Friday, October 21, 2011

Reponse to TEA Party letter

Don Larsen’s letter on October 6, “Look at the Facts” is really quite funny since the facts are exactly what the TEA Party can’t seem to get straight. While Larsen says he wants to keep Medicare it is his TEA Party colleagues and the legislators they have elected, like Paul Ryan, who are determined to privatize the program which would be its death knell. A voucher is no guarantee an insurance company will cover your pre-existing conditions nor is it a guarantee that the insurance company won't raise your rates due to the cost of caring for you such that the voucher no longer covers the cost.

Larsen wants to talk about taxes and who doesn’t pay them, how about this fact, last year General Electric earned $5 billion in US profits alone and paid $0 in federal income taxes and Exxon/Mobil earned $15.1 billion in profits and paid 1% in federal income taxes. Now I ask you, who do you think isn’t paying their fair share?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Why shouldn't health insurance cover birth control if it covers Viagra?

Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn signed a letter to Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius this week complaining about the department’s implementation of the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) recommendation to include birth control as a required part of health insurance.

The Senators say they are concerned "with the lack of due consideration given by [Sebelius] and your Department to the adverse impact that IOM's recommendations would have on our core constitutional value of religious liberty." The Senators stated that "[t]hough the IFRs' 'religious exemption' purports to protect religious organizations, health care professionals, and health care plans, it is clear that this protection falls well short of securing this constitutional right."

In other words because some fundamentalists feel there is a biblical prohibition on birth control in any form health insurance companies shouldn’t be required to cover it. Shouldn’t the logical extension of their argument be that if God wanted a man to procreate the man wouldn’t need Viagra therefore insurance shouldn’t cover it? Why haven’t we heard a tremendous uproar about prohibiting insurance from covering Viagra I wonder?

Response to letter attacking science via separation of church and state

In Jeremiah Arevalo’s recent letter regarding separation of church and state he claims a false equivalence between Jesus and Socrates among other misleading statements.

With regard to Socrates, no one makes fantastic suggestions that he was god incarnate, and Xenophon was a contemporary of Socrates so can speak as a primary source. The same can not be said for Matthew, Mark, Luke or John as the earliest of them lived 60+ years after Jesus’ death.

Nothing the teachers are purported to have said is explicitly anti-Christian though the claim about the authenticity of the biblical description of Goliath as a giant might be construed as a questioning the literal truth of the bible. This type of fact based discussion is nothing that I as a student in a Catholic high school didn’t hear from Brother Brendan or my other instructors.

Former State Board of Education Chair, Don McLeroy, would have had science teachers instruct our children that the earth is 6,000 years old because he believes every word of the bible is literally true. Surely the vast majority of us know that there is ample scientific evidence disproving such foolishness, the Pope certainly does.

I wonder if Mr. Arevalo also wants teachers to avoid other such scientific realities as evolution, global climate change and the very real possibility of life on other planets now that the Kepler spacecraft has identified 687 planets orbiting 474 stars.