The skirmish between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church and other religious organizations over contraceptives has made headlines for much of this week. Indignant religious leaders and their media allies have bashed the federal government for ruling as part of the new health care reform law that hospitals and universities, even those affiliated with the Catholic Church and its strict teachings against any form of contraception, must provide coverage for contraceptives in their employee health insurance plans. Besides the obvious fact that most American families are getting smaller, thus proving that even Catholics are not following the lecturing of their church leadership, the idea of mandated contraceptive coverage is an important matter of women;s health that has been championed by health experts. But with Catholics making up a key bloc of “swing voters” for the upcoming presidential election, the White House has made a distinct reversal over the brouhaha. The White House has sent out “a key White House adviser on faith issues” to calm nerves in the religious community and top advisers to the President have promised a compromise that will protect the “prerogatives of religious institutions.” This change of heart comes after Catholic bishops complained about the administration’s ruling that “people of faith cannot be made second-class citizens,” choosing to overlook that their stand against contraceptive coverage would do just that to thousands of women.
Between looming cuts to the twelve-figure U.S. military budget and a bad taste left in the collective mouths of the public over the ground wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, specialists in military planning at the Pentagon are embracing a new kind of warfare. While simultaneously seeking to preserve and expand a direct American footprint with bases in countries across the globe, the Pentagon has decided that most hostile actions that they want to undertake in the immediate future can be launched “offshore.” This term is military-speak that encompasses literal ship-based offensives, but also a new brand of warfare that ignores the archaic structure of national sovereignty and allows for the placement of American weaponry anywhere in the globe. With the hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually on the Pentagon”s budget, no expense has been spared in developing new technology and expanding on existing capabilities to make warfare more secretive, more global, less manpower-intensive…and far easier to launch.
BILL MCKIBBEN: OIL COMPANY PROFITS AND THE “CARBON BUBBLE” THAT HAS CREATED POTENTIALLY DEADLY INTRANSIGENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE.
McKibben, the noted environmental activist and author, contends that a toxic mixture of denialism, media apathy and a “great carbon bubble” pose the deepest threats to the future of our planet. Like the financial industry’s “housing bubble,” one that recently popped with devastating effect in the United States, the carbon bubble is a dangerous creation of the oil industry and its political and corporate allies. McKibben writes that oil and gas companies have staked out trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of fossil fuel reserves in the U.S. and around the globe, dirty energy that would permanently tip the scales in the fight against climate change with overwhelming carbon emissions. Scientists have determined a figure of how much carbon can be safely burned in the future through fossil fuel use, and the plethora of energy company reserves of oil, coal, and natural gas in the U.S. alone would skyrocket past that firewall. Unwilling to put corporate profits at risk, Big Oil chooses instead to finance “experts” to publicly deny that global warming is a threat and purchase the support of lawmakers that insist climate change is a “hoax.”
“PROPOSITION 8 SERVES NO PURPOSE, AND HAS NO EFFECT, OTHER THAN TO LESSEN THE STATUS AND HUMAN DIGNITY OF GAYS AND LESBIANS IN CALIFORNIA...”
(San Francisco Chronicle)
This is the written conclusion of the majority of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in asserting that California’s “Proposition 8,” a voter-approved mandate that bans all same-sex marriages, was unconstitutional. The court’s ruling marks the first time one of the nation’s host of state-based laws banning gay marriage has been overturned. Prop 8 was perhaps the most controversial and public contested efforts to outlaw same-sex marriage, stirring massive protests and the immediate legal challenge following the 2008 vote that resulted in Tuesday’;s court decision. Gay rights advocates and the all-star legal team that took up the cause to overturn Prop 8 are hardly celebrating yet, as more legal challenges are likely, including a possible trip to the US Supreme Court. Supporters of Prop 8 argue that banning marriage among gays and lesbians is not “discriminatory,” but rather the “right” of voters to legislate the “definition of marriage.”
Do you receive the daily headlines in the form of an early-morning e-mail? If you don’t and you would like to receive them, just send a note to email@example.com and you’ll be enrolled in the “Progressive breakfast club.”