sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tolerance and Islam

ST PAUL, MN - At University of St. Thomas, Catholics and Muslims find common ground as St. Thomas makes room for Muslims to practice their faith. 
This year, school officials decided to renovate space in Loras Hall, a century-old office building that used to be part of the seminary, and install separate wash stations in the men’s and women’s restrooms, at a cost of about $60,000. Known as “Wudu” stations, they have stools and faucets designed to make it easy to wash both hands and feet.
The Catholic school is nothing if not 'progressive.
(Star TribuneTerence Nichols, a professor of theology, says he’s not that surprised that Muslim students would feel comfortable at St. Thomas. “There’s been a growth of Muslim students across the country in Catholic universities,” said Nichols, who is co-director of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center. Why? “Because we take religion seriously, and they’re accepted.” 
Lori Friedman, director of International Student Services at St. Thomas, agrees. “In a Catholic university, faith is pretty important in general,” she said. “Our Muslim students feel that they can have their faith valued here as well, and be respected.”
Imagine a world in Tehran or perhaps in Mecca, where the same accommodation would be afforded.
“They didn’t have to do this,” said Alowayyid, who will finish her studies in December. “But they did it, which I appreciate.” 
Asked if she could imagine a Saudi university doing the same for visiting Christians, she replied: “Not in your wildest dreams. Sorry to say, but that’s the truth. That’s reality. There is no other faith, other than Islam, that’s practiced in Saudi Arabia.”

This is not an anti-Islamic rant. I can only comment from personal observations and those of others that Islam seems to be intent on taking - and taking, without ever giving anything in return. And when you ask them to stop taking, they are offend and put out a fatwa (Islamic legal opinion) suggesting that all good Muslims should work diligently to end your life.

That the Catholics of St. Thomas have decided to ignore this speaks to sheep who ignore the sheep dogs and make friends with wolves.

Chatting with Baby Sister

My sister works as an administrator in a hospital in Washington State. We don't talk all that much but we did over Thanksgiving. I asked her about the impact that ObamaCare has had on her corner of the healthcare industry. Again, this is not a nationwide or global perspective -- just her view.

"Progressive Propaganda" 
Baby Sister said that in October, they laid off 500 employees essentially because of ObamaCare and the reduced money that the hospital plans to take in. Her hospital is one of those which will accept ObamaCare insurance. Essentially it's a vast expansion of Medicaid with very low reimbursement schedules that most doctors don't accept -- and neither do most hospitals. She said: 
  • "We're working a skeleton crew now, since it's the only way that we can balance the budget. We're not the government. We can't spend money that we aren't taking in."
  • "Patient care will be as good as it can be when you consider the circumstances."
  • "A lot of doctors who used to send their patients here (to her hospital) aren't doing it anymore. You know, a lot of doctors* won't be participating in the Affordable Healthcare Plan. It's sad to see the best go away and the doctors who are strapped for business and accept the ObamaCare packages, still here." 
I countered that the law hadn't gone into effect fully -- why is she seeing this now?
  • "We have to anticipate, and that's part of the problem. The President (of the USA) is flip-flopping and driving the insurance companies crazy. The law says one thing and that's bad enough, but he changes the law on a whim about every third day with this or that regulation of legal stipulation being waived or kicked down the road."
  • "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bizarre 2010 claim that 'We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it,' doesn't even make sense now because we have a 2000 page law that changes based on the President's take on political polling. We have no idea what new (and strange) changes will come to pass a week from now or a month from now. If we don't plan for the worst, we could end up in the red and you can't run a business like that."
What about the website?
  • "The hospital website works and the insurance company's websites work. It's just the government website that doesn't work." 
How affordable is the Affordable Healthcare Act?
  • "A survey, which polled more than 3,000 doctors, also found that 80% of physicians say Americans currently insured will have to pay more under ObamaCare while 76% see overall health care costs rising due to the ACA."
  • "I think that overall, it will cause the cost of healthcare to spiral upward for a few years, but in the end, I think that it will be unpopular enough that people will elect Republicans to fill seats formerly held by Democrats and the ACA will be repealed, and costs will settle down as a measure of predictability returns to the insurance market. Unpredictability, which we're seeing with the President's way of conducting business, will inevitably cause insurers to pad their numbers and costs will go up as a function of cause and effect."
  • "The Board of Trustees made the decision to accept ACA insurance and they're very touchy about it. There is an unwritten rule that if you criticize it, you won't work here long. The mood is very strange for a hospital where we're usually joking and cynical about everything. Now I know what working in a Soviet Era hospital must have been like."
My sister has been a Democrat in the past. She said that she's changed her party affiliation. "You know (she said, as if I didn't know this) Central government planning has never delivered on its promises and there's no reason to think it ever will." 

* Fact Check - 44%