Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Fossil Five


The Supreme Court has found that most companies do not have to cover contraceptive care for their employees if the company has a religious objection to doing so. A lot of people are surprised to learn that companies have religious beliefs at all, but they do. The company I worked for, the US Postal Service, does not have religious beliefs per se, but it does have strong, heartfelt preferences; for instance, it sincerely prefers its employees wear clean, pressed company-provided uniforms. Many folks might not be aware of this, given the preponderance of letter carriers who accessorize with colored sneakers, sweatshirts from home, and Cheetos stains, but it's true: the company has strong preferences, but no balls. They're fine with contraceptive coverage, however, and might even kick in for forced sterilization in some cases. But that's the thing: companies are people. They're all different. They've got beliefs. They've got feelings. Favorite colors, occasional irregularity, monogrammed towels, the works. Lawyers.

Like the Hobby Lobby. The Hobby Lobby puts its pants on one leg at a time like everyone else, and it likes a nice snug fit. As plaintiff pointed out, not every employee of Hobby Lobby is even going to want contraception, really only the ladies, so it's not like there's a lot of damage being done here. The Hobby Lobby company is closely held, and possibly stroked a little. And as a closely-held company, it sincerely believes that the Affordable Care Act requirement to provide free contraception for its employees might result in tiny little abortions. The majority opinion held that it was enough that the Hobby Lobby really, truly believes this, deep in its company pants. It was not up to the Court, the Court said, to determine if their beliefs had any merit, as long as they were really, truly, and sincerely believed, and more or less in line with the Court's.

Many see this decision as an affront to the ladies, but it was a victory for science. Researchers have long observed that the five fossil justices--Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy, constituting the majority in this opinion--are lodged in sediment of an unknown provenance, and with this decision we have finally accumulated enough data to properly affix them in Time. All have been known to occur in the same Catholic stratum, but up until now it has been hard to pinpoint their precise age with any confidence. Educated guesses have ranged from the early Titassic to the late Contentious.

Scalia, found in the oldest portions of the layer, has revealed the most clues as to their collective antiquity. For instance, it was he who held that prohibitions against homosexual behavior did not discriminate against homosexuals, because they prohibited heterosexuals from engaging in homosexual behavior also. Justice Alito, a champion of spermal rights, was responsible for writing the opinion in the Hobby Lobby case, in which he dismissed concerns about "gender equality" and "public health," specifically employing the quotation marks to indicate where the sneering and eye-rolling should go. Justice Thomas had nothing to add, believing, as always, that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to--well, he can never remember how the rest of that goes.

All of these clues taken together have finally allowed scientists to definitively assign the five to the Crusty Old Fuck Era. It's a right stout vein. There's no chipping them out.

40 comments:

  1. It certainly makes me glad that I'm safely into menopause and no longer have to worry about some old geezers deciding what I should or should not do with my womb. Why the hell can't people with "firm beliefs" just practice those "firm beliefs" themselves, without trying to foist them on others?

    (And yes, my quotation marks also indicate where the sneering and eye-rolling go.)

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    1. And once the beliefs are firm, do they stay firm? Hey, I knew I could count on you guys to play nice while I was off the grid, which is going to happen from time to time as long as I have a mountain to visit. Which, given our rambunctious geology, can't be completely counted on. Carry on!

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  2. I have read (on the interwebs, so I guess it's true) that Hobby Lobby has substantial investments in the companies that make the contraceptives that HL is opposed to. Now that's confusing....or not?

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    1. I've read that too. I suppose most of us with any investments are similarly guilty, but it's a good thing to point out to them, if true.

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  3. This one is priceless. I knew there was a reason for those "closely held" clauses in the whole Hobby Lobby case. The Fossil Five, indeed.

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    1. I understand that there are differing points of view, but at least some of these justices seem sort of thoughtless. Not careful. Crassly creating the world they personally want. Starting (at least) with Bush v. Gore. Gad.

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  4. You can spear and cut with such humor.

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    1. That's because I don't want anyone to hit me.

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  5. Crusty old fuck and repression continuum era. They want the little woman home, caring for the little house and the little reproductions, not working for wages and benefits.

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    1. They certainly do not seem to have a very broad (so to speak) perspective. Which is a thing I care deeply about. Perspective.

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  6. I do would really, really like it if the crusty old fuck fossils could be put in a well sealed case somewhere. I hate to think that bits of them could chip off and reproduce (asexually of course), but fear that some surreptitious cloning has already happened.

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    1. Let's hope they are keeping their beliefs closely held beneath their soft, billowy robes.

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  7. I do hope that there will not be any further excavations in the Titassic layers...

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  8. The SCROTUS is getting pretty bizarre. It's good to know that the personal religious rights of the corporation trump human rights. I wouldn't want to accidentally hurt its feelings with a snide comment. Has Scalito ever voted differently from the three old farts?

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    1. That's where we differ. I would totally love to hurt its feelings.

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  9. Well, as long as the employees can still get their Viagra, that's the important thing, isn't it?

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  10. The Old Pighter Filot and I really dug this one.

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  11. Too bad the validity of "really, truly, deeply held beliefs" only works for certain kinds of beliefs. I really, truly, deeply feel that Elephant's Child has the right idea. But beliefs like that don't stand a chance.

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    1. Yeah. They already said it would be silly to assume that the corporations who do not personally believe in vaccinations would be allowed to take heart from this decision. Really? Hence the "...beliefs...more or less in line with the Court's."

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  12. Just a thought; based on this judgement, if your employer is a Christian Scientist, can they now refuse to offer health plans to their employees?

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  13. What? The company you work for should be responsible for your contraceptive needs?
    What a load of horse hooey!
    The individual employees should be responsible for their own bodies and contraceptive needs.
    What next? Will the company you work for have to be responsible for the milk on your breakfast table?
    Or am I misunderstanding this whole article?

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    1. Yeah, kinda. It's not your company that is responsible for them -- it's only responsible for providing the opportunity to have health insurance. But the health insurance policies cover birth control, and that's where these companies are getting their knickers in a twist (which seems to be the only way they get sexual gratification). The heads of these companies "firmly believe" that birth control is wrong, and so they want to inflict their opinions on their employees. This is a slippery slope. If the CEO is a Jehovah's Witness, does that mean they can exclude blood transfusions? I wouldn't mind a health plan where I myself could pick and choose what I want covered; after all, post-menopause, I hardly need coverage for an obstetrician or birth control. But I can't do that. I have to pay for things I will not need. Why should an employer be able to pick and choose when I cannot?

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    2. It's this crazy idea we have in this country that we can get health care insurance through our companies, should we be fortunate enough to work for one, instead of having single-payer affordable health care like every other civilized country on the planet.

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    3. Exactly! The main thing I HATE about Obamacare (which -- so far -- has made me able to afford health insurance for the first time, albeit under threat of a penalty) is that it uses insurance corporations! I would have no problem with it if it were single payer. I resent being forced to enrich already wealthy corporate entities.

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    4. He'd rather have single-payer too, but this was the best he could do. Under the circumstances.

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    5. A point that needs to be made is that employers don't provide health insurance because they love you. It's part of your compensation package--it's YOUR money! This means that allowing employers to decide what medications and procedures they will cover is no different than giving them the power to decide how you can spend your paycheck.

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    6. It did occur to me that someone might want to sue to get under the minimum-wage laws if he thought his employees might be making enough money to buy naughty rubber items, or something else he doesn't approve of.

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  14. Thanks for clearing that up.

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  15. I was going to guess the Crustaceous Period, but it might be early Assholean or Late Bloviation Period. Recent discoveries of very, very, very, really, really closely held concretions were found in those strata.

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  16. I love it when you take on politics. This is one of the best pieces I've seen on the old fuck five. Off to share!

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    1. "The Old Fuck Five." Really rolls off the tongue, don't it? Thanks for sharing!

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    2. I think I don't take on politics as much because when I do, I'm generally pissed off, and I don't like to spend much time pissed off. It's too easy to get mired up. But sometimes...

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  17. Reputable sources whose reporters have done thorough research on HL's employee 401(k) plan indicate that 75% of their holdings are with companies that manufacture the 2 types of birth control HL has never offered as well as the 2 new ones that they don't have to offer any longer. That HL hired the firm that manages the 401(k) and had ways and means to weed out any companies that manufactured products that didn't align with their beliefs boggles my mind. By far the worst bit of hypocrisy is that most of the products on their shelves come from China, a country that endorses abortion as a form of birth control. Obviously this doesn't amount to a hill of beans compared to the 'firmly held beliefs' about Emergency Contraception and the IUD--the daily mini abortion choice of today's women.

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    1. That's the thing about principles. If you're going to have them, you should really try to have them all the way.

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    2. That's just crazy talk. I was raised in the Catholic religion until I walked away. When I was a young teen, I learned there's a big difference between a good Catholic and a good Christian. This whole mess brought that all tumbling back like an avalanche.

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