More Things
Who's got two thumbs and upheld Obamacare? (gawker.com).
by Tony Petrangelo
Jul 1, 2012, 9:00 AM

The Weekly Wrap 7-1

♣ The big news this week was of course the ruling by the US Supreme Court, upholding Citizens United.

That’s not where you thought I was going was it?

♣ That guy above with the shit-eating grin threw people for a loop on Thursday, well, people being people who bothered to listen to anything that people on TV had to say about the impending decision.

Nate Silver wrote an article on Wednesday that suggested there was a disproportionate amount of confidence that the law would be overturned based on the actual evidence.

After these oral arguments, Intrade’s betting shifted dramatically. Quickly, the chance of the mandate’s being overturned climbed to about 65 percent from 35 percent at the market.

The odds of the mandate’s being overturned have fluctuated some since then, but have risen even further in the past few weeks, according to the market.

Is such a large shift in sentiment justified? In my view, probably not. This may be another case of traders being overconfident about the value of their information, a property which has also been observed in the stock market.

He goes on to show how oral arguments are not really a great way to judge how a case will be decided and there are better indicator’s to look at, almost all of which in this case, pointed to a close call.

Certainly not the almost 80% chance of being overturned seen on Intrade and expressed among many conservatives.

At least one person saw this coming though, Brian Beutler, who on March 26th wrote about how he thought Roberts had tipped his hand (and he cites oral arguments, so there you go!):

In an exchange with a plaintiffs attorney, Roberts suggested he’s skeptical that the mandate and its penalties can be treated separately and may have opened the door to finding that Congress’ power to impose the mandate springs from its broad taxing power.

Which is exactly what happened. But before you get too excited, there may be a downside effect to this ruling:

Instead, today Roberts upheld the law as a tax, claiming that, “The individual mandate… cannot be sustained under Congress’s power to ‘regulate Commerce.’” His opinion preserves the illusion of a court that impartially rules on the law and is not—in four cases at least—intensely motivated by partisan political considerations. At the same time, it represents the first major step in rolling back an interpretation of the commerce clause that has been considered fundamental for roughly 80 years, one whose elimination has been a Federalist Society wet dream for 30.

Although others are less convinced that this will be an issue.

♣ Michael Brodkorb meet with GOP Senate leadership for a latte earlier in the week, both sides were sans council. Perhaps they were simply pitching him on a timeshare?

Our Vote Our Future, the group working to defeat the Photo Voter ID amendment announced four co-chairs; Arne Carlson, Walter Mondale, Tim Penny and Dr. Josie Johnson.

Some of those names should be familiar to the Minnesota political geek class; Arne Carlson is a former Republican Governor, and noted Quisling. Walter Mondale is a former Democratic Vice President of the entire United States. And Tim Penny is a former Democratic congressperson, turned failed Independence party candidate for Governor.

So this is a quasi tri-partisan trio, although Republicans would no doubt consider all three of them lefty socialist collaborators, at best.

The lone non-previously-elected-official is Dr. Josie Johnson, a former U of M regent and civil rights activist.

♣ Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, on Thursday, submitted a title for the ballot question on the constitutional amendment to limit marriage to Attorney General Lori Swanson, who will ultimately approve or disapprove the title (and I’d be willing to bet cash money she approves it).

The title that was in the legislation:

Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman.

The title submitted by Ritchie:

Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.

It’s within the Secretary of States authority to do this and I don’t see anything in his proposed title that is in any way wrong or misleading, so I would expect that Ritchie’s version will be the one on the ballot.

In the meantime here are some name ideas for the Photo Voter ID bill:

- Making sure everyone has to go to the DMV
- Placing unnecessary obstacles to vote in the way of elderly, students, people with disabilities and homeless citizens.

Or simply, “Limiting voting rights.”

♣ Because the totally sane and rational people at the NRA (that’s the National Rifle Association) rule their world, both Collin Peterson and Tim Walz voted to hold Eric Holder in contempt of congress.

Only one of the Democrats who voted in favor has not been endorsed by the NRA previously, so this was clearly acquiescence to their totally sensical and not at all hyperbolic claims that the whole point of Fast and Furious was to bring back the assault weapons ban.

Least they forget, President Obama is the greatest gun president in teh hiztorys!

This is really interesting, the image below is how North America looked around 85 million years ago and the linked article explains how that ancient coastline is affecting modern politics.

Map of Late Cretaceous coastline (85Ma)

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