Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Brainwashed and Dry Cleaned.

The think tank posts this link to an MSNBC interview with the shouter who disrupted Arlen Specter's Lebanon town hall yesterday.

What's sad is to see a real live example of brainwashing. Poor Mr. Miller was simply repeating what he heard hundreds of times from the right wing media. I feel sorry for him because he is the kind of person for whom government needs to work but he is being played by the faux populists who have created the mishmash he and others repeat. As a character said in the original version of the Manchurian Candidate: "His brain has not only been washed...it has been dry cleaned."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

US Attorney Purge Documents

The Arkansas Times blog notes that there's some more smoke on the 2007 US Attorneys purge that involved Arkansas US Atty Bud Cummins. It sure seems like there was a fire about this in Karl Rove's office in the White House.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The "Death" of Health Care Reform

I have been thinking a lot about the mobs who are shouting down any discussion of health care.

But first, here's a source of facts for the reality based community, that dwindling band of folks who like to make decisions based on quaint things like facts and evidence and, you know, reality.

James Fallows thinks that journalists should report the truth and not simply relay lies, half-truths and misinformation. What a concept!

Blake Rutherford links to Mark Halperin's Time posting: Why Everything About the Health Care Mobs is a National Disgrace.

Listen to David Brooks - David Brooks! - say that Rush Limbaugh's health care rhetoric is "insane."

Here is the unpleasant truth that the health care shouters will not accept: refusing to reform health care is a death sentence for thousands of Americans. As Southern Beale says to Sarah Palin:
"You have no idea what it’s like to be called into a sterile conference room with a hospital administrator you’ve never met before and be told that your mother’s insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU. You can't imagine what it's like to be advised that you need to “make some decisions,” like whether your mother should be released “HTD” which is hospital parlance for “home to die,” or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been made for you. "Living will" or no, it doesn't matter. The bank account and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.

If this isn’t a “death panel” I don’t know what is."

The truth is that the unthinking anger, the refusal to listen to the facts, and the willingness to be misled by corporate-managed campaigns of disinformation are far greater dangers to our future than anything that health care reform will bring. Death of democracy, anyone?

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Change -in Legal Education - is Gonna Come (with apologies to Sam Cook)

I attended the ABA Workshop for Law School Dean on being a law school dean in tough times. It had the expected advice about how to weather the current economic storms. But there was also a not so veiled undercurrent: the old strategies may not work this time because legal education is undergoing a sea change.

I am in that camp. Economic and educational forces are combining in ways that will create a different world in which law schools will operate and lawyers will practice.

What are the economic forces?
What are the educational forces?
In my view, schools that are mission driven and can measure their effectiveness will thrive. This means that life as law schools have known it for the last 20 years is over: if rankings survive, they will have take into account the new value that students will seek. And law schools will not be able to pump up tuition without regard to student debt load. And the faculty salad days may be over.

Perhaps it will create a caste system for law school but, as UMKC Dean Ellen Suni said, "So what? We've got that already." Perhaps, mission driven schools will be able to pursue their vision and prospective students will recognize our value. (BTW, the Sam Cook original may be one of the greatest R & B songs ever. IMHO).