...Gustav moving quickly northwestward over the central Gulf of Mexico...Hurricane Warning extended westward...at 4 PM CDT...2100 UTC...the Hurricane Warning is extended westward along the Louisiana and Texas coasts to just east of High Island Texas. A Hurricane Warning is now in effect from just east of High Island eastward to the Alabama-Florida border...including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect from east of the Alabama-Florida border to the Ochlockonee River. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.At 5 PM EDT...2100 UTC...the Tropical Storm Warning is discontinued for the Dry Tortugas.For storm information specific to your area...including possible inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.At 400 PM CDT...2100z...the center of Hurricane Gustav was located near latitude 26.4 north...longitude 87.3 west or about 215 miles... 350 km...south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.Gustav is moving toward the northwest near 18 mph...30 km/hr. This general motion is expected to continue with a decrease in forward speed during the next couple of days. On the forecast track... Gustav should make landfall on the northern Gulf Coast on Monday.Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph...185 km/hr...with higher gusts. Gustav is a category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Some re-intensification is possible tonight. Fluctuations in strength are likely thereafter...but Gustav is forecast to remain a major hurricane until landfall.Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 65 miles...100 km...from the center...and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 220 miles...350 km. Tropical storm conditions should begin to spread onto the northern Gulf Coast tonight...with hurricane conditions starting to spread onshore early Monday morning.The latest minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft is 957 mb...28.26 inches.An extremely dangerous storm surge of 10 to 14 feet above normal tidal levels is expected near and to the east of where the center of Gustav crosses the northern Gulf Coast. Above normal tides in the Dry Tortugas should diminish tonight.Gustav is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches over portion of Louisiana...southern Mississippi and southern Arkansas...with isolated maximum amounts of up to 20 inches possible through Wednesday morning. Additional rainfall amounts of about an inch are possible over Florida Keys and South Florida.Isolated tornadoes are possible over the central Gulf Coast tonight.Repeating the 400 PM CDT position...26.4 N...87.3 W. Movement toward...northwest near 18 mph. Maximum sustained winds...115 mph. Minimum central pressure...957 mb.An intermediate advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 700 PM CDT followed by the next complete advisory at 1000 PM CDT.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation: With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest - a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.
To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia - I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.
Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story - of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.
It is that promise that has always set this country apart - that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.
That's why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women - students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.
We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.
Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.
These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.
America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.
This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.
This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.
We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.
Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land - enough! This moment - this election - is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."
Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.
But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.
The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives - on health care and education and the economy - Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors - the man who wrote his economic plan - was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."
A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.
Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?
It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.
For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.
Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.
You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.
We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.
We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honors the dignity of work.
The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great - a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.
Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.
In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.
When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.
And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.
I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.
What is that promise?
It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.
It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.
Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.
Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.
That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.
Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.
I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.
I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.
And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.
Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.
Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.
As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy - wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.
America, now is not the time for small plans.
Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American - if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.
Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.
Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.
Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.
And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.
Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime - by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less - because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.
And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.
Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America's promise.
And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.
For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.
And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.
That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.
You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice - but it is not the change we need.
We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans - have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.
As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.
I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.
These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.
But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.
So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.
America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose - our sense of higher purpose.
We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.
I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.
You make a big election about small things.
And you know what - it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.
I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.
But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring.
For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.
America, this is one of those moments.
I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.
And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.
This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
Instead, it is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.
That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours - a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.
And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.
The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.
But what the people heard instead - people of every creed and color, from every walk of life - is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.
"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."
America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back.
Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.
Monday, August 25, 2008
DENVER -- He made it; how could he not?
In the first emotional high point of the Democratic National Convention, a somewhat unsteady -- but stalwart -- Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts took his place at the podium as the lights at the Pepsi Center went up after a video tribute to him.
His appearance had become widely expected; the crowd, in fact, was armed with "Kennedy" placards. Still, it roused the audience as the party's liberal lion, battling a brain tumor, not only appeared but proceeded to deliver a patented stemwinder on behalf of his favorite cause -- healthcare -- and his favorite candidate -- Barack Obama.
Kennedy's voice was shaky at times, but mostly remarkably strong. He told his listeners that "nothing, nothing" was going to "keep me away from this special gathering tonight." That drew a huge cheer.
But an even louder, more heartfelt one arose when he said, "I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the U.S. Senate." That sparked chants of "Teddy, Teddy, Teddy..."
When Kennedy first appeared, state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon of Texas wiped tears from her eyes and called out in joy when Kennedy appeared. "When he came out my heart fluttered, she told The Times' James Rainey. "He represents the best in the Democratic Party and the best in the American people." She added: "This is his moment in history, his moment to put a cap on his legacy.
He saw someone he could pass the torch to and he wanted to be there to see it happen. It's a blessing."
She then danced and sang along as Kennedy took his curtain call to "You're Still the One."
-- Don Frederick
Here is video:
Friday, August 22, 2008
In discussion of DeGeneres' marriage announcement, Fox News host Gutfeld equated 'public exhortations of love' with talking about bowel movements
In discussion of DeGeneres' marriage announcement, Fox News host Gutfeld equated "public exhortations of love" with talking about bowel movements
Summary: On Red Eye, Greg Gutfeld criticized Ellen DeGeneres' announcement that she plans to marry Portia de Rossi: "For me, public exhortations of love are no different than telling everyone how great your bowel movements are since switching to All-Bran -- no one gives a [bleep] except you." Gutfeld then said: "And so, this is why I never discuss my marriage with anyone, which is the main reason why John Stamos and I are so happy together. And if you disagree with me, then you, sir, are worse than Hitler." But Gutfeld himself has engaged in "public exhortations of love" and has talked about his wife. In addition to writing about his wife in a book, according to a 2005 New York Observer item, Gutfeld "talks incessantly and adoringly of his 24-year-old Russian bride, Elena, and carries with him an envelope chock-full of photos."
During the May 20 edition of Fox News' Red Eye, host Greg Gutfeld criticized Ellen DeGeneres for "announc[ing] on her show that she's marrying the stunningly hot Portia de Rossi." Gutfeld said: "As you know, seeing Ellen happy makes me happy, for everyone should be happy with the one they love, be they straight, gay, transgendered, bicurious, master, slave, S&M, or even Belgian -- especially Belgian, those miserable bastards deserve it." Later, Gutfeld added, "For me, public exhortations of love are no different than telling everyone how great your bowel movements are since switching to All-Bran -- no one gives a [bleep] except you." Gutfeld then said: "And so, this is why I never discuss my marriage with anyone, which is the main reason why John Stamos and I are so happy together. And if you disagree with me, then you, sir, are worse than Hitler." But Gutfeld himself has engaged in "public exhortations of love" and has talked about his wife. In Gutfeld's book about his tenure as editor of the United Kingdom's edition of Maxim magazine, Lessons from the Land of Pork Scratchings, (Simon & Schuster, January 2008), he highlights the initial courtship with his eventual wife, Elena Moussa. And according to a November 6, 2005, New York Observer item written by Jessica Coen, Gutfeld "talks incessantly and adoringly of his 24-year-old Russian bride, Elena, and carries with him an envelope chock-full of photos."
Gutfeld's comments were previously noted by Michelangelo Signorile on his blog, The Gist.
In an excerpt from Gutfeld's book published in the January 6 edition of The Sunday Times, Gutfeld described in some detail the first time he met his future wife:
After a few pints, I see a good-looking couple walking across the hotel pavilion. Assuming they are husband and wife I ignore them. But as we walk past each other, the man speaks: "Grek Gutfelt!"
He is Sasha, a Russian editor, and the woman is Elena, his photo-editor. She has striking brown eyes and black hair resting comfortably on a model's physique. She is so out of my league, my left brain tells the right. She smiles, and I smile back.
For the next few days in Portugal I wander the grounds, desperately trying to get Elena to notice me. My attempts at conversation fall flat, every joke met with awkward silence. Her being Russian probably means she doesn't get my attempts at wit, but at least she knows I'm trying. The Brits find this funny, but they're still behind me.
And here's another lesson about British men. My new "mates" come to my aid because they love a losing cause. If the losing cause wins, it's gigantic. If the losing cause loses, it's to be expected. You really can't fail with that kind of attitude to life, can you?
There could be a darker side to this enthusiasm for the underdog: sadism. Brits may love losers, but only if they can point them in the direction of defeat. This is what makes Brits especially friendly. They're extremely helpful when they know you aren't going anywhere better. But, thanks in part to my newly found mates, I work up the nerve to ask Elena out on a date. She says yes, we exchange numbers, and I am a hero.
I should mention that things with Elena are good. After dating for five months, we get married. Elena wants me to take the bus and see the city. Without her to egg me on, I'd choose instead to simply sit at home and watch Big Brother, my new favourite show.
From the May 20 edition of Fox News' Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld:
GUTFELD: So, hot on the flat, comfortable heels of California overturning the gay marriage ban, Ellen DeGeneres announced on her show that she's marrying the stunningly hot Portia de Rossi, and she got a standing ovation. And I could tell Ellen hasn't been this happy since she professed the same love for Anne Heche, also on TV, a decade ago. As you know, seeing Ellen happy makes me happy, for everyone should be happy with the one they love, be they straight, gay, transgendered, bicurious, master, slave, S&M, or even Belgian -- especially Belgian, those miserable bastards deserve it.
But Ellen already knows that once you publicize your love, it applies undue pressure on that relationship to survive, even if it's not meant to be, and then resentment grows, leading inevitably to something named Coley Laffoon [Heche's estranged husband] -- such a stupid, stupid name.
The fact is, if you ever want to live happily ever after, you need to shut the hell up about it. Professing one's love publicly only works in sappy commercials, bad movies, and perhaps dungeons in the East Village where the survival of your scrotum depends on it. For me, public exhortations of love are no different than telling everyone how great your bowel movements are since switching to All-Bran -- no one gives a [bleep] except you. And so, this is why I never discuss my marriage with anyone, which is the main reason why John Stamos and I are so happy together. And if you disagree with me, then you, sir, are worse than Hitler.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
How can Barack Obama go from in-the-bag to on-the-hole in ONE WEEK?(http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/maps/obama_vs_mccain/?map=10) Two things, that love fest with Rick Warren last week, and lies a plenty from people like Corsi the Liar and Osama Farah.
And there is MORE sleaze from the WND terrorist a comin':
But Obama has made it clear, he will not go down without a fight: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12680.html
And on HIS side: THE dirtiest player in the game: http://www.politico.com/blogs/thecrypt/0808/Clinton_Creates_Whip_Team_to_Quell_AntiObama_Protests.html
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann offered a scathing Special Comment on Monday, tearing into Senator John McCain's recent remarks about Senator Barack Obama, which Olbermann described as "unseemly contempt, undignified calumny, and holier-than-thou persiflage unsupported by reality."
McCain had told the Veterans of Foreign Wars earlier that day, "Victory in Iraq ... could still be squandered by hasty withdrawal and arbitrary timelines. And this is one of many problems in the shifting positions of my opponent."
"The shifting positions of Senator Obama?" asked Olbermann. "Senator, you declared victory in Iraq five years and nearly three months ago. Today you say 'victory in Iraq is finally in sight.' ... You are putting up a campaign based on the mirage that Iraq is winnable. ... Even if this country were to forget, Senator, the victory lap that you and President Bush took five years ago, just on their face your remarks at the VFW, Senator, are nonsensical."
"Prudence and judgment demanded that Senator McCain tread lightly today," Olbermann continued. "Instead he told that convention, 'I suppose from my opponent's vantage point veterans' concerns are just one more issue to be spun or worked to advantage.'"
Olbermann pointed out that last spring McCain opposed a bill expanding GI educational benefits "on the asinine premise that the rewards to our heroes in it were so good that it did not encourage them to stay in the service." This year, McCain has missed every Senate vote on Iraq, "including one to honor just the sacrifice of the fallen," and has voted over and over to deny additional spending for veterans' health care.
"And yet, sir," Olbermann proclaimed, "you have the audacity to stand there in front of the very veterans you repeatedly and consistently sell out and claim it is your opponent who has put politics first and country second."
Olbermann then turned to McCain's remark that "behind all of these claims and positions by Senator Obama lies the ambition to be president."
"Criticizing a man for having 'the ambition to be president,'" Olbermann repeated incredulously. "Seriously -- you do realize you are currently running for president as well, right? Either you also have the ambition to be president or -- what? Somebody's blackmailing you into it?"
Olbermann ended by mentioning the McCain campaign's outrage over a report by NBC's Andrea Mitchell that Obama's people believe McCain may not have actually been in a "cone of silence" before his appearance at a joint forum with Senator Obama this past weekend and may have been able to find out the questions in advance.
McCain campaign manager Rick Davis angrily called Mitchell's story "irresponsible journalism and sadly indicative of the level of objectivity we have witnessed at NBC News this election cycle." He went on to threaten, "We are concerned that your news division is following MSNBC's lead in abandoning non-partisan coverage of the presidential race. We would like to request a meeting with you as soon as possible."
"He wants no level of objectivity," Olbermann explained. "The only campaign he wants questioned is Obama's."
"You and your campaign need a serious and immediate attitude adjustment," Olbermann concluded, addressing McCain directly. "Despite what you may think, Senator McCain, this is not a coronation. ... You have no automatic excuse to politicize anything you want. Despite how you have whined, Senator McCain, you have no entitlement to only sycophantic deceptive airbrushed coverage from the media. And despite how you have strutted, Senator McCain, you have no god-given right to the presidency."
"In other words -- and I am embarrassed to have to say this to a man who turns 72 this month -- Senator, grow up!"
This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast August 18, 2008.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Another one bites the dust.
Please remember that even making your profile or group public, hiding your pictures behind more sedate pictures, etc, will not deter the TOS police. They do act on complaints and there are people whose part0time job is to find things to complain about. But they can go in and delete at will.
Sybarite does not delete members. We do screen pictures for legality but we also screen the members who come in.
I invite you to join our family.
This is the 40-page book that was quickly put out by Team Obama to counter Team WND's fairy tale book called Obama Nation.
Now, guys, this is a PDF file, so it will take a few to load, but it catagortically debunks everything said about Barack Obama line for line. With links (something Corsi the Liar did NOT do!)
Monday, August 18, 2008
The match Bischoff promised, a six-man tag known as the "Hostile Takeover Match," served as the main event of Bash At The Beach the following month. Hall and Nash came to the ring by themselves, leaving speculation open as to who would be their partner. Gene Okerlund came into the ring immediately following Hall and Nash's entrance and, after discussing the situation with ring announcer Michael Buffer and referee Randy Anderson, demanded to know where the third man was. Hall and Nash assured Okerlund that their partner was in the building, but they didn't need him at the moment. After Okerlund left the ring, the Outsiders finally found out who they would be facing: Lex Luger, Sting, and Randy Savage. As a show of solidarity, all three men came to the ring with painted faces (which Sting had always done but Luger and Savage had never done).
The match did not start well for Team WCW, as Luger was taken out of the match shortly after it began. While he was being held in a corner by Nash, Sting ran over and hit a Stinger Splash to try to break up the hold but hit Luger at the same time, knocking him unconscious. With the matchup apparently even at two a side with Hall and Nash's partner still yet to be revealed, the two sides continued to battle as Tony Schiavone, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes speculated as to who the third man was, at one point even resorting to accusing each other.
The match reached its climax at approximately the sixteen-minute mark, shortly after a late tag from an exhausted Sting to Savage. Savage began to clean house on Hall and Nash, but was stopped by a Nash low blow, done while Hall was holding on to Anderson to keep him distracted. As Anderson began counting Nash and Savage out, Hulk Hogan, who had not been seen on WCW television for several weeks, made a surprise return run-in. After chasing off Hall and Nash, Hogan then shocked the crowd by legdropping the fallen Savage in the center of the ring. After neutralizing Sting, who attempted to save the day, Hogan threw Anderson out of the ring and legdropped Savage one more time while Hall and Nash counted three.
After Savage was then carried out of the ring, the fans began showing their displeasure with the now-heel Hogan by throwing cups, garbage, and other assorted debris into the ring. One fan even jumped the guardrail in an attempt to attack Hogan but was intercepted by Hall and Nash and whisked away by WCW security. 
After all this, Okerlund returned to the ring demanding answers from Hogan. He cemented his heel turn by saying that he was tired of the fans that had turned on him despite everything he had done for them over the last two years in WCW, that Hall and Nash were the two people that he wanted as his friends, that he was bored with the way his career had turned out, and that together, the three of them would take over the company and destroy everything in their path in the process. In his post-match interview Hogan dubbed the three men "the new world order of wrestling", and the name stuck.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I tried to get some video on Jerry "the Liar" Corsi on Larry King Live going up against Media Matter's Paul Waldman. For some unexplained reason, I kept getting a lot of "This video is no longer available." What is up. Anyway, here is Waldman on C-SPAN This Morning:
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Unlike John Kerry, who allowed right-wing propagandists to destroy his Presidential campaign via the infamous Swift Boat Vets, Barack Obama is meeting the liars head-on.
I say lairs because the latest stream of right-wing bile offered up by WorldNetDaily's Jerry Corsi is...well, let the AP tell it:
Corsi suggests, without a shred of proof, that Obama may be
using drugs today. Obama has acknowledged using marijuana and cocaine as a
teenager but says he quit when he went to college and hasn't used drugs since.
Notice the phrase, WITHOUT A SHRED OF PROOF. The AP seldom goes there. But did.
Obama, unlike Kerry, immediatly resesponded point-by-point:
The Obama campaign picked apart the book's claims in a rebuttal titled
"Unfit For Publication," to be posted on the Obama campaign's rumor-fighting Web
site, http://www.fightthesmears.com/. The
title is a play on the book Corsi co-authored against 2004 Democratic
presidential nominee John Kerry's military service called "Unfit For Command."
"Jerome Corsi is a discredited liar who is peddling another piece of garbage
to continue the Bush-Cheney politics he helped perpetuate four years ago," said
Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. "His is just one of what will likely be many more
lie-filled books rushed to print this election cycle, which are cobbled together
from debunked Internet sources to make money and advance a partisan agenda. We
will respond to these smears forcefully with all means at our disposal."
WND senior staff writer Jerome Corsi may be the most famous man in America today
for his No. 1 New York Times best-selling exposé of Barack
And that's what's bugging the Democratic presidential nominee and his loyal minions among so many of my
colleagues in the Big Media.
So successful has been Corsi's "The Obama Nation"
that last night the Democratic Party presidential candidate released a 40-page
report attacking him and his work – the work that should have been done long ago
by Obama's chums in the establishment press.
Unlike most of the critics of "The Obama Nation," I
have actually read the book from cover to cover. It is a thoroughly
well-documented piece of first-rate journalism.
Are there mistakes in it?
Show me a first edition that doesn't have some – other than the Bible.
But is it truthful? Does it add considerably to the public's knowledge of the
front-running candidate for the presidency? Do we know much more about Obama
than we would had we relied exclusively for our information from the New York
Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and the Associated Press?
No Joe. The claims the Obama is a Muslim but actually a Christian, that he did not discussi his family..whe he indeed did, that Obama is still using drugs....lie after lie. What a lying sack of crap!
I offer a resounding "yes" to all three of those questions.
I am privileged to call him my friend, colleague and co-worker.
I stand with Jerry Corsi today as he is viciously maligned by an attack
media that would prefer to aim its potent artillery at a man who dared to do
their job when they refused, when they laid down, when they sucked up, when they
failed to ask the tough questions, when they took sides.
The Obama campaign
dares to make the astounding claim that Corsi's book, published by Simon &
Schuster, is "brought to you by Bush/Cheney attack machine." The report then
goes on to mention that Corsi has given the Bush administration more fits over
the last several years, especially with his last book, "The Late Great USA,"
published by WND Books, than any other reporter in America.
WND has been described by many of the Obama apologists as
"conservative," as "right-wing," as "Republican leaning." To regular readers of
WND who understand our commitment to fierce independence, our willingness to dig
deep no matter which politician is exposed, those characterizations will prove
Isn't it interesting how Jerome Corsi has received more scrutiny from
the Big Media in the last 24 hours than Barack Obama has received in his entire
Has Jerry Corsi said things and written things in his life that he
regrets? Undoubtedly. But he is not running
for president of the United States. He is simply a courageous, dedicated
journalist – an intrepid investigator, a two-time No. 1 best-selling author, a
Harvard Ph.D and a man of principle.
I am proud to have him working for WND.
If you are as angry about the attempted media lynching of Jerry Corsi,
there's something you can do about it.
And, most of all, read it for yourself.
Don't listen to the smears of petty, jealous, politically motivated
pseudo-journalists who haven't even bothered to crack open "The Obama Nation."
Don't listen to the lies and spin of the Obama campaign, which doesn't
even know the meaning of the word "truth."
There's a feeding frenzy out there in elite circles with media vultures
vying for respectability by denouncing Corsi.
You won't see me among them.
I've read "The Obama Nation."
I've read all the ugly lies being peddled about him.
And I've read the Obama campaign's 40-page report.
I stand with Corsi.
In the dung you do, Farah.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Thanks to Nicu for this:
|You Are 4: The Individualist|
You are creative and dreamy... plus dramatic and unpredictable.
You're emotionally honest, real, and easily hurt.
Totally expressive, others always know exactly how you feel.
At Your Best: You are inspired, artistic, and introspective. You know what you're thinking, and you can communicate it well.
At Your Worst: You are melancholy, alienated, and withdrawn.
Your Fixation: Envy
Your Primary Fear: To have no identity
Your Primary Desire: To find yourself
Other Number 4's: Alanis Morisette, Johnny Depp, J.D. Salinger, Jim Morrison, and Anne Rice.
Monday, August 11, 2008
So basically, if you cannot defeat him by challenging the issues, bombard him with bullsh*t.
It worked on Kerry. Kerry was in about the same place as Obama in 2004, but the Swift Boaters came in, charging him with pretty much lying about his Purple Heart. The charges themselves proved to be lies, but with Kerry's milquetoast-like response, the damage was done.
What they are trying to do is give red meat to the red staters, saying that, in reality, Obama was not a true born citizen, and as such, is ineligible for the Presidency. To be fair, John McCain has a similar problem: he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, but he may have been born before it became an American possession. Which, of course, shoots down the Neos arguments, since..if Barry/Barack was born BEFORE Hawaiian statehood, he's still be a citizen because Hawaii was a possession of the USA.
But the point is clear: keep Obama busy with bullsh*t, allowing a inferior opponent controlled by NeoXian Armageddonists to waltz into the White House again.
But that was the frontal attack. There was also the backdoor siege this weekend.
By know you know that John Edwards did the horizontal bop with a hottie that was not his hottie, but ailing wife. The National Enquirer has been trying to link a newborn daughter of film maker Rielle Hunter with Edwards. Edwards admitted that he did have an affiar with her two years ago, but it ended. If true, that would set a world record for gestation. Edwards told his wife, she forgave him, and they are happy. Rielle also refused to feed the smear machine by saying she would not participate in a DNA test to provide the Enquirer with the Maury moment that they wanted.
The result: even liberal bloggers and talkhosts have said Edwards was through. That fibbing about something they thought should have been private pretty much killed him politically.
But a question arises. Why now?
The Enquirer, which was founded in part with Mafia money, has always had a bit of a right-ward bent. They probably had the story when Edwards was running. He will still have a healthy number of delegates coming into Denver. Why didn't they use the info then? (yes they did run articles in 2007, but they really did not ramp it all up until now)
A whiff of morals? We ARE talking the Enquirer, here.
But think about this: before all this started, Edwards was the main name linked to and Attorney General's job under an Obama adminstration. He had been pretty fearless going after corporations as a litigation lawyer, and many feel that Edwards is...or would have been...the closest this country had come to a new Bobby Kennedy...someone who would, without fear, go out and get the bad guys.
Guys like, say, anyone who would start an illegal war with trumped-up false evidence. For starters.
So if you are, say, the Neo cabal, and you are seeing what appears to be an inevitable Obama victory, the very least you'd want to do is to neutralize any problems that might, say, send you to jail for 50 years....or in front of a firing squad.
Problems like a crusading Attorney General, say.
As Lewis Carroll would say, "curiouser and curiouser..."
Friday, August 08, 2008
By Dagmar Herzog, Perseus Books
The Religious Right is a capacious tent in which many agendas and approaches have found a home. There are conservative evangelicals who promise worldly prosperity and success (if only you trust enough in God's plans). There are others who gird themselves for Armageddon. There are the vehement defenders of "Merry Christmas" and school prayer and the enemies of evolution and intellectualism and "liberal elitism." There are highly intellectual (and themselves elite) members of the Religious Right. There are those who see the culture clash with neofundamentalist Islam as the current big threat, and those who work to justify the ongoing war in Iraq as a properly Christian cause. There are those who raise money for and organize tourism in Israel in the expectation that at the End of Days a majority of Jews will convert to Christ. But right-wing evangelicalism achieved power in American politics primarily through its sex activism. And in fifteen years of steady effort, it managed to undo the most important achievements of the sexual revolution of the 1960s-1970s.
This was accomplished through a selective appropriation and adaptation of key aspects of that old sexual revolution. Speaking in graphic detail both about sexual discontent and dysfunction and about the possibilities for ecstatically orgasmic and emotionally fulfilling bliss has been a core component. Without the promise of pleasure, the Religious Right would not have found nearly as many adherents as it has; repression alone is not sufficiently appealing.
Evangelical sexual conservatives took up some of the main concerns of the feminist women's movement of the 1970s-1980s. An interest in intensifying women's sexual pleasure has been a central focus of evangelical sex advice from the start. Many women's frustration at male fascination with pornography and emotional non-presence during sex -- another feminist theme -- and the need to help men get comfortable with physical and emotional mutuality, have also been taken up. So too have the classic women's movement themes of concern about domestic violence, child sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation of women. More recently, evangelicals have moved to adapt both feminist and mainstream advice about body image, in addition to generating a vast Christian dieting and addiction recovery industry. There is also an antiauthoritarian evangelical youth counterculture.
In its activism around issues of sexuality, the Religious Right has found ways as well to incorporate the insights of the New Age men's movement in its own program to transform an Internet-ogling insecure bumbler into a virile he-man who is competent at male-male friendship and rivalry as well as hot heterosexual romance. The movement has been wildly successful in part because of its extraordinary ability to present its own program as therapeutic. None of this, however, should distract from the fact that right-wing evangelicals have also been sadistic and punitive, eager to play to the most base human desires to feel superior to others who fail to live up to the expected norms.
While the roots of the Religious Right lie in anti-black racism (a history that has now been largely overcome but still goes woefully underacknowledged), it got its start in American national politics by organizing against abortion and homosexuality. In the wake of the legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973, and in response to the growing public visibility of gays and lesbians in the 1970s and 1980s and their demands for an end to discrimination, evangelical conservatives could count on these two issues, along with more general calls for restrictions on sex education and the restoration of "traditional family values," as their major fundraising and mobilizing tools. All through the 1990s, playing to homophobic reflexes was one of the Christian Right's most popular tactics. But nothing has been more successful in the early twenty-first century than its ability to hijack the national conversation about heterosexuality.
Initially, telling the heterosexual majority what to do was not even on the agenda. In the first half of the 1990s, the anti-abortion cause had been running into some difficulties. Americans had grown wary. They were beginning to harbor doubts about some of the movement's more extreme tactics -- like shooting doctors. Polls revealed that Americans of both genders remained by a slim but stubborn majority able to identify emotionally with the situation of women who sought to end their unwanted pregnancies. At the time, consensual heterosexual sex still seemed to most Americans like a pretty basic all-American right, and the assault on abortion felt like it could grow into an assault on whatever else anyone might want to do with their lives and bodies as well.
Since the turn of the millennium, the right-wing evangelicals have become emboldened in new ways. A big boost came through the election in 2000 of George W. Bush, the first conservative evangelical Republican president. Putting individuals sympathetic to the Religious Right agenda into key positions in the federal government, and pouring federal funds into projects developed by Christian conservatives, inevitably transformed the power dynamics. Yet just as important were the advent of Viagra and the explosive growth of Internet porn, and the ensuing anxiety about the relationships between desire, performance, satisfaction, and intimacy.
In all of its culture war campaigns, the Religious Right was most effective where it was able to formulate its arguments in secular terms. While Christian conservatives made use of pseudoscientific arguments about physical health in its battles for sexual conservatism, nothing has been as useful as the adaptation of the language of psychological health, and particularly the endlessly inventive invocation of the ideal of self-esteem.
None of us is immune to injunctions to accept yourself but also improve yourself, no matter how contradictory these are. The incessant talk about sex and self-esteem hooks into much wider therapeutic aspects of our culture: like a pendulum that constantly swings from telling us to make peace with ourselves and our situations as they are, in all their imperfect ordinariness, to telling us that we really must do battle with ourselves and our situations, that self-improvement is essential, and greater happiness is always just around the corner. The Religious Right managed to redirect much of the national conversation about sex -- with lasting consequences that go way beyond biannual national election rituals -- not least because it merged so thoroughly with the popular culture it claims to combat and despise. Moreover, the refurbished focus on psychological damage in sexually conservative arguments manages to lend to the current state of conversation a sense that it is both pro-woman and pro-equality -- even when it is neither.
The abstinence campaigns are the most obvious example of the psychologizing strategy. Whether religious or secular in orientation, Web sites and books that plead for premarital chastity invariably contend that delaying the onset of sexual intercourse is a sign of heightened self-respect. Over and over, young people are told that self-restraint is self-empowerment. Scholastic or athletic achievement is presented as mutually exclusive with sexual activity; the prospects for a strong and happy future marriage are said to be in inverse relationship to premarital experience. Secular conservatives also use the language of self-esteem to make their case for a return to restraint.
The success of the Religious Right is most evident in the way many self-defined sexual liberals now rush to concede that a delay in sexual debut is desirable, and that keeping the number of sexual partners in a lifetime to a minimum is an important sign of psychological health and self-valuing. Experience is no longer seen as a resource. Even those who advocate for comprehensive sex education feel the need to insist that "abstinence is a laudable goal" (Deborah Arindell of the STD-awareness group, the American Social Health Association, in 2006), or that all they are asking for is "abstinence-plus" education (as in Representatives Barbara Lee and Christopher Shays and Senator Frank Lautenberg's bipartisan Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act, introduced in March 2007), or that abstinence is what they have been advocating all along, but, alas, one must be realistic and include information about condoms and contraceptives (as in the arguments of the coordinator of sex education in the Baltimore school system interviewed on NPR in October 2007).
Even more momentous is the way the language of psychology has infused the discussion of abortion. Although the antiabortion movement had seemed stalled in the 1990s, it has returned in new forms, and found new adherents across party lines. It has also succeeded in putting in place numerous restrictions at the state level to limit women's, especially young women's, access to abortion. A third of all women between the ages of 15 and 45 now live in counties in which abortions are not even available; a quarter of women has to travel 50 miles and, in some parts of the U.S., it is hundreds of miles. Yet one in every two pregnancies in the U.S. is unplanned, and one in three American women will have an abortion in her lifetime; a significant percentage of these are women over age 25 who are already mothers. In few areas of sexual politics is there so wide a gap between the lived experience of ordinary people and what can be discussed in the public domain.
In the year 2007, in Gonzales v. Carhart, the Supreme Court upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2003. This act criminalized certain methods of abortion which are used in less than one percent of all abortions performed (0.17 percent, for instance, in the year 2000) -- and then only in order to preserve the health of the woman. But doctors now have good reason to fear that all second-trimester abortions could be interpreted as criminal. The language of the majority opinion authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy has even more significant implications for that vast majority of abortions that take place in the first trimester. The decision is likely to serve as the basis for state legislators' efforts to introduce information into mandatory preabortion counseling sessions about the potential psychological damage having an abortion could supposedly do to a woman. The decision marks a key moment in the efforts of the Religious Right to portray restrictions on abortion not as limiting women's fundamental right to control their reproductive capacities but rather as somehow beneficial to women. As Wanda Franz, president of the National Right to Life Committee, likes to say: "We think of ourselves as very pro-woman. We believe that when you help the woman, you help the baby."
Gonzales v. Carhart is the first Supreme Court ruling to reverse the decriminalization of abortion guaranteed since Roe v. Wade. As Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York observed in the wake of the decision:
The Supreme Court has declared open season on women's lives and on the right of women to control their own bodies, their health and their destinies. Overturning a decision only a few years old, the Court has, for the first time since Roe v. Wade, allowed an abortion procedure to be criminalized. What has changed since the Court last considered nearly identical legislation? The facts haven't changed. The widely held opinion in the medical profession that this ban would endanger women hasn't changed. The Constitution hasn't changed. Only one thing has changed: Justice O'Connor retired and President Bush and a Republican Senate replaced her with a reliably anti-choice vote on the Supreme Court. It is clear today that the far-right's campaign to pack the Supreme Court has succeeded and that women and their families will be the losers.
Justice Kennedy had himself in the past been a supporter of women's right to choose. In this new decision, however, his word choices were especially telling:
Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child. The Act recognizes this reality as well. Whether to have an abortion requires a difficult and painful moral decision ... While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained ... Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow.
Despite the admission that there was "no reliable data," and despite the concession that negative emotional consequences for the woman were not inevitable but rather "can" follow, the ideas of diminished female esteem and the prospect of post-abortion depression have, in this precedent-setting case, been elevated into judicial concepts.
Justice Kennedy's words were largely based on a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Justice Foundation, a conservative nonprofit litigation firm. The Justice Foundation brief included statements from 180 women who declared that their abortions had caused them feelings of despair and lasting regret. A typical statement is from Tina Brock of Nicholson, Georgia:
Little did I know when I made that choice to abort my baby 21 years ago that it would affect the rest of my life. Supposing to be [sic] a legal, simple procedure, my abortion sent me down a long road of severe depression. People need to know abortion hurts women!
For several years, abortion opponents have been floating this idea that abortion is psychologically damaging. The office of Representative Henry Waxman of California conducted a survey of "crisis pregnancy centers" in which callers posing as 17-year-old pregnant girls encountered a range of fraudulent information, including the false advice that abortion raises the risk of breast cancer as well as negatively affects future fertility, and that it causes severe psychological distress. Waxman's report noted that "significant psychological stress after an abortion is no more common than after birth." But at one center a caller was told that in the year after an abortion the suicide rate "goes up by seven times," while another center informed a caller that post-abortion stress was "much like" that seen in Vietnam veterans and "is something that anyone who's had an abortion is sure to suffer from."
Antiabortion activism has profoundly reshaped the national conversation and deeply affected also supporters of legal abortion. Despite the gap between lived reality and rhetoric, and while a (slim) majority of Americans still support the retention of Roe v. Wade, a majority within that pro-choice group call for more restrictions on access to abortion, especially for teens. For many, abortion is only understandable in dire circumstances; the mere desire to terminate an unwanted pregnancy does sound like an acceptable reason to seek an abortion.
Antiabortion activists worked long and hard to present abortion not as a last-resort method of fertility control when other forms of contraception have failed or not been used, but rather as a horrific form of murder. It has become clear in the last several years that the aim is not just to stop abortion. If that were the aim, then antiabortion activists would do much better if they vigorously promoted contraceptives, handed out sex toys, and recommended a variety of imaginative noncoital "outercourse" practices that produce glorious sensations, but do not result in pregnancies. Instead the aim is to infuse with shame all sexual expression and experience outside of heterosexual marriage. Neither of these campaigns would be nearly as effective if they were presented solely in religious terms.
Dagmar Herzog is professor of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of two pioneering books, Intimacy and Exclusion and Sex After Fascism, as well as numerous scholarly articles on the history of sexuality.