Under-appreciated Television

I was listening to a really entertaining Ricky Gervais interview on Fresh Air last week, and I realized it's a shame how few people have seen his terrific HBO series, Extras.  If you haven't seen it, it's well worth putting in your DVD queue.  Here are two of my favorite scenes from the show– the first is one of my favorite TV scenes ever.  Patrick Stewart is just brilliant.


And this one with Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter) is terrific, too.

This also got me thinking about an also very under-appreciated show on HBO, The Comeback. Pitch black humor perfectly done. Anyway, consider giving both of these a try.

The Bishops and me

As if all the harboring of sexual predators wasn't enough, now the Catholic Church has made it their official policy to deny health insurance (and thus decent health care!) to millions of Americans.  They might want to re-read the part of the catechism about social justice.  Tim Noah's article I just linked to in my last post, links to this latest release from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, stating their opposition to health care reform over the abortion issue.  The Bishops are not stupid (oddly morally stunted, but not stupid) and they know that the choice now is not the House Bill with the abortion language the like, or the Senate bill, with the abortion language good enough for the pro-life Democratic Senators, but not the USCCB.  The choice is the Senate Bill or nothing.  The choice is expanding access to health care for millions of Americans and, worst case, depending on how you like to do your accounting, federal dollars indirectly subsidizing abortions (which, as I've discussed, they of course already do) or no health care reform..  No insurance for millions of Americans who could desperately benefit (I'll leave aside the other good policy benefits and focus on the moral aspect, which the Bishops should presumably care about).  How they can make that choice is beyond me.  Again, I'd suggest they re-read the Church teachings on Social Justice (which Glenn Beck is so afraid of), and might actually consider the words of Jesus, who sure seemed a lot more interested in helping the poor and suffering than stopping abortions.

Of course, one can argue that the bishops job is to focus on moral teachings (i.e., abortion) and not politics, but focusing on politics is exactly what they are doing here.  They are advocating for a specific political outcome– one that, if it comes to pass, will do far more harm than good to human life.  

I've decided that I'm not giving to the Bishop's Annual Appeal this year.  That's a shame, because most of the money does support the still vital Catholic mission of social justice.  But no way am I supporting an organization that is so willfully blind to the suffering they will cause in the name of the most narrow reading of morality.  I've decided my money will go to other organizations that support a Social Justice mission in North Carolina without also fighting to stop this important legislation.  I haven't figured out what those other organizations will be yet, though.  Feel free to leave any suggestions in comments.  Ideally I'd like to support the same kind of mission that the Catholic Church actually does, just without the negative political baggage.

No health care reform = more abortions

I've already mentioned the irony of the pro-life Democrats taking such a narrow view of human life, i.e., before birth, that they are willing to sacrifice the lives and health of millions of already-born Americans over an excessively broad interpretation of federal funding of the abortion.  TR Reid had a Washington Post Op-Ed, pointing out how defeating health care reform will, in addition, in all likelihood actually lead to more abortions.  Slate's Tim Noah gives it the perfect succint summary:

 If Stupak prevails, then health care reform won't pass. If health care
reform doesn't pass, then pregnant women won't get improved access to
health care. And if pregnant women don't get improved access to health
care, then there will be more abortions. In a practical sense, then,
Stupak's anti-abortion amendment (to be more precise: Stupak's insanely stubborn advocacy for his amendment) will likelier increase the number of abortions than reduce them.

Arrrghh!  It would be one thing if the pro-life objections actually made sense, but the objections are ultimately worse for human life, both born and un-born.

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