Archives for: June 2012

The Day After

“It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” – Chief Justice Roberts

Yesterday was one of the most important days in American political history. Over a million people tuned into SCOTUSblog to find out what was happening. I read more and posted more in comments sections and on Twitter than I ever have.

Let’s be clear: I think Obamacare is a bad bill. What few cost controls it attempts are ineffective and misguided. It massively expands the horrible Medicaid system. It will blow up the deficit. It does nothing to increase competition or consumer involvement. Its model — Romneycare — has controlled insurance prices and increased coverage. But that has come with an exploding state budget and increasingly ham-fisted efforts to clamp down on costs.

But the ultimate impact of yesterday’s decision may be different than what we think. Allahpundit has a roundup of some of the more interesting commentary, including must-reads from Orin Kerr, George Will and Ezra Klein. The gist is that while we may have lost the battle, we may also have put ourselves on track for winning the war. The Decision does several critical things:

  • It set limits on the use of the Commerce Clause, which has long been the duck blind for liberal activism. This is now Constitutional law.
  • In doing so, it reverted Obamacare to a tax, which means it can be repealed with 51 votes (same as when it was passed). And yes, the bill did originate in the House, technically.
  • It set the first limits in American history on the ability of the Federal government to use its spending power against the states. This limit was upheld by two of the liberal justices.
  • It reaffirmed the idea of judicial restraint. Roberts’ opinion goes to great lengths on this, reaffirming the idea that if there are multiple interpretations of a statute, the Court should go with the one that complies with the Constitution. This is the kind of judicial restraint we’ve wanted for decades.
  • It did all this without appearing to be a partisan decision.
  • Think about what happens if the GOP wins the election and actually — and this is by no means a certainty — repeals or massively repairs Obamacare. The Left will lose Obama’s signature achievement and the only legacy will be a firm precedent set for restraining the power of the federal government. This possibility is almost enough to make me consider voting for Romney, something I was incredibly dubious about just 24 hours ago.

    We shouldn’t be rending garments. We should be seeing this as the long game — the slow move toward a more restrained federal government. In the long run, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius — actually, let’s just call it Sebelius so that she will always be tied to this — may turn out to be one of the most important conservative decisions in history. But it’s up to us to take advantage of the opportunity.

    Cheap Valor

    The hits just keep on coming. Not satisfied with smacking the individual states around, those wacky SCOTUS judges decided the military needs some “judicial activism”, just to let them know who’s boss. Hence we now have The Stolen Valor Act, deemed unconstitutional, allowing any gutless douche bag to lie about actually having a pair of balls and exhibiting same on the battlefield:

    The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act today, saying that the First Amendment defends a person’s right to lie — even if that person is lying about awards and medals won through military service.

    The case started in 2007 when California man Xavier Alvarez was convicted under the Stolen Valor Act of 2006 — federal legislation that made it illegal for people to claim to have won or to wear military medals or ribbons they did not earn. Alvarez had publicly claimed to have won the country’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, but was later revealed to have never served in the military at all.

    I understand the free expression angle on this, akin to not criminalizing the burning of American Flags, but this one I am having a hard time with. The SVA in it’s original form made perfect sense to me, namely, that there are things in life you don’t lie about, period. We honor the bravest of the brave with certain accolades and awards that are sacrosanct, their actions are deserving of a certain respect that others don’t get, and those accomplishments are protected. Those entering this particular arena without the proper credentials are not only exposed, but they pay an awful penalty, in memory of the real heroes. But now SCOTUS tells us that the accomplishment is not protected, that any loud mouth pussy can lie about this sacred act, and get away with it. I don’t like it.

    In its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court justices said today that as written, the act is too broad and ignores whether the liar is trying to materially gain anything through his or her false statement, which would be more akin to fraud.

    Why does the gain have to be “material”? The simple fact that the lie was told reveals some gain that is pursued by the liar. Whether on a job resume, at the public gathering to curry favor, gratitude or an enhanced esteem, or even to facilitate fornicating with some pick up, the pretense is false.

    The government’s argument talked about the harm incurred by telling this lie, and here is where I think the justices had an easy out. One of the free speech exceptions is defamation , this lie damages the reputation of every single legitimate MOH winner. The other angle of “fraud” I think is equally valid. There is no incident that I can think of where the telling of this lie was not intended to enhance his station or better his situation, but whatever gains he received from the telling of that lie was gained fraudulently.

    I remember when the story of that POS Xavier Alvarez first surfaced, you can hear the offending words come out of his mouth here. This dumb shit didn’t realize that there is an easy accessible database of all MOH winner’s.

    The original penalty given to Alvaraz was in my mind appropriate:

    three years probation, a $5,000 fine and community service

    But added to that, I would have had Alvarez write to every living MOH recipient (and the families of those passed) apologizing to each of them for stealing a small bit of their own valor.

    I always thought that military heroism was worth protecting, a minority opinion?

    Excusing the Inexcusable

    Yesterday, Fortune ran a long article claiming that there is no “there” there in Fast and Furious. The article does clear a few things up, such as the ATF not actually “walking” guns into Mexico. However, some things bothered me about it. For one, it never addresses why the Administration first claimed no gun walking occurred, then retracted that claim. It never asks why they are witholding documents that are not related to criminal investigations and are related to how they decided to respond politically. And, most important, it relies heavily on interviews with the ATF agents who are under investigation. Surprise, surprise — they blame the attorneys who refused to issue arrest warrants for people the ATF knew were running guns.

    Today comes not one but two responses, pointing out big problems with Fortune’s six-month investigation. The biggest problem is that Fortune left out a key fact: that the ATF ordered gun dealers to stop questioning people buying large numbers of guns:

    And gun dealers who cooperated with the ATF report a shift in policy that coincided with Fast and Furious — from stopping sales and questioning customers, to telling store owners to just go ahead and sell the guns. While Fortune reports that the ATF had no chance to interdict the guns that might have killed Border Patrol agent Brian Terry — the shop that sold the guns informed the ATF that the transaction was suspicious, but it was a holiday weekend and the fax wasn’t seen for days — the gun store’s owner has said he was told in advance to go ahead and sell guns to people he normally wouldn’t. The entire Fortune piece seems to neglect the distinctions between probable cause for an arrest, the act of at least questioning people who are trying to buy guns illegally, and the ATF’s advice to store owners that they refuse to make any sale that they “doubt” is legal. A big part of Fast and Furious is that store owners were told to make illegal sales when the ATF couldn’t follow up on them or chose not to.

    Exactly. I know gun dealers. They don’t just hand over a gun to any Tom, Dick or Harriet that walks into the store. They are human beings and don’t want to sell to someone they think is suspicious. The ATF essentially told them, “We got this” when they clearly didn’t.

    I’m still shocked that so many on the Left want to just write this off as if it’s no big deal. I don’t buy the conspiracy theories that this was a deliberate ploy to support gun control. But you don’t have to buy the conspiracy theories to see that someone fucked up. And you don’t have to buy them to see that the Administration is trying to sweep this under the rug.

    Eat The Rich

    Envy, there is a reason why it is one of the 7 deadly sins. Like rose colored glasses, it distorts your view of reality, but in a bad way. And like leg irons, it can hamper any progress you might make in improving your own station in life. But it also can be comforting, when used to assuage your own miserable failures or lack of any industry, coddling yourself with the notion that whatever the rich obtained, naturally they were ill gotten gains, robbed off the back of the proletariat.

    Interestingly, the Bay Area, probably the single birth place for the most wealth created in the world, has become obsessed of late criticizing the rich and their peculiarities. No doubt fostered by that OWS mentality, that view of history where America is dominated by a greedy kleptocracy that exploits the remaining 99%, reaps most of the spoils for itself, and cleverly avoids paying it’s fair share of taxes, monies BTW that the rest of us are entitled to. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. But it goes well beyond the casual interest the hoi polloi have with the hoity-toity, this is not fascination, it’s much more insipid.

    Two stories in the news of late have riled folks (those folks susceptible to getting worked up), over perceived excesses of the rich. The first is here:

    In Marin County, Calif., where people tend to have money, people in Belvedere tend to have more. Even so, a recent decision by Clark and Sharon Winslow of 337 Belvedere Avenue to buy the home next to theirs for $4.2 million — and then tear it down to get a better view — might seem extraordinary.

    Naturally there are some that believe the rich must run their financial decisions through them:

    I don’t mean to pick on them. (OK, a little.) The One Percenters are constantly pulling stunts that could be seen as arrogant, self-absorbed, wasteful, unjust, mean and, well, loopy. But what things seem are not always what they are. The problem is the One Percenters don’t explain themselves. They’re rich and explaining themselves is one of the many things they don’t have to do because they are rich.

    How dare those rich snobs don’t explain themselves, don’t poll the consensus for all their financial decisions. For some the concept of private property is lost and the freedom to spend your money any damn way you want seems radical and antithetical to the common good. I’m still trying to figure out how this act is “mean”, considering that they bought the house on the open market, no duplicity or coercion involved. But I chuckle at these so called champions of the common man, how they think nothing of putting their nose in others’ affairs, and can inject hair trigger criticism over stuff that is none of their business. It is obviously lost on this chowder head that jobs are being created and sustained by the demolition, that turning this lot into a garden is more environmentally friendly, more green, and that this couple’s actions are benefiting the rest of the neighbors, thus improving the entire community.

    The other spur under the saddle of the resident busy bodies is a recent real estate purchase of another local bazilionaire, Larry Elison:

    Larry Ellison, the billionaire chief executive of Oracle Corp., ORCL -0.89% was identified Wednesday as the buyer of the bulk of the Hawaiian island of Lanai.

    —–

    The Maui News reported that the asking price for the property was between $500 million and $600 million.

    Ellison could be in his own Old Spice commercial. The epitome of the American Dream, a self made billionaire who works hard, plays hard, dates super models and lives extravagantly, and yes, he pays his fair share of taxes. But buying an entire island? Clearly this goes beyond the pale, what can one man possible do with his own island? Thus, all the bellyaching.

    The concept of capitalism is hard for some folks. Some can hide under the blanket of self pity and point fingers at the exploitative upper crust, but economic dynamism is a marvelous thing. Entrepreneurial risk taking and the rewards of success (and the heartbreak of failure, when the government will allow economic Darwinism) is the name of the game, that whole risk/reward dichotomy that is essential for true capitalism. Allowing those so inclined to risk, to get rewarded for that risk, this is the true growth engine for real prosperity, not only for more jobs all around but for a better standard of living, for everyone.

    Obamacare Ruling Open Thread

    I’ll post updates as events warrant.

    9:52: Best line so far is from Walter Olson who said he has some “Judicial activism!” placards but will have to wait for the decision to know which side to give them to.

    9:55: I’ve avoided predictions. But gun to my head, I’d say parts of PPACA are going down. The reason? The full court press by the Left to delegitimize the decision in advance. I think they have inside information.

    9:59: Holy shit, SCOTUSblog has 350,000 readers right now.

    10:02: Expect less complaining about activism with the Supreme Court overturning the Stolen Valor Act.

    10:09: The mandate survives as a tax. Not sure what that means. CNN is claiming the mandate was struck down. Apparently Roberts rules with the liberal wing.

    10:14: SCOTUSblog says that the bottom line is ACA is upheld because Roberts supported it. Assuming this is the case, I’m disappointed but will respect the Court’s decision. And my respect or Justice Roberts actually goes up because I think he is ruling on his interpretation of the law.

    Even with this ruling, this has been a great session for the court, which limited the power of the EPA and FCC and upheld the right of free speech and free religion.

    It’s time to go to work on repealing or repairing PPACA. Just because the Supreme Court says the government can do something, it doesn’t follow that it must do it.

    10:24: And holy fuck, over 800,000 people were reading SCOTUSblog.

    10:29: And just like that, Left Wing wailing and gnashing of teeth turns into gloating.

    10:31: And Right Wing bashing of Roberts begins. Never mind that his Court has been the most conservative since the 1930’s. HE ISSUED A RULING I DON’T LIKE!

    10:33: This ruling is quite interesting. The conservative block would have struck down the entire law. The liberal block would have upheld it. Ginsberg said that the mandate could survive just as a mandate. But Roberts’ ruling is now the law of the land: he said it could survive … but ONLY as a tax (which it clearly is, even if Obama didn’t want to own that). So ignore screaming about how the government can make us buy things. Roberts’ decision will insure that it can’t.

    And really, if you’re worried about the government coercing us into doing things, you should have complained thirty years ago when SCOTUS upheld using highway funds to force states to raise the drinking age.

    The course for the GOP is clear: make sure the public knows that Obama raised taxes on the uninsured. And run heavily on repealing/replacing PPACA. That’s the wonderful thing about our system. We always have options.

    10:37: States can opt out of the Medicaid expansion. That’s actually pretty huge. And really really important for state budgets. So free healthcare is no longer guaranteed.

    Nessie

    Earlier this week, the Left Wing Echosphere was atwitter at the news that a Louisiana school eligible for vouchers had a fundamentalist religious science agenda that teaches, among other things, that the Loch Ness Monster is real and its existence refutes evolution. “Oh, Woe!” they cried, “our tax dollars are going to teach students this rubbish!”

    Now never mind that, with hundreds of schools eligible for vouchers, you’re almost certain going to find some that are run by whack jobs. I’m sure there’s a school out there that will teach that Marxism works. The more important point, which I hinted at on Twitter, is expanded on by Neal McCluskey.

    First, no matter how loudly government-failure deniers might protest — the government is omnipotent, dammit! – government schooling does not overcome religious belief. The latest Gallup poll assessing views on human origins came out a few weeks ago, and found as it has since 1982: The vast majority of Americans believe that God created human beings, and a plurality believes that God created us in our ”present form.” Only 15 percent hold that human beings evolved without any divine involvement. And this is with roughly 85 percent of students attending public schools.

    Next, take a look at overall science achievement. According to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress results, only 32 percent of U.S. eighth graders are “proficient” in science. And private versus public schools? 43 percent of private school students are proficient, versus 31 percent for public schools. A significant part of the difference is likely that private schools tend to serve better prepared kids, but the data certainly doesn’t suggest that public schooling beats private when it comes to science instruction.

    Finally, there’s the reason government schools are so inept at teaching science: All people, no matter what their beliefs, are forced to support public schools — a perfect recipe for wrenching conflict. To avoid war without end, some 60 percent of high school biology teachers gloss over the mega flash-point that is evolution. The result is that no one, no matter what their beliefs, gets coherent biology instruction.

    When discussing vouchers, liberals like to pretend there is some system of idealized perfect schools that we are draining money away from. This is simply not the case, especially in the low-achievement state of Louisiana. Bobby Jindal has seen the state of Louisiana schools and decided that tweaking it at the edges is simply not an option. A game changer is needed.

    An unfortunate side effect is that few schools won’t teach science. Well, guess what, friends? The public schools aren’t teaching science either. Many, if not most, of the students in the public schools are as ignorant about evolution, cosmology and astrophysics as if they’d been educated in a fundamentalist rain barrel. You can site bad examples from the private sector all day; I will site the overall massive improvement in all phases of education, including science, that the private system has over the public system.

    When it comes to policy, we can’t get bogged down in letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. We have to look at the big picture. And the big picture is that Louisiana’s public schools are not cutting it in any dimension: science, reading, math, you name it. Maybe the great voucher experiment won’t produce the stunning results its supporters think it does. But we’ve got to try something other than pouring more money into the same rathole. And there are very good reasons to believe that this particular something is a good thing.

    There’s one other point and it’s the one McCluskey makes last: the current public furor over teaching evolution in our schools. The libertarians have been talking about this for some time, saying we could diffuse the evolution debate by privatizing schools. I didn’t agree at first but am now coming around to that point. Half of Americans do not believe in evolution. I’m beginning to think that at least part of that is because of the deliberate politicization of the science. There is tremendous political benefit in making science a point of contention, and not just for the Religious Right. Whether portraying ones self as a stalwart against evil secular atheists or a stalwart against dogmatic religious fundamentalists, the evolution controversy empower politicians. It is always the case: when the politicians manage to divide us against each other, both sides win. If you think that the Democrats would rather the evolution issue go way, you simply don’t understand how the political mind works.

    Perhaps, by moving science out of the public sphere, we can take some of the ardor out the debate. We can stop the acceptance of evolution from being absurdly equated with being a Democrat. And, in the long run, I think that will better for the science as well as the schools.

    Axlerod’s Dollars

    You know, instead of trying to delegitimize the Court’s decision before they make it (assuming they overturn Obamacare, which at least SCOTUSblog thinks won’t happen), the media could be, I dunno, talking about how we got Obamacare in the first place:

    Rewind to 2009. The fight over ObamaCare is raging, and a few news outlets report that something looks ethically rotten in the White House. An outside group funded by industry is paying the former firm of senior presidential adviser David Axelrod to run ads in favor of the bill. That firm, AKPD Message and Media, still owes Mr. Axelrod money and employs his son.

    The story quickly died, but emails recently released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee ought to resurrect it. The emails suggest the White House was intimately involved both in creating this lobby and hiring Mr. Axelrod’s firm—which is as big an ethical no-no as it gets

    You should read the whole thing, which is as complicated as a Wall Street scam. It describe an advocacy group created by Democrats and funded by industry to support Obamacare. This was, you remember, at a time when it was opposition to reform was being blasted as industry astroturfing. Anyway, at White House direction, the lobbying group hired Axlerod’s firm to run ads.

    To me, the corruption or appearance thereof in the hiring of AKPD is the lesser issue, although the one that runs afoul of ethics laws. The more telling thing — the thing the mainstream media has rarely talked about — is how deeply involved industries like big Pharma, big Labor and Big Medicine were in the writing, promotion and ultimate passage of PPACA.

    Just something to keep in mind tomorrow if/when the Left Wing starts screaming about the will of the people being over-written.

    Aside: I have no idea how the Court is going to rule tomorrow. There’s a part of me that worries about an overturn since Obamacare without the mandate is worse for our country that Obamacare with one. And I don’t trust Congress to find a fix if industry suddenly has to insure everyone no matter what. As far as the Constitution goes, however, I think overturning it is the right thing to do. And I’m disgusted by the attempts of the Left to undermine the decision before it’s been made.

    (If the Court does uphold Obamacare, the only solace would be watching the Left have to backpedal and admit they were wrong … if the Left had any shame. But the don’t, so I expect they would simply declare victory and pronounce the law unrepealable since SCOTUS upheld it.)

    In the end, if SCOTUS just overturns the mandate, the consequences will be slow in coming. As Ezra Klein points out, under Obamacare, not having insurance is a really great deal. You can pay only a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a year and still get insurance at the last minute. This is what happens when a law is crafted to politics rather than results.

    The Norfolk Tyranny

    This one has it all:

    Central Radio Company, which first opened 78 years ago and has been at its current location of 1083 West 39th Street for 50 years, is currently under siege. First officials at the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority attempted to seize their property in order to transfer it to Old Dominion University, which currently has no specific site development plan for Central Radio’s property. The owners of the company, Bob Wilson and Kelly Dickinson, rightfully objected to the eminent domain proceedings. They then commissioned a 375-square-foot banner (left) and hung it on their building to protest the taking.

    So what happened next? In response to the ensuing outcry by the citizenry, the city … found some ordinance forbidding banner over 60 feet in size and threatened to fine them $1000 a day. CRC is not taking his sitting down; they’re fighting it.

    Oh, yeah. I found this out through the people defending them — the eeeevil libertarian organization Institute for Justice, who are making a habit of fighting both tyrannical governments and business monopolies.

    Arizona Immigration Law, Reloaded

    A mixed decision:

    The court ruled that Arizona cannot make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to carry identification that says whether they are in the United States legally; cannot make it a crime for undocumented immigrations to apply for a job; and cannot arrest someone based solely on the suspicion that the person is in this country illegally.

    However, the court let stand the part of the law that requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they detain, if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is unlawfully in the United States. Even there, though, the justices said the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges. The court said it was “improper” for the federal government to block the provision before state courts have a chance to interpret it and without determining whether it conflicts with federal immigration law in practice.

    Depending on how you break it down, the decision was 5-3 (Kagan recused). Alito would have upheld some provisions; Scalia and Thomas the entire thing.

    I would probably side with the majority in this case, simply because I think immigration law is a federal issue. If they are failing to enforce the law, then we need to elect people who either will enforce the law or make one that is more enforceable. I can understand Arizona’s frustration. But I prefer to follow the Constitution. (In the end, this is a less important issue as the moment; illegal immigration has cratered with the economy.)

    Obamacare should come Thursday. So that’s three more days for the liberals to try to preemptively try to make the decision illegitimate. I’ll tweet the stupid writings.

    Update: The Court also ruled that juveniles as young as 10 years old can not get life sentences without parole and that Montana can not over-ride Citizens United. I agree with both decisions.

    Nothing A Little Cash Won’t Cure

    No doubt most here have heard about Karen Klein, the upstate New York bus monitor who got national attention after a video of boys lobbing insults at her went viral. Cleary these 4 boys need to get severally beaten and this poor lady deserves some recompense, but the resultant fallout of the incident has taken some curious turns.

    I remember JimK posting a video a few months back depicting a father’s attempt at disciplining his wayward daughter and his bravado with an automatic, I had a different take on the prevailing opinions here and it led to some interesting back and forths, I think this topic is equally compelling.

    I’m left a bit in the dark about the whole school bus kid/monitor dynamic since where I live we only the K thru 6th grade schools have buses. All middle and high schoolers have to fend for themselves. I would think that the job of a bus monitor would be to present an authoritive figure so that the kids on the bus would behave themselves. In this capacity I think Karen was very ill suited. This is no job for an elderly woman. I suspect that the bus driver is the ultimate adult arbiter on the bus so I don’t know why she was even there in the first place, given her meek demeanor. She did not appear capable of maintaining order on that bus, nor did she even notify the bus driver about the unacceptable conduct. I’m just wondering what training she had as a monitor and what actions she was authorized to take. Granted, it’s not like a fight had broken out or a crime was being committed in her presence, but it appears by her actions and demeanor that she had no authority to do anything and this seems wrong to me.

    It turns out that a charitable fund was started in Klein’s name (most people have good hearts and will step up to right a wrong) and even this is turning bizarre.

    Karen Klein, the bullied bus monitor who became a viral sensation, is still unsure what to do with the over half million dollars that has been raised in her name. She and her family, however, have a few ideas.

    Max Sidorov, a Canadian nutritionist who launched an online fundraiser to give the 68-year-old grandmother a vacation after video caught middle schoolers taunting her to tears, has far surpassed his goal of $5,000. The campaign has hauled in over $550,000 in just two days, providing Klein with enough money to not only travel someplace nice but retire.

    I’m happy this woman is getting monetary remuneration for her injuries, the amount collected so far is pretty staggering, that is some vacation. Yes, it will be nice if she did not have to return to that shit job, but what is she going to do with the cash?

    Klein told “CBS This Morning” she plans on spending the generous donations on her kids.

    “I’m always too good to them,” she said. “I should let them be on their own for a change, like my son who lives with me because he doesn’t have any other place. (He) doesn’t make the money that he could, he should.”

    Is this code for ,”My 46 year old son is a deadbeat who lives in my basement and plays video games all day”?

    Brian, 46, has lived with his mother in the same four-bedroom home he grew up in. He also said he hasn’t given much thought to how the money could be used, but “first and foremost” he needs to get a car.

    Oh boy, I’m sure that most generous contributors will be thrilled that the money they gave is not going to poor sweet Karen, but to junior so he can buy a car. Sure, she can do whatever she wants with the money but I think she would be better served showing her gratitude in that her plight in life will be improved.

    Another interesting sidebar to this is the public lynching mob fomented by many radio and TV personalities that portray both these kids and their parents as absolute monsters who do not deserve to live. I have no sympathy for the kids (as a sidebar, the school was shamed into taking disciplinary action against all four brats and will announce their decision on punishment next week), but this to me was clearly one incident of thousands that go on everyday, incidents in the schools of bullying, of the stronger picking on the weaker. An insult hurled by one snot nose punk, a reaction by those witnessing it, then a synergistic effect taking place among the other ill behaved where the victim is not fighting back and consequences for bad behavior are not forthcoming. The fact that they even have bus monitors shows that this type of behavior is not rare, only then it was directed at fellow students and it highlights the simple fact that the school should not have placed Karen in the line of fire like this.

    I don’t place much credence in those apologies that the kids were forced to write and I’m also not jumping on the bandwagon that these parents are despicable human beings who neglected their parenting duties. I don’t know what type of parents they are or how ashamed they feel about the behavior of their brood. I hope they fell deeply ashamed and doll out some serious punishment of their own but I make no sweeping pronouncements about the decline of society or of this generation by this one act of abuse.

    Denying them bus privileges for a year (make the parents drive them back and forth to school), then doing something personal for Karen, something like yardwork, getting her groceries, walking her dog, something that benefits her, these are the types of punishments I would get behind. Then get the local paper to write a story (which the national outlets could pick up) highlighting the duties or chores that these kids are doing to make amends, the lessons they learned in dealing with the consequences. We hear the term ,”A teaching moment” often, this could be a big one.