RED STATES ARE EXPANDING MEDICAID, WHY NOT NC?: North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders have some explaining to do regarding Medicaid expansion. They keep saying the state can’t afford it, but others states keep deciding they can. In the midterm elections, voters in three more states — three red states that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump — approved ballot initiatives committing their states to expanding the government health insurance program for low-income people. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Johnathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project, a group that backed the initiatives, said, “Medicare expansion ballots represent a tectonic shift in health care across the county. The Republican Party has staked its political future on bashing the ACA for the better part of a decade and voters in some of the reddest states rejected that.”
FILL-IN-THE-BLANK TEMPLATE FOR NEXT SHOOTING STORY: A man armed with a (enter weapon here) and endless ammunition killed (enter number here) and wounded (enter number here) on (day of week), adding to the long list of horrific mass shootings that are now accepted as routine in America. It was the (number here) mass shooting of 2018 and the (number here) just in the last month. (Suspect’s name here) walked into a (church/school/nightclub/workplace) in (city name here) and began firing. Survivors said the suspect’s firepower was equivalent to that of a small Army platoon. The dead included (enter number here) law enforcement officers who responded to the shooting. Terrified patrons tried to hide or flee as the gunman coolly went about his business. In the aftermath, distraught family members scrambled to see if their loved ones were among the dead. Early reports suggest that the man suffered from mental illness and had purchased his guns legally. Authorities later found a stockpile of weapons in his apartment as well as threatening posts on his social media accounts. Those and other warning signs were ignored.
LET'S BRING DEMENTIA OUT OF THE SHADOWS AND INTO THE COMMUNITY: Upon diagnosis, dementia patients are often advised to “get their affairs in order.” To many, they feel invisible from that point on. No longer Jim or Clarence or Irene. They may be quickly determined incapable of making their own decisions. This loss of independence only compounds a level of insecurity about one’s ability to function in public. With that comes the guilt of relying on a caregiver who can be just as isolated. Friends and family members, not knowing how to help, what to do or say, fall away. But did you know there is an entire twitterverse of individuals living with dementia? There are individuals on the ‘Dementia Inclusive Durham’ advisory board. There are people who have written for major publications and who continue to teach at universities around the world. Yes, people LIVE with dementia. They do so on a continuum with abilities and talents that can span a significant part of their later years. In many cases, people living with dementia can continue to work and live with some reasonable accommodations. If we are willing to create them.
ON VOTER ID, THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS: Yes, the proposal sounds so reasonable on its surface: We use photo IDs for everything, don’t we? (No.) Doesn’t everyone have one? (No, everyone doesn’t.) Now it’s scheduled to become part of the state’s DNA. But the amendment as passed remains a blank check that legislators — current and future — can fill in as the winds of political convenience blow. They still have to decide the initial particulars of what IDs will be acceptable at the voting booth — drivers licenses, certainly, but what about workplace IDs? Military IDs? Passports? Will college photo IDs be acceptable, or will legislators take another opportunity to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters? How difficult will it be to obtain an acceptable photo ID? How much time, paperwork and expense will be involved? (Any expense turns this into a poll tax.) The answers to these questions will reveal the true motives of Republican legislators — and could set the stage for further legal action.
MATTHEW WHITAKER AND THE CORRUPTION OF JUSTICE: The real question isn’t whether the acting attorney general’s appointment is lawful, but whether it is part of a broader attempt to subvert the rule of law. Does the appointment of Mr. Whitaker comport with the Appointments Clause of the Constitution or the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998? Doesn’t the law give control of the department to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mr. Mueller and oversaw the investigation because Mr. Sessions had recused himself? Now the state of Maryland and at least one criminal defendant are challenging the legality of Mr. Whitaker’s appointment in hopes that a federal judge will declare it invalid. But all of this debate, hairsplitting and litigation distracts from a more persistent question: Is it O.K. for a president to shut down an investigation of himself? To answer that question yes is to take the position that not only this president, but any president in the future, is free to take the law into his own hands.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
KARYN TRAUT: WHERE HAS MISS MANNERS' COLUMN GONE?: How ironic that she is missing in action from your pages at the same time rude and abusive public discourse has burst into violence. I first became familiar with the column by Judith Martin when my husband would amusingly read her answers to various letters. Using different voices, he brightened Sunday morning with a giggle. ‘Miss Manners’ was furthering the idea that good manners are simply acts of kindness and attention to others. Forks and napkin use are irrelevant; treating people with concern is everything. The current President of the United States incites rudeness, vulgarity and words of hate through tweets and rallies. Such bad manners have given permission now to actual violence. I wish ‘Miss Manners’ could reprimand him and his followers and teach them the way to live in a civil society, full of grace, consideration and rights for all. That would truly make America great again.
ROBERT DOOLITTLE: HOW CAN FRANKLIN GRAHAM SUPPORT DISRESPECT?: My parents raised me to follow the Ten Commandments, and to respect and support those with the same values. Thou shalt nots include adultery, stealing, bearing false witness(lying) and coveting your neighbors’ possessions. Our president has violated all of those commandments, and yet Franklin Graham and the members of the Billy Graham worldwide congregation still support him. Liberty University offers him a platform with full support. The avowed Christians in the Republican Party all look the other way and support him. How will we react when one of our children acts like our president? We will have no leg to stand on in telling them to do otherwise.
DAVID PESAPANE: ON WILDFIRES AND NARCISSISM: The simple response by Trump to the massive fires in California shows how a simple narcissistic mind responds to a major crisis. It is not as if the California government does not know how to respond to wildfires. They have been doing so for decades and continue to upgrade their responses as best they can. They have an extremely diligent forest management program, they are changing building codes to require fire resistant materials in areas of high probability of fires, they are restricting or even eliminating building permits in areas of high probability for a fire, and the power companies are upgrading their power lines and stations to hopefully avoid the electrical spark that can start a fire. They know what they are doing. Trump does not as he routinely shoots for the hip, I mean lip, without knowledge or fact, neither of which he sees as a deterrent. What cannot be controlled is climate change exasperated by human intervention, geography, and weather. These are what make small fires infernos and take countless lives. Just like he has been unsympathetic to our veterans this Veterans Day weekend so has he been unsympathetic to those who have lost their homes, businesses and loved ones as well as those who are battling the blazes in California.