" A neighbor of Republican 50th District Rep. Brian Bilbray said Thursday that he was subpoenaed to testify before a San Diego County grand jury in August and spent about an hour and a half answering questions about whether Bilbray lived in his Carlsbad neighborhood."* Guardian:
"But I was not saying abortions are, in and of themselves, hilarious. I was asking why they never crop up in jokes. Cancer does, cheese does, shagging and gonorrhoea and disabilities and dogs and flowers and terrible, terrible diseases, and all other foodstuffs, and all other genres of people ... There are taboos in political rhetoric, yes, tonnes of them, but in comedy, even in very mainstream comedy, there are almost no taboos. You could make a joke about September 11 before you could make a joke about abortion. And this is not irrelevant, it is not as if the right is inviolable, and the joking is a side issue. If you allow a taboo to hold, you leave all the cultural space open to anti-abortionists.
Ten years on, we can see the results of this. Culturally, there is an even greater silence around abortion, and an even greater refusal to discuss it except in terms of its terrible psychological toll on women. Research in both Britain and America repeatedly shows this not to be the case - that abortion, unlike bringing to term an unwanted pregnancy, does not increase the risk of depression; and furthermore, that the uptake on the compulsorily offered post-abortion counselling is staggeringly low (in some areas it is just 1%). And even she is probably just being polite.
Meanwhile there is an increasing foetus fetishisation in mainstream media - all this "miracle of life" stuff, with six-day-old embryos bouncing around, looking deliciously as if they are playing football with the placenta. It is hard to take this any more seriously than you would those pictures of baby bats in socks (non-readers of the Daily Mail will at this stage start to wonder what on earth I am on about) but, operating in this chamber of cultural silence where mature commentary about women's rights, health and beliefs vis-a-vis abortion simply is not happening, it is not a huge leap of the imagination to think that these dancing-foetus babies are jeopardising the gynaecological freedoms of the next generation."
"Several congressional sources confirmed that major donors to the Democratic Party have been lobbying Pelosi on behalf of Harman’s nomination to head the intelligence committee and that these attempts were not welcomed by the House Democratic leader.
The Time report names Haim Saban, a billionaire film producer of Israeli background and Aipac donor, as one of those who approached Pelosi on Harman’s behalf.
Sources close to the issue, and congressional staffers, have speculated that the Harman issue was raised in an attempt to damage the image of Democratic lawmakers in advance of the upcoming midterm elections. The sources also suggested that the leak might be an attempt to get back at senior Democrats on the intelligence committee for leaking the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which embarrassed the administration.
Tobin said last week that he is planning to publish a separate monograph focusing on the views of American academics regarding Israel and the Middle East. The initial results already suggest that atheists, liberals and those who voted for John Kerry in 2004 are more likely than conservatives and Bush voters to see Israel as a threat to global stability."!