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Women & Health Care

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The White House has released a new "fact sheet" that looks at some pressing issues relating to women's health issues and how the Affordable Care Act will help to address those issues.
The more people learn about the actual law - not the overheated caricature of the law found on certain right wing sites and at Fox News - they are going to see the value in it.
Still, the administration has to understand that for all the good policies in the law, their sales effort needs a human face. They need to find the five year old with a pre-existing condition who had previously been denied coverage and let him become the face of health care reform. Let him do for health care what Ryan White did for AIDS funding. And, not unimportantly, then make it seem like the GOP is not attacking this proposal or that, they are attacking that little boy.

What Planet Is George Weigel On?

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George Weigel's weekly - and weakly - column is posted at InsideCatholic today. His topic: Unions? My topic: What planet is Weigel on?

He writes: "The right of workers to organize to advance their interests is not in question." Well, actually, George, that is precisely what is at issue in Wisconsin and Ohio and a host of other states where the Tea Party has sunk its teeth into the GOP. The new laws in those states strippes unions of their right to collectively bargain. That is why workers organize themselves in the first place. They do not organize to throw a party. They organize to protect their rights and promote their interests, and they achieve that through collective bargaining.

Social Darwinism & The Triangle Tragedy

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Friday will mark the 100th anniversary of the tragedy at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, in which 146 people, mostly poor immigrant Jewish and Italian women, including a fourteen year old girl, were killed in a fire at a sweatshop in Greenwich Village, New York. That is not exactly right. Just as it was not Hurricane Katrina but the failure of the levees around New Orleans that caused the flood in that great city, at Triangle, the problem was not just the fire, but the fact that the fire escapes were inadequate and the additional doors to the building were locked from the outside to make sure none of the workers could exit with any pilfered fabric. In the event, they did not exit at all. The workers died.

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

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BBC has a report out on a new study that predicts religion will become extinct in nine countries. The study applies mathematical models to human behavior. Hmmmm.
In the Good Book, we read in the story of Nicodemus, that the Spirit blows where it will, and that like the wind which moves the leaves of the trees, we know not whence it comes or whither it blows.
But, in the modern research university, the Spirit cannot be measured mathematically and so we get reports like this. The editors at the BBC, I presume, are like most news reporters and editors. They consider the Church to be the Easter Bunny with real estate. But, me thinks there is more than a little evidence of the tooth fairy at work in studies such as this. Reductionism, even mathematically precise reductionism, is an affront to human knowledge, not evidence of that knowledge at work.

Fox News Strikes Out Again

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Fox News suggested that CNN's Nic Robertson and other reporters had been used by Lubyan dictator as a "human shield." This is, as Robertson has replied, nonsense. Robertson goes on to note that he sees the Fox News reporter at breakfast but not on tours of the capital city.
How many more lies does Fox have to perpetrate before they lose their right to be considered a news outfit?

New Report on Catholic Attitudes Towards LGBT Issues

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The Public Religion Research Institute this morning released a new survey of polling data regarding Catholic attitudes towards same-sex issues. The report indicates that Catholics are more supportive of same-sex marriage and other gay rights than other American Christians.

According to the report, which was based on several surveys, 43% of Catholics support same-sex marriage and another 31% support civil unions, while only 21% of Catholics oppose all legal recognition of same-sex unions. By comparison, 16% of white evangelicals, 23% of black Protestants and 36% of mainline Protestants support same-sex marriage.

The survey also found that if the pollsters specified that same sex marriage would be defined as a civil marriage (“like you get at city hall”), support among Catholics increases to 71%. As well, the survey indicates that Latino Catholics, the fastest growing part of the Catholic population, are even more supportive of gay rights than their Anglo co-religionists.

Liberals & Libya

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My friend John Judis asks some important questions of those liberals who have come out in opposition to the intervention in Libya.
If America had gone into Libya immediately and alone, I think we would be right to wonder if Obama had gotten Oval Office fever. But, it seems to me that by encouraging others to take the lead, in their own neighborhood, and intervening only when it became obvious that such intervention was needed to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, which is what an attack on Benghazi would have become, the President has shown true leadership. He has met the crisis at hand, perhaps a little tardily but not much, and he has done so in such a way as to encourage other countries to step up to the plate and not simply look to the U.S. to take the risk such interventions entail.
War is always an ugly thing. But, it is not the ugliest of things. Allowing Gaddafi to murder tens of thousands of his own people would have been uglier.

Immigration, Latinos & the New Evangelization

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Yesterday’s conference on the Church and Immigration at Catholic University was fascinating in every regard. Robert Royal raised an important point that we who advocate for immigration reform are sometimes a bit to dismissive regarding the breaking of law, although I think it must also be said that it is incumbent upon legislators to draft laws that are just, and our current immigration reform have, as one participant put it, all the moral force of laws against jaywalking.

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August 15-28, 2014

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