News and Announcements

July 23, 2014 6:57 AM

July 23, 2014 6:48 AM

On Tuesday, two conservative judges essentially decided to defund Obamacare, ruling that the 36 states with federally-run insurance marketplaces can’t extend tax credits to help their residents purchase health care because of a technicality in the way the law is worded. Although it’s not the final word on the matter, the Halbig v. Burwell decision does represent a setback to the health reform law.

In today’s Obama Derangement Syndrome Report, we learn of a man who (figuratively speaking) would cut off his nose to spite his face. Because…well, FREEDUMB!!! There are those- David Klemencic evidently being among them- who’d refuse eternal life if Barack Obama was the one dispensing the pills. Not that the color of the President’s skin has ANYTHING to do with the issue at hand here…whatever it may be…but The Uppity Black Guy in the White House © is NOT going to tell good, God-fearing American patriots what they can and cannot do. Capice??

Because of what amounts to a typo, two Conservative judges on a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court have decided to throw five millions Americans into limbo. Their ruling would strip those Americans of their federal health insurance subsidies, and would effectively cripple- if not kill- the Affordable Care Act.

What does this decision mean…besides the looming legal tug-of-war that could leave Obamacare at the mercy of nine black-robed Supreme Court justices? Because the full D.C. Circuit Court has a 7-4 Democratic majority, there’s a pretty good chance the Halbig v. Burwell decision won’t survive long. If the decision DOES stand, the impact will be widespread and catastrophic:

  1. Almost 90 percent of Obamacare enrollees in states with federal marketplaces will lose their tax credits.
  2. Premiums in those states could increase by more than 75 percent.
  3. The average person with the cheapest plan on a federal marketplace would have to spend a quarter of their income on insurance.
  4. The number of uninsured Americans would increase by about 6.5 million.
  5. Obamacare premiums as a whole would be sent into a “death spiral.”

IF the Halbig v. Burwell decision stands, affordable insurance would soon be out of reach financially more than 99% of those currently eligible for subsidies in the federal exchanges. Conservatives will have achieved their goal of denying millions of Americans health insurance.

Mission Accomplished.

This is the world Conservatives aspire to create, where the rich continue grow ever wealthier…and the poor are left to fend for themselves, the social contract shredded and discarded in our brave new dog-eat-dog world. It’s an American meritocracy, where the sick, the poor, and the elderly are of diminishing value to the interests of the rich and therefore unworthy of being subsidized.

Hey, if you were meant to have health insurance and access to quality health care, you’d have been born rich…amiright??


July 23, 2014 6:36 AM

July 23, 2014 6:16 AM

Students from the Warwick women’s rowing team decided to strip down for charity — and found themselves held up to a double standard.

This week, Facebook banned the group’s page citing “inappropriate content” — but allowed an identical page for the men’s team’s naked calendar to remain.

(Some images may be considered NSFW.)

Following in the tradition of Warwick’s men’s rowing team, who have been selling naked calendars since 2009, the women’s rowing team shot their first nude calendar in 2013 to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support — creating quite a splash.

Calendar organizer Sophie Bell told The Huffington Post that the team’s Facebook page had received numerous complaints regarding images from the 2013 calendar, before the page was temporarily deleted this week. “Facebook has unpublished our page a few times since we created it, due to what it deemed ‘inappropriate images,’” she told The Huffington Post.

Team members felt that they were being unfairly punished.

“We have worked hard to create a tasteful and artistic calendar in which the girls bodies are strategically covered,” rower Frankie Salzano told HuffPost. “The photographs we feel are an accurate representation of an athletic female body, something to be celebrated and not shunned, especially because there are Facebook pages that are degrading to the female form.”

“All of the girls are strategically covered up and our calendar has been praised for [that],” recent Warwick graduate Hettie Reed told HuffPost UK. “The photos are no different from the holiday snaps of men and women that appear on everyone’s Facebook feeds.”

After receiving hundreds of messages from supporters of the Warwick team, Facebook overturned the ban on the page early Friday morning. A post on the updated page reads:

We are so pleased that our tasteful nude calendar which we all are proud to be a part of is has rightfully removed its label of being pornographic, explicit and a violation of the terms of facebook and we thank each and every one of you for your part in it! The 2014 calendar is available here.

The 2014 calendar is available here.

July 23, 2014 6:09 AM

July 22, 2014 6:44 AM

July 22, 2014 6:35 AM


(apologies to Keith Olbermann)

Sara Hellwege

A nurse in Florida does not want to prescribe people birth control, but wanted to work at a family health center where prescribing people birth control is a job requirement. After not getting the job on the grounds of refusing to do the job, the woman is now suing for alleged discrimination. Meanwhile, a writer in New York is about to pass out from exasperation over the absurdity of this claim. (That writer is me.)…. Hellwege’s complaint against the medical center alleges that she was “told she could not apply for the positions of certified nurse-midwife by Tampa Family Health Centers […] explicitly based on her religious beliefs and moral convictions in opposition to prescribing certain drugs that she believes can cause the death of a human embryo.”

Once upon a time, I promised myself I’d retire the “World Person in the World” schtick…though I evidently retained the right to resurrect it when and/or if circumstances warranted. Well, circumstances warrant; in this case, Ms. Hellwege is richly deserving of the title. I’m half-tempted to rename it in her (dis)honor. Her sense of entitlement and self-absorbed, overheated religiosity certainly make her a worthy recipient.

I’ve been applying and interviewing for jobs for some time now, so I think I have a pretty good handle on how the process is supposed to work. First, you convince the potential employer that you’re qualified for the position they’re looking to fill. Second, you persuade them to believe you’re willing and able to handle all aspects of the job. Third, you hope that the first two things are enough to get you the job. Of course, those considerations convey no responsibility upon the potential employer to hire you…or any other candidate. People don’t get hired for all sorts of reasons- lack of qualifications, lack of required education, personality mismatches, food stuck between their teeth, being a Packers fan- and there’s not a thing in the world that can be done about it. Employers hire whom they choose, and as long they’re not openly and obviously discriminating against a person from a protected class, they’re free to offer employment to the candidate they feel is the best fit.

Except that, this being America, an applicant can sue a potential employer for any slight they feel they’ve been dealt, whether real or perceived. Ms. Hellwege applied for a position whose job description contained a requirement she refused to meet because of her beliefs. Fair enough, but she has no basis to claim to be surprised that she wasn’t hired for the job, which requires the prescription of birth control. If she refuses to prescribe birth control, the employer is well within their rights to hire someone who will fulfill that aspect of the job.

That’s not “religious discrimination.” That’s a zealot believing she’s OWED the position, and that the only possible reason she didn’t get it was that the potential employer discriminated against her based on her religious orientation. Ms. Hellwege could stand to learn that being a self-important, self-righteous Christian doesn’t mean being owed anything. You don’t get to claim discrimination on religious grounds when you refuse to perform the duties clearly listed on the job description…and then aren’t hired based on that refusal.

Ms. Hellwege is certainly free to her beliefs. What’s she’s not entitled to is the expectation of special treatment because of those beliefs. She’s not owed a job because she’s a Christian; she deserves the same consideration any other applicant would get…which is what appears to have happened in this case. It’s time she grew up and owned the reason she didn’t get the job. Hopefully it’s a lesson that will be of some benefit the next time she tries to manipulate a situation to her advantage.

Welcome to the brave new world spawned by Hobby Lobby….

July 22, 2014 6:11 AM

July 22, 2014 6:02 AM

A senior policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, which bills itself as the think tank of the anti-immigrant Right, told a Florida-based Tea Party group last week that President Obama not only deserves impeachment, but that “being hung, drawn and quartered is probably too good for him.”

The Center for New Community’s Imagine 2050 blog first reported on Stephen Steinlight’s remarks.

Steinlight also said that John Boehner’s lawsuit against the president is a “political loser” and claimed that while Obama deserves to be impeached, such an effort would backfire on Republicans.

CIS describes Steinlight as “one of the nation’s most insightful voices on immigration” who provides “expert testimony” for government panels.

A rash of opinion polls which have come out, not push polls, real polls, including one by Gallup that showed that 65 percent of the American people don’t want any part of an Obama-style immigration reform. But the idea of this [lawsuit] is vintage Boehner, it’s a political loser. There is no court that is going to stop Obama from doing anything. We all know, if there ever was a president that deserved to be impeached, it’s this guy. Alright? I mean, I wouldn’t stop. I would think being hung, drawn, and quartered is probably too good for him.

July 22, 2014 5:40 AM