Paying for the Pill

Super program on Radio Times.

Contraception, the Catholic Church, the President and Politics:

Hour 1

The Obama administration announced last month that it would require religious hospitals, colleges and other institutions, like those affiliated with the Catholic Church, to provide health care coverage for contraception.  The decision has ignited a passionate debate over religious freedom, the conscience exemption and the rights of women to control their own health care. On one side are those who say that because the Catholic Church opposes birth control, it should not be required to cover it and that the administration’s attempt to require they do so can be seen as an intrusion of the government into the affairs of religious groups. On the other side are women’s health care advocates who say that women employed by Catholic hospitals and universities should have the same rights to contraceptive coverage as other women and that allowing women to control their own bodies in accordance with their own beliefs is an example of religious liberty.  Not surprisingly, the issue has become a highly political one in this election year. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lashed out at the administration for seeking to curtail religious freedom, Newt Gingrich called the decision a war against religion, and Rick Santorum accused the Obama administration of being “hostile to people of faith, particularly Christians, and specifically Catholics.” We’ll look at all sides of the decision and how it is influencing the 2012 presidential campaign with SALLY STEENLAND of the Center for American Progress and author MICHAEL SEAN WINTERS, who writes for The National Catholic Reporter.

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(Via Radio Times.)

TSA Agents Harass and Threaten Mother, Force Her to Miss Flight

TSA Agents Harass and Threaten Mother, Force Her to Miss Flight:

Stacey Armato:

TSA rules allow for alternate screening (no x-ray) for breast milk and I almost never had a problem… until the week before this screening. I was held for 30 minutes that week while the TSA manager called to find out the rules. I was told to ‘pump and dump,’ and asked why the milk wasn’t clear, also asked where my baby was and if it was really milk (uh traveling, working mom pumping doesn’t usually have the baby with her).

After begging him to figure it out, they finally let me through. I called and complained to TSA and was instructed to travel with the TSA breast milk rules printed out and present them whenever there is a problem.

A week later, she traveled through the same airport and this time, the TSA agents recognized her and retaliated, detaining her in a special screening area for an hour, purposefully making her miss her flight unless she relented and allowed her milk to be X-rayed. She showed them the printed TSA regulations allowing alternative screening for breast milk and they told her those rules don’t apply.

And she got the security tape to prove her story. Minus, curiously, 20 minutes of footage.

(Via Daring Fireball.)

I wonder how conservatives live with themselves when justifying this at the same time going ballistic over 3 percentage points on taxes or access to healthcare.  That kind of hypocrisy simply escapes me.

Close the Washington Monument

Schneier on Security: Close the Washington Monument:

“Terrorism isn’t a crime against people or property. It’s a crime against our minds, using the death of innocents and destruction of property to make us fearful. Terrorists use the media to magnify their actions and further spread fear. And when we react out of fear, when we change our policy to make our country less open, the terrorists succeed — even if their attacks fail. But when we refuse to be terrorized, when we’re indomitable in the face of terror, the terrorists fail — even if their attacks succeed.”

(Via Schneier on Security.)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  We have been dancing to Osama’s tune for too damn long.  We need to stop taking cues from insane men in caves.  Refuse to be terrorized.

Amos on Economic Justice

USCCB | NAB – September 19, 2010:

Am 8:4-7

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land! ‘When will the new moon be over,’ you ask, ‘that we may sell our grain, and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! We will buy the lowly for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!’ The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: ‘Never will I forget a thing they have done!'”

(Via United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.)

This was the First Reading at Mass this morning on the theme of the day: socio-economic justice.  I always read this Bible passage as a general attack on the exploitation of the poor and so it is.  But it’s worth examining exactly what’s going on here.  Diminishing the ephah and adding to the shekel is pretty straightforward: It’s evil to cheat the poor.  But buying the lowly for silver the the poor for a pair of sandals hit me because it speaks to the morality of living wages and paying people below them.

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Copy Right

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is far more trouble than it’s worth. On the one hand, I can understand the entertainment industry’s desire to preserve its business model. It would be foolish to expect otherwise, but the subsequent costs to society are dire. The unintended consequences of this act are the lawsuits that threaten to turn copyright into monopoly and the infringement of personal and community rights especially fair use and free speech.

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