Much time is spent during abortion debates on the imputing and impugning of motives. Without it, coverage of the Texas legislative battle over late-term abortion, for example, would consist mainly of blank pages and dead air.
But political outcomes are not always reducible to the intentions of the winner. Results are often influenced by deeper trends that neither side of a debate can do much to change or control.
The national abortion settlement declared by Roe v. Wade — rooting a nearly unrestricted right to abortion in the right to privacy — has been unstable for 40 years. The reason is a tension between the state of the law and a durable public consensus that human life has an increasing claim on our sympathy as it develops. This view does not reflect either pro-life or pro-choice orthodoxy. But it predicts a more sustainable political resolution.
The media have a slothful tendency to place Americans into rigid categories of pro-life and pro-choice. The reality is more complicated. A 2011 Gallup poll found that 79 percent of people who describe themselves as pro-choice support making abortion illegal in the third trimester. “One of the clearest messages from Gallup trends,” concludes Gallup’s Lydia Saad, “is that Americans oppose late-term abortion.” Saad adds: “A solid majority of Americans (61 percent) believe abortion should generally be legal in the first three months of pregnancy, while 31 percent disagree. However support drops off sharply, to 27 percent, for second-trimester abortions, and further still, to 14 percent, for third-trimester abortions. Gallup has found this pattern each time it has asked this question since 1996, indicating that Americans attach much greater value to the fetus as it approaches viability, starting in the second trimester.”
An opinion this consistent and nearly universal must be based on something. The late political scientist James Q. Wilson gave the most persuasive explanation. In his 1994 essay, “On Abortion,” he argued bluntly that “people treat as human that which appears to be human; people treat as quasi-human that which appears quasi-human.” Sympathy, in his view, grows with resemblance. This explains why the miscarriage of an embryo is (generally) treated differently than the death of a newborn. It is also the reason, according to Wilson, that we recoil from “the thought of killing an infant that does not differ from the newborn in any respect other than that it receives oxygen and food via an umbilical cord instead of through its nose and mouth.”
“Life emerges,” Wilson said, “or more accurately, the claims that developing life exert upon us emerge, gradually but powerfully.” As a fetus becomes more recognizably human, it invokes “attachment that is as natural as any sentiment that ever enters the human breast.” Wilson placed the decisive stage of development, as many Americans seem to place it, at 10 to 12 weeks of gestation.
Wilson was broadly criticized, by both pro-life and pro-choice advocates, for attempting to turn sentiments into principles. As a moral matter, I share that criticism. His gradations strike me as ethically arbitrary, and even universal opinions do not add up to moral rules. But Wilson’s theory of natural “moral sentiments” on abortion does seem to describe the way most Americans think about this issue. Which makes it politically predictive.
If Wilson’s description is correct, pro-life advocates are unlikely to secure legal limits on abortion during the first trimester — the period in which most abortions take place. At some point, after late-term abortions are restricted, legislative approaches will become unproductive, and persuasion and the provision of alternatives to abortion will become the main avenues of activism.
But because the Supreme Court imposed a national settlement at odds with natural sentiments, pro-choice advocates are on the defensive. Their political challenge is to prevent the working of politics. Their real opponent is democracy, as state after state considers late-term abortion restrictions.
We have some models of what happens, even in very liberal societies, when public views prevail on abortion. Across most of Western Europe, abortion is legal during the first trimester but heavily restricted later in pregnancy — after the 14th week in France, Germany and Spain. These limits are not a violation of liberal principles but a recognition that the inherent violence of late-term abortion is at odds with liberal principles.
A Wilson-like settlement on abortion in America would be unsatisfying to many. But it would have the virtue of being sustained by consensus, not imposed by fiat.
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In one of his final opinions as a Supreme Court Justice, Hugo Black in the 1971 Pentagon Papers case wrote that “The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government.” The Court’s 6-3 decision granted the Washington Post and New York Times permission to resume publishing a comprehensive and classified government history of the Vietnam War. The permission was granted over the “national security” objections of the Nixon administration. Black’s opinion stressed that the “press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.”
The Pentagon Papers case revolved around the more traditional press debate regarding prior restraint: if and when the government has the right to stop news organizations from disseminating sensitive information. The Supreme Court’s landmark 1931 media ruling, Near v. Minnesota, declared that almost all forms of prior restraint were unconstitutional. One of the few exceptions included issues of national security.*
Of course, the recent Obama administration controversies surrounding freedom of the press revolve around national security and the intense prosecutorial efforts by the government to weed out leakers of classified information. Rather than trying to stop journalists from reporting national security news, federal law enforcement seems preoccupied with snooping around, in increasingly clandestine ways, and ensnaring reporters in criminal investigations.
Whether it was the Department of Justice’s wild overreach in seizing phone records of more than 20 separate telephone lines used by Associated Press editors and reporters, or the Department’s more focused, yet even more troubling, information grab of a Fox News reporter, the practice is wrong and shortsighted. It’s also un-American.
The Founding Fathers had the foresight to carve out extraordinary privileges and protections for the press, and for centuries they have endured. So why now turn our storied First Amendment into the Sort Of First Amendment or the When It’s Convenient First Amendment?
Imagine what international observers must be thinking as they watch the U.S. government, in the name of leak investigations, chisel away at one of America’s most famous contributions to the democratic way of life: Freedom of the press.
Yet it’s also important to note that despite some of the heated rhetoric in recent days, there’s little evidence that the federal government is waging some sort of all-out war on journalism (that it’s “spying” on reporters), or that it’s set out a dangerous new policy to “criminalize” the craft. And no, Fox News certainly hasn’t been “targeted” by the Obama administration, despite Fox’s plaintive cries of victimhood in recent days. (There’s certainly no evidence to back up Shepard Smith’s baseless on-air claim that the Department of Justice “went into” Fox News computer servers and “pulled things out.”)
First Amendment alarms bells went off when it was revealed that Fox News’ James Rosen had been described as “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in a 2010 FBI affidavit in support of warrant seeking permission to look through the reporter’s phone records as well as the contents of his Gmail account. The FBI was looking for correspondences with then-State Department security adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, charged with leaking classified information to Rosen about North Korea in 2009.
Those First Amendment alarm bells were justified.
The Rosen warrant request appears to be the first time (that we know of) that the government singled out a journalist as a possible criminal during a leak investigation. In other words, it was the first time law enforcement in court proceedings suggested it was a crime to publish, or to try to obtain, classified information. (It is not.) The FBI’s targets in the past had always focused on the leakers, not those receiving the leaks.
And in the past, when law enforcement wanted to obtain phone records or other personal communications from journalists, they were supposed to issue narrow subpoenas after exhausting all other investigative avenues. (And only after the Attorney General personally approved of the move.) Prosecutors also notified the media company in question about the subpoena, unless notification threatened the integrity of the investigation.
Prior to the Washington Post story being published on May 20, Rosen knew nothing of the search warrant or that it had been acted upon. And that’s why the alarm bells sounded, and with good reason. The idea that federal law enforcement can simply grab a reporter’s private communication without the reporter or his news employer ever being notified — and without them given a chance to persuade a judge the stop the action (i.e. judicial relief) — is wrong and it’s dangerous and in the Rosen case it was unacceptable.
But also note that Rosen being unaware the FBI grabbed his emails was, in weird way, reassuring. It’s reassuring because despite the alarming wording of the warrant request (“abettor and/or co-conspirator”), no charges were ever brought against Rosen, and according to the FBI none are expected to be forthcoming.
Despite the disturbing language used in the single FBI warrant request, reportedly approved by Attorney General Eric Holder, the Rosen case not does appear to reflect a larger policy shift within the Department of Justice to “criminalize” reporting. Plus, there’s recent evidence to suggest the DOJ has declined to take drastic steps against the press during a national security leak investigation.
On May 17, The Smoking Gun reported that FBI counterintelligence agents had overseen a lengthy leak investigation after The Smoking Gun published a classified, 12-page CIA report detailing the organizing activities of al-Qaeda members imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.
Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Smoking Gun learned:
The case remained open for three years and eight months, spanning the Bush and Obama administrations. It was formally closed in March 2010 when, after much internal debate, the Department of Justice’s Counterespionage Section declined to authorize a subpoena–sought by the FBI–compelling [The Smoking Gun’s] editor to testify before a grand jury about its source.
Faced with taking the extreme measure of forcing an editor to testify before a grand jury about the identify of a source, the DOJ declined, and instead closed down an unsuccessful leak investigation. If there really were a top-down administration attempt to “criminalize” national security reporting, wouldn’t that editor have been compelled to testify?
Right now though, that remains a small consolation.
Editors were asked not to publish information that may “jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel” in the warning issued on 7 June, a day after the Guardian first revealed details of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) secret Prism programme.
The D notice, which was marked “private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media”, was made public on the Westminster gossip blog, Guido Fawkes. Although only advisory for editors, the self-censorship system is intended to prevent the media from making “inadvertent public disclosure of information that would compromise UK military and intelligence operations and methods”.
The warning was issued by defence officials in the UK as the BBC, ITN, Sky News and other newspapers and broadcasters around the world covered the surveillance revelations disclosed by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The leaks, reported extensively in the Guardian and also the Washington Post, have made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic for more than a week.
However, it is not clear what impact the warning has had on media coverage of Snowden’s revelations relating to British intelligence
41 years ago today, the Watergate break-in took place, which led to the resignation of Richard Nixon. Carl Bernstein, one of the journalists that broke the story, was in Dalkey last night to speak about how it changed America.
TODAY IS THE 41st anniversary of the break-in at the Watergate hotel in Washington.
Last night, the legendary journalist Carl Bernstein, who broke the story with his colleague Bob Woodward, was in Dalkey for the final event of the Dalkey Book Festival. St Patrick’s Church was packed to the rafters with fans who had come to hear the 69-year-old in conversation with David McWilliams.
Bernstein and his colleague Bob Woodward were only junior staffers when they investigated the Watergate scandal story for The Washington Post, which led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Speaking last night, the investigative journalist gave his opinion on a number of issues, from the role of investigative journalism to the Obama presidency.
When asked did he know whether the Watergate story was going to be as big as it was, Bernstein said he did not, but as more information came to light he said he remembered getting a coffee with Woodward at the vending machine just off the newsroom and turning to him and saying:
Oh my God, this president is going to be impeached.
He added that people often asked weren’t they afraid. “Yeah, we were afraid we were going to make a mistake,” he said.
“We are now in the digital age of journalism,” said Bernstein. He was critical about journalists relying on social media for sources and stories, while stating they can be great tools, he said “real reporting is about going to the people, knocking on doors, searching for documentation…”
He was critical of Julian Assange and Wikileaks, stating that “throwing documents” into the newspapers “without giving it context” is not journalism. He criticised how Assange’s actions put many lives ‘at risk’, adding “we have a responsibility as journalists”.
Woodward and Bernstein’s infamous source on the Watergate story, Deep Throat, was protected by them for many years. His identity as the former Federal Bureau of Investigation Associate Director Mark Felt was only revealed in 2005. Bernstein said:
We were smart enough not to even tell either of our now ex wives who Deep Throat was – we kept that secret for over 30 years.
When asked did he think something like Watergate could happen again, Bernstein said: “I would be amazed if a president was willing to conduct a criminal presidency again.”
Speaking about American politics, Bernstein said that the current US President Barack Obama has had many failings over his term in office, stating that he seems to be a reactionary president, acting very late when it comes to situations like Syria.
“It takes Clinton calling him a wuss [for him] to then outline his policy,” he said, adding “he is a very reactive president instead of leading first”.
Bernstein is also an expert on Hillary Clinton, having written her biography in 2007. When asked did he think she will run for the presidency, he said: “She should run for the presidency, if she is healthy”.
However, he added: “She hasn’t had a day off since 1990.”
Read: What was Watergate? Here are 14 facts that explain everything>
Read: After 40 years, the ‘what ifs’ of Watergate scandal are still tantalising>
A Conspiracy To Commit Journalism: The Justice Dept’s Dangerous New Argument Threatens Basic Reporting
Grocery shelves are full of products with labels bragging that they contain antioxidants and implying that you’re just a few bites (and a few bucks) away from better health. But it’s not that simple. More is not necessarily better when it comes to antioxidants. And research has found that how you consume them can make a big difference in your health. To help distinguish the myths from the truth, here’s a close look at the latest on antioxidants.
MYTH: Antioxidants are all vitamins.
TRUTH: There are thousands of antioxidants, but relatively few of them are vitamins. Some are minerals and others are enzymes, which are protein molecules that facilitate chemical reactions necessary for cells to function properly.
What antioxidants have in common is their ability to block the action of free radicals, those unstable chemical fragments that can wreak havoc on healthy components in your body’s cells. This damage can cause cells to grow and reproduce abnormally, part of a dangerous chain reaction. In time, that process is thought to play a role in chronic conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Your body produces free radicals during exercise and when converting food into energy. And your body generates antioxidants to help stabilize them. Other factors — cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and exposure to sunlight and such environmental contaminants as pesticides — trigger the production of more free radicals, which can potentially overwhelm your body’s natural defenses. Antioxidants in foods, especially fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can come to the rescue.
MYTH: All antioxidants are created equal.
TRUTH: Different antioxidants fight different free radicals, and they work well together. For example, Vitamin C recycles Vitamin E. Once a molecule of Vitamin E neutralizes a free radical, Vitamin C converts that molecule of E back to its antioxidant form, allowing it to combat more free radicals.
The synergistic effect among thousands of antioxidants is a major reason doctors, dietitians and other experts advise people to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Even though scientists have yet to pinpoint all the ways those compounds protect against disease, many observational studies suggest that people who consume a greater amount of antioxidant-rich foods have a lower risk of certain diseases than people who don’t.
MYTH: Be sure to eat pomegranates, berries and other “super fruits.”
TRUTH: All fruits are “super.” Each type of fruit or vegetable has a unique combination of healthful compounds, including antioxidants. By eating only those billed as “super,” you shortchange your health by skipping those combinations of nutrients in other produce.
MYTH: You should amp up your intake with supplements.
TRUTH: Focus on food instead. Overall, clinical trials that have examined the disease-fighting capability of specific antioxidant nutrients in supplement form haven’t shown very promising results.
Talk with your physician about supplement use, because some studies have suggested that some can cause harm. Selenium supplements of 200 micrograms a day have been linked to a higher incidence of recurrence of non-melanoma skin cancers in people who previously suffered such a cancer.
MYTH: If some antioxidants are good, more are better.
TRUTH: Too much can be problematic, so beware of multi- and single-antioxidant capsules labeled “megadoses,” which contain more than the recommended daily values for antioxidants. Some evidence suggests that when taken in megadoses, antioxidants can become pro-oxidants, which increase the production of free radicals, especially in people who drink alcohol or smoke.
It’s much less likely that you’ll consume too many antioxidants from food. But eating one type of fruit or vegetable in excessive amounts can result in some odd, if harmless, effects. For example, consuming extremely large amounts of carrots or other vegetables rich in beta-carotene can result in orange-tinted skin.
MYTH: Packaged food with labels that promise antioxidant benefits will boost your health.
TRUTH: Antioxidant claims on packaged food don’t always mean a health benefit. Some food manufacturers add an antioxidant, such as Vitamin C or E, and then label the product as containing antioxidants, presumably in hopes of boosting sales.
Kellogg’s FiberPlus Antioxidants Dark Chocolate Almond bars, for example, have 20 percent of the daily value of Vitamin E and zinc. But they also contain seven grams of sugar and five grams of fat. You can avoid processed food and eat an ounce of dry-roasted almonds, which provides more Vitamin E, and three ounces of lean beef, which has more zinc.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were refugees from brutal Chechen conflict
With their baseball hats and sauntering gaits, they appeared to friends and neighbors like ordinary American boys. But the Boston bombing suspects were refugees from another world — the blood, rubble and dirty wars of the Russian Caucasus.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was a southpaw heavyweight boxer who represented New England in the National Golden Gloves and talked about competing on behalf of the United States. His tangle-haired 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, was a skateboarder who listened to rap and seemed easygoing to other kids in his Cambridge, Mass., neighborhood.
What we know about Tamerlan and Dzhohkar Tsarnaev
The brothers suspected of being the Boston Marathon bombers lived in Kyrgyzstan (and possibly elsewhere) before emigrating to the United States in the early to mid-2000s.
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who grew up in U.S., were refugees from brutal conflict in Caucasus.
Tamerlan is now dead, killed in a shootout with police. Police said Friday night they had taken Dzhokhar into custody after he was cornered in a boat stored in a back yard in Watertown, Mass., after a massive manhunt . Hidden behind the lives they had been leading in Massachusetts is a biography containing old resentments that appear to have mutated into radical Islamic violence.
Sean Collier, slain MIT cop, volunteered at gym where Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev boxed
Here’s a photo of alleged Boston terrorist’s dramatic arrest
This is the image an entire nation has anxiously longed to see: the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old who allegedly terrorized, then paralyzed, an entire city.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev Death Photo Surfaces: Autopsy Picture On Reddit Of Slain Boston Bombing Suspect No. 1
The post-autopsy photo of a bloodied, naked body with a wide gash on his left side appeared on social news network Reddit Friday afternoon amid the ongoing police investigation in Watertown, Mass. The post was entitled “Autopsy pic of Tamerlan Tsarnaev (NSFW),” (WARNING: The image is very graphic.)
The father of the two suspects in the Boston bombing, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has told Russian and Western media that he believes his sons have been framed by US intelligence.
A report from the Russian agency Interfax says that a correspondent spoke with Anzor Tsarnaev, who resides in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan.
From the Interfax report:
“I learned about the incident from TV. My opinion is: the special services have framed my children, because they are practicing Muslims. Why did they kill Tamerlan? He was supposed to be caught alive. The younger is on the run now. He was a sophomore at a medical school in the U.S. We expected him to come home for vacation. Now I don’t know what’s going to happen. Tell you once again: I believe special services have framed my children.”
Reports on Twitter also claim that Anzor has said that “all hell will break loose,” if his remaining son, who is currently on the run in a suburb of Boston, is killed.
The AP reports that the father of the suspects also spoke with their own reporters. During a short conversation Anzor Tsarnaev was said to have told the reporters that his children were ‘true angels’. He also said that he has two more daughters who live in New York.
He described his younger son as “an intelligent boy” who was studying medicine, and said that both his children are innocent.
“They were set up, they were set up!” he exclaimed. “I saw it on television; they killed my older son Tamerlan.”
The father is then said to have become more agitated and abruptly ended the call angrily, saying, “Leave me alone, my son’s been killed.”
Mother says my sons are innocent
Boston bombing suspects’ mother_ My sons are innocent, this is a set up
Even after the election, the Romney campaign still doesn’t get it. Mitt Romney’s 47% remark at a fundraiser haunted his campaign more than any other issue. Matched with similar remarks that he liked to “fire people” or that “corporations are people,” Romney constantly confronted the belief that he didn’t understand the problems of ordinary Americans. The Romney campaign could never overcome that obstacle. Now it appears that was because they didn’t really understand it.
Stuart Stevens, a top strategist for Romney, wrote in the Washington Post how wonderfully transformational the Romney campaign was. Stevens tries to present Romney as a dark horse for the nomination because the Republican Party elders never liked Romney and Romney trailed in the polls to about every Republican presidential candidate at one time or another.
Was Stevens in the same campaign that the rest of us remember? Romney was the favorite for the nomination from day one after the 2008 election. He raised far more money than his rivals and lead in the polls regularly. The only reason that the polls briefly gave candidates like Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann and Santorum boosts was disatisfaction with Romney. A disatisfaction in hindsight that that was well placed. Failing to seal the deal is hardly something to throw laurels at.
Stevens suggests that the selection of Paul Ryan was brilliant because it forever changed the way that America looked at Social Security and Medicare reform. He must be joking. Does anyone remember anything memorable that Ryan did in the campaign? That’s not to say Ryan was a poor choice. He just wasn’t a gamechanger.
Stevens points to Romney’s 8-point victory over Obama as proof that Ryan’s entitlement reform ideas went over well. Stevens should look at the 2008 demographics. John McCain carried senior by 8 points too. 2012 was a closer election. The numbers improved for the Republicans from McCain’s run in 2008. When a demographic doesn’t follow that trend, it takes a particularly strong dose of chutzpah to claim it as a victory.
None of that comes close to this piece from Stevens’ reflections:
On Nov. 6, Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters. While John McCain lost white voters younger than 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points, a 17-point shift. Obama received 4½ million fewer voters in 2012 than 2008, and Romney got more votes than McCain.
All that is true, but Romney’s only got 54% from those receiving over $100,000 a year. Obama carried those making under $50,000 with 60%. Romney did get 52% of those making between $50,000 and $99,000. That doesn’t mean that once someone makes $50,000, that person is more inclined to back Romney. Romney might have won those making over $40,000 or lost those making under $65,000. The $50,000 mark is an arbitrary drawing line.
What can be assumed comfortably from the exit polls is that Romney lost the 47% that he decried by a comfortable margin. Those are Americans making significantly less than $50,000 a year. They are often the young and minorities. These are the very demographics that the Republican Party needs to expand and embrace if it is going to compete in future elections.
Yet Stevens dismisses all that in his proud declaration that Romney won the voters who really matter: the rich, old and white voters. I’m actually surprised that Stevens didn’t pound himself on the chest and declare Romney won the majority of the male vote too.
No wonder Romney never comprehended the image problem that he had with a majority of Americans. He had people like Stevens telling him that the important voters are those who dominated America’s past.
The Republican Party’s challenges are going to be more difficult than just rebranding. It has people like Stevens who are entrenched in the twentieth century thinking that they can still bring together the coalitions of Nixon and Reagan. Someone needs to tell them that the silent majority is no more.
Rich, older, white male voters are not going to dominate politics like they once did. Yet Stevens really thinks that Obama’s campaign was the aberration and the Democrats will not be able to replicate it.
There was a time not so long ago when the problems of the Democratic Party revolved around being too liberal and too dependent on minorities. Obama turned those problems into advantages and rode that strategy to victory. But he was a charismatic African American president with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How easy is that to replicate?
There is Stevens trying to make the argument that an African American candidate is nearly invicible, especially with a billion dollars in the bank and the media in his back pocket. If Stevens really believes that there is no racism left in America, then he is further delusional than I am imagining. Maybe he is. Take a look at his conclusions.
Yes, the Republican Party has problems, but as we go forward, let’s remember that any party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right. When Mitt Romney stood on stage with President Obama, it wasn’t about television ads or whiz-bang turnout technologies, it was about fundamental Republican ideas vs. fundamental Democratic ideas. It was about lower taxes or higher taxes, less government or more government, more freedom or less freedom. And Republican ideals — Mitt Romney — carried the day.
Mitt Romney carried the day? Mitt Romney performed better than only four other Republican candidates in the last 15 elections. Stevens had better looked at the election results again. Romney received 47% and 206 electoral votes. He did not carry the day. He lost the election in what may be the last attempt to forge a coalition of the older, white and wealthier voters that Stevens admires.
New York Times Endorses President Obama’s Re-election
President Barack Obama picked up the endorsement of The New York Times on Saturday, a decision the paper’s editorial board said was due to administration policies that have placed the economy on the path to recovery, the passage of landmark health care reform, the advocating of women’s rights and a foreign policy agenda that has kept unstable regions from combustion — all accomplished, the board argues, in the face of an “ideological assault” from the Republican Party.
Chicago Tribune Endorses President Again
CHICAGO — For only the second time in its 165-year history, the Chicago Tribune has endorsed a Democratic candidate for president.
Once again, President Barack Obama will enjoy his hometown Tribune’s seal of approval, the newspaper announced Friday. The paper lauded the president for his careful projection of military power abroad and pragmatism as the country’s economic “dominoes toppled.
This isn’t the politically correct thing to say, but when we drove the mother out of the home into the workplace and replaced her with the television set, that was not a good thing.
During the same campaign swing, Bartlett said he believed “the Information Age is just a high-tech bubble,” noting “You can’t eat those electrons. They won’t keep the rain off your head. They won’t take you anywhere.”
Bartlett also recently apologized for comparing student loans to the Holocaust.
He is facing an uphill battle for re-election in a new district that is more favorable to Democrat
The Telegraph (UK)
A Romney victory could spook the US markets
Were Romney to win, paradoxically, the US stock market could tumble. That’s because the former Massachusetts governor would be most unlikely to extend the tenure of Democrat-appointee Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve when his current second term expires in January 2014. That political reality would then cast doubt on Bernanke’s recently-issued pledge that the Fed won’t raise interest rates until well into 2015.
Free speech is dying in the Western world. While most people still enjoy considerable freedom of expression, this right, once a near-absolute, has become less defined and less dependable for those espousing controversial social, political or religious views. The decline of free speech has come not from any single blow but rather from thousands of paper cuts of well-intentioned exceptions designed to maintain social harmony.
In the face of the violence that frequently results from anti-religious expression, some world leaders seem to be losing their patience with free speech. After a video called “Innocence of Muslims” appeared on YouTube and sparked violent protests in several Muslim nations last month, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that “when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.”
It appears that the one thing modern society can no longer tolerate is intolerance. As Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard put it in her recent speech before the United Nations, “Our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred.”
A willingness to confine free speech in the name of social pluralism can be seen at various levels of authority and government. In February, for instance, Pennsylvania Judge Mark Martin heard a case in which a Muslim man was charged with attacking an atheist marching in a Halloween parade as a “zombie Muhammed.” Martin castigated not the defendant but the victim, Ernie Perce, lecturing him that “our forefathers intended to use the First Amendment so we can speak with our mind, not to piss off other people and cultures — which is what you did.”
Of course, free speech is often precisely about pissing off other people — challenging social taboos or political values.
This was evident in recent days when courts in Washington and New York ruled that transit authorities could not prevent or delay the posting of a controversial ad that says: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”
When U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said the government could not bar the ad simply because it could upset some Metro riders, the ruling prompted calls for new limits on such speech. And in New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority responded by unanimously passing a new regulation banning any message that it considers likely to “incite” others or cause some “other immediate breach of the peace.”
Such efforts focus not on the right to speak but on the possible reaction to speech — a fundamental change in the treatment of free speech in the West. The much-misconstrued statement of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that free speech does not give you the right to shout fire in a crowded theater is now being used to curtail speech that might provoke a violence-prone minority. Our entire society is being treated as a crowded theater, and talking about whole subjects is now akin to shouting “fire!”