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Defying God's law

As recounted by the blog 2 Political Junkies: Gay state Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, was blocked from talking on the House floor about the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act at a time when legislators customarily address wide-ranging topics. One legislator who cut off Mr. Sims was Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, who said: "I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God's law."

Mr. Sims rose again on the floor the next day seeking a House reprimand of Mr. Metcalfe. Rep. Mike Fleck, R-Huntingdon, Pennsylvania's first openly gay lawmaker, said of Mr. Metcalfe's actions: "I, like many of my Republican colleagues, was infuriated. I think we should be able to speak on any issue. If you don't like it, you can get up and leave."

When asked if he thought Rep. Metcalfe should be censured, Mr. Fleck said, "I think Rep. Metcalfe would love to be censured. I mean, he would love the national press. I mean, quite frankly, that's how he raises money -- by exploiting an issue and saying, 'Oh look, they're coming after me. Send me five bucks.' "


Ohio vs. women

Amanda Marcotte in Slate: "The ruse that the anti-choice movement is about 'life' has been harder to maintain in recent years, as lawmakers have started attacking contraception access (which reduces the need for abortion, duh). Gov. John Kasich of Ohio took it a step further [last] Sunday night and signed a bill that merges his party's anti-contraception and anti-abortion agendas into one. The budget bill (of course!) packs a one-two-three punch of making it harder for women to prevent pregnancies, harder for women to terminate pregnancies and harder for low-income women to keep their babies. ...

"HB59 has a bunch of severe anti-abortion riders on it, including a mandatory ultrasound humiliation ritual and restrictions to make it harder for abortion providers to work with local hospitals (directly contradicting the right's claim that its newfound love for clinic restrictions is about making abortion safer). What's not getting as many headlines is this: The defunding of contraception services in the state may ... do even more damage to women's health than the abortion restrictions. ...

"Family planning centers will now basically not be able to get any funding at all for contraception services, even if they don't provide abortion. Merely making abortion referrals, which ... all medically respectable clinics do, is enough to make your clinic last priority for funding."


Climate control

Reason's Ronald Bailey examines the president's new climate-change plan: "The central planners in communist governments were notorious for issuing massively detailed top-down five-year plans to manage every facet of their economies. The accumulating inefficiency and waste produced by this sort of rigid planning led eventually to the demise of those regimes. ...

"President Barack Obama [recently] outlined his 'new national climate action plan,' which amounts to a federal top-down five-year plan -- although he has only four years to implement it. Obama's plan ambitiously seeks to control nearly every aspect of how Americans produce and consume energy. The goal is to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases and thus stop boosting the temperature of the Earth. The actual result will be to infect the economy with the same sort of sclerosis seen in other centrally planned nations."


Recruit all stars

Via Atlantic Wire: Fergus Cullen in The Wall Street Journal considers the staggering degree to which America's professional sports teams rely on athletes from abroad and wonders why it's so much more difficult for luminaries in other fields -- medicine, science, engineering -- to work in the United States: "The U.S. immigration system makes it easy for sports stars to work in America, but the system makes it hard for star scientists, would-be entrepreneurs and others to show their stuff here," he writes, imagining the difficulty of applying immigration rules to athletes.

"Sports fans wouldn't tolerate such a system because it would result in inferior teams. ... Congress should apply the same principle to immigration that is so readily accepted in sports: Encourage the best talent in the world to come to America."

opinion_commentary

Greg Victor (gvictor@post-gazette.com).


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