Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Birthday to the City of Pride

200 years ago today, the State Legislature of Ohio, much to the dismay of Chillicothe and Zanesville (my birthplace) created a new city to be the State Capitol and Columbus was born.

Columbus doesn’t have mountains; in fact it’s hard to find a hill. There is no Ocean front. No mighty rivers like the Hudson or the Mississippi, though smaller scenic ones we have. The weather there isn’t the best nor the worst. But the thing Columbus has that no city in the world can beat, is the pride of its citizens.

Nothing pleases a Columbusite more then to show off his City. Years ago when a business visitor pointed toward the skyline and asked, is that Cincinnati or Cleveland over there? I grinned with pride and said, that is the downtown of Columbus, Ohio’s largest city.

Visitors to Columbus sometimes chuckle at the little tours locals invariably give them, showing them downtown, campus, the short north, german village, and don’t forget the Santa Maria, and we miss showing them the first Wendy’s.

Have you ever heard a local talk about the city of firsts? The first branch bank, first drive thru, first supermarket among a long list of them. How about the fast food capital, home of Wendy’s, White Castle, US headquarters of Tim Horton’s, and so many that have come and gone. (Remember the home of the whirling satellite?)

Whatever you do don’t get us started on the Corporate Headquarters based in our city. We will brag loudly about Volkswagen of America, The Limited, Aberchrombie and Fitch, Bob Evans, Nationwide Insurance, and AEP among so many others.

You know what is fun is taking a frequent shopper to one of our malls. They may not be the biggest but boy do we have everything. I recall showing a visitor Easton once. Just as we drove down the little European like street in front of the theater, she exclaimed, “now this is a mall”

Yes those from other places may mock our pride sometimes. They will never understand the awe some of us felt when we walked into the newly restored Palace Theater in 1980, the euphoria that waved over us when Buster Douglas upset Mike Tyson, the joy we felt when we walked into Nationwide Arena the first time and heard, “Welcome to the NHL, Columbus,” the broad smiles on our faces seeing Jack Hanna representing our Zoo so well on Letterman, or the tears that well up in our eyes simply seeing two lines of drummers silently lead a band out onto the field.

They may chuckle all they want, we will not change. Our pride is real, it is deep and it is never ending. Yes we love our City and we proudly shout out:


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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Religious Freedom or Hypocrisy

Two weeks ago the Catholic Bishops had a letter from them read at pulpits all over the country. It has caused a firestorm that in their desperation the Republicans have jumped all over. But what is this about, is it about morality, or religious freedom?

First of all let’s start with the facts. This is about a ruling by the Federal Health and Human Services department made that requires all employers to provide birth control services in health insurance programs. Yes, that is right, birth control, not abortion. In fact abortion is not mentioned or part of this rule in any way whatsoever. Anyone that says otherwise is misinformed or a flat out liar.

Unbelievable that in 2012 there is still a fight over birth control. But who is actually fighting? It sure isn’t the women of America since 99% of them have used or are using contraception now. In fact it isn’t even Catholic women because 98% of them do.

So they want you to ignore those facts and make this simply about religious freedom. But again is it? The Health and Human Service’s ruling exempts employees of actual churches. This ruling in fact has no affect on anyone in our around, or attending, or even employed by an actual church. So yes the church can decide not to cover birth control for the organist and the pastor’s secretary.

So who does it apply to? This effects the thousands of employees regardless of their religion of Catholic run institutions like universities and hospitals. These institutions are not churches, they are large organizations and are very large employers.

Some would say that the Catholic Church has the right to impose their beliefs on these institutions despite the fact they are not churches. Really now? The Catholic Church is also against divorce, perhaps they also have the right to fire anyone at these institutions that gets a divorce or even worse, turn someone away at an emergency room at their hospital because the patient is divorced? Of course not.

So how is this hypocrisy? First of all 22 states already have this requirement. Did the Catholic Church scream out then? But get this. A number of Catholic run institutions already provide insurance for birth control.

So what is this about? Frankly I am clueless. Being raised a Catholic myself and being taught in the vision of Jesus Christ to work for the poor, the needy, the helpless, the widowed, the elderly, the orphaned and the hungry is one of the reasons I am a liberal. For the Catholic Bishops to ignore all the things this administration has done in those areas, over a fight over a moral judgment that few Catholics even hold is truly baffling. All they have done is to insert themselves in typical RepubLIEcan hypocrisy for political gain. And boy are the RepubLIEcans enjoying using the Catholic Bishops for their ends.

What would be the result if the HHS reverses this policy? Will it stop female employees of Catholic Hospitals and Colleges from having sex unless they want children? Of course it won’t. It will instead result in those that can’t afford it to go without birth control, resulting in more unwanted pregnancies and worst of all more abortions. Hypocrisy? You bet it is.

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