Supremely Important

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I am afraid to ask whether you will watch the Senate hearings about Judge Samuel Alito's nomination to replace Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. I fear the answer is "no," since it IS dry (I admit it) but profoundly important to all of us. It is hard to dress up the hearings to seem like a real cliffhanger, but I can't think of any more important topic than who sits on the Supreme Court. As I am sure you know, this is a lifetime appointment — unlike the other branches of government where you can "throw the bum out" at the next election if you are unhappy with job performance. Plus, decisions made by the Supreme Court last generations and generations and DO affect you, even if you don't think so.

I had thought of spending more time on the nomination Tuesday on our show, but the hearings really "speak for themselves." I prefer the actual hearings to people talking about the hearings, so if I do something on the hearings, it will likely be one segment only. You really should watch the hearings and make up your own mind. You know how to do it: VCR, TiVo, etc.

Judge Alito, if confirmed, is expected to change the direction of the Supreme Court for years to come, since Judge Alito is thought to be more conservative than the justice he replaces. Justice O'Connor — the justice Alito will replace, if confirmed — was often the "swing" vote on close decisions. And so if Judge Alito now becomes the "swing" vote, decisions will likely swing in a more conservative direction more often than they did under Justice O'Connor. You might be pleased with this, you might not be. At least if you watch the hearings you will be better informed when you argue with your friends about it. There is nothing like facts in a debate.

I remember when Justice O'Connor was first placed on the Supreme Court. It was a very exciting time for women, even if you would have preferred a different woman than Justice O'Connor. At the time, she was thought to be very conservative. Then, as time marched on and others more conservative than she is were appointed, she necessarily seemed or became "moderate." It is funny how those things happen.

I remember the first and only time I ever saw Justice O'Connor off the bench. It was many, many, many years ago. I boarded a plane in Chicago for Washington, D.C. I had only been a lawyer for a few years. The flight had originated in Arizona with a stopover in Chicago where I boarded. Justice O'Connor is from Arizona and was thus on the plane when I boarded. As I walked down the aisle, I glanced down the plane and saw her in a middle seat towards the back. She stood out. You could not miss her distinctive looks. I think this occurred after she was nominated and before she was confirmed, but I am not sure. I was excited to see her in person. I did not say anything of course and my seat was a few rows in front of hers. Upon arrival in Washington, D.C., my boyfriend (now husband) met me. As we waited for my bag, we saw her struggle with her heavy one. My husband quickly moved over and helped her with her heavy bag. We acted like we did not know who she was so as not to make her feel uncomfortable by our excitement at seeing her in person. This was, after all, the FIRST WOMAN on the U.S. Supreme Court and it was a BIG deal to the nation. Somehow I just don't think she remembers this incident at the baggage carousel. I am sure it was not as big a deal for her as it was for me. (Tomorrow, I will tell you about another star struck time for me — when I met Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in a Big Boy restaurant in Appleton, Wisconsin. I am not kidding about meeting them, but I am kidding about blogging it tomorrow. I will spare you the details — I won't put it in the blog!)

Now for some e-mails. Most of Monday's e-mails were "light" — having some fun with the blog from Friday when you were introduced to Stir Fry the cat.

E-mail No. 1

I read your reply to Rosemary O'Connor's e-mail (E-mail No. 5 in January 9th blog). I may have to stop reading your blog since writings such as Ms. O'Connor's overwhelm my own intellect and make me realize that my own capacity for independent thought is merely fantasy. I also may have to consult one of my colorectal colleagues to ask what 'POS' means. Also, I once had a flamepoint Himalayan cat named Bezoar, a medical term for hairball. (And he sure was!)
David Allen, M.D.
New Albany, OH

E-mail No. 2

Hi Greta,
Our granddaughter, Madison, who at the time was 4 years old, named her kitten "Paper Cut," who resembles "Stir Fry" quite a bit. (We still don't know where she picked up that name from) Paper Cut is now about 3 years old, and is Madison's "best buddy."
Patricia S.

E-mail No. 3

Hi Greta,
Love your show! Also love your blazers... you can't please everyone. Our cat, who is usually reclining in bed when your show is on, is named Two-Seven. He "adopted" us (he actually knocked on the door and my husband had to let him in) two days after Christmas a few years ago. Instead of naming him Twenty-Seventh, my husband decided he liked the sound of Two-Seven. The best is when I took him to the vet for shots. The receptionist looked up at me and said, "Could you spell that please?"
Keep up the excellent work!
Kathy Funk
Flushing, MI

E-mail No. 4

While mourning the tragic, sudden death of our boy cat named Ruth, I began searching for a shelter cat who needed a good home. One of the cats listed online was named Toasted Marshmallow. They called him Toasted for short.

E-mail No. 5

I don't know if this is one you can post to your blog, but when I was a teenager our neighbor (a police officer) had a dog named, "Damn It." It was always interesting when he would call across the yard, "Come here, Damn It!"
Happy Monday,
Manassas, VA

E-mail No. 6

Hi Greta,
I have a 17-year-old Persian cat named Puppy that I had brought home from work several years ago (I was a animal shelter tech) I had been ordered by the higher ups to put him to sleep because they said he was wild. He wasn't wild, he was just not comfortable in the surroundings — understandably so — so I brought him home rather than putting him down. We named him Puppy because he truly thinks he is a dog. When we tell him its bed time, he goes in and gets on the bed and lays down, he also scratched at the door when he wants to go out and go potty, and he loves to have his belly scratched. He is one of the meanest cat/dogs on the block even though he is neutered, and is extremely territorial — as I said — he thinks he is a dog. When we open the door and call to him, "Come on Pup," you can hear his little bell on his collar as he comes running. We also have a 170lb Great Dane and let me tell you, that dog is terrified of Puppycat. He won't even enter a room if the cat is laying anywhere near the entrance — lol — he just stands there and whines until one of us will walk him past the cat — lol.
Just thought I would give you yet another cat name and pet story for your collection.
Julie Blacker
Arlington, WA

E-mail No. 7

Since others are throwing in their 2 cents worth on their pet's names, I thought I would join in.
My son is now 38 years old, but when he was a child he had a pet rat he named Corduroy.

E-mail No. 8 — this next e-mail is from Laura Ingle updating one she sent last week with pictures:

Texas Fire Hero Update

Last week, we shared with you the story of Penny Snow and her heroic effort to save her elderly neighbor Liz McMinn from a raging wildfire in Texas. As we reported, Penny got her "Grannie Liz" out alive, but her home burned down to the ground.

As I was interviewing her, she was telling me that she didn't have socks to put on with her shoes, toothpaste to brush her teeth with, or just the little things that we all use daily that you don't think twice about having. I'm sure by the time you read this e-mail, those toiletry issues will be taken care of, but there is so much more she needs.

Penny and many other Texans will have to rebuild from the ground up, quite literally and soon. I had asked Penny if she had an account at a local bank that our viewers, and others could contribute to in helping her to get her life back... all of us were so moved by her story, and I knew people would want to help after seeing the story. I am glad to tell you that she did, and also has shared some other information to help out others, which is of course, in typical style of this Texas Angel!

Here's the info:

Penny Snow Benefit Account:
First State Bank of Mineral Wells
P.O. Box 1528
Mineral Wells, Texas 76068-1528

Fund for all Fire Victims:
City National Bank
C/o The Cass Holland Fire Victims
P.O. Box 280
Mineral Wells, TX 76068
(940) 325-0761

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