Bleg and Gun Raffle:

This year I was a first-time attendee of Blogorado, and fell in love with the Farm Fam.  One of their own – well, I’ll let Old NFO tell the story:

Gun Raffle!!!

I know this is a lousy time to ask for money, but one of our extended Blogarado family is in need. FarmFam’s daughter-in-law, Andi, 33 and the mother of two small boys, suffered a stroke in mid August. Unfortunately, it wasn’t diagnosed correctly for two weeks, delaying treatment.

She’s facing a year to 18 months of physical therapy to get back to full function.

Therapy costs are running $200-500 per session, and she needs therapy once a week. Andi has not been able to afford health insurance, because she her husband own a small business that makes too much money for them to get assistance with health insurance, but not enough for them to be able to afford health insurance, and raising two boys.

Any help will be much appreciated, as Andi has begun physical therapy, and without health insurance she has to pay the full cost of every session.

In order to help her out, we are doing another gun raffle to try to help her with her therapy. One change from what we did for Tam is to run this through a Go Fund Me, https://www.gofundme.com/andrea-keenan-medical-fund, so that the money is immediately available to her for her therapy. One IRS change is that Go Fund Me $$ are now counted as income for the family, so we are shooting for a goal of $25,000 to offset the tax burden they will be hit with.

Here are the ‘rules’ $10 per chance, $50/6 chances, $100/12 chances, etc. Make your donation to the Go Fund Me above, and copy your donation receipt to [email protected] This will count as your entry into the raffle. If you have already donated, we will accept prior donations to the Go Fund Me.

The raffle will run from now through the end of November, with the drawing to be held 1 December via a random drawing program. First number gets their choice, second gets their choice, etc.

The raffle packages are-

1. Taurus .44 Magnum pistol

2. Ruger MK-II bull barrel .22

3. Custom sub-MOA AR-15 – BCM 18” SPR Mk 12 upper with PRI carbon fiber handguard, BCM BCG, all Wolff springs except buffer. KNS anti-roll trigger pins, JP Enterprises Silent capture buffer and spring, Magpul PRS stock, Magpul MIAD grip, Norgon ambi mag release, Teal Blue Bravo Ambi Bolt catch, AeroPrecision lower with 45° safety, Harris bipod adapter for front rail, full length top rail, BUIS front sight, Gissele SSA-E trigger, BCM gunfighter charging handle.

4. Remington 870 Express pump in 20ga

5. Chinese copy of a 12ga coach gun

6. Springfield Range Officer .45 with 7 magazines and custom holster

7. Springfield Range Officer 9mm with 7 magazines and custom holster

8. Lawdog’s personal Rock Island 1911 9mm, reworked by Joe Speer with 6 magazines

9. A ladies package consisting of a ring (late-Victorian-style design with either high-quality glass or mid-grade garnet stones. The mount is jeweler’s metal, size 6 3/4 or 7). A unicorn necklace, late 1980s-early 1990s James Avery sterling silver charm on a silver chain. A coin necklace, an 1904 Indian Head penny, silver dipped in a gold-plated mount with a gold-plated silver chain. And a handmade necklace and earrings from Phlegmmy.

10. Signed copies of Lawdog’s, Peter Grant’s, Dorothy Grant’s, and JL Curtis’ books

11. TBD (other possible packages are being discussed)

All guns will be shipped FFL to FFL for winners. Pictures of the various packages will follow in the next couple of days.

Thank you in advance, I know she will appreciate the help, and this will take a little pressure off the family!If you can help out, please do. These are good people.

EDIT:  Updates to the prize list and raffle status are being maintained by Old NFO.

Well, THIS Sucks.

When I got up yesterday morning I had an ache in my groin area (I know, TMI! TMI!) on the left side. Didn’t know what it was, but it was only slightly annoying. Last night when I went to bed it was worse, but I noticed that my left leg was a bit swollen. Still, the discomfort was minimal. This morning the skin on my left leg was tighter than a bloated tick. Pain still wasn’t bad, but it had reached the level of annoying.

I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I do read a LOT, and most of it sticks. “Kevin,” my brain said, “I think you’ve got a blood clot in your leg.”

So I did what every good digital denizen does when confronted with a possible life-threatening medical condition, I asked the internet whether I should go to Urgent Care or not. Consensus was “Yes.” So I called my regular doctor (before normal business hours) and left a message asking them. Got a return call almost immediately: Emergency room. Urgent care doesn’t do ultrasound tests.

So bright and early this morning I was in an ER getting an ultrasound of my leg. Diagnosis: a healthy bouncing baby blood clot, very high up in my thigh.

This shit can kill you.

But I told the ER doctor the reason I came in wasn’t the possibility of sudden death by heart attack or pulmonary embolism, it was an old joke that kept running through my head:

A guy’s mother collapses, and she’s rushed by ambulance to the hospital. After hours in the ER waiting room the Doctor comes out. “I have good news and bad news,” he says. “What’s the bad news?” the son asks.

“Well, your mother has suffered a severe stroke. Her entire left side is paralyzed, but that doesn’t really matter because her brain function is severely degraded. She can’t talk, in fact about all she can do is make this really annoying screeching sound. You’ll have to feed her, bathe her, change her diapers, basically care for her like she’s an infant for the rest of her life. And she may live another twenty years.”

“Jesus,” the son says, “What’s the good news?”

The doctor replies, “She died. I’m just fucking with you.”

Got both the doctor and the nurse to laugh. 

Anyway, as I said, Deep Vein Thrombosis can fuck you up. I’m pretty sure that’s what killed Acidman and Captain Phil Harris from Deadliest Catch.

Pay attention to the symptoms.

And if it gets real quiet around here, well…..

“Obama Promises To Lower Health Insurance Premiums by $2,500 Per Year”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o65vMUk5so?rel=0&showinfo=0]

One of my Facebook friends is someone I went to High School with.  She posted this tonight:

Tonight I decided I wanted to be fully informed about what Obamacare would mean to our family if we chose to pursue it as our health insurance option. I went to the Obamacare website online. That website sent me to an insurance broker who called my home. I told him I wanted to check rates for Obamacare for our family of four. He said, “I can give you a quote but its going to be a terrible plan and more expensive than any other plan because the rates just went up 40% in North Carolina.” I pressed him to give me the rate anyway. He then quoted me a rate of $2195/month with a $14,300 deductible. (That equals basically paying $2195/month with no coverage short of a healthcare catastrophe.) I then asked him how that quote would change if my income was lower. He said that the rate would be exactly the same for anyone over a $40,000/year income. If someone making $40,000/year (only $16,717/year above the poverty level for NC) decided to sign up for Obamacare, they would be paying $26,340/year in insurance premiums plus whatever health care costs they had until they met their $14,300 deductible. (By the way, if this happened, it would mean, at that point, they would have spent more than they make/year on their healthcare.)

Who wants to sign up for that deal?

Nobody. Nobody at all.


I refer you back to February’s post, “American Health Care is All Over But the Screaming.” Read the links. And the links in the links.

Who Could Have Seen This Coming?

Near ‘Collapse,’ Minnesota to Raise Obamacare Rates by Half

Minnesota will let the health insurers in its Obamacare market raise rates by at least 50 percent next year, after the individual market there came to the brink of collapse, the state’s commerce commissioner said Friday.

The increases range from 50 percent to 67 percent, Commissioner Mike Rothman’s office said in a statement. Rothman, who regulates the state’s insurers, is an appointee under Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat. The rate hike follows increases for this year of 14 percent to 49 percent.

Oh, yeah. We did.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdnY8r7_fLw?rel=0]

“American Healthcare is All Over But the Screaming”

I’ve covered the Obamacare debacle here at TSM for quite a while, with the earliest post on the topic being Multiply by the Zip Code from 2009, and going on from there. The “Primum, Non Nocere” (First, do no harm) T-shirts (2010) are still available, too.

In 2013 I reviewed some Obamacare Predictions. A bit later in the year, the GeekWithA.45 provided post materials with a comment on the state of the healthcare industry. His conclusion: American healthcare is all over but the screaming.

Obamacare survived not one, but two Supreme Court challenges that were decided on the basis of – well, let Antonin Scalia say it, from his scathing dissent to King v. Burwell:

Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.

But it cannot be saved from itself.

Investors Business Daily reports this week:

Aetna Joins Growing Chorus Warning About ObamaCare Failing

A chorus, I’m sure, that has about as many members as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at this point. IBD reports:

ObamaCare was supposed to be on a roll by now, promising 20 million signing up, low cost and stable premiums. Turns out it’s on a roll all right. It’s rolling towards the cliff.

Insurance giant Aetna (AET) has joined a growing number of insurers warning that the ObamaCare exchanges are failing in just the way critics said they would. (My emphasis – Ed.) This year’s anemic enrollment won’t help.

This week, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini warned that “we continue to have serious concerns about the sustainability of the public exchanges.” Aetna lost more than $100 million last year on the 750,000 enrollees it has through ObamaCare exchanges.

Bertolini’s warning comes after UnitedHealth Group (UNH) announced that it might pull out of ObamaCare entirely next year, after getting hit with a $475 million loss in 2015. It expects to lose another $500 million this year. Last fall, CEO Stephen Hemsley said that “we can’t really subsidize a marketplace that doesn’t appear at the moment to be sustaining itself.” That, he said, “basically is an industry-wide proposition.”

Now, refer back to the GeekWithA.45’s comment from 2013, where he said:

Coming off my yearly engagement with the think tanks, I’ve heard, for the first time, a series of data points coming from hospital CEOs that add up to one thing: the admission that exercising a hospital’s primary function is no longer a source of value and revenue, it is viewed as entirely cost, risk, and liability. Consequently, they are no longer building any capacity, and are in fact looking for ways to reduce their capacity and eliminate hospital beds.

The aging boomers are gonna love that when it comes home to roost.

Again, I think it bears repeating: the healthcare industry now views exercising its particular expertise and primary function as primarily a source of cost, risk, and liability.

That, as they say, isn’t sustainable.

Reality is what exists even when you stop believing in it.

But the Affordable Care Act must be saved!

Judicial Activism

So the Supreme Court has handed down its decision in King v. Burwell, the second “Obamacare” decision.  This one was not 5-4, but 6-3, and upheld the “subsidy” for non-state exchanges that was the key question at stake.

Ten years ago I wrote a piece on judicial activism where another Arizona blog had tried to define the meaning of the phrase as how often judges invalidate “law duly passed by Congress.”  I wrote:

I thought part of the “checks and balances” function of the Judicial branch was to, you know, check the power of the Legislative branch? Not merely rubber-stamp its legislation. If Congress overreaches the powers delegated to it under the Constitution, the Courts are supposed to rein it in. This is to protect the rights of the minority against the power of majorities. As Justice Scalia (56.25%) has put it, “The only reason you need a constitution is because some things you don’t want the majority to be able to change. That’s my most important function as a judge in this system. I have to tell the majority to take a hike.”

“Activism” on the court, on the other hand, is inventing law – finding things in laws already written that were never intended. As 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski put it, “build(ing) magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases – or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text.” Creating law is a power reserved to the legislative branch by the Constitution.

Justice Scalia wrote the dissent in Burwell. As most Scalia opinions are, this one is powerful and eloquent.

And factually accurate:

This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it. In order to receive any money under §36B, an individual must enroll in an insurance plan through an “Exchange established by the State.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not a State. So an Exchange established by the Secretary is not an Exchange established by the State—which means people who buy health insurance through such an Exchange get no money under §36B.

Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words “established by the State.” And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words “by the State” other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges. “[T]he plain, obvious, and rational meaning of a statute is always to be preferred to any curious, narrow, hidden sense that nothing but the exigency of a hard case and the ingenuity and study of an acute and powerful intellect would discover.” Lynch v. Alworth-Stephens Co., 267 U. S. 364, 370 (1925) (internal quotation marks omitted). Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.

When I wrote that piece ten years ago, I found a column by the irreplaceable Thomas Sowell also on judicial activism. In it he wrote:

“Judicial activism” and “judicial restraint” raise logically obvious but often ignored questions: Activism toward what?

Well, obviously in this case: “The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”

Scalia further on:

It is probably piling on to add that the Congress that wrote the Affordable Care Act knew how to equate two different types of Exchanges when it wanted to do so. The Act includes a clause providing that “[a] territory that . . . establishes . . . an Exchange . . . shall be treated as a State” for certain purposes. §18043(a) (emphasis added). Tellingly, it does not include a comparable clause providing that the Secretary shall be treated as a State for purposes of §36B when she establishes an Exchange.

He isn’t shy about using a sledgehammer when he feels it necessary.

More:

For its next defense of the indefensible, the Court turns to the Affordable Care Act’s design and purposes. As relevant here, the Act makes three major reforms. The guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements prohibit insurers from considering a customer’s health when deciding whether to sell insurance and how much to charge, 42 U. S. C. §§300gg, 300gg–1; its famous individual mandate requires everyone to maintain insurance coverage or to pay what the Act calls a “penalty,” 26 U. S. C. §5000A(b)(1), and what we have nonetheless called a tax, see National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U. S. ___, ___ (2012) (slip op., at 39); and its tax credits help make insurance more affordable.

The Court reasons that Congress intended these three reforms to “work together to expand insurance coverage”; and because the first two apply in every State, so must the third.

This reasoning suffers from no shortage of flaws. To begin with, “even the most formidable argument concerning the statute’s purposes could not overcome the clarity [of] the statute’s text.” Kloeckner v. Solis, (2012). Statutory design and purpose matter only to the extent they help clarify an otherwise ambiguous provision. Could anyone maintain with a straight face that §36B is unclear? To mention just the highlights, the Court’s interpretation clashes with a statutory definition, renders words inoperative in at least seven separate provisions of the Act, overlooks the contrast between provisions that say “Exchange” and those that say “Exchange established by the State,” gives the same phrase one meaning for purposes of tax credits but an entirely different meaning for other purposes, and (let us not forget) contradicts the ordinary meaning of the words Congress used. On the other side of the ledger, the Court has come up with no thing more than a general provision that turns out to be controlled by a specific one, a handful of clauses that are consistent with either understanding of establishment by the State, and a resemblance between the tax-credit provision and the rest of the Tax Code. If that is all it takes to make something ambiguous, everything is ambiguous.

Having gone wrong in consulting statutory purpose at all, the Court goes wrong again in analyzing it. The purposes of a law must be “collected chiefly from its words,” not “from extrinsic circumstances.” Sturges v. Crowninshield, (1819). Only by concentrating on the law’s terms can a judge hope to uncover the scheme of the statute, rather than some other scheme that the judge thinks desirable. Like it or not, the express terms of the Affordable Care Act make only two of the three reforms mentioned by the Court applicable in States that do not establish Exchanges. It is perfectly possible for them to operate independently of tax credits. The guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements continue to ensure that insurance companies treat all customers the same no matter their health, and the individual mandate continues to encourage people to maintain coverage, lest they be “taxed.”

The Court protests that without the tax credits, the number of people covered by the individual mandate shrinks, and without a broadly applicable individual mandate the guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements “would destabilize the individual insurance market.” If true, these projections would show only that the statutory scheme contains a flaw; they would not show that the statute means the opposite of what it says.

Here I’d like to interject a quote from the dissent to Home Building and Loan Association v. Blaisdell (1934):

I quite agree with the opinion of the court that whether the legislation under review is wise or unwise is a matter with which we have nothing to do. Whether it is likely to work well or work ill presents a question entirely irrelevant to the issue.

Blaisdell considered a Constitutional question, but the argument is the same: It isn’t the Court’s job to determine if a law is good or not.  The Constitution does not give the Judicial Branch the power to make law.  That power is reserved to the Legislative branch only.  If the Legislative branch does a bad job, then The People have the power to elect new legislators.  If the JUDICIAL branch does a bad job, The People have less recourse.

Scalia writes:

The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery. That philosophy ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress “[a]ll legislative Powers” enumerated in the Constitution. Art. I, §1. They made Congress, not this Court, responsible for both making laws and mending them. This Court holds only the judicial power—the power to pronounce the law as Congress has enacted it. We lack the prerogative to repair laws that do not work out in practice, just as the people lack the ability to throw us out of office if they dislike the solutions we concoct. We must always remember, therefore, that “[o]ur task is to apply the text, not to improve upon it.” Pavelic & LeFlore v. Marvel Entertainment Group, Div. of Cadence Industries Corp. (1989).

More importantly, the Court forgets that ours is a government of laws and not of men. That means we are governed by the terms of our laws, not by the unenacted will of our lawmakers. “If Congress enacted into law something different from what it intended, then it should amend the statute to conform to its intent.” Lamie, supra, at 542. In the meantime, this Court “has no roving license. . . to disregard clear language simply on the view that . . . Congress ‘must have intended’ something broader.” Bay Mills, 572 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 11).

Even less defensible, if possible, is the Court’s claim that its interpretive approach is justified because this Act “does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.” It is not our place to judge the quality of the care and deliberation that went into this or any other law. A law enacted by voice vote with no deliberation whatever is fully as binding upon us as one enacted after years of study, months of committee hearings, and weeks of debate. Much less is it our place to make everything come out right when Congress does not do its job properly. It is up to Congress to design its laws with care, and it is up to the people to hold them to account if they fail to carry out that responsibility.

Rather than rewriting the law under the pretense of interpreting it, the Court should have left it to Congress to decide what to do about the Act’s limitation of tax credits to state Exchanges. If Congress values above everything else the Act’s applicability across the country, it could make tax credits available in every Exchange. If it prizes state involvement in the Act’s implementation, it could continue to limit tax credits to state Exchanges while taking other steps to mitigate the economic consequences predicted by the Court. If Congress wants to accommodate both goals, it could make tax credits available every where while offering new incentives for States to set up their own Exchanges. And if Congress thinks that the present design of the Act works well enough, it could do nothing. Congress could also do something else altogether, entirely abandoning the structure of the Affordable Care Act. The Court’s insistence on making a choice that should be made by Congress both aggrandizes judicial power and encourages congressional lassitude.

Just ponder the significance of the Court’s decision to take matters into its own hands. The Court’s revision of the law authorizes the Internal Revenue Service to spend tens of billions of dollars every year in tax credits on federal Exchanges. It affects the price of insurance for millions of Americans. It diminishes the participation of the States in the implementation of the Act. It vastly expands the reach of the Act’s individual mandate, whose scope depends in part on the availability of credits. What a parody today’s decision makes of Hamilton’s assurances to the people of New York: “The legislature not only commands the purse but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over . . . the purse; no direction . . . of the wealth of society, and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL but merely judgment.”

That is what this Court did today. As Scalia correctly points out, the overriding principle here is, “The Affordable Care Act must be saved.” Because the intent of the legislation must be good.

And THAT is “judicial activism” – rule of men, not of law.  And that was what the Constitution was written to prevent.

Also:  Read this post from 2010.  It’s short, and relevant.  And Chief Justice Roberts is no “conservative.”

The Stupidity of the American Voter

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G790p0LcgbI?rel=0]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hcu1S2GKf0?rel=0]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7IlKhqJPH8?rel=0]
Well, he’s right.  I made the argument during what passed as “debate” over Obamacare (as did literally thousands of others) that you could not:

  • add millions to the health insurance rolls
  • add tens of thousands of IRS and other government agents to the federal payroll to regulate the Act
  • not add any doctors or medical centers to the existing system
  • eliminate lifetime payout caps
  • remove limits of insurability for those with pre-existing conditions

and honestly promise a DECREASE in health insurance costs and an IMPROVEMENT in health care services.  Much less “If you like your Plan, you can keep your Plan.  If you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor.”

Former Congressman Thad McCotter put it quite succinctly in March of 2010:

The Democratic Party believes that you can take an imperfect health-care system and fix it by putting it under the most dysfunctional and broken entity in the United States today: It’s called the Federal Government.

That proposition is insane.

But that’s how they sold it.  A lot of people bought the lies.  Even worse, a lot still do.

The Democrats depend on the stupidity of their supporters.  After all, it’s served them remarkably well in the past.  In 2000 (long before I started this blog) I wrote a piece now archived at KeepandBearArms.com entitled An Uncomfortable Conclusion.  I will reproduce it here, as fourteen years later I wouldn’t change a word:

With the continuing legal maneuvers in the Florida election debacle, I have been forced to a conclusion that I may have been unconsciously fending off. The Democratic party thinks we’re stupid. Not “amiable uncle Joe” stupid, but DANGEROUSLY stupid. Lead-by-the-hand-no-sharp-objects-don’t-put-that-in-your-mouth stupid. And they don’t think that just Republicans and independents are stupid, no no! They think ANYBODY not in the Democratic power elite is, by definition, a drooling idiot. A muttering moron. Pinheads barely capable of dressing ourselves.

Take, for example, the position under which the Gore election machine petitioned for a recount – that only supporters of the Democratic candidate for President lacked the skills necessary to vote properly, and that through a manual recount those erroneously marked ballots could be “properly” counted in Mr. Gore’s favor. They did this in open court and on national television, and with a straight face.

So, it is with some regret that I can no longer hold that uncomfortable conclusion at bay:

They’re right. We are.

Not all of us, of course, but enough. Those of us still capable of intelligent, logical, independent thought have been overwhelmed by the public school system production lines that have been cranking out large quantities of substandard product for the last thirty-five years or so. The majority of three or four generations have managed to make it into the working world with no knowledge of history, no understanding of the Constitution or civics, no awareness of geography, no ability to do even mildly complex mathematics, no comprehension of science, and realistically little to no ability to read with comprehension, or write with clarity. And we seem to have developed attention spans roughly equivalent to that of your average small bird. (Ed. – Twitter didn’t come along until 2006!)

After all, about half the public accepted the Democratic premise that we were too stupid to vote correctly because their guy didn’t win by a landslide, didn’t they? And the other half was outraged, not that they made such a ludicrous argument, but that they didn’t want to play fair and by the rules that no one seems to understand or to be able to explain.

The other majority party isn’t blameless in this; they like an ignorant electorate too. It’s easier to lead people who can’t or won’t think for themselves. It took both parties and many years of active bipartisan meddling to make the education system into an international laughingstock.

However, the end result of this downward spiral has been an electorate ignorant in the simple foundations of this country and its government. Most especially the foundation of a rule of law in which EVERYONE is equal under the laws of the land. The Democrats have taken advantage of this general ignorance to its logical extreme. President Clinton, when testifying under oath, debates the meaning of the word “is,” and essentially gets away with it. Vice President Gore, when shown to be in direct violation of campaign finance law states that there was no “controlling legal authority.”

Laws don’t MEAN anything to them. A law is an inconvenient bit of wording that just has to be “interpreted” properly to achieve their ends. When they file suit, they must shop for the proper judge, or they might not be able to get the “spin” they want. Like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, words mean just what they want them to mean, no more no less. And that meaning can change at any time.

What has this election proven? The system is broken beyond a shadow of a doubt. Humpty-Dumpty is smashed. Regardless of who wins the recount in Florida, we have a system that has abandoned the rule of law because the populace let it, not knowing any better. Everything is up for interpretation. We don’t live in the United States of America anymore, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We live in `Merica, land of the free to do whatever we please, with no adverse consequences to our actions because that just wouldn’t be “fair”. Ain’t Democracy wunnerful? Let’s just vote ourselves bread and circuses and wait for the Barbarians to come over the walls. Bet that’ll get more than 49% of the vote, huh?

(This is the piece that got me kicked off of Democratic Underground, BTW. Somebody had to Google my name to find it and then point a DU administrator at it.)

Kabuki Theater

According to Wikipedia:

Kabuki is a classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.
The individual kanji, from left to right, mean sing, dance, and skill. Kabuki is therefore sometimes translated as “the art of singing and dancing”. These are, however, ateji characters which do not reflect actual etymology. The kanji of ‘skill’ generally refers to a performer in kabuki theatre. Since the word kabuki is believed to derive from the verb kabuku, meaning “to lean” or “to be out of the ordinary”, kabuki can be interpreted as “avant-garde” or “bizarre” theatre.

Apparently, it can also mean “Senate Democrats Trying Desperately to Change the Subject.”

In the summer of 2010, it was Harry Reid, the Senate’s Democratic leader, who squelched his party’s efforts to pass a climate change bill, declaring it could never attract enough votes to pass. In the years since, he has rarely spoken publicly about the issue.
But on Monday night, an impassioned Mr. Reid took to the Senate floor to kick off a nearly 15-hour climate-change talkathon by about 30 Senate Democrats, part of a campaign by a new Senate “climate caucus” to make it a politically urgent issue.

Yeah, it’s “politically urgent,” all right. Getting Obamacare off the front page is their FIRST priority.


Edited to add:

I stumbled across something that fits this post perfectly. From James Lileks a while back:

If everyone in America had been tied to a chair and forced to watch the debate Clockwork-Orange style, we’d all realize that the Senate is just a holding tank for people whose self-regard and cretinous reasoning is matched only by their demonstrable contempt for the idiots they think will lap this crap up.