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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Pope Francis: March 29-30 Will Be a Day of Reconciliation

 

Pope Francis has set aside this coming Friday as “24 hours for the Lord.”

He is hoping that local parishes will offer special opportunities for prayer and the sacrament of confession. I’m going to try to take advantage of this call for prayer and reconciliation as best I can. Hopefully, many Public Catholic readers will do the same.

We are living in times where our faith is challenged and attacked by the larger culture. If we are going to stand for Christ and not fail, we need to pray and keep ourselves spiritually clean.

From Catholic News Agency:

.- During his Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis announced that March 29-30 would be “24 hours for the Lord,” during which people can find special opportunities for prayer and the sacrament of confession.

“Next Friday and Saturday we will live a special moment of penance, called ‘24 hours for the Lord.’ It will begin with a (liturgical) Celebration in the Basilica of St. Peter’s (on) Friday afternoon, then in the evening and night some churches in the center of Rome will be open for prayer and confessions,” he explained to the crowds in St. Peter’s square on March 23.

“It will be – we could call it -  a celebration of forgiveness, which will happen also in many dioceses and parishes of of the world.”

The Holy Father then noted that “the forgiveness that the Lord gives us” should make us “celebrate like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, who when the son returned home, had a party, forgetting all his sins.”

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Adult Stem Cells Offer Ethical Hope for Lupus Sufferers

Dr David Prentice

Dr David Prentice, Senior Research Fellow at the Family Research Council, wrote an article for LifeNews.com, that should give great hope to anyone suffering from Lupus.

Unlike embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to produce effective treatments, adult stem cell research has given us a number of them. Jackie Stollfus, who suffered from Lupus, was the beneficiary of therapy from adult stem cells.

The wonderful thing about this is that Jackie was not offered a choice that involved killing someone else. No human embryos were slaughtered, no women’s bodies were farmed, to produce this treatment.

The video below gives details.

YouTube Preview Image

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Shame on Everybody: Michigan Senate Race Debate Over Abortion

 

Shame on everybody.

I would love to single out one of the mud-slingers and propagandizers in this little set-to and say “Fie on you!” But I can’t. So, I guess I’ll just say “Fie on everybody!” and be done with it.

United States Congressman Gary Peters is running for the United States Senate in Michigan. He evidently drug his kids into a debate over an abortion law, saying that as the father of daughters

… I struggle with how to tell them that the state we love and where our family has been for generations is now unfairly discriminating against them and makes health care less affordable.

I understand why this comment would raise the ire of anyone reading it. What kind of man drags his own kids into something this ugly? And what a schlocky way to do it.

Thankfully, the other fine folks in Michigan didn’t attack the daughters directly. But their reply comes close to matching the Congressman’s for sheer jerkiness. According to the pro life people of Michigan, Congressman Peters “wants to make sure abortion is accessible and cheap for his daughters.”

Maybe the harsh winter has frozen their brains up in Michigan. Can anyone in that state talk about important issues without getting down in the pits? I can think of a lot of ways to defend Michigan’s pro life laws, all of them based on principle and a call to higher orders of thinking. I could also, if I wanted, defend a position in opposition to such laws without ever once painting a target on my kids.

ThinkProgressive, which reported this story, added the cherry on top with its painfully biased reporting. Here’s how the reporter who wrote the story described the law in question:

The statement comes in response to a controversial new abortion restriction in Michigan that took effect earlier this month. Women who buy health insurance in Obamacare’s private market are now barred from purchasing a plan that includes abortion coverage, even if they want to end a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest. They’ll be required to purchase a separate rider if they want an abortion procedure to be covered, which has led reproductive rights supporters to decry the measure as a rape insurance law.

I haven’t read the Michigan law, but there are a number of similar laws around the country. I am assuming that all this one does is not allow health insurance plans to pay for abortions. If someone wants to have abortion coverage in their insurance, then all they have to do is buy a rider providing it. I doubt very much that the questions of rape and incest enter into it.

I’m guessing that the Michigan pro abortion people couldn’t come up with an intelligent way to oppose this law, so they decided to claim that it is somehow aimed at victims of rape and incest. In my humble opinion, this line argument exploits rape and incest victims.

Evidently, a Michigan legislator joined the fray by talking about her own sexual assault in a speech. I’ve watched bits of the debate on this bill, and what I saw was a deliberate mis-characterization of the law in order to exploit women and girls who have suffered these horrible crimes against their humanity. I honestly regard it as a kind of social rape to do this to women.

I could really go off into a rant here, as the subject of violence against women always gets me going. I feel sorry for the legislator who talked about her own sexual assault in this manner. But, as I said, the bill does not address that issue. Conflating it with that issue is propaganda and exploitation of women who have suffered the dehumanizing effects of sexual assault.

I am also sick to the core of hearing people claim that abortion is the answer to rape. Abortion hides rape and lets the rapist off the hook. Abortion is, in a very real way, an accommodation to rape. It is disgusting to me that our idea of “helping” rape victims is to give them the option of adding the murder of their own child to what has already happened to them.

As I said in another post when I quoted a line from Rob Roy, it’s not the child that needs killing. I said this, even though I am opposed to the death penalty, because I want to make it clear who is at fault here: It is the rapist. We need to stop sexualizing and degrading women in our culture, and we also need to put these guys away and never let them out again.

I could say more, but I’m going to stop.

As for the fine folks in Michigan who, on both sides, have taken this debate about the value of human life and the humanity of women down in the basement: Shame on all of you.

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New Blood Test Allows Better Targeting of Which Babies to Kill

Doctors can now target which babies to kill with even greater accuracy.

A new blood test allow docs to discover which unborn babies might have Down’s Syndrome. The best is touted as being far more accurate than previously used methods. According to a news report, this means that fewer expectant mothers will “be made anxious” by an inaccurate test telling them that their baby has Down’s Syndrome.

The new test is not the final step. If it comes back suspicious, then the woman is sent for either amniocentesis or chorionic villi sampling.

Doctors are recommending that all pregnant women should be “screened for Down’s Syndrome and other trisomies.”

Amniocentesis which involves sticking a needle through the wall of the woman’s abdomen and the wall of the uterus (a procedure which doctors blandly describe as uncomfortable) and extracting amniotic fluid, does have legitimate medical uses. It can be used to detect if the baby’s lungs are developed enough for it to survive. This can be life-saving for both the mother and the baby in certain circumstances.

However, I don’t know of a legitimate medical use for this blood test. It would allow older women to know that their baby does not have Down’s Syndrome. But the blanket move to have every pregnant woman take the test sounds very much like eugenics to me.

Does the test have any use other than targeting which babies to kill?

Why, other than trying to kill unborn children with disabilities, would anyone want every pregnant woman to take the test?

More and more, a medical license is becoming a license to exploit and kill. Everything from euthanasia, to egg harvesting, surrogacy and abortion is being sold to us as for our own good.

How can any of us trust doctors who are so willing to kill their patients?

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