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Federal court orders Hobby Lobby to comply with Obamacare contraception mandate

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On Thursday, a federal appeals court struck down an attempt by the company Hobby Lobby to gain exemption from a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.”  According to Reuters, the Court of Appeals in Denver, CO against the arts-and-crafts store chain’s contention that the Christian fundamentalist beliefs of its owners should exempt them from covering “morning after” and “week after” anti-conception medications as part of their employees’ health insurance coverage, as mandated under the ACA.

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The Green family, who own the chain, have vowed to contest the ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Their case is being represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a Christian legal group.

“The Green family is disappointed with this ruling,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for Beckett.  “The Greens will continue to make their case on appeal that this unconstitutional mandate infringes their right to earn a living while remaining true to their faith.”

The medications at issue are listed as emergency contraceptives under the provisions of the ACA. Hobby Lobby calls the medications ‘abortion drugs’ even though emergency contraception works by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg and therefore pregnancy.

Forty-one other legal actions have been filed over this provision of the ACA, according to the Washington, DC-based Beckett Fund.

Should Hobby Lobby continue to defy the mandate, it faces up to $1.3 million in fines daily beginning January 1.

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UPDATE: Hobby Lobby is officially asking the Supreme Court to issue a temporary injunction so that the company will not have to comply with the contraception mandate, reported Politico. A Supreme Court injunction would allow the company to evade the mandate while it appeals the most recent decision to a lower court.

[image of birth control pills,  courtesy of Flickr/brains the head, Creative Commons licensed]


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2020 Election

That was no debate — it was a brawl

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Do we really have to pick a debate winner in a brawl? Do the rules matter?

Didn’t we know ahead of time that Donald Trump would slash viciously and personally and pretend that he is an outsider to Washington and that Joe Biden would try to look presidential,  mostly stick to his message while wryly noting that Trump was lying once again? If there was a substantive question or response that was a surprise, it slipped by me.

It may have been important to election prospects, but as a debate, it was a pretty sad commentary on our times. And yes, the fact-checking industry was hard at work (yes, Mr. President, there are 100 million Americans with health pre-conditions.)

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Here are 5 stunning moments from Biden and Trump’s first debate

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President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off for the first time Tuesday night in the inaugural presidential debate of the 2020 general election.

It was a catastrophe. Trump was belligerent, mendacious, and overbearing, refusing to let Biden answer questions most of the time without interruption. Biden managed to get in several good moments, but he was often bulled over by the president's bluster and was unable to make a complete argument.

But Trump didn't really seem to get the better of Biden. By being so aggressive, he came off desperate, dishonest, and out of control. It was not a good look for a sitting president. And it completely undermined the supposed point of the debate: informing voters about the issues. Instead, it showcased the candidates' respective personalities, at least to some degree. While unpleasant, it may have been informative in its own way.

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Trump blasted for ‘avalanche of lying’ in brutal takedown by CNN fact-checker

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CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale provided a brutal dose of reality after President Donald Trump constantly mislead Americans with his false claims during the first 2020 general election presidential debate.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer introduced Dale by recapping that, in his opinion, "clearly this debate was an embarrassment for the United States of America -- a clear embarrassment."

"How much was fact?" Blitzer asked. "How much was false?"

"Well, it depended Wolf on who we were listening to," Dale replied.

"I think it's important for us as journalists to say when both sides are not alike -- and they were not alike tonight," he explained.

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