My Thoughts on Health Care, Part VI

What You Need To Know: A Summary For You Lazy Asses

·         The Left has been having a civil war over the Senate health care bill, between those who say it’s the best we can get and just accept it, and those who say that it’s too bad to be passed and we need to replace it.  Also involved is the debate between those who say that government should provide services directly and those who say that government should provide services by reforming and regulating existing private entities.

·         I’m usually in the “let’s try to get something better” and “government should provide services directly” crowd, so I would be expected to be in the group calling for the Senate bill’s demise.  But I’ve actually been conflicted, because the pass-the-bill people have been using compelling emotional arguments about how people’s lives and health are on the line.

·         However, their arguments have failed to convince me.  I’ve said before that having an individual mandate but no public option is unconscionable, and I’m sticking by that.  And no one has convinced me that this bill is significantly different on the merits from the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit law, which I (and many liberals who are now for the Senate bill) opposed.

·         So, I’ve decided that while I would’ve voted to advance the bill out of the Senate, if the final, post-conference bill came back and had an individual mandate but no public option, I would have voted No, both on cloture and passage.

·         If the Senate reconciliation sidecar proposal now being discussed has no public option, I would vote No.  If it does have one, I would vote Yes.

·         I would also be favorable to stand-alone bills to expand government insurance programs or create a government catastrophic insurance program.

·         Scroll to the bottom to see a complete list of how I would vote on all the different versions of health care legislation.


The Left has been having a civil war for the past month over the Senate health care bill, which, because of the huge leverage Senators like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson had over the process, was essentially the final bill.  On one side were those who agreed that the bill was far from perfect, but was a fairly good deal and the best we could get in the near future, and so we should just pass it.  Matt Yglesias, Nate Silver, Ezra Klein, Jacob Hacker and, most notably, Paul Krugman, whom I normally think is spot-on about everything, were in this camp (with Krugman going so far as to compare the Senate bill to a simulation of single payer).


On the other side, you have those who say that the Lieberman-induced death of the public option, along with other troubling provisions like the excise tax on high-end insurance plans, make the Senate bill too bad to be passed.  This group was a slightly less distinguished, motley array of liberal bloggers like Jane Hamsher and others at FireDogLake, David Sirota, Darcy Burner, Jason Linkins and Lincoln Mitchell via Huffington Post, and of course, Howard Dean.


This debate has gotten vicious and personal at times, with both sides speaking their traditional lines: the reasonable, pragmatic supporters of the bill look down their noses at the opponents and accuse them of being spoiled perfectionist brats who will never meet a piece of legislation they don’t bitch about (Jonathan Chait is among the most condescending of these people), while the idealistic, principled opponents of the bill accuse the supporters of being corporate-bought, small-minded sellouts.


A parallel debate, as Glenn Greenwald and Ed Kilgore pointed out in an excellent must-read, is between liberals who mostly want government to provide for the people directly, and those who prefer government to do so by cajoling, reforming and regulating private actors.  This debate is not totally connected to the practical vs. idealistic debate – Krugman, for example, is practical about the current Senate bill while also supporting direct government programs like single payer and a WPA-style jobs program – but there’s a lot of overlap.  Namely, those who like or are open to private groups performing public services are okay that this bill would make that happen for health care, whereas those who support direct government action, such as myself, are unsatisfied.


So, while I don’t claim the same kind of stature as the liberal luminaries I’ve listed above, I’m sure everyone is dying to know: where do I stand?


I will first deal with the issue of the current Senate bill, then look at other versions of health care reform and possible solutions from here on out.


Senate Health Care Bill


Normally, I associate more with the idealistic, let’s-shoot-for-the-stars crowd rather than the pragmatists who defend that which is slightly higher than crap.  Likewise, I am a very vocal proponent of direct government action and resent the outsourcing of government duties to for-profit private entities.  So you might think I’d be a sure bet for the idealistic, kill-the-bill crowd.  But actually, for the last month (as I wrote in My Thoughts on Health Care, Part III), I’ve been undecided.


I wanted to like this bill.  I understood and felt the emotional argument that screamed, “support this bill or people will die”.  There were other arguments for the bill designed for liberals.  If I had a dollar for every time I heard or read “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!” I’d probably have enough money to pay for universal health care myself.  Then there’s the “pass it now so we can fix it later”, and pointing at Social Security as an example.  Of course, there’s the “if we don’t pass it now we’ll have to wait twenty years for the next chance”.  But the argument was always capped off with “the status quo is so bad, if we don’t pass this crap millions of people will suffer and die”.


Well, yes, there are those appeals and they are powerful.  But believe it or not, there are arguments against them too:


  1. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  Okay sure.  But where’s the “good” here?  I and many others don’t consider the Senate bill to even be good.
  2. Pass it now so we can fix it later.  Where will the energy and pressure be to “fix” our health care system after we pass this?  Our esteemed leaders in D.C. will be saying, “we dealt with health care!  What more do you want?”  As it is, Senators don’t want to deal with health care anymore now and we haven’t even passed the bill into law yet.
  3. If we don’t pass it now we’ll have to wait another 15-20 years for another chance.  With health care the way it is now I think there’ll be ample pressure to keep us from having to wait another 20 years for health care reform.  Not so if we pass a crap “reform” bill that masquerades as a solution.
  4. Pass it or else people will suffer and die.  Setting aside a legitimate dispute about how much good this bill will actually do for people, are there things worse than sickness and death?  Like slavery to a strengthened and mostly-unregulated corporate empire?  I don’t mean to be callous here; no one can tell me that I don’t care about people suffering and dying.  But cowering and paying tributary to evil corporations can’t be the answer.


Look, I know this issue is deeply personal and, for too many, deeply urgent.  But this sort of legislative gun to the head, this “support it or these people will die!”, strikes me as unhelpful politicization of life and death.  How is this any better than “rush to war or we’ll get nuked?”  And the liberal opponents of the Senate health care bill, who have all offered solutions and alternatives (and yes, they’re politically realistic ones), are a whole different class than conservatives who want government to do nothing at all.


I’m a guy who wants our politicians to push for the best they can get rather than settle for watered-down crap to satisfy Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman.  I’m also a guy who thinks government should directly help people (e.g. Medicare for All or public option) rather than subcontracting its duties to private entities.  Given that this Senate bill is both watered-down and has government handing its responsibility over to private health insurance corporations (the same ones that screw over and kill people on a daily basis, to boot!), why should I support this bill?  It goes against all my political instincts and cherished principles, one of which is that I would not support any bill that had an individual mandate but no public option.


The final test on whether I should support it or not was laid out on My Thoughts on Health Care, Part III, where I compared the Senate health care bill unfavorably with the Medicare prescription drug benefit that was passed in 2003.  Both are corporate-backed bills that appear to provide badly-needed benefits to people, but do so through private corporate channels and thus strengthen the same bad private actors that were the cause of the mess to begin with, as well as weaken the government that can actually provide the real solution.  I opposed the Medicare drug benefit law then for this reason, and it would only be consistent for me to oppose the Senate bill for the same reason.  A well-intentioned effort to convince me that they’re not the same was not persuasive.


I also find it very telling that the liberals and Democrats who are for the Senate bill now and are using the four arguments I listed above, didn’t seem to care for those arguments back in 2003, when they mostly voted against the Medicare drug benefit law, even though those four arguments were just as applicable then as they are now.  In my mind, they are not being consistent.  I want to emphasize this for any pro-Senate bill liberals who want to talk down to me about health care: If you were against the 2003 Medicare drug benefit law, you have NO RIGHT to lecture me on any of those four arguments listed above.  Opposing the Senate bill, on the other hand, would be consistent with my most cherished principles.


So, I hereby render my final judgment on the Senate health care bill: while I would have voted to advance it forward out of the Senate, I would oppose a final, post-conference committee bill if it was like the Senate bill, in that it had an individual mandate WITHOUT a public option.  By oppose I mean I would vote NO on both cloture AND passage.  Yes, this means I would join a filibuster of a final bill that had no public option.


My two main deciding reasons are this:


  1. The Senate bill that requires everyone to have health insurance does NOT provide a public/government health insurance alternative to private insurance.
  2. The Senate bill is very similar to the 2003 Medicare drug benefit law, which I opposed.


I should also add a note about the proposed Medicare buy-in for 55-64 year olds: this was a very good policy addition and a real step towards Medicare for All, but as long as it was restricted for 55-64 year olds only I could not support it.  It would need to be available to everyone affected under the mandate (i.e. be on the insurance exchange) for it to have my support.  This is because restricting it to 55-64 year olds would leave those under 55 (such as myself) facing an individual mandate with no public alternative.  However, because this Medicare buy-in could theoretically be expanded (“fixed”) in the future, I could potentially be persuaded to support it.


Where Do We Go From Here?


Earlier this month, House, Senate and White House negotiators were working out a compromise between the House and Senate legislation.  This compromise would have included several positive steps, like a national insurance exchange instead of state-based ones, and modification of the excise tax on high-end insurance plans, but it apparently did NOT include a public option, since Joe Lieberman held all the power and he flatly was opposed to any bill with a public option.


If this compromise made it to the Senate and had an individual mandate but NO public option, as was likely, I would have voted NO on cloture – meaning I’d join in filibustering it – and NO on passage. (As a sidenote, I would have been the only Senator to filibuster it from the left, which would have made things very interesting and could’ve changed the entire dynamic of the public option fight.)


With Republican Scott Brown picking up Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts, Democrats feel they no longer have the votes to pass any health care bill through the Senate. (Side question: How do they expect to get anything done for the rest of this year?) The new strategy being discussed is using the reconciliation process, which bypasses the filibuster and is normally used to pass unpopular deficit-reducing legislation.  Reconciliation is governed by a set of rules about what kind of legislation can be passed with it, but because the public option would significantly reduce the cost of the bill, it would most likely qualify for it.


In what is popularly called “Plan B”, the House would pass the Senate bill verbatim, while the Senate passes a package of modifications demanded by the House through reconciliation (the “reconciliation sidecar”).  I would support this ONLY if one of those Senate-passed modifications is a public option and if the Senate passed its sidecar first.


Another idea being floated around, especially by liberals on FireDogLake, is to disregard the original House and Senate bills altogether, and just pass something simple through reconciliation, such as an expansion of Medicare/Medicaid/SCHIP, or a government catastrophic insurance fund.  I would support either of these proposals.


The last thing we should do, of course, is run and hide.  Oh wait…


Voting Scenarios


Here’s where I map out how I would vote/think about all the various solutions being offered for health care reform.


Remember, my first choice from the beginning is Medicare for All.  If the Weiner and Sanders amendments for Medicare for All had come up for a vote, like they were supposed to but didn’t, I would have voted Yes.  For the record, I’m even open to a “socialized medicine” system where the government directly employs health care providers, like it is for hospitals in the UK’s National Health Service, and in our own Veterans Health Administration.  I’d have to study the issue more to be fully on board but it seems to work well in those two examples, and it’d be very much compatible with my pro-direct government ideology.


My second choice is a mandate, but with a Medicare buy-in for everyone serving as the “public option”.  Note that the proposed Medicare buy-in for 55-64 year olds only does not qualify.


My third choice is a mandate with a “strong” public option that uses Medicare’s infrastructure, such as its reimbursement rates and provider networks.  This was the public option that passed out of the House Ways and Means and Education and Labor Committees but failed in the Energy and Commerce Committee.  I don’t know if there was a vote on it in Energy and Commerce but if there had been I would have voted Yes.  I do know there was one in the Senate Finance Committee and I would have voted Yes.


My fourth choice is a mandate with a “weak” public option where the government negotiates its reimbursement rates with providers.  This is as low as I’m willing to go.  I would have voted Yes on this in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Senate HELP Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.


I will now divide my hypothetical voting record between the House and the Senate.


If I were in the House of Representatives:


·         Vote on House bill: Yes, because it has a public option, albeit one that uses negotiated rates.

·         Vote on post-conference final bill, as planned before Scott Brown’s win: No, despite its improvements over the Senate bill, because it would have no public option.

·         Vote on Senate bill as is, in conjunction with hypothetical Senate reconciliation sidecar: No

·         Vote on Senate bill as is, in conjunction with passed Senate reconciliation sidecar with NO public option: No

·         Vote on Senate bill as is, in conjunction with passed Senate reconciliation sidecar WITH public option: Yes

·         Vote on stand-alone bill for expansion of government health insurance and/or government catastrophic insurance: Yes


If I were in the Senate:


·         Vote on Senate bill with state opt-out public option (Harry Reid’s original, post-committee merged bill): Yes, since it still has a public option.  Even though that public option can be taken away on a state-by-state basis, it would be the people choosing to take it away and deny themselves the choice of government health insurance (either directly or indirectly through their elected representatives).

·         Vote on Senate bill with triggered public option and Medicare buy-in for 55-64 year olds (what we had after compromise with Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, and Joe Lieberman, before Lieberman screwed it up): No, since this Medicare buy-in doesn’t cover those below 55.  However, as I noted above, I could be persuaded to change my mind based on the possibility of expanding the buy-in in the near future.

·         Vote on Senate bill with triggered public option and Medicare buy-in on the insurance exchange and available to uninsured of all ages: Yes

·         Vote on Senate bill with just triggered public option (what we got after Lieberman screamed and got his way): Yes if my vote is necessary for cloture and passage; otherwise No on both cloture and passage

·         Vote on post-conference final bill, as planned before Scott Brown’s win: No on both cloture and passage, despite its improvements over the Senate bill, because it would have no public option.

·         Vote on reconciliation sidecar with NO public option: No

·         Vote on reconciliation sidecar WITH public option: Yes

·         Vote on stand-alone bill for expansion of government health insurance and/or government catastrophic insurance: Yes

My Thoughts on Health Care, Part V

What You Need To Know: A Summary For You Lazy Asses

·         Liberals like myself are not against government mandates per se, as long as those mandates can be fulfilled through government products and services.  However, a government mandate to buy a private sector product, especially from the same people who have and continue to abuse and ruin the lives of their customers, is unconscionable.  That’s why many liberals, including myself, are against an individual mandate to buy health insurance from private insurance companies if there’s no choice of a public option.

·         Here’s my guiding principle for regulating personal behavior: A behavior should be regulated only if it adversely affects others or prevents others from exercising their rights.  I also believe that people should have the right to make poor or irrational decisions for themselves, as long as, again, those decisions don’t impair the rights of others.

·         If we have to have a mandate, rather than have a stupid, counterproductive and unaccountable fine, we should have an automatic sign-up mechanism for the uninsured, or a guarantee that the money from the fine will go towards a dedicated government health care fund or into individual medical savings accounts.


There’s been a lot of discussion about what position liberalism/progressivism should take on the idea of an individual mandate to buy/have health insurance, especially if there’s no public option to go with it.  The idea that the government will force people, by law, to buy a potentially crappy product, from not just any private, for-profit entity, but the same heartless greedy bastards that have made our health care system a disaster to begin with, is, needless to say, a morally repugnant proposition to myself and most liberals.


As discussions on liberal blogs show, most liberals are not against mandates per se.  We liberals are happy with the idea of government taking people’s money to pay for social needs, such as health insurance.  That’s why most liberals are receptive to Medicare for All, because our money would be going to a government for government services.  What we are not happy about is the idea of having to give our money to an unregulated and unchecked private entity.  That’s a crucial distinction, and that’s why I’m against an individual mandate to buy health insurance from private insurance companies if there’s no choice of a public option.


Furthermore, I have my own discomfort with government regulating personal behavior and choices, and the act of purchasing any privately-produced product (as opposed to paying taxes for a public product) is a personal behavior and choice.  I consider choosing to buy private health insurance a personal behavior and choice (whereas paying taxes for Medicare for All would not be a personal behavior and choice).


Here’s my guiding principle for regulating personal behavior: A behavior should be regulated only if it adversely affects others or prevents others from exercising their rights.  I also believe that people should have the right to make poor or irrational decisions for themselves, as long as, again, those decisions don’t impair the rights of others.  I’m sure these ideas are nothing new.  Of course there will always be gray areas and exceptions but these are the general principles I adhere to.


As it relates to health care, ideally people could make the choice of going without health insurance without penalty.  This is not because that would be the choice that I would prefer for myself, but because as a matter of philosophy I think people ought to have the right to make that choice.  However, I have said before that I understand why this would not work, which is why I called the mandate a necessary evil.  What I object to are fines on people who go without insurance.  When the goal is to get everyone insured, fining people and giving them essentially nothing for it seems incredibly stupid and counterproductive. (Where does that fine money go anyway?  Does it go into some kind of dedicated health care fund or does it just disappear into the general treasury?)


What I would prefer as some kind of automatic sign-up mechanism that would automatically enroll the uninsured into a plan. (Which plan that would be can be worked out in committee.) Or, the money could go into either a dedicated government health care fund, or into individual medical savings accounts.  Any of these solutions would be preferable to squirreling away people’s money into the abyss.

2010 Massachusetts Senate Special Election, General Election

What You Need To Know: A Summary For You Lazy Asses

  • Originally, I said that in all likelihood, I would NOT have voted for Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, and would have voted for a Green or written-in a candidate like Mike Capuano instead.
  • Later, I said that Coakley was an acceptably “mainstream” liberal, and that should be good enough for my vote, so I would have voted for her…
  • …BUT, when she gave unqualified support for the Senate health care bill, I realized that she was just another establishment stooge.
  • So, sorry, but I’m sticking with my original “probably would’ve written in someone else” position, though I’m not sure at this point who that someone else is.  It could be Mike Capuano; worse comes to worse I would’ve just written in myself.  JANUARY 25 2010 UPDATE: Based on new information, I would’ve most likely written-in Mike Capuano.
  • The answer to the Republican victory in Massachusetts isn’t to move right, even if it were possible (which it’s not).  It’s to move left and be back on the people’s side.

On January 19 2010, Republican State Senator Scott Brown defeated Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley by about 52-47 for the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts.  On January 21, I wrote on Open Left that I probably wouldn’t have voted for Martha Coakley:


If I had been an MA voter I wouldn’t have completely ruled out voting for Coakley, but I would have been VERY unlikely to do so. (A major part of the reasoning was that the public option was apparently already dead.  If the PO still had a fighting chance at that point it would’ve made me much more likely to vote for Coakley, though, again, no guarantees.)


I would have not stayed home either – though my voting history is very short I have never deliberately sat out an election.  I would have voted for a minor party candidate (e.g. a Green) if there was a suitable one available; otherwise I would’ve written someone in (probably Mike Capuano, whom I supported in the primary and would’ve been much more enthusiastic about than Coakley).


At the time I wrote this because I was not very enthusiastic about Coakley, and I didn’t really care much for her loss.  I had supported Mike Capuano in the primary (and would’ve been much more devastated if he had been the losing nominee, though I think you could argue that if he had been the nominee he would’ve won) and Coakley had run a tepid, milquetoast campaign.  Although she was a mainstream liberal, she was not what I called a “strong” liberal, which anyone who occupies a Senate seat in a supposedly safe Democratic state like Massachusetts should be. (For example, on health care she supports a public option, but has not openly come out for single payer Medicare for All as her predecessor Ted Kennedy had.)


Upon further reflection, and the discovery that there was no Green candidate (the only other choice besides Coakley and Brown was libertarian independent Joe Kennedy), I started to lean towards changing my mind and deciding that I would have voted for Martha Coakley in this election, albeit without much enthusiasm.  This is not because of the dire warnings about losing a 60-seat supermajority (I don’t much like being bullied and threatened by my fellow Democrats) but because I’ve realized that a “mainstream” liberal should be good enough to vote for.  I certainly would not have voted for her if she had been an annoying Conservative Democrat like Ben Nelson, or even the slightly-better-but-still-bad Tom Carper.  But I figured, she’s an acceptable liberal, and she’s for the public option.  Good enough?


I was just about to publish that when, browsing through her website, I came across this, regarding passage of the Senate health care bill on December 24 2009:

“Today’s historic vote takes us one step closer to passing meaningful health care reform that will work to provide quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

It establishes coverage for more than 30 million Americans, it prevents insurers from denying coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions, and it will reduce the skyrocketing health care costs for families and businesses while also reducing our nation’s long-term deficit.

This bill has specific additional benefits for Massachusetts, including $500 million towards our Medicaid budget, tax credits for small businesses and non-profits, and the further reduction of prescription drug prices for our seniors.

Families and small businesses have seen their health care premiums rise by 8-10 percent every year, and they know that our health care system is broken. This bill offers a real solution to reduce these skyrocketing health care costs while reducing our long-term deficit. For Scott Brown to suggest that we should do nothing and continue with the status quo is simply not acceptable.”

Geez, this must have been ripped right off of one of President Obama’s press releases.  I don’t want my Senators from Massachusetts, of all places, to be another Obama stooge.  And that’s exactly what this press release reads like.


Though I would’ve voted for the Senate health care bill, I qualified that support by saying that it was only for the purposes of moving the bill forward, and that the final product would need to have the public option to earn my definite support; otherwise, I was undecided but leaning towards being against it. (I have since solidified my position, which I will write about in the near future.) Had I been the candidate, I would most certainly not have put out a press release written by Obama’s consultants, singing the praises of a terrible bill.  Instead, I would have written and said what I’ve written here on my blog.


By the time of the election on January 19, it was already clear that the public option was dead no matter if Coakley was elected or not.  And Coakley, as far as I know, made no indication that she would do anything about it.  As far as I know (and correct me if I’m wrong), she didn’t even say she wanted to do anything about it – if she did, she should have said so in this press release.  Just saying that she wanted to would have set her apart and earned my vote, because it would at least have shown that she was on my side.  Instead, all she turned out to be was another bland, mindless Democrat who nods in tune with Obama and the establishment.  Why should I vote for a candidate who supports something that I do not?


So, yeah.  So close… yet so far.  Sorry, but I’m going to have to stand by my original comments.  While I’m not prepared to completely rule out a Coakley vote, in all likelihood I would’ve written in someone else.  Who that someone else is, I’m not sure, because I don’t know who in Massachusetts would meet my standard.  If I were pressed I guess I’d go with Mike Capuano, even though I don’t know if he would’ve met my standard either, and if I found out he didn’t I’d retract that support.  Worse comes to worse I would’ve written my own damn name in.

One silver lining to this loss is that now we can run a real liberal against Scott Brown in 2012, instead of having to wait a couple decades for Coakley to finish her service.  Also, there could be benefits for liberals out of this loss.

I want to say one thing about all the post-election dissection and overblown hand-wringing about this race.  When ten people in the other team show up and you only get eight on yours, who wins?  And when eighty percent of the people who don’t show up want more, not less, and when the bill you’ve put forward is already the least liberal you can do, moving to the right, even if it were possible, isn’t the right thing to do.  The right thing to do is to put yourself back on the side of ordinary Americans.  And if that means being on the pro-government left – which it does – well, too bad.  That’s the right place to be, and that’s how you win.

JANUARY 25 2010 UPDATE: I found this on FireDogLake where Mike Capuano goes on the record as saying he will “definitely” vote against any health care bill that has triggers (which I believe the Senate bill has) or state opt-outs for its public option.

This is the kind of stuff I’m looking for in a politician.  Make that a most likely write-in vote for Mike Capuano in the Massachusetts general election.

liberalmaverick’s Xanga Table of Contents IV

Wow, I realized I haven’t published a new Table of Contents in three years.


For the entries listed in this Table of Contents, most if not all of them do not have subtitles, since the Xanga Title function does not easily allow for them.  So I have included a brief description, where appropriate (some titles are self-explanatory and I’ve not given them descriptions), to let readers know what the entry is about.


For entries dating from December 25 2005 and earlier, see Table of Contents III, from January 17 2006.




UCSD January 2006 Special Election: January 27 2006

Description: Sex/nudity ban on SRTV at UCSD


Crazy Day: January 31 2006: February 2 2006


UCSD’s Genetic Disorder: February 11 2006

Description: UCSD’s got too many people and it feels like a cookie-cutter factory, like Monta Vista


PIGGY!!!: February 13 2006

Description: Wilbur the Pig!


The Fall Of A Rising Star: February 15 2006

Description: The end of Paul Hackett’s U.S. Senate campaign


Reaction And Response To Day Of Action: March 6 2006

Description: Event for withdrawal from Iraq war and impeachment of President Bush


So, How Bout That Investigation Boys?: March 8 2006

Description: No investigation into President Bush’s wiretapping


You Know What Classroom I Really Don’t Like? SOLIS 104: March 16 2006


A Lifetime Of Regret: April 9 2006

Description: My future career plans and desires, and troubles thereof


19 Bottles Of Beer (Or Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Whatever) On The Wall: May 10 2006

Description: Lower the alcohol drinking age to 18


Kenneth Huang’s Life Episode IƆƆMCMLV: School Sucks: May 30 2006

Description: Trouble with Biometry


June 6 2006 Election:  June 6 2006


Busby LOST, okay?: June 7 2006

Description: The absurd Democratic post-election loss self-comforting in CA-50


Kenneth Huang’s Life Episode IƆƆMCMXCV: A New Summer: July 9 2006


Most Ridiculous Anti-Pot Ad Ever: July 24 2006


Apartment BR2409 Idiosyncrasies: July 30 2006


The Case For Ned Lamont: August 9 2006


Follow-Up To The Case For Ned Lamont: August 16 2006


Kenneth Huang’s Life Episode IƆƆMMXXXIX: End-Of-Summer Struggle: August 22 2006


The Great Hair Experiment: August 30 2006


An Editorial Word From Your Legislative Director On Statewide Elections: November 5 2006

Description: My desperate pitch for Phil Angelides


General Election 2006: November 7 2006


Follow-up On General Election 2006: May 6 2007


A Government That Presponds: August 23 2007

Description: Why doesn’t government ever prepare for and prevent disasters like the I-35W bridge collapse, instead of just responding to it after it’s already happened?


New Orleans: The Nation’s Shame: August 29 2007

Description: Two years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans remains a sore example of what happens when government is paralyzed by conservatism-driven incompetence


Follow Up to New Orleans: The Nation’s Shame: September 2 2007

Description: Conservatives have an incentive to run government into the ground because that’s how they prove that government doesn’t work


The Saga of Larry Craig: September 6 2007

Description: Airport Bathroom-gate


The Saga of Vanessa Hudgens: September 9 2007

Description: Nude Photo-gate


I Hate Fucking SquirrelMail/ACS Webmail/UCSD Email: October 15 2007

Apartment R33 Idiosyncrasies: November 5 2007

Drinking Liberal Water and Eating Big Government Pork: November 29 2007

Description: If government sucks so bad, why do Republicans keep asking for pork?  For the record, I have no problem with pork


The 2008 Presidential Election – Part I: The Republican Field: December 28 2007


The 2008 Presidential Election – Part II: The Democratic Field: December 31 2007


The 2008 Presidential Election – Part III: The Big Decision: January 2 2008

Description: This is it!  My endorsement in the Democratic Presidential primary!


The 2008 Presidential Election – Part IV: A Clarification on My Vote: January 31 2008


Addendum to The 2008 Presidential Election – Part III: The Big Decision: February 4 2008

Description: Analysis of differences between Barack Obama and John Edwards in legislative strategy


2008 Democratic Presidential Primary: February 5 2008


The 2008 Presidential Election – Part V: The One Man, One Woman Race: February 19 2008

Description: Barack Obama vs. Hillary Clinton


The Saga of Eliot Spitzer Part I: March 11 2008

Description: Prostitute-gate


The Saga of Eliot Spitzer Part II: Resignation: March 12 2008


The Saga of Eliot Spitzer Part III: Prostitution: March 31 2008

Description: Should prostitution be legal?


Finally… 21: May 10 2008

Description: As of January 21 2010, this entry has not yet been written!


June 3 2008 Election: June 8 2008


John Edwards’s Fidelity Problems: August 8 2008

Description: It’s not the betrayal that first comes to mind


Finally, Democrats Who (Almost) Get It: October 23 2008

Description: Barack Obama and Al Franken inch towards pro-government rhetoric


My Thoughts on Joe Lieberman: November 19 2008

Description: John McCain lost and Joe Lieberman is sheepishly trying to get back into the Democratic fold.  What to do, what to do…


Some More Thoughts on Joe Lieberman: December 3 2008


November 4 2008 General Election: December 8 2008


Post-Election 2008 Senate Races: December 16 2008

Description: Remaining undecided 2008 U.S. Senate races in Oregon, Alaska, Georgia, and, most notably, Minnesota


Star Tribune Widget: December 28 2008

Description: Finally, a working Star Tribune Minnesota Senate race widget!


Appointing U.S. Senators: December 31 2008

Description: U.S. Senate appointment/replacement procedures in general, and in Illinois, Delaware, New York (oh, the drama!) and Colorado


2008-2009 Campus Activity Fee Referendum: January 16 2009


Editor’s Note on Business for Left Turn in this New Year: January 17 2009


Post-Election Commentary: Proposition 8 and My Views on LBGT Rights: January 19 2009


Obama: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: January 20 2009


Illinois 5th Congressional District Special Primary Election: March 3 2009


Post-Graduation Crossroads: March 28 2009

Description: College is over – what’s next?


Untitled March 31 2009 entry: March 31 2009

Description: As of January 21 2010, this entry has not yet been written!


I Hate April Fool’s Day: April 1 2009

Description: As of January 21 2010, this entry has not yet been written!


A Modest Proposal to Angry Tax-Hating Conservatives: April 15 2009

Description: Conservatives can get as much government – or as little – as they pay for


Comments on Specter’s Switch I: May 2 2009

Description: The effect of Arlen Specter’s switch on his voting behavior and his reelection race


Comments on Specter’s Switch II: Purity vs. Viability: May 4 2009

Description: Is it better to run candidates who are good on the issues, or can win elections?


Comments on Specter’s Switch III: Let’s Take the Fucker Out!: May 7 2009

Description: A running commentary on how bad Arlen Specter is and how the Pennsylvania Senate race is going


Open Left: May 10 2009

Description: I join Open Left!


May 19 2009 California Special Election: May 19 2009


Father’s Day: June 21 2009

Description: As of January 21 2010, this entry has not yet been written!


Targeting Senators on the Public Option: July 14 2009

Description: poll on which anti-public option Senator to target


Upcoming Entry: August 2 2009

Description: As of January 21 2010, this entry has not yet been written!


My Thoughts on Health Care, Part I: September 9 2009

Description: My thoughts on what our health care system should be like


My Thoughts on Health Care, Part II: November 1 2009

Description: How health care reform actually turned out, and the political malpractice that threatens its passage


Election Day 2009: November 3 2009


What I Said About Lieberman: November 17 2009

Description: As usual, I’m right (this time about Lieberman)


2010 Massachusetts Senate Special Election, Democratic Primary: December 8 2009


My Thoughts on Health Care, Part III: December 21 2009

Description: My comparison of the Senate health care bill to the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit law, and what that means for whether or not I’ll support it


My Thoughts on Health Care, Part IV: December 24 2009

Description: A liberal friend’s response to my comparison of the Senate health care bill to the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit law, and my response to that