Alito will be confirmed. The stars are never wrong.
A reader requested that we open a thread for discussion on next week’s Boston City Council election, and we thought that seemed like a good idea. There are eight candidates for the four at-large (city-wide) seats. There are also nine districts, each of which is represented by one councillor. In each of the nine districts, the incumbent is running for reelection; six of them have challengers and three do not. So each voter gets to cast five votes for City Council: four at-large, and one for the district in which the voter resides. The complete candidate list is here (pdf). We haven’t been following the race all that closely, but here are some resources to get things started: Globe endorsements (at-large); Globe endorsements (district); DFA endorsements and questionnaires; and Globe profiles of some of the candidates. Also, Adam Reilly published this article in last week’s Phoenix, and has been blogging frequently about various candidates. Failing all of that, Googling any individual candidate reveals a wealth of information (many of them have their own websites). UPDATE: The Boston Phoenix endorsements are here, and they’ve published some questionnaire answers by the City Council candidates here. Also, Bay Windows’ endorsements are here, and [...]
There’s a point from the Globe’s editorial today about the health care debate that really bears repeating, especially as we begin to hear resistance from some (though not all) business groups: Spokesmen for small businesses came out against the plan, but it isunreasonable to expect care for their workers to be subsidized out ofthe free care pool. Hospitals, insurers, and companies that do provideinsurance are the source of money for that pool. It is a drag on allthree. DiMasi’s assessment, less expensive then full-scale insurancecoverage, would at least compel insurance-averse employers tocontribute to the shared cost. In other words: Some employers are paying for health care for their employees. Some are not. These employers are foisting their employees onto the public rolls: Medicaid or the free care pool. In other words, we’re all paying for it anyway. If Wal-Mart doesn’t pay, we do. I am really sympathetic to the problems that employers have finding affordable health care. That’s no joke: it’s a major inhibitor to economic growth. (I’m hopeful that the eventual proposal will include various pooling,reinsurance and best-practices mechanisms to control costs forbusinesses.) So much more reason to take away the current surcharge on those that do insure their [...]
This darned judge: Wrote an opinion prohibiting the use of any state-owned facilities for abortions, possibly right down to the public water supply – and in the process looked forward to the day when the Supreme Court could "reexamine Roe." Voted to uphold burdensome abortion requirements like a 24-hour waiting period and a rule that second-trimester abortions had to be done in hospitals – and wrote that Roe‘s central holding should be eviscerated. Voted to bar the federal government from banning guns near schools, and from protecting women against sexual assault. Wrote that it should be unconstitutional for the federal government to provide minimum wage and overtime protections to city workers. Wrote an opinion allowing inflammatory evidence into death penalty sentencing hearings that was not relevant to the defendant’s blameworthiness – leading dissenting colleagues to decry the "radical" result as the exercise of "power, not reason." Gosh, that Alito guy sounds terrible! So we have to keep this extreme, radical, activist, ideologue of a judge off the Supreme Court, right? Well, no, actually … those are all opinions written or joined by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is now touted by some Dems as the model of what a Supreme [...]
Here is the House health care bill (pdf). A couple of highlights (I haven’t read the whole thing yet): Individual mandate is enforced by (1) a financial penalty of 50% of the smallest premium the individual would have been able to pay to maintain coverage, assessed either by reducing a tax refund or (if that’s not enough) by an assessment from DOR; and (2) preventing driver’s license renewal until the coverage issue is resolved. Businesses with 11-99 employees must pay an assessment of 3% of their payroll to the state’s new "Commonwealth Care Fund" beginning on July 1, 2006; for 100 or more employees, the rate is 5%. These rates will rise to 4%/6%, and again to 5%/7%, at one-year intervals. Health care-related expenses incurred by the employer, including "an amount equal to the employer’s expense for employee health benefits, including health insurance, and contributions to employee health savings accounts," will be credited against the contribution (so that if these expenses exceed the assessments, no contribution will be required). Much, much more to come.
I have no position yet on what the Democrats should do about Judge Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court. But I spoke this morning to a lawyer whom I know to be a partisan progressive Democrat who knows Alito, and who supports the nomination. I will be writing up our conversation today or tomorrow. Stay tuned.