The Stones We Throw
January 22, 2009, 12:52 pm
Filed under: Current Events | Tags: , ,

From an official standpoint, I am pro-life. I would never have an abortion, and abortion is murder.

However.

I also realize that abortion is not going anywhere anytime soon. It is not my place to judge someone who has an abortion, just as it is not my place to judge a liar, or a murderer, or a thief. That right belongs to God alone. I take to heart the admonition, “Let ye who has not sinned cast the first stone.” Would I prefer that abortion be illegal, like murder and perjury and theft? Yes, but I have accepted that that’s not likely. I will merely do my best to avoid having an abortion myself, and to sway those who ask away from abortion.

Those things said, I am experiencing anxiety over the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) that Obama wants to sign into law. The vast majority of things are just reversals on the conservative steps towards limiting abortion that have occurred over the past 25 years in the states, such as parental notification.

The part that has me jittery involves Roman Catholic hospitals. Specifically, all hospitals that receive federal funds (read: Medicare) would be required to perform abortions. Since all hospitals take Medicare, Catholic facilities would be required, by law, to perform abortions.

This disturbs me on two levels. First, I am opposed to the state telling a religious organization what it can, cannot and MUST do. The common interpretation of the ‘separation of church and state’ clause is that it protects the state from encroachment by the church, but the opposite is just as true: it protects the church from encroachment by the state. The reason I am OK with gay marriage is because chances are, no given person, minister or church will be required to perform gay marriages. The same ought to be true for abortion: no given person, doctor, or facility ought to be required to perform abortions. This law oversteps the line.

Second, this is going to cause the closing of hundreds of charity hospitals across the country. Most major areas have at least one Catholic hospital: Pittsburgh’s is Mercy Hospital, now UPMC Mercy. When that deal was made, UPMC promised the church that they would uphold the Catholic tradition of the facility, and not perform abortions there. Reading has St. Joe’s. In more rural areas, sometimes the only hospital is the Catholic hospital.

These places do not require you to pay if you are unable to. What that means is that poor people do not go underserved medically, nor are they saddled with insurmountable debt, if they are able to get to a Catholic hospital. Is Mercy hospital the best hospital in the city? Hell, no. But the poor are treated there for free.

The whims of the president do not sway the Catholic Church. If FOCA becomes law, these Catholic charity hospitals will close in response. They will not provide abortions on any terms. They will be purchased by other hospitals, and turned into secular facilities that provide abortions, but do not provide free healthcare. The poor will suddenly have no place to turn. Even if they didn’t close, in order to remain true to the Catholic faith, they would have to cease accepting federal dollars, effectively disenfranchising the poor who have Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, etc. Either path would impact poor people.

This, of course, sets the stage for nationalized healthcare. I expect that this is Obama’s plan: close charity hospitals to force Congress’ hand in legislating nationalized healthcare, all while expanding abortion. Two birds with one very damning stone.

Now, I realize that the vast majority of abortion supporters have an immediate reflex to support any legislation expanding abortion and national healthcare. I respect that, and hope you respect my immediate reflex to stop anything encroaching on free-market economics. However, pause for a moment to think carefully about how comfortable you are with forcing the hand of a church, and punishing the poor as a result. By what means are you willing to get what you want? The precedents you set can come back to haunt you.

These are slippery slopes we tread.

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She doth protest too much.
November 4, 2008, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Current Events | Tags: , , ,

My father and I have a sick sense of humor.

We like to gang up on my mother and harass her.

A favorite way of doing this is to inform strangers, in public, that she is an alcoholic.

The preferred method is to go to a nice restaurant with her, and wait until she’s ordering an alcoholic drink from the waiter.

Then, someone says, “You know, you really shouldn’t be ordering that.” Pregnant pause, and turn to look at the waiter apologetically. “She’s an alcoholic.” The other person nods solemnly.

No matter what she does or says, she ends up looking like an alcoholic. A stranger might wonder why her family would announce she was an alcoholic to him if she wasn’t actually an alcoholic. Therefore, her protestations must be because she’s in DENIAL, not because she doesn’t have a drinking problem, but rather has a crazy relatives problem. And hence, ought to be drinking MORE. It really is amazing that she tolerates us.

The poor waiter is usually extremely uncomfortable. He is usually frozen in place, wide eyed. “Crap,” he’s thinking, “Is this going to affect my tip?”

The poor waiter.

That’s how I feel about this election. It is automatically assumed by those on the Left that if you are not voting for Obama, it is because you hate black people. That is the ONLY reason to dislike him: disagreeing with his policies and disapproving of his record- why, that’s crazy talk! No one actually disagrees with Obama!

And there is no way you can argue with that, not without looking like a racist. You protest too much: you must be racist.

I am not racist. I am not opposed to a black person holding the highest office in the land. In fact, I think it’s high time it happened.

But not this one.

And I would prefer that you denigrate me because of my politics, and not because of my presumed racism.

Thank you. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go start drinking now.



OIL! GOLD!
May 11, 2008, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Current Events | Tags: , , , ,

While I bemoan and begrudge the ever-rising price of oil for my own purse and the fact that it’s causing food prices to rise for people who only earn enough to feed themselves, I am more irritated by other folks in this situation. The ones who want us to subsidize the cost of fuel, because it’s just getting to expensive for folks to handle.

The more expensive an item is, the less likely it is to be wasted. You are more careful with your fine fancy china that cost $150 a plate than you are with your cheap Corelle plates, right? It helps that Corelle dishes bounce when you drop them (but if you DO manage to break them, they literay distintegrate. Tiny slivers of hard plastic everywhere!), but in the grand scheme of things, when something is precious, you treat it as such. You do not waste what you want the most. Therefore, should the government pay the difference to subsidize the cost of your Spode bone china? If that happens, then everyone will want Spode bone china AND be able to get it. Only so much Spode bone china is made, however, so Spode increases the actual price in response to the increased demand. Who pays more? The government that is subsidizing the cost of the Spode.

The same goes for other staples. Oil might not be as pretty as your Spode bone china, but it is precious, and getting more precious by the second. Further, contrary to popular opinion, but like Spode bone china, oil is a fixed quantity. It might be a very LARGE fixed quantity, but there is only so much oil available on this earth. If the government pays the difference to subsidize the cost of oil to more “manageable” levels, then the consumer consumes as much as he wants, because it is financially feasible for him to do so. The rate of consumption of oil goes up, because there is no pressure on the consumers to acknowledge the preciousness of the oil, and the fact that there is a limited quantity, and alter their consumption accordingly. The demand goes up, and so does the price. The government continues to pay more and more, while consumers consume more and more. They pay for this in the form of taxes, but they don’t see the direct correlation because they are paying it once a year, not everytime they fuel up the Ole Gas Guzzler.

And then, the Spode china factory closes. The oil dries up. There is no more. This is a disaster because the consumers were not putting pressure on companies to find alternative forms of energy. If prices had been allowed to reflect the true market situation, the consumers would have pressured for other energy sources, and they would have rationed their consumption. They would have done this to ease the pain on their wallets only, and for no other reason. But the market forces have the curative effect of finding new energy sources AND extending the period of time that we have to find those sources by slowing the rate that we use oil. Everybody wins.

That’s why fuel prices aren’t a disaster, and more importantly, why they shouldn’t be falsely altered by governments. Spode bone china is expensive because it is precious. It is then treated very carefully (like a China Doll, even!) because it is precious. It is not discarded haphazardly, or misused. It lasts a long time, generations. Its use is extended because it is treated as though it were precious.

Oil ought to be treated the same way. Don’t subsidize. Hell, increase the taxes on it! (I know what you’re thinking, OMG THE CRAZY CONSERVATIVE JUST SAID INCREASE TAXES!) We discourage the use of cigarettes ought of safety and health concerns with heavy handed taxation. If we want to discourage the use of oil out of concern for the limited supply, for the dependence on the crazies in the Middle East, and for the risk of global warming, we need to tax the crap out of it. Make it even more precious than it really is.

But for the love of God, don’t subsidize it.

This is all part of my theory as to why the oil companies are actually concerned with global warming. They are rationing the amount of oil that is drilled in an effort to force us to use less. Out of concern for the earth, you see. And the polar bears.

(I’m being very facetious when I say that. But in reality, that is a side effect of them trying to drive prices sky high by not producing as much oil. The liberals who want to limit energy production and use in order to save the polar bears ought to take note.)

Oh yea, and Obama is the only one who knows what he’s talking about when he says we shouldn’t suspend the gas tax for the summer. I hate to say it, but I AGREE WITH OBAMA (cough cough cough hack). If we take away the tax, the oil companies will raise the price by whatever the tax was per gallon. Our cost won’t change, but instead of that 30 cents a gallon going to our government, it will go to the fun folk over in the Middle East. As much as I hate giving money to the government, GUESS WHO I WOULD PREFER TO PAY. That’s right. The politicians in Washington (cough cough cough HACK).

I hate it when I agree with Obama. It makes me feel green on the inside, and a little shaky. Maybe I should go take a nap.