On Friday, Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera sparked a backlash when he seemingly blamed Trayvon Martin for his own death, saying the Florida teen should not have gone outside wearing a hoodie. “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin?s death as George Zimmerman was,” he said.
Few came to Rivera’s defense, including his own son, who was ashamed of his father, according to Rivera himself. But on Friday night, Rivera finally found someone in his corner — Fox host Bill O’Reilly.
Appearing on The Factor that night, O’Reilly said he agreed with Rivera, explaining that he faced a similar public outcry over a separate event in which people thought the host was blaming the victim. Saying they were both simply offering “a cautionary tale,” O’Reilly said he and Rivera were doing the “exact same thing” and that “your advice was good advice, my advice was good advice.” “If you dress like a wannabe gangster, some knucklehead is going to take you at your word,” Rivera added. Watch it:
But perhaps not all cautionary tales are meant to be followed, even by those who tell them, as Rivera and O’Reilly were photographed wearing hoodies together at a Yankees game:
Terence Flynn (Official photo)
Last week, the inspector general of the National Labor Relations Board released a report saying that Terence Flynn, a Republican member of the board added by recess appointment in January, had violated ethics rules. Before his appointment to the labor board, Flynn had served as chief counsel to Brian Hayes, then its lone Republican member. In that capacity, he passed on confidential information about cases the NLRB was considering to two former members now working in private practice and representing clients in NLRB cases.
One of the people to whom Flynn passed confidential information was Peter Schaumber, co-chair of Mitt Romney's labor policy advisory group. As a former NLRB member, Schaumber would obviously have known that he was receiving confidential information. Noting that "[t]he report makes clear that Schaumber used his inside connections through his former chief counsel Flynn to get internal, confidential information that he then utilized in ongoing public attacks on the actions of the NLRB," a statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka calls for Flynn's resignation and a Department of Justice investigation, and concludes:
These findings also will be a test for candidate Romney. A key advisor has been found to have used his inside connections in a way that resulted in the violation of ethics rules. Allowing Schaumber to remain as an advisor will speak volumes about candidate Romney and the value he places on ethics in government officials. He should renounce these violations and dismiss Schaumber.Romney has, of course, made attacks on the NLRB a regular feature of his presidential campaign. Violating the confidentiality of a government agency he wants to eliminate may seem like no big deal to him, or even a good thing. But keeping Schaumber would speak volumes about Romney's respect for the rule of law.
Adapted from The Stars Hollow Gazette The Rant of the Week Glenn Greenwald was a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher and exposes just how hypocritical Maher and Sullivan are. One irony is that it was preceded by a discussion of hate crimes prosecutions[...]
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Last week I participated in a roundtable that on these issues, along with other GW faculty from public health and law?Sara Rosenbaum, Peter Smith, and Katherine Hayes?as well as former U.S. Senate Finance Committee staffer Mark Hayes and former House Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee Counsel Andy Schneider. You can find a synopsis here and the video here.
My remarks centered on implications of health care reform for the 2012 election (as I previously wrote about here). How might the Court?s decision affect the politics of the issue for the election?
First, it?s likely that the Court?s decision?no matter what it is?won?t much affect overall public support or opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Court decisions often simply polarize approval?as in this study of Roe v. Wade. There are already early indicators that this will happen. In a March 2012 Kaiser Family Foundation poll, respondents were asked how they would feel if the court rules the individual mandate unconstitutional. A large majority (69 percent) of Democrats will be disappointed or angry while 79 percent of Republicans will be enthusiastic or satisfied. When asked how they would feel if the Court rules it constitutional, the results flip, naturally.
So if the Court does uphold the ACA, is this likely to put an end to partisan conflict? Hardly, except perhaps under the unlikely circumstance that the Court were unanimous. (It might get a little harder to attack the ACA if even Clarence Thomas supports it.) But again, that?s not likely. If you assume a 5-4 decision, then Republicans will continue to attack health care reform. This won?t be hard: they?ve been mad at Anthony Kennedy before.
What if the Court strikes down the ACA? This depends a bit on severability and what exactly the Court rules?does it strike down the individual mandate and leave other parts of the bill standing? Does it issue a broader ruling? Although a ruling that strikes down the individual mandate and/or other portions of the act, would likely ratchet down activism by opponents of the ACA, the broader debate might continue. Obama could defend other aspects of law?e.g., lifetime limits?and GOP could criticize it on other grounds or point to it as an example of the sort of government overreach that would be expected if Obama were reelected.
As I said in my earlier piece, I don?t necessarily think health care will be the defining or even a very consequential issue for voters in 2012. That said, I don?t expect the Supreme Court?s decision to defuse the issue very much.
Rep. Paul Ryan on FOX News SundayThe House Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan was the talk of the Sunday circuit, as Ryan and fellow Republicans tried to downplay the harm the proposal would do to just about everybody but the 1 percent. A particular focus, because of the political fall-out from last year's attempt at a budget, was Medicare. Here's Ryan on FOX News, misleading viewers on just what it is his plan would do.
WALLACE: The Congressional Budget Office says under your plan, by 2030, average government spending on each new Medicare enrollee would be $2,000 less than status quo. Wouldn't you just -- factually, wouldn't you make seniors pay more for Medicare and their health care than they do now?Chris Wallace got that absolutely right, the Ryan plan would shift costs to those 50 million seniors who would be "in charge" of having to pay much more for their health care. And as health care costs rise, Ryan's cap would mean that seniors would have to pay more and more to make up the difference between what the private sector charges and what medicare subsidizes.
RYAN: Those same numbers apply to President Obama's healthcare law. Medicare grows at the same -- under our budget as it does under Obamacare. Here is the key critical difference: the president's health care puts 15 bureaucrats in charge of Medicare. We put 50 million seniors in charge of their Medicare. He is putting these bureaucrats, unelected, unaccountable, in charge of price controlling, which leads to denied care for seniors.
Here's what else it would result in, according to the CBO: "reduced access to health care; diminished quality of care; increased efficiency of health care delivery; less investment in new, high-cost technologies; or some combination of those outcomes."
You know my methods Watson."But your grandiloquence, and your conduct in swinging the beetle - how excessively odd! I was sure you were mad. And why did you insist upon letting fall the bug, instead of a bullet, from the skull?""Why, to be frank, I felt[...]
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Today in Washington, the Supreme Court begins the first of three epic days of hearings on the Affordable Care Act (or I guess if Obama is calling it Obamacare now, I might as well). The first day of hearings, which start at 10am ET, concerns whether or[...]
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Perhaps the funniest thing about this video of Rick Santorum getting pissed off at a question from New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny is that Mitt Romney's campaign decided to take Zeleny's side, calling it "an epic temper tantrum."
If you watch the relevant portion of the speech, you'll see that Santorum, while talking about Obamacare, said that Mitt Romney would be "the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama" because of Romneycare.
The context was clearly Santorum's critique of Romney's ability to challenge Obamacare, so when Zeleny asked his question without noting that context, Santorum?perhaps sensing an opportunity for a Newt Gingrich vs. John King moment?decided to let Zeleny have it for putting words in his mouth.
"What speech were you watching?" Santorum shot back, doing his best to look perturbed. "I said he was the worst Republican to run on the issue of Obamacare, and that's what I was talking about." Pointing his finger in Zeleny's direction, he continued pushing back on the question. "Quit distorting my words," he said. "If I see it, it's bullshit."
And perhaps with that word, Santorum made news?and provoked a somewhat mystifying response from the Romney campaign.
?What we saw today was an epic temper tantrum from a desperate and flailing candidate. Rick Santorum understands that conservatives are rapidly coalescing around Mitt Romney and that he has virtually no path to the nomination. As a result he?s panicking,? Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said.First, purely on a political level, why take the media's side? Second, why draw attention to an incident highlighting one of Romney's biggest weaknesses, his epic (to borrow a phrase) flip-flop on health care reform? And finally, given that Mitt Romney's campaign says Rick Santorum has already lost ... why are they still trying to beat him?
Day One of the arguments before the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act are wonky, but probably some of the most critical of the three-day stretch.
In a nutshell, they concern whether or not the parties have the right to sue over taxes not yet levied.
Section 7421 is actually a section within the Anti-Injunction Act that traces its origins to 1867; that law is often referred to as the Tax Anti-Injunction Act to distinguish it from another congressional enactment that is similar. Both have to do with defining the powers of the federal courts. The tax version is a part of Title 26 of the code of federal laws, and Title 26 deals only with tax issues. The section?s most important words are these: ?no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person, whether or not such a person is the person against whom such tax was assessed.?
Before the words ?no suit,? the section lists 12 exceptions to the ban that follows. None of those exceptions is involved in the health care cases, so they can be omitted from the discussion. Congress could, if it wished, eliminate the section as a potential barrier to the insurance mandate challenges, simply by passing a law to create a new exception just for that purpose; it has not done so yet, so the ban as written remains intact. It is important to note that when the section refers to ?any tax? it only means any federal law, not any state law.
The quoted words of Section 7421 serve a basic goal of the federal government. As the Supreme Court put it in a 1984 decision (Bob Jones University v. Simon), ?the principal purposes of this language? is ?the protection of the government?s need to assess and collect taxes as expeditiously as possible with a minimum of pre-enforcement judicial interference.?
The heart of the question is whether or not a lawsuit can be brought before the tax under the individual mandate has been levied on anyone. If the court finds that this provision applies, then the arguments over the mandate are moot, and the court can move on to the Medicaid expansion in their decision process.
More from SCOTUSblog:
Although this may be the most complex issue, legally, that the Court will be considering next week, and it is the one that has drawn the least public interest, this question is of major importance: it draws the Court to the core issue of whether anyone had a legal right to file a lawsuit to challenge the insurance-purchase mandate before it actually goes into effect (now scheduled for January 1, 2014). If lawsuits turn out to have been barred, the mandate may not be challenged probably until 2015 at the earliest. The answer actually depends upon answers to two separate issues: is the Anti-Injunction Act the kind of law that defines a federal court?s authority ? that is, does a court have jurisdiction to decide the case at all ? and, if it is jurisdictional, does that bar a court challenge to a specific law written as the insurance mandate is written?
Without question, these three days' arguments are not only deeply rooted in history, but will be historical regardless of the outcome. Audio recordings of the arguments will be released midday, and I'll be writing them up as quickly as I can. Onward.
Rick Santorum swears at NYT reporter.[...]
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