John F. Kennedy's famous
Houston speech on church and state during
the 1960 presidential campaign elicited Rick Santorum's after-the-fact disgust. Though Santorum
misrepresents the speech in some ways--Kennedy didn't say anything about
limiting religious institutions and leaders from speaking on public issues--he
is right to find the speech theologically lame.
My wife and I have been joking with our neighbors lately about TV ads that a
Super PAC supporting their cat, Kobie, might run against our cat, Owl.
Now Scott Simon's reporting on an ad someone actually made.
Christopher Shea highlights a new study that analyzes the effect of U.S. grain and soy subsidies on the American diet. The study's abstract leads with its contrarian, we're-taking-on-Michael-Pollan angle:
Many commentators have speculated that agricultural policies have
contributed to increased obesity rates in the United States, yet such
claims are often made without any analysis of the complex links between
real-world farm commodity support programs, prices and consumption of
foods, and caloric intake.
So, the Blunt amendment got killed in the Senate. And good riddance: you wouldn't know it from the L.A. Times's writeup, but the measure was a good bit broader than a reversal of the Obama administration's contraception mandate (which itself would have been nothing to celebrate). From the amendment text (pdf):
A health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide the
essential health benefits package...on the basis that it declines to
provide coverage of specific items or services because...providing
coverage (or, in the case of a sponsor of a group health plan, paying
for coverage) of such specific items or services is contrary to the
religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other
entity offering the plan.
In other words, essentially a line-item veto of whatever the boss is morally opposed to, based on church teaching or otherwise.
In order to write about the inner workings of a private prison, journalist Shane Bauer took a prison guard position at a Louisiana prison for four months, at $9 an hour. The prison is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, whose CEO made $3.4 million in 2015, nearly 19 times the amount paid to the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. During Bauer’s time as a correctional officer, the federal Department of Corrections temporarily took charge of the prison due to a rash of stabbings among inmates. Thirty-four percent of prison guards suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, a rate higher than that for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Correctional officers commit suicide two and a half times more frequently than the general population (Mother Jones, July/August).