B.C.’s First Chief Judge Haunts Law Society

The ghost of pioneering B.C. justice, Sir Matthew Begbie — the Hanging Judge to some — has come back to haunt the Law Society of B.C. The professional regulator’s benchers this spring unanimously exorcised from its lobby a statue of the legendary chief judge. And they scrubbed references to him from the society’s image as offensive to Indigenous people. But the colonial-era jurist who brought law-and-order to the two colonies that were the cornerstones of the province has not gone quietly into that good night. And the decision to disown Begbie may yet prove to be just as controversial as moves in the U.S. to remove public symbols of the… Read More

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Brexit is a huge mistake. It’s not too late to stop it.

On June 23, 2016, U.K. citizens went to the polls to answer a seemingly straightforward question: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” Despite numerous predictions to the contrary, the answer, by a slim margin, was “Leave.” That the vote happened at all was thanks to a bit of political gamesmanship — a measured risk that former Prime Minister David Cameron accepted in looking to keep his party in power. The ensuing months have begun to expose Cameron’s gambit, and the farce it gave birth to. But the political black hole the nation is headed for seems at least partly hidden… Read More

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Republicans’ new ObamaCare repeal bill is the perfect expression of their health-care nihilism

Next week, Republicans in the Senate will take what may be their final chance to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Even apart from its politics, this bill, known as Graham-Cassidy after its sponsors, is a policy nightmare. And those Republicans? Most of them barely know what’s in it, and couldn’t care less. As such, it is the perfect and final expression of the GOP’s nihilism and cruelty on this issue. “You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters, offering an excellent summation of the Republican perspective. “But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a… Read More

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The way we hate

For about two minutes, I thought the leaked footage of MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell shouting at his staff was hilarious. There is, after all, something faintly amusing about the idea of a pompous overpaid liberal television host throwing a tantrum and being rude to subordinates when faced with the most minor inconveniences. Humor works best when it punches up rather down, which is why P.G. Wodehouse, the funniest writer in our language, made all of his jokes at the expense of aristocrats, fascist underwear merchants, and bishops. Receiving a salary so enormous that you employ a “team of representatives” just to negotiate it for talking about public affairs on a popular… Read More

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Why can’t the GOP make a case for its own health-care bill?

The health-care bill Senate Republicans hope to pass next week, named after sponsoring Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), has plenty of potential winners and losers, like all legislation. According to The Associated Press, the winners would include medical device manufacturers, people who oppose the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, and those with tax-sheltered health savings accounts, while the losers would include people with pre-existing conditions, pregnant women, the elderly, and people in the 31 states that opted to expand Medicaid. You probably prefer one of those groups over another. But regardless of where your sympathies lie, there’s surely a genuine debate to be had about Graham-Cassidy.… Read More

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