The Scanner–Politics 12/5/08 (Obama…Vagus Nerve “Elevation” Superstar?; Obama-Clinton Contemplate a Jump (see awesome video!); Hands Like Butter; “Conscience”; Politically-Motivated Abortion “Science” Blasted by Johns Hopkins Researchers

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We’re  back to Obama and his mystical powers. Forget hypnosis, it’s “elevation” that we should be worried about…and women’s lactation.

From Slate:

Obama in Your Heart

How the president-elect tapped into a powerful—and only recently studied—human emotion called “elevation.”

For researchers of emotions, creating them in the lab can be a problem. Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley, studies the emotions of uplift, and he has tried everything from showing subjects vistas of the Grand Canyon to reading them poetry—with little success. But just this week one of his postdocs came in with a great idea: Hook up the subjects, play Barack Obama’s victory speech, and record as their autonomic nervous systems go into a swoon.

In his forthcoming book, Born To Be Good (which is not a biography of Obama), Keltner writes that he believes when we experience transcendence, it stimulates our vagus nerve, causing “a feeling of spreading, liquid warmth in the chest and a lump in the throat.” For the 66 million Americans who voted for Obama, that experience was shared on Election Day, producing a collective case of an emotion that has only recently gotten research attention. It’s called “elevation.”


Keltner believes certain people are “vagal superstars”—in the lab he has measured people who have high vagus nerve activity. “They respond to stress with calmness and resilience, they build networks, break up conflicts, they’re more cooperative, they handle bereavement better.” He says being around these people makes other people feel good. “I would guarantee Barack Obama is off the charts. Just bring him to my lab.”

It was while looking through the letters of Thomas Jefferson that Haidt first found a description of elevation. Jefferson wrote of the physical sensation that comes from witnessing goodness in others: It is to “dilate [the] breast and elevate [the] sentiments … and privately covenant to copy the fair example.” Haidt took this description as a mandate. Since it’s tricky to study the vagus nerve, he and a psychology student conceived of a way to look at it indirectly. The vagus nerve works with oxytocin, the hormone of connection. Since oxytocin is released during breast-feeding, he and the student brought in 42 lactating women and had them watch either an inspiring clip from The Oprah Winfrey Show about a gang member saved from a life of violence by a teacher or an amusing bit from a Jerry Seinfeld routine.

About half the Oprah-watching mothers either leaked milk into nursing pads or nursed their babies following the viewing; none of the Seinfeld watchers felt enough breast dilation to wet a pad, and fewer than 15 percent of them nursed. You could say elevation is Oprah’s opiate of the masses, so it’s fitting that she early on gave Obama her imprimatur. And that for his victory speech was up front in Grant Park, elevation’s moist embodiment, feeling so at one with humankind that she used a stranger as a handkerchief.

The researchers say elevation is part of a family of self-transcending emotions. Some others are awe, that sense of the vastness of the universe and smallness of self that is often invoked by nature; another is admiration, that goose-bump-making thrill that comes from seeing exceptional skill in action. Keltner says we most powerfully experience these in groups—no wonder people spontaneously ran into the street on election night, hugging strangers. “We had to evolve these emotions to devote ourselves into social collectives,” he says.

When you start thinking about mass movements, all those upturned, glowing faces of true believers—be they the followers of Jim Jones or Adolf Hitler—you don’t always get a warm feeling about mankind. Instead, knowing where some of these “social collectives” end up, the sensation is a cold chill. Haidt acknowledges that in “calling the group to greatness,” elevation can be used for murderous ends. He says: “Anything that takes us out of ourselves and makes us feel we are listening to something larger is part of morality. It’s about pressing the buttons that turn off ‘I’ and turn on ‘we.’ ”


My advice? Protect your vagus nerve over the next 4 years AT ALL COSTS!!


In case you missed this photo from a couple of days ago that was posted at the Tennessee Guerilla Women site,  I’m posting it here because I can’t resist telling you what my reaction was when I saw it.  It’s not the hands so much that hit me (more on the hands later) but how both Clinton and Obama are looking DOWN!

Being the cynic that I am, my first reaction was that they looked like they were both looking over the edge of a chasm and seeing a raging river below. (Perhaps with a huge fire moving toward them from behind.)  Sort of like what you’d see at Lucifer Falls near my beloved Ithaca, NY (I did NOT make that name up!).   They looked like they were about to jump.  My second reaction was simply…JUMP!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Lucifer Falls on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod


About those hands…Obama’s hands.  According to a report filed yesterday (12/4/08) at The Hill, Obama has hands that are “soft as butter.”

Obama’s Hands ‘Soft As Butter,’ Says Philly Gym Rat

@ 2:51 pm by Walter Alarkon

A Philadelphia man who lingered at his gym to get a chance to work out with President-elect Barack Obama said he was smitten with Obama’s personality and his soft skin.

Stepp Stewart said he worked out with Obama on Tuesday, when he was in Philadelphia for a National Governors Association meeting.

“I get off the bike. He looks me dead in the eye. He shook my hand,” Stewart told the local NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C.

“I held onto it as long as I could,” Stewart added. “His hands were soft as butter!”

Stewart said he heard that Obama was visiting his gym after he had finished his workout, prompting him to return to the gym.

“Girl, I put my sweat-drenched, funky-smellin’ clothes right back on, got right back on the floor and started fakin’ a workout!” Stewart said.

Stewart, a musical director and choreographer, said that he ran on a treadmill next to the president-elect, who also used other workout machines and read USA Today while at the Philadelphia Sports Club.

The choice of words in this piece reminded me about the stories about Obama’s sexual preferences that were circulating a few months ago (remember Larry Sinclair?)  The guy is described as being “smitten” and is quoted as holding Obama’s hand for as long as he could and noted that really soft skin during the clench.  He actually went back to “fake a workout” so he could be on the treadmill next to O (and who’s the “girl” he’s referring to?).  I’m not going to assume that the guy is gay just because the he’s a “musical director and choreographer,” so I’ll just ponder the real question about how Obama keeps his hands so smooth? Hot waxing  like I saw the other night in a scene from “An Unmarried Woman”?  I can just see Obama in big mitts as he sits through a relaxing hand treatment…or maybe it’s just new Dawn “Hand Renewal” dishwashing liquid?


I’m now wondering if Sen. Patty Murray is going to have any success pushing to overturn the new “Conscience Rule” that Bushco is on the verge of hurling down on us womenfolk. (And it could effect everybody less obvious ways, as well.)  Hillary Clinton was working with Murray on a bill to stop this in its tracks.   As reported in the LA Times:

Broader medical refusal rule may go far beyond abortion

The Bush administration plans a new ‘right of conscience’ rule that would allow more workers to refuse more procedures. Critics say it could apply to artificial insemination and birth control.
By David G. Savage
December 2, 2008
Reporting from Washington — The outgoing Bush administration is planning to announce a broad new “right of conscience” rule permitting medical facilities, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable, including abortion and possibly even artificial insemination and birth control.

For more than 30 years, federal law has dictated that doctors and nurses may refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further by making clear that healthcare workers also may refuse to provide information or advice to patients who might want an abortion.

It also seeks to cover more employees. For example, in addition to a surgeon and a nurse in an operating room, the rule would extend to “an employee whose task it is to clean the instruments,” the draft rule said.

The “conscience” rule could set the stage for an abortion controversy in the early months of Barack Obama’s administration.


If the regulation is issued before Dec. 20, it will be final when the new administration takes office, HHS officials say. Overturning it would require publishing a proposed new rule for public comment and then waiting months to accept comments before drafting a final rule.

Abortion-rights advocates think it might be easier to get Congress to reject the rule. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), before being nominated Monday for secretary of State, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have said they would move to reverse it.

The HHS proposal has set off a sharp debate about medical ethics and the duties of healthcare workers.

Last year, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology said a “patient’s well-being must be paramount” when a conflict arises over a medical professional’s beliefs.

In calling for limits on “conscientious refusals,” ACOG cited four recent examples. In Texas, a pharmacist rejected a rape victim’s prescription for emergency contraception. In Virginia, a 42-year-old mother of two became pregnant after being refused emergency contraception. In California, a physician refused to perform artificial insemination for a lesbian couple. (In August, the California Supreme Court ruled that this refusal amounted to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation.) And in Nebraska, a 19-year-old with a life-threatening embolism was refused an early abortion at a religiously affiliated hospital.

After all the misogyny we’ve witnessed this year, the last minute pander to the far-right by Bushco really pisses me off no end, for several reasons.

First, years ago I had a friend who had an ectopic pregnancy. She was rushed to the closest hospital doubled over in pain. As luck would have it, it was a Catholic hospital. When she was diagnosed, she was informed that they wouldn’t treat her because it was considered to be “an abortion.” So, her frantic husband had to arrange to have her moved to ANOTHER hospital. My friend could have DIED! So much for the “conscience” of the “healthcare providers” at that Catholic hospital.  No Hippocratic Oath there, I guess. Just this bullshit about choosing a the “life” of a misplaced zygote that would never survive over the life of a LIVE WOMAN!

Secondly, I get totally ballistic when I see the Viagra ads on TV and know that that crap is covered by many insurance plans while contraception is often excluded.  Pleasure for men=covered. Health and well-being achieved by preventing an unplanned pregnancy=covered, are you KIDDING??

If you wonder if women are truly considered to be second-class citizens, look no further than this setup!  And, apparently, many women simply grin and bear it.  As for a new Obama Administration…do you think this disrespectful bastard will want to expend any political capital on this issues considering he’s embraced those mega-pastors??

So, Hillary Clinton leaves the Senate and this issue.  I just hope Patty Murray can make some noise…or will she be squelched by the Obama crowd?  Let’s see if NARAL and NOW make excuses for Obama if he fails to support the reversal of this INSULTING rule and enables the further mistreatment of women. I’m not holding my breath…


And then it’s back to the misinformation about abortion that has been shoved at us for years.  Apparently, some researchers are getting  bit “uppity” about situation. As reported by Reuters:

Abortion not seen linked with depression

Review of studies found no evidence of emotional harm after procedureS(“3053751”)

Updated 6:59 a.m. MT, Thurs., Dec. 4, 2008

WASHINGTON – No high-quality study done to date can document that having an abortion causes psychological distress, or a “post-abortion syndrome,” and efforts to show it does occur appear to be politically motivated, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

A team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reviewed 21 studies involving more than 150,000 women and found the high-quality studies showed no significant differences in long-term mental health between women who choose to abort a pregnancy and others.

“The best research does not support the existence of a ‘post-abortion syndrome’ similar to post-traumatic stress disorder,” Dr. Robert Blum, who led the study published in the journal Contraception, said in a statement.


“The U.S. Supreme Court, while noting that ‘we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon,’ cited adverse mental health outcomes for women as part of the rationale for limiting late term abortions,” Blum’s team wrote.


“The best quality studies indicate no significant differences in long-term mental health between women in the United States who choose to terminate a pregnancy and those who do not,” they wrote.

“…studies with the most flawed methodology consistently found negative mental health consequences of abortion,” they added. “Scientists are still conducting research to answer politically motivated questions.

Is that the same Supreme Court Fart that is supposed to decide Obama’s citizenship case today (Friday)? And are those “scientists” who are still trying to fit research into a political goal really “scientists?”   Let’s stop being so polite!!

28 Responses

  1. Isn’t he wonderful!!!!! He just reaches into every aspect of our lives and uplifts us to heights never attained before in the history of the universe!!!

    My problem is that I just cannot see it so I am begging for an “Obama intervention” to guide me to the light. I have ordered the coins, plates, mugs, and am even setting aside time to go to the Obama Musical.

    I am drenching myself in magazines, papers, tv, anything in an attempt to “get onboard” the Obama express. So far, nothing has worked. Watching hours of KO and Tweetie slobbering over Obama has had no effect.

    As of today I am planning on signing myself into a rehab center for the express purpose of clearing my head and coming to terms with Obama love. Pray for me.

    I want so much to be an Obot!!!!

  2. Wow! Looks like you’ve been holding back on us GRL!

    Gotta start by saying thanks so much for the video of Lucifer Falls. Didn’t know you were an Ithaca fan – I went to school there and have a true appreciation for your love affair! For the uninitiated, Ithaca is just loaded with gorges, waterfalls, and breathtaking scenery all preserved within excellent State Parks. The clip above is just a short snippet of what’s in store for you there! I lost count of how many times I walked the magnificent path along, under, and occasionally through Buttermilk Falls when I was a student. Soothes me just to think about it…

    That being said, the rest of your articles made me just insane! Over the past fews days it has become obvious to me that Obama has offered Senator Clinton the Secretary of State position for one basic reason: to get her out of Congress and replace her with a more malleable flunkie. Get used to Obama and the Congress shifting to the right so fast you’ll need Doppler Radar to follow the red shift! This bastage never had the slightest intention to being anything other than George W. Bush’s wet dream.

    Women can kiss goodbye and thoughts they had of being anything other than chattels. Choice? Not happening for persons lacking “experience” (aka a penis). And we aren’t just talking abortion rights here, either. The best prediction I can give without going on for pages is for anyone that has ever read Frank Herbert’s Dune series of books: women will become Tleilaxu axolotl tanks.

  3. Pat,


  4. Hey, Grail-
    TATs–the new “tits”??????…and boy, is that offensive, to even “say” it…. …I don’t think I”ve ever used the latter word, let alone TYPE IT…

    But , I’ve had doctors use the term with me…FEMALE doctors..

    The male game played by women….UGH!!!!!!!!

  5. Grail Guardian…..this is for you and everybody else interested 🙂

    Kenosha….hope you see this since my hotmail apparently is hellbent on rejecting you….lol

  6. PSST–is this the Traveling Pantsuits site??

  7. Grail, I actually looked at the site you link to before I found the video! And I couldn’t find a suitable pic from behind Taughannock Falls…oh, I LIVED there!!!!
    My nephew graduated from Ithaca College last year (2007); I won’t tell you when I graduated from Cornell….LOL!!!

    …Nothing like a winery tour to really help those Margaritas along, LOL!!!!

  8. IA… is the former TP site. We needed to create another site when the other one mysteriously disappeared. We are in the process of trying to find old members and would definitely like to see some new ones to… are all invited 🙂

  9. Psstt, saw it and went and registered and am awaiting approval. I can’t figure the email thing out. If I am typing or copying and pasting the wrong name or whatever, where the hell is the email going? Usually you get one of those “undeliverable” notices. Then I usually check and find I typed a comma for a period or some other such stupidity. This time, not.

    Thanks for sticking with me.

    And Pat Johnson, someone has slipped ya a kool aid mickey fin. Go for help, quick. The last thing the world needs is to replace and acerbic,honest, woman of integrity with another dimwitted Obot. We’ve got too many of that sort as it is.

  10. I had a friend years ago who was pregnant with twins. unfortunately there were problems and the Catholic hospital she was being treated at told her the twins were gone. no heartbeat. must have a d&c. terrible thing for anyone but worse they would not do the proceedure there even though the babies were dead because it was also considered an abortion.

    My friend had to transfer to another hospital and it’s bad enough the health risks but it made her feel horrible at a time when she was already so down. Unbelievable and ridiculous come to mind.


  11. I call it CRUEL!!!!!

  12. Thanks for the invite, PSSTT!!

  13. IA I agree 150% it was cruel. I understand the Catholic position on abortion, I was raised Catholic. However a D&C to remove children who are no longer alive and at that point a serious danger to the life of the mother is not the same thing.

    Too rigid on too many things. One reason I am not Catholic anymore among many!


  14. There is no question that fairness and justice should prevail. However When we should be focusing on economy, jobs, war and all the other problems we have at hand, this is a very obsurd way of wasting everyone’s time. It’s time to move on, look forward and not constantly question this guys authenticity – not that he did not go through this enough times during his campaign.

  15. IA… pleasure….hope to see you there.

  16. An interesting note. Emily Yoffe, who worte about the women who lactate at the sight of Obama, once did a story for Scientific American about hypnosis. Yoffe turned out to be a good subject, being the only one in a group to experience an aural hallucination under hypnosis.

    Of course, Obama sucks and his speeches are mediocre, so I blame the mental screw job on his pacing and hype.

  17. Suggestions for Suggestions:

    Mr. Obama has consistently ignored the economy, is hell-bent on raising business taxes which will drive even more jobs from the US, and has now announced he has no intention of ending the war in Iraq, and wants to ramp up the war in Afghanistan. But we’re not supposed to question his “authenticity”?????? What are you smoking?

    Suggestion 1: Sober up!
    Suggestion 2: Investigate his authenticity yourself
    Suggestion 3: Stop bothering people just because we don’t agree with your messianic fever

    Stupid is not a protected class!

  18. Pssstt

    It sure is tough to get into…I’ll let you know if I can ever log in…

  19. Elevation — baloney.

    This is just another word for the “traveling preacher show” — or the “peak experience”. Animal magnetism — the stuff of a super cult leader. Obama and his gang have studied this — he sat at the feet of Rev. Wright — who has a lot of this preacher talk — and Obama is adept at copying others.

    Way back in Grad School we studied the cults — this was when est was big — human potential movements. Obama starts out with a voice — and he has been working on his delivery and style.

    And yes someone above mention hypnosis — this is something we also studied — and did some experimentation.

    Obama has been using powerful mind control techniques — which were exposed in that paper on Obama & hypnotism. The pacing of his words, the rhythm of his words, the use of his voice all are being done for an effect.

    My guess is that his methods will only work with English speaking audiences — because he is using English trigger words known to work on subjects. Obama is now bigger than his britches if he believes that he can get the world to sing in harmony. Hell most of the world doesn’t even agree what musical harmony is.

    Also the thugs who showed up at the caucuses have had some training in group dynamic — mind control techniques. When I watched these thugs I was absolutely livid — they were using techniques that ONLY trained professionals should use — WITH the permission of the client.

    All of this stuff is OLD — it was old when I was in grad school — oh in Nixon’s era. But it’s been repackaged for mass media. As many of us realize Obama is an illusion — he is a package. And a whole lot of Americans have been taken for a ride.

    Several of my Profs said that they could create the perfect candidate — at the time I thought that perhaps they were being braggards. They were concerned about the potential for unethical use of the techniques which were being used in the Behavioral Sciences. This stuff was already being used in tv advertising — trigger words, presentation of products etc.

    Obama has been packaged like tooth paste or any other product that is sold to millions of people. They go into the store and are drawn to the produce — the colors, product placement in the stores etc.

    When Obama is exposed — will the people who have fallen “in love” with him feel used?

    Sort of like waking up next to the guy who the night before was the most romatic guy ever and he turns out to be — just ordinary. All of his slick moves were well practiced — he was an actor playing a role. (NOT that this ever happened to me.)

  20. Suggestion for Suggestion; learn to spell absurd before you accuse others of being absurd. And since we choose to focus on what we choose to focus on how in any way shape or form is it any of your damn business? Unlike Obots like you, we can think and focus on more than one thing at a time. so why don’t you just take your “suggestions” and shove em where the sun don’t shine. You might wanna take a nice big dose of MYOB too. Busybody is just another part of the stupid class, right Grail?

    And Grail, please keep trying on the pantsuit thingy. It’s worth the effort. Lot’s of kindred souls and the few that have a dissenting opinion or two are not Obots. Just folks who make up their own minds. And we are fine with that. It’s only Obamazombies we don’t welcome. Here or there.

  21. Just a bit of info. There is such a thing as post-abortion syndrome, but it has nothing to do with depression. It is blood in the uterus that clotted before it could flow through the cervix and got stuck–causing pain.

  22. GG….. if you check, you have been approved and should be ready to rock and roll.

  23. Hey, ea, good to see you back!!

    Re: post-abortion syndrome…medical complications can occur with anything…but as far as the “depression” cudgel/misinformation that has been out there, even by Bushco and gov’t sources, that is total misuse or planned denial of science for politics..
    On the same level as “pregnancy crisis” centers which do not offer full information about options AND often times, misinformation and emotional manipulation as well..

    These sorts of things are a NO NO for me…completely degrading to women, as far as I’m concerned, because they take away a women’s right to full, correct information about her own health!

  24. ” For the 66 million Americans who voted for Obama, that experience was shared on Election Day, producing a collective case of an emotion that has only recently gotten research attention. It’s called “elevation.”

    An Obamagasm?

  25. I think just O-gasm ought to cover it!

  26. LOL!!!!

    NQ picked up on this story about 2 days after WE did it!!

  27. NW Rain…I’m waiting to see what happens in D.C. Inauguration night. The bars are supposedly being told to extend their hours and the DC Police Chief is not happy about it.
    If it’s anything like what happened in Philly election night….well, it won’t matter, because it won’t be reported…Something just has to happen with mobs of people, esp. the young Obamatons, out there…

  28. NWR,

    Just came back and read your comment – you are right on the money! He’s nothing more than the latest Billy Mayes product,

    New! Exciting! Hope! Change! Slices, dices, and obliterates the Constitution! Removes all stains of Democracy in 30 seconds! Removes waxy historical build-up of morals and decency! Buy today for the low, low price of $700 Trillion and we’ll throw in another racist Obama, just pay separate shipping and handling! Call today – operators are on duty to record your call! Online go to

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