Caught in a time warp

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

February 10, 2012 1:14:53 PM PST
Are we in a time warp to the 1980s? Or maybe it's the 1950s. The political discussions underway might give some that impression. The hot topics today: Birth control and women serving in military combat.

Pres. Obama today - responding to a firestorm of controversy and a well-prepped Catholic Church - and changing course in his health care proposal to require all employers to offer birth control to its female workers.

Now, religious charities and religious hospitals will be exempt from that requirement; the health insurance companies will be required to offer it. It's a walk-the-fine-line compromise, but the White House is hoping it soothes the tension.

The truth is that health plans have for years offered contraceptive coverage to employers - including religious-based groups. And now that the White House has exempted one particular segment from providing one particular kind of coverage, the health insurance industry worries that it might set some type of unhealthy precedent. We'll see. But it does seem a throwback to a different time.

And the weird irony here is that birth control coverage is revenue neutral or even saves money for insurers. That's because - and this isn't complicated - birth control means fewer pregnancies which means lower medical expenses.

The other throwback issue was sparked by the military considering formalizing the role of women in combat. The truth here is that for years women have been in combat situations -especially in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have died fighting, and been in leadership roles in combat.

But Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum stepped into it - and back to the 1950s' - by saying that there could be "emotions" involved when women go into combat.

Emotions from women? That's what Santorum was asked. Ah, er, well, no, that's not what I mean, said the former Senator, who then painfully tried to explain that men in foxholes might feel emotional and protective of women, and jeopardize their own lives to save the women.


Is this a temporary throwback in thinking? Or are we headed back to the future? It's a great water cooler topic today. And we'd love to hear your thoughts, by CLICKING HERE.

We'll also have the latest on the contraceptive compromise, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're at Madison Square Garden to see the phenom known as Jeremy Lin - a Harvard-educated newcomer to the Knicks who has had an incredible three games - leading the team to three victories and, in the process, turning himself into a roundball kind of Victor Cruz - the Giants phenom who went from Mr. Nowhere to Mr. BMOC.

Lin, growing up in the Bay Area of California, played well at Harvard, but never really caught fire in the NBA.

Until he came to the biggest media market in the country. The first American-born Chinese player in the league, playing point guard on a team that isn't used to its playmaker being selfless and team-oriented, looking for assists and fast-breaks more than points of his own. Is he a shot-in-the-dark or is he here to stay? Mr. Lin might be tested in that regard tonight, when the Knicks take on the Lakers. This is much more than just a basketball story - especially because his story resonates with so many. He's sleeping on his brother's couch in an apartment in the Lower East Side, and he's being paid the minimum salary - $800,000, in a league where some players make that in 2 weeks.

Also tonight at 11 - our Nina Pineda comes to the aid of a local homeowner whose fence was flattened four times by drivers taking the curve in front of his home way too fast. He put up a surveillance camera and caught the speedsters, and gave the tape to Nina and 7 On Your Side. What happens next is pure Nina!

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports - including highlights from the Knicks/Lakers game. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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