From July, 2014

Alternative Realities I Can Believe In

Let’s all be clear about something: While Mitt Romney is a good man, and while I believe that he would have been a good president, the fact of the matter remains that he was a terrible candidate. He failed to connect to the middle class, he lacked the killer instinct needed to defeat an incumbent presiding over a lousy economy, and to say that he made comments that came back to haunt him is to engage in the understatement of the millennium. And yet, if the election were held today, Mitt Romney would beat Barack Obama. Handily. Yes, polls like…

Jonathan Gruber Accidentally Tells the Truth

One of the chief criticisms of those who did not like the Halbig decision is that Congress could not possibly have intended to restrict federal subsidies for coverage under Obamacare to only those states that established an exchange. Furthermore, by not taking intent into account, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was creating “an ‘absurd’ result.” It is rather difficult to divine congressional intent even under the best of circumstances, and to the best of my knowledge, no one has actually done a good job of showing that Congress did not intend the result in Halbig; rather, opponents of the decision simply content…

Quote of the Day

I’m done apologizing for Israel. It’s tiring to apologize over and over. Instead, I’ve decided to come clean: I am a progressive American rabbi who leans left pretty hard. I’ve been engaged, as a US faith leader, in work to reform gun laws, extend LGBT rights around the world, grant refuge to illegal immigrants, protect women’s reproductive choice, and more. Paint me blue. So, when it comes to Israel, many of those with whom I engage in social reform expect me to react to Israel’s military actions in Gaza with scorn and criticism. To be fair, there are times when…

The Scope of Hamas’s Terror Campaign

Any self-respecting nation would protect itself against this: Hamas had apparently been preparing a murderous assault on Israeli civilian targets for the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which begins on September 24, according anonymous sources in the Israeli security services, as reported today by the Israeli daily Maariv. The Hamas plan consisted of what was to be a surprise attack in which 200 fighters would be dispatched through each of dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel, and seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians. Israeli soldiers already…

More Stories that Cannot Possibly Be True

From France: Pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police in central Paris on Saturday when hundreds of marchers defied a ban by French authorities to rally against Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve warned organizers in a television address that they would be held responsible for any clashes and could be prosecuted for ignoring a ban that was confirmed by the country’s top administrative court. TV footage showed a minority of demonstrators wearing balaclavas and traditional Arab keffiyeh headdresses throwing projectiles at riot officers. Paris police said they had made 40 arrests. French authorities have refused to…

Neel Kashkari for Governor of California

George Will discusses Kashkari’s appeal, which might well prove to be considerable, given the politics of the state of California. The state would do well to elect a governor who has more than a passing amount of experience with the private sector, of course; hasn’t California had enough of career politicians like Jerry Brown, who have barely (if ever) worked outside of the political/governmental sphere? And to be sure, Will is right to identify Kashkari as representative of a new brand of Republicanism. If there is anything that the past few years have taught us, it is that the GOP…

No Consumer Choice, Please. We’re Coloradans.

It turns out that if you use Uber in Colorado, you might have the car you’re riding in pulled over. You might have your own license examined by police (remember, you are a passenger, not a driver), you might be placed in danger, and you might have to deal with a police officer who doesn’t want to “debate the law” when you ask him whether you are committing an illegal act. Don’t believe that any of this might happen? Read this. The Denver police have apologized for the behavior of the officer who precipitated this entire brouhaha, and that is all fine…

Quote of the Day

Imagine if I were to tell you there is a large group of government employees, with generous salaries and ridiculously cushy retirement pensions covered by the taxpayer, who enjoy incredible job security and are rarely held accountable even for activities that would almost certainly earn the rest of us prison time. When there is proven misconduct, these government employees are merely reassigned and are rarely dismissed. The bill for any legal settlements concerning their errors? It, too, is covered by the taxpayers. Their unions are among the strongest in the country. No, I’m not talking about public-school teachers. I’m talking…

My (Partial) Change of Heart on the Death Penalty

Read this. I’ll wait. Done? Good. Let me put out the fact that I do believe that there are some crimes so heinous, so horrible, that the state is justified in taking the life of the guilty party. Let me also put out the fact that I believe capital punishment is fully constitutional, so long as Eighth Amendment prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishments are not violated. That last part, as you might imagine, is somewhat important. If the method of execution is cruel, heinous, painful, and/or amounts to torture, I have no problem whatsoever in saying that it is…

Halbig v. Burwell Was Not an “Absurd” Result

Ilya Somin explains why: In its recent controversial decision in Halbig v. Burwell, the US Court of appeals for the DC Circuit ruled that people purchasing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act are only eligible for federal tax credits if they do so through an exchange established by a state. Although the plain text of the ACA indicates that tax credits are only available to those who purchase insurance in an “[e]xchange established by the State,” many critics claim that the court should have refused to enforce this language because it creates an “absurd” result because it undermines the…