aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Sanity in Kansas
The court said “the moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest:”
Matthew R. Limon had just turned 18 when he had consensual oral sex with a boy just shy of 15 at a Kansas school in 2000. He was convicted of criminal sodomy and sentenced to 17 years in prison. Had the sex been heterosexual, the maximum penalty would have been 15 months.
Yesterday, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the starkly different penalties violated the federal Constitution’s equal protection clause. It said the state’s “Romeo and Juliet” statute, which limits the punishment that can be imposed on older teenagers who have sex with younger ones, but only if they are of the opposite sex, must also apply to teenagers who engage in homosexual sex.
It’s Miller time
Keller expresses regret. While Judy says “I did not think I was a target” of Scooter’s deliberate campaign to out Plame. Kevin Drum compares those comments to Robert Novak’s self-serving defense from two years ago and concludes:
The story from both of these extremely experienced reporters is that Libby’s disclosure to them was nothing but idle chatter. Nothing planned about it. They want us to believe that the only way White House operatives plant rumors is to pick up the phone, dial it methodically, and then spit out the dirt along with a request to please try to see that this ends up on the front page.
They should stop insulting our intelligence… I have no doubt that these officials did their best to make their disclosures sound casual. Miller and Novak either fell for it, or else were willing accomplices. Neither option speaks well for their ability to do their job.
Jay Rosen has the definitive post; but Maureen Dowd’s column, Woman of Mass Destruction, is more fun. It has even convinced at least one of the blogging luminaries on the left to pay for TimesSelect. The line we’re all quoting:
[B]efore turning Judy’s case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.
Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover “the same thing I’ve always covered - threats to our country.” If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.
UPDATE: NYTimes Public Editor says “It seems to me that whatever the limits put on her, the problems facing her inside and outside the newsroom will make it difficult for her to return to the paper as a reporter.”
Kos says Keller is let off way too easy.
Limbaugh says Harriet Miers should go to the Fed.
(Be forewarned: I honestly believe that Hillary would be great on the Supreme Court. Conservatives take heart, she could be your Earl Warren.)
In a conservative Republican state, here’s the coalition [activists] have put together to defeat the amendment: Among the eight “featured sponsors” of the anti-amendment campaign are three partisan Democratic groups, two leftist groups that promote “social justice,” one statewide gay group that barely pretends to work with Republicans, and another that was founded by the daughter of former Democratic governor Ann Richards. This is, to be sure, a “coalition.” It is a coalition of losers.
The husband of a colleague had a liver transplant. I learned recently that he is roughly my age. His health care, same plan as mine, has maxed out. No more coverage. Tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars in costs left to come.
Then there’s the co-pays and deductibles and “exclusions” they still owe. The plan also has “Stop Loss” and “pre-certification requirements” and “balanced billing” and despite all that is the best in the area. There but for the grace of God go I. Or you.
So what’s the current thinking on health care?
Kendall keeps track of two threads crucial to understanding the basic arguments [in the current health care debate]. The first is that employer-based health coverage is an accident of history, an unsustainable system that blossomed out of a WWII-era tax quirk. But unlike in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton, the Republicans, and everyone else thought it a basically sound structure merely in need of tweaking, participants on the left and the right are beginning to decide it must be dumped. That’s largely because business itself desperately wants it dumped. For more on that, yesterday’s agreement between GM and the United Auto Workers to slash the union’s hard-won health care coverage explains the issue. In an age of outsourcing and global competition, corporations cannot keep assuming medical responsibility for their workers while remaining competitive.
But while the media has spent some time outlining the old system’s slow-motion destruction, the drawing of the battle lines for the fight to replace it have been vastly underreported. It’s here that Kendall’s article shines. Conservatives have settled on an individualized concept of health care, most often expressed in their advocacy for so-called consumer-driven health plans (Health Savings Accounts, Health Reimbursement Accounts, and so forth). In the future they envision, health care would be an individual responsibility; if you screwed up and lost big, or just had a run of bad luck, well, that’s life. Liberals, conversely, want to make health care a community burden, be it through massive expansion of currently existing federal pools (think Medicaid, Medicare, SCHIP, and FEHBP) or the creation of a wholly new, state-run insurance program. This way, your personal decisions and circumstances would have little to no effect on your coverage; the healthy would pay for the sick and the young would subsidize the old.
I believe in shared responsibility. And the fairest share is when all of us participate.