Supremes Side with Hobby Lobby

 

I don’t know the details yet.

Buuuttttt … it appears the Supremes have ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and against the HHS Mandate.

The ruling, as I understand it (haven’t read it yet) is very narrow.

It says:

1. Closely held corporations (i.e., non public, “family” corporations

2. Do not have to abide by the contraceptive portion of the HHS Mandate

3. Due to First Amendment protections of religious freedom.

I have been told that is was a 5-4 ruling.

My source for this information was verbal and off the record, so I can’t give you a link to it directly, but this is a source of some information.

We’ll talk more, as I know more.

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CDC Confirms First US Case of MERS Virus

The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed the first US case of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Virus (MERS)

MERS, which is similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Virus (SARS) which killed 800 people in China in the 2002-03, is fatal in up to one third of the people who contract it.

Dr Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Imminzation and Respiratory Diseases said that while the case represents “a very low risk to the broader general public,” it is still a concern because of the “virulence” of the virus and that fact that it can be transmitted from one person to the next.

The male patient had returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia on April 24, connecting from Riyadh to London to Chicago. He then took a bus to Indiana.

He experienced respiratory symptoms on April 27 and was diagnosed with MERS on April 28. The patient is said to be in stable condition and is being treated with appropriate protocols, including isolation.

Only 262 people have been diagnosed with MERS. Ninety-three of those have died of the illness. Little is known about MERS. It is believed that the virus is transmitted to humans through camels, but even that is somewhat speculative.

From Reuters:

(Reuters) – A healthcare worker who had traveled to Saudi Arabia was confirmed as the first U.S. case of Middle East Respiratory Virus (MERS), an often fatal illness, raising new concerns about the rapid spread of such diseases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

The male patient traveled via a British Airways flight on April 24 from Riyadh to London, where he changed flights at Heathrow airport to fly to the United States. He landed in Chicago and took a bus to an undisclosed city in Indiana.

On April 27, he experienced respiratory symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, the man visited the emergency department at Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana, on April 28 and was admitted that same day.

Because of his travel history, Indiana health officials tested him for MERS, and sent the samples to the CDC, which confirmed the presence of the virus on Friday.The virus is similar to the one that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which emerged in China in 2002-2003 and killed some 800 people. It was first detected inSaudi Arabia.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said on a conference call the first U.S. case of MERS was “of great concern because of its virulence,” proving fatal in about a third of infections.She said the case represents “a very low risk to the broader general public,” but MERS has been shown to spread to healthcare workers and there are no known treatments for the virus.

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How to Join Crowdfunding of Gosnell Movie

 

Film makers are asking individuals to contribute so that they can make a movie about Kermit Gosnell.

This is called crowdfunding.

Watch the video below and consider if you would like to help them.

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So … I Starved My Granddaughter to Death and Now I’m Campaigning to Let Other People Kill Their Kids Faster

 

The latest salvo in the push for legalizing euthanasia is to kill kids.

What was once supposed to be all about putting down people who were suffering horribly and in the last stages of terminal illness and who requested their own death has now become killing people who can’t consent and are nowhere near dying.

It has evidently occurred to a few people in America that we’ve got an euthanasia gap. Belgium has jumped ahead of us and allows their docs to kill children and people with dementia. But never fear: the euthanasia movement has found someone who is willing to tell us all about the tragic experience of euthanizing his toddler granddaughter by slow starvation and how we need to do something to kill these kids faster.

I’m normally not so sarcastic about people who step forward and take positions that I find appalling. I know that they are just people and that they probably believe in what they are doing. I think they need conversion, not the destruction of public attack.

But this push to expiate personal guilt by politicizing the victim’s death in order to change the law and open the flood gates on medical murder of children is a bridge too far.

I’ve been reading the stories about Bradley Newton’s heart-rending tale of how horrible it was for him to watch his granddaughter starve to death; how painful and hideous this death was and how he’s traumatized by it all.

What he’s leaving out is that he and the rest of his family were the people who starved this child to death. The victim is the little girl, not them.

Not content to have done such a terrible thing, Mr Newton and the rest of his family have made little Natalie the poster child for a campaign to legalize euthanasia for children. He’s appeared on CNN and other news shows, where I’m sure he got the tender and heartfelt sympathy of the interviewer for the “agonizing decision” he and his family made to slowly starve this child to death.

The family has set up a web site in “honor” of the baby they slowly killed. They petitioned the governor of Texas to “spare” others by allowing quicker ways to kill kids.

Watching Mr Newton’s teary interview pulls at my heart. He’s done a terrible thing and it bothers him. I identify with that. I also know how overwhelming and forceful the white coat people can be when your loved one is in the hospital. Any of us can fall prey to their pushy “advice,” especially when we don’t walk into the situation with values and beliefs about these things to guide us.

However, Mr Newton doesn’t want forgiveness. He still doesn’t think he did anything wrong. His response to his grief is to use his granddaughter’s death to multiply the harm. According to him the fault lies in the law that makes it too hard to euthanize children.

He, and at least part of the rest of Natalie’s family, blame everybody else for their actions. They’ve done everything but admit that they were not forced to submit this little girl to death by starvation, that murdering her in this way was their free choice. They could have chosen to let her live.

Their solution for their remorse is to campaign to turn this one murder into a cause for legalizing mass murder. That makes this grandfather’s grief a lot less touching.

The tragedy began when 21-month-old Natalie drowned in the family’s backyard pool. Doctors were able to revive her, but she suffered permanent brain damage that required her to be on a feeding tube. According to Mr Newton, the hospital “ethics” committee recommended that they “let her go.” But the only legal way to do this was to withdraw her feeding tube and let this 21-month-old child slowly starve to death over a period of nine days.

The articles I’ve read said that Natalie was “brain dead.” I don’t think that’s accurate. She clearly could breathe on her own, since the method of euthanizing her was to starve her to death. What her condition actually was, I don’t know. There are no facts about her condition in the stories surrounding this case; only lots of manufactured sympathy for the family which was “forced” to starve her and zero concern for the child they starved.

What passes for sympathy for Natalie is an aggressive politicizing of her death so that it can be used to allow quicker, more “merciful” ways to kill children in the future.

Here’s a news flash for everyone: Natalie should not have been murdered. Killing a person by actively, deliberately and with premeditation ending their life is murder.

Legislatures can pass laws saying that it is not murder. Legislatures can also pass laws saying that the moon is made of green cheese. They can make other statutes repealing the law of gravity. Ethics committees can vote that killing is the “ethical” thing to do and bamboozle families into putting down their loved ones. None of these laws and “ethical” votes will affect the reality that this is murder, because reality is not all that impressed with legislators and ethics committees.

Whatever you call it, however you disguise it, actively, deliberately and with premeditation ending the life of another person is murder and there is no law, lawmaker or ethics committee on this planet with the power to change that.

Natalie was horribly, cruelly murdered by her own family. Now her grandfather is using his sorrow over the “agonizing decision” they made, and the trauma he suffered from having participated in her slow, painful death to lobby the country for laws that would allow us to euthanize kids.

Natalie should not have been starved to death. That was the “agonizing” choice the family should have made. They should have said “no” to the ethics committee.

The decision to starve her to death is the kind of thinking I would expect from an “ethics committee.” I learned long ago that “ethics” is a nice-sounding synonym for no morals and no compassion.

No one can claim that this was a kindness to Natalie. I’ve talked to nurses who had to care for elderly people whose families decided to murder by withdrawing fluids and nutrition. Their descriptions of the resulting deaths are horrific. One question I have is why the “grieving family” whose trauma over this is so great that they feel compelled to campaign for legalizing ways to kill kids quicker didn’t call a halt to it and restore the feeding tube once they saw what it was like.

Natalie was murdered because not murdering her would have been a costly inconvenience for everyone, but most particularly for the medical ethicists who voted for her death. The recommendation of this committee was a classic case of putting a little girl out of the medical industry’s misery.

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Kathleen Sebelius Announces that She’s Going to Announce Her Resignation. Or Something Like That.

 

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — or someone — has pre-announced that she’s going to announce her resignation from President Obama’s cabinet.

One story I read said that Secretary Sebelius asked the president if she could step down about a month ago. The speculation about her reasons for doing this are all about the bumpy start-up of Obamacare.

Did she ask the president if she could step down? Or did the president ask her?

We probably won’t know until the tell-all books come out.

In the meantime, from The Wall Street Journal:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will step down from her post, days after the formal end of the rollout of the Obama administration’s signature health law, a person familiar with the matter said.

She will be replaced by Sylvia Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the person said.

Mrs. Sebelius’s departure came after months of speculation that she would resign over the rocky implementation of the law, which included a wave of technical problems plaguing the HealthCare.gov website.

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E-Cigs Cause Poisoning

You’ve gotta hand it to big tobacco.

They’re consistent.

They never seem to come up with a product that doesn’t addict people, won’t make them sick, and that the manufacturers won’t lie about.

I encounter the lying part from my personal experiences with the debate over e-cigs in the Oklahoma legislature. We’ve had a two-year battle over attempts by big tobacco and their army of unbelievably highly-paid lobbyists to ram through a bill that would define e-cigs as a non-smoking product, thus enhancing e-cig profits.

During the course of this, I’ve been lied to repeatedly and flat-out insulted; all because I won’t give up my little vote to enhance the $$$ power of big tobacco.

This particular vote is just one among many for me. I know what I’m going to do, and I am going to do it. Then I will let it go. That’s how I deal with these things.

What made me sit up and take notice is a news story that’s making the rounds of the major news outlets under headlines like Electronic cigarettes can be dangerous, even if you don’t smoke them (Los Angeles Times), E-cigarette poisoning on the rise (CBS News), E-Cigarette Nicotine a Growing Health Threat: CDC (WebMD) and E-cigs’ liquid nicotine causing poisonings (CNN)

This particular poisoning is most dangerous when it hits children under the age of 5. Evidently, the liquid nicotine found in E-Cigs can be absorbed in a variety of ways, and not just through the lungs.

The moral? If you use them, keep them away from kids.

The other moral? Don’t use them long term. If they make kids this sick, presumably because of their smaller body size, they aren’t going to do you a lot of good, either.

As for the big tobacco folks who are pummeling Oklahoma legislators to pass this thing, they never had my vote, anyway. It will be interesting to see if this CDC report causes any of the others to take a second look at the legislation.

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Hospital-Acquired Infections: 1 in 25 Patients Becomes Infected While in the Hospital

I know several people who went into the hospital for a routine surgery, came through the surgery just fine, and then died from an infection they had gotten while in the hospital.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me angry.

Hospitals and doctor’s offices (not to mention dentists) need to beef up their sterile procedures, beginning with washing their hands between every single patient. When you see a doctor look down someone’s throat and then not wash their hands afterwards, you are looking at an infection-carrier.

It turns out that the people I’ve known who died from hospital-acquired infections are not alone. According to a recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine, 1 in 25 patients who went into a hospital in 2011 come out with a hospital-acquired infection. That means 721,800 people were infected by germs they encountered while they were in the hospital. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, about 75,000 people died from hospital-acquired infections.

This rate of infection is evidently down from past years. In 2002, there were 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections and 155,668 deaths. Getting down to 75,000 deaths is quite a reduction, and hospitals are to be applauded for the changes they’ve made. But 75,000 deaths in one year from hospital-acquired infections is still totally unacceptable.

It may be necessary for patients to start reminding medical personnel to wash their hands, since they are not doing it on their own. As for other sterile procedures, particularly surgical sterile procedures;  if they aren’t washing their hands (and they aren’t) then what else are they not doing?

The families and friends of 75,000 people who die each year would like to know.

From CNN:

(CNN) – About 1 in every 25 patients seeking treatment at hospitals acquired an infection there in 2011, according to a new study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Patients acquired some 721,800 infections at hospitals that year, according to the research. Of those infected, about 75,000 died, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — although the study did not investigate how often an infection actually caused or contributed to the patient’s death.

Pneumonia and surgical-site infections were the most common types of infection — each accounting for about 22% of all infections — followed by gastrointestinal infections such as Clostridium difficile, urinary tract infections and infections of the bloodstream.

While highlighting the grim reality that too many people become infected when seeking medical treatment in hospitals and other health care facilities, the study also shows progress from past estimates.

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Is Religious Freedom Threatened? Duhhh … Is This a Trick Question?

 

When the roll is called down yonder, we’ll all line up according to our politics.

At least that appears to be the situation regarding the answers to the question of whether or not religious freedom is threatened.

There’s a lot of gas expended on this question, and most of it falls so predictably into political camps that the answers look more like responses to a roll call than genuine thinking.

Liberal Democrats, say no, of course not; only ignorant fools think so. Liberal Protestants, who are also almost entirely liberal Democrats, say no; only bigots who want to cling to their bigotry say yes. Conservative Republicans say yes; only liberal flat-liners who’ve sold this country out doubt it. Conservative Protestants, who are becoming more and more a solidified conservative Republican front, say yes; only weak Christians think otherwise.

Catholics? As the religious group that is Liberal Democrats, Conservative Republicans and every single thing in between, all sitting around the same table, we answer, yes/no/what did you say? and whatever.

So what do I, a decidedly liberal Democrat who is also a decidedly devout Catholic, say?

Before I answer that, I’m going to narrow that question to whether or not religious freedom is threatened in United States of America. I think the answer for much of the rest of the world is so obviously yes that those who doubt it fall into the same intellectual space as holocaust deniers.

Even when I narrow the question to the United States, I am tempted to reply … Duhhhh … Is this a trick question?

Rather than go for the golden one-word/one-off, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding answer, let’s review the obvious, public and undeniable facts.

What did the Supreme Court do this week?

It heard three cases brought before it by people who feel so strongly that their religious freedom is being violated that they are willing to risk their businesses and life’s work to stand against it. These are not rabble rousers. They are stable, quiet, pillars-of-the-community types, who normally eschew both litigation and the spotlight. They are the people who are the foundations of this country.

These people didn’t want to be part of a Supreme Court case. They were backed into this position by an overweening government that is so bent on enforcing an agency regulation that infringes on religious liberty that it is willing to precipitate a Constitutional crisis to do it.

What is happening in court rooms all over this country? We have mom and pop businesspeople — again quiet, apolitical, non-litigious, pillars of the community types — who are being forced to risk their livelihoods rather than violate their religious beliefs. This is happening because of overweening government force.

Not one of these people wanted to do this. Not one of them is the type who loves standing in front of microphones and sounding off. Every single one of them is putting their livelihoods on the line to stand for what they believe against a government that has taken hubris as its operating standard.

According to court testimony by administration attorneys, the fiction that is driving these government attacks on religious liberty is a deliberate narrowing of the First Amendment. Instead of religious freedom that applies to every man, woman and child in this great nation, the Obama Administration is seeking to shoe-horn it into the box of a narrow “freedom of worship.” In other words, keep your faith behind the closed doors of church sanctuaries, or suffer government-mandated penalties.

The standard argument against all this is either a stubborn sophistry which simply denies the obvious, or an insulting version of the hayseed argument. The hayseed argument goes like this: We sophisticates in the know understand that these hayseeds out in the hustings are deluded fools for thinking that their rights are being violated. We morally superior denizens of right-thinking also know that the hayseeds in the hustings are so blighted morally that their outdated ideas of religious fealty need to be shut down for a greater good that is defined by — you guessed it — us.

The hayseed argument, stupid and arrogant as it is, is actually the driving argument behind all these initiatives against individual freedom. It is the insider’s view of what they think is outsider foolishness for opposing the obviously higher morality and wisdom of their betters.

A slightly different version of the hayseed argument is the moral ingrate argument. It goes something like this: Moral imperatives which have been discovered in the last five years require that the moral ingrates of this country abandon their claims to religious freedom in order to serve the higher morality that we sophisticates have fashioned for ourselves and which we are going to use government force to enforce on everyone else.

The hayseed and moral ingrate arguments often overlap in actual practice. Sometimes they merge. The subtle difference between them is that one appeals to the pretension of moral superiority on the part of those who purvey it, and the other feeds their pretensions of intellectual superiority. Both arguments are at base a pose and a sham that have far more to do with bell-jar/echo-chamber thinking than anything approaching reality.

There is one other argument that surfaces in these discussions. That is the every-kid-in-China argument. This one is familiar to mothers of previous generations who were faced with recalcitrant children who wouldn’t eat their veggies. You know: The every kid in China would love to have that spinach on your plate, so you’d better eat it argument.

Applied to the question of attacks on religious freedom in America today, it goes something like this. Christians in other parts of the world are suffering real persecution. They are being burnt, beheaded, raped, imprisoned and tortured. So how dare you complain about government oppression of your little rights?

The irony is that this particular argument is usually advanced by someone who, in other contexts, does everything they can to deny and minimize the horror of Christian persecution.

I’m going to circle back here and take another look at the original question: Is religious freedom threatened in America today?

The answer is, of course. That’s obvious. The parsing — and that’s all it is — runs along lines of party affiliation and prejudice.

 

Note: This post is my reply to the discussion about Patheos’ Public Square Question: Is Religious Freedom Threatened? 

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President Obama and 700 of His Closest Friends are Off to See the Pope

 

President Obama has created a Constitutional crisis over religious freedom by aggressively using the power of his office to re-define it as a narrow “freedom to worship.” He seems proud of the moniker “most pro abortion president in history.” He has done more to destroy traditional marriage than any other living American.

Why would he want to have his photo taken with the pope?

Maybe he views himself as a sort of alter-statesman, a gee to the Holy Father’s haw, an omega to the pope’s alpha.

All I know is that the President of the United States is on his way for a photo op with the black-shoe pope who rides around in a battered up old jalopy that looks like it came from an inner city slum.

The president is arriving on his very own jet, accompanied by his entourage of 700 staff. He’ll be dressed to the nines and swoop in with his Secret Service agents, complete with mirror glasses and grim expressions.

The pope will presumably ramble over from the digs he shares with other Vatican staff and clergy after a hearty communal breakfast.

One man is the synthesis of ambition and earthly power. The other is the anti-thesis of it.

One man is considered the most powerful man on earth. The other is so gentle that small children steal his chair while he’s making a speech.

One man leads my country. The other leads me.

What will they talk about as the cameras flash?

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Bodies of Aborted Babies Incinerated to Heat UK Hospitals

 

And you shall not let any of your children pass through the fire to Molech. If you do, you are dishonoring the name of your God. I am the LORD.

We are made in the image and likeness of God. Human life does not belong to us. It belongs to Him.

God so completely identifies people as made in His likeness that He told us that the sacrifice of human beings, the grave sin of “passing your children through the fire to Molech” profaned Him.

He took this so seriously that He ordered the Israelites to kill everyone already living in the area when they claimed the Holy land. This was a deliberate attempt to keep this people He was raising up be the light bearers of His covenant, and ultimately, the progenitors of the Messiah, free of the taint of the child sacrifice practiced by the people of that land.

Later, when they fell into it anyway, He repeatedly brought them to their knees until finally they were purged of it by a long imprisonment in exile. That worked. Never again after the Babylonian exile did the children of Israel fall into the evils of polygamy and child sacrifice.

Human sacrifice to demonic gods places its participants so far outside the reach of the real God that His people were ordered to destroy every vestige of it, including its practitioners. The reason was not just the practice, but its insidious contagious quality. The arguments may change, but the attraction to rid ourselves of those who are a burden to us, to propitiate the little g gods of our own self interests with human blood, is powerful.

Loving and caring for other people, accepting the claims they impose on us and our lives, can be sold to us as unnecessary and evil by those who appeal to our selfish self-interest and sense of moral superiority. We can, if we want, convince ourselves of anything. We can, and we do, dismiss our own sins with whatever flabby excuse is at hand. At the same time, we can excoriate and abuse our neighbor for violations of much lesser things with the merciless arrogance of the terminally self-righteous.

The sin of passing our children through the fire is a deep departure from everything that is good that is in us. When parents offer their own children to the gods of this world, then the heart of humanity becomes corrupt at its core. Once that is possible, anything is possible.

Our sacrifice of our children to the gods of this world, in abortion clinics and research laboratories, in medical clinics and in law, revivifies the ancient practice of passing children through the fire to appease demonic gods. Abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, egg harvesting, designer babies, are all, in one way or another, a form of human sacrifice to the demonic.

If you look at it that way, the practice of incinerating the bodies of babies who were murdered in the name of this world’s little g gods by abortion to heat our buildings seems apropos. It is us, living out the degradation of the human that has been our primary cultural drive for quite some time now. It is a riveting and precisely accurate symbol of the sacrifices we make to the gods of this world.

It is what we have become.

From The Telegraph:

The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

At least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.

The programme, which will air tonight, found that parents who lose children in early pregnancy were often treated without compassion and were not consulted about what they wanted to happen to the remains.

One of the country’s leading hospitals, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, incinerated 797 babies below 13 weeks gestation at their own ‘wast to energy’ plant. The mothers were told the remains had been ‘cremated.’

Another ‘waste to energy’ facility at Ipswich Hospital, operated by a private contractor, incinerated 1,101 foetal remains between 2011 and 2013.

They were brought in from another hospital before being burned, generating energy for the hospital site. Ipswich Hospital itself disposes of remains by cremation.

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