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February 09, 2012

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The "hard" Right wants to ban things. Abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc. that prevent people from doing various things.

I'd like to know what comes after the etc. Some on the hard right want to ban abortions, but that isn't going to happen. Others, such as myself, want Roe reversed so that we can, in the American tradition, settle the matter democratically. As for BC, there is no appreciable percentage of people on the right who would ban birth control.

Gay marriage, yes. I agree.

The "hard" Left wants to mandate that certain things be legal and available - but that doesn't mean any given individual must avail themselves of those things. Think BC is immoral? Don't use it. Think abortion is evil? Don't have one.

No, this is wrong. The 'hard left' mandates that I and others as employers pay for insurance that pays for BC, and eventually abortion. The connecting link is the mandate on me and others. BC does not violate my conscience, but abortion does. Which is why I'm drawing the line early and not waiting.

And, the hard left would ban/restrict firearms ownership tomorrow if it could. Eventually, the hard left, if given free rein, would mandate car size, possibly the number of vehicles a citizen would own, how and where people live and so on. All of these are live topics on the left: maybe in their philosophical infancy and not ripe for full public debate and policy making, but they are there.


I view the VA thing as the kind of legislative excess you get when a single entity, here the US SCT, mandates a rule that invades the political process. You get push back.

How can the political process invade itself? You'd think these people got onto the court without being nominated and approved by elected officials, and that there wasn't case brought before them to rule on, or that there was no basis in law upon which they ruled. You might disagree with the ruling, of course, but that's not the same as believing the political process was somehow subverted (or invaded).

But, yes, push back is a real phenomenon in any case. I'm not sure that it would have mattered if the restrictions on the states' abilities to restrict abortions came from congress or the SCOTUS. People don't like the law, and the process issue is an excuse to justify the kind of excess we're seeing in Va.

And the notion that the federal government is mandating something is farcical - a goofy federalist contruct that somehow results in viewing leaving things to the states as more libertarian than leaving things to the individual.

Others, such as myself, want Roe reversed so that we can, in the American tradition, settle the matter democratically.

The fundamental rights of women are not up for a vote.

The 'hard left' mandates that I and others as employers pay for insurance that pays for BC, and eventually abortion.

You have a choice to make if your conscience doesn't allow you to pay for mandated insurance coverage (of whatever kind) - you either pay the $2k per employee penalty or you get out of the business of employing people.

(The "hard left" apprently includes a majority of Americans according the the latest polls.)

"You have a choice to make if your conscience doesn't allow you to pay for mandated insurance coverage (of whatever kind) - you either pay the $2k per employee penalty or you get out of the business of employing people."

The weird thing is that you don't seem to think that sentences ending in "or you get out of the business of employing people" could possibly be coercive.

If the administration clarified the DEA prescribing authorization rule such that "you must be willing to provide elective late term abortions or get out of the business of doctoring" would you think that could be coercive?

"The fundamental rights of women are not up for a vote."

And while we're sloganeering, the fundamental rights of viable unborn children aren't up for vote either. But they should be.

You left out the light bulbs, McK.

What becomes clearer and clearer to me as time goes on is that I have more in common, politically and socially, with someone who lives in Toronto, or maybe someplace like Frankfurt, than with a huge number of people here in the US.

I have very little personal animus toward conservatives, however I find it hard, increasingly so, to see what we have in common in terms of our understanding of what it means to live in a common polity.

I really do think the nation is at serious risk of becoming ungovernable.

And the conscience question is an interesting one, but I'm still waiting for a response to my question about how far we take it.

Yee-hah!.

Double down, y'all. Not just churches, but any employer. Not just religious conviction, but any moral or ethical concern. Not just birth control, but any mandated element of coverage.

I say, why stop with employer-provided health insurance? Any aspect of the employer-employee relationship should be subject to the personal moral, ethical, or religious concerns of the employer.

Workplace safety, minimum wage, maximum hours and overtime, child labor, all of it.

Put all of it on the table. Every bit.

Unclear how the religious, moral, and ethical concerns of the employee come into play here, the (R) proposal doesn't seem to address that.

p. sure HSH meant "insuring people" rather than "employing people" there, Sebastian.

And the conscience question is an interesting one, but I'm still waiting for a response to my question about how far we take it.

You're about to find out!

In their latest move in the battle over contraception coverage, top Republicans in Congress are going for broke: They’re now pushing a bill that would allow employers and insurance companies to pick and choose which health benefits to provide based simply on executives’ personal moral beliefs. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the top GOPer in the Senate, has already endorsed the proposal, and it could come to a vote this week. The measure would make the religious exemptions to President Barack Obama’s health care bill so large they’d swallow it whole.

. . . Blunt’s proposal doesn’t just apply to religious employers and birth control. Instead, it would allow any insurer or employer, religiously affiliated or otherwise, to opt out of providing any health care services required by federal law—everything from maternity care to screening for diabetes. Employers wouldn’t have to cite religious reasons for their decision; they could just say the treatment goes against their moral convictions. That exception could include almost anything—an employer could theoretically claim a “moral objection” to the cost of providing a given benefit. The bill would also allow employers to sue if state or federal regulators try to make them comply with the law.

I'd like to know what comes after the etc

Hopefully nothing, but I'm not confident on that. We are talking about the "hard" Right here, not your average Republican voter. Actually, thinking about it some more, I think there would be a shift from banning things over to overturning anti-discrimination measures (on the basis that these are unacceptable intrusions into the actions or private business).

I don't put you in the hard right, McKinney. There are people *well* to the Right of you. So I am not accusing YOU of that. Just like I rather doubt you're accusing ME of wanting the government to mandate abortion coverage...

Others, such as myself, want Roe reversed so that we can, in the American tradition, settle the matter democratically.

Come now. You want to have abortion banned. Democratically, sure. Just like I'd want to keep it legal, hoping my side would have the votes (if Roe were overturned).

No, this is wrong. The 'hard left' mandates that I and others as employers pay for insurance that pays for BC, and eventually abortion.

You believe the "eventually abortion" part, I don't (basically b/c I don't think the hard Left has or will have the power to make it so).

Other than that... that's what I said (the part you didn't quote). In this case, Left (including but not limited to the "hard" Left) are trying to make the RCC do something it doesn't want to do for the benefit of others. Yes, true. Admitted. The Left often does do stuff like this. See also: Progressive Taxation, Social Security (that's actually a mix of your original formulation of make you help yourself and forcing others to help), Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance (mix, like SS)... lots of things.

And, the hard left would ban/restrict firearms ownership tomorrow if it could. Eventually, the hard left, if given free rein, would mandate car size, possibly the number of vehicles a citizen would own, how and where people live and so on. All of these are live topics on the left: maybe in their philosophical infancy and not ripe for full public debate and policy making, but they are there.

On guns I agree (I had forgotten that). The Left (hard and squishy) wants to regulate guns. The "hard" Left probably does want to just ban at least some of them.

The rest... mandating car size... is that about CAFE standards? Do you oppose CAFE standards, by the way? Would "mandating car size" include a surcharge on big cars (because heavier/less efficient vehicles beat up the roads more?)? Or do you actually think there will be laws that say "you may not manufacture or sell a car bigger/heavier than X"? If the former, I could see it. I could totally see a tax preference for fuel efficiency (we already have some of that, after all). If the latter... I think that's paranoid.

Ideas like this probably do exist somewhere out there. The thing is the hard Right is DRIVING THE DAMN BUS over there on the Right, whereas the "hard" Left is usually marginalized (in this particular case, the "hard" Leftist position is not in command - abortion coverage is not mandated, and there are carveouts for religious orgs - just not big enough carveouts to satisfy you or the RCC). I promise I'll object if they try to grab the wheel of the Dem bus.

...

By the way, regarding those environmentally-related restrictions you fear would come from the Left, I'd like to point out something. If the climate scientists are right and we're facing serious warming due to human activity, we have a *massive* collective action problem. And the longer we wait to do something, the more draconian the response will have to be. I would much rather have mild responses (carbon tax/cap & trade) now than emergency measures later. The only way I think you will ever see the sorts of restrictions you fear on car size, # of cars, how/where you live in this country is if we are literally staring at catastrophe. Sorta like WWII, except without the Nazis.

I hope that either: a) the climate scientists are wrong (I see this as rather unlikely, but possible); or b) we manage to head things off (via measures such as carbon taxation, technological progress, or likely a mix of both) before draconian measures are our only viable option.

Look, if the "hard" Left had its way, we'd have a single-payer healthcare system.

That wasn't even CONSIDERED, after a wave election that elected a Dem POTUS, a Dem Senate with 59 (and briefly 60) senators, and a big majority in the House.

Hence my point about who is driving the bus.

The weird thing is that you don't seem to think that sentences ending in "or you get out of the business of employing people" could possibly be coercive.

The weird thing is that it most certainly could be more coercive (if you consider the rest of the sentence, giving the "or" more meaning). There's a choice to be made between covering birth control, paying the $2k penalty (and not paying for any insurance at all), or decide for yourself that you don't want to do either and work for yourself without a staff or work for someone else. Those last two options are what most people do regardless of insurance requirements.

The other weird thing (weirdness is everywhere these days) is that this is all about birth control, but there are a host of other things that must be covered, unless and employer would rather pay the penalty than provide insurance. None is any more coercive than another, but it's all about birth control.

Eventually, the hard left, if given free rein, would mandate car size

We do that right now. Try and drive a tank on an interstate highway. Surely you agree with that policy?

I mean, seriously, road damage is proportional to vehicle weight raised to the fourth power. That means that if you drive a car that is twice as heavy as mine, you're doing 16 times as much damage to the road. Obviously, either we need to find a way for you to pay 16 times as much for road maintenance as I do or we need to forbid you from driving on public roads.

This is hardly theoretical: a Civic weighs about 2600 pounds and a Hummer weighs about 6000, which means that a hummer driver causes 28 times as much road damage as I do. Why should he be able to freeload off me rather than paying for the damage he causes?

how and where people live and so on.

As a liberal, I strongly oppose our many subsidies for rural living. Don't you agree with me?

p. sure HSH meant "insuring people" rather than "employing people" there, Sebastian.

I meant both (or either?). You can employ someone without insuring her and pay $2k or you can simply not employ her at all, if you don't want to include coverage for birth control. Not to employ is an available option.

Another thing to consider here is the wording "pay for insurance that pays for bc." Are you paying more for your overall coverage or less when bc is included? What's the marginal cost for including bc? Is it postitive, negative or zero?

And while we're sloganeering, the fundamental rights of viable unborn children aren't up for vote either. But they should be.

To a large degree, they already are. Non-viable fetuses, not so much.

None is any more coercive than another, but it's all about birth control.

Or at least is was. Way to go, russell. ;)

As for BC, there is no appreciable percentage of people on the right who would ban birth control.

What about the "hard right?" (Maybe we can focus a bit more on each other's arguments rather than unnecessarily bringing in the entire, or even just the hard, right and left. I mean, there's a place for that when discussing the political environment as such, but do we have to go there so often?)

Way to go, russell. ;)

DaveC made me do it.

A picture worth a whole lot of words.

I was just coming to post that, sapient. See also GOP prevents women from testifying at birth control coverage hearing. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Carolyn Maloney walked out, and good for them for doing so.

The other weird thing (weirdness is everywhere these days) is that this is all about birth control, but there are a host of other things that must be covered, unless and employer would rather pay the penalty than provide insurance. None is any more coercive than another, but it's all about birth control.

Indeed. We don't see, for example, Scientologists on this panel complaining about having to cover antidepressants.

Let's see if we can go at this a little different way.

Hiring somebody is basically a contractual relationship. They will do XYZ, you will pay them N dollars for that.

Can the state make any rules about what may, or may not, or must, make up any part of the contract between the employer and the employee? Or is that purely between the two of them?

If health insurance is part of the compensation, is the money spent on that properly considered the property of the employer or the employee?

If the employer, as McK seems to say when he says it's his money paying for stuff he doesn't like, then can the employer also say to the employee, you can't spend your cash compensation on booze, or cigarettes, or the dog track? If not, why not? After all, it's the 'employers money' showing up in the pay envelope, isn't it?

From my point of view it's *not just the employer* that is a party to the overall transaction, and not just the employer's interests and conscience that need to be considered.

They're not unimportant, they're just not the only things on the table.

"If the employer, as McK seems to say when he says it's his money paying for stuff he doesn't like, then can the employer also say to the employee, you can't spend your cash compensation on booze, or cigarettes, or the dog track? "

Actually this really gets to the heart of it. Many employers today won't hire a smoker. This is primarily for insurance cost reasons. So, yes, they can. In fact, they can deny employment on that basis. The left finds this perfectly acceptable.

Thanks, Phil. I'm glad I watched that video clip. I'm grateful for Elijah Cummings, Carolyn Maloney and Eleanor Holmes Norton, even though this situation (along with the Virginia news) is making me increasingly depressed and enraged.

Many employers today won't hire a smoker. This is primarily for insurance cost reasons.

Cite please?

I've never been asked by an employer whether or not I smoked before I was hired.

Not exactly where I was going with my question, but an interesting point. And, one I was unaware of, i.e., I was not aware that folks were, and could, deny employment due to smoking.

For the record, I'll say as a self-described lefty that I find that problematic. Assuming, of course, that there is no actual work condition - working in a no-open-flame environment frex - that would rule a smoker out.

The left finds this perfectly acceptable.

Could you please identify who you mean by "the left"?

Charles Pierce on the Virginia ultrasound law:

Where in the hell are the doctors? Where in hell is the AMA?

Women are being required to undergo a medically unnecessary, personally violative procedure without their consent. (An amendment to require consent unsurprisingly failed in the legislature.) Doctors simply should refuse to conduct this procedure as a violation of their duties as physicians. The AMA should back them legally all the way up to the five wise souls in the big marble building. It should also sue the Commonwealth of Virginia, and McDonnell, until their eyeballs bleed. Doctors should speak out boldly, and without fear, about being used as middlemen in the relentless war on women being waged on several fronts by the anti-choice communities. It's time for being a physician to mean more than the fact that you get a new Lexus every year. Any doctors in the peanut gallery who think I'm wrong about this should chime in down in the comments.

Hey, I have a notion. Demand a "conscience exemption" from the requirements of this act of medical barbarism. Those seem to be all the rage these days.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/virginia-ultrasound-bill-6655944#ixzz1mZYdLgUX


One more time!

Maybe we can focus a bit more on each other's arguments rather than unnecessarily bringing in the entire, or even just the hard, right and left. I mean, there's a place for that when discussing the political environment as such, but do we have to go there so often?

I'll spot Marty one: The Cleveland Clinic stopped hiring smokers as of Sept. 2010.

"'Even if this makes sense, how is this materially different from screening for other high-risk and high-cost behaviors?' says Andrew Tarsy, executive director of the Progressive Business Leaders Network in Massachusetts and a former civil rights attorney. He calls the policy 'a slippery slope.'"

...

"The American Civil Liberties Union characterizes a refusal to hire smokers as 'lifestyle discrimination.' On its website, the ACLU notes that the Bureau of National Affairs, a private, independent publisher, 'reports that 95 percent of companies banning smoking reported no financial savings, and the US Chamber of Commerce has found no connection between smoking and absenteeism.'"

...

"About 30 states have laws that protect smokers, and some won't let employers exclude smokers in the hiring process. Most do not allow firms to fire workers who smoke. 'The laws are enforceable. There are laws that protect smokers,' says Stephen Sugarman, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. For instance, 'I think it's pretty clear that all of these laws prohibit an employer from firing an employee for smoking.'"

Again, CCDG, who do you mean by "the left?"

If the administration clarified the DEA prescribing authorization rule such that "you must be willing to provide elective late term abortions or get out of the business of doctoring" would you think that could be coercive?

Yes, I would, most certainly. Of course, that is of a very different nature than what we're discussing and therefore not particularly relevant. But thanks for asking, I guess, to be sure that I'm not completely loony.

If the employer, as McK seems to say when he says it's his money paying for stuff he doesn't like, then can the employer also say to the employee, you can't spend your cash compensation on booze, or cigarettes, or the dog track? If not, why not? After all, it's the 'employers money' showing up in the pay envelope, isn't it?


The difference is (1) can McKinney be required by law to spend his money to purchase a specific class of insurance coverage? vs. (2) can McKinney legally limit how his employees spend their money?

Answer to (1)--apparently "yes", although that is up for debate.

Answer to (2)--"no."

Put all of it on the table. Every bit.

Unclear how the religious, moral, and ethical concerns of the employee come into play here, the (R) proposal doesn't seem to address that.

Or, put somewhat differently:

I'm still waiting for a response to my question about how far we take it.

Where is the line between compelled gov't mandates and conscience?

THAT is a fair question, and one I took a stab at answering much earlier in this thread.

When a citizen's health poses a risk to other citizens, as in vaccinations against communicable diseases, that is one instance where a discrete public interest overrides individual conscience.

Can a citizen as tax payer withhold taxes that would go to, e.g. the was in Iraq?

No. Too attenuated.

More generally, Russell, you posit an "either/or" dichotomy in which the gov't either can mandate anything it wants or it can't mandate anything at all.

Most of the parade of horribles raised as the sequelae of deferring to conscience in this instance are protected/authorized by the US Constitution, e.g. discrimination in employment/hiring if your in interstate commerce is illegal.

The anti-discrimination example is useful in this discussion. Is the logical extension of not discriminating hiring a statistically representative workforce based on age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc? It is one thing to say "you cannot discriminate" but it is another to say, "you must hire X number of Asian-Americans if you have Y number of total employees."

Here, I am opposing being told that I must do X or Y, no choice in the matter other than these. I don't care for this in principle, even if the current requirement is unoffensive as a matter of my personal beliefs.

A final note: yes, the hard right is predictably over-reacting. What a surprise. If Santorum miraculously gets the nomination and more miraculously wins the election, look for a HHS that does the opposite of what Obama is attempting. You want to live in that world, a world where people's choices are dictated by which ideologue wins the last election?

Actually, thinking about it some more, I think there would be a shift from banning things over to overturning anti-discrimination measures (on the basis that these are unacceptable intrusions into the actions or private business).

Correct, aside from abortion (and here we have the absolutists vs the "execeptions" subset--that's me, forex), and gay marriage (a long term loser for the right), I am unaware of what the 'right' generally would ban. Individual liberty is a big thing for many outside the hard core religious.

As for eliminating discrimination protection, to do that statutorily would be difficult, although some on the right and in the libertarian section would favor that. I agree this is on the agenda of more than just a few crackpots, but I doubt it's a fight the Repubs is interested in.

You believe the "eventually abortion" part, I don't (basically b/c I don't think the hard Left has or will have the power to make it so).

Well, all it takes is an HHS decree, assuming the Hyde Amendment can be repealed.

In this case, Left (including but not limited to the "hard" Left) are trying to make the RCC do something it doesn't want to do for the benefit of others. Yes, true. Admitted. The Left often does do stuff like this. See also: Progressive Taxation, Social Security (that's actually a mix of your original formulation of make you help yourself and forcing others to help), Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance (mix, like SS)... lots of things.

You almost had me at "admitted", but then you went too far. Everything you list is the result of a congressional vote, after real and usually extended debate. Further, your entire list falls on all taxpayers equally and in the same way: they pay their taxes. THAT is the only coercion: pay or have your assets seized (or, go to jail). No individual is required to "do" anything else.

If the climate scientists are right and we're facing serious warming due to human activity, we have a *massive* collective action problem. And the longer we wait to do something, the more draconian the response will have to be.

If the climate scientists are right, what we do in the near and mid term won't matter because we'll be the only ones doing it, whatever 'it' means. If environmental hell breaks loose (I'm a skeptic on this point, that is, on just how bad things would be), there won't be collective action, there will be world wide chaos with massive population loss due to starvation, societal collapse, etc. and TEOTWAWKI.

I really do think the nation is at serious risk of becoming ungovernable.

I agree. Your response to DaveC, while not intended to do so, offers a useful paradigm: let the states decide how much and how little their gov'ts will do for their citizens. Folks in MA don't see eye to eye, generally, with folks in TX, generally. Yet, we have a lot of rules and values we do hold in common. The Feds require the states to protected federally secured constitutional rights, the Feds regulate interstate commerce and the states handles SS and healthcare via block grants. Let CA be CA, let LA be LA. Good plan?

More generally, Russell, you posit an "either/or" dichotomy in which the gov't either can mandate anything it wants or it can't mandate anything at all.

I haven't seen that, myself. I'm sure russell would oppose a government mandate that required people to use birth control, for instance. Providing insurance coverage doesn't even necessarily result in anyone using a particular covered service, and, if it did, the employer shouldn't necessarily need to know about it. That's sufficiently attenuated, too, I think.

McTex, did you see my comment? I'm still curious why you don't agree with the far left that people who contribute 28 times as much road damage should have to pay more for road upkeep. Unless you're generally OK with freeloading.

THAT is the only coercion: pay or have your assets seized (or, go to jail). No individual is required to "do" anything else.

And what happens if you decide you don't want to provide your employees coverage for BC? (And the real "doing" is by the employee, her doctor and her pharmacist, not the employer.)

Has there ever been a serious effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment? Like, one that has gotten to the full House/Senate voting stage? Ever?

And if it ever *were* repealed, wouldn't that be a pretty solid indicator that public opinion had shifted sufficiently to clearly favor the pro-choice position?

Feds regulate interstate commerce and the states handles SS and healthcare via block grants. Let CA be CA, let LA be LA. Good plan?

Letting the states handle SS would be a monumentally stupid idea for the very simple reason that lots and lots and lots of people don't earn income in nor live in one state for their entire lives. Tax code at every level would become an order of magnitude more complicated, and the state-by-state administrative costs alone would eat the entire program alive.

Providing insurance coverage doesn't even necessarily result in anyone using a particular covered service, and, if it did, the employer shouldn't necessarily need to know about it.

It's entirely possible that under HIPAA they may be prohibited from knowing about individual details of doctor/patient interaction.

Sorry, people were throwing around the hard right and the RCC as representing Republicans and the far left so just got lazy.

Thanks for the example Phil, I have been looking for a job for almost two years now and I can assure everyone here that there are a less than trivial amount of companies that won't take a smokers application.

McTex:

Everything you list is the result of a congressional vote, after real and usually extended debate. Further, your entire list falls on all taxpayers equally and in the same way: they pay their taxes. THAT is the only coercion: pay or have your assets seized (or, go to jail). No individual is required to "do" anything else.

So was the ACA. I take it that this particular rule, as it comes from the HHS (as empowered by Congress via the ACA), is different in your eyes. I don't really see it, but ok.

I also don't really understand how the government coercing taxes out of you to pay for birth control is somehow better than the mandate in question. Surely that's actually worse, for someone who opposes paying for contraception??

...

As for delegating things back to the states... I remain wary of that as a general rule. In the past "letting X state be X state" has sometimes had ugly consequences for groups within X state. Maybe I should stop worrying and learn to love states rights, but that gives me pause. It probably always will.

BTW you should all stop smoking, it's bad for you and people around you.

Like, discrimination and law and everything else aside, if something like that were literally keeping me from getting a job I'd probably re-assess its importance in my life, you know?

"It's entirely possible that under HIPAA they may be prohibited from knowing about individual details of doctor/patient interaction."

Actually employers get supposedly generic summary information on usage of particular parts of an insurance plan, often used to decide what coverage is more/less important to their employee base.

Even in a medium size company it is really easy to identify from the deidentified information who is using some of the coverages.

Whoops, time for me to stop doctor-shopping for Percocet scrips.

(I kid, I kid!)

"Like, discrimination and law and everything else aside, if something like that were literally keeping me from getting a job I'd probably re-assess its importance in my life, you know?"

Actually, because so many people are happy to discriminate against smokers, I hope to just live long enough to be the last American smoker. Paying black market prices to reimport the cigarettes shipped to Eastern Europe from NC.

I don't drink, I eat great(well ok), I exercised and played BB twice a week right up until I was fifty and couldn't do as much, but I will not quit smoking. I'm betting my lungs against ya'lls liver.

And, on a slightly more serious note, I have smoked for over forty years, quitting is easier said than done.

Could you please identify who you mean by "the left"?

norbizness is The Left, unless he's passed the tiara on to someone else.

I hereby nominate DaveC to take the crown, sceptre & jackboots of The Hard Right.

...and cigarette holder, maybe.

Your response to DaveC, while not intended to do so, offers a useful paradigm

Actually, that was my intent.

I'm open to devolving a lot of stuff to the states. IMO the country is becoming ungovernable because we spend all our time arguing about things that are, basically, matters of social preference. Or, things that naturally do, and likely ought to, vary by region.

People in MA don't see eye to eye with people in TX because MA ain't TX. And ain't gonna be. And, really, shouldn't be. No slur or disrespect intended toward either place.

I recognize that "state's rights" has covered some of the worst practices this nation has ever seen, but I also recognize that people in different parts of the country value different things.

I'm betting my lungs against ya'lls liver.

That is a bet I'm not taking.

I'm betting my lungs against ya'lls liver.

I'd take that bet, except I also smoked for ~12 years in addition to drinking, eating too much and excercising too little. Go me.

In general, though, I think that's a losing bet (unless you're going up against a hardcore alcoholic and you are a fairly light smoker, I guess).

I'm ok with paying for both your lungs and my liver. I think that's how it should work. I'm satisfied with a strong public health campaign aimed at getting people to quit voluntarily, coupled with restrictions to protect non-smokers from smoke. Going beyond that to refusing to hire smokers seems excessive.

[/squishy Left]

I hereby nominate DaveC to take the crown, sceptre & jackboots of The Hard Right.

Hey man, no fair! You're making it sound like fun!

McTx: The difference is (1) can McKinney be required by law to spend his money to purchase a specific class of insurance coverage? vs. (2) can McKinney legally limit how his employees spend their money?

Answer to (1)--apparently "yes", although that is up for debate.

What do you mean by "up for debate" here? Constitutionally? If so, I think that was decided long long ago against your position, at least with respect to the employee/employer relationship.

And what happens if you decide you don't want to provide your employees coverage for BC? (And the real "doing" is by the employee, her doctor and her pharmacist, not the employer.)

Apparently, I pay a fine and can't offer insurance, which as I explained above is something I want to do and have done either as an outright owner or a partner since 1986.

We do that right now. Try and drive a tank on an interstate highway. Surely you agree with that policy?

Ok, I'll concede this point which was not my point. I can see the day when the leftish side of policymakers will advocate mandatory limits on passenger size and weight of cars that are far more restrictive than those currently in force, which are mainly geared toward the size of roads. Larger vehicles pay higher user fees--no problem there.

It's entirely possible that under HIPAA they may be prohibited from knowing about individual details of doctor/patient interaction.

I am pretty sure this is the case. Again, no problem here with anyone's medical situation remaining private.

I remain wary of that as a general rule. In the past "letting X state be X state" has sometimes had ugly consequences for groups within X state.

We have a large body of constitutional law and federal statutory schemes aimed directly at this problem. If these were not in place, I would agree completely.

I'm betting my lungs against ya'lls liver.

And, on a slightly more serious note, I have smoked for over forty years, quitting is easier said than done.

That's a bad bet, particularly as you get older. I quit after 23 years by using the gum. Sometimes the excess stress of a major trial puts me back on the weed. A week or two of patches fixes things right up.

Alternatively, put the patch on in the morning, go to work, smoke at night.

I'm open to devolving a lot of stuff to the states. IMO the country is becoming ungovernable because we spend all our time arguing about things that are, basically, matters of social preference. Or, things that naturally do, and likely ought to, vary by region.

We are on very common ground here. Phil's point--made with his usual subtlety--about SS is valid. I don't know what could be done in that discrete instance, but if there is an entitlement than can be tweaked and fixed, it's SS.

What do you mean by "up for debate" here? Constitutionally? If so, I think that was decided long long ago against your position, at least with respect to the employee/employer relationship.

I mean there is a debate going on right now about this, in Washington. As for constitutionality, I think it's a close call. Do you have a case that disposes of the current insurance coverage issue? Not demanding, just curious. I am unaware of it.

I hereby nominate DaveC to take the crown, sceptre & jackboots of The Hard Right.

To some people that's what it is. To me, I think that the administration reneged on a deal made with enough Democrat representatives that could have kept the affordable (health) care act from being passed. So the argument is "hey we didn't renege, there is no federal funding for abortion yet, um, well, even though planned parenthood is somewhat federally funded.

The kicker is that the fedral gov't is just going to coerce you Catholics to use your private money to fund what you think is abortion (plan B and RU486).

Now I don't believe that plan B is abortion, and I am not against contraception, but you know what the US govt is doing is wrong and they lied about it on the original deal in order to get the law passed. I wanted to point that out, and that it was an "in your face", mean thing to do.

And of course the shaming and coercion of children for the greater good. This talk about having "options" and stuff being "provided" for you, what it means really is "you have no options" and you will not be allowed to have it provided for you by your parents, that is, as a parent, your food is policed, as a child, you will be shamed publicly.

So. well it think that is what this is, some attempt at public shaming for commenting about two specific problems that I can see, even if you all choose not to see.

I'm open to devolving a lot of stuff to the states. IMO the country is becoming ungovernable because we spend all our time arguing about things that are, basically, matters of social preference. Or, things that naturally do, and likely ought to, vary by region.

Sorry to call bullshit on you, russell, but that's just wrong. The country is ungovernable because a bunch of right-wing twits have taken over Congress. The right-wing twits disproportionately come from southern states, but that's largely because of the legacy of white supremacy in those states. And don't forget that Sarah Palin is from Alaska, Michelle Bachmann is from Minnesota (where Al Franken comes from), Darrell Issa is from California, and Scott Brown is from Massachusetts. Rick Santorum (not in Congress anymore, but scarily close to the Republican nominee) is from Pennsylvania. Regional differences? Sure, the Yanks have more urban areas so there's more of that going on.

Besides, are you that provincial that you just want to take care of your own neighborhood? Have you not been reading Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Civil War? Yes, I get it that you don't care at all about people in other countries that are trying to make their societies better (like the people who are giving their lives in Syria on a daily basis, Tibet, [no credit to Obama for helping out the Libyan movement], etc. But, really, your own freaking country? Didn't you have some distant relative that you were proud of, who fought the fascists in WWII - maybe your father-in-law or somebody?

Seriously, get a grip.

I have to say, this is really tragic. Just keep taking care of you and yours.


Didn't you have some distant relative that you were proud of, who fought the fascists in WWII - maybe your father-in-law or somebody?

Seriously, get a grip.

It seems you've taken what russell wrote several steps too far. We're not talking about fascists taking over Nebraska. We're talking about policy preferences.

Not that I disagree about nitwits in congress, but they were elected, mostly in the states russell doesn't seem to find much commonality with.

Maybe the point is to let them have their way on some things and see where it goes. They might find out their ideas weren't fully baked, and some of this silliness would go away - short-term pain for long-term gain, if you will.

mostly in the states russell doesn't seem to find much commonality with.

Mostly, but some in his state, actually.

Maybe the point is to let them have their way on some things and see where it goes.

Where will it go, exactly? I live in Virginia and am a citizen of the United States. I pay Federal taxes. Women in my state will be subject to vaginal ultrasounds if they want an abortion. What the f&^% is russell talking about? What are you talking about "let them [who????] have their way?"

State's rights! Excellent progressive talking point! Give me a barf bag. [Screw black people, women, undocumented workers, etc. Let's see where it goes!!!!! To the concentration camps!]

Yes, maybe we can have a couple of states that have abortion rules almost as restrictive as France or Sweden!

BTW, just wanted to point out that the 'compromise' is wholly hypothetical at this point, and right after announcing the 'compromise' the HHS finalized the rule in its objectionable form. Rule as finalized YESTERDAY

Really, Sebastian? Vaginal ultrasounds in France prior to the 12th week? I don't think so! Nor in Sweden! In fact, where in Europe are vaginal ultrasounds required, inquiring minds want to know!

By the way, Sebastian, which of these people are you?

Ah, yes, we're talking about concentration camps now.

C'mon, sapient. Letting them have their way has its limits. The Constitution doesn't just get thrown out the window. It just gets more interpretation by democratic means at the state level. And those who get their way are majorities in states who want different things (to a point, mind you). They might find out that what they want isn't what they thought they wanted.

I don't necessarily agree with that approach, but I can still recognize that it isn't about fascists throwing people into concentration camps. It might unfortunately be about women having to get vaginal ultrasounds before abortions in Va. I don't know if russell would be willing to let it go that far or not. Maybe he's just thinking about school lunches.

The Constitution doesn't just get thrown out the window.

Really? When you're talking about "states' rights," it surely does. hairshirthedonist, just out of curiosity and if you're willing: what state do you come from and live in?

Is my google fu awful or has that not become state law as of yet?

Further isn't the 'vaginal ultrasound' an interpretation of the most vocal opponent? So far as I can glean from basic googling while vaginal ultrasound is *better* than traditional ultrasound, it isn't necessary.

So far as I can tell the only one who thinks vaginal ultrasounds will be necessary is opponent David Englin (D). [all reports source back to him]

And of course, in typical showman legislator style, he tries evicerate the bill with an amendment to require consent instead of offering an amendment to clarify that only traditional non-invasive ultrasounds are necessary.

That would of course made his point very clearly if it had been rejected, but I suppose he didn't want to risk his amendment actually passing.

Further isn't the 'vaginal ultrasound' an interpretation of the most vocal opponent? So far as I can glean from basic googling while vaginal ultrasound is *better* than traditional ultrasound, it isn't necessary.

Isn't necessary for what? I haven't been following this too closely, but if the supposed purpose of this ridiculous ultrasound-before-abortion law is to show the woman the fetus and/or see a heart beat, then depending on the time frame and the woman, in certain cases you have to have a vaginal ultrasound as traditional ultrasounds won't show one or both.

So I don't think part of your argument here cuts the way you think it does Sebastian (i.e., if the amendment had passed then proponents of the general law would have shown their true colors).

Further, even a traditional ultrasound is pretty effing personal, i.e., if someone did it to you without your consent they could go to prison for a long time.

McTx: I mean there is a debate going on right now about this, in Washington.

Well sure, but that's true about pretty much everything.

As for constitutionality, I think it's a close call. Do you have a case that disposes of the current insurance coverage issue? Not demanding, just curious. I am unaware of it.

As applied to employer/employee relationships? I mean, I think it's pretty clear that Congress can do (almost) whatever it wants in that respect based on modern SCOTUS jurisprudence. If Congress can pass a national minimum wage law why not a national minimum health insurance coverage law? Why would some sort of moral/religious objection exempt an employer from either under the Constitution?

There's the ministerial exception I guess, but I don't think that's going to cover your paralegal.

DaveC: And of course the shaming and coercion of children for the greater good. This talk about having "options" and stuff being "provided" for you, what it means really is "you have no options" and you will not be allowed to have it provided for you by your parents, that is, as a parent, your food is policed, as a child, you will be shamed publicly.

I'm not sure I understand, could you explain further DaveC?

Cause really, I'm reminded of this.

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/feb/15/contraception-con-men/>I think Gary Wills nailed it in this brief essay.

And of course, in typical showman legislator style, he tries evicerate the bill with an amendment to require consent instead of offering an amendment to clarify that only traditional non-invasive ultrasounds are necessary.

I know right? What kind of boob honestly believes that CONSENT by both patient and doctor should be part and parcel of any medical procedure? What a dummy! (cue cuckoo clock sounds)

The Virginia bill also apparently requires the doctor to put a note in the patient's file stating whether she did or did not look at the ultrasound and listen to the heartbeat. (Or, more specifically, "The medical professional performing the ultrasound must obtain written certification from the woman that the opportunity was offered and whether the woman availed herself of the opportunity to see the ultrasound image or hear the fetal heartbeat. A copy of the ultrasound and the written certification shall be maintained in the woman's medical records at the facility where the abortion is to be performed.")

Perhaps McKinney or Sebastian can explain the medical need for such a requirement.

Really? When you're talking about "states' rights," it surely does. hairshirthedonist, just out of curiosity and if you're willing: what state do you come from and live in?

Sapient, if you'll bother to go back and reread the exchange between Russell and me, we both posit the continuing implementation of federal constitutional and statutory schemes established 40-60 years ago to eliminate that aspect of 'states rights' that was the rationale for Jim Crow and other invidious forms of discrimination.

Your 'states rights' premise is essentially an argument for writing federalism out of the constitution. Because, a half a century ago, bitter enders, using 'states rights' as their rallying cry, lost the fight on civil rights, doesn't mean that every aspect of federalism is suspect. It would be like pro-lifers arguing that every pro-choice person would give the mother the right to terminate her pregnancy while the child is in the birth canal at the end of 9 months.

You paint federalism as the equivalent of active bigotry. The subject here is devolving federally funded entitlements to the states, which has a lot budgetary pluses as well as letting people have a more direct stake in how they are taxed and what benefits they would and would not confer on themselves.

You have frequently complained that others lift an isolated statement from a larger argument you advance and take it out of context. That's what you are doing here.

As for where HSH lives. I know where he lives. He is actually Joe Biden and he resides at an undisclosed location within the continental United States. We are lucky to have his insights.

As applied to employer/employee relationships? I mean, I think it's pretty clear that Congress can do (almost) whatever it wants in that respect based on modern SCOTUS jurisprudence.

I think not. I cannot be required to hire X, or required to pay each employee the same or any number--an almost infinite number, in fact--of other things that some outlier policy pundit might deem beneficial to the greater good.

There is a 'rational relationship' test applied to pretty much any federal or state statute. Plus, there are constitutional limitations on what the gov't can or cannot impose.

You paint federalism as the equivalent of active bigotry.

What's happening in Virginia is active bigotry. And that's the kind of "federalism" we're talking about here.

Perhaps McKinney or Sebastian can explain the medical need for such a requirement.

Depending on how one defines 'medical need' and who the intended beneficiary is, if the mother is persuaded not to have an abortion, the child's medical need--life--is met. It's a matter of perspective and one that we are not going to agree on. In my world, abortion for convenience or as an extension of birth control would be against the law in Texas. Other states would make that call as their voters see fit. I would not compel ultrasound or sonograms or anything else. I would simply dispense with the procedure.

The country is ungovernable because a bunch of right-wing twits have taken over Congress.

Somebody voted for those nitwits. That's how they got there. They have a constituency.

And I don't have to go back to the Civil War to understand the kind of evil crap that masquerades as "states' rights". I have my own living memory of it.

I also think there's a place for the feds to step in and knock heads. Cases where fundamental civil rights are at stake would fall in that category.

And saying all of the above leaves a number of very broad areas where people in different parts of the country have very different understandings of what they want or need the government to do.

Gun laws, building codes, corporate licensing and governance, how basic services will be funded and delivered. Highway speed limits. Land use. Mineral rights.

In MA you can't buy a slingshot unless you are a member of a slingshot target shooting club. I discovered this when I wanted to get one to keep squirrels off the bird feeders. That seems, to me, to be some serious public safety overkill, but that's how we roll in MA. And, I'm fine with it, I got a better squirrel proof feeder and all is well.

As it turns out, as much fun as it would be to rain death, or at least pebbles, from above upon my local squirrel population, I really don't need a slingshot.

Imagine telling somebody in, frex, Wyoming that they can't have a slingshot.

Different strokes.

I'm seriously open to it, because I think it would go a long way to getting us out of the business of arguing about arugula vs corn dogs, and back in the business of addressing things that actually are important.

Not that arugula isn't important, but I think you get my point.

What's happening in Virginia is active bigotry.

My name for it 'using the law to stick it to people who are doing something you disagree with'. Where you can construe 'sticking it to them' in the most literal sense possible.

You live in VA. I don't. The person who is more likely to be able to change the noxious requirement is not me, but you.

There is a 'rational relationship' test applied to pretty much any federal or state statute.

A sweeping claim. Who administers this test? Is it pass/fail? Part of No Child Left Behind? If the statute fails is it automatically repealed without further legislative action? How is a failed statute passed in the first place? Was it granted an exemption to skip the test?

I live in a state with a Republican governor who challenges the capacity of the helicopter taking him to his son's baseball games.

You live in VA. I don't. The person who is more likely to be able to change the noxious requirement is not me, but you.

The way I'm most likely to do it is to challenge the laws in court under the United States Constitution (that is, if it still applies to me). Thanks for your support.

And of course the shaming and coercion of children for the greater good. This talk about having "options" and stuff being "provided" for you, what it means really is "you have no options" and you will not be allowed to have it provided for you by your parents, that is, as a parent, your food is policed, as a child, you will be shamed publicly.

Are you actually claiming that's what happened in NC with the school lunch thing? How in the world do you get that out of it? WTF?

...

While Sapient is amping the rhetoric up to 11, I am deeply suspicious of the states rights argument for similar reasons.

The idea generally is that oh, we won't go back to Jim Crow. And yeah, we probably won't. But there *will* be a lot more stuff like what VA is doing right now. LOTS of it. The idea here is that those of us in more liberal states should just shrug and say "well, that's what they want." Ah, but who is "they?" They are, of course, majorities within certain states. Minorities w/in those states? Pound sand.

Ditto, of course, conservatives in CT, MA, VT, etc. The more you devolve power to the states, the more they will be oppressed by fascist liberals.

It's difficult to find the right balance between states rights and federal power. I recognize that, and we're all just talking here. But I am really, really, really dubious about your proposal Russell & McKinney. And I don't need to conjure up Jim Crow in order to worry.

And of course, in typical showman legislator style, he tries evicerate the bill with an amendment to require consent instead of offering an amendment to clarify that only traditional non-invasive ultrasounds are necessary.

This is beyond disingenuous. Why would an opponent of the entire thrust of the bill (i.e., that ultrasounds are in any way 'necessary' to begin with) offer such a stupid amendment? The vote on the amendment revealed the radical zealotry of its proponents. Thus it served its purpose.**

Further, the amendment's defeat revealed this argument is not in any way about oft invoked high principles regarding 'freedom' and 'coercion' because the proposed statute (assuming it passes McTx's final exam)bounds the first and expands the second.

**Nearly all legislators, even at the state level can count votes. Pretty elementary stuff.

I am really, really, really dubious about your proposal Russell & McKinney.

And I, in turn, am really tired of having discussions of the public policy and political direction of the nation focus on whether some kid in NC had to eat a vegetable.

People in different parts of the country *want different things*. It's fine for Northeast suburban lefty-liberal me to say that they *should not want those things*, but that's not my call to make.

Is it?

The kinds of things I can see devolving to the states are the kinds of things I listed upthread. Many of them are already largely devolved to the states.

There are also things that are currently largely devolved to the states that I would actually like to see taken up by the feds. Qualifications for voting and voting procedures, for example, at least for any federal position.

So it's not all a one-way street.

I'm just tired of the freaking culture wars.

he subject here is devolving federally funded entitlements to the states, which has a lot budgetary pluses

This assumes a lot of facts not yet entered into evidence, counselor.

In my world, abortion for convenience or as an extension of birth control would be against the law in Texas.

Yes, I'm well aware of the sophistry under which fetuses have all the rights of already-born human beings, yet somehow the fetuses of rape and incest victims maybe just have slightly fewer rights than those other fetuses. And it is sophistry, make no mistake about that.

The purpose of the provision requiring a note in the file as to whether a woman did or did not look at the ultrasound and listen to the heartbeat is quite obvious: Slut-shaming. There's no medical need for it.

Aside to russell: In case you missed it, Republicans no longer care about federalism when it comes to gun rights. They want legislation requiring all states to honor carry permits from out of state, even if the carrier would normally be prohibited from gun ownership in that state.

So, when it comes to "full faith and credit," marriage licenses, no; gun permits, yes. That's today's GOP in a nutshell.

BTW, how would The Party of Small Government determine which abortions were for "convenience" or "an extension of birth control" and which were not without invasions of personal privacy that would, under any other circumstances, cause you to cry foul?

Depending on how one defines 'medical need' and who the intended beneficiary is, if the mother is persuaded not to have an abortion, the child's medical need--life--is met. It's a matter of perspective and one that we are not going to agree on.

Problem with this assertion: even if the fetus is the intended beneficiary, the procedure still isn't medically necessary. It does nothing to medically preserve the fetus. Nothing. By your argument here, strapping the potential mother to a bed with a feeding tube down her nose until she came to term could be deemed a "medically necessary" procedure, based strictly on its potential outcome. Or perhaps we should advocate the equally "medical" procedure of levying an "abortion tax" of 10% of her household's gross income (or let's say $2000, whichever is larger). In fact, one could probably argue that either would be "medically" preferable, since I should think either would be more likely to "meet" the "medical need" you cite here than simple non-medical coercive persuasion following an ultrasound, even an intrusive one. Indeed, the ultrasound probably would not meet a test of medical necessity, as it cannot be reliably demonstrated to be "medically" sufficient to restrict the free exercise of the would-be mother's right to abort her gestating fetus, and most of the definitions of medical necessity I've seen (while representing a quick, small sample of all out there) include a concept of a procedure being neither too little nor too much to address the medical condition being treated. Although again, in this particular case I should probably be talking about the "medical condition" being "treated"...

Republicans no longer care about federalism when it comes to gun rights.

Quel suprise..

Who administers this test?

A reviewing court: the question is asked, "does this law have a rational relationship to a legitimate state purpose." Requiring employers to furnish uniforms for employees facially has no rational state purpose outside of North Korea.

The way I'm most likely to do it is to challenge the laws in court under the United States Constitution (that is, if it still applies to me). Thanks for your support.

It does and you can. Nothing Russell or I have said would prevent federal judicial review of state laws for compliance with the US Constitution. Otherwise, neither Russell nor I would be on board. In fact, federal judicial review of state acts is the key ingredient to devolution.

Ditto, of course, conservatives in CT, MA, VT, etc. The more you devolve power to the states, the more they will be oppressed by fascist liberals.

"What is good" is in the eye of the beholder. Yes, minority policy views in conservative and liberal states will take a hit. That's democracy. The beauty, in theory (at least), of devolution is that, once the dust settles, citizens will have the right and the freedom to relocate, if they feel sufficiently strong about an issue. When virtually every issue under the sun is federalized, dissenters have no where to go.

I'm just tired of the freaking culture wars.

Exactly. We get, particularly at the SCT level, ideologues who profess moderation and openness at senate hearing and are anything but moderate and open. I'd like jurists who put their agenda last and the law first.

Ugh, you're hurting my head.

He is actually Joe Biden and he resides at an undisclosed location within the continental United States.

I do occasionally blurt out things that are funny to me, but that end up making me look like an ass to anyone in earshot.

Ditto, of course, conservatives in CT, MA, VT, etc.

once the dust settles, citizens will have the right and the freedom to relocate

NH south of Concord has basically been colonized by folks who find MA too much of a nanny state.

Vermont is a truly interesting place. It's a unique blend of libertarian, social democrat, and green party, with a heavy don't-tread-on-me swamp yankee hippie element. For folks not familiar with New England, for "swamp yankee" please read "hillbilly", except with cold weather gear.

I'm not sure there's any other place quite like it in the country. Maybe the rural upper Midwest.

"Swamp yankee". I like that. We have a place like that in Texas. We call it 'East Texas.' In East Texas a nice smile has at least one tooth.

That's lovely - for those who can manage to move. For those who, for whatever reason, cannot, well screw them I guess.

I totally understand being sick and tired of the culture wars. I am too. And yet...

I don't really support an approach that has me saying to women in VA: too bad, so sad, a majority in your state is a bunch of slut-shaming aholes. Come up to CT if you can. *shrug*

YMMV.

Russell - I also suspect many of the people who moved into southern NH from MA were folks who just wanted a nice house & some land but found the suburbs of Boston were too expensive (rather than fleeing the horrid nanny state). They traded a longer commute for more land/sqft.

There may well be an ideological component, but I suspect it is much smaller than more mundane things.

I don't know any of those people (my wife is from the Concord area and we go to NH often, but I don't find myself talking to MA transplants), and I don't have any data. I suppose one could look at election results over the past few decades in certain counties as a way to test the theory.

For folks not familiar with New England, for "swamp yankee" please read "hillbilly", except with cold weather gear.

I knew lots of self-described swamp yankees when I worked in eastern CT.

I ate the heart of a deer sauteed in butter with some onions a few hours after the deer was hit and killed by a Volvo on a dark road. My coworker threw it into the back of his pickup on his way to meet me for dinner in Mystic. We rode out to another coworker's house in the middle of nowhere, because he had a place to hang and gut the deer, instead of eating in Mystic.

Eastern CT isn't like the NY suburbs in western CT. That's for sure. Though we did watch some college basketball that night, which made the whole experience a little less surreal for suburban Jersey boy me.

"Perhaps McKinney or Sebastian can explain the medical need for such a requirement."

I'm so used to hard questions that I'm surprised you gave me such an easy one.

It is to prove that the doctor is actually following the requirements of the law. Something like that is necessary because of the Kermit Gosnell case and cases like it where abortion rules regarding viability were ignored by the doctor leading to what the grand jury saw as evidence for at least a hundred infanticides and fully viable abortions without the slightest hint of medical necessity. [He was only charged on 8, because they could prove those viable babies had completely exited the womb before he murdered them, and because the statute of limitations on infanticide was so amazingly short (2 years)].

"BTW, how would The Party of Small Government determine which abortions were for "convenience" or "an extension of birth control" and which were not without invasions of personal privacy that would, under any other circumstances, cause you to cry foul?"

Another easy one, I'm aware of very few other 'privacy' areas where one of two parties ends up killed and liberals suspect that we shouldn't even think of regulating it. Second hand smoking anyone? Child discipline? Marital homicide?

Even the ridiculously permissive Roe standard, which is light years less restrictive than the rules in many very liberal European countries, suggests that the state can be concerned with the fetus as it approaches viability. I'm not sure how that would happen if you would ban the ability to determine when it approaches viability.

I ate the heart of a deer sauteed in butter with some onions a few hours after the deer was hit and killed by a Volvo on a dark road.

Ok, I'll bite. Is this legit? I mean, I used to hunt (a lot) and have shot and cleaned more than my fair share of deer. I could never eat venison the same day I cleaned a deer. The heart? It isn't that big. Just a snack? And, how do you know road kill is fresh enough to eat? Damn.

That's lovely - for those who can manage to move. For those who, for whatever reason, cannot, well screw them I guess.

So, let's have a system where there is no place to go--a central gov't that decides everything.

Do I need to explain the difference between "medical need" and "legal need?" It appears I might. Oh, dear.

I also suspect many of the people who moved into southern NH from MA were folks who just wanted a nice house & some land but found the suburbs of Boston were too expensive (rather than fleeing the horrid nanny state). They traded a longer commute for more land/sqft.

It's a mix. And, the two go hand in hand in a lot of cases.

And it has made NH significantly more liberal. It turns out folks don't want to give up all aspects of the nanny state, just the tax rate.

But you have a point, the real ideologues move north of Concord.

I ate the heart of a deer sauteed in butter with some onions a few hours after the deer was hit and killed by a Volvo on a dark road.

Now that's what I'm talking about. Nothing says "swamp yankee" like road kill for dinner.

Look, I have no interest in making VA women have a vaginal ultrasound before they can have an elective abortion. Quite the opposite.

But as a practical matter, there is little I can do as a MA resident to change it, and virtually nothing I can do as a MA resident, or basically as a human being, to convince the folks in VA who think that's a good idea to change their minds.

People who, unlike me, actually live in VA can vote the guy who proposed the law out of office. And/or they can bring suit in federal court to overturn it, because they have standing, which I do not. And/or they can attempt to persuade their neighbors that it's a crappy idea, which I cannot do because I don't live there, and which would be both rejected and resented were I try to do it because I'm a lefty Northeastern urban do-gooder.

The ruling laid down in Roe has been interpreted and implemented about 50 different ways, by the 50 different states, because *the people who live in those 50 different states have about 1,000,000 different points of view on the topic*.

Roe excludes an outright ban, but what that means in practical terms varies widely, and that variance to a large degree tracks *what people want*.

Just like the 2nd Amendment excludes and outright ban on gun ownership, but how that is implemented varies widely from place to place.

Etc etc etc.

I can, and do, advocate for things that I think are important, and will continue to do so. But I'm not, and don't really want to be, in the business of convincing other people that they need to change their mind about what *they* want.

Or, probably more accurately, I've had the reality that I'm not going to be particularly successful at that beaten into me. So I'm giving it up as a bad job, and choosing to focus on just advocating for what I think is good.

And that effort is not really going to be advanced by me saying "what you believe is wrong, evil, and bad bad bad!" to everybody who disagrees with me. Even if I actually do think it's wrong, evil, and bad bad bad. Trust me, it's not.

There is never going to be a consensus in this country about some things. If we want to continue to function as a coherent entity, we are going to have to accept that and learn to work with it.

I can't change the law in VA. Neither can you, Rob in CT, because you're Rob in CT.

Sapient can, and I heartily encourage him to do so.

And, again, what is the medical OR legal need *for noting whether or not the woman wanted to view the ultrasound*? It's irrelevant to determining gestational age or anything else. What is the purpose? Anyone?

What is the purpose? Anyone?

The purpose is to discourage women from having abortions by making it as distressing and degrading a process as possible, without crossing the line to an outright ban.

SATSQ

Ok, I'll bite. Is this legit?

Yes.

Road kill for dinner is not uncommon in rural New England. There's an etiquette: driver gets first right of refusal, then the local cops will often have a list of folks who want to be called if a salvageable carcass is available.

For the record, Pittsburg NH, the town in the story, is *way* the hell up north, but the same thing goes on in lots of places in rural New England.

It's free meat.

"And, again, what is the medical OR legal need *for noting whether or not the woman wanted to view the ultrasound*? It's irrelevant"

It's irrelevant to what? It is part of record-keeping to prove that the ultrasound is done and that it is offered to the woman.

It isn't say like a rule in Germany mandating that for any abortion in Germany the woman has to sit with a counselor and be informed of the baby's right to life. It isn't like the rule in Sweden where a woman after the fourth month has to apply to the National Board of Health in order to get permission for an abortion. Or like in France where after the 3rd month where a woman would have to send her medical records off to have them analyzed by experts to prove that the baby is irredeemably damaged.

It is an ultrasound, almost certainly not vaginal unless I get some suggestion other than the rhetoric of its main opponent, given before a surgical abortion--which abortion is going to be noticeably more invasive than an ultrasound and which btw is going to involve putting instruments in the vagina.

Would I pass this law? No. Is it ridiculously restrictive. No.

It's irrelevant to what? It is part of record-keeping to prove that the ultrasound is done and that it is offered to the woman.

The recordkeeping requirement is satisfied entirely by a) performing the ultrasound, b) printing the time- and date-stamped ultrasound image and c) putting it in a file folder. Everything else is irrelevant. Offering it to the woman is irrelevant, and noting whether she wanted to look at it or not is super-duper irrelevant.

It is an ultrasound, almost certainly not vaginal unless I get some suggestion other than the rhetoric of its main opponent, given before a surgical abortion

That you cannot get a proper image via external ultrasound prior to a certain point in fetal development -- and particularly not one useful for determining gestational age -- is a medical fact, and will remain so however much you stamp your feet about it. Thus, yes, some of these will of necessity by vaginal ultrasounds. Perhaps even a nontrivial number of them since the large majority of abortions take place during this time period.

which abortion is going to be noticeably more invasive than an ultrasound and which btw is going to involve putting instruments in the vagina.

And thus Sebastian demonstrates that he doesn't understand the difference between consent and nonconsent either. It really is a conservative blind spot. "So long as she's having stuff put in her vagina, we can basically do whatever, right?"

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Whatnot


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