link roundup — civil rights, Goldman Sachs, Vermont single payer

  • Brad DeLong examines a possible flaw in libertarian readings of private property. “When you own a lunch counter and make it whites-only[,] if Black people sit down at the lunch counter you call the police — functionaries of the state — and they then take the Black people away and charge them with trespass…. Private fee-simple property is, after all, an institution established and enforced by the government. You can hardly get the government out of what is, fundamentally, the government’s core business.”
  • Newt Gingrich would like to see the return of the poll test. If you don’t know why that’s a bad idea as well as a bit of racial dog-whistle, here’s a simple explanation, and here’s a slightly more academic one.
  • Meanwhile, the Indiana Supreme Court decided in a recent 3-2 ruling that there is no constitutional right to resist unlawful police entry into one’s home. The majority opinion held that “a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.” As this commenter on The Agitator asks, “So, the next time some psycho cop decides to harass and intimidate his ex girlfriend for breaking up with him, she has no legal right to prevent him from barging into her home…? What constitutes ‘resisting entry’? Can she even lock her doors when she sees him drunkenly lurching up her front walk?” Good questions.
  • Some historical reading on a related topic: the splendidly styled John Bad Elk v. United States, a U.S. Supreme Court decision from 1900, in which Mr. Bad Elk shot and killed a policeman named John Kills Back while resisting an unlawful arrest by Mr. Kills Back. The Court held that Bad Elk had a common-law right to resist unlawful arrest, even to the point of using deadly force. Not sure if there’s a more recent, superseding case, but this one’s fun to read, for sure.
  • Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone believes the criminal case against various bank executives, especially at Goldman Sachs, is actually pretty straightforward. Not that it will be prosecuted. Bank presidents don’t go to jail, even if they lie under oath to Congress. They just don’t.
  • Egypt quietly drops its law requiring a certain number of seats in Parliament to be held by women. It also no longer allows Egyptians living abroad to vote in domestic elections.
  • This is a fascinating story about a midwife convicted of child endangerment (a plea down from manslaughter) for attempting to deliver a breech-positioned baby in the mother’s home and failing to call 9-1-1 immediately when it became clear things were going south. My feelings about home birth are complicated. I’ve gotten into it with anti-home birth activists like Amy Tuteur who suggest that home birth is so unsafe as to be irresponsible. But this midwife clearly did act irresponsibly. The article notes that Karen Carr chose to become a midwife after her own hospital C-section left her feeling “violated and powerless,” and she “vowed never again to give birth in a hospital.” This is clearly a horrible attitude in a home birth midwife, whose job must by necessity sometimes involve handing off a complicated birth to medical professionals in a hospital. But to some extent, this is the kind of attitude one can expect as long as home birth midwifery is marginalized by insurance companies, ruled illegal in 23 states, and practiced only by anti-medicine fringe activists. If, on the other hand, home birth midwifery were elevated to being a truly skilled medical profession, practiced only by certified nurse midwives working hand-in-glove with obstetricians, we might see home birth in America become as safe as home birth in The Netherlands. (See also: abortion, prostitution.)
  • Finally, a bit of good news: it looks like Vermont may create a single-payer health care system for its citizens: “Given the relative lack of feasibility in the state for true ‘competition’ among providers or insurers… a single payer option makes a tremendous amount of sense.” The article also notes that California’s Medi-Cal program, run at the county level, is an example of a single-payer system that’s already working.
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