Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ahem. Taking My Own Congressional Recess.

The next two weeks will be insane madness for yours truly. Finals, friends in town and a new job have taken over so I will be taking un petite break to get life in order. Blogging fun shall resume in two weeks-ish. MUAH!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Doctor Who Performed Abortions Shot to Death


(CNN) -- Dr. George Tiller, whose Kansas women's clinic frequently took center stage in the U.S. debate over abortion, was shot and killed while serving as an usher at his Wichita church Sunday morning, police said.

Wichita police said a 51-year-old man from the Kansas City, Kansas, area was in custody in connection with the slaying of Tiller, who was one of the few U.S. physicians who still performed late-term abortions.

The killing, which came about 16 years after Tiller survived a shooting outside his Wichita clinic, took place shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday at Reformation Lutheran Church. Officers found the 67-year-old dead in the foyer, police said.

Witnesses provided a description of the car and a license number of the killer's getaway vehicle, Wichita police spokesman Gordon Bassham said. Police stopped a blue Ford Taurus matching the description about three hours later in Gardner, about 30 miles southwest of Kansas City, and took the driver into custody.

No charges had been filed Sunday evening and no motive for the killing was immediately known, but Wichita police Detective Tom Stoltz told reporters: "We think we have the right person arrested."

"We will investigate this suspect to the Nth degree -- his history, his family, his associates -- and we are just in the beginning stages of that," Stoltz said.

Tiller's slaying drew condemnation from supporters, from some of those who tried to shut down his practice and from President Obama, who just two weeks ago urged Americans to seek "common ground" on the issue of abortion.

"However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.

The shooting prompted U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to direct federal marshals to "offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation," according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

Tiller had been practicing medicine for nearly 40 years, said Peter Brownlie, president of the Kansas City-based regional Planned Parenthood office. His patients were "almost always in circumstances where something had gone horribly wrong with a pregnancy," and where a woman's health would be endangered if the pregnancy continued, Brownlie said.

Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Sunday Funnies

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Calling for Real Housewives of D.C.!

On Tuesday, Bravo announced that it is expanding its popular Real Housewives franchise once again, this time heading to the nation’s capital and seeking women for The Real Housewives of D.C. I have no doubt that in five years there will be a Real Housewives in every state. Real Housewives of Utah? Interesting.

“We’re tapping personalities who are among Washington D.C.’s influential players, cultural connoisseurs, fashion sophisticates and philanthropic leaders,” Frances Berwick, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Bravo Media, said in a statement. “The people who rub elbows with the most prominent people in the country and easily move in the city’s diverse political and social circles.”

As lame as it is, I can't wait to see who they pick for the show. Wives of Senators and Congressional members will likely avoid the spotlight. Too much political risk for their husbands. Orange County housewives are known for their surgical "enhancements." Atlanta housewives are known for marrying NFL and NBA players. New York housewives are known for hitting the high-fashion and socialite scene. New Jersey housewives are known for paying for expensive items in "cash." What will the DC housewives be known for?

Rant of the Week: So Let Me Get This Straight…

Republicans nominate a moose-hunting pageant queen who was governor of one of the least populous states in the nation for less than two years to be Vice President of the United States but a Princeton and Yale Law grad with thirty years of judicial experience is somehow… unqualified for Supreme Court Justice. Huh?

Rush Limbaugh’s claims of “reverse racism” are almost laughable considering how Republicans attempted to skillfully play the gender card with Sarah Palin. On Tuesday evening, political mastermind Karl Rove questioned whether Sotomayor has the "broad intellectual powers" and Senator Jon Ensign (R-NV) raised questions about her "intellect" to serve on the bench. Hmm, somehow a woman who based her foreign policy experience on her proximity to Russia appeared to have the "intellect" to be second in command of the free world?!

Interestingly, Newt Gingrich has accused Sotomayor of being a big fat RACIST for saying that her background as a Hispanic female allowed her to understand cases in a different, better manner than her white contemporaries. However, Newt appeared to have no qualms with Judge Sam Alito's similar comment during his confirmation hearing, saying how he "can't help but think of" his immigrant family when evaluating immigration cases.

Republican comments about Sotomayor's experience and intellect appear to be desperate at best and discrimnatory at worst. In particular, comments about her lack of intellect may backfire given that she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton and was an editor of the Yale Law Review. They run the risk of alienating both Hispanics and women. Dangerous ground, Repubs. Dangerous ground.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Let the Political Games Begin...


This morning President Obama announced Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to replace Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court. In his press conference unveiling the choice, Obama described Sotomayor as an inspiring woman with a distinguished career, holding a "depth of experience and a breadth of perspective."

Though their numbers have dwindled in the Senate, the Republican party is not entirely devoid of options to block the nomination. Sotomayor will first need approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee before she can be voted on by the entire Senate. Though a majority vote is usually all that's required for a committee to advance a bill to the floor of the Senate, an obscure rule requires that judicial appointments be approved by a majority that includes at least one member of the minority party. In the case of Sotomayor, that means she'll need one Republican member of Judiciary to vote her to the floor.

That might draw excitement from conservative activists, but it's not likely that Sotomayor will lose a party-line vote of the judiciary committee. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a key Republican vote on the committee, has already suggested an unwillingness to block the nomination. And Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), another Republican member of the committee, has already voted to confirm Sotomayor once before (for the Second Circuit eleven years ago) making it unlikely he'll oppose her this time. By the time she makes it to the floor of the Senate, Al Franken will likely have been seated in Minnesota, providing the Democrats with a 60 vote, filibuster-proof majority. At that point, and without the filibuster option, Republicans will be powerless to prevent Sotomayor's confirmation.

Still, the GOP is angling for a fight. Among the few who graced Obama's short list, Sotomayor was largely considered the most progressive of the bunch. But as the Republican leadership gears up, they may be walking squarely into another political trap, carefully designed by the president. Should she be confirmed, Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic on the bench, chosen at a time when the Hispanic vote has emerged as a critical component to sustaining a Democratic majority over the long-term.

Already in 2008, Hispanic voters, who represent the fastest growing minority population in the country, were responsible for a dramatic political realignment. In the wake of an anti-immigrant nativism that came to define the Republican presidential nominating contests, Obama won two-thirds of the Hispanic vote, fourteen points higher than John Kerry's share four years earlier. That meant wins in states like New Mexico and Colorado, Nevada and Florida, and it meant an insurmountable electoral margin for Obama. The president recognizes that if the Democratic party can turn Hispanic voters into a loyal bloc of supporters, they can continue to expand their margins around the country, even in places as conservative as Texas, driven almost entirely by Hispanic population growth.

Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama Nominates Woman to Supreme Court

On Tuesday, President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic and third woman to sit on the Supreme Court. Woot!

Sotomayor was raised in the Bronx housing project and is the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants. An alum of Princeton University and Yale Law School, she was appointed to the federal district court in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush. Although Republicans held up her confirmation to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, she eventually passed the Senate and was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

In his announcement, President Obama noted Sotomayor’s “inspiring life story” and “distinguished career.” He also cited her varied judicial experience in his decision to nominate her to succeed retiring Justice David Souter. In response, Sotomayor said she is an “ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.”

After facing pressure to nominate a Hispanic and a woman to the bench, President Obama received praise for his decision from Rev. Al Sharpton, New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Democrats from Sotomayor’s home state. The decision shows the President’s commitment to diversifying the court.

The Senate has four months to complete confirmation hearings and proceedings before the Court begins in the fall term.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why Michelle O Reps the Modern Day Woman

By the time I reached my late teens, I developed such an extreme revulsion for tights that I decided to do away with dresses altogether. I have always been a bit on the clumsy side so my tights would often get caught on the corners of tables and the embarrassing runs inevitably followed.

Throughout my childhood and early adult years, tights and dress slips were mandatory accessories with a dress. White was not worn after Labor Day. Short-sleeved dresses were not worn in winter. Period.

The first day in my professional life that I decided to ditch the tights and walked into my office in all my bare-legged glory, I felt an immense sense of freedom. I was no longer bound by the constraints of traditional female fashion guidelines.

During the 2008 presidential election, I watched with extreme adoration when Michelle Obama made no apologies for her bare-legged appearances. I thought: Now, this is my kind of First Lady. She was not only sharp and smart but a woman that broke free from the fashion rules that mom always told you.

As First Lady, Michelle Obama represents the new young professional woman. She wears chic and fashionable short-sleeved dresses sans tights. She rejects the top fashion brands for no-name designers. She embraces colors like purple, orange and teal in lieu of the drab black and grey that is the fashion norm in the political and corporate worlds.

Even though her style is simple and elegant, Michelle is a fashion renegade in her own right. She assures women that they can be professional without adhering to the silly old-school rules that constrain them from being who they truly are.

Now, that’s change that I can believe in.

Cross-posted on Political Voices of Women

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Survey Says: Latinas Have Highest Teen Birth Rate


(CNN) -- She had many plans for the future: to go to college, start a career, meet the man of her dreams, raise a family -- when the time was right.
Expert: "There's a big disconnect between pregnancy rates and what Latina families want and value."

It was all cut off by an unexpected pregnancy. The baby became her life, consuming her energy and forcing her dreams to the back burner of her life.

She is 19 or younger and Latina, and has had her first baby.

It's not what she wanted. Nor did her parents, who are the greatest influence on her decisions about sex, according to a wide-ranging survey released Tuesday by experts on the Hispanic community in the United States.

The survey also found that 84 percent of Latino teens and 91 percent of Latino parents believe that graduating from college or university or having a promising career is the most important goal for a teen's future.

Somewhere along the way, the aspirations fail to match up to reality. The survey attempts to examine some of the reasons for the disparity and why Latinas now have the highest teen birth rate among all ethnic and racial groups in the United States.

"There's a big disconnect between pregnancy rates and what Latina families want and value," said Ruthie Flores, senior manager of the National Campaign's Latino Initiative.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 53 percent of Latinas get pregnant in their teens, about twice the national average.

After a period of decline, the birth rate for U.S. teenagers 15 to 19 years rose in 2007 by about 1 percent, to 42.5 births per 1,000, according to preliminary data in a March 2009 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2007, the birth rate among non-Hispanic whites ages 15 to 19 was 27.2 per 1,000, and 64.3 per 1,000 for non-Hispanic black teens in the same age range. The teen birth rate among Hispanic teens ages 15 to 19 was 81.7 per 1,000.

Of the 759 Latino teens surveyed, 49 percent said their parents most influenced their decisions about sex, compared with 14 percent who cited friends. Three percent cited religious leaders, 2 percent teachers and 2 percent the media. Video Watch more on the survey results »

Three-quarters of Latino teens said their parents have talked to them about sex and relationships, but only half said their parents discussed contraception.

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jesse Ventura: 2 Repubs: 0

Once again, Jesse Ventura essentially (insert cliched wrestling move here) Sean Hannity on Monday. And it's a beautiful, beautiful thing.