By Mike Koetting August 22, 2019
Okay. Technically the name of this litigation is Texas v
U.S., but it sure seems like Texas v Us.
Texas v U.S., as some of you probably know, is the most
recent Republican-inspired attempt to scuttle the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The plaintiffs are asking the court to strike down the
entire ACA. The brief version of their argument is that when Congress, as part
of the tax law in 2017, removed any penalty for failing to comply with the
“universal mandate”, they effectively nullified the mandate. Plaintiffs then argue
that the “universal mandate” was so essential to the law’s working, that the
entire law should be struck down. (A somewhat more detailed, but still
of the entire situation can be found on the Health Affairs blog.)
Continue reading “Texas vs. Us”
By Mike Koetting August 8, 2019
I am not sure whether to chalk it up to the craftiness of
Republicans or the naivety of the voters, but we are now witnessing one of the
more feckless moments in American politics where the most extreme party in
modern history seems to be getting away with painting the other party as “too
Continue reading “Heads You Win, Tails we Lose”
By Mike Koetting July 25
The 1968 advice of Mr. Robinson’s associate to Benjamin Braddock was all too correct. Plastics was the future. In the 50-some years since Mr. Robinson prognosticated, the world has produced more than 8 billion tons of plastic.
Some of the consequences of this are obvious.
Less obvious on a day-to-day basis, but still receiving considerable attention, is the damage to wildlife, particularly marine wildlife. My seven-year old grandson was almost crying when he saw pictures of various creatures struggling with plastics. “It just…just isn’t fair,” he said, barely choking back tears. “It isn’t the animals’ fault.”
Continue reading “Plastics, Donald, Plastics”
By Mike Koetting July 11, 2019
In almost everyone’s list of the reasons that Hilary Clinton is not the president of the U.S. is the Electoral College. As we all know, Clinton won the popular vote by almost three million votes (2%) but lost in the Electoral College, 304-227. The usual argument suggests the number of low-population red states–that get disproportionate influence because of the way votes in the Electoral College are distributed–threw the election to Trump.
This argument, however, is wrong.
Continue reading “The Electoral Collage”
By Mike Koetting June 26, 2019
In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend:
men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the
ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched…..But I know that laws and
institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that
becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new
truths discovered…institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the
Not surprising from Jefferson. He was a man with boundless
interest in and reverence for discovery, science and the empirical
understanding of human nature.
Continue reading “Science and Democracy”
By Mike Koetting June 13, 2019
About 15 months ago, I had a series of posts on immigration. The issue has not gone away. In fact, Trump continues to bang the drum loudly on the all too plausible belief this is an issue that not only animates his core base, but slightly extends it to people who are genuinely concerned about this issue. The truth is that immigration is a real issue for both political parties, but a difficult and complicated one that can not be solved with slogans.
A recent article by David Frum in The Atlantic lays out the terms very clearly. This article is
must-reading for anyone who wants to talk about immigration. It is a
thoughtful, nuanced set of considerations, but essentially comes down to the
question of whether it is possible to maintain a country and a set of national
values without having borders and a common definition of citizenship.
Continue reading “Immigration Issues Aren’t Going Away”
By Mike Koetting May 30, 2019
As even occasional readers of this blog know, I think of myself as a reasonable guy who, biases and predilections notwithstanding, tries to see both sides of most policy arguments.
So I am uncomfortable with my growing sense that Republicans
have strayed so far from reasoned policy that they no longer deserve much
benefit of the doubt. I understand this attitude is potentially bad for
democracy. There is something inherently objectionable to me about broadly
discounting most of what one of our major parties says. But, and I didn’t get
here lightly, I think that is the point I have reached.
This is more than Donald Trump. It is a problem that started
when Richard Nixon decided to create a power base for Republicans by wooing
those populations left behind when Democrats, belatedly, started to take the
position that the situation of blacks was inconsistent with the stated goals of
Continue reading “Jettisoning Rationalist Guilt”