Social Security, Medicare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Supreme Court

June 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Fairness | Leave a comment
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The Supreme Court made the only possible reasonable decision (June 28, 2012) on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act works very much like Social Security and Medicare.  If Social Security and Medicare are constitutional, then so is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  If the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were not constitutional, then neither would be Social Security and Medicare.

Social Security and Medicare are funded by taxes, and so is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  It is to the credit of the Supreme Court to have noticed that, and not to have been misled by irrelevancies about the right to regulate interstate commerce.

By the way, the program needs a brief one-word name.  The long winded name allowed the right-wing noise machine to successfully spread the use of the propagandistic term “Obamacare”.

Is Scalia showing the early signs of dementia?

June 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Judicial Misjudgment | 1 Comment
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In his dissent from the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law,  Justice Antonin Scalia’s bizarre off-topic rant suggests that he can no longer judge what is appropriate to his current courtroom activity.

(See and

This, together with the blatantly partisan character of his previous recent rants (see the URLs above) seriously undermine confidence that he is still judicially competent.

Indeed, Scalia’s impaired ability to judge the appropriateness of his behavior may be an early sign of dementia.  Although most 76 year olds have not developed dementia, a non-negligible fraction have, or are beginning to do so.  He ought to see a neurologist.

Ask George Zimmerman

June 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Crime and punishment | 2 Comments
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Here are questions that George Zimmerman must be asked, so that we can get a clear picture of what led to his killing of Trayvon Martin on the evening of February 26, 2012.

George Zimmerman got out of his truck because Trayvon Martin, alarmed by the truck that was stalking him, began to run.  Why didn’t George Zimmerman get back into his truck after the police dispatcher, having been informed of that, told him “We don’t need you to do that.”?

If George Zimmerman had returned to his vehicle, there would have been no confrontation.  In fact, the Miami Herald quotes the Police Department’s coordinator of volunteers as saying that she had warned volunteers – including George Zimmerman – against doing anything more than observing and reporting, and had told them never to act as vigilantes.  (,

If the police had been alarmed by what Zimmerman was describing in his calls, they would have intercepted Trayvon Martin and questioned him.  If the police had questioned him, Trayvon Martin would have been annoyed, but would not have felt threatened, as he did feel when confronted by the  person who seemed to be stalking him.
That George Zimmerman got out of his truck and initiated contact with Trayvon Martin refutes the assertion by the police that they had not found evidence to contradict his assertion of self-defense.” (

Now put yourself in Trayvon Martin’s shoes.  You had done nothing wrong, and were just walking along in the pleasant cool of the evening, looking about at the interestingly unfamiliar but pleasant suburb that you were visiting.  Gradually you become aware that, incredibly, you are being stalked by a stranger in a truck.  The driver must be a criminal or crazy person, and must be be sizing you up to rob or abduct you.  You start to run.  The stalker then gets out of his truck and corners you.  Worse,  this stalker has a gun.  You try to fend him off, to avoid being forced into a situation where you would become unable to defend yourself.  Wouldn’t you reach for the gun, out of desperation?  How can punching and a gun-grab by a stalked person be called “an unprovoked attack”, as George Zimmerman asserts? Travon Martin’s actions were all in self defense.  Trayvon Martin was the one who “stood his ground”.  And he did so only because he had no choice.

Blaming Trayvon is like blaming the victim of a bully for defending himself.

I have a guess as to why George Zimmerman got out of his truck to chase Trayvon Martin.  George Zimmerman’s patrolling was obsessive, according to the police department.  Its obsessiveness suggests that he had fantasies of becoming regarded as a hero.  Those fantasies are probably why he chased his suspect on foot.  Also, he was emboldened by having a gun.

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