hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Arthur Silber - Thanks, Regrets

Solicitor-General Verilli excerpt, Day 3:
GENERAL VERRILLI: . . .if I may just say in conclusion that -- I would like to take half a step back here, that this provision, the Medicaid expansion that we are talking about this afternoon, and the provisions we have talked about yesterday, we have been talking about them in terms of their effect as measures that solve problems, problems in the economic marketplace, that have resulted in millions of people not having health care because they can't afford insurance. There is an important connection, a profound connection between that problem and liberty. And I do think it's important that we not lose sight of that. That in this population of Medicaid eligible people who will receive health care that they cannot now afford under this Medicaid expansion, there will be millions of people with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and as a result of the health care that they will get, they will be unshackled from the disabilities that those diseases put on them and have the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of liberty. And the same thing will be true for -- for a husband whose wife is diagnosed with breast cancer and who won't face the prospect of being forced into bankruptcy to try to get care for his wife and face the risk of having to raise his children alone and I can multiply example after example after example. In a very fundamental way this Medicaid expansion, as well as the provisions we discussed yesterday, secure of the blessings of liberty. And I think that that is important as the Court's considering these issues that that be kept in mind.

Congress struggled with the issue of how to deal with this profound problem of 40 million people without health care for many years, and it made a judgment, and its judgment is one that is, I think, in conformity with lots of experts thought, was the best complex of options to handle this problem. Maybe they were right, maybe they weren't, but this is something about which the people of the United States can deliberate and they can vote, and if they think it needs to be changed, they can change it. And I would suggest to the Court with profound respect for the Court's obligation to ensure that the Federal Government remains a government of enumerated powers, that this is not a case in any of its aspects that calls that into question. That this was a judgment of policy, that democratically accountable branches of this government made by their best lights, and I would encourage this Court to respect that judgment and ask that the Affordable Care Act, in its entirety, be upheld. Thank you. . .

Echidne - Today's Action Alert

Echidne - How About Them Teachers? Ripping Us All Off, From Primary School To Universities!
. . .[These are] "don't look at the man behind the curtain" tactics. As income inequality increases and one percent of the top one percent gets almost all of the recent gains ordinary people are asked to turn their inchoate feelings of unfairness and their bitterness against someone else. . .

Michael Doyle (McClatchy (Bellingham Herald)) - Can you predict an outcome from Supreme Court justices' questions?
. . .For three uninterrupted minutes Wednesday — an eternity in oral-argument time — Verrilli concluded with a stirring speech about health care and freedom from disease. No justice broke in to question him.

"In a very fundamental way, this (law) secures the blessings of liberty," Verrilli intoned. . .

Joel GAzis-SAx - The Martyrdom of Mayor George Moscone (1996)
. . .The jury found White guilty only of voluntary manslaughter. In other words, even though White had taken the trouble to load his gun in advance, to use the most lethal ammunition, to carry extra bullets, to climb through a window to avoid the metal detector, to sidestep Moscone's bodyguard, to reload after killing Moscone and then walk across City Hall to hunt down Harvey Milk, Douglas Schmidt had convinced the jury that there had been no premeditation. . .

. . .Better observers, among them close friends of Harvey Milk, were kinder towards Mary Ann White. Milk's lover, Scott Smith, was not surprised by White's suicide. Cleve Jones, a former Milk aide, sighed and said: "The lesson is that bigotry kills people. Bigotry killed George Moscone and Harvey Milk. It has taken Dan White's life, and, sadly enough, it probably will destroy the lives of his wife and their children." . . .

. . .George Moscone had never been a rich man. When he died, the man reputed by his enemies to be the kingpin of the City's cocaine trade had fifteen cents in his pocket and $3,955 in his bank account. . .

. . .In death, many chose to honor Moscone in ways that he would not have appreciated in life. Legislators, who eulogized him on the floor of the California State Senate and Assembly, cast votes in Moscone's memory to require the death penalty in special circumstances such as the killing of a public official. The "Twinkie Defense" was invoked by those who eschewed California's diminished capacity defense. After Dan White, men and women with more reasonable cases of diminished capacity were thereafter irrevocably condemned to execution or imprisonment without psychiatric help of any kind. . .

NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - From South Sudan to Yale

Sean Coughlan (BBC) - Gordon Brown calls for global fund for education target

Natalie Angier (NYT) - The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of

just talked with work colleague about traffic in India, he found it hard to understand (and frankly, I did too, when he pointed it out to me) how someone could walk into oncoming traffic and get hit like in the Youtube videos.

HEATHER TIMMONS and HARI KUMAR (NYT) - India Steadily Increases Its Lead in Road Fatalities (2010)
. . .Shivani, a 15-year-old student, recently landed in St. Stephen’s Hospital in Old Delhi with a fractured right leg after just such a highway dash.

“I don’t know what happened,” she said. “I was trying to cross the road.” Her forehead and knuckles were blackened and scraped, and her eyes were glazed after a four-day coma.

She has to cross a busy highway during her one-kilometer walk to school. There are no crosswalks, no underpasses and no stoplights. . .

SARITHA RAI (NYT) - The End of ‘Traffic Hell’ (2011)

S S Kumar (Rediff) - A cure for India's traffic mess (2009)

Hannah Mae - Rest In Peace (Adrienne Rich, “Diving Into the Wreck” (1973))

Re: Valentine's Day, I've always liked Hannah's 2008 post:
Cupid aims for the head · 15 February 2008, 00:23

Tonight I celebrated the shootingest of holidays by going with a modest-yet-dedicated horde of the undead to the new George Romero movie, Diary of the Dead. It is amazing what problems and “problems” you can solve by going out in public dressed as a bloodsoaked punk zombie. . .

Dorothy L Sayers - THE "LAWS" OF NATURE AND OPINION (1941)
. . .There is a difference between saying: "If you hold your finger in the fire you will get burned" and saying, "if you whistle at your work I shall beat you, because the noise gets on my nerves".

The God of the Christians is too often looked upon as an old gentleman of irritable nerves who beats people for whistling. . .

Susie Madrak - Setup

Violet Socks - The complete George Zimmerman surveillance video

Ezra Klein - At World Bank, Jim Yong Kim could be right fit at right time

Matthew Yglesias - Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans has an ingenious plan to jump-start job creation. His Fed colleagues should listen to him.

Noah Smith - Thursday Roundup (3/29/2012)

Mike Konczal - Iceland Recovers from a Financial Crisis with Debt Writedowns

Paul Krugman - The FT Does Iceland

Jim Yong Kim - My Call for an Open, Inclusive World Bank

Ezra Klein - In Kim, an activist to lead the World Bank

Felix Salmon - Why Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala should run the World Bank

Salmon may be right, and Okonjo-Iweala seems like a good choice, but Kim is a very good choice, too. My slight preference goes to Kim, on the grounds that I'd prefer a non-insider to an insider, and a technology-transfer background to a finance background. But I could very well be wrong, and, to repeat, they both seem like good choices.

ATUL ANEJA (Hindu) - All eyes now on enforcing a ceasefire in Syria

SUJAY MEHDUDIA (Hindu) - BRICS nations say they won't sever ties with Iran

Dana Goldstein - In Defense of Peter Beinart

Jonathan Cohn - Obamacare Is On Trial. So Is the Supreme Court.
. . .Think about that for a second: If the justices strike down the Affordable Care Act, they would be stopping the federal government from pursuing a perfectly constitutional goal via a perfectly constitutional scheme just because Congress and the President didn’t use perfectly constitutional language to describe it. Maybe labels matter, although case law suggests otherwise. But do they matter enough for the Court to throw out a law that will provide insurance to 30 million people, shore up insurance for many more, and help to manage one-sixth of the American economy? It wouldn’t seem so. . .

Dealing with this Supreme Court is like dealing with the mind-numbing bureaucracy of "The Place That Sends You Mad".

Jamelle Bouie - The Attack on Liberal Legitimacy
. . .The broader question, I suppose, is this—if our majorities don’t count, and our laws don’t either, then what does?

The answer, it seems to me, cannot be "civil war". LGBT rights seems like a good guide, to not compromise on principle, to not give up, but also to not to start, or think of starting, a civil war.

@TylerCowen: "People in North Dakota aren't saying we won’t create new jobs because of tax and regulation uncertainty."

next post: 4/12/2012

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