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Links With Your Coffee - Sunday

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i'm not religious, but i'm willing to pray that that right wing nutjob anti-choice freak from alaska lied about her teen daughter's pregnancy. please, god, let it be true!

The salacious gossip lover in all of us enjoys laughing about the possibility that Sarah Palin is not the mother of "her" fifth child. Having said that, I'm surprised at this being linked on OGM. From the quality evidence presented in the Daily Kos - and on the conspicuous absence of evidence which would really support this soap opera story, I'd put the plausibility of this story below the plausibility of the 9-11 truthers' story.

tim, i don't think the evidence is so light. pregnant women are shaped differently than non-pregnant women. the photos tell a story. and the timing of the daughter's absence from school is significant. what's p here? now i don't think the case is proven by the Kos post, but i think the question is worth asking. soon we will see blatant fabrications from the swift boat crowd. if this turns out to be true it is ammo that must be used.

Holy crap, this campaign just entered The UGLY FINAL COUNTDOWN.

I'm already nauseous just reading that Daily KOS diary and how ugly, ugly, ugly things are going to get until November 5.

...i think the question is worth asking. soon we will see blatant fabrications from the swift boat crowd. if this turns out to be true it is ammo that must be used.

Sure, if the story is augmented with evidence that is convincing - you know, amniocentesis test results DNA tests, then the story is huge and it is "ammo that must be used". Photographs of 16 year-old girls in tight sweaters that reveal a stomach bulge adorn millions of family scrapbooks and iPhoto albums. Let the tabloids chase this crap down, because they are indeed the people whose job it is to "think the question is worth asking". Maybe it is a question worth asking for people in other media outlets too, but we should expect a much higher standard of evidence before they publish.

Were the story to be proven true, the choice of Sarah Palin by John McCain so seriously undermines his team's ability to vet their VP candidates that his ability to evaluate any kind of evidence - say, Iranian nuke evidence, is obliterated. The evidence here is too thin by far - all it undermines is the credibility of the Daily Kos.

Having said that, I'm surprised at this being linked on OGM. From the quality evidence presented in the Daily Kos - and on the conspicuous absence of evidence which would really support this soap opera story,

I agree, although I would say the evidence is suggestive, but doesn't really prove anything. (These wild conjectures are why I typically don't read Daily Kos).

Where's doctor k when we need him?

Once again you are conflating two different statistical claims. (1.) Children with Down Syndrome are more likely to be born by older women than younger women (presumably taking an equal sample from both groups). (2.) But since more babies are born to younger mothers (under 35) than older mothers (over 35), if a baby is born with down syndrome, it is statistically more likely to have been born by a younger mother, since they have higher birth rates. That is but exactly what the Daily Kos article explicitly says, whatever its other short-comings.

The final point of interest is that Trig Palin has been diagnosed with Down's syndrome (aka trisomy 21). This is an interesting point, as chances of having offspring with Down's Syndrome increases from under 1% to 3% after a mother reaches the age of 40. However, 80% of the cases of Down's Syndrome are in mother's under the age of 35, through sheer quantities of births in this age group.

P.S. k is a woman, I'm pretty sure. And I didn't see her getting on board the wild daily Kos speculation, merely informing us from a professional of the medical dangers of what Palin did, if she did indeed get on a flight after her water broke.

Syngas, you should follow your own links too. Linked at the bottom of the data you cite is a further explanation of the data:

Children with Down Syndrome (DS) account for one of every 800 births. The risk of chromosome disorders like DS, trisomy 13 and trisomy 18 increases with maternal age. The incidence of DS at birth is lower at age 20 (1/1600) than at age 35 ( 1/370), but many more younger women have children than older women. So most (75-80%) DS children are born to younger women. If a couple has a child with DS, there is usually an increased risk for a second affected child.

Man, I hope Biden picks this up and runs his mouth!

This is not just "shame on MN", this is shame on America. Those of us in NYC well recall the brutality, random roundups, and other police state tactics used at the last RNC (I was nearly caught in one, right outside Ground Zero).

Another poisonous Chinese import, which the goons in MN are just expanding upon...

Doctor K is a women, and a psychiatrist that was a GP for many years.

I think this is ridiculous and we should not post it.

First of all it is a nasty rumour, that makes the left look bad, it will be really hurtful to her daughter, who if nothing else people are calling fat, this is why i hate daily kos, i think daily kos CAUSED much of the Hillary/Obama disharmony.

I am surprised Norm posted it, hopefully not due to my postings which were at least backed up by news articles and her own statements.

Finally some women just don't look that pregnant, small baby, early, loose clothes etc. There is no evidence for this crap, leave it to the national enquirer.

Since we know so little about the candidate and we only have 60 days ( i could not find any posting on her opinion on social security, health care, foreign relations, immigration, foreign policy, iraq war, etc) i figure we have to go on what we know, which as far as I can see is that people like her, she has stood up to other republicans in her state, is christian and pro life.
And my little fact that she may have ignored her doctors advice or purposely did not ask her doctors advise before getting on a plane, it is not much, but one of the few things we know about her.

So I am so dissapointed with John McCain, i really don't think he gives a damn about abortion and religion, but he has refused to stand up to his party on this, and has sadly continued to appease the religious right. How did this group get so much power? How is it that ones views on abortion has become a litmus test for BOTH the democrats and the republicans? I think abortion is immoral but I am a democrat.

McCain wanted Joe Liberman, which likely would have been a better choice, would have given him Florida I bet for sure, pissed off all the blow hard talk show guys and would have shown some guts. McCain does not look comfortable with Palin, seems almost deflated.

Finally I do wonder if McCain picked an not that experienced man, would he be getting attacked as much as the women?

Syngas,

You must have Joe Biden confused with this guy, this guy, or this guy, or this guy, or this guy, or ...

Finally I do wonder if McCain picked an not that experienced man, would he be getting attacked as much as the women?

We'll never know, because he never would have selected a man with a resume so thin - this is tokenism at its finest, right up there with Clarence Thomas, and considerably worse than Geraldine Ferraro.

How is it that ones views on abortion has become a litmus test for BOTH the democrats and the republicans?

I'd say, when evangelicals decided that politics was not something to be avoided as "worldly" but openly took over the Republican party. (This is one chart of the republican party's evolution on abortion: here. And the democrats became concerned with evangelicals, who make up 23 % of the electorate, when, indisputably, they were instrumental at putting Bush in office and keeping him there.

McCain has raised 7 million in new donations since announcing Palin as his running mate, largely, it appears, from far right wing religious nuts. What appeals to evangelicals most about her is her strong anti-abortion stand, and the (completely non-sequitur) idea that giving birth to a son she knew in advance would have Down Syndrome is evidence of the sincerity of this belief. If the child is really not hers--although there is not now sufficient evidence for that claim--I think it should be front page, main-stream news, because it shows she is a total liar. Everything she has told us so far appears to have been based on lies, including her supposed integrity to "clean up Washington" when she's being investigated herself on several fronts. But if DS baby bit too is false, every avowed reason McCain had for picking her will have been undermined, and the pure political cynicism of the choice will be even more self-evident than now.

That may strike you as petty. But, if it really is a lie, it is the lie that it is petty, and McCain and Palin who are to blame, not reporting to be what it is, or those who report it.

I'm sorry - I do find it interesting but I would like there to be more evidence before they start to involve the young daughter in this.

Since this is all speculation at this point, it seems strange to discuss it but - IF this is true (a very big IF although - k - really? Fifth time mother's not showing - a couple of my friends who are very athletic barely showed at all on the first child and more on the second but the two that have had three --- they were big as houses and they were much younger than Sarah..) I would like her to be busted for all the credit she has taken from anti-choice papers and pundits for choosing to have a Down's Syndrome child after finding out through amnio (in December) the child had Down's. I also would resent this opportunity she did NOT take to help make abortions a less popular choice by helping to take some of the stigma away from young, unwed mothers.

But - this is speculation and very strange. The lies we suspect male politicians of making are about their affairs. The lie this female politician is suspected of making is whether she is pretending her grandchild is her child. At least it's a change. :)

Norm - Thank you so much for the Sarah Vowell Op-Ed piece. She is one of my favorite people out there (even more than David Sedaris...) Her presentation of American history is amazing - funny, quirky, interesting and very loving.

sigh. it's true. some strong evidence better emerge soon about this baby business or i'll feel bad about all this, if only cos it isn't fair to the teenage daughter. either way, the McPiggy ticket should be discredited the old fashioned way, based on their barbaric and horrible policy positions.

The lies we suspect male politicians of making are about their affairs. The lie this female politician is suspected of making is whether she is pretending her grandchild is her child. At least it's a change. :)

I agree it's a big "if". But I think it's important to acknowledge there's a massive difference between the two cases you suggest. Whatever one might find out about a politician's sex life, it typically has nothing to do with his policy positions or public, political relevance. That is why it might arguably be seen as a personal failing of no political relevance.

The Palin case, if true, is totally different. Part of her case for her political relevance was a personal decision she made, one which showed her anti-abortion credentials. If she lied about that episode, it is not just fair game, in my view, it is advisable that the voting public know, because and only because she explicitly made it part of the case for her political viability and 'ethical' authenticity. Her lying about the personal episode undermines her political credibility because she herself made the case that the latter is a reflection of the former.

Likewise, when someone like Larry Craig talks about so-called "family values", favors legislation discriminating against homosexuals, and then is caught having anonymous gay sex at a public airport, that is not merely a personal failing, hypocrisy, but politically relevant in the light of his public, political self-presentation, which it undermines.

This logic would seem to compel me to acknowledge that it was legitimate for them to use Wright to attack Obama, since Obama made his avowed Christianity part of his campaign. And yeah, I think that would be fair, if it were an accurate presentation, without all the nasty racial insinuation, and rampantly out-of-context distortion it in fact had.

Time out, gang: the DK writer was citing circumstantial evidence in light of some deceptive movement of public information on the part of the state to awaken people to what Alaskans already know: the woman is, by all accounts and in all probability, a crook roughly on the same order as Ted Stevens. I don't much care if she was prego or not; but if she was firing state officials and manipulating public information to hide things or gain political advantage, that's corruption, and I wouldn't mind seeing it come clean within the next 60 days or so.

Meanwhile, the situation in MN gets darker and darker while the MSM focuses purely on the Gulf Coast. This is the Bill of Rights being roasted like an Alaskan moose, kids -- fairly serious stuff. Anyway, UFPJ is asking folks to call the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul and let them know we're watching -- I've got the phone numbers here

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the liberals are taking off their benign, friendly masks and showing their true colors. And now we will see exactly how low this campaign will go.

Because it's wrong to point out Obama listened to a racist pastor for, what, 30 years? Called him his 'spiritual advisor' and so on. Can't mention that. It's wrong to point out his shady dealings with real estate crooks. It's wrong to point out his ties to an unapologetic domestic terrorist. It's wrong to find fault with his wife saying she's "never been proud of this country".

So what is right? Insinuation and rumor that Palin is raising her daughter's Down Syndrome-afflicted love child as her own! That's classy. I think I read that in the Enquirer. How about calling her a Jesus freak because she has read and believes the Bible (like, say, 80% of our country). That's good. Oh, and she's against abortion - like more than half the country! What a fringe, lunatic wacko!

The left is constantly talking about 'fearmongering' on the part of the Republican Party. But nobody spreads illogical fear like liberals. They feel threatened, and out come the wild claims: they're gonna take away evolution! They're gonna take away your abortions!

Nevermind that we've had, and have, numerous politicians who believe these exact same positions and abortion is still legal, evolution is still the standard in education. The liberal mind cannot stand someone thinking differently from them and will do anything to keep someone with a different belief or opinion out of power.

You all pretend to be surprised, but it's just continuing proof of what I've always said: liberal fascism is the most sinister, hiding its true intent behind feel-good statements and flowery sentiment.

The hilarious part is that all this doesn't matter. We can tit-for-tat back and forth with the salacious rumors and character assassination, but at the end of the day what matters? That the Democratic Party is bullshit. We don't agree with all those controversial Bush ideas we ... um ... agreed to! We won't fund this war anymore, Mr. President (rubber stamp)! My name is Hillary Clinton, and I support John McCain ... oops, now I support Obama!

Such a joke.

Has anybody checked on Calligraph this morning? He seems agitated, and we don't want to lose him!

We don't want to lose calligraph - his logic is so impeccable, what would we do without him?

Look at these gems:

They're gonna take away your abortions...abortion is still legal,

Nevermind that if the right had its way, if the GOP platform were the law of the land, abortion would be illegal. The fact that the right has not yet succeeded in implementing its agenda is cited as evidence that those who support abortion rights are engaging in baseless fearmongering.

...evolution is still the standard in education.

Same thing - the right has so far failed to implement its crackpot agenda, so scientists needn't worry about the crerationists getting their way.

The liberal mind cannot stand someone thinking differently from them

Yeah, liberals are so intolerant of conservative hacks editing scientific reports - you know, the ones containing evidence and data. I mean how can liberals pretend to be open-minded when they can't even open their minds to a little scientific censorship?

...and will do anything to keep someone with a different belief or opinion out of power.

I mean really, how can you be so unreasonable as to speak ill of and vote against these paragons of virtue, the Republicans?

...the Democratic Party is bullshit. We don't agree with all those controversial Bush ideas we ... um ... agreed to! We won't fund this war anymore, Mr. President (rubber stamp)!

Of course they're bullshit - if they weren't they never would have disagreed at all with the glorious leader. Now all you liberal Democrats, take heed, calligraph has shown with incontrovertible logic that since some in your party have knuckled under to the GOP you should throw in the towel and let the GOP run it all.

calligraph, to quote Mr. Cheney - go fuck yourself.

She's a bit more than "against" abortion - at least from what I've heard (and, owing to the fact that she's sprung up from absolutely fucking nowhere, kinda have to rely on hearsay) - it's being said that she is against abortion even in cases of rape, incest, and even if the mother's life is in danger.

I've yet to hear that she would be in favour of jailing women who get abortions, but I think we pro-choicers should be bracing ourselves for it.

I've also heard that she's against requiring pay equity for women. Wowee!

I'm hoping that McCain will allow that pretty little thing to sit down for at least 1 interview before the election so we can hear her expound on how she insisted she be paid 30% less than the male governor before her.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the liberals are taking off their benign, friendly masks and showing their true colors. And now we will see exactly how low this campaign will go.

The baby stuff was all conditional pending more convincing, less circumstantial evidence, but, as I've explained, a legitimate issue if true. (Yes, I know, I know, conditional constructions are difficult for you to understand, because the world can seem like such a black and white, absolute place sometimes, but I'm afraid I cannot avoid them here if I want to make my point. Sorry to be such an liberal egghead). The best evidence I've seen suggest the baby is really hers. Since her only political advantage is her appeal to the lunatic far-right-wing of the Republican party, who doesn't give a damn about credentials or competence, only orthodoxy to the perceived dictates of an imaginary Sky God dreamed up thousands of years ago by desert nomads--then, yes, I will admit to entertaining the pious hope, given the bizarre story of her delivery, that she lied about it. It would have undermined her Born-Ignorant-Again street cred'

Did you ever notice that liberals, on average, dig up evidence for their claims, and admit it when the facts show they are wrong? (Yes, I know, I know, the concept of evidence and argument is a difficult one, conceptually, for you to grasp, because the world can seem, magically, to align exactly with how you insist on seeing things, but I'm afraid, again, I can't avoid appeal to it here).

Nonetheless, she is under corruption charges, and we have abundant evidence that her supposed opposition to the 'Bridge to Nowhere' is a canard--many of us have cited evidence, repeatedly, here in the last few days, demostrating these facts. Feel free to engage with that evidence, but mentioning a public official's corruption charges and outright lies is not the same thing as smear.

HOLY CRAP..

Ok, I was skeptical of the whole 'daughter's baby thing' until I looked at Trigs' baby Shower pictures.

If you look at her daughters pics from (trigs age) 1month pregnant, 7 months pregnant, 1 week old, 4 months old, Her daughter gains weight, is downright 'newborn plump' and then is looking like her old self.

Now, I;ve LIVED in a hospital with newborns and their momas for ten weeks this year and in those same pictures, the candidate looks... exactly the same. And in those pictures the baby is being held mostly be? You guessed it, her daughter. After the VP rally, Palin looks irritated holding trig as the baby looks over at the daughter.

My wife agrees, this isn't something (fmaily business) that I normally think we should be interested in, but it does indicate a rather large lie.

I'm going to send Norm a jpg compilation of some of this stuff if he is interested in sharing it.

in the meantime, do a google image search for "trigs baby shower" and see the new-mama-plump daughter proudly feeding the baby.

I hope to heck for McCain's sake his folkes vetted her VERY well. I honestly think this scandal is the real deal.

Correction! The girl in the photos is probably not teh Gov's daughter. So the 'chubby' pics are of a normally chubby girl.

So, I may be wrong, and like to be the first to admit it! *8)

Norm,

Looking through this thread, I feel that my original take on the Palin love child link was correct - and not because there isn't some chance (very small chance, IMO) that it isn't true. The most telling part of calligraph's post is here:

And now we will see exactly how low this campaign will go. Because it's wrong to point out Obama listened to a racist pastor for, what, 30 years? Called him his 'spiritual advisor' and so on. Can't mention that. It's wrong to point out his shady dealings with real estate crooks. It's wrong to point out his ties to an unapologetic domestic terrorist. It's wrong to find fault with his wife saying she's "never been proud of this country". So what is right? Insinuation and rumor that Palin is raising her daughter's Down Syndrome-afflicted love child as her own! That's classy....

What is crystal clear here? What conservatives like calligraph really object to is not the reduction of the political debate to bullshit - it's just the wrong bullshit. But even the wrong bullshit is OK with calligraph because then he can mount his high horse and express his outrage at liberal hypocrisy - as he sees it.

But we readers of your blog have been challenging calligraph and any other conservatives to MAKE THEIR CASE - ON THE ISSUES: Health care, foreign policy, energy, the economy, the environment - you name it. The albatross of George Bush is hanging around their neck and John McCain has embraced most of the policies of the most spectacular presidential failure in the life of anyone reading these words. They don't want a debate on issues at all. Links like this salacious Palin baby story give them what they want - a reprieve from facing their failure.

There was a reuters article released a little while ago confirming that Bristol Palin is 5 months preggo

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/09/01/1318541.aspx

A swing and a miss at Palin, which will work as a small backfire against the democrats (even though it was only a few bloggers who spread the rumor). It will just work to give the fox-wingers one more line of defense with regards to palin. It will also work to sideline the actual flaws in the Palin choice (like trooper scandal).

Norm you may want to add an update next to the link, as spreading this type misinfo is never a good idea

Tim nailed it. The fantasy-based community absolutely does not want to debate the issues.

The correct, positive way to address false-framing and other forms of political distractions is to confront them directly, but briefly, and then dismiss them so as to deal with the issues that actually matter.

For instance, as McCain's VP pick, the nation should acknowledge Palin's slim dossier, but there's really no need to talk a lot about her. The more critical issue that getting swept up in the chatter about her distracts from is John McCain's poor judgment - particularly because he, himself has named judgment a central issue. How, then, shall we interpret the fact that he made a political choice, not a governing choice -- just like Karl Rove said Obama would?

"I think he's going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice. He's going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he's going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He's not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities as president."

McCain is trying to have his cake and eat it too, by claiming Obama is inexperienced (as if building concensus at the street level in Chicago, or defeating the Clinton political machine - however marginally - are not clear examples of leadership ability), while simultaneously claiming that someone with much less leadership experience is the very best person available to lead the nation if he should become incapacitated. The hypocrisy would be staggering, if we weren't already inured to it.

The point is, concentrating on Palin allows the fantasy-based community to frame the dialogue. Let's stick to substance. When Palin says or does things that reflect substantively on leading the country, square up to them, meet them head on, accept or reject them on their merits - and move forward. If, against all odds, Palin somehow turns out to be a political savant, be open to that. But if she is what the available evidence certainly seems to indicate she is, let her reveal that, again and again. She will be in the public spotlight, so if she is a fool no amount of coaching can completely hide this fact. And she can do the work of tearing herself down, instead of distracting from the more important task of dissecting McCain's hypocrisy and disinfecting the remains.

Do not get caught up in the gossip.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/palin-confirms-daughters-pregnancy-915378.html

FYI - Palin announces her daughter's pregnancy...And, you know what - I now don't believe one word this woman says. I was reading about her NOT supporting the bridge to nowhere - except that's not how she started...she was for it and then was against it after she got the money - although they continued to build the road to the non-existent bridge because otherwise (unlike the federal funds) that money would have to be returned.

To Tim's point - yeah - bring on the issues. As far as calligraph though, - my take? He's just the guy you avoid at parties who has taken it to the internet. Has there been one point here that has been made where he has said - you know - I hadn't thought about that - or, that's interesting or anything that shows he wants to do more than just tell a viewpoint he has based on his gut - ignoring any facts or nuances presented. In fact, just writing nuance makes me laugh because that's just not allowed in today's world.

Perspicio - I read what you wrote after I posted (even though mine follows). Thanks - you and Tim are really grounding. The quote from Rove is priceless, BTW.

Perspico, great comment.

What really upsets me about McCains selection is that he thinks it is OK to choose someone the American public knows nothing about, we are supposed to choose her without really any data.

I cannot find anything on her opinion on foreign policy, social security, welfare reform, health care, immigration, the budget, the tax code, the middle east, the Georgia, Russia conflict. Nothing.

So how is an voter supposed to decide, to compare this with Obama who we know way too much detail on what he thinks, read the speeches, read the website etc.

All we know is that she really did not oppose the bridge to nowhere, ( supported than opposed but took the money anyway), has an ongoing ethics probe. Has a lot of enemies in her own government (which might be a good sign), and is pro life and pro teaching creationism.

Does this not seem like an insult to the American people. I don't think the democrats should even talk about Palin, I think they should point this out to the American public that they cannot find out any information on her opinions on any of these matters of national importance.

The cat is out of the bag now:: Bristol Palin is in fact pregnant. But the whole story stinks to high hell all around and I don't think we've yet to hear the entire truth on this mess. This poor 17-yar-old girl is being dragged into the worldwide media meat grinder by her obviously insane and overly-ambitious mother. Shame on Sarah Palin for making her poor daughter the focus of our vicious media and Internet attack sharks.

There are STILL quite a few strange issues with Sarah Palin's own pregnancy that need to be examined more closely. Do we really know the truth about that? I wonder.

Her daughter deserves our compassion and support, however. This poor child doesn't deserve all this scrutiny.

This soap opera is bewildering. Let's suppose the McCain decision to pick Palin goes just as the McCain camp says it went. McCain learns that Palin's 17-year old daughter is pregnant and says what? "No problem! The American media, a goodly slice of whom slopped the people with swift-boating and Obama the Muslim, will certainly deal with your daughter's mistakes with compassion, nuance, and understanding. And the people, they will respond maturely and compassionately, saying to themselves, 'There for the grace of God/Odin/spaghetti monster go I.' Your daughter Bristol is undoubtedly perfectly prepared to deal with the media circus – or at least she better be, because you Sarah, 22-month Governor of a single-congressional-district state, are so much more qualified than Kay Bailey Hutchison (for example), that you simply must run."

Bristol Palin, one of Alaska Gov. Palin's five children with her husband, Todd, is about five months pregnant and is going to keep the child and marry the father, the Palins said in a statement released by the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

The force of this announcement is this: If Bristol is "around 5 months" pregnant, it is all but physically impossible that she is the mother of Trig, who is five months old. Pretty obvious, I know, but worth pointing out. Granted, the circumstances of his delivery are still very odd, but I think this whole charade can be put to rest.

cannot find anything on her opinion on foreign policy, social security, welfare reform, health care, immigration, the budget, the tax code, the middle east, the Georgia, Russia conflict. Nothing.

That is exactly the strategy. The brilliance of the Palin pick is that being utterly unknown, she is without substance, inviting us to scrutinize her personality and background rather than her policy views. But that's not a political deficit, it's a clever trick to bait us into talking about non-policy issues. And I confess, I took the bait at first, but am glad Tim and perspicio set me straight: It is obvious that McCain intends to run a personality and identity politics election ('country first,' [except when G.W. asks otherwise], 'I'm a former POW' [but will reverse myself on torture], 'Palin is a good mother' [who believes creationism should be taught in school'], 'Obama is a celebrity'). Let's not give him that.

As far as calligraph though, - my take? He's just the guy you avoid at parties who has taken it to the internet.

Frankly, Jill, I think a 14 year old boy is somewhere immensely enjoying getting a rise out of all of us.

At a press availability in Monroe, Mich., Barack Obama said: "Back off these kinds of stories."

"I have said before, and I will repeat again: People's families are off-limits," Obama said. "And people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be a topic of our politics."

On charges that his campaign has stoked the story via liberal blogs:

"I am offended by that statement. There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us," he said. "Our people were not involved in any way in this, and they will not be. And if I thought there was somebody in my campaign who was involved in something like that, they would be fired."

Three cheers to JoAnn for posting the above before I got a chance to do it myself. Norm- I expect to see a version of this story with tomorrow's "Link With Coffee".

A girl under the age of 18 is off limits. Period. It is off-limits to the freaks on "To Catch A Predator", and it is off limits to the pundits and bloggers.

This remains especially true now that we have the "real story" regarding the teen pregnancy/child #5 issue. Our morbid curiosity has been satiated- the claims of the Daily Kos, despite a sliver of truth, have been debunked.

As an infamous YouTube video once demanded: Leave her alone! This is a child, not a target; certainly not a legitimate enemy.

Final point: this is Barack Obama at his best. Quite frankly, if John McCain also demanded this level of dignity, our country would be a better place.

As Bill Maher once said: not even the mob goes after family.

Says cali: “Nevermind that we've had, and have, numerous politicians who believe these exact same positions and abortion is still legal, evolution is still the standard in education.

Hardly. Religious protesters have intimidated (terrorism?) doctors to such a point in many rural areas that many people seeking to end a pregnancy have to travel to another state. Evolution is barely taught in many states (or with some dopey creationism caveat, like an asterisk next to a baseball record) even though it is regarded as one of the most important ideas in biology.

Honest to god, wouldn't it be better just to split America in two like they did with India and Pakistan? The religious right can have the middle and we'll take the two coasts. That is pretty much how things are panning out anyway, may as well just make it official. No hard feelings and everyone just goes on their way.

I couldn't give two shits about the governor's fifth kid or her knocked-up underage daughter. It's sickening that this is being dragged into the political arena. As JoAnn's post points out, Obama already has said he would fire anyone in his campaign exploiting this issue. Leave the smear campaigns for the Republicans, they live in this filth and seem to rather enjoy it.

Totally separate from all of the preg...Trig (by the way, what's with the GUN stuff, Bristol rhymes with Pistol, Trigger..nometry?, I think not, oh, well, Xanthippe (Socrates's wife) would been "Yellow Horse" in English, if that's a clue, it is I bet), ye who have not dwelt in wee burghs, small, very small, towns might not recognize exactly what we have here. Away from the bright lights of normal norms, high in the incestuous Ozark hills, deep in the hollowed "hollers" of Appalachia, nevermind... but I have seen this type, in New Mexico, and roundaboutly, Alaska, and, no mistake, there is in fact an Oil/Athabascan musical chairs style nexus between the two, ooh, let me just, ah, pre-dict, for the record:

You ain't seen NOTHING yet!I'll bet you 2 copecks. It's going to be going swimmingly, with the current, for us, with the wind at our backs, laughin our way to an Obama Whithouse (Leukidiocy0, Nation indeed.

"Honest to god, wouldn't it be better just to split America in two like they did with India and Pakistan? The religious right can have the middle and we'll take the two coasts."

Leftbanker, it would look more like West Germany/West Berlin, with gerrymandrake archipelagos, rather than a mere island ("Ich bin ein [sic] Berliner") of sanity.

What's the matter with Kansas, anyway? And Applewhite, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Ronald Reagan, Tom Metzger, all "Calli"fornia phenomena.

North, South, Mason-Dixon, now that would have worked!

I know I'm posting way too much today --- sorry ---- but a couple of things. 1) Obama rocks. I'm happy that's his response. 2) The Republican clutching of pearls over the "smear" campaign is just painful...they are SHOCKED liberals would behave this way - that's their job. 3) I agree there is something that just doesn't jive here - whatever it is. (BTW - "about" five months? I'm so cynical now I think Mama Palin told her daughter she better get preganant quick....sorry, sorry - I don't think I was like this before spending eight years with Bushco) And the poor guy who is going to be the husband-to-be... 4) 14-year old, huh, Adam? Calligraph strikes me as a much older, bitter guy...it'd be nice if he were 14 instead...

Or, she will lose the 'baby' and the charade worked.

Nothing is below Rove, who outed a CIA agent doing her job to quell criticism.

NOTHING is below him.

And yes, HUGE LIES need to be investigated. Too many have gone past our eyes.

JFK, Bush Sr's lifetime involvement in the CIA, bay of pigs, Bush Sr's FAMILY FRIEND shooting Reagan (bet ya didn't hear THAT about Hinkley Jr. or that Hinkleys brother having dinner with JEB BUSH the next day in Denver.)

Oh, and Bush Sr WAS in Dallas when JFK was shot. We know because he called the FBI and told him he heard about an assassination plan, oh, and he would be at the Dallas Sheraton until the 23rd.

Funny, that guy is sure around a lot of presidents being shot. I'm sure his son will fair better in the Truth and Ethics arena. Oh wait!

So yeah, ask questions of these people who are unworthy of our trust.

Democracy = QUESTIONS.

Lying about a baby reveals huge character flaws, and if she was 15 when she conceived, then the governor is an accomplice and law-breaker. See, Alaskan age of consent is 16. All sex before then is statatory rape.

It gets murky mighty quick.

So, who will bet me $50 that Bristol miscarries the "baby", and is left married to the man who is the real father of the other child?

And a statement "We ask the media to respect Bristol at this very difficult time".

I can say this, mighty fucking convenient.

Also, in a survey, Palin supported "Abstinence Only" education in schools. She also eloped and had a baby 8 months later. No sex ed = babies for teens? Who knew.

So, who will take up my bet?

The post demanding Palin have out with the truth is gone. I rarely visited the site, did they have any credibility? If they did, they lost it.

I apologize for not having read all the posts here relevant to the Palin pregnancy affair. THe evidence is not slim--it is powerful, if circumstantial evidence, and powerful circumstantial evidence concerning a VP nominee DEMANDS looking into. That's all DailyKos was asking for--he says so, clearly. Look, this is not salacious, and it has nothing to do with her (then) 15 yr old daughter--she or her alleged pregnancy is NOT the issue. The issue IS that a person who may well be our next VP, one 72 year old heartbeat away from the presidency, may have LIED about a serious issue. If her name is on the birth certificate, then she falsified important documents and records. I don't konw if that is illegal, but it is certainly something that every citizen and voter has a right to know before casting his or her vote. Did she falsify other legal government documents?

Legal issues aside, this is a serious lie, that involved extensive, coordinated deception on the part of a VP nominee. That is as serious as it gets.

etoo,

Sorry, but I disagree. Let's suppose Palin did lie and the original DailyKos claim was true. Why then did Palin lie? To protect her daughter's reputation. Is that a weird Peyton Place/Pleasantville thing to do? Does it fit in with the fundamentalist right's flight from reality? Sure - but we don't need to dig around in her personal life to know that the religious right are bizarre. Was her motivation for lying more or less "noble" than Bill Clinton's motivation for lying about a blowjob? Do you really think it was important to expose Bill Clinton's sexual appetite - i.e., did we learn anything about Bill Clinton we didn't already know?

It appears that Palin has lied, or at least greatly distorted her record concerning "the bridge to nowhere" - she isn't some kind of anti-pork crusader. She comes from a state with the highest per capita rate of federal expenditures. Don't you think that contrast with the McCain mythology as anti-pork crusader is more important than her weird (if true) attempt to hide her daughter's pregnancy?

Tim, I agree, but for slightly different reasons than you offer, that we should focus on policy. Originally I argued that a lie about the pregnancy, if true, is both politically legitimate (for reasons offered above), and perhaps politically effective if it undercuts support from the religious right. But I think any such scrutiny, however desirable and legitimate in normative terms, would in political terms be disastrous. The McCain campaign is just waiting to use this as a "see, look at these low minded smears," which will consolidate support from those who sympathize and identify with Palin, not alienate them.

So I think Obama has been wise not to touch this issue. But what is your take--or perscipio's--on the latest revelation that Palin apparently belonged to a successionist, AK-is- not-part-of-the-U.S., fringe group?

I don't think any single item in Palin's history matters as much as the composite picture of who she is professionally and as a human being.

Along those lines, read this, and this.

At this point, I'm so convinced that the idea of Palin as VP is already beginning to come apart at the seams that even many of the true believers in the fantasy-based community will be forced to concede that McCain's judgment was horrifically poor in this instance. I'm not even sure she will even make it to the election.

I'm not trying to tear her down. I think her history and her own psychological makeup assure that that will happen (hopefully before the election).

For my part, I'm just getting out there & putting the bug in the ears of the true believers that people who are not steeped in partisan politicking can plainly see how, frankly, stupid McCain's choice was - and that if they cannot see it, they are part of the stupid.

They won't believe this now, of course - and most of them never will. But the McCain campaign cannot dodge this bullet. They loaded the gun and fired it themselves, and soon the impact will be felt. And the best possible good that can come of it is for the small fraction of proud, obedient nutters that have the capacity to pause for a moment of honest self-reflection to do so, and begin to germinate the seed of a social conscience inside the thick hulls of their crania. For this to happen at all, they have to see that a great many level-headed, compassionate, ethical people are far ahead of them on the learning curve. In other words, they have to finally recognize that their blind faith in the (cheer)leadership of their party and/or religion has left them exposed and vulnerable, not strong and secure.

See, they approach this thing like it's a football game - as if it's just about winning, not about wisdom. (Remember when Newt Gingrich said, back in 1994, that "In order to take the House, we must burn the House down."? Does that really seem wise?) In these people's compartmentalized thinking, they do not connect the fact that "the end doesn't justify the means" might apply directly to them, not just Hitler's Germany. In their binary worldview, they simply cannot see themselves as agents of evil, because they mean well, and they absolutely believe they are aligned with the forces of good, that God is on their side, and that evil only exists in any meaningful sense "out there". This is, of course, the very type of pride that blinds people to their own shortcomings and allows evil to flourish. (See what Bill Maher had to say on that subject on Larry King a couple weeks ago here. The specific part I'm thinking of starts at about 7:40, but really there are lots of other relevant parts.)

On the political front, the Democratic Party will do the job of refocusing the concerns about Palin where they rightfully belong: on the question of John McCain's judgment. I'm doing some of that, too, and I hope some of you will take the time to do likewise.

But we should not get altogether subsumed in politics. We must remember the human context in which of all of this is taking place. I believe that now is the time to press the advantage and sieze the opportunity to show that no matter how the country has been maligned by dividers masquerading as uniters, we do not accept the premise of their partisan division. We reject the idea that our different ideas necessarily make us enemies. Do not wear their blinders, and do not hate them for the narrowness of their vision. Get angry? You betcha. But hate? No, no, absolutely not.

We must, as always, show - not just say, but demonstrate - that an ethical, reasoned, compassionate approach to matters of social justice, which is inclusive even of those who have, in their madness, sought to harm others and ended up harming us all, does not require religious faith - in fact, it thrives much more effectively without it.

The secessionist thing? Well, politically is certainly fair game. (I can hear Colbert using it as a segue into "Why do you hate America?) What is my gut suspicion - she doesn't really believe in Alaska seceding from the US any more than Obama believes the occasional rants offered up by Reverend Wright. Politicians go with the flow of local politics when they are local politicians - in Chicago's south side, Jeremiah Wright ran a locally important church and Obama was a member because he was involved in his local community - I don't know how much of its Christian dogma he believes, but he is not (and never was) interested in Wrights rants and was never going to involve Rev. Wright in his national political organization. The federally subsidized "libertarians" of Alaska apparently have ding-a-ling secession groups and I wouldn't be surprised if Palin was a member in order to 'get along in the world'. Should Dems use it? Hell, yes.

I just love the Cindy McCain/Sarah Palin/Paris the (pro-) Simple Life contrast. I am, but should not be, surprised to find I have a 2 degree separation from the bubbly "Caneedian" sounding (actually, Idaho near the sing-song Swedish-accented Canadian border) VP candidate. In, it must have been around 1984 (?) I had an ugly role in a beauty pageant at some small shit sub-rube sub-burgh suburb in Alaska. I am now reminded that that sub-rube suburb was (I thought it was called) "Wassily", yes, it was silly, but... I may have had a role in helping her become a winner, in inspiring public confidence in "the winner" of that silly Wassily pageant, in a town of less than 3,000 as it was then, everyone knew everyone else, lots of Alaskans come down here for college, like my room-mate. For the record, she is a very nice lady, like my (mutual) fried friend of good ol' death valley days cowboy actor Ronald Reagan (cowboys, indians,... ). Afterall, Ron donated most of his Malibu Creek ranch which became "my" public park. Many's the time I've enjoyed jogging through the location of way too many a movie/TV show. And Bill Clinton, well, someone had to play 2nd Tenor to Bill's 1st tenor (in the Hot Springs High School band). 2 degrees of separation.

I feel like I have 7 degrees of separation from myself. If these guys are for real, I must be imagining...

A Butterfly flapping her wings in 1984 leads to a roasted grub (tested by fire John McCain) being elected leader of the free world in 2008.

If it's all my fault.

I accept fool personal responsibility. And if I were to get pageant pregnant....

Leftbanker is an old-fashioned idealist. It's a hole new game since Rove-r took over.

Rove v. Wade into the sub-arctic muck, my friend!

...the sub-arctic PERMANENTLY thawing muck...

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