Cover of April 23, 2012 Issue

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April 23, 2012 Issue

David Cole on Obamacare, Alexander Cockburn on unlivable wages, and Tristram Wolff on Jenny Erpenbeck.

Cover art by: Cover design by Milton Glaser Incorporated.

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Obamacare: Not Dead Yet

Court watchers are pronouncing the death of healthcare reform. But a closer look at Justice Kennedy's questions suggests there's hope yet.


John Nichols on a new anti-ALEC coalition, Jeremy Scahill on WikiLeaks, Syria and Libya, Liliana Segura on The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, Ebtihal Mubarak on Saudi pol...




Let There Be Light Grand Junction, Colo.   I was confused, confounded and perplexed. Why on earth would the GOP be against Planned Parenthood? After all, the best abortion prevention is birth control. Thanks to Elizabeth Mitchell's insightful "The Genius of Cecile Richards" [March 26], I understand. The GOP uses fear as a tool. Now they're getting a dose. Planned Parenthood can mobilize a powerful voter bloc. Richards's picture in a light bulb was perfect! My light bulb certainly came on. VICKI MADDOX     Memphis I've dog-eared the March 26 Nation reading and re-reading the Cecile Richards article. I adored and respected her mother, Texas Governor Ann Richards. I've subscribed to The Nation when I could afford to since the 1950s. Now I have to donate first to Planned Parenthood, after mortgage and food, as I have a daughter, two granddaughters and countless women friends, relatives and strangers to think of. Maybe I can get my insignificant other to pay for it. Thank God, or somebody, for PP (and Medicare and Social Security—I labored fifty-three years to get that). MIRIAM RACHELS     The Affordable Care Act Goes to Court Hugo, Minn. Understanding the "necessary and proper" clause, the interstate commerce clause and our government's power to tax for the general welfare can be challenging. Thanks to David Cole for making it easier ["Defending Healthcare," March 26]. NEIL FAGERHAUGH     Reston, Va. No one has mentioned the initial paragraph of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which states: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises...throughout the United States." An impost is not a tax; it is something "put upon" the people to provide for the "common defense and general welfare." Two examples: the draft has provided for the common defense; and the safety requirements for automobiles, such as seat belts, air bags, etc., increase the general welfare. These imposts were paid for by the people, some by giving their lives, some by paying out of their pockets; but neither was considered a tax. The Affordable Care Act is clearly something imposed on the people. What the government has to prove is that the ACA increases the general welfare. With some 51 million people without healthcare and an estimated 45,000 premature deaths every year because of that, I consider it "settled law." WILLIAM C. SCHILLLIG     You Decide Leonia, N.J. In the preamble to my March 26 article, "The Foxification Effect: You Decide," the editors claim, "We can report that Kitman apparently suffered no permanent damage from his ordeal" of watching Fox News for two weeks. If only that were true. In the scale of things I'd rather be doing, I looked forward to root canal more than watching Fox. But in the interest of science, I agreed to participate in the experiment. Little did I know the damage it would do. One night after the experiment began, during a family dinner, out of nowhere I began saying, "Tax cuts for the wealthy will create millions of jobs." Startled, my teenage grandchildren looked around at their grandmother. "Social Security is a Ponzi scheme," I apparently went on. "Obamacare must be scrapped and insurance companies given back the reins. Eric Cantor is the voice of the people." Had Zayde jumped the shark? Could this craziness have anything to do with watching Fox News? my wife asked, trying to calm the grandchildren. What was she talking about? I argued. There wasn't anything wrong with me. I had simply reached a higher level of intelligence, called Foxification. It's all Dodd Frank's fault, whoever he is. I suffered domestic abuse working on the piece. "The next thing you'll be doing," I was told, "you'll be watching NASCAR races." Every so often now, I open the window and yell at my neighbors, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" So to say "no permanent damage" is not quite accurate. The doctors say that soon I'll be able to return to my craft as a media commentator. The medication is working wonders. I think you should also know that I am suing your scuzzy left-wing rag (i.e., The Nation), under the Workmen's Compensation Act, for injuries connected with the workplace. I just want to set the record straight before I go back to watching Fox News every night. But only from 5 to 11. MARVIN KITMAN     The Editors Reply As a great statesman once said, "A mind is a terrible thing to lose." However, it is obvious that in today's America, becoming a right-wing-nut is not prima facie evidence of mental damage or loss of reputation. Indeed, people who share Mr. Kitman's alleged views are now campaigning for the highest office in the land and the leadership of the Free World. We suspect that Mr. Kitman, whose letter outs him as a kindred political opportunist, is using The Nation's Letters page to angle for a job in the Santorum administration. We heartily recommend him for Secretary of Unplanned Parenthood. Furthermore, with the help of WikiLeaks we have obtained a letter from Kitman's lawyer commenting on the holes in his case, which we here reproduce: Attorney-Client Privileged Communication Marvin (aka Aggrieved Party): The assignment does appear to have been "cruel and unusual punishment," as you suggest. However, by accepting it you probably forfeited your right to sue. As for filing a claim before the Worker's (the PC name) Compensation Board, I see two impediments (a mediator's term) to your proposed suit.    1. Worker's Compensation Board claims are usually made by employees of their employers. The assignment probably was made to you as an "independent contractor" rather than "employee."    2. If your "suit" is properly venued (New Jersey or wherever The Nation is sited) you would have to be able to prove:    A. you had a "mind";    B. it was lost;    C. the loss was caused by The Nation, its editors, agents, employees, etc.;    D. the value of said "mind"    (1) before you lost it, and    (2) after you lost it (I presume some of it is left to give us a residual value). (My presumption is based upon the coherent and logical interaction we are having in these communications.) From your reference to the editor of being "guilty" in giving you the assignment, I infer you may be thinking it was a criminal action. If so, maybe your claim should be made to the Crime Victims Compensation Board? However, that has problems. You probably never filed a police report, which may be a requirement. (Disclaimer: I have no knowledge in this area, get advice elsewhere.) As a matter of fact, I have no knowledge in any of the areas referenced above. I would conclude that my mind is as lost as yours. If and when you find yours, please look for mine. Your loyal Consigliare, Gene Ginsberg, Esq. We rest our case.   —The Editors     Let's Hear It for the Windy City In Alisa Solomon's April 16 "Mike Check," a copy-editing error caused This American Life to be identified as a National Public Radio show. It is produced by Chicago Public Radio and distributed by Public Radio International. Read More


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