No-difference-between-the-parties Dep’t

Except when it comes to rape and needle exchange and airline passengers’ rights and …

John Cole points to three recent developments:

1.  The Franken anti-rape amendment becomes law.

2.  The ban on federal funds for needle exchange is repealed. (Bill Clinton had the opportunity to fix the needle-exchange rule, but his own drug czar put the kibosh on it.)

3.  Airlines that keep passengers stranded on the runway for hours will face huge fines.

Cole writes:

Funny how that works- the House and Senate send [Obama] good bills, and he signs them.

If any reader believes that any of those things would have happened under President McCain or Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader McCain, please write to me.  I have a great investment opportunity in urban transportation infrastructure to discuss.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

7 thoughts on “No-difference-between-the-parties Dep’t”

  1. In order: a dishonest giveaway to the trial lawyers, a positive if relatively unimportant policy change, and the implementation of a stupid rule first proposed by the Bush administration. Yes, at least one of these would have happened under a President McCain. And we'd all be better off if the Franken amendment (which the Obama administration opposed, correctly) hadn't passed, or if its proponents were decent enough to argue for the end of arbitration in an honest way.

  2. Ummm … no. The Administration opposed the Franken Amendment in its original form, but (apparently) happily accepted a revised version that will be easier to administer.

  3. Yeah, the Obama administration apparently believes that rape victims working for small contractors don't matter–thanks for the clarification. (Also, trial lawyers don't see those small contractors as particularly good targets.)

  4. Thomas, I find it incredibly repugnant that your first thought on trying to keep American corporations from aiding and abetting raping people is that this is a giveaway to the trial lawyers. That's a sick and twisted way of looking at the world – at best.

    Mark: "If any reader believes that any of those things would have happened under President McCain or Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader McCain, please write to me. I have a great investment opportunity in urban transportation infrastructure to discuss."

    Mark, hanging out with Amity Schlaes much? Please do us a favor – if you can't make honest arguments, then keep them to yourself. I haven't encountered anybody saying that, and I assert that there is nobody who matters saying that (in a population fo 300 million, and many deinstitutionalized people, there's always *somebody* saying *anything*).

    The arugment was the Obama is selective about applying pressure – buck him on war funding, and he threatens. Buck him on HCR, and he's Mr. Rogers. This is rather important because (remember?) we had a recent Wall St melt-down, and Obama has stuffed his higher ranks full of the same people who brought this upon us, and are 100% unrepentant. If we get Wall St 'reform' rather than Wall St reform, expect 2008 to someday fall into the same category as the S&L scandal – a warning, and something which was huge at the time, but looked so minor in light of later, worse events.

  5. Barry, what I find repugnant is that Franken's first instinct when presented with women victimized by rape was to undermine existing law on arbitration of discrimination claims.

    If some sicko were to propose giving a marginal tax rate cut to (1) rape victims and (2) everyone else, would you think that the rate cut was really about helping rape victims? Or would you see more clearly the disgusting game being played?

  6. Franken's amendment doesn't undermine any laws. It just requires corporations that choose to do business with the USA federal government to abide by prescibed rules when drafting and administering contracts with employees.

    Since these corporate entities are not under any legal jurisdiction (not US military or Iraqi civilian) it only makes sense to provide some guidlines for such extraordinary cases. More regulation would probably be warented.

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