Friday Morning Open Thread

Sorry about the dearth of posting. Really busy time for me.

If I can squeeze some time, I'll write about the reported Obama "accommodation" on contraceptives. My Sunday Daily Kos piece will be on the issue.

Open Thread.

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    Administration's imminent compromise: (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 10:22:09 AM EST
    David Dayen:

    Senior Administration officials outlined the imminent compromise to be announced by President Obama, which follows the "Hawaii compromise" by mandating that insurance companies reach out directly to employees at religiously affiliated institutions and offer them contraceptive care. The officials described a process that "accommodates religious liberty while protecting the health of women."

    Under the new policy, the religious exemption remains largely the same for churches and religious non-profits. For religiously affiliated institutions, like Catholic hospitals and universities, "All women will still have access to free contraceptive care no matter where we work. That's the core principle," said the senior official. The insurance company will be required to "reach out directly and offer her contraceptive care free of charge. The religious institutions will not have to offer anything, and they will not pay for it."


    But it remains to be seen whether the compromise will take on this highly charged issue, and whether either side will find this acceptable.

    I sincerely hope that this is where the issue ends, and we can stop tossing women around like political footballs.

    So, magically, the insurance companies... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 10:25:04 AM EST
    ...will just offer up contraceptives for free?  Out of the goodness of their hearts?  

    because they have to (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by CST on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 10:29:52 AM EST
    under the new regulations.

    So any religious institution... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:18:59 AM EST
    ...can just claim "We believe we should control, as their employers, their ease of access to birth control and, not just that, we'll get a discout for being irrational pr*cks, too."?  


    Tell you what, I am really opposed to war, and I don't want my money funding it.

    Guess what I get from the government?

    A big middle finger.

    I get the policy, I hate the ethics of it.


    I object to all kinds (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:46:27 AM EST
    of uses of my tax money on a moral basis.

    The Bishops look quite horrid.  They object to birth control while knowing American Catholics have rejected these views of the old men of the Vatican,  yet they ignore the abuse of thousands of kids.  And it is the birth control issue that gets their attention and effort?

    There is no Biblical or theological basis for opposing birth control.  I understand that Catholic view rejectiog the sola scriptura view of theology. But the old men of the Vatican deciding against birth control in the 1960s is a morally bankrupt policy.  It hurts the health of so many women--especially in developing countries.

    A few more books like The Da Vinci Code would be quite helpful in taking the starch out of the Medievel stupidity and arrogance of those waging war against birth control.


    Ignore the Bishops (in matters politic) (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:37:10 PM EST
    When the bishops overplay their hand in a secular-related context, they become isolated.  Since they have been negotiating in government contexts for about 2000 years, they'll figure it out.

    The presient played a strong hand by trying to & appearing to accommodate and reconcile two major interests, legitimate interests at the core. By reaffirming today a regulatory plan that will guarantee available, no-additional-cost access for all women to contraception, a necessary part of health care, and doing so in a way that honors religious sensibilities via third-party insurers, he has garnered approval of a list of key organizations.  Fro the women's health & contraception perspective:  Planned Parenthood, Emily's List, NARAL, Democratic legislators.  From the religious organization side:  Catholic Hospitals Association, the progressive group called United Catholics, support generally from Catholic Charities, and Catholic Writers such as E.J. Dionne.

    More later...  But, obviously, quite an accomplishment in the regulatory arena; and, quite an extrication from the wedge trap.  My, my...Husband now reading that Cardinal-designate Dolan of NYC called the adjustment a good first step. (The Bishops know good negotiation/strategy when they see it.)


    First Step? (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 03:09:45 PM EST
    I wonder what that means.

    It is a good result for women.  

    We'll see if the Bishops agree.  I think they will always try to oppose Democrats and birth control.....But maybe you are right and they too know all their parishioners are using birth control and they have gone as far as they can go.


    Interesting... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:05:44 PM EST
    the funny hat guys don't object to the rythym method or the pull out, akaik.

    They only object to birth control with a higher rate of success.


    It is an artificial construct (none / 0) (#30)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:23:12 PM EST
    by the same mentality hundreds of years ago that tried to literally decide how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

    After these same Bishops covered up the abuse of kids and then made excuses for the abuse and cover-up.  No moral authority at all.


    That should read... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:19:26 AM EST
    ...I hate the "ethics" of it.

    Very selective and, as such, inconsistent.


    Except that they've never (none / 0) (#77)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 04:23:40 PM EST
    gone that far, have accepted contraceptive mandates when the employee makes a co-pay, etc.

    Look, as Ehud Barak once said about Iran, they may be meshuggah, but they're not irrational.  They already know the vast majority of Catholics use birth control and that it's something they have to live with.  Here they just don't want the precious clean hands (choke!) of the Church to be sullied by paying for it themselves.


    Not 'free' unless you don't count the (none / 0) (#42)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:22:38 PM EST
    premiums you pay to get the insurance in the first place.

    I dont (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:33:29 PM EST
    if the Church keeps fighting on this now that the ground has shifted it becomes straight up about denying access to contraception without even the figleaf of first amendment rights-- and unlike Abortion which polls out at around 76% support (with 50%+ being grudging) 98% of women use or did use birth control-- essentially if the GOP sides with the RCC on this the admin has virtuallly out of thin air created an issue which will massive increase female support.

    It appears that the end result is the same, (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Farmboy on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 10:28:33 AM EST
    despite the "accommodation": female employees will still have free access to birth control. And both NARAL and Planned Parenthood approve.

    But because female employees will still have free access to birth control, the right will still spin and complain.

    But at extra cost for women? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:05:28 AM EST
    I have yet to see clarification of this, and I am suspicious when reading the assurances, as I think that I see between the lines that this will be offered as an add-on to women employees' health insurance -- and that would mean added cost.

    And I find that unacceptable, unless and until men pay more for anything related to their boy parts.


    This is SUCH a selective exemption (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:24:05 AM EST
    And I'll say it again, I am morally opposed to war, don't want my money funding it, where's my relief?  Oh wait, I need an "organized" religion or, equivalently, a corporation on my side to get anywhere.  Lovely.

    You touched on the... (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:33:46 AM EST
    sympathy I have for reproduction zealots...there is so much sh*t I don't wanna pay for as a liberty zealot, I kinda do wish we could allocate our own monetary contributions to society...I'll pchip in for birth control and the safety net and the national parksm, and let some other arsehole pay for the drones and the DEA and the federal prisons I morally object to funding.

    Can we start a religion or incorporate Dadler?


    There was a guy (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:37:28 AM EST
    who thought just like you do kdog, a couple of thousand years ago.

    Unfortunately, they put him on a pedestal. On top of a hill of skulls... :-(


    It would be interesting to start a web (none / 0) (#25)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:59:44 AM EST
    site where people could go and state how much of their tax dollars they would hypothetically allocate to what purpose.  I would do it in a totally bipartisan way, just to collect the data and see how it all added up.

    There has been some good polling (none / 0) (#28)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:11:49 PM EST
    done on at least some aspects of that.

    What do average Americans say when they are faced with the budget tradeoffs on national security that policymakers face today? When polls ask in the abstract about defense spending, Americans are often reluctant to cut it. However when Americans are asked to consider the deficit and presented with tradeoffs, majorities cut defense and cut it more than any other area of the budget. Furthermore when they learn how much of the budget goes to defense, large majorities cut it, on average quite deeply.

    This issue has become confused in public discussion, because many polls simply ask Americans whether they favor cutting defense, increasing it, or keeping it the same.


    Nice deflection from the topic, (none / 0) (#29)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:13:02 PM EST

    Speak for yourself Don... (none / 0) (#49)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:37:42 PM EST
    What is hardwired in our genetic code is a universal strong dislike of rubbers...once we're in a serious monogamous relationship, we can't wait to talk about birth control.

    Unless its just me...


    The Big V, Too Scary! (none / 0) (#59)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:09:47 PM EST
    I just learned this week that men who get snipped are more likely to develop kidney stones...a friend of mine who's been fixed is on his second kidney stone in 6 months, which led him to ask his doc.

    Score a half point for the rubbers;)


    Kdog, while I don't know (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 05:08:41 PM EST
    the death rate for people who develop kidney stones (which I admit are very, very unpleasant and can be terribly painful), the death rate for women due to pregnancy and childbirth has doubled in the last twenty or so years.  Link.
    And, according to the link,
    one-third of pregnant women in the United States, suffer from pregnancy-related complications.

    Granted, many of these deaths and complications occur in women who are living in poverty.  Still, do men check the socioeconomic status (and availability and affordability of high-quality health-care) of the women they sleep with? While I agree that it takes two to tango, as it were, it would seem to me that the women take on more risk than the men.  This is not meant to disparage condoms (and good for the men who are willing to use them!).  But condoms have an up to 15% failure rate.  Unless your surgeon is an idiot, vasectomy has a .15% (way less than one percent) failure rate.  Just sayin'.  

    In 38 years (none / 0) (#65)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:36:03 PM EST
    I've never had a kidney stone...

    Point taken on the verbiage... (none / 0) (#68)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:43:40 PM EST
    I found it quite suprising...I woulda guessed one set of tubes had nothing to do with the other set till they met at the off ramp.  But I'm no anatomy expert;)

    Well, I don't need it anymore, either (none / 0) (#83)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:17:56 PM EST
    but I still care about others, Donald.

    At no cost (none / 0) (#69)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:50:05 PM EST
    As for all care, people pay the insurance company for the premium.  In this case, the insurer will provide contraception at no additional cost for contraception or for the initial premium.  I suspect the economics of it relate to the savings that preventive care brings (and maybe to the fact that the insurers providing this coverage will gain customers the previously did not have.)

    This approach adds a more desirable component to the Hawaii model by the stated upfront no-cost proviso.


    The entire point of this flap (none / 0) (#78)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 04:28:37 PM EST
    is that ACA mandates that all preventive health care services are to be included in every insurance policy.  So not "free" because you pay the premiums, but "free" as in no separate extra charge, no co-pay, etc.

    Yes, it's an add-on, but the point is that the insurance companies will absorb the extra cost into its overall price-setting for everyone, including men and including women who say "no thanks" to the add-on.


    Oh, each side in this flap (none / 0) (#90)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 02:03:10 PM EST
    has its own points. 'Tis a many-sided flap.

    I now have read these assurances that add-ons will not come at added cost.  I hope so -- but I also hope that I will be forgiven for maintaining my heightened suspicions when all of the above are involved:  the Catholic clergy, the health insurance industry, this White House. . . .


    If ACLU is content, so am I. They are. (none / 0) (#91)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 02:42:49 PM EST
    Well, "free" in the sense that (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:57:29 AM EST
    anything paid for by insurance after you pay their demanded premium is "free".

    My thoughts exactly... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:06:56 PM EST
    insurance co don't do nuthin' for free...at most you're defering payment till the next rate increase.

    The Catholic hierarchy seems to be (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 10:45:35 AM EST
    felling its oats.  With their twin goals of reclaiming  power and changing the subject on sexual abuses and cover-ups, they have found political allies, not so much on contraception but on slogans of "religious freedom".

    The very conservative hierarchy won the war with the Encyclical Letter of Pope Vi, "Humanae Vitae", 1968, continuing proscription of most forms of birth control.  But even at that time, the battles continued.  Cardinal Suenens the Belgium prelate and a moderator of Vatican II Ecumenical Council questioned whether moral theology took sufficient account of scientific progress which can help determine, what is according to nature.  Cardinal Suenens begged the Council to avoid another Galileo affair, one being enough for the Church.  

    Pope Paul Vi based his position on what became  two advisory committees--the majority report was not accepted, the minority report prevailed. Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, of Poland (and two popes later, became John Paul II), was influential in the minority report.  Humanae Vitae sets forth the "negative consequences" of artificial birth control, including hormonal anti-ovulants, as being sex without consequences, a lowering of moral standards, a false sense of autonomy (for women), and the danger that men may reduce women to being a mere instrument for satisfaction of their own desires.

    The battles continued and the acceptance waned.  But, this continues as Catholic doctrine, not only for members of the Church, but for others, now under the guise of religious freedom.

    As for the goal of deflecting their role in the sexual abuse case, Cardinal Egan, former Archbishop of NYC and Bridgeport, Connecticut (now retired)  may be a bellwether for he now feels comfortable enough to have retracted his apology made ten years ago for sexual abuse handling  and claims that even now he is not obligated to report sexual abuse cases in Connecticut.   Egan had once claimed (and Cardinal George as well in his deposition) that his priests were not employees, but rather, "sub-contractors".  So taking heed, this may be a path to accommodation--so long as contraceptives are available, accessible and without co-pays.  

    P.S.  The name, Cardinal Suenens, may ring  a bell.  It was his coffin in the Cathedral near Brussels  that was drilled into by Belgian police (while all hierarchy was penned in during a conference by Belgian police)  searching for hidden documents in the sexual abuse scandal.

    Well, gee...if the religious leadership, (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:19:49 AM EST
    including the Pope, can't convince the vast majority of Catholic women to adhere to and abide by the Church's doctrine on artificial methods of birth control, I guess the next best thing is to bully the secular government into making it as difficult as possible for these women to have access to it.

    What I want to know is, when will the Catholic Bishops spend their considerable lobbying dollars to legislate the prohibition of the sales of condoms?  Oh, wait - maybe all we're concerned about is women being prevented from having a sense of autonomy over their own bodies.  Even so, I'm still trying to figure out how the ridiculously easy access to condoms doesn't  help men reduce women to being a mere instrument for satisfaction of their own desires.

    Hey, I wonder if members of the Catholic clergy who fall victim to their own lustful desires (or are they victims of the evil women who seduce them to sin?) make use of condoms?

    Is my utter disdain -  for allegedly celibate male clergy, for the sanctimonious male leaders of anti-choice and so-called Christian groups and the male politicians, whose moral houses are never as clean as they expect everyone else's to be - coming through?



    The (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:24:34 AM EST
    Power of Women

    A lot of men will probably call me a traitor to my own sex for suggesting this, but we men have done an awesome job of making a complete mess out of the world for everyone while subjugating women everywhere, and it's about time I think that we got put in our place for our own good as well as for the good of all women too.

    You women reading this have more power than you ever exercise.

    You want an end to war, universal healthcare, and full control over your own bodies and reproductive systems?

    You can have all that and more in a month. Us men will scream and whine and complain and gnash our teeth and run around in circles stamping our feet and crying, but in the end we'll give you women anything you want. We always do, when push comes to shove.

    I was about to proclaim my love for you (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:39:55 AM EST
    after reading first part.


    But then... the last sentence. Not!


    :-) why not? (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:42:39 AM EST
    It would be a bit of a sacrifice I guess, but it would work, wouldn't it?

    Also (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:45:40 AM EST
    It was the best idea I could think up, but what do I know - I'm only a guy.

    I'm sure women could come up with even better ideas. ;-)


    LOL (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:24:22 PM EST
    I meant that this part didn't seem quite right to these ears:

    "We always do, when push comes to shove."


    Heh... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:31:52 PM EST
    Oh, right, now I see. Yeah I wrote it in a hurry one day, and probably could have picked a different wordframe? ;-)

    I suppose women could (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:34:23 PM EST
    use a divide and conquer strategy on us?

    Most men aren't too bright - some would get it, and some wouldn't get it? ;-)


    Me too, (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:34:32 PM EST
    Have a neighbor, who like Edger means well,  says some great things along these lines only to end it, with: well, you got to keep them happy.  

    Great post. (none / 0) (#48)
    by lilburro on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:37:25 PM EST
    I need to read more about the history of the Church.  I didn't know any of the background on birth control and how their policy came to be.

    Start with Monty Python's (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:43:53 PM EST
    'The Meaning of Life' Every Sperm is Sacred

    Every sperm is sacred
    Every sperm is great
    If a sperm is wasted
    God gets quite irate


    Well played... (none / 0) (#62)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:31:50 PM EST
    I've had various quotes and songs from "The Meaning of Life" in my head since the brew-ha-ha started.

    "Medical experiments for the lot of ya!"


    I am a bit familiar with that (none / 0) (#64)
    by lilburro on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:36:02 PM EST
    I saw the movie The Magdalene Sisters, I think I may've even seen it twice.  

    There's just so much history with the Catholic Church that gaps, sometimes giant gaps, are probably inevitable for most people.  For instance, I've read some of John Boswell's work on the varying stance of the early Church on same sex relations.  I've read some of Peter Brown's work on the early Church, too.  But I blacked out about, oh, I dunno, 1,000 years?  Of course, whitewashing history is one of the main techniques used to consolidate power.  The more you know about an institution's history, the more you can hurt it.

    I'd love for someone to explain the Catholic Church's doctrines about infallibility to me.


    Other than the theological struggles (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 03:02:06 PM EST
    During the first four hundred years....

    A point to keep in mind:  everything a Pope says or writes is not "infallible.". Only when the statement is regarded as of such import on matters of faith as to call for a direct, special pronouncement will the Doctrine of Infallibility be invoked...known as an Ex Cathedra statement.  In 1968, Pope Paul vi issued Humanae Vitae, which essentially forbade birth control. And, the story begins....


    Yes, and if I may add, (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 04:18:19 PM EST
    while the doctrine of infallibility was not new, the definition of papal infallibility itself as dogma is relatively so in the history of the Catholic Church.   The solemn declaration that the Pope is the ruler in what will be accepted as formal beliefs came as a result of Vatican I, in 1870--essentially, when the Pope speaks on faith and morals he does speaks "with the keys".

    This Council was convened in light of Pius IX and his bishops concerns for modernity--they did not like it.  Moreover, Pius IX had defined the Immaculate Conception of Mary (born without original sin) as doctrine in 1854 which caused discussion to be cured by strengthening papal authority.  The political events of Europe may also have played into needs for the Pope's improved authority. Indeed, Vatican I was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War (1870)--the German advance captured Napoleon III and France was no longer in a position to protect the Pope's rule in Rome.  In fact, the Kingdom of Italy captured and annexed Rome.


    Your words about some of the saints (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 04:48:27 PM EST
    are moving, Donald.  One of my biggest surprises--concerning Church-lore--came when I realized that these human beings struggled, doubted, did the best they could. (Yet, i suppose that notion that the panoply of saints illustrated lots of differences in life station, approach, learning, and growth would be hard to teach an eight-year-old; so, we all felt guilty somewhere in there when we felt we couldn't live perfectly.)

    And, as for the foibles of mortals in the Church and out...legendary.  One personal favorite stemmed from a learning instance in Florence's Duomo: There we were in this expansive church, and looking right next to me I saw the name Galileo...the guide responded to my "what about" question with the matter-of-fact reply that when the Church acknowledged long after his death that the Sun did not revolve around the Earth, but that the opposite was true, they reburied him (as it were) in the Church.  Lesson for me: At times, it may take some time, but the Church can & does change in the face of it all.

    Yes, many of us Catholic women did have to find our own "reconciling" ways after Paul VI's declaration.  My husband & I left...only for me to return when my father died and I headed back to Confession after 13 years. Thank goodness then for an understanding priest...allowing me to look beyond individual disagreements with mortal leaders and consider the whole.

     The Church...She is a survivor...and, all of us there work it out (tho, I did get in a "discussion" with the Monsignor at my parish after listening to that letter & remarked, nicely, that it would be sad to listen to politics-from-the-pulpit from now until November...and we talked about it amiably as I kept repeating the importance of compromise in society.  Oh well, I'm more diplomatic than the give & take on the ACA with the Bishop who resides at that parish a few years ago.) Based on a number of your earlier comments, Donald, I'm sure you've lived those issues.  

    Today, right now...I'm hopeful that we can make those "accommodating" steps.  Slow by societal terms; but, hey, faster than the speed of light in Church history.


    Weirdly, though, with the overdue (none / 0) (#82)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:15:29 PM EST
    attention to the Magdalens, the groups that pushed for that attention continue to opt to ignore the Bethany movement -- the counterpart Protestant institutions.  The Protestants started this, actually, and the Catholics copied them.

    And there were many counterparts in this country, some also quite recently -- and for all I know, some continue today.


    Here are some articles (none / 0) (#88)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 01:16:43 PM EST
    The first Bethany Home, in Dublin, also did not close until 1972 -- but others remained elsewhere, I understand, including in the U.S.  Google, see Wikipedia, etc.  

    I also read that a reason that the focus of the publicity, the documentary, etc., was on the Catholic homes, giving the Prots a bye, was owing only to an anti-Catholic bias by the producers in the culture wars that continue there. . . .

    Here, the fundies now are into this in a big way; see "Horror Stories from Tough-Love Teen Homes" in Mother Jones just last summer.

    And we've had many tax-paid, public-sector examples; just about every state and big city had the "schools for girls," "girls' institutions," etc., that arose in the late 19th century -- and I've read excellent studies of their records that show that, just as with the Magdalens and Bethanies and the like, these were places where courts sent girls who were victims of rape, incest, etc.  And for women, of course, we have a long history in this country of husbands institutionalizing wives they no longer wanted by claiming that they were crazy, "nymphos," etc.


    occupy this ;-) (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:00:29 PM EST
    "When the Belgian government decided to pour cold water on the country's firefighters and increase their retirement age, the men struck back with the same method...literally.

    Several hundred firemen broke through police cordons and hosed down the prime minister's office. The men, dressed in full gear, were smiling as they directed the water at the building...and the small bunch of police officers huddled in front of it."

    -- RT video

    Cleaning up in 2012... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 10:09:15 AM EST
    Elections Are for Suckers
    by Robert Scheer, Truthdig.com, February 09, 2012

    Our own elections, the ones our government has modeled for the world, are a hoax. What other word should we use to describe this year's presidential election, whose outcome will turn on which party's super PACs gets the most generous bribes from billionaires? The Republicans, enabled by decisions of a Supreme Court they still control, were the first out of the gate and are far more culpable in destroying our system of popular governance. But the Democrats, no less committed to winning at any cost to political principle, have now jumped in.

    The generally reserved New York Times editorial page responded to the Obama campaign's decision to seek super PAC funding with a scathing editorial headlined "Another Campaign for Sale." The Times reminded that Barack Obama, in his State of the Union speech two years ago, called out the Supreme Court justices sitting before him over their decision to free special interests from campaign spending limits. "I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests," Obama said then. "They should be decided by the American people." But sadly, as the Times editorial noted this week, "On Monday, the President abandoned that fundamental principle and gave in to the culture of the Citizens United decision that he once denounced as a `threat to our democracy.'"

    Monday was the day the Obama campaign sent out an e-mail announcing that members of the president's administration would solicit funds for Priorities USA Action, one of the super PACs that can now, thanks to the Supreme Court decisions that Obama had castigated, raise unlimited funds in an effort to sway the election.

    read it all...

    Scalia Demolishes the"Religious Freedom" (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dan the Man on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 10:14:01 AM EST
    argument to the birth control requirement.  See Employment Division v Smith where Scalia writes for the court:

    "Subsequent decisions have consistently held that the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes)."

    Also, read Scalia's concurring opinion in CITY OF BOERNE v. FLORES where he makes similar arguments for the same point.

    Or you can go back (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:48:53 AM EST
    to the Reynolds case of the 19th Century.

    Guy's got like a 75 kids (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 10:21:34 AM EST
    And, apparently, thinks everyone else should be required to have them, too.  Or be a nun.

    What? (none / 0) (#76)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 04:20:04 PM EST
    Read it again.  Scalia's saying the opposite of that.

    on fear... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:00:13 AM EST
    Hugo Chavez...

    They are afraid, the Empire is afraid. The Empire is afraid that the people of the United States might find out about the truth, they are afraid that something like that could erupt in their own territory -- a Bolivarian movement; or a Lincoln movement -- a movement of citizens, conscious citizens to transform the system. . . . So, why do they demonize us? They know -- those who direct the Empire -- they know the truth. But they fear the truth. They fear the contagious effect. They fear a revolution in the United States. They fear an awakening of the people in the United States. And so that's why they do everything they can. And they achieve it, relatively, that a lot of sectors in the United States see us as devils. No one wants to copy the devil."

    -- Learning From La Venezuela

    I wish Chavez weren't such a sociopath (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:29:05 AM EST
    I'd be more inclined to admire him.  But he does now how to work the game, I will give him that.  AND how to throw our hypocrisies back in our face.  Offering to sell discounted heating oil to needy Americans was a stroke of dictatorial "genius."

    I tell ya, Edger, I just don't like ANYone in power, 'cause I just can't stand power itself.  Come Back to the Five and Dime, Vaclav Havel, Vaclav Havel.


    he's our generations Fidel (none / 0) (#38)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:58:59 PM EST
    just slightly less openly autocratic (not a high bar)--

    Watching Mittens live at CPAC (none / 0) (#32)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:26:14 PM EST
    Flat and without much enthusiasm.

    Mittens looks like he knows he is losing.

    Rasmussen has Santorum doing better against Obama than Romney.

    It could be Santorum.

    I would rejoice, and Obama (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by brodie on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:39:33 PM EST
    could phone in his re-election campaign.

    Unfortunately, borrowing from Barnie Frank, I don't think I've lived a good enough life to be rewarded with St Orum as the Repub nominee.

    Of course right now even the Mittster looks like an undeserved reward.

    Probably just a temporary setback, alas.

    It's gonna be Willard vs Obama and it's gonna be ugly and very close.


    Agree (none / 0) (#37)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:58:32 PM EST
    Mittens will champion the war on birth control (none / 0) (#53)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:49:17 PM EST
    He just promised at CPAC to abolish all funds for Planned Parenthood.

    Does anyone (none / 0) (#39)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:01:44 PM EST
    outside of tbe GOP bubble actually believe Santorum could beat Obama? It just seems insane I mean Rick lost by nearly 20 as the incumbent in a swing state in a huge GOP year-- how on Earth does that bode well for him (of course Romney probably would have suffered a similar fate-- his hand pick successor did- but he choose the Palin option instead).

    Sure, if you believe in Rasmussen's (none / 0) (#44)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:31:13 PM EST

    He is a pro, you know.  


    again last night.

    A thing of beauty!

    troll (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by CST on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:37:21 PM EST
    the day of the game.

    Next weekend both of my kids' flag football teams have made it to their own SB's.

    Talk about hearts pumping!


    My niece was at the parade... (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:46:35 PM EST
    her new boyfriend is a huge Giants fan...I'm not gonna hold it against him.

    Sh*t I'd like to join him, spare myself the heartache;)


    dude (none / 0) (#54)
    by CST on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:53:18 PM EST
    the worst of it is, montezuma's revenge came to boston this week.

    So we lost the superbowl, we lost to the lakers in overtime, and I just lost 5 lbs in 24 hours the bad way.


    You too? (none / 0) (#58)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:02:44 PM EST
    Damn that bug is getting around...I had it Sunday-Monday, dropping like flies here at the office, half my friends and fam have been hit, and one of my work contacts down in Tennessee is hugging the bowl at home today I'm told.

    At least its a quick one...48 hrs tops and you'll be good to go.  One of the ladies I work with was consoled by the weight loss once she felt better, she was the star at her Weight Watchers meeting this week! ;)


    yea (none / 0) (#60)
    by CST on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:11:51 PM EST
    I got it midday Wednesday and am starting back on solid (bread only) food today.  It was a quickie but a nasty one at that, my mom had it over the weekend too.  Not my prefferred method of weight loss by any stretch, but I guess I'll take the silver lining.

    Musings on 'Breaking Bad' (none / 0) (#55)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:56:21 PM EST
    as I wind down my work week....

    Midway through Season 2 so far...

    I saw enough spoilers last year to know this is going to come to grief, but man, do I love Jesse! So glad to see Aaron Paul got an Emmy. He makes that character human and lovable against all odds.

    I'm having a hard time buying that Walt would keep cooking after all he just went through with Tuco, but maybe he will sell me on the idea...

    Bryan Cranston is so good. He almost had me believing he was telling the truth to Skyler, when even she knew he was full of it.

    In a related note, it makes me understand the heretofore inexplicable casting of Justin Chatwin as Fiona's love interest Steve in 'Shameless'. He is a total Aaron Paul wannabe, to the opposite effect. He takes a character that would be likable and makes him intolerable, to me anyway, just with his insincere acting.  I would hook Fiona up with Jesse in a minute even though he has trouble written all over him, but Steve drives me crazy.

    Angry Black Man (none / 0) (#74)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 03:58:25 PM EST
    What he said:


    Great comment (none / 0) (#92)
    by lilburro on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 07:55:21 PM EST
    just in general, but also about Obama.  

    I suspect Barack Obama is fairly laid back in general, but we'll never know because he can't be anything else.

    I'm sure he measures his moments of anger quite carefully.  I think he's a very self-possessed man, and his memoirs and personality attest to his thoughtfulness about his own identity and what it means to do what he does.  But, even thoughtful people sometimes want to explode, and to this day the only people allowed to do that are white men.


    Some people (none / 0) (#87)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 07:30:21 PM EST
    follow election campaigns too closely, and never quite figure out what happened... ;-)

    Doing the (none / 0) (#89)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 01:33:25 PM EST
    happy dance. The Obama Administration just approved for GA to be out of NCLB

    Oh, that is good news indeed! (none / 0) (#93)
    by sj on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 06:37:56 PM EST
    Why is this not being trumpeted?  Hopefully the rest of the states will soon receive the same dispensation.