Daily Archives: March 28, 2012

Just to be clear: Without the mandate, you can just forget about any sort of health care reform

I get sick to my stomach of reading stuff like this:

The Supreme Court struggled Wednesday with a question that looks increasingly significant after conservative justices battered the individual mandate: Should the rest of President Barack Obama’s health care law stand if the requirement to purchase insurance falls?

Most of the justices appeared opposed to throwing out the entire law, but their views on how much to keep in place were murky, and the divisions between conservatives and liberals were not always as clear cut as they were Tuesday….

If you get rid of the mandate that puts everyone into the system, then just scrap the law. Because without everyone in the system, we’re stuck with the same system we have now, which causes us to pay more than other developed nations for some of the worst health outcomes.

Either everybody is in it, or there’s no hope of affordability. And without affordability, nothing you come up with can work in the real world.

Surely the justices are all intelligent enough to understand that.

Wouldn’t it be horrible if our Constitution — the glory of what America is about — proved to be a barrier to our having a rational health care system? Well, that will be the case if the Court holds that you can’t require that everyone be in the system.

The only hope at that point would be if the barrier was simply this requirement of everyone having to buy insurance. Perhaps we could still have the workaround of a single-payer system that covers everybody. That, of course, would be far better than requiring everyone to purchase a hodgepodge of private products. The fact is that you’d still be requiring everyone de facto to buy in (through taxes) to a system that covers everyone, but maybe it would work as a de jure workaround. It sounds possible to this layman.

But then, the political barriers to taking that far more rational approach were (and will probably remain) so great that the Congress passed the cockamamie Obamacare to start with. So the thought doesn’t cheer me up all that much.

As expected, Finlay seeks Harrison’s House seat

This just came in over the transom a few minutes ago:

Kirkman Finlay III for SC House District 75


Finlay Announces State House Run

Kirkman Finlay III  to file for House Seat 75 on Thursday March 29, 2012.

Columbia, SC March 28, 2012 – Former Columbia City Councilman, Kirkman Finlay III, announces today that he will file to run for the South Carolina House of Representatives, to represent Richland County in District 75.  The seat is being vacated by Republican Representative James Harrison, who announced earlier this month that he will not seek re-election in November.

The 42 year old, a lifelong Columbia resident is married to Kathleen Finlay and is the father of three daughters:  Kay (12) Mary Fleming (9) and Hattie (8).  Finlay is the owner of local businesses, Pawleys Front Porch, Doc’s BBQ and the Millstone at Adams Pond.  He also operates a 6,000 acre soybean, corn and wheat farm.  Finlay has served as a board member of thePalmetto Health Foundation, Central Carolina Community Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, and the Boy Scouts of America.

“Economic Development, job creation and educational accountability will be the focus of my campaign.  I want to create a strong South Carolina that brings opportunity to everyone”, said Finlay.

As part of his campaign, Mr. Finlay wants to be accessible and responsive to the voters, and invites them to contact him by e-mail, phone, or Facebook page.

Mr. Finlay has already garnered the support of local business people and Columbia residents:  “Kirkman has a proven track record as a fiscally-responsible leader and has provided responsive representation to his constituents in the City ofColumbia.  He will offer a common sense approach to the state budget process, which our current leadership at the State House is sorely lacking” said Joe E. Taylor, Jr., a Finlay supporter and former Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

“Kirkman is above-board in his business dealings, and I know that he will carry that ethic to the State House in his representation of Richland County” said Jimmy Stevenson, a Finlay supporter and long-time business associate.

Mr. Finlay is running as a Republican candidate.

Anyone wishing to support the campaign should e-mail:  kirkmanfinlay@gmail.com

Is Nikki Haley really in trouble, or is everyone just engaging in wishful thinking?

All of a sudden, everywhere I go, people are speculating that Nikki Haley will not be governor much longer. But I haven’t run into anyone who can really back that up.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the source of this increasingly ubiquitous meme. It’s tempting to say that the fall of Glenn McConnell to the post of lieutenant governor has just caused everyone to rake back through all the scandals and demi-scandals and presque vu scandals that we already knew were drifting about the governor, and start speculating about them in a new way.

There have been, however, some new developments, even though they have to do with things we heard about way back before the 2010 election. There was the lawsuit by John Rainey, which was recently dismissed. Then, picking up on that, the Democrats in the Legislature called on the governor to waive any confidentiality if she is a target of an ethics investigation.

But what this post is about is the buzz, more than actual developments. People just keep on speculating. For instance, in the last couple of days:

  • I was having breakfast with James Smith yesterday, and he expressed the “concern” that Democrats might not have the opportunity to run against her in 2014. I suspect that if James himself runs, he’d prefer it be against Nikki.
  • At dinner last night, another Democrat — a former staffer to former Gov. Dick Riley — approached me to ask whether the governor would be long in office (the proximate cause for this conversation seemed to be nothing more than McConnell’s becoming the Gov Lite).
  • Then, Logan Smith posted, over at Palmetto Public Record, this document purporting to be from the IRS to the gov’s father, having to do with the Sikh Society of South Carolina. Again, something we’ve all heard murmurings about in the past.
  • One keeps hearing reports (James Smith spoke of it) that Nikki will have, as Will Folks put it, “a credible, well-funded Republican primary opponent in 2014.” Actually, it could be several. And she’s not well situated to survive such a challenge.
  • Libb posted on a previous thread, “Keep hearing from insiders at the Dome she will be Blagoviched soon…one can only hope.”

So far, this sounds like an echo chamber. I’ve seen virtually NO new information surface. The topic just seems suddenly to have a life of its own. But so far, I haven’t seen anything that indicates she is any closer to leaving office than she was a month ago, when this wasn’t (as much, anyway) the hot topic.

VIDEO: The ‘Zou Bisou Bisou’ scene, and its cultural antecedents

Kathryn “expressed her lack of appreciation of the “Mad Men” scene in which Don’s new young wife sings him a song in French.

No, it’s not much of a song, but that’s not the point. It was meant to evoke a certain sense of what 30ish, white, button-down people thought was particularly cool, sexy and sophisticated at that point in cultural history (1965).

To me, the scene’s cultural antecedent was the below scene in “The Pink Panther” (1963). The singer is Fran Jeffries.

Below that, I’ve included an original video of Gillian Hills singing the song in 1962. Gillian later appeared in a ménage à trois with David Hemmings and another girl in “Blow-Up,” the ultimate mid-60s cool movie (much spoofed by Austin Powers).

That’s all for now. I’ll try to keep up with this stuff for you. My time machine is standing by.

You can buy the Jessica Pare version of the song on vinyl at the “Mad Men” site.

Anybody want to talk Mad Men?

I called AT&T (and be sure to check out the ad at right) on Saturday to upgrade my TV options so that I could see the season premiere of “Mad Men” Sunday night. In HD.

I even went to see Dreher High School’s production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” — twice — over the weekend to help get me in the mood. (Quick, what is the most direct connection between that play — and I’m thinking the original Broadway production — and “Mad Men”? There’s a hint in the photo above.)

And it was all that I had expected it to be.

So I come in to work at my own ad agency Monday morning, and we usually spend a few minutes batting the breeze at the start of the traffic meeting, but… no one but me watches “Mad Men”! So there was no one to discuss it with.

Anybody want to talk about it? Here, I’ll start…

My favorite story line wasn’t Don’s relationship with his hot new wife, or Lane’s dilemma over the picture he found in a wallet. It was the one that went (SPOILER ALERT):

  • Young white twerps at competing agency, tired of hearing civil rights marchers outside their window, start dropping water bombs on them — which makes news.
  • Our protagonists at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce decide (in their own white-twerpy fashion) to add to the competitors’ discomfiture by running a help-wanted display ad declaring that they are “an equal opportunity employer.”
  • Joan (my very favorite Mad Man, even though “Man” fits her less well than it does anyone else on television), who is on maternity leave, thinks the agency is hiring someone to replace her, and charges into the office with her baby to demand explanations.
  • A reception-room full of earnest young black applicants, quite naturally taking the ad at face value, show up to apply for the job. NOW what are our wiseguys going to do — say there IS no job, and risk getting as big a black eye as the rival agency did?

Suddenly, our “heroes” are entangled in the mid-60s, and they have to figure out how to cope with it. And it’s deftly and realistically handled, if a bit larger than life.

‘Gov. Transparency’ won’t waive confidentiality

Harry Ott puts it pretty well in this release:

Columbia, SC – House Democratic Leader Harry Ott expressed disappointment on Wednesday after Governor Nikki Haley’s office told the media she would refuse to waive her confidentiality in the event of an ethics investigation. Representative Ott released the following statement in response:

“According to Governor Haley, ‘can’t’ is not an option, but apparently ‘wont’ is. She talks a great game, but when it’s time to turn her rhetoric into action, the ‘transparency governor’ hides behind a wall of secrecy. Unfortunately, this has become a pattern. The people of South Carolina deserve an open and honest government from their leaders. If the Governor is under investigation, the public deserves to know.”


But then, Nikki Haley keeps going out of her way to tee the ball up for her political opponents. If there’s an opportunity to be open and aboveboard — from her legislative emails to this — she can be relied upon to hide behind any cover that SC law provides. And SC law is chock-full of such protections for those who want to keep their business from the limelight.

Here’s what the gov’s mouthpiece had to say:

“If Mr. Ott and members of the House want to change the law and waive confidentiality for all of the ethics complaints filed against them – past and future – the governor would be happy to join them,” said Rob Godfrey, Haley’s spokesman. “Otherwise, we would ask that they get back to the people’s business, fund tax relief and pass restructuring.”

Godfrey said Haley already has answered all of the questions raised in Rainey’s lawsuit, adding further investigation is not needed.

“If there is an ethics complaint (filed) about matters that took place years ago and that have already been answered again and again, the regular procedures should be followed, and we’re confident that the Ethics Committee will come to the same conclusion as every other entity that Mr. Rainey has shopped this nonsense to – that it is entirely baseless,” Godfrey said…

Young Mr. Godfrey probably thinks that’s one heckuva slam-dunk answer, and indeed it does communicate volumes. Here’s my read on it: Hell, no, we don’t want to be transparent and aboveboard on this. Do YOU want to be transparent and aboveboard? Because we’re not going to be until everyone else does it first. Far be it from US to lead on such a thing; we prefer to be last in line when it comes to openness. Now, instead of asking us to do stuff we don’t want to do, just you shut up and go do what WE want YOU to do.

Or did I miss something?