Reclaiming the Means of Reproduction

Lilith Magazine asked me to review Michelle Goldberg’s The Means of Reproduction. The book waspublished earlier this year and at first I thought this review would be a bit dated. As it turns out, given the health reform debate in which women’s reproductive health is once again the battering ram for Republicans who want to kill reform and controversial fodder for the pundits, the subject matter couldn’t be more timely. In particular, Goldberg’s discussion of the damage done globally to women’s health by the Helms amendment shouts the warning about what might well happen in the U.S. if the Stupak-Pitts amendment prevails.

Michelle Goldberg’s captivating book, The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World (Penguin Press, 2009) is perfectly timed to remind those who came of age post-Roe v Wade and might think they can relax under an Obama administration, just how much work is left to do. An investigative journalist and author previously of Kingdom Coming: the Rise of Christian Nationalism, Goldberg has imbued this long-running story with fresh power by telling it in her young feminist voice.

The Means of Reproduction is a sweeping history of U.S. foreign policy on international family planning that spans four continents and the covers issues such as birth control, abortion, HIV/AIDS, their intersections with environmental concerns and economic development, and the gender politics of all, while staying in intimate touch with how America’s policies affect real women globally.

The story begins during the 1960’s cold war when Republicans like John D. Rockefeller and, yes, George H.W. “Rubbers” Bush led the charge to secure U.S. funding for international family planning, convinced that population pressures threatened national security. Then as now, family planning proponents met predictable adversaries. Goldberg writes, “There is one thing that unites cultural conservatives throughout the world, a critique that joins Protestant fundamentalism, Islamists, Hindu Nationalists, ultra-Orthodox Jews, and ultramontane Catholics. All view women’s equality and self-possession as unnatural, a violation of the established order. Yet in one society after another, we can see the absence of women’s rights creating existential dangers.”

Goldberg glosses over the central role played by Family Planning International Assistance (as Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s international division was then known) in scaling family planning services overseas, and their lonely, ultimately unsuccessful, battle against the Global Gag Rule which off and on since Ronald Reagan’s presidency, has proscribed U.S. funding of birth control services to organizations that provide or even discuss abortion. (President Obama removed the Gag Rule by executive order but underlying legislation remains.)

But more important, The Means of Reproduction argues persuasively in today’s vernacular how the absence of women’s human right to reproductive self-determination contributes to overpopulation, environmental disaster, unhealthy families, HIV/AIDS, and sex-ratio imbalances that threaten global stability.

During my 30 years in the leadership of Planned Parenthood, I met many of the characters Goldberg depicts, with all their strengths and faults.  And having joined the movement soon after the infamous Helms amendment banned U. S. foreign assistance for abortion or abortion-related services, I hope her recounting of the political damage and human carnage Sen. Helms’ law has wreaked will ignite a ringing call to rescind it.

Reproductive rights aren’t everything women need, but without them, women can’t determine anything else in their lives. After eight years of the George W. Bush Administration’s all-out war on women’s rights, Goldberg awakens a new generation to the imperative of undoing the damage and moving forward vigorously once again.

A Little Light Music: George Bush’s Presidential Library

My friend Malcolm Friedberg sent the following, and it was too good not to share. This post-election, mid-holiday season seems like a good moment for a little lightness and humor, some spoof, some all too accurate. Soon enough the Washington crucible will begin to work on Obama. But for now, enjoy W’s waning days and pass it on.

Subject: Presidential LibraryNew

The George W. Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning
stages and accepting donations. The Library will include:

o The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under
construction.

o The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won’t be able to
remember anything.

o The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don’t even have
to show up.

o The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don’t let you in.

o The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don’t let you out.

o The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been
able to find.

o The National Debt Room, which is huge and has no ceiling.

o The Tax Cut Room, with entry only to the wealthy.

o The Economy Room, which is in the toilet.

o The Iraq War Room. (After you complete your first visit, they
make you go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes
fifth visit.)

o The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location,
complete with shotgun gallery, without a first-aid kit.

o The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.

o The Supreme Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.

o The Airport Men’s Room, where you can meet some of your
favorite Republican Senators.

o The Decider Room, complete with dart board, magic 8-ball,
Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.
Note: The library will feature an electron microscope to help you
locate and view the President’s accomplishments.
The library will also include many Famous Quotes by George W.
Bush, including:

“The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.”

“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”

“Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a
mother and child.”

“No senior citizen should ever have to choose between
prescription drugs and medicine.”

“I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom
and democracy – but that could change.”

“One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor,
and that one word is ‘”to be prepared’.”

“Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.”.

“I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good
judgments in the future.”

“The future will be better tomorrow.”

“We’re going to have the best educated American people in the
world.”

“One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some
fantastic pictures.” (during an education photo-op)

“Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not
having it.”

“We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not
occur.”

“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the
impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”

“I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made.” ….George W.
Bush to Sam Donaldson.
PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY!

Sincerely,

Jack Abramoff, Co-Chair
G.W. Bush Library Board of Directors

Will the Long National Nightmare Be Over?

I early-voted in Arizona a couple of weeks ago. It was almost like praying. I spent a long time on the ballot, which was quite extensive–in Arizona as in many Western states there’s always a raft of ballot initiatives to consider, and judges though appointed initially must be retained in office by a vote of the people. I voted on every single one of the dozens of judges even though I knew little about most of them. I don’t think I ever relished filling out a ballot so much, and I was glad the early vote ballots are done by old fashioned pen and paper rather than voting machine. It’s a more tangible pleasure somehow to draw those arrows carefully with black ink to the candidate’s name.

A vote of the people. It really is a sacred thing.

This election is the opportunity to end the Bush era, possibly even to end the lockgrip the Republican right has had around the throats of us all for so long up and down the ticket–since 1980, really, when Ronald Reagan was swept into office on the promise of bringing good cheer and optimism to national leadership in contrast to Jimmy Carter’s depressing “malaise”.

The words of Gerald Ford keep ringing in my ears. When he took the oath of office after Richard “I’m no crook” Nixon resigned in 1974, he promised that “our long national nightmare is over.” And we all breathed a sigh of relief.

If Obama wins tonight, that’s how I and probably many of us will be tempted to feel once more. We will be tempted to breathe a sigh of relief and go back to our normal daily lives, checking our political interests at the door.

But elections aren’t over when they are over. In fact, the real work of governing will just be beginning tomorrow. If Americans keep their elevated interest in politics, and continue to participate–whether by telling the new president frequently what we expect of him, by finding a place for activism within a political party or on behalf of a candidate who was just elected, or involvement with an organization whose principles mesh with ours, or even deciding to run for office yourself, then not only can the long national nightmare end, but new dreams for a more just and fair America can, at last, once more begin.

Moose, Mousse, and Spalinism by Robin Morgan

Guest posting again! This was just too good not to share, especially with some folks who  have been commenting on Heartfeldt. recently. Award winning author of 21 books, and feminist leader Robin Morgan takes laser-beam aim at a few “feminists” who have taken to the blogways lately to support John McCain and Sarah Palin.

You might have noticed a recent media burp—gassy, though blissfully short—about a handful of faux “feminists” backing the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket. I won’t name these women out of concern that feeding their misplaced sense of self-importance may risk them bursting into shriveled balloon ribbons of overextended ego. If you’re addicted to surreal humor you can find such SP supporters (I call them Spalinists) via Google—if you lack an excuse to put off, say, cleaning the garbage pail, and if you can manage it without bladder-challenging fits of hilarity at the cognitive dissonance invoked by juxtaposing words like “feminism” and “Palin.”

But if any actual feminists are concerned about the effect on Women’s Movement institutions and energy of this clutch of “formers” (a former chapter official of a national feminist organization, a former editor of a feminist publication, former Democratic funders, former Hillary supporters, and so forth), let me reassure you. The “trust date” had already long expired on these women, who’d been voted off feminist leadership posts, or fired, or quietly asked to resign. Some are confessed consultants to the campaign whose candidates they now—surprise!—endorse. I never imagined I’d see a “feminist” mercenary. But then I never heard of rats climbing onto a sinking ship, either.

Spalinists traipse around with their candidate, grinning and applauding her, sometimes getting paraded out to take a bow at a rally. They sound off about how she’s the target of sexism. (She is. D’uh. But being a victim of misogyny does not necessarily a feminist make—or we’d never have had Liddy Dole. Or Britney Spears.)

Spalinists claim they support the GOP ticket (while conveniently ignoring McCain) because: A) Palin is secretly brilliant, B) she is a feminist who only differs with the Women’s Movement in opposing abortion; C) us “elitist” Women’s Movement types who supported HRC but disavow SP are “anti-working-class women,” and—here it comes—D) Spalinists want to “teach the Democratic Party not to take women for granted.”

Oh, as Joe the senator says, lord love ya.

A) Anyone who hazards arguing that Palin is brilliant is herselfmorethana few watts short of a bulb. Palin is calculating (you betcha’!), or McCain wouldn’t be hemorrhaging from her stab-him-when-he’s-down wounds as she hypes her 2012 campaign before his is formally pronounced dead. But any real intelligence remotely attached to Palin gleams in Tina Fey’s eye.

B) If you still need a list of all the feminist agenda items (in addition to abortion rights) supported by the vast majority of U.S. women—but opposed by Palin—see When Sisterhood Is Suicide, or check Palin’s positions vs. the to-do list on any honestly feminist website: Feminist.com, Feministing.com, NOW.org, Feminist.org, Vday.org, EqualityNow.

C) Don’t you love it when wealthy nouveau-Republican women (confusing moose with mousse?) know best what working-class women need and want—better than working-class women who are actually feminist activists? Oh please.

D) If Spalinist women wanted to waste our hard-won suffrage, and truly cared about punishing the Dems for not taking women seriously enough, why didn’t they endorse the Green Party ticket: two women, both people of color (Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente), whose candidacies, though symbolic, at least share a pro-feminist platform? (See “The Other Nominees,” by Nida Khan, on the Women’s Media Center site.) If you claim you want to drive a party toward feminism, strategically you’d pressure from the left, not the right. But “teaching the Democratic leadership a lesson” brings us to the heart of it: Since when do feminists sacrifice women’s basic survival needs in order to impress men?

Still, here’s the good news. Their 15 minutes of infamy now over, even Spalinists must know they’ve blown whatever wobbly “former” creds they might’ve once had in the Women’s Movement. Their only hope lies in becoming guests on some future tacky talk show hosted by Palin—on Fox News, no doubt.

This commentary was written by Robin Morgan for The Women’s Media Center (www.womensmediacenter.com). The WMC is a non-profit organization founded by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Robin Morgan, dedicated to making women visible and powerful in the media. Full disclosure, I serve on the WMC board of directors.

Snidely McCain Bullies as Usual but Fails to Tie the Final Knot

Remember the bumbling villain Snidely Whiplash in the Dudley Do-Right animated series?  But for the absence of mustache, John McCain might well have been mistaken for Snidely in the final—thank goodness—presidential debate. I could imagine him rubbing hands together, cackling as he anticipated tying the gentle Barack Obama to the verbal train tracks, sure of his imminent demise.

Darting, flashing eyes reveal the anger that roils within McCain, no matter how hard he tries to cover it up. The only time his eyes softened was when he talked about his running mate, Sarah Palin. Then he looked like he was in love.

His unconvincing grin forced through clenched teeth makes him look like a kid who has a really bad tummy ache but doesn’t want to leave the party. He tried but failed to control his agitation, revealing a sourness of demeanor that, when spotted on children causes their mothers to warn, “Wipe that look off your face, Young Man!”

Only McCain can’t wipe it off because it is what he is: a sour, angry man. His lame attempts at humor inevitably corrupt into sarcasm.

He thought he was cute saying, “Senator Obama, I’m not President Bush.”


But as point after pointed, practiced barb failed to hit its calmly smiling target, you could see McCain winding into higher and higher torque. I began to fear his head would spin right off his neck.

Truth is, McCain is simply a mean, nasty man and he can’t hide it any more under his fake maverick mantle.  Though his hot temper is well known, it’s not the temper that bothers me as much as what he does with it. Like all bullies, even laughable, bumbling ones, Snidely McCain is an abuser of his power.

My Personal Experience With McCain’s Power Abuse
I’ve personally borne the brunt of his nastiness more than once since his first run for Congress in 1992. A few years after that, he stormed a Planned Parenthood clinic without warning in his Mesa AZ district.

I was CEO of the Central and Northern Planned Parenthood affiliate, and had several times invited him to come tour the facility. I knew his anti-choice proclivities and never expected him to agree with us on abortion. But I hoped he’d see the value of prevention as did Arizona senator Dennis DeConcini, who also opposed abortion but championed preventive family planning programs like Title X of the Public Health Services Act that funds health services for low income uninsured women. I always reached across the ideological aisle, just as McCain touts over and over.

He repeatedly declined my invitation, but then he decided to go unannounced, clearly intending to find something amiss that he could bash us with. I learned he was there when I received a call from the clinic manager: “Senator McCain is in the reception room and he is screaming and upsetting the patients.”

“Hand him the phone,” I said. Whereupon he screamed at me, threatening, “I’m going to defund you!” over and over. Mystified as to what precipitated his rage, not to mention his unexpected visit, I asked him to go somewhere he could call me back and we could discuss whatever had so agitated him.

A few minutes later, he called back, still frothing. He asked no questions, but screamed threats to defund us at the top of his lungs.  Like Obama, I listened and didn’t take his bait. I finally got him to tell me the source of his ire: a small shelf with information about legislation and post cards so people could write their elected officials if they chose. In addition, it was clear he couldn’t distinguish between preventive family planning services and abortion and had no idea what services were provided there.

He simply assumed he was entitled to threaten an organization he didn’t like because it was vulnerable to his political clout. But he hadn’t done his homework. First, this wasn’t a federally funded clinic. Second, even if it had been, you don’t lose your freedom of speech as a result; it is perfectly proper to offer non-electoral advocacy information with private sources of money. Third, courtesy of Ronald Reagan, we’d recently been audited and found fully in compliance of those rules by both the General Accounting Office and the Inspector General’s office. Fourth, no abortions were performed at this clinic.

I explained all this but it didn’t mollify him. He kept right on screaming and threatening to use his Congressional power to take away our Title X funding.  Which if course, he couldn’t. Afterward, he never met with me or my board members again, the bully’s way of slinking off to avoid the consequences of his behavior.

Bullies Get Away With It, Until They Don’t
Stories of McCain abuses of power are rampant   in his (chosen) home state. But few will speak of it publicly for fear of his retaliation. One person told me of how McCain literally threw him and a number of other organizational representatives out of his office because they deigned to urge him to vote against the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork.  In this video, prominent individuals from  DeConcini to former Phoenix newspaper publisher. Pat Murphy, describe other examples of volatility, explosive anger, and abuse of power.

McCain can’t deny any of these things, though he has tried mightily to create a completely different, more moderate image
of himself. But as his experience has devolved into arrogance, even his war hero narrative seems to be losing its glow.

So he tries to distance himself from his record and reframe his temper as fiestiness. ”I got the scars to prove it,” he says now, listing issues where he voted against his party. That might be persuasive until Obama points out McCain voted for four of five Bush budgets.  We are forced to ask: so if he is working so hard to distance himself from President Bush and his own party, why then is he a Republican? And if he has to work so hard to distance himself from his own character, how can he serve with integrity, or be trusted not to use the awesome power of the presidency to abuse others less powerful?

He hasn’t made a coherent case for himself, let alone a compelling one on either the issues or his temperament. Though we’re experiencing campaign fatigue, the extensive exposure to the candidates has allowed the American people to see the real John McCain.

This time, McCain looks like the Dudley Do-Right show script that says: “Camera pans to Snidely Whiplash, who is tying a blonde to some convenient railroad tracks. He seems to be having some trouble with the final knot.”

Why Appearances Matter–and Corrupt

In response to comments both pro and con on my previous post here, I have been thinking a lot about why it matters that Sarah Palin uses her looks, her cutesy down-home phrases, her flirty moves. All politicians use whatever it is they’ve got to appeal to voters, after all.

In fact, each and every one of us uses whatever we’ve got to appeal to our “publics”, even if that’s only to negotiate who’s cooking dinner tonight within our immediate families.

Goodness knows, I use my Texas sayings and small town upbringing all the time in my speeches and writing. I do it to engage people, because I like those stories, and because it authentically shares a lot about who I am. I also own up to wearing lipstick, and I have a penchant for clothing that is both tailored and just a tad funky, like Sarah Palin’s black suit, severe but for the peplum flourish.

In our society, it is well known if not well acknowledged that physical appearance makes a big difference in how positively we are received by others, however fair or unfair that may be. And that there is always some element of sexual tension in attractiveness, however, much we might try to take that out of the equation.

But the real issue is that Sarah uses her style and uses it  brazenly to cover up for utter lack of substance. I don’t mean that she’s not smart–she’s plenty smart to have amassed the power she has and to have won the elections she has won. In the big boy power games, as she did in high school basketball, she has always excelled, and as I said in previous posts and comments, you do have to respect her for that.

But power devoid of empathy is dangerous. Power devoid of information is dangerous. Power devoid of actions for the good of others is amoral if not immoral. Power devoid of the honesty and/or perhaps the ability to answer reporters’ questions is devastating to the integrity of the political process. It corrupts, makes a mockery, of democracy.

Abraham Lincoln’s personal narrative of small town, humble beginnings and self-taught law education is revered, not for their own sake but because his political actions served the public good. I see absolutely nothing in Palin’s “accomplishments” except an opportunistic march to power for its own sake. I see much to fear and to fight in the political philosophy to which she has hitched her wagon. I see deliberate dishonesty in her brassy rejection of Gwen Ifill’s debate questions.

The big question raised by Sarah Palin’s candidacy (and John McCain’s choice of her for a running mate) is this: In our Rovian world, where George W. Bush got away with the artful dodge so blatantly–and with the complicity of the mainstream media– have we become so inured to this corrupted way of evaluating people for public office that we’re going to let the right wing get away once again with electing yet another vessel for their mean-spirited agenda?

I say voters’ answer to that this time around must be a resounding “No!”

Picture Worth 1001 Words: Bush’s Legacy on Reproductive Rights

This impromptu collage just happened to be on the desk of Dr. Jim Hill, director of the Honors and Centralis Scholarship Programs at Central Michigan University when I spoke there on March 17 with the WomenGirlsLadies panel. Could there be a more perfect representation of where politics gets personal?

MIDNIGHT AT THE PING PONG PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

Ping . Vermont’s presidential primary with its 15 delegates split 9-6 is called as expected for Obama.

I’m watching CNN and thinking about my first and only Texas precinct convention, in 1972. I’d learned from the League of Women Voters how my natal state’s Byzantine primary system worked, and I’d decided to participate from the ground up. As I recall only a few dozen people showed up; we met in someone’s living room; consequently, though I was a first time attendee I was elected to attend the county convention. I did attend that convention, but realized it would be impossible for me to participate further because of family obligations. So despite the friendly county judge who offered to put my name in the hopper for the state convention (that’s how it was done and probably still is), I declined.

Just as the predominantly Democratic Texas I grew up in changed its stripes to majority Republican (I allege that after I left for Arizona, the state went to hell) the current Texas Democratic party rules in which 2/3 of delegates decided in voting primaries and 1/3–the superdelegates—decided in precinct conventions or caucuses could well have changed over the years. But some fundamentals stay the same.

Pong. Early in the evening John McCain was declared the far and away winner in Ohio and Texas.

Republicans don’t have to pretend to be democratic. They understand elections are about gaining or retaining collective political power. That’s their big advantage. The Democrats turn themselves inside out trying to look democratic while in actuality their convoluted rules shore up the entrenched power of the party operatives as much or more than the Republicans. Their pronouncements express their egalitarian principles but their results tilt toward the political machine.

The Republicans will fall in line behind McCain, just as McCain sucked it up, accepted Bush’s hug and carried his water after being viciously assaulted by the Bush-Rove disparagement machine in 2000, and just as Mike Huckabee submitted himself graciously after the Texas numbers put McCain’s delegate count over the top and sealed him as the Republican presidential nominee.

The Democrats, says pundit Paul Begala, want to fall in love. More than that, I think, Democrats want to believe they are voting for the best ideas and ideals. And they love to put a fine comb through the arguments about who has them in purest form.

Ping . Rhode Island is called for Clinton.

Begala–sounding like the Texan he is–came forth with a hearty “thank you Jesus” upon hearing that Bush is ready to endorse McCain. “I’ll rent the hall,” Begala declared.

Bill Bennett pours on the kool aid that McCain is very different from George Bush and people will recognize that. Obama talks about the“Bush-McCain war in Iraq”.

The Texas Republicans voted in far lower numbers than the Democrats. Their contest wasn’t nearly as interesting. Or maybe, just maybe, the more moderate Texas of my youth is finally coming back, and the Republican right is losing its hegemony at last. A girl can hope anyway.

Oh honestly. At 9:53 pm Obama called McCain to congratulate him on winning the Republican primary and tell him he looked forward to running against him in the fall. Now that’s hubris way beyond the confidence Clinton exuded in the now-famous Katie Couric interview when she said she’d be the Democratic nominee.

Pong. Clinton wins Ohio handily, noting that no candidate in recent memory has won the general election without first winning the Ohio primary. Her speech reflects that she really has found her voice now. Her courage as a leader who doesn’t take her eyes off the prize even when all around her have lost hope, her hard work and her propensity for learning have once again stood her in good stead. Including sending Bill to Wyoming to stump for her there, in a state where not much is at risk because it wouldn’t go Democratic in the general if hell were to freeze over.

Texas is still too close to call at midnight but she has pulled ahead there too.

Ping. Before the clock strikes 1 am, Clinton is declared the winner in Texas, though the outcome of the caucus delegate selection won’t be fully known for some time. Whaddaya know.

She’s already made a rousing acceptance speech in Ohio, sporting a new pink suit that is perhaps symbolic of Clinton having summoned the courage that lives deep within her authentic self to stay in the race despite Tim Russert’s assumptions last week that she was about to quit:

“For everyone here in Ohio and across America who’s ever been counted out but refused to be knocked out, and for everyone who has stumbled but stood right back up, and for everyone who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you,” she said.

As the crowd chanted, “Yes, she will! Yes, she will!,” Clinton said she is in the race to win. “You know what they say: ‘As Ohio goes, so goes the nation,’ ” she said to cheers from supporters. “Well, this nation’s coming back and so is this campaign,” she continued. “We’re going on. We’re going strong and we’re going all the way.”

So the match continues. We’ll have to wait for the next Pong to come, perhaps in April’s Pennsylvania primary, perhaps before that as the superdelegate persuasion battle goes on.

I might be sappy about this, having cut my teeth in grassroots Texas politics those three eventful decades ago, but I do believe both candidates keep getting better at their game and the American people are being served well by the experience of engaging with top seeded political athletes and with one another in the most interesting campaign of my lifetime.

What Does the Election Mean?

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A VOTE MAKES—BUT WILL IT?

So now President Bush wants to cooperate. Now he wants to reach across the aisle. Now he wants to work together with the Democrats, finally to show he can be that “uniter not divider” of his 2000 campaign promises. That perhaps he isn’t even the sole decider of everything after all. What? Why would any Democrat in his or her right mind give this man the time of day?

Bush puffed and preened and bared his teeth before the election. But once he “got thumped”, as he put it, all that puffery deflated in a nanosecond just like you might see with any other bully. Rummy (who could do no wrong 24 hours previously) was shown the door the day after the elections, Congresswoman and probable next Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi–taunted throughout the election season as the very personification of liberal, liberal, liberal evil–was invited to lunch at the White House, and the president allowed as how he wants to work with the same Democrats he’s been wringing out and hanging up to dry for the last 6 years. And all too often, they have been complicit in their humiliation. Continue reading “What Does the Election Mean?”

Harriet Miers: Is the Right protesting too much?

Last week, I happened to see a lawyer who runs an association of women judges and has a long history of national leadership in the legal field. She basically knows everyone who is anyone in the legal profession. I asked her what she thought about Miers.

“Well”, she replied in all seriousness and after some thought, “she’s not a monster.”

This hit me like a ton of bricks–that in this era of hard-right conservative grip on our nation’s political institutions, “not being a monster” could be a qualification for the highest court in the land—the United States Supreme Court, the final arbiter of the Constitution, the nine men and women who decide how laws can intrude upon or enhance our lives, our liberties, our fundamental civil rights. Continue reading “Harriet Miers: Is the Right protesting too much?”