Breaking: Sarah Palin Silences The Atlantic’s Resident OB-GYN

Never again will there be any doubts about the awesome power and influence wielded by Sarah Palin.  Behold, the silencing of Andrew Sullivan (OB-Atlantic):

This is only the second time in its nearly ten-year history that the Dish has gone silent. The reason now is the same as the reason then.

The reason is Sarah Palin.

Citing his obsessive need to comb through every crevice of Palin’s womb, I mean, book, prolific blogger and renowned investigative gynecologist Andrew Sullivan has suspended his usual daily emesis of misogynistic rants, Palin-related conspiracy theories, and hermit photography.  There has been just one Daily Dish post today as Andy the Hysterical and his co-bloggers apply sophisticated content analysis to every page of Going Rogue. Sully explains:

When dealing with a delusional fantasist like Sarah Palin, it takes time to absorb and make sense of the various competing narratives that she tells about her life. There are so many fabrications and delusions in the book, mixed in with facts, that just making sense of it – and comparing it with objective reality as we know it, and the subjective reality she has previously provided – is a bewildering task.

But make no mistake. Sully is providing a public service, and his “process of deconstruction” will be nothing but “fair.”

We take this seriously as we always have. We want to be fair to her, and to her family, and to the innocent people she has brought into the spotlight. And we are not reporters. We are merely analysts trying to make sense of evidence already in the public domain, evidence that points in all sorts of directions, only one of which can be true.

Since the Dish has tried to be rigorous and careful in analyzing Palin’s unhinged grip on reality from the very beginning – specifically her fantastic story of her fifth pregnancy -  we feel it’s vital that we grapple with this new data as fairly and as rigorously as possible. That takes time to get right. And it is so complicated we simply cannot focus on anything else.

There are only three of us.

And we have had the book for less than a day. We feel we owe it to you to get it right – or as right as we can – until we post or publish anything. As readers know, we also differ on some key issues and intend to air them and thrash this out until we are confident that whatever we publish is as fair as possible.

At some point, we will also go back and make sure we have not missed all the evidence of the other lies that Palin is now peddling. We won’t miss anything. But we ask for your patience.

There is a possibility here of such a huge scandal that we would be crazy not to take our time either to debunk it or move it forward for further examination.

We have only one commitment: to get this right. Please bear with us as we do the best we can.

Blah, blah, blah. More fantastic accusations and bizarre conclusions are on the way, and ever brave and righteous, Andrew Sullivan will bring them to you without concern for his credibility or reputation.

Mostly because he has neither.

Stacy McCain quips, “We look forward to Andrew Sullivan’s next book, Inside Sarah Palin’s Uterus: The Most Shocking Scandal Ever.”

In other Sullivan news, the excitable blogger told POLITICO’s Michael Calderone:

I never aired any conspiracy stories. It’s all on the record and, unlike Palin, I don’t lie about things that can easily be checked.

In fact, my blog never stated anything about Palin’s pregnancy and took her at her word. That’s why she decided not to sue me. She had no basis for any kind of suit. I simply asked her and the campaign to provide easily available proof that she indeed was the biological mother of Trig after her bizarre and incredible stories about her pregnancy and labor. She has failed to produce any such evidence. And she clearly never will.

I now return you to a temporarily Sullivan-free reality, courtesy of Sarah Palin.

Hope & Change in America, Mammogram Edition

Who could have predicted a new federal recommendation calling for less frequent mammograms?

Oh wait, I did. In May I wrote at length about how American mammography recommendations differ from those in places like Canada and the United Kingdom where cost containment goals determine testing guidelines:

Of women who receive annual screening mammography beginning at age 40, six out of 10,000 over a decade will have their lives saved.  Breast cancer will be detected and cured in many more, but regular mammograms will only make a life or death difference for six of every 10,000 women in that group.  Mammograms are of extremely high value to those women and their families, but don’t offer much bang for the buck when it comes to the other 9,994 women.

And wringing more bang from every health care buck is reason enough for Canadian and British recommendations that women wait until age 50 to begin receiving screening mammographies.  In these countries where cost-effectiveness studies influence health policy and medical practice, six saved lives aren’t worth the substantial costs associated with all those extra mammograms and the false positives they sometimes produce.

It is hardly shocking that the breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher in Canada and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom.  Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).  And British and Canadian patients wait for care about twice as long as Americans.

There are indeed valid criticisms American health care, but one area in which we excel is that we don’t base guidelines for care on cost-utility analysis. That’s why the U.S. ranks first in providing the “right care” for a given condition and has the best survival rate for breast cancer.

Obamacare may force Americans to give up those bragging rights.

Starting right about … now:

“We’re not saying women shouldn’t get screened. Screening does saves lives,” said Diana B. Petitti, vice chairman of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which released the recommendations Monday in a paper being published in Tuesday’s Annals of Internal Medicine. “But we are recommending against routine screening. There are important and serious negatives or harms that need to be considered carefully.”

Those “important and serious negatives” are anxiety and the risk of false positives. Shockingly, not everyone agrees that the risks outweigh the benefits of early detection.

But the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and other experts condemned the change, saying the benefits of routine mammography have been clearly demonstrated and play a key role in reducing the number of mastectomies and the death toll from one of the most common cancers.

Tens of thousands of lives are being saved by mammography screening, and these idiots want to do away with it,” said Daniel B. Kopans, a radiology professor at Harvard Medical School. “It’s crazy — unethical, really.

As I wrote in May, “I’ll be saving up for a date with a mammography machine in one of those thriving medical tourism meccas.”

Memeorandum has much more from the blogosphere on the new federal guidelines. Ed Morrissey reminds us that the very same federal panel developed the mammography guidelines we’ve been using, and Sister Toldjah asks, “What’s changed? Hmmmm….

Yes, what could it be?

Oysters: The Fox News of Mollusks?

First it was Fox News. Then it was the state of South Carolina. And now the Obama administration has a new target: oysters.

Yes, really. Oysters.

At issue is how far the federal government should go to save the lives of 15 people each year who die from eating contaminated raw oysters.

A top official at the Food and Drug Administration announced last month that the agency would ban as of 2011 the sale of raw oysters harvested from the Gulf Coast during the warm water months because they are the source for nearly all the deaths associated with raw oysters each year. The agency said processes like freezing and pasteurization that make the oysters safer are available and do little to alter the taste of oysters.

But oystermen and some restaurant owners say the difference in taste between raw and processed oysters is so profound that, were the rule to go into effect, the Gulf Coast oyster industry would be irreparably harmed and a cultural institution destroyed.

The oh so heroic efforts of Obama’s FDA could save 15 people a year from succumbing to Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria that occurs naturally in oysters.  That’s nothing to scoff at. But is it worth yet another nanny state intrusion into our lives? And is it even necessary?

Food borne illnesses kill 5,700 people each year in the United States, but the FDA isn’t requiring irradiation of all produce.  Bungee jumping, flying, crossing the street, eating rare beef, leaving the iron on – these are all things that can lead to death, but we don’t allow the federal government to ban us from weighing the risks and making informed decisions.

What ever happened to “my body, my choice”?  I guess there’ll be none of that in Obama’s America.

One oyster lover calls the administration’s forthcoming ban on Gulf oysters “an attack on industries run in conservative areas who serve a blue collar clientele. Typical elitism.”  It’s hard to argue with his sentiment when thousands of oyster industry jobs are at risk in the Gulf region.  The economic effects in Louisiana alone could be staggering, and practical solutions that could save jobs and lives are not on the table.

Clearly we shouldn’t protect an industry at the expense of human life, but devastating the oyster industry isn’t the answer here. Instead of making decisions for people, let’s get them the information they need to make their own choices. Some people will still get themselves killed, but they’re free to do that because that’s how we roll in America.

Life is full of peril and uncertainty, and taking raw Gulf oysters off the market for half the year won’t change that. Not even in the era of hopenchange.

Two Thumbs Up, Social Cons!

Media reports have hailed Saturday’s passage of the Stupak amendment – a measure to impose tight restrictions on federally subsidized abortions – as a great triumph for pro-life Republicans.

What a crock.

The bipartisan vote was not a Republican coup. It was the final bit of lubrication needed to help the House health reform bill squeak through in a 220-215 vote. Without the passage of the Stupak amendment, Nancy Pelosi would not have had enough pro-life Democrats on board to pass her bill.  So at best, the Stupak amendment was a Pyrrhic victory for pro-life Republicans. But more accurately, it was a demonstration that House Republicans are hopeless marks, skillfully manipulated into providing political cover for pro-life Democrats.

Even with the passage of the amendment, this pro-life “triumph” is destined to be short-lived should the bill make it to conference committee.  More than 40 pro-choice Democrats are threatening to sink the final bill if it contains the abortion funding restrictions, and President Obama wants the amendment language nixed as well.   With weeks or months for House Majority Whip James Clyburn to bargain with pro-life Democrats, there’s a good chance he’ll gather enough votes to pass a final reconciled bill without the Stupak language.  Few Democrats will want to block History in the Making™.

Republicans had just one opportunity to derail Nancy Pelosi’s bill on Saturday: all they needed to do was hold their noses and vote “present” on the Stupak amendment.  But only Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) had the stones to do so. The rest voted “aye” and now the Democrats have momentum, courtesy of the House GOP.

Votes in favor of the Stupak amendment amounted to nothing more than pro-life window dressing.  No unborn lives will be saved by this vote, and in the end, all House Republicans will have to show for their “courage” are their pro-life bona fides. The vote was devoid of any true value to the pro-life cause, and if the reconciled bill passes, abortion will no longer be just a right women can choose to exercise; it will be an entitlement.

If a meaningless political gesture is enough to let these politicians sleep at night, it’s time to find new representatives.

Republicans for Rape (Now With Push Polls!)

Why did Republicans vote to deny rape victims their day in court?  Why do they want women to be raped?

Oh, you haven’t heard?  Republicans are pro-rape.  At least, that’s the latest sensational charge levied by liberals, and they’re hoping it will stick when voters go to the polls in 2010.

That’s why they’ve started push polling the smear.  Here’s a question asked of likely North Carolina voters during a poll commissioned by Change Congress, an organization working against the reelection of Sen. Burr (R-NC).

Jamie Leigh Jones is an American woman who was gang raped by her co-workers while working for a defense contractor in Iraq. Her employer tried to cover up the rape and prevented her from filing charges in court – instead forcing her to use a private arbitrator chosen by the employer. I’m going to ask you a few questions about this.

Congress is considering legislation that would allow victims of rape to bring their case to court instead of being forced by their employers to use private arbitrators. Some businesses oppose this legislation because arbitration costs less money than going to court. Do you favor or oppose this type of legislation?

Subsequent questions focused on how voters would feel about Sen. Burr opposing the legislation. (He and 29 other Republicans voted against the measure.)  The poll also implied that the defense industry was buying congressional opposition to the bill at the expense of protections for rape victims.

Understandably, 73 percent of those polled said they would disapprove if Burr voted against the legislation and 74 percent said they favored the legislation. Considering the wording, one wonders what the other 26 percent were thinking.

Why, it’s almost as if they knew they were being hoodwinked by a deceitful push poll.

This current smear campaign began when Sen. Al Franken (D-SNL) proposed S. Amdt. 2588, a measure ostensibly inspired by the horrific gang rape reported by Jamie Leigh Jones while she worked in Baghdad for defense contractor KBR, then a subsidiary of Halliburton.  Franken contended that “her KBR contract banned her from taking her case to court, instead forcing her into an ‘arbitration’ process.”

It was a lie.

No employment contract can be used to force criminal complaints into arbitration. Not in America. But that didn’t stop the disingenuous left from immediately seizing upon the talking point that Republican opponents of the amendment want to deny rape survivors their day in court.  Commentators pretended to be mystified as to how any rational human being could vote against rape victims.

“We’re still waiting for the screaming-Fox-News-headline: Republican Senators Support Gang-Rape by Three to One Margin,” wrote an ill-informed Huffington Post contributor. “Arbitration for gang-rape?  Surely the Republican Party has earned the right to die.”

Daily Show host Jon Stewart called it “the old ‘it’s ok if you get raped’ clause in government contracts” and wondered how anyone could possibly reject the amendment.

And of course, no smear campaign would be complete without its very own Web site: Republicans for Rape.

Hundreds of scathing attacks on Republicans have appeared in major newspapers and blogs.  Dependable foot soldiers that they are, the netroots are gleefully promoting the laughable idea that Republicans voted to prevent rape victims from having their criminal cases heard in court.  And just this week, video surfaced of a rape survivor accusing Sen. Vitter (R-LA) of trying to silence victims.

In actuality, Jones’ contract required employment disputes, not criminal cases, to be resolved through arbitration, an effective form of alternative dispute resolution that is cheaper, faster, and offers individuals greater access to justice than litigation.  The contract she signed limits her litigation options in matters of civil law related to the workplace, but it does not impact her ability to seek redress against her assailants through the criminal courts.

It is the foot dragging of the United States Department of Justice that is keeping Jamie Leigh Jones from facing her attackers in court, not her KBR employment contract and not Republican legislators. Republicans must do a better job articulating the true motivation behind Franken’s amendment.

Franken’s primary objective was not to ensure justice for rape victims, but to strike a blow at the company that sits at the top of every rank and file liberal’s hit list: Halliburton. The legislation is an overly broad political sledgehammer designed to ban the disbursement of federal funds to Halliburton when narrow wording addressing arbitration in assault cases would have received bipartisan support. Franken makes his intentions clear by calling Halliburton out by name in the amendment’s stated purpose:

To prohibit the use of funds for any Federal contract with Halliburton Company, KBR, Inc., any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other contracting party if such contractor or a subcontractor at any tier under such contract requires that employees or independent contractors sign mandatory arbitration clauses regarding certain claims.

Even the Obama administration objected to the amendment as worded, characterizing it as unenforceable.

Franken’s second objective was to assist the trial lawyer lobbyists in their relentless campaign to do away with arbitration, thus lining their pockets with the spoils of litigation.  Remember, trial lawyers and their lobbying groups are among the biggest contributors to Democratic Party, and even former DNC chairman and presidential candidate Howard Dean has explicitly said that Democrats are not willing to rub trial lawyers the wrong way.

If Franken’s primary concern was rape victims, why did he risk opposition to his legislation by weighing it down with a hefty gift to trial lawyers?  Why does the amendment cover disputes totally unrelated to rape?

Finally, this legislation is Franken’s attempt to curry favor with his fellow Democrats by handing them a giftwrapped smear of Republicans just in time for the 2010 election season.  Hence, the propaganda masquerading as an unbiased poll in North Carolina and the absurd allegations nationwide that voting for the falsely labeled anti-rape amendment is a vote in favor of rape.

It is the Democrats who are using an unspeakably atrocious gang rape as a political bludgeon, and Republican senatorial candidates are already feeling the impact.  Of course, no one spreading these liberal distortions has addressed why Republicans would invite the nasty political fallout following a vote against an “anti-rape” amendment.  Just gluttons for punishment, I guess?

Expect the following senators to be targeted during their 2010 reelection campaigns:

Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John McCain (R-AZ)
John Thune (R-SD)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Richard Burr (R-NC)

Must we play politics with rape?  Instead of using sexual assault as partisan political ammunition, let’s do something that will really help rape survivors.  We need a cooperative effort to find out what’s preventing the DOJ from aggressively pursuing cases of sexual violence among military contractors.  Only then will Jamie Leigh Jones’ rapists be brought to justice.

Dede Scozzafava and I Have Something in Common

For both of us, the Democrat was our second choice in the NY-23 congressional race.

Of course, we part ways on our top pick, mine being conservative Doug Hoffman and hers a First Amendment trampling sore loser who ran a truly awful campaign.

I’ll reiterate what I wrote earlier in the week: I welcome moderate Republicans in the Party. But there’s no place at the GOP table for a bully who uses the police to intimidate a member of the press. End of story.

Incidentally, I’m glad I didn’t add a “Dede Scozzafava” blog category.  As it turns out, I won’t be needing it.  Too bad I’ll never get back the seconds – SECONDS!!! – I spent memorizing the spelling of her last name.