Bitter pill

Sex-crazed Christians have gotten a capitulation from the Obama administration on birth control coverage. For heaven’s sake, don’t go to work for Christian Scientists, you won’t get any health insurance at all! Charlie Pierce:

In case you haven’t noticed, and as we’ll discuss at length later, the president’s approval rating has ticked upwards considerably since he was sworn in again. This, despite the fact the the entire Middle East seems to be up for grabs and the economy still has one wheel stuck in the ditch, and Republicans are jacking around with his nominees for practically everything. So, naturally, it is time for the administration to get magnanimous and reach out a compromising hand to people who eat phalanges on toast for breakfast. And the ladyparts of Presbyterian charpersons get sold down the river again.

Whatever you may thing of the compromises that were necessary to get the Affordable Care Act passed, the very nature of them, and the sheer number of them, has produced a mechanism uniquely vulnerable to political sabotage. This extended hissy fit is a very good example. The president made one compromise before he was re-elected, even though he didn’t have to, and then he got re-elected with a whopping gender gap because he stood up for the right of ladies to manage their own ladyparts free from Bible-banging interference. Now, with absolutely nothing to lose, we have another compromise, this one open to all sorts of new mischief no matter how often we are told that the new deal merely “simplifies” the problem and brings the act into more complete compliance with IRS guidelines. This, of course, presumes there was a “problem” to begin with, and not just an ensemble hissy fit among meddling clerics and theocratic pests.

The big change would be that “a house of worship would not be excluded from the exemption because, for example, it provides charitable social services to persons of different religious faiths or employs persons of different religious faiths,” according to the fact sheet. According to HHS, the change is meant to codify the intent of last year’s rules, and is not expected to “expand the universe of employer plans that would qualify for the exemption.” 

Except, of course, that it will expand that universe in practice rather dramatically. It certainly seems to expand the universe of “religiously affiliated organizations,” at least for the purposes of denying contraceptive coverage. More to the point, the individual consciences of the employees — our Presbyterian charpersons — are not accounted for at all. What we have here are regulations that codify the primacy of the employer’s conscience over the consciences of the people who work for him, especially when we consider the institutions under discussion here.

‘Why not something for white people?

White supremacists are so misunderstood!

A new report by Mother Jones reveals that James B. Taylor, a prominent conservative movement leader and board member for the Young America’s Foundation, once served as vice president of a white supremacist group.

Taylor’s bio notes that he is “chairman of World Youth Crusade [for Freedom] and former executive director and chief of staff of Young America’s Foundation.” It also includes that he was once public relations director for the anti-labor union National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. It does not mention, however, that he also served as vice president of the National Policy Institute, a tax-exempt group than aims to be the lobby for “White Americans—our country’s historic majority and founding population—the people that bears the unique heritage of Europe, Christianity, cultural excellence, and the scientific awakening.” During Taylor’s time with the group, the white-nationalist foundation, founded in 2005 by right-wing publisher William Regnery, published a report arguing that “integration and the civil rights movement led directly to the destruction of great cities; and to millions of whites suffering terrible injustices, including assault, robbery, rape and murder, and losing everything they had through the ensuing destruction of their neighborhoods and their property values.”

Taylor did not respond to Mother Jones’ request for comment, but when asked about his connection to the National Policy Institute by a local newspaper last August, defended the mission of the group, saying: “You’ve got the NAACP and B’nai B’rith. Why not something for white people?”

Another gun tragedy

What the fuck is wrong with people?

A 69-year-old war veteran and former missionary was arrested over the weekend on the suspicion of killing a 22-year-old Cuban immigrant who mistakenly arrived in his driveway because of faulty GPS directions.

Gwinnett County jail records obtained by The Atlanta Journal Constitution indicated that Phillip Walker Sailors was charged on Sunday with the murder of Rodrigo Abad Diaz.

Friends who were in the car with Diaz told WSB-TV that they were trying to pick up a friend on the way to ice skating on Saturday but their GPS directed them to the wrong address. The friends said that they waited in the driveway for a few minutes before Sailors emerged from the house and fired a gun into the air.

Gandy Cardenas, who was in the car, recalled to WAGA that the homeowner made no effort to speak to the group before opening fire.

“He didn’t talk to them, he just started shooting,” Cardenas explained. “The first shot was in the air.”

At that point, Diaz tried to turn the car around to leave, but Sailors fired another shot, striking the immigrant on the left side of the head. The group, which included a 15 and an 18 year old, said that Sailors held them at gunpoint until police arrived.

So that’s one 22-year-old shot in the head while attempting to flee, three teenagers who witnessed their friend being shot in the head, one war veteran who could spend the rest of his life in prison and one elderly woman (he’s married) who, in a flash, lost her husband.

Nope, I still don’t see why people love their guns so much.

The 2nd Amendment right to shoot some shit up

Hey, let’s get high, go out back and shoot some shit!

Two men were arrested in Ohio on Wednesday after their target practice with an AK-47 assault rifle accidentally shot up a woman’s home and nearly hit a officer who was responding to reports of gunfire.

Mary Kuruc told WEWS that her daughter discovered a bullet hole in the siding of their Montville Township home and other holes inside the house. After calling 911, Montville Police Sgt. Matt Neil began investigating and the home was hit again.

“We noticed a second bullet hole, followed the trajectory of it and noticed the bullet landed in the microwave,” Kuruc recalled.

Neil found himself in the line of fire as he tried to track down where the bullets were coming from.

“When I get about a half mile back in the field up on a hill, gunfire started again, and started hearing rounds go over my head,” the officer explained.

Neil called for backup and police discovered two men who thought they were safely shooting at paper targets, but the bullets were skipping off the ground and riddling the suburban neighborhood.

“They were drinking alcohol, they had some drugs on them and they were just outside, in their backyard shooting paper targets,” Neil said. “They felt because they were shooting at a downward angle, that it would have been OK.”

Police suspect that “dozens” of shots were fired and have asked other residents to come forward if their homes were hit.

Two men, 53-year-old Mark Bornino and 45-year-old R. Daniel Volpone, were arrested and are facing felony charges. Police seized an AK-47 with two high-capacity magazines, three handguns, over 700 rounds of ammunition and some marijuana.

Gun control

I have to say, Obama was at his best in today’s speech. Like most conservatives, he’s emotionally engaged when he sees bad shit happening to people he can relate to. He said our primary job as a nation “is to protect our kids.”

Here’s the list of executive orders he signed.