Obamacare mandate forces first Catholic college to drop insurance coverage

What happened to “if you like your coverage you can keep it,” eh? Oh, the ramifications. Gotta pass that bill to know what’s in it.

Steven Ertelt has the skinny:

Franciscan University appears to be the first casualty of the new Obama HHS mandate that requires Catholic colleges, groups and businesses to pay for drugs that may cause abortions and birth control for their employees.

Although President Barack Obama declared “If you like your health care coverage you can keep it,” when it came to passing Obamacare, a Catholic college in Ohio has determined it will no longer offer a student health insurance plan.

“The Obama Administration has mandated that all health insurance plans must cover “women’s health services” including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing medications as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),” the university says in a new post on its website. “Up to this time, Franciscan University has specifically excluded these services and products from its student health insurance policy, and we will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.”

Thank God there are institutions willing to stand up to this administration. Praying more will follow.

UPDATE: via the Examiner, for those who worry the students won’t have access to care:

The school notes on its website that even if it had kept its insurance policy available to students, Obamacare’s other requirements would have caused students’ premiums to double. The school will continue to provide cheap basic medical care for students at the low cost of $5 per visit, but they are on their own for more expensive treatments.


We can’t help ourselves: Obama admin celebrates intel success a little too much

To the detriment of future operations. Much like our military successes during this administration. Makes you wonder, no, if the boasting has an ulterior motive? Or if the Obama-infatuated media can’t quite grasp that they arent helping their BFF out by printing the info gleaned? What a tangled web. From the UK Guardian, our friends across the pond have had enough:

Detailed leaks of operational information about the foiled underwear bomb plot are causing growing anger in the US intelligence community, with former agents blaming the Obama administration for undermining national security and compromising the British services,MI6andMI5.

The Guardian has learned from Saudi sources that the agent was not a Saudi national as was widely reported, but a Yemeni. He was born inSaudi Arabia, in the port city of Jeddah, and then studied and worked in the UK, where he acquired a British passport.

Mike Scheur, the former head of theCIA‘s Bin Laden unit, said the leaking about the nuts and bolts of British involvement was despicable and would make a repeat of the operation difficult. “MI6 should be as angry as hell. This is something that the prime minister should raise with the president, if he has the balls. This is really tragic,” Scheur said.

He added: “Any information disclosed is too much information. This does seem to be a tawdry political thing.”

He noted that the leak came on the heels of a series of disclosures over the last 10 days, beginning with a report that the CIA wanted to expand its drone attacks inYemen, Barack Obama making a surprise trip to Afghanistan around the time of the Bin Laden anniversary and “then this inexplicable leak”.

Robert Grenier, former head of the CIA counter-terrorism centre, said: “As for British Intelligence, I suppose, but do not know, that they must be very unhappy. They are often exasperated, quite reasonably, with their American friends, who are far more leak-prone than they.

“In their place, I would think two and three times before sharing with the Americans, and then only do it if I had to. The problem with that dynamic is that you don’t know what you don’t know, and what opportunities you might be missing when you decide not to share. The Americans are doing a very good job of undermining trust, and the problem starts at the top.”

So many of our current woes do.

H/t: memorandum

Saturday funnies


H/t: International Liberty (where  you’ll find another good one).

The Food police dish up tasty delights in a public school cafeteria near you

Remember this last month? Food police bust 4 year-old in NC. The government brown bag-checkers deemed a kid’s healthy lunch unacceptable and forced her to buy the school lunch:

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.


When the girl came home with her lunch untouched, her mother wanted to know what she ate instead. Three chicken nuggets, the girl answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.

In lieu of her healthy homemade lunch, she was given good ‘ol chicken nuggets made from this:

Pink slime coming to a school cafeteria near you! Photo via Twitchy

Yum! Mechanically separated pink slime, which, by the way, the government just purchased 7 million pounds of the good stuff for school lunches.

This is the stuff McDonald’s is vilified for using, yet it’s somehow kosher for the government to buy up Mickey D’s slack and schlep it off to those institutionalized school kids in the name of health.

Pictured above is chicken pink slime. According to Howard Portnoy, Uncle Sam actually purchased the beef version:

The term pink slime was coined by microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein. It refers to a ground-up blend of beef scraps, connective tissue, and other trimmings that has been treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill foodborne pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. The resulting product has a shocking pink appearance and a mouth feel described as more like Jell-O than hamburger. (For a more in-depth look at how pink slime is made, check out this segment from celebrity-chef-turned-buddinsky Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, though suffice it to say the stuff is so gross that McDonald’s and Burger King swore off using it in January.)

Marketed under the name ”Lean Beef Trimmings” by its manufacturer, Beef Products Inc., pink slime has raised health concerns as well as aesthetic ones. Carl Custer, a microbiologist who worked for the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service for 35 years, is on record as saying:

We looked at the product and we objected to it because it used connective tissues instead of muscle. It was simply not nutritionally equivalent [to ground beef]. My main objection was that it was not meat.

And that’s only the half of it. Custer warns that ingesting ammonium hydroxide, an ingredient in household cleaners and fertilizers, can be harmful. To make matters worse, the chemical doesn’t invariably do the job it’s intended to do. The New York Times reported in 2009 that since 2005, E. coli was found three times and salmonella 48 in industrial-size batches of the product.

Lean Beef Trimmings. It sounds like something from a Simpsons episode, except it’s not: Big government nannies force parents to purchase less nutritious–no, absolutely disgusting–pseudo-meals under the guise of health. The joke’s on us for continuing to fund this garbage let alone the broken education system in which it’s served.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to Home Depot we go

To buy incandescent lightbulbs and store in the crawl space until the end of time.

How many lightbulbs does one purchase to last forever? Or until the government can back off enough to allow me to buy the damn lightbulbs I’d like. You know, the ones that don’t require a haz-mat crew in case I drop one. Pogues.

To complicate matters: how well does one need to hide the lightbulbs if one will now have to rent out the forever-home in a few months? In non-military speak: the forever-home is the one you keep in desperate hope that you’ll return before retirement. If not, well, then retirement.


I thought I had more time to stock up. Thanks, Instapundit, for pointing out that I don’t. (Though I would be remiss, despite my love of Amazon Prime, not to point out the exorbitant prices for bulbs. Head to Home Depot.)

What happens when government intervenes in the free market, part 9,998

A fee for using debit cards for purchases?

Banks used to charge businesses for each credit/debit transaction, and the transaction rate fluctuated. Timothy Carney explains:

How is that rate — the “interchange fee” — set? Until this year, it was set by market forces. Visa and MasterCard offer stores a service that facilitates sales and brings in more business. In return, they demand a cut of the sale. Wal-Mart and Joe’s Corner Store aren’t required to accept debit cards or credit cards, but they do, which means that they decided the price was worth it.

Alas, all good free market things come to an end in the Age of Obama. That’s illegal now. The idea–as all liberal intentions–was to stick it to someone in favor of some poor, poor constituent. In this case, it was to stiff the banks:

After Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., successfully added his “swipe fee” amendment to last year’s Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, he promised, “By requiring debit card fees to be reasonable … small businesses and their customers will be able to keep more of their own money.” That was the theory, at least.

Ah, the theory. It’s humorous that after years of government intervention the boobs in charge still can’t accurately predict what the market will do in response. I can. Maybe I should be a Senator, eh? Heh.  To send your proper thank yous to Senator Durbin and Wal-mart lobbyists, a little more: 

As the Federal Reserve prepared its rules setting the maximum per-purchase interchange fee, a Home Depot executive told investors on a conference call “Based on the Fed’s draft regulations, we think the benefit to the Home Depot could be $35 million a year.”

That $35 million Home Depot gain is a $35 million loss for banks and credit-card processors. Their interchange revenue was central to the business model that allowed banks to offer free checking and free debit-card use.

That business model is now illegal, and so Bank of America has switched to the model they find second best. If they can’t make the stores cover the costs of debit cards, make the consumers pay a share. The American Bankers Association calls Bank of America’s $5-a-month charge “the Durbin fee.”

Durbin, needless to say, doesn’t like being blamed for this highly unpopular new fee. He blasted B of A for instituting the fee, calling it “unfair.” Other liberals say B of A is just making excuses for fleecing their customers. But Bank of America was always free to charge a monthly fee to debit card customers. It didn’t because it thought it could get more customers by charging the stores instead.

Debit-card users don’t have the lobbying clout of Wal-Mart and the retail industry. Bank of America customers can’t get together and hire Durbin’s old staffers.

It’s the standard tale of government intervention in the economy: The guy with the best lobbyists wins, and the little guy — this time, the consumer — loses.

Banks–like Home Depot and Wal-mart–provide a service and employ people. As employers, each entity needs to make money. Why do banks receive the lion’s share of demonization for providing service thereby requiring a profit to, you know, pay employees and fund benefits, rather than Home Depot and Wal-mart? In this case, the retailers win big, and the banks will still get their share of the transaction. We’re the ones who get screwed.

That should be a lesson to liberals, but it won’t sink in–it never does. Business works in favor of the consumer when market forces decide what’s fair, not the government.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey calls it “deja vu all over again” for those who lived through the 70s.

The exodus of illegals from Alabama

From the AP:

Hispanic students have started vanishing from Alabama public schools in the wake of a court ruling that upheld the state’s tough new law cracking down on illegal immigration.

Education officials say scores of immigrant families have withdrawn their children from classes or kept them home this week, afraid that sending the kids to school would draw attention from authorities.

There are no precise statewide numbers. But several districts with large immigrant enrollments — from small towns to large urban districts — reported a sudden exodus of children of Hispanic parents, some of whom told officials they planned to leave the state to avoid trouble with the law, which requires schools to check students’ immigration status.

But they’re not leaving the country, they’re headed to sanctuary states:

A school worker in Albertville — a community with a large poultry industry that employs many Hispanic workers — said Friday that many families might leave town over the weekend for other states. About 22 percent of the community’s 4,200 students are Hispanic.

It’s striking to me that no one dares to argue these folks should leave and try to come back legally. That isn’t even part of the discussion. They can flee and become a problem in another state due to the lack of any federal enforcement of, well, you know, laws.

Instead, we get the tears:

Many of the 223 Hispanic students at Foley Elementary came to school Thursday crying and afraid, said Principal Bill Lawrence. 

Nineteen of them withdrew, and another 39 were absent, Lawrence said, the day after a federal judge upheld much of Alabama’s strict new immigration law, which authorizes law enforcement to detain people suspected of not being U.S. citizens and requires schools to ask new enrollees for a copy of their birth certificate. 

Bad people, who expect folks to follow laws and who end up making children cry. The children are afraid! Boohiss. Mean bad people. What of the other students, the ones forced to deal with the consequences of so many resources being funneled to deal with the vast influx of ESL students? In our old neighborhood in Virginia, the Spanish-speaking kids outnumbered the English speakers, and teachers spent more time speaking in Spanish than they did in English. Great education.

But it’s mean and heartless to point out the obvious ripple effects of the federal government failing to secure the border.


Byron York highlights Barack Obama’s quandary: he’s fulfilled the secret desires of liberals who now despise him. What to do, after we’ve pulled out of Iraq, passed nationalized healthcare,  and created a juggernaut of government bureaucracy, regulation and spending. York:

Meanwhile, the president’s approval ratings are hitting new lows, with his job approval rating bouncing around the high-30-percent to low-40-percent range in recent Gallup Polls. The numbers are even worse — about 70 percent disapproval — for Obama’s handling of the economy. Independent voters, the key to the president’s election in 2008, have abandoned him right and left.

Given all that, it’s no surprise that many Democrats are running away from Obama. But here’s the problem: He did what Democrats wanted him to do. Health care, stimulus, taxes, you name it — Obama did what his party wanted. Not what the public at large wanted, but what many Democrats wanted. And now, as the negative electoral consequences of their own priorities stare them in the face, those Democrats are blaming the president.

Liberalism 101: when do they not blame someone else?

It is intriguing, though, to see the failure of any recognition that their policies are the disaster, not just the President.


And, by the way, the Democrats who are most unhappy with Obama are the ones who wanted him to do more of the things that have made him unpopular.

“It’s ingratitude,” says a Democratic strategist who asked to remain anonymous. “People are saying to [Obama], ‘You didn’t do everything you told me you were going to do.’ If you’re a member of a union, you didn’t get everything you wanted. If you’re an environmentalist, you didn’t get everything you wanted. But the left wants to go beyond what’s possible.”

Will that ingratitude lead to a prominent Democrat asking Obama not to run? Some  have predicted that for years. And with the mounting scandals–Solyndra, Fast and Furious, and now LightSquared–who could blame him for cutting and running as fast as he can?

Numbers (or: why the post office needs to close, now)

80, 53, 32: The labor costs as a percentage of expenses at the Post Office, UPS, and FedEx. Can you guess which one isn’t unionized?

The USPS will go under this winter sans a bailout. What no one mentions: it has operated under a taxpayer bailout forever. A private business could never run like this. Why?

the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances.

$5.5 billion. That’s not the end of the red ink: $9.2 billion for the year.

Can you hear it now? The Post Office is closing! The Post Office is closing! Never let a crisis go to waste! AJ Strata says privatize. I’m inclined to agree, especially after this number: $4.3 million, or the amount which the Post Office pays employees to sit around and do nothing. Government work: somebody’s gotta not do it, right? At least the number shrank, right?

Why hasn’t Saturday delivery been eliminated yet? Why haven’t extraneous post offices been closed? Why are employees paid to do nothing?!

I loathe going to our local Post Office. Wait an eternity to deal with a snarling employee who acts as if he’s doing me a favor. One woman has fingernails so long (the curling kind) that she cannot type. Only a unionized gal could get away with it. I discovered a business–a real one, mind you–a short walk away where I can send packages via regular mail, UPS or FedEx. I’m presented with a cost comparison! There’s a small coloring table for kids while parents wait! All all the addresses to which I’ve sent packages are saved, so if in the event I forget to bring it on a mad dash to mail a birthday present–voila!–no worries. This is the magic of the private sector.

“It feels like even prisoners have more human rights than we do.”

So says the unnamed obese British mother whose four children have been permanently removed for being too fat. To what lengths did Big Brother go? And how many hoops did the family jump? Unreal:

The couple were ordered to send their children to dance and football lessons and were given a three-month deadline to bring down their weight. When that failed, the children were placed in foster homes but were allowed to visit their parents.

After the couple objected to this arrangement, the council agreed to move them into a two-bedroom flat in a supported unit run by the Dundee Families Project. They insisted on the couple living with only three of their children at a time.

At meal times, a social worker stood in the room taking notes. Doctors raised concerns that the children put on weight whenever they spent time with their parents, a claim they vehemently denied.

The couple and their children also had to adhere to a strict 11pm curfew. This involved ‘clocking’ in and out by filling in a sheet held by an employee who lived on site.

I cannot imagine living under this kind of scrutiny for three years. Curfew? Supervised meals? Forced ballet and football. This more than any other gives the best example of what happens when government runs amok:

Although the children’s weight was the major concern, other allegations were included in a report. It showed that social workers were worried when the youngest child was found crawling unsupervised. The parents point out they were never far away and the flat had no stairs.

The crime of crawling unsupervised.

When the government controls the healthcare system, the government has reason and cause to control your lives: after all, if you’re too fat, it costs more money. This is a cautionary tale, not of the terrible quality of “free healthcare for all,” but of the intervention a nanny-state.

H/t: Hot Air headlines.