On The Defenestration of Branden Eich

Posted by unclesmrgol at 06 April, 2014 22:43:18

The Angry Man
by Phyllis McGinley

The other day I chanced to meet
An angry man upon the street —
A man of wrath, a man of war,
A man who truculently bore
Over his shoulder, like a lance,
A banner labeled “Tolerance.”

And when I asked him why he strode
Thus scowling down the human road,
Scowling, he answered, “I am he
Who champions total liberty —
Intolerance being, ma’am, a state
No tolerant man can tolerate.

“When I meet rogues,” he cried, “who choose
To cherish oppositional views,
Lady, like this, and in this manner,
I lay about me with my banner
Till they cry mercy, ma’am.” His blows
Rained proudly on prospective foes.

Fearful, I turned and left him there
Still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
“Let the Intolerant beware!”


Heh.

Pope Francis and President Obama

Posted by unclesmrgol at 29 March, 2014 17:13:32

The president acknowledged that his meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, included a discussion about “the issue of making sure that conscience and religious freedom was observed in the context of applying the law.” Mr. Obama repeated the administration’s argument that it has tried to accommodate churches and faith-affiliated institutions in regard to the health care law.

“I explained to him that most religious organizations are entirely exempt,” Mr. Obama said. “Religiously affiliated hospitals or universities or [nongovernmental organizations] simply have to attest that they have a religious objection, in which case they are not required to provide contraception — although employees of theirs who choose are able to obtain it through the insurance company.”


Mr. Obama, who has claimed to be a Constitutional scholar, and who has taught classes on that subject in the past, seems not to understand the First Amendment at all. Accommodating churches and faith-affiliated institutions should not require such institutions to file suits in Federal Court, as the Little Sisters of the Poor have had to do:

The Becket Fund said that, although the Little Sisters’ homes perform a religious ministry of caring for the elderly poor, they do not fall within the government’s narrow exemption for “religious employers.” Accordingly, beginning on January 1, the Little Sisters will face IRS fines unless they violate their religion by hiring an insurer to provide their employees with contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.


In fact, accommodating most religious "organizations" but not all religious claimants constitutes an establishment of religion, something which our Constitution expressly forbids. A person should not have to join a religious organization, nor order his or her life, in order that their religious observances be respected by the Government. The person should not be restricted by a quest for profit. The Bible describes the way in which profitable businesses must operate, and, by extension, describes those acts as part and parcel of a person's adherence to a faith-based life.

Narrowing the allowed list of claimants to just organizations with a religious focus denies completely an individual citizen's ability to live their religion in their daily lives. Requiring a company, whose owners have a dissenting religious outlook on contraception or abortion from that of the Government, to purchase or even to contract with an insurance company which provides such coverages, is a violation of the separation of church and state. In fact, forcing an insurance company to offer such coverages as a condition of staying in business is a similar violation.

What the President has shown is that he has little common ground in this matter with the Catholic Church and its faithful.

Hobby Lobby Has Its Day in [the Supreme] Court

Posted by unclesmrgol at 23 March, 2014 20:30:17

The Administration posits that religion only has its place on certain days and in certain places. Lots of people who hate religion posit likewise. But the Constitution doesn't. To force a person to buy -- to use the work of their hands -- in ways counter to their religious faith not only violates the First Amendment, but also violates the Thirteenth Amendment prohibition against involuntary servitude. For those unclear on the concept, involuntary servitude involves forced or coerced labor by one person on behalf of another.

Two days from now, Sebilius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. will be argued before the Supreme Court.

Rick Warren, the pastor of the evangelical Saddleback Church,has this to say about the case:
Does our Constitution guarantee the freedom of religion, or does it merely allow a more limited freedom to worship? The difference is profound. Worship is an event. Religion is a way of life.

Specifically, does the First Amendment guarantee believers of all faiths the freedom to practice their ethics, educate their children and operate family businesses based on their religious beliefs, moral convictions and freedom of conscience? Do Americans have the freedom to place our beliefs and ethics at the center of our business practices — or must we ignore them when we form a company?


Indeed, as the Amicus Curiae briefs indicate, all of the filers attempt to address the First Amendment issue. They all proceed to address it in various religious ways, including making that argument that some religions count not only faith but works of faith as essential to daily life; that is precisely the point made by Pastor Rick Warren above.

Left unaddressed, however, in any of these arguments is the Thirteenth Amendment issue of whether any person can withhold labor which they do not wish to perform, regardless of reason. And, if any person is capable of withholding labor they do not wish to perform under our Constitution, does that right accrue to collections of people all endowed with a similar purpose?

To put it another way, I believe that the Constitution addresses freedom of religion twice -- once in the 1st Amendment, and again in the 13th. The 13th was obviously designed to end slavery, but is it not slavery to compel one person to work at anything they do not wish to support, merely because another orders them to do so? We long ago rid ourselves of hard labor in prison camps but how is this new threat to a person's freedom to use the work of their hands as they wish any different from that harsh and bygone punishment? We long ago rid ourselves of the idea of forced armed military service, allowing a category of conscientious objection which allowed service without militancy -- how is this request by Hobby Lobby any different from that?

Liberal Censorship

Posted by unclesmrgol at 15 March, 2014 21:31:16

It's rare to see it so blatant, but here's an interesting screenshot illustrating exactly how thin-skinned the guys who run Media Matters are when a conservative challenges their viewpoints:

Big Tobacco and Obamacare

Posted by unclesmrgol at 09 March, 2014 13:08:13

Mr. Hiltzik artfully managed the red herring -- seguing from Big Tobacco to Republican opposition to Obamacare in one sweeping generalization. Comparing the issues, since Mr. Hiltzik is firmly on the side of health benefits from Obamacare, he equally would have been firmly on the side of Big Tobacco as it argued that what it had was healthy and good, and all the naysayers were just that.

Try to argue your way out of that one, Mr. Hiltzik -- bet you can't.



UPDATE March 9, 2014 6:39PM
A response:


@unclesmrgol Unc sorry but you lost it with tobacco. Unlikely he would have been on the side of Big tobacco, there was no science to support the tobacco position what there was was advertising. The strongest supporters of tobacco, why it was the GOP. They fought even putting warning labels on tobacco.

As for the ACA, Hmm the health benefits are already being seen. Seniors being able to afford medication with the donut hole closing. People getting health care they could not get before. Already seeing the difference between states where they have expanded medicaid, people are healthier and living longer. Was it a great plan? no, a much better plan would have been a universal plan but when the congress went with a GOP plan they were looking for what they could get through congress. It is better than what we had before but not as good as we could have had. Those nasty things facts.


Another response (by me)
@AngelaBirch Just as there was no science to support all of the supposed benefits which would accrue from Obamacare.
Now we have cancer patients who can't see their doctors, half as many people in California signed up for healthcare than there were policies ordered cancelled by CoveredCA, people finding that their policies will cost a lot more than the satisfactory ones they had before, deductibles twice the size of the ones they once had, etc. etc. etc.

You have a bridge to sell? Go sell it elsewhere.


@AngelaBirch The original bill (Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969) which ordered both warnings on cigarette packages and the cessation of advertising on radio and TV was signed into law by Richard M. Nixon on April 1, 1970. The law was passed with 29 Republicans voting yes, and 2 Republicans voting no, and 41 Democrats voting yes, and 5 Democrats voting no.

Now, if you want to understand why there were so many Republicans against the 2009 act (109 against, 70 for), you merely have to look at the text of the act, whose preamble begins "To protect the public health by providing the Food and Drug Administration with certain authority to regulate tobacco products, to amend title 5, United States Code, to make certain modifications in the Thrift Savings Plan, the Civil Service Retirement System, and the Federal Employees' Retirement System, and for other purposes."

As you can see, there's a lot more than smoke in the Act -- or perhaps too much smoke.

Woody Allen

Posted by unclesmrgol at 16 February, 2014 14:57:35

"Q: Many people, including some who admire you, have expressed concern that you are involved with a young woman to whom you have been in loco parentis, a father figure.

A: But she's not part of my family. Soon-Yi has a very high-profile father; I was not a father figure to those children. I was a father figure to my own children, period. Those are the three in my will.

Q: But Soon-Yi is the sister of all those kids.

A: Yes, but it's not that they're really sisters.


That's Woody Allen, speaking to the nature of adoptive families. They aren't really siblings. They aren't really related. They are fair game, because they are not really your children.

Q. But didn't you become a father surrogate to the children she had adopted with Andre Previn?

A. I was not involved with the other kids. They had their own father. I didn't spend much time with them, particularly the girls. I spent absolutely zero time with any of them. This was not some type of family unit in any remote way.

Q. Soon-Yi never treated you as a father figure?

A. Not remotely. She never said two words to me. For years I thought Soon-Yi was studying to be a nun. She was going to Sacred Heart, so I thought, well, I had no idea what she was doing. I was only interested in my own kids.

Q. Don't you worry about what the children might feel when their dad is sleeping with someone they consider a sister?

A. I don't think they think of "sleeping with." They only know what is constantly drummed into them. And I don't think my children feel any lack of affection or any rivalry. Soon-Yi and I will be very, very cognizant of their situation and feelings.


Heh.

Yes, indeed. The Heart Wants What It Wants, and will not be denied.