justices that are ready to get out who know they will be replaced with other liberal minded folk.

I pray for the continued health of Justices Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito – and that the others hang on until O is out of office.

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He disapproves:

Barack Obama has the kind of cocksure confidence that can only be achieved by not achieving anything else.

Anyone who has actually had to take responsibility for consequences by running any kind of enterprise– whether economic or academic, or even just managing a sports team– is likely at some point to be chastened by either the setbacks brought on by his own mistakes or by seeing his successes followed by negative consequences that he never anticipated.

The kind of self-righteous self-confidence that has become Obama’s trademark is usually found in sophomores in Ivy League colleges– very bright and articulate students, utterly untempered by experience in real world….

For someone who has actually accomplished nothing to blithely talk about taking away what has been earned by those who have accomplished something, and give it to whomever he chooses in the name of “spreading the wealth,” is the kind of casual arrogance that has led to many economic catastrophes in many countries.

The equally casual ease with which Barack Obama has talked about appointing judges on the basis of their empathies with various segments of the population makes a mockery of the very concept of law.

After this man has wrecked the economy and destroyed constitutional law with his judicial appointments, what can he do for an encore? He can cripple the military and gamble America’s future on his ability to sit down with enemy nations and talk them out of causing trouble….

Add to Obama and Biden House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and you have all the ingredients for a historic meltdown.

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Justice Thomas puts it almost exactly as I have to my students:

…there are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution — try to discern as best we can what the framers intended or make it up.

That’s exactly right. Either you try to judge on the basis of what the Constitution says or you make it up as you go.  Liberal interpretive strategies aren’t intellectually well-founded or even sophisticated; they’re elaborate covers for letting judges exercise their own philosophical and political preferences.

No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers, they have no more basis in the Constitution than the latest football scores. To be sure, even the most conscientious effort to adhere to the original intent of the framers of our Constitution is flawed, as all methodologies and human institutions are; but at least originalism has the advantage of being legitimate and, I might add, impartial.

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Obama and the Machine

I’ve been saying, from very early in the campaign, that Barack Obama is not a new kind of politician; he’s an old kind, a representative of the Democratic (in this case, Chicago) machine. The link with Tony Rezko has provided some evidence for that. Now, additional evidence: Obama has promised the Teamsters that he’ll end federal oversight of the union. Power Line reminds us of some of the reasons for that federal oversight:

The Teamsters union has had a long and storied relationship with the Mafia. To take just one vivid example, consider the case of Anthony Senter. Senter was the Mafia hit man who arranged a deal with a Teamsters local for a pension after he was convicted of being a member of a mob hit squad in New York City that committed 25 murders and dismembered most of the victims.

Senter’s attempt to secure a pension from his friends at the Teamsters was disrupted in 1994 by the Independent Review Board. The IRB is the body created by a 1989 consent decree to monitor the Teamsters for corruption. Since 1999 the Teamsters has sought to have the consent decree dissolved. The Department of Justice has not thought that such a good idea. The Teamsters would like new leadership at the Department of Justice with a better attitude….

In 2002, the left-wing Nation magazine frankly condemned Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa’s goal of eliminating federal oversight of the Teamsers as “a bad idea.” It still is. Are the corruption and exploitation of the Teamsters no longer a serious threat? Someone really should ask Barack Obama why not.

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That’s what Bart Simpson told his family in “Homer v. the Eighteenth Amendment.” “I’ll go with you!” said Homer. Marge put a stop to it, and that was that—except, of course, that Bart’s drinking started a temperance campaign that led to prohibition. As the episode illustrates, things get complicated when the government gets involved.

That’s perhaps the moral of this story of a University of Michigan professor who takes his son to a Tigers game and buys him a lemonade—which, unknown to him, was hard lemonade. After a trip to the hospital, a couple of days in foster care, and a week during which dad was banned from his own house, things are back to normal.

That led me to wonder what the law is in my state about parents giving their own minor children alcohol. Here it is. Most states are not so lenient.

106.04 – Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor
(a–b) A minor commits an offense if they consume alcohol unless they are in the visible presence of, and have the consent of their adult parent, legal guardian, or spouse.
§ 106.05 Possession of Alcohol by a Minor
(a) A minor commits an offense if they posses an alcoholic beverage.

(b) A minor may possess an alcoholic beverage:
• while in the course and scope of the minor’s employment if the minor is an employee of a licensee or permitted and the employment is not prohibited by this code
• if the minor is in the visible presence of his adult parent, guardian, or spouse, or other adult to whom the minor has been committed by a court
• if the minor is under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of this code.

(Notice, by the way, the failure of anaphoric agreement and the gender confusion in the above: “a minor… they” as well as “a minor… his.” Thank you, gender-neutral language police.)

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Driving While Polygamous: A British judge accepts a defendant’s plea that revoking his driving license because of a speeding ticket would seriously disadvantage him, because he needs it to drive between his two wives. One lives in Motherwell, the other in Glasgow, about 15 miles away.

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Google Street View

I spent a day this week touring Pittsburgh via Google Street View, which is amazing. Now comes news that a Pittsburgh couple has sued Google for including their house in street view, claiming that it has harmed their property’s value. But you could already view a less attractive picture of their house on the Allegheny County assessment web site, and learn all sorts of other facts about it. (They bought it in 2006 for $163,000; current assessed value, $121,000; condition, Fair; Grade: D+; etc.) I would think that Google’s images increase the value of the house.

I’m reminded of the old lawyer joke: Scientists are starting to use lawyers in their experiments instead of rats. Why? Two reasons. First, they’ve found that, after a while, researchers start getting attached to the rats. That’s not a problem with lawyers. Second, they’ve found that there are some things that rats won’t do….

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