Journal 07/01/2012 (a.m.)

    • A New York Times/CBS News poll released early this month found that 41 percent of Americans thought that the entire law should have been overturned, while 27 percent thought only the mandate should have been overturned and 24 percent thought the whole law should have been kept intact.

       If you just took the numbers at face value, they would seem to support the Republican position. But let’s not. The same poll found that 37 percent of Americans believed the law went too far, while 27 percent said not far enough and 25 percent said about right.

       When you cross-reference the numbers, just over two-thirds of the people who wanted the law struck down thought it went too far. That’s only 27 percent of those polled. Suddenly, the claim that a majority of the public wanted the court to strike it down for overreaching evaporates.

    • Both took at least a full semester off from Duke to prepare for the 2012 Olympics. And both believe that performing acrobatics in the air is freeing, not fear-inducing.
  • tags: healthinsurance

    • When Katie Beth was young, she loved to tumble.


      “I was flipping off couches and breaking furniture and threatening to run off with the circus,” Katie Beth says.


      Her parents, Kathie and Randy Bryant, decided gymnastics would be a great way to corral that energy, so they enrolled her. She took to it immediately. She liked doing things that looked dangerous.


      “I loved scaring people,” she says.

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Journal 06/30/2012 (a.m.)

    • the ruling is historic because it is a Compromise — a crisis-averting pact across lines of ideology, party and region, the likes of which we have not seen since pre-Civil War days.
    • First, Medicaid. Some 26 mostly red states sued to block the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, arguing that it unconstitutionally coerced them to participate. The court upheld this claim in a 7 to 2 ruling. Liberals Stephen Breyer (a former aide to health-care hero Ted Kennedy) and Elena Kagan (Obama’s own appointee) joined the decision, in return for Roberts’s agreement not to strike the provision entirely but to remedy the constitutional violation by letting states opt out of the expansion without penalty.

      In short, the liberals saved the plan for the blue states by letting the red ones go.

      The Compromise of 1850 reaffirmed the north-south line between slave states and free states. The Roberts court penciled a red-blue line on Medicaid.

    • Conservatives reproach Roberts for activism, saying he “rewrote” Obamacare. He sure did. Formerly, it embodied progressive hopes for a more active federal government and a Democratic political majority. Now, it’s truncated and facing a political battle royale in November with a big “tax” sign around its neck.

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Journal 06/29/2012 (p.m.)

    • “We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders,” Roberts wrote. “We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.”

      Although he answered that question in the affirmative, Roberts agreed with the law’s conservative critics — and the court’s four other conservatives — who said Congress does not have the power to require people to buy a product such as health insurance.

      But, he said, the law does not truly impose such a mandate on Americans. It simply requires those who do not have health insurance to pay a tax penalty. That tax requirement, he said, passes constitutional muster.

    • “The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance,” he wrote. “The federal government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance.”

      The justices also upheld a major expansion of the Medicaid program, which is one of the chief ways the law sought to expand coverage of the uninsured. But, they said, the federal government cannot force states to participate. Those states that do not want to expand Medicaid, even if the federal government pays for most of the expansion, will have to be given the right to opt out.

      That part of the ruling could open the way for significant differences in healthcare coverage between liberal states, which already have said they welcome the additional federal money for expanded coverage, and conservative ones. Some Republican governors have indicated they want to reject the expanded coverage.

    • Democrats had gone to great lengths during the congressional debate over the healthcare law to argue that they were not passing a new tax. And Republicans immediately seized on the court’s language to tag Obama as a tax raiser.

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Journal 06/24/2012 (a.m.)

    • WHEN I decided to bring two of my kids with me on a reporting trip to Iran, the consensus was that I must be insane. And that someone should call Child Protective Services!
    • The confrontation was a reminder that Iran is a complex and contradictory country, in ways that don’t register at a distance. Iran imprisons more journalists than any other country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, yet it has a vigorous Parliament and news media with clashing views (within a narrow range). Some ethnic Turks seek to secede and join Azerbaijan, but the country’s supreme leader is an ethnic Turk. Iran’s regime sometimes embraces anti-Semitism, yet Parliament has a Jewish member.

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