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Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

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A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

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http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1573:legal-reasoning-redux-5&catid=38:there-and-never-back-again&Itemid=65

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Don't Have Sex In New Zealand

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We shouldn't say don't have sex in New Zealand. Instead, if you're going to have sex in New Zealand, do it now. Do not wait.

The NZ Labor Party has introduced a bill that would radically change the way rape prosecutions are handled, using the time dishonored burden of proof known as Guilty Until Proven Innocent. The innovation's sponsor, Andrew Little, says not to worry because the state (down under the call it the "Crown") still bears a significant burden of proof:

The Crown has to prove more than just sex; the issue of consent has to be raised by the Crown, they have to prove the identity of the offender. They would have to bear that burden of proof before a switch to the defence to prove consent. [NZ Herald]

See, no need to worry. The Crown still bears the burden of proving that sex happens (she says so) and the identity of the offender (she says him). Your ball, Mr. Defendant.

And why shift the burden? Well because rape cases are really hard to prosecute. Do you know how hard it is to prove lack of consent? Just about as hard as it is to prove consent. And since consent is so hard to prove either way, the NZ standard would basically be Guilty If Accused.

Guilty If Accused?! Surely we're exaggerating. After all, plenty of people do get convicted of rape. In fact, in New Zealand 46% of defendants brought to trial for rape are convicted. If the Crown is able to so often prove a lack of consent then surely the defendant will have a fair shake.

 

Oh, except that the defendant isn't allowed to question the accuser.

The accuser will only be questioned by the judge, a judge working under a Ministry of Justice with an official policy of increasing rape conviction rates.

Planned Parenthood Needs to Chillax About Hobby Lobby

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As soon as the Supreme Court reached its decision in Hobby Lobby vs. The Crushing Ennui That Accompanies Spending Time At Hobby Lobby, Planned Parenthood released this image on their Facebook page:

 

Your boss can decide if you have access to birth control coverage! Now as far as we know, Planned Parenthood has some sort of expertise when it comes to birth control, so if they say this is the case, it must actually be the case, right?

Of course not. It's a knee-jerk reaction to a hot-button issue, which basically tells you right away that it's completely wrong and without any basis in fact or reasoning. In fact, Planned Parenthood doesn't seem to have gotten as far as the first paragraph of the majority opinion.

We must decide in these cases whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 107 Stat. 1488,42 U. S. C. §2000bb et seq., permits the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to demand that three closely held corporations provide health-insurance coverage for methods of contraception that violate the sincerely held religious beliefs of the companies’ owners. We hold that the regulations that impose this obligation violate RFRA, which prohibits the Federal Government from taking any action that substantially burdens the exercise of religion unless that action constitutes the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest.

And then a little further into the opinion:

For all these reasons, we hold that a federal regulation’s restriction on the activities of a for-profit closely held corporation must comply with RFRA.

Emphasis added. But only kinda added. The bold was added, but the court keeps saying "closely held" over and over again, making it very clear that the opinion applies only to closely held corporations.

Might it be a precedent that will allow the decision to later apply to all corporations, slippery slope style? Probably not. It makes some sense (to some people, we can think of at least 5) that a closely held corporation could have a sincerely held religious belief. It makes absolutely no sense to say that a widely held corporation can have the same sort of belief. If the decision will apply anywhere else, it's most likely going to extend to sole-proprietorships, and maybe some partnerships.

So, can "your boss" decide if you can have birth control coverage?

Probably not. If you work for Hobby Lobby they can make some decisions, but most employers will still have to provide it.

 

But wait, there's still more wrong with the Planned Parenthood message!

Even Hobby Lobby can't decide if you can have access to birth control coverage. What Hobby Lobby can decide is if Hobby Lobby is going to provide it. That's not the end of the access question because there's thing you may have heard about in the news called THE OBAMACARE. Or you know, the health care exchange marketplace communism Obamacare. If you work for a Hobby Lobby and want birth control to be covered, you can just buy a different plan on an exchange.

But buying it on the exchange could be cost-prohibitive. The exchanges work by giving people discounts, but you don't qualify for a discount if you're already getting coverage from work. Hobby Lobby isn't exactly paying upper-middle class wages. By not getting it from their employer, aren't employees effectively cost-prohibited from obtaining birth control?

Excellent question! Let's see what the government has to say about it:

Whether you qualify for lower costs based on your income will depend on the coverage the employer offers. You won't be able to get lower costs if your job-based coverage is considered affordable and meets minimum value.

Meets the minimum value. We suspect it'll be about two more minutes before some interpretive guidance comes down saying that plans without birth control aren't minimally acceptable and that if you have such a plan you will quality for lower costs. Just a guess, but we think it's a pretty damn good one.

 

But wait, there's still more!

Not my boss's business.

Your reproductive health decisions are you own business, not your boss's. And that's exactly the position Hobby Lobby has taken. You want birth control? Not their business. By demanding that employers provide it, they're making it quite literally their boss's business.

Georgetown law prof asks: But what about the wimmin?

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Obama recently rolled out the My Brother's Keeper initiative aimed at helping minority boys and young men. The goal is basically to get them education, employed, and out of trouble -- and if they're in trouble, to get them back on the right track. So naturally, Georgetown Law pof Paul Butler is asking, "But what about the wimmin?" Here's a bit from an article he wrote for CNN:

There's a myth that girls of color are doing better than boys. But that's not supported by the facts. Indeed the White House website attempts to justify MBK's exclusion of females by stating that "boys of color are too often born into poverty and live with a single parent."

But don't African-American girls live in the same single-parent households as African-American boys? Don't Latina girls attend the same failing schools as Latino boys? Isn't a teenage girl on a reservation in California as afraid of being a victim of rape as a teenage boy in Chicago is afraid of being a victim of gun violence?

It would actually be quite surprising if the odds of a girl being raped on an Indian reservation was the same as a boy being shot in Chicago, and we're sure the stats are out there somewhere, but we're not going to look into that particular one because frankly, it'd take too much time, not to mention problems with rapes being under-reported --  gunshots on the other hand tend to draw police attention.

But what we will look at are the more easily comparable stats. Is is a myth that girls of color are doing better than boys of color?

Black women are twice as likely to get a 4 year college degree than black men. [Dep't Ed] The numbers are similarly skewed for Hispanic and Native Americans and at all levels of education except when it comes to blacks getting master's degrees (black women get 71%) and Hispanics getting PhDs (Latinas only get 55%). Nowhere on the spectrum are girls of color not doing better than boys.

According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, black males are about 30% more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than black females. [NCJRS]

Black men are 50% more likely to have been arrested than black women. They're six times as likely to have been charged in federal court. [BJS]

The black unemployment rate for men is 30% higher than for women, though Hispanic men are doing slightly better than Hispanic women overall. For youth the numbers are much worse. Black men aged 16-19 have a 42.8% unemployment rate, while it's 27.5% for women. At age 20-24 it's 25.5% for black men, 18.5% for black women. Hispanic youth were at a virtual tie at these ages. [BLS]

But don't African-American girls live in the same single-parent households as African-American boys?

It would appear not. That won't stop a Georgetown law profess though, and why should it? You see, law school teach you to think like a lawyer, and what does that mean? Cheat To Win. Your loyalty is to your client, to your cause, not to some higher notions of truth or justice. All that matters is winning the argument.

PS: There's this little thing called the White House Council on Women and Girls, but no corresponding op-ed from Paul Butler demanding that men and boys be included. And they shouldn't be. Including boys in programs designed to help girls is like giving them a mastectomy to cure prostate cancer. Doesn't mean there shouldn't also be prostate cancer treatments, but we shouldn't have the Paul Butlers of the world complaining that the woman in the next exam room isn't all getting a finger up her rectum.

Obamacare Secretly Changing Your Party Affiliation

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If you get insurance through Covered California (an Obamacare health care exchangemaroo), be prepared to have your party registration automatically switched over to Democrat for you. At least, that's what an ABC news story alleges:

A local couple called 10News concerned after they received an envelope from the state's Obamacare website, Covered California. Inside was a letter discussing voter registration and a registration card pre-marked with an "x" in the box next to Democratic Party.

The ABC story goes on to explain that the couple didn't want to be identified, and that the couple attempted to contact the California Secretary of State office, which investigates voting fraud, but "could not get a hold of anyone."

 

So yeah, we're gonna go ahead and file this item under the heading That Happened.

Come on, ABC. First rule of journalism is you have to name your sources. Well, maybe not the first rule, but it's in like the top 10 rules. A source needs a really good reason to not go on the record. And when they have a good reason, you disclose it to the reader so they know.

Second rule of journalism is that if you've just got one piece of evidence, and that evidence is really shaky, you go looking for more evidence. That's actually maybe the first rule. We don't really know, we're not journalists. But, we do know that anyone could just get an unmarked form, mark it, and then call ABC and claim it was pre-marked. There's no way for ABC to know the difference. Now, it's a judgment call whether or not to run the allegation, but if you do run it you certainly don't say, "Inside was a [...] registration card pre-marked with an 'x' in the box next to Democratic Party." What you do say is "The couples alleges that the card was pre-marked with an 'x'..."

The third rule of journalism is that if there are 4 million other voter registration mailings being sent out by Covered California, you go find someone else with a pre-marked card.

The fourth rule of journalism is if someone says they called the Secretary of State and no one there is answering the phones, you get damned suspicious of the story. But hey, it's the start of Spring, so maybe?

The fifth rule of journalism is you call the Secretary of State yourself and tell us what they had to say.

The sixth rule of journalism is that when you talk to Covered California and learn that the mailings come not from them but directly from the Secretary of State, you think hm... I SHOULD CALL THE SECRETARY OF STATE.

The seventh rule of journalism is Preston Phillips, you should stop doing journalism, because...

The eighth rule of journalism is That Happened.

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