Sebelius: Contraception Mandate Won’t Cost Taxpayers Because There Will Be Fewer People to Insure

In a classic example of what many observers will call a “she said what” moment, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explained that the population controlling effects of the contraception mandate will compensate for its costs to taxpayers in a hearing before a House panel today.

“The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception,” Sebelius said.

Her questioner, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), responded with no small measure of incredulity. “So by not having babies born, we’re saving money?”

Sebelius did not answer the question directly. “Family planning is a critical health benefit in this country, according to the Institute of Medicine,” she said, simply.

Watch the exchange:

Read more here.

The New Orleans Saints Bounty Program

This is what you hear from NFL players all the time. Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t really care about players. Goodell is a dictator. A bully. Goodell is arrogant and oh, yeah, Goodell doesn’t really care about the players.

But what an investigation into the New Orleans Saints and a despicable bounty system revealed shows the opposite. It shows that sometimes players, who push for safety, are hypocrites. While talking on one hand about their concerns regarding concussions, in another moment they are openly contriving to badly injure fellow players for chump change. It shows that on occasion it is indeed actually Goodell who attempts to control the more primal and at times disgusting tendencies of some players who do things when the cameras are off and no one is looking.

A lengthy investigation by the NFL’s security department has disclosed that between 22 and 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints, as well as at least one assistant coach, maintained a “bounty” program funded primarily by players in violation of NFL rules during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.

Goodell released a lengthy and unbelievably disturbing report that dozens of Saints defensive players were using a bounty system that paid players for inflicting damaging injuries on opponents. This is ugly stuff. It doesn’t get much worse than this. Really, it doesn’t.

“The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance’ but also for injuring opposing players,” Goodell said in a statement. “The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.”

And those are the two elements players have complained about for years now, and rightfully so. This isn’t damning for all players but it’s damning enough and hurts the player narrative that Goodell and the NFL don’t care about the great toll this sport puts on their bodies and minds.

This shows the opposite, that players and even coaches sometimes need to be protected from themselves. The next time a player complains that football is too soft or there are now too many rules instituted by Goodell protecting players, remember this bounty situation, and tell that player or coach to shut the hell up.

One retired veteran player, who might one day go into the Hall of Fame, said to me Goodell is a hero because, “Myself included, we players sometimes do some really stupid stuff.”

And, again, this isn’t about all players. Yet after several quick text conversations with current and former players, I’m told this bounty system happens far more than people know. The NFL, I’m told by one league official, wanted to use the Saints as an example to stop this horrific practice once and for all.

I’m also told that the Saints’ bounty system was common knowledge around the league. How this investigation was kept a secret is a modern miracle. But I do know this: Everyone involved will likely face a stern suspension. No question about that.

This should lead to the firing of Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis, both of whom were identified in Goodell’s statement as knowing about the bounty system but turning a blind eye. There are many reasons not to like Payton; this is just another.

“Although head coach Sean Payton was not a direct participant in the funding or administration of the program,” the NFL’s statement read, “he was aware of the allegations, did not make any detailed inquiry or otherwise seek to learn the facts, and failed to stop the bounty program. He never instructed his assistant coaches or players that a bounty program was improper and could not continue.”

Player arrogance. Extreme arrogance from the coach and general manager. How Payton does not get fired is stunning but he won’t because he’s Teflon in New Orleans.

Read more here.

Breaking: The Chevy Volt Sucks

General Motors has temporarily suspended production of its Volt electric car, the company announced Friday.

GM, which is based in Detroit, announced to employees at one of its facilities that it was halting production of the beleaguered electric car for five weeks and temporarily laying off 1,300 employees.

A GM spokesman told The Hill on Friday that production of the Volt would resume April 23.

“We needed to maintain proper inventory and make sure that we continued to meet market demand,” GM spokesman Chris Lee said in a telephone interview.

Lee noted that sales of the Volt were higher in January than they were in February, and added that California recently decided to allow the electric car to qualify for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in the state.

“We see positive trends, but we needed to make this market adjustment,” he said.

The Chevy Volt has come under criticism from Republicans in Congress because of reports of its batteries catching on fire during testing. President Obama gave the electric vehicle a vote of confidence in a speech to the United Auto Workers union this week, promising he would buy a Volt “five years from now, when I’m not president anymore.”

But Republicans have argued that the Volt was being pushed by the Obama administration for political reasons instead of consumer demand.

“Is the commitment to the American public or is the commitment to clean energy, that we are going to get there any way we can?” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) asked in a hearing in the House in January about the Volt’s reported battery fires.

“When the market is ready … it won’t have to be subsidized,” Kelly said.

Chevy has argued the debate about the Volt has become too political.

“We did not develop the Chevy Volt to be a political punching bag,” General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson testified before Congress in the same January hearing. “We engineered the Volt to be a technological wonder.”

Read more here.

Did Obama and Fluke Have A Booty Call?

We’ve been paying very close attention to Sandra Fluke — the Georgetown law student that Nancy Pelosi paraded before a Congressional hearing to beg for employers to pay for contraception. Apparently Barack Obama has been too: he just called her to tell her how much he supports her.

Fluke has been the subject of much scrutiny since her testimony, which detailed how young girls are losing so much money because certain employers — in this case universities that offer student health plans — are not required to pay for their contraception. Both Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh maligned the co-ed this week, saying that Fluke is in essence asking taxpayers to foot the bill for her wanting to have sex.

Because of that mounting criticism, the president thought he’d reach out to Fluke and offer her some encouragement.

“He encouraged me and supported me and thanked me for speaking out about the concerns of American women,” Fluke told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, according to Politico. “And what was really personal for me was that he said to tell my parents that they should be proud. And that meant a lot because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether or not my family would be proud of me. So I just appreciated that very much.”

Read more here.

Anti-Occupy Movement Rallies Against ‘Obama’s War on Nature’

The anti-Occupy Wall Street movement—or Occupy Occupy D.C., as they call themselves—held a rally today at Freedom Plaza to call for a “Cease Fire in Obama’s War on Nature.” In particular, the rally goers in favor of freedom came out today to protest “the Obama Administration’s new policy to kill the barred owl in deference to the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest,” according to a press release announcing the event.

“After decades of sidelining the once-thriving American timber industry and taking the food out of the mouths of loggers’ children to allegedly protect the spotted owl, the green bureaucracy is still not happy and has declared war on the environment,” the director of the Occupy Occupy D.C. movement, David Almasi, said in the release. “One owl is being sacrificed for another. Where is the respect for the laws of nature? The one thing we do know from this travesty is that the Endangered Species Act is out-of-control and desperately needs to be reformed.”

Today’s protest seems to have been inspired by an Associated Press report from earlier this week. “To save the imperiled spotted owl, the Obama administration is moving forward with a controversial plan to shoot barred owls, a rival bird that has shoved its smaller cousin aside,” the report read. “The plan is the latest federal attempt to protect the northern spotted owl, the passive, one-pound bird that sparked an epic battle over logging in the Pacific Northwest two decades ago.”

Allen West Calls Out Obama: ‘Stop With the Osama Bin Laden Line’

Rep. Allen West on Friday said President Barack Obama needs to stop touting the death of Osama bin Laden, saying it was Navy SEALs — not the president — who killed him.

“Please stop with the Osama Bin Laden line, US Navy SEALS double-tapped that rascal,” the Florida Republican wrote in a post on his Facebook page.

If we’re gonna pay for birth control, we want something in return

“If we’re going to have to pay for this — then we want something in return, Ms. Fluke,” Limbaugh said. “And that would be the videos of all this sex posted online so we can see what we’re getting for our money.”

Limbaugh attempted to clarify his comments and explain the rationale for his derisive labeling of Fluke.

“Now what did I say?” Limbaugh asked. “I said if we’re paying for this, it makes these women sluts, prostitutes. What else could it be? We are buying it.”

Rush’s comments are intentionally provocative, but they also underscore the point that women and men who aren’t sexually active rarely have a need for contraception. Others have made the point he’s making — that if we’re gonna pay for birth control, we want something in return — in a less over-the-top way by pointing out that, if we’re going to pay for our neighbor’s birth control, then we should have a say in our neighbor’s sex life. How does that newly-coined saying go? “If you don’t want Uncle Sam in your bedroom, don’t ask Uncle Sam to pay for what goes down in your bedroom.”