Zorn on the Abortion Votes

He gives the complete time line and talks (has talked) to many of those involved over time.

A fairly big chunk of text, but not much compared to the whole thing which you should go read.

You’d think the March, 2003 Senate committee action by Obama and five other Democrats to deep-six the most recent versions of the “born-alive” bills even after the federal language was added would have played a big role in the debates on this issue during the 2004 campaign.

And you would be wrong.

Stanek didn’t bring it up during an extensive online debate with me on this issue in 2004 (some of which survives here) and my search for contemporary news articles or blog entries on  the SB 1083 amendment issue has so far come up empty.

Indeed, when he left a comment on my blog last Thursday, Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee in Washington D.C. referred to the March, 2003 committee records as “new documents that came to light this week” and “newly released Obama documents.”

Not quite. The committee meeting and the votes were held in public, and the records were there all along for anyone who cared to ask for them. The Associated Press even reported the story briefly the following day and the Illinois Senate staff documented the vote.

But to get get back to the narrative:  In 2005, after Obama was in the U.S. Senate, yet another “born-alive” bill was introduced in the Illinois House–  HB 984, sponsored by Harrisburg Democrat Brandon Phelps.

It was assigned to the House Civil Judiciary Civil Law Committee, chaired by Chicago Democrat John Fritchey.

“I told the proponents that the bill simply wasn’t ever going to get through as long as there was suspicion that it was a back-door way to get at Roe v. Wade or criminalize abortion in Illinois,” Fritchey told me today.

Why wasn’t the Federal “neutrality language” good enough?

Because the Federal bill was widely seen as window dressing; a proclamation more than a law with almost no potential impact on abortion law in the states. At the state level, particularly with the companion bills for punishing doctors, the proposal looked significantly more fraught.

“I told the proponents, `Just give us some extra  language that will establish a comfort level for the pro-choice community,'” said Fritchey.

Here were two provisions Fritchey added:

(d) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect existing federal or State law regarding abortion.
(e) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to alter generally accepted medical standards.

“They fought me on that language,” Fritchey said. “They said it wasn’t acceptable. They said the feds didn’t need those kinds of words, why did we need it?”

The question, of  course, is why would the language be a problem if the point of the legislation wasn’t to intimidate doctors from performing abortions?  Look–over there!

The Problem With Stanek’s Entire Argument

Stanek’s claim is that Obama was stopping a bill to outlaw infanticide and that such a law was required in Illinois because of what she claims occurred at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn.  However, the response from the Illinois Attorney General to the claims points out that if such events occurred, those events would already be illegal.

Media Matters makes the point:

The July 2000 letter was a response from Ryan’s office to Concerned Women for America regarding a complaint by nurse Jill Stanek, who claimed that fetuses that were born alive at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, were abandoned without treatment, including in a soiled utility room. In a letter on Ryan’s letterhead, chief deputy attorney general Carole R. Doris wrote in part:

On December 6, IDPH provided this office with its investigative report and advised us that IDPH’s internal review did not indicate [emphasis added] a violation of the Hospital Licensing Act or the Vital Records Act.

No other allegations or medical evidence to support any statutory violation (including the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act about which you inquired) were referred to our office by the Department for prosecution.


While we are deeply respectful of your serious concerns about the practices and methods of abortions at this hospital, we have concluded that there is no basis for legal action by this office against the Hospital or its employees, agents or staff at this time.

From that letter, Freddoso concludes that the state found that “[i]n leaving born babies to die without treatment, Christ Hospital was doing nothing illegal under the laws of Illinois.” But the state’s conclusions regarding the law were reportedly the opposite of what Freddoso claims — IDPH reportedly concluded that if the hospital had done what Stanek alleged, its actions would have been illegal under existing law. (The word “indicate” is in italics above because in his quotation of the letter, Freddoso substitutes the word “include” for the word “indicate.”)

In an August 2004 email discussion with Stanek, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn quoted IDPH spokesman Tom Shafer stating, apparently in reference to Stanek and another nurse, Allison Baker: “[W]hat they were alleging were violations of existing law. … We took (the allegations) very seriously.” Zorn wrote further: “Shafer told me that the 1999 investigation reviewed logs, personnel files and medical records. It concluded, ‘The allegation that infants were allowed to expire in a utility room could not be substantiated (and) all staff interviewed denied that any infant was ever left alone.’ “

From Zorn’s 2004 blog post:

As you well know, Jill, the Illinois Atty. General’s office, then under abortion foe Jim Ryan, was quite concerned about your allegations and directed the Illinois Dept. of Public Health to conduct a thorough investigation of the claims made by you and Allison Baker.


“Because what they were alleging were violations of existing law,” IDPH spokesman Tom Shafer told me yesterday. “We took (the allegations) very seriously.”

Shafer told me that the 1999 investigation reviewed logs, personnel files and medical records. It concluded, “The allegation that infants were allowed to expire in a utility room could not be substantiated (and) all staff interviewed denied that any infant was ever left alone.”

Shafer was quick to add that neither he nor the IDPH report concluded that your testimony was untruthful or exaggerated to help advance your anti-abortion views — simply that their investigation did not substantiate the allegations.

In other words, contrary to Freddoso’s claim, the IDPH’s reported position supported Obama’s explanation: Current law already “mandated lifesaving measures for premature babies.” Freddoso writes of Obama’s assertion: “This is not true. Such measures were not already the law in Illinois. Not according to the Department of Public Health. Not according to Attorney General Ryan” [emphasis in original].But the letter does not, as Freddoso claims, assert that “[s]uch measures were not already the law in Illinois.” Nor does the IDPH; indeed, Zorn quoted the IDPH spokesman saying that the actions alleged by Stanek would have violated the law at the time.

The entire argument is bogus.  Infants were protected in Illinois prior to 1999 and after 1999.  No law had to be passed–it was a rather obvious effort to overturn Roe v. Wade.

And people who worked for Jim Ryan should know that.

Jill Stanek Follies

It’s always hysterical when Stanek gets some attention because then those of us who know her so well around Illinois get to bring out the crazy batshit stuff she spews on a regular basis.

She’s been making the rounds and is even being treated seriously by the New York Times–something local reporters have largely stopped doing because they learned.

Here are my archives of Stanek’s craziness followed by some of my favorites

She discussed how beating your wife was justified when she had an abortion:

That spontaneous slap was the reaction of a real man who a woman had just told she aborted his baby. Compare that to the modern day cowardly male response, “It’s your choice. Whatever you decide, I’ll support you.” Or worse, his threat to abandon her if she does not abort.

It was this fierce devotion to family that strangely endeared us to the Corleone men despite their otherwise heinous behavior.

There’s a rather odd discussion on Mr. Brooks that no one can make any sense of.

She works with Eric Scheidler and his father Joe Scheidler who is a violent anti-abortion activist who was convicted under RICO laws later overturned due to Constitutional issues.  Regardless, Scheidler has a strange coincidence of showing up at abortion protests that turn violent.

She claimed the Chinese eat babies and then when confronted with the point that such claims were debunked, held to the argument that Snopes debunking article was before the new claim so it had no value.

She said of John Fritchey:

Fritchey works toward his Teen Genocide Promotion award

And my favorite, she compared the Illinois Senate Majority Leader to a porn star because she had HPV.

Here, Here, Here, Here, Here

To this day she claims Terri Schiavo was aware

Her claims about Christ Hospital were never substantiated when Pro-Life Illinois AG Jim Ryan’s office investigated her ‘claim to fame.’

Apparently Not Broadening Their Horizons

Who would have thought it:

UPDATE 1x:  In case you didn’t know — which we figured these guys knew what they were doing when they sent this out — the joke is on the IR Editor on this post.  I trusted the sources and wanted to do them a favor and publicize, since they asked us to.  Won’t happen again.

The bars the McCain Young Professionals will be visiting Saturday night are gay bars.  This weekend will be Boystown’s annual Market Days.  Market Days’ celebrations are obscene and public indecency runs rampant at Halsted and Broadway during Market Days.

IR does not endorse this activity, nor do we encourage anyone else to participate.  We apologize for being so gullible in this instance.

Young Professionals for McCain, we enjoy a good laugh like anyone else, but this isn’t funny.  I hope the McCain people are kidding . . . and if this is a joke on behalf of the Hillary Clinton faction that is reportedly involved in helping the McCain people, the joke is on the McCain people.  Hillary’s people are NOT helping you — especially with the already wobbly and very hesitant socially-conservative base.

Carry on . . . and thanks to the gentleman who so kindly called IR to tell us what was going on.  You know who you are.  We owe you one.

Not such a big tent afterall.

Obama the Anti-Christ: Not So Much

According to LaHaye and Jenkins

LaHaye and Jenkins take a literal interpretation of prophecies found in the Book of Revelation. They believe the antichrist will surface on the world stage at some point, but neither see Obama in that role. “I’ve gotten a lot of questions the last few weeks asking if Obama is the antichrist,” says novelist Jenkins. “I tell everyone that I don’t think the antichrist will come out of politics, especially American politics.”

“I can see by the language he uses why people think he could be the antichrist,” adds LaHaye, “but from my reading of scripture, he doesn’t meet the criteria. There is no indication in the Bible that the antichrist will be an American.”

Of course, LaHaye and Jenkins are awful, and I mean awful, writers.  Slactivist did an excellent series on just how awful here.  A small sampling:

For his next trick, the Great Carpathio will require a volunteer from the audience:

“I would like to present to you all just a bit of an object lesson in leadership, followership, and may I say, chain of command. Mr. Scott M. Otterness, would you approach me, please?” The guard in the corner jerked in surprise and hurried to Carpathia. “One of my leadership techniques is my power of observation, combined with a prodigious memory,” Carpathia said.

Here’s another lesson in leadership and, er, followership: Talking about your “leadership techniques” isn’t a very good leadership technique. Particular when the skills you’re patting yourself on the back for don’t have much of anything to do with leadership and in any case aren’t really techniques. The only way I can imagine an actual human saying that last sentence above without being immediately deposed and mocked by his former followers would be if it were said ironically, in self mockery. A campaign-weary politician praising the “great city of Cleveland,” while speaking in Cincinnati, might get away with saying something like that as a joking apology. But just as he never uses contractions, Nicolae never employs irony.

“One of my leadership techniques is my power of observation,” Nicolae says, “combined with a prodigious memory.” And somehow, here in LB, the people who hear him say this are as impressed by him and he seems to be. This goes on for quite a bit.

“Mr. Otterness here was surprised because we had not been introduced, had we, sir?”

“No, sir, Mr. Carpathia, sir, we had not.”

“And yet I knew your name.”

The aging guard smiled and nodded.

One half-expects Carpathia to raise one hand with a flourish, like Jon Lovitz’s Master Thespian, crying “Leadership!” (followed by this). The impression I get is of That Guy who thinks that reading the waitress’ name off her name tag gives him license to send his steak back and tip a lousy 10 percent.

I tried to read the first book once.  After 10 pages of awful prose I just gave up.

They Play Both Kinds of Music: Country and Western


Boystown’s only gay country bar is a line-dancin’, two-steppin’ extravaganza in the early evenings, but after 2AM Charlie’s transforms into a packed, raging after-hours non-country dance club. On any given day of the week, there’s a drag show (either planned by management or improvised on the bar). Expect a long wait to get in, a long wait for the bathroom (plus free gropes from behind), but really good music for those who’ve outgrown Berlin.

Excellent Sidetrack Reviews

At Tripadvisor

As a gay man who lives in San Francisco, and who’s been to gay bars in LA, Miami, NYC, Paris, London, Sydney and a lot of places in between, I have to say this about Sidetrack: I’ve never seen so many hot guys in one place ever. Period. And damn, they’re all Midwestern nice too — none of what folks usually label “attitude.” If you’re looking for a husband, a hookup, or just a good time, you must visit the Sidetrack on Friday or Saturday night. The drinks are great and not too steep. Really clean, large, nicely designed. I wish SF could have something like this. You go, Chi-town.

Daily Dolt: Illinois Review

I’m starting to like Steve Sauerberg even if I’ll never endorse him. The Illinois Review continues its attacks on his campaign staffer because the staffer is gay.

Mr. Barron’s history as the former National Political Director of Log Cabin Republicans concerned us a few weeks ago, and we wrote about it on Illinois Review. Dr. Sauerberg was aware of the controversy, and chose to back Mr. Barron despite his political baggage problematic to conservatives.

Mr. Barron was obviously emboldened by his boss’ loyalty and evidently now has time to spend promoting himself online as a Republican gay political consultant. Must be nice work, if you can get it.

Sauerberg is ignoring calls to fire Barron because Barron is gay. Good for him.

‘See, It Asks a Question’: A Mind So Open His Brains Dripped Out

South Carolina Preacher:

The sign in front of a small church in a small town is causing a big controversy in Jonesville, S.C.

Pastor Roger Byrd said that he just wanted to get people thinking. So last Thursday, he put a new message on the sign at the Jonesville Church of God.It reads: “Obama, Osama, hmm, are they brothers?”
Byrd said that the message wasn’t meant to be racial or political.

“It’s simply to cause people to realize and to see what possibly could happen if we were to get someone in there that does not believe in Jesus Christ,” he said.

When asked if he believes that Barack Obama is Muslim, Byrd said, “I don’t know. See it asks a question: Are they brothers? In other words, is he Muslim ? I don’t know. He says he’s not. I hope he’s not. But I don’t know. And it’s just something to try to stir people’s minds. It was never intended to hurt feelings or to offend anybody.”

Obama has said repeatedly during his campaign that he is a Christian and attends Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.Despite some criticism, Byrd says that the message will stay on the sign. He took the issue before his congregation Sunday night, and they decided unanimously to keep it.

Byrd also said he doesn’t want it to look like controversy forced him to take the sign down.

Daily Dolt: Illinois Review and Porno Pete

Both are very upset about Steve Sauerberg hiring Teh GAY!

One suspects there is another thing at play though when this is said:

The LCR ad was designed to embarrass Bush by purposely pitting the President’s position in support of the marriage amendment directly against his VP Dick Cheney’s 2000 debate comments . . .

Now, Petey is pretty much against all things teh Gay, but there is one major thing worse than being gay, it’s embarrassing the child king.

More GOP Daddy Talk

Tom Roeser:

Not a peep from the two-headed tame pussies of the contemporary print press, lowering their eyes for fear of “racism.”

What is it about Republicans having to prove they are manly?

He goes on a rant about Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, and Jeremiah Wright because they don’t ascribe to orthodox Christianity and that any real press would wonder about James Meeks and how much he makes and get the IRS investigating.

Of course, the IRS is investigating the national United Church of Christ for an Obama appearance.

The strange thing is that Roeser only mentions black people in the rant…but of course, he’s not being racist. I’m sure he’s just as concerned about Hagee’s constant politicking for Israeli policy in sermons and he isn’t offensive at all in calling the Catholic Church the whore of Babylon….Since Roeser is so concerncerned about these black preachers, I’m sure he’ll take on the white preacher who has a lot more power than all of them put together…..

More Hagee Fun

John Hagee Creatively Interprets the U.S. Great Seal

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/kUBwrjrxOIk" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Making John Bolton look like Woodrow Wilson:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/YFYiSJHbnZc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Katrina is God’s Punishment for  New Orleans’ sins:

TG: I just want to ask you one question, based on one of your sermons, and this is not about Israel — you said after Hurricane Katrina, that it was an act of God, and you said when you violate God’s will long enough, the judgment of God comes to you. Katrina is an act of God for a society that is becoming Sodom and Gomorrah re-born.

Do you still believe that Katrina is punishment from God for a society that is becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah?

JH: All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that.

The newspaper carried the story in our local area, that was not carried nationally, that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it would was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other gay pride parades.

So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the Day of Judgment, and I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.

Why would such a loon back McCain?  Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran:

 For Hagee’s new project, his influence in washington is probably less important than his influence over his audience. With the clout of his listeners, he can serve Bush administration hawks by firing up grass-roots support for a military strike against Iran. TBN has provided several opportunities for Hagee to promote his book on Praise the Lord, several installments of his own program, and a two-day appearance on Benny Hinn’s show. Through the marketing efforts of Strang Communications, which placed national radio advertising spots for Jerusalem Countdown on The Sean Hannity Show, The O’Reilly Factor, and Janet Parshall’s America, Hagee brought his Armageddon message to a wider conservative audience. His end-times theology is nothing new; countless numbers of self-proclaimed prophets of the end of the world have demanded attention since the beginning of time. The difference now is that TBN’s relentless fund raising — along with advances in digital and satellite broadcasting technology — has permitted worldwide dissemination of his ominous predictions. Through TBN, other religious and conservative media, and the growing mega-churches, Hagee has turned his Bible-thumping not only into a multi-million dollar business, but into a pro-war movement as well.

How crazy is Hagee, so crazy that Bill Donahue of the Catholic League sounds reasonable discussing him

“There are plenty of staunch evangelical leaders who are pro-Israel, but are not anti-Catholic. John Hagee is not one of them. Indeed, for the past few decades, he has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church. For example, he likes calling it ‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system.’ To hear the bigot in his own words, click here. Note: he isn’t talking about the Buddhists.

“In Hagee’s latest book, Jerusalem Countdown, he calls Hitler a Catholic who murdered Jews while the Catholic Church did nothing. ‘The sell-out of Catholicism to Hitler began not with the people but with the Vatican itself,’ he writes.

“For the record, Hitler persecuted the Catholic Church and was automatically excommunicated in 1931—two years before he assumed power—when he acted as best man at Joseph Goebbel’s Protestant wedding. Hitler even bragged about his separation from the Church. As for doing nothing about the Holocaust, Sir Martin Gilbert reminds us that Goebbels denounced Pope Pius XII for his 1942 Christmas message criticizing the Nazis (the New York Times lauded the pope for doing so in an editorial for two years in a row). Much to Hagee’s chagrin, Gilbert also says that Pius XII saved three quarters of the Jews in Rome, and that more Jews were saved proportionately in Catholic countries than Protestant countries. Indeed, Israeli diplomat Pinchas Lapide credited the Catholic Church with saving 860,000 Jews. No religion can match that.

One might think Donahue hates the guy more than even Amanda Marcotte and Kathy Griffin even.