My old diocese (Peoria) is still occasionally sending me updates because they haven't noticed I moved, and against my better judgement I just read part of one. In it, Bishop Jenky is going on about how he's willing to go to jail over resisting the mandate, saying that everyone who disagrees with him is just pretending to be Catholic, and finally has the gall to claim that "they wouldn't do this to any other religion in the country."
Yes, that's right. The Catholics are the ones that are persecuted here. That's why they make up something like a quarter of all Americans, a similar percentage of Congress, and fully two-thirds of the Supreme Court.
He, like many others in the hierarchy, is pulling out all the stops on this. They care about this issue more than they have cared about any other issue, social or political or theological, in my lifetime. They have mobilised the troops on this issue more than they do for abortion, their heretofore banner issue, and the only other issue that they've raised even close to this much fuss about.
And the thing they (claim to) care about, more than anything else, is making it harder for women, Catholic or not, to gain some measure of control over their own reproductive health.
They were often accused of having an anti-women bias over abortion, and they protested that it wasn't about being anti-women, it was all about the innocent embryos. As a surface motivation, this is somewhat plausible, and I think most of them believe it to be true (although I think there are probably subconscious motivations they may not be aware of). But there's just no analogous claim that they can be making here.
So yes, they care. Or at least claim to. They're ready to go to jail to demonstrate what martyrs they are for the deep and abiding principle of... of... not letting women exert control over their own bodies? Because granting women such access, and making everyone pay into a pool to pay for it---a tax, effectively---is the largest affront to the church that they've ever seen. Apparently. I still think that at least some of the bishops were duped into this and haven't really thought about what-all they're supporting, but they've thrown in with the Republicans in a big way here and are promoting an agenda of making non-Catholic women (who ignore them) and Catholic women (who mostly disagree with them) less able to make their own moral, personal choices.
"Sometimes one despairs of using natural language for communication of propositions between humans, when it is so manifestly not suited to the task." --Geoff Pullum
I finally just got around to hooking up my printer. It's been sitting in a box since I packed it up to move last July—now that I again live very close to work, I'd just been printing anything I needed at work.
So I opened up the box and lifted out the printer. No cables there; I must have merged them in with the rest of my supply. So, dug out a standard power cable and a standard ethernet cable, and connected them. Then I pressed the power button, and it went through several minutes of self-testing.
When it was done, it said, "Paper out. Refill and press Start to continue." Ok, sure. Then I had to go track down my printer paper, but I found it, filled the printer, and pressed Start. I figured it was just going to print a test sheet or something.
What came out was a two-page programming problem that I had written for our Longwood programming contest back in mid-October. I stared at this for a moment. I have not thought about this problem in close to six months. I didn't even remember developing it on my home machine, although apparently I did (the files are there). So all I can think is that I absentmindedly hit Print six months ago, perhaps while trying to generate a PDF or something; and it sat in the queue since then. My computer has been rebooted several times in that interval, and assorted programs have been upgraded, but this lonely little print job has patiently waited for my printer to be reconnected, and sure enough, it was, and it jumped right to it and printed.
Now I kind of feel guilty recycling the paper. It went to such effort, you know?
"We have to stop looking at the government as 'them', and have to start reclaiming it as 'us'." --Rich Whitney