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Jay Bryant
Lives in Austin, TX
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Jay Bryant

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Gotta share this with my fellow castle lovers, especially +Scott Blume and +Peter Hobson. :-)
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Jay Bryant

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Sharing with +Scott Blume :-)
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Jay Bryant

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Sharing for my Canadian Connection: +Lesley Wilson 

:)
 
The Liberal Party in Ontario, Canada has swept to power, and with it their leader Kathleen Wynne will become the first open LGBT head of government. This historic fact was a complete non-issue throughout the election. Congrats, Ontario!
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Yes'm. I couldn't agree more. As you know, it makes me nuts every time a politician (usually on the right) plays one of those cards. I wonder if Woodrow has room in his house for me. ;)
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Jay Bryant

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Definition of Monday: You get to work and get a great parking space. Then you get to the building and realize that you forgot your badge, your watch, and your wallet. The second parking space, half an hour later, wasn't nearly so good. Sigh.
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Jay Bryant

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For my fellow lovers of images from deep space, including +Lesley Wilson :)
 
Neutron stars and black hole jets swirl in the spirals of the Whirlpool galaxy.

Some 30 million light-years away, the galaxy resembles our own Milky Way with its far-flung arms. The image, a composite from Chandra and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, combines an x-ray view with red and green glints from stars.


PHOTOGRAPH BY NASA/CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY CENTER/WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY   
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Jay Bryant

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Gotta share this one with certain people who have twisted senses of humor. :)

+Scott Blume +Elizabeth Little +Ross Little +Peter Hobson 
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Jay Bryant

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Sharing with +Mary Jackson
 
Today, the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held private corporations can’t be required under the Affordable Care Act to provide insurance coverage for some forms of contraception if it would violate the religious beliefs of the owners.

Rather than jumping on reactionary headlines (many of which are wrong), lets take a breath and look at what this ruling is and what it isn’t, so we can be outraged about the right things.

The ruling doesn’t apply to all corporations—only private, closely-held businesses, and possibly only ones run by a single family. Justice Alito (writing the majority opinion) dismisses the possibility that large, public companies could claim this exemption:

For example, the idea that unrelated shareholders—including institutional investors with their own set of stakeholders—would agree to run a corporation under the same religious beliefs seems improbable. … The companies in the cases before us are closely held corporations, each owned and controlled by members of a single family, and no one has disputed the sincerity of their religious beliefs.

Nor does the ruling apply to medical procedures other than contraception:

This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs. Nor does it provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.

The ruling only applies to four specific methods of contraception: two emergency contraceptives (Plan B and Ella) and two types of IUDs. The owners of Hobby Lobby believe, incorrectly, that these contraceptives cause abortions.

That this belief is demonstrably, factually incorrect isn’t relevant to the ruling. The opinion notes that the Court is not, and cannot be, in the business of deciding whether a religious belief is true or not—only whether it is a “sincerely held religious belief”. Plan B does not cause abortions; if you take it when you are already pregnant, nothing happens. IUDs do not cause abortions. All that matters is that Hobby Lobby’s owners think they do.

This is the bizarre part. Their “belief” is akin to insisting the moon is made of cheese, but the Court feels it must be accepted as true so long as the belief is both sincere and religious. But surely not all beliefs can be religious? You say your god exists; no one can prove otherwise. You say the moon is made of cheese; we know that it’s not. How can both beliefs be treated identically? And, yet, they are.

Nearly half of all pregnancies in this country are unintended. Faced with an unintended pregnancy, 42% of women choose to have an abortion. Researchers at Washington University have concluded that the ACA’s contraception requirement could prevent between 41% and 71% of abortions performed in the US. Why would those who oppose abortion object to preventing abortions? Why allow a “belief” contradicted by clear facts to make a connection with abortion in the first place?

Well, because it’s not about preventing abortions, is it? Erick Erickson over at RedState perhaps best summarized the real motivation of the right wing:

My religion trumps your “right” to employer subsidized consequence free sex.

And there you have it. It’s all about controlling women’s sexuality. Women shouldn’t be out having sex, and if they are, there should be consequences. That’s what their religion teaches. The rule doesn’t extend to blood transfusions, vaccinations, or antidepressants, because men use those things too.

So, what are the practical effects of the ruling? Maybe not as much as people fear. The Court noted that non-profits and churches currently enjoy a religious exemption to the mandate, but that employees of those organizations still receive contraceptive coverage at no extra cost. The insurance companies pick up the cost themselves—and why not? Contraception coverage reduces the cost of health care.

The regulation could be changed so the for-profit companies covered by this ruling could receive the same exemption. Hobby Lobby gets paperwork from the insurance company double-pinky-swearing that they’re not paying for those items, and the covered employees would get those items anyway.

Hobby Lobby, after all, insists that its employees are free to buy any contraceptives they want, so long as the company isn’t paying for them. This makes no sense: health benefits are part of an employee’s compensation for working, just like salary, so if an employee uses money earned at Hobby Lobby to buy Plan B, the company is paying for it in exactly the same way as if it had been covered under insurance. But since their belief that contraception equals abortion makes no sense, either, we can go with it.

Unfortunately, that exemption is currently facing legal challenge as well. Non-profit religious organizations contend that the mere process of filing the form to request the exemption from contraceptive coverage is an overt act that leads to employees getting those forms of contraception, and so their religious freedom is being infringed if they even have to ask, no matter who is paying the bill. So it’s not quite as simple as it sounds.

The ruling isn’t based on Constitutional principle, but rather on an existing federal law, so Congress is free to overrule the Court if it wants. The Republican House overruling a decision against the ACA? Fat chance.

What we do have is a further ruling for corporate personhood. The ruling holds that for-profit corporations are “people” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and that, in the case of a closely-held family-owned company where all owners share a religious belief, that the corporate “person” also holds that belief. At least, if that belief has to do with women’s sexuality, or abortion.

And, even if that belief is factually, provably false, it’s still protected by the RFRA. Maybe it’s time to start inventing a new, and very convenient, religion.
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Jay Bryant

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Resharing for +Lesley Wilson, fellow lover of images from space. :)
 
ESA’s Herschel space observatory discovers new molecules around old stars.

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Herschel/New_molecules_around_old_stars

#Herschel  #stars #universe
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Great! Thanks!
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Jay Bryant

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Sharing for +Mary Jackson and +Lesley Wilson and +Peter Hobson :)
 
Good to know - I'll be rich in no time!
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Fantastic!
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Jay Bryant

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Gotta share this with my fellow cartophiles. :-)

+Scott Blume +Elizabeth Little +Peter Hobson
 
Castle ground (work-in-progress): created palisade wall, stables and the gatehouse which also serves as the garrison. I still need to create outhouses, servants quarters and coach barn. Almost finished!
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Jay Bryant

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Just when I think the assholes can't sink any lower, this comes in. The APA says: Not only does it not work; it actually does harm. These self-important assholes don't care, though. They'll cheerfully ignore (and sneer at) science to promulgate their decrees about how others ought to live.

I was stunned when I heard this one today. Unbefuckinglievable.
A draft of the Texas Republican Party's new platform embraces gay conversion therapy, arguing that it is a viable option for "patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle." The Texas GOP convention kicks off Thursday, an...
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Jay Bryant

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This set me to laughing out loud today. I love Morgan Freeman. :)

#MorganFreeman  
Morgan Freeman has an amazing voice; that we know. But what we didn't know was how much better it sounds after a good huff of helium.
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Have him in circles
172 people
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Programming Writer
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Male
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Buzzardo (from college)
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Writer, Programmer, Gamer
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Writer, Programmer, Gamer
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MA in English. Faculty member at a university at the age of 25. Won an award for excellence in teaching. Published author (multiple times).
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Austin, TX
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I ordered a pizza. The driver took it somewhere else and tried to give me someone else's pizza. Then he went and got my pizza (which had been in the hands of someone else, of course). I refused that, since who knows what may have been done to it. Then I called the store to reverse my credit card transaction. I waited on hold for 10 minutes and 53 seconds, only to have the phone system disconnect me. In the next call, I got someone who was clearly not too versed on the system. Who knows whether the transaction was actually reversed? So now I'll have to watch my credit card account for a couple days. Given that delivering the right pizza to the right address is more than they can do, I can find somewhere else to buy a pizza.
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Public - 11 months ago
reviewed 11 months ago
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