What exactly does “closely held” really mean?

And will these “closely held” organizations be completely transparent about all the implications of their particular religious beliefs?  There is much to think about with regard to the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision.

As much of a liberal feminist as I am, I have always supported the right of faith-based organizations to decline covering medical prescriptions/procedures that their church doctrine views as immoral. Part of my opinion is based on the fact that most people are aware of these policies when they are hired by a Catholic hospital or other obviously faith-based employers.  
I DO hope that the law will require that  ”closely held” corporations be completely upfront about their religious doctrine when they interview prospective employees, along with the implications those beliefs might have to employees who are not of that faith – even beyond the issue of birth control. For instance, could women employed by a “closely held” Muslim corporation be required to wear a head scarf at work? 
Currently I am trying to find an unbiased source to answer one question. Does the Hobby Lobby plan cover vasectomies? Many sites indicate that they do cover Viagra and other similar drugs. I do not see that as a viable criticism in this context. Viagra is a drug aimed at restoring a natural ability that has been lost. But what about vasectomies? How is that different from birth control? Is Hobby Lobby still covering vasectomies? Are they still covering female sterilization?  I cannot determine that for sure. It is so hard to find an unbiased site with a definitive answer.
Now – before the conservatives start yelling that Hobby Lobby is still covering other forms of female birth control (just not those they see as being equivalent to abortion)…..trust me …. I FULLY understand that a vasectomy is a way to prevent the fertilization of eggs – not to destroy the ability of a fertilized egg to grow or abort an embryo.  And I know that Hobby Lobby is still paying for the pill and other forms of birth control.
BUT, I am looking at the larger implications of this Supreme Court ruling.
I believe this ruling opens the door for Catholic “closely held” corporations to ban ALL birth control, since Church doctrine forbids all forms of artificial birth control. Again – I have no problem with that if the organization is totally upfront about their policies and it is obvious that this is a CATHOLIC organization. But suppose a small Catholic family opens an ice cream store called…say… “Ice Cream Lobby”? How will future employees know of a religious connection? There needs to be very clear government requirements that both small and large employers be totally upfront about what is and is not being covered by their health plans. People need to know what they might be giving up in the way of employee benefits when they sign on to ANY kind of faith-based organization, whether it be a closely held corporation or the Vatican. 
Clearly stating the religious background of all organizations will be absolutely imperative of course. Most of us know the stance on birth control of the Catholic Church. But some may not. How many of us know the full religious doctrine of every faith – Jewish, Mormon, Presbyterian, Hari-Krishnas, Unitarians, Muslims etc. etc. etc.?
Do I agree with the Hobby Lobby decision?  I am not entirely sure. Nothing is ever simple. I need to research some more. The problem is that the noisiest opinions rise to the top of Google. What I have read so far is either rabidly conservative or rabidly liberal. Yes, my conservative friends….BOTH extreme positions are easily found on the internet and other media outlets. Really. The “lame stream media” cuts both ways.
It is moderation and thoughtfulness that are in short supply these days. 
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Saving the world, one meal at a time

Most of these ideas are easy to do. The saddest thing though is how expensive it is to eat organic. Why is it that we have to pay MORE for foods that do not have chemicals or antibiotics added to them? It is all about volume. If more of us bought organic, then organic would become cheaper.  

One thing we all CAN do is to buy local fresh produce while it is available. The season is upon us here in the Northeast at last!  Farm markets are increasing in number and size,  and are fun to attend. Some of them even sell grass fed/free range meat and eggs.  I buy my eggs from a farmer down the road from me. It is a pleasure to see the chickens outside doing what chickens are supposed to do. And it is a joy to see the pigs out in the pasture doing what pigs are supposed to do, rather than wallowing in a muddy, enclosed pen.  Or worse yet…a CAFO for pigs. 

My husband and I are on fixed incomes now, but we try to cut back on other expenses so we can buy GOOD food.  You will be surprised how much better it tastes.  Yes – there are studies that say there is no difference in the nutritional value of GMO veggies and organic.  That skirts the issue of pesticides completely.  The nutrition might be there – but do you really want to consume pesticides and antibiotics which are used – amazingly – in veggies, not just in meat.? We can all make a big difference in our environment and in our personal health!

Not enough time to eat non-processed food?  I admit that we are eating better now that I am retired.  But I have come across many great recipes on America’s Test Kitchen that can be whipped up in less than 15 minutes and, at the most, require a half hour in the oven.  One tip?  Roast your veggies.  They taste AMAZING (especially when brushed with a little olive oil and seasoning) and they do not have to be “supervised” the way boiled veggies need to be.  Also – when you are cutting onions, celery, carrots etc. – it does not take much more time to cut twice as many. That makes for an even easier meal a day or two later.

Mostly – let’s save the world a bite at a time!

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Can we please just be kind?

Can we please hold off on our judgement? We do NOT know what happened here. We do NOT know what horrors this man has been subjected to for FIVE YEARS. Can we please be better than the Taliban? Can we please show kindness? Isn’t it better to show compassion first, and judgement (if necessary) later? What would Jesus do?


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Libraries Irrelevant??

Only if librarians let it happen.  But I am ever more encouraged that this won’t happen.  As long as there are ever more teacher-librarians like Cathy Nelson we are safe. Fighting Ambiguity and Irrelevancy

Though..I do find myself frustrated by occasional articles in the popular press that have NO IDEA what actually goes on in a good, relevant library like Cathy’s.  I wonder if there are still a significant number librarians out there still cling to the outdated concept of Library as Book Depository?  Good public and school libraries have actually NEVER been that.  It is the myth that is hard to kill.  Years ago, one of my teachers made a very interesting observation that was very accurate and prescient.

The Library As Convention Center?



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Think Marketing Can’t Fool You?

Alas – we are fooled every day. My health issues and my environmentalist tendencies – egged on (literally) by my hippy-environmentalist daughter – have spurred me into studying about the relationships between personal health and global health. Big agribusiness has been a major shock for me….a girl who grew up across the street from a dairy farm. My childhood memories are filled with stopping at cattle crossings as the lumbering, sad-eyed cows slowly crossed the road. I spent happy hours at the barn petting my favorites at milking time, playing with the barn cats, enjoying the scent of hay…and watching the cows go out to pasture, becoming the sweet backdrop to my rural world.  So….it was a shock to find out about CAFOs.  If you don’t know what that means – watch this video and find out!

No One Applauds This Woman

Yes, I know, the woman is an actor.  But the content, I can assure you, is accurate.  The audience is real – and their shocked reaction is real.  Wow!

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