Saturday, July 02, 2005

NYT: "U.S. Troops Still Missing After Crash in Afghanistan" (Carlotta Gall)

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

NYT: "O'Connor Held Balance of Power" (Linda Greenhouse)

The O'Connor Court.
The phrase has been used so many times over so many years to describe the Supreme Court that it is nearly a cliché. Yet the simple words capture an equally simple truth: to find out where the court is on almost any given issue, look for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
If you are a lawyer with a case at the court, pitch your arguments to her. If your issue is affirmative action, or religion, or federalism, or redistricting, or abortion, or constitutional due process in any of its many manifestations, you can assume that the fate of that issue is in her hands. Don't bother with doctrinaire assertions and bright-line rules. Be meticulously prepared on the facts, and be ready to show how the law relates to those facts and how, together, they make sense.
And it is because Justice O'Connor has played such a pivotal role on the court for much of her 24-year tenure that her unexpected retirement is such a galvanizing event. Much more than the widely anticipated retirement of the predictably conservative Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, her departure creates an opportunity for President Bush to shape the court.

The above is from Linda Greenhouse's "O'Connor Held Balance of Power" in this morning's New York Times. It's our spotlight as the article in the paper this morning most worth noting. If you're someone who goes to the links and you haven't already read it, go to the article. If you're a member who never clicks on the links (and that's not a problem) just note the above and hopefully it gives you an idea of where the analysis was headed.

The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, July 01, 2005

Sunday Chat & Chews -- where are the women?

The Sunday Chat and Chews, is life so slow and pointless that you're truly considering partaking of them this weekend?

All shows air on Sunday, check your local listings for time.

We'll start with NBC's Meet the Press and since some members care about it (and since it will be discussing the O'Connor resignation) and since it will be providing Nina Totenberg (NPR) as a guest, we'll be nice enough to even note the air times for this week:

Baltimore, MD 8:00 AM
Oklahoma City, OK 7:00 AM
Chicago, IL 7:00 AM
Omaha, NE 7:00 AM
Cincinnati, OH 8:00 AM
Palm Beach, FL 8:00 AM
Dallas, TX 7:00 AM
Philadelphia, PA 8:00 AM
Denver, CO 11:00 PM
Phoenix, AZ 5:00 AM
Des Moines, IA 7:00 AM
Salt Lake City, UT 6:00 AM
Hartford, CT 8:00 AM
San Diego, CA 5:00 AM
Kansas City, MO 7:00 AM
San Francisco, CA 5:00 AM
Las Vegas, NV 5:00 AM
Seattle, WA 5:00 AM
Los Angeles, CA 5:00 AM
St. Louis, MO 7:00 AM
Memphis, TN 7:00 AM
Tampa, FL 3:30 PM
Miami, FL 8:00 AM
Washington, DC 8:00 AM
Milwaukee, WI 7:00 AM
New York, NY 8:00 AM


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R - PA) Chairman, Judiciary Committee
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D - VT) Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D - CT)Foreign Relations Committee
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R - NE) Foreign Relations CommitteeSelect Committee on Intelligence
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R - CA)Chairman, House Armed Services Committee
PETE WILLIAMS NBC News Justice Correspondent
NINA TOTENBERG National Public Radio Legal Affairs Correspondent
JOHN HARWOOD Wall Street Journal National Political Editor

Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, announced her retirement this morning, paving the way for an intense confirmation battle over the president's nominee to fill her seat on the Court. The two men that will lead that confirmation process will also lead off "Meet the Press" this Sunday: the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Then, as the United States prepares to celebrate its Independence Day, the war in Iraq still dominates the hearts and minds of the American public. Did President Bush's address to the nation buoy support for the war? And how will American and Iraqi forces counter the strength of the insurgency? We will ask three key members of Congress this Sunday in an exclusive joint interview: Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) of the Foreign Relations Committee, and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA).

And a special "Meet the Press Roundtable" will share insights and analysis into Justice O'Connor's legacy, potential nominees for the Court and the politics of the confirmation process. We will be joined by two experts on the Court, NBC's Justice Correspondent Pete Williams and NPR's Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg as well as John Harwood of the Wall Street Journal who is following the behind the scenes battle as liberal and conservative interest groups try to shape the future direction of the Court.

Nina Totenberg's a strong legal analyst. I might be tempted to watch. But anyone else notice that of eight guests, Totenberg's the only woman?

Host a roundtable on choice and make Gloria Steinem one of the guests and Meet the Press can make up a very obvious omission that they should have caught themselves. For those wanting to get in touch with their inner masochists vicariously, check out the segment with Duncan Hunter since there's a good chance he'll wimp out again and Russert will eat him alive.

Over at CBS, Face the Nation this Sunday offers:

CBS Evening News Anchor Bob Schieffer
*CBS News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts Substituting*
The Supreme Court
Sen. Joseph Biden
Democrat - Delaware
Judiciary Committee
Sen. Orrin Hatch
Republican - Utah
Judiciary Committee
Ralph Neas
President & CEO, People For The American Way
Jay Alan Sekulow
Chief Counsel, American Center For Law And Justice
Jan Crawford Greenburg
The Chicago Tribune

I don't know about you, but when I think about the issue of choice and the Court & women, I think Joe Biden. Don't you? I mean wasn't he just amazing in the Hill-Thomas hearings? Oh wait, he wasn't. You're right. So what the hell's he doing on? Apparently Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray and others are press shy? Who knew!

Isn't it so 1992? The issue does effect us all, I'll grant you that, but where are the women? Token's on a topic they should be front in center on.

I'd hoped ABC's This Week would give viewers something to be excited about. Perhaps it still might. But apparently, ratings be damned, it's not all that interesting in attracting viewers.
Which would explain why, as it's after midnight in New York, no e-mail from This Week has been sent out. And on their web site they advise you to check back on Friday to find out who the guests will be.

With This Week not weighing in, if I watched one show this Sunday, it would be Meet the Press to hear Totenberg. And note, she's not there to offer opinion. She's their as a reporter who's covered the Court for some time. Point, there's not one woman who's brought on to offer an opinion. Booking only male reps will lead to that.

The e-mail address for this site is

Members responses to O'Connor's retirement

Erika: It is war! It's war on who we are as the right gets ready to attack us all. Roe v. Wade will be only the first item on the cutting block if people don't stand up to Bully Boy. Kim Gandy [president of NOW] had an announcement I think the community should know about:

This is a state of emergency for women's rights. Sandra Day O'Connor broke down barriers for women as the first female Supreme Court justice -- and George W. Bush will try to replace her with a hard-right extremist justice who will put those barriers up again.
O'Connor has been the Court's swing vote on key issues like abortion rights, job discrimination and affirmative action. She was the deciding vote to uphold women's reproductive rights in the Court's most recent decision on that issue, Stenberg v. Carhart, which was decided 5-4.
With the resignation of O'Connor, George W. Bush will have the opportunity to replace a justice who has often made the difference in the preservation of essential rights with an anti-woman justice who could influence the court's decisions for the next 40 years.
President Bush has identified as his most admired justices arch-conservatives Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, whose radical ideologies make their decisions disastrous for the advancement of women.
This is not the time to play favorites. It's the supreme moment to play fair. Every member of the Senate will have to choose sides - either they will side with the bullies in the Republican leadership or they will take the side of our fundamental freedoms.
NOW is prepared to lead the fight against any nominee who would turn back the clock on our civil, economic, and reproductive rights -- and our supporters will be
urging Senators to reject any nominee who is not committed to protecting those rights.
The character and record of anyone nominated to our nation's highest court must be thoroughly reviewed and considered by the Senate in their important "advice and consent" role. Any nominee must demonstrate the ability to separate his or her political ideology from the responsibility to fairly interpret the law - and uphold democracy's promise to protect the civil liberties of all people, not just the privileged few.
Bush will divide the country again if he makes this nomination process confrontational and controversial. After a close election, the country needs a justice with a sharp legal mind, strong personal ethics, and a commitment to upholding the rights and protections we take for granted in this country.
NOW is determined to make sure every person in this country understands what is at stake for our rights, our liberties, and our lives.

Lori: Thank you for steering to Christine with the first announcement. Ms. Musing was the resource and Christine the voice that most helped me through this dark, dark day.

Zach: Not only did Bill Scher [Liberal Oasis] have something to say worth hearing but it sent a message, to me anyway, by including him that this topic was open to all members who support choice. John Nicols has something online at The Nation that I'd note:

With O'Connor's exit, the court will move in one of two directions. No, not right or left. With O'Connor out, the court will either go backward or forward.
If President Bush nominates and the Senate confirms an activist soulmate for Scalia and Thomas, the court will not simply become more conservative.
It will move back toward the days before Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower used their nominations in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s to wrench the judicial branch out of a dark and undistinguished past. Those selections made the Supreme Court a functional branch of government, rather than an obstructionist defender of an often corrupt old order.
People for the American Way President Ralph Neas put it best when he said Friday, "A Scalia-Thomas majority would not only reverse more than seven decades of Supreme Court legal precedents, but could also return us to a situation America faced in the first third of the 20th Century, when progressive legislation, like child labor laws, was adopted by Congress and signed by the President, but repeatedly rejected on constitutional grounds by the Supreme Court."

[Note Ralph Neas will be a guest on CBS's Face the Nation this Sunday.]

Brenda e-mailed to say there are no words for what she's feeling right now and highlights Ralph Neas' statement:

The American people deserve a serious national conversation about the impact of future Supreme Court justices on their lives, liberties, and legal protections. We hope that conversation will lead President Bush toward collaborative consultation with senators from both parties, and to the selection of a consensus nominee or nominees whose commitment to protecting Americans rights and freedoms will earn genuine bipartisan support.
If instead the President chooses a controversial nominee that does not meet those standards, Americans deserve to know what the fireworks are all about.
Justice O’Connor was the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and became one of its most powerful and widely respected justices. She played a crucial pivotal role at the center of a Court divided on many fundamental constitutional questions. This week she was part of a narrow majority reaffirming the constitutional principle of government neutrality toward religion. She voted to uphold some state restrictions on women’s access to abortion but consistently upheld the fundamental constitutional right to privacy in cases on reproductive choice. She cast the deciding vote to allow state universities to use affirmative action programs that create educational opportunities for a diverse student body. She upheld the authority of Congress to regulate campaign contributions to candidates and political parties. She sided with her more conservative colleagues on some “federalism” cases, but was not willing to pursue the more aggressive states’ rights agenda pushed by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. O’Connor was part of the 1986 majority in Bowers v Hardwick upholding state sodomy laws; in 2003 she was part of a 6-3 majority in Lawrence v Texas, overturning a Texas sodomy law specifically targeting gays, though she did not join the five-justice majority to overturn Bowers.
The influential role played by O’Connor, and the fact that there are likely to be more vacancies on the Court over the next few years, mean that the impact of President Bush’s nominees could be extraordinarily far-reaching and long-lasting. If O’Connor is replaced by a justice in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas, as President Bush has suggested and right-wing leaders are demanding, the consequences would be disastrous for many of the legal and social justice victories achieved over recent decades. And if new justices cement a Court majority for a backward-looking 19th Century view of the Constitution, future legislation protecting individual rights or the common good could be struck down as unconstitutional.
Many Supreme Court decisions upholding important constitutional principles such as privacy or equality under the law have been decided with only one or two vote majorities, almost always with O’Connor as the crucial vote. New appointees who share the judicial philosophies of Scalia and Thomas could overturn numerous Supreme Court rulings that enjoy broad popular support, including cases affirming the right to privacy, allowing affirmative action in higher education, protecting the rights under state law of individuals who are members of HMOs, and upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to take action to reduce air pollution when a state fails to act. In fact, People For the American Way Foundation’s recently updated Courting Disaster report documents that a Court majority sharing the Scalia and Thomas judicial philosophies could overturn more than 100 Supreme Court precedents. (
This does not have to be – and should not be – a conversation only of, by and for lawyers. Questions that should be at the core of any confirmation process reach many Americans’ daily lives and personal concerns: Will the courts abandon their role in preserving Americans’ right to privacy and strip women of the constitutional right to make their own family planning and reproductive choices? Will Congress lose the power to protect Americans’ civil rights from abuses by state governments and others? Will state universities be prohibited from engaging in affirmative action to promote racial diversity? Will corporations gain excessive political and economic power? Will the Supreme Court further undermine the federal government’s ability to safeguard the air we breathe and the water we drink?
The following information, excerpted from People For the American Way Foundation’s Courting Disaster, provides a brief summary of the ways in which a Supreme Court dominated by justices who share the judicial philosophies of Scalia and Thomas would alter the Court, and the Constitution.With the Court so closely divided on important constitutional issues, even one or two new far-right justice would be very damaging. Three or four who share Scalia’s and Thomas’ extreme views would spell disaster. During the past half-century, the Supreme Court protected individual rights and liberties in many critical areas. A few examples demonstrate the scope of the Court’s impact:
it struck down many practices related to elections and the political process that denied minorities the right to full, equal participation in our democracy;
it held that the Constitution protects Americans’ privacy, that women have a fundamental right to a safe, legal abortion, and that governments cannot criminalize adults’ private consensual sexual behavior;
it struck down the pernicious de jure racial segregation in our nation’s public schools;
it protected government employees from being fired or demoted for their political party affiliation.

A Scalia-Thomas majority would not only reverse more than seven decades of Supreme Court legal precedents, but could also return us to a situation America faced in the first third of the 20th Century, when progressive legislation, like child labor laws, was adopted by Congress and signed by the President, but repeatedly rejected on constitutional grounds by the Supreme Court.
A shift of one or two votes would reverse Roe v. Wade’s guarantee of reproductive freedom and the right to privacy. But that would just be the beginning. Among those rights that could be drastically redefined if just one or two hard-right justices join the Court are:
Privacy Rights:
Reversal of Lawrence v. Texas (2003) would authorize criminal prosecution of private sexual conduct by consenting adults. And reversal of Ferguson v. Charleston (2001) would allow hospitals to test pregnant women without their knowledge or consent for suspected drug use and give the results to police.
Civil Rights and Discrimination:
Reversal of Jackson v. Birmingham Bd. of Educ. (2005) would allow retaliation against those who complain about illegal sex discrimination in education. Reversal of Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) would forbid affirmative action by state universities. Reversal of J.E.B. v. Alabama (1994) would allow sex discrimination in jury selection.
Reversal of Olmstead v. L.C. (1999) would mean that improper and unnecessary institutionalization of disabled persons would no longer be considered a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
Church - State Separation:
Reversal of Lee v. Weisman (1992) and Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe (2000) would eliminate true government neutrality toward religion and authorize government-sponsored prayer at graduation and other public school events.
Workers’ Rights and Consumer Protection:
Reversal of Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois (1990) would allow government employees to be fired for belonging to the “wrong” political party. And reversal of Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran (2002) would invalidate important state laws protecting HMO patients’ rights in more than 40 states.
Environmental Protection:
Reversal of Alaska Department of Conservation v. EPA (2004) would strip the EPA of the authority to prevent damaging air pollution by industries when state agencies improperly fail to do so.
Campaign Finance Reform:
Reversal of the part of the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo ruling that the far right opposes would invalidate limits on individual campaign contributions. And reversal of McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003) would invalidate most of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, including its ban on political parties’ use of unlimited soft money contributions.

A Supreme Court with additional justices who do not meet consensus standards could radically rewrite our nation’s fundamental definitions of justice. This disturbing truth should figure prominently in any public debate over the courts and should give mainstream Americans of both parties reason to pause before accepting any nominee to the nation’s highest court who is not committed to upholding basic rights and legal protections that Americans cherish.
People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation have published more than 100 reports on judicial issues and nominees, including a number of potential Supreme Court nominees.
For a recent in-depth memo on the constitutional requirement, precedents, and public support for President Bush choosing a consensus nominee rather than a political confrontation, see
For PFAW Foundation’s 2005 Courting Disaster report,


Tori: Didn't you get the memo? It doesn't matter. That's what I'm seeing as I go around to some sites on the left that whine about how O'Connor's step down is sucking the air out of this story or that. There's movie reviews, there's whining on other topics, but God forbid we give attention to a "side issue." And God forbid they expect my web traffic again after treating me and my concerns as second class and unworthy. This news that Bully Boy will be replacing O'Connor truly frightens the hell out of me. I'm sure males in this community will get that and be frightened because it will effect more than the issue of choice. But there are sites that are now on my sh*t list because this isn't "news" to them. They'll be all over the next departure, wait and see. But since O'Connor's taking with her any hope of privacy rights (which includes the rights for gays and lesbians) this is a "side issue." Fine, then make mine a to go order and I'll take my traffic to sites that don't expect me to order from a window while all the males, and women who'll keep their mouths shut, are allowed to sit at any table. Dismissals of this topic as news tell me all I need to know about who is with me on this battle and who's holding the knife they're about ram in my back.

???: At Big Brass Blog, Pam's had some posts that really spoke me today. I won't pick out one because there are so many. She gets how scary this is and she's hollering at the top of her lungs.
Why are so many silent on this?

Note: This is Fourth of July weekend, a lot of people are probably not posting. If someone's posting, as Tori notes in her comments, and they're not addressing this, I guess we'll read this as they don't give a damn. As for whether or not it's news, Supreme Court Justice is a lifetime appointment. If they've ever blogged on the Court -- a decision, a comment made by a judge -- then I have no idea why they aren't blogging on this. But if they're not blogging or if their posts went up early, you're probably dealing more with the fact that it's a holiday weekend and people were out the door before the news hit. They may also have gotten pulled into a meeting on this topic. (As did I which is one reason this post has been delayed. My apologies. The other reason is due to the large number of e-mails on this.)

Lloyd: Good news of the day comes via Atrios:

CNN just flashed up poll results regarding Roe. 65% want a justice who would uphold Roe. 47% of Republicans want a justice who would uphold Roe (verus 46% who want one who would overturn it).

Billie: I'm noting a lot of silence on this or a lot of a half-assed b.s. of I'll devote a paragraph to this just to get those feminists off my back. And I'm not just talking about men who are doing half-assed jobs. I guess George Lakoff hasn't "framed" the issue for them yet. The mantra must be "What Would Lakoff say?" Which brings me to what spoke to me. Thank you for the Third Estate Sunday Review's piece. I want to note one section and then another article that came out this month because they're on the same wavelength:

Karla has a story, every woman that chooses to have an abortion does. As "moderates" in the Democratic Party launch yet another attack on women's rights, people need to remember that reproductive rights are a battle we already fought and won. These men (and it's usually men) in the Democratic Party who want to "back off" from this issue have never faced a decision like Karla or any woman had to make. It's a privacy issue and whether a woman has been raped or not, she doesn't owe it to anyone to explain her decision to a judge, a Congressman or anyone.It's her body, it's her choice and she should be allow to make it.
Instead of caving yet again, "moderates" should try to find enough of a spine to endorse a position that more than half of America supports. We're not sure whether they find it personally distasteful or if it's just another case of some poll showed them they might be able to persuade a few religious freaks to vote for them. It doesn't matter. The battle for reproductive rights was a long one and we won. And if moderates think they're going to take that right away or move away from supporting it, we can draw the battle lines all over again.
Reproductive rights are not "on the table." The party needs to realize that and find it's spine.

Billie (con't): The second thing was Katha Pollitt's "If the Frame Fits...:"

In the wake of the 2004 election, Democrats have embarked on an orgy of what the linguist George Lakoff calls "reframing"--repositioning their policies linguistically to give them mass moral appeal. Prime candidate for a values makeover? Abortion, of course. It's as if the party, with its longstanding, if lukewarm, support for reproductive rights, were a family photo with Uncle Lou the molester right in the middle. Maybe if we cropped it to put him way off to the side? Or Photoshopped a big shadow onto his face? Or just decided to pretend he was nice Uncle Max? In "The Foreign Language of Choice," posted on AlterNet, Lakoff writes that he doesn't like "choice"--too consumerist. In fact, he doesn't even like "abortion"--too negative. He wants to "reparse" abortion in four ways. Dems should talk about it as an aspect of personal freedom from government interference, and as the regrettable outcome of right-wing opposition to sex ed and contraception. They should reclaim "life" by talking about the fact that "the United States has the highest rate of infant mortality in the industrialized world," thanks to poverty and lack of healthcare, which are the fault of conservatives, "who have been killing babies--real babies...[who] have been born and who people want and love" and damaging their health through anti-environmental policies that put toxins in mother's milk. Finally, they should talk about the thousands of women each year who become pregnant from rape: "Should the federal government force a woman to bear the child of her rapist?"
George Lakoff is really smart and eager to help, so why does this way of talking about "medical operations to end a pregnancy" make me want to reparse myself to a desert island? Is it the sly reference to rape victims coerced by the "federal government," object of much red-state loathing, when surely he knows that the relevant policies--on giving out emergency contraception in ERs for example, or using Medicaid funds for abortions--are set at the state level, like most abortion laws? Is it the singling out of rape victims as uniquely deserving, which tacitly accepts the conservative "frame" of abortion as a way for sluts to evade the wages of sin? In fact, most American voters who favor abortion restrictions already make an exception for rape. The ones who don't--the 11 percent who would ban abortion completely--have already framed it to their satisfaction: Yes, the government should force rape victims to carry to term because the "child" should not be murdered for its father's crime.

I had no idea that Lakoff was involved in the "framing of abortion." It figures. Lakoff "is really smart" but the idea that he's going to speak to all is doubtful and members have raised this issue from the beginning which is why we've dealt with it (and the framing craze) from the beginning.
Racial and sexual minorities have not felt welcomed by the framing. Women have not felt welcomed by the framing. Straight talkers have not felt weclomed by the framing. The list is endless and it continues to be a topic each week in e-mails. So my hunch is Lakoff can speak to and for a certain white, straight, upper-middle class, standard to Norman Rockwell-ish childhood, male. The idea that any one person can speak for all of us is insane. The idea (and Rebecca's noted this as well) goes against marketing among other things. But Lakoff's become a flavor of the month for many months. It's really easy to whine about "the message" instead of dealing with the realities of a crumbling party infrastructure, a presidential campaign that ignored many issues, sell outs who make it hard for people to see a difference in either of the two major parites . . . Instead of dealing with reality, it's real easy to deal with "the message."

Framing wasn't discovered by Lakoff. (Nor was the notion that abortion is a privacy right -- again, Sarah Weddington argued that in Roe v. Wade.) It's always existed. And it's largely existed in the negative to play gatekeeper. "This isn't important!" "That isn't news!" Journalists have "framed" for years. In addition anyone offering an opinion or even writing a history book is framing by what they include and what they don't. The press refers to it as the "angle."

Lakoff's attempted to get the Democratic Party to think about how they speak and that's a good thing. But for all the hop on the framing bandwagon, we haven't seen it used effectively by our elected officials in anything that gives me hope. What we've seen is straight talk from a Barbara Boxer or a John Conyers be embraced by warmly (by grassroots Democrats as well as by third party members).

I haven't read Lakoff's writing (ever) and have no interest in doing so. It's Reinventing Government all over again where we're presented with two choices this or that and "this" will save us! He seems intelligent in interviews but he often misses the point and if he's prompted the "abortion is a 'side issue'" concept that so many have lept on, there's no reason community members have had no use for his advice from day one. Fifteen years from now, people will look back at this decade's hula hoop the same way they look back at Reinventing Government and wonder why they got so caught up in all the excitement. (My opinion.)

Jim: We've hit a record for number of e-mails in our account. I grabbed Ava's day to help her out so there wouldn't be many personal responses even if we hadn't topped over 500. But "for the record," I want something cleared up. C.I. participated in that story. I went through our first note to the readers and see it's not even noted there. Here's the story:
C.I. came to speak to a group I belong to. During the talk, I was thinking, "Sounds just like C.I."
After the talk, I made breezy conversation and then said, "You're C.I.!" The shocked look gave the answer. Dona, Ty and Jess and I had been thinking of doing a blog for some time. We were early members of the community and remain members. We had C.I. there and were just piling on the questions. Dona made the point that now was the time to quit talking and do the site because we could actually have input from C.I. that weekend. Which is what we did. Jess mentioned that Dona's roommate and fellow journalism major Ava should be brought on board.
Ava was very shy and we had no interest she'd be interested, but she was. So we all got together and turned out that first issue. Ava knew "Karla." I scared "Karla" off with big talk of how important her story was and how much it could help others. C.I. and Ava repaired that. (I've learned to hold back on the enthusiasm now that I know it can scare people off.) During the interview, we all participated and during the writing of the article we all participated. So "for the record," C.I. was a part of that article and a part of every article in that first edition. The TV review is the perfect example. We hated Joey (and still do). C.I. and Ava were making jokes about the show. We were eager to rip the show apart, Dona, Ty, Jess and myself, because it was so much nonsense. But that's where Ava and C.I. paired up as writing partners and started their feminist critiques of TV that we gladly offer each week. Back then, we'd nod along with some observation they made, usually funny, about the sexism of the a but that was the first thing we struck from the review. Why? We didn't realize what we had going. When later on, in another review, we struck a point of Ava's that was really important to her, C.I. argued for it to be put back in (it was) and that's when they really ran the TV reviews. The reaction from readers demonstrated something we hadn't grasped yet, Ava and C.I. know what they're doing and they're speaking with a unique voice. When we finally grasped the obvious, we bowed out to let them do what they do so well. This is "for the record" and I expect it all to be noted, C.I. I'll also add that we will be addressing the topic of abortion at The Third Estate Sunday Review. As usual, we've got ideas but nothing on paper. A lot of that comes from the fact that we're completely thrown by the news of today. We were prepared for Bully Boy to replace a right wing zealot. We had no idea he'd first get a crack at replacing a swing vote on the Court. These are scary times and they just got scarier. But to everyone writing in with so many complimentary things about our article, be sure to thank C.I. as well.

Wally: You think it ain't getting any worse then you hear today's news. I'll note that there's a petition at and that the idea of a right wing zealot turning us back to the Dark Ages just destroyed my weekend.

Brandon: Want another reason why Jude should be on Air America? I heard repeat after repeat today. Is this a "news network" or the Comedy Channel? They pulled this crap at Christmas today and the point was made then that they needed to bring on guest hosts and not march off on holiday. They blew today away when people needed more than Al Franken's lame jokes in repeats. When you posted the announcement, where did you get the information? From The Diane Rehm Show which was what? Live. Diane Rehm can still go in after all this time and do a show. Pampered souls of Air America apparently need Fridays (and additional days because it's been repeat city for most of the week) off to celebrate Monday's Fourth of July. They want listeners to make them the first stop and have impact and influence the debate. You don't do that by broadcasting dead air and that's what it is when you're running old repeats. Comedy Central was too generous so strike that, they're TV Land. Next time everyone puts in requests for holiday leave, Air America needs to line up guest hosts. They can start with Jude. Tonight's Majority Report could have been Bill Scher and Jude sitting in for Sam and Janeane. It would have been informative and it would have allowed the issues of the day to be addressed. I don't begrudge anyone time off. I do fault the network for thinking that when we've just learned Bully Boy just got a crack at a lifetime appointment, politically interested Americans are dying to hear repeats served up hour after hour. The message from the network seems to be "We're here to fight! Right after we get back from vacation!" "From the network."
People deserve time off. The audience, however, does not deserve nonstop repeats on a day when major news is breaking. Line up substitute hosts.

Susan: What is there to say about today's news except "Get ready for the fight of our lives!"?
I've gone from depressed to hopeful and back again. This has been one of the most stressful days of my life thus far this year. I couldn't even turn on the radio or put on some music. I just wanted to be surrounded by a calming, reassuring quiet.

Gina: Christine did post the poll story you excerpted, "The Polls Speak: Americans Support Abortion." Thank you for noting it before it was online because there will be talk of "Oh, we need to step away from abortion" all over again. If I can do a plug, Krista and I are working on a special edition round-robin with activism ideas and resources. So for members who get the round-robin, we hope to have that out Saturday afternoon at the latest. We've drafted Eli, Rebecca, Kat, Ruth, Keesha and Wally to help us with that. And we're all about to be on conference call. Rebecca had a great point this week about asking yourself what you could do and then doing it. However small you might think it is, do it. It will have some impact on others and it will free you to think of other actions you can take.

Ethan: A voice that really speaks to me is Ruth. And though she hasn't weighed in on this, I want to thank her because I've been off the last two days and just puttering around the house, painting the trim, mowing the yard and really laying back. (I haven't clicked on one link offered here in the last two days to show you how lazy I've been.) But her entry this morning made me think, "I really should listen to The Diane Rehm Show today." I took the portable radio out to the backyard this morning to listen while I was raking and when Diane Rehm said what the Associated Press was reporting, I couldn't believe it. I guess I was shocked because I kept raking and shaking my head. Then she brought it up again saying it was confirmed and I still couldn't believe it. I came inside and my wife asked if I was okay thinking I looked so out of it because of the heat. I told her it was bad news on the radio but wouldn't say what because I wanted to believe I'd heard it wrong. I'm at the computer and she's asking what was the news?
So I tell her. And am headed to yahoo. She says, "Go to C.I." and sure enough there was the announcement. We're pulling from the midday entry to make our own list of resources to hand out at our cookout. I guess we're doing what everyone is doing and just trying to make sure people get what is at stake. My wife said she felt like the start of The Pelican Brief when they hear the judge has died. We just can't believe it. But let Ruth know that I was listening to Diane Rehm because of her head ups and to keep on posting because her voice speaks to me.

Demetreka: Hands off my body! That's all I've got to say the Bully Boy and any bullsh*t nominee he wants to propose.

Julia: I've known Roe v. Wade hung by one vote for sometime. I've voted accordingly and donated accordingly. So it's not like the news this morning was completely unexpected. So why do I feel so ill prepared? I've never felt less safe in my own country.

Marci: I was at the sink washing glasses for the party this weekend and half listening to Diane [Rehm] while thinking about: who was coming, who would fail to show at the last minute, who would bring along guests without a heads up . . . What did Diane just say? I turned off the water and walked into the living room thinking either I heard it wrong or Diane got her judges mixed up and would quickly correct herself. I had heard it. Diane wasn't wrong. And at some point, I broke my coffee table. I don't even remember that. I just remember yelling at the top of my lungs. When I stopped yelling, besides being embarrassed, I saw the coffee table was broken.
I'm not a violent person. I am not proud of my reaction. But that was my reaction.

Paula: My reaction? Pack everything up and get the hell out before the American Taliban close the borders.

Rachel: Thank Martha for the suggestion of posting the review of Simpleton Simpson and Lackadaisical Lachey. I needed that laugh damn bad. I've been a zombie today. On the phone I've been all "uh-huh" and "okay" and had no idea what anyone was saying. Friday morning, I start out thinking, "I'm off Monday! I'm off Monday!" and a few hours later the whole world crashes. I didn't emerge from my stupor until I started laughing. Now I'm ready to fight.

Annie: As someone who spoke out and, with many, many other women, fought the original battle for control of our own bodies, I can't believe the day we all feared is now here. I'm mad at O'Connor for retiring. I'm mad at John Kerry for not making abortion a campaign issue. I'm pretty well mad at the whole damn world right now. We didn't not fight and win this battle so that some pampered, prep school punk could come along and tell us he owned our bodies.

Denise: My reaction has been tears. I'll just start crying and won't even know I'm crying until the tears hit my cheeks. I feel like I'm grieving.

Kimberly: With me, you guess right. I was listening to Diane Rehm because of Ruth's heads up. I was at work and just staring into space. I had to go to my boss and say "Can I please go on break early." The worst thing about today's news for me was having to stay at work when I wanted to be home rounding up friends to figure out what we could do, what we should do.
I'm one of the members who is checking the site from work and I do appreciate that efforts are made to keep it work-place safe. I didn't see a word that would lead to a write up in the Third Estate Sunday Review article but I agree with you on that, if there was one, people would just have to deal with it.

Joey: My reaction today was to read the announcement right after it must have went up because no one at work knew anything about it. And my second reaction was, "What kind of morons do I work with?" Eight people asked me, "Who is Sandra Day O'Connor?" Of the eight, four of them then said, "Does it really matter?" after I explained who she was. I'm the youngest one in my office, 21, and there are all these jokes made about it. Or put downs like, "Well when you have a family . . ." or "When you're my age . . ." I can put up with that crap, I need the pay check. But I never realized what uninformed morons I worked with until today and if that sounds mean feeling so alone at work today, surrounded by supposedly educated people, wasn't exactly "welcoming."

Cedric: There's a big religious wing-nut at my job. She always says things at the office parties like, "Easter's not really about candies or a bunny, you do know about Jesus, don't you?" And she'll tell this interracial couple that she's prarying for them because they've gone against "God's teachings." Or she'll hand slip a "Pray for Our President" handout on your desk when you've stepped out of the office. This is who broke the news to me. She comes into my cubicle smiling so happy and all excited. I thought maybe that guy she's been engaged to for the last seven years had finally proposed and was feeling kind of happy about that because she "only works" because she's not married. And she'll tell anyone at work that. And tell women who are married that she's praying for them. Then she opens her big mouth and breaks the news about O'Connor. "Jesus is smiling on us again!" she get chirping. Then she adds that O'Connor's sick and God's given her that "gift" (illness) because she didn't live up to his teachings. I just started yelling, "Get out! Get out! Get out!" It's Jurrassic Park time now as we get shoved back to the Stone Age. They'll go after Roe v. Wade first, then they'll go after affirmative action, then they'll go after the gay and lesbians, just the whole check list. And if you're black, you better not think that there's anyone who's going to rush to save you. This is war on the American people and they just declared it.

Jill: How do I feel? Enraged, betrayed, and abused. If Democrats in the Senate don't filibuster each and every anti-choice nominee Bully Boy trots out, they can consider me gone to the Green Party. I don't care if we end up with an eight justice Court.

Note: We have had an eight justice Court and people should be aware of that now. Currently O'Connor states that she'll continue to serve until Bully Boy gets his pick. If she changes her mind, and there may be pressure put on her to change, you know that the talking point will be:
"There are only eight justices! We can't have that! What happens if there's a tie!"

If there's a tie, the lower courts ruling stands. I'll pull out my Constitutional Law text books this weekend but it was either the tail end of the sixties or the early seventies when a confirmation was not being made and the Supreme Court was hearing rulings with only eight judges sitting on it.

Mike: Disgutsted. And I guess all the moves to the "center" on abortion by our cowardly elected officials will make it that much hard for us to wage the battle that needs to be waged. Also, call Mike of Mikey Likes It! "Mike." I can go by Michael. It'll be less confusing.

(Will do. Thank you, Michael.)

Karen: The Green Party doesn't have anything up yet on O'Connor's retiring but their web site is and member may want to bookmark it because if Dick Durbin's cave is any indication, the Democrats will let their supporters down yet again. Check out the Green Party.

Tammy: Christine was a good site to steer people to. Via Christine, here's what inspired me the most today, Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal:

With Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation, President Bush could reverse 32 years of freedom and progress for women. Women who have the most to lose will be the strongest voice in the debate over this Supreme Court fight. This time, for once, we will not be ignored. Let there be no mistake about it, the feminist movement today is declaring a state of emergency to save the court for women's rights.
Twenty four years ago, as president of the National Organization for Women I testified for Sandra Day O'Connor before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I knew then that O'Connor, although a conservative voice, would be one who would not permit the elimination of women's fundamental rights, including the right to privacy. Indeed the National Organization for Women played a pivotal role in the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor – she was nominated in 1981 at the height of the Equal Rights Amendment campaign.
One of the reasons she was nominated is that NOW stood outside the White House with thousands of people demanding that President Reagan nominate a woman, and a woman who would not turn her back on the women of the nation. Even a very conservative President heard our voices. And we must make our voices so loud today another ultra conservative President will hear our voices.
We had then, and we have now, the power of the gender gap to save women's lives ... and we intend to use it. We will begin from this conference by a march Saturday, July 2nd to the Tennessee legislative capital so that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) will hear our voices.

Now for what Shirley's dubbed the "American Idol" vote. In a recent post on something that members weighed in on, I noted that a number had just e-mailed they supported it or they were against it. Shirley, rightly, pointed out that this "American Idol" vote is a vote. So here are the results of the 753 e-mails (that's the total plus however many are quoted above) on this topic (numercial breakdown):

28 need more time to figure out what they think or to sort it through.

8 members noted that while this is important, they don't think it should be the sole focus of this site for the weekend. (They may or may not be disappointed.)

3 members didn't not want it discussed further. (One of which noted that it was because the entire thing was too depressing.)

714 were upset by O'Connor's retirement and want this topic on the front burner.

Note that there are e-mails that have come in since this post was started. But it's taken several hours just to pull from the e-mails to get the quotes above. So it's first out of the gate. I've been up 23 hours straight now. (I'll do the post on the Times as soon as this goes up.) (Time on the post, time stamp, is put in place when it's begun, not when it's finished.) If I didn't offer a link that I should have to something above, my apologies. I'm really exhausted and flying on caffeine from diet sodas. I'll be working with The Third Estate Sunday Review tomorrow so posts here may be hit and run and spotty. But we'll continue to focus on this topic.

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Martha believes we all need a laugh today and, at her request, here's a TV review by Ava and myself

Martha e-mails that we're going to need a laugh tonight after the news today and recommends posting Ava and my review of the Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson TV "special."

Martha also notes Robert W. Stevenson and Linda Greenhouse's "O'Connor, First Woman on High Court, Resigns After 24 Years" which is available online at the New York Times. I haven't read it and will probably wait until tomorrow. Click the link if you're interested in reading it.

There will be a post on the Sunday Chat & Chews. There will be other items as well. But for those needing a laugh (I would've picked another TV review, myself, but we'll go with Martha's judgement), here's the review.

"TV: Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey Reporting for Two Hours of Self-Love"

Haven't the troops suffered enough? Sent into an illegal war by the Bully Boy, often victims of a back-door draft, reserves stationed full time in Iraq paid less because they are "part-time reserves" (aka "weekend warriors" -- that's been some long weekend), the wounded largely ignored when they return home, military familes losing benefits, the coffins hidden away while Bully Boy says they died for "liberty" . . . When will it end?

Not last Monday night when ABC decided to promote the upcoming release of Warner Bros.' Dukes of Hazzard by turning over two hours of prime time television to the dubious talents of Jessica Simpson and, famous for being married to her, Nick Lachey. The "event" was titled Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty so right away you knew it was going to be horrible and lacking in any sensitivity or perspective. In case you're missing it, let's underscore it. Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty. Two overly pampered airheads wanted to compare their miniscule contribution as a "tour of duty." Let's be really clear here, Bob Hope did multiple salutes to the military. He did countless version of The Bob Hope Vietnam Christmas Show (1965, 1966, 1971), he did Bob Hope's Overseas Christmas Tours: Around the World with the Troops -- 1941-1972. But he lacked either the vanity or the stupidy (or both) to pass his own efforts off as a "Tour of Duty."

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey apparently lack shame, as well as talent.

After the sense of perspetive/sacrifice died, the second casuality of the night was John Mellencamp's "R.O.C.K. in the USA." Previously a driving rock and roll salute to the pleasures of roots rock became, as sung by Simpson and Lachey, about as "gritty" as the Care Bears.

While name checking various sixties roots rock heroes, Nick Lachey, looking like a deer frozen in the headlights, stumbled past names such as Mitch Ryder until landing on "and don't forget James Brown" with a goofy smile plastered on his face suggesting that a light bulb had finally lit up.Simpson's been dubbed the dumb one of this pair but we'd have to call it an even draw.

As the "special" continued, the entertainment casualities continued to pile up, far too many to mention. (Maybe Nightline can do a special on that?) But among the more noteable fatalities would have to be Simpson's laughable attempt to cover Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking." While stamping across the stage and sticking out her nothing to brag about ass,Simpson managed to chirp each word correctly even while never demonstrating that she had the first inkling as to what the song was actually about. It was as though you were watching a five-year-old scuffle around in Mommy's high heels.

Which is puzzling when you consider another fatality -- "God Bless America." Who knew it was an ode to orgasms?

Watching little Jessie wet her lips and tousle her mane (as a person she makes a great little pony), we were left to wonder what that or heaving bossoms had to do with either God or a country. Simpson apparently learnt the song at Our Lady of Lap Dance.

Which isn't to suggest that Nick Lachey wasn't racheting up his own entertainment body count.

We'd suggest that you have to be truly ignorant of all music genres to attempt a rap in the midst of a country song. Determined to get some "kills" of his own, Lachey proceeded to do just that.

While wearing, it should be noted, what appeared to be more mascara than Kip Winger and Peter Frampton combined. Boy George would have told Nick the make up was "over done."

Equally jaw dropping was the realization that Lachey thought he was cribbing Elvis Presley's pelvis thrusts. If that's Nick's idea of a pelvic thrust, don't expect children in their near future.

Throughout he repeatedly name checked Simpson, never forgetting to mention that she was his wife. Not even the narrator of "Wedding Bell Blues" was so obsessed with marriage! But then it's apparently his only claim to fame so pushing it was in his best interest and reminded the the troops why he was on stage in the first place.

Interwoven between stage patter (really bad stage patter) and the occassional song, Lachey and Jessica would try to do things. One time Jessica Simpson attempted to practice shooting. She had to stop because the kick from the rifle was too much. Tour of Duty? Then Lachey wanted to look the doofus (or maybe he can't help that) and put on the special padding used to train attack dogs. Considering that Abu Ghraib is far from a distant memory, that might not have been such a wise choice.

However, it was hilarious to watch him walk around like a toddler. Another man, in the same suit, was able to move just fine. Tour of Duty?

The whole thing was beyond insulting. They trotted out Willie Nelson for a song but showed nothing to indicate that they were fans of his talent. Apparently, he was only on the special because, like Simpson, he's in the upcoming Dukes of Hazzard movie. Nelson, like Brian McKnight, can basically be said to have kept his head down and moved on quickly.

In one of the more manipulative moments, they surprised a soldier with the appearance of her husband. It would have been less manipulative if the camera hadn't kept cutting back to show the delighted looks of self-satisfaction on Lachey and Simpson's face. An actual moment was going on but God forbid, apparently, that we don't stop hyping Simpson and Lachey, even when they shouldn't be the focus.

Intercut between segments were "messages." Now you might think people watching would have enjoyed seeing their loved ones? You might think that some friends and families gathered around the TV would expect that these moments would allow those serving to send a message to them? You might think that but the "creative geniuses" in front of the cameras and behind them thought differently.

Instead you got the likes of Jennifer Garner and Ashton Kutcher uttering banal greetings into a camera. We find it really hard to believe that most troops were saying, "Did Ashton Kutcher just congratulate us! Man, that is awesome!" We also doubt that anyone watching from their living rooms was overly impressed with the generic comments from the likes of Garner and Kutcher.

The "creative geniuses" behind the camera included Alan Carter (director), Paul Flattery and Stephen Pouliot. Though some of you may not know the names, you need to learn them so that in the future when they flash on screen you'll know to either flip the channel or get the hell out of the living room. This trinity last teamed up for Nick & Jessica's Family Christmas. When you see those names, run, run for shelter and don't look back.

It takes tremendous vanity or stupidity to dub an "entertainment special" a "Tour of Duty." We're guessing it took equal parts stupidity and vanity on the part of of the couple front and center. Both continue to push themselves as "stars" when the reality is that Krista and Ryan qualify for that honor far more than Simpson and Lachey. Having achieved little but magazine covers fretting over the state of their business merger, er, marriage, we're guessing that the star system has so imploded that soon Kathie Lee Gifford will be spoken of with the sort of awe usually reserved for Meryl Streep.

Coming out of a third rate boy band that never really made it even when boy bands were all the rage, coming off a failed solo album and really bad TV guest spots, someone's decided that this basic cable reject (MTV's Newlyweds -- already cancelled) is a star. A reader once wrote that we were too mean about Lachey because he's trying to grow up, as he closes in on thirty-two, we think he should have had to stop "trying" a long time ago. He is the John Davidson of this decade with all that entails.

Jessica Simpson, we can't figure out. There have been plenty of big boobed starlets over the years. But they usually didn't suffer from short legs, knobby knees, eyes set too close together and a nonexistant ass. Or at least not all four. If you're wondering why we're appraising her physical appearance, it's because what else is there? She's not a singer in the sense that she moves people with her voice and she's not racked up a lot of hit singles unless you use the term "hit single" very, very loosely. She wants to be an actress and, with her voice, pursuing other avenues is strongly advised.

One person told us she was Ann-Margaret. That's simply not true. Margaret had (and has) talent. She also had an endearing personality that wasn't village idiot of the entertainment world. Another person told us she was the new Raquel Welch. While it took time for Welch to warm up and demonstrate that there was a brain and soul inside, there's no arguing that, from the start, she was beautiful. Unless the camera catches her at exactly the most flattering angle (3/4 face, shot from above), Simpson doesn't even qualify for pretty.

We feel she's a newly discovered species, the non-star star famous because a magazine cover tells you that she is. The ultimate sign of how non-reality based our nation has gotten. A possible argument for some new creationist "theory" of non-intelligent design.

Maybe the talk about the disappointment of Dukes of Hazzard is premature? But we're told she's laughable (not in the good way and supposedly her nose didn't film well), that females complained about the hairdos on Sean Williams Scott and Johnny Knoxville (they do look like dorks). People are saying the film will be lucky to do as well at the box office as the film version of Beverly Hillbillies.

We're sort of hoping the talk is wrong. Someone willing to do a "special" for the troops that highlights themselves and equates their "service" to a "Tour of Duty" knows no bounds. If Dukes of Hazzard flops, we're frightened to imagine what Simpson has planned next. She's like Pia Zadora with more desperation and stamina. The only thing worse than picturing what new harm she can inflict upon the nation is realizing that there's a good chance Nick Lachey will be at her side to assist.

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"Abortion: Why it matters still" (The Third Estate Sunday Review)

Stupid idiot that I so frequently am I forgot about a piece that may help put the battle that's about to rage in perspective.  I had all calls held and just checked my messages.  One's from Ava (whom I'm calling back as I type) and that reminded me of The Third Estate Sunday Review's article in their first issue.  I'm reprinting in full.  (If there's a language issue, we'll all have to live with it.)  And Ava's on the phone.  And says of course it can be reprinted in full.  Here it is.

"Abortion: Why it matters still"

Karla (not her real name) speaks softly as she explains the abortion she had two years ago, when she was 17.

"I couldn't not have one," she says slowly. "Adoption wasn't even a possibility. And, I mean, at some point, they can look you up and ask you to explain why."

What Karla would have had to explain was that she and the grown child had a lot in common, namely a father. Karla was sexually abused from the ages of 14 to 16 by her biological father.
Her mother knew. But for the "good of the family," she wasn't any help to Karla.

"The good of the family seemed to just mean so that no one knew what he was doing to me. My mother was supporting it, she was looking the other way."

Karla's father/abuser had been in sales and often traveled as part of his job. In 1999, he lost his job due to alcoholism.

"Suddenly, he was around all the time. And maybe he was drunk the first time he forced himself on me, I don't really remember because I try not to. He'd been drinking, because I do remember his breath. But if he was drunk or not, I can't really say. I try not to dwell on it unless I'm with my therapist because otherwise it just destroys me and I'm left in this state where I just want to curl up in a ball or I'll go in the closet and shut the door and spend the rest of the day in there."

After the first rape, Karla's father/attacker apologized and begged her not to tell anyone. He said he was depressed over losing his job and angry at the world. He'd had to sell their nice house and move to a suburb where things were cheaper while he 'looked for work." ("He was drunk by ten most mornings, he wasn't out looking for a job," Karla says.) In his mind that excused what had happened.

"It was probably a month to six weeks later, my mother had gone out of town with her church group. I don't know, they were speaking about the importance of family in some way. After it had happened, I made a point not to say anything. I felt sorry for him, probably. But I also felt like maybe it was my fault which I've learned is a fairly common reaction. I don't remember being worried that she was going to be gone that weekend. I may have believed him when he promised it would never happen again."

But it did. And the same apologies/justifications flowed from his mouth. And the third time was three weeks later.

"At some point, early on, I told her. And she called me a liar. I was crying and I said, 'I'm not lying. I need your help. Why won't you believe me?' She ran and got him. Drug him into the room. There's no way she couldn't see the guilty look on his face. He wouldn't even look at me or at her. But she said, 'Your daughter is lying about you. You two need to straighten this out.'
She grabbed her keys and left. Left me with the guy I had just told her was raping me. As soon as she was gone . . . He . . . he lost the guilty look. He just snapped and started screaming at me and slapping me and telling me I was ruining his life. My lip was bleeding and one of my eyes was swollen. I fell to the floor and he started kicking me and saying things like 'a prick tease like you had this coming!' While I was lying on the floor . . ."

For almost two years this went on. After a few months, her mother walked in on it.

"She screamed and yelled but mainly at me. The next day she said, 'I don't want to talk about it.' Instead, she'd greet me with things like 'You look trampy today' or 'You're not wearing any make up, don't you want to look pretty?' After a few months of that, she seemed to feel we now had some shared bond and started confessing that he'd cheated for years but at least now she knew where he was. All this time, I'd hoped that she would find out and put a stop to it. But when she found out, after she got done blaming me, she just decided it was no big deal."

In a new area, with no family other than her parents, Karla didn't feel she had any options. She also kept hoping her mother would start defending her. But that never happened.

"I think maybe it was losing the house and feeling that in moving, she was at risk of losing her friends. She always brought that up when I'd say, 'I can't go on like this.' 'Joanne will never understand!' she'd scream at me. That was a woman who was really big at her church."

Realizing her own mother had no intention of ever stopping the repeated rapes, Karla found herself trapped in the situation and the silence.

"You want to tell someone. But when your own mother first calls you a liar and then acts like it's no big deal but warns you'll bring shame to everyone including yourself, I don't know. I just . . .
I don't know."

Eight months after the rapes began, her father/attacker finally got a job.

"It was a big come down for him. He'd been one of the big shots in sales and now he was a night watchman. Things were actually a little better for me because, planning my day just right, I could leave for school before he got home and then, if I was really lucky, he'd sleep until thirty minutes before he had to leave for work. I think it was the adjustment to working nights but for three months I was able to avoid him except on Sundays when my mother was gone to the church. I remember begging to go with her a few times but she'd just say it would embarrass her."

A month away from turning 17, Karla discovered she was pregnant.

"I didn't know how, but I knew I was having an abortion. I knew I wasn't going to have his child. I was in the bathroom, looking at the test stick, and I knew I wasn't going to have his baby. I waited until my mother got home and got her out into the backyard and told her. All she could say was 'I never knew my parents!' because she was raised in orphanage. I said, 'No, you don't get it, I'm not having this baby. And you're crazy if you think I'd ever want this baby to know its father!' Then she started screaming this religious crap at me and I was thinking, 'Oh now, you want to get religion?'"

Karla thought about turning to a classmate she'd become friends with "but ____ isn't a suburb, no matter what they call it. It's a run down, depressed town. My friend might have offered emotional support but she and her parents wouldn't have had the money to help."

When she was 8, her father and his only sibling, a sister, had gotten into a huge fight.

"I remember we were going to go to an Easter egg hunt and I was wearing this white dress and white shoes and had a white ribbon in my hair and my aunt was taking pictures one moment and then in some screaming match with him."

That was the last time she saw her aunt.

"I started searching on the net at school trying to find her and for two weeks I was e-mailing anyone with her name and praying that she hadn't gotten married because if she had . . . Her name is a common name so I probably e-mailed close to fifty women. Finally I get an e-mail back from one woman saying that yes, she's my aunt. I just typed back, 'I have to talk to you.' I knew I couldn't talk to her at home and I knew I'd be blubbering and crying when I did talk to her. But the only thing I could think of was that there was a pay phone at the Subway. People were walking in and out the entire time I was on the phone and I'm sure that they either thought someone had died or I was some sort of nutcase."

Her aunt wasn't surprised. Karla's father/rapist had also raped his younger sister years before.

"She flew out the next day, pulled me out of school and took care of everything. Then she took me back with her and we didn't even speak to them until after. He made this big stink about how he was going to charge her with kidnapping and she told him to go to hell. Which is what my mother told me in the letter she wrote me shortly after. That I was going to hell for having an abortion. Apparently she'll be walking through the gates of heaven alongside him, but I'll be in hell. Yeah. I heard from a few classmates that I was a drug addict who was sent to live with my aunt because they couldn't continue living with my drug use. I was disruptive to their happy home. It wasn't enough that he raped me over and over and she allowed it to happen, they had to spread lies about me as well?"

In college, she's been able to open to a few friends ("but I don't say, the rapist was my father").
Some of them ask her if she ever regrets her decision.

"I don't regret it. I don't regret it. I don't regret it at all. I don't understand people who think they can't take away anyone's option. I lived in a state with a parental notification law. I don't believe in those. My rapist was my father. My mother allowed it to happen. I'm supposed to go before a judge and plead my case? My aunt never married, she has the same last name as me. For the abortion, she was my mother as far as anyone knew. I don't, I don't, I don't think any woman needs to have to plead her case in a situation like mine or in any case where she feels she needs to have an abortion. It's not anyone else's damn business. It's only in the last year that I can even use the word 'incest' with my therapist. For the longest time it was too much to even say 'I was raped by my father.' No woman should have to explain. Whether they were raped or not. But to think that a kid's going to be able to set up an appointment with a judge and go in and dredge up all of this crap, it's just, I don't know, it's just so unreal to me. I question the morality of people who pass these kind of laws."

Karla has a story, every woman that chooses to have an abortion does. As "moderates" in the Democratic Party launch yet another attack on women's rights, people need to remember that reproductive rights are a battle we already fought and won. These men (and it's usually men) in the Democratic Party who want to "back off" from this issue have never faced a decision like Karla or any woman had to make. It's a privacy issue and whether a woman has been raped or not, she doesn't owe it to anyone to explain her decision to a judge, a Congressman or anyone.
It's her body, it's her choice and she should be allow to make it.

Instead of caving yet again, "moderates" should try to find enough of a spine to endorse a position that more than half of America supports. We're not sure whether they find it personally distasteful or if it's just another case of some poll showed them they might be able to persuade a few religious freaks to vote for them. It doesn't matter. The battle for reproductive rights was a long one and we won. And if moderates think they're going to take that right away or move away from supporting it, we can draw the battle lines all over again.

Reproductive rights are not "on the table." The party needs to realize that and find it's spine.

Ava and Jess want to address this topic further this weekend so look for that at The Third Estate Sunday Review (and, disclosure, I'll be helping).
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Democracy Now! and Bob Somerby (as always) then we focus on O'Connor's resignation (reactions and what it means)

Democracy Now! ("always worth watching" as Marcia says)
From Headlines, Brenda e-mailed asking that this be highlighted:
Poll: 42% Back Impeaching Bush If He Lied Over Iraq
A new Zogby polls shows that 42 percent of voters believe Congress should impeach President Bush if it is found that he did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq. While Democrats disproportionately favored impeachment, the poll found twenty-five percent of Republicans would back the measure if it were determined that Bush lied about Iraq. Calls for impeachment have increased since the Sunday Times of London published what is now known as the Downing Street Memo. The memo from the summer of 2002 outlined the Bush administration's position on Iraq. It said that the invasion of Iraq was inevitable and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed."
Headlines for July 1, 2005

- Iraq Gov't: 8,200 Iraqis Killed Over Past Six Months
- Baghdad Mayor Threatens to Resign
- June: Deadliest Month This Year For U.S.
- Poll: 42% Back Impeaching Bush If He Lied Over Iraq
- 52 House Members Seek Downing Street Memo Documents
- Judge Orders Oversight Of Calif. Prison Healthcare System
- Alan Dershowitz Attempts to Quash Norman Finkelstein Book
NYPD Arrest 181 Black Men in Queens After Cop Shot in the Leg

A New York police officer was shot in the leg with his own gun while trying to arrest a man allegedly smoking marijuana. During the following three days, police mounted a massive dragnet in the community, arresting a total of 181 black men in Queens.**
Fired Wal-Mart Executive Sues After Blowing the Whistle on Factory Conditions in Central America

Wal-Mart executive James Lynn, was fired from the company, he says, after he blew the whistle on factory conditions in Central America. Lynn documented forced pregnancy tests, 24-hour work shifts, extreme heat, pat-down searches, locked exits and other labor law violations. He is now suing the retail giant. We speak with Lynn's attorney and a Wal-Mart spokesperson. [includes rush transcript - partial]
Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker's Rights at Wal-Mart

We speak with Liza Featherstone, author of "Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker's Rights at Wal-Mart" about a case representing 1.6 million women - past and present Wal Mart employees - who are charging the company with sex discrimination in pay, promotions and training at every corporation level.
Rep. Bernie Sanders: "CAFTA is a Disaster for the People of Central America and the USA"

As the Senate votes to approve the Central American Free Trade Agreement, we take a look at the controversial trade pact and how the Labor Department tried for a year to block the release of a government-funded study that criticized labor standards in Central America. We speak with Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Bama Athreya of the International Labor Rights Fund.
First American-Born Mad Cow Discovered in Texas

The U.S Department of Agriculture announced that the second case of mad cow disease was found in this country - but it marked the first time the cow was born and spent his entire life in the United States. We speak with John Stauber of PR Watch, author of "Mad Cow U.S.A.: Could the Nightmare Happen Here?"
We begin today with a case of a police dragnet in New York City. On June 14th, Officer Christopher Wiesneski of Queens was shot in the leg with his own gun while trying to arrest a man smoking marijuana. During the next three days, police mounted a massive dragnet in the community. A total of 181 black men in the Queens neighborhoods of Cambria Heights and Laurelton were arrested on misdemeanor charges and quality of life violations. Some who were were arrested report that they were grabbed by the cops, handcuffed and not given any explanations at the time of their arrests.

The police department and Mayor Bloomberg have remained silent on the matter despite calls from City Councilman Leroy Comrie, Queens Representative Gregory Meeks and Democratic Mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer to give an explanation for the cops behavior.

  • Marq Claxton, a retired New York Police detective and is member of the group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. Marq is spearheading the efforts to file a lawsuit against the NYPD.
    article by Juan Gonzalez.
From Juan Gonzalez's "Cops Shot and Blacks Targeted" (New York Daily News):

One of those arrested the first day was 20-year-old Hason Joseph, who is light-skinned, stands 5-feet-6 and weighs barely 100 pounds.

He was grabbed by plainclothes cops around 2:30 p.m. on 121st Ave. near Laurelton Parkway. Hason told me yesterday that he and three friends had gotten out of a car to talk to three other black youths when cops suddenly appeared from an unmarked car, drew their guns and handcuffed all of them.

"They wouldn't tell us why they were arresting us," said Russell McKee, 20, who had been in the car with Joseph. McKee is 6-feet-1, about 220 pounds and has a much darker complexion than Joseph. Then there's Donald Young, also 20, who is about an inch taller than McKee and heftier.

All said they were taken to the 105th Precinct, questioned about the shooting and then transferred to Queens Central Booking, where they finally learned the charge: disorderly conduct.

At The Daily Howler today, Bob Somerby's discussing a number of issues.  Among them are the overly made up, non-New York Times newspaper reporter who's written the trash-all on Hillary (he worked for the Sunday Magazine) and Howard Dean.  I'm sure he's making his usual strong critiques but my mind is elsewhere today (O'Connor's retirement) and so we'll note this section on fighting which is making universal points (Somerby's in the midst of discussing a column by E.J. Dionne):
To all appearances, it doesn't occur to liberals like Dionne to prescribe a tough Dem counter-attack. At THE HOWLER, we've been prescribing this back-talk for years. But high-minded liberals are still tone-deaf. They can only picture defensive remarks, in which "the attacker has won."

Why have New McCarthyites done so well in the hoaxing wars of the past several decades? In part, because they have a global message, and hapless Democrats still do not. The Pseudo-Conservative Noise Machine is driven by familiar complaints--against "the liberals" and their famed "liberal bias." Democrats need a global message from which they can frame a truthful rebuttal. We'd suggest a counter-attack which has the advantage of being true: They just keep trying to play you for fools--as powerful interests have always done, all through human history.

It still doesn't seem to occur to Dionne to prescribe an aggressive Dem counter-attack. It's true: McCarthyites will win the day when the victim goes "on the defensive." But alas! It still doesn't occur to the lib/Dem elites to take a more lusty approach to this problem. Dems need to frame a concise winning message, then punch hoaxers right in the nose.

For me the above advice makes me think of the ones (discussed a few weeks back) who'd just stumbled upon the term "privacy right" (some seemed to even think that they'd invented it) and launched into an attack on feminists for all that they felt was wrong with the left.  And sadly, these attacks were coming from the so-called left.  They urged you to drop "pro-choice" because they'd determined (with their ESP polling apparently -- note Ms. excert later in this post) that the term was a 'loser.'  Their tactics were cowardly, if they were genuine.  If they weren't genuine, they were attempting to play you for a fool (see, Somerby's advice is universal) as they attempted to push the party to the right.
Don't get played.  With that in mind, let's focus on the O'Connor retirement.  Christine now has two posts up at Ms. Musing.  Excuse me, three. 
From Christine's first post (noting the announcement):

Here's a brief overview of how O'Connor voted.

This morning I listened to Nina Totenberg's report on the recent Supreme Court decisions. It was observed that the current crop of justices have served together so long -- there hasn't been an opening on the Court in 11 years -- that they're like an "old married couple." There have been few shocking decisions as of late, though justices who you'd least expect to break ranks have sometimes surprised Supreme Court experts. It's a good, if now already dated, analysis.

More to come later today. In the meantime, make sure to read Ms.' report on what's at stake in the battle over the Supreme Court and Ellen Chesler's excellent analysis of the rights women stand to lose -- potentially even access to contraceptions -- if another conservative justice is appointed.

From Christine's second post ("The Token Speech"):
 "Under the Constitution I am responsible to nominate a successor to Justice O'Connor. I take this responsibility seriously. I will be deliberate and throrough in this process," Bush said.

I heard: Whoo-Hoo!!

Bush added he was seeking "potential nominees who have a high standard of legal ability, judgement and integrity and who will faithfully interpret the Constituional laws of this country."

I heard: "Faithfully!" Did you hear that Christian Right? I got "faith" in there!

Bush added that the nation deserves a dignified process, completed in "a timely manner." He expects that his nominee will be confirmed prior to the next Supreme Court term.

I heard: Oh, if I could just make a recess appointment on this one ...
In Christine's third post she steers us to an article in the current issue of Ms.:
In the wake of Justice O'Connor's retirement announcement, Ms. is posting all stories from the Summer Issue Urgent Report on the battle for the Supreme Court. The intro and Ellen Chesler's "Public Triumphs, Private Rights" -- a look at the link between access to abortion and access to birth control -- are already online.

Now up: "Five Rights Women Could Lose" under an ultraconservative Supreme Court. These points have been adapted from the National Partnership for Women & Families.

If this is up yet, I'm not seeing it (which isn't a surprise, I'm honestly shocked by today's news).  Page 37 of the current issue of Ms. is where Celinda Lake's "The Polls Speak: Americans Support Abortion" is worth noting considering the "helpful" ones who think they discovered the term "privacy right."  Working with multiple polls, Lake demonstrates that contrary to the "helpfuls" 'wisdom' the pro-choice position is not a minority position.  From page 39, we'll excerpt this:

The abortion issue did not determine the outcome of the 2004 presidential election -- but perhaps it could in a future contest.  In the months since November 2004, a host of commentators insisted that abortion had a negative impact on the election; some even blamed Democratic candidate John Kerry's loss on his support for abortion rights.  However data collected by Lake Snell Perry & Associates for the nonpartisan network Votes for Women 2004 shows that the election issues about which voters most cared were the economy (23 percent), national security and terrorism (19 percent), and the war in Iraq (13 percent).  When voters were asked what made them decide their presidential choice, only 2 percent volunteered the issue of abortion.  Among Kerry voters, less than 1 percent offered this as an issue.  Among Bush voters, only 2 percent said abortion determined their vote for president.

But actual votes for the two presidential candidates divided clearly -- and evenly -- along the line of abortion-rights ideology:  Voters who felt abortion should be "always legal" voted 73 percent for Kerry, while self-defined pro-lifers voters voted 77 percent for George W. Bush.  Perhaps if choice had played a more visible role in the presidential campaign, John Kerry would have fared better.  In fact, choice may have played a role in generating a record number of unmarried-woman voters, who surged in turnout -- 7.5 million more than in 2000 -- with 62 percent of them casting their votes for Kerry.

We'll now note NOW which already has an action alert up:


Save the Court ... Save Women's Lives!
Contact Your Senators About the Supreme Court

Women's lives are at stake. Tell your Senators to oppose any Supreme Court nominee who would threaten women's rights and civil liberties.

With the resignation of Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, George W. Bush will have the opportunity to replace a justice who has often made the difference in the preservation of essential rights. With a fragile 5-to-4 split in the Court on issues like abortion and affirmative action, we must fight for the appointment of a justice who will uphold and protect our hard-won Constitutional rights. Urge your Senator to oppose any Supreme Court nominee who would overturn Roe v. Wade and limit the economic and reproductive rights of girls and women in the U.S.
Utilize the link to take action.
NOW and Ms. (which includes Ms. Musing) are on this.  I'm sure Emily's List will post something presently.  NARAL has already noted:
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retirement gives President Bush and the radical right the chance they've been waiting for to overturn Roe v. Wade. They're pulling out all the stops to push through President Bush’s anti-choice judicial nominees to the Supreme Court. We cannot let it happen.
Visit NARAL to take action.
Now we'll note Jude, of Iddybud, for her comments on today's news:
A storm is brewing over Washington, D.C.

John Dean warned us about what we see beginning today. George W. Bush has pulled no punches. He has been politically overt about hoping that Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Last September, John Dean had made the argument that the retirement of Supreme Court justices and the expected battles over the confirmation of their replacements should have been more more openly debated during the last campaign. Giving John Kerry the benefit of the doubt, he said that perhaps Kerry saw a danger in "playing politics with the judiciary."

Commenting that Democrats have lost their "bullying" talent, Dean commented that the Republicans, had they lost the 2000 election to a Supreme Court decision, would have "made the 2000 election the central focus of the 2004 election." Instead, Dean refleceted, the Democratic Party, "once a party of flame-throated cantankerous conservatives, no longer is very adept at the squeaky-wheel politics of incivility."
I'm assuming Jessica and the gang at Feministing have some to the point, no nonsense posts up (I can't access the web site, apparently there's too much traffic) so check out Feministing.
We'll note Bill Scher's entry in full from Liberal Oasis (apologies to Scher):
Sandra Day O'Connor is stepping down.

This is will be an even more brutal fight than a Rehnquist retirement because O'Connor is a swing vote, and replacing her with a right-winger shifts the ideological balance of the court.

Short of actual war, this will be as brutal as it gets.

Please re-read LiberalOasis' April 19th post "Putting On Your Game Face For The Supreme Court Showdown," and get ready.


Next we'll note Planned Parenthood which is also now apparently getting heavy traffic.  On the home page they have three things regarding what this means for the future but I'm not having any luck accessing them. 

Okay, one's popped up.  (I'm using mulitple screens, always.)  From "O'Connor Resignation Creates Ominious Court Vacancy:"

The retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor dramatically changes the court's composition by removing a crucial moderate voice that has often been at the heart of protecting women's health and rights. With the stakes high, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation's leading reproductive health care advocate and provider, is marshalling its grassroots activists and lobbying presence in all 50 states to sound a call to arms in defense of reproductive rights. These grassroots activists will stage events nationwide to draw attention to the critical significance of this court vacancy.

"The resignation of Justice O'Connor creates a devastating and dangerous moment for reproductive health care and women's rights," said PPFA Interim President Karen Pearl. "Her departure places women's health at risk, endangering the future of reproductive rights in this nation. With so much at stake, Planned Parenthood will be on the frontlines of the Supreme Court battles to ensure women's health is protected."

The Supreme Court's recent decision to hear Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood spotlights the urgency of the threat to reproductive freedom. This high-stakes case could undermine both the primacy of a woman's health as a limitation on states' zeal to curb access to abortion, and the ability of organizations like Planned Parenthood to challenge those restrictions on access. Only five years ago, Justice O'Connor was critical to maintaining access to abortion in the 5-4 decision issued in Stenberg v. Carhart. When the court hears Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood later this year, the outcome with a new Justice could drastically affect women's health and safety.

"Nothing will have a greater impact on protecting the health and safety of women than appointments to the Supreme Court," said Pearl. "Planned Parenthood, as the largest provider of reproductive health care in this country, knows this firsthand. Our own case Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, to be heard later this year, will determine whether the high court and the nation feel that the health and safety of women are worth preserving.

"A lifetime appointment requires a confirmation process that is nothing less than thoughtful, intelligent, and fully deliberated," said Pearl. "Americans deserve Supreme Court Justices who they know will protect their health and safety."


Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation's largest and most trusted voluntary reproductive health organization. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child — and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 850 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year.


The above is a press release so we're noting it in full. 


These are not the only resources or commentaries.  Find something you like and e-mail it.  We can stay on this topic all weekend (and then some).  We are a strongly pro-choice community (not just me but the members).  So your favorite site or blog or organization has something on this that you want noted, e-mail it so we can share it with the community.  Continuing to check Ms. Musing throughout the day, I'm sure Christine will have a few more posts on this.  And let me offer a thank you to Christine because it is a holiday weekend and she's managed to get three posts up on what she probably was assuming would be an easy-I'll-go-in-it'll-be-a-slow-day.  Great job on the part of Ms. Musing.  And Jude and everyone noted above and I'm sure there are others worthy of noting as well, so share with the community who spoke to you today.

Elaine's asked what my reaction has been.  If you've had a reaction, weigh in on that via e-mail as well.  I've been in shock.  When I heard the news on The Diane Rehm Show my hands were shaking as I typed the entry right before this.  I don't have words for this, just one long howl/scream.  I've shared, it's your turn.

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