Raising the Bar on public input

The public comment period will end 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 9, thirty days after President Obama formally announced his intention to rescind the Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations in the Federal Register. A source within the HHS has told CatholicAnew.com that a handful of comments received after the cutoff may be considered.

via Last Chance to Ask Obama Administration to Retain Conscience Protections for Pro-Life Doctors | Catholic Exchange.

The requirements for sending comments ensure that pretty much only legal scholars can provide input.  So when only a few thousand (and that’s optimistic) comments are received, opposition to the measure can be dismissed as a fringe position.  Then it will be open season on health care providers who refuse on the basis of conscience to perform abortions.  Perhaps they think that after a few of us are made examples of, most will cave.  And what a display of pragmatism-over-ideology this will be in addressing the chronic shortage of health care providers!

This is Obama’s idea of putting aside partisan differences and being the voice of the people rather than of special interests?  But I guess this is what the USA gets for electing a President on the basis of feel-good slogans, or for its blind acceptance of the two-party approach to politics where the only choices are Bad and Worse.

Go back to your homes, citizens

An Italian scientist predicted a major earthquake around L’Aquila weeks before disaster struck the city on Monday, killing dozens of people, but was reported to authorities for spreading panic among the population…

[T]he head of the National Geophysics Institute dismissed Giuliani’s predictions.”It is useful to underline that it is not in any way possible to predict an earthquake,” it said, adding that the agency saw no reason for alarm but was nonetheless effecting “continuous monitoring and attention”.

via Reuters AlertNet – Italy muzzled scientist who foresaw quake.

The relationship between definitive pronouncements and science has always been a rocky one, especially when the definitive pronouncements are made by scientists.

Which reminds me… Are eggs good for you or bad for you this week?  I can never keep that straight.

Values clarification

Commenting on the keep-the-Times alive movement, [New York Times executive editor Bill] Keller said: “Saving the New York Times now ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause.”

via Michael Calderone’s Blog: Keller: Times will be ‘left standing after the deluge’ – POLITICO.com.

Riiiiight.   Because the careers of a handful of American leftists is worth as much as the lives of several hundred thousand Africans…

Like deja vu… with one exception

‘[T]he physical abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse of priests.’ So common is the transfer of offending teachers that it is called ‘passing the trash.’

via Errors or Lies? | Catholic Exchange.

I’m awaiting the daily-for-months news coverage of this, the spate of hundred-million-dollar lawsuits, and the late night comedians’ jokes characterizing all school teachers as molesters…

Mainstream extremists

If you’re an anti-abortion activist, or if you display political paraphernalia supporting a third-party candidate or a certain Republican member of Congress, if you possess subversive literature, you very well might be a member of a domestic paramilitary group.

That’s according to “The Modern Militia Movement,” a report by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC), a government collective that identifies the warning signs of potential domestic terrorists for law enforcement communities…

“It’s certainly an attempt to stifle political thought, especially in Missouri. It definitely makes me pause, if nothing else. Maybe Missouri is just a test bed for squelching political thought.”

via ‘Fusion Centers’ Expand Criteria to Identify Militia Members – First 100 Days of Presidency – Politics FOXNews.com.

I remember in the wake of the Branch Davidian massacre, Attorney General Janet Reno saying that marks of a “cult” included attending Bible studies or believing in the Second Coming of Christ.  And, implicitly, if you are a “cultist” or a “white separatist” like the Weaver family, you might just find federal SWAT teams kicking down your door on the suspicion that you might act on your extremist beliefs and hurt someone.  Your spouse and children dead in a hail of government gunfire?  Too bad.  You should have been more of a conformist.  That was the real if unstated lesson of those debacles.

If this Missouri report is indeed a trial balloon to see how the public reacts to civil rights abuses based on calling someone an extremist or a militia member, then this balloon needs to be popped.

Also, I would like to see if all those people who have been calling Bush “Hitler” and “fascist” for the past eight years will be as quick to object to this.  Will the news be filled with ominous threats of an impending police state?

Update, 3/28: balloon popped. Report has been retracted and questions are being asked about who is responsible.  Good.