What’s a “Pre-existing condition”?

The GOP is again talking about just passed a “better” plan to replace the ACA, and thus, despite Trump’s “promises”, people are talking about the importance of not denying health insurance to people due to pre-existing conditions. You’re going to hear truly tragic stories about people surviving or not because of this, about people who would’ve been excluded from health insurance in the past and are now stable and productive members of society, about people being left to die because of lack of money or accident of birth.

I don’t have any such story. But I think it’s important to understand that we’re not just talking about multi-million-dollar expenses for comparatively rare conditions and tragic accidents. This used to be be far more widespread.

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On Filibustering Gorsuch

By the time you read this, it may be a done deal, since I forgot to write this last night. But I think it’s still an important statement to get out there.

The Republicans have made it very clear that they intend to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, no matter what. So the Democrats have nothing to lose by opposing him, and nothing to gain by letting him through easily.

“But what about preserving the filibuster for future SCOTUS nominees?”

What about it? Do you really think that if the Democrats don’t filibuster Gorsuch, but filibuster a future nominee, the Republicans won’t just eliminate the filibuster at that point? What is going to change between now and then that suddenly the Republicans are going to be interested in consensus or compromise, after being uninterested in either since at least 2003?

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Transitive moral responsibility?

This was topical when I wrote the draft, and then I got distracted with schoolwork and forgot about it. So the specific examples are a bit dated, but the basic points are still worth discussing—and unfortunately examples of this continue to turn up on a regular basis.

“… issuing a marriage license to a same-sex couple would “irreparably and irreversibly violate her conscience.”

That’s the reason Kim Davis’ attorneys gave for why an immediate stay of enforcement was required while they continue to ask anyone they can think of who might side with them, since both mom and dad have told them “no”. Later in that same article, there was this line:

Despite her refusal, her office will begin issuing licenses Friday morning. Couples, however, will be marrying “at their own risk.” It is unclear if the licenses will be legally valid.

Question: why would the legality of marriage certificates issued in compliance with applicable laws be in question just because the county clerk isn’t on the job? So if she were on vacation or hospitalized, no licenses can be issued? If she died (or even just moved away), they would have to call a special session of the state legislature or special election, and no licenses until that happens? Surely her authority implicitly flows through her deputies, (absent evidence of malfeasance)? I mean, she sure thinks so—that’s why she won’t let her deputies do it while she’s there.  If we’re going to start assuming that people do not have authority to perform government actions without affirmative proof that they do, every single time, the whole system will fall apart. Which is what some conservatives want, but I don’t think that’s Kim Davis’ goal. Continue reading

“Hamilton Electors” Are Being Dramatic, Not Effective

I believe that this is one case where living up to the original intent of the founding fathers is a good idea: the electoral college shouldn’t vote for Trump.
But what is currently going on is at best a symbolic protest. Even if these people were GOP delegates, and thus taking votes away from Trump, it wouldn’t matter. So long as he has more than 270 votes, he’s still elected. Perhaps more importantly, if nobody has 270+ votes, nobody wins.

There are 2 ways faithless electors can keep Trump out of office:

  • 270 of them can change their vote to someone who is neither Trump nor Clinton (and presumably not Stein or Johnson, either). And they all have to pick the same someone.
  • 38 of them can change their vote to Clinton (while the 232 pledged to her still vote for her).

Now, getting died-in-the-wool GOP electors to vote for Clinton is a really tall order. These people are picked for their partisan loyalty, not their patriotism or smarts—not saying they don’t have those things, just that they aren’t requirements for getting the job. But getting an eighth of the GOP electors to do so still sounds more plausible to me than getting half the electors (or 7/8ths the GOP electors) to agree on some third person.

And if nobody gets 270 votes, Congress decides. Unlike the electoral college, they only have three options: Trump, Clinton, and Johnson. So probably Trump. Unless they deadlock and we end up with Ryan and {I forget—McConnell?}. I’m not entirely convinced that would be better.

So, yes, if your point is that the electoral college is dumb and should be eliminated, then switch your vote from Clinton to, I dunno, McCain.

But if your point is that the electoral college has an important purpose in protecting people from themselves, then Democrat electors not voting for Clinton is at best a risky strategy, and likely just pointless. Heck, even getting 7 fewer votes for Trump (while still letting him win) would be a more effective statement.

Is reuse really a new thing?

I was reading this and thinking “I was never particularly into Jonny Quest, but the premise is solid, and if they do something about Hadji it could be a pretty good movie”.

But why  all the remakes? Why does everything have to be a rehash of something from a few decades ago?

The obvious answer is because of ever-lengthening copyright.

But then I thought about how characters and stories have been reused for centuries—millennia, even. From reusing Osiris’ story for both Moses and Jesus, through the endless retellings of Cinderella, to the many adaptations of Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes.

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