If you do not know me (I mean, really know me) then there is something you need to understand before you read this blog: I value the truth above everything else... except a good laugh. A good laugh will almost always beat the truth as far as I’m concerned. Everything you read on this blog will be true, somewhat true, or something I made up in an effort to get a laugh. Sometimes I will go on a rant that I don’t really mean (or only kind of mean). Sometimes I will mean what I write only to completely change my mind a year, month, or day later. Such is life. By reading this blog you agree not to get offended by anything I write (or, at the very least, you agree not to tell me or anyone else that you are offended). It is worth noting that my employer does not endorse my blog (or even read it, to tell you the truth). The Wife also does not endorse my blog (though she will read it from time to time). I am not paid to write this... it’s just my way of giving back to the community. I have, and will, touch on a wide range of subjects and will give my opinion on these subjects. Again, most of what I say is for laughs but every now and then I will say what I really think and feel (see my views on Westboro Baptist Cult). How will you know when I’m serious and when I’m trying to get a laugh? You’ll know. And if you don’t know, well... maybe this isn’t the best thing for you to be reading. So, sit back, read and enjoy. Leave comments if you want and don’t be afraid to publicly follow me.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Missing MaMa

Know Your Medal of Honor Recipients:

Private James C. Reed (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on April 29, 1868, in Arizona. His citation reads:

Defended his position (with 3 others) against a party of 17 hostile Indians under heavy fire at close quarters, the entire party except himself being severely wounded.

Private William Reed (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on May 22, 1863, at Vicksburg, Mississippi. His citation reads:

Gallantry in the charge of the "volunteer storming party."

Private Charles A. Reeder (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on April 2, 1865, at Battery Gregg, near Petersburg, Virginia. His citation reads:

Capture of flag.

I didn’t really plan this, but it seems rather appropriate that I have a post like this on the anniversary of MaMa’s passing. I still miss our talks… the times I’d call her and talk to her and the times I’d stop by and just sit and talk to her. All were wonderful and all left me feeling better than I had before. Truth is, a lot of my views (good and maybe not as good… haha) come from MaMa (California will fall into the ocean one day… and that won’t necessarily be a bad thing; President Lyndon Johnson was a crook; Girls are a lot meaner than boys: If two boys are mad at each other, they’ll fight and be done with it… but girls can be sneaky and ruthless and so on and so forth).

Anyway, let’s get to the task at hand. You need to realize that while I do usually have all of the answers and know everything, these subjects I plan to talk about are things I don’t really know everything about. I don’t know all of these answers. So this will be fun. I might end up fighting on both sides of the issue… who knows? Sometimes when I argue with Sonny, his strategy is to just let me keep talking until I end up on his side of the argument (at which point he will yell, “I agree”). And that’s fine. There are times I’ll argue with people I agree with just because I think their argument (for the thing with agree on, mind you) is flawed. Truth is I’m ever-changing… There are only a few things that will never change: I believe Jesus died for my sins; I love my family (and most/some of my friends); And I firmly believe that Free Bird is a better song than Smells Like Teen Spirit. Outside of those things, my mind can be changed… it might not be easy, but it can happen.

I’m not sure if you saw this a few weeks ago, but Hobby Lobby won their case in the Supreme Court having to do with contraception. The argument was that, due to their religious beliefs, the owners of Hobby Lobby did not want to provide certain types of birth control because they considered these types of birth control to be abortive type things. The “news” coverage of this ruling was biased based on what political party the various “news organizations” sided with that you might have seen that this was either a huge victory for religious rights or that 5 old men on the Supreme Court have now given men (who own Hobby Lobby) the right to tell women that they can’t have birth control. Yep, some “news outlets” actually said this ruling would mean that women who work for Hobby Lobby now can’t have birth control (because they’ve lost that right). My wish, perhaps more than any other wish that I will tell you about in this sentence, is that there would be at least ONE real news organization out there that could be trusted to just REPORT the f’ing news. Just state the facts and let me make my own decisions.

Anywho, the whole freaking thing gave me a headache, so I kind of stopped researching it (i.e., I’m not that news organization I’m wanting). From what I could piece together, this was a very narrow ruling that could be a slippery slope into a very big problem once lawyers really get their hands on it and pick it apart. I also saw that it may or may not be for all contraception (the confusion here might be that Hobby Lobby only cared about a couple of things, but the next religious fella might care about all of them). I’m not 100% sure how to organize what I want to say, so forgive me if I kind of bounce all over the place with this. I would like to start, I guess, by pointing out that insurance doesn’t cover all medication anyway, so get over it. I believe that these various birth control pills and whatnot are now mandated by a healthcare bill that may very well have some good ideas in it, but we might never know because I’m not sure anyone has actually read it. By the way, before the new health care bill came into play, did the Hobby Lobby insurance plan cover all of the birth control options being argued in this case? Has anyone asked that? (Hmmm…. Based on my research staff, it seems the company did offer some insurance plans that covered things like the morning after pill, but they didn’t realize it at the time and once they found out they stopped… so that doesn’t really help me either way). Whatever the case, though, the Supreme Court did not rule that women can’t have birth control. Women covered under the Hobby Lobby insurance plan can still get birth control… it’s just Hobby Lobby doesn’t have to cover it. I get that this would mean the birth control is now more expensive, and thus could keep some from being able to afford it, but they still have the right to it.

On one hand, I don’t think a business owner should be forced to do something that is against his religious beliefs. And I think that adults should be responsible for their own birth control. Of course, finding out that this kind of thing has been covered in the past somewhat negates that line of thinking. On the other hand… What exactly is the “end game” for Christians (who were the people this time trying to protect their religious beliefs)? It would seem Hobby Lobby (and, I think, most Christians) are against abortions. Their argument against some of these birth control methods that they didn’t want to cover is that they are “abortive” methods. Based on things I’ve read, I don’t think they are correct about this… but that’s not really the point of my argument. If the goal is to stop (or at least limit) abortions, then maybe that is where the focus should be. But Greg, you say, that is where their focus seems to be! In the eyes of the church (for the most part), there is a simple solution to the abortion problem… don’t have sex unless you are willing to take care of the baby who might be a result of said sex. And, of course, don’t have sex if you aren’t married (or if you aren’t married to the person you want to have sex with). I may be over simplifying these points a bit, but I don’t think I’m too far off point. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be a problem… but the world is not perfect. Not only that, but not all of the people in this country are Christian… so they might not buy into these views. And even those who are Christian might not follow these views. So perhaps they are focusing on stopping abortions, but maybe it would be better to try to tackle the problem from a different angle. One way to do this is to make birth control as affordable/available as possible. People should be responsible on their own…. But they aren’t. And a lot of them aren’t any more responsible after they’ve had their baby, which means at some point we the people are responsible. All in all, it’s cheaper to help prevent conception than it is to help raise a child. I also think the church needs to be proactive in providing options to abortions. Simply telling people (believers and non-believers) what they can/can’t do doesn’t really seem to be working all that well. I know I am going to get a little off the Hobby Lobby topic here for a minute, but it’s my blog so…

This is one thing the people who protest outside of abortion clinics need to realize. And don’t get me started on people who bomb abortion clinics. How many people is that bringing to Jesus? How many people see that and start singing “I have decided to follow Jesus…”? I don’t disagree that abortions are, for the most part, bad and should be avoided… but I do see some issues with how they are trying to stop the abortions. Instead of taking that approach, maybe the church (each on their own or in cooperation with other churches) should look at starting/running/supporting orphanages (which many do in other countries… so why not here?). I’m not saying this would be easy, and there might be some laws and/or red tape that would need to be worked around… but if abortions are evil enough to “make” someone kill to prevent them, then surely it is worth the time and effort to prevent them. Right? Along these lines, maybe the church should look into promoting adoptions (and, maybe even helping church members adopt children who would otherwise be aborted). With fertility drugs becoming better at doing their job, I fear (without doing any research what so ever… I mean, I am on my computer yet I’m not even doing a simple google search on the subject) that fewer and fewer people are looking at the adoption option. And that is too bad, because a lot of needy kids could be missing out on some kick-ass parents. Maybe these things wouldn’t stop people from having abortions… but aren’t they worth a try? At the very least, I think this kind of approach might do a better job of showing Jesus’ love then bombing a building.

So one last thing about the Hobby Lobby decision… I thought it was the wrong decision. Not because of some of the very political (i.e. not 100% true) reasons that have been in the media, but because of the one legit reason I heard during Morning Joe. That reason is the fact that Hobby Lobby is a corporation… a “closely held” corporation, to be sure, but still a corporation. Why does this matter? Because: What sets the corporation apart from all other types of businesses is that a corporation is an independent legal entity, separate from the people who own, control, and manage it. In other words, corporation and tax laws view the corporation as a legal "person" that can enter into contracts, incur debts, and pay taxes apart from its owners. Other important characteristics also result from the corporation's separate existence: A corporation does not dissolve when its owners (shareholders) change or die, and the owners of a corporation have limited liability -- that is, they are not personally responsible for the corporation's debts. (thanks http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/corporations-faq-29122.html) I could be missing something, but I don’t think there is really a difference between “closely held” corporations and other sized corporations as far as protections go. This means that when the owners of Hobby Lobby decided to become a corporation, they did so based on the protections they could get as a corporation. By definition, once they became a corporation, Hobby Lobby became separate from the owners. This doesn’t mean there can be no mix of religion and business… because the owners do still, for good reason, have influence on the business (just like with Chick-fil-A), but that is different from what we are talking about here.

I hope I didn’t ramble too much and was able to make the points I wanted to make. It’s possible this is all rubbish and I will read this tomorrow and think “What the heck was I trying to say?”… but I think I’ve said all I set out to say. Let me know what you think. There’s a chance I’m completely wrong about this stuff… if I am, let me know. But don’t just say, “You’re wrong!” (if I wanted to hear that, I’d talk to The Wife)… give me your thoughts on the subject. If you don’t want to leave a comment, then talk to me the next time you see me… or shoot me an email… (If you never see me and you don’t have my email address, then I guess you’ll have to leave a comment).

Thank you and good day

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