Monday, January 31, 2011

Has the Florida Judge Stopped the New Health Care Law in Its Tracks?

Reading page 75 of today's Florida opinion it sounds like that is his intent:(5) InjunctionThe last issue to be resolved is the plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief enjoining implementation of the Act, which can be disposed of very quickly.Injunctive relief is an “extraordinary” [Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456U.S. 305, 312, 102 S. Ct. 1798, 72 L. Ed. 2d 91 (1982)], and “drastic” remedy [

Now We Have Real Uncertaintly--The Entire Health Law Ruled Unconstitutional!

We all knew the question of the constitutionality over the new health care law was going to be taken up by the Supreme Court.We knew that because the law inexplicably lacked a severability clause a judge could throw the whole thing out if the individual mandate were to be found unconstitutional and critical to the legislation.And, we expected this Florida judge would likely rule against the law

It Will Be Democratic Senators Leading The Charge To Fix Or Improve The New Health Law

I wrote this Kaiser Op-Ed before today's federal court ruling, that held the entire health care law unconstitutional because of the individual mandate. Now that two federal judges have held the individual mandate unconstitutional, this one overturning the entire law because of it, I have to wonder just how long the Democrats are going to wait before they try to amend the Affordability Act in

Friday, January 21, 2011

Brian Klepper and David Kibbe have a notable column at Kaiser Health News arguing that the American Medical Association's Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) is specialist dominated and steers health care resources away from primary care:Not surprisingly, the Committee’s payment recommendations have consistently favored specialists at the expense of primary care physicians. More

Monday, January 17, 2011

The House Health Care Repeal Vote, the National Debt, and the Imperative for Democrats and Republicans to Compromise

This week's House health care repeal vote is little more than a political stunt--everyone knows the effort will die in the Senate.But, when the day is done the only way for the Republicans to do anything with the new health law will be to work out a compromise—repeal before the 2012 elections is impossible and it isn’t very likely after the 2012 elections. Even if the Republicans sweep the

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Decolonization and Animal Liberation: Love, Violence, Becoming-Other-Wise

Beehive Design Collective. "FTAA." Source: www.beehivecollective.org
Introduction
Some cyber-friends have been pestering me to put up another blog post since I haven't posted anything in three months--well, maybe that's an exaggeration but i really wanted to use the word pestering--, so  I'm posting two abstracts I recently submitted to the Thinking About Animals conference at Brock University (St. Catharines, ON, Canada) going on between March 1 and April 1, 2011. This will be the 10th Critical Animal Studies conference, and Brock is perhaps one of the most deserving universities since its establishment of a critical animal studies minor and an official vegan policy in the Sociology department.

On that note, I encourage you to check out the Critical Animal Studies resource page I created over winter break!!!

The first paper, on Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, is a paper I wrote for Existentialism in the Fall. I went through some angst writing it, but came out overall satisfied with the paper. If any of you are interested in reading it, I'll send you a copy in exchange for some good feedback. The second paper ought to be more familiar to avid readers of this blog. It's basically a summation of what I have written on the understanding of veganism over the last two years or more.

1.
Decolonization and Animal Liberation:
Violence and Becoming-Animal in Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth
In 1961, the Algerian psychoanalysist, Frantz Fanon, published, Les Damnés de la Terre, a book specifically about the revolutionary movement in French Algeria, but a guide to decolonization in general. In The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon gives a phenomenological account of the Algerian independence movement, from its inception in local, spontaneous violent uprisings, to a national political movement, to the development of a national culture and new humanism. For Fanon and his friend Sartre, violence is a necessity for the colonized to become fully human and political subjects. Similarly, the development of a national culture is necessary development for not only the liberation of Algeria, but for the future of humanity.

While Fanon’s primary goals are the achievement of national consciousness and a new humanism, a subversive reading of this text foregrounds “the animal” that beseeches his description of decolonization. Fanon’s characterization of the relationship between decolonization and animals is complex: on the one hand, animal being is to be transcended, if not negated through self-assertion and violence, yet the animal virtues of spontaneity, ferocity, and pack-forming are crucial for the overthrow of the colonizers. If humans’ metaphoric relationship to “animality” and animal others materialize in their relationship with one another, as is argued, then decolonization will not be achieved so long as a hierarchical and exclusionary identity politics exists between human and animal others (as is inferred by Fanon and Sartre’s subject-centered humanist discourse). It is argued that the anarchistic process of “becoming-animal” described by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guatarri is a more transformative and promising alternative to humanism for not only human liberation, but also the liberation from humanist violence against “animality” and animal others.

2.
Deconstructing Veganism:
Love, Listening, Conversations, and Companionships Beyond Boundaries
For over a decade, Gary Francione (1996, 2008) has been championed for his bold challenge to the efficacy of “new welfarism” and the sufficiency of lacto-ovo-vegetarian advocacy in the contemporary “animal rights” movements. Yet relatively few animal abolitionists have ever challenged the sufficiency and status quo of veganism. In a time when neoliberalism has come into a greater appropriation of veganism (Hammer 2008), real animals have become absent from the discourse of many animal and vegan advocacy campaigns (Adams 2006), and to be a vegan is more about one’s way of life (i.e. the subculture one belongs to) than one’s actual relationship to animals, a more radical critique of not only vegetarianism but veganism too is needed.

While many celebrate the mainstreaming of veganism, I would like to caution self-identified vegans and animal activists from accepting the present understanding of vegan as an identity of (abstention from) consumption. The present understanding of veganism as a) an identity b) defined negatively as an abstention from c) consumption has lead to a certain modality of political and private life which has been legitimately accused of self-righteousness, identity politics, militancy, colonialism, and privileged consumerism. In light of this, we are called to a radical rethinking of veganism not as a noun (“ vegan”) to be identified with, purchased, consumed, and completed, but as a modality and relationship with others that is never yet complete.

Veganism is something to be understood affirmatively, as an affirmation of our own feelings and the voices of others. Those who have come into veganism as a liberation project must adamantly recall that they did not do so because of convenience, out of tradition, or merely out of pleasure, but because they are in search of affirming love. This love must never be forgotten as their point of departure and arrival. The ends of veganism are in the means of not forgetting, disavowing others. It is through disavowal that people commit the most violence by ignoring their own and others’ sentiments; they wage war on themselves and others for foreclosing ends, ideals, and identities, rather than waging conversation. The end of veganism is thus not to become a vegan, but to become other-wise in conversations and companionships beyond boundaries and “language.”

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Strong Evidence A Bipartisan Agreement on Health Care Was Possible in 2009

Readers of this blog have often heard me say that a bipartisan agreement on a health care bill was possible in 2009--driven from the Senate Finance Committee. I have continually made the point that the two sides were much closer than is commonly believed--or partisans are willing to concede.Every time I post this, the overwhelming reaction is that I am wrong--with one side inevitably blaming the

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Karl Rove’s Criticism of AARP Was a Cheap Shot and Uninformed

Readers of this blog know that I am willing to call AARP out when I think they deserve it. Witness my recent post criticizing their reaction to the chairs of the Deficit Commission and their preliminary report when AARP acted more like a narrow minded advocate than an enlightened organization that understands the inevitability of fundamental reform to the entitlements.And, I have never been

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Improving The Health Law In 2011: Realistic Ways To Reach Bipartisan Compromise

This post originally appeared at Kaiser Health News.The new health care law can be changed in ways that would make it acceptable to a bipartisan majority in the new Congress -- and, therefore, to the American people. But to find this elusive middle ground requires consideration of the competing philosophies at the heart of the nation's political divisions regarding this sweeping measure.For