Friday, June 29, 2012

Making Sense of the SCOTUS Ruling on ObamaCare...

NOTE: It is well worth your time to read through all of the linked stories and analyses.

So, Chief Justice Roberts says that it's not a penalty, and it's not valid under the commerce clause, but it IS a tax.

Gee, what did Obama say about whether it was a tax or not??? (via Gateway Pundit, from an ABC News interview):

Ace went nuts:

It wasn't a tax for purposes of getting it passed politically, also wasn't a tax for purposes of delaying judgment based on the Anti-Injunction Act, but then magically became a tax in order to be upheld.
If the government now has the power under the taxing power to enforce its preferences regarding how citizens live their lives, Ed Morrissey proposes, modestly, a new tax on those who refuse to buy a gun.
Allah considered a similar question yesterday: Whether the government could put a punitive tax on you for owning a gun. Gun ownership is a right, he thought, so the ObamaTax logic wouldn't fully apply. You can't burden a right.
Well, owning a gun is a right, but not owning a gun is not a right. Or at least it's no more of a right than not owning insurance. 
We can pass a great many laws like this, enforcing our preferences in any area that isn't an explicit (or penumbra-ish) right under the Constitution. 
Don't go to Church regularly? Why, we can tax that. And before you say it's your right not to go to church -- of course it is, but we can compel all Americans to spend at least two hours each week on philosophical contemplation, whether it be at church or in Quiet Home Study of non-religious philosophical texts. 
If a temporary majority in Congress thinks it's a good idea -- tax away! 
The Constitution apparently gives the government the right to dictate almost all of our personal choices, so long as it enforces these preferences via punitive taxes. So let's get started.
Major fraud is being charged by one of the leading attorneys who argued the case in front of the Supreme Court.  This same attorney, Michael Carvin, had this other analysis that Ace posted on March 30.

Thomas Crowne at RedState has a different opinion, and is not happy with Chief Justice Roberts.

Slate headlines that Obama may have won the battle, but Roberts won the war. because it guts the commerce clause and prevents the penalties on states that opt out of the MedicAid expansion.

Real Clear Politics also has a lengthy analysis on what they term "The Roberts Gambit".

Erick at RedState posted 24 hours later and points out the fact that the sleeping giant (The Tea Party) has been rudely awakened, and will make it's collective voice heard come November.

The US Catholic Church is NOT happy with the decision as it stands right now.  The HHS mandate has already riled them up.

For those who compare the ObamaCare mandate to auto insurance and fire insurance, there's this response.

On March 23, I posted this analysis about that same point:

[F]irst of all, it's the states that mandate auto coverage, not the federal government. Second, you are required to only have coverage for others and their property if you are at fault in an accident. You are not required to have coverage on yourself. And you are only required to have coverage on your own vehicle if you are still making car payments, and don't own the car outright (it's a required coverage not by the state but buy the financier of the vehicle to protect against any potential loss).
The same with home owner's insurance. You are only required to buy it if you still have a mortgage to pay (it's, again, a requirement of the bank to protect against a potential loss). If you own your home outright, you're free to not have HOI.

The Republican Party just got energized.  So did the Romney campaign.  So much so that in just 24 hours they've raised over $4.6 million from 47,000 donors.

Santelli chimes in.

So does Bachmann, who states that they only need 51 votes in the Senate to repeal ObamaCare, not 60.

The Republicans plan to bring up a repeal vote on July 11 to get set the record on who and who is not for the continuation of ObamaCare, and to set the stage for the November elections.

And LA Governor Bobby Jindal vows to never implement ObamaCare in his state.  (I reeeeally like him as a VP choice).

It's been a crazy 24 hours.


The RNC already has up another new ad:

The AFP also has a new ad:

The Daily Caller tries to read the tea leaves of Roberts' decision.

Justice Thomas had this to add in his dissent.

And Ace of Spades continues along the reasoning that, yes, this can be voted down with a simple majority vote in the Senate as a reconciliation...because it was a tax bill. (hehehe)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Ray Bradbury Forever Alive at 91...

One of my all-time favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, passed away yesterday at the age of 91.

A couple wonderful articles on his passing here and here, and an interesting article from two years ago here.

Below are re-posts from my blog in 2007 on Ray Bradbury:


Happy Birthday to Ray Bradbury (87)

Yes, it's Ray Bradbury's 87th birthday today. One of my all-time favorite writers. Back when I was 12 or so my brother, Ray (yes, I have a brother named Ray), gave me his worn paperback copy of The Martian Chronicles. I was immediately rocketed into space by this master of the metaphor. I've read that book countless times, and have since devoured many of his other tomes, including his period-piece detective/suspense thriller, "Death Is A Lonely Business" (another favorite of mine).

I'd highly recommend any (if not all) of the following classic titles:

The Novels:
The Martian Chronicles

Fahrenheit 451

Death Is a Lonely Business

The Short Story Collections:
The Illustrated Man

Bradbury Classic Stories 1 (which includes R is for Rocket and Golden Apples of the Sun)

Bradbury Classic Stories 2 (which includes S is for Space and Medicine For Melancholy)

The Toynbee Convector

On the Process of Writing:

Zen In The Art Of Writing

The Sam Weller Biography:
The Ray Bradbury Chronicles

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAY... from one "crazy" to another!

The Illustrated Man - stage play (review)

This past Sunday evening I attended the final performance of the one-man stage production of Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man”. It was another fine production by the Rubicon Theater Company at the now-famous Laurel Theater in Ventura. Tobias Andersen (veteran actor of TV and regional theater) gave a stunning two-act performance that lasted nearly two hours.

The play is loosely based on the concept of Bradbury’s famous novel, “The Illustrated Man” which centers around a wandering soul of a man with intricately designed full-body tattoos that eerily come to life and tell their tales. The stories used for the play were, instead, taken from other Bradbury short stories and novels.

From hilarious little stories about “The Murderer” (a man who confesses to killing off all the technological gadgets in his home), “There Was An Old Woman” (who is visited by the grim reaper who calls for her soul, though she’s determined to put up a fight), and the “Anthem Sprinters” (about a bunch of Irishmen who make a competition of racing out of movie theaters before their dreaded national anthem begins to play), to poignant stories such as “The Chicken Ranch Motel” (loosely based on Bradbury’s childhood memories of his family driving across the country during the Great Depression).

One story (“The Fog Horn”) was the lone weak segment of the performance. A story about an ancient sea monster who comes out of the ocean when it begins to hear the plaintive cry of a fog horn, thinking that it is another sea monster calling out in loneliness. As a short story it’s a wonderful piece of writing, but it didn’t translate well on the stage.

Easily the most powerful stories were two segments from Bradbury’s famous novel, “Fahrenheit 451” (the cautionary tale of censorship… or, more accurately, self-censorship). Andersen gave a rousing performance as the words just poured out of his mouth like a flood of truth. Absolutely stunning.

Ray Bradbury (87) was in attendance, and the audience give him a much-deserved round of applause when he entered the theater. Seated in his wheelchair in the front row, one could tell by his reaction to the production that he was thrilled to hear his own words tumble forth from the stage.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet him a few times in the mid- to late-90s, and I’ve always loved his writing. Sam Weller’s biography "The Bradbury Chronicles" is a wonderful read and a unique peek into the life of this most prolific writer. And, of course, read lots and lots of Bradbury!