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Four nights ago, I posted a diary here at DailyKos and a post at Democracy for Virginia titled, "Have Miscarriage, Go to Jail???" about HB1677, a so-called "fetal death reporting" bill that would have required women to report a fetal death within 12 hours or face a up to a year in prison.  

Just over an hour ago, the story broke that Delegate Cosgrove will be withdrawing the bill:

Legislation that would have required mothers who had failed to report fetal deaths to the police within 12 hours of the delivery to face a possible misdemeanor sentence will be withdrawn, its patron said on Monday.

"I've elected to withdraw HB 1677 from consideration by the General Assembly this year. The language is just too confusing," Del. John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, told The Augusta Free Press.

Cosgrove's surprise move came after a firestorm of controversy spread across the World Wide Web over the weekend about the possible far-reaching effects of the measure.

I don't know if there has ever been this kind of quick victory for citizen bloggers in impacting state legislation.  Wow!

The original story here stayed on the Recommended Diary list here for 24 hours and spread like wildfire to over 1,000 blogs, earning particularly impassioned responses on infertility and miscarriage blogs. Hundreds of bloggers added to the story, doing additional research on the issue of "fetal death reporting", "Save Haven" laws, Delegate Cosgrove, and developing point-by-point rebuttals to Cosgrove's response to my initial story.

I received hundreds of emails a day about the story for the past three days.  The story was picked up by TV news yesterday and was the lead story on a Richmond station last night.  (Video available at link.)

You can read all the updates on the story at http://www.democracyforvirginia.com.  Things have moved so quickly, I've barely had time to sleep much less post updates here at DailyKos!

This is entirely a victory of citizen bloggers, including many from the DailyKos community.  Thanks to everyone who recommended the diary, commented, cross-posted to other blogs, and worked so hard to inform others about this story and do additional research on it.  

If you live in Virginia and want to keep working like this on Virginia legislation, join the Democracy for Virginia Legislative Sentry email list!  We've got MUCH more work ahead of us.  But it's fantastic to start with a victory like this.<

Update [2005-1-11 2:29:21 by Maura in VA]:: The Virginian-Pilot has another story, "Del. Cosgrove pulls bill after Internet fuels fiery protest", with a few choice quotes:

Del. John A. Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, was shaken by the speed and volume of the response as word of his bill traveled across the country via the Internet.

“I’ve never been blogged before,” he said. “The tone of the e-mails has been disgusting. It’s,'You’re a horrible person. You ought to be crucified.’ And those were the nice ones.”

Information about Cosgrove’s bill was first posted on a Virginia Web site, http://democracyforvirginia.typepad.com. Maura Keaney, a Falls Church woman and former volunteer for Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, uses the site to monitor state government and political issues.

Keaney said Monday her site had received about 70,000 hits in the previous 24 hours, and that information about the bill was picked up by more than 100 blogs, including Web sites for women who have suffered miscarriages. A check of computer search engines Monday found 155 links to discussions about the bill.

Cosgrove said he spent the weekend responding to all 500-plus e-mails he received from people as far away as California and Texas. The original Web site that raised the alarm also posted his response to criticisms.

“They’ve been fairly responsive, but they never talked to me prior to going on the Web,” he said. “I was absolutely mistreated on this.

Keaney said she tried to contact Cosgrove but posted her report after waiting three days without a response...

Rem Rieder, editor of American Journalism Review, said the blog phenomenon has both positive and negative consequences.

“It’s certainly a way of stimulating participation in the political process. It’s a way to get involved instantly,” he said. “But the potential for bullying and intimidation is there. You wouldn’t want people to not be putting in bills because they’d be flogged by blogs. And it can be a way of spreading misinformation or distorted information quickly. Blogs, while they are fascinating, are not journalism.”

Jeff South, a mass communications professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the blogs proved beneficial for Cosgrove’s bill.

The bloggers pointed out, to me, some legitimate concerns,” South said. “They created a healthy discussion. If there’s a down side, it was that Del. Cosgrove didn’t have a chance to get involved in the debate until it was too late.”

Delegate Cosgrove has been mistreated here? What about the women who could have been harmed by his sloppily drafted legislation?

It's funny how journalists always get someone to give the quote saying that "bloggers aren't journalists". But then the stories are slanted to criticize how blogging is not journalism. No, I didn't wait to talk to Delegate Cosgrove before I went ahead with the story. Who knows whether he would ever have paid any attention to my original email if he hadn't gotten all the atention he later received? Was I under ethical obligation to present "his side" of the story?

Ultimately, the argument was never with Cosgrove or his intent. His stated intent is interesting context for this kind of blogging, I think, but ultimately I think we need to be primarily concerned with the content of legislation, not just the backstory of legislator intent.

What do you think?

Originally posted to Maura in VA on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 09:01 PM PST.

Poll

The DFV Legislative Sentry work on HB1677 is:

29%171 votes
68%398 votes
1%7 votes

| 577 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Congrats Maura! (none)
    Blogs do have an impact!  A battle won, but don't get cocky!
    •  Speaking truth to power (4.00)
      The powerful are always unsettled when the people demonstrate resistance.

      In this case it's described in terms of bloggers not being "real journalists", and somehow rising above their rightful place and talking out of turn.

      That discomfort just shows that blogs are having a real impact on the political process -- and the media landscape.  The elites in both politics and media are uneasy.

    •  Four (4.00)
      Maura, you just kicked some serious, serious ass here. There aren't enough "fours" to do you justice.
      •  "Flogged by Blogs" - That is the POINT! (4.00)
        Blogs are great for disseminating information and urging action, which are the primary freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.  The correct ancestor of the blogger is NOT the journalist, however, but the pissed off citizen standing on a soap-box on the street corner.  

        I emailed my state delegate and senator and sent an email link to your original post to everyone I knew in the state of Virginia.

        Wow, what a soap-box!

        Fuzzy only works for pets.

        by NotFuzzy on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 08:52:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why is it, when the corporation I work for (4.00)
          uses the same method, asking its employees to send emails in support of a bill or legislation to do its bidding in swaying decision makers, no one says a word?

          Sorry fella, but in lieu of 160 mail bags filled with letters, you now get emails. Welcome to the 21st century!  

          Most Americans are a lot dumber than we give them credit for- George Carlin 2004

          by maggiemae on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 11:39:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Mainlining self-esteem heroin here! (4.00)
        Seriously, a compliment like that coming from a veteran ass kicker like you means a lot.  A LOT.

        Thank you.  :-)

    •  no, GET cocky!! (none)
      get cocky and stay committed.  we all thank you.

      He will never be a tough competitor. He doesn't know how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Lou Piniella

      by alivingston on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 03:33:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You hero, you (4.00)
      Maura, if I could squeeze through the cable I'd pop out of your modem tonight to kiss you on ALL your cheeks.  You're fantastic.  

      Was very amused, BTW, by Cosgrove's comments in the Augusta paper about his bill NOT dealing with miscarriages at all, but rather with women who kill their newborns and pretend they were stillborn.  

      Ummmm... since he's made that The Truth of record, some anti-choice bloggeration better begin about a man who wants to reduce what would now be a murder to a misdemeanor.

      'Course, ya gotta love a liar who's so incompetent he brings it on from BOTH sides.

      You stopped him in his tracks, Maura.  Thank you.  And to all the bloggers who blogged him dead, THANK YOU, TOO!!!!

      "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

      by KateCrashes on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 07:24:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  YEYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!! (none)
    Ahhh...so now we liberal Virginians can feel blessed to not be the MOST bass-ackwards state in the land.  I think alabama and mississipi still beat us.

    We have much work to do..

    Good job Maura!!!

    •  Have you seen... (4.00)
      ...what other bills are up in this legislative session?  I wouldn't rest on being better than Alabama so quickly.  :-)

      But tonight I'm not worrying about the other bills.  I'm just gonna be happy for a sec.  It's too rare to have a victory - I want to savor it!

      •  Oh yes... (none)
        The republican hate amendment for VA is up again...we need to fight those bastards with a vengeance...which is especially why we need to contest every seat...if anyone has spar time and a republican delegate, run for their seat!!!
        •  Cosgrove blinked. (4.00)
          The coolest thing about this, I think, for the future is two-fold:

          1. We have over 100 volunteers who've just joined our Legislative Sentry email list, so we can collaborate with one another on future bills, especially the "hate amendment".

          2. John Cosgrove was the author of this bill, and pressure from blogs caused him to pull it.  John Cosgrove is the chief sponsor of the bill to create the Hate Amendment.  We've learned we can make him blink.

          3. Lots of "mainstream" non-political people, mostly women, in the Chesapeake area now associate Cosgrove with an extreme and invasive attack on their privacy and dignity, an intrusion of the government into highly personal matters.  They may not have paid attention to debates about the amendment before, but they are far less likely to go along with Cosgrove's agenda blindly now.  I think that's pretty great.
      •  now (none)
        can you do something about his christmas cd???

        excellent work, woman. i'm impressed and very proud.

        The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. --Yeats

        by JaneKnowles on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 09:13:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Next step... (none)
        Is there a legislative race this year?

        If so, keep track of the moderate Repugs (if there are any) who we can target by rasing funds for their challengers on line.

        We really need to go after Republican moderates by pointing out that they enable right wing extremists to control legislation.....

        •  Yep. 43 Republicans ran unopposed in '03 (4.00)
          Including John Cosgrove.  I'd actually say our first target should be THEM.  How can we expect to have any control in the House of Delegates if we just hand over nearly 50% of the seats without a fight?

          The good news is I know of at least two wingnuts who got off without opponents last time -- GoldPlated KingWingnut Robert Marshall in Manassas, and David Albo, both from Northern Virginia.  I'm hoping this story will motivate others to run against Cosgrove this time.  We've got a LOT of work to do!

          •  Hrm. (none)
            Where is his district?

            How can we get over it when people died for the right to vote? -- John Lewis

            by furryjester on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 10:04:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Chesapeake (none)
              Right on the shore...wanna move there and run against him?  :-)
              •  long range target (none)
                should start compiling diary/internet entry to track candidate and political climate in the area.

                So once a viable candidate is out, he has all the information in his/her hand against this creep.

                also figure out the cost of 'media' (any friendly radio, newspaper, collage, etc.?)

                even scrap notes in the form of blog will help somebody in the future when election time come.

                We should never wait until campaign time again.

                Maybe somebody should create a dkos entry for this creeep?  plus make a page 'target 2006'?

              •  Are there any likely local candidates? (none)
                That would be the best option, obviously.  It does look like a potentially good opportunity for the right person.

                Are you going to be at the DC Kos-meetup thing tonight? If so, we could talk more there.  If not - email me.

                How can we get over it when people died for the right to vote? -- John Lewis

                by furryjester on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 07:04:50 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nope, I'm in CT (none)
                  I'm still up here in CT taking care of my folks for the forseeable future.  I wish I had been able to attend your meeting tonight!

                  I have heard from a guy in Chesapeake who is working with local Dems to find a challenger for Cosgrove.  I offered him what assistance I could with framing this controversy and will definitely help him if they find a candidate and need publicity for money.

                  BTW, have you heard of Waldo Jaquith's new Virginia Family Values PAC?  Brilliant stuff.

                  •  Well, I'm a field organizer (none)
                    with a hodgepodge of other skills as well, and I'm looking for work.  Can you get me in touch with this guy? Because, for sure I'd love to work a race like that, with a quality candidate.

                    How can we get over it when people died for the right to vote? -- John Lewis

                    by furryjester on Wed Jan 12, 2005 at 07:43:01 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Werkheiser vs. Albo... (none)
            Werkheiser for Delegate

            Greg Werkheiser is making plans to challenge David Albo for his seat in the 42nd District.

            Stateline.org: Portrait Of A Legislator: Virginia's David Albo..

            It seems that Albo uses his transportation improvement issues to cloak his wingnuttery.

            "But then I viddied that thinking is for the gloopy ones and the oomny ones use, like, inspiration and what Bog sends." -- Alex de Large

            by rgilly on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 03:55:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Albo... (none)
              Was the sponsor of the heinous HB 751 that denies contract rights to gay couples.

              http://www.standupforequality.org/751vote.html

              George Bailey was a Democrat. Mr. Potter was a Republican.

              by 537 votes on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 06:47:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

                •  Virginia Family Values PAC targets Albo (none)
                  I assume you've heard of this, but Virginia Family Values PAC has chosen Albo as one of its first targets.

                  I love the writeups of targeted races on the site.  Brilliant stuff.

                  •  I don't know, Maura (none)
                    Waldo Jaquith of Va Family Values is also supporting Chap Peterson, Dem of Fairfax, for Lt Gov.  Chap was either a homophobe or a spineless turd for voting for HB 751.  A Democrat, voting in favor of crippling the rights of gay couples.  

                    It's difficult to campaign as a Dem in Va on a lot of issues, I know, but HB 751 seems to be a pretty clear dividing line.  

                    BTW, congrats on your part in killing the Cosgrove bill.  Nicely done.  

                    George Bailey was a Democrat. Mr. Potter was a Republican.

                    by 537 votes on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 07:51:22 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Untrue (none)
                      Waldo Jaquith of Va Family Values is also supporting Chap Peterson, Dem of Fairfax, for Lt Gov.  Chap was either a homophobe or a spineless turd for voting for HB 751.  A Democrat, voting in favor of crippling the rights of gay couples.

                      That's not true -- I haven't made up my mind, and I likely won't for a while.  I am, however, not opposing him, and I think it's embarrassingly short-sighted of Democrats to fail to support him for his vote on a single bill, particularly one where his vote made no difference.  I have absolutely no idea of what that has to do with Virginia Family Values or why you brought it up.

                      If you've got a better candidate, please, tell the rest of us.  Because, right now, we've got Chap!™ and some background noise in the form of three other people who are wholly unelectable.  I want to win, while you seem to be want to have a perfect candidate.  We can't do both in this race or, in fact, in any race.

                      -Waldo Jaquith

                      •  Check out my reply below, too... (none)
                        Just in case you don't come back to the whole thread, I commented on you below.  BTW, how 'bout if I choose not to support Chap based on 2 votes, not 1?  ;-)
                      •  Fair enough (none)
                        But if his vote on HB751 made no difference, why did he cast it that way?  By your logic, it wouldn't have made a difference if he voted against it either. But it would have made a huge difference to me, just as his vote for it does.

                        Am I short-sighted?  How far-sighted do I have to be to see Chap is one lousy candidate?

                        George Bailey was a Democrat. Mr. Potter was a Republican.

                        by 537 votes on Wed Jan 12, 2005 at 05:10:43 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Apples and Oranges (none)
                          But if his vote on HB751 made no difference, why did he cast it that way?

                          It made no difference to the whether the bill passed or not.  His vote makes a big difference regarding his support -- his vote either way would be used as a litmus test, as you're doing now, in his run for Lt. Governor.

                          Am I short-sighted?  How far-sighted do I have to be to see Chap is one lousy candidate?

                          I don't think he's a lousy candidate; at least, he's a much better candidate than the other three, to my estimation.  (Though Leslie Byrne I haven't met, unlike the other three.) I don't like some of his votes, and I think Maura's right to be pissed about both of those votes of his.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: we don't have a better candidate for the seat.

                          We Democrats are forever cutting off our nose to spite our face.  In so many races, we nominate an eco-terrorist, bisexual, paraplegic, bisexual, African-American Jew [1] so we can feel real good about ourselves, and then accuse Republicans of being anti-whateverists when our candidate loses.  I'm not a Democrat that believes that we should move to the center, but I am one who understands that there are limits to how far to the left that we can move.

                          If we back a lesser candidate, we'll lose.  We'll feel all warm and fuzzy about ourselves.  But we'll lose.

                          -Waldo Jaquith

                          [1] Note that some of my best friends are eco-terrorist, tree-hugging, bisexual, paraplegic, bisexual, African-American Jews.

                        •  Follow Up (none)
                          I would have e-mailed you, but I can't find an address for you.  Check out the Peterson/Albo bill (that old duo ;), HB2490.  Just submitted on Wednesday.

                          -Waldo Jaquith

                    •  Agree on Chap's votes, not on Waldo (none)
                      I think there are two strikes against Chap Petersen.  And those two strikes are so big that they in themselves constitute a third strike.  I cannot actively support Chap Petersen for Lt. Gov. in the primary.  I think he's a personable guy and I think he's a remarkable campaigner and a helluva hard worker.  But I agree with you on the seriousness of Chap's vote on HB751, and I also cannot support him after his vote in favor of the "feticide" bill, even after the legislature refused Gov. Warner's recommendation to revise the bill to clarify that it was not meant to erode abortion rights.  The legislature made clear that they DID mean for it to erode abortion rights by refusing that recommendation, so essentially Chap Petersen went along with that.  Two strikes so big that the third isn't even needed.

                      Waldo spoke up below and said he wasn't yet supporting Chap actively.  But even if he was, I'd stand up and support Waldo's PAC wholeheartedly.  Because it is precisely what Waldo is trying to do that is going to turn around the institutionalized hate in HB751.  We will NEVER get the current General Assembly to overturn HB751.  Never.  The only option is to get the king wingnuts in the legislature out of office, and Waldo's PAC is focused on doing just that, starting with Robert Marshall, the author and chief sponsor of HB751.  I would think you'd support that goal, even if Waldo chose personally to support Chap for Lt. Gov.

                      Thanks much for the support and encouragement -- we've made Cosgrove blink now.  That bodes well.

          •  Why don't you run next time? n/t (none)

            I can't think of a good sig.

            by SneakySnu on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 05:38:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'd love to (none)
              I definitely have "the bug".  I'd love to take on a race myself.  Unfortunatley, right now is a bad time - I don't have a job, and I'm caring for my ailing parents in Connecticut of all places!  I don't have a great sense of a time-frame for this role (although my savings account is not endless, alas, so I have to work again soon.)

              My district in Virginia is ably represented by a great Senator, Mary Margaret Whipple, and by a Democratic delegate, Bob Hull.  Hull I barely know.  While the wingnut brigade is busy introducing dozens and dozens of bills, Hull hasn't filed any yet this session, which is pretty disappointing.  He votes the right way, though, so I'm not particularly motivated to mount a challenge against him while there are SO many Virginia Republicans who need challengers.  I'd have to move to run against one of them, though.  :-)

      •  way to go, maura! (none)
        great job girlfriend.  i haven't had the time to monitor the diaries or hang out as much as i used to, so i feel ashamed to say i didn't catch the original story.  needless to say, i've bookmarked your site now and will be paying more attention.
        congratulations on a well earned victory.  

        "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

        by anna on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 03:13:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great job, Maura! (4.00)
    It's not just dumb luck -- if you hadn't explained the issue clearly, and gotten the message out to the right audience, this never would have happened.

    As my Aussie friends say: Good on ya, mate!

    -AG

    "A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country
    is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards."
    Theodore Roosevelt, 4 July 1903

    by AlphaGeek on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 08:41:24 PM PST

  •  That's great! Good work. n/t (none)
  •  great news! (none)
    Amazing how effective bloggery can be!

    By the way, you mean "Have Miscarriage," not "Have Marriage," don't you?

  •  Blogosphere Dean Scream. (4.00)
    Everyone all together now...

    YEEEAARRGHHH!!!!!

    Flex those muscles, friends.

  •  This should be front-paged (4.00)
    Congratulations, Maura!

    All the snark that's fit to...er...pixelate? liberal street fight

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 08:44:12 PM PST

  •  Citizen activism (4.00)
    A beautiful thing.

    That's the wonderful nature of the Internet. News travels fast and 10,000 eyes/ keyboards are better than one.

    Get some sleep, you done good. ;)

    Jaded Reality... I've had enough spin for today thanks...

    by spiderleaf on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 08:51:34 PM PST

  •  "Have Marriage, Go to Jail???" (none)
    Cool typo!   ;)
    •  And great work! (none)
      I have to confess that part of me hopes that I never do anything that gets me hundreds of emails a day.
      •  Amen (4.00)
        Seriously, this was overwhelming.  I had no idea what I'd unleash when this hit the infertility/miscarriage blogs.  These women have fought so hard to have children, they are geared up for other fights, and boy did they mobilize.

        I got copied on so many heartbreaking emails of stillbirth and miscarriage.  I tried to respond to every one, but I know I didn't even get to reply to every miscarriage-story comment on the first diary, I got so swamped!

        An interesting thing is that, if you read the updates, you'll see Cosgrove wrote to me and expressed dismay that he was receiving so many "mean-spirited, abusive" emails.  I don't think abusiveness has value for its own sake, but judging from the passion in these emails, I know that the anger in those emails was reflective of the level of horror those women felt at the possibility that the police could be involved in such a personal situation.

         

        •  I propose this bill: (4.00)
          My legislation would be as follows:

          "Propose a stupid-ass bill like HB1667 and go to jail for one year."

        •  As someone who had (4.00)
          the dubious "fortune" of having to be pregnant twice last year to end up with one viable pregnancy (miscarried the first one at 7 1/2 weeks) my response to this was just unprintable.

          It was just an insane bill. And as someone who is deliberately choosing to have a low-tech birth at home on purpose, it was a terrifying step on a slippery slope I don't want to even think about in terms of privacy violations.

          The stupid thing is that it was a law designed to "find out" about something that is already extremely illegal--i.e. murdering a live-born baby. It would do nothing to help the poor parent who births a child who never takes a breath. People who kill or abandon newborn infants are already breaking a law. You think another law is going to change that?

          Idiots.

          George Bush is Nehemiah Scudder. Say hello to the American Christian Taliban.

          by jenrose on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 09:52:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  don't forget (4.00)
            low-tech home birth: illegal in nebraska and alabama!  a doctor must be present or someone goes to jail.  nebraska attorney general has been threatening nurse midwives who choose to ignore the law.
            •  My doctor (4.00)
              who was a midwife before she got her license almost lost her license because she attended a home birth.

              That would be in Texas, of course.

              The Christian Right is neither

              by TXsharon on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 06:34:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Midwives Are Under Attack (4.00)
              Midwives are under attack throughout the country, in every state.

              Our second was born at home, our first was in the hospital with 2 midwives in attendance (don't ask how we managed that!).  The hospital-based midwife ceased being employed shortly after our hospital birth. No one has come out and said so much, but the rumor mill hinted it was because she allowed a home-birth midwife to be present.

        •  Congratulations Maura! (none)
          Great great work, what can I say but

          You have the power!!!

        •  Congratulations! (4.00)
          And I'd like to point out that this is again not a clear cut "left/right" issue. This is a human issue. No woman, whereever she is on the political spectrum, is going to want to submit to something like this. I suspect that once people had the information, the rest took care of itself.

          And don't discount the power of "mainstream women" as a force in this country. If you can find an issue to get "mainstream women" exercised, you will see results.

          Abortions go up under Republicans. Business is better under Democrats. Pass it on.

          by JMS on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 07:01:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Who is Cosgrove trying to kid? (none)
          Mr. Cosgrove is no victim here, and it still burns me that he's trying to cast himself in the victim role.  Infertility bloggers like myself mobilized quickly because we understood all too well how this bill could have impacted women, regardless of whether it was their first miscarriage or yet another of many.  Many of us already feel marginalized and angry because of our circumstances, and I know that the thought of any government attempting to victimize women who have had a miscarriage made me sick with fury.

          Anyway, I highly doubt that most of the emails Cosgrove received were truly abusive or mean-spirited.  Full of shock and outrage, sure.  It seems to me that this man is simply unused to people refusing to go along with what he wants, and I suspect that he was under the mistaken impression that this legislation would sneak through unnoticed.  Obviously, he was blindsighted when he was confronted with hundreds and thousands of people voicing their opposition.

          Maura, thank you once again for getting out the word in the first place.  I think you definitely get to take the credit for getting this movement started.

          •  Exile from Babyville (none)
            Amazing blog.  Thank you for the link, and for your point-by-point answers to the "What's the big deal about this bill?" comments that were floating around the blogosphere.

            I really give the lion's share of the credit for mobilizing against this bill to the infertility bloggers.  Yes, I got it started by finding the bill and exposing the horror shows within.  But it was infertility bloggers that spread the word - far more than political bloggers, from what I can see - and, most importantly, it was infertility bloggers that demonstrated time and again that this was not a partisan objection.  I've got plenty of partisan objections to Delegate Cosgrove himself and I'd love to see someone beat him, soundly.  (At the ballot box, of course!)  But the objections to this bill transcended partisanship and ideology.  And that's why I think we killed it so quickly.

            Something interesting (to me, anyway!) occurred to me tonight about Mr. Cosgrove's alleged "mistreatment" at the hands of email writers.  I noticed that in one of the quotes he mentioned that someone said he should be "crucified".  I don't know why this didn't occur to me in the first place, but isn't it interesting that with the hundreds of different negative things that writers might have said, he chose to tell the paper about a writer that allegedly said he should be crucified?  It's quite masterful, actually.  That one word positions him in Christ-like persecution victim mode, while we're the evil throng shouting for unjust judgement against him.  I gotta give the guy credit for that gem.

            Thanks for the link to your great blog, and for all the work you did to make this happen!

  •  Amazing (none)
    Great work.  Bloggers lead the way.  Holding the line, one battle at a time.
  •  OK, now get on the phones (4.00)
    And start phoning Sentors on both sides of the aisle and tell them not to confirm Gonzales.

    It works!

  •  Excellent (none)
    I think it just shows that blogs are having an impact-before, there would have been virtually no way I could hear about this bill in Vegas.  However, thanks to people like you, and everyone else on DailyKos and similar sites that help spread the word on these dangerous bills, we are having an impact.

    "The revolution starts now, when you rise above your fear"-Steve Earle

    by SairaLV on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 09:01:12 PM PST

  •  Openin' up (4.00)
    a BlogPac of whoop ass!

    It's our South too, baby.

    "I am a patriot, and I love my country because my country is all I know."

    by Aragorn for America on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 09:07:28 PM PST

  •  WHO VOTED 'WASTE OF TIME' (none)
    come on now!
    •  Someone who read this comment: (4.00)
      "I've elected to withdraw HB 1677 from consideration by the General Assembly this year. The language is just too confusing," Del. John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, told The Augusta Free Press.

      In short, this piece of filth lawmaking will make a return to the halls of Richmond in the next session. And the language is not confusing enough. Cosgrove will redraft the thing with obfuscations galore. Camoflage, as it were. And sneak it in a innocuous sort of way. Just watch.

      Yes, just keep watching John Cosgrove...

      "But then I viddied that thinking is for the gloopy ones and the oomny ones use, like, inspiration and what Bog sends." -- Alex de Large

      by rgilly on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 04:19:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulations, Maura! (none)
    This is fantastic news. You did a great job. Thank you very much for all your hard work!
  •  Thanks for the tip (4.00)
    I wrote this idiot a letter explaining how my mother has always told me her greatest fear from the Pro-Birth crowd was that they'd start targetting women who have miscarriages.

    I got the canned response today of what he claimed he was trying to do, and how we all just misunderstood him.

    I responded that it seemed to me that if a mother abandons a baby in a trashcan, she's guilty of abandonment and/or murder.  We've already got laws on the books to cover it, why does he think we need another one?  As if this is going to make a difference.

    "If any question why we died, Tell them, because our fathers lied." - Rudyard Kipling, 1918

    by Steve4Clark on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 09:16:45 PM PST

    •  Exactly. (4.00)
      I thought one of the most insidious aspects of this law was its attempt to equate 'fetus' with 'baby' and 'murder' or 'abandonment' with 'fetal death'.  Yep, keep talking about trashcan babies, and pretty soon everyone forgets the difference.

      There was no misunderstanding.  It was already deliberately misconscrewed.

      •  Agreed (none)
        The use of the word fetal made no sense within the context of his complaint.  It was clearly purposeful distortion.

        "If any question why we died, Tell them, because our fathers lied." - Rudyard Kipling, 1918

        by Steve4Clark on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 11:15:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Congrats Maura! (none)
    You made it happen!  

    The only second term dubya deserves is 20 to life!

    by Street Kid on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 09:17:10 PM PST

  •  Great Job, Maura (4.00)
    Your diary was very well-written and the story at the beginning was ideal for snagging women across all political bounds.  Even the freepers types on one of my birth clubs were singing your praises.  One woman, who I swear has an altar to Bush in her house, said that for a Dem. you made a lot of sense.  (That's a compliment from her).

    "...Bush could kiss Osama bin Laden on national television and Karl Rove could spin it into a punch in the face." - Jim Hoover of Huntington Beach

    by fabooj on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 09:35:12 PM PST

    •  Huge Compliment (4.00)
      That means a lot.  About 1/3 of the emails I got were from supportive pro-life Republican women.  It was great.

      (It's disappointing, actually, that the breaking story about this in the newspaper features Ann O'Hanlon of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia as the counterpoint to Cosgrove.  The amazing thing about this effort is that MANY pro-life people wrote to Cosgrove to protest.  It wasn't a partisan or ideological thing for the  majority of people who contacted me.)

      Seriously, when this story was picked up by Free Republic with a positive spin on my objection to the bill, I was amazed. And I actually got a little teary-eyed!  Kossacks and Freepers agreeing on something!  Dogs and cats together!  Is it another sign of the coming apocalypse?

      •  I know! (none)
        I was just about to post the link to this site when you posted the diary only to see she had posted a link to it first.  I was floored to see her name connected to something remotely liberal, but she spoke out and she spoke loud.  

        But yeah, visiting all 3 sites my birth clubs are on, most of the other message boards had links to this page or the Dem. Va page.  That's spectacular!  

        "...Bush could kiss Osama bin Laden on national television and Karl Rove could spin it into a punch in the face." - Jim Hoover of Huntington Beach

        by fabooj on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 10:04:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  oops (none)
        see my note above. I know we tend to think of things in such a partisan way here--but you shouldn't have been surprised. What you had there was a human issue--perhaps a women's issue--that really cut across political lines. What that guy did was boneheaded and just about anyone could see it.

        From a political, PR type standpoint, though, this is why we need leadership in general--even on issues that are pretty "nonpartisan". When an issue has wide appeal, the sight of a liberal or Democrat leading the charge may make people think better of liberals and Democrats both as people and as leaders.

        Abortions go up under Republicans. Business is better under Democrats. Pass it on.

        by JMS on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 07:05:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  How about a letter to the editor (none)
        at papers that frame the story this way?  Help people to see that this isn't a right/left issue at all.
  •  Awesome! (4.00)

    Fight the American Taliban

    by pontificator on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 09:40:52 PM PST

  •  Maura rocks!!! (none)
    One word:

    wow.

    Kudos to you.

    In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 09:42:41 PM PST

  •  Maura, reach around (none)
    and pat yourself on the back! Enjoy your victory, it's instructive and a real model for citizen action. This is exactly the kind of thing Howard had in mind, and you and the folks you alerted are to be commended for stopping this particular insanity!
  •  rock on, Maura (none)
    something heartening like this was what I needed to see about now. we need to see all of our effort result in positive change at least once a millennium or so. this time it was you that delivered.

    thank you so much for forcing sanity to prevail.

    www.black-thursday.com - it's not just an inauguration; it's an atrocity.

    by RabidNation on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 10:24:31 PM PST

  •  ROCK ON MAURA (none)
    Great Work Maura. With this and Boxer we are on a Roll, our voices are being heard..loud and clear. Let's all keep up the great work and a big THANKS TO KOS who is the keeper of the house.

    educate 'em when they're young

    by Chamonix on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 12:00:39 AM PST

  •  Oh, wow. (4.00)
    I'm simultaneously crying and giving ridiculous numbers of 4s to people in this thread.  This is just so awesome.  Go Maura.  And to think, I purposely didn't read your original diary because I was just so sure it was going to depress me miserably.  Lesson learned!
  •  Blog Power = People Power (none)
    Good job.
  •  <b>Democracy Can Work</b> (4.00)
    Why can't the DNC understand and accept the gift they have been handed by Dkos and others?  They have been given a motivated base, via the blogs, that the republicans worked 30 years to put together.  
    •  absolutely (none)
      The power of these blogs, if used carefully, could very well speed up the process needed to reshape the Democratic Party--doing (hopefully) in two years what it took the GOP 16 years (from Goldwater to Reagan).

      "Can't you see this is the last act of a desperate man?" "We don't care if it's the first act of Henry V--we're leaving."

      by MojoBombay on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 02:48:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  ahh, i get it (4.00)
    so long as the internet was the denizen for the hatemongering bushnazis, it was good. let the oppressed use it to their advantage, and suddenly confederate professors weigh in critically.
  •  ps screw delegate cosgrove (4.00)
    there was no "misconception"- the bill was a big brother misogynistic freakshow. it had no other purpose than to try to humanize fetuses beyond the current law of the land- it was judicial "creep."
  •  We need a radar for (4.00)
    stupid ass bills.  We need a way to comb all the bills and target ones like this so they won't get passed while we sleep.

    This is wonderful news.  I sent the link to CommonDreams and he posted the story.  I also sent it to everyone in my address book.  If we each do just a little it sure goes a long way.

    The Christian Right is neither

    by TXsharon on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 03:44:39 AM PST

  •  People: Mistreat Cosgrove some more. (none)
    Don't let him off the hook. Paint him with stink until he's up for reelection.
    •  Don't let him washit off. (none)
      He stinks enough anyway -- we just need to not let him wash it off.  

      'too confusing' my ass.  Legislators are supposed to be good with language.  His law meant just what he wanted it to mean.

    •  more blog-flogging! (none)
      absolutely.  make this guy a complete embarassment for the next two years.  and use him to beat up on the whiners who can't accept responsibility that make up the republican party.

      my prescription for the meta-dialogue:

      COSGROVE:  well i think that—

      hey, isn't that john cosgrove?  the guy who wanted to have grieving women locked up for having miscarriages?

      COSGROVE: that's not fair. i was really mistreated in that whole affair because people misunderstood the purpose of that bill.

      mistreated and misunderstood, huh?  typical republican whiner.  can't even admit he made a huge mistake proposing a bill to criminalize miscarriages.

      COSGROVE:  well i withdrew the bill because the language was confusing.

      so you withdrew it because you realized you had your head up your ass?  it was your bill, your language.

      COSGROVE: actually the language was drafted by a staffer.

      typical republican whiner. incapable of taking personal responsibility, he blames one of his subordinates.  they never change, do they?

      repeat PRN.

      every time cosgrove opens his mouth, use this to pummel the entire GOP throughout VA. and field a candidate in that district.

      courage, faith and truth my brothers and sisters

      by zeke L on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 10:49:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulations! (4.00)
    "Blogs, while they are fascinating, are not journalism."

    I would consider this a compliment.  With our journalist's "balanced" presentation of both sides of the story it is always one step forward, two steps backward.  

    Way to go Maura!

    •  asdf (4.00)
      "Blogs, while they are fascinating, are not journalism."

      Journalism is no longer journalism.

    •  And considering what passes for (none)
      journalism these days, thank God they're not!!!

      Where are we going and what are we doing in this hand basket?

      by awnm on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 08:59:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The part about spreading misinformation... (none)
      Is a real hoot considering the Bush administration got caught paying for propaganda for NCLB or for the multitudes of times "Real Journalists" get caught spreading misinformation. I mean is they were all so perfect then why did CBS just fire a bunch of people or why is there a corrections and clarifications section in each paper.  I general fact checking by blogs as a whole is better, maybe not individual bloggers but as a whole we usually get the details close.

      We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

      by delver rootnose on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 01:56:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Way to go, Maura!!! (none)
    Now let's start demonstrating the importance of progressive issues to our fledgling Dem candidates for statewide office.
  •  Good on you, Maura!! (4.00)
    Thank you so much for bringing this forward.

    We're far from done, though.  This bit is the indicator:

    "They've been fairly responsive, but they never talked to me prior to going on the Web," he said. "I was absolutely mistreated on this."

    Wah???

    This was a PUBLIC bill, paid for by PUBLIC funds, proposed in a PUBLIC venue.  What the hell did this guy expect, that the PUBLIC wouldn't get involved?  Who was mistreated here?

    And this bit from a so-called journalist:

    "It's certainly a way of stimulating participation in the political process. It's a way to get involved instantly," he said. "But the potential for bullying and intimidation is there. You wouldn't want people to not be putting in bills because they'd be flogged by blogs. And it can be a way of spreading misinformation or distorted information quickly. Blogs, while they are fascinating, are not journalism."

    Blogs may NOT be journalism, but many ARE -- and when journalists, bloggers or no, fail to report the truth, why can't the PUBLIC acquire the truth on their own?  It's as if it was a dirty, nasty thing that 1) women learned about this, and 2) women spoke out truthfully about it, and 3) in a timely, PUBLIC fashion.

    (Have you noticed that the people quoted in the VA Pilot article are all MEN and not the PUBLIC at large?)

    Would it have mattered at all if this were posted via an email campaign or on a website or in a bulletin board or mass mailing?  Both the right and traditional push-media are going to try to use situations like HB 1677 to create a new four-letter epithet: blog

    Don't let them do it.  Keep holding their feet to the fire.

    We still have a long, long way to go.  Thanks for helping us take another large step towards personal, PUBLIC democracy, Maura.

    •  Journalism (4.00)
      "Blogs, while they are fascinating, are not journalism."

      Oh, yeah, Mr. Journalist?

      Well, journalism, while it is fascinating, is not blogging.

    •  "flogged by blogs" (none)
      really means "causing public outrage".  

      I say, don't propose a stupid bill if you don't want to be trashed in public.

      I hate this meme that blogs are to be feared because they spread misinformation and distortion and are somehow "not journalism".  Of course they're journalism.  What a crock.

      We can't stop here! This is bat country!

      by hrh on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 09:10:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  DON'T LET UP!!! (4.00)
    These guys think they can pull the controversy, let it die down, and then sneak it back in. They ALWAYS DO IT.

    Keep harping on the issue as though the bill were still alive! At every opportunity we should point out that the thugs want to criminalize miscarriage and demean suffering women to appease their radical theocratic base.

    The Rule: ONE MISTAKE can tar you forever! They crucified John Kerry for suggesting a $.50 gas tax should be considered as part of a package FIFTEEN years ago. And it hurt him, no question. Hit 'em, hit 'em and hit 'em again!

    GOP = party of subjugating women, the bastards.

    The secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow; there is no humor in heaven. - Samuel Clemens

    by PBJ Diddy on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 04:11:31 AM PST

    •  I agree to somewhat to this... (none)
      You have to be careful or the republican noise machine will successfully frame the Blogs as just a bunch of ranting loons.  We need to keep a watch on this guy and every time he proposes something similar yell like mad. But now we should only say something snarky like "well thank you Rep. for pulling the obviously flawed legislation you wrote."  and then just tone down the volume.

      If we cry wolf to often no one will believe us when a real wolf, like this legislation, comes around.

      We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

      by delver rootnose on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 02:13:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maura (4.00)
    did you accept $240,000 to work up the treatment of this story and publish it, along with a series of other stories directed at Cosgrove? </snark>

    Didn't think so.

    Most people up until now would have said "Cosgrove who?" and looked right past. This guy is now on everyone's radar. You got his number.

    Watch for his revised bill to be submitted sometime on the near future, based on the comment:

    I've elected to withdraw HB 1677 from consideration by the General Assembly this year.

    I wonder if there is some way to receive an automated alert as to when a revised version of this nasty bit of lawmaking will darken the halls of Richmond once again.

    Cosgrove's rationale for this law is flimsy at best:

    "HB 1677 was intended to deal with situations involving mothers who had taken their pregnancies to full term and decided that they didn't want them who gave birth to their children and then tried to say that they were stillborn," Cosgrove said. "We've had a number of cases in the Chesapeake area that followed that description, and it was part of the legislative agenda of the Chesapeake Police Department to come up with legislation to try to give police more ammunition to be able to deal with these kinds of cases when they came up."

    So it also appears the buck stops at the Chesapeake Police Department, not Rep. Cosgrove's desk in Richmond.

    I would suggest extending this campaign to ask the Chief of Police of Chesapeake his views on the matter. Inquiring minds want to know.

    "But then I viddied that thinking is for the gloopy ones and the oomny ones use, like, inspiration and what Bog sends." -- Alex de Large

    by rgilly on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 04:13:38 AM PST

    •  You've got to wonder (none)
      How often does a situation like his hypothetical situation come up in Chesapeake that their prosecutors aren't able to deal with with existing laws?  
      •  The Chesapeake area... (none)
        must be rife with young women getting pregnant, going 5 months with their pregnancies, and then aborting.

        The 78th District (Cosgrove's district) is the hub for Navy activities, (Cities of Chesapeake (part), Norfolk (part), Portsmouth (part), and Suffolk (part)). A very transient area. Are these "wanton hussies" wives of some Navy swabbies that are getting knocked up (and by who) and aborting before their husbands/significant others return from their Arab Gulf or WESTPAC rotations? Are the calls coming in from the City of Chesapeake as a result of domestic abuse calls relating to the matter of these alledged "late-term" abortions?

        Could any DoDers have their fingers in the pie, involved in this bit of legislation, as well?

        Keep digging.

        "But then I viddied that thinking is for the gloopy ones and the oomny ones use, like, inspiration and what Bog sends." -- Alex de Large

        by rgilly on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 05:42:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  4 real? (none)
          ... must be rife with young women getting pregnant, going 5 months with their pregnancies, and then aborting ...

          police chief's quote (textbox above) sounds more like the police chief was intimating that folks were snuffing their live-born babies (lack of care and feeding? or suffocation?) because they didn't want them ... police chief ought to get his backside thrown out of his job for that ...

          if this did go forward, how long would it be before they required registration to engage in procreative sex in order to track potential pregnancies?

          sounds like some folks ought to ask some special questions ... Mayor's name is Dalton Edge, and his email addy is dedge@mail.city.chesapeake.va.us

          vote early - vote often

          by wystler on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 09:58:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  ah, but (none)
      Ema at The Well-Timed Period found that the police department did not request it.

      http://thewelltimedperiod.blogspot.com

  •  Thank you (none)
    Citizenship is powerful, and you took the power and used it for good. You are an inspiration. Thank you for being our eyes and ears.
  •  Also, (none)
    isn't this the kind of kill-an-ant-with-a-tank idea? Even if Mr. Cosgrove's premise was a good one (to keep people from pretending a dead baby was a stillborn?), isn't this one of these things akin to making all the men in New York get their DNA tested because one committed a murder? Not that this isn't twenty times worse. That guy is a real bigtime asshole.
  •  asdf (none)
    CONGRATULATIONS!  This victory will help all of us as we battle on!
  •  Fabulous! (4.00)
    Woo hoo! Grassroots at its finest. Thanks for pointing out this travesty of a bill, Maura.

    I'd like to think that my email from "as far away as Texas" made an impact. One thing I mentioned to Cosgrove in my letter was that even though I'm in Texas, bills from a single state have ramifications for the rest of the country.

    Just look at the gay marriage issue, or Amber Alerts. There's a ripple effect all across the country from something that originates in one place. This bill was important to ALL of us, not just Virginians.

    Thanks to the power of the blogosphere, and your adeptness at keeping an eye on your legislaters, you were able to get the word out on this one. Keep up the good work, and I'll do my part as well.

    Oh well, I wasn't using that civil liberty anyway.

    by think2004 on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 04:53:02 AM PST

  •  "Flogged by blogs" (4.00)
    has a ring to it.

    But dreamin' just comes natural, like the first breath from a baby -- John Prine

    by Frankenoid on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 04:54:29 AM PST

  •  Terrific! Congratulations! n/t (none)
  •  Big Cheers to Maura (none)
    The word spread fast and Cosgrove's ass must have been on fire.

    Pam's House Blend

  •  Maura... (none)
    I missed your post last Thursday, but Jen referred me to it yesterday.  Thanks so much for being on top of this one.  

    Why do you care...whether the people running the government have good values? Wouldn't you prefer a bit of competence, if forced to choose?" --Michael Kinsley

    by Susan S on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 05:20:14 AM PST

  •  Internet Activism (none)
    Internet Activism Works! This is so
    encouraging!

    Great news all the way around!

    Thanks a million for your work! Glad to see they didn't slip this one past unnoticed.

    People vote for sunshine, not for gloom and doom!

    by missliberties on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 05:22:14 AM PST

  •  Good job Maura (none)
    So, how's it feel to be a Internet role-model?
  •  Excellent news (none)
    Be stay vigilant.  Rats come out when the light goes out.  If we take the spotlight off this rat Cosgrove and his theocratic allies, they will try it again.

    Congrats Maura.

    When the revolution comes, Republicans will be a good source of protein.

    by Delaware Dem on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 05:24:59 AM PST

  •  I find it incredible... (4.00)
    ...that anyone would complain about an article written about a piece of legislation. After all, legislation is exactly what is written, no more, no less - there is no need to find out 'context' or anything. If it says that you must report a miscarriage, then you must. (Of course, the law might not be enforced exactly that way, but then why write it at all?)

    Maura, you've done an amazing thing. It is of these small steps that we'll find victory again.

    I have been working locally to try to get renewable portfolio standards passed in MD and DC. Both passed, I believe the DC one will be signed by the mayor shortly. It's a grand feeling when you realise that your work may have changed something. So take heart, make the phone calls and yes, post on Kos - sometimes it feels like we're swimming in our own little pool, but Maura's story should show us that everything helps, and soemthing will end up working.

  •  Congratulations, Maura! (none)
    What great work you are doing for Virginia!  I thank you so much for making us all aware of this proposal.

    I can't think of a good sig.

    by SneakySnu on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 05:32:30 AM PST

  •  WOOT Democracy for Virginia (4.00)
    That's good news for now; we'll just have to wait and see what Cosgrove resubmits down the road.

    The next target for DfV should be proposed constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.  VA is already one of the 43 states that ban the recognition of same-sex marriages:

    But proponents of the resolutions say that a constitutional amendment is necessary to protect existing state law from court challenges. They add that Virginia should join the 11 states that passed such amendments on Election Day. The victories have energized social conservatives across the country and are credited by some with helping President Bush win reelection in November.

    "The people should be the ultimate authority on issues like this," said Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), the sponsor of one of the several constitutional amendment resolutions that will be submitted. A constitutional amendment also "takes it out of the hands of the courts," he said, and "ensures that activist judges can't usurp" state law.

    The bill is HB 751 and adds a ban against recognition of same-sex civil unions or partnership arrangements to Virginia's "Affirmation of Marriage Act."  

    BTW, someone needs to educate Rem Reider that blogs are journalism.  Blogging is the fifth estate and we're citizen-journalists.  They'd better get used to it.

    Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

    by mini mum on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 05:38:54 AM PST

  •  Huge Kudos! (4.00)
    I'm one of the millions who miscarried at 8 or 9 weeks before having my two boys, and it was painful enough to have to go to the hospital and have an unbelievably insensitive sonographer ask me "are you sure you were pregnant? Because I don't see anything there."  Led to weeks of self-doubt over whether I'd been pregnant until I asked to see my chart at my doctor's office.

    I can't begin to think of the misery heaped on upon that if I had to tell the police!  

    Maura, fantastic work.  

    Vigilance.

  •  Wild Applause (none)
    Incredible! You have given me hope for the future. This is an example of the power of ONE person,it gives me chills.
  •  Information is power (none)
    Congratulations Maura.

    Everyone this is why a project like "No Pundit Left Behind" is worthwhile. Read that diary as well.

  •  Blogs force Cosgrove to withdraw HB1677! (none)
    I think that Maura is making my move to Virginia somewhat better. What was that guy thinking?
    •  He Was Thinking ... (none)
      ... that this bill was his ticket to bigger and better things ... congress? us senate?

      this, above all else, is the real reason we must let no GOoPer go unchallenged ...

      vote early - vote often

      by wystler on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 10:02:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Waaa-Hooo! (none)
    Maura, God bless you!  I'm sure I'm not the only one who busied themselves sending links to this diary to other blogs.  Every blog I sent it to picked up the story.  I think Maura's riveting introduction grabbed many readers; framing the issue is always so important.

    And DU made Cosgrove one of the Top 10 Conservative Idiots of the Week:  
    Democratic Underground Top 10 Conservative Idiots

    Blog Floggin', baby.  Don't mess with the reality-based community.

  •  Well done, Maura (none)
    More like this, please...
  •  Maura, (none)
    You are a true hero!  All women owe you a debt of gratitude.

    Congratulations.

  •  The Crowd Roars (none)
    :::Lofting Maura in VA on our collective shoulders and carrying her through the streets. While phalanxes of drum majorette's twirl batons and the marching band plays, long curly streamers of multi-colored bio-degradable confetti rain down upon the cheering, flag-waving throngs gathered to honor our heroine. The streets ring with voices chanting "MAU-RA! MAU-RA!"...:::

    I'm still looking for hope... but my will to fight is doing just fine.

    by Malacandra on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 08:56:52 AM PST

  •  Yeeeeh Haaaaawwwww!! (none)
    Let that be a lesson to future potential legislators intent on intruding in our private lives.  

    YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE!!!! (to quote)

  •  Congrats, Maura! (none)
    You had the power!

    The only shame is to lose heart.

    by Debby on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 09:07:46 AM PST

  •  Am curious if in addition to emails (none)
    Cosgrove received any, y'know, what so many women, in response to the hideous proposed legislation, mockingly threatened to send, namely used (or fake-soiled w/ketchup) bloody period supplies? The article didn't mention. Not to take anything away from the real, effective, cyber-activist outpouring! Just devilishly curious... And, moving forward, wondering if ketchup-soiled santitary products might assist in persuasion of those (Rethugs) who seek to pursue anti-woman legislation in the future?

    Kerry/Edwards: For a reality-based America

    by Em on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 09:16:47 AM PST

  •  WOOT! (none)
    Way to go, Maura!

    As for Cosgrove not getting a fair chance in the debate, uhm, was he ever planning to consult his constituents to give them a good chance for feedback?  Doubt it. If it were not for all you vigilant bloggers and activists, we'd never even get a chance to learn what is in these bills.  Anyone accusing the bloggers of being unfair kinda totally missed the point: the content of the bill!

    Anyway, I think we can assume Cosgrove will be more thoughtfull when proposing legislation in the future.

    Trippi has a lot to say about bloggers effecting legislation.  No links at the moment, but the curious should hunt around for them.

    "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips

    by poemless on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 09:29:51 AM PST

  •  Risking my TU status here (none)
    (But screw it.)

    Wouldn't that mean that it could conceivably matter which issues are covered more heavily by, oh I don't know, the front pages of high profile lefty blogs?

    Not that I have a recent issue or a particular blog in mind, of course...

  •  Rock on! (none)
    I was never a Deaniac, but I've always admired the grassroots political involvement that he promoted, and this is a perfect illustration of that philosophy. With how little power we currently have in goverment, we need this kind of grassroots net organization more than ever in order to keep the wingnuts from completely ruling the world. This was a great victory and I hope we will have more sucess stories like it.

    Democrats do it better on the Senate floor.

    by sparklegirl on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 09:48:18 AM PST

  •  Where's your tip jar? (none)
    Maura,

    Not only was it a great diary, it resulted in successful grassroots action, preventing a giant leap down the thorny path to tryanny.

    !!!!|THANK YOU|!!!!

    And post a tip jar, would ya?

  •  Wow, excellent work (none)
    You keep hope alive.

    "I feel your scorn and I accept it." - Jon Stewart

    by starkness on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 11:25:34 AM PST

  •  You go Maura!! (none)
    Maura Maura Maura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura MauraMaura Maura!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Living is easy with eyes closed, Misunderstanding all you see... --Lennon & McCartney

    by MichaelPH on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 11:36:03 AM PST

  •  BLOG FREE OR DIE! (4.00)
    Thank God bloggers aren't "journalists"!

    Do you think the SCLM is trying to turn "blog" into a slur to distract people from noticing that "journalist" increasingly connotes a talking head that fits easily into back pockets?

    What do you call feeding the poor, caring for the sick, and working for peace? Pro-life. What do you call opposing abortion? Pro-birth.

    by thecarriest on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 11:47:24 AM PST

  •  "blogging is not journalism" (none)
    And I am glad it is not.

    With the sorry state of journalism around the country today "blogging is better than journalism" (or call it "journalism-plus").

    Way to Go Maura !!!

  •  With the Right complaining... (none)
    ...about how unreliable and evil bloggers are, how we're all conspiracy theorists and what not, does that mean we can expect them to stop using Drudge as a source?

    I didn't think so...

    "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government" - Teddy Roosevelt

    by mrboma on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 03:09:15 PM PST

  •  It's just like raising money online - (none)
    a lot of "little voices" add up.  Hopefully, this is just the beginning - what a really nice thing.
  •  You know what? (4.00)
    It's great that "we" forced a retraction of this ill-considered bill.  I don't think the credit here is misplaced.  But I think blog adherents need to restrain themselves a little when writing letters as part of this kind of flood.  

    I get two signals from Cosgrove here: an admission that his bill was ill-considered, and a large load of resentment over the tone of the e-mails he received.  Although I don't agree with his politics, I respect the guy for answering his own e-mails.  More importantly, I want him to keep on reading them.  

    I can imagine what many of them were like this time: full-cry snark and abuse, imputing malign intent where bad judgment is probably to blame (do you honestly think Cosgrove intended to criminalize mere tardily-reported miscarriages or require women to submit their used tampons to police labs for testing, as I read during the original thread?)

    I write as much hyperbolic snark here as the next guy, but when it comes to contacting my representatives I try to keep a civil tone.  If we convinced him of his error, it was through reason and principled dissent, not vitriol.  It's great to kill weeds, but if you do it by salting the earth, you've won a Pyrrhic victory.

    "But, Saddam was a THREAT!" That's our refrain. Ask us again, and we'll tell you the same!

    by turbonium on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 03:32:24 PM PST

    •  Emails (none)
      Some of the emails Cosgrove received may indeed have been diatribes, full of snark and abuse. I can definitely say that not all of them were, however, because I sent one.

      Here it is, in full:
      HB 1677 is cruel

      Dear Mr. Cosgrove:

      I'm not one of your constituents, but some of my friends are Virginians.

      I understand that HB 1677 is a well-meant attempt to ensure that there are no more "trash-can babies" in Virginia, a motive I heartily support. However, your state already has two humane, sensible laws to prevent babies from being abandoned, including a safe-haven law that should be a model for the rest of the country.

      HB 1677 addresses fetal deaths due to miscarriage, not live births. The effect of your bill would be to require a woman who has just suffered one of the worst tragedies of her life to report it to the police, or face jail time and stiff fines. Moreover, it requires her to pick through the bloody tissues for her tiny embryo, inspect it for defects, and figure out some way to weigh it, all within twelve hours of suffering the death of her hoped-for child.

      Let me tell you about my sister, Sandy. She and her husband have two beautiful daughters, my adorable nieces Margot and Emma. But pregnancy isn't easy for Sandy; she miscarried twice, early in pregnancy, between Margot's birth and Emma's. Your bill would require my little sister and her husband, who wanted those miscarried children very much indeed, to face either extreme suffering and invasions of privacy or jail time and fines, and it would immensely compound their heartbreak at losing their unborn child.

      Please reconsider this bill. It is cruel to would-be mothers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To be unable to carry a longed-for child to term is bad enough without this.

      Many thanks,
      (my full legal name and address)

      They should all be judged soaking wet.

      by Kitsap River on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 09:24:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I congratulate you on a thoughtful letter (none)
        and thank you for reminding us how it's done. I'm sure your letter and others like it were helpful in influencing the withdrawal of the bill.  

        Let me state emphatically that we in the Bush administration do NOT condone torture. We sidle up to it, wink at it, and climb into bed with it.

        by turbonium on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 05:38:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  blogs are not journalism (none)
    they're right about that. They're something different. Not better... different.

    Cosgrove needs to answer his constituents. I'm having a discussion with Armando about Gonzales' confirmation. i wrote chriss dood, and he (or his staff, i should say) responded the same day. Lieberman usually responds the same year.

    One of them gets it, one doesn't.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 11, 2005 at 03:42:58 PM PST

  •  Thank you, Maura (none)
    My gratitude for this successful activity is on two fronts:

    1. Maura took the power, and squashed a heinous proposal that was a direct infringement on personal reproductive issues.  You go girl!

    2. Maura has clearly demonstrated that the act of shining the light of reality on these retrograde cockroaches actually sends them running!!  I have been so seriously depressed since November about the direction we are going that it has been hard for me to find things to be happy about.  I am so happy that Maura had this impact, it is renewing my hope in our ability to send these roaches scurrying on other fronts as we go forward!

    Thank you Maura, for your leadership, your action, and your inspiration.
    •  Related news--woman's divorce reversed by judge (none)
      link

      Here's an article on a related topic, entitled:

      "Reversal of divorce provokes outrage
      Judge changed ruling after learning that woman is pregnant"

      Sam Howe Verhovek, Los Angeles Times

      Monday, January 10, 2005

      Seattle -- The day she was granted a divorce from her abusive husband, Shawnna Hughes said, was "the happiest day of my life." But barely a week later, the 27-year-old medical assistant was back before a judge, who rescinded the order after learning Hughes was pregnant by another man.

      "Not only is it the policy of this court, it is the policy of the state that you cannot dissolve a marriage when one of the parties is pregnant," Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine told Hughes on Nov. 4......see link

      Wow. I am speechless.

  •  Congrats (none)
    Congratulations x 10!!
    I'm so amazed at the difference you made.
    Props to being so effective. Talk about taking politics to the people.
  •  Way to go, Maura! (none)
    I followed your comments on the DFA blog for months and months! You're my hero!
  •  Cosgrove needs to learn (none)
    that when you're drafting law, it is not intent that matters, as much as content.

    If you write a law that bans all tents, and then claim that you're only trying to cut down on the number of circus tents that burn each year, you've created a problem: either the authorities enfore the law on all tents, as written, or they enforce it selectively- which leaves them open to all sorts of legal hassles.

    And oh- I don't care if a staffer wrote it- he damn well should have read it before signing off on it! Didn't read his own bill? Cripes, better watch that guy! That's just sloppy!

    "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." -Karl Marx

    by Lainie on Wed Jan 12, 2005 at 12:24:02 AM PST

  •  Bask while you can (none)
    You deserve all of the accolades. But then get back to work. We need more like you. Thank You.
  •  What I wrote elsewhere . . . (none)
    . . . having been directed to your blog from another board, goes as follows:

    "The phrase I find telling is "products of conception." This reeks not only of the objectification of life but the commodification of life. That is, life is valued in terms of a sticker price. If life is viewed as a commodity, then women are naturally viewed as producers of that commodity, or "products of conception." In other words, this whole school of thought views women as baby factories."

    Imagine my pleasant surprise at seeing that the very blog -- your blog --  I'd read earlier in the day with shock and dismay that such benighted legislation could even be proposed was instrumental in striking down that very legislation.

    Well done!

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