Monday, January 23, 2006

Cegelis/Scott on Cable/Podcast; Lynn Sweet fumbles

"Public Affairs," airs tonight throughout the City of Chicago at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21. Tonight's episode features as guests Democratic 6th CD Primary Candidates IT Consultant and 2004 6th CD Democratic Nominee Christine Cegelis [D-Rolling Meadows] and Wheaton College Professor Lindy Scott [D-Wheaton]. The show can also be watched anytime as a webcast on the Public Affairs Cinema Complex [See here], show labeled as Cegelis & Scott, January 8, 2006].

The third candidate in the Democratic Primary, Severely injured, Iraq War Veteran Major Tammy Duckworth [D-Hoffman Estates], was said to be unavailable for our taping. Her campaign told me that candidate Duckworth might agree to do a show in the future. Major Duckworth and her controversial financial and in-kind support from the Democratic Party establishment, including such noteables as DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel, Senators Durbin and Obama and media guru David Axelrod, was the topic of some discussion during the show.

See here for more about the show with Cegelis and Scott, including the topics discussed and links to the candidates' websites.

One interesting aspect of the show, discussed below, is Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet’s characterization of candidate Lindy Scott as anti-abortion rights [ See here ]. That could be true by Sweet’s benchmarks, but I doubt by many others.

Professor Lindy Scott does not want to overturn Roe v. Wade and he doesn’t think abortion should be illegal. He would like to encourage, in a variety of ways, pregnant girls/women to choose not to have an abortion. And, Scott favors parental notice legislation with “Judicial bypass.” Yes, Professor Scott favors a ban on partial birth abortion--but, one that makes an exception for the Life and “serious health,” of the mother. Maybe that sounds to Lynn Sweet like someone who is opposed to abortion rights, but to most people? Not so much.

Moreover, Lindy Scott is opposed to making abortion illegal in part because he likens such a law to laws prohibiting manufacture, sale and comsumption of liquor, as was the case once upon a time in the United States. The evangelical Wheaton College Professor argues that, as was true with prohibiton at that time, so many people would violate an abortion ban- as to make it ineffective or inapproprite. Also, he says such a ban on abortion would be unfair: Rich people would go to another state or country to purchase an abortion procedure, while the poor could not afford to terminate their pregnancies, or at least not legally.

Much, if not all, of this information of candidate Scott’s views on abortion could have been gleaned from this blog [See here] or from my prior show with Prof. Scott, which was and is available as a podcast [See here, show labeled Lindy Scott, Nov. 13, 2005]. Of course, it also could have been obtained by asking a number of questions to Lindy Scott. Professor Scott indicated to me that Sweet only asked him about parental notice, at least with respect to questions on the subject of abortion. Well, whatever Lynn Sweet did, she didn’t get it right as to the essence, or the details, of 6th Cong. Dist. candidate Lindy Scott on abortion.

What’s the point of writing about politics in a major newspaper if you are not going to get it right? Also, I read Lynn Sweet almost every day that she appears in the Sun-Times and I watch her almost every time she appears on Public TV’s and WTTW's Chicago Tonight, where she can be seen from time to time. And, I like Lynn Sweet.

Doesn't it seem as if turnabout is fair play. Isn't it time Lynn Sweet starting reading and watching Public Affairs regularly? If she does, next time she writes about a candidate's or office-holder's views, she should get them right. You can make book on it.
Overturn Roe v. Wade?

[Ed. Note: Yesterday was the 33rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in that case, a decision that Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter [R-PA] calls a “super dooper precedent,” a term I seldom encountered at the University of Chicago Law School].

Jeff Berkowitz: People are wondering between the two of you and we will get to the third candidate, as we talk, is there a lot of difference between the two of you [as to the issues]? One of the issues that has come up: Lynn Sweet, for instance, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, [wrote, See here] that Lindy Scott opposes abortion rights and that is a major difference between you and the other candidates. So, Lindy Scott, do you oppose abortion rights? It didn’t seem to me that Lynn Sweet got that right.

Lindy Scott: I don’t think she understands it very well. I do take a position that I am pro-woman and I try to cherish life. So, I would urge government to do things that would make choosing life easier, such as funding prescriptions, funding birth control. I would also do much more funding of day care centers, so that young women could choose to have their child and continue their education or continue their job.

Jeff Berkowitz: But, you don’t want to do anything to overturn Roe v. Wade or to take away a “Woman’s right to choose,” right?

Lindy Scott: No.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, in that sense, you are Pro-Abortion rights, right?

Lindy Scott: I am in favor of keeping the choice as it is, but I would urge women to choose—

Jeff Berkowitz: You would urge them to choose differently, that is to choose not to have an abortion—

Lindy Scott: Yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: But, you would still give them that right, however you are going to do that, and Christine Cegelis is shaking her head vigorously that she, of course, agrees: You hold Roe v. Wade sacrosanct, would that be right?

Christine Cegelis: Well, I agree with Lindy that one of the things we are not doing well is helping women make the right choice. And, that’s because we are not helping them with birth control, we are not making birth control available enough. Certainly, one of the things we have often talked about is that emergency contraception really should be available over the counter to limit the amount of unwanted pregnancies. But, also, as Lindy pointed out, we are not doing enough funding for things like child care. Having raised two children on my own and having been a working mother, I can tell you that is very difficult to deal with the child care situation, and it has actually gotten worse, since I have had my kids.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you think fewer women would have abortions or choose to have abortions if they thought there would be more assistance from the government with child care, is that your point?

Christine Cegelis: Absolutely, if child care was more available and less expensive.

Jeff Berkowitz: Lindy Scott, Professor Scott is shaking his head yes, so you are in agreement?

Pro-Death Budget Cutters? Suggests Evangelical Professor Lindy Scott.

Lindy Scott: It is said that the Pro-Life people who voted to cut all the safety net, the food stamps, the foster care- all the money there that they just cut recently is really Pro-Death. It is really urging people to choose abortions over giving—giving birth.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you would go that far to call people who wanted… what actually are you talking about when you say cutting food stamps—talk about that—is there a federal effort to cut food stamps?

Lindy Scott: Forty billion dollar cut.

Jeff Berkowitz: Did that cut food stamps?

Lindy Scott: Yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: Would it cut spending or would it cut the rate of growth of spending.

Lindy Scott: Cut the rate of growth but still the same thing.

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, what was the percentage growth before and what is the percentage growth after?

Lindy Scott: More people will lose access to food stamps. More children will lose access to their school lunches.

--Scott back tracks on Pro-Death Republicans?

Jeff Berkowitz: So, would you go so far as to call Republicans who may have favored that, that cut in the rate of growth of food stamp spending—would you call them Pro-Death?

Lindy Scott: I would say it is not a consistent Pro-Life position.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you are retracting that Pro-Death characterization? It is a little too harsh?

Lindy Scott: They are not favoring life, yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: You are shaking your head [Christine Cegelis], you hear anything you disagree with?

Christine Cegelis: I agree with him. I think we need to have a social safety net.

Jeff Berkowitz: And you agree, Professor Scott, with what Christine was saying about making contraception more available as a way of dealing with the abortion issue?

Lindy Scott:
It should be covered by insurance.

--Parental Notice? Now, here’s a difference, but not as much as it appears.

Jeff Berkowitz: You favor parental notice, right?

Lindy Scott: Yes, I do.

Jeff Berkowitz: And, Christine Cegelis, you oppose that.

Christine Cegelis: I do.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, we have found a difference, right?

Lindy Scott: I do believe in the legal bypass, in case of incest, things like that, but yes, any surgery involving a minor, my daughter, my son—I think parents should be involved in it.

Jeff Berkowitz: But, you would have judicial bypass exceptions for rape and incest?

Professor Lindy Scott: Yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: You [Christine] don’t think parents should be told about their minor daughter having an abortion by their doctor. You don’t think the law should require that.

Christine Cegelis: I think that’s a better way to put it. I don’t think the law should require it because the law often gets things like this of such a personal nature wrong and Lindy has hit on the reasons: incest, rape. It happens far more than we would like to admit. And, if there is a strong judicial bypass—I think if that is going to happen, then it needs to happen on a state by state level, because that is where you know for sure

Jeff Berkowitz: Does that mean you would favor it. If it were available, I know you are running for federal office. But, to the extent you could promote a parental notice law in Illinois that had a judicial bypass set up, set up well so that if you had a rape or incest problem, the female would be able to go ahead with the abortion w/o notice to the parents in that case. If that were the case, would you then say you favor that kind of parental notice?

Christine Cegelis: I don’t know that I would favor it, but I would not oppose if I really felt it was well done, but, you know, again, I’ve seen so often that the government gets this wrong.

Bans on Partial Birth Abortion:

Jeff Berkowitz: Partial birth abortion. You’ve said—

Christine Cegelis: In the case of the health and the life of the woman

Jeff Berkowitz: You would favor a ban on partial birth abortions, as long as there was an exception for the life and health of the mother.

Christine Cegelis: That’s right.

Jeff Berkowitz: The woman, you would say, some would say, the mother. Would you say the mother?

Christine Cegelis: I would say the mother.

Jeff Berkowitz: And Lindy, last time you were a little bit, what’s the word- vague on that- because you said you would favor an exception for the life of the mother—

Lindy Scott: Life of the mother

Jeff Berkowitz: and serious health.

Lindy Scott: Serious health of the mother.

Jeff Berkowitz: Has to be serious health as opposed to just health. You would make that distinction.

Lindy Scott: Yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: Again. Does that make sense to you, [Christine Cegelis]?

Christine Cegelis: No, not really. Because, again, when government tries to get into that, you know we are splitting hairs about what is the health of the mother.
Democratic 6th CD Primary Candidates Christine Cegelis [Rolling Meadows] and Lindy Scott [Wheaton] , recorded on January 8, 2006 and as is airing on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs tonight, Jan. 23 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21. The show can also be watched anytime as a webcast on the Public Affairs Cinema Complex [See here], show labeled as Cegelis & Scott, January 8, 2006].
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at