Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jimmy Fallon vs. Michelle Obama (VDEO)

Guess who wins?

Umm, is there a way @MSNBC can force Chris Matthews to watch his own Network and learn somethin'? (VIDEO)

First Chris Matthews had on E.J. Dionne and Susan Milligan, and barely let Susan get in a word in edgewise:

And then Lawrence O'Donnell had Mark Shields on to pontificate just a little bit more:

And yes, despite Lawrence's admonition, Mark Shields went on and on.

Unanswered was the question, in both segments was this: Why should the Catholic Church be able to enforce Catholic Dogma on it's employees who work for Catholic Organization who are not Catholic.

Instead all we heard was the alleged oppression being put upon the Church, which...if you remember history, is just a damn joke.

Another way to ask the question is: Why should the Catholic Church control the sex lives of Non-Catholic, or anyone else for that matter?

Or how about this one: Mad as I am about the Catholic Sex Scandal, I don't want to pay for Father Donovan's Heart Medication.  Can I have a exemption, too?  Or is it more important that we have a Civilization here, and pay for each other's stuff...even if we don't use it?

But finally buried in the din...was Rachel Maddow...and Rachel sounding uber-reasonable, and quiet, underhandedly scolding her journalistic colleages (namely Shields and Matthews).

And she did it again, the next night:

And Lawrence had an actual lawyer on (the legendary David Boies) to explain why the contretemps over the Birth Control issue was total bullshit:

Basically, I want two things from Chris Matthews...but expect only one.

It'd be really nice if stop hawking his book on Jack Kennedy every ten seconds, but hey a fella can dream, can't he?

But what I really expect is for Chris Matthews to stop using MSNBC as a personal platform to provide cover for the Church, of which he and I are members. He has not provided an impartial platform and instead used the network to flog and issue that is 110% bullshit.

Ethics, Chris. I thought they were important to Catholics. Maybe that's just lip service.

(Actually, as a Catholic, and knowing our history...yeah, it's lip service.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

As the Catholic Church continues to embarrass itself on Birth Control...

Sarah Kliff, working for Ezra Klein's Wonkbook, published this handy-dandy fact check on the President's new regulations regarding Health Insurance Companies...note: Health Insurance Companies...having to cover contraception under the Affordable Care act.

Religious Institutions who employ people in their religion have an exemption.

Naturally, Religious Institutions who employ people outside their religion are in a snit over the fact that they won't be able to impose their religious values over their employees. (Catholic Hospitals of America...Chris Matthews of Hardall...I'm talkin' to you!)

From today's Washington Post:

How did this all start?

The health reform law requires that insurance companies cover preventive services for women without any co-pay beginning this summer. It did not, however, specify what services to cover — that was left to the Obama administration. With guidance from the Institute of Medicine on the issue, Health and Human Services published a regulation on Aug. 1, 2011 that included birth control as part of the preventive package. That regulation also had a conscience clause, which allows religious employers who object to birth control — and also primarily employ those of their own religion — to be exempt from the requirement. That would allow churches to opt out of the new requirement.

What’s the fight about now?

Some religious leaders say that the exemption wasn’t wide enough: That the Obama administration should allow all faith-based employers regardless of who they employ, to opt out of the new requirement if they object to contraceptives. This wider definition would exempt, among others, Catholic hospitals. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has lobbied aggressively for this wider conscience clause, as have a number of prominent Catholics who supported the health reform law. But in final regulations last month, the Obama administration did not expand the exemption.

Let’s say the Obama administration had expanded the conscience clause. Would that allow Catholic hospitals not to provide birth control to their patients?

No, it would not. This regulation only applies to the health insurance that a hospital, charity or other employer provides for its employees. It does not regulate the care that a Catholic charity provides to its patients. As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote recently in a USA Today op-ed, “our rule has no effect on the long-standing conscience clause protections for providers, which allow a Catholic doctor, for example, to refuse to write a prescription for contraception.”

What happens next?

Two Catholic universities have already filed lawsuits challenging the mandated coverage of contraceptives as a violation of religious freedoms protected under the First Amendment. The Catholic bishops are also looking to file a similar challenge, and some observers expect these challenges could wind their way up to the Supreme Court.

The new rule is starting to play a political role, too, in the 2012 election. Republican candidates have come out against the contraceptive requirement. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich blasted it as “a direct assault of freedom of religion.” The Obama campaign and its allies have repeatedly defended the new requirement, attacking the Republican field as anti-contraceptives.

How have contraceptive mandates been handled previously?

Twenty-eight states currently require insurance plans to cover contraceptives, although two exclude emergency contraceptives from that mandate.

Nine states do not have conscience clause. Four states have what the Guttmacher Institute describes as “narrow” exemptions, similar to the federal one, which allows churches and other institutions that primarily employ those of their own religion to opt out. Seven states have “broader” exemptions that cover other religious institutions, but not hospitals. Then eight states have “expansive” conscience clauses that allow at least some hospitals not to provide contraceptive coverage.

What about if you get health care through your employer?

Approximately 90 percent of employer-based insurance plans cover contraceptives, according to the Guttmacher Institute, although many may charge co-pays for birth control, which the health reform law will eliminate.

Matt Lauer's pre-Super Bowl Interview with the President (VIDEO)

...or, what I could find of it.

The President's Super-Bowl prediction (or lack of), and Iran & Israel:

On Iran's Nuclear Program, the Economy and 2012:

Though Matt's question about meeting with Romney was ridiculous.  He is aware the President has a day job, right?  And for the record, I'm glad the President didn't answer the question (which I took to mean "what's the friggin' point, Matt"?)

And disappointment? You're on that canard, Matt??! Seriously?

Syria, the GOP Primary battles, and his time in the Spotlight:

Did Clint Eastwood just make a campaign ad for the President? (VIDEO)

First off, brilliant ad. But then Chrysler has been making brilliant stuff since their comeback.

Jamelle Bouie from the American Prospect:

[A]s befitting a car commercial, is that it focuses on the revitalization of Detroit as a template for pushing the country forward. This echoes language the president used in his State of the Union last month:

Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.

We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back.

Not only should you expect to hear more like this as the year continues, but don’t be surprised if the Obama campaign’s positive advertisements look and sound a lot like Chrysler’s.