Some brief points on the oral contraception madate ruling

A) It ignores science. Science has not shown any evidence that oral contraception is an abortifacient (even in the extremely wrong definition of abortion that includes preventing implantation)

B) I don’t want ANYBODY’S religious freedoms trampled on but if one makes a claim that a pill causes an abortion as part of their legal filings they should be required to prove that before it is accepted as an argument before the court. If you say “x harms me and as such I shouldn’t be required to do x” shouldn’t you have to prove the harm done by x? Or are we now allowing people to claim harm when none exists?

C) It doesn’t matter how many kinds of pills Hobby Lobby provides. Other companies take an even more restrictive stance and would ban all oral contraception. This ruling allows that.

D) the decision of what pill a patient should use should be up to her and her doctor only. Hobby Lobby (and other employers) should have no say.

E) The birth control, and any other benefit obtained in lieu of pay, should all be considered paid, IN FULL, by that employees labor and that employees labor alone.

F) This is not about religious freedom. Had an Islamic group complained under the RFRA Conservatives would not have come out in support of them. This is about forcing Christian beliefs on others using government.

G) Previously the way that we dealt with a bad ruling (Lily Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire) we elected a Democratic Congress to support this President and enable him to deliver on a change to the law via the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It is time to rally the troops and do this again. If we edit the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and require persons claiming harm to establish that harm is actually happening before requiring government to prove why the actions causing the harm are necessary then we can return the law back to where it should be.

Hobby Lobby and The Food Babe share a “brain”.

I have A LOT of thoughts on the horrible Supreme Court ruling pertaining to the oral contraception mandate. This is just one of many posts on it.

In the past I have discussed my issues with the “Food Babe” and her stances that she takes on food. One of the most egregious items was when she said that Subway sandwiches should eliminate a certain chemical from their bread because that same chemical is found in yoga mats and who wants to eat yoga mats? Seriously, she is that stupid. Well, her argument unfortunately worked and Subway caved.

So how is Hobby Lobby like the “Food Babe”? Well, in their argument they are saying that they are opposed to “their money”* being spent on abortifacients. They then claim that these oral contraceptive measures cause abortions. They provide no proof of this. They offer no scientific evidence that these pills cause abortions, They just believe it to be so, much like the Food Babe believes it to be so that you are eating yoga mats when you ate a Subway Sandwich. Just as the Food Babe didn’t provide evidence that the ingredient in the bread was harmful and instead used beliefs to push her agenda, Hobby Lobby never provided evidence that coverage of these pills harms them under their freedom of religion since they never proved abortions are caused by these pills.

These kinds of nitwit arguments are dumbing down our country and they need to stop.

Bad Supreme Court Rulings P2, Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones

I have A LOT to say about the Supreme Court ruling against the oral contraception mandate that was made today and expect many posts to come about that issue in the days to come and as half of the podcast on Wednesday. But I didn’t want to overlook the horrible ruling the Supreme Court made the other day about buffer zones.

A lot has been said about this already. My main argument is this. The court seems to believe that people have the right to give counsel to others on the sidewalk. I disagree. The people should have the right to OFFER counsel to those who wish to hear them. People should also be free to not listen. You do not have the right to have me as a captive audience. If I am trying to get from point A to point B you should not be free to impede my way nor should you be free to force the words that you want me to hear into my ears. Your offer of counsel can be provided at a distance with a big sign that says :”if you want to talk to me about your choice to have an abortion, please come over here”. Individuals seeking an abortion would then be free to walk over to the person and engage in a conversation if they so choose. If they do not choose, then they can just walk into the clinic for whatever business they wish to conduct.

Liberal Dan Radio 6/18/2014: The “Stupid Party” and its leader

On the June 18th, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

From Benghazi to small government only when they want it to be, the GOP continues to live up to the label that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called it when he said that they needed to stop being the “stupid party”. But not even Bobby Jindal is immune to the stupidity as he unleashes more horrible legislation on the state (which is even worse than how I described it last week). So today I review the stupidty and show why Bobby Jindal is the person spearheading the increase of stupidity in the party instead of the one eliminating it.

Those issues, headlines, tweet of the week and more at Wednesday 8pm Central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Liberal Dan Radio 6/11/2014: DOWN GOES CANTOR!

On the June 11th, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Back from vacation and so much to discuss. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law that seeks to retroactively strip the ability of local flood protection agencies to sue oil companies for damage done to the flood protection system by their drilling processes. So much for the free market. This smells more like protectionism. I will go into why this is a bad idea and why this decision is similar to what happened in Oklahoma .

Louisiana also embarassed itself by requiring doctors to keep a dying pregnant woman alive, despite any advance directives, in order to allow her to be a breeding vessel. I will briefly cover this and the other law that required doctors to have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals.

But the main point of discussion this week will be the stunning loss of Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, in a primary election. All through my attempts to push the #RetakeCongress I have said that no election should be taken for granted. I have discussed the desire of the media to mock underfunded candidates in order to prove that money is needed to win elections (specifically money to buy their advertising). I have discussed why it is vital to get out and vote in every election. Cantor losing puts a huge exclamation point and should clearly show why it is vital to not sit at home on election day.

Those issues, headlines, tweet of the week and more at 8pm Central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Liberal Dan Radio 4/8/2014: #CancelEverything

On the April 9, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Hashtags galore have been created dealing with the dissapointment some twitter users have with Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher over jokes made on their shows. Common consensus among those who are angry is that as white men they shouldn’t be making those jokes. Supporters of the shows suggest that perhaps intent should matter. I will go into my opinions of the statements made, including where Suey Park lost me, and about the backlash against hashtag activism.

Tuesday was #equalpayday. But what does the main point of #equalpayday leave out?

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was rebuked by the courts who affirmed the stance of Liberal Dan Radio that he has no idea what the first amendment means. I will go a little more into this.

Finally, Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister was caught on film making out with one of his female staffers (who he fired on #equalpayday). When will the GOP stop being taken seriously as the party of “family values”?

Those topics, tweet of the week, headlines, and more at 8pm Central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

What Hobby Lobby Should Have To Prove

I don’t believe that corporations should be considered people. As such they should not be considered to have faith, beliefs, or any sort of spiritual holdings that would be protected under the law. The feelings and beliefs of the owners should be considered to be distinct from the operation of the business. Sure, the owners can choose to serve certain markets by only producing kosher foods or by keeping closed on whatever day your religion feels should be the day of rest. But the corporation, in and of itself, should not be able to claim religious holdings.

But let’s just assume for a second that SCOTUS would be open to holding that the beliefs of the corporation cannot be considered distinct from the beliefs of the owners. This is a fairly conservative court and I can see that line of reasoning, as flawed as it might be, as being one that would potentially come up in a decision supporting the idea that a business cannot be forced to provide insurance that provides services or drugs that are in violation of the religious beliefs of the business owners. Remember, I equate premiums paid in lieu of salary to be no different than salary itself and as such any premiums paid should be considered as being paid for by the work provided by the employee and not as being paid for by the employer. So it is ultimately my assertion that any claim that a business is paying for oral contraception provided by health insurance received in lieu of salary is a false claim because it is paid for by that employee and that employee only.

However, if SCOTUS would come to a ruling that the Affordable Care Act could not require benefits provided in lieu of pay to violate the religious beliefs of the owners then the persons bringing such a suit (in this case Hobby Lobby) should be required to prove that they are being harmed and as such that the requirement that each plan provide oral contraception at 100% first dollar is, in fact, a violation of their belief systems.

So what is Hobby Lobby claiming here? Well, in their open letter they believe that the Affordable Care Act is requiring them to provide “abortion causing drugs”. To me, in order for them to not have their case thrown out, they should have to prove that the drugs that their employees get in lieu of salary are, in fact, abortion causing drugs.

The simple answer is that they obviously are not abortion causing drugs. Oral contraception does not work if you are pregnant. However, there is an archaic and often repeated belief that birth control pills can prevent implantation of an already created embryo. While this would not technically be considered an abortion, it would still be a violation of the beliefs of the owners of Hobby Lobby who would believe that artificial means of preventing an embryo from implanting would be morally equivalent to abortion and as such a sin in their eyes. Unfortunately for them studies have been done that show no such thing as being true. There is no evidence that oral contraception prevents implantation. Oral contraception only prevents ovulation or fertilization. So in order to not have their case thrown out and prove that they have been harmed by the Affordable Care Act, Hobby Lobby should be required to provide data that contradicts these studies in a meaningful way. They should be required to show that the law is, in fact, requiring them to cover abortion causing medications. If they cannot do this (which I suspect they cannot since I can find no contradictory study to the one sighted in the NY Times) then the case should be thrown out on its face. Hobby Lobby can prove no harm here because it cannot prove the drugs the plans provided for their employees in lieu of pay cause abortions. As such they can prove no violation of their beliefs.

*Made some minor edits, removing arguments about “standing” because I don’t want the argument to be about what standing is. The argument should be focused on what Hobby Lobby should be required to prove.

Liberal Dan Radio August 8th, 2013: Steroids in Baseball, Ferry Tolls, and more…

On the August 8th episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Alex Rodriguez was just suspended through the end of the 2014 season and many others have also been suspended for their alleged use of prohibited substances. Is this right? Does Major League Baseball have some hypocrisy on the impact that these substances have on the game when other things that they do allow have extreme impacts on the game?

New Orleans is playing around with a horrible idea to fund the ferries. How could this have been stopped? What other examples would be better for ferry users? And what little nugget did I find on the stop the tolls website do I find most ironic?

New Orleans has some major failures when it comes to education. I will go into some of them as well.

The Liberal Dan Radio Kickstarter is still underway. Consider sponsoring the show or supporting it with contributions as low as $1.

Those topics, headlines, words of redneck wisdom, and more all tonight on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right!

The Kaitlyn Hunt Mess

In the second half of Liberal Dan Radio tonight I discussed the issue of Kaitlyn Hunt and the charges against her in Florida. If you are unfamiliar with the story, I suggest reading the Huffington Post synopsis of it. Basically, while Ms. Hunt was a senior and 17/18 she involved herself in a physical relationship with a freshman who was 14/15.

Before I discuss the particulars of the case, it is vital that we look into the laws pertaining to the age of consent in Florida. In Florida, the age of consent is 18. However, it is legal for a teenager of 16 or 17 years to have sex with someone as old as 23.

Now, I have several issues about this case and with some of the activists who are fighting the charges against Ms. Hunt. The ACLU is condemning the charges against her but is making some flawed statements pertaining to the specifics of the case. It said

The facts as we understand them suggest that the state is prosecuting Kaitlyn for engaging in behavior that is both fairly innocuous and extremely common,

I am hardly a puritan when it comes to sex. However, I am not sure if sex between a senior and a freshman can be labelled as “innocuous”. Sure, it may be common but just because something is common does not make it right.

Such behavior occurs every day in tens of thousands of high schools across the country, yet those other students are not facing felony convictions (and, in Florida, the lifetime consequences of a felony conviction) and potential lifelong branding as sex offenders,

This is a life sentence for behavior by teenagers that is all too common, whether they are male or female, gay or straight. High-school relationships may be fleeting, but felony convictions are not.

The ACLU is being disingenuous here. Age of consent laws differ from state to state across this country. It is possible that such behavior in other states is perfectly legal. I personally would advocate for making a uniform age of consent law that can be consistently applied across the nation. The fact that there is such disparity in the consent laws across this country shows just how hard it is to come up with an exact definition of who is able to consent and who is not.

The ACLU is also forgetting about the so called “Romeo and Juliet” law that exists in Florida. While it does not forgive the crime that is committed, it does allow for a young person who is convicted of a crime such as this to remove his or her name from the sexual offenders list, thus making the conviction of such a crime not a lifetime punishment.

Some people, including the parents of Ms. Hunt, have suggested that this is a gay rights issue. They believe that the parents of the younger girl are only coming after Ms. Hunt because they are “bigots” who do not want to accept that their girl might be a lesbian (or at least be sexually attracted to girls or at least open to experimenting with girls). They may very well be upset at their daughter being sexual active with another girl. However, I am not convinced that the parents would have avoided pressing charges had their daughter had sexual relations with a young boy.

Furthermore, I also have an issue with the idea that people who are supportive of equal rights are going to be suggesting that gay teens should be able to violate age of consent laws. That doesn’t seem to be a good way to win advocates to your side. Equality will not be found by advocating that gay teens should be exempt from state consent laws.

The state has also stated that they would pursue charges had it been an 18 year old boy with a 15 year old girl.

One of the most stunning parts of this story is this article written by the father of Ms. Hunt. It brings up several very important questions about this story that really make me scratch my head.

While Kate was three years older than her girlfriend, they were peers. But when Kate’s girlfriend’s parents learned of their relationship, they went directly to the police to press charges without sharing their objections with Kate or her family.

Why would they have any responsibility to share their objections with Ms. Hunt or her family? That is just absurd. If I am a bigoted parent (what some are claiming the younger girls parents are) who disapproves of all homosexual activity and I know that the parents of my daughters girlfriend are OK with the relationship, why would I believe that those parents would be open to a discussion? If you believe a crime is happening, would you warn the parents of the criminal before contacting the police? The belief that they had any responsibility to come to the parents first before making a criminal complaint is absurd.

The police taped a conversation between Kate and her girlfriend, which led to Kate’s arrest. Kate was interrogated extensively without a lawyer present. I am a former police officer, so she trusted the police and didn’t feel she had anything to hide. Kate was eventually charged with two counts of felony lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12-16.

He stated that his daughter was interrogated by the police, without an attorney, in part because she trusted police officers. Now, come on. Seriously? I cannot believe that this father did not instruct his daughter that if she is ever detained and interviewed by police that she should both ask if she is free to go, if she is under arrest and if so that she would like to speak to an attorney. All parents should be instructing their children on what they should do if they are arrested by the police and that they should never waive their right to have an attorney present for all questioning. So the fact that Mr. Hunt did not make this clear to his daughter shows a huge failure in parenting on his part.

This relationship occurred when they were both minors, and my daughter’s girlfriend’s parents waited until she turned 18 to arrest her.

So? There is no difference under the law. It was illegal for Ms. Hunt to have sexual relations with a 14/15 year old at 17. It was illegal for Ms. Hunt to have sexual relations with a 14/15 year old at 18. The idea that they waited until she turned 18 makes no sense because there is no legal difference between the two acts.

My daughter’s girlfriend has said from day one, she cares about my daughter, she never wanted her parents to do this, she was 100% consenting and it was by her own choice that she was with my daughter.

Florida law does not consider consent to be valid for such cases. That she said yes makes no difference. It doesn’t matter how bad the younger girl wanted it. Ms. Hunt had a legal responsibility to say no.

On All In with Chris Hayes, the mother of Ms. Hunt admitted that she (and obviously her husband) knew about the relationship that was going on. WHY ON EARTH wouldn’t the parents of Ms. Hunt, including her father who was a police officer, advise her that any sexual touching that took place between the two would be illegal and make sure that she was absolutely aware of this fact before pursuing the relationship further. Her mother claimed to not realize that this was the law but wouldn’t her father know? Is this why the father did not join them on the show? And even if they claim that Ms. Hunt was ignorant of the law (as her mother claims to have been), ignorance of the law is not an excuse, especially in cases of statutory rape.

The fact that her father did not properly advise her on how to deal with police officers after an arrest and on how the law would treat her relationship with a 15 year old if caught does make me feel very sorry for Ms. Hunt.

On All In, her attorney also stated that Ms. Hunt is being charged with a crime that was intended to protect children from adults. I will agree that an 18 year old having sexual relations with a 15 year old is not the same as a 45 year old having sexual relations with a 15 year old. However, that doesn’t mean that an 18 year old is innocent in seeking out a relationship with a girl who is under the age of consent.

So what should happen to Ms. Hunt? Should she be freed? Should the state drop the charges because, as some have claimed, this is a “victimless” crime? Should Ms. Hunt accept a plea deal?

Well, unless the plea deal includes the ability to not have to register as a sex offender (i.e. unless it takes advantage of the state Romeo and Juliet law) I would highly recommend against taking a deal. To me, that would just be stupid. Hopefully her lawyer doesn’t need to be told this.

It could be possible to just allow a jury to take this case. Jury nullification can be used in cases where the jury believes that the alleged victim is not really a victim at all. They very well could decide that even though the state of Florida lists certain age restrictions on who can consent to sexual activity that in this case there was no harm done and as such no need to punish Ms. Hunt. This is a gamble but could very well be the choice that leads to the best possible outcome for Ms. Hunt.

Regardless of what happens in this case, it is vital that we have a conversation about age of consent laws in this country. We need to adopt a uniform set of age of consent laws  that take way any ambiguity on who can consent to sex and with whom it can be consented to. We do need to sit back and consider that the 17 year old having sexual relations with a 15 year old is not the same thing as a 45 year old having sex with a 15 year old. However, at the end of the day if we do accomplish that goal of having a uniform age of consent law , that age that is calculated as being the earliest one can be to consent to sexual activity will still be arbitrary. There will people people who are older than that selected age who will be ill prepared for all that comes with sexual activity and there will be people who are younger than that age who will be ready despite their being younger than the age of consent. And at the end of the day, it will be the responsibility of the older party to say “no” to any illegal sexual relationships and if the person refuses to say no, then that person risks imprisonment and punishment under the law. Just as it was Ms. Hunt’s responsibility to say no to her underage girlfriend.

And if you are going to sit back and say that a 14 year old can consent to an 18 year old without a problem, regardless of gender identification for either party, I would ask you this. What age is would have made it not ok? Why do you pick those numbers? And what should happen if laws based on your arbitrary numbers are violated? Because at the end of the day, that is what this comes down to. Someone had to decide what those arbitrary numbers are and the rest of the people have to follow those rules.

Update: Some other great posts about this issue here,  here, and here.

Liberal Dan Radio 5/23/2013: DNA Ownership, Assault and Abortion

Thursday, May 23rd, on Liberal Dan Radio:

Does your DNA belong to you? A lawsuit has been filed against Myriad Genetics. Myriad claims to own the gene BRCA1, the same gene used to determine that Angelina Jolie has a higher risk of breast cancer than normal. It also claims to own the BRCA2 gene as well. Can one own a patent on a gene that your own body creates? Can one own a patent on a design on how to test for those genes? Can one own a patent on all forms of ways to test for those genes regardless of if they develop those tests or not? I will go over the myriad issues surrounding this case and what it means for individuals who are seeking to see if they are also at risk.

Also, a Florida high school student who is 18 has been charged with raping her 15 year old female classmate. Some are blaming the religious beliefs of the 15 year old girl as the cause of the charges against the older student. Is it really correct to make this a gay rights issue? Would religious parents have accepted it had the 18 year old student been male?

Finally, a new Planned Parenthood will be opening in New Orleans. I will go over the arguments made by those opposed to the opening of this new center and explain why they are horribly wrong.

Those stories, headlines, redneck words of wisdom, an update by Cool Mini Or Not and your calls on Liberal Dan Radio: talk from the left, that’s right.