New Job

A great little piece that is more about canvassing than Spitzer:

The text message forwarded from a friend of a friend had all the classic signs of a scam; ALL CAPS, asterisks, and a fantastical promise: $800 a day to gather signatures for Eliot Spitzer’s nascent campaign for Comptroller.
The day before, I had been let go from my job as an unpaid intern for a Queens councilmember. The truth is, I respected Spitzer. I had read Peter Elkind’s book about him and the powerful Wall Street cabal that brought him down. Alex Gibney’s documentary, Client Nine, was marvelous. Spitzer was someone who pissed off the wrong people and paid the price for going after unethical behavior.
Also, he was going to pay me $800 a day. I would have done it for a lot less. I hopped on the train and headed for the address given in the text message, a five-story pre-war residential building on West 12th Street.
Due to the high pay, I felt obligated to get at many signatures as I could. The West Village has many aging Jewish women and gay couples. These are my people. I realized the trick was to start with the most potent part to draw people in. “Hi, I’m with Eliot Spitzer for Comptroller of the City of New York. Would you like to sign our petition to put him on the ballot?” has a LOT of syllables. So I tried innumerable permutations of my pitch.
“Sign for Spitzer?”
“I’m with Eliot Spitzer. Sign our petition please?”
“Eliot Spitzer for office. Sign please?”
Then I started barking, “SPITZER! SIGN FOR SPITZER!” It worked. Many people stopped and signed. Others told me I was crazy.
“NO”
“Heaven’s no.”
“Heck no.”
“You must be kidding.”
“You’re joking right?”
“You must be joking.”
“That schmuck!”
“What nerve!”
“I’d never vote for a hellion!”
I was also insulted with what seemed like 30 different Yiddish words. Who knew Yiddish could be so versatile?

It has a happy ending.

Via: election law blog








Dr. Kasich, paging Dr. Kasich

We’ve talked about this before, but I think it’s important, so I wanted to raise it again. From Plunderbund:

John Kasich is just optimistic that you’ll pull through

Until yesterday, Ohio law allowed exceptions to the informed consent rigamarole in the event of “an immediate threat of serious risk to the… physical health of the woman from the continuation of the pregnancy.” While this verbiage wasn’t necessarily ideal, it was broad enough that doctors could practice appropriately.
With Kasich’s signature of the budget, physicians can only avoid the mandatory ultrasound “in order to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to avoid a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman that delay in the performance or inducement of the abortion would create.”

Section 2919.16(K) spells out that the conditions allowing for immediate abortion:
includes pre-eclampsia, inevitable abortion, and premature rupture of the membranes, may include, but is not limited to, diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and does not include a condition related to the woman’s mental health.

These rules are incredibly narrow.

The list of possible complications that can maim or kill goes on and on: anemia, arrhythmia, brainstem infarction, broken tailbone or ribs, cardiopulmonary arrest, diastasis recti, eclampsia, embolism, exacerbation of epilepsy, immunosuppression, infection, gestational diabetes, gestational trophoblastic disease, hemorrhage, hypoxemia, increased intracranial pressure, mitral valve stenosis, obstetric fistula,placental abruption, postpartum depression, prolapsed uterus, severe scarring, increased spousal abuse, third or fourth degree laceration, thrombocytopenic purpura, peripartum cardiomyopathy, and more.

Before the passage of the budget, a number of OB-GYNs protested this provision. In the past, they’ve testified that it would make them hesitate before treating women. This is consciously modeled after the Irish law that resulted in the death of Savita Halappanavar.

This should be debated. Conservatives and media limit the scope of discussion on abortion restrictions to an unwanted pregnancy, a woman seeking an abortion, but that isn’t how these laws read. Who wrote the specific medical exceptions? The lobbyists who introduced these laws all over the country? Did they even bother to consult a physician?

Conservatives at the state and national level should have to respond to specific questions on how these laws apply to women in a medical emergency. They had this debate in Ireland, too late.








Palling around with organizers

The health care law goes into effect in January, but people can sign up beginning in October. The campaign to inform and enroll people has begun. I thought I’d focus on the health care law education/enrollment effort this summer, if you’d like to follow along. The group I’ll be following locally are national. They will work on the ground in 8 states where there are high numbers of uninsured and GOP-led opposition to the law, but they are just one piece of the effort. I know one of the organizers in NW Ohio so I’ll follow some national news and also tell you what this individual organizer is up to in Toledo and surrounding counties as best I can, my schedule permitting. My pal is a great and extremely hard-working organizer who has won three out of three of the Ohio campaigns he’s been involved with, but he’ll have to work under the insane national din without losing his mind, which I imagine will be the real challenge.

Ohio is a particularly heavy lift for organizers, because the GOP base (Tea Party) are blocking the Medicaid expansion over Governor Kasich’s support of the expansion and the Republican political appointees who head our state agencies have done nothing and will do nothing to educate on or implement the law. That means there’s a lot of uncertainty for people. As you know, “uncertainty” is a horrible state of affairs that must be avoided at all costs when we’re talking about Wall Street and the stock market, but is perfectly acceptable when we’re talking about Republicans deliberately creating chaos that directly impacts ordinary people and their lives

For background on the political state of play from the other side, rather than what might or might not be going on as far as enrollment/education in real life we’ll start nationally, with a look at what Republicans are planning:

Republican lawmakers say they anticipate a flood of questions in the coming months from constituents on the implementation of ObamaCare, which will pose a dilemma for the GOP.
People regularly call their representatives for help with Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. Yet, Republicans believe healthcare reform spells doom for the federal budget, private businesses and the U.S. healthcare system. They’re also enormously frustrated that the law has persevered through two elections and a Supreme Court challenge and believe a botched implementation could help build momentum for the repeal movement.
Some Republicans indicated to The Hill they will not assist constituents in navigating the law and obtaining benefits. Others said they would tell people to call the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Given that we come from Kansas, it’s much easier to say, ‘Call your former governor,'” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R), referring to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “You say, ‘She’s the one. She’s responsible. She was your governor, elected twice, and now you reelected the president, but he picked her.'” Huelskamp said. “We know how to forward a phone call,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
“I have two dedicated staff who deal with nothing, but ObamaCare and immigration problems,” he added. “I’m sure there will be an uptick in that, but all we can do is pass them back to the Obama administration. The ball’s in their court. They’re responsible for it.”
House leaders have organized a group known as HOAP — the House ObamaCare Accountability Project — to organize a messaging strategy against the law that will trickle down to constituents.
The group has an eye on August recess, when member town halls will inevitably turn to healthcare issues.
Republicans are confident that the government’s most ambitious undertaking in recent memory will collapse under its own weight.
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who helped draft ObamaCare, called GOP inaction on educating constituents “outrageous.”
“For many families, this may be the first time they have access to real healthcare coverage. This can be a matter of life and death,” said Miller. “This is a real dereliction of duty for Republicans,” he added.

In other words, they have no plan to either inform constituents on the law or actually do anything towards improving health care with their own ideas, but they do have an elaborate plan – complete with catchy title (“HOAP”)- to sabotage the law politically. We should probably anticipate the same incredibly informative and unbiased Town Hall meetings on The Government Take-Over of Health Care this August that we saw in Death Panel Summer, run on a continuous loop on cable.








One way to find out what people think is to ask them

Justice Scalia, expressing his deep concern for young people during hearing on the health care law:

SOLICITOR GENERAL VERILLI: To live in the modern world, everybody needs a telephone. And the — the same thing with respect to the — you know, the dairy price supports that — that the court upheld in Wrightwood Dairy and Rock Royal. You can look at those as disadvantageous contracts, as forced transfers, that — you know, I suppose it’s theoretically true that you could raise your kids without milk, but the reality is you’ve got to go to the store and buy milk. And the commerce power — as a result of the exercise of the commerce power, you’re subsidizing somebody else –
JUSTICE KAGAN: And this is especially true, isn’t it, General –
VERRILLI: — because that’s the judgment Congress has made.
KAGAN: — Verrilli, because in this context, the subsidizers eventually become the subsidized?
VERRILLI: Well, that was the point I was trying to make, Justice Kagan, that you’re young and healthy one day, but you don’t stay that way. And the — the system works over time. And so I just don’t think it’s a fair characterization of it. And it does get back to, I think — a problem I think is important to understand –
JUSTICE SCALIA: We’re not stupid. They’re going to buy insurance later. They’re young and — and need the money now.
VERRILLI: But that’s –

Maybe not:

As the country gears up for implementation of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll takes a step back and examines views on health insurance more broadly among some key subgroups, including young adults, the uninsured, and those with pre-existing conditions. The poll finds that the large majority of Americans want and value health insurance. More than seven in ten young adults – a special focus of outreach and enrollment efforts – say it is very important to them personally to have insurance. Cost remains the biggest barrier for the uninsured, with four in ten citing the expense of coverage as the main reason they don’t have it. Roughly half of those under age 65 believe they or a household member has what would be considered a pre-existing condition, and a quarter of them say they have either been denied insurance or had their premium increased as a result. With the expected marketing effort for the ACA’s health exchanges still not in full swing, negative views of the law continue to outpace positive views, with 43 percent unfavorable and 35 percent favorable. However, unfavorable views are a mix of those who feel the law goes “too far” in changing the health care system (33 percent) and those who feel it “doesn’t go far enough” (8 percent). The poll also shows that differences in how the law is branded may make a difference in how it is perceived by the public. When asked how they feel about “Obamacare” rather than the “health reform law,” higher shares express both favorable (42 percent) and unfavorable (47 percent) views, and Democrats are more enthusiastic.
Among the public overall, 87 percent say it is “very important” to them personally to have health insurance, 88 percent describe health insurance as “something I need,” and two-thirds (68 percent) say insurance is worth the money it costs.
Even among younger adults – a group that many have speculated may be resistant to getting coverage under the ACA – more than seven in ten rate having health insurance as “very important,” and similar shares feel it is something they need and that it is worth the money. Overall, just a quarter of those ages 18-30 feel they are healthy enough to go without insurance.

An advocacy group called “Young Invincibles” argued exactly this during the health care debate. They even submitted a brief to the Court with polling info that came out roughly same as that quoted above, but apparently Scalia didn’t read it.








Ford Has a Better Idea

One of the weird things about crack smoking Rob Ford’s crack smoking video is that he uses some crackhead logic about “getting it back”:

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford told senior aides not to worry about a video appearing to show him smoking crack cocaine because he knew where it was, sources told the Star.
Ford then blurted out the address of two 17th-floor units — 1701 and 1703 — at a Dixon Rd. apartment complex, to the shock of staffers at a city hall meeting almost two weeks ago, the sources said.

If the video was taken on a cell phone, it’s probably somewhere on the Internet by now, yet this whole scandal has treated it like a MacGuffin, a single thing that could be found and destroyed.

In other Ford news, the Mounties have made a second arrest in the murder of one of his crack-smoking buddies. There’s no evidence that either of the two guys arrested are tied to Ford, but you won’t see my shocked face if they are.

I like to read the Canadian papers to get my daily dose of Ford, but Comrade Mary thinks Gawker has better illustrations.