Lunch Links

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

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82 Responses to “Lunch Links”

  1. #1 |  Aresen | 

    RE: Washington’s high-powered terrorist supporters.

    The surprising thing is that hypocrisy is no longer surprising.

  2. #2 |  MRK | 

    From the Conservative Women link:

    “Call Sarah Palin a c–t and everyone yawns. Call Sandra Fluke a prostitute and the president is on the line.”

    Did someone (who isn’t a comedian or shock jock) actually call Palin a c–t? I’m certain people would not have yawned. There is a huge difference between calling out women who want to president for being idiots, and just out-right name calling. I’m not condoning Limbaugh behavior, but rather pointing out that many self-proclaimed conservative women have made themselves look like idiots in the national spotlight, and shouldn’t be surprised to get attacked for it.

    Limbaugh is a conservative shock-jock who creates an audience out of saying things that infuriate the left-wing. Every blog about the topic gives him what he wants. The only difference here is he crossed the line (what-ever, and where-ever that line is) and catapulted himself back into the headlines.

    Politics has always been nasty, including personal attacks that have nothing to do with the issues– regardless of gender. Don’t believe me? Google “Santorum”.

  3. #3 |  Dwight Brown | 

    “The judge in his lengthy opinion cited extreme prosecutorial and police misconduct in how the case was handled.”

    Wow. Not just police and prosecutorial misconduct, but EXTREME! prosecutorial and police misconduct.

    Seriously: I know it isn’t the point of the linked article, but I really, really want to know more about the Michael Wayne Hash case. If anybody has any pointers to more comprehensive press coverage, I would appreciate them. (I searched the newspaper’s web site, but only came up with articles related to the prosecutor’s resignation.)

  4. #4 |  awp | 

    RE: Washington’s high-powered terrorist supporters.

    “In other words, pure political advocacy in support of a designated Terrorist group could be prosecuted as a felony — punishable with 15 years in prison — if the advocacy is coordinated with that group.”

    While it is law the elites should be punished just as harshly(if not more (violation of public trust and all)) as everyone else. But, it is a ridiculously bad law.

  5. #5 |  Sam | 

    So I should be sympathetic to the poor conservative women victimized by cultural critics of various stripes? No, thanks.

  6. #6 |  FTP | 

    The best take on Califano (former Carter cabinet secretary, now critical of Pat Robertson’s marijuana stance) in the WaPo comments section compared him to a Japanese holdout, refusing to surrender, hiding out in some jungle decades after the war ended.

    I’m impressed that a piece like Califano’s could be published in a newspaper intended for adult use.

  7. #7 |  omar | 

    In World War II we used to say, “ Loose lips sink ships.” In debates about the war on drugs, loose lips can sink children and teens.

    This has to be the worst analogy I’ve ever read.

  8. #8 |  SJE | 

    There is simply no equivalence between what Rush says about Sandra Fluke and Maher says about Sarah Palin. The person attacking, the person attacked, and the issues are completely different.

    Fluke is a law student who calmly professed an opinion in a Congressional hearing. Rush engaged in a vitriolic several day diatribe that attacked the person, and not the issue. Rush is so powerful in the GOP that none of the mainstream candidates or heads of Congress ever said a word against him. Bush invited him over to celebrate Rush’s birthday. The deference shown to Rush is greater than you see for former GOP Presidents. So, a very powerful respected figure who is almost its standard bearer engages in a multi-day tirade against a young woman with an opinion.

    Sarah Palin is a former governer, VP candidate, and leading figure in the GOP who has shown that she is willing to use all elements at her disposal to crush her opposition. She is, and remains powerful and has consistently refused to be put under any detailed interviews by anything except friendly reporters. Bill Maher is a prominent comedian who has attacked Palin (and has attacked lots of DEMS too). He gave money to Obama, but is in no way considered a standard bearer by the DEMS, and is no where near as powerful as Palin

    Palin v Maher is at least a fair fight. Rush v Fluke is like a dozen cops beating a college student.

  9. #9 |  Marty | 

    I’m impressed with the responses to Califano’s marijuana article. I didn’t see much support for his nonsense.

  10. #10 |  Dan Aykroyd | 

    Jane you ignorant slut!

  11. #11 |  EBL | 

    Party on Pat, party on… I disagree with Robertson on a lot of things…but he is right on this.

  12. #12 |  Danny | 

    People like Fluke, and Palin, get nasty insults from shock entertainers on the Left and the Right all the time, especially on radio and cable TV. It isn’t ever big news.

    What was big news was Rush Limbaugh, who, by some mysterious process, went from being just another talk radio mouth-breather to GOP infallible demi-god. Repeatedly, prominent Republican “statesmen” have had to obsequiously apologize and walk back criticisms of Limbaugh — a spectacle so bizarre and unedifying that has rivaled the genuflections before Emperor Caligula. Somebody riding that high was bound to come down hard once he pushed his luck too far.

    No one on the Left — not Michael Moore, not Keith-O, not Randi Rhodes, and least of all the avowed athiest drug-legalizer Bill Maher — was ever elevated to the status that Rushbo held in the GOP before this scandal. He was a class of one. Ergo, his scandal has been a class of one. No equivalencies to Bill Maher have been drawn in mainstream media for the simple reason that none could be with an honest rendering.

  13. #13 |  Michael Chaney | 

    The Bieber’d article brings to light again the extreme fragility of police officers. Here, he was hit in the foot with a Justin Bieber doll, and had to call his buddies because it bruised him and “hurt” (his words). This after he’d beaten her with part of a door that he had broken, pulled her hair, etc.

    It’s funny to see these guys try to pull the same shit in their personal life that they do while on duty. Nice to see that it didn’t work this time.

  14. #14 |  EH | 

    MRK: Educate yourself on the history of the term “Santorum.” It most certainly does have something to do with the issues. Sheesh.

  15. #15 |  EH | 

    How bad is that Bieber cop? Crimony.

    “The girlfriend also said that Nuanes kicked in the locked door of a bathroom where she had taken refuge and then he hit her over the head and back with part of the broken door.”

    Isn’t hunting someone down like this, like, an additional charge in most cases?

  16. #16 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Annnd, here are all the folks who sympathise with Fluke’s politics and despise Palin’s, outraged that the two have been compared and loudly asserting that there is no parallel.

    The Cultural Establishment Liberals always seem to feel that it’s OK to call Conservative women just about anything – like that swine cartoonist who depicted Condoleezza Rice as Butterfly McQueen. But if anybody DARES to do to their sacred cows what they do to others, they are up in arms!

  17. #17 |  freedomfan | 

    First, for people who may not have clicked on the “Former Carter administration official takes on Christian Coalition founder over decriminalizing marijuana” article, thinking “some old lefty is arguing with some old conservative about pot – big whoop”, it may be noteworthy that there is something of a man-bites-dog aspect to the story. To wit: It’s the Christian Coalition Founder who favors legalization while the Carter administration official is contriving excuses for the status quo.

  18. #18 |  Chris Mallory | 

    Of course Fluke is 30, hardly a callow youth and she was speaking at a press conference held by the Democratic party, not a Congressional hearing. She gives every indication of being a political operative, not a wide eyed coed attacked by the mean conservatives.

  19. #19 |  witless chum | 

    The Daily Caller’s article is probably the weakest thing you could write about sexism on the left. For one, if your definition of “the left” includes David Letterman, I’m pretty sure you’re full of shit.

    Also, the part that blames feminists for giving permission does not match up to my experience reading feminist blog comments sections, where liberal men who slur Ann Coulter or Palin in sexist ways get piled on.

    Sexism is absolutely a problem on the left, but the nice thing about it is that lefties are failing to live up to their ideals when they say something sexist about Sarah Palin. Can’t really say the same when conservatives say something sexist about Nancy Pelosi.

  20. #20 |  Juice | 


    Please say a prayer for Ice. On 3-3-12 he was killed tragically, in a case of mistaken identity by a local police officer. He showed no aggression towards the officer and was shot in our own yard. He was standing still and wagging his tail the entire time, although the police had a noose-pole, they never attempted nor intended on using it. Had he been any other breed of dog, besides a Pitbull, this never would have happened.

  21. #21 |  M. Steve | 

    The worst part of Rushgate is that it distracted everyone from the main counterargument against Fluke: when you choose to attend/work for a Catholic institution, why are you shocked (SHOCKED!) that they aren’t covering birth control?

    The best part of Rushgate is that I enjoy anything that pits butthurt liberals against butthurt religious righties. Better than Red Sox-Yankees.

  22. #22 |  Juice | 

    Another one:

    An elderly woman in Natalia said police there shot and killed seven of her dogs. Epifania Avalos said Natalia police showed up Feb. 1 prepared to seize her animals, but something went horribly wrong. “I told them not to do it,” Avalos said. “Please don’t do it. I was crying and I’m still missing my animals and they said ‘no, we have to get rid of them.'”

  23. #23 |  Juice | 

    Well, a cop got charged on this one. Maybe there’s a reason:

    A Llano grand jury indicted a retired Llano Sheriff’s deputy in the August shooting death of a dog. Melvin Lawson, 66, turned himself in to police after he was accused of shooting 2 1/2 year-old Munchee, a Pekingese, in the neck and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

  24. #24 |  SJE | 

    #16: For the record, I am certainly not a liberal, as that term is understood. I am not a big fan of Obamacare but, at the same time, find that the GOP “moral waiver” completely unworkable political theater.

  25. #25 |  Danny | 

    “butthurt”? Really, Steve? I guess gay-baiting is okay even if sexism isn’t.

    By the way, is calling a guy a dick/dickhead/prick reverse-sexism?

    How many entertainers on radio and cable TV are guilty of anti-male sexism in that case?

    Should we just call people we don’t like, be they male or female, “assholes” and drop the gender-specific body-part insults?

    Politically-correct insulting? Is that what we’ve come to?

  26. #26 |  Jay | 

    “The notion that taxing sales of marijuana will provide a windfall for our public coffers is another (bong) pipe dream. For every $1 of taxes on tobacco and alcohol, our nation incurs $9 in state and federal health-care, criminal justice and social-service costs. These costs will skyrocket if legalization becomes the norm, increasing the drain on our public coffers.”

    Exactly how would criminal justice and social service costs increase with legalization of marijuana?

    As with cigarettes, we know a lot more about marijuana today than we did a generation ago. Today’s marijuana is no harmless herb: it is 10 times more potent than the marijuana of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, says, “There is no question marijuana can be addictive; that argument is over. The most important thing right now is to understand the vulnerability of young, developing brains to these increased concentrations of cannabis.”

    Another ridiculous argument. What a fool.

  27. #27 |  M. Steve | 

    Can someone please call Danny a WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHMBULANCE?

  28. #28 |  SJE | 

    People, lets try to focus on the issues, which is part of what made this site great.

  29. #29 |  Danny | 

    Call it, Steve, but I’m not the one that’s gonna leave strapped the gurney. (C. S. P. Schofield is gonna need the oxygen mask and will probably be declared DOA in any case.)

    I’m the one saying that rude body-part insults are not necessarily evidence of “sexism.” What are you offering? A non-argument about a non-point.

    The problem Fluke is identifying is not “surprise” or “lack of notice” about having no birth control coverage at a Catholic institution. The problem Fluke is identifying is a gaping hole in non-clerical women employees’ medical coverage at a huge corporate institution, wrought by naked sectarian dogma.

  30. #30 |  latinist | 

    So several conservatives have said, but it remains utterly untrue, that feminists don’t criticize liberal sexism. I mean, in what universe did Keith Olbermann not face any feminist pushback for his stance on Assange? Ditto for most, at least, of the other names mentioned in that column. Honestly, go to a feminist blog and try leaving a comment along the lines of “gee, I think Bill Maher is a neat guy” and watch how quickly and angrily you get educated about the various crap he’s said.*
    Of course, it’s true that a lot of people who generally align themselves with the left/liberalism/Democrats (because of their beliefs about economics, or civil liberties, or whatever) are not really committed to feminism, and basically just use it hypocritically as a tool to attack conservatives. That sucks, and it may well be true that it happens more with feminism than with other issues (though it certainly does happen with other issues, on both left and right). But you know who’s been talking about this problem, like, forever? Feminists! Honestly! They talk about it *all the time*. Look at feminists’ ambivalent feelings about some parts of the Occupy movement; or what they’ve said about the Wikileaks case; or google the word “man-splaining” or “manarchist.” One of the more irritating habits of conservative commentators is this way of making huge, broad statements about what feminists do and believe, while making it blindingly clear that they have no idea what they’re talking about.

    *well, don’t actually do this. Feminist blogs have enough trolls as it is, God knows.

  31. #31 |  M. Steve | 

    “Naked sectarian dogma” is an awesome lefty euphemism for “religious belief”. They are a motherfucking Catholic institution, and should damn well be able to set whatever rules they want. We, in turn, are free to make fun of them and pressure them to relent. We should not be free to run to the government to force the Mean Ol’ Papists to do our bidding. There is a wall between church and state, not a one-way valve.

  32. #32 |  picachu | 

    M. Steve “There is a wall between church and state, not a one-way valve.”

    Well said!

  33. #33 |  Jay | 

    Well put M. Steve.

  34. #34 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    But M. Steve,

    You know PERFECTLY WELL that when the anti-religious invoke “Separation of Church and State” they only mean in ways that work to their advantage!

  35. #35 |  R. Taylor | 

    That’s just disappointing that you can’t see the difference between Fluke and the “conservative women” insulted by the “left.” I still can’t wrap my head around Reason’s obligatory piece complaining about the mistreatment of “conservative women,” which included a large percentage of liberal insults that were hurled at, wait for it, Hillary freaking Clinton(!).
    There’s a reason the targeting of unarmed civilians is seen as a much worse thing than warlords attacking each other. Olbermann, Schultz, Ingraham, and Malkin are all well-armed bomb throwers by trade — Fluke, to best of our knowledge, presently, is not. And if the left can reasonably be called sexist, what in God’s name does that make the party of Ann anti-suffragette Coulter?? One can shift the goalposts to simply state that there’s sexism and sexist rhetoric on the left, but the idea there’s some kind of double standard in how it’s handled is just bunk. I’m sure the pawn shop that sold Randi Rhodes her ham radio will face enough backlash to remove her from her current position of power in the Democratic party and American liberalism in general. Don’t get me started on Bill Maher, where does this end exactly? I remember a certain libertarian magician calling Hillary Clinton a bitch (a WHITE Bitch no less — racism too!). Also noted libertarian cartoonists Matt and Trey once had a little boy suffer from an outbreak of vaginas. Why are Libertarians so sexist??? Why the double standard to ATTACK poor Keith Olbermann with nary a word condemning the rampant misogyny of libertarianism?? Hmmmm??? Didn’t you once approvingly link to a video of a Louis CK routine? He’s used the word cunt in his act on more than a few occassions. Why do you hate women so much Radley? How can you be so hypocritical to condemn Ed Schultz with all your misogyny?

  36. #36 |  Cynical in New York | 

    RE: Former Carter official

  37. #37 |  Alan | 

    People are people. Opinions no matter how brilliant or dumb they may be do not change the fact that those who have them are people. We should respect both conservative AND liberal men and women. I believe we should urge people to engage in respectful discussion and hopefully set the example ourselves. Personal attacks only pollute our media and prevent clear thinking. Any political “opinionist” who resorts to political attacks only acts to destroy the point of view he or she claims to stand for.

  38. #38 |  Alan | 

    Replace the line “resorts to political attacks” to “resorts to personal attacks”

  39. #39 |  Cynical in New York | 

    RE: Former Carter official: For some reason when I press enter to skip a line in Firefox it just submits the message. But anyway, something has to be behind Robertson’s calling for decriminalizing of pot.

  40. #40 |  Swing | 

    Is the church running a school, a thing that is not a church?

    Ah, then shut up church, and follow the insurance rules other employers that run schools have to for their employees. You just keep rolling along with the bronze-age-superstition-fueled misogyny in your church all you want.

    There’s a wall between church and state, not between any-business-or-organization-the-church-decides-to-operate and state.

  41. #41 |  steve | 

    Public money goes to Georgetown. If they give up that money, they can do whatever they want. At present, they are a secular institution with only vague Catholic affiliations.


  42. #42 |  Brian V. | 


    This is the very first article about it in the local paper. Many more follow it.

  43. #43 |  Dwight Brown | 

    Brian V.:

    Thanks. That’s very close to the kind of thing I was looking for. For the benefit of other readers, let me summarize that article. Close is the prosecutor who just resigned.

    “Close now concedes that statement was not truthful.”

    “Close now admits the letters should have been disclosed.”

    “Close admitted Weakley’s polygraph results were exculpatory and should have been turned over to the defense.”

  44. #44 |  tired dog | 

    Always wondered how ‘Fran Townsend’ ever reached those inner sanctums…was she Lewinsky-ing W?

  45. #45 |  Brian V. | 

    FWIW, I am a Culpeper resident. On Feb. 9 we had this happen:

    An unarmed 54 year-old woman was questioned by a police officer while sitting in her Jeep in a school parking lot. According to witnesses, they started to argue and she started driving off. The officer shot the vehicle six times, on the town streets, killing her. The investigation was immediately given to the Virginia State Police. The next day, the VSP issued a statement saying the woman had rolled up–no power windows–her window trapping the officer’s arm and was dragging him down the street, and the officer had to use deadly force to save himself.

    Since the day of that statement, the VSP has been silent. The officer has not been named. Many of us continue to ask the town leaders for information, and are repeatedly told, “Be patient, a thorough investigation takes time.”

    Horse$hit. We need Balko to shine the light on this case. C’mon Radley!

  46. #46 |  tired dog | 

    So, ‘item 7′ will require id and 50 state criminal check to go to a frikkin’ ball entertainment event…fock these is time to start beating the merde out of pols.

  47. #47 |  Stephen | 

    Getting a lot of this today…

    “Error establishing a database connection”

  48. #48 |  Stephen | 

    #26 | Jay |

    There was plenty of “sinsemilla” available back then. Comparing the old time dirt weed to today’s hydro is a lie.

  49. #49 |  Whahappan? | 

    Most of this bloviating about Fluke misses the point. The government, at any level, shouldn’t be mandating insurance coverage of anything. I’m not a Catholic, nor do I have any use for the Catholic church’s stance on birth control. It’s irrelevant. The Catholic church, or any other employer/school/whatever can cite any reason whatsoever for not wanting to cover ANYTHING. Don’t like it? Tough shit. Don’t work/attend there.

    Why the fuck would we WANT to tie insurance to employment or school? It just invites these conflicts.

    Feel free to apply these concepts to anything you deem appropriate.

  50. #50 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Michael Nuanes said that since (the girlfriend) was a housewife, she had nothing to lose. And, if he was arrested, he would lose his job,” the affidavit said.

    What an enlightened view, Mr. Nuanes. Sounds like an all round nice guy. And a prototypical batterer.

  51. #51 |  buzz | 

    When slutgate started it was just beyond the pale (sorry) to even think it might be ok to talk about a woman like that. It was War Against Women. When it was pointed out that it just wasn’t Limbaugh, that others have said equally bad, or even worse about conservative women suddenly some folks started contorting themselves to make Limbaugh=Bad, and Everyone else=not all that bad if you only think about it. “Rush v Fluke is like a dozen cops beating a college student.” Only if that college student has the POTUS, and the democratic party firmly in their corner. Last checked, the POTUS outranked any radio talk show host, no matter how popular. Face it, if you can’t articulate a position any better than spewing pornographic insults, you should probably withdraw from the debate, no matter your party.

  52. #52 |  shecky | 

    The “both sides do it” defense really falls flat with the Fluke story. As pointed out, there is really no true liberal counterpart who enjoys Limbaugh’s ex cathedra status.

    Couple that with a Republican party whose panty sniffing seems to know no bounds, it becomes plain that the issue of fucked up sexual politics is lopsided way to right side of the spectrum.

    Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.
    “I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

    Perhaps Republicans are working hard to tip the lack of irony sense in their favor, too.

  53. #53 |  bacchys | 

    “[E]xtreme misconduct” and the only consequence is he resigns?

    Ooooh. How tough.

    Funny how the tough-on-crime types never seem concerned with abuses of power and violations of rights that are against the law.

  54. #54 |  Pugnacious | 

    Regarding Pelosi and Maher bashing the South, Andy Kaufman did it without the hate in his staged rant with Memphis wrestler Jerry Lawler in I’m from Hollywood.

    Kaufmann didn’t laught at us Southerners, he laughed with us. Andy Kaufman was the Jewish Brother Dave Gardner.

    I miss Andy and Tony Clifton. After Andy “allegedly” died, I was waiting for Bob Muzak to do his Tony Clifton schtick, keeping alive the “doubt” of Andy’s death.

  55. #55 |  Cynical in New York | 


    Because badge licking, government thug supporters view the rights of the accused as “coddling” criminals.

  56. #56 |  Pugnacious | 

    That’s Bob Muzata from TAXI who played the “other”Tony Clifton

  57. #57 |  Homeboy | 

    “…this is a pretty strong piece on the denigration of conservative women.”

    What do you suppose Radley means by “strong?” Surely he does not mean in terms of intelligence or strength of analysis.

  58. #58 |  JThompson | 

    @M. Steve @ #30: Well, up until now it has been a one way valve. What the bible thumpers neglect to mention in all their whinging is all the privileges granted churches in the US that aren’t granted any other group. So what was a one way valve is becoming a two way valve and the fanatics aren’t happy about it.

    If your church is taking that large an amount of my tax dollars, while not contributing any of its own(Of course), I should get some say in how it’s run. If you don’t like it, stop taking federal money.* There’s also the whole problem of any other organization that had child molestation on such a massive scale would have been shut down pretty quickly. They certainly wouldn’t be being held up as a pillar of righteousness.

    *I find it hilarious that right wingers insist public assistance should grant them the right to micromanage the lives of everyone on it, but the second a similar standard is applied to churches they lose their minds.

  59. #59 |  KristenS | 

    Not a single comment on the couple forced into foreclosure because of Cook County’s Cleveland-esque style of “business”. No no, an irrelevant twat like Sandra Fluke gets all the attention, just like the Dems and Repubs intend. MMM…shiny object!

  60. #60 |  MassHole | 

    Concern twat is concerned.

  61. #61 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @31 – Exactly. There can be NO discussion of why some policies are religious. Shut up and do them, the state says so.

  62. #62 |  Miroker | 

    @ #54

    Amen, brother. Get rid of the tax breaks and they can do whatever the hell they want.

  63. #63 |  M. Steve | 

    The “they get tax money, government sets the rules” is such a ridiculous idea, and disingenuous to boot. What is Georgetown supposed to do? You really expect them to *turn down* money that *EVERY OTHER INSTITUTION* is getting? So, by government fiat, you get to put them between the rock of “take our money and live by our rules” or the hard place of “refuse our money and be unable to compete”?

    This is the great logic of our liberal “friends”? No fucking thank you. Tax dollars should NEVER necessitate playing by a different set of rules. Much better: no tax breaks for anyone, just keep taxes low and steady. Tax “incentives” are the most pernicious form of government meddling there is.

  64. #64 |  Goober | 

    I don’t give a rat’s ass if the organization is religious, secular, or moon-based, the United States Federal Government has absolutely no business dictating what insurance coverage a privately-owned company should provide for their employees.

    And stop with the BS arguments that these women are being “denied” access to birth control. They can get it if they want, they just have to – GASP! – PAY FOR IT THEMSELVES.

    I will never understand why people in this country started thinking that they were entitled to force other people to pay for their things for them.

    If the argument is that birth control is a “right” and because of that, it should be provided to everyone free of charge, then I will counter your argument and claim that you have to buy me a shotgun – it isn’t fair that I have to pay money in order to be able to use my second amendment right! Go ahead. Explain to me why your right (you know, the one that isn’t written in the Constitution) is somehow different from my right (you know, the one that IS.)

  65. #65 |  MassHole | 

    M. Steve,

    I agree 100% with “no tax breaks for anyone”. I don’t believe religious organizations should be able to receive government subsidies while not paying any taxes. However, I don’t agree with your premise of “what is Georgetown supposed to do?”

    If the government, or any other patron attaches strings to funding, what’s the problem? Are you saying they shouldn’t be able to watch their money if they wish? Georgetown could go the way of Bob Jones and renounce the government funding and do as they please if the religious issue is that important to them. Or, they could continue to accept government funding and live by the same rules their competitors do that accept same. It seems you are suggesting that they should be able to take the government money while operating under a different set of rules as their secular competition because they are associated with a religious order. “EVERY OTHER INSTITUTION” has to comply with the strings attached to government money. Why should a religious institution get an exemption from that? He who pays the piper calls the tune. Don’t want the man to have a say your business, don’t ask for his money.

  66. #66 |  witless chum | 

    “And stop with the BS arguments that these women are being “denied” access to birth control. They can get it if they want, they just have to – GASP! – PAY FOR IT THEMSELVES.”

    Which is what “these women” doing in every case I can think of. I pay part of my health insurance’s costs and my employer pays part. Why should the employer’s wish not to pay for their employee’s contraception trump the employee’s wish too pay for said contraception?

    So long as there are federal insurance regs (which I understand many here are not in favor of across the board) why the hell should they priveledge the employer over the employee?

    And what is the distinction that the Catholic hospitals and such are trying to make here? It’s apparently okay if a person working for them violates Catholic doctrine with the cash money they pay them, but a horrendous violation of religious freedom if they violate the same Catholic doctrine with the insurance plan that they are also paid with? I don’t see any sort of logic or principle to be respected there.

    You can make all sorts of slippery slope arguments here too. Maybe I find it immoral if my employees subscribe to Reason?

    All that leaves aside the issue of whether or not an insurance plan that doesn’t include coverage for birth control discriminates against women by it’s very nature because women just have more skin in that game by dint of biology.

  67. #67 |  witless chum | 

    And 65#, Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan is the hipster of taking no money from the Department of Education.

  68. #68 |  M. Steve | 

    No, MassHole, what I am suggesting is that NO INSTITUTION should have to follow the government’s rules. There shouldn’t be any government money creating undue influence on private parties. It’s a terrible idea.

    Also, your “patrons” comparison is a complete nonstarter. The government != private patrons. Private patrons can’t lock you up and kill you if you disobey them. Private patrons can’t offer infinite amounts of money because they print it and the books don’t have to balance. It’s a dishonest analogy.

    “Don’t want the man to have a say your business, don’t ask for his money.”

    Again, pointless. They aren’t *asking* for money, the government is *giving* money… vast sums of money… to institutions, putting private, especially religious, institutions in that Rock and a Hard Place position of taking the money or becoming irrelevant. Care to point to any important research coming out of Bob Jones University? You didn’t refute my point, you just restated the point I already argued against.

    If the government wants institutions to have to choose between research money and religious dogma, the government is doing it wrong.

  69. #69 |  M. Steve | 

    JThompson, I’m sure we agree much more than we disagree. I just don’t see why the answer to the current “one-way valve” is to open it up the other way, and not shut it off. I’m sick and tired of the tax-exempt status of churches, and especially sickened that churches like the Mormon church get to keep that status while explicitly playing politics (e.g. Prop 8 in CA).

    The wall between church and state isn’t just to protect each from the other, it’s also to protect us from them ganging up on us together.

  70. #70 |  Radley Balko | 

    You can make all sorts of slippery slope arguments here too. Maybe I find it immoral if my employees subscribe to Reason?

    That isn’t a slippery slope argument. You’ve moved to a completely different slope. A better analogy would be if your employer promised to pay for, say, six magazine subscriptions as part of your compensation, but you had to choose from a broader list of 20. But Reason isn’t on that list, and you think you should get Reason for free. So you ask the government to force your employer to pay for Reason, too.

    So long as there are federal insurance regs (which I understand many here are not in favor of across the board) why the hell should they priveledge the employer over the employee?

    Because the employer is paying for your insurance. Because if it weren’t for the employer and the group rate it gets for providing insurance, you’d be paying a hell of a lot more. Why do you think you have the right to force someone else to buy you things?

  71. #71 |  albatross | 

    Perhaps a good parallel for Sandra Fluke is Joe the (not really quite a) Plumber? In both cases, they were political operatives in the sense that they were stepping out in public to take a political stand in hopes of pushing issues in a desired direction. And in both cases, they were treated pretty badly (though Limbaugh’s nastiness kind of takes the cake), after the manner of peasants who dare speak up in an argument among the nobility.

    The pundit class is mostly pretty careful to limit how nasty they are to powerful people, because those people have megaphones to shout back with, as well as connections that can be used to cost especially annoying pundits their jobs. Indeed, “respectable” pundits often are pretty reluctant to even call powerful people on obvious lies. Dissing a peasant is pretty safe, unless you say something so offensive it gives your enemies an opening to move against you. Dissing another nobleman can get you cut up in a duel.

    As a society, we do one hell of a job deciding which people we will outfit with megaphones.

  72. #72 |  SJE | 

    Albatross: That is a good analogy. Joe the plumber was criticised by the left for some of his opinions, but the attacks on him were not as personal or as nasty as what Fluke is enduring.

    Radley: your magazine analogy doesnt hold water. Most people can go an buy a magazine subscription for a very low price that is openly advertized, not subject to tax loopholes, and operates on the free market. Medical care is subject to all sorts of information assymetries and tax breaks that make is almost impossible to do what you can do with a magazine: buy it on the open market. As a result, we almost HAVE to pay for medical care through our employment. In the absence of root-and-branch reform of the tax code etc (which I’d prefer), what should the government do? At what stage can a private employer decide not to cover certain things? Is there a greater threat to personal liberty by forcing employers to cover certain things, or permitting employers to act on their changing moral convictions, not price.
    In many ways, this is not much different to the coercion of the government in regards other areas of non-discrimination, such as race. There are important liberty interests involved in deciding to do, or not to do.

  73. #73 |  JOR | 

    “I will never understand why people in this country started thinking that they were entitled to force other people to pay for their things for them.”

    They instituted a government(s) right off the bat. Which was a way of forcing other people to pay for things they wanted (like fighting off European powers, efforts to steal Indian land, efforts to put down rebellions i.e. keep the tax system going, slavery enforcement, default on their debts to the people who fought and died to put them in power in the first place, etc.) If it’s fair to force people to help pay for your armed security needs (to the extent of using other peoples’ money to help you steal other other peoples’ stuff), it’s fair to force them to pay for anything else.

  74. #74 |  SJE | 

    JOR: I agree that it is troubling that people think they have a right, provided directly from the government, or that the government can force others to provide that right. Turning away from theory, in practice we already have the government taxing me to provide all sorts of benefits to people. If the politicians want to talk about forced financial transfers they need to address the biggest drains on my taxes: Social Security, Medicare, and the military. If they want to talk about forced behavior, they could layer upon layer of stupid regulation. Contraception is just a side show.

  75. #75 |  JOR | 

    Well yeah, my point was that the “forced financial transfers” are nothing new. The country’s been doing it as long as it’s been a country. More than that, it’s the whole reason the country was founded.

  76. #76 |  JOR | 

    Also, regulations on contraception* only seem like a “side show” to a guy, who can have sex whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself without fear of getting pregnant. I suppose you could call it a first world problem, but then so is SWAT team abuse, business regulation, and those unbearable marginal tax rates that still leave you with an unimaginably comfortable life (by historical standards).

    *Whether allowing state-aided and privileged institutions to refuse to cover contraception costs for their employees as part a mandated insurance plan constitutes an unjust restriction is a different matter.

  77. #77 |  supercat | 

    //Also, regulations on contraception* only seem like a “side show” to a guy, who can have sex whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself without fear of getting pregnant.//

    The only guys who could do such a thing would be those who don’t plan on ever having any meaningful financial assets. Otherwise, a woman who accidentally gets pregnant has the option of giving up her child for adoption and then getting on with her life, whereas a man who unexpectedly gets a woman pregnant may find himself financially destroyed for eighteen or even twenty years with no say in the matter.

  78. #78 |  supercat | 

    //Medical care is subject to all sorts of information assymetries and tax breaks that make is almost impossible to do what you can do with a magazine: buy it on the open market.//

    Such asymmetries exist in significant measure as a consequence of government meddling. Taxpayer-funded or government-mandated subsidies for contraception will, within a short time, increase the price beyond what it ever would have been absent such subsidies. Leftist politicians always act surprised when the increased demand that results from subsidies ends up increasing prices, but such effects are almost entirely predictable. Anyone who claims to be surprised is either ignorant or lying.

  79. #79 |  Homeboy | 

    Albatross –

    I think your analogy fails miserably. Joe the Plumber was a paid political operative, a man who was paid to attend political events as a shill and to act as a public spokesperson for partisan political positions. He emerged into the public spotlight as a paid activist working for a presidential campaign, who appeared at a political convention, convened press conferences, and concurrently listed himself with speaker’s bureaus. He is currently running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Sandra Fluke, on the other hand, is merely a private citizen who gave testimony at a legislative hearing. One is a dedicated public (and highly political) figure, while the other clearly is not. It is difficult to see how one might find these two figures analogous.

  80. #80 |  witless chum | 

    Radley: (first, thanks for all the good work you do)
    Broadly, compensation doesn’t equal getting things for free in my mind. Whether it’s magazine subscriptions or health insurance, it’s what I’m getting paid in exchange for my labor. Most places let you take cash in lieu of benefits you choose not to use.

    “Because the employer is paying for your insurance. Because if it weren’t for the employer and the group rate it gets for providing insurance, you’d be paying a hell of a lot more. Why do you think you have the right to force someone else to buy you things?”

    It’s more along the lines of the feds forcing Radley’s Motor Mall not to sell defective cars that are much harder and more expensive for women to operate than men than along the lines of “forcing someone else to buy you things.”

    “That isn’t a slippery slope argument. You’ve moved to a completely different slope. A better analogy would be if your employer promised to pay for, say, six magazine subscriptions as part of your compensation, but you had to choose from a broader list of 20. But Reason isn’t on that list, and you think you should get Reason for free. So you ask the government to force your employer to pay for Reason, too.”

    I kinda threw that in there, but if an employer provided that benefit I think it would be unfair of them to pick and choose what magazines they offered, but I don’t think it’d violate the law. However, if the feds regulated magazine compensation, I’d absolutely support a federal regulation saying that no company who offers such a benefit can discriminate according to their values. Nation subscriptions at Cato and vice versa.

    Again, for me it goes back to employers not having the right to impose their morals on employees. When they give you the compensation, they shouldn’t have the right to tell you what to do with it, any more than they should be able to look in your shopping cart.

  81. #81 |  Radley Balko | 

    However, if the feds regulated magazine compensation, I’d absolutely support a federal regulation saying that no company who offers such a benefit can discriminate according to their values. Nation subscriptions at Cato and vice versa.

    And this is why we’re never going to find common ground on this issue.

  82. #82 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @78 – Because healthcare in America is ch…oh wait, your system has made it extortionately expensive. And you want it to be MORE so.

    What’s surprising is that you can’t understand that the results of your own advocated policies tie people to the whim – the often abusive whim – of corporations. You’re a corporatist, no more and no less.