Patterico's Pontifications

3/14/2010

Democrats Post “Reconciliation Bill” (Updated x2)

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 8:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The text is here and according to the title and the press release, this is a reconciliation bill.

Does this mean reconciliation is back on the table or is this part of the Slaughter solution or both? It looks like the Slaughter solution with the House passing it first (in lieu of the Senate health care bill) and the Senate passing it last via reconciliation.

Section 401 imposes a tax on uninsured individuals equal to 2.5% of AGI effective after 12/31/2012, and an excise tax on businesses of 8% of wages for employers who do not provide health care. “Small” employers with payrolls under $400,000 a year pay excise taxes based on a sliding scale from 0-6%:

‘Does not exceed $250,000 — 0%;

Exceeds $250,000, but does not exceed $300,000 — 2%;

Exceeds $300,000, but does not exceed $350,000 — 4%;

Exceeds $350,000, but does not exceed $400,000 — 6%.

These aren’t the only taxes but the timing suggests this a Get-Obama-Reelected Provision.

– DRJ

UPDATE: Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit notes the bill also contains the student loan takeover provisions.

UPDATE 2: Hot Air has more, including links that say this is a shell bill and will largely be gutted.

U.S. Consulate Employee Shot in Juarez (Updated x2)

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 5:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Mexican citizen and two Americans — identified as U.S. Consular employee Lesley A. Enriquez and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs, of El Paso — were killed in two shooting incidents in Juarez:

“Witnesses told police a group of armed men in a vehicle began pursuing and then shot at the U.S. couple who were in a Toyota vehicle.

The couple in the Toyota drove from 5 de Mayo and Malecon, where the pursuit began, to near the Juárez city hall building, probably in an attempt to reach the U.S. side of the border. The city hall building is between the Paso del Norte and Stanton Street international bridges.

However, after sustaining several gunshots, they drove onto oncoming traffic on Francisco Villa, and crashed into other vehicles. The man and wife were pronounced dead at the scene.

Police who rushed to the scene said they discovered a baby in the backseat of the Toyota; the baby was uninjured.

In the second attack, at almost the same time Saturday, police reported the shooting death of a man who is married to woman who works at the U.S. consulate in Juárez. He was shot at while driving on Avenida Insurgentes in the Segunda Burocrata neighborhood.”

The White House extended “condolences to the families and condemns these attacks on consular and diplomatic personnel serving at our foreign missions.”

Northern Mexico is lawless and, almost every day, the side effects are spilling across the border into Texas and other border states.

MORE: The Houston Chronicle reports Redelfs was a detention officer with the El Paso County Jail and their child was about 1 year old. It adds that over 50 people were killed in Mexico this weekend alone, including 2 beheadings in Acapulco.

– DRJ

UPDATE — This is depressing. Politico’s post on this story shows the Politico editors don’t even know where Juarez is and don’t understand the content at the AP article they linked:

“National Security Council Spokeman Mike Hammer issued a statement Saturday morning saying “the president is deeply saddened and outraged” by the murder of two American citizens and the husband of a Mexican citizen associated with the U.S. consular office in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

A senior administration official says that the incident occurred on Friday afternoon, when the victims were killed in drive-by shootings.

The consular office in Ciudad Juárez, just across the border from McAllen, Tx., was temporarily closed last month after a series of battles between different drug gangs, and between drug gangs and Mexican police and soldiers.”

The linked AP article is datelined Ciudad Juarez but concerns Reynosa:

“CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — The United States has temporarily closed its consular office in the Mexican border city of Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas, after gunbattles with drug gangs rocked the area this week.”

The announcement was probably issued from the Juarez Consulate because the Reynosa Consulate was closed. Juarez is across from El Paso in far West Texas. Reynosa is approximately 790 miles south of Juarez across from McAllen in South Texas.

UPDATE 2: The AP reports the U.S. government has authorized family leave and pay for employees of several Northern Mexico consulates.

In addition, the shootings targeted Consular employees or their families as they left a birthday party for a co-worker’s child. Both were driving white vehicles. Enriquez was shot in the head and her husband in the neck and arm. their daughter was not hurt and is in the custody of Mexican authorities. Enriquez was pregnant.

The other vehicle contained the husband of a Consular worker and their two children. The man was killed and the children, ages 4 and 7, were injured. The husband may have been a former policeman, raising suspicions that he was the target.

Coffee Party Reports

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 4:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Reporting from a Wisconsin coffee party, Phil Boehmke notices there were no minorities but a novel conspiracy theory: “I heard a woman talking about how the Oil Companies were spreading lies about the Prius because it was too fuel efficient!”

There were also arts and crafts:

“Finally the end was in sight. Emails were collected and initial plans for another meeting were discussed, then each group was to make a poster (it is always a relief when there is an artist in the group) for the 1st coffee party picture.”

Plus duplicate “grassroots” press releases from Chicago and Kansas City.

H/T Instapundit.

– DRJ

2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 2:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The NCAA men’s basketball field of 64 65 is currently being announced. (The women’s field will be announced Monday.) I’m picking Kansas to go all the way for the men. Anyone want to make some picks or call some upsets?

– DRJ

Sauce for the Goose . . .

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Jack Dunphy @ 12:02 pm

In Sunday’s Los Angeles Times, writer Kathleen Hennessey informs us that Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has founded a “tea party” group. As anyone familiar with the Los Angeles Times might expect, Hennessey points out the potential for conflicts of interest inherent in having the spouse of a Supreme Court justice involved in conservative politics, and to that end she quotes two legal experts:

“I think the American public expects the justices to be out of politics,” said University of Texas law school professor Lucas A. “Scot” Powe, a court historian.

He said the expectations for spouses are far less clear. “I really don’t know because we’ve never seen it,” Powe said.

Under judicial rules, judges must curb political activity, but a spouse is free to engage.

“We expect the justice to make decisions uninfluenced by the political or legal preferences of his or her spouse,” said New York University law professor Stephen Gillers, an expert on legal ethics.

All well and good. Parties before the Court have the right to an impartial hearing, and it’s only proper for the Times to report on a matter that may give rise to questions about any justice’s potential for bias. But I was curious to know if the Times’s concern for the political activities of judges’ spouses extended to those on the lower courts.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is, according to the Los Angeles Times, “one of the most liberal federal judges in the nation, a jurist who rules as he sees fit even if he knows the Supreme Court will certainly overturn him.” Reinhardt is married to Ramona Ripston, longtime head of the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Given that the ACLU is often a litigant in cases that come before the Ninth Circuit, I sifted through the paper’s archives in search of any stories expressing similar worries. Perhaps the technology failed me, but I searched in vain for any articles reflecting a similarly tut-tut-ing attitude about the potential for Reinhardt’s jurisprudence being influenced by his wife. In those articles in which both Reinhardt and Ripston were mentioned, their relationship was merely noted as a biographical detail. The potential for conflict of interest went unremarked upon.

Perhaps the L.A. Times’s worries over potential conflicts of interest are indeed limited to the Supreme Court, and this is why they seem to have found the Reinhardt-Ripston relationship untroubling. Then again, perhaps there is another reason.

–Jack Dunphy


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