Category Archives: Politics: US

Who Thinks Selling Condoms is a Sin?

I didn’t think much of it when Daily Kos asked, Is Walgreens committing a sin by selling condoms?

Thomas McKenna: “So a Catholic employer, really getting down to it, he does not, or she does not provide this because that way they would be, in a sense, cooperating with the sin…the sin of contraception or the sin of providing a contraceptive that would abort a child, is this correct?”

Cardinal Burke: “This is correct. It is not only a matter of what we call “material cooperation” in the sense that the employer by giving this insurance benefit is materially providing for the contraception but it is also “formal cooperation” because he is knowingly and deliberately doing this, making this available to people. There is no way to justify it. It is simply wrong.”

Nice bit of agitprop, I thought, the Catholic Church may treat selling condoms as morally equivalent to employer-financed abortions, but this won’t take off.

But wait. Smart Jim DeFede asked GOP starlet Marco Rubio the question on TV:

“Is contraception wrong?” CBS4′s Jim DeFede asked Senator Marco Rubio in a recent exclusive one-on-one interview.

“In terms of?” he responds.

“Birth control,” I said.

“Of course not,” he replied. “Who says it is? You’re going to get into this whole argument about contraception. No one has ever said that contraception should be illegal, that contraception should be discouraged, that people should be looked down upon for using it.

Could this be a wedge issue?

DeFede spotted via SFDB, which appears to be studiously ignoring We Robot.

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Charles Simic is Shrill

Here’s how The Age of Ignorance begins:

Widespread ignorance bordering on idiocy is our new national goal. It’s no use pretending otherwise and telling us, as Thomas Friedman did in the Times a few days ago, that educated people are the nation’s most valuable resources. Sure, they are, but do we still want them? It doesn’t look to me as if we do. The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit.

An educated, well-informed population, the kind that a functioning democracy requires, would be difficult to lie to, and could not be led by the nose by the various vested interests running amok in this country. Most of our politicians and their political advisers and lobbyists would find themselves unemployed, and so would the gasbags who pass themselves off as our opinion makers. Luckily for them, nothing so catastrophic, even though perfectly well-deserved and widely-welcome, has a remote chance of occurring any time soon.

And believe me, that’s only the beginning.

(Title is a reference to the Shrillblog (The Offical Blog of the Ancient and Hermetic Order of the Shrill), now in need of updating.)

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That’s Some Number

ANALYSIS: When a Congressman Becomes a Lobbyist, He Gets a 1,452% Raise (on Average) — Lee Fang at the “Republic Report”.

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Public Libraries as Ombudsmen and Democratic Incubators

Kevin Drum sends us to this compelling posting about why we need public libraries more than ever in the digital age, and how libraries need to revise themselves to become civic centers:

We need to do something which I’ll admit is ill defined and perhaps impossible: we need to become the center of civic engagement in our communities. We’re one of the few places left in our society where a great cross-section of people regularly interact, and also one of the few places that is free and non-commercial. … We have amazing potential power, but without concerted effort I’m afraid it will be wasted. It will look better to save 10 dollars a year per person in taxes instead of funding community computer workshops, and childhood literacy programs, and community gardens. All the while we play desperate catch-up, trying to get a hold on ebooks, and liscensing out endless sub-quality software for meeting room reservations and computer sign-ups and all this other rentier software capitalism instead of developing free and open source solutions and providing small systems with the expertise to use them. Our amazing power is squandered as we cut our staff, fail to attract skilled and diverse talent, and act as a band aid to the mounting social ills caused by slash and burn governance in the name of low taxes and some nebulous idea of freedom that seems to equate with living in a good society but not paying your share for it.

Every day at my job I helped people just barely survive. Forget trying to form grass roots political activism by creating a society of computer users, forget trying to be the ‘people’s university’ and create a body of well informed citizens. Instead I helped people navigate through the degrading hoops of modern online society, fighting for scraps from the plate, and then kicking back afterwards by pretending to have a farm on Facebook (well, that is if they had any of their 2 hours left when they were done). What were we doing during the nineties? What were we doing during the boom that we’ve been left so ill served during the bust? No one seems to know. They come in to our classes and ask us if we have any ideas, and I do, but those ideas take money, and political will, and guts, and the closer I get to graduation the less and less I suspect that any of those things exist.

All this resonates with me: Strong pubic libraries can be a foundation stone of a stronger civil society and an improved public sphere. They could be a big part of what I was looking for when I wrote Building the Bottom Up From the Top Down.

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Solid Proof

Daily Kos says it’s Undisputable evidence of Obama’s socialism.

Of course what it really shows is that Obama is a Rockefeller Republican.

Posted in Econ & Money, Politics: US | 1 Comment

New Pew Poll Finds Frustration with Congress & Inequality

I was part of the telephone sample for this new poll sponsored by the Pew Research Center.

I found a few of the questions very difficult because while I think overall the Republicans are worse than the Democrats, I’m pretty mad at the Democrats too.

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Anti-Union Bill Rejected by Ohio Voters

AP reports:

The state’s new collective bargaining law was defeated Tuesday after an expensive union-backed campaign that pitted firefighters, police officers and teachers against the Republican establishment.

In a political blow to GOP Gov. John Kasich, voters handily rejected the law, which would have limited the bargaining abilities of 350,000 unionized public workers. With more than a quarter of the votes counted late Tuesday, 63 percent of votes were to reject the law.

via Ohio Voters Reject Republican-Backed Union Limits – NYTimes.com

It begins?

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