Canadian doctor warns that Palin's decision could lead to fewer abortions

I had to read this several times to understand that this doctor did not mean this in a good way.
I am at a loss for words (for now…)
UPDATE: The above link has been removed but this article mentions the same doctor. The LA Times then ran an explanation here

A September 11 post on this blog based on a September 9 story in the Globe and Mail in Toronto mischaracterized executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Ottawa Dr. Andre Lalonde’s sentiments as expressed in the Globe and Mail story. The headline for the post read “Canadian doctor warns Sarah Palin’s decision to have Down baby could reduce abortions.” And the second paragraph said, “But a senior Canadian doctor is now expressing concerns that such a prominent public role model as the governor of Alaska and potential vice president of the United States completing a Down syndrome pregnancy may prompt other women to make the same decision against abortion because of that genetic abnormality. And thereby reduce the number of abortions”. Doctor Lalonde’s point of view should not have been portrayed as a concern that the number of abortions would decline but rather, as expressed in the Globe and Mail, that women would be influenced by Gov. Palin’s decision to keep Down syndrome children that they were neither emotionally nor financially prepared to care for. Here’s a link to the article on which the post, since removed was based.

(h/t: sheepcat).

Sarah Palin ABC News interview – Open Forum

The Palin interview is reverberating through the blogs. What do you think about her performance? The questions?
Open forum…
Various links to segments and transcripts:
Christianity Today and Palin on social issues
Entitlement programs
Earmarks/infrastructure
ABC News misrepresents Iraq war comments

PalinRumors.com keeps track of claims and facts

Charles Martin of Explorations saw his blog traffic explode when he listed all of the rumors and facts that he could find about Sarah Palin. He made an appearance on FOX News and now has launched PalinRumors.com. Currently, the original and widely distributed blog post is there but he will be adding to it other rumors and claims as they arise.

PFLAG claims Palin singled out a pro-gay book to remove

Today, PFLAG on their blog has this headline: “PFLAGer’s Book Targeted by Palin”. However, the ABC News report said to support this contention does not do so. Some people did not like the book “Pastor, I am gay” but the town librarian did not recall being asked to remove any book. The ABC News account reports the controversy in Wasilla and Palin’s question in a way that could link them in the minds of viewers but the librarian at the time said Palin did not ask about the book. Anne Kilkenny, of email fame appears on the ABC News report.

Bottom line is that we seem to have a conflict of memory between Mary Ellen Emmon (now Baker) and the reporter Paul Stuart in a story reportedly found in a local paper in 1996. I am having trouble locating it but Mr. Stuart says one thing and Mary Ellen Emmon says another, as reported by Bent Alaska. The city of Wasilla has posted a statement regarding the matter.
The PFLAG claim is a little thin and according to a Library Journal analysis out yesterday, there is no evidence she targeted any specific books, saying

PolitiFact concludes that, because Stuart’s account is secondhand, and his recollection seems hazy, and there is no corroboration from Baker or any public records, there is “no basis to find that part of the story true.” Still, the new information presented likely will be fodder for questions posed to Palin in upcoming press interviews.

Celebrity Shocker: Matt Damon to run for President in 2012

Damon
Hollywood, CA (TSN) – In a surprise move, Matt Damon declared his intention to run for President in 2012. Damon, who announced his bid on Youtube, cited Sarah Palin as an inspiration.
“Look, it just makes sense. If Sarah Palin can run for Vice-President, which is like a really bad Disney movie, then why not me running for President? Crap, I’ve actually made some really bad movies, so I’m even more qualified than she is.”
Damon, who is an Obama supporter, said he would only run in 2012 if Obama fails in his bid this time around. Damon explained, “I think I could take him, but Obama is the most qualified in this race to hold the nuclear codes since he doesn’t know when life begins but he probably knows when dinosaurs were on earth. You know, Palin thinks dinosaurs were on earth, like 4,000 years ago. I wouldn’t trust anyone with nuclear codes who thinks that.”
Damon, who has criticized Sarah Palin as being just a hockey mom, said he is infinitely more qualified to stand up to world leaders, like Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
“Hey, I took Sarah Silverman away from Jimmie Kimmel so I figure I can stand up to Putin.”
Damon is willing to use his own resources to fund his campaign, saying, “I would have paid like a million dollars to get Kerry elected in ’04, so who knows how much I’ll spend on myself.”
In an unconventional move, Damon says Arianna Huffington would be on his Veep short list.
On the web: Matt Damon speaks out about Sarah Palin

Poll: 69% think media promotes favorite candidate; Obama benefits most

The Rasmussen Reports website reported yesterday the results of a poll showing that most people think members of the media slant stories to help a favored candidate. And most people believe Obama gets most of the love.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% of voters think most reporters are trying to help Obama win versus 11% who believe they are trying to help his Republican opponent John McCain. Twenty-six percent (26%) say reporters offer unbiased coverage…

I have some items I would like to sell that 26% group.
And then,

Just last week a Rasmussen Reports survey found that 51% of voters believed reporters were trying to hurt McCain’s running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, with their news coverage.

After reviewing many of the claims regarding Palin’s policies, specifically the allegations about her so-called budget cuts, I can understand well this result.
As an aside, we may see a correction coming from a mainstream source soon…

CNN spreads false claims about Palin and cuts for teen moms and special ed

Last night, CNN’s Larry King Live featured a panel which discussed the impact of Sarah Palin on the 2008 presidential race. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood repeated unchallenged the false contention that Sarah Palin cut funds for teen moms saying,

CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: I think she has created interest. Two weeks ago, no one knew who Sarah Palin was and I think people now are beginning to look at what she actually stands for, what she did as governor. This is a woman who I think is far out of the mainstream. She line item vetoed programs for teenage moms in Alaska.

Richards went on to criticize Palin’s views on abortion. And then, Huffington Post’s Hillary Rosen responded to a question about Joe Biden’s ill-advised statements about supporting stem-cell research as a test of love for special needs kids (another whole issue in itself). Rosen repeated the falsehood that Palin cut funding for special needs kids.

BIDEN: I hear all of this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both the joy, because there’s joy to it as well — the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who was born with a birth defect. Guess what, folks, if you care about it, why don’t you support stem cell research?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Hillary, apparently they are complaining about that. What was wrong with that statement?
ROSEN: Well, you know, nothing, really. People’s families should be off limits, as long as they themselves make them off limits. And I think it’s pretty fair to say that Sarah Palin is campaigning as a wife and a mom. And you’re not attacking a child by saying — making a life related point. Here’s the issue. When she was governor, she cut special needs funding for families by 62 percent. She’s against stem cell research. She wants to — she’s against health care reform for everybody else, even though John McCain and Sarah Palin have health care paid for by the government.

Rosen needs to read Factcheck.org’s review on the special needs funding claim. They debunk this claim and note that she tripled per pupil funding.
Take away the false claims and what you have is a difference over abortion and stem-cell research. Palin’s critics are using distortions of her record to paint her as talking the pro-family talk but not walking the walk. The thinking seems to run this way: Obama may be pro-choice but he sure cares about families and social needs. McCain/Palin on the other hand are pro-life but don’t really care when it counts. The problem is there does not appear to be substantial factual basis for these recent claims.
(h/t: Karen B for the King show)

Did Sarah Palin cut funds to poor women and children?

As I noted yesterday, Newsweek is the latest mainstream media to repeat the inaccurate claim that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin cut funding to teen mothers. In fact, she signed a 2008 budget that dramatically increased funding to a charity which is expanding to serve more needy kids.
In the same article and in the attempt to make a case that Palin is not family friendly, Newsweek writer, Katie Paul, claimed:

Palin has also voided funds for two other similar programs during her tenure as governor. One, the WIC (Women, Infants, Children) Program, would have provided breast pumps and nutrition support to low-income rural women, for a total cost of $15,480. Another, the Cook Inlet Housing Authority’s student housing and daycare facility project, would have built a childcare facility and family-style housing units for students pursuing vocational education in Anchorage, most of whom come from rural areas.

This post relates to the WIC claim; I plan to examine the Cook Inlet Housing Authority situation in a future post (for now, see the UPDATE at the end of this post).
The WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program is a federally funded program which should be a red flag to the Newsweek claim. As worded, the reader could easily come away thinking that Palin voided the entire WIC program which amounted to a cut of $15,480. However, this is far from accurate.
Here is the fiscal year 2009 budget summary for the Alaska WIC program. According to the budget summary:

The Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) program is 100% federally funded and provides nutrition services to pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to their fifth birthday. Applicants are screened for health and nutritional risk, and eligible families receive nutrition education, referrals for other support services, and food warrants to purchase specific food items at state-approved WIC vendors. Nutrition services are also available through three additional family nutrition programs that are primarily federally funded. The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition program allows WIC participants to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables at Farmer’s Markets. The Commodity Supplemental Food program provides commodity food boxes to seniors, and to low income pregnant and postpartum women and children up to six years of age as an alternative to WIC. Senior citizens can also receive locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs through the Seniors Farmers Market program.

The program is alive and well in Alaska and is primarily funded via federal allocation although some state moneys supplement the federal funds. So the first impression that somehow Sarah Palin “voided” WIC for poor moms and kids in Alaska is wrong.
In fact, the budgeted WIC allocation increased from FY 2007 to FY 2009. Look at page 4 of the budget summary and you will see an increase from $26,328,100 in FY 2007 to $27,140,800 in FY 2009. According to Alaska Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson, Wilda Laughlin, actual WIC expenditures increased from fiscal year 2007 to FY 2008. Laughlin quoted a current WIC budget figure for FY 2009 of 27,173,100 which is an increase over the 2009 budget summary I linked to above.
The Budget summary lists accomplishments for WIC in Alaska in FY 2007:

In FY07, WIC provided supplemental foods and nutritional education to over 25,203 women and children each month.
· The WIC program promotes and supports mothers in their breastfeeding efforts. Alaska’s breastfeeding rates are among the highest in the nation and meet the Healthy People 2010 goals. Breastfeeding peer counseling services are being provided at the Providence WIC clinic, through a special USDA grant. In addition, over 5,600 contacts with breastfeeding mothers were provided throughout the state and support offered through distribution of electric breast pumps, lactation consultant visits, phone calls, and classes.
· Provided approximately 85,500 vouchers for the Farmer’s Market Nutrition program (FMNP) to WIC participants for the June 2007 through October 2007 harvest season. The value of redeemed FMNP vouchers for the 2007 season is expected to be $190,000.
· The Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition program (SFMNP) project provided more than 3,300 coupon books with approximately $70,500 in coupons to 25 senior agencies for distribution to income eligible seniors. Seniors may exchange the coupons for fresh produce at 63 locations statewide.
· The Commodity Supplemental Food program provides assistance to 2,200 participants in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

What about the $15,480? According to Laughlin, the figure was actually $15,840 and was requested by a Fairbanks area non-profit for office supplies and literature (UPDATE: Ms. Laughlin wrote to say that Vitamin D supplements and other supplies were requested as well. Here is a link to the budget request so readers can see for themselves what was requested. Keep in mind that other agencies received money for similar requests). Contrary to the Newsweek contention, breast pumps were not a part of the grant request. Ms. Laughlin said, “The request was vetoed by the Governor because it was determined to be a lower funding priority than other requests.” As is clear from the above review, many needy people were served by WIC in Alaska but some requests for funds were turned down. Turning down this grant request does not make Palin’s administration insensitive to needy moms and kids.
Now here is something of interest to me as a former advocate for mental health counselors that no one is reporting. Palin’s administration asked for and received increases in rates for social services providers, including behavioral healthcare providers. If anything, it appears to me that Palin is actually pretty friendly to social programs and services. Contrary to false reports over the past few days, she signed budgets which increased funding for vulnerable teens, WIC, special education and recently enhanced reimbursements to providers of social programs.
UPDATE: 9/10/08
Regarding the Cook Inlet Housing Authority daycare and housing project, the Newsweek story is accurate. This project was approved by the legislature but removed by Palin. Wilda Laughlin, DHSS spokesperson told me, “The Governor vetoed the project because it creates a new facility or program, and the Administration placed a higher priority on deferred maintenance for existing infrastructure.” Other projects were funded and I will be able to add more to this aspect of the matter as I get information. Not every project can be funded and it costs money to maintain existing programs and facilities. It appears existing facilities needed some upgrades.

Love Won Out in Palin-country this weekend

In my efforts to track down information regarding the Covenant House story, this AP article got by me.
“Palin church promotes converting gays” begins:

Gov. Sarah Palin’s church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.
“You’ll be encouraged by the power of God’s love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,” according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed since she was a child.

A couple of things should be pointed out. According to all reports, Wasilla Bible Church is not where Palin has prayed since she was a child. She just recently joined the Wasilla Bible Church, having left an Assembly of God church, possibly over some disagreements with AoG practices.
Some bloggers have said the LWO is being held at Palin’s church. It is not. The conference is being held September 13 at the Abbott Loop Community Church in Anchorage. Instead, Palin’s church announced the conference to church goers.
I think the language Focus uses to communicate Love Won Out can be confusing. While I suspect the emphasis for churches is more on conversion to Christianity than to heterosexuality, phrases like “overcoming homosexuality” and using the word “transform” make it sound like the conference will focus on changing gays into straights. While this has been emphasized more in past conferences and promotional material, I think there might less of this now. LWO used to have a slogan that included the idea that homosexuality was “preventable and treatable.” Now they say, “to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, we offer the Gospel hope that these desires can be overcome.”
This is a subtle shift from a treatment framework to a ministry framework. However, I understand why this is confusing to people. “Overcoming desires” to most people most likely still sounds like change from gay desires to straight desires. It could mean (and perhaps this is what Focus means) that the desires are there but the person does not act on them. Thus, a desire could be overcome by not actualizing it. The desire is still there but it has been managed.
While these issues are of great concern to those interested and involved in sexual identity ministry, they attain national significance infrequently (as they did in the Bush-Kerry presidential debate). However, the confusion over terms and phrasing now enters conversation over the beliefs of the Republican VP nominee. I advocate a much clearer portrayal of what Christianity offers. Conversion is a proper and historical focus of religion, but the question is, conversion from what to what? It seems to me that sexual identity ministries should work overtime to make it clear what the answer is to that question.

Factcheck.org on the Palin rumors

Factcheck.org is affiliated with the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and widely considered to be non-partisan. Later today, they released a study of some of the rumors surrounding Sarah Palin. Here is their summary:

Summary
We’ve been flooded for the past few days with queries about dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages making claims about McCain’s running mate, Gov. Palin. We find that many are completely false, or misleading.
Palin did not cut funding for special needs education in Alaska by 62 percent. She didn’t cut it at all. In fact, she tripled per-pupil funding over just three years.
She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time. The librarian has said Palin asked a “What if?” question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin’s first term.
She was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. She’s been registered as a Republican since May 1982.
Palin never endorsed or supported Pat Buchanan for president. She once wore a Buchanan button as a “courtesty” when he visited Wasilla, but shortly afterward she was appointed to co-chair of the campaign of Steve Forbes in the state.
Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska’s schools. She has said that students should be allowed to “debate both sides” of the evolution question, but she also said creationism “doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”
A few of these claims were included in a chain e-mail by a woman named Anne Kilkenny. We’ll be looking into other charges in that e-mail for a future story. For more explanation of the bullet points above, please read the Analysis.

I concur, please read the analysis. And they are only scratching the surface…