KPCC's home for all things Patt Morrison.

''Justice Kagan''? And Happy Birthday, Birth Control Pill!

I was just checking news websites and, not surprisingly, they’re all saying President Obama will announce the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. She’s young, as nominees go, and she doesn’t have a deep judicial track record, both of them pluses when it comes to the thrashing-out they call confirmation hearings.

You’ll be hearing a lot more from us about this.

We already had an eventful week, with a great session from the Milken Institute conference in Beverly Hills about the future of journalism. NPR’s CEO Vivian Schiller joined me, along with Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, and you can imagine, as someone who has ink in her veins and has been writing for the Los Angeles Times since I was too young to go drinking with ‘’the guys,’’ that I have a vital interest in this.

It isn’t the journalism that’s at issue; more than 90 percent of what qualifies as actual information – not spin or opinion or blather – still comes from shoe-leather journalistic reporting, checking and double-checking. What’s at issue is how to pay for it all in a world gone Web. One journo website held a contest to find a six-letter motto for actual, real reporting, and a runner up – the winner, in my opinion – was ‘’You’ll miss us when we’re gone.’’ As the founders envisioned, democracy can no more function without real news reporting [not just bloggy blather] than crops can grow when irrigated by Gatorade [thank you, ‘’Idiocracy’’].

It was a funny moment in the segment in Beverly Hills when a car alarm went off very audibly nearby, and Keller pointed out that it sounded just like New York City.

What’s small and round and revolutionary? The Pill – the birth control pill, which turns 50 years old on May 9. Feminist founder Gloria Steinem told me it’s clear there’s a long way to go, but so many of your calls were about what a difference it made in your lives and the lives of women you know – for the first time in human history, a reliable, pre-planned way for women to control their own fertility. The correlation between women’s achievements in the great world and the advent of The Pill is no accident.

[One historical curiosity is that while The Pill was approved in 1960, it wasn’t until 1953, with the Griswold v. Connecticut decision, that the Supreme Court said it was legal for married women to discuss birth control with their doctors. Imagine! Bluenoses like Anthony Comstock had led the charge to make it a crime – obscenity – to talk about birth control. What a relief that we’ve overcome that. Please, no backsliding!]

You can hear that segment here, and read my earlier LA Times interview with Steinem here.

Coincidentally for Cinco de Mayo, Illinois congressman Luis Gutierrez, who’d been arrested in front of the White House for protesting the administration's foot-dragging in immigration reform, talked about the urgency of the matter, even more so than other issues the administration has put at the top of its to-do list.

Next time, novelist Isabel Allende with her book about Haiti’s history, which implicitly means its future.

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