Sunday, May 31, 2009

The murder of George Tiller, abortion provider

Kan. abortion provider was polarizing force
Associated Press
May 31, 2009

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — When George Tiller was young he dreamed not of being one of the most visible and strident advocates for abortion rights, but of becoming a dermatologist.

The 67-year-old physician, who was shot and killed Sunday in his church, had said his path was altered by a 1970 plane crash that killed his father, mother, sister and brother-in-law.

The former Navy flight surgeon was left with his father's family practice in Wichita, and he soon learned a secret. One of his father's patients asked him whether he, like his father, would perform abortions.

At first, Tiller said, he did not believe his father had risked his medical license by performing then-illegal abortions. But after the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortions in 1973, Tiller began providing them.

By the time he was killed, his clinic, Women's Health Care Services, was among just three in the nation to perform abortions after 21 weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus is considered viable.

He was a focus of abortion opponents for years, most peaceful, some violent.

"George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality health care despite frequent threats and violence," his Tiller's widow, four children and 10 grandchildren said in a statement. They called him "a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere."

Tiller's clinic was bombed in 1985, and he was shot in both arms in 1993 by abortion protester Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon of Grants Pass, Ore.

In 1991, the Summer of Mercy protests organized by Operation Rescue drew thousands of anti-abortion activists to Wichita for demonstrations marked by civil disobedience and mass arrests.

Federal marshals protected Tiller during the Summer of Mercy protests, and he was protected again between 1994 and 1998 after another abortion provider was assassinated and federal authorities reported finding his name on an assassination list.

The women's clinic is fortified with bulletproof glass, and Tiller hired a private security team to protect the facility. Once outside the clinic, Tiller was usually seen accompanied by a bodyguard.

Anti-abortion groups condemned Tiller's slaying.

"We value life, completely deplore violence, and are shocked and very upset by what happened in Wichita today," said Mary Kay Culp, executive director of the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life.

Tiller in 1997 said his "gifts of understanding" helped him bring a service to women that aided them in making their dreams of a happy, healthy family a reality.

Tiller, who in his later years largely shunned interviews and public appearances amid his family's increasing fear of violence against him, said abortion was as socially divisive as slavery or prohibition.

But he said the issue was about giving women a choice when dealing with technology that can diagnose severe fetal abnormalities before a baby is born.

"Prenatal testing without prenatal choices is medical fraud," Tiller once said.

Tiller contended that he pioneered the use of sonogram imaging during procedures, a process that has since been adopted by abortion providers nationwide.

In 2002, Tiller founded ProKanDo, a state political action committee, to help elect abortion rights supporters and support abortion-friendly legislation.

His resume includes the National Abortion Federation's highest honor, The Christopher Tietze Humanitarian Award, as well as the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights' Faith and Freedom Award.

Tiller Murder: Ann Coulter's Happy Day?
Huffington Post
Adele Stan
May 31, 2009

The killing of George Tiller will likely be attributed to some lone and deranged individual, acting on his or her own. (As I write, the suspect remains at large.) Indeed, Operation Rescue, the hold-no-prisoners anti-abortion group, issued a immediate statement from Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, decrying Tiller's shooting as "a cowardly act."

In fact, the hands are many in the death of George Tiller, some more directly than others. Take Ann Coulter, for example. I watched her describe, to a church full of right-wing activists, abortion-clinic doctors and health care personnel who were murdered, as either having been shot, "...or, depending on your point of view, had a procedure performed on them with a rifle." And she's still out there today, spewing the same bile with violent force.

Several weeks ago, President Barack Obama's commencement address at Notre Dame University spurred controversy when anti-abortion activists pressed the Catholic university to withdraw its invitation to the pro-choice president. Coulter responded with the suggestion that for next year's ceremony, "Notre Dame have an abortionist perform an abortion live on stage? They could have a partial-birth abortion for the advanced degrees."

As if that wasn't enough, Coulter added this:

Being such a prestigious institution, Notre Dame could probably get famed partial-birth abortion practitioner George Tiller to do the demonstration at next year's graduation. Obama could help -- inasmuch as Tiller the abortionist is a close friend of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

George Tiller, M.D., was unlikely national figure, but to the religious right, he was Enemy Number One.

Close watchers of national news may have known the name of George Tiller, M.D., from the extraordinary actions of former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who, three years ago subpoenaed from Tiller's clinic the records of hundreds of women who had undergone abortion procedures there. Kline, a frequent speaker at religious-right gatherings, claimed he needed the records for an investigation as to whether Tiller was following the law, but many in the reproductive health community saw Kline's actions as an attempt to intimidate women who were considering undergoing late-term abortions. Kline's case against Tiller was dismissed in 2006, after Kansas voters booted the AG from office.

Tiller's name became part of inside-the-Beltway parlance with the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sibelius to head the Department of Health and Human Services, when campaign contributions from Tiller and his associates became a bone of contention in her confirmation process. (She has since been confirmed, and is now HHS secretary.)

So my question to Ann Coulter is: Did George Tiller have "a procedure performed on him by a rifle"? Did he simply get his just desserts?

If the murderer was not a follower of Coulter's, he certainly acted from the sort of hateful sentiment she disseminates in popular and right-wing media.

Consider this comment left by a reader of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's posting of Associated Press coverage of the Tiller murder:

Although I would never do something like this, he got what was coming to him. Now he needs to answer to God for the thousands of innocent babies he has murdered.

Sounds like one of Annie's kids to me.

Abortion provider Tiller shot dead at Kansas church

Associated Press
May 31, 2009

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A suspect is reported in custody in the shooting death of Dr. George Tiller, 1 of the nation's few providers of late-term abortions.

Tiller was shot and killed this morning in a Wichita, Kan., church where he was serving as an usher and his wife was in the choir.

The gunman fled, but Johnson County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Erickson says a suspect is now in custody. Erickson says the suspect is being held in New Century, about 170 miles northeast of Wichita, until Wichita police can question him.

Tiller was long a focus of national anti-abortion groups, including a summer-long protest in 1991. He was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church. His attorney calls Tiller's killing "an unspeakable tragedy."

Tiller's Women's Health Care Services clinic is 1 of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

O'Reilly's campaign against murdered doctor

The Fox News star had compared Tiller to a Nazi, called him a "baby killer," and warned of "Judgment Day"
By Gabriel Winant
May 31, 2009

When his show airs tomorrow, Bill O'Reilly will most certainly decry the death of Kansas doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday while attending church services with his wife. Tiller, O'Reilly will say, was a man who was guilty of barbaric acts, but a civilized society does not resort to lawless murder, even against its worst members. And O'Reilly, we can assume, will genuinely mean this.

But there's no other person who bears as much responsibility for the characterization of Tiller as a savage on the loose, killing babies willy-nilly thanks to the collusion of would-be sophisticated cultural elites, a bought-and-paid-for governor and scofflaw secular journalists. Tiller's name first appeared on "The Factor" on Feb. 25, 2005. Since then, O'Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as recently as April 27 of this year. Almost invariably, Tiller is described as "Tiller the Baby Killer."

Tiller, O'Reilly likes to say, "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000." He's guilty of "Nazi stuff," said O'Reilly on June 8, 2005; a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida, he suggested on March 15, 2006. "This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union," said O'Reilly on Nov. 9, 2006.

O'Reilly has also frequently linked Tiller to his longtime obsession, child molestation and rape. Because a young teenager who received an abortion from Tiller could, by definition, have been a victim of statutory rape, O'Reilly frequently suggested that the clinic was covering up for child rapists (rather than teenage boyfriends) by refusing to release records on the abortions performed.

When Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, an O'Reilly favorite who faced harsh criticism for seeking Tiller's records, was facing electoral defeat by challenger Paul Morrison, O'Reilly said, "Now we don't endorse candidates here, but obviously, that would be a colossal mistake. Society must afford some protection for viable babies and children who are raped." (Morrison ultimately unseated Kline.)

This is where O'Reilly's campaign against George Tiller becomes dangerous. While he never advocated anything violent or illegal, the Fox bully repeatedly portrayed the doctor as a murderer on the loose, allowed to do whatever he wanted by corrupt and decadent authorities. "Also, it looks like Dr. Tiller, who some call Tiller the Baby Killer, is spending a large amount of money in order to get Mr. Morrison elected. That opens up all kinds of questions," said O'Reilly on Nov. 6, 2006, in one of many suggestions that Tiller was improperly influencing the election.

Tiller's excuses for performing late-term abortions, O'Reilly suggested, were frou-frou, New Age, false ailments: The woman might have a headache or anxiety, or have been dumped by her boyfriend. She might be "depressed," scoffed O'Reilly, which he dismissed as "feeling a bit blue and carr[ying] a certified check." There was, he proposed on Jan. 5, 2007, a kind of elite conspiracy of silence on Tiller. "Yes, OK, but we know about the press. But it becomes a much more intense problem when you have a judge, confronted with evidence of criminal wrongdoing, who throws it out on some technicality because he wants to be liked at the country club. Then it's intense."

Tiller, said O'Reilly on Jan. 6 of this year, was a major supporter of then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. "I think it's unfairly characterized as just a grip and grin relationship. He was a pretty big supporter of hers." She had cashed her campaign check from Tiller, "doesn't seem to be real upset about this guy operating a death mill, which is exactly what it is in her state, does she?" he asked on July 14 of last year. "Maybe she'll -- maybe she'll pardon him," he scoffed two months ago.

This is where it gets most troubling. O'Reilly's language describing Tiller, and accusing the state and its elites of complicity in his actions, could become extremely vivid. On June 12, 2007, he said, "Yes, I think we all know what this is. And if the state of Kansas doesn't stop this man, then anybody who prevents that from happening has blood on their hands as the governor does right now, Governor Sebelius."

Three days later, he added, "No question Dr. Tiller has blood on his hands. But now so does Governor Sebelius. She is not fit to serve. Nor is any Kansas politician who supports Tiller's business of destruction. I wouldn't want to be these people if there is a Judgment Day. I just -- you know ... Kansas is a great state, but this is a disgrace upon everyone who lives in Kansas. Is it not?"

This characterization of Tiller fits exactly into ancient conservative, paranoid stories: a decadent, permissive and callous elite tolerates moral monstrosities that every common-sense citizen just knows to be awful. Conspiring against our folk wisdom, O'Reilly says, the sophisticates have shielded Tiller from the appropriate, legal consequences for his deeds. It's left to "judgment day" to give him what's coming.

O'Reilly didn't tell anyone to do anything violent, but he did put Tiller in the public eye, and help make him the focus of a movement with a history of violence against exactly these kinds of targets (including Tiller himself, who had already been shot). In those circumstances, flinging around words like "blood on their hands," "pardon," "country club" and "judgment day" was sensationally irresponsible.

Seeking Clues on Suspect in Shooting of Doctor
New York Times
Published: June 1, 2009

OVERLAND, Kan. — From the one-story house she once shared in this Kansas City suburb with her former husband, now suspected in the death of a doctor who performed late-term abortions, Lindsey Roeder recalled on Monday how he seemed to undergo a drastic personality shift more than a decade ago.

“The man I married disappeared into this other person,” Ms. Roeder, shaken and puffy eyed, said of Scott Roeder, who was being held in a Wichita jail in the death of Dr. George R. Tiller, who was fatally shot at his Wichita church on Sunday. The authorities said charges were expected soon against Mr. Roeder.

“He wanted a scapegoat,” Ms. Roeder said. “First it was taxes — he stopped paying. Then he turned to the church and got involved in anti-abortion.”

But Mr. Roeder, 51, had not been among the people considered most worrisome to abortion rights groups, some of which keep a close eye on anti-abortion groups and their Web sites to monitor what they consider threats, some leaders here said. “Nobody recognizes his name,” said Marla Patrick, a state coordinator for the National Organization for Women in Kansas.

Law enforcement officials here and in Wichita, a conservative town that has for years been a focal point of tense abortion debate in large part because of Dr. Tiller’s clinic, gave little sense of whether they had previously viewed Mr. Roeder as a concern. After he was taken into custody, they indicated that they were only beginning to delve into his past and his associations.

Still, as Mr. Roeder’s relatives and others who had come into contact with him over the years began looking backward, they said they now saw some signs that might have hinted at more serious trouble ahead. For more than 10 years, Mr. Roeder had been linked, at various times and in varying degrees, to the Freemen, a group that rejected federal authority and the banking system, and to people who believe that the killing of abortion providers was justified by the abortions it prevented.

In 2007, someone identifying himself as Scott Roeder posted a message on the Web site of Operation Rescue, a group based in Wichita that had devoted much of its effort to blocking Dr. Tiller from performing late-term abortions. The posting read, in part: “Tiller is the concentration camp ‘Mengele’ of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgment upon our nation.” ...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Climate Change Killing 300,000 Per Year

Climate Change Killing 300,000 Per Year

LONDON (May 29, 2009) -- The first comprehensive report into the human cost of climate change warns the world is in the throes of a "silent crisis" that is killing 300,000 people each year.
More than 300 million people are already seriously affected by the gradual warming of the earth and that number is set to double by 2030, the report from the Global Humanitarian Forum warns.

A new report examines the human cost of climate change, which it said causes more than 300,000 deaths per year. The report, released Friday, shows the impact of climate change on population displacement, malnutrition and diseases, such as malaria. "Climate change is not something waiting to happen," said former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"For the first time we are trying to get the world's attention to the fact that climate change is not something waiting to happen. It is impacting seriously the lives of many people around the world," the forum's president, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told CNN.

Speaking to CNN's Becky Anderson in London on Friday, Annan said the migration of people from newly uninhabitable areas presents a security issue...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Malaria's range is expanding as the world warms; also

I just got back from El Salvador, where those who can afford it take powerful, dangerous medications every six months to get rid of parasites. Everything grows better in the tropics--including all manner of creepy, crawling things, some of which are very hard to get rid of. I also saw an out-of-control wild fire in the pine hills near Pequin.

By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent
Climate health costs: bug-borne ills, killer heat

May 28, 2009

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tree-munching beetles, malaria-carrying mosquitoes and deer ticks that spread Lyme disease are three living signs that climate change is likely to exact a heavy toll on human health.

These pests and others are expanding their ranges in a warming world, which means people who never had to worry about them will have to start. And they are hardly the only health threats from global warming.

The Lancet medical journal declared in a May 16 commentary: "Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century."

Individual threats range from the simple to the very complex, the Lancet said, reporting on a year-long study conducted with University College London.

As the global mean temperature rises, expect more heat waves. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects 25 percent more heat waves in Chicago by the year 2100; Los Angeles will likely have a four-to-eightfold increase in the number of heat-wave days by century's end.

These "direct temperature effects" will hit the most vulnerable people hardest, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, especially those with heart problems and asthma, the elderly, the very young and the homeless.

The EPA has declared that carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas. is a danger to human health and welfare, clearing the way for possible regulation of emissions.

At the same time, the U.S. Congress is working on a bill that would cap emissions and issue permits that could be traded between companies that spew more than the limit and those that emit less.


People who live within 60 miles of a shoreline, or about one-third of the world's population, could be affected if sea levels rise as expected over the coming decades, possibly more than 3 feet (1 meter) by 2100. Flooded homes and crops could make environmental refugees of a billion people.

As it becomes hotter, the air can hold more moisture, helping certain disease-carriers, such as the ticks that spread Lyme disease, thrive, the EPA said.

A changing climate could increase the risk of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and various viral causes of encephalitis. Algae blooms in water could be more frequent, increasing the risk of diseases like cholera. Respiratory problems may be aggravated by warming-induced increases in smog.

Other less obvious dangers are also potentially devastating.

Pine bark beetles, which devour trees in western North America will be able to produce more generations each year, instead of subsiding during winter months.

They leave standing dead timber, ideal fuel for wildfires from Arizona to Alaska...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

China has rage, too

A man who pushed another man off a bridge claims to have done so out of purely unselfish motives. Some might think he was trying to speed up traffic so he could get home to dinner, or trying to stifle a protest he did not support. But no, he was doing a public service by pushing someone off a bridge for being "selfish."

Man pushes would-be suicide off bridge

May 25, 2009

A Chinese man was pushed off a bridge by an angry passer-by after his threat to commit suicide held up traffic for five hours, Chinese media reported on Saturday.

Retired soldier Lian Jiansheng, 66, broke through a police cordon and reached out to shake the hand of would-be jumper Chen Fuchao before shoving him off the bridge.

"I pushed him off because jumpers like Chen are very selfish. Their action violates a lot of public interests," Lai was quoted as saying by the China Daily newspaper.

"They do not really dare to kill themselves. Instead, they just want to raise the relevant government authorities' attention to their appeals."

Chen, 2 million yuan ($293,200) in debt because of a failed building project, fell 8 metres (yards) onto a partially inflated emergency air cushion and was hospitalized with wrist and back injuries. Lai was detained by police.

Chen was at least the twelfth person since early April to threaten suicide at the same spot, the Haizhu bridge in Guangzhou. But none jumped and -- until Lian gave Chen a helping hand -- none was pushed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Liberty University bans College Democrats; founder Jerry Falwell would be pleased

Conservative University Founded by Jerry Falwell Bans College Democrats Club
The club is barred from using Liberty University's name, advertising events and holding meetings on campus
May 22, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. -- Liberty University has ordered its fledgling College Democrats club to shut down, saying the group stands against the conservative Christian school's moral principles.

Club president Brian Diaz said he was shocked to be notified by e-mail last week that the club was being banned by the private university in Lynchburg founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. The university first recognized it in the fall.

"We were shocked, as well, that (the club) even got accepted. It was huge, and we were glad that Liberty did that," Diaz said in a telephone interview from Orlando, Fla.

The club is barred from using Liberty's name, advertising events and holding meetings on campus. Violators could be reprimanded and face expulsion for repeated offenses.

Vice president of student affairs Mark Hine said in the e-mail sent to Diaz on May 15 that the Democratic party violates the school's principles by supporting abortion, socialism and the "'LGBT' agenda," referring to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. The e-mail said that even though the campus group "may not support the more radical planks of the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party is still the parent organization of the club on campus."

Mathew Staver, the dean of Liberty's law school who also is overseeing a review of university policies, said the decision stemmed from a new policy governing student groups. No other groups have been affected, including the campus Republican organization, he said.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said the club's previous recognition by the school was "an oversight by an administrator" who didn't thoroughly consult school policy.

He said he likes the group's members and knows they mean well, but that the university has received "lots of complaints from parents and donors" about the club's existence.

"They're great Christian kids. I hope they'll find a Democratic organization that is pro-life and pro-family so they can become endorsed," he said in a telephone interview.

The 30 members of the Democratic club, which was started in October, canvassed neighborhoods to promote Barack Obama's presidential run and called voters from phone banks. Diaz said it's natural to wonder if the group was somehow being penalized for those activities.

Staver denied that Liberty was targeting the Democrats. The university won't prevent the group's members from interacting on campus, he said, but they can't hold meetings as the Liberty University College Democrats.

In a conference call with reporters, club adviser and 2004 Liberty graduate Maria Childress said she was unsuccessful so far in arranging a meeting to plead her case with the chancellor.

She said the Republican Party and its platform is "preached on every avenue" to a captive campus audience. During last fall's presidential campaign, she said, GOP viewpoints were expressed in the absence of any Democratic perspective...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Human beings would rather know something bad will occur than not know anything about what's coming

May 20, 2009, 9:30 pm
What You Don’t Know Makes You Nervous
By Daniel Gilbert
New York Times

...people feel worse when something bad might occur than when something bad will occur. Most of us aren’t losing sleep and sucking down Marlboros because the Dow is going to fall another thousand points, but because we don’t know whether it will fall or not — and human beings find uncertainty more painful than the things they’re uncertain about.

But why?

A colostomy reroutes the colon so that waste products leave the body through a hole in the abdomen, and it isn’t anyone’s idea of a picnic. A University of Michigan-led research team studied patients whose colostomies were permanent and patients who had a chance of someday having their colostomies reversed. Six months after their operations, patients who knew they would be permanently disabled were happier than those who thought they might someday be returned to normal...

[Maura Larkins' comment: Perhaps this is why voters frequently choose leaders who speak very assuredly of what the future holds, and what must be done about it. These voters don't want someone who says, "We have to find out what we don't know, and then figure out the best way to respond." They just want someone who says, "Do this, and then the boogeymen won't get you." I'm amazed at how voters do a 180-degree turn when their chosen leader's absolute certainty turns out to be simply wrong. I don't understand voters sudden hostility to the poor foolish man that they put into high office. He honestly believed he knew what was right. He thought God was on his side, and the voters thought that, too. It was a shared delusion. The voters should blame themselves just as much as they blame their erstwhile hero.]

Christian bookstore owner: Do as he says, not as he does

Christian bookstore owner in Morgan Hill arrested on suspicion of sexual battery
By Mark Gomez
Mercury News

The owner of a Christian bookstore in Morgan Hill has been arrested for touching a female employee inappropriately, according to police.

Richard Dresser, 55, of Morgan Hill, was arrested Saturday after a 23-year-old female employee reported the incident to police. Officers responded to Eternal Treasures bookstore located at 433 Vineyard Town Center and took Dresser to the police department for questioning.

Police say Dresser was interviewed and confessed to the crime. He was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County jail on suspicion of touching intimate part against restrained person, indecent exposure, recording video for pleasure and secretly video taping person when they have an expectation of privacy...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Privacy laws violated by healthcare provider

Farrah Fawcett: Dealing with cancer much easier when not "under a microscope"
Westlake Ent. Group © Westlake Ent. Group
CBS Channel 8 San Diego

...The former Charlie's Angels star said that unlike other cancer patients, she has not been given the right of privacy and the opportunity to choose with whom she wants to share the news of her illness...

The 62-year-old's cancer fight has been in the news since she disclosed it in October 2006. Since then, the actress has denounced the National Enquirer for publishing leaked details of her illness, and even set up a sting operation to prove to UCLA Medical Center that one of its employees was responsible for sharing the information.

Fawcett was shocked to see how quickly her diagnosis appeared in the Enquirer. "I couldn't believe how fast it came out," Fawcett said. "Maybe four days."

Partly because of Fawcett's experience, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law tougher penalties for people and entities that violate patients' privacy.

Federal prosecutors who investigated the case accused a UCLA employee of receiving $4,600 in checks from the Enquirer in her husband's name. The employee pleaded guilty to a felony charge of violating federal medical privacy laws but died of cancer before she could be sentenced.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Elizabeth Edwards stands up for herself amid tragedies and humiliations

Elizabeth Edwards: Why so much hate from the media?
May 12, 2009
by Tina Jordan

I have been following the whole flap over the new Elizabeth Edwards book, Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities -- you know, the one where she talks about her death of her son, her cancer, and the affair of her husband, John -- and I'm stunned by the negative media reaction to it. Maureen Dowd wrote in the New York Times, "Now Saint Elizabeth has dragged [John] back into the public square for a flogging on Oprah and in Time and at bookstores near you. The book is billed as helping people 'facing life's adversities.' But it's just a gratuitous peek into their lives, and one that exposes her kids by peddling more dregs about their personal family life in a book, and exposes the ex-girlfriend, who's now trying to raise the baby girl, a dead ringer for John Edwards, in South Orange, N.J." Then, in response to Edwards' appearance on the Today Show yesterday (embedded below), Daily Beast editor Tina Brown wrote a piece under the headline "Elizabeth Edwards fed herself to the Vultures" that said, "If she had stuck with her health and her loss, Edwards might have held on to our sympathy. But her insistence on belittling to Oprah the dreaded 'other woman,' Rielle Hunter, was so embarrassingly self-righteous it almost made me feel sorry for the Democratic twinkie John." Huh?

I guess I’m not sure I understand all this venom. And I certainly don’t agree with it. Elizabeth Edward’s reasons are her own, and she’s justified to make them. Who are we to sit in judgment? When Gloria Allred and Tina Brown appeared on the Today Show this morning to discuss the whole thing, Brown said at one point that she didn’t think Elizabeth needed “to parade her lack of resolution to the cameras.” Meredith Vieira seemed visibly annoyed, saying at one point, “Why is she the one being judged when she’s the victim in all this?” I never thought I’d find Gloria Allred the voice of reason, but I sure agreed with her when she said, “I think she was giving an honest reaction that she has every right to give. She is looking at the good and the bad and the ugly, and giving weight to all of that.”

Elizabeth Edwards: the Green-eyed Monster?
Caryl Rivers
May 12, 2009
Huffington Post

...Edwards, I believe, is seeking something more profound than mere vengeance. It's about who owns her story, and through that narrative, herself.

One of the major themes to emerge from the second wave of the women's movement of the 70s was the desire of women to be, at long last, at the center of their own stories. They no longer wanted to be somebody's mother, somebody's wife, somebody's victim, somebody's muse, or the object of somebody's desire.

In those days, the idea of women as actors in their own right, uncoupled from the Male Gaze, was a radical one. Joseph Campbell, the famous scholar of mythology, was once asked if women could have a quest, a journey of their own. He said no, because women were the objects of quests by men. "Women don't need to make the journey. In the whole mythological journey, the woman is there. All she has to do is realize that she's the place that people are trying to get to."

Elizabeth Edwards wants to present her life on her own terms. She wants to tell us of a life that mattered. She doesn't want history's picture of her to be the one we've seen so often with political wives. They stand beside their straying spouses, mute in support, and then shuffle off into the shadows of politics and history.

Edwards' breast cancer has metastasized into her bones. She knows she is coming prematurely to the end of her life. She doesn't have many years ahead of her, as Hillary Clinton did, to forge her own story and triumph in her own right...

As the late critic Carolyn Heilbrun pointed out, "above all other prohibitions, what has been forbidden to women is anger, together with the open admission of the desire for power and control over one's life ...Because this has been declared unwomanly, and because many women would prefer (or think they would prefer) a world without evident power or control, women have been deprived of the narratives, or the texts, plots, or examples, by which they might assume power over--take control of--their own lives."...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Some Republicans ready to move on from wedge issues of God, guns and gays

On Politics Dwindling, GOP Won't Look Inward
New York Times
May 8, 2009‎
...ON June 4, Newt Gingrich is to address a shrinking Connecticut Republican Party that has sworn off God, guns and gays as wedge issues...