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Why Bristol’s Pregnancy Matters

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Posted on Sep 3, 2008

By Joe Conason

Families deserve privacy about family matters, but families that want absolute privacy should stay out of politics. Sooner or later someone would have noticed the pregnancy of Bristol Palin, 17-year-old daughter of John McCain’s vice-presidential pick, especially since everyone in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, seemed to know already.

The question that remains is what, if anything, her plight may portend for the rest of us.

With all due respect to this young woman, her future husband and the rest of the family—and best wishes to all of them for a successful birth—let us first stop pretending that this is good news. There are excellent reasons why we discourage teenage pregnancy and motherhood, and none of them have disappeared simply because the Republicans are about to put Sarah Palin on their ticket.

Adolescents are rarely prepared to take on the challenges of raising a child. Often they drop out of school as a result, and usually become dependent on their own parents for support (which may be complicated for a family whose mom is running for vice president). Pregnancies in adolescence are high-risk, and the babies born to teenage mothers tend to have more illnesses during their first year of life. Teenage marriages—whether or not they occur because of an unplanned pregnancy—have a tendency to work out poorly, too. (“I don’t want to have kids,” noted Bristol Palin’s prospective husband, Levi Johnston, 18, on his MySpace page, according to the New York Post, and at his age, why would he?)

But such is life in the red states, where sensible sex education and availability of contraceptives are discouraged for adolescents, even though they are just as sexually active as teenagers everywhere else. Despite the supposed religious purity of the evangelical right-wingers who today regard themselves as the base of the Republican Party, rates of teenage pregnancy and divorce tend to be higher in their domain than elsewhere in America. To the extent that their values would dominate for another four years of Republican rule, those pathologies can be expected to prevail. During the past four years of the Bush administration, teen pregnancies have increased for the first time since 1990, when they began a 14-year decline.

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That is why the story of Bristol Palin raises a serious public policy issue. If we have acquired too much information about her, we may not yet have learned quite enough about her mother (just like those hapless vetters of her candidacy in the McCain campaign).

It seems fair to assume, however, that Sarah Palin’s enthusiasm for “abstinence-only” sex education, which is shared by Sen. McCain, helped to cause her daughter’s misfortune. As a politician who insists on lecturing adolescents to abstain without teaching them about contraception, she may never have informed Bristol how to protect herself from an unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Her views on reproductive rights—including opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest—are too extreme even for her running mate.

The Alaska governor probably assumed that her daughter—no doubt a regular churchgoer like the rest of the family—was saving herself for marriage according to religious doctrine. Meanwhile, daughter Bristol probably understood that Mom, loving but ambitious and deeply dogmatic, was the last person she dared to ask for advice on birth control.

Surely Sarah and Todd Palin as well as their church gave Bristol a clear message that she should avoid premarital sex. But what we know now is abstinence-only education, whether at school or in the home, fails at least as often as it succeeds. The religious morality of the evangelical right, preaching the return of the sexual mores of decades ago, is no more likely to succeed. If we are to protect young men and women against the consequences of their desire—and reduce the rate of abortion, which people like the Palins supposedly abhor—then we ought to be making comprehensive sex education and contraceptives available to everyone.

Joe Conason writes for the New York Observer.

© 2008 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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By rage, September 8, 2008 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Is grammaw-to-be really selfish enough to put her family through all this?

Does the term Mommy Dearest not apply here?”—Marnie, September 8 at 9:06 am

Not nearly as much as political suicide by political booty call.

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By Marnie, September 8, 2008 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is just as serious an issue about Palin’s last birth.
In the context of her medieval belief system, she probably practiced the rhythm method of birth control, and her husband obviously practiced no method at all.  Result, a high risk pregnancy.

No risk to him or her but high risk to the baby.

Thus a middle aged family giving birth to a birth defect baby.  The exact kind of defect that is so well known to be a result of middle aged conceptions.

This family is a screaming head line of irresponsible sex acts.  They may very easily produce two special needs babies in two successive pregnancies.

All four parents practiced lust rather than their claimed religious belief and worshiped instead the Gods of their own gonads.

One and probably two don’t want to be parents.  I have seen no statement from Mr. Palin indicating that he is excited about another 20 years added to his parenting responsibilities.  So there may be three dissenters.

Palin’s husband, if McCain is elected, will have to become a house husband and house grandfather, - in DC, - where he cannot go fishing and hunting or work on the north slope. (Hopefully he nd his son in law hate thier jobs, since they won’t have them any more.)  They each will constantly be followed by the SS, probably for the rest or most of the rest of their lives, and all major news media will assign at least one press person to follow each them whereever they go, pretty much forever.

Is grammaw-to-be really selfish enough to put her family through all this?
Does the term Mommy Dearest not apply here?

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By rage, September 6, 2008 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I don’t celebrate teenage pregnacy, but I think it is funny how desparte the libs are to tarnish Palin.”—tiredofthebs

The only reasons Palin’s gotten away with the charade of being a stellar governor for as long as she has, with a stunning 80% approval rating, is because she stealthly perpetated this fraud in the politically remote State of Alaska. Most dumbed down Americans, if they had heard of Alaska, couldn’t point to it on a globe. According to Rove and Gramps, though, that was just fine, because this sainted unknown had lived such a christian life, more vetting was a tedious waste of time. But, shoot, we libs gave those two old jerks their very last free passes when we let John Hagee and Rod Parsley slide, while they whipped Jeremiah Wright. Now, they want to sneak past this power-craving nitwit heiress to a candy fortune who wants to be the Vice President of the United States of America on the warmongers ticket of a presumptive nominee who is 72 years old, feeble, senile, and in failing health? We don’t think so! The whole free world has had enough of these ELITIST privileged sheltered pompous pinheads, who happen to be heirs to huge fortunes, relocating from palacial splendor to utter obscurity, just to get in a couple years of badly faking being lifelong, folksy, common Jesus loving members of the NRA with whom you duped Rethugs all want to have a beer. A Connecticutt born flea-brained trust funded terrorist who claims he’s from Crawford, Texas has already ganked us with that one. So, Palin can count on being vetted until November.

Since we libs have taken it upon ourselves to vet her, we’ve learned a lot. I’ve concluded that Palin is a real trip. I don’t know if I take the greater exception with her denial, her duplicity, or her presumption. Now that it’s out that Palin has been cravenly concealing that same tanked homelife she and her regilio-fascist cronies have been divisively and prejudicially condemning as the scourge of the American way when witnessed outside their little circle of prayer, she has the temerity to demand not just our absolution, but our supportive praise of her choice to exploit her womanhood and her own family, all for a job for which she does not qualify.

You rethugs need to stop trying to polish up that fragile floater. This woman is a fecklessly inexperienced, contemptably inept governing executive. Her educational credentials and professional skills are sorely lacking. Her personal life is an absolute godless mess. And, her reactionary, xenophobic, dominionist religious views exude anything but the ablundant life, unconditional love, and liberal teachings of the real Jesus. Sarah Louise Heath Palin is just not fit to be the Vice President of the United States of America. PERIOD!

http://thinkprogress.org/palin-digest/

With a good vocal coach, Palin is well on course to becoming one of those brainless, boobescent celebutards Faux Noise generally hires to read propaganda from their telepromters. After all, Faux now boasts Karl Rove and Ollie North. And, Miss Congeniality is prettier than both those homely morons, especially the rotund felon with the cracked magic 8-ball who fancies himself to be some Nostradamus of the electoral college. It would put to use that journalism degree old girl went to six different schools to earn. Palin is clean, rather articulate, and exudes bubbliness well while spreading fluffy manure. But, that’s really about it! Palin in the Vice Presidency is not a viable, feasible career match. And, no one who dares to acknowledge that reality out loud in public or private is unfairly tarnishing Sarah Palin, whose abysmal personal, political, and professional track records speak for themselves.

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By Frank Cajon, September 6, 2008 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

First let me make it clear that I state here as I have many times the Herr Chancellor Bush is Hitler reincarnate and Cheney Goebbels, and their dictatorshiop the ruin of a once-great nation, that he is mentally ill, and that McPain represents a demented third term of the same, which will bankrupt what is left of the shadow of the American dream.
Who cares about Palin’s teen kid being pregnant? Obama says it is a non-issue in the politics of this campaign. I think it shows Palin to be a lousy mother, but what in hell that has to do with the VP slot eludes me; McPain is a lousy husband, and that isn’t grabbing headlines. When you have a Neocon woman who has a history of being in a sepratist party, is under investigation for obvious influence peddling and ethic violations while claiming to be a clean politics maverick, is anti-environment, anti-gay, anti-choice, pro-NRA, and creationist, do we need to drag her minor daughter’s poor decisions into this? I don’t think so, and I agree with Obama.

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By PatrickHenry, September 6, 2008 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

By Tony Wicher, September 6 at 11:09 am #

Americans are free to believe in what they want, however using tax dollars is another matter.

Who gave Cheney the Billion to give to Georgia?  It wasn’t the Corporatists or the MIC’ers.  Who keeps giving Israel military AID while they conduct spy operations and false flag operations against us here at home and abroad.  Amdocs and Infosys used for blackmail.

There are many Americans and citizens of other countries around the world who are tired of U.S. imperialist policy and do not like our military away from our shores.  The people “for” military adventurism are a minority and predominantly pro Israel.

Control of written and televised media to the point that counterpoint is stifled and news worthy reporting goes unreported, simply because it concerns a specific ethnicity, race or religion is against the spirit of the 1st Amendment. 

The fairness doctrine needs to be reimplmented and antitrust actions conducted against the media to ensure that no one race, ethnicity or religion can monopolize it all.

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By Tony Wicher, September 6, 2008 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

By PatrickHenry, September 6 at 8:25 am #


Make love not war.

The Ron Paul campaign thought Palin a worthy choice for VP over a year ago.

Unfortunately, McCain is the worst possible choice for the Presidency and notwithstanding Palin’s picture in a black mini skirt, he will not be elected without massive voter fraud and diebolding no matter what the national zionist press and polls tell us.

This election will not even be close.

I just hope the “people” vote out the long time encumbent congressmen and women and send a message.
——————————————————————————
PH,

Speaking as a fellow patriotic American and one whom you know to be consistently anti-Zionist, I agree with almost every word of this, but I think your statement would be stronger if you left out the words “Zionist-controlled” and substituted “corporate-controlled” or “MIC-controlled”. Palin is a shill for big oil, which completely controls Alaskan politics, as indeed are Bush, Cheney and McCain. Zionists don’t have much to do with Palin. In fact, though Zionists are a big problem,they are just piggybacking on MIC imperialism. There are all kinds of Zionists from socialists and peace advocates like Uri Avnery to fascist torture advocates like Alan Dershowitz. There are Democratic Zionists and Republican Zionists and they are not all the same. It is perfectly possible to really believe in the concept of a Jewish state (which is the definition of a Zionist) and also be a patriotic American and a strong critic of Israeli policy. Joe Biden has called himself a “Zionist”. Obama has millions of Jewish supporters most of whom believe in the idea of a Jewish state. One of Obama’s main political objectives is to restore the powerful Afro-American -Jewish civil rights coalition, and that is the reason why you have not heard him criticize Israel until now. Although we may disagree with these traditional Democrats about Zionism, we also have broad areas of agreement and we need them on our side.

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By Blueboy1938, September 6, 2008 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

If, as Gov. Palin so very publicly announced, Bristol Palin is in the fifth month of her preganancy, it is probably now too late to make any other choice than to have the baby, unless Bristol’s life is threatened by continuing to term.  Fetal viability commences around 24 weeks, or about six months, so it’s right at that threshold.

Whether Bristol and Levi Johnston marry or not, in a normal situation, they would have the choice of keeping and raising the child or giving it up for adoption.  However, it seems pretty clear that decision will not be left up to them.  Hockey Mom Palin will decide that, based on what she considers best for her political ambitions.  That has been clearly demonstrated in her dictating what has happened so far:  Making a very public announcement of her daughter’s pregnancy in order to end rumors that Down syndrome baby Trig was not really hers but Bristol’s; protesting media coverage of her very public announcement; showcasing Levi Johnston at the convention; announcing that Bristol and Levi would be getting married, much to Levi’s surprise, I’m sure.

Gov. Palin, like most politicians, uses her family as props to further her own ambitions but is offended when the media cover them.  That’s why it was important for her to cynically reveal the month of Bristol’s pregnancy to squelch that rumor.  She may also even have been in violation of the law when she stated on national television that her eldest son Track would be deploying to “Eye-rack” on September 11th.  Apparently, it is a violation of the Pentagon’s “OPSEC” security guidelines to reveal actual deployment information about service members.  So, for the sake of an applause line, she may have endangered her son and the members of his unit.  She is a real piece of work.

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By PatrickHenry, September 6, 2008 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

Make love not war.

The Ron Paul campaign thought Palin a worthy choice for VP over a year ago.

Unfortunately, McCain is the worst possible choice for the Presidency and notwithstanding Palin’s picture in a black mini skirt, he will not be elected without massive voter fraud and diebolding no matter what the national zionist press and polls tell us.

This election will not even be close.

I just hope the “people” vote out the long time encumbent congressmen and women and send a message.

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By Tony Wicher, September 6, 2008 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

By RightWing, September 4 at 2:42 pm #


Tony dont be an idiot , you thought that was a real photo of her.Tell me three things that make OB qualified to be president and I might even change my vote,only three, not too much to ask. just 3 or three ways he is more qualified than Palin, just 3 three III, trips, just 3
——————————————————————————
I did not know the picture was a fake and I apologized as soon as I was corrected, about 5 minutes later. I am sorry, because as I said, there is no need for personal attacks on someone so utterly unqualified and so far out of the mainstream as Gov. Palin, and such attacks will boomerang, which must be the Republican’s plan. Obama is so far out of her league there is no comparison, but how about this: (1) She has never been involved in politics at the national level and nobody has ever heard of her (2) Obama has proved his leadership skills by leading a movement of millions of people and defeating the most prominent Democratic politicians of the day. Sarah Palin is an unknown riding McCain’s coattails. (3) She has never dealt with or even thought about foreign policy by her own admission. I can’t wait to see the Palin-Biden debate.

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By Outraged, September 5, 2008 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

SO MANY “unregistered” commenters.  Need I say more.

I feel sorry for Palin’s daughter who may now have to undergo a “shotgun wedding” to save face for the pit bull with lipstick and the putter pants man.

I feel sorry for Palin’s daughter boyfriend who may now have to undergo a “shotgun wedding” to save face for the pitbull with lipstick and the putter pants man.

Is it a political issue?  YES..because this is the same bunch of hypocritical, lying bastards and bitches who WILL DO ANYTHING to win.  And it seems readily apparent now that that includes auctioning off these two young peoples lives to further their own interests.

Palin by her own admission, is a pit bull with lipstick.  McCain touts the fact that he has voted with G.W. Bush 90% of the time.  These two sick, degenerates are the REAL ISSUE.

Palin’s daughter SHOULD, AND SHOULD BE BACKED UP ON the right to have this child or not, according to her own discretion.  YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE SEX. GET OVER IT.  Whether someone determines it “responsible” or “irresponsible” MEANS NOTHING.  YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE SEX .

The abject hypocrisy and stupidity of some of the comments here is appalling.  Both sides.

Palin and McCain are lying, superficial, opportunists…....are you blind.  And the crowd they run with is CRIMINAL.  WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW!

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By Blueboy1938, September 5, 2008 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

“This is my rifle (held overhead).  This is my gun (penis held in the other hand, while marching around post).  One is for fightin.’  The other’s for fun.”

Frog-march punishment for recruits who get the two confused.

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By Nate, September 5, 2008 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It blows my mind how Palin, as a believer in gun rights, can’t see the difference between gun education and sex education for adolescents. According to her logic, if teaching sex education makes kids have more sex, then what does gun education do? Not every kid has a gun, but they all have genitalia and strong urges to use them. Education is the key!!!!!!

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By SteveL, September 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

To point out the oblivious:  If this were Obama’s or Biden’s daughter how loud would the right wing be screaming now?

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By PaulD, September 5, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Which means that Gov. Palin was on stage with a suspected felon.

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By PaulD, September 5, 2008 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Alaska statutory rape laws declare that anyone who is 18 years old or older who has sex with a person who is 16 or 17, or who is at least three years younger than the offender, can be charged with sexual abuse in the third degree. This is also a felony.

From theage.com.au:
‘Redneck’ Palin boyfriend joining Republican convention Marika Dobbin September 4, 2008 “...Levi Johnston, an 18-year-old high school ice hockey player, has been the subject of intense media attention in the US since it was revealed that he was the likely father to 17-year-old Bristol Palin’s unborn child…”

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By JG-L, September 5, 2008 at 11:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This was passed along to me by a woman I know at work. I want you all to know that I personally called Ms. Anne Kilkenny not 5 minutes ago. She is who she says she is-she just wants people to know these things about Ms. Palin. She asked me to quote her: “There is a difference between disagreeing with someone and disliking them. I do not dislike Sarah Palin, but disagree with her and that is why I took the time to write this.” 

From Brad Smith to Anne Kilkenny:
> Dear Anne,
> Since you live in Wasilla where Sarah Palin was mayor please tell me about
> her as a person and public official.  Did you know her personally?  What
> observations can you share about Sarah Palin as she moved forward in Alaska
> politics? 
> Regards, Brad
>———————————————————     
>
> From Anne to Brad:
>
(To read this letter, go to:
http://fairlyconservative.com/the-race-for-president/a-chat-with-anne-kilkenny-from-alaska/#comment-7239

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By Blueboy1938, September 5, 2008 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

Angst that coverage of unwed Bristol Palin’s pregnancy is somehow a “smear” of her and her mother is ridiculous.  Gov. Palin announced her daughter’s pregnancy in a calculated move to quell the rumor that Down Syndrome brother Trig was actually Bristol’s child.  That was an entirely cynical using of her own daughter by someone who is largely responsible for her daughter’s irresponsible sexual act(s).  By denying condoms and information about safe sex in the “abstinence only” failed sex education scam, one of it’s foremost advocates, Palin, clearly shut her daughter off from the very means to avoid this entire debacle.

This is an immense tragedy for two young people and their unborn child.  While it is perfectly understandable why a young girl would be smitten by a handsome, athletic boy and want to have unprotected sex with him, you’d think he, at least, would have been smart enough to use a condom.  After all, he stated on his MySpace space that he didn’t “want any kids.”  Unfortunately, he may not have been paying that much attention in sex ed.

Gov. Palin, like most politicians, uses her family as a political prop.  Witness the prominent mention of her son Track’s enlistment and deployment.  Incidentally, she may have violated the law regarding public announcement of deployment details by stating on national television that Track would “deploy to Eye-rack on September 11th.”  She can’t have it both ways, parading her brood and secessionist hubby while protesting that the media are unfair covering the bulletins she issues about them.

It is indeed remarkable how the right wing of the Republican Party has embraced a woman who fails to live up to their standards of family values, excusing it all as just making her seem more “down to earth” and “just folks.”  Given the leaden response to Sen. McCain’s acceptance speech, they clearly wish she was at the top of the ticket and he had a one-way ticket to Arizona.  She may have energized the flagging “base,” but not for him.  In my opinion, it is still a real question whether the religious wing of Republicans will work very hard for his candidacy.  When the most excitement and energy at Xcel Energy Center was generated by the balloon drop, streamer cannons, and confetti, that is not a good sign.  At least they had the good sense to schedule Sen. Graham and former PA Gov. Ridge first.  They were so bad that had to make McCain good by comparison.  It’s a little worrisome when the candidate’s wife wows the crowd more than the candidate.  Oops!

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By dick, September 5, 2008 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

Palin drug her knocked-up kid onto the national stage with her and then we are bid, as a nation, not to mention it.  The hell with Palin and Bristol.  Palin supports abstinence only to control juvenile pregnancy and it is a proven failure.  Moreover, she drags a billboard of that failure around with her to demonstrate how very inept she is as a social theorist and practitioner.  This disqualifies her for any high office.  She can’t even read the message she has received.  Then she and her party have the temerity to tell us we should keep quiet about it—not bloody likely!  And, Obama doesn’t tell me to be quiet either.  He needs to wake up and smell the roses.  They’re republican neocon roses and the odor is as noxious as fresh dung.

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By Susan Kidder, September 5, 2008 at 8:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s another aspect to this guys that crosses any lines that divide those of us who believe that sex education belongs in the home and should be taught by the parents (approximately 95% of us) and those who (also) believe that we should have a back-up plan that reinforces their teaching in our schools (about 75% of us).

And this is the issue of why we are even aware of Bristol’s pregnancy.  Sarah Palin chose to subject her 17-year old unmarried, pregnant daughter to the limelight.  She essentially threw her to the media “wolves,” in full knowledge of the firestorm of coverage that was likely to result.  I don’t know about you, but I simply don’t understand how a Mother who A) is clearly as intelligent as Sarah Palin, and B) really loved her child - could have made a conscious choice that her own political ambitions were more important than the - inevitable - damage to that child.  I don’t understand how any Mother could do this.  She could have said, “Four years from now would be a better time” - and done so without doing her potential future in the Republican Party one bit of damage.  I may be a (proud and unrepentent) “liberal,” but I’m also a woman who loves children - and I just don’t get it.  What Sarah Palin did to Bristol speaks to who she is as a Mother - and I’m appalled.

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By readrealwords, September 5, 2008 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rightwing and Linda must not have read the same Joe Conason article the rest of us read. Or, they did so while wearing their rightwing spin-goggles. Please, take them off before you stumble and fall flat on your faces again.
By the way,voice of truth, get another name. How f’ing arrogant.

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By AliceM, September 5, 2008 at 6:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What bothers me is that with one all embracing hug, John McCain made teen age pregnancy respectable, acceptable!  He did not need to “forgive;” that is/was God’s job.  He could have simply greeted like he did the other children and their mother.

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By Mel Cordero, September 5, 2008 at 6:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The fact of the matter is this:  Governor Palin has defied hypocrisy and it is killing the liberals.  Her values were tested and she stood by her convictions.  It must be confusing for all of you!

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By sketchy41, September 4, 2008 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Gov.Palin has agreed to put herself into this position of being scrutinized, that includes her family.  While it is unfortunate that she has done that, that decision opens her up to be as criticized as anyone else in the same position.  She believes abstinance education, nothing else, is okay for teens to be informed of.  Well, we all know how that works out, and so does she. 

The republicans were all over Hillary with critism, scorning her and McCain laughing at a the b*tch remark and question, so Gov. Palin should not be surprised or cry “sexism” when she is critized or held accountable for the actions and words.  It’s part of the game…....her own party, along with the so called liberal media,  has set some pretty rough standards, especially for women.  This is unfair to Bristol, but the hyprocrisy of the party does show it’s ugly face.

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By Virginia777, September 4, 2008 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

This pregnancy matters because the Far Right has spent YEARS trashing and taking support away from “teen-age mothers” (of course, they imply “of color”).

Now a candidate chosen by the Far Right has a teen-age mother to be in her OWN family. Of course this is FAIR game!

If for nothing else, in the name of Fairness to the millions of teens derided by the Right for years and years.

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By tiredofthebs, September 4, 2008 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t celebrate teenage pregnacy, but I think it is funny how desparte the libs are to tarnish Palin.  They are being total hipocrits on this issue. Don’t they all think that women have the right to “choice”?  Well she(Bristol) made her choice, wonder what they would all be saying if she had killed her baby instead?  Basically Sarah Palin is a conservative rock star and they just can’t stand it! I LOVE IT!

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By hoosfoos, September 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I am not surprised that Conason of Media Matters fame would engage in smearing a seventeen year old girl as well as simply avoid any boundaries.

I believe it does show desperation or hatred toward women. The Media Matters Boyz have a history of attacking women in print.”

Is this some sort of disinformation campaign? To complain about Conason “smearing a 17 yr old girl” is a joke—did this poster actually READ the column? It was anything but a smear. Hatred toward women?? attacking women in print??

Joe Conason is a highly regarded journalist who has written 3 or 4 well-researched books, and writes articles for many of the serious magazines that do in-depth thinking about the issues of the day. His education is not limited to the internet.

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By rage, September 4, 2008 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m not as hung up with the teenage pregnancy as I am the sheer hypocrisy. These radically reactionary religio-fascists are so gung ho to perpetrate the bogus fraud of Biblical morals and Christian Family Values until they are sacrificing poor Bristol on the Schafley altar during the satanic ritual of NaziCon. No one is going to make me believe Bristol wants to marry an ignorant, selfish, immature, mouth-breathing hockey hick who has made clear he does not want the baby he screwed up to carelessly make. Yet, because the Gov wants to be Vice President of the United States of America, poor Bristol’s dignity and reputation are being pitched into the flames of GOP confligration during a live broadcast of idiots pretending this predicament is a blessing from God.

I don’t have a problem with Sarah Palin’s being saved, sanctified, and filled with the mighty burning fire of the Holy Ghost with evidence of tongues. I don’t even have an issue with her raising her children in her faith. I can even deal with Palin’s passing her Downes baby around the NaziCon stage like a bong on the Willie Nelson Tour Bus. But, I do take exception with her, as governor, cutting the budget for aid to other parents of special needs children and to teen moms. And, I bitterly resent her insulting my intelligence, milking tales of labor for a special needs baby whose birth no Alaskan hospital will confirm.

Look, good Christians, if your kids are out there having sex, despite having signed an abstinance pledge in their own blood, arm them with the coverage of condoms while you’re pleading the Blood of Jesus over them. And, tell them the truth about sex. Be practical. No, these kids aren’t saved. They don’t want to be saved right now. They want to be knee-deep in the act of sexual healing. And, no, it’s not your fault as Christian parents. Furthermore, God is holding these sexually active kids accountable for their own decisions and deeds. Still, this world is too dangerous a place for you to not be completely honest with them about the real risks and consequences of sex in the real world. To do less is to damn them to hell through an unwanted pregnancy or a STD that might kill them. They’ve got the rest of their lives to seek to the Lord. Besides, if these holy rollers have put Jesus in their rebellious little prodicals the way they claim they have, the Bible maintains when they tire of swilling husks in the valleys of perdition on that broadway to hell, they’ll return to Jesus. Until then, though, be the strong loving WISE parents God really told you to be, not the brain-dead pretentious boobs living a brazen fictitious lie to appease an assembly of judgemental bigots with neither a heaven nor a hell in which to cast you.

The real God Himself is going to judge disengenuous parents who forbid or discourage sexual protection and birth control to kids they know are anything but celebate or abstaining from sex. And, there is a special place in hell for deceitful cowards like Palin, who presumes to trick voters into believing she so loved God that she chose to give birth to a Downes baby, when the shameful truth is she’s raising the little mistake made by one of her hapless kids, a slip-up election vetting would not let her conceal. Sarah wed Todd in a shotgun ceremony to legitimize their first born child. Still, Palin was fortunate enough to have a home as an unwed mom. Ditto, Bristol. Yet, as Gov, Palin denied others such aid and support, all the while blatantly lying about God’s rewards to her for a virtuous life of Godly sacrifice. Palin’s whole tenure as Governor has gone directly against Jesus’ teachings of selfless sacrifice and unconditional love for humanity. For that reason alone, I don’t want that inexperienced Pharisee in an executive position to cavalierly legislate against my best interests, while desperately seeking the approval of zealous bigots represenative of anything but the real and liberal Jesus.

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By Linda, September 4, 2008 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am not surprised that Conason of Media Matters fame would engage in smearing a seventeen year old girl as well as simply avoid any boundaries.

I believe it does show desperation or hatred toward women. The Media Matters Boyz have a history of attacking women in print.

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By RightWing, September 4, 2008 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

Tony dont be an idiot , you thought that was a real photo of her.Tell me three things that make OB qualified to be president and I might even change my vote,only three, not too much to ask. just 3 or three ways he is more qualified than Palin, just 3 three III, trips, just 3

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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, September 4, 2008 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

By RightWing, September 4 at 2:06 pm #


It is important to drag a 17 y/o throught the mud, because the Liberal Left is going into panic mode.The same guys and gals(Cyrena,Purple girl,Fadeland thew cast of regulars, are the same ones who cried up and down when Ms. Obama opened her yap and started complaining about the country that gave her the education, she has now.She put herself out there, she as an adult.so when we,and by we I mean the right, start to slam Ms. Ob dont be suprised and dont cry.
——————————————————————————-
Obama has said he will fire anyone who drags the daughter into the campaign. I for one urge all Obama supporters to follow his lead.

Palin herself is such a ridiculously unqualified candidate with views at such great odds with the great majority of Americans, especially women, that there is no need to engage in personal attacks on her, much less her daughter. I would just like to see how she stands up on “Hardball’.

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By RightWing, September 4, 2008 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

It is important to drag a 17 y/o throught the mud, because the Liberal Left is going into panic mode.The same guys and gals(Cyrena,Purple girl,Fadeland thew cast of regulars, are the same ones who cried up and down when Ms. Obama opened her yap and started complaining about the country that gave her the education, she has now.She put herself out there, she as an adult.so when we,and by we I mean the right, start to slam Ms. Ob dont be suprised and dont cry.

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By Reader, September 4, 2008 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you allow yourself to become pregnant at 43 or 44 - thereby dramatically increasing the chances of having a child afflicted with Down Syndrome - why would you expect your daughter to show any restraint?  (Please note my hearty approval of Gov. Palin’s decision to carry and keep baby Trig.)

The hypocrisy of the Republicans is flabbergasting, exceeded only by their incapacity to perceive it in themselves.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 4, 2008 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Tell me what is the only 100% effective way for a woman not to get pregnant, short of removing her uterus?
*************************

Did you really post something that inane? Let me list 3 ways OTHER than abstinence, that are inane but not as inane:
1) Menopause.
2) Tubes tied
3) Spouse having a vasectomy.

Somehow, in 21 years of marriage, my wife and I only got her pregnant when we both wanted it.  Lots of folks practice safe and effective family planning, with nary an unexpected pregnancy.  Somehow, my parents, married in 1946, and my wife’s parents, married in 1950, managed to have EXACTLY as many children as they wanted, when they wanted them. 

When one sibling was 2 years old, my mom got pregnant.  When the next sibling was was 4 years old, she got pregnant with me.  While we were born in different months, our birthdate #s are within 2 days of each other (11, 10, and 12).

If people are careful and use their BC properly, the risk of unwanted pregnancy drops to virtually nil.

So let’s stop being ridiculous, OK?

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By voice of truth, September 4, 2008 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

There is no such thing as the “Federal School System”.  And YES, one can pick and choose what is taught in schools.  That is the whole point of local school districts!

Are you 7 or 8?

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By Ed, September 4, 2008 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just my opinion but the Palin clan are irresponsible breeders. They’ll fit in quite nicely with the Republican platform: short-sighted, religious retards that are helping to insure the misery of future generations.

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By Aegrus, September 4, 2008 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

VoT, one can tip-toe around saying abstinence-only education, but advocacy of parents responsibility as the only responsibility equates to a dispute on what schools can teach children regardless of how it might improve their lives.

It’s ridiculous to pick and choose what can be on a school curriculum. This isn’t a buffet of knowledge. The purpose of our federal school system is to help prepare our children for the real world. We’re failing on a tragic level on many fronts of education, and you’re going to quibble about another topic of information. Only serving to inhibit the education all American children deserve.

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By voice of truth, September 4, 2008 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

ok, one more post to those who can’t / won’t read the actual genesis of this thread.

I never advocated abstinence only or complete sex-ed.  I merely stated that it is a parent’s responsibility.  I have noted that in my one year of posting on this site, the word responsibility is NEVER used.  Interesting.

Anyway, for those that stated so vociferously that “It is the school’s job to teach your children the facts”.  Fine, let them.  Tell me what is the only 100% effective way for a woman not to get pregnant, short of removing her uterus?

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By Aegrus, September 4, 2008 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Probably someone who wanted to make an astute caricature of Palin’s personality, which is that of a gung-ho war-monger of a niche sect of ultra-conservative Christians who want to fight another Holy War.

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By Tony Wicher, September 4, 2008 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

By Aegrus, September 4 at 8:34 am #


Tony, that Bikini picture was actually a photoshop job.
——————————————————————————
Thanks for the info, Aegrus. I should have checked it out more carefully. I wonder who made it, then?

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By Inherit The Wind, September 4, 2008 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

Sarah Palin’s loud advocacy of “Abstinence Only” as the ONLY sex-ed, and refusal of BC to teens shows its failure in her 17 year-old’s unplanned pregnancy.

It’s not about Bristol Palin (and the teen thug being forced to marry her—Mama can handle the shotgun). It’s about the policies advocated by Sarah Palin that she would force on us all that so vividly and blatantly failed in her own household.  It’s like Dr. Laura advising people on their marriage when she’s in her 4th or is it her 5th?

Plus, the NON-photo-chopped pic of Palin in college wearing a t-shirt that says “I may be broke but I’m not Flat-Busted” tells us that she advocates for her kids what she didn’t advocate for herself.  NOBODY wears a t-shirt like that and comes home from college a virgin.  That’s a sure bet.  And I’ll bet, too, that she used birth control.

More Re-thuglican “Do as I say, not as I do.”

(Oh, and TW, the bikini/assault rifle shot is a chop. The original was posted on Huffpo—different face.  Palin gets a pass on this one.)

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By Aegrus, September 4, 2008 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Tony, that Bikini picture was actually a photoshop job.

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By hoosfoos, September 4, 2008 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

”  I am the parent, it is my responsibility to raise my children properly.  I fathered them.  My wife birthed them.  We are the only ones responsible for their upbringing and their behaviour.  Government has not authority whatsoever to teach them EITHER sex education OR abstinence.  Isn’t that government intruding into the bedroom?”

Yes indeed, you are responsible for their behavior. But you are only entrusted with their care— you do not OWN them. If it is in the best interest of the children to be fed and to be provided with medical care, and you fail to do so, the government has a DUTY to step in and protect them.

Similarly, you don’t have the right to force your daughter to be a mother, and you don’t have the right to insist your son contract an STD in order to punish them for failing to abide by anyone’s abstinence-only beliefs.

Sex and reproduction are part of life. Schools teach your children about the muscular-skeletal system and the digestive system. Why do you believe the reproductive system is so extraordinary that it must be kept a naughty secret?

It is the school’s job to teach your children the facts; it is your job to persuade them to apply your moral standards to the facts.

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By Aegrus, September 4, 2008 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Gmonst, as far as I’m concerned. Palin is using her daughter’s pregnancy as political capital. No one is trashing Bristol, just her mother’s poor judgment. Palin’s ideology allows things like this to happen more commonly in America while neglecting the facts of reality of how the families most at risk for unwanted pregnancy are also the ones with the least ability to afford the costs of having a child.

Arguments are really easy to win when you’re right all the time and ignore all other people in an equation.

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By Jim, September 4, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Having a child when you are 17 is in some ways more responsible than having a child when you are 44; especially if you are concerned with the fate of the offspring and its chances for a normal life.  In my opinion both of these acts lead to similar societal result, all be it for different reasons; namely a child with diminished life possibilities and likely a greater societal burden due mainly to the circumstances of their birth. After all isn’t that what it’s all about anyway; ensuring that the next generation will be healthy and capable of becoming net contributor to society. In that regard I find Bristol’s pregnancy much preferable to that of her mother the governor.

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By Gmonst, September 4, 2008 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

If the child is getting dragged through the mud (and I don’t think she is) she only has her mother to blame.  Sarah Palin could have declined the offer because she didn’t want the spot-light on her family.  She knew good and well that it would be news.  I think the article is correct.  We need to teach kids about birth control and have it available to them.  Parents should be the one’s teaching them about these things, but we all know that doesn’t always happen.  Simple sex education at school is no big deal.  Adolescents are going to be sexually active no matter what you teach them, we might as well do our best as a society to teach them the things they need to know to avoid unwanted pregnancies and all the consequences.  I would think the pro-lifers would welcome ways to limit the number of abortions by decreasing the number of unwanted pregnancies.  It makes sense to me.

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By Aegrus, September 4, 2008 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

Ridiculous, VoT. The subject isn’t the daughter, it’s that the daughter is an example of what your disastrous ideology preaches. It’s no rare fact that STDs and unplanned pregnancies are higher in areas where Abstinence-Only education is dominant.

You’re essentially fighting against disease control countermeasures, which is plainly illogical. Your kids are your responsibility? Yeah, but the government is endowed to all Americans.

It’s a mistake to think teaching kids about safe sex is somehow an intrusion on the family or the rights of parents. No more an intrusion than teaching about any other subject. Your argument is just another assertion of pseudo-individual rights, empty moral rhetoric without a shred of validity in today’s world.

People have the right to be well-informed. It’s not a big brother system to control your kids. An argument against education is an argument for ignorance and increased risk to Americans. There is the possibility for epidemic. I’m very concerned anyone would deny how viral strains can change their nature and become bigger dangers.

Go ahead and fight against teaching kids how to protect themselves. Support disease proliferation. That’s what you’re doing. It’s wrong, and you should see the hypocrisy of your argument.

This issue is more than just Palin’s daughter. It’s America’s sons and daughters. All this talk about protecting your own, and only your own speaks to your selfishness. We live in the Untied States. A Nation of many, not just your family. There are all kinds of people who have to live all different ways to make ends meet.

There are many families where kids and parents only get to see each other for maybe an hour a day at the most because they are working poor and do have to work endless hours to support their family. It’s not practical to assume they have the same time to dedicate to their children as you do yours.

Selfish moral rhetoric against disease prevention and planned parenthood only serves to help out those who already have. Palin’s daughter isn’t going to have to worry about how to support her child because her mother knows how to get millions of dollars in earmarks and is way above the poverty line.

Jane Smith from Kansas is 17 with parents on food stamps. How is she going to deal with an unplanned pregnancy? Your argument is foolish, selfish and denies that you live in a community of people. Americans should look out for each other.

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By voice of truth, September 4, 2008 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Again, why is it important to drag a 17 yr old child through the nation’s collective mud??

Please, the only joke is your lack of ability to reason.  I am perfectly happy with a mass epidemic of STD’s?  Oh, yeah, that’s right.  That’s such a logical conclusion!  Their parents work 120 hours a week?  Get a grip on reality dude.

If you really think that a parent who thinks it is his/her responsibility to raise their own children responsibly is a joke, then you are did waaaayyy too much drugs at some point.

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By Aegrus, September 4, 2008 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

No, VoT, I have made a valid point. It’s not just about my children. It’s about everyone’s. You are perfectly happy with a mass epidemic of STDs in our country for the purpose of empty moral rhetoric. It does affect your children and my children whether you want to acknowledge it or not.

Not teaching about contraceptives and safe sex is folly! It’s a complete failure as a policy and a brash misjudgment of the realities our nation faces. Would you not teach people to wash their hands after they handle raw meat?

Why don’t you go on a tirade about nutrition and health being taught in schools too? Who’s going to tell your children how to eat, right? Let’s not have federally sponsored education to help improve the lives of our children. Let’s just let them make disastrous mistakes without any information, and cross our fingers their parents are doing their jobs while they work 120 hours a week.

Your argument is a joke.

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By voice of truth, September 4, 2008 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

“Who is going to protect my children from the children of people who refuse to teach about condoms?”

My argument is a joke?  Please, your line copied above says it all.  Essentially, you have already turned over your responsibility for your own children.

I am not espousing “moral rhetoric” either way.  And neither my desire to raise my own children, nor your desire to have the government raise yours (and mine) says anything about why this nation needs to drag a 17 yr old girl through the collective mud.

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By Aegrus, September 4, 2008 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

VoT, when so many parents are completely ignorant about sex themselves because it’s a taboo topic of discussion, the government should intervene to prevent massive epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases and prevent the destruction of American families by teaching people how to plan pregnancies. It’s a common sense issue about pragmatic policy over moral rhetoric.

Who is going to protect my children from the children of people who refuse to teach about condoms? Who is going to protect my children from ruining their adolescence and making it virtually impossible to succeed financially by an unplanned pregnancy because people like you don’t want sex education taught? Kids make mistakes, but I teach my children about contraceptives to try and curb what people don’t teach to their children.

I won’t apologize for caring about America’s young families, and fighting for their right to information helping them to live full and successful lives.

Your argument is a joke.

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By voice of truth, September 4, 2008 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

You folks are pathetic on so many levels that it is boggling.

First, I’m sure you must be proud of yourself to be attacking a 17 yr old girl.  Must make you feel real big.  At least she is taking responsibility for her actions, however stupid they were.

Second, Al Gore crying about his sister’s cancer and railing on “big tobacco”, when he OWNS a tobacco farm!  John Edwards LYING about crawling up on the autopsy table of his dead son!  That is horrific!  I still fail to see what any of Bristol Palin’s actions has anything to do with our nation.

Third, liberals are real big on “keeping government out of the bedroom”, unless it is my children’s bedroom!  I am the parent, it is my responsibility to raise my children properly.  I fathered them.  My wife birthed them.  We are the only ones responsible for their upbringing and their behaviour.  Government has not authority whatsoever to teach them EITHER sex education OR abstinence.  Isn’t that government intruding into the bedroom?

Friggin hypocrites.

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By sheila, September 4, 2008 at 4:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why does the media assume this Palin family is a healthy family?  Dig a bit (and that is all it would take) and find out who they really are.  Five kids does not necessarily make for a happy or healthy family.

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By kath cantarella, September 4, 2008 at 1:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Perfect, Joe.

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By Marc Schlee, September 4, 2008 at 12:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The apple never falls far from the tree…

The pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s underage daughter is a HUGE scandal embracing inbred moral turpitude, criminally inept parenting and sheer hypocrisy. 

FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY

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