Supreme Court Agrees to Consider Contraceptive Coverage Mandate in Health Care Law

On Tuesday the Supreme Court agree to hear a case based on the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The question at stake is whether employers can refuse to provide their employees with mandated contraceptives if the employers have religious objections to contraceptives. Supreme Court justices have agreed to review two cases that brought forth opposite decisions in the lower courts. The cases pose “complex questions about religious freedom and equality for female workers, along with an issue the court has not yet confronted: whether secular, for-profit corporations are excepted by the Constitution or federal statute from complying with a law because of their owners’ religious beliefs.” The two cases will be combined for oral arguments to the Supreme Court to be heard possibly … Continue reading

Pope Francis Calls On Rich to Share, Says Unfettered Capitalism is ‘Tyranny’

In his first major work written as Pontiff, Pope Francis has called out “unfettered capitalism as ‘a new tyranny’” and is “urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality.” Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, an 84-page document which is tantamount to his official platform, builds on views Francis “has aired in sermons and remarks since he became the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years in March.” In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticising the global economic system, attacking the “idolatry of money” and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare”. He also called on rich people to share their wealth. “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of … Continue reading

We Gather Together to Ask . . .

 by Rosemary and Walter Brasch Segued into a 10-second afterthought, smothered by 60-second Christmas commercials, is the media acknowledgement of Thanksgiving, which nudges us into a realization of all we are thankful for. But the usual litany, even with the omnipresent pictures of the less fortunate being fed by the more fortunate, doesn’t list well this year. Our thanks seem to be at best half-hearted or at least insensitive and shallow. All of us might be thankful for peace if America still hadn’t been involved in two recent wars. The Iraq war lasted almost nine years; the other, in Afghanistan, has lasted more than 12 years and is the nation’s longest war. And now it appears that we will be … Continue reading

Breaking: Iran Nuke Deal Reached

A historic deal has been reached with “Iran and six major powers” that effectively “freezes key parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief on some economic sanctions.” The deal was reached after four days of hard bargaining and an “11th-hour intervention by U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and other foreign ministers from Europe, Russia and China.” The agreement, sealed at 3 a.m. signing ceremony in Geneva’s Palace of Nations, requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of it nuclear infrastructure, the first such pause in more than a decade. President Obama is expected to speak live on the historical agreement at 10:15 pm. This is how we do diplomacy people… Kudos to Secretary of State … Continue reading

The Day John Kennedy Died

Sadly, we recently lost Lou Reed, but his song is among the many poignant remembrances of John F. Kennedy that has been with us for many years…   Check out Adam Clymer’s piece in the NY Times: ‘Kennedy Has Been Shot’: Memories From Nov. 22, 1963… I was the most junior reporter in the Washington bureau of The Baltimore Sun. On what was expected to be a dull Friday afternoon in the capital, I had taken off from work. My wife and I were driving north to meet her parents in New Haven for the Harvard-Yale game. When the news came over the car radio, I turned around and drove as fast as I could to get back to the office. Also read … Continue reading

The Kennedy Legacy

Over the past four weeks, I participated in Larry Sabato’s Coursera class, The Kennedy Half Century. Sabato’s class coordinated with the release of his new book of the same name, The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy. I’ve been a life long Kennedy Democrat, and as a history lover, always fascinated by the JFK presidency, his assassination and his legacy. Larry Sabato’s class was a fascinating look at Kennedy’s presidency, his assasination and his subsequent legacy that includes influencing every president since his death. If you are a Kennedy fan, I high recommend reading The Kennedy Half-Century. Today marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assasination. Fifty years ago today, I had just … Continue reading