Thursday, July 26, 2012

These and Those

No real meaning in the post title. Sometimes I title these potpourri style posts "This and That" so I just decided to pluralize it. There ya go.

There's something really touching to me about this photo:






That is the South Korean President bowing to the nation as he apologizes for a bribery scandal that his older brother and former aides had a part in. Cultural customs can be beautiful, and there is something to me really beautiful about a world leader who knows he is beholden to his people for the actions that those close to him make, bowing to his people in acknowledgement of the mistakes that have been made. There's just so much humility and regret in that gesture, no?

The Aurora tragedy. I was listening to some talk radio the other day and one of the people was saying that we need to move away from even mentioning the name of the killer. Charles Manson is famous to this day because we have glorified him, however grotesquely, but that still helps those people achieve what they seek after - fame. So while this story is about the less than noble actions of one horrified father, this one details three boyfriends who gave their lives for their girlfriends:


Great evil often brings out the best in good men, men like Todd Beamer on Flight 93, Medal of Honor recipient Michael Murphy in Afghanistan, and now the Aurora three -- the three young men, each in different parts of theater nine, who gave their lives to protect their girlfriends.

Twenty-five-year-old Jon Blunk was sitting next to his girlfriend, Jansen Young, at the midnight premiere of "The Dark Night Rises" when the gunman (who shall remain nameless) opened fire in the dark theater. Blunk instinctively pushed his girlfriend to the ground and threw his body on top of hers. Blunk, a security guard, served eight years in the Navy and was in the process of re-enlisting in hopes of becoming a Navy SEAL, family and friends said. He was killed in the gunfire; his girlfriend survived.

Twenty-four-year-old Alex Teves dived on top of his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren, when the gunfire erupted. Covering her body, he took the bullets so they did not harm her. She survived the massacre; he did not.

Matt McQuinn, 27 years old, threw his body in front of his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, as the shooting continued. Yowler survived with a gunshot wound to the knee; McQuinn's body absorbed the fatal shots.

These men were three of the 12 innocent people killed early that morning. Their incredible sacrifice leaves us asking: Why? Why would a young man with his entire life ahead of him risk everything for a woman he has no legal, financial or marital obligations to?


I think I have a post brewing just about the Aurora stuff. (The other story is about a guy who, when the shots started firing, left his fiancee and two children, ran out of the theater, and even drove away from the scene. As my friend said, a real life Costanza.)

And, lastly, a couple articles about Justice Roberts and his possible end game, here and here. Chief Justice Roberts has received a lot of criticism about his decision, but as these articles mention, he actually might have been the one person with the most foresight when it comes to the whole health care issue. A couple excerpts, first, from the The Atlantic:


Many are saying Chief Justice Robert's decision to sustain Obamacare was designed to preserve the long-term political capital of the Court. I think he simply made the decision he ultimately decided was right on the tax issue, which the precedent strongly supported. But to the extent a long-term political angle may have subconsciously motivated him, there is a large one that commentators have so far missed.

The unseen long game is that sustaining Obamacare as a tax helps preserve the Republicans' ability to adopt two items on their own political wish list: the Paul Ryan plan to privatize Medicare and George W. Bush's plan to privatize Social Security.

Consider the Ryan plan. It would convert Medicare into a voucher that seniors could use toward buying medical insurance from either Medicare or private insurers. The voucher amount would equal the cost of the second-cheapest plan, so if traditional Medicare is not one of the two cheapest plans, individuals would have to buy a private plan to avoid paying extra.

In short, under the Ryan plan, Medicare would become a mandate to make contributions into a Medicare trust that you would later draw from to buy yourself medical insurance, which could be from a private insurer, and might have to be so in order to avoid paying a penalty. This looks a lot like Obamacare's mandate to buy yourself medical insurance. There are two seeming differences, but neither is telling. 

And now the Capretta and Levin piece from NRO:

Essentially, the Court struck down the mandate while retaining the penalty. So those champions of Obamacare who relied on behavioral economics to argue that the law’s individual mandate could be sufficient to avert an insurance death spiral must now contend with the fact that the Court has closed off that argument.

In the wake of the Roberts decision, participation in Obamacare’s insurance scheme is optional. Rather than a requirement to buy coverage backed with a penalty for violators, the law now offers Americans two equally lawful and legitimate options: buy expensive insurance (which Obamacare will make all the more expensive), or pay a modest (and still largely unenforceable) tax and just buy insurance for the same price later if you need it. Presented as a choice, not a command, this provision will invite a straightforward comparison, and for many Americans the choice it would pose would be a very easy one.

Obamacare was always going to lead to a disastrous meltdown of America’s health-insurance system, but in the wake of the Court’s decision, many of its former defenders should acknowledge this fact too. If you argued that the mandate was the linchpin of the system, and that it would work despite its low and unenforceable penalty because Americans are a law-abiding people, you should now see that the mandate as you understood it no longer exists. The CBO should certainly acknowledge this in its new score of the law’s effects on federal spending and the uninsured, due out later this month.

Of course, this doesn’t really make Obamacare optional, because although the law can no longer order consumers to buy what insurers are selling, it still strictly defines what insurers may sell. People would therefore only have a choice between Obamacare and nothing. Many will prefer nothing, but that’s hardly a great set of options to choose from.

Obamacare is optional in a different, more important way, however. The November election will serve as a referendum on the law, which can be repealed in 2013 with new political leadership. The Supreme Court’s decision has made the case for repeal even stronger.

There is a lot at stake in this upcoming election, this being one of the main issues.



1 comment:

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

My thoughts on the encroaching communist menace that is Nobamacare:

appellatesky.blogspot.com/2012/07/prying-my-insurance-card-from-my-cold.html