White House reaction to a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate, regarding employers who have religious or moral qualms about offering employees insurance that covers contraception, is illuminating.
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the bill. It was to counter a plan by President Barack Obama's administration to force all employers, including those such as Roman Catholic hospitals and universities, to provide their employees with insurance including contraception. Catholic leaders say that would be contrary to one of the basic tenets of their faith.
The White House has amended the plan - slightly. Now it requires insurance carriers serving employers to provide the coverage at no cost to either employees or employers.
Manchin and Rubio want a law allowing any employers to refuse to provide such coverage if it is counter to their religious or moral beliefs.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said the bill is "dangerous and wrong."
Just like that. The Manchin-Rubio bill, by safeguarding First Amendment rights, is "dangerous and wrong." Indeed, the bill may need some refinement. But it says a lot about Obama that he believes protecting religious freedom is "dangerous and wrong."
Surely there are not 600 substantial threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem. Yet the federal government, through a $300 million pot of funding each year, provides money for more than 600 projects related to the Great Lakes.
There are significant threats of immediate concern, of course. One of them is the invasive species known as Asian carp, which could decimate populations of other marine life in the lakes, if allowed to multiply.
More than one-fifth of the surface freshwater on the planet is contained in the Great Lakes. Obviously, keeping them healthy is important to all Americans. To accomplish that, federal officials should take a more focused approach to funding Great Lakes projects, to make limited resources count.