7 things @ 11 o’clock (8.9)

1. Evangelical-leaning-fundie Cedarville University recently eliminated its entire philosophy department, citing budget constraints. Now Cedarville University is hoping to build a new, $6 million gun range in support of its student marksmanship club. OK, then.

2. I have to disagree with the headline of this Raw Story report: “Anti-Obama Arizona protest turns racist.” Talking Points Memo has the same mistake in their story: “Anti-Obama Protest Turns Racist in Phoenix.”

“Turns” implies that these protests started out as something other than racist and then somehow surprisingly changed their character. Not true. They revealed their character more explicitly than they perhaps initially intended, but that character did not change. These are Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s supporters. They didn’t “turn” racist this week — they’ve been that way for a long, long time.

3. Kudos to Sarah Pulliam Bailey at RNS for stating this correctly: “The Supreme Court will soon decide if CEOs can impose their religious convictions on the people who work for them.”

You have to ignore an awful lot of reality to imagine that giving CEOs that right would in any way enhance “religious liberty.”

To all those evangelical Christians who imagine that Hobby Lobby et. al. are “standing up” for them, ask yourself this: What if your boss is one of those radical secular humanists Tim LaHaye and Jerry Falwell warned you about? What if your boss is a Muslim? Or a Mormon? What if your boss is an atheist? Or a wiccan? Or — heaven forfend! — a mainline Protestant?

4. I saw a “Gerlach for Governor” bumper sticker a few weeks ago and frowned. Gerlach represents my district in the U.S. House and he’s a nice enough fellow, but he always campaigns as a moderate, sane Republican and then governs as a rubber-stamp for the excesses and extremes of his colleagues in the House. So I don’t trust him.

It took me a moment to realize, though, that this wasn’t a pro-Gerlach bumper sticker. It was an anti-Tom Corbett sticker.

Corbett is the governor of Pennsylvania and he’s running for a second term. The problem is that nobody likes him. Decent schools and being allowed to vote because you’re an American citizen turn out to be pretty popular, so Corbett’s agenda opposing both of those hasn’t endeared him to most of the state. This is a bipartisan sentiment, and barring some large and unforeseen change, his chances at re-election are slim and shrinking fast.

PA Republicans have been casting about for someone, anyone, to challenge Corbett in a primary, but most of the potential candidates — including Gerlach — seem to think that four years of Tom Corbett have soured the electorate against any Republican’s chances of winning in November. They’re probably right about that, but they don’t understand why. They think it’s because Corbett puts an unpopular face on their policies. They don’t realize that it’s those policies that made Corbett’s face unpopular.

5. The City of Detroit is not attempting to defraud workers out of their pensions because the city has declared bankruptcy. The City of Detroit declared bankruptcy in order to defraud workers out of their pensions. That was the whole point — the intent, the design, the cause.

The city learned this from its automakers, who did the same thing. And from the airlines who have done it as well. Livable pension packages allowed those companies to pay lower wages for decades in exchange for future payments. Bankruptcy was a way of escaping those future payments, retroactively stealing from thousands of people every day for years and years. Steve Buchheit puts it well:

With the Detroit bankruptcy the media is trolling out the conservative line about public employee pensions being a burden and how we can’t and shouldn’t ever pay this money to retirees.

Let me say first off this is complete bullshit. This isn’t money we need to pay to people who aren’t working, this is money these people earned while they were working. This was a part of their contracts, this was a part of the deal we made to get their labor. We agreed to take care of them later as long as they worked for a little less now. Oh, and they needed to put their own money on line as well as their employers committing funds to the pension. This is their money.

6. So is Eric Metaxas a xenophobic wingnut? Or does he just enjoy hanging out with xenophobic wingnuts? Look, this isn’t complicated: If you’re supposedly an expert on the life and times Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but you’re advocating restrictive immigration, then you apparently didn’t learn anything from your studies. How does someone crank out 500 pages on the life of Dietrich freaking Bonhoeffer and still think America needs to go back to the Johnson-Reed Act? How does one study an icon of theological resistance to the persecution of Jews and come away embracing fraudulent conspiracy theories about international Jewish bankers? Are we sure Metaxas’ book was about Bonhoeffer and not, say, Pat Buchanan?

I’m not suggesting that Eric Metaxas is not too bright. I’m saying that “not too bright” is absolutely the most charitable interpretation of the man.

7. Here’s John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, Pa., talking to Stephen Colbert four years ago about his community’s efforts to resurrect and revitalize their struggling former steel town. And here’s what Fetterman is up to more recently. Good for him and good for Braddock.


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  • aunursa

    You need to support your claim that the current system,… works fine for the majority of people.

    No. I said that most employees are satisfied with their current health care plans.

    Just 18% of Americans believe that their health care will improve as a result of the ACA, while 33% think it will make their health care worse, and 41% think that it won’t make a difference. That would seem to suggest that more people are satisfied with their current plan than they expect to be under the ACA.

  • aunursa

    How is someone dying of a preventable disease going to exercise their right to life without access to health care?

    Your right to life means that no one is allowed to take your life unlawfully (i.e. murder, manslaughter.) It doesn’t mean that someone else may be forced to provide free treatment or pay to provide treatment to cure your life-threatening disease.

  • aunursa

    No. If you’re interested, you can read the legal briefs.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Know what, fuck you.

  • Veleda_k

    Okay, so you really, truly don’t give a shit if people suffer and die of preventable diseases. I’m glad we’ve made that so clear. If I was ever in danger of taking you seriously, I certainly know better now.

  • AdrianTurtle

    I don’t know if she can imagine going to a clinic after miscarrying in the middle of a wanted pregnancy, to have the remains removed before they turn septic. Being handed a baby blanket is “less cruel” than having a sign waved in her face about being a murderer…but it’s still cruel.

  • aunursa

    The first offers the same coverages to all employees and their dependents.

    The second denies the same coverage offered to some dependents that is offered to other dependents.

  • *cough* that was Blockhe.. I mean Aunursa.

  • Utter semantic twaddle.

  • themunck

    “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.”

  • aunursa

    In the internet age, the health care benefits for most employers can be easily accessed. And a decision to boycott a particular company for denying plans that include coverage for gender-specific products and services can be easily promoted.

  • aunursa

    If you’re not prepared for any answer, then don’t ask the question in the first place.

  • AnonaMiss

    Also it’s arguably illegal under article 7 of the Civil Rights Act (Source: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&blobheadername2=Content-Type&blobheadervalue1=inline%3B+filename%3D%22Non-discrimination+Policy.pdf%22&blobheadervalue2=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251741381222&ssbinary=true ) (Jeez colorado.gov, get it together)

    Title VII prohibits discrimination in all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, benefits, job assignments, promotions, and discipline. Title VII also prohibits practices that seem neutral but have a disproportionate impact on a protected group of people.

  • Lori

    You are again holding up the result of a concerted campaign of GOP lies as proof that the GOP is telling the truth. One word for that—-no.

  • So would you accept that you do not have an inherent right to life if:

    1. You have a heart attack and need chest compressions?
    2. You are drowning?
    3. You have been in a bad car accident and need mmediate attention to internal injuries?

    Note that these are all life-threatening conditions for which a relatively simple act could save you, but if not done, are acts of omission under criminal law which force someone else to save you?

    EDIT: And that means indirectly, someone else’s money comes into play. If you’re drowning, a lifeguard (presumably paid by the government) has to get you. If you’re otherwise in need of assistance, a firefighter might have first aid skills. And firefighters are government employees.

  • Article 3.

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Also, the UNDHR. :)

  • spinetingler

    “his Holliness Panzer the first?”

    You owe me a new keyboard

  • Lori

    So if we don’t all have the time and ability to go online and research the health care plans offered by every company that we patronize, oh well, too bad? Nevermind that insurance options tend to be so confusing that Q&A sessions have to be conducted for employees. We should all be able to read & understand the fine points of other people’s health insurance rules, or else suck it. What an excellent use of societies resources. So much better and more freedom-y than having rules in place to ensure basic fairness.

    And if a critical mass of consumers aren’t willing and able to do that research and boycott a company based on sexist health insurance then that’s just too damn bad for workers? Well of course, because that always ends well for workers. You and Rand Paul, truly there is no one more dedicated to fairness and equality than the two of you.

    I can’t roll my eyes hard enough.

  • Lori

    Well, ‘the same coverage’ has a few different interpretations


  • Lori

    Way to split those hairs aunursa.

  • You… do know that Medicare in the USA is basically a single-payer plan for senior citizens, right?


    Oh wait, no, it’s not. Since you love opinion polls, why don’t we go ask senior citizens how well they like their omgsocialist health insurance?

    Oh look, in 2009 8/10 seniors were satisfied with what they were getting.

    Gee, maybe just extending Medicare to everyone would be a brilliant idea, considering people already pay into the system anyway.

  • Well, first of all, yes, health care is a right. But leaving that aside, if the goverment mandated that all employers should give their employees cars, an employer who had a religious objection to seat belts would not be allowed to give their employees cars without seat belts.

    If an employer is required to provide health care, then they actually have to provide health care. If they want to provide “A thing which is mostly the same as health care, but excludes women’s reproductive health,” there’s no reason they can’t per se provide that, but it does not fulfil their legal obligation to provide health care

  • I will explain the problem with this when I get back from taking my biological mother to her prostate exam.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    The EEOC agrees:

    In order to avoid violating Title VII in the future:

    Respondents must cover the expenses of prescription contraceptives to the same extent, and on the same terms, that they cover the expenses of the types of drugs, devices, and preventive care identified above. Respondents must also offer the same coverage for contraception-related outpatient services as are offered for other outpatient services. Where a woman visits her doctor to obtain a prescription for contraceptives, she must be afforded the same coverage that would apply if she, or any other employee, had consulted a doctor for other preventive or health maintenance services.

    This is a point I’ve tried to get a response on in a few threads already, but to no avail.

  • Most people underestimate the capacity for empathy in children. Well-adjusted ten year olds can do a lot better than objectivists.

  • aunursa

    You have a right to life. You don’t have a right to someone else being required to save your life.

    A person should attempt to save someone who is having a heart attack or is drowning or needs immediate medical attention.

    But the person on the street (as distinguished from emergency responders and hospital personnel, whose jobs include rendering life-saving assistance) should not be required by law to do so, or be subject to legal punishment for failing to render assistance.

  • general_apathy

    Health care is a service, not a right.

    As a statement of current fact in the United States, yes. In the abstract… health care is a physical need. I’m trying to think of a right more basic than access to physical needs, and failing.

  • aunursa

    You… do know that Medicare in the USA is basically a single-payer plan for senior citizens, right?


    Gee, maybe just extending Medicare to everyone would be a brilliant idea, considering people already pay into the system anyway.

    Alternately, the government could allow each worker to keep their own earnings and invest it toward their golden years.

  • aunursa

    Food. Water. Shelter.

  • general_apathy

    I’m not sure if bypassing one’s own self-imposed flounce by directly responding on twitter and then linking to it is a flounce-failure, or some new, more potent form of flounce, the likes of which the world has never seen.

  • J_Enigma32

    Fancy that. Whether you get those in the United States depends upon your employer. And, hey, what do you know, you also have to chose between those three things and healthcare, too.

    Also, food does you no good if you have Crohn’s and can’t handle it. Water does you no good if you have cancer. Shelter doesn’t help if you’re dying from a UTI that evolved into sepsis. And all of that can be a result of not having any kind of health insurance, since that gets expensive.

  • Well, at least you’re ideologically consistent about the omgforcing people thing.

  • general_apathy

    Are also physical needs. Ones which are useless if you’re dying anyway—hence people giving up their homes to pay for cancer treatment. I can’t see how it’s ethical to force a person to sacrifice one physical need for another.


    That reverb you just heard was me discovering that there is no desk that can withstand the magnitude of my headdesk at your utterly useless individualistic SAVE YOUR MONEY RAH RAH RAH cheerleading you have going on here.

    Seriously, do you not see how much of an absurd thing it is to say? Not everybody can “keep their own earnings” precisely because shit happens. Or did you miss how many people have eaten into everything they have and gone bankrupt because of

    wait for it


    You know

    those same medical expenses people who were lucky enough to win the life lottery and live to 65 with decent savings won’t have to face because they’re covered by Medicare.

  • dpolicar

    Increasing the supply of labor is very bad for the working class.

    How does immigration increase the supply of labor?
    I mean, I understand that it makes more labor available here, as opposed to somewhere else — while also, naturally, increasing the local demand for the goods that labor supplies — but I don’t see how it increases the supply of labor systemwide.

  • Marshall

    So your answer to the title question is pretty much “no, group spiritual practice is incompatible with making a living.” Personally, I place more value on the right of free association than that. I can’t for the life of me see why making money should require giving up that right.

    Also, non-profit status is more complicated than you seem to think … not just a matter of “filing” … and you give up other rights, such as engaging in politics. And as to trusting The Authorities to be reasonable … you are a very trusting person, that is a great quality.

    You (also Ansura, above) don’t seem to appreciate that kosher, and vegan for many, isn’t just a style, like cordon bleu or Szechwan, but an ethic, something one does all the time. … Do you think an abortion clinic would be required to hire a pro-life receptionist?

  • Kirala

    Again, a small business – where people know each other personally – can end up with all the rules they like. Most discrimination laws don’t really kick in till there are 15 or 20 employees: http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/coverage_private.cfm

    The problem is that one cannot discriminate when it ceases to be managed on a personal relationship level and starts to be necessarily professionally distant. At that point, you’re not associating with friends – you’re managing employees. And at that point, you need to have a goal.

    Note that I don’t think spiritual practice and profit are mutually exclusive. I think Chick-fil-a does a great job valuing the Sabbath. I bet there are many other less-publicized practices which also show the influence of faith in the business world. But these practices don’t amount to hiring rules.

    I’ve worked at a nonprofit faith-based school; half of my family is employed in churches. All three relevant organizations started within the last decade or two. So while I don’t know the legal processes, I know people who’ve been through it recently just fine. They can speak to political issues just fine, as long as they don’t favor one party platform or candidate – which means the churches can decry abortion in general, as long as they don’t tell the congregants how they have to vote. It’s NEVER been an issue. The only “government problem” I’ve witnessed was the fire department getting cranky when a Bible study accidentally blocked the road entirely.

    Kosher, at least, is a lifestyle which allows contact with PEOPLE who don’t follow it. I’m not aware of anything that would keep kosher from being kept if a person came to work in their deli. I imagine that any varieties of veganism which are so strict that they can’t endure a carnivorous coworker are also probably strict enough to self-select to a small-sized business. I think the pro-life receptionist would be allowed to work for the abortion clinic as long as they don’t spend their time subverting the clinic and disrupting business.

    Basically, I’m seeing a lot of very extreme hypotheticals here, but no actual case where religious discrimination (or, if you prefer, top-down limited association) and profit are or should be appropriately mingled.

  • general_apathy

    I read every one of those “f██ you all”s in the voice of Droopy Dog. It’s very satisfying.

  • banancat

    I’m not “for” massive immigration just as I’m not against it. Immigrants and potential immigrants are people just as much those that are already in the United States. Even if it were true that they depress the labor market, it wouldn’t be enough reason to lock our borders tight. Everyone needs a job, not just people in the United States. It is a problem if there’s a country or area where many people can’t find jobs and have to move elsewhere, but that problem won’t be solved by turning everyone way, and as a progressive I don’t support the idea of just ignoring it and acting like it’s not my problem to deal with.
    You’re more conservative than progressive if you base your opinions so heavily on in-group vs out-group thinking, even if those groups are defined differently than the standard conservative ones. Seeing the people in your country as more deserving or more entitled to jobs than everyone else isn’t really much better than viewing members of your religion, sex, or race as more deserving than everyone else.
    There may be some pragmatic issues about how many of the world’s problems we can actually have an impact on, but as it is, immigration is morally neutral.

  • banancat

    I don’t believe that you’re progressive. You don’t care about harsh punishments for employers who exploit and abuse their undocumented employees. You only care about punishments for the employers who pay them.

  • chgo_liz

    I think of it more like a peanut allergy situation: one non-Kosher food item and the entire building needs to be cleaned out and re-blessed. And we are talking a private school which does not get taxpayer funds in any way.

  • chgo_liz

    Or that they believe Fox News’ lies about the situation. Asking what they think about a future change is not the same thing as asking if they are satisfied with their current situation. (Hint: millions of Americans are NOT adequately protected medically.)

  • chgo_liz

    Small entrepreneurial businesses create the majority of new jobs in the U.S. They are least able to afford to offer medical benefits to employees. Why are you so anti-business?

    I know, I know: you’re anti-SMALL business. You want the big companies to have all the advantages.

  • chgo_liz

    A good start.

  • chgo_liz

    Best comment I’ve ever read from this poster!

    (Let’s hope it sticks.)

  • chgo_liz

    We share a mother?

  • Baby_Raptor

    I think that’s Aunursa’s special talent.

  • A big part of the problem is that far too many people don’t grok that contraception is part of health care. If you said “My religion opposes antibiotics, so my company should be allowed to offer only coverage that doesn’t pay for antibiotics,” no one would go along with that because it’s obvious to everyone that antibiotics are part of health care. BUt when it’s about a woman’s sexual health, a substantial percentage of people will fall on the spectrum from “That’s absolutely not ‘health care'” to “Well, maybe, but I don’t know. Isn’t that really optional like plastic surgery?” (A lot of people have similar attitudes toward various other aspects of health care, such as mental health care, or things like weight loss or smoking cessation, but reproductive health affects a hell of a lot bigger of a percentage of the populace.)

  • malpollyon

    The only lies about libertarianism I see on these boards have been authored by your good self.

  • Jenny Islander

    I finally moused over the hyperlink and now I’m trying to RLOL quietly so as not to wake the family. He actually (virtually) threw the book at us!

    Oh, this is classic. That’ll show us, huh?

    Awesome flounce.