Link Farm and Open Thread: Testing Elephants edition

Post what you will.
Self-linking is swell!

  1. It continues to be Fat People Art Week!
  2. Help the DoJ Regulate Against Prison Rape
  3. 3 Interesting Infographics: Interracial Marriage, Surnames, and Slavery
  4. Maybe the Supreme Court won’t decide on Health Care Reform.
  5. BREAKING: Congressional Republicans Run a Prostitution Ring and Other Things You Didn’t Know
  6. Testing elephants (On “disaster pornography” and just what the word “pornography” means, anyway.)
  7. A letter from scientists to the new Congress on “The importance of science in addressing climate change”
  8. Womanist Musings: When Hijab is About Privilege
  9. The Civic Republican Roots of the Individual Mandate
  10. The financial witch hunt against LGBT soldiers discharged because of DADT
  11. California Prisoners Sentenced to Death by Water
  12. Why high deductibles don’t work for the sick
  13. Barack Obama: No Friend of Civil Liberties
  14. It’s Not Genocide If God Tells You To Do It
  15. Napolitano: In Two Years We’ve Deported More Than Ever Before. Appalling.
  16. A confab with the faithful (An atheist sits down for a talk with some Christians.)
  17. Why the word “marriage” matters
  18. Large-scale workplace arrests of illegal workers were hallmarks of the George W. Bush administration’s approach in its final years. But two years ago Obama decided to shift enforcement efforts to focus on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers…. Republican lawmakers called on the Obama administration to return to the era of workplace raids.”
  19. Why Conservatives Ought to Love the Postal Service.
  20. Some Thoughts On Multiracial Actors in TV Commercials
  21. Meet Senator Asshat, Representing North Douchington

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6 Responses to Link Farm and Open Thread: Testing Elephants edition

  1. 1
    RonF says:

    @ 2 & 11:

    If you’ve been sentenced to prison you’ve been sentenced to incarceration. I don’t recall that “incarceration” includes rape, beatings, forced gang membership in order to stay alive, poisonous water, inadequate food, etc. I’m not one to press for luxuries for prisoners, but certain health and safety standards should be met – or the prisoners and their families ought to be able to successfully sue to get that fixed. This is an example of how the Congress passes legislative authority on to a regulatory agency only to find that the regulatory agency abuses it’s discretion to actually thwart the will of Congress and the people they represent.

    @ 15 & 18:

    Enforcement is up. Illegal border crossings are down. Now that’s real reform, especially compared to the Bush Administration years. When it comes to enforcement of immigration law and doing something about the borders conservatives generally viewed President Bush as part of the problem, not part of the solution. And this reform doesn’t require legislation, it just requires the Executive branch to enforce the will of the American people as expressed in the laws that the Legislative branch passed. Which it can freely do in the absence of any legislative action, and the GOP majority in the House will protect us from that.

    One thing about workplace raids is that they are cost-effective from the viewpoint that it’s a more effective use of ICE personnel than trying to chase illegal aliens down one-by-one – you sweep up a bunch of them at once. Mind you, I’m all in favor of having the line being marched out of the plant to be headed by the plant manager and the HR director. An increased focus on busting businesses that follow illegal hiring practices would be more than welcome, but it doesn’t mean that workplace raids have to stop.

    I’m also glad to see that this business of “reform must include a path to citizenship” is getting no traction. Setting aside the case of illegal aliens brought here as minors (I could support the DREAM Act with some revisions) I yet to see argued why people who came here illegally as adults must be granted citizenship in opposition to the available alternatives. I don’t care how otherwise law-abiding and productive they’ve been. Maybe, if people work very hard at it, I could be persuaded to give such people a green card. Extend them the privilege (not the right) to stay and work here legally? There’s room to talk. But citizenship? The vote? No way. Proponents of various immigration “reforms” keep talking like there’s a need for a path to citizenship. I don’t see a need, nor have I seen an argument presented for it. It’s just laid out as a presumption or a given, without even the need to explain or defend it.

    True. Comparing the Postal Service to UPS, FedEx, etc. is a false argument and is not a fair demonstration of private enterprise vs. government agency. There’s plenty of legitimate examples that can be used.

    We talked about this legislation in a previous thread. The Constitution calls for the Federal government to maintain a standing Army and Navy and to fund the State militias. So pursuant to it’s assigned duty it enrolls people into the militia and requires them to equip themselves in a specific fashion. In fact, members of the military today are still required to buy some of their equipment out of their own funds; their uniforms. Yes, you do get an allowance, but it’s a fixed amount; you’re going to run through that and spend some of your own money too to meet uniforming requirements, ask any one of your friends or acquaintances who is or was in the military. You’ll end up buying other gear as well. This is not analogous to forcing every adult citizen to buy a firearm for self-defense and for the defense of others, which is not a governmental function defined in the Constitution; nor it is analogous to forcing every adult citizen who has a certain income level to buy health insurance – again, neither providing nor funding healthcare is a governmental function defined in the Constitution.

    I point out that in the cited link the author said “In fact, the federal government passed a militia act in 1792 that required that every citizen purchase a weapon and ammunition.” and then immediately cited the section of the actual act that contradicted him, which I thought amusing. Maybe he just cut and pasted it without reading it.

    Those who disagree with me do so on the basis (if I may paraphrase and summarize) that the “general Welfare” statement in Section 8 of Article I encompasses anything that the Federal government decides promotes the general welfare that is not otherwise forbidden to it, and that the powers listed in the rest of that section are examples of such powers, not a comprehensive list of such. We’ll see. As we all know, absent a subsequent Amendment to the contrary the Constitution means what a majority of Supreme Court Justices says it means.

    But I don’t see that the opposition position is supported by reading what the authors of the Constitution said about Article I Section 8, or just a reading of American Colonial or Revolutionary history in general. The Constitution’s whole purpose was to limit the powers of the Federal government. I don’t see how that can be reasonably disputed. You may think that there’s a good moral argument for the individual mandate; if, of course, you accept the existence of morality at all, which I’ve seen opposed in threads on this site more than once. But I don’t see a good legal argument for it.

    I do have my hopes, even with the present Court. But the predictions seem to be that this won’t go before the Court until 2012 at the earliest. If it’s much after that, we stand a good chance of having a new President (if the GOP can put a decent ticket together – and I don’t think that would include Sarah Palin in either spot right now) and even a Senate majority, so maybe there’ll be some favorable changes on the Court.

  2. 2
    Thene says:

    I live in a GA county where there is a (historical, non-enforced) legal requirement for every household to have a gun. *shrug* I’m not particularly anti-guns, so if we’re going to square guns off against healthcare provision, I’m really not seeing the catch. Guns for all, healthcare free at the point of use for all!

    Romney’s blather about efficiency is easily proved false in the case of healthcare, anyhow; the US spends a huge proportion of its GDP on private healthcare and has poor health outcomes compared to places that have publicly-funded health systems. I’ve yet to see any arguments against healthcare reform address this fact.

  3. 3
    Robert says:

    Thene, we spend a lot of private money on end-of-life care that doesn’t happen in countries with publicly-funded health systems, for the (reasonable) reason that such care is generally futile. We also spend a lot of private money on (usually futile) care for terminal diseases among people not at the end of life, money that also generally does not get spend by the NHS and what have you. When comparing a system that rations by wealth (if you have more money you get more care) to a system that rations by availability (there is so much to spend on health care and when it’s gone it’s gone), of course you are going to see significantly worse care-per-dollar ratios.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    From #2:
    “[The PREA] …maintains prohibitions on cross-gender pat and strip searches of juveniles…”
    Am I right to read that as implying that there is no prohibition on cross-gender pat and strip searches of adults?

  5. 5
    Thene says:

    Robert, I didn’t see anything in your comment that disputed the fact that the US’s private-only healthcare system is really inefficient.

    I note that you’re pretending that public-funded care and private insurance is an either/or, in spite of the fact that private healthcare is readily available in virtually all countries that also have publicly-funded health systems. There is no such thing as ‘rationing by availability'; you’re welcome to whatever healthcare you want to buy.

  6. 6
    Robert says:

    I am not “pretending” to anything. Kindly refrain from telling me my state of mind, or assuming that you know my inner thought. You do not.

    Most countries have a mix of private and public spending. I discussed our private spending because so much of our spending IS private – though even we have a very large public component. Countries with a more public-focused systems vary widely in the availability of private care; some countries like France have copious private care available, while in places like Canada people have had to go to court to get the power to buy even minor outside care without leaving the country to get it. A blanket statement that there is no rationing by availability is flatly absurd; in some places, that is exactly the situation, while in others it admittedly is more nuanced than that.

    “Efficiency” is a tricky term. Efficient at what? A system that shoots everyone who presents with anything more complicated than the flu right between the eyes will be incredibly cost-efficient; it will also be incredibly inefficient if the criteria is “improved health outcomes”. Efficiency is not itself a value; it is a tool for measuring the delivery of other values. Exactly what those values are is critical to any understanding of the system being analyzed.