Obama On Space Exploration And Gay Visitation Rights

Happy Friday! I bet you never knew this about Dear Leader, vis a vis space exploration

“The bottom line is, nobody is more committed to manned spaceflight, to human exploration of space than I am,” he said in a speech to about 200 attendees of a White House-sponsored space conference here.

There’s probably a joke in there about Obama smoking pot earlier in life, but, no one? How about the astronauts and the people who work for NASA and other companies involved in the space program? Once again, he has made something All About Obama. And would you be surprised by this?

Strikingly, Mr. Obama used the speech to blame his predecessors for lacking leadership on space policy and the critics of his own plan for failing to recognize that times have changed. NASA’s budgets, he noted, have “risen and fallen with the political winds.” That appeared to be a shot at President George W. Bush, who announced a new plan for NASA after the Columbia disaster and barely mentioned space policy again for the rest of his presidency.

He. Just. Can’t. Stop.

Next up

President Obama mandated Thursday that nearly all hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians and respect patients’ choices about who may make critical health-care decisions for them, perhaps the most significant step so far in his efforts to expand the rights of gay Americans.

The president directed the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation in a memo that was e-mailed to reporters Thursday night while he was at a fundraiser in Miami.

Administration officials and gay activists, who have been quietly working together on the issue, said the new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding, a move that covers the vast majority of the nation’s health-care institutions. Obama’s order will start a rule-making process at HHS that could take several months, officials said.

On one hand, I agree with this. If two people love each other, why should anyone stand in their way? This is America, which is supposed to be the land of the free. If it doesn’t harm someone else, why should we care? Visitation rights and care rights should be extended. But, that is where it becomes a sticky widget.

First, remember when Executive orders were decried when Bush was president?

Second, as James Joyner points out, this actually should have come from the legislature, going way beyond any sort of clarifying instruction on existing law. As I point out, this should have rightly come from State legislatures, per that pesky Constitution thing.

Third, notice that Obama does this on the pretext of hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. This is one of those issues that we have been complaining about, namely, that the government will use tenuous links to healthcare to link issues and force resolutions. In other words, the creeping intrusion of government control.

Finally, as it stands now, those rights have always been reserved for family members, including the person the patient is married to. This would extend extra rights to gays, lesbians, and transgenders not held by heterosexual couples. If a woman went to the hospital and claimed the man in the hospital bed was her “partner,” the hospital would deny visitation and patient care decisions. If a gay man went in and said he was the partner of the male patient, they would have to extend visitation and care decisions. That is wrong. The order should have been limited to those who are joined under the eyes of the law (and, yes, I do support civil ceremonies for gays. This is America, etc and so on).

Actually, many gays should be very worried about the broadness of this order. Seriously, do you want the person you just broke up with in a screaming match with much broken dishes who slashed your tires the other day being able to come into the hospital, claim they are your partner, and decide that what you really need is a high colonic and a body shave?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach

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