September 1, 2008


To rebut rumors, Palin says daughter, 17, pregnant (Reuters, Sep 1, 2008)

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. [...]

"We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us," the Palins' statement said.

"Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support," the Palins said.

Can even Irish twins have turnaround time that rapid?

Lucky kid, if Mr. Obama were the grandfather we'd all be praying for the baby's life right now.

(*) Anyone else find that phrasing, which obviously implies that she has children with other men, odd?

In Wasilla, Pregnancy Was No Secret (Nathan Thornburgh, 9/01/08, TIME)

So his name is Levi.

That's about the only thing that I didn't know about Bristol Palin's pregnancy. The rest of the details I picked up almost without trying, while talking about other things with townsfolk — some who know the governor and her family well, some who don't. It was, more or less, an open secret. And everyone was saying the same thing: the governor's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, the father is her boyfriend, and it's really nobody's business beyond that.

I happen to agree. [...]

If you haven't guessed yet, the people here are genuinely friendly. Even those in Palin's inner sanctum who have been told since Friday not to talk to reporters by McCain's media team, are almost apologetic that they can't be neighborly and chat, since you came all this way to little Wasilla. And those who can talk, do. All weekend they had the decency not to pretend that they didn't know the governor's eldest daughter was pregnant. But they also expected decency in return, that I wouldn't be the kind of person to make sport out of a young girl's slip.

The fact is, regardless of what you will hear over the next few days, Bristol's pregnancy is not a legitimate political issue. Sarah Palin is a longterm member of a group called Feminists for Life, which is not opposed to birth control. So you probably can't tag her for consigning young people to unwanted pregnancies.

You can argue that it was hamhanded of the McCain campaign—they had to have known, right? — to somehow let this drop just a few days after the announcement. Pregnancy does show, and it does have a ticking clock. The story was going to come out eventually.

As for the idea — sure to be floated—that the avowedly anti-abortion Palin may have pressured her poor daughter to ruin her life by carrying an unwanted baby to term, I wouldn't bet on it. The Palin family seems to share the same pro-life values going back at least as far back as anyone here can remember, and it wouldn't be at all surprising if Bristol wore those values, however imperfectly, as her own. At least, that's what the town thinks. And Wasilla, above all, is pretty sensible.

Sarah Palin is a “Feminist for Life” (David Brody, August 29, 2008, CBN)
Palin is a member of Feminists for Life of America -- a venerable but little known pro-life group that focuses on the pro-woman reasons for opposing abortion.

The organization is considered an expert on understanding how abortion hurts women and the complications abortion involves from a medical, physical, and mental health standpoint.

Beyond that, Feminists for Life has championed the notion that one of the best ways to reduce abortion is to do the kind of work abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood should, but aren't doing -- namely, providing pregnant women with resources they need.

Feminists for Life has spearheaded efforts to make sure pregnant and parenting college students, who have the highest abortion rates in the nation, get tangible help like medical referrals, child-care, and assistance in completing their education.

Palin, a mother of five, recognized the need to do more than say she opposes abortion and joined the organization.

Exclusive: Todd Palin’s 1986 DUI Arrest Called “Lesson Learned” (David Brody, September 1, 2008, CBN)
Sources close to Sarah Palin tell The Brody File that the husband of the GOP Vice-presidential choice, Todd Palin, was arrested and charged with Driving under the Influence of alcohol back in 1986. He was 22 years old at the time. He was driving in a truck with some friends in the small southwestern Alaska town of Dillingham when he was pulled over for the DUI. As is customary, he was taken to jail briefly. Sarah and Todd Palin were high school sweethearts so they were dating at the time. The Brody File can also report that there was no accident or injuries.

Sources close to Sarah Palin also tell The Brody File that Todd Palin has been “forthcoming about the situation and has indicated that it was a lesson learned from when he was younger.”

In Bed With the Right: a review of SEX IN CRISIS: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics By Dagmar Herzog (HANNA ROSIN, 8/31/08, NY Times Book Review)
Dagmar Herzog, a history professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, tries to re-stoke the culture wars with “Sex in Crisis,” a chronicle of the Christian right’s supposed influence in the American bedroom. Herzog opens with a depressing snapshot of the modern marriage: Americans work too hard and spend too much time with kids to bother with romance in the evening. The easy availability of Viagra has recast sex as a male-centered mechanical act. Husbands often prefer Internet porn to sleeping with their wives. (“Not Tonight, Honey, I’m Logging On,” reads one headline she quotes.) One in three women and one in six men, according to one study, had experienced loss of desire for sex. “Americans,” Herzog writes, have “lost their libidos.”

Into this barren landscape steps the Christian right, ready to take over “the terms of the conversation about sex and love in the United States.” Shedding their frigid stereotype, Christian leaders have embraced a new role as sex therapists to a love-starved nation. Sex can be fabulous, orgasmic, even kinky, these new gurus promise — but only in the confines of a heterosexual, Christian marriage. Stray from that path, and you will find yourself bitter, estranged and diseased.

For the anthropologically minded, few activities are as entertaining and rewarding as digging through Christian sex advice books, which tend to be loaded with forced enthusiasm and awkward metaphors. Herzog, a pastor’s daughter who grew up in what she calls a “deeply Christian household,” starts by going back to the early 1970s and Tim LaHaye’s handbook “The Act of Marriage,” which calls sex “life’s most exciting experience” and extols the “titanic emotional and physical explosion that culminates the act of marriage.” A more modern book streamlines the cheerleading: “What an incredible thought! Passionate sex was God’s idea.”

They always do seem awfully upset about conservatives enjoying normal sex.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 1, 2008 11:34 AM
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