According to Mr. Fund's column and two participants in the call, James C. Dobson, founder of the group Focus on the Family, introduced the two friends by saying that Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, had suggested the group speak to them. Asked if, given the opportunity, Ms. Miers would vote to overturn the abortion rights precedent set by Roe v. Wade, Judge Kinkeade said, "Absolutely," and Justice Hecht said, "I agree with that," and "I concur," according to the two participants and Mr. Fund's column.
Mr. Fund wrote that his conversation was based on detailed notes of one participant. But two others who had listened to the call said that Judge Kinkeade and Justice Hecht also said they had not discussed the subject with Ms. Miers, leaving some on the call unconvinced. The two participants spoke on condition of anonymity because the group's meetings are confidential.
The above is from David D. Kirkpatrick's "Nominee Meets With Committee Democrats" in this morning's New York Times. Scott McClellan downplays it. But for those paying attention, what we have is a private conversation going on outside the public eye with a White House employee (Rove) discussing a topic that effects all Americans under the table with Dobson.
While winks and nods are made publicly, about a nomination to a very public position (the highest court of the land), the White House is having a private conversation with a segment of the public about the nominee.
The Senate, not the evangical community, is supposed to vet the process. How they can do that with Rove orchestrating the flow of private information is a question the Senate needs to ask.
When Rove attempted to bring one segment of America "up to speed" on the nomination of Harriet Miers, the other segments were left in the dark. Who's paying Rove's salary?
On a topic that will impact the nation, a White House employee is orchestrating private conversations. They all need to be pulled in front of the Senate and asked to explain themselves.
Note, Miers still hasn't completed the questionnare and now the claim is she never said she would have it completed by Monday. She also had problems answering basic questions about legal cases. Her handler (Dan Coats) says Miers was felt it wasn't appropriate to comment on the two decided cases (Griswold and Meyer) while Charles Schumer pegs her answers as "I need to sort of bone up on this a little more," and "I need to come to conclusions." Apparently that's the delay with the completion of the questionnaire.
Not reported by the Times, Harry Reid continued praising Miers. She's a judge he can leave with it. The anti-choice Harry Reid can live with her. No surprise. What is surprising, and embarrassing, is that Reid's forgotten his role of minority leader of the opposition party. (Again, no surprise.)
Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Catholic High School Teacher Forced Out over Flag" (McCarthyism Watch, The Progressive):
Stephen Kobasa has been a Catholic schoolteacher for 25 years.
For the last six years, he has taught English at Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport, CT.
He no longer teaches there.
Kobasa does not believe there should be an American flag in his classroom.
"Everything in the Gospel rejects what flags stand for: boundaries, hatreds, creation of enemies," Kobasa says. "For a Catholic Christian school that holds up the crucifix as a symbol of God's love, the flag can only be a contradiction. The Church can only function with its prophetic voice by standing outside the state."
For the past six years, whenever he found an American flag in his classroom he removed it, he says.
That never caused a problem until this semester, he adds. At a faculty meeting in August, he says, a new policy came down from the board of education at the Bridgeport diocese: The school day would begin with a prayer and a pledge of allegiance.
Kobasa, who is part of the extended community of the Hartford Catholic Worker and Jonah House in Baltimore, knew he would have trouble abiding by that. He hoped to negotiate some compromise.
"I met with the principal, and she said she was aware that I had not been doing the pledge, but that now there would be a problem because it was the policy," he recalls.
"So what I offered was an arrangement by which any students who wanted to make this oath of fealty could do so with a flag that they could have available. But only for the duration of the pledge itself, and then the flag would once again be removed."
The principal, Jo-Anne Jakab, went along, he says.
"She agreed to that," he says. "So I thought that was the end of it."
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david d. kirkpatrick