"Hungry Ghost" - Mehliana
In my dream there were a thousand landscapes all laid over one another in a synchrony otherwise not attempted by nature, geometric and rhythmic and all subdivisions and pulses, lakes of grass which pulsated under sunlight from moons and rainbows sprouting from right underneath the roots of trees branching out into the spines of men and women dancing in a euphoria of tears and a lack of solidarity, of all color and sizes, men as big as mountains and woman as wide as planets—my eyes open and seeing the distance from here to forever.
サシャ・ブラウス | こやや [pixiv]
bro where are her arms?
Other great questions:
If drunk driving is really so dangerous why do we need a law to stop people from doing it?
If the dollar menu really only costs a dollar, why are they spending so much money trying to get me to believe that?
If evacuating before a hurricane is such a great idea, why are the police forcing people to do it?
Or maybe those are dumb questions. Maybe people don’t always act in a rationally self-interested manner. Or maybe people need a bit of impetus to protect themselves sometimes.
The Medicaid expansion (at least in the states that don’t like shooting themselves in the foot) is pretty obviously a good deal for anybody eligible. Free healthcare. But there are going to be millions of people who aren’t going to enroll because they don’t get around to it, they don’t know they can, or they don’t know how to do it. Maybe the mandate will help. Maybe the mandate won’t do anything. This has nothing to do with whether or not it’s a good idea and everything to do with how actual people make actual decisions.
Politicalprof: Expanding on Squashed’s answers, let me argue that there’s a substantial hole in rational choice thinking about human behavior, a hole that the individual mandate — and every other “universal rule” — seeks to bridge:
This is the problem of short- versus long-term incentives.
I’ve made this point in other posts, but it is common for people to choose to satisfy their short-term interests while ignoring — or indeed not even apprehending — their long-term ones. This practice is all the more likely when the downside costs of an action today will be felt immediately, while the long term benefits of taking action today will not, by definition, be felt until much later … if they are felt at all.
This common behavior/attitude explains a lot of social and political choice-making. Why do people oppose spending money today to solve future global warning: because you are taking their money today for an effect they may never have to deal with (if global warming is untrue, or if you are dead, etc.).
It explains why we eat that donut at 2 pm even though we know we’re overweight; it explains why we don’t save even close to enough money for our ever-lengthening retirements — and we especially don’t save when we’re young, when the effects of compounded interest will do the most good.
There are two rough responses to this problem. One, which I imagine is in the vein of those that Barticles would prefer, is: “bummer.” You didn’t plan; you didn’t think; you were self-indulgent: enjoy the consequences of your (in)actions: poverty, suffering, early death, whatever.
And believe me, I get the appeal of this approach. I get that it’s really annoying to sacrifice and then see others seem to “get away with” their bad choices (e.g., not saving for retirement, not paying for healthcare and so going to the emergency room). “Screw ‘em” has an intuitive and emotional appeal.
The good news is that there’s another way to address the “now/later” choice problem, a way that only hurts the “free riders”: universal requirements.
See, you and I were going to buy health insurance anyway. We were going to save for our retirements. We were going to add seat belts to our car orders (seat belts used to be optional equipment in cars, as were anti-lock brakes and airbags). And, importantly, we were going to pay those costs whether or not we ever actually used them: if you never have an accident, air bags and seat belts are unneeded expenses.
Yet we know people would be safer if everyone had airbags and seat belts (and health insurance). We know that society saves money in the end when fender-benders don’t end with major facial reconstruction surgery because the huge, rigid steering wheel in your 1963 Buick was yourcar’s crumple zone.
So the government passed laws mandating these things in all cars. You can’t buy a car without them (unless it’s a really old car).This doesn’t really change the price the “responsible” person pays for a car: they were going to buy these items anyway, and mass production is more likely to lower their price over time rather than increase them. Instead, it only raises the price for irresponsible people.
Does this work perfectly? God no. Do some irresponsible people refuse to buy a newer car for as long as possible after the price of new cars goes up? Absolutely. But so what? This is society, not utopia. Better is pretty damn good.
I can hear one complaint from Barticles in the back of my head: freedom. Federal compulsion to do anything, whether it is buying health insurance or airbags, constitutes a loss of freedom as such.
To which the only answer is: that is, in the abstract, true. It is also a pretty small point. You’re not being told what to say. You’re not being punished for challenging a law. You’re not being told to worship one religion or read only state-mandated news. You’re being told you have to buy an insurance policy and thus be responsible to your fellow members of society.
What happened to him was so brutal, seeing success pass him by — twice. But he didn’t let that misfortune define him. Of all the guys I knew through my years in rock, a precious few made it huge. Good for them. Most never came close. Some never managed to get past the failure of the dream, but it seems pretty clear that [Jason] Everman did.
Big time rock star fame eluded him two times — once with Nirvana and once with Soundgarden, but it seems like maybe it was a bad fit in the first place. — heidi
Photo: Ian Allen for The New York Times
Antonin Scalia, in full hypocritical dissent in the DOMA case, having done YESTERDAY exactly what he criticizes the Court for doing in the DOMA case today: overturning crucial components of the Voter Rights Act. (via politicalprof)
"My hypocrisy knows no bounds." Christian Slater (in Heathers)
BREAKING: Supreme Court strikes down a key part of 1965 Voting Rights Act
(Photo: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters, file)
Live SCOTUSblog offers latest details.
Chief Justice John Roberts, in his opinion on the case: “Nearly 50 years later, [the rules laid out by the Voting Rights Act] are still in effect; indeed, they have been made more stringent, and are now scheduled to last until 2031. There is no denying, however, that the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions.”
Here some of my (brief) thoughts. Let’s ignore the specific issue at hand here (about whether certain jurisdictions should/shouldn’t need federal oversight to make changes to their electoral laws) and ask ourselves a simpler and much more fundamental question: How could we better run our (federal) elections? Just once, I’d like to see the news media stop and simply ask that basic question: Hey, how do other countries manage their elections?
That question allows for a comparative perspective. We can look at other countries and see how they resolve these kinds of issues. Because while our basic electoral framework is quite old (more than two centuries now), it might be useful to update it to a more modern design. And if we’re concerned with the need to look at how federal (as opposed to unitary) states do this, here’s a long list of federal countries that impose unified federal election procedures across the country:
Surely from among that list, there must be some useful models for how to conduct elections in federal countries, yes?
If anyone asked my advice, I’d start by setting up a federal electoral court. This would be more than the Federal Electoral Commission, which has few real powers. A number of countries have electoral courts, including Mexico. In fact, Mexico’s Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE) is often praised for its professionalism and has become a model for electoral courts across the Americas. Across most countries, electoral courts are technically part of the judicial branch, but with tremendous executive authority. They oversee the printing of ballots, the timing of electoral calendars, the number/size/shape of electoral districts, etc. Electoral courts also determine whether candidates are qualified to run for office, verify campaign spending and all other campaign regulations, etc. And they do so for all national elections.
But the real issue isn’t whether there’s a court or not. The most important difference is that even in other federal countries, federal-level elections are managed by one single body using a uniform set of standards.
Why should elections for federal offices in the US (president, Senate, House of Representatives) be managed at the local level? Why should governors have the right pick the date of special elections to fill vacant seats? Why should county clerks have the right to determine the shape/format of presidential ballots?
One way to resolve the whole Voting Rights Act would be to simply draft a law that makes all federal (not state or local) elections fall under the direct oversight of the federal government. It could standardize ballots, election dates, procedures, etc. It could also be tasked with periodic redrawing of districts (rather than leaving it to the whims of state legislators and their own agendas).
Then we wouldn’t have the dilemma of whether Alabama or Ohio can make up their own voting requirements and whether these are discriminatory or not. They would simply have to use the rules set up for the entire country. Over time, those rules would alter behavior at the local level.
Want an example? Switzerland. Swiss women won the right to vote in federal elections in 1971 (yes, 1971). But some cantons (federal units) didn’t grant women the right to vote until much later. Women in Appenzell Innerhoden didn’t win the right to vote in local elections until 1990 (yes, 1990). So women in Appenzell Innerhoden could go to the polls and cast ballots for federal officers, but couldn’t cast local election ballots.
Would such a law be constitutional (in the US)? I think so. Article I, Section 4 reads (emphasis mine):
The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.
I would interpret this to mean that Congress could alter this at any time by making a new law. It would be much nicer (and probably less expensive) to simply have one national solution for all federal elections and simply impose it on states. After all, these would be elections to federal offices. So it’s not really the federal government telling the states what to do in local affairs. It’s simply telling states what to do in order to participate in federal politics. And there’s a long, long precedent for that kind of federal authority.