Patterico's Pontifications


People Possibly in Contact with Ebola Patient Goes from 12 to 18 to 80 to . . . 100

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:46 pm

The numbers keep growing:

Health officials are reaching out to as many as 100 people who may have had contact with Duncan, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of State Health Services said Thursday. These are people who are still being questioned because they may have crossed paths with the patient either at the hospital, at his apartment complex or in the community.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we’re starting with this very wide net, including people who have had even brief encounters with the patient or the patient’s home,” spokeswoman Carrie Williams said. “The number will drop as we focus in on those whose contact may represent a potential risk of infection.”

The number of direct contacts who have been identified and are being monitored right now is “more than 12,” a federal official told CNN on Thursday. “By the end of the day, we should have a pretty good idea of how many contacts there are,” the official said.

Mr. Wentworth just told me to come and say there was trouble at the hospital.

Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our four…no… Amongst our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.

The Politics Of Ebola

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:08 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Rush theorizes:

“Ebola, a killer virus is political,” Limbaugh said. “We’re in the process of having it politicized. The left politicizes everything. The Democrat Party politicizes everything – everything is politicized … you know? What does Ebola threaten right now? And don’t say ‘the American people and their health’ because that’s not how it’s being looked at. Ebola is threatening amnesty. Amnesty is desire number one politically by the Democrat Party – and hell, Republican Party, too for all we know.”

“Amnesty – the Washington establishment political class wants amnesty,” he continued. “That equals open borders. Ebola is a giant threat to that. So therefore Ebola has to be positioned as insignificant, much ado about nothing, nothing to see here, don’t worry about it, we’ve got it, it’s in control, it’s all in Africa, we’re dealing with it. Ebola threatens amnesty. It is political because it feeds into this insane fairness argument. Fairness trumps everything. Fairness and equality trumps everything.”


Federal Judge Rules Similar to Halbig Court, Slaps Down Partisan Judges to Contrary

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

I like a well-reasoned opinion, but I love one that includes a smackdown of lefty hack judges.

The decision comes to us via Gabe Malor at Hot Air, and can be read here (.pdf). Basically, as Gabe explains: “Like the now-vacated decision in Halbig, the judge in Pruitt could not find any statutory authority for IRS to offer tax subsidies to individuals that purchased insurance on the federal exchanges.” The judge also had some pointed words for lefty judges who had taken a contrary position:

Other judges in similar litigation have cast the plaintiffs’ argument in apocalyptic language. The first sentence of Judge Edwards’ dissent in Halbig is as follows: “This case is about Appellants’ not-so-veiled attempt to gut the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (‘ACA’).” Concurring in King, Judge Davis states that “[a]ppellants’ approach would effectively destroy the statute . . . .” Further, “[w]hat [appellants] may not do is rely on our help to deny to millions of Americans desperately-needed health insurance. . .” Id.

Of course, a proper legal decision is not a matter of the court “helping” one side or the other. A lawsuit challenging a federal regulation is a commonplace occurrence in this country, not an affront to judicial dignity. A higher-profile case results in greater scrutiny of the decision, which is understandable and appropriate. “[H]igh as those stakes are, the principle of legislative supremacy that guides us is higher still. . . This limited role serves democratic interests by ensuring that policy is made by elected, politically accountable representatives, not by appointed life-tenured judges.”

This is a case of statutory interpretation. “The text is what it is, no matter which side benefits.” Such a case (even if affirmed on the inevitable appeal) does not “gut” or “destroy” anything. On the contrary, the court is upholding the Act as written.

Boom. Bold type is mine, underlining is the judge’s.

Jonathan “speak-o” Gruber makes an appearance in another footnote:

The court permitted plaintiff to supplement the record with statements made by Professor Jonathan 24 Gruber, who was involved in the ACA’s drafting. (#115). It is evidently undisputed that in January, 2012, Prof. Gruber made the statement “if you’re a state and you don’t set up an Exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.” What is disputed is whether Prof. Gruber’s statement was “off the cuff.” The statement evidently has now been disavowed on his part. In any event, the court does not consider this statement as reflecting “legislative intent” (a concept in which the court has little faith anyway) because Prof. Gruber is not a member of Congress and his statement was made after the Act had passed. The court takes the statement for the limited relevance of words of interpretation, not intent. That is to say, the statement cuts against any argument that the plaintiff’s interpretation is absurd on its face, or that plaintiff’s argument that the statutory language might support a reading of “incentivizing” states to set up exchanges is “nonsense, made up out of whole cloth.” Halbig, 758 F.3d at 414 (Edwards, J., dissenting).

I love all the stuff in bold (bold type is mine). Along those lines, the judge also has a few words for those misguided souls (mostly leftists these days) who believe that “intent” is the proper way to interpret statutory language. Long-time readers will recall that I forcefully argued against such a position in 2010 — and encountered a considerable amount of flak for doing so. Today, it seems, I have been vindicated, and a footnote in the judge’s opinion helps explain why my position was right:

Moreover, legislative history may not be used to create ambiguity in the statutory language. See 16 St. Charles Inv. Co. v. C.I.R., 232 F.3d 773, 776 (10 Cir.2000). “Our role in construing statutes was then summarized by Justice Holmes: ‘We do not inquire what the legislature meant; we ask only what the statute means.’” Id. (citations omitted).

Judge Easterbrook has expressed the outer limits of this skepticism: “Legislative intent is a fiction, a back-formation from other and often undisclosed sources. Every legislator has an intent, which usually cannot be discovered, since most say nothing before voting on most bills; and the legislature is a collective body that does not have a mind; it ‘intends’ only that the text be adopted, and statutory texts usually are compromises that match no one’s first preference.” Frank H. Easterbrook, foreword to Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, by Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner, xxii (1 ed.2012)(emphasis in original).

Bold type is mine. This sounds very similar to what I said in 2010:

Things get even uglier when you’re talking about legislative intent, because you’re looking at the intent of a body of people who might not even have an intent — other than “I am voting this way to get re-elected.” Most of these clowns haven’t even read the words that their intent is supposedly so critical to interpreting. Some legislators’ intent is going to be at odds with others’. Some will have traded favors or spent political capital negotiating a change to the text — and it is the height of insanity to tell such people that their negotiated TEXTUAL modifications are null and void because a majority of legislators happens to unreasonably read that same text in a way different than most reasonable people would.

And so the point boils down to this: to the intentionalist, the meaning of words written on a page is wholly determined by what the writer intended them to mean. But in the real world, when a judge has to decide how those words are going to be ENFORCED, he is going to start with the text — and he may very well end with the text.

Whatever unwarranted opposition I might have faced in the blogosphere for this position, this is the view that I believe will ultimately carry the day for five Justices. Excellent work by federal District Judge Ronald A. White. It’s not every day that you can say this, so I’m pleased to do so when I can: three cheers for a job well done by the federal judiciary.

Reports: Ebola Patient May Have Come in Contact with Up to 80 People, Vomited on Ground Outside Apartments

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:06 am

So those folks at the hospital in Dallas told us yesterday that the Ebola patient had come into contact with “12 to 18” people:

Duncan, who is in his mid-40s, came in contact with 12 to 18 people after developing symptoms of the deadly disease, health officials said Wednesday during a news conference at Presbyterian.

I mocked the “12 to 18” formulation last night as being reflective of people who didn’t seem to have quite as firm a handle on things as our government would have you believe. And guess what?

About 80 people came into contact with U.S. Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan or one of his family members before he was hospitalized, Dallas County health officials said Thursday.

However, not all of them were necessarily in close physical contact with the Liberian national, Dallas County’s Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson said. That number is in addition to the 12 to 18 people who had direct contact with Duncan, including some school-age children, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday.

So they don’t say the 80 came in contact with him — but they don’t say they didn’t, either. And:

Two days after he was sent home from a Dallas hospital, the man who is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was seen vomiting on the ground outside an apartment complex as he was bundled into an ambulance.

Who cleaned that up? What precautions did they take? Are they one of the 12? Or the 18? Or the 80? Or are they outside that select group?

All of our wonderful protections didn’t keep this guy from flying here, even though a New York Times piece seems to make it pretty clear that he knew he had been exposed:

Mr. Duncan’s case began with him playing the part of good Samaritan on another continent. Mr. Duncan — a Liberian national in his mid-40s who had come to America to visit relatives in Dallas — had direct contact with a woman stricken by Ebola in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, on Sept. 15, days before he left Liberia for the United States, the woman’s parents and Mr. Duncan’s neighbors said.

The family of the woman, Marthalene Williams, 19, took her by taxi to a hospital with Mr. Duncan’s help after failing to get an ambulance. Ms. Williams was turned away for lack of space in the hospital’s Ebola treatment ward, the family said, and they took her back home in the evening, hours before she died. Mr. Duncan helped carry her because she was no longer able to walk. In the taxi, Ms. Williams, who was seven months pregnant, had been convulsing.

When did he make his plane reservations? Your alert media is right on top of it, I am sure.

Also, someone in Hawaii has been placed in isolation to be monitored for Ebola. (H/t redc1c4.)

No matter. Obama and your federal government have it under control. Now stop asking questions.

Or, to put it less sarcastically, I will quote John Hayward: “But there’s no reason for anyone to look down their noses at those who worry that the authorities will make mistakes or withhold information, for they have already done both.” Which, I will add, was utterly predictable from the outset.

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