June 28, 2012—It’s a great day for millions of American families and children who will have certainty of health care benefits and affordable care under a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that substantially upheld President Obama’s healthcare plan. The majority agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance (the individual mandate) is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court didn’t decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding. Here’s a (pdf) copy of the court’s ruling.
It wasn’t such a great day for CNN and Fox News. CNN was first out of the box as the decision was being announced and they got it wrong, claiming that the court had ruled to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Over at Fox, the silence was deafening—perhaps it was technical difficulties—as their streaming on-line coverage was replaced by a color test pattern and a scheduled chat room feature failed to start on time. As one wag put it, “It’s a good thing they have health insurance over at Fox, there’s gotta be a bunch of heart attacks happening now.” None-the-less, the Fox News website persisted in using the term “Obamacare” which has developed into conserv-speak for “our healthcare program is ‘don’t get sick’”. The Republican National Committee’s first official reaction to the Supreme Court ruling was to issue a new twitter hashtag #FullRepeal.
The sky is falling!… A KPBS news story about an after hours private swim class for women only at the Copley YMCA in City Heights, drew flack from local yahoos yesterday, apparently because the piece mentioned that the participants were East African Muslims. The Copley Y began offering the swim lessons recently after moms and daughters from City Heights Hope told the club that they can’t swim in front of men because they’re Muslim. The fact that it takes place outside the facilities business hours and is paid for by the women who requested the class, wasn’t enough to stop a flood of negative comments.
It wasn’t long after the story was posted on line for the first accusation that “Islamic Sharia Law [is] being followed in San Diego”, and “that’s discrimination, illegal and should be defied with every opportunity. This is America, not Eritrea, not Somalia, and not any of the sharia ruled nations that these women FLED.” Other commenters pushed back, as word went out via twitter about the negative response to the story: “I’ve seen this before. It’s like a google news alert goes out and Tea Party types pile in.” In response to the negativity, one reader wrote: “I do not see how a couple of hours for women only in a swimming pool, which is otherwise open to all, is equated a raciest eatery or a misogynistic elitist drinking hole?”
Another unwanted power plant… This morning’s of the San Diego Planning Commission promises to be interesting as citizens opposed to the construction of the Quail Brush Power Plant (near Santee) will present testimony seeking to prevent the rezoning of the proposed site sought by Cogentrix, a North Carolina based company specializing in power plant construction. According to The California Energy Commission, Quail Brush would be a 100-megawatt generating facility that will consist of, “eleven natural gas-fired reciprocating Wartsila engine generators.”
Area residents’ opposition to the power plant is based on concerns that the eleven ten story tall smoke stacks will ruin the aesthetics of and pollute the air near the location which is currently zoned for conservation (75%) and residential development (25%). Also of concern are environmental impacts (500,000 cubic yards of grading would take place), the fact that construction would be in opposition to the Navajo Community Plan and the San Diego General Plan. The proposed facility is right across the street from West Hills High School, upwind fromSycamore Canyon Elementary School and right across the road from Mission Trails Regional Park. An earlier hearing on the power plant ended when the applicants asked for a postponement so they could make unspecified design changes. For more information go here.
School news and Roger Hedgecock’s lack of actual facts… Teachers with the San Diego Education Association voted 2 to 1 this week in favor of a contract proposal that would allow the school district to rescind lay off notices for 1500 teachers. And the district got some other good news yesterday as the State of California announced that dropout and graduation rates for school districts across California show San DiegoUnified School District with the lowest dropout rate among the state’s large, urban school districts. Meanwhile, the morning at the UT-San Diego dinosaur polemicist Roger ‘I am not a felon’ Hedgecock was ranting about the “dreadful” drop out rates, test scores lagging (they have shown modest increases over the past few years) and “the politically correct curriculum driven by progressive politics crowding out time for math, science, English, etc..” We’re guessing he might be happier with the State of Louisiana’s approved textbook that claims the Loch Ness monster is proof that dinosaurs coexist peacefully with us and evolution is a flawed theory.
On This Day: In 1971, The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the draft evasion conviction of Muhammad Ali. In 1975 David Bowie’s “Fame” was released. In 2007 The American bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list.
Eat Fresh! Chef Hanis Cavin of Carnitas Snack Shack while be having a live cooking demonstration at the North Park Farmers’ Market today! Come check it out!
Today’s Farmer’s Markets: Carmel Valley (Canyon Crest Academy 5951 Village Center Loop Road) 3:30 – 7:00 pm, Chula Vista (Downtown, Center St. & Third Ave.) 3 –7 pm, Linda Vista (6900 Linda Vista Road Between Comstock & Ulric) 2 – 7 pm, North Park (CVS Pharmacy parking lot 3151 University & 32nd St.) 3 – 7 pm, Oceanside Market & Faire (Pier View Way & Coast Hwy. 101) 9 am – 1 pm, Oceanside Sunset (Tremont & Pier View Way) 5 –9 pm, San Carlos (Pershing Middle School 8204 San Carlos Drive) 4 – 7 pm, SDSU Farmers’ Market(Campanile Walkway btw Hepner Hall & Love Library) 10 – 3 pm, University Town Center (Genesee Ave. at UTC Westfield Shopping Plaza) 3 – 7 pm.
America has become the country with the least equality of opportunity of any of the advanced industrial countries – Joe Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate economist
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.