Vail Daily letters to the editor
September 9, 2012
Van Ens misses point
The Rev. Mr. Van Ens’ thesis that the application of the Affordable Care Act is devoid of religious ramifications for those whose faiths prohibit contraception and abortion is just not accurate.
Catholic organizations have been given an exemption for a period of time precisely because the administration realized that this act would require major change in the religious principles underlying the operations of these entities, not for any other reason.
Also, Van Ens has cherry-picked liberal Catholic commentators who agree with him in blithe disregard of the fact that it is the bishops who are the teachers of the Catholic faith for the believers, not random dissenting clerics, popular as they may be.
Van Ens’ flippant approach to Catholicism appears either disingenuous or bigoted. In any case, he needs to brush up on his facts before airing seemingly definitive statements about a faith he seems to know so little about.
Furthermore, he should ask a practicing Catholic businessman if the act has not required him to go contrary to his religion’s beliefs and provide insurance coverage in these areas for his employees or face daily fines for failing to do so.
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Get real, Rev. Van Ens. The matter pertains to the free exercise of religion and to not allowing the government to force us into a state-imposed creeping atheism clothed in civic liberty with concomitant confusion regarding health issues as these pertain to personal choices rather than true health care.
Freedom of sex in Constitution?
The Affordable Care Act, as construed by Rev. Van Ens, requires that secular and non-secular employers pay for the contraceptive measures utilized by their employees and parishioners to control unplanned or inadvertent births.
Put another way, an employer is required to pay for his employee’s sex life, so to speak. The Catholic Church is required to pay for the sex lives of its clergy and/or parishioners, notwithstanding the religious canons to the contrary.
Van Ens seemingly implies that freedom of sex has some connection to the Constitution. Maybe he is thinking of the “equal protection” clause.
My question is why are Obama and Van Ens so adamant in imposing this religious mandate upon a Christian denomination (the Catholic Church) when another religious organization (Islam) is given a pass or exemption from the mandate to purchase health insurance altogether because of its dogma against “insurance” in general?
Are Obama and Van Ens endeavoring to establish a national church in their deference to the Muslims? To afford equal protection and apply the law consistently, should not the Catholics be given a pass because of their beliefs against artificial birth control?
Not quite, Richard
I’m sure Richard Carnes feels that he made such a compelling case on the issue of how the upcoming presidential election is a simple choice, since he says the Republicans favor “an absolute ban on all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest.”
The only problem with what Carnes is saying is that it’s not true!
In an interview with CBS News just last week, Romney reiterated that “I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.”
How much clearer can he make his position?
And to tie Mitt Romney with Todd Akin and imply that Romney feels the same way about abortion is dishonest.
Romney and Ryan and the rest of the Republican Party have repudiated Akin’s comments on abortion, and have been putting tremendous pressure on him to drop out of the race. What more would you expect them to do about a loose-cannon type of individual like this?
Is Carnes one of those extremists who feel that people shouldn’t be allowed to express their opinions when they disagree with his?
And is it truly surprising or unreasonable that not everyone supports Obama’s opinion that abortion should be available on demand for any reason or no reason, and paid for by the taxpayers?
And what about his extreme position on late-term abortions? In the past, Obama has been so supportive of late-term abortions that he resisted efforts to protect unborn children born alive after failed abortion procedures. I think the public should know whether this is still Obama’s opinion since so many of them would likely find this position surprising, and not in line with their own.
Talk about “twisting it however you will”! Carnes’ assertions are a perfect example of twisting things around to assist in his apparent support of Obama. Come on, Vail Daily, shouldn’t you insist that your columnists at least approach truthful statements when they write for your paper? How about some fact checking, Mr. Editor?
There are certainly very clear choices between the parties we can debate without resorting to this kind of disingenuous nonsense. The real debate is whether we as taxpayers should be paying for birth control, abortions and thousands of other things when our country is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Reaching across fairway
Wow! Mr. Gene Henry has asked me publicly two days in a row in the Vail Daily to play golf with him. I’m honored. Are you picking up the tab? How about for nine holes?
Gene, if you are serious about getting together for golf, I’m in. Like reaching across the aisle, we could reach across the fairway, so to speak. I just want to have a place in the center of the fairway for my golf ball.
Actually Gene, we don’t have much disagreement on the crises facing our country. A paragraph in my letter to the Vail Daily commended Peter Bergh’s prior letter (“America’s place”) in which he thoughtfully catalogued the many challenges we have and the lack of demonstrated leadership to solve those challenges. That paragraph was edited out. And the title (“Sins of the GOP”) wasn’t my choice, either. I stopped suggesting subject headings for my letters a long time ago.
Where you and I part company is that you believe that one party has a solution. My view is that neither does. One wants to go farther down the path of a social welfare state and the other wishes to further its cause in establishing a plutocracy. Strangely enough, we are following both paths simultaneously, which partly explains our highly polarized and divided country.
I must ramble on for just a few sentences longer. I greatly admire good letter writers – individuals who can combine relevant facts, logic, variety in the choice of words and sentence structure, and the gift of guiding a reader through a story which has a natural flow from beginning to end.
Two sets of letter writers, Cynthia Lepthien (“About that Constitution”) and Stephanie and Lance Kelly (“Concerned about school site”) in the Sept. 1 publication of the Vail Daily wrote excellent letters on two very different topics. I had the pleasure of reading, enjoying and learning from both.
Case for the stocks
From the perspective of a former New Zealand policeman, to see the carnage currently on display in Chicago rattles me, as it should the assailants’ and victims’ parents – especially MIA dads. The crisis speaks more to accountability, I feel, than National Rifle Association or rap music blame games.
A question I ask myself often, after the Denver lady police officer shooting and the Chicago summer epidemic (within a Trayvon Martin context) is where are Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?
I truly believe that their appearance at a march for hope, or visible east-side door-to-door campaign exhorting neighborhood crackdowns would help exponentially, pleading for Dad to be more involved, community activism, church advocacy, mentorism. Dammit, I would help, if asked.
Conservative as I am, I always favored visible punishment like the English. The stocks worked well: Imagine Channel 9 News at 5 p.m. showing convicted drive-by shooters, Jerry Sandusky types, rapists and such in the stocks with passers-by hurling rotten fruit and veggies at them. The loss of street cred alone for these repeat offenders would be enough to discourage bad behavior.
In colonial 1890s New Zealand (like the United States prior to ACLU over-zealousness) similar offenders after conviction were excommunicated from society as we know it, banished. They were disallowed from public bars, events, shops and scorned. Such isolationism discouraged recidivism brilliantly, and encouraged civility sans prison.
I recall some time back Arnold Schwartzenegger was appointed by a president here as the “fitness czar,” well-intended but mismanaged. Perhaps the time is ripe for a well-respected, contemporary public figure – Magic Johnson, LL CoolJay or Herman Cain – to enter the fray, literally, as “behavior czar” with donor campaign funding to turn the tide in these neighborhoods. Couldn’t hurt either campaign right now!
Bike path is fine now
I’m an avid cyclist. I commute on my bike, participate in local bike events, loved the Pro Cycling Challenge, and I ride Vail Pass several times a week. I’d like to think I’d be in favor of anything that would encourage and improve cycling in our state.
Recently, on one of those rides up the pass, while thinking about the upcoming construction project about to begin, I’ve been wondering why this project is even necessary. The bike path is in fine shape.
The notices in the paper detail the closures, time frame and the work to be done: paving, culvert replacements, shouldering, striping and the installation of permanent signs.
Outside of culvert replacement (which may be necessary in a way that is not easily apparent to a cyclist riding on the pass), why does any of this need to be done?
Is the installation of permanent signage necessary to educate, spoon-feed and otherwise remind cyclists of rules and etiquette that we should already know (but an alarming number of cyclists don’t know or ignore)?
Has some lawyer working for CDOT decided that the placement of permanent signs will reduce the liability of the state somehow should someone injure themselves on the pass? (Frequently, the reason for posting a lot of signs if you think about it: “See? See? There was a sign posted. You can’t sue us, you should have known.”)
Admittedly, I haven’t done all the due diligence about budgets and cost, etc., to even justify writing this. I just ride the pass and wonder why it needs fixing.
What I should do is look into how much money is being spent on this project versus the cost of a project that seems much more like a real need instead of a want: building an on/off ramp from I-70 to the Eagle County Regional Airport or managing everything about Dowd Junction into the ground until it’s finally a safe stretch of freeway.
Comparatively, it may be a drop in the bucket, but wouldn’t the money devoted to this project be better deployed toward something we actually need?
Don’t let ’em back
Thank you, Mr. Bornstein, for the Valley Voices column Aug. 29, especially for what you say in paragraph two: “balanced by serious oversight and regulation.” I would say it should be “self regulation.”
If only the financial leaders themselves had put a stop to the free-wheeling traders and greedy bankers during the end of the Bush administration, then we might not been in this terrible financial situation.
The financial industry has itself to blame if the government now comes in to regulate. The 99 percent are the ones that got screwed.
The Supreme Court should consist of politically free individuals who view all cases in an unbiased manner, if that’s possible.
As far as Citizens United and Karl Rove are concerned, I think we have a big problem there. Wasn’t he involved in the last administration with Rumsfeld, et al., pushing the administration to go to war and perhaps create other dubious shenanigans? Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove and others ran the Bush administration.
I suppose they can’t wait to get their hands on Romney. He’s a wuss.
How about some solutions?
If all the thought process and energy that goes into the letters to the Vail Daily vilifying one political party or the other were to go into a search for a real economic solution that both sides could stomach, we would already be on our way out of this.
If our politicians won’t talk to each other, let’s not make the same mistake.
Let’s hear some ideas from you vociferous Democrats and Republicans, instead of just pointing the finger of blame at each other. That is a colossal waste of precious time, which we have little of!
Be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Let’s construct and not obstruct! We’re not getting out of this unless we do it together.
Suggestions for starters: On the revenue side, list tax loopholes that you think need closing. On the expenditure side, if you don’t agree to increase the age at which full Social Security begins, and introduce means testing, how would you trim back entitlements? OK, who goes first?
Can’t walk this plank
How can any woman vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket? At the Republican National Convention, Republicans were nominating Romney and Ryan and have as their platform the plan to take away the rights of women to make our own decisions about our bodies.
Kudos to Richard Carnes, who in his Aug. 28 commentary said, “This plank in the GOP platform cannot be one than any woman wants to walk.”
Time to get real
Prosperity through debt has never worked. It will not work now. We need to get real, folks.