Friday, January 13, 2006

Other Items

Lynda highlights the bad news contained in Felicity Barringer's "U.S. Reverses Accord and Opens 389,000 Acres in Alaska to Explore for Oil:"

The Interior Department has decided to open 389,000 acres of Alaskan lakes, tundra and shoreline to oil exploration, reversing an eight-year-old compromise intended to protect the habitat of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds and the hunting grounds of Inupiat natives who live near the Beaufort Sea.
[. . .]
Critics, including Alaska Natives and groups like the Audubon Society and the Wilderness Society, said the protection would not prevent fragmenting the birds' habitat or the disturbance when pipelines were built.
There will be airplane and helicopter traffic, the critics said, and industrial activity will be a fixture of the collection of lakes and damp tundra that is now empty 150 miles west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Sidebar, on any given day, any given week, there are many things that members and myself would like to get it. (And there are post-its all around my computers.) Yazz noted in an e-mail that I didn't award any honors (or dishonors) in the year-in-review. That entry was a nightmare that took over eleven hours (Elaine says fourteen hours, I believe, and she called while I was working on it and right when the thing was about to post, so take her word for it and not my estimate). If it had been the quick, easy entry I had thought it would be, I did have awards I planned to give out. One was to Felicity Barringer for not just sharing her disagreement in private but being willing to put it up here. Whether you agreed with her or not, hopefully, you saw her point. I thought that she deserved note for sharing. If other things pop up, I'll note them as they do but (yes, Yazz, "in fairness"), I thought that was something to note.

Back to the items.

Kevin highlights Adam Liptak's "Few Glimmers of How Conservative Judge Alito Is:"

On one of the few occasions Judge Alito spoke about his general approach to the law, he embraced a mode of constitutional interpretation, originalism, often associated with Justices Scalia and Thomas.
"In interpreting the Constitution," Judge Alito said Wednesday, "I think we should look to the text of the Constitution, and we should look to the meaning that someone would have taken from the text of the Constitution at the time of its adoption."

Alito contradicted himself throughout and was all over the map. This "general approach," for instance, was directly refuted on the day (it's all a blur) when he went into internet porn. There he spoke of an interpretation larger than "originalism." A problem throughout this article is that a reporter who tries to decipher Alito is headed for trouble if they try to condense by marrying fragments of the question with his answers. Alito did not answer the questions directly. That was obvious observing the hearings all week. Alito skated over everything. He wasn't challenged with follow ups often enough and when he did get a follow up he continued his dance of disinformation. Some of the things reported as "answers" (by the Times and the AP -- the only things I've seen) are not answers. His saying Congress can do something, for instance, is merely stating that Congress has the ability to do something, it's not answering whether or not he thinks the Court could or should overrule a proposed legislation. A number of Democrats on the panel appeared to either hear what they wanted or not listen closely. (That's been true of the press as well.) "Can" is ability. (Yes, we're back to that lesson again, do you believe it?) Congress can pass anything it has the votes to pass. Whether or not it will be upheld in a legal challenge is a completely different issue. Observing the hearings, for me, was one long moot court nightmare where you kept wishing people would get what was being said but they didn't.
(They being most Democrats on the committee -- though not all -- and some members of the press.)

Judith Resnik calls it best in the article: "He's fabulous at tautology." We'll address the Alito fan club that met from Monday through Thursday in highlights further down.

Molly notes Michael Barbaro's "Maryland Sets a Health Cost for Wal-Mart:"

The Maryland legislature passed a law Thursday that would require Wal-Mart Stores to increase spending on employee health insurance, a measure that is expected to be a model for other states.
The legislature's move, which overrode a veto by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, was a response to growing criticism that Wal-Mart, the nation's largest private employer, has skimped on benefits and shifted health costs to state governments.
The vote came after a furious lobbying battle by Wal-Mart and by labor and liberal groups, and is likely to encourage lawmakers in dozens of other states who are considering similar legislation. Many state legislatures have looked to Maryland as a test case, as they face fast-rising Medicaid costs, and Wal-Mart's critics say that too many of its employees have been forced to turn to Medicaid.

Lloyd highlights Matthew Rothschild's "Impeachment Calls Grow Louder" (This Just In, The Progressive):

Last Saturday, I went to a town hall meeting on the Iraq War and impeachment in Madison, Wisconsin. This one was sponsored by Veterans for Peace. More than 150 other events around the country on January 7 were co-sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America and
In Madison, about 350 people crammed into the Labor Temple to show their enthusiastic support for bringing the troops home. But what really got the crowd going was the drive for impeachment.
The event opened with longtime peace activist Robert Kimbrough asking people to speak up so we all could hear them. But not for the sake of the NSA or the CIA or the FBI or the Pentagon, he said, adding that they all have recording devices that will pick everything up anyway.
Someone shouted behind me, "Bring it on!"
Ed Garvey, a great Wisconsin progressive, addressed the dismissive attitude that prevails in Washington and among the cynics: that impeachment is impossible, and that we're just wasting our time talking about.
The same was said about the women's suffrage movement and about the civil rights movement, he observed, adding that when he's done he'd like to echo Rosa Parks, who said, after the bus boycott, "My feet may be tired but my soul’s at rest."
I'm telling you, my friends, there's something going on at the grassroots that the mainstream media isn't getting.

And what the Times can't figure out about Alito, feminist can (no surpise there). These are the Alito highlights. We'll start with Susan's highlight, Kim Gandy's "Mostly Serious New Year's Resolutions" (Below the Belt, NOW):

- I pledge to do my part to oppose the nomination of Samuel Alito the Supreme Court, for all the reasons given here and here. Even if I've already called my Senators, I pledge to go call 'em again now! I know this fight could decide women's reproductive rights for the next 40 years or longer, and I am committed to doing my part to stop Alito. (And in fact, if you have some time, we'd love to have you in D.C.! Find out more about joining our campaign in D.C.)
- I resolve not to be fooled by Sam Alito's evasion, obfuscation, and wiggle words (that's a legal term, for all of you non-lawyers out there ;>) and to focus on his very serious anti-woman ideology, even if it is really funny that his excuses sound a lot like "the dog ate my homework" The excuses? In today's hearing they went something like this: the computer forgot to remind me that I promised not to rule on Vanguard cases and I really don't remember being in that misogynistic club, but if I did it must have been about the ROTC and the military (sounds of patriotic music playing in the background).
- I will do everything I can to make sure Congress doesn't take women's rights lightly, and to remind our elected officials--especially the ones who claim to be "progressive"--that women's issues matter and women's votes count!
- I'll work with my local NOW chapter on whatever campaigns I can help with in my area, knowing that all across the country I will be joined by hundreds of thousands of feminists and progressive allies working to take back our country from the far Right! (Don't know your local chapter?
Click here!)

Keesha notes Eleanor Smeal's "Rights of Women Are on the Line as Alito Testimony Ends" (The Smeal Report, Ms. Magazine):

This is not a Roberts hearing. No question, Alito will receive many more "no" votes on confirmation than John Roberts did in September.
Those of us concerned about women's rights are leaving the hearings strong and determined. We must keep remembering that the rights of women depend on us staying strong.
Now we must keep mobilizing so our Senate supporters not only vote "no" but also make these votes count enough to stop Alito.
Click here for Ms. magazine's complete coverage of the Alito

And Martha notes Carol Leif on CAP in "Membership Has Its Privileges" (The Leif Report, Ms. Magazine):

No, you can't use the excuse that you forget being a member. That's lame. What? Now you remember it so well that you know you weren't a very active member and you didn't donate a lot of money to your club. Um, but you were a member, right? In the phrases "active member" and "big donor member," the key word is member. If you were a member of the KKK, do you think it would matter how active you were? Did anyone care how active Michael Dukakis was in the ACLU? Incidentally, being a member of the ACLU might not be so bad in this particular hypothetical job, but I digress. It doesn't even matter because it would take a pretty silly group of people to focus on the minutae of your club activity and miss the big picture of your club membership.
No, you can't compare this to McCarthyism. Join any club you want, just don't apply for this job. Nice attempt to shift focus though.

Again, three feminists can grasp what the Times can't. (I'm referring to the reporting. Elaine discussed Thursday's Times' editorial on Alito in the roundtable last night. Reminder, check your inboxes for the latest gina & krista round-robin and, again, Gina and Krista did an outstanding job with their special editions. I thank them for all their hard work and hope others do as well.)

Reminder, late last night a magazine spotlight went up here. It's on the latest edition of Ms. which goes on sale Tuesday, January 17th.

Rod notes a scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now!:

Day Four of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

And Seth has an entry on the Alito hearings in case anyone missed it.

In addition, remember that the following sites provided Alito coverage (and more) this week:

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
Mikey Likes It
Kat's Korner
Cedirc's Big Mix
Like Maria Said Paz
The Daily Jot

Great work by all. (And Betty, who participated in the roundtables for Gina & Krista, also got a new chapter posted.)

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