St. Louis Catholic Business Owner Sues HHS over Contraception Mandate

O'Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC

Frank R. O'Brien, owner of O'Brien Industrial Holdings, has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services because the recent contraception mandate violates his right to freedom of religious belief.

CBS News reports:

The lawsuit marks the first legal challenge to the HHS mandate from a private business owner and his company. Until now, only religious organizations or institutions have brought lawsuits challenging the mandate. ...

[American Center for Law and Justice representative Francis J. Manion says] "The HHS mandate tells people like Frank O'Brien that they have to choose between conducting their business in a manner consistent with their moral values, or conducting their business in a manner consistent with the government's values. The constitution does not allow the government to impose such a choice."

It'll be interesting to see where this goes. And no, HHS, making insurance companies pay for the contraceptives instead of the small business itself is not different; you're still violating conscience rights, and for what?

If you can, please show support (either through prayer or direct contact) for Mr. O'Brien and those who oppose this ridiculous mandate.

More Information: Direct link to the lawsuit documents (PDF)

On Being Overpriced

In the recent hubbub over Motorola Xoom pricing, I started to think a bit more about the current landscape of tablets on the market today—the iPad, and the competition.

Obviously, the iPad has won round 1. And it looks like round 2 is starting with Apple throwing all the punches—even though there's been no word on a second revision from the horse's mouth (yet).

But I was thinking to myself, "Why (and how?!) is Apple the only company selling a worthy $499 tablet." Apple's always been known to most people in the world as a luxury brand—and they are, in some senses—but why is Motorola introducing a tablet that retails for $799 minimum at launch, and will someday have a $599 version?

Motorola, and others in the 'actually working / almost shipping' tablet manufacturing market, probably see that the mid-range iPads are more popular than the cheap ones, and they target this price range/feature set. So, in a sense, what they're doing makes sense: target the large part of the bell curve of tablet sales, and make a great sub-$800 tablet.

However, I think they neglect to see one of Apple's greatest advantages: the upsell.

Apple has a $499 iPad, sure. But I don't know anyone that owns it. People instead go to the store feeling like they can afford $499 (it's only $500, right?). Then they look at numbers like 16 GB with WiFi only, and then see that they can just pay a little more and get 32 GB. A little more than that, and they can also have 3G, in case they ever need it.

Thus, Apple can still make a small margin on the $499 iPad, but they absorb the downside of that small margin by selling people the second model in the lineup. The $499 iPad is worth far more than you can imagine to Apple's iPad sales—even if it's not the hottest selling model. Even if Motorola would take a loss selling a $499 Xoom, they should do it.

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