Right to Abortion about to Become Privilege of the Rich Only

Dear Readers,

Here are links to a piece of mine, published last week, on the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, in The Huffington Post and RH Reality Check.

Alternately titled: “Pitts is the Pits,” in honor of U.S. House of Representatives Member Joe Pitts, Republican from Pennsylvania, who chairs the House committee with jurisdiction over the matter of abortion funding, I let him have it in this piece. Time to disrespect these guys, just like they’ve disrespected us.

A couple days ago, Rep. Pitts said: “…the momentum [in Congress] is on the pro-life side…” [See here: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20029391-503544.html.]

Indeed, things really are going from bad to worse on this front. So, if there was ever a time you thought about getting involved in the fight for women’s reproductive rights, but you didn’t act on the thought, now is definitely that time to act.

Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights; take your pick; there are lots of good options for activists.



Chicago Mayor’s Race is a Tale of Two Cities

Our Mayor’s Race is a Tale of Two Cities

Dear Readers,

The above link is to my piece Friday for The Huffington Post about the fun in Chi-town, the race to replace Mayor Daley.

The big news Friday was about Rahm Emanuel’s departure from the White House and Mayor Daley’s very nice words about Gery Chico, presently head of the City Colleges and former mayoral chief-of-staff.

But, as I point out in my piece, it’s still anybody’s race–if that anybody creates a multi-racial, cross-town coalition of women.

Best wishes for a great week of fun.


“Daleypalooza:” Rahmbo Rahmno: The Case for a Woman to Replace Mayor Daley

Dear Readers,

So, I decided to hit-the-ground-running on this one: Why not a woman mayor to replace Mayor Daley? Give me one good reason.

Here’s my Huffington Post piece in which I make the case: Rahmbo Rahmno….keep reading; it’s provocative:).

The piece was picked-up yesterday afternoon by Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax. [Rich gets credit for the “Daleypalooza” description of the circus that just opened under this (Chicago) big top.]

And, interestingly enough, the piece got picked-up right away by the Wall Street story page of USA Today. [I spend a bit of time in the blogpost writing about the LaSalle Street/Wall Street moneychangers-moneyraisers so accessible to Rahm.]

And, for a while there, the piece was the top post on the Huffington Post Politics Rahm page–above Michael Moore’s rant re “happy f—ing Labor Day.” It’s still there, along with all the other juicy Rahm-stuff.

This is all kinda fun, but, really, and mostly, it’s, literally, tragically, deadly serious. [We need to stop the dying in our streets, and rebuild our city, so that it works for all.]

As to serious, for instance, I’m getting e-mails–two just this morning–from highly-qualified women, at least as qualified as any man in the mix, if measured by commitment to this city and time working in its trenches. And, the names of other smart and gifted women have otherwise crossed my desk over the last couple days.

Does Chicago need some “queen-makers,” as one of my girlfriends put-it, instead of some “king-makers”?

Is it time for us Chicago women to put our political talents to use–for us–and to ask our sisters around the country for help? Let me know what you think.



Stupak-Stupid in (Women’s) Suffrage Month

Dear Readers,

Why oh why is this happening? Here’s the latest scoop, from my perspective.

At the links above, you’ll see my commentary on the President’s recent policymaking on the matter of access to abortion. These posts of mine elicited hundreds of comments on The Huffington Post, a symptom, I imagine, of interest in the topic.

As most of you know, I’ve not been a happy camper on this front.

Well, now, not even the President’s strongest allies at the national pro-choice women’s organizations are happy, either. They seem almost as distressed as I. They have submitted letters, called for reconsideration, and, I imagine, have had private meetings. [To no avail, so far.]

So, why, oh why, is this happening? Why is the President taking this course?

I can only conclude that the President is, in this instance, as he says he always does, making policy according to his own lights. In this instance, however, he damns the fact that pro-choice women elected him.

Well, the problem is that this latest approach of his just won’t work. Further, it seems a bad decision, if his goal is advancing women’s overall good health and preventive healthcare.

Whatever the reason for the President’s decision, it’s really, really important for each of us to let the President know our view. You can do that here: “White House dot gov.” This makes a lot of sense to me in this week when we celebrate women’s suffrage.



Elena Kagan Hits the (Really) BigTime

Dear Readers,

On the occasion of Elena Kagan’s presumptive confirmation to the Supreme Court, http://http//www.nationalpartnership.org/site/News2?abbr=daily2_&page=NewsArticle&id=25389&security=1201&news_iv_ctrl=-1, I’m posting my piece, “The Supremes, and We’re Not Talking Motown Here,” which appeared in the Huffington Post and in RH Reality Check earlier this summer.

Since I first posted this piece, I’ve received a whole lot of interesting comments–a lot of people care a whole lot about our Supreme Court, and that’s a wonderful thing: Whoever said civic engagement has diminshed, that we’re “bowling alone” (these days) isn’t part of (our) crowd. And I, for one, am very grateful for knowing that.

A great first-2010-August-weekend to all.



So, maybe, there’s yet another big difference between the sexes: While nice boys finish last, nice girls finish first.

Just look at today’s news: I ask you, what’s a bigger achievement than being selected as a Supreme Court Justice? Yup, just pause, and think for a moment about those words, “supreme” and “justice,” next to your name. How cool would that be?

In his first year in office, President Obama has had the amazing good fortune to get two Supreme Court picks. In both cases, he picked a girl from New York. [How cool is that, for a(nother) girl from New York: me. Let me count the ways. But keep reading; it’s not all that good.]

OK, so let’s be serious here. Do you see a pattern here? And, this time, I’m not talking about the one in which all the brilliant New York girls are being picked for starring roles.

The pattern is: Make sure you’re a really nice girl, first and foremost.

What’s that, you ask?

Well, taking a page from the Sonia Sotomayor/Elena Kagan, New York, nice girl (no, “New York” and “nice” is not an oxymoron) playbook, it’s study really hard; get really good grades; go to Princeton (both); go to Harvard Law (Elena), or go to Yale Law (Sonia); have important male mentors; stay single as you’re making your way up the career ladder, so no husband’s choices get in your way, or put you in a bad light; well, you get the drift.

In fact, these two women who finished first: Elena, the one about to have “supreme” and “justice” next to her name, and Sonia, the one who already has it, are nice girls, in all the ways that actually matter, if you want to have words like “supreme” or “justice” next to your name.

In fact, these days, as Sonia and Elena have now proved, you can even safely forget the baby-making and the finding a nice guy, or even a(nother) nice girl (keep reading on the latter point). Just don’t forget to study hard, and never, never talk out-of-turn.

And, do forget, for sure, that old saw, which used to make some of us feel better: “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” http://thinkexist.com/quotation/well-behaved_women_rarely_make/180481.html.
In fact, those badly behaved women, and, believe me, I know where-of I speak, only make history of the upset-the-apple-cart kind, not the kind that leads to “supreme” and “justice” next to one’s name.

In sum, these two New York nice girls, just like those two nice Illinois girls, Michelle Obama (Harvard Law) and Hillary Clinton, she of the when it came right down to it I did stand by my man school, (Yale Law), have never met a test they couldn’t ace, and, well, cooking or housekeeping, the used-to-be sine qua non of nice girls; well, there’s help for that: Just ask Michelle or Hillary.

On the personal front, Sonia Sotomayor seems kind of like Valerie Jarrett (Michigan Law, daughter at Harvard Law). While married early-on, there was no husband around during the formative years of her career, when the difficult decisions needed to be made, when one’s decisions might have required consideration of the desires of another ambitious adult.

On the other hand, Elena Kagan has never married, and, at least as far as we know so far, she hasn’t had any long-term intimate relationship, (male or female), requiring accommodation to that person’s career or personal goals.

And, doubly lucky for Elena Kagan (we have made some real progress here), the White House seems to be comfortable handling, albeit somewhat defensively, the assertions that the President may have just nominated a LESBIAN to the SUPREME COURT! [It really is delicious when you think about it.]

So, what’s my point in all this, you ask? Well, my point is it’s that gosh-darned “nina modela” thing, that “nice girl”/model child syndrome one more sickening time.

So, that’s ridiculous, you say? It’s ridiculous to feel bad when a woman finished first–when lord knows not many women, of any kind, finish first anywhere, much less in the run-up to the Supreme Court?

Well, it’s not ridiculous, I say, because it’s the bad girls, like me, who make these good (nice) girls’ dreams come true. And, to add insult to injury, these nice girls can maybe even be lesbians!

We screamed, and scream; we hollered, and holler. And what do we get? Somebody’s back, as they shut the door in our face(s). “She’s a pistol,” they say, and not with admiration.

What do they get? The Supreme Court (Elena and Sonia), or the West Wing (Valerie), or, for that matter, and not so bad either, the East Wing (Michelle and Hillary).

Fact is, Elena stood silent, while I screamed. Fact is, Elena was “canny,” while I was fervent. Fact is, Elena was a coalition-builder, while I was an advocate. Fact is, Elena didn’t express her political views, while I did nothing but. Fact is, Elena wrote little, while I wrote untold speeches and press releases, all with the same basic headline: We (women) want more. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/us/politics/10kagan.html

[NOTE: I’m using myself as a stand-in for those women lawyers who will
never be considered for “supreme” and “justice” next to their names. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t run this race.]

Is this ironic, or what? This is Elena, the putative lesbian, we’re talking about. This is Elena, who, odds-are, will be doing nothing but express her opinions for the next forty or so years, if her’s and the President’s good luck continue, and just because she kept her mouth shut in the early rounds. It’s not only ironic, it’s bewildering.

Ironic? Let me count the ways.

–Let others do the political talking, so you don’t have any politically-incorrect YouTube videos.

–Let others do the writing, so you don’t have any controversial law review articles.

–Let others interrupt their careers to follow a spouse, or pay for a spouse’s education, while you forge ahead in line.

–Let others fight for women’s reproductive rights, while you benefit from that fight.

–Let others advocate for women as a group, while you advocate for yourself.

Yes, all this said, I’m still very happy that a(nother) non-Protestant (more progress, here) woman from New York is going to be a Supreme Court Justice. That makes the Supremes, in case you’re counting, the (really cool, not Motown, but Big Apple) Supremes: Ruth, Sonia, and Elena.

But I’m not that happy: In fact, as I think about it, I think I was happier when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court, a woman who found a way to be a women’s advocate, and a wife, and a mother, as well as a way to be a brilliant lawyer and judge, and, finally, yes (!), a Supreme.

And, as I think about it, Ruth Bader Ginsburg may be a better role model for today’s young women than soon-to-be Justice Kagan or now Justice Sotomayor. For, unlike Kagan and Sotomayor, Justice Ginsburg has
lived the life that most women live, and yet she found a way to be a Supreme, notwithstanding.