30 September 2008

Feminist Law Profs Blog: "Leave Sarah Palin aloooooooone!"

(I've tried following up on the Feminist Law Profs blog before, but the moderators seem to reject my comments. So I'm posting here, where I moderate comments only for spam, abuse, and trolling.)

Prof. Ann Bartow can't muster up more praise for Sarah Palin than that she's "bright and energetic" and "would bring a very different package of life experiences to the job." Like aerial hunting, I guess -- something to keep in mind next time there's a protest march on the Mall. But Bartow is dead-set against Joe Biden and criticizes him regularly, though she always leaves out of her complaints the fact that Biden co-authored the Violence Against Women Act. So today Bartow posted yet another "leave Sarah alooooooooone!" entry to the Feminist Law Profs Blog, in response to this week's cover of The New Yorker:
I’m not a Palin partisan, but the ridicule she is enduring seems to far exceed what is being thrown at the very gaffe prone and not particularly progressive Joe Biden, or so it seems to me, and I have to belive [sic] it is due at least in part to her gender. [Links removed.]
This is nonsense, for at least three reasons. First, Biden has had plenty of ridicule leveled at him. He's been taking it for years, and has two previous failed bids at the Presidency to show for it.

Second, the New Yorker cover in question refers to Tina Fey's first Palin satire, when she said, "And I can see Russia from my house!" It's an homage to the famous 1976 Saul Steinberg "View of the World" cover and shows a woman with Palin-style hair looking out her window, over Alaskan hills, to Russia in the far distance. Obviously, then, this new cover refers to the McCain-Palin campaign's completely absurd claim that Alaska's proximity to Russia, without more, somehow magically confers foreign policy experience on a governor of that state. (And remember that Palin sidestepped the issue when Charles Gibson asked her to clarify, by feeding him a strange lie that Alaska produces "nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy.")

Third, Palin and the McCain-Palin campaign are running a campaign based largely on her being a female candidate. Palin was chosen to try to win over disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters. She was chosen because her feminine charm and (relative) youth offset McCain's grizzled old soldier character and appearance. She was chosen in the hopes that some women will simply knee-jerk vote for a female candidate.

The McCain-Palin campaign has put forth her her gender as one of the main reasons you should vote for John McCain for president. She mentions that she's a mother of five in her speeches and interviews, as few and far between as they are. She bases her claimed experience for the vice presidency on being a vicious, but lipstick-wearing, hockey mom. This is deserving of ridicule. She and McCain have put her gender at issue from the moment McCain picked her as his running mate. So Sarah Palin shouldn't be heard to complain that some of the "ridicule" she gets is based upon her gender!

The New Yorker cover is a welcome and even-handed criticism of Palin after that magazine's inexplicably racist and simply out-to-lunch Obama family "terrorist" cover from July. The cover is a brava to Tina Fey's Palin impersonations. But the cover is not out of line. Rather, it's a fair criticism of an absolutely inadequate candidate and the lying presidential campaign that brought her on.

It's simple, really. Palin gets more ridicule than Biden because she deserves it more than he does. And she'll get no sympathy from me.

29 September 2008

Monday art house: if it were a 3-way race

In a 3-party race, candidates Immanuel Kant, Søren Kierkegaard, and Friedrich Nietzsche battle over whose philosophical point of view best works for America's families. Ads from the Nietzsche and Kierkegaard camps follow:

27 September 2008

Bizarre Palin lie about the flags in her office

On 26 September, Sarah Palin met Shimon Peres, President of Israel. The New York Sun quoted her telling Peres, "The only flag at my office is an Israeli flag."

Time magazine, from the Juneau Empire, via AP (2006). You can tell it's her office, and not a press conference podium, because there's a computer monitor and a picture of her son there. Though the photo is facing outward -- which means she can't see it when she's sitting down working.

I can think of a few explanations for her bizarre lie to Peres. One, perhaps she's being conversational. It sounds like something in the ballpark of the kind of nonsense I might spout at a party held at the house of a friend-of-a-friend, a house I probably won't ever go to again, and a person I probably won't ever see again: "I love the colors in your kitchen! I've been saving up some money to re-do mine, and now I have a better idea of how teal green, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances would look like together"; or maybe, "This is just the type of berber carpet I have in my den, and it's held up well for quite a few years." I'd be able to spin this kind of chatter for five or ten minutes, at least as long as it takes for my drink to kick in or other guests to arrive. Neither statement is remotely true, but I enjoy building home-improvement castles in the air, and these statements are plausible, not condescending, and not easily tested.

The next explanation is that she thinks this is how diplomats talk. She's shown in spades during her Katie Couric interview footage over the past week that she's completely out of her league when she's asked to discuss anything beyond her local or state politics. She's an utter provincial.

I went further into the Time slideshow, because I'm curious. Here's Palin hard at work at another desk:

Time magazine again, via Getty (undated but titled "Governor's Office"). You can tell she's hard at work because she's on the phone. Now, is it just me, or is that a heck of a lot of photos, and not much in the way of books, business machines, and paperwork in that office there? I know she has a near-quiverfull of kids. But it still seems to me that cabinets in the office of the governor should be more than merely curio cases. Or maybe not. Maybe this is the sanctum sanctorum of her office, as opposed to the other photo, and she likes to keep photos of her kids around. Certainly no flags.

So I did some super in-depth googling, in the interest of solid, unimpeachable research. Here's the desk of the Republican governor of Connecticut, where GOP state representative T.R. Rowe, whoever that is, gave some kids a tour apparently recently:

I see two flags. Neither is Israeli. Obviously, Governor Rell is an anti-Semite, unlike Governor Palin.

To continue, and in the spirit of bipartisanship, and to get this back to the Pacific Northwest, here's a photo of the Democratic governor of Washington, signing something terribly liberal and anti-American into law back in 2005:

The blue thing above Mr. Beardy's head is an American flag. The similarly shaped green thing behind Mr. Blueshirt is a Washington state flag. Still no Israeli flags! It's like a conspiracy!

I could go on, but the ice in my whisky has melted and the glass has warmed. I'm not even sure if I remember my original point, but I'm pretty sure it's something along the lines of this: Telling the leader of another country that the only flag in the office you occupy as governor is that other nation's flag is a deeply stupid, pointless, and meaningless lie.

26 September 2008

Friday jukebox: Art of Noise

In the spirit of the dismantling of Reagan's dismantling of the New Deal, I give you "Beat Box":

25 September 2008

Sarah Palin in town for the presidential debate

I just heard over the Internet, where everything is true, that Sarah Palin will be in Philadelphia until early October, starting today. Her plans tomorrow night include watching the presidential debate at Irish Pub on Walnut Street.

Surely there are some plans afoot that I can join in on.

24 September 2008

Overheard after the Georgia execution was stayed

Overheard after the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia was stayed:

"Holy crap, it's 2008 and we're not sure whether the 8th amendment bars the execution of the innocent?"

"Yep. God bless America!"

Link goes to Davis's petition for certiorari (40 page PDF). Basically, he argues that Georgia's capital case review procedures create a liberty interest in a new trial. Therefore, once Mathews factors are applied, it's beyond questioning that the procedures the state has in place are inadequate due process for someone who faces execution if the state denies a hearing on the issue of granting a new trial.

22 September 2008

Get yer free Constitution here

Well, not here, but from The Heritage Foundation, a right-wing Christian conservative think tank.

No cost at all, and you can ask for as many copies as you want.

21 September 2008

Bailout plan would prohibit review of Treasury Secretary's handling of $700 billion

"We need to deal with this and deal with it quickly" -- Hank Paulsen

We "need" to give the Treasury a $700 billion blank check in less than a week? There's no time to consider helping, for example, homeowners in bankruptcy proceedings by returning to bankruptcy judges the power to modify mortgage terms? And, of course, it's being called partisan "games" to cause a delay in passing the bailout package by demanding that consumer protections be added to it -- yet plans to add foreign firms to the bill are in the works.

Reminds me of how the USA PATRIOT Act was drafted, voted on, and signed into law super-quick -- and we've been dealing with the repercussions since.

The plan as the New York Times posted it on the 20th (see the first link, above) has this wonderful clause:
Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
That's Chevron deference on crack, folks. Courts are already pretty hands-off in the way they treat decisions by executive agencies. Some agencies are given more deference than others, depending on how an agency's enabling act (that is, the law that created the agency) is worded. Another factor is what the particular situation or case is about. Immigration questions, for instance, courts don't like to touch with a 10-foot pole -- for Constitutional and 19th century yellow scare reasons. In my limited experience, then, you see the greatest deference for agency decisions in the Board of Immigration Appeals, 'cause you get this double whammy of Chevron deference plus a long trend of jurisprudence allowing Congress to outsource the immigration side of sovereignty issues through institutions like INS and, now, DHS.

But this provision gives the Treasury Department even more power over bailout-related decisions than BIA gets in immigration cases -- which is a lot, and which would break your heart if you read even a brief survey of immigration cases in the past 10 years. No review at all by any court or by any other executive agency. A budget of 700 billion taxpayer dollars. Banks and other financial institutions with bad investments hammering at the gate for a piece of the bailout.

What could possibly go wrong?

I've seen more than one blogger suggest that you should call your Representative first thing Monday morning.

19 September 2008

Hurricane management lessons only half-learned

"What's happening in Galveston right now is that people who stayed are putting tarps on their roofs and those who did what the government wanted can't get back to their homes to minimize further damage," says Eliot Jennings, Galveston's former emergency management director.
In 2005, officials at the city, state, and federal level did not have evacuation procedures prepared for New Orleans, and Hurricane Katrina killed and disappeared some 2,000 people (PDF). I remember saying at the time to a pal of mine, "We could have had a Dunkirk."

This month as Hurricane Ike approached, there was an evacuation order for Galveston Island and the Florida Keys, and the governors of Texas and Florida both declared a state of emergency ahead of time. The federal government kicked in funds to assist with evacuation efforts.

But it looks as though there wasn't much follow-up planning in place. Much of Houston had no power for almost a week, but FEMA and local officials had trouble distributing ice and food. That individual households didn't have emergency supplies at home is a whole other topic. That said, follow-up planning should include broad outreach efforts to educate the citizenry about living through disasters. One idea that comes to mind is to encourage households (through state-subsidized discounts) to stock up on a week's or month's worth of toiletries, cash, medicine, water, non-perishable foods, and other emergency supplies.

So I mean there are two aspects to what's happening down the Gulf of Mexico right now. Government officials should have been better prepared for the aftermath. But honestly, you know, individuals need to prepare themselves as well. And I'm sure that many of them -- including a good friend of mine who lives in Houston now -- did have emergency supplies on hand. But there were a heck of a lot of people in line for ice and food immediately after the storm rolled through.

Friday jukebox: Johnny Cash

Catch it now before it's taken down for copyright violation reasons:

17 September 2008

LEED-platinum loft home for the low, low price of $250,000

A couple of weekends ago I got myself onto an e-mail list run by an organization that builds super-green housing in Philadelphia. Today I got a notice about a home they're selling in the greater "Port Fishington" area of town -- call it Port Richmond if you want people to think you're a thug, call it Fishtown if you want people to think you live in a hip neighborhood, or call it Kensington if you want people to think you're an urban pioneer.

Quarter of a million dollars for a 2-bedroom, 1-bath, 1300-square-foot loft.

Granted, it's almost literally around the corner from the Philadelphia Brewing Company. However, an intense google search reveals that there's no supermarket within walking distance, though there are plenty of convenience stores and a handful of specialty grocers. Not that there isn't an actual thriving economy in the neighborhood. The last time I walked from the brewery to the nearest El station I saw plenty of evidence that at least some group of people makes money there. I can see it now, though. "Watch your step, honey," I'll be telling my daughter on our way to the El every morning before school; "don't slip on that crack baggie near your left foot and land on that old syringe near your right!"

On the other hand, the $250,000 home incorporates just about all the sustainable and low-environmental-impact features that you can think of: solar panels and hot water, rainwater collection, green walls, low-VOC finishes, and enough compact fluorescents to run a modest grow op with. To take your own house or apartment or a building shell and install these upgrades yourself would cost quite a bit of money, not to mention the disruption while you live there (or delay until you can move in). There's certainly something to be said for an out-of-the-box solution.

But $250,000 for a small loft in Kensington? The builders should be ashamed of themselves for calling it "affordable."

16 September 2008

On the annoying inefficiencies of trials and technicalities

No context. Blackstone simply came up recently:
[H]owever convenient these [new methods of trial] may appear at first, (as doubtless all arbitrary powers, well executed, are the most convenient) yet let it be again remembered, that delays, and little inconveniences in the forms of justice, are the price that all free nations must pay for their liberty in more substantial matters; that these inroads upon this sacred bulwark of the nation are fundamentally opposite to the spirit of our constitution; and that, though begun in trifles, the precedent may gradually increase and spread, to the utter disuse of juries in questions of the most momentous concerns.
4 Commentaries on the Laws of England 343-344 (1769).

15 September 2008

No exit bonuses for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives, but it's not the whole story

It's one of the big news stories today: Hooray! Corporate governance and federal regulations gone right! Now that the Federal Housing Finance Agency has taken over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Daniel Mudd (Mae) and Richard Syron (Mac) will be denied the golden parachutes that their employment contracts gave them (MSNBC)!

Two issues come to mind. First, I don't have a copy of the contracts in front of me. However, MSNBC reports that financial disclosures from Mae and Mac apparently state that Mudd and Syron had contracted to walk away from their top positions with a combined $25 million. This agreement was broken unilaterally by the FHFA, an executive branch actor created by Congress. Can an agency break an employment contract that a privately-owned company made with its employee before the company was federally taken over? I didn't get the best grade in Administrative Law, and I got an even worse one in Constitutional Law, but my guess is that a federal agency is not given Chevron deference to cheat someone out of their paycheck.

Oh, wait, did I just make a Lochner argument there? I'd appreciate an explanation on that point. As I said, I didn't get the best grades in Con Law. But I do wonder if Mudd and Syron don't have a legitimate claim for a taxpayer bailout of Mae's and Mac's contractual obligations on that point. Here's a line from the MSNBC article linked to above:
A law passed by Congress this summer granted the director of FHFA . . . the power to limit severance payments made to departing executives. But the law is untested and it is unclear whether Mudd and Syron will contest the decision.
If I had some $10 million or $12 million at stake, I'd pay an attorney a few thousand dollars to test that law for me, wouldn't you?

Second, Mudd's and Syron's replacements. Herbert Allison is in like Flynn at Mae. He's a director at Time Warner, spent the 1970s to 1990s at Merrill Lynch, and was the finance director of John McCain's 2000 campaign. David Moffett (misidentified in the MSNBC article as "Daniel" Moffett -- c'mon, guys, I found that with two minutes of googling; either you mis-typed because the article is about Daniel Mudd, or you were thinking about Daniel Radcliffe's naked Equus opening on Broadway, which was big news on CNN.com this morning) will be at Mac. Moffett "is virtually unknown outside banking circles" but was nice enough to send some gracious introductory e-mail to Freddie Mac employees when he was named the new CEO there. According to Forbes, he spent much of the 1990s at the banks that became US Bancorp and is now a director at eBay. Intense mid-day googling is revealing little else about him.

Now, contrary to the impression I may have given in my previous post, I'm not an adherent of any theory of a vast, right-wing conspiracy. I just calls 'em as I sees 'em. Here, I wouldn't expect a Republican administration to appoint anyone but one of their own good old boys in the GOP to Mae and Mac. People with more MBA-fu and google-fu than I have will be sure to dig up stuff on these guys. Though I imagine the two new CEOs were better vetted than Sarah Palin was, it's clear that someone at FHFA thinks (or at least hopes) that McCain will win the election -- they put someone known and favorable to him at Mae, I daresay in hopes of paving the way for Mae to do the Executive's bidding without fuss after November.

Does it matter that Mac got a relative unknown? Does Mac have a significantly different function than Mae? Aren't there any women executives who could have been put in one or both positions?

I'm not asking to suggest a conspiracy or shadowy dealings (though I'm happy to suggest sexism). I'm honestly curious.

14 September 2008

McCain is not the actual candidate: Palin is, and she'll be Bush III

New video from Brave New Films suggests that McCain has more cancer and other medical issues than he's willing to bring to light, and thus he's very, very likely to die during his presidency if he wins the election:

Makes me wonder if Sarah Palin isn't the actual candidate. She's a new George W. Bush. Where he was a proven incompetent (but likeable) businessman, she's a shrewd (but gorgeous) social operative and politician. But her experience and worldview are limited to the local level and the small-potatoes world of Alaska politics. She's less qualified and more naïve than even George W. Bush was when he was running. We laughed when then-Governor Bush couldn't remember the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia in 1999. We should be quaking in our boots now that Palin has demonstrated that she doesn't understand what the Bush Doctrine implicates, that she's blithely remarked that we could easily go to war with Russia, and that she argues with a straight face that being the nominal head of the Alaska National Guard qualifies her to learnedly discuss foreign policy and defense questions.

If Palin ends up in the White House, she wouldn't truly be president. And nobody in the RNC leadership could possibly want her to truly be the president. Instead, just like the current president, her unelected, self-selected cabinet and advisors would be the ones running the POTUS office -- giving her all kinds of advice to help funnel money to their special projects, put favorable justices on the Supreme Court, sign into law even more restrictions on civil liberties, and let her go on vacation while she sends our troops to war against Russia.

11 September 2008

White House jaw-droppingly denies that Osama Bin Laden masterminded 9/11

Incredible. The White House is trying to cover its ass for its 7-year failure to find the person who made 9/11 happen by baldly asserting that Osama Bin Laden wasn't the person who made 9/11 happen.

From the horse's assmouth on 10 September 2008:
I will remind you that the top deputies have had a very tough time of it. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, is in jail today, and he is awaiting trial. That is something we should all be thankful for, not only just for the fact that he is no longer out, able to plot and plan, but we should be very thankful for the work that our intelligence community has done to bring some of these people to justice.
When a reporter called out the Dana Perino on this outrageous statement, she stood by it (video).

I see two possibilities here. Either the White House is a 9/11-truther organization that denies the findings of the 9/11 Commission, which clearly explain that "[t]he 9/11 attack was driven by Usama Bin Ladin" (Executive Summary, page 3). Now that would be ridiculous. Or it's an attempt -- and the phrase cynical attempt doesn't begin to approach the level of despicableness I intend to convey -- an attempt to make it OK to the American people that the Republican administration has wasted thousands of lives, trillions of dollars, and almost 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan failing to capture Osama Bin Laden.

Who, and let's be completely clear about this, was the mastermind of 9/11.

To the Republicans, 9/11 is nothing but fodder -- background material, theatrical props -- for their PR machine of propaganda and lies. At the convention, they'd have used footage of the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor, only it's not in color. And not as many Americans were killed.

I didn't lose anyone on 9/11; I've never lived in New York; and as far as I can tell I have no personal interest in anything or anyone surrounding the events of 9/11. But 9/11 is a big reason why I moved back to the East Coast in 2002, and I'm not the only American who had no involvement in 9/11 but still felt it deeply. The attackers couldn't have chosen any target that was more of a fundamental symbol of the U.S. and all it stands for. Other people have written more eloquently than I possibly could about all that stuff, so I'll wrap up with my final point:

You don't use dead Americans to try to get yourself elected, and you don't lie about who was responsible for killing those Americans in order to cover your ass for 7 years of one hell of a fucked-up administration.

Law school blues: Crim Pro and procedural "technicalities"

I'm currently taking a course in criminal procedure. The materials focus on the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments.

The further I get into the casebook and CALI exercises, the more depressed I get about the fascist police state we live in. And we're only halfway through our discussion of the 4th Amendment. This week, the prof began a hypothetical situation by saying, "So you're on a bus, and the Gestapo-I-mean-federal-marshals step inside." A later topic on the syllabus is phrased something like "Is there no longer a Miranda right?"

I'm also taking Sentencing Law, where we're learning more than you ever, ever wanted to know about the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Pennsylvania guidelines, and policy issues and systemic concerns driving equal justice versus individual justice.

The take-away rule I'm getting from law school this term: stay in your home, draw your blinds, never drive anywhere, and, if you get arrested, just kill yourself while you still can.

I'm not posting this in any special observance of 9/11. It's honestly purely coincidental that I'm taking crim pro right now in the fall, and that I happened to have time today to post this rumination. And a lot of this law was in place well before the USA PATRIOT Act anyway.

Oh, and I heard Juan Williams complaining on NPR yesterday morning that a Freedom Summer conviction was thrown out "on a technicality" on Tuesday. The technicality was the statute of limitations (the time the law allowed to bring the case after the incidents happened had expired). I hate that phrase, "getting off on a technicality." You should love technicalities. If it weren't for technicalities, many of our basic human rights in the courtroom wouldn't exist. For instance, people who don't get properly Mirandized can "get off on a technicality." The case that Williams was talking about involved kidnapping and conspiracy charges; the defendant was not charged -- in this action -- with murder. The "technicality" was that the prosecution dragged their heels and didn't bring charges until long after the 5-year statute had run.

It's terrible that so many murders from the Freedom Summer haven't yet been solved. Of course, it's worse than terrible. It's a national disgrace, and it makes me sick to think about it. There's been a lot of stop-snitchin' going on for almost 50 years now, and the potential snitchers are dying off, hopefully to meet their reward. But you'll never convince me that we should make an exception for kidnapping and conspiracy statutes of limitations to make up for decades of prosecutorial indifference to what could have been easily solvable crimes.

I'll back up. Here's Statute of Limitations 101: You have a limited amount of time to sue someone, or the prosecution has a limited amount of time to bring charges, over a case. The legislature sets this time limit, not the courts. Examples include two years for civil suits over car accidents and no limit for criminal murder charges. The policy behind the rule is that witnesses lose accuracy and become less and less available as time goes by. Injuries heal. Records are purged. Eyewitnesses pass away. So if too much time has gone by, you're likely to get an incorrect result at trial, because the evidence is more apt to be unreliable or even completely gone. It's a stick -- an effective one -- for wronged people to seek their day in court in a timely manner and for prosecutors to bring charges before trails go cold.

In short, the tack to take is to complain that a particular statute was too short, not that someone "got off on a technicality." Williams doesn't help criminal prosecutors nor defendants by using that disparaging phrase, just as it's not useful to fuss that someone was convicted "only circumstantial evidence" or whine that evolution is "just a theory."

10 September 2008

Plea for context and actual commentary at Feminist Law Professors

Will the folks at the Feminist Law Professors blog please quit posting a billion times per day articles that are nothing but links around words like "This." or "Amazing article." or "Here." or "Via."?

I'm sure what you're linking to is incisive, important, relevant, and all those good things. But when you don't provide context I have no clue what your link is about. And when you don't provide commentary, you sound as though you don't have any thoughts of your own to add to the conversation. Is Feminist Law Professors a blog, or is it just a news aggregator? At least Fark.com contributors write witty headlines.

I'm not asking for some super-deep analysis that would get an A on a law school exam, or something so scholarly that it could be reprinted in a law review. But I don't think it's too much to ask for more than a bare link to some web page, where even the URL I see when I mouse over it doesn't give me a clue as to what I'm about to read.

03 September 2008

Relevant issues in Palin's candidacy

The Palin family dramas and medical histories are not relevant to whether Sarah Palin has a good enough head on her shoulders to be Vice-President of the United States. Rather, the following items are actually relevant:
  • Her campaign speech was written ahead of time for her. Now, we all know that politicians don't write their own speeches, or if they do they have very good co-authors or editors. What's important here is that, not only did she not write her own speech, the speech that was written for her seems to have been prepared before McCain picked her. The one that the campaign pre-wrote for the candidate was "too masculine." There's a serious implication here, and not just that she wasn't the obvious choice. The bigger implication is that McCain was way out in left field making the choice on his own, maybe even on the spur of the moment. Looks as though McCain, and only McCain, thinks she's a good choice. Is it a good idea for only the Presidential candidate to have confidence in his back-up? Is this the kind of maverick decision-making the nation ever needs? Since when is reasoned deliberation a bad thing?
  • When is Bristol Palin's birthday? When is the birthday of the father of her pregnancy? What's Alaska's rule on statutory rape? How come I haven't heard these questions asked yet? Is someone afraid to do the math?
  • While the Palin family is pledging their "love and support" for Bristol and her unexpected blessing, Sarah Palin line-item vetoed over one-fifth of the funding for the Alaska branch of the Catholic organization Covenant House and its programs for unmarried pregnant minors. Passage House provides shelter and other help to pregnant teens who don't have the love and support of their family and the men who got them pregnant. Not sure if the funding cuts indicate whether Sarah Palin dislikes Catholics, or simply that she's a hypocrite who handles teenage pregnancy differently depending on whether the pregnant girl is someone she knows. (Setting aside the issue of giving state money to religious charities aside because, of course, if that were her actual justification, she would cut 100% of Covenant House Alaska's state support.) The image below is from the WaPo article linked to above and shows Palin's initials over the cut to Covenant House funding:

That, my friends, in black and white is what Sarah Palin truly thinks about unwed pregnant girls.

02 September 2008

What to say to an unmarried pregnant minor woman

The following are polite, acceptable statements to a minor woman who you've just found out is pregnant:
  • Congratulations!
  • Best wishes for an easy labor.
  • Has your [insert name of close female relative or good friend] set a date for the baby shower?
  • I'm so glad you still have health insurance through your [insert name of parent]!
  • Do you have a copy of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn yet? It's totally better than What to Expect. Let it be my gift to you.
  • I've just subscribed you to hipMama magazine.
  • Does your high school have a daycare? You know you have a right to graduate with your class, right?
And that's about it. Unless you also want to quote Allison Crews (1982-2005):
Girls like me have raised presidents. We've raised messiahs and musicians, writers and settlers. Girls like me won't compromise, and we won't fail.

In which the technology defeats me

Weird. Firefox for Mac just magically updated itself, and now it looks like Safari.