1. Con Law Professor 2nd Ammendment Debate

    December 22, 2012 by adminpete

    Randy Barnett of Georgetown and Eric Segall of Georgia State University had a very interesting, civil and informative debate. Here it is

    12-19-12 – Randy Barnett & Eric Segall

  2. West Winging It

    December 20, 2012 by adminpete

    Talking with The Daily Beast’s John Avlon and Actor Richard Schiff about lots of important and some very unimportant issues.

  3. Gene’s Phone call to Stand Up

    December 19, 2012 by adminpete

    Gene Rosen, Newtown Resident, Took In 6 Children During Sandy Hook Shooting

    Gene Rosen’s Phone Call Audio Clip

    Gene Rosen, Newtown Resident, Took In 6 Children During Sandy Hook Shooting

    By PAT EATON-ROBB 12/17/12 05:45 PM ET EST

    NEWTOWN, Conn. — Gene Rosen had just finished feeding his cats and was heading from his home near Sandy Hook Elementary school to a diner Friday morning when he saw six small children sitting in a neat semicircle at the end of his driveway.

    A school bus driver was standing over them, telling them things would be all right. It was about 9:30 a.m., and the children, he discovered, had just run from the school to escape a gunman.

    “We can’t go back to school,” one little boy told Rosen. “Our teacher is dead. Mrs. Soto; we don’t have a teacher.”

    Rosen, a 69-year-old retired psychologist, took the four girls and two boys into his home, and over the next few hours gave them toys, listened to their stories and called their frantic parents.

    Rosen said he had heard the staccato sound of gunfire about 15 minutes earlier but dismissed it as an obnoxious hunter in the nearby woods.

    “I had no idea what had happened,” Rosen said. “I couldn’t take that in.”

    He walked the children past his small goldfish pond with its running waterfall, and the garden he made with his two grandchildren, into the small yellow house he shares with his wife.

    He ran upstairs and grabbed an armful of stuffed animals. He gave those to the children, along with some fruit juice, and sat with them as the two boys described seeing their teacher being shot.

    Victoria Soto, 27, was a first-grade teacher killed when 20-year-old Adam Lanza burst into her classroom. It wasn’t clear how the children escaped harm, but there have been reports that Soto hid some of her students from the approaching gunman. The six who turned up at Rosen’s home did apparently have to run past her body to safety.

    “They said he had a big gun and a little gun,” said Rosen, who didn’t want to discuss other details the children shared.

    Rosen called the children’s parents, using cellphone numbers obtained from the school bus company, and they came and retrieved their children.

    One little girl, he said, spent the entire ordeal clutching a small stuffed Dalmatian to her chest and staring out the window looking for her mommy.

    And one little boy brought them all a moment of levity.

    “This little boy turns around, and composes himself, and he looks at me like he had just removed himself from the carnage and he says, `Just saying, your house is very small,'” Rosen said. “I wanted to tell him, `I love you. I love you.'”

    Rosen said Sandy Hook had always been a place of joy for him. He taught his 8-year-old grandson to ride his bike in the school parking lot and took his 4-year-old granddaughter to use the swings.

    “I thought today how life has changed, how that ground has been marred, how that school has been desecrated,” he said.

    He said it wasn’t his training as a psychologist that helped him that day – it was being a grandparent.

    A couple of hours after the last child left, a knock came on his door. It was a frantic mother who had heard that some children had taken refuge there. She was looking for her little boy.

    “Her face looked frozen in terror,” Rosen said, breaking down in tears.

    “She thought maybe a miracle from God would have the child at my house,” he said. Later, “I looked at the casualty list … and his name was on it.”








  4. Peter Coyote Interview

    December 17, 2012 by adminpete

    Here is the much requested hour with Peter Coyote    Peter Coyote 12-13-12

  5. Dr Carroll is so damn convincing

    December 13, 2012 by adminpete

    Raising the eligibility age for Medicare will increase the number of uninsured in the United States. It will likely lead to some negative health outcomes for seniors. It will repressively hurt the poor more than the rich. It actually removes benefits from many Americans instead of adjusting for increased life expectancy. It will raise the price of health care insurance for the rest of seniors. It will raise the price of health care insurance for the rest of America. Oh – and it actually costs more than it saves……

    But let’s face it. Raising the eligibility age for Medicare isn’t something most Americans want. It isn’t something that even most Republicans want. It seems this is something politicians want. If there was any good side to this, if it saved money, if it wasn’t so regressive, if it didn’t make people uninsured – then maybe I could understand the way that some seem to be so willing to do it.


  6. Medicare Info Bonanza

    December 12, 2012 by adminpete

    From Washington Post’s Wonkblog:

    Should we raise the Medicare eligibility age?

    Five ways raising eligibility could change Medicare. “The Medicare eligibility age is one entitlement policy on the table in a fiscal cliff deal. If it went through, the policy change would move about 5 million seniors out of the entitlement program and into the market that serves the non-elderly, with private insurance and Medicaid for low-income populations as the main options. The idea of raising Mediare’s age has bounced around Washington for a few decades now, giving researchers a lot of time to figure out what this change would mean for the health care system. Here are five of their most important findings. ” Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post.

    FAQ: Consequences of raising the Medicare retirement age, from The Incidental Economist’s Austin Frakt .

    Trade-offs in raising Medicare eligibility age. “Americans are living longer, and Republicans want to raise the Medicare eligibility age as part of any deal to reduce the government’s huge deficits. But what sounds like a prudent sacrifice for an aging society that must watch its budget could have some surprising consequences, including higher premiums for people on Medicare.” Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar in The Associated Press.

    Debate: “Should the eligibility age for Medicare be raised?” at The Wall Street Journal .

    A better way to raise the eligibility age for retirement benefits. “If it’s age increases that the political system wants, there’s a better way to do it. Ezekiel Emanuel, who advised the Obama administration on health care and now works with the Center for American Progress, calls it ‘graduated eligibility,’ and it would link the age of eligibility with lifetime earnings: ‘Here’s how it would work. People in the bottom half of the lifetime earnings distribution would become eligible for normal retirement benefits at age 65 for Medicare and 66 for Social Security, just as they are today. But people in the next quarter of the lifetime earnings distribution would become eligible for the respective programs at 67 and 68, and those in the top quarter would become eligible at 70 and 71. All eligibility ages would increase over time, as they are scheduled to now.'”Ezra Klein in The Washington Post.

    Sen. Dick Durbin opposes the idea. “As rumors swirl that Democrats may consider raising the Medicare eligibility age to reach a deal before the looming ‘fiscal cliff,’ a top Senate Democrat expressed opposition to that option Sunday. Speaking on Meet the Press, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said raising the age at which seniors can receive Medicare from 65 to 67 would leave retired seniors with a dangerous gap in their health coverage.” Nicole Flatow in ThinkProgress.

    COHN: No, don’t raise the age. “As both fiscal and health care policy, increasing the Medicare age from 65 to 67, even gradually, has very little to recommend it. The federal government would save money, yes, but only because state governments, employers and individual seniors would pay more. Overall, the nation would end up spending more on medical care, not less. That’s the very opposite of what public policy, including Obamacare, is trying to achieve.” Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic.

    SUDERMAN: Three reasons we should raise the age. “The most important likely effect is political. Reforming Medicare is difficult in part because of resistance by beneficiaries, who hold a lot of political influence; indeed, the fact that some beneficiaries might have to pay more for their insurance (CBO estimates that nearly all would still end up insured) is the primary argument cited by opponents of raising the eligibility age object to the change. That people who benefit from a program like it and/or get financial rewards from it, however, is not much of an argument for refusing to accept reforms, especially with an obviously unsustainable entitlement like Medicare. Diminishing the size of the beneficiary class is likely to diminish resistance to further change, and while it’s not enough, it might ultimately make reform easier. “Peter Suderman in Reason.

    CARROLL: The stupidity of increasing the Medicare eligibility age. “Almost all of the arguments for raising the eligibility age coalesce around the idea that since life expectancy has gone up so much, we have to think about making people work a little longer People are actually living on average less than 5 years longer today on Medicare than when the program was passed But what’s somewhat stunning is how much of a disparity there is in these gains. The top half of earners gained more than 5 years of life at age 65. The bottom half of earners, though, gained less than a year.” Aaron Caroll in “The Incidental Economist” blog.

  7. Must Read

    December 7, 2012 by adminpete

    The Forgotten Millions


    Let’s get one thing straight: America is not facing a fiscal crisis. It is, however, still very much experiencing a job crisis.

    It’s easy to get confused about the fiscal thing, since everyone’s talking about the “fiscal cliff.” Indeed, one recent poll suggests that a large plurality of the public believes that the budget deficit will go up if we go off that cliff.

    In fact, of course, it’s just the opposite: The danger is that the deficit will come down too much, too fast. And the reasons that might happen are purely political; we may be about to slash spending and raise taxes not because markets demand it, but because Republicans have been using blackmail as a bargaining strategy, and the president seems ready to call their bluff.

    Moreover, despite years of warnings from the usual suspects about the dangers of deficits and debt, our government can borrow at incredibly low interest rates — interest rates on inflation-protected U.S. bonds are actually negative, so investors are paying our government to make use of their money. And don’t tell me that markets may suddenly turn on us. Remember, the U.S. government can’t run out of cash (it prints the stuff), so the worst that could happen would be a fall in the dollar, which wouldn’t be a terrible thing and might actually help the economy.

    Yet there is a whole industry built around the promotion of deficit panic. Lavishly funded corporate groups keep hyping the danger of government debt and the urgency of deficit reduction now now now — except that these same groups are suddenly warning against too much deficit reduction. No wonder the public is confused.

    Meanwhile, there is almost no organized pressure to deal with the terrible thing that is actually happening right now — namely, mass unemployment. Yes, we’ve made progress over the past year. But long-term unemployment remains at levels not seen since the Great Depression: as of October, 4.9 million Americans had been unemployed for more than six months, and 3.6 million had been out of work for more than a year.

    When you see numbers like those, bear in mind that we’re looking at millions of human tragedies: at individuals and families whose lives are falling apart because they can’t find work, at savings consumed, homes lost and dreams destroyed. And the longer this goes on, the bigger the tragedy.

    There are also huge dollars-and-cents costs to our unmet jobs crisis. When willing workers endure forced idleness society as a whole suffers from the waste of their efforts and talents. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that what we are actually producing falls short of what we could and should be producing by around 6 percent of G.D.P., or $900 billion a year.

    Worse yet, there are good reasons to believe that high unemployment is undermining our future growth as well, as the long-term unemployed come to be considered unemployable, as investment falters in the face of inadequate sales.

    So what can be done? The panic over the fiscal cliff has been revelatory. It shows that even the deficit scolds are closet Keynesians. That is, they believe that right now spending cuts and tax hikes would destroy jobs; it’s impossible to make that claim while denying that temporary spending increases and tax cuts would create jobs. Yes, our still-depressed economy needs more fiscal stimulus.

    And, to his credit, President Obama did include a modest amount of stimulus in his initial budget offer; the White House, at least, hasn’t completely forgotten about the unemployed. Unfortunately, almost nobody expects those stimulus plans to be included in whatever deal is eventually reached.

    So why aren’t we helping the unemployed? It’s not because we can’t afford it. Given those ultralow borrowing costs, plus the damage unemployment is doing to our economy and hence to the tax base, you can make a pretty good case that spending more to create jobs now would actually improve our long-run fiscal position.

    Nor, I think, is it really ideology. Even Republicans, when opposing cuts in defense spending, immediately start talking about how such cuts would destroy jobs — and I’m sorry, but weaponized Keynesianism, the assertion that government spending creates jobs, but only if it goes to the military, doesn’t make sense.

    No, in the end it’s hard to avoid concluding that it’s about class. Influential people in Washington aren’t worried about losing their jobs; by and large they don’t even know anyone who’s unemployed. The plight of the unemployed simply doesn’t loom large in their minds — and, of course, the unemployed don’t hire lobbyists or make big campaign contributions.

    So the unemployment crisis goes on and on, even though we have both the knowledge and the means to solve it. It’s a vast tragedy — and it’s also an outrage.