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Haslam On Health Care Ruling

Tn. Gov. Bill Haslam’s statement in its entirety reacting to today’s federal court ruling declaring the Obama health care reform law unconstitutional.

“Today’s ruling was a crucial step in our fight against President Obama’s unaffordable healthcare mandate. I declared this law an ‘intolerable expansion of federal power’ when the bill was passed by Congress last March, and Judge Vinson’s ruling is yet another confirmation that the federal government significantly overstepped its authority.

“Our goal should be advocating for an approach that embraces healthy choices and personal responsibility and accountability for a healthy lifestyle. As governor, I am committed to controlling costs and improving Tennessee’s health status. Forcing mandates on states and individuals is entirely the wrong approach.

“We need to encourage our national leaders to use appropriate insights into the health care system to bring about real reform.”

Fake Pols on Twitter

If you’ve been following the shamelessly profane tweets of “fake Rahm” via the Twitter account purporting to belong to Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel that now has more followers than Emanuel himself, you’ve been treated to gems like these.

A POLITICO reporter, for example, requested an interview with the mystery Twitter-er, and @MayorEmanuel responded via Twitter that the chances were “somewhere right between (expletive) slim and (expletive) none.”

A Chicago TV reporter got this brush-off after an interview request: “just call the office: 312– (expletive)- OFF.”

(The joke is the real Rahm’s supposed tendency to sprinkle his convos with plenty of swearing).

Meanwhile, Tennessee now has its own fake Twitter version of a political icon who indulges in irreverent postings of 140 characters or less.

He’s @PrezJackson, a Twitter feed purporting to belong to the very late U.S. President and Tennessee native son Andrew Jackson. In his Twitter bio, he describes himself as an “old old old school Democrat” and “namesake of hundreds of disconnected streets in Nashville.”

Some recent postings:

“Text from Haslam: “How can I get the nickname Li’l Hickory?” Embarrassing.”

“Mornings like this make my old dueling wounds hurt.”

“If I had YouTube in 1824, John Quincy Adams would have been toast.”

Federal Judge: Obamacare Ain’t Legal

A federal judge ruled today the entire health care reform legislation is unconstitutional.

Here’s one of the most revealing sections of his ruling, which you can read here:

“This Act has been analogized to a finely crafted watch, and that seems to fit. It has approximately 450 separate pieces, but one essential piece (the individual mandate) is defective and must be removed. It cannot function as originally designed. There are simply too many moving parts in the Act and too many provisions dependent (directly and indirectly) on the individual mandate and other health insurance provisions — which, as noted, were the chief engines that drove the entire legislative effort — for me to try and dissect out the proper from the improper, and the able-to-stand-alone from the unable-to-stand-alone.

“Such a quasi-legislative undertaking would be particularly inappropriate in light of the fact that any statute that might conceivably be left over after this analysis is complete would plainly not serve Congress’ main purpose and primary objective in passing the Act. The statute is, after all, called “The Patient Protection and Affordable are Act,” not “The Abstinence Education and Bone Marrow Density Testing Act.” The Act, like a defectively designed watch, needs to be redesigned and reconstructed by the watchmaker.”

Update: For those keeping score, the health care reform law has now collected 2 rulings upholding it and 2 against it. The 2 for it come from Democratic-appointed judges; the 2 against come from Republican appointees.

The 2 rulings against the law open an interesting philosophical rift. Today’s ruling says the law’s mandate that generally everyone has to buy insurance – supposedly spreading the risk and money stream around evenly – is unconstitutional. It also says that so-called individual mandate is so interwoven into the fabric of the law that Congress has no choice but to scrap the whole thing and start over.

The other Republican judge who ruled against the law didn’t go that far. He said the individual mandate wasn’t constitutional, but he thinks the law can still stand up without that provision.

Meanwhile, here’s another excerpt from today’s ruling which gives a quasi Tea Party shout-out:

“It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America, would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain, for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power”, and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.”

Can your movie store do this?

In Monday’s Daily News, I wrote about an independent video rental store in Midtown that’s bucking the trend in the industry and just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The answer to one question I asked of the owners – What’s your favorite movie? – helps paint the picture. Here’s the epitome of a small independent store with a wildly knowledgeable staff:

Matt Martin: “Of all time? What movie I respond to the most? I guess my personal favorite would fall between the beautifully simplistic metaphysics of a Malle film, ‘My Dinner With Andre,’ or Orson Welles’ bombastic, over the top, dripping with cinematic style ‘A Touch of Evil.’

(My Dinner With Andre) is the definition of minimalist filmmaking. But jaw-dropping. No dinner conversation in history has ever been more fascinating. And Orson Welles at the tail end of his career was offered the chance, after he’d already been banned from Hollywood for decades, to direct this pulp novel about corrupt cops in a border town near Mexico. And he took what would have been schlock and turned it into this brilliant, phenomenal film.

If you’ve never seen ‘A Touch of Evil,’ definitely give it a whirl. It’s got the longest tracking shot in history. The opening shot, without cuts, is about 9 minutes long and spans several city blocks and sets up the whole movie without ever cutting the camera. It’s kamikaze filmmaking. It’s like, dude, you actually took 300 extras and tried to coordinate 2 blocks of activity.”

There Goes the Sunshine

The Memphis City Council is scheduled on Tuesday to vote on approving the city-county legislative agenda to take to Nashville.

One item on the list is an effort to add new exceptions to the state’s open records law for economic development projects.

As Memphis collected a slew of new business recruitments and relocations over the past several weeks, city officials and officials with the Greater Memphis Chamber have been especially vocal about media reporting. Specifically, they say media coverage threatens these deals.

With that in mind, here’s a summary of the economic development item on the legislative agenda:

“Tennessee Common Acts (T.C.A.) 4-3-730 provides that records of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TDECD) are public records. These records are open for inspection unless the Commissioner, with the agreement of the Attorney General, determines that the records should not be disclosed because of their sensitive nature. The statute permits sensitive information to be held in confidence for a period of five (5) years and permits proprietary information—defined as trade secrets, capital plans and marketing information—of economic development projects to be held in confidence indefinitely.

The proposed Act generally follows T.C.A. 4-3-730 and makes comparable provisions applicable to counties, municipalities and development entities that operate as the functional equivalent of a county or municipality for economic development purposes. The proposed Act creates an exception to the Open Records Act for information related to specific economic development projects, but it also requires public disclosure of any proposed contracts and relationship between the economic development prospect and any officer, employee, director or elected official of the county, municipality or development entity.

An alternative amendment would be to allow local entities to seek assistance from TDECD to maintain confidentiality pursuant to TCA 4-3-730.”

A chamber official told the Commercial Appeal the information the protection is being sought for is proprietary information a business competitor might use against them. The language above, however, suggests the new law would create exceptions for proprietary as well as “sensitive” information – whatever “sensitive” is supposed to mean.

If media coverage genuinely threatened these economic development deals, it seems to me the chamber would be more aggressive about saying – with specific detail – that Memphis lost such and such deals because of the media coverage.

If I was a Memphis City Council member, I might have questions Tuesday about why a city mayor who came into office promising transparency and improvement over the previous mayor feels the need to enlist his county counterpart in an effort to change a state law because of potential business recruitments dictating media practices.

(Update: The wording of the legislation defines “sensitive” information as “a file, document or data that is of such sensitive nature that its disclosure or public release would seriously harm the ability of a local industrial development corporation to conclude a PILOT agreement or contract for economic or community development.”

Which appears to be a pretty broad definition. Also, the local elected officials and chamber officials probably will spend most of their time talking about the need for this by focusing on the proprietary information piece. Even though I don’t think anyone in the media was seeking to disclose how Electrolux smelts metal or something like that – just that they’re coming, and what incentives are being offered to induce them to come.)

Dansette

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