– Justice Louis Brandeis
Even the most progressive states have skeletons in their closets.
Wisconsin produced the great progressive Bob La Follette and the great monster Joe McCarthy. Vermont was the first of the original 13 colonies to abolish slavery. But in 1931 it passed a dreadful sterilization law.
Today Vermont is again a proud first in the nation, enacting univeral health care. Vermont’s
single-payer plan gives a sterling answer to spiraling national health costs.
It has long been a terrible embarrassment that America, the richest nation in the world, does not have national health. All other industralized nations do.
Even little Cuba has universal health. Cuba also has free college education, free social security and free day care — none of which America has.
Another humane socialist measure: the Soviet Union abolished the death penalty in 1917. Today 34 states still have capital punishment.
But liberal is a dirty word in America and socialism is beyond the pale.
Republican opposition has forced a superbly qualified Goodwin Liu to withdraw his nomination to the federal bench. The nation and judiciary are losers.
Liu, a Berkeley law professor, would have graced the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The 9th is the best court in the land, far better than the Supreme Court.
His credentials are impeccable: Stanford, Oxford and Yale Law School. He was endorsed by the American Bar Association. He was supported by eminent conservative legal minds like Kenneth Starr.
Liu’s nomination got 52 votes in the Senate but not the undemocratic 60 votes needed to stop a filibuster. Senators representing just 17 percent of the population thwart the will of the vast majority.
Medicine trumps faith
An Oregon couple, members of the Followers of Christ Church, refused to take their six-month-old infant to a doctor even though she had a growth on her head the size of a baseball. The tumor, although benign, threatened to blind her.
The parents, Timothy and Rebecca Wyland, insisted on faith-healing, anointing the child’s body with oil and “laying on hands.”
Oregon is rightly prosecuting them for refusing medical care for the infant.
Religious belief is protected by the First Amendment but it is not absolute. Faith must yield to medical science.
Meredith Baker is leaving the Federal Communications Commission four months after voting to approve the Comcast-NBC merger. Her new job? Lobbyist for Comcast.
It’s one more example of how supposed regulators reap company rewards. Anyone not cynical about government should be.
Texting and death
The Nevada Legislature passed a bill to ban cellphones and texting, mandating fines of $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second and $250 for the third.
The intention is laudatory but such prices for potential taking of a life are ludicrous.
In San Francisco six months ago, a 2-year-old child was killed crossing a street with her mother. The driver was texting instead of paying attention to the killer-machine she was driving
Meanwhile the Assembly Judiciary Committee buried an obnoxious bill to allow faculty and students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses.
Perhaps the committee members were influenced by satiric pictures showing a professor modeling body armor. Three pictures of the history prof, Mike Green of Community College of Southern Nevada, appeared on the Website Nevada Scandal, which delights in skewering legislative cretins.
Savior or eyesore?
Global warming is imperiling the planet so the New Jersey gas and electric company is installing 200,000 solar panels to help ward off disaster.
But some folks are not pleased. One New Jerseyite called the panels an eyesore.
Alas, beauty comes before saving the planet.
French lament refuted
French elitists complained about U.S.-style handcuffs and perp walk for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund.
They said it destroyed him before trial, humilated him with photos in handcuffs and wailed that it was “a horrible global lynching.”
The Nation rightly retorted: focus on the charge, the attempted rape last month of a chambermaid in a Manhattan hotel.
“Say what you like about handcuffs and perp walks, they really don’t compare with a violent sex attack,” Nation writes. Moreover, the elitists don’t have “one word to say about the woman, a 32-year-old Guinean immigrant except to imply that she’s a lying slut.”
The French elitists think that a politically powerful man deserves special treatment even if he is a consummate womanizer who also preys on “insignificant” roomkeepers.
Jake Highton teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.