ABORTION RITES. The creepiest story of the day - and perhaps a sign of what's to come - is the news that Kansas attorney general Phill Kline is trying to obtain the records of women and girls who've received late-term abortions. According to the New York Times (check out this blog-friendly permanent link), Kline wants the documents as part of a statutory-rape investigation. But Kline is a pro-life activist, and it's telling that he's taking flack from pro-choice forces and winning praise from pro-lifers.
According to the Times' Jodi Wilgoren, Kline "also spoke obliquely of other crimes that court documents suggest could include doctors' providing illegal late-term abortions." Hmmm.
The Wichita Eagle publishes an editorial today that gets right to the point. Some highlights:
The clinics offered to give the attorney general copies with irrelevant private information blacked out. But that apparently wasn't good enough. Why not, if the purpose is to prosecute criminals, not harass women who have sought abortions?
Why focus on records of patients who had late-term abortions, after 22 weeks - even though many underage teens presumably obtain abortions sooner - if the intention is to punish sexual predators, not late-term abortion providers?
And if sexual abuse of children is the issue, then why doesn't Mr. Kline also subpoena others with access to information about underage sex - school nurses, doctors, social workers - to turn over private records?
But given the attorney general's close political ties with anti-abortion activists, this latest campaign seems designed to add to an atmosphere of hostility and harassment faced daily by abortion providers - who, whatever one might think of abortion, are offering a medical service that is legal and protected under Kansas statute.
Is this sort of thing likely to become more common? Sadly, the answer is probably yes.
THE MISSING CONTEXT. Christopher Cooper and John McKinnon have an excellent story in today's Wall Street Journal on what a nutty show the daily White House briefings have become. They write: "Once the clubby preserve of big-name newspapers and networks, it has lately become a political stage where a growing assortment of reporters, activists and bloggers function not only as journalists but as participants in a unique form of reality TV."
That's why I just can't get outraged over the Jeff Gannon saga. Amused, of course. And somewhat perturbed about the hypocrisy, given what we know what would have happened if, say, Bill Clinton had allowed a ringer who was a former prostitute into the White House press room. But outraged - you've got to be kidding.
BAILEY V. BLEIDT. The Boston Herald's Greg Gatlin has more on Boston Globe columnist Steve Bailey's complaint against his erstwhile former part-time employer, Brad Bleidt, the admitted scam artist who once ran WBIX Radio (AM 1060).