Saturday, November 04, 2006

Baby Killers

Referring back to Chaz Bufe's definition of "pro-life", the New York Times has a stellar example of a conservative rule that puts tens of thousands of born babies at risk, the better to pursue their vendetta against undocumented immigrants.
Undocumented immigrants are generally barred from Medicaid, but can get coverage for treatment of emergency medical conditions, including labor and delivery. In the past, once a woman received emergency care under Medicaid for the birth of a baby, the child was deemed eligible for coverage as well, and states had to cover them for one year from the date of birth.

Under the new policy, an application must be filed for the child, and the parents must provide documents to prove the child's citizenship.

The documentation requirements took effect in July, but some states have been slow to enforce them, and many doctors are only now becoming aware of the effects on newborns.

Obtaining such documents can take weeks or months in some states, doctors said. Moreover, they added, illegal immigrant parents may be reluctant to go to a state welfare office to file applications because they fear contact with government agencies that could report their presence to immigration authorities.

The pediatric community came out hard against this change, because the delay in receiving documentations (and the likelihood that illegal immigrants parents may not want to waltz into a government agency) deprives babies of care at some of the most critical points in their development. But what's really twisted is that there is literally no conceivable purpose beyond this bill other than harassment of illegal immigrants. Specifically, since anyone who is born in America automatically has US citizenship under the 14th amendment, it is almost physically impossible for a child born in a US hospital to not be a citizen eligible for Medicaid, even if their parents are illegal. So any claims that this is necessary verification are disingenuous.
Anne Marie Murphy, the Medicaid director in Illinois, said: "The new policy will be a barrier to Medicaid enrollment for citizen children. If we pay medical claims for childbirth at a hospital in Illinois, we know that the child was born here and is eligible for our program, based on income. It would be physically impossible for the child not to be a citizen."

Even if that weren't true, I'd say that putting innocent born children at greatly increased risk of death to buff up one's anti-immigrant bona fides is just wrong. Bufe appears to be right: Pro-lifers are "Vitally concerned with the wellbeing of "babies" right up to the moment of their birth--at which time they become "welfare cases" and "future criminals" undeserving of such luxuries as housing, health care, adequate nutrition, and a decent education."

Via Steve Benen

Friday, November 03, 2006

Off Judging

I'll be judging the Apple Valley "Minneapple" debate tournament this weekend. It's one of the best high school tournaments out there, and always a blast. So I might not post until the end of the weekend.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Allen's Battery

Headline from CNN: Senator Won't Scold Backers for Tackling Heckler. The Senator refers to George Allen of Virginia.

Sometimes, you read these stories and you realize that the whole story about "hitting" or "attack" is wildly overblown. Here, it's not. This was assault, plain and simple.

If Allen loses this race, it will be because he didn't learn from Jerry Kilgore's mistake in 2005: In Virginia, there is a limit to how low you can go before the voters turn on you. Refusing to condemn assault and battery is one. Accusing your opponent of pedophilia is another. Webb seems to have the late momentum, and maybe Allen's fate will send a message to similar-minded GOP politicians with dreams of the gutter.

Early Voting as Poll Proxy?

Daily Kos has been hyping early voting returns as a sign of excellent Democratic trends, using Montana, New Mexico and Arizona as examples. Indeed, in the latter case, the margins are so strong for challenger Jim Pederson that Kos thinks he has a better chance of scoring an upset than "golden boy" Harold Ford in Tennessee. Given that many Democrats had completely given up on Arizona, this would be a shocker.

I don't know anything about how well early returns predict future outcomes. Does anyone know what type of salt I should be taking this data with?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Paranoid Fantasies

Like Kevin Drum, I am loathe to comment on the whole John Kerry flap. Kerry's apologized...again, and there really wasn't any story here in the first place. It's self-evidently obvious that Kerry meant his comment as an attack on the Bush administration (that they, because they didn't concentrate on their studies, got us stuck in Iraq), which not only is a plausible reading of the text as is, but is verified by common sense and the original copy of the speech.

But the real reason I'm not commenting is because it's impossible to respond to the conservative argument here. I was on my political radio show, and it was quite clear. They genuinely, truly believe that Kerry--reflecting what they imagine is a common liberal belief--really disrespects the troops and finally let it slide in a moment of political weakness. The fact that Kerry is a vet? Irrelevant. The text of his actual speech which shows verifies his stated intended argument? Immaterial. The recognition that insulting the troops is political suicide for any politician any time, any where? Unconvincing. They've got a paranoid fantasy about what Democrats believe, and they'll stick to it through hell or high water.

There's nothing more I can say other than that they're wrong. And if they weren't so committed to their visions of the evil scary liberal demon, they might get that.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

May failed wars, limitless deficits, genocide in Sudan, immoral tax policies, hatred for homosexuals, environmental catastrophes, torture, and violence throughout the world scare you a lot less than they deserve to.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Law & Battlestar Galatica

Cross-Posted at First Movers

Chris Borgen thinks Battlestar is ripe for legal analysis (akin to that accorded to Star Trek or perhaps Harry Potter).

I don't watch the show, but I actually do think he's on to something. I wrote in my very first post at First Movers that legal scholars should pay more attention to how law is perceived by those unschooled in law. As Borgen notes, literature (defined broadly here--film, TV, etc. counts) can give interesting counter-factuals that press us on some of our important moral (including legal) commitments. As for myself, I'm interested in what issues are not not interrogated, what aspects of human interaction, society, structure, etc. are taken to be so fundamental that they are just assumed even in worlds that are otherwise taken to be wildly different. In Harry Potter, for example, the presence of Christianity is very revealing given the great pains Rowling takes to separate the Muggle and Wizarding world.

So, do any of my lovely cohorts have the opening salvo in the emerging Law and BSG genre?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Cardin/Steele Debate

Oliver Willis has clips up of the Steele/Cardin debate on Meet the Press. Willis is a Dem, so I'd imagine the clips are edited to favor Cardin. Still, I think they do provide some good insights on the dynamics of this race.

Steele is a very, very, good speaker and has strong political skills. His ads are unique and effective (in a way it's unfortunate that he "will chiefly be remembered after the elections for an amusing television ad in which he espoused his love of dogs."), and I give him credit for a great campaign. In many other states, including some blue ones, he'd be a force to be reckoned with. But, as Willis points out, Maryland voters possess unusual political savvy. We do tend to privilege substance over style, and we are quite willing to elect the type of thoughtful, policy-minded wonks that are necessary to pass the best laws for the nation, not for flashy campaign ads.

This isn't to say Steele is running a bad campaign--I can't think of another route he could go given how far out of sync his views are with the median Maryland voter. And it is not an attack on Steele's intellect, either--he comes off as a very thoughtful man who thinks wrong on many issues. But it is a credit to my home state that we can see past the flash and recognize that Ben Cardin is a better choice to reflect our ideals and our values.