Senator Rubio... issued a statement in which he called Thursday's vote "a setback for religious freedoms in America". In fact, it was nothing of the kind. The health care law does not demand that religious groups change their beliefs, only that they not impose them on nonbelievers - or believers who disagree ~ Randy Schultz in a 3/2/2012 Palm Beach Post editorial, referring to Rubio's disappointment in the defeat of the Blunt amendment (an amendment under which all employers - not just religious or religious-affiliated employers - could refuse to include any coverage in medical insurance plans that is not "consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions").
Note: The following is an excerpt from the 3/9/2012 broadcast of The Young Turks hosted by Cenk Uygur, which I edited for brevity and clarity...
Cenk Uyger: In a stand up routine in Dallas Bill Maher called Sarah Palin the "C" word, which is very, very harsh (although this was in a stand up routine and not on his HBO program). Apparently he said "That's the only word for her".
Video Clip of Sarah Palin: [My summary] Sarah Palin has suggested on Fox Nooz that Barack Obama's Super PAC should return the 1 million dollars Maher donated. Sarah Palin calls the donation "dirty money" and asks (in reference to the president) "How can he sleep at night". [end video clip].
Cenk: Here's how I would sleep at nigh [makes snoring noises].
Video Clip of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: [Responding to the suggestion that Bill Maher's donation should be returned]. "We are not, and cannot be the arbitrator of every statement that everybody makes in the policy and political arena. As a general matter, obviously language that denigrates women is inappropriate. [End video clip].
Cenk: Alright, let's open it up to [our panel]. Let's start with Ana, logically. Obviously [both Rush's and Bill Maher's comments] were directed at women. You're a woman. This was really, really bad. What are your thoughts?
Ana Kasparian: The C word is really bad, but as with anything, context always matters. When you look at Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh was not doing a comedy routine, he was being serious. He called [Sandra Fluke] a slut and a prostitute and he meant it. Whereas Bill Maher... look, that word is very, very harsh, but it was in the middle of a comedy routine. I give him a pass for it.
Cenk: OK, now, Jimmy, you're a comedian. Should comedians get a broader area to play in here? Is this fair game in that context?
Jimmy Dore: Here's the problem when they try to equate what Bill Maher did with what Rush Limbaugh did. When you are ridiculing someone in power - that's comedy. When you're ridiculing someone who is powerless that's called bullying. That's the difference. Sarah Palin had power, she was a governor, she ran to be the second most powerful person in the country... she's wide open to ridicule. Bill Maher doesn't have any power over her. Rush Limbaugh used his power to intimidate not only [Sandra Fluke] but all women who might speak up for women's reproductive health.
Cenk: I hear you, but I think the C word is out of bounds. I'm not sure if it is out of bounds in a comedy routine... he didn't say it on his TV show. If he had said it on his TV show - I'd say it's not right and he should apologize. Michael What do you think?
Michael Shure: I think it's OK for them [Conservatives] to say if Rush Limbaugh had to apologize, some of these people should have to apologize. But I do think there is a difference in the arena where you are, and context (in agreement with Ana). I think that does matter.
Cenk: Alright, Jesus, you're usually the voice of reason. Because it's a comedy routine, do you think that word can be used?
Jesus Godoy: I don't think it's OK. But Rush Limbaugh with his history...
Ana: Rush Limbaugh has been pushing this anti-women ideology for such long time... for decades now. That's why use of the word feminazi is very common among people who want to hate on women.
Cenk: I hear you, I think the word "feminazi" is worse then all of them. I hear you on that, but, at the same time, it's not like Bill Maher... and I love Bill Maher, and I agree with him 98 percent of the time, but if someone were to charge Bill Maher with misogyny, I wouldn't say that was out of bounds.
Jimmy Dore: The words he used were probably not a good choice (he also called Palin a "twat"). At the same time I don't believe it's equivalent [to what Rush said]. Rush's was a three-day attack on a woman who was not a public person. And when [Bill Maher used the C word] he wasn't shaming [Palin] for her sexuality, [but] Rush was shaming [Sandra Fluke] for her sexuality.
Cenk: I hear you. I also do not think they are equivalent. You guys are 100 percent right about the context. Now, having said that - when they say, President Obama look at these comments which are harmful to women... give the money back... is that a fair point? Should he give the money back Michael?
Michael Shure: No. I don't think he should give the money back - because Bill Maher gave money to a PAC. On the Republican side you've got much worse.
Jimmy Dore: The John Birch Society.
Michael Shure: The John Birch Society, exactly. That's a perfect example.
Cenk: If I was Obama I'd say, "Super PAC? I don't coordinate with my Super PAC at all". I hear you on the two not being equivalent and not giving the money back, but I think Maher should consider apologizing. What do you guys think about that? Quick ruling, Ana?
Ana: He should consider it.
Michael Shure: He should consider it, but it's fine if he doesn't because he's a comedian.
Jimmy Dore: I don't think he should because it gives the appearance that he agrees that it's equivalent.
Cenk: OK, I think he should consider it, but I'm not the boss of Bill Maher. He isn't going to listen to me or anybody else. Alright, thank you guys. [end of segment].
Cenk: (After returning from a commercial break) In the last segment we asked if Bill Maher's comments were as offensive as Rush Limbaugh's. We asked the same question on Current.com to find out what you [the viewers] thought, and the response was overwhelming. 87.27 percent of you said, no, not as offensive as Rush Limbaugh. Only 12.73 percent said yes. Well, if the Current viewers see it that way, it must be the case.
My Commentary: The comments are not equivalent. I said as much recently on another blog, and in response the proprietor (an individual who describes himself as a moderate) said, "Maher is every bit as much of a dirtbag as Limbaugh. They should BOTH be eviscerated/pilloried, in my opinion".
Furthermore, regarding Maher's use of the C word, I said "I think that word is demeaning to women and shouldn't be used, period. But, honestly, I am willing to [give Bill Maher a pass]. Why? Because I don't particularly care about Sarah Palin being demeaned. Also, "the National Organization for Women (NOW) condemned earlier Maher comments on Palin, [and] Palin responded by saying, 'I need NOW like a fish needs a bicycle'. She isn't willing to accept NOW's condemnation? OK, then I say to Bill Maher - use whatever words you want".
In response a blogger who calls himself "Rational Nation" said, "With your Palin comment you told us quite a lot about yourself. Your character anyway..."
I don't care what Rational Nation thinks about my character. I don't approve of Maher's use of that vile word, but I'm not going to condemn him either (or call him a "dirtbag"). Palin rejected NOW's condemnation of Maher's comments, so I assume she'd reject a Liberal blogger's defense of her as well (if I felt inclined to offer it). Yea, so no way... I'm going to remain a Bill Maher fan. As for Limbaugh, he's a dirtbag and his "apology" was insincere. If Maher apologized I'd believe him... although I know he won't, and don't think he should.
Note: The quote by Randy Schultz (no relation to Ed Schultz) at the top of the post really has nothing to do with the content of the post... although it does reflect how I feel about the Obama Administration's initial decision to require anyone who offers insurance (including religious institutions) to cover birth control.
As pointed out by Constitutional expert David Boies on the 2/8/2012 broadcast of "The Last Word" hosted by Lawrence O'Donnell, "There isn't a constitutional issue involved in this case... You don't exempt religious employers just because of their religion. You are not asking anybody in the Catholic church or any other church to do anything other than simply comply with a normal law that every employer has to comply with".