Archive for July 7th, 2015

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There’s usually a lot of that going around

July 7, 2015

From The Washington Post, a sensible opinion about the tempest-in-a-teapot over the Confederate flag.

There’s no race war in America

Did you know that this newspaper is named for a slaveholder? It’s right there on our masthead, the name of a man who for 56 years held other human beings in bondage on his Virginia plantation — a man, according to the official Mount Vernon Web site, who “frequently utilized harsh punishment against the enslaved population, including whippings.” This dreaded symbol of oppression is delivered to the doorsteps and inboxes of hundreds of thousands of people each morning.

Sure, George Washington also emancipated his slaves in his will, won our independence and became the father of our country — but no matter. It is an outrage that this paper continues to bear the name of such a man.

It is time to rename The Washington Post!

Think that’s stupid? You’re right. But there’s a lot of stupid going around today. The latest example: The TV Land network has pulled the plug on reruns of one of America’s most beloved shows, “The Dukes of Hazzard,” because the car in the show, the General Lee, bears a Confederate flag. There is nothing racist about “The Dukes of Hazzard.” It is a show about moonshine, short shorts and fast cars. What is accomplished by banning “The Dukes of Hazzard”? Nothing. […]

This impulse to wipe away history is Stalinist. Just like Joseph Stalin once erased people from photographs, we’re now erasing people from our collective history.

These historical purges are not only wrong, they are also completely unnecessary. If you want to see where race relations are in the South, just look at how the people of Charleston, S.C., reacted to the shootings at Emanuel AME Church. There were no race riots. The city didn’t burn. People came together — black and white — to mourn and heal together. The white mayor of Charleston joined hands with the state’s black senator and its Indian American governor to pray. Thousands of people of all races, creeds and colors formed a “unity chain” that stretched two miles across the Ravenel Bridge to honor those who died.

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Some good news about civil asset forfeiture

July 7, 2015

This is refreshing news.

Civil Forfeiture Now Requires A Criminal Conviction In Montana And New Mexico

Just in time for the Fourth of July, states are declaring their independence from civil forfeiture.

Enabled by civil forfeiture laws, police can seize and keep property without the government ever filing criminal charges. Innocent Americans actually must prove their own innocence in court if they ever hope to regain their property. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies routinely seize property and pad their budgets with forfeiture revenue. Outlets as diverse as The New Yorker and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver have detailed this travesty of justice.

But thankfully, civil forfeiture’s days may soon be numbered. Starting July 1, two major reforms from Montana and New Mexico will go into effect. […]

Via Radley Balko

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The Health Care Special (5)

July 7, 2015

We could have paid — and some of us were paying, I’d bet — for medical coverage for the uninsured without all the bureaucratic and corporate overhead imposed by Obamacare. We could (and some maybe were) helping those who were bankrupted by the costs of medical care for catastrophic cases.

But it’s much easier and so much more satisfying to pass another law, isn’t it? The President gets to preen, the Democratic party gets another notch in its gun belt, and those who supported this disaster-in-the-making get whatever satisfaction comes from that.

Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016

WASHINGTON — Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.

The Oregon insurance commissioner, Laura N. Cali, has just approved 2016 rate increases for companies that cover more than 220,000 people. Moda Health Plan, which has the largest enrollment in the state, received a 25 percent increase, and the second-largest plan, LifeWise, received a 33 percent increase.

Jesse Ellis O’Brien, a health advocate at the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, said: “Rate increases will be bigger in 2016 than they have been for years and years and will have a profound effect on consumers here. Some may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.” […]

“Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness” – Penn Jillette.

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