Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Around the web...April 1, 2014

An atheist’s case for religious liberty
I am an atheist, which puts me firmly on the secular right. There aren’t a whole lot of us, but we’re out here, in some surprising places.
Yet I consider the current campaign against religious liberty—the attempt to coerce Christians into providing service to gay weddings or to provide abortifacient drugs to their employees, against the dictates of their faith—to be a deep cultural crisis.

Why? Above all, because the sight of a bully using a club to force someone else to violate his conscience is inherently repugnant. As a humanist, what I regard as “sacred” is the power of the human mind to think and make judgments. To put this in terms borrowed from religion, when someone uses coercion to overrule the judgment of their victim’s mind, they are defiling my temple.

But there is another, more practical reason. History shows that the only way to fight for freedom of thought is to defend it early, when it comes under threat for others—even people you strongly disagree with, even people you despise. So I’m willing to fight for it for people who are much worse, by my standards, than your average Christian...

Thus, in The Daily Beast, Gene Robinson lectures us that “being pressed to conform to…a change in majority opinion” is not really a “violation of religious freedom”—even though he acknowledges that the “pressing” is being done by force of law. Oddly, Reverend Robinson is an Episcopal bishop. But I guess that just shows that syncretism isn’t dead, it’s just operating in the opposite direction. The forms and institutions of the old faith, belief in God, are being subsumed by the new faith, belief in society.
The Biggest Healthcare Scandal You’ve Never Heard About  ...The Cover Oregon debacle is the biggest healthcare scandal you’ve never heard about. It is also perhaps the biggest government IT failure in U.S. history. The federal healthcare website (www.healthcare.gov) cost at least three times more but at least it’s now operating. No such luck for Cover Oregon.

More than $200 million was spent on building the Cover Oregon website and healthcare exchange. No one appears to confidently know the exact figure since generally accepted business practices were not rigorously followed.

The lead vendor for the project was software giant Oracle, although the process to select a vendor wasn’t very competitive. By the time the entire procurement process was over, Oracle was the only company in consideration. Other potential vendors dropped out of the bidding when the scope of the project became known...

Confirmed: Independent Peer-Reviewed NIPCC Report Finds No Link Between Man and Climate Change
The latest independent peer-reviewed NIPCC scientific report found no link between human activity and climate change.
“The human impact on global climate is small, and any warming that may occur as a result of human carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions is likely to have little effect on global temperatures, the cryosphere (ice-covered areas), hydrosphere (oceans, lakes, and rivers), or weather.  
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, the subject of this Summary for Policymakers, examines the scientific research on the impacts of rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels on the biological world. It finds no net harm to the global environment or to human health and often finds the opposite: net benefits to plants, including important food crops, and to animals and human health.”
Three Quarters of Enrollees in Obamacare to See Premiums Rise
In June of 2008, Barack Obama promised, “It's time to bring down the typical family's premium by about $2,500. And it's time to bring down the costs for the entire country.” Moreover, four months later in October he said, “The only thing we're gonna try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed on to you. And we estimate we can cut the average family's premium by about $2,500 a year.” 

Indeed, Obama promised it many times, but Dr. Toby Cosgrove says it’s simply not true. “About three-quarters of them find that their premiums are higher than they had been previously with other insurance,” Cosgrove told Fox News.

Furthermore, Dr. Cosgrove asserted that Obamacare is having a  “major effect” upon health care providers. “We know for example that we’re going to get paid less for what we do,” the doctor explained. “Hospitals are going to be paid less for what they do. We also know that insurers are paying less for what we do.”...


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