Louisiana is an Obamacare state!

Louisiana is an Obamacare state!

Obamacare from JBE

It’s going to take years to put out the dumpster fire that Jindal left behind, but fully implementing Obamacare is a good start:

 

“Expanding Medicaid in Louisiana was the easiest decision I’ve made since taking office in January, and I meet people from all walks of lifewho will be positively impacted by expansion,” said Gov. Edwards. “All the research shows that people with insurance coverage, including Medicaid, fare much better than those who are uninsured. Although my goal was to take immediate steps to get people health coverage, the more important goal is for people to have better health. Coverage is the important first step, and in the process, we are saving Louisiana taxpayers more than $180 million in this year alone.”

Accepting the Medicaid expansion and committing to fund programs that extend proper healthcare to everyone are essential. They’re compassionate. They’re the right feckin thing to do. When I travel to Europe, one of the common questions I’ll get asked is “Why don’t you Americans want to care for your sick?” I now tell them about my State Senator from #themetrys, Conrad Appel. Appel is currently my number-one “malaka”, as Adrastos affectionally refers to incredibly terrible people. Conrad here believes giving black people health care is a “luxury” that Louisiana taxpayers can’t afford. Such a shitty human being.

For all that John Bel Edwards is not a liberal, he is compassionate. There was a friend-of-a-friend comment on Lamar White’s Zuckerbook page where a #nonpartisanprogressive went on a rant about how un-progressive JBE is. Given that Lamar thinks rather highly of this individual, I was a bit confused. Nobody in Louisiana ever thought Governor Edwards was progressive. He’s a ConservaDem, and that’s not a bad thing. The Democratic Party is indeed the big tent, and JBE is an excellent example of how that works. Don’t like his position on abortion? Fine, work to re-establish the party outside of Orleans Parish and let’s elect more progressive Dems.

In the meantime, the poor get Obamacare. Go JBE!

Cinemark: The villain here is still the shooter.

Cinemark: The villain here is still the shooter.

There’s not much worse that can happen to someone than losing a child. Trust me on that one. You’re angry, hurt, and absolutely-fucking-insane with grief. I get the need to have someone pay for what happened, the need to have the death be someone’s fault, and for them to admit to you that it was their fault. Thing is, in the case of the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting, the fault doesn’t lie with Cinemark, the owner of the theater, even if they have the deep pockets:

U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson, who cited decisions in another Colorado mass shooting, said those failures could have contributed in some way but were not the substantial factors in the deaths and injuries. Instead, the shooter’s “premeditated and intentional actions were the predominant cause of plaintiffs’ losses,” Jackson wrote in his decision.

The fault belongs to the shooter, plain and simple. It is an unreasonable expectation that every public facility, such as a movie theater, shopping mall, nightclub, or school should be turned into armed camps with cameras, metal detectors, and security guards. The victims and families involved in this shooting knew that, yet they still went for the deep pockets. Cinemark aren’t fools, either; they were willing to settle:

Originally, 42 survivors and relatives of those killed filed federal lawsuits against Cinemark. Earlier this month, 27 of them signed agreements to resolve the lawsuit without a trial, according to federal court records. Details of the agreements were not available.

Better than half of the plaintiffs settled. Cinemark doesn’t need the bad publicity. As for the other fifteen, I’m going to chalk it up to rage and grief, the need for someone to be at fault, rather than perhaps, oh, I don’t know, greed, motivating their refusal to settle.

The villain is the shooter. It’s not even the State of Colorado, whose law allowing defendants in civil suits to recover expenses. Those 15 plaintiffs knew this might happen. Their attorneys knew. I totally understand the anger they feel over their loss.

For Cinemark to actually file to recover their expenses is interesting. It’s awful PR. There’s a petition asking Cinemark to withdraw the claims. The company should let it go, in full Elsa-style.

Amicus Podcast – Solicitor General Don Verrili

Amicus Podcast – Solicitor General Don Verrili

Screenshot from 2016-06-30 07:54:46

One of my favorite work-nerd things is the Amicus podcast from Slate/Panoply. I’ve been a fan of Ms. Dhalia Lithwick (I well and truly squeeed when she was on TDS last month) for years, and to hear her as well as read her column is a lot of fun. Her end-of-term podcast is an interview with outgoing Solicitor General Don Verrili, and it’s a fascinating look into arguing before the present-day SCOTUS. This is a great listen. If you know a Government teacher, I highly recommend you pass  Amicus on to them as a teaching tool.

 

What’s DA Cannizzaro’s Motivation?

The entrance to the Louisiana State Penitentiary (courtesy Wikimedia Commons user msppmoore)

The entrance to the Louisiana State Penitentiary (courtesy Wikimedia Commons user msppmoore)

At a time when so many eyes are on Angola, which is widely regarded as a plantation run by slave labor, it’s odd that the DA would bump up a guy who steals candy to the point where he’ll end up doing 20-to-life:

On Feb. 3, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office chose to charge Grimes under a statute that boosts the alleged candy theft to a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. The statute applies to people who have been convicted of “theft of goods” at least twice before.

This isn’t something that one needs to do to retain elective office in Orleans Parish. Look at the judges, they’re elected officials, and even the judge presiding over this case is incredulous:

Grimes appeared Thursday for arraignment before Criminal District Court Judge Franz Zibilich, pleading not guilty.

“Isn’t this a little over the top?” Zibilich wondered aloud over the threat of a “multiple bill,” an approach that leaves little discretion to a judge.

“It’s not even funny,” the judge said. “Twenty years to life for a Snickers bar, or two or three or four.”

Judge Zibilich should nullify this with a not-guilty verdict, it’s that ridiculous.

But to the point, does anyone know what Cannizzaro’s endgame is? Is he looking to run statewide, where impressing white people by being tough on candy bar thieves is considered a good thing? Does he have a financial stake in Louisiana’s for-profit prison industry? Is he just a jackass?

Governor Edwards made reducing the prison population in the state a priority and a major promise in his campaign last November. He seems poised to make good on this, as his term progresses. Sending a nonviolent offender to the plantation to be a slave isn’t who we are. This has to stop.

Diversity in Social Media conversations

I am all about diversity.

Boromir star wars-star trek meme demonstrates diversity

Disagreement and Diversity vs. hate speech

It’s important to recognize the difference between encouraging diversity in the public discourse while rejecting hate speech. I take great pride in the fact that my online friends are quite diverse, coming from multiple religious and ethnic backgrounds, many of which have little to nothing to do with New Orleans. There are numerous topics we can discuss that show this diversity:

  • Which is better, Star Trek or Star Wars?
  • Should you read the book before or after seeing the movie?
  • The extent to which historic preservation should be carried
  • Antoine’s or Galatoires?
  • Government supervision of public education: federal, state, or local level?
  • Starbuck or Number Six?
  • Are leggings acceptable as pants?
  • Priorities for government spending
  • Wine Pairings
  • The role of the US Military in fighting terrorism

All these and so many more are subjects that generate a wide and diverse range of opinions, making for wonderful discussions.

  • There are some subjects, however, that just don’t make the list:
  • Basing public policy on religious faith rather than scientific fact
  • The virtue of interring people whose ethnic background is different from the majority
  • Inciting violence in political discourse
  • Threatening people because they disagree with you
  • Demanding everyone adhere to your religious beliefs

There was a time when the two political parties in the United States reflected the diversity of the country. In the last thirty-five years, however, the parties have split to the point where it’s a challenge to have a discussion about partisan politics without the participants shouting past each other. The biggest problem in this election cycle is the disconnect between people who identify as “conservative” and the incredibly hateful rhetoric their candidates put forth. Look at the current top four in the Republican field:

  • Trump wants to lock up Muslims like we did the Japanese in WWII, while barring entry to the US to Muslims from other countries.
  • Carson doesn’t think Muslims should be allowed to hold public office
  • Rubio wants to class LGBT citizens as being in a lower class than straight citizens
  • Cruz openly advocates Christian Theocracy as a form of government for the US

It’s one thing to say you support many of the traditional conservative positions that are part of the public discourse. It’s another to espouse one religion over others, advocate discrimination, and espouse outright hatred that incites violence. We’ve come to that point in our national political debate where one of the two political parties does these things. When you vote for Republicans at the state and local level, it enables the horrible things we see at the national level. That’s a discussion we can have as rational human beings.

Those who openly support internment of people for their religion, those who demand we all follow the specific tenets of their religious faith, and those who are OK with violence to further their political goals are unacceptable to me. Those who enable these various types of hate are unacceptable to me. If you show me that you hate, or enable hate, I’m done. That includes saying you “Like” Donald Trump on Facebook.

 

John Bel Edwards – Superior to All Republicans

2015-10-24 10.49.01

I voted for John Bel Edwards this morning. I know that Bob Mann admonished us against having a Edwards-Vitter runoff, but that’s before David Vitter (R-John) completely collapsed as a credible candidate. I still think this will be an Edwards-Vitter runoff, but now people are actually entertaining the notion that Edwards will win outright tonight. That would be the best outcome for Louisiana.