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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Also know as Michael Silverman, That 1 Guy is a classically-trained string bassist that has played with some of the best progressive jazz ensembles.  He made his own instrument out of wire and iron pipes (and, from the looks of it, some other stuff, too). Here he is giving a performance for Wisconsin Public Television:

Interesting. Mother Jones has a story about a piece of legislation making its way through the Arizona legislature that will require proof of citizenship in order to appear on the ballot in a presidential race. Crazy, right? Well, maybe not:

Last week, Arizona state Rep. Judy Burges, a Republican, introduced a bill that would bar presidential candidates who do not prove they were born in the United States from appearing on the ballot in the Grand Canyon state. And state Rep. Chad Campbell, the top Democrat in the GOP-controlled Arizona House of Representatives, tells Mother Jones that the bill is likely to pass. It was introduced with 25 co-sponsors in the House and 16 co-sponsors in the state Senate; the measure needs 31 votes in the House and 16 in the Senate for approval. “Will it matter?” asks Campbell. “We’ve started a tradition here of passing legislation that is political grandstanding or that sets up litigation.”

It’s not that Obama necessarily requires Arizona’s 10 electoral votes to win reelection in 2012. In 2008, he lost there to John McCain,  Arizona’s senior senator (though in 2012, Obama could make a play for the state). More important, Burges’ bill—which would establish a strict standard for proving natural-born citizenship (which the birthers presume Obama could not meet)—is a model for other states, and similar efforts are under way in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Montana, Georgia, and Texas. (Obama won Pennsylvania in 2008 and lost Missouri by less than 4,000 votes.) Arizona may be where this birther ball gets rolling.

I personally got over the whole birth certificate thing about 5 minutes after it came up.  By the time any sort of real legal action might be done, his term would already be over. But this could really throw a wrench in the works for his getting elected to a second term.  Unless, of course, he just whips that certificate out of his files, and settles the whole thing once and for all.

Read the whole thang at Mother Jones

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Update: Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post describes how the left was unprepared for the ruling, and may have dug their own grave (so to speak), by leaving out a severability clause from the legislation:

Liberals are particularly perturbed by Judge Vinson’s ruling on severability, the determination as to whether the individual mandate is so central to the law as to make the law unrecognizable and unenforceable without it. But here, the left has only the administration and the Democratic Congress to blame. From the opinion (the defendants are the Obama officials):

Having determined that the individual mandate exceeds Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause, and cannot be saved by application of the Necessary and Proper Clause, the next question is whether it is severable from the remainder of the Act. In considering this issue, I note that the defendants have acknowledged that the individual mandate and the Act’s health insurance reforms, including the guaranteed issue and community rating, will rise or fall together as these reforms “cannot be severed from the [individual mandate].”

Oops. Not some crazy judge, but the administration was the source of the notion that the individual mandate can’t be severed from the rest of the law.

See the rest of her article here

Update: Here’s one of the key passages from Vinson’s decision:

It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting — as was done in the Act — that compelling the actual transaction is itself “commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce” [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted. It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power” [Lopez, supra, 514 U.S. at 564], and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended. See id. at 592

From David Weigel at Slate:

The decision is out now, and Judge Roger Vinson has basically struck down the entire health care bill. I’ll post the decision when I get it.

The money graf, in which Vinson strikes down the entire law — which, because of the mess in the Senate and House, lacked severability:

Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications. At a time when there is virtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, it is hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

There’s a link to Judge Vinson’s decision at Slate. I’m sure this won’t be the last you’ll hear of this.

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As a follow-up to his SOTU, here’s a piece of John Stossel’s show about cuts to the budget – a biggie? The Department of Education. Why can’t it work just like they describe it here? If we don’t need the government in the middle of our grocery-buying decisions, why do we need them in the middle of our education-buying decisions? (if the video doesn’t show up, click here) (H/T to Beers with Demo)

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Saw this link on The Agitator, and couldn’t resist taking a look.  The Wikipedia article on “Toilet Paper Orientation” has 14 sections, 5 sub-sections, and over 100 footnotes and references. Is this a case of too much brainpower being invested in something that has no meaning, or does TP orientation say something important about who we are as a society? Maybe it does, and what it says is, well, bad.

Take a look at it; there’s some fun information in there. While you’re here, though, take a second and register your choice for which way the TP must roll (I saw some quotes from people who said they’ll actually change the TP in someone else’s house, because “it’s just wrong.” – I’ve done that myself).

[poll id=”8″]

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