July 9, 2009

Meet the Pipsqueaks

In alpha order (this may be the only time you see yours truly on the far left of anything :–>):

Engine starter: Cleveland PD Reader Rep wants to charge for content in first 24 hours; calls bloggers “a bunch of pipsqueaks out there talking about what real journalists do” (at 10:00 mark of video at link; HT The Future of Journalism).

More at 11 1 a.m. — Post is here.

In the meantime, enjoy this stirring, somewhat discofied rendition of “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & the Pips (not Pipsqueaks):

Interim questions: Who did the original work that led to this Plain Dealer story? WhoWho? WhoWho?

Whiff of Eugenics: Ginsburg Tells NYT Roe Was About ‘Populations That We Don’t Want …. Too Many Of’

In a July 7 New York Times Magazine article (“The Place of Women on the Court”; HT to an e-mailer) apparently scheduled to appear in its July 12 print edition (based on its URL), Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told the Times’s Emily Bazelon that “at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

Who is this “we” Ginsburg refers to?

Alleged reporter Bazelon did not follow up on this astounding admission.

Here, in full context of the Q&A discussion about women’s reproductive rights, is Justice Ginsburg’s statement:

Q: If you were a lawyer again, what would you want to accomplish as a future feminist legal agenda?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.

Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

Q: When you say that reproductive rights need to be straightened out, what do you mean?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: The basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman.

Q: Does that mean getting rid of the test the court imposed, in which it allows states to impose restrictions on abortion — like a waiting period — that are not deemed an “undue burden” to a woman’s reproductive freedom?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: I’m not a big fan of these tests. I think the court uses them as a label that accommodates the result it wants to reach. It will be, it should be, that this is a woman’s decision. It’s entirely appropriate to say it has to be an informed decision, but that doesn’t mean you can keep a woman overnight who has traveled a great distance to get to the clinic, so that she has to go to some motel and think it over for 24 hours or 48 hours.

I still think, although I was much too optimistic in the early days, that the possibility of stopping a pregnancy very early is significant. The morning-after pill will become more accessible and easier to take. So I think the side that wants to take the choice away from women and give it to the state, they’re fighting a losing battle. Time is on the side of change.

It’s pretty hard not to see Ginsburg’s early perception of Roe as legalizing a convenient means for minimizing the number of poor, who “just happen” to be disproportionately non-white. Also recall that at the time, Medicaid was a program predominantly benefitting only the poor, and not the near middle-class entitlement into which more recent Congresses have morphed it.

Given Ginsburg’s stated “at the time” position, there’s little doubt that she would have declared the Hyde Amendment, which “barred the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortions except where the life of the mother would be endangered or in cases of rape or incest,” unconstitutional. In the related case, Harris v. McRae, the Court upheld the Hyde Amendment by a 5-4 vote.

In its November 30, 2007 Henry Hyde obituary, the Washington Post quoted Dr. Wanda Franz, president of the National Right to Life Committee, who asserted that, “By conservative estimate, well over one million Americans are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment — more likely two million.”

So 1-2 million babies have been born into financially poor circumstances in the three-plus decades years since the Hyde Amendment became law. This apparently doesn’t please Justice Ginsburg, or perhaps didn’t please her at the time.

Ginsburg gets the wiggle room, in my opinion, because she told Bazelon that she “realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.” The problem is that we can’t tell what “it” is. Is it Roe v. Wade, the Hyde Amendment, or the facts and circumstances of the specific case?

Thanks to the remarkably incurious Bazelon, we don’t know. What we do know is that at least for some time during her legal career, in her early 40s, Ginsburg, as a member of the unidentified “we” referred to earlier, thought that abortion as a means of controlling the population of relative undesirables was okey-dokey.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE, July 11: Ed at Hot Air

Don’t forget that at the time Ginsburg had already made herself prominent in feminist circles, establishing in 1970 the first law journal exclusively devoted to feminist issues and holding a tenured position at Columbia from 1972-80. In fact, she argued cases before the Supreme Court during that period. And it wasn’t until 1980, which is when the Supreme Court decided McRae, that Ginsburg realized it didn’t have anything to do with allowing the government a mechanism to practice eugenics.

In that seven-year period, did Ginsburg use her considerable clout to argue against Roe, if that’s what she believed, or for that matter, against government funding of abortions? If not, shouldn’t we surmise from that silence that either (a) Ginsburg had few problems with government pushing a eugenics program, or (b) that she was willing to shrug off the eugenics in order to support Roe for the access to abortion?

Exactly.

UPDATE 2: It appears that WorldNetDaily was the first to note the significance of Ginsburg’s NYT Mag comment.

Slow Joe Biden Visiting Cincy Today to See a Likely 16-Obamazebo Stimulus Project

Filed under: Economy,General,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:24 am

Hes heeeeeeere!

Joe Biden is coming to Cincinnati to tout the stimulus plan. A local TV station is thrilled.

If this is considered a good way to use stimulus money, we’re in $800 billion worth of big trouble:

The entire nation is about to get a look at exactly how federal stimulus money is being spent in the Tri-State. Tomorrow morning, Vice-President Joe Biden will be in Northside to look at how that neighborhood and the city plan to use $1.6 million to help rehab the old American Can plant on Spring Grove Avenue. The huge building, which you can see from I-75, has been largely empty since the fifties, but not for much longer.

If you’ve even been in Northside, you’ve probably seen this building and wondered about it. Back in the days before aluminum cans, American Can made the machinery here that made the old pop cans in the days when cans had seams. Empty for decades, with a little luck, starting late this summer, this building’s next life will get underway.

The first thing you notice about the American Can building is that it’s really cool space… huge open areas, with 12-14 foot high ceilings. This massive entryway will actually be rentable space.

H. Richard Duval, Bloomfield/Schon: “This particular room we’re in is going to be a reception area for weddings and business meetings. That crane will come halfway down and there will be a curtain that will hang from it so you can rent half this room or all this room.”

Look, I’m all for people taking chances on real estate, even on long shots (anyone who knows the Northside area of Cincinnati knows that this project is a long shot; for starters, there are already a few acceptable meeting halls in the area that are very underutilized).

I’m NOT for people taking chances on real estate with the help of $1.6 million of our money. If the deal doesn’t make sense without the money (the overwhelming odds are that it doesn’t), it shouldn’t be done.

I give the government’s funding of this deal 16 probable Obamazebos, named after the worthless gazebo in the middle of a Chicago low-income neighborhood yours truly noted during the presidential election campaign. That gazebo forlornly sits there, while $100,000 in Illinois grant money that funded what was supposed to be the start of a beautification project Barack Obama said he would “work tirelessly” for has disappeared. Thus, the $1.6 million being spent on the American Can Building, divided by $100,000 per Obamazebo, could very well turn out to equal 16 Obamazebos — assuming there isn’t a second stimulus package.

Perhaps a Local 12 reporter will break away from ogling over how cool a building abandoned for 50 years is to ask the Vice President why his partisan pals did what they did to the economy during the past year. When you compare the tax-collection results for the past quarter to the second quarter of 2008 — the last quarter before the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy took effect — you realize that the government’s collections have fallen short by over 2.53 million Obamazebos ($253.2 billion ÷ $100,000 = $2.53 million):

(“Receipts from economic activity” do not include 2008′s stimulus payments, which should have been treated as outlays.)

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.