Our Evolving Constitution: Right to Privacy

(Craig Crawford, The Orlando Sentinel, 9/13/1987) — Bill Baird chased rats, picked bugs from his food and endured strip searches in a Boston prison for doing in 1967 what many would now consider a community service: giving contraceptives to college students.

Bill Baird

The longtime birth-control advocate got himself arrested to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that Americans are entitled to privacy in their sexual relations. His strategy worked.

“I’m not a spectator in the cause of freedom — I’ve paid my dues,” said Baird, 55, from his clinic in Hempstead, N.Y. The non- profit clinic is one of three he operates in the Northeast, offering birth control and abortions to the poor.

It has been 15 years since the Supreme Court overturned Baird’s felony conviction for violating a Massachusetts law that outlawed birth control for single people.

Justice William O. Douglas

The basis for the court’s ruling was its earlier 1965 decision in Griswold vs. Connecticut, which gave married people a right to privacy in the use of contraceptives. Although the Bill of Rights does not explicitly mention privacy Justice William O. Douglas wrote for the majority in Griswold that the right was to be found in the “penumbras” and “emanations” of other constitutional protections.

When Baird reached the court the justices were ready to expand that right to include single people.

Justice William Brennan

“If the right to privacy means anything,” Justice William Brennan wrote in Baird’s case, “it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.”

The decision not only voided similar laws in 25 other states, it also paved the way for the court’s controversial opinion a year later in Roe vs. Wade. The Roe decision, which extended the right of privacy to women seeking abortions, cited the Baird opinion six times.

Bill Baird

Baird, then 34, wanted to go to prison April 6, 1967, when he took the stage in front of 3,000 students and 20 police officers at Boston University. A committee of students had asked him to talk about birth control. University administrators feared a riot and called the police.

The speech threatened to violate the state’s “crimes against chastity” statute, which forbade anyone to publish or exhibit information about birth- control methods or to give speeches about the subject.

Baird was convinced that going to jail for violating the statute so conspicuously might just propel him to the Supreme Court. In his Boston University speech, he included biblical references to contraception and showed magazine photographs of birth-control pills. Although that would have appeared to violate the broad statute, the police officers did not respond.

Then Baird handed a 19-year-old student a package of contraceptive foam he had bought at a department store. That did it. He was handcuffed on stage and carried off as he told the protesting students to be calm, that history was being made.

Baird, who has four children, suddenly became a national symbol of the sexual revolution. He was no stranger to the issue, having become an activist in 1963 after a woman died in his arms from a coat- hanger abortion. She had staggered into the New York hospital where he worked as a researcher for a pharmaceutical company. Bloodied from the waist down, she said she couldn’t bear another child with nine at home already.

Baird and his wife, Eve, took the $6,000 they had saved for him to finish medical school, bought a van and started touring New York slums, promoting birth control. He never became a doctor, but eventually he changed medicine by forcing a Supreme Court decision about the rights of single people to get professional advice about contraception.

At first, Baird lost in the Boston University case. The jail sentence was delayed so that Baird could appeal. The Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the conviction, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear it. That process took three years.

So Baird finally was jailed in 1970. The experience proved to be grittier than the mere display of principle he had intended. He landed in Boston’s rat- infested Charles Street prison, which a judge ordered closed years later because of its abuse of inmates.

“I’ll never forget the screams of a female prisoner who committed suicide by setting herself on fire,” Baird said. “I had to pick bugs out of my food. The guards would strip me and search my body for drugs. They were just trying to break my spirit, but it didn’t work.”

Covered with lice, Baird was released 36 days later when a federal court overturned the Massachusetts law used to convict him. His lawyer had filed another appeal, and that time the courts were obliged to consider Baird’s case more carefully because he had been imprisoned.

The Supreme Court was more sympathetic to the second appeal, and Baird finally made history, as he had predicted.

Still $200,000 in debt for legal fees and other costs, Baird continues to be an outspoken advocate of birth control and abortion through more than 300 lectures and interviews each year. He is not sorry he took his stand, but he has become almost bitter about public attitudes.

“Things are worse than they’ve ever been,” he said. “Most Americans are decent, but they just don’t want to get involved in protecting freedom. Most won’t even bother to send a postcard to their senator.”

89 thoughts on “Our Evolving Constitution: Right to Privacy

  1. Woo-wonderful-hoo

    What a wonderful piece of history and writing, Craig. Bill Baird, outstanding human. I owe him a lot.

  2. Craig, I am sure many would do much more if the severe, social-issued right didn’t demonize women who are free from prosecution to choose. Even at this early hour it is difficult to discuss abortion, but just like drugs and poverty, it has been a part of my life since childhood. My grandmother died supposedly giving birth to my Mother, but actually died from an abortion gone bad. They were common in America. I believe Frank Sinatra’s Mother performed abortions. When I was in college in Pennsylvania, many a trip to NY (where abortions were legal) was planned by coeds for an abortion.

    But, with the murder of doctors and bombing of clinics and archaic laws passed in southern states…many are afraid. I was afraid to write this.

  3. Nice catch Craig -- it’s not conventional wisdom to think of men as important litigants in birth control cases.

    Privacy? What little we had outside the bedroom was taken away in the year following 9/11 with the passage of the USA Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act. Isn’t that just another word for nothin’ left to lose? Or something like that?

    BTW, I’m not one of the 47 percent, but I ain’t voting for Rmoney.

  4. From 1987 to 2012, some things have changed with regard to speaking out about issues. Look at the Occupy movement. However, I think we live in something closer to a police state these days, which makes people fearful about getting involved.

    The internet makes it easy to contact your representatives (although I now get bombarded with literature from them via snail & email, in return).

    Then there are the little FB wars with those who have differing views. Although few opinions may change, we all will have been exposed to views that differ from our normal world views.

    And although the contingent-of-the-fearful wants to push back personal rights by at least 60 years, we still move forward. Slowly forward, like a parent in a store with a screaming toddler wrapped around their ankles, but forward on so many issues…as will be proven next April 6th.

    (BTW, Twenty-Eyes, what was David’s mobster name? I can’t remember. -Yours Truly, The Abalone.)

  5. The Constitution evolves, the GOP devolves. Are they not men? They are devo.

    So, MittCo thinks folks have no right to food, care or housing, but thinks the gov’t has a right to intrude in personal lives. They want folks to take personal responsiblity for themselves, except about the things that they want the gov’t to control.

    Priceless.

    Actually, Mittens & Shelly A can probably pay any price.

  6. Gee, I searched that Jefferson quote I posted yesterday and don’t find a single reference to banks in it. Some folks say Jefferson was a pretty fair writer, and I tend to agree with them. Jefferson said a lot about banks, and when he did, he used the word “banks”. Good thing M is around to tell us what that founding father meant when his words weren’t clear enough to support M’s view.

  7. …He was no stranger to the issue, having become an activist in 1963 after a woman died in his arms from a coat- hanger abortion. She had staggered into the New York hospital where he worked as a researcher for a pharmaceutical company. Bloodied from the waist down, she said she couldn’t bear another child with nine at home already.

    What a life changing moment in time (for so many), Craig (makes me a little misty-eyed).

    Bill Baird really put it all on the line for what he knew was right. And that poor woman was what brought him to that realization (… we don’t even know her name).

    So sad.

  8. “If the right to privacy means anything,” Justice William Brennan wrote in Baird’s case, “it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.”

    … and great respect for Justice William Brennan.

  9. Another great piece of writing, Craig…

    I remember Bill Baird… I was 13 at the time and living in central Massachusetts. His name was plastered all over the Mass papers and news stations.

    A DC wedding is such an intriguing temptation… yet at the same time kinda intimidating for someone who lives in the woods of NH. But I’d probably kick myself if we miss the opportunity.

  10. Chloe…
    I’m currently crocheting an afghan for a wedding present. It’s the 4th one I’ll make this year. I think why you don’t see it being done in public is because afghans are what most crocheters do, and they’re too big and bulky to carry around. Plus you have to make them on your lap… and I imagine in Houston it’s way too hot most of the year for a blanket on one’s lap.

  11. ” I imagine in Houston it’s way too hot most of the year for a blanket on one’s lap.”

    LOL Renee!!
    … you ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie!

    Thanks for explaining to me the difference. The crocheting I remembered was table clothes, doilies and more frail things.

    You’re so lucky to be artistic and creative. Those of those who aren’t (actually, just speaking for myself) envy that in those who are. I actually think it takes lot of confidence to create such original things.

  12. It really doesn’t seem that long ago to the early 60s, but yes it is a half century. I can still remember that young women wouldn’t get sexually involved until their senior year of HS or first year of college because you could get married in June or July if necessary. Birth control was just becoming available but even in California most doctors wouldn’t prescribe unless you were married. It seems weird that Loretta Lynne’s “One’s On The Way” didn’t come out until 1971

  13. In 1967 the Catholic Church controlled Boston (the most Irish Catholic city in the country) and thus, the state of Massachusetts.

    They’d still run it today if the priests had kept their hands off the little kids.

  14. One of the doctors who played a major role in the development of the pill was a Massachusetts gynecologist, Dr. John Rock.

    In retirement, he bought a home in the tiny town of Temple, NH… it’s next door to the town Rick grew up in. Rick’s father ran the area state liquor store and one day while Dr. Rock was buying his supply of booze, he mentioned he was looking for a teenager to mow his lawn. Rick was volunteered. He spent every Saturday morning during the summers of his 14th & 15th years mowing Dr. Rock’s lawn. Said he was one of the sweetest old men you’d ever care to meet.

  15. I will always view Thomas Jefferson through the eyes of a six-y.o., my age when my family took a leisurely post-war trip to Florida.

    We visited Monticello spending the better part of a day exploring Jefferson’s architectural creation. Such a marvel! Such creativity! Such ingenuity!

    Reinforcing and sealing the deal for this kid was the Marine Corps Hymn with its reference “…to the shores of Tripoli.”

    I did see the slave quarters. I put them into a historical context. But that didn’t stop me from drinking from the ‘colored’ water fountains for the rest of the trip.

  16. What strikes me about today’s Mitt Caught-on-Tape video is how utterly bored the audience seems — i think they paid something like $50,000 a couple but don’t act like they even want to be there


    (worth clicking the enlarge button to watch them^)

  17. Flatus, I was 42 when I went to Monticello -- and my reaction to the place was the same as yours, but the “colored only” water fountains were gone by then -- or at least I didn’t see any.

  18. Pogo, I meant the rest of the Florida vacation.

    Our trip was in ’47, while the country was demobilizing as quickly as possible. The trip was almost entirely 2-lane roads. Gas pumps were ones where you actually pumped the gas from underground tanks yourself. It was all most exciting!

  19. I find Willard Rmoney’s remarks at the fund raiser --disbainful!

    We can’t see the Rmoney tax returns, how do we know if he paid his fair share of taxes? Hiding money overseas so he doesn’t have to pay as much?

    This is percentage politics at its worst and it sucks.

  20. am wondering if crocheting is more tedious and difficult than knitting? Just curious

    Chloe, I was gonna say ask Renee--I can’t really answer that one because I don’t knit!

    Renee’s right on about crochet being too bulky to take along on most trips--unless you’re just doing granny squares for a project; those are fairly easy to carry. I can recall once working squares while waiting on my nephew at the orthodontist’s and having this little girl sit and watch me the whole time, utterly fascinated.

    My paternal grandmother crocheted and also tatted lace. Someday I’ll have to get my niece or brother to take pictures of one of her afghans I still have (she gave away everything else she ever made)so I can post them--beautiful piece of work. Gran worked at Alcoa off and on, beginning during WWII up until she retired c. 1966. Back then Alcoa ran a bus from Madisonville to the plant every day. There are still people living who worked and rode the bus with Gran who talk about how she always had her crochet with her on the bus--usually squares! She was a crane operator and kept her workbag with her in the cab of the crane and crocheted on her breaks.

  21. Oh, and one more thing--it’s generally too hot in summer in Knobite Corner too to work afghans (at least if they’re solid work--piecing squares isn’t too bad) but in winter, when it’s cold or snowy, there’s nothing warmer than a lapful of crochet, unless it’s a lapful of kitty. Blackadder has been known to get up in my lap in winter and bite the yarn to make me stop.

  22. Mittens needs to attach a dnr to his campaign — the media keeps bringing him back just so they can declare him dead again.

    So..again his statement(about wishing he was Latino) should be taken as a joke…like his birther remark was a joke… and really like his campaign is a joke.

  23. Flatus, oh … now I understand. When I was a boy there were plenty of “white only” and “colored only” water fountains in Birmingham, and in Florida -- where I vacationed with the ‘rents.

  24. All aboard the Mittens Foreign Policy Express…oops…derailed, again.

    “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way,” Romney said in the secretly recorded video of a closed-door May fundraiser in Florida.

    Mittens 2012 -- “there’s just no way” -- A great campaign slogan.

    I can not wait for the debates! Also looking forward to Biden give that lying, weasel Ryan a good schoolin’!

  25. I love the theme of your Constitutional wedding…the invites will be exciting. Plus you can have your own couple’s Bill of Rights! I hope David keeps us posted on the events and I would love for you to live stream the history making wedding.

  26. Rmoney… the other white meathead…

    BTW… I too don’t fit in that 47%… but even if we didn’t pay income taxes and did use governmental assistance of some kind… I’d never consider myself “a victim”…

    and here’s today’s Christian Science Monitor cartoon

  27. Flatus — when we went to the New Orleans in the 1950s to visit my Aunt Irma, she lived with her doctor husband and five children in a big old home in the Garden section of NO. She had a black maid and we were Northerners — Yankees from the northeast United States in awe of her. She was a large woman and wore a head scarf just like the lady on the pancake box. And for breakfast, she made us pancakes. We were convinced she was the pancake lady, Aunt Jemima. I was five or six years old.

  28. Hubby and I pay taxes and get food stamps. Hubby and I were starving without the extra help. Our bones were turning brittle. We haven’t had enough protein. I have given up my pescetarian ways and now eat Jello. Bone glue to help my nutrition. Renderings for collagen repair in my body. My health care is almost primitive. Friends and family tried to help, but I am glad I have the help from Uncle Sam. Yes, I would rather have a good paying job. I pay for my own health insurance out-of-pocket. So, I guess I am not part of the 47%, but I lost my entire 401K via an IRA to corporate crooks. My house is worth 40% less. The health insurance company took my life savings in trade of care. So, I am a victim of corporate theft…my pension was finally bought out by Verizon…I am one of the few who needed the government to protect my pension. It took eleven years. At almost 59, I am semi-retired, not by choice. I cannot compete with the returning military and spouses for jobs. I cannot find a job except for self employment and it is not paying right now!

    The large bulk of the 47% is the senior population. I live in a retirement town and I hear all the time, most seniors do not pay taxes. Will they vote for Rmoney? Probably. Rmoney is so wrong and out-of touch. I am where I am at financially at the hands of large corporations and I need the government’s help, but I do a lot of the heavy lifting myself.

    And I know I have posted this before, but JP Morgan services the EBT program in my state! That pisses me off.

  29. Nash writes…

    In 1967 the Catholic Church controlled Boston (the most Irish Catholic city in the country) and thus, the state of Massachusetts.

    Make that the United States, not just Mass. Every Friday at my public school we had fish sticks. Fish on Fridays and if going to Catholic church? Females used to cover their head with a scarf.

  30. Flate….I too travelled those pre-interstates 2 lane concrete highways….a lot….from ’48 on…we were always going back and forth from charleston to birmingham and down into florida, etc…..ka-thack ka-thack ka-thack ka-thack…..the asphalt ribs between the sheets of concrete…..and yep: Men….Women….Colored, bathrooms and water fountains.
    eye-opening stuff in a strange world.

  31. The attempted recovery from the Romney showing of contempt is pretty pathetic..

  32. I guess I’m in the 47-pct. Although we regard my military retired pay as deferred compensation and reduced compensation as all of us retirees are subject to recall at the government’s pleasure, fact is, here I am sitting on my ass while drawing a pay check.

    While we did pay tax on our social security the past couple of years, we were simply returning ill gotten gains to the 1-pcters who were really entitled to them.

    And the income tax that we paid on our IRAs should have been easily avoidable if only my executive MBA course at USF had offered an elective in tax evasion.

    Oh well, what the hey. I guess I just wasn’t cut out to be on the right side of the curve.

  33. Rmoney, the Olympic Savior did so with a government handout.

    From Mother Jones

    “The $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars that Congress is pouring into Utah is 1.5 times the amount spent by lawmakers to support all seven Olympic Games held in the U.S. since 1904—combined,” Donald Barlett and James Steele reported for Sports Illustrated in 2001. Those numbers were adjusted for inflation.
    How the Salt Lake Games came to receive more money than any games in American history isn’t much of a mystery. The organizers, including Romney, asked for it.”

  34. Romney is going on Fox for an interview … Does no one on his campaign know anything about optics? Talk about groping your way around the inside of the bubble looking for a choir willing to hear you preach.

  35. We really do not want a CEO for a President…wasn’t it obvious the way Trump dropped like a lead balloon when announcing he might pursue the run for prez? Today, Faux news is painting Rmoney as a CEO, not a politician. I guess his Massachusetts gig was not real.

  36. The fox audience will be very surprised..since fox has not been covering the gaffathon at all.

  37. I guess Romney, being a rich fellow, feels he is entitled to an Olympic-sized government handout.

  38. Excellent Blonde Wino…

    It’s not really a safety net for the poor…it’s a safety maze. If you are lucky you get someone who can guide you through the intricacies of the maze otherwise you are just a number in a very long line getting nothing but bureaucratic bullshit

  39. From David Graham, here is the graph of the 47% — a.k.a. “non-payers” — by state. The ten states with the highest share of “non-payers” are in the states colored red. Most are in southern (and Republican) states. Meanwhile, the 13 states with the smallest share of “non-payers” are in blue. Most are northeastern (and Democratic) states.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/09/the-47-who-they-are-where-they-live-how-they-vote-and-why-they-matter/262506/

    great headline by ny daily news “Mitt Hits The Fan”

  40. “Mr. Romney doesn’t know what this country looks like, and he has no idea how government works,” Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state in the administration of George W. Bush and a former top Defense Department official, said in an interview today. “The veterans who serve 20 years or more in the service, they get benefits — that’s government money.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-18/romney-s-47-with-no-taxes-include-elderly-poor-workers.html

  41. Romney’s idea of “taking personal responsibility” is to have your CEO dad pay for everything: college, graduate school, money for you & your wife to live on while in school, etc.

    As a “preppie” who went to Yale once told me, “Rich kids don’t like to have to compete with poor kids on scholarship, because the poor kids are often smarter and almost always work harder.”

  42. tony, have you had a chance yet to ask grace (assuming she’s among the 47% or at least one of those dependent on gov’t for something) her reaction?

  43. pat, the article in the link you posted about the non-payors is fascinating. What it points out to me in very clear terms is that the class warfare that is going on is being waged by Rmoney and his ilk. Of course I know that, but Derek Thompson points it out in very clear and unambiguous terms.

  44. I hope someone asks Mittens how one is supposed to pay all their bills working at staples @ $9 an hour --one of the good jobs he created. and now he is complaining because the government picks up the slack his greed created —

    Walmart is another employer that does not pay enough to afford health insurance and screws their mostly part-time work force

  45. The mitt is proving something. If you have the goods: looks, money, and can talk….It doesn’t matter what you say at all. If you just keep on going as if nothing has happened and keep running your mouth no matter what comes out of it….your voters are going to zone out whatever it was you said and you start each day with tabula rasa, so to speak….etch-a-sketch…..it doesn’t matter what you say as long as you keep talking rot and looking the part…..and keep coming up with the carloads of cash.

    job creators, apologized, kenyan, greek, socialist, muslim, un-american….just keep mealy-mouthing the list of little impressions and all is well.

    There is that problem of the middle independents or whatever that little so-called middle clique who “actually elect the president” call themselves. Romney, seems he’s thinking they just might fall for it.

  46. http://craigcrawford.com/2012/09/18/our-evolving-constitution-right-to-privacy/#comment-298348

    Hi Pat,
    I sent her the Marsh link yesterday but she’s off on Tuesday. Oh you better believe Grace receives Medicare/TriCare and SS. Graces’s husband had been working for NASA but lost his job recently. Yep, they loved that government program and blame Obama for its demise. Oh and her husband draws Unemployment as well but you can bet they will not think Romney is talking about them???? Nope, i will never get it..They will vote for Romney no matter what..

  47. So, RR, you figure not enough NHers knew Rmoney well enough as Gov of Mass to reject him as Mass has?

  48. “Gran worked at Alcoa off and on, beginning during WWII up until she retired c. 1966. Back then Alcoa ran a bus from Madisonville to the plant every day. There are still people living who worked and rode the bus with Gran who talk about how she always had her crochet with her on the bus--usually squares! She was a crane operator and kept her workbag with her in the cab of the crane and crocheted on her breaks.”

    Faire,
    Thanks for sharing that story from the past. I really enjoyed reading it, and I’d guess that crocheting is probably in your DNA :). I can only imagine how calming it must be.

    I also enjoyed picturing that little girl sitting and watching you crocheting in that waiting room — kids are such a kick. The older I get, the more I appreciate them.

    When I take my granddaughter to pre-school, I stoop down to her level to give her a hug and kiss goodbye, and a few of the other little ones (all in their 3′s) stand around so I’m looking at them at eye level, and it’s like entering another world. I never seemed to notice the extent of their preciousness (and innocence) when I was younger, but now they just melt my heart.

    Hope you do get to post that picture of your grandmothers’ afghan.

  49. pogo… one of the first things you find out about NH is that they call people from Massachusetts “Massholes”. I’ve been here long enough that most think I’m native… so I’m safe from the insults.
    Besides… there’s a lot more registered Republicans here than in Mass.

    So here’s what I found….
    Obama, Romney tied with Granite State voters

    so… if Mass is going overwhelmingly for Obama…. then NHerites will go for the opposite… no matter that Romney was gov of that state… he doesn’t live there anymore and he wisely now owns property here… I mean… if Massachusetts says the sky is blue… then NHerites will say it’s red…

    makes for some interesting conversations…

  50. RR, remember, I lived there for 6 years. Even Massholes acknowledge that NHers call them that. And it really doesn’t surprise me that much that NH might go for Rmoney -- most of the natives I knew there were pretty RW and also pretty resistant to anything that resembled arguments to the contrary of their unfounded beliefs. Shit -- they still have democracy at the town level -- IOW the loudest ole fart (not you, Flatus) asshole at the microphone might just get enough of the idiots to vote against filling the potholes and buying new playground equipment for the elementary school because it costs to much.

    I saw the town of Campton vote against buying a new salt spreader for the one guy who was willing to do the job after the one he had been using rusted to pieces because they thought he should buy his own since they were paying him (damn little) to get up in the middle of the night and spread salt so they could drive without killing themselves. They got a big FU from him and had to go find some joker in Plymouth to come up and do it -- and I’m sure it cost them more than buying him a spreader and paying him damn little would have. Oh, and Campton became No. 2 behind his other salt route in Plymouth. Smart, no?

    Welp, time to grab a file, go home, sit down with a glass of wine and relax.

  51. Take This Tune: My Hometown
    Faire! I just searched for knobite, because I never knew exactly what the expression meant. You said the train from Madison earlier (turns out it was Maddisonville that you said), so I put that in my search too: madison knobite — and lo and behold, what pops up on my search screen, but a link to an old blog of yours from 2010 ( I use Yahoo search, BTW).

    “I refer to it affectionately as Knobite Corner, but my hometown, where I grew up and don’t think I will ever leave now, is Madisonville, Tennessee, fifty-odd miles southwest of Knoxville. A small town—population a bit over 3900 in the 2000 census–, the county seat of Monroe County from the 1820s, its original name was Tellico, a corruption of the Cherokee place name Talequah (which now is used in the mountain town of Tellico Plains). In 1830, it was renamed Madisonville in honor of a local politician, Madison Greenway.”

    You even mentioned Jamie in the 2nd paragrph.

  52. Oh, one last thought. When your Repugn friends say the pres race is still a tie, don’t mention to them that of the 13 polls reported since 9/9, Obama has been ahead in 11, and of those, 6 were outside the margin of error. Romney has not polled outside the margin of error in any poll since June, but was at the MoE once in late July -- in a Rasmussen poll. I bet he hopes he does well in the debates ‘cuz he ain’ doin’ shit in the polls.

  53. pogo… forgive me… I did forget you used to live up here… yup… that sounds like NH alrighty…

    but I live on the Mass border… a lot of high techies and “Massholes” live here… a lot of them vote Democratic… makes the natives grouchy… except when they want to sell their houses to them…

  54. If I recall, Blackadder was a prince.

    One day Faire fell asleep doing her crocheting and had a dream where her fairy godmother appeared and offered her one wish. Without hesitation, Faire exclaimed, “Godmother, turn Blackadder into a handsome young prince!”

    Sure enough, the fairy godmother waved her wand and Blackadder was transformed into the handsomest prince anyone could imagine.

    The prince sat next to Faire and gently said, “Pretty Lady, why did you send me to the vet?”

  55. Rick Santorum was in Holland today to lend his magic to the Pete Hoekstra senate campaign. Sounds like a good time was had by all.

  56. Dear Mr. Romney,

    I watched with interest your recent press conference from California.

    I must say that I sympathize with your dilemma. Like you I have always had extreme difficulty in expressing myself in an elegant manner, when I am forced to tell a large number of people to ‘fuck off’.

    Should you find an elegant method in the future to express these sentiments please feel free to contact me. I urgently await your response, as do those whom I wish to alienate.

    Warmest personal regards,

    jace

  57. Like most folks here I have seen politicians of all stripes and persuasions shoot themselves in the foot.

    Mitt is the only one I have seen that uses an automatic weapon.

    Note to Mitt: Count your toes.

  58. I just heard an unusual noise.

    It sounded suspiciously like the sound of a shattered etch-a-sketch. ;-)

  59. Jace

    For some strange reason no etcha sketch moment, he didn’t reset for the general election as he should have. He just kept heading down the same dead end road. Weird, must be something in the water in Mass. but they have managed to produce some of the worst presidential candidates.

    Jack

  60. Jack,

    Mass. is just not a good training ground for presidential candidates. I can not pin point the problem.

    Both Mitt and Kerry had winnable elections and could not pull it off. Dukakis, maybe not so much.
    At any rate they damn well struggle, and none of them are by nature unsuccessful.

    It is a puzzlement for sure.

    Still think that this will be a cat fight.

  61. Another difference between the War Against the Barbary Pirates under Jefferson and Obama’s aid to the Libyan Revolution is that American troops landed in the first, and defeated the Pasha’s guards and briefly held the town. No American troops landed in the latter action; Libyans provided all the infantry.

  62. ” No American troops landed in the latter action; Libyans provided all the infantry.”

    XR,

    I guess that will be known for here after as the ‘Lybyanisation’ of the conflict. ;-)

  63. A Libyan protester shouts as copies of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s

    Well known to the United States policymakers in Obama White House and Clinton State Department along with the National Security Council but not widely known to American mainstream media, the U.S. West Point Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center document reveals that Libya sent more fighters to Iraq’s Islamic militancy on a per-capita basis than any other Muslim country, including Saudi Arabia.

    Perhaps more alarmingly for Western policymakers, most of the fighters came from eastern Libya, the center of the current uprising against Muammar el-Qaddafi.

    The analysis of the Combating Terrorism Center of West Point was based on the records captured by coalition forces in October 2007 in a raid near Sinjar, along Iraq’s Syrian border.

    The eastern Libyan city of Darnah sent more fighters to Iraq than any other single city or town, according to the West Point report. It noted that 52 militants came to Iraq from Darnah, a city of just 80,000 people (the second-largest source of fighters was Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which has a population of more than 4 million).

  64. The black flag of al-Qaeda has been put on top of a courthouse in the Libyan city of Benghazi, further raising concerns that the country could turn into a Muslim extremist entity.
     
    “There is no God but Allah” was written in Arabic on the flag raised above the streets of Benghazi, considered the heart of the Libyan revolutionaries who toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

  65. jamie always beats me to it, but here’s the website for Pirate’s Day.
    http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html

    Flatus, Pogo…my high school senior trip to NYC and D.C. were life -changing experiences, but my two summers after high school, traveling all over the US South in a bus with three other Caucasians and fifteen African-Americans educated me to the wicked ways of the world, the racism, the hate…and the feeling I got when I walked from our Birmingham hotel to the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1968 , escorted by four of my Black teammates, just overwhelmed me inside. I was the same age as those girls were in 1963, on September 15, when they were murdered. I always stop at some point on that calendar day and meditate a bit, and I will never, ever, forget the names of the girls who died from hate , prejudice, and murderous , dangerous racists.

    Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Denise McNair

  66. Obama Notifies Congress of Troops Deployed to Libya and Yemen
    Mary Bruce
    September 14, 2012

    President Obama has taken the formal step of notifying Congress that he has deployed troops “equipped for combat” to Libya and Yemen to defend U.S. citizens and property, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution.

    “Although these security forces are equipped for combat, these movements have been undertaken solely for the purpose of protecting American citizens and property,” the president wrote in a letter to Congress. “These security forces will remain in Libya and in Yemen until the security situation becomes such that they are no longer needed.”

    A security force from the U.S. Africa Command deployed to Libya Wednesday to support security of U.S. personnel after the killing of four Americans in an attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. An additional security force arrived in Yemen Thursday after the assault on the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a.

    “These actions have been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive,” the president wrote. “I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.”

    Consistent with the War Powers Resolution, the president has to notify Congress when he dispatches combat-equipped troops to a foreign country.

    This situation differs from the U.S. involvement in Libya last year, when the president was criticized for not notifying Congress.

    No combat-equipped troops were sent to a foreign country in that instance, whereas these are now boots on the ground.

    ABC News’ Jake Tapper contributed to this report.

  67. WASHINGTON — The U.S. is sending more spies, Marines and drones to Libya, trying to speed the search for those who killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, but the investigation is complicated by a chaotic security picture in the post-revolutionary country and limited American and Libyan intelligence resources.
    The CIA has fewer people available to send, stretched thin from tracking conflicts across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Much of the team dispatched to Libya during the revolution had been sent onward to the Syrian border, U.S. officials say.

  68. The U.S. annually sends $1.6 billion in aid to Egypt and another $400 million to Libya.

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