1. A very interesting list that discusses some recent-ish trends in religion— from Judaism to Latino Catholicism to the ‘new nihilism’—that haven’t been widely covered in the press. I’m particularly irked by #6 Upside-down Ideas about Religious Liberty:

    The dramatic new push for religious liberty exemptions for faith-connected providers of taxpayer-supported health services underscores the radical way in which understandings of religious liberty have changed in recent years. It’s not that the push for exemptions hasn’t made the news; it’s that no one is writing (at least in the MSM) about the radical nature of the shift. In the past, the social service arms of religious bodies understood that if they wanted public money they would need to honor public law regarding the disposition of the money: i.e., provide the full range of mandated services on a universal basis. We used to say to objectors, “If you don’t like the mandate, don’t take the money.”

    Apparently such a commonsensical response is now insufficiently deferential to religion. More and more people seem willing to say that if a Catholic health care provider doesn’t “believe” in providing reproductive health care to women, that private belief can trump public law. This is a particularly thorny problem because of the many regional health care system mergers involving Catholic partners: there are now many places in the country where, if a dominant provider that toes the bishops’ line won’t provide the service, area women will be out of luck and deprived of benefits they are entitled to receive by law.

    See also the refusal of religious pharmacists to fill orders for Plan B, the repeated attempts by fundamentalists to force public schools to teach creationism, and the mandate of abstinence-only sex. ed. by politicians and school boards (despite the fact that it’s led to dire results). Absurdly deferential treatment of religious folks (Christian ones, at least) is becoming the new normal in this country (here’s one example from this past year). I fully blame the GOP for courting evangelicals in the ’90s and fostering an atmosphere in which the views of far-right Christians have become privileged over everyone else’s.

    This state of affairs completely undermines what the Founders intended with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Freedom to practice your religion without state interference does NOT mean that government must therefore privilege your rights over everyone else’s. If a Catholic hospital is funded with taxpayer money, then they can’t use religious reasons to restrict the use of that money, i.e. not provide reproductive healthcare.

     
  2. Doctors in emergency rooms have no right to refuse to provide medical care to someone who overdosed on heroin, even though heroin is illegal and many people are morally opposed to its recreational use. They have to care for drunk drivers, even though driving drunk is both illegal and a pretty universally assy thing to do. Why, then, should a hospital be forced to bend over backwards to accommodate people’s religious beliefs surrounding abortion, a legal medical procedure protected by the Constitution?
    — 

    Erin Gloria Ryan, “Nurses Fight For Their Right To Refuse Women Care”, Jezebel.

    (emphasis mine)

    (Source: jezebel.com)

     
  3. image: Download

     
  4. image: Download

    wilwheaton:

empact:

Government logic.

Sigh.

    wilwheaton:

    empact:

    Government logic.

    Sigh.

     
  5. motherjones:

    We asked one of the world’s leading experts on vaccines for his thoughts on Rep. Michele Bachmann’s fearmongering about Gardasil. He didn’t hold back.

    95% of the world’s problems have to do with people like Michele Bachmann.

     
  6. weirdette:

theinfp:

alltreesareoaks:

socalfeminist:

thepoliticalnotebook:
Great News of the Day. As per new recommendations by the Dept of Health and Human Services, birth control, as well as other methods of contraception like voluntary sterilization, will be covered by health insurance plans as preventative care. All plans beginning on or after August 1, 2012 will include this and the new requirements will go into full effect in January of 2013. Katie Rogers at WaPo is absolutely right to call this a “historic development in the debate over women’s health care.” It’s pretty monumental. (CBS News photo).
Read the Washington Post story.

WOO

Yes!!!!
Ready to hear arguments of why this plan will morally send the country down the toilet in 3…2…1….

You know what else is free? KEEPING YOUR LEGS TOGETHER, YOU SLUTS!
I’m kidding. Huzzah!

The moon will punish us for making it easier for her daughters to forsake her. Mark my words. Mark them well.

    weirdette:

    theinfp:

    alltreesareoaks:

    socalfeminist:

    thepoliticalnotebook:

    Great News of the Day. As per new recommendations by the Dept of Health and Human Services, birth control, as well as other methods of contraception like voluntary sterilization, will be covered by health insurance plans as preventative care. All plans beginning on or after August 1, 2012 will include this and the new requirements will go into full effect in January of 2013. Katie Rogers at WaPo is absolutely right to call this a “historic development in the debate over women’s health care.” It’s pretty monumental. (CBS News photo).

    Read the Washington Post story.

    WOO

    Yes!!!!

    Ready to hear arguments of why this plan will morally send the country down the toilet in 3…2…1….

    You know what else is free? KEEPING YOUR LEGS TOGETHER, YOU SLUTS!

    I’m kidding. Huzzah!

    The moon will punish us for making it easier for her daughters to forsake her. Mark my words. Mark them well.

     
  7. As with most issues in this new Gilded Age, the tale of the American diet is a story of the worst form of corporatism — the kind whereby the government uses public monies to protect private profit.

    In this chapter of that larger tragicomedy, lawmakers whose campaigns are underwritten by agribusinesses have used billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize those agribusinesses’ specific commodities (corn, soybeans, wheat, etc.) that are the key ingredients of unhealthy food. Not surprisingly, the subsidies have manufactured a price inequality that helps junk food undersell nutritious-but-unsubsidized foodstuffs like fruits and vegetables. The end result is that recession-battered consumers are increasingly forced by economic circumstance to “choose” the lower-priced junk food that their taxes support.

    Corn — which is processed into the junk-food staple corn syrup and which feeds the livestock that produce meat — exemplifies the scheme.

    "Over the past decade, the federal government has poured more than $50 billion into the corn industry, keeping prices for the crop … artificially low," reports Time magazine. "That’s why McDonald’s can sell you a Big Mac, fries and a Coke for around $5 — a bargain."

    […]

    Solving the crisis, then, requires everything from recalibrating our subsidies to halting the low-income school lunch program’s support for the pizza and French fry lobby (yes, they have a powerful lobby). It requires, in other words, a new level of maturity, a better appreciation for the nuanced politics of food and a commitment to changing those politics for the future.

    Impossible? Hardly. A country that can engineer the seemingly unattainable economics of a $5 McDonald’s feast certainly has the capacity to produce a healthy meal for the same price. It’s just a matter of will — or won’t.

    Not to mention the added burden that unhealthy diets pose for our healthcare system. Poor nutrition leads to expensive, chronic diseases like diabetes—diseases that tend to disproportionately affect the poor. When poor people are afflicted by such diseases, they’re more likely to rely on emergency room visits and other incredibly expensive ways to receive healthcare. And again, taxpayers are left footing the bill while the Agriculture, Healthcare, and Pharma industries profit.