March 27, 2012

Reason.tv: Obamacare goes to the Supreme Court

Filed under: Government, Law, Liberty, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 14:33

Does the fate of a federal government with limited powers rest in the hands of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia? And if so, will he rule against broad federal powers (as he did in the Gonzales case) or in favor of the feds’ right to regulate just about anything (as he did in the Raich case)?

The Supreme Court case over The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, “is certainly the most important case on the reach of federal power in 50 years” says attorney and legal scholar Timothy Sandefur of the Pacific Legal Foundation. “The constitutional principle of where is the line drawn on federal power — that’s a matter that our children and grandchildren will have to live with.”

The ruling will come sometime in early June, predicts Sandefur, who tells Reason.tv that the Affordable Care Act raises multiple constitutional issues: Can part of the law be struck down and other upheld? Is the “individual mandate,” which forces all Americans to purchase insurance as a condition of simply being alive, legal? Does the law’s massive expansion of Medicaid shred the right of states to govern their own finances?

Guild Wars beta reports still coming in

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 12:00

In my other life as weekly roundup columnist for GuildMag, we’re still expanding our Guild Wars 2 beta aggregation page for articles and videos coming out of last weekend’s beta: beta test weekend.

The Quebec student protests as a harbinger of the coming “entitlement wars”

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Education, Government — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 10:30

Bill Morrison in the National Post:

This past week, the streets of Quebec have been full of marching students, displaying a degree of anger and solidarity the likes of which have not been seen in Canada for many years. The fact that this protest is focused on naked self-interest — maintaining the province’s ridiculously low tuition fees rather than world peace, global poverty or even the inchoate agenda of the Occupy movement — speaks volumes about the emergence in Canada of an inter-generational struggle over entitlements.

Everyone knows that a clash over entitlements is in the offing in Canada as a whole. It may come, as the political right argues, because government coffers are close to empty, and cutbacks have to be made. It may be, as the left suggests, that governments have been hijacked by low-tax, pro-corporation policies, and no longer care about equality and social safety nets. It even could be, as still others argue, that the public usage of our core institutions — hospitals, colleges and universities — has simply outstripped our capacity or willingness to pay.

As for the specific example of tuition, the simple fact is that university education is underpriced in Canada, particularly for the middle and upper classes that benefit from impressive tax savings along the route of getting their children to and through university. It is a much smaller subset of the total student body — children from low-income families — that deserves greater financial support and attention. Instead, and in a mix of self-interest and a commitment to equality, students demand the same concessions for all.

The first “home run” from the Colditz POW camp

Filed under: Britain, Europe, Germany, History, WW2 — Tags: — Nicholas @ 09:45

BBC News has an interesting bit of history about the first successful escape from the “escape-proof” prisoner-of-war camp at Colditz:

Forged papers used by a British escapee from Colditz to make one of the first “home runs” back to the UK from the notorious German prisoner-of-war camp are being sold along with his medals. The tale of his ingenuity and success has become the stuff of World War II legend.

Perched high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the River Mulde near Leipzig, eastern Germany, Colditz castle was considered by German authorities in WWII the ideal site for a high-security prison for allied officers with a history of trying to escape.

But despite its “escape proof” label, the Gothic building witnessed 174 attempts by its troublesome, spirited inmates.

Nevertheless, just 32 men were ever successful — and only half of these managed the feat from within the castle.

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