Morning after pill update

The Food & Drug administration had decided to make the abortifacient “morning after” pill available over the counter without a prescription.  But now the Health & Human Services Department has over-ruled that decision, keeping the drug by-prescription only:

The federal government Wednesday rejected a request to let young teenage girls buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves without a prescription.

In a rare public split among federal health officials, the Health and Human Services Department overruled a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to make the drug available to anyone of any age without a restriction.

In a statement, FDA Administrator Margaret A. Hamburg said she had decided the medication could be used safely by girls and women of all ages. But she added that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had rejected the move.

“I agree … there is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential,” Hamburg said.

“However, this morning I received a memorandum from the Secretary of Health and Human Services invoking her authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to execute its provisions and stating that she does not agree with the Agency’s decision to allow the marketing of Plan B One-Step nonprescription for all females of child-bearing potential,” she said.

In a separate statement and letter to Hamburg, Sebelius said she overruled the FDA because she had concluded that data submitted by the company that makes the drug did not “conclusively establish” that it could be used safely by girls of all ages.

“About 10 percent of girls are physically capable of bearing children by 11.1 years of age. It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age,” Sebelius said. “If the application were approved, the product would be available, without prescription, for all girls of reproductive age.”

The surprising decision is a stunning blow to some doctors, health advocates, family-planning activists, members of Congress and others who backed relaxing the restrictions to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies.

via Obama administration refuses to relax Plan B restrictions – The Washington Post.

How safe it is. . . but it isn’t safe for unborn children.

Remember Pearl Harbor

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which took the lives of 2,300 Americans, destroyed 12 ships and 160 aircraft, and brought the nation into World War II.

See Pearl Harbor attacked: A witness remembers, 70 years later – The Washington Post.

Reflections, thoughts, and lessons learned?

Liberal vs. Conservative television tastes

How do political beliefs relate to taste in TV shows?  A study has found some patterns:

In the findings, “sarcastic” media-savvy comedies and morally murky antiheroes tend to draw Dems. While serious work-centered shows (both reality shows and stylized scripted procedurals), along with reality competitions, tend to draw conservatives.

Focusing on well-known cable and broadcast original entertainment series (rather than, say, sports, music, news, repeats), here’s who wins the 2011 prime-time primaries:


– The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report (Comedy Central): As you might expect.

– 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation (NBC): Literate media-savvy comedies score high among Dems in general, notes Experian-Simmons senior marketing manager John Fetto. “Sarcastic humor is always a hook for them,” he adds.

– The View (ABC): Shows that skew female tend to do better among Dems, while male-friendly shows tend to do perform higher among Republicans.

– Glee (Fox)

– Modern Family (ABC): Last year, the progressive Glee and Modern Family scored surprisingly strong among both political leanings. Among conservatives this year, the shows still do fairly well, but have dropped out of their top ranks.

– It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)

– Treme (HBO): GOP Kryptonite. Not only a Dem favorite, but so unpopular among Republicans that the report scores the show with a “*” because not enough conservatives in the study group had actually watched it.

– Cougar Town (ABC)

– The Late Show With David Letterman and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS): Dems favor late-night programming, with one big exception that we’ll see below.

Also in the mix: The Soup (E!), Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Adult Swim), Raising Hope (Fox), Saturday Night Live (NBC), The Office (NBC), Project Runway (Lifetime), Shameless (Showtime), Parenthood (NBC), Conan (TBS).


– Swamp Loggers (Discovery) and Top Shot (History): Gritty documentary-style work-related reality shows on cable index really strongly with conservative Republicans. Swamp Loggers is particularly polarizing.

– The Bachelor (ABC): They also tend to gravitate toward broadcast reality competition shows.

– Castle (ABC): Ranks fairly high among Dems, too.

– Mythbusters (Discovery)

– Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Swamp People (History): If you’re a Republican candidate looking to raise money, put ads on History.

– The Middle (ABC): Does well among libs, too.

– The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC): “Did you hear about this? Yeah, this is true: Jay Leno is the late-night choice among conservatives… “

– The Biggest Loser (NBC)

– Hawaii Five-O, NCIS, The Mentalist (CBS): Popular crime dramas — except the left-wing Law & Order franchise — tend to draw a conservative crowd.

Also: Dancing With the Stars results show (ABC), Man vs. Wild (Discovery), Auction Kings (Discovery), Wheel of Fortune (syndi), Top Gear (BBC America).

via Republican vs. Democrat survey: Who watches the best TV shows? | Inside TV |

What does this tell us about both liberals and conservatives?

Does this track with your tastes, one way or the other?  Are there other shows that would seem to exemplify a liberal or a conservative aesthetic?

Occupy foreclosed houses

The Occupy Wall Street folks, who in many cases are being evicted from their downtown campsites, have started a new strategy:  Occupying foreclosed houses.  This includes blocking efforts to evict people, disrupting auctions, fixing up abandoned homes and giving them to homeless people, and just moving into abandoned properties.

See  Occupy protesters take over homes, block evictions – Dec. 6, 2011.

Did St. Nicholas slap Arius?

Happy belated St. Nicholas Day yesterday.  A piece I wrote for WORLD a few years ago has been going around again, in which I take up the account of jolly old St. Nicholas slapping Arius at the Council of Nicaea for denying Christ’s divinity.

Many historians dispute that this ever happened, and they may be right.  Still, legends have a meaning of their own, even if they leave history behind.   (Then again, it might have happened.  The alleged incident is better attested than the claim that the Bishop of Myra is currently living at the North Pole running a gift-manufacturing and delivery service.)

The point is, I have written a more thorough article on St. Nicholas for the latest Lutheran Witness, though it won’t show up online for a few months.  I discuss that article on Issues, Etc.


Anti-Tebow bigotry?

A lot of people just HATE Denver quarterback Tim Tebow.  And it’s because of his open Christianity.   Even other Christians sometimes squirm over his overt piety, putting John 3:16 on the patches under his eyes and kneeling down to pray after each of his numerous touchdowns.  And further confounding his critics is that, despite what would seem to be poor football technique and bad passing, he keeps leading his team to one miraculous come-from-behind last minute victory after another!

Many Christians are not that demonstrative about our faith, which is certainly legitimate.  But is there anything actually wrong with Tebow being so demonstrative about it?  And shouldn’t we cut him some slack about it?  Yes, we are to beware those who practice their piety before men, but Tebow certainly isn’t doing it to make himself look good–as might happen in another age–since it is only attracting scorn and contempt.  Shouldn’t we support him and maybe ourselves be more open about our faith than we are?

Displays of faith put Tebow in spotlight –