Robert’s ObamaCare Opinion and His Game Plan

Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion in King v Burwell or Obamacare case. He rewrote the plain language of the act to allow payments of subsidies to persons not actually eligible under a direct reading of the act. He idid so to keep the act working.

Robert’s has made a habit of correcting, as he calls it, “Inartful drafting.” He even admits that the Affordable Care Act is full of such language.

So what is his game plan?

I think this particular Chief Justice believes so strongly in the legislative process, that he feels compelled to correct and allow legislation, no matter how badly written, to remain in force and not be barred on constitutional grounds.

There is another, and I think, equally powerful argument to make and that is that Roberts is telling the American people, you elected these people, they passed this legislation and now you live with the consequences of your actions. If you want something else, elect someone else.

I really think that is it. It is deference to the legislature and a reminder to the people that elections are serious.

George Will joins me in this opinion as he wrote: “The decision also resulted from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s embrace of the doctrine that courts, owing vast deference to the purposes of the political branches, are obligated to do whatever is required to make a law efficient, regardless of how the law is written. What Roberts does by way of, to be polite, creative construing (Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting, calls it “somersaults of statutory interpretation”) is legislating, not judging.”

After this week, major political issues have been taken off the table to the relief of many Republicans who did not want to have to oppose same sex marriage in 2016 or have their majorities in the house and senate actually pass legislation that corrected the error in Obamacare. I just don’t think that would work well.

Will continues with “Thursday’s decision demonstrates how easily, indeed inevitably, judicial deference becomes judicial dereliction, with anticonstitutional consequences.” Read more

I have to agree, however, I see long term benefits from Roberts’ Game Plan.  We’ll wait and see.

Caitlyn and Dylann: Two Incomprehensible and Unrelated Events

The incomprehensible events I speak of are the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina and the emergence of Caitlyn Jenner from a lifetime of being the wrong gender.

The shootings, by Dylann Storm Roof, 21,  took place at an AME Church in Charleston on Wednesday, June 17th. The shooter entered the African Methodist Episcopal Church during the evenings prayer study with murder on his mind and a loaded Glock .45 in his pocket. He sat there for an hour listening to the prayer study before shooting.

I’ve been to AME church services and I can’t think of a more serene, loving, all embracing atmosphere than an AME church during a prayer study. The attendees are devout Christian people who believe in Christian principles. Dylann was the only white person there. The survivors at AME have found love to forgive Dylann, I wonder how he deals with that!

His motivation seems to be virulent racism. I simply cannot understand that, nor can I understand how Roof would think that he would accomplish anything beneficial to his point of view by entering this church and killing nine people. There is no comprehensible benefit anywhere, to anyone,  and none for him as he would probably die because of the act either by cop or by execution after trial.

For Dylann Roof there must have been a benefit and he seems coyly serene in his incarceration. I’ve known virulent racists in my life. One, a fellow from Emporia, Virginia, was so hateful that he refused to turn a door knob if a black man had touched it before.  I often wondered where his racism came from. I think it came from  the boys at the drug store in Emporia who spewed hateful stuff to this fellow. He bought it all, and when he gave evidence to his vengeance, he was only thinking of the boys at the drug store in Emporia and how proud they would be.

I think Dylann is like this fellow from Virginia. His motivation is misguided approval from those from his youth who taught him wrong. As he sits in jail he will think he did something, but all he did was show how stupid he and those like him really are.

As for Jenner, I just find it incomprehensible that a man discovers that he’s really a woman at his age and acts on the feelings/thoughts. I think what was done here, the drugs, implants etc. took tremendous bravery. Still, it is incomprehensible, especially in that Jenner’s fame is due to athletic success as 1976 Olympic Decathlon Champion. It takes male attributes, especially testosterone, to win such events and his 23 year marriage produced six children, another male activity!

So what was the motivation for this incomprehensible act. For Roof, it was easy, for Jenner, confusing. In thinking about this, I keep going back to the Wheaties Box in 1976 that showed Gold Medalist Jenner in a track shirt, but with long hair! His features are finely drawn and his body lean, not over muscled. Maybe we were all missing the feminine side of the decathlete then only to be made aware of it after the athletic career, six children, the twenty-three  year marriage and the looming prospect of old age, that side was allowed to emerge. The thought of spending an entire life as a male when the feminine had been trying to emerge for half a century was too much.

So Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner, it seemed so straight forward it must be honest. For me it is incomprehensible, but I’ve never faced Jenner’s reality.  Nor can I relate to Dylann’s stupidity, although I’ve seen it before.

It’s an amazing world. We are lucky to live in interesting times.

Deflategate Reconsidered.

The Wells  Report, that purported to show that The Patriots and Tom Brady deliberately under-inflated footballs prior to a championship game has been debunked by a new study. An abstract of that report is here/

ABSTRACT: In the current “Deflategate” controversy, the New England Patriots have been accused of illicitly deflating footballs before the start of their 2015 American Football Conference championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. The National Football League and the lawyers it hired have produced a report — commonly known as the “Wells report” — that has been used to justify penalties against the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady. Although the Wells report finds that the Patriots footballs declined in pressure significantly more than the Colts’ balls in the first half of the game, our replication of the report’s analysis finds that it relies on an unorthodox statistical procedure at odds with the methodology the report describes. It also fails to investigate all relevant scenarios. In addition, it focuses only on the difference between the Colts and Patriots pressure drops. Such a difference, however, can be caused either by the pressure in the Patriots’ balls dropping below their expected value or by the pressure in the Colts’ balls rising above their expected value. The second of these two scenarios seems more likely based on the absolute pressure measurements. Logistically, the greater change in pressure in the Patriots’ footballs can be explained by the fact that sufficient time may have passed between halftime testing of the two teams’ balls for the Colts’ balls to warm significantly, effectively inflating them.

This is a perfectly reasonable explanation that has the ring of truth. Balls are inflated indoors, played with outdoors and temperature changes alone can account for differences. There is also a range of acceptable pressures and a slight variance can be expected from ball to ball and hour to hour. Maybe it’s time to reconsider the penalties imposed on Brady, Kraft and the Patriots.

Caitlyn Jenner and How To Kiss Your Elbow

I support the courage and resolve with which Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn, a presumably straight woman. The process had to be painful and involved considerable soul searching, but she pulled it off. I have no problem with a person who knows what they want, goes after it, and gets it.

The process took a lifetime, apparently. Jenner, the world’s best athlete for a time, says she has been thinking of this “foreever,” recognizing an error in gender assignment at birth.

As I think of this, thoughts of my mother come up, as they do so often. She was a brilliant, funny woman with a clear view of life and its foibles. If Jenner had expressed his wish for gender reassignment, she would have laughed, and said “It’s easy, Bruce, all you have to do is kiss your elbow.”  (Note: I still don’t know why she told me that!)

Caitlyn Jenner has “kissed her elbow.” We live in an amazing time and mother Natalie would be astonished.

Why does baseball have an antitrust exemption?

This is an interesting article that explains the eternal question about baseball’s antitrust exemption. Why does it exist? I’m still not convinced that being out of the crucible of commerce has been beneficial overall. Enjoy the article.

Memorial Day Comments

Memorial Day is a very important celebration as we honor those people who protect  our American nation and preserve our freedoms. Today, I am publishing the article below and thank Powerline’s Scott Johnson for it.


In observance of Memorial Day 2007 the Wall Street Journal published a characteristically brilliant column by Peter Collier to mark the occasion. The column remains accessible onlinehere. I don’t think we’ll read or hear anything more thoughtful or appropriate to the occasion today. Here it is:

Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: those who had given all their tomorrows, as was said of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, for our todays. But in a world saturated with selfhood, where every death is by definition a death in vain, the notion of sacrifice today provokes puzzlement more often than admiration. We support the troops, of course, but we also believe that war, being hell, can easily touch them with an evil no cause for engagement can wash away. And in any case we are more comfortable supporting them as victims than as warriors.

Former football star Pat Tillman and Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham were killed on the same day: April 22, 2004. But as details of his death fitfully emerged from Afghanistan, Tillman has become a metaphor for the current conflict–a victim of fratricide, disillusionment, coverup and possibly conspiracy. By comparison, Dunham, who saved several of his comrades in Iraq by falling on an insurgent’s grenade, is the unknown soldier. The New York Times, which featured Abu Ghraib on its front page for 32 consecutive days, put the story of Dunham’s Medal of Honor on the third page of section B.

Not long ago I was asked to write the biographical sketches for a book featuring formal photographs of all our living Medal of Honor recipients. As I talked with them, I was, of course, chilled by the primal power of their stories. But I also felt pathos: They had become strangers–honored strangers, but strangers nonetheless–in our midst.


In my own boyhood, figures such as Jimmy Doolittle, Audie Murphy and John Basilone were household names. And it was assumed that what they had done defined us as well as them, telling us what kind of nation we were. But the 110 Medal recipients alive today are virtually unknown except for a niche audience of warfare buffs. Their heroism has become the military equivalent of genre painting. There’s something wrong with that.

What they did in battle was extraordinary. Jose Lopez, a diminutive Mexican-American from the barrio of San Antonio, was in the Ardennes forest when the Germans began the counteroffensive that became the Battle of the Bulge. As 10 enemy soldiers approached his position, he grabbed a machine gun and opened fire, killing them all. He killed two dozen more who rushed him. Knocked down by the concussion of German shells, he picked himself up, packed his weapon on his back and ran toward a group of Americans about to be surrounded. He began firing and didn’t stop until all his ammunition and all that he could scrounge from other guns was gone. By then he had killed over 100 of the enemy and bought his comrades time to establish a defensive line.

Yet their stories were not only about killing. Several Medal of Honor recipients told me that the first thing they did after the battle was to find a church or some other secluded spot where they could pray, not only for those comrades they’d lost but also the enemy they’d killed.

Desmond Doss, for instance, was a conscientious objector who entered the army in 1942 and became a medic. Because of his religious convictions and refusal to carry a weapon, the men in his unit intimidated and threatened him, trying to get him to transfer out. He refused and they grudgingly accepted him. Late in 1945 he was with them in Okinawa when they got cut to pieces assaulting a Japanese stronghold.

Everyone but Mr. Doss retreated from the rocky plateau where dozens of wounded remained. Under fire, he treated them and then began moving them one by one to a steep escarpment where he roped them down to safety. Each time he succeeded, he prayed, “Dear God, please let me get just one more man.” By the end of the day, he had single-handedly saved 75 GIs.

Why did they do it? Some talked of entering a zone of slow-motion invulnerability, where they were spectators at their own heroism. But for most, the answer was simpler and more straightforward: They couldn’t let their buddies down.

Big for his age at 14, Jack Lucas begged his mother to help him enlist after Pearl Harbor. She collaborated in lying about his age in return for his promise to someday finish school. After training at Parris Island, he was sent to Honolulu. When his unit boarded a troop ship for Iwo Jima, Mr. Lucas was ordered to remain behind for guard duty. He stowed away to be with his friends and, discovered two days out at sea, convinced his commanding officer to put him in a combat unit rather than the brig. He had just turned 17 when he hit the beach, and a day later he was fighting in a Japanese trench when he saw two grenades land near his comrades.

He threw himself onto the grenades and absorbed the explosion. Later a medic, assuming he was dead, was about to take his dog tag when he saw Mr. Lucas’s finger twitch. After months of treatment and recovery, he returned to school as he’d promised his mother, a ninth-grader wearing a Medal of Honor around his neck.


The men in World War II always knew, although news coverage was sometimes scant, that they were in some sense performing for the people at home. The audience dwindled during Korea. By the Vietnam War, the journalists were omnipresent, but the men were performing primarily for each other. One story that expresses this isolation and comradeship involves a SEAL team ambushed on a beach after an aborted mission near North Vietnam’s Cua Viet river base.

After a five-hour gunfight, Cmdr. Tom Norris, already a legend thanks to his part in a harrowing rescue mission for a downed pilot (later dramatized in the film BAT-21), stayed behind to provide covering fire while the three others headed to rendezvous with the boat sent to extract them. At the water’s edge, one of the men, Mike Thornton, looked back and saw Tom Norris get hit. As the enemy moved in, he ran back through heavy fire and killed two North Vietnamese standing over Norris’s body. He lifted the officer, barely alive with a shattered skull, and carried him to the water and then swam out to sea where they were picked up two hours later.

The two men have been inseparable in the 30 years since.

The POWs of Vietnam configured a mini-America in prison that upheld the values beginning to wilt at home as a result of protest and dissension. John McCain tells of Lance Sijan, an airman who ejected over North Vietnam and survived for six weeks crawling (because of his wounds) through the jungle before being captured.

Close to death when he reached Hanoi, Sijan told his captors that he would give them no information because it was against the code of conduct. When not delirious, he quizzed his cellmates about camp security and made plans to escape. The North Vietnamese were obsessed with breaking him, but never did. When he died after long sessions of torture Sijan was, in Sen. McCain’s words, “a free man from a free country.”

Leo Thorsness was also at the Hanoi Hilton. The Air Force pilot had taken on four MiGs trying to strafe his wingman who had parachuted out of his damaged aircraft; Mr. Thorsness destroyed two and drove off the other two. He was shot down himself soon after this engagement and found out by tap code that his name had been submitted for the Medal.

One of Mr. Thorsness’s most vivid memories from seven years of imprisonment involved a fellow prisoner named Mike Christian, who one day found a grimy piece of cloth, perhaps a former handkerchief, during a visit to the nasty concrete tank where the POWs were occasionally allowed a quick sponge bath. Christian picked up the scrap of fabric and hid it.

Back in his cell he convinced prisoners to give him precious crumbs of soap so he could clean the cloth. He stole a small piece of roof tile which he laboriously ground into a powder, mixed with a bit of water and used to make horizontal stripes. He used one of the blue pills of unknown provenance the prisoners were given for all ailments to color a square in the upper left of the cloth. With a needle made from bamboo wood and thread unraveled from the cell’s one blanket, Christian stitched little stars on the blue field.

“It took Mike a couple weeks to finish, working at night under his mosquito net so the guards couldn’t see him,” Mr. Thorsness told me. “Early one morning, he got up before the guards were active and held up the little flag, waving it as if in a breeze. We turned to him and saw it coming to attention and automatically saluted, some of us with tears running down our cheeks. Of course, the Vietnamese found it during a strip search, took Mike to the torture cell and beat him unmercifully. Sometime after midnight they pushed him into our cell, so bad off that even his voice was gone. But when he recovered in a couple weeks he immediately started looking for another piece of cloth.”


We impoverish ourselves by shunting these heroes and their experiences to the back pages of our national consciousness. Their stories are not just boys’ adventure tales writ large. They are a kind of moral instruction. They remind of something we’ve heard many times before but is worth repeating on a wartime Memorial Day when we’re uncertain about what we celebrate. We’re the land of the free for one reason only: We’re also the home of the brave.

Peter’s book on the living Medal of Honor recipients is Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty, now republished in a third edition. Peter is the author, most recently, of Political Woman, the biography of Jeane Kirkpatrick published in 2012 by Encounter Books. The story that Peter relates from Leo Thorsness is included in Col. Thorsness’s moving memoir of his service and captivity, Surviving Hell.


The Final Day of the Climate Crisis


From The Guardian, May 4, 2007:

UN Scientists Warn Time Is Running Out to Tackle Global Warming

Governments are running out of time to address climate change and to avoid the worst effects of rising temperatures, an influential UN panel warned yesterday.

Greater energy efficiency, renewable electricity sources and new technology to dump carbon dioxide underground can all help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the experts said. But there could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more.  (Emphasis added.)

Those eight years run out tomorrow.  So I assume that climatistas will shut up tomorrow night.