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PolitiFact VA: Supreme Court justices acknowledged Roe as precedent, but with qualifications


PolitiFact VA: Supreme Court justices acknowledged Roe as precedent, but with qualifications

person speaks into microphone
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) speaks at a 2020 campaign event for Pete Buttigieg. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Speaker: Rep. Don Beyer
Statement: “... Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett assured the Senate Judiciary Committee and the American people that Roe v. Wade was ‘established precedent.’”
Date: May 2
Setting: Twitter

Rep. Don Beyer of Northern Virginia is among the many Democrats disappointed by a draft opinion showing the U.S. Supreme Court has tentatively voted to strike down its 49-year-old Roe v. Wade decision establishing a right to an abortion.

“Thinking about the many times Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett assured the Senate Judiciary Committee and the American people that Roe was ‘established precedent.’” Beyer tweeted on May 2. ”I didn’t believe them, but they said it under oath.”

A fact-check shows that the three justices nominated by former President Donald Trump - Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett - did say in confirmation hearings that Roe is an important precedent.

Barrett and Gorsuch qualified their remarks, however. Barrett said she did not regard Roe as a “super precedent,” a subjective term for “constitutional decisions in which public institutions have heavily invested, repeatedly relied and supported over a significant period of time.” Gorsuch did not give a direct answer when asked whether he considered Roe to be a super precedent.

Kavanaugh, during his hearing, was not asked if he regarded Roe as a super precedent. He did say, however, that he would be open to arguments that a precedent is wrong.

Let’s take a look at the sworn testimony of the three justices at their confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Gorsuch, in 2017, declined to say whether he thought Roe had been correctly decided. “I would tell you that Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said. Gorsuch added that the high court “reaffirmed” the decision in 1992 with its Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling, which barred states from imposing an “undue burden” on getting an abortion.

“Casey is settled law,” Gorsuch said while adding the qualification, “in the sense that it is a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Gorsuch didn’t say yes or no when asked if Roe is a super precedent. “It has been reaffirmed many times. I can say that,” he said.


Kavanaugh, in 2018, said Roe “is settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court, entitled the respect under principles of stare decisis. And one of the important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years, as you know, and most prominently, most importantly, reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.”

Kavanaugh called the Casey decision a “precedent on precedent,” a reaffirmed status he compared to that of Miranda rights.

“Even though [former] Chief Justice [William] Rehnquist, by the way, had been a fervent critic of Miranda throughout his career, he decided that it had been settled too long, had been precedent too long, and he reaffirmed it,” Kavanaugh said.

But under questioning from Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., Kavanaugh said precedent shouldn’t always be followed. “I listen to all arguments. You have an open mind. You get the briefs and arguments, and some arguments are better than others. Precedent is critically important. It is the foundation of our system. But you listen to all arguments.”


As a private citizen, Barrett signed a newspaper ad in 2006 saying it was “time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade. During her 2020 hearing, she declined to say whether she thought Roe had been properly decided. Barrett said she did not want to specifically comment on cases that might come before her.

Barrett said, “precedent is a principle that you’re not going to overrule something without good reason or roll up the law without justification for doing so.”

She said she did not consider Roe to be a super precedent. “Roe does not fall within that category, but that does not mean that Roe should be overruled,” Barrett said. “Roe is a precedent of the Supreme Court entitled to respect under the doctrine of stare decisis.”

Our ruling

Beyer said, ... Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett assured the Senate Judiciary Committee and the American people that Roe v. Wade was ‘established precedent.’”

Beyer’s statement about the judges - all of whom support a draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe - is correct, but comes with a caveat. While all three paid homage to precedence and described Roe as such during their confirmation hearings, none said precedents are untouchable or that Roe was cast in stone.

Asked if they considered Roe to be a “super precedent,” Barrett said no and Gorsuch didn’t give a direct answer. Kavanaugh, under questioning from an anti-abortion senator, said he would be willing to hear arguments that a precedent is wrong.

We rate Beyer’s statement Mostly True.


Rep. Don Beyer, Twitter, May 2, 2022
Email from Aaron Fritchner, Beyer deputy chief of staff, May 3, 2022
Michael J. Gerhardt, UNC School of Law, “Super precedent,” 2006
Senate Judiciary Committee, Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings transcript, March 20-23, 2017
Senate Judiciary Committee, Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings transcript, September 2018
Amy Coney Barrett Senate Confirmation Hearing, Day 2 transcript, Oct. 13, 2020
The Washington Post, “How Collins and Murkowski got the Trump justices’ Roe positions wrong,” May 3, 2022

Time For The Blues rocks with Altered Five Blues Band, soothes with Trudy Lynn


Time For The Blues rocks with Altered Five Blues Band, soothes with Trudy Lynn

Altered Five Blues Band and Trudy Lynn
Altered Five Blues Band and Trudy Lynn

Henry and I hope you will join us on Time For The Blues this Saturday night, May 7th, at 9:00, as we unleash one of our favorite bands and visit with a classy lady that we’ve had on the show a couple of times before. Plus we’ve got some recent and fun covers and of course, enough new stuff to satisfy the most discriminating of palates.

Our first spotlight lands on the electrifying Altered Five Blues Band. If you aren’t familiar with this high energy group, you are in for a real treat. They reach down and put together top drawer performances and their latest album, Holler If You Hear Me, is no exception! Available on Blind Pig, this disc is easily one of the top releases of the year. And just for good luck, they’ve brought in our friend, Jason Ricci, to add his special touches on the harp.

The combination is a match made in blues heaven.

We’ve got three sides to share from the new album to share with you and one from an earlier album, Charmed And Dangerous, to rock you Saturday night!

The second spotlight falls on the lovely and talented Trudy Lynn. I met her at a Williamsburg Blues and Jazz Festival before COVID, and found her to be gracious and charming. We hit it off nicely. Since that time, she has changed labels (she’s now on NOLA Blue), and still releasing great albums. Her latest work, Golden Girl, is a pure delight. We’ve got three sides from it for you and are sure you are going to love her as much as we do.

Now, I know you know that “covers” are when a band plays a song originally done by another band. The Rolling Stones used to cover a lot of blues and R&B songs on their early albums and even won a Grammy for an all cover album they did a couple of years ago. Most bands start out doing covers and some make a career out of it.

Well, we’ve got three covers for you that are pretty darn good and we can’t wait to share them with you. David Lumsden does a great job on a Memphis Slim number while The Nighthawks tackle a Jimmy Reed tune. To round out the set, Mike Guldin covers one of Taj Mahal’s most covered songs. I’m sure you can guess what it is. If not, tune in and find out.

But wait, there’s still more!

We also have recent releases from the Memphissippi Sounds, and I think you’re really going to like the way they blend Memphis and Mississippi techniques into a powerful sound. We’ve also got Zac Harmon from his latest release and something from The Porkroll Project, a new to us rowdy and  fun group that just might be playing in the Roadhouse at the edge of town.

We’ll be glad to have your company if you care to join us at 9:00 this Saturday night. That’s May 7th, and you can find us on one of these great VPM Stations: 89.1 WCNV, Northern Neck; 90.1 WMVE, Chase City; and the flagships, 93.1 and 107.3 VPM-Music and 88.9 HD2, Richmond, where it’s always Time For The Blues!

How one book influencer championing Black authors is changing publishing


How one book influencer championing Black authors is changing publishing

Milwaukee-based book influencer Cree Myles curates Penguin Random House's All Ways Black Instagram account.
Milwaukee-based book influencer Cree Myles curates Penguin Random House's All Ways Black Instagram account.

Many years ago, Milwaukee-based book influencer Cree Myles first picked up Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and found the validation she didn't know she needed. The book affirmed many of her experiences moving through the world as a Black woman.

"I'm reading it and I was like, yes! And yes! And yes! And I was like, I'm not crazy," she remembers. "That was a seminal moment in my life for sure."

Myles immersed herself in other pioneering works by Black authors: James Baldwin and Audre Lorde, Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker. She read Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me. "I emerged from the ashes a new person, and I just needed to tell the whole world about it," she says. "And that's how it kind of all started."

Now, Myles curates the Instagram account @allwaysblack, on behalf of publishing giant Penguin Random House. Myles says the goal of the account is "to celebrate Black writers and the readers who love them," and Myles is voracious in her ability to come up with fun and innovative ways to do that.

Myles first partnered with Penguin Random House last year, when she organized a read-a-thon called Black Like We Never Left featuring works by Toni Morrison. The late, heralded, Pulitzer and Nobel-prize winning author was published by Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House.

A few months later Penguin Random House offered Myles a job curating an Instagram platform centered on Black books.

Myles calls the platform All Ways Black thanks to her husband — who came up with the name about 20 seconds after she was offered the job. "He was like, 'How about just All Ways Black, like, all the ways,'" she recounts. "It was that quick, and, for me, it's an aural check to make sure that I'm not just doing Cree's Black. Because as universal as some Black experiences are, I'm not from the African continent, I'm not from the Caribbean. I am not in the diaspora in Europe, and those are all also very Black and very nuanced experiences."

In a promo for All Ways Black, Myles, flanked by dancers and bookshelves full of literature, speaks over drumline music.

"There are infinite ways to be Black," she relays. "To be Black and joyful or awestruck. To be Black and to amplify, or to agitate, or to celebrate. They're all important. They're all glorious," she continues. "And nothing quite captures this truth like literature — to see us on a page all of us in all our ways — is one of the most magnificent experiences anyone can have."

Now, Myles has cultivated a space that includes chats with authors, interactive read-a-thons, and sold-out awards galas for Black Bookstagrammers, with categories like best interview, best reel and best review.

She hosts regular D.E.A.R. sessions, in which she asks people to "drop everything and read." She also posts photos and lists of new releases, Black poets you should know, sentences from Black classics and other creative content about Black lit.

Like this "word-of-the-week" video about the word "ephemeral" that she gleaned from Brandon Taylor's book Filthy Animals. It's set to rapper Saweetie's 2020 song "Tap In."

"If it's short like a skort, it's ephemeral," raps Myles. "Ephemeral. Like an inch or a flinch, it's ephemeral. Ephemeral. Kim K's marriage, babies in the carriage, being mad at yo' moms after she embarrassed."

Myles' work was recently nominated for a Webby, which honors excellence on the internet. It's also been nominated for a Shorty, which recognizes the best work in social and digital media.

On a mission to glamorize Black writers

A big component of Myles' work is individual chats and panel discussions with authors on Instagram live. From her home in Milwaukee, framed by plants and colorfully arranged bookshelves, Myles creates an easy rapport with authors, whether they are established and renowned or just releasing their first works.

During an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me and The Water Dancer, Myles half-jests that on "the Bookstagram streets" an interview with him is "the biggest flex of all time."

"You know what, you know what? You need to tell them streets they need to dream a little bigger," Coates chuckles.

Myles has a breezy interview style, connecting with authors personally and asking sharp questions about their works. It's a mixture of natural talent, preparation and an earnest respect for writers – who she believes deserve the celebrity of singers or actors.

"I'm all about glamorizing Black literature and the writers," Myles notes. "They give us such important stories. They should be treated accordingly. That's how I feel."

Myles says there's a lot to be gleaned from the wisdom of these authors, the living and the ancestors. "Because [written] stories aside... their lived stories are also things to be revered, because they weren't just writing these revolutionary pieces, essays and shorts and novels and then like going on and living non-revolutionary lives," notes Myles. "They were embodying everything that they were writing about. And so, looking to them has always been really powerful for me."

All Ways Black centers the joy of being Black. Myles ends her interviews by asking authors about their favorite thing about being Black, and she poses a laughter-inducing "speed round" to writers, asking them to make impossible choices between two options central to Black culture, like "Afro or dreads?" or "Malcolm X or Dr. Martin Luther King?"

Myles says it's all in good fun. "So, even if I'm dealing with the best wordsmiths on the planet," says Myles, "they are also just Black like me, and we will laugh about the same things, and we will throw the same shade, and we will crack the same jokes. And they're just masters at their craft, but they're still very much human."

Changing the publishing industry

Myles also has the respect of fellow book influencers, like Traci Thomas, who runs The Stacks podcast.

"On [other] publishing platforms, they might have a Black intern and then they post something that uses Black vernacular but feels very hollow," says Thomas. "All Ways Black feels super authentic. And I know that that is because Cree is in control and is empowered to do what feels right to her, and her judgment is spot-on."

Myles is functioning in a publishing world that's still three quarters white, according to a 2019 survey by Lee and Low.

After pledging to audit the diversity of its creators in June 2020, Penguin Random House determined that 76% of its books released from 2019 to 2021 were by white creators.

All Ways Black has proven to be an important way for the company to promote its Black works and branch out to new audiences. In championing Black books, Myles has developed an engaged community. Penguin Random House reported in August 2021 that "the community that's formed on @allwaysblack has the highest average engagement rate in the Penguin Random House ecosystem."

"I'm always just thinking of the liberation I experienced in my 20s upon reading the stuff that I read, and how to make that accessible to other folks who don't have the background that I have," she says. "Because [these books] are not just for the Black girls who went to college and had middle class backgrounds."

The stories, she says, are for all of us.

"Like you wouldn't say, 'Oh, I can't listen to Whitney Houston. Her voice is too good. I don't get it,'" notes Myles. "And it's the same way when you're reading James Baldwin, or Toni Morrison."

Or, says Myles, many of the authors writing the Black canon today. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit



On Instagram's Bookstagram handle, there's a new project to celebrate Black writers. Maayan Silver with WUWM in Milwaukee tells us all about it.

MAAYAN SILVER, BYLINE: Cree Myles is always thinking about new ways to get people to read books by Black authors. One example of her creative approach, this freestyle rap session called a cypher. The Milwaukee-based book influencer posted the video to her Instagram account, All Ways Black. Here she is with Milwaukee rapper Genesis Renji.


CREE MYLES: This is the All Ways Black cypher 2022. We got Black. We got books. We got Black books. Gen, take it away.

GENESIS RENJI: (Rapping) All Ways Black. My mom taught me to that. And pages I will turn, said if you can read, then you can lead. Ain't nothing you can't learn.

MYLES: Yes. I watch it every day. That's like - I'm almost prouder of that than my children (laughter).

SILVER: The Instagram account All Ways Black is a collaboration between Myles and book giant Penguin Random House. Myles first partnered with the company last year when she organized a read-a-thon of Toni Morrison's books. The late author was published by Knopf, now part of Penguin Random House. A few months later, the company offered Myles a job curating an Instagram platform centered on Black books. Myles calls the platform All Ways Black thanks to her husband, who came up with the name about 20 seconds after she was offered the job.

MYLES: And he was like, how about just All Ways Black? Like, all the ways? So it was that quick. And for me, it's an aural check to make sure that I'm not just doing Cree's Black.

SILVER: Now, Myles has cultivated a space that includes interactive read-a-thons, chats with authors, photos and lists of new releases and other creative content about Black lit, like this word of the week video about the word ephemeral that she gleaned from Brandon Taylor's book "Filthy Animals." It's set to rapper Saweetie's 2020 song "Tap In."


MYLES: (Rapping) Kim K's marriage. Babies in the carriage. Being mad at yo' moms after she embarrassed. Ephemeral means less than for a short time, precluding this word of the week. K, bye.

SILVER: Myles' work was nominated for a Webby, which honors excellence on the internet, and a Shorty, which recognizes the best work in social and digital media. Myles' content often comes from her house in Milwaukee, framed by plants and colorfully arranged bookshelves. From there, she creates an easy rapport with internationally renowned authors.



MYLES: Hi, Ta-Nehisi.

COATES: Hey. How you doing, man?

SILVER: Myles immediately jokes that an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates is the biggest flex of all time.


MYLES: Out on the Bookstagram street, everybody's like, yeah, Ta-Nehisi's kind and all the great things like that. But it's also like you're the literary Beyonce, so...

COATES: You know what? You know what? You need to tell them streets they need to dream a little bigger.


SILVER: Myles has a breezy interview style, connecting with authors personally and asking sharp questions about their works. It's a mixture of natural talent, preparation and an earnest respect for writers who she believes deserve the celebrity of singers or actors.

MYLES: I'm all about glamorizing Black literature and the writers. Like, they give us such important stories. They should be treated accordingly.

SILVER: She says Black authors know what it's like to be a person of color.

MYLES: I think a lot of times when you're just moving throughout the world as a Black person, as a Black woman, things are happening to you every day. And they rub you a certain way, but you have nothing to validate whether or not your feelings are justified.

SILVER: She found that validation reading Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" many years ago.

MYLES: I'm reading it, and I was like, yes. And yes. And yes. I'm not crazy. That was a seminal moment in my life, for sure.

SILVER: In championing Black books, she's developed an engaged community and the respect of fellow book influencers. Traci Thomas runs the popular "Stacks" podcast.

TRACI THOMAS: Often, other things I've seen on publishing platforms, they might, you know, have a Black intern, and then they post something that, you know, uses Black vernacular, but is very - feels very hollow. All Ways Black feels super authentic.

SILVER: Myles is functioning in a publishing world that's still three-quarters white, according to a 2019 survey by Lee and Low. Seventy-six percent of the books Penguin Random House released from 2019 to 2021 were by white creators. All Ways Black has proven to be an important way for the company to promote its Black works and branch out to new audiences. Myles consistently thinks about those who don't yet see themselves as readers. She wants people to know that great books are for everyone.

MYLES: Like, you wouldn't say, oh, I can't listen to Whitney Houston. Her voice is too good. I don't get it. And it's the same way when you're reading James Baldwin or Toni Morrison.

SILVER: Or, says Myles, many of the authors writing the Black canon today.

For NPR News, I'm Maayan Silver in Milwaukee.

MARTINEZ: And by way of disclosure, NPR receives underwriting support from Penguin Random House. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Richmond employees speak against mayor’s stricter collective bargaining proposal


Richmond employees speak against mayor’s stricter collective bargaining proposal

Building with layered floors
Richmond City Hall. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Two proposals to give Richmond city employees the right to collectively bargain have been advanced to City Council. These opposing plans, one from the mayor and another from a majority of council members, differ substantially, according to union activists and city employees, who say the mayor’s proposal is too restrictive.

Public employees in Virginia can now collectively bargain after the passage of a new law in 2020 that gives local governments the option to grant their employees these rights. However, the law specifies that localities are under no obligation to grant their employees collective bargaining rights, meaning the decision about whether a union of public employees can form in Richmond all depends on how City Council votes this month.

It’s also up to localities to decide the scope of their employees’ bargaining rights under Virginia’s new law. In contrast to the proposal advanced by six City Council members, the mayor’s proposal has greater limitations on the types of grievances employees can bargain over.

In the mayor’s proposal, employees are only able to bargain over their wages as well as benefits related to their paid and unpaid leave and their healthcare plans.

Phill Sheppard is an employee of the Richmond Public Library. He and his colleagues told City Council earlier this week that while those rights are important, they don’t cover the wide range of complaints they want the city government to address.

“We want to be able to bargain over the full range of wages, benefits and working conditions so that we can stabilize the workforce in this city and begin improving public services,” Sheppard said.

In contrast, the proposal from council members Reva Trammell, Kristen Nye, Ellen Robertson, Katherine Jordan, Ann-Frances Lambert and Stephanie Lynch gives employees the right to negotiate their wages, healthcare benefits, unpaid and paid leave, working hours, vacation and holiday time, retirement plans and other workplace conditions.

Dozens of Richmond city workers testified in opposition to the mayor’s more restrictive plan during a council meeting on Monday. However, the majority of speakers said the main issue they have within city government is staffing shortages. Under both plans, the city would retain exclusive rights to hire and assign members of staff. That’s a recurring problem, according to Richmond Public Library employees like Linda Argonaut-Brown, who reported that staffing shortages are so severe they threaten workers’ access to basic needs.

“I'm really tired of inadequate staffing,” Argonaut-Brown said. “Richmond Public Library. management doesn't take care of people. You need to go to the bathroom? You've got to wait.”

These concerns were echoed by employees of Richmond’s Social Services Department, including social worker Felicia Boney.

“We need your support. We are working under the gun. Social Services is short staff members. We have workers who have case loads of 2,000 to 3,000 cases. They are working under the gun. There's not enough hours in the day to get the work done,” Boney said. “We need your support in order to be the best employees that we can be. We need resources.”

Employees and union experts say in addition to its limited scope, the mayor’s proposal weakens the power of public employees by lumping them all together into one collective union. In contrast, the council members’ proposal creates three separate bargaining units: one for police, one for firefighters and one for general city employees.

Kate Robertson-Young, a lawyer with the Service Employees International Union, says there are benefits to both plans, but they think the council's proposal is ultimately better for workers.

“We think that one unit for police, one unit for firefighters and one unit for general city workers is what workers want. There are also other reasons, however, why we would support one unit for general city workers in many other places in the public sector. That is the norm, a wall-to-wall unit of all city workers,” Robertson-Young said. “It also creates arbitrary and unnecessary divisions among workers in the workplace. That is counter to the whole purpose of forming a union and collective bargaining.”

Police officers in Richmond already have a union called the Richmond Coalition of Police, which advocates for members and provides them with legal representation. But some officers and representatives of RCOP, including president Brenden Levy, told City Council they would still benefit from gaining the official right to collectively bargain.

“I strongly believe collective bargaining would bring equitable working conditions to our city employees. I strongly believe that every city employee has the right to collectively bargain. I strongly believe every city employee has the right to unionize. And I strongly believe every city employee needs their voice heard,” Levy said. “We should not have to wait three days to turn the heat back on in a precinct. We shouldn't have to have black mold just painted over in a precinct.”

Council member Lynch is a former social services employee. Like her fellow sponsors, she praised city employees for speaking out about the need for broader collective bargaining rights and committed to securing them.

“When I was working at the Virginia Department of Social Services, I can only imagine the fear that I would have … coming down and speaking out,” Lynch said. “There's just no excuse for us not to put the time and the effort into our city staff. And I know that unionizing and coming together as a group is a way to do that, so I look forward to this opportunity.”

Trammell agreed and told city employees earlier this week that she expects her proposal to pass when it’s considered again by City Council.

“I know that my colleagues support all of you who are workers because we all know that you're the backbone of the city. You all are the backbone, no matter what position you have,” Trammell said.

In a statement from the city’s Office of Strategic Communications and Civic Engagement, which worked with the mayor to develop his proposal, the administration said they plan to work with City Council to review the best options available for their employees. However, they said those considerations have to be balanced out with the potential financial impact of increasing employees’ pay and benefits on taxpayers.

“To further advance our efforts, the mayor’s proposed 2023 budget includes an increase to the minimum wage for city employees to $17 an hour, one of the highest regionally, a 5% raise for all general employees and a new public-safety sworn step pay plan that elevates salaries with an average increase of 18%,” said Petula Burks, a spokesperson with the office. “As such, collective bargaining options must consider the impacts to all employees and the taxpayers of Richmond equally.”

However, those raises, according to employees, aren’t enough to make up for the years the city ignored their needs and demands, including calls for better pay. Argonaut-Brown, who is in her 70s, says that after 37 years working for the city, she’s still only paid $18.50 an hour.

“Even the village idiot can see that the city is not taking care of the employees,” Argonaut-Brown said.

City Council plans to meet again on Monday, May 9 to discuss which proposal granting employees collective bargaining rights they will choose. If city employees vote to form a union, the City Council will ultimately still need to approve future contracts between employees and the city before they can take effect.

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The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart presents Johann Sebastian Bach's B Minor Mass


The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart presents Johann Sebastian Bach's B Minor Mass

Cathedral Schola Cantorum
Photo: The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond, VA

The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart will present the Mass in B minor by Johann Sebastian Bach this Friday evening, May 6th at 7:30pm.  This performance is part of the Music for a Cathedral Space concert series, and is made possible by the generosity of the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.  Richmond's own Cathedral Schola Cantorum will be joined by members of Three Notch'd Road: The Virginia Baroque Ensemble, performing on period instruments. 

Director of Music Daniel Sanez joined me to discuss this event, which is a historically-informed performance, using the instruments and techniques of the 17th century.

Yours in good music,
Mike Goldberg
Classical Host, VPM Music

Guitarist Jason Vieaux releases "Bach-Volume 2: Works for Violin"


Guitarist Jason Vieaux releases "Bach-Volume 2: Works for Violin"

Guitarist Jason Vieaux
Photo: Tyler Boye

Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist Jason Vieaux has released "Bach Volume 2: Works for Violin" on Azica Records.  This is a follow up to his acclaimed 2009 album, "Bach Volume 1: Works for Lute."  Vieaux says, “Indeed, it’s been well over a decade since the 2009 issue of three lute works of Johann Sebastian Bach. The idea Azica and I had back then was that there would eventually be a Volume 2, which would complete the ‘lute’ set by making a ‘violin’ record that included BWV 1006… well, it eventually turned out to be about 13 years, 2 kids, 700 more gigs, and over 8 hours of commercial releases later."

I had the pleasure of catching up with Jason while he was on tour in Calgary.  Enjoy our chat about the music!

Yours in good music,
Mike Goldberg
Classical Host, VPM Music

Attention turns to midterms after Supreme Court draft decision is leaked


Attention turns to midterms after Supreme Court draft decision is leaked

Because abortion rights would be decided in states if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, the leaked draft has brought new midterm campaign enthusiasm to Georgia and other swing states.

Copyright 2022 90.1 WABE. To see more, visit 90.1 WABE.



A U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade could quickly curtail access to abortion in a lot of states. That prospect is already shaping the way candidates, strategists, advocates and voters are thinking about the 2022 midterms, especially in swing states like Georgia. WABE's Sam Gringlas joins us from Atlanta for more on this. Good morning, Sam.


FADEL: So, Sam, if this draft decision holds up, states would decide whether to allow abortion. Where does that leave Georgia and other states?

GRINGLAS: Well, Georgia's legislature is solidly Republican, and in 2019 they passed a bill banning abortion after roughly six weeks. That law would likely take effect really quickly if Roe is struck down. You know, for the last dozen years, Republicans have been just pouring resources into winning these state House races and then drawing district maps to lock in that political power. Democrats now admit that, for a long time, they just didn't invest enough in state legislatures. I talked about that with Jessica Post. She runs the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

JESSICA POST: We need to do everything we can to win state legislatures. So I know folks right now may be giving to abortion funds. I would also say please support your Democratic state legislative candidates because they will be the ones deciding the fate of abortion in your state.

GRINGLAS: So say Democrat Stacey Abrams wins her campaign for governor. Without the legislature, there's not a whole lot that she can do to undo laws that are already on the books.

FADEL: Are you already seeing this draft opinion shaping election strategy in Georgia?

GRINGLAS: Yeah. I mean, Democrats think this ruling could energize voters. There's a Democrat here running for attorney general. Her name is Jen Jordan. And right after this draft leaked, she sent off a tweet calling Georgia the next battleground for reproductive freedom, and she's pledging to fight restrictive abortion laws in the state courts.

JEN JORDAN: This was not going to be front and center, obviously. You know, we were talking about pocketbook issues and consumer protection and voting and all that kind of stuff. But sometimes you don't pick the fight; the fight picks you.

GRINGLAS: One more voice I want to bring in - this is Jeanna Kelley. She just signed up to volunteer with Jordan's campaign, spurred by this news, and she's already done a shift texting women voters.

JEANNA KELLEY: I can't do anything else about this but vote and encourage other people to vote. But it really did feel good to be able to connect with women and say, hey, you know, we would love to have you join us in supporting this candidate.

GRINGLAS: So at the end of the day, we really don't know how much overturning Roe would actually move the needle on Election Day. You know, persistent inflation, some other issue could end up outweighing everything else.

FADEL: And what about Republicans? How are they responding?

GRINGLAS: Well, let me just play you some tape from this week's Republican debate for lieutenant governor. All the candidates were lined up on stage, and they were asked if they're satisfied with the restrictive abortion rules Georgia already passed or whether they would want to do more, and here's what they all said.


JEANNE SEAVER: I would love to ban abortion.

BRAD MEANS: Just ban it?

SEAVER: Yes, sir.

MEANS: And, Mr. Miller, your thoughts?


MEANS: For you, Mr. Jones?


GRINGLAS: Republican David Perdue, who's challenging Georgia's sitting Republican governor, Brian Kemp, says he would also now pursue an all-out ban on abortion. Kemp has not weighed in on that, but he might feel compelled to call for a ban, too. That could bite him in November, though, when he needs this broader swath of Georgia voters to keep him in office.

FADEL: Hmm. Sam Gringlas, political reporter at WABE in Atlanta. Thank you so much.

GRINGLAS: Thanks, Leila. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Colorado recently enacted a new abortion rights law


Colorado recently enacted a new abortion rights law

As more states impose tougher abortion restrictions, NPR's Leila Fadel talks to Democratic Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado — a state that seeks to be a refuge for people seeking reproductive care.

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With the expected reversal of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court, a handful of states are trying to protect that right. Connecticut enacted a new abortion rights law late yesterday and Colorado's Democratic governor, Jared Polis, recently did the same. I spoke with him yesterday.

JARED POLIS: A lot of folks, including us, saw the writing on the wall. So what we wanted to do is enshrine the Roe vs. Wade precedent in state law so that we didn't rely on the federal protections, but people would have the freedom here to make their own decisions.

FADEL: Could you describe what exactly this guarantee means in practical terms?

POLIS: It means that despite what happens with Roe vs. Wade at the national level - and obviously we all hope that what was leaked either changes or doesn't come to pass. But at this point, tragically, it looks likely, and the freedoms of millions of people will be taken away. Colorado residents will not experience a change. Women will still be empowered to make their own choices about when and how to have a family.

FADEL: I mean, how fragile is this protection? If you're no longer in office, if the makeup of the state legislature changes, how fragile are the protections?

POLIS: It's very fragile. Republicans in Colorado and nationally are obsessed with taking away freedoms, whether it's a Texas law that would arrest women and encourage vigilante attacks on women and doctors, the Florida law that infringes upon freedom of speech and bans the word gay. They're just obsessed about taking away freedoms. And, you know, when we put something in law, of course, that can be changed by future legislators and future governors. I think it's really important at this time that we focus on, of course, the United States Senate, President Biden and making sure that we can elect people that really stand for and protect this right across the country.

FADEL: So then this becomes an endless situation where, depending on if advocates for abortion rights or opponents to abortion rights are elected, that changes access.

POLIS: So we made it a law, which means it's not at the whim of just a future legislature or governor. It would take all three, both chambers of the legislature and the governor, to be won over by Republicans who want to take away the freedoms of people. You know, our state has a long history of pro-choice Republicans. In fact, the very first governor, John Love, who legalized abortion in Colorado, was Republican. And it wasn't even that long ago when I was younger in the early 2000s, you could always count on two or three pro-choice Republicans in the legislature - no more. To a person, they voted against this. And they really are increasingly obsessed with controlling how people live their lives, which is, frankly, not what most Colorado voters want, not what most Americans want. And we don't want to be in any way seen as using the state to make the most intimate decisions for Coloradans.

FADEL: Now, Colorado's neighbors Utah, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, they've all moved towards limiting or banning abortion. Or they're actively trying to restrict abortion rights. Governor, is it your intention to actively invite people seeking access to abortions to come to Colorado?

POLIS: If there's one thing we know that when abortion is illegal, it doesn't necessarily reduce the number of abortions. It drives them underground, and it's very dangerous so-called back alley abortions, women going to people who - and turning to people who might not be fully qualified in a non- or less-than-medical setting. So, I mean, you know, beyond, of course, taking away freedom, there will be lives that are lost because of people who turn to underqualified services in states where it's no longer officially available.

FADEL: So is the message here, you can come to Colorado?

POLIS: Well, people can travel wherever they need to.

FADEL: If they can afford it.

POLIS: That's a big issue. I think the real answer here is do residents of these states really want the government intrusion into their personal lives about what decisions they make about when and how to have kids? I don't think most residents of Utah, of Texas want that, but that's exactly what they're getting.

FADEL: Now, the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which you signed, guarantees access to reproductive care before and after pregnancy. Do you and others in your state envision scenarios in which care before pregnancy or in the early days of pregnancy, such as contraception or abortion medication, do those come into legal jeopardy?

POLIS: A lot will come into question following the repeal of Roe vs. Wade. And I think, you know, right now, you have Democratic governors across the country on the front lines of protecting this freedom in an uncertain world because we can no longer rely on Supreme Court protection. You know, I really grew up having a very positive view of the Supreme Court expanding freedom - Brown vs. Board of Education, Roe vs. Wade and affecting me personally, of course, Obergefell vs. Hodges that allowed same-sex marriage - and this really turns that on its head and goes the other way, stripping away freedoms from hundreds of millions of Americans who just happen to live in states that don't have elected officials that value those freedoms.

FADEL: Since you brought this up, I mean, the larger implications here that could impact you personally - I mean, people have talked about does this mean the next step is same-sex marriage? What other personal freedoms might be in jeopardy?

POLIS: Well, I think, you know, based on this dangerous precedent and the way the Supreme Court is going, it could be interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, integration of our schools. These are all steps that the Supreme Court took forward to expand our freedoms and support equality.

FADEL: But are you being alarmist here? I mean, because in Alito's...

POLIS: It's very alarmist that the Supreme Court is going to micromanage what a woman does with a fetus that's in her body. I mean, there's no more micromanaging than that. It's very scary.

FADEL: Democratic Governor Jared Polis of Colorado, thank you so much for your time.

POLIS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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People in a town in New York's Adirondack Mountains are divided over abortion


People in a town in New York's Adirondack Mountains are divided over abortion

The Supreme Court's leaked draft opinion on Roe v. Wade is having ripple effects across the nation: folks rally in support of abortion rights or celebrate a potential victory for an unborn child.

The Supreme Court's leaked draft opinion on Roe v. Wade is having ripple effects across the nation: folks rally in support of abortion rights or celebrate a potential victory for an unborn child.Read the full story at



The issue of abortion has been dividing Americans for decades. Across the nation, many are either celebrating the potential repeal of Roe v. Wade or mourning its possible loss. North Country Public Radio's Emily Russell spoke with people on both sides of the debate in rural upstate New York.

EMILY RUSSELL, BYLINE: Jim Bickford (ph) is sitting inside a convenience store in Ray Brook. It's a small town in New York's Adirondack Mountains. He's got a cup of coffee and a Bible laid out in front of him.

JIM BICKFORD: Today we just came in to get some food here at Maplefields and have some fellowship - Christian fellowship.

RUSSELL: Bickford believes that every life is a miracle. Think about it, he says, how it starts so small with one tiny egg and one tiny sperm.

BICKFORD: Nine months later, you got all the bones and brains and everything else. And it's amazing what God has made. And that's a baby that should be born, you know, not killed.

RUSSELL: Bickford is anti-abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. So he says he was excited to hear that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade. That landmark case has protected a woman's right to an abortion for nearly 50 years. Richard Harris (ph) is sitting across the table from Bickford. He's got a little silver cross hanging off his Bible. Harris says it's this book that defines his opposition to abortion.

RICHARD HARRIS: The Bible says where there's blood, there's life. The life is in the blood. And God is the author of life. We're not the ones that can take it away. It's not all right.

RUSSELL: Folks like Harris and Bickford are in the minority here in the blue state of New York and across the country. Polls show that most Americans support the right to an abortion. I ask Harris to imagine being pregnant. What happens if you're forced to give birth, even if it's not what you want, even if you don't have the resources to take care of a child? Harris says he has faith someone will always step in.

HARRIS: I think there are resources and there are people who have been touched by God to love who will care for these children if there's not a father around to really man up for it.

RUSSELL: But data shows it is not that simple. There is no universal child care, no universal health care. Research compiled by the Brookings Institution shows that women are often the ones whose salaries and careers suffer. They're often the ones bearing the financial burden of having kids. Abriana Johnson has been thinking a lot about this lately - about what women will be forced to do in states where abortion could become illegal. Johnson is a junior at nearby St. Lawrence University.

ABRIAN JOHNSON: Banning abortion is not going to stop abortion. It's going to stop safe abortions. It's just going to cause more people to die.

RUSSELL: Specifically, more low-income women and women of color. Studies show it's those women who are disproportionately affected by laws that restrict or ban abortions. In the parking lot of a grocery store in Lake Placid, Laura Hull (ph) says this moment is a scary, one and not just for women's rights.

LAURA HULL: It's ruining our faith in the Supreme Court because we don't know, if this happens and they overturn Roe, whether a bunch of other rights that we have, like gay marriage or anything, will be taken away.

RUSSELL: For now, many say they're doing what they can to protect a woman's right to an abortion. Roisin Creedon-Carey is a college student from the nearby city of Plattsburgh.

ROISIN CREEDON-CAREY: I'm going to donate to Planned Parenthood as much as I can in the coming weeks and months. I'm going to contact my representatives in the coming months. And other than that, I feel a little lost. But I'm going to do as much as I can.

RUSSELL: Folks on the other side of this debate say that's their plan too - to do as much as they can to put an end to abortions all across the U.S. For NPR News, I'm Emily Russell in northern New York.


Latino homebuyers are most likely to use risky financing, survey finds


Latino homebuyers are most likely to use risky financing, survey finds

More than a third of the Latino households surveyed by the Pew Research Center said they'd used something other than a traditional mortgage. Alternative financing can come with high costs and risks.

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Last year, about half of Latino households in the U.S. were homeowners. And according to the Urban Institute, this group could make up 70% of new homeowners over the next two decades. But new findings suggest Latinos are more likely than any other ethnic group to use risky home financing. More than a third of those households surveyed by the Pew Research Center said they tapped something other than a traditional mortgage to purchase a house. And that alternative financing can come with steep costs and also high risks. Joining us to discuss what this could mean for U.S. homeownership long term is Lot Diaz. He's vice president of Housing and Financial Empowerment with the Latino advocacy group UnidosUS. Lot, welcome to the show.

LOT DIAZ: Thank you.

MARTINEZ: All right. Now, when most Americans buy a house, they take out a traditional 30-year mortgage. But there's a whole world of alternative financial products out there. Some have some pretty significant risks. Lot, tell us about how these products work and what they are.

DIAZ: People get into these products for two reasons. One, they're not aware there's other options. A typical family gets an FHA or conventional mortgage that is priced at appropriate levels. Families need to know how to apply for those, get into those. Many times, they're sold for products that are not these types. They're higher cost. So that's the - one reason. And the second reason - they have not protected their credit. And so when they start to apply for a conventional or FHA loan, they can't beat the filters, and they get denied. They seek other avenues. And there's plenty of marketing for these alternative products that are more costly and can present a risk over time to a family to maintain their home.

MARTINEZ: When it comes to just simply qualifying for a loan to purchase a home, when it comes to that, are Latinos maybe behind the eight ball a bit? Are they not getting approved as much?

DIAZ: The data seems to indicate that's the case. What we've seen within our partners in the market is that they tend to get declined (ph) at a greater rate. And many times, it's really because they don't fully understand or respond to the lender in a way that the lender's expecting, or they're asking for documentation and other items that are required that is difficult for them to get because their income is not maybe a strict salary. It could be a small business. There could be two or three income sources that they're drawing from, and that just doesn't conform to a typical mortgage origination system.

MARTINEZ: Yeah. According to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, Latinos are 81% more likely to be denied than non-Latino counterparts. I mean, so considering that Americans really derive most of their wealth from real estate - typically the homes that they own - what does this mean when so many of the country's would-be homeowners, aspiring homeowners, can't access traditional mortgages?

DIAZ: Well, if you've seen the dialogue in more recent periods around the wealth discrepancies between communities of color and the white population, homeownership has always been the driver of families' wealth for all races and ethnicities. So if Latinos are shut out or discouraged from becoming homeowners, that has a huge impact on the collective family wealth in the community. So the biggest thing - and wealth is - what does wealth do for you? It gives you the ability to borrow at affordable rates. It allows you to make money available for college, for health emergencies, for a lot of other things that many families just take for granted.

MARTINEZ: Yeah. And when you see gentrification happening in areas where there are - typically, Latinos have been living there for decades, for generations. And if their ownership and their wealth is not tied to the real estate, especially the place that they live in, that's when these neighborhoods all of a sudden change drastically.

DIAZ: That's absolutely true. And there's just a gazillion examples of that across the country. There's two things that happen. Pricing is driven up by a variety of factors. And if families are not owning and renting, what goes up - when real estate price goes up, rents go up, and they are forced out of the neighborhood. Ownership is the only thing that can protect them in these kinds of situations.

MARTINEZ: And this country, just in general, is also in the grips of a national housing shortage. How is that affecting Latino homebuyers in particular?

DIAZ: If you talk to anybody in real estate, they always say a lack of inventory is a big problem because - why? - it increased prices and makes it harder for families, particularly families buying their first home, to enter the market and start the process of homeownership.

Interesting thing - foreclosure crisis happened. Over 10 million families lost their home during that crisis. A majority of those homes were bought by investors. And then when they went back into the market, they became a home to rent rather than a home to own. So that shrunk the market. The pandemic and other factors have made the things that you need to build homes more expensive. And it's resulted on the moderate income-priced home that gets shut out. The higher-end homes still get built because people with more wealth can buy those homes. So it's the moderate income-priced home that's been kind of impacted a lot by the increased cost.

And then the federal government has not increased its investment in housing, even though the population has grown substantially over time.

MARTINEZ: And you mentioned starter homes, those homes that are or used to be affordable for young families - because that's how it used to work. A young family would be able to look for a starter home, and then as their family grew, along with their savings and their wealth, they could look for a bigger house to meet their growing family's needs. And many experts now think that, really, starter homes are not realistic for anyone in particular. But if that's the case generally, Lot, I mean, what do you think this might specifically mean for Latinos who aspire to be homeowners?

DIAZ: Homeownership is a ethic that is really emphasized in our community. And so what that means - they will go to all lengths to kind of become a homeowner. So what that means is, really, they going to have to be much more prudent consumers. We, as - the commercial entities in this country have to make sure that they're providing services that will put Latinos into homeownership in an affordable way and, as we like to say, sustainable over time. There are down payment assistance programs in some localities. There's organizations, like ones we support, that offer families a path to kind of get there. So it's really accessing either support services, programs that support homeownership - but most importantly, always seeking more information before you enter the process rather than responding to an ad or someone who says, I know someone who can give you an affordable mortgage if you can find a house.

MARTINEZ: That's a Lot Diaz. He's vice president of Housing and Financial Empowerment with the Latino advocacy group UnidosUS. Lot, thank you very much.

DIAZ: Thank you very much. It was a pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF MARK PRESTON'S "BLUE HILL") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Brooke Shields is aging in the public eye — and she wants to talk about it


Brooke Shields is aging in the public eye — and she wants to talk about it

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with actress, writer and entrepreneur Brooke Shields about her effort to embrace aging and how she's trying to help other women do the same.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit


MARY LOUISE KELLY, BYLINE: Our next guest has been in Showbiz since she was 11 months old - 11 months. That is when Brooke Shields took her first turn before the cameras as the face of Ivory soap. More ads followed, then movie deals, TV, stage, and almost always documenting her every move, paparazzi. Shields grew up in the public eye, and now she is aging in the public eye, and she wants to talk about it. At the top of her list, the idea that women in their 50s are not represented in lots of places, including advertising.

BROOKE SHIELDS: Why are we forgotten? And we're forgotten just in this middle chunk because there's 20, and then there are people, you know, say, more in the more aged age or geriatric world, you know, and it's like you go from sexy to depends. And there's this whole margin in the middle that is actually...

KELLY: (Laughter) Quite a few decades in the middle there, yeah.

SHIELDS: Quite a few decades in the middle that are vibrant. I always say I don't like to talk about it as aging as much as vitality.

KELLY: And Brooke Shields is on a mission to highlight the vitality of women over 50. She started an online community, signed with the winemaker Clos du Bois to rebrand Chardonnay. And the one-time face and body of Calvin Klein jeans is doing ads for Jordache.

I read that you told them, do not even think about retouching this; I want people to see my body and the way it looks as I'm 56. Why?

SHIELDS: A, because I worked really hard to get to that picture-ready place. And you know what? Sure, it's - you look at yourself with a filter and a this and a that or whatever, and you're like, oh, OK. Then you look in the mirror and you're like, OK, not the same, don't look the same. But what am I going to do? You know, it was brilliant lighting, a amazing photographer, hair and makeup and wardrobe. Everybody was on top of their game. So I was very secure within what was going to be represented.

What I didn't want was to be made thinner. I did lose weight, you know, hit it a bit harder. I worked every day. You know, I had to work at 5 a.m. because that was the only time that I could get this training session. And I worked really hard for it. You know, I don't look skin and bones. I just didn't want to be dishonest with how much work I put in to doing it and saying, why can't I be sexy at this age?

KELLY: Well, I, in the interest of full honesty, will say, I - you look gorgeous in this ad. I also was like, you're Brooke Shields. You're more gorgeous than the rest of us combined, whether you were getting up and working out at 5 a.m. or not, and even you had to do that. I mean, that's the reality. And I wondered, you know, I could work out at 5 a.m. every day for the rest of my life. I'm not going to look like you do in Jordache jeans. Do you worry at all about that, about the, like, women, whatever age we are, and the unrealistic body expectations that get put out there?

SHIELDS: Listen; I - it is all true. You know, I can't apologize for what I look like, but I know that I've worked hard at it, and I've made sure that I wasn't just that. And it's about the dialogue that you have with your children, with people. It's about aligning with companies that do believe in body inclusivity.

I'm one version of that. I can say that this is my age. You know, this is my age, and this is where I am today. I'm having my own - I have to find my own pride in my own shape. And it looks different now than it did...

KELLY: Yeah.

SHIELDS: ...You know, when I was - everything was all up higher.

KELLY: Yeah. I mean, there's a special resonance in talking to you, Brooke Shields, about doing a jeans ad because you, of course, starred in one of the most famous jeans ads ever, the Calvin Klein ad from 1980, which was controversial then because you were so young. It would be more controversial today. I wondered as I watched you, you know, in this new, very sexy ad, I mean, you're wearing jeans and nothing else, right? You're barefoot. It's - you're topless. It's shot from behind. How is your understanding of that, of wanting to be in an ad where you are - where it is all about the sex appeal? How has that changed over 42 years?

SHIELDS: I think it's probably the first time I've ever felt the sex appeal. You know, you don't - you can't really feel it at 15. It was all about doing a really good job. When I did it, I did not own the sexuality of it in the same way that I understand it and do now. And it's taken me a lot longer. I have a very fraught, you know, historical relationship with sexuality and virginity and, you know, all of that for decades. Now I understand it differently. So it's - I'm much more inclined to do something that is more overtly sexual that I understand...

KELLY: And own it. Yeah.

SHIELDS: ...Because I own it now. It's mine, you know?

KELLY: How do you think about the line - is there a line? - I think about this all the time - between wanting to look good and wanting to look young? Because it's so ingrained that they're the same thing.

SHIELDS: That's hard. That is a - that's hard because, you know, it's like - it's one thing to say, oh, you know, these wrinkles are from laughter. And everybody's like, oh, that's good. You know, OK, yeah. But they weren't there then. And I look at my little baby girl's faces, and they are just flawless. It's like I gaze at them, and then I think, wait a minute. I was once that. I didn't even know it.

So then I look at myself, and I think, OK, no, I don't look like I did in my 20. And my skin is looser. My butt's lower, my love handles and - you know what I mean? It's like you look at all those and you take them apart.

And then you look at these sort of nubile bodies that are just emerging into these incredible women. And you're just like, oh, my God, I have to be careful not to compare myself. And, you know, the thing for me that's more important than the look of it is I'm partially broken down. Like, my knees are bad, you know? Weight loss is more difficult.

KELLY: Yeah.

SHIELDS: I can't drink in the same way that I used to, even though I love it as much - I mean, actually, more than I ever did. Those are the kind of things that I'm fighting more than just what I look like in the mirror.

KELLY: What do you want women to hear from watching you feeling conflicted and wrestling with all of this still at this point, at 56 and still living your life so much in the public eye?

SHIELDS: I don't think there's any shame. There's no shame in being older and getting older. There's a sense of pride, I think, that comes with it. But I don't want to wait for that pride to have to look like ancient wisdom. You know, I'm not stopping a thing I love doing. Yes, I'm limited in a lot of the physical activity, but I'm still going. I'm still taking on new jobs. There is still more to come. And this is all a part of it.

So I want that message to be out there because I want, especially women over a certain age, in their 50s, to feel like they are at a new beginning. You know, just because their ovaries are not producing babies anymore, are they supposedly not as important or not as valuable? I don't believe so.

KELLY: That is Brooke Shields. She is an actress, author, spokesperson, as you heard, for Jordache, Clos du Bois, and founder of the online community for women Beginning Is Now, which pretty much sums it up. Brooke Shields, this was a total pleasure. Thank you.

SHIELDS: Thank you. Thank you so much for your time. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The status of Iran nuclear deal talks


The status of Iran nuclear deal talks

For weeks, talks between world powers and Iran over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal have been stalled — partly because of the war in Ukraine. But they're still a priority and could go either way.

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Talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers have never gone smoothly, and that's been especially true in recent days. The war in Ukraine distracted the countries involved, just as it seemed a deal might be near, and Iran made a new demand - that the U.S. drop its terror designation of a powerful wing of Iran's military. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports the issue is putting years of diplomatic work to the test.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: The Biden administration still believes the 2015 nuclear agreement is worth restoring, as a means of ensuring that Iran doesn't acquire a nuclear weapon. But in New York, as the U.S. this month assumed the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters that diplomacy is not the only avenue Washington is prepared to pursue.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: And we don't have an agreement just yet, and it's possible we might not get there. Of course, if diplomacy does not succeed, then we'll continue to work very closely with others in the international community to increase pressure on Iran.

KENYON: But Iran is applying pressure of its own, demanding that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian military, be taken off the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. The IRGC supports militias around the region, but Iran's leaders see it as essential to protecting the revolutionary government in Tehran.

Sanam Vakil, an analyst with the London-based Chatham House think tank, says removing the foreign terrorist designation wouldn't make any practical difference in the tools the U.S. would have to deal with the IRGC, but it's symbolically important. And she says Tehran thinks now, with Washington focused on Russia's war in Ukraine, is a good time to press for any advantage it can get.

SANAM VAKIL: Tehran sees Biden as distracted with the war - rightly so - weakened at home in advance of the midterm elections and is very worried that 2024 will bring back President Trump and concern that the deal will only be a two-year deal rather than a more durable deal.

KENYON: Without a resolution to the IRGC question that both sides can live with, she adds, the odds against restoring the nuclear deal grow significantly. And even if it is restored and limits Iran's nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief, the agreement, known as the JCPOA, is unlikely to be seen by politicians on either side as a big victory.

VAKIL: And so politicians and policymakers in Iran are less willing to go out on a limb for what they see to be a weak JCPOA, and I think some of the same challenges exist in Washington.

KENYON: Henry Rome, Iran analyst at the Washington-based Eurasia Group, agrees that the odds of restoring the agreement have been going down in recent weeks. But he says both sides think it's worth saving.

HENRY ROME: I think a deal is still a bit more likely than not. I still see a lot of interest from the U.S. side and still some interest from the Iranian side in making this happen, but it's going to require a really concerted, creative, diplomatic effort to bridge this final issue here.

KENYON: Rome says U.S. regional allies, including Saudi Arabia and Israel, are highly critical of the deal's failure to address the actions of Iran and its proxy militias, and they would see a decision to lift the IRGC terrorist designation as a worrying signal about Washington's commitment to the region if and when the deal is restored. But in Tehran, he says, the designation is seen quite differently.

ROME: I think, from the Iranian government's point of view, the designation is a key part of the maximum pressure campaign that President Trump waged against Iran, and therefore that needs to go as well. So it's a tricky one.

KENYON: He says what Washington is looking for is a commitment from Iran to reduce its support for militias in the region. Rome also says it would be wrong to assume that the current stalemate can simply continue for weeks or months to come. It wouldn't take much, he says, to ratchet up tensions.

ROME: So I would expect, over the coming weeks, a lot of energetic efforts from intermediaries - especially the Europeans, but also regional states - to try to find some creative way around this.

KENYON: Meanwhile, Iran continues to enrich uranium to 60% purity, close to weapons-grade fuel.

Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Istanbul.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Race can impact the medical treatment a person gets. Pediatrics wants to address that


Race can impact the medical treatment a person gets. Pediatrics wants to address that

The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling to end "race-based medicine," wherein doctors sometimes use race as a factor to determine what treatment patients receive.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for an end to, quote, "race-based medicine." This week, the academy said it will revise all its policies and guidelines to eliminate language suggesting that races have underlying biological differences that should be factored in medical treatments.

NPR health correspondent Rhitu Chatterjee is here to tell us more. Hi, Rhitu.


FLORIDO: First of all, what does race-based medicine mean?

CHATTERJEE: So, you know, going back to how races were originally defined - you know, it was based on the superficial differences between people, primarily skin color. And the assumption was that those superficial differences reflected real genetic or biological differences, which we now know is not true. But that thinking has persisted in medicine, and modern medicine still uses race as sort of a proxy for biology. That, in turn, has influenced the kind of care people get.

FLORIDO: Race as a proxy for biology - can you give me an example of that?

CHATTERJEE: Yeah. So I spoke with Dr. Joseph Wright, who's one of the authors of the statement put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics. And he's at the University of Maryland. And one example he gave me was that, you know, doctors are less likely to use this gold standard test for Black kids for urinary tract infections.

JOSEPH WRIGHT: The hypothesis was, it seems that Black children have a lower incidence of urinary tract infection than white children.

CHATTERJEE: And, you know, this came out of two small studies. But they haven't really been replicated nationally or internationally, and yet this continues to dictate how doctors treat kids.

FLORIDO: OK. Well, there are still, though, huge racial inequities that we see in health outcomes in the United States. I mean, during the pandemic, communities of color saw many more COVID cases and deaths when compared with white communities. So how does the academy factor that in, or does it?

CHATTERJEE: So the academy is trying to address those inequities, right? This is part of that effort. And we know that race has a major influence on health, not because races are different in terms of their biology, but because they determine people's social circumstances through systemic racism - so where you live, whether you have access to transportation, good jobs, access to health care. And Wright says doctors need to know these things.

WRIGHT: We are not at all suggesting that we ignore the impact of race on health outcomes. I think we're all, you know, quite clear that race has certainly a role to play in the health status of individuals.

CHATTERJEE: And he thinks that addressing those social things - factors is important for health equity. And there are other efforts, too, by the way. One significant one is by the board that certifies pediatricians, and that board has added questions about these factors to the board exam. And the effort was led by Dr. Yousef Turshani, who is a pediatrician in California's Bay Area.

YOUSEF TURSHANI: We had questions on microaggressions. We had questions on immigration, questions on racism, mental health.

FLORIDO: So Rhitu, are these efforts likely to change how pediatricians treat their patients?

CHATTERJEE: I put the question to Dr. Brittani James, a family physician in Chicago. Here's what she told me.

BRITTANI JAMES: Really, what's so exciting about this is, one, that it's action instead of just words, which just really has been the status quo in the field, but also that we know that this could be a - likely be a domino effect, and it opens the door for accountability to other orgs.

CHATTERJEE: And so she's optimistic.

FLORIDO: NPR's Rhitu Chatterjee, thanks for stopping by.

CHATTERJEE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Gloria Steinem on the consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade


Gloria Steinem on the consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with journalist and activist Gloria Steinem about her reaction to news that the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to strike down Roe v. Wade.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, BYLINE: What should the next move be for abortion rights supporters in the wake of news this week that the Supreme Court may be poised to strike down Roe vs. Wade? When feminist icon Gloria Steinem came to the phone today, we asked her.

GLORIA STEINEM: Some of us might go and support our local Planned Parenthood clinic, or we can wear buttons. We can carry banners. We each probably have a very fervent way of doing it. And I think, you know, it's very important that we state our opinion.

KELLY: Gloria Steinem is in her late 80s now. She spent a lifetime fighting for women's rights, including the right to control their own reproductive choices. So I asked her reaction to this leaked draft suggesting that conservative justices may be aligning to overturn federal legal protection for abortion.

Gloria Steinem, welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

STEINEM: Thank you. I've missed you.


KELLY: Let me begin with a very obvious, basic question. What's your reaction? What went through your mind when you heard the news this week of this leaked document, which suggests the Supreme Court may be about to overturn Roe versus Wade?

STEINEM: It felt both new and angering and ancient. You know, I think there have always been efforts to control women's birth giving since women have given birth for thousands of years. I mean, I remember sitting in the Kalahari Desert talking to women who were showing me the plants that they used for abortifacients and to increase fertility. I mean, you know, this is not a new issue. And the very definition of patriarchy is trying to control women and birth giving.

KELLY: So that's the ancient part and the new part, just that after - I know for you, wondering, worrying whether this was the direction things would go, here we are.

STEINEM: Well, I think it's important to connect the ancient to the new because otherwise we don't understand the strong threat of patriarchy and racism that has been with us and continues to be with us. It's completely wrong. As the great Florynce Kennedy used to say, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. But we have to contend with it, and we will.

KELLY: You've laid out some of the consequences, but I guess, big picture, you've argued for decades that access to reproductive freedom is key to equality. What do you see as the impact of potentially striking down Roe? - I mean, setting aside abortion and the right to an abortion or not, just for the right of women to be seen as, treated as equal citizens under the U.S. Constitution.

STEINEM: That's a huge impact potentially on women because we have to be able to make decisions about our own physical selves. It's a very differential impact on women, depending on what part of the country they're in, what their economic situation is, what their race is, ethnicity. It affects all women but not all women equally. But I do note in all the surveys that all women are devoted to making sure we maintain reproductive freedom.

KELLY: So the core of Justice Alito's argument - Justice Alito, who wrote this draft majority opinion - is that the Constitution makes no mention of abortion, that that ruling back in 1973 invented a right and that it is time to - and I'll quote his words - "return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives." I mean, in the United States, the states do decide all kinds of things. What is wrong with letting states decide this?

STEINEM: Well, his comment that this is not mentioned in the Constitution is ridiculous since women weren't mentioned in the Constitution. It's quite possible that reproductive freedom would have been up there with freedom of speech if everyone had had an equal say. But medical needs should not be distributed geographically. They're way too distributed by class and economics as it is because we don't have national health care as we should. And this makes it far worse for the female half of the population.

KELLY: Was there any part of Justice Alito's argument that resonated to you in any way?

STEINEM: No (laughter) I don't think so. I mean, I'll go back and look, but I couldn't find any. No.

KELLY: And I'm sure you read it closely. I guess I wonder for you, personally, this is a fight you have fought your whole career. You have had an abortion, which I mention because you've been very public about it. I've talked to you about it on air. Does it feel like you're watching your life's work be struck down?

STEINEM: No, I don't feel my work or the work of all the women and men who care about racial and sex equality has been struck down. It's just that it has a roadblock now, theoretically coming from the highest court in the land, but actually will impose hardships unequally but will not change the fact that we either have decision-making power over our own bodies, women and men, or there is no democracy.

KELLY: When I interviewed you last back in December, I asked whether you still thought you'd be fighting this fight in 2021, which it then was. Allow me to update the question. Did you think you'd still be fighting this fight in 2022?

STEINEM: (Laughter) Yes because, again, A, we still live in some degree of patriarchy and, B, women have the unique power of giving birth means that there are likely to be this and other waves of patriarchal efforts to control the bodies of women. It is much different from my earlier days, you know, when abortion was way more likely to be illegal and way more difficult to find. We have made a lot of progress, and we have made a lot of progress in contraception and the morning after pill and many ways of making sure that we don't need to have abortions. This is just not a pleasurable experience. Women don't get up in the morning and say it's a nice day. I think, you know - it's not an experience that any woman would choose unless she had to.

KELLY: It's very striking listening to you. You still sound as determined and as convinced that individuals can make a difference in turning the course of this country and its laws as you ever did.

STEINEM: Yes. Yes, of course. I mean, one thing I've learned over time, over and over again, that politics and deep change and, you know, everything we're trying to do is like a tree. And too often, we think the tree grows from the top, from Congress. Trees grow from the bottom. So what you and I do every day, what's possible in our community, we could thank the physicians who are supporting and providing reproductive freedom. We can give money to the elected figures who are supporting this vast majority view. And we can just, you know, refuse to be intimidated by the protestations of a losing minority.

KELLY: Journalist and activist Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem, thank you.

STEINEM: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Look closely at those white Jaguars in San Francisco — no drivers!


Look closely at those white Jaguars in San Francisco — no drivers!

The vehicles have been under development for years, but Google-owned Waymo and Cruise, which is owned by General Motors, are now offering robot-driven cars to ferry passengers in San Francisco.

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San Francisco is known for the Bay, the bridge, the hills and now self-driving cars. More and more of them are picking up riders on the city's streets. NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn went to check them out.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: A video went viral last month. In it San Francisco, police pull over a car with its headlights on. As officers approached the vehicle, someone shouts at them.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Ain't nobody in it.

ALLYN: Ain't nobody in it. Now, I'm watching the video of the bewildered police officers with UC Berkeley transportation researcher Steven Shladover.

STEVEN SHLADOVER: One of them looking on the driver's side, one looking in the front, and I guess this is where they realized there's no driver in the vehicle.

ALLYN: When the officers walk away, the car pulls ahead and parks with its hazards on.

SHLADOVER: I believe the vehicle actually responded quite well.

ALLYN: Which is a relief to Mo Elshenawy. He's an engineering executive at Cruise, the General Motors' own self-driving car company. It was one of his company's cars that police were pulling over, and the technology worked as it was supposed to. He says roads would be safer if more cars were self-driving.

MO ELSHENAWY: Your cars would never get angry or tired or frustrated or do a California roll on a stop sign.

ALLYN: Self-driving car companies have been promising for years that we're on the cusp of a driverless car future, and it just hasn't happened. But in San Francisco, the technology has hit a milestone. Fully self-driving cars have gotten approval to taxi people around. So I thought I'd give it a try. Cruise has an application process, and I wasn't selected, so I tried Waymo, the company owned by Google.

LINDSAY: Please buckle up.

ALLYN: These fully electric white Jaguars tricked out with all sorts of high-tech cameras and sensors are everywhere in the city. But only employees and a select group of others get to ride in these here. For me, the Waymo car has a safety driver.

What's your name?

LINDSAY: I'm Lindsay (ph).

ALLYN: Lindsay. How's it going?

LINDSAY: Good, good.

ALLYN: As we're driving around, I ask Waymo spokeswoman Sandy Karp, who's sitting next to me, so Lindsay really isn't driving?

SANDY KARP: No. So the Waymo driver or the technology is...

ALLYN: What do you mean - sorry. What do you mean Waymo driver? What do you mean by that?

KARP: So the Waymo driver is what we call our autonomous driving suite, so...

ALLYN: So a robot.

KARP: Exactly. The robot.

ALLYN: It was kind of confusing to me that she kept calling the software operating the car the Waymo driver. From the outside, you'd never know that Lindsay wasn't doing anything but sitting there. Sure, it looks like she's driving, but she's not. And the ride was smooth. There was just one thing that stuck out to me.

So 23 miles per hour - that's what people complain about, that these cars go too slow.

KARP: So we also want to provide a comfortable driving experience for our riders. So what we've heard from our riders is that when you're barreling down a hill, they'd actually prefer to go a little slower.

ALLYN: This, after all, is San Francisco, a city known for its dramatic hills. Waymo's cars have been trained to take them extra cautiously. The short span in the robot Jaguar was over, and we got out.

Thank you.

KARP: Thank you so much.

ALLYN: Appreciate it.

It makes sense that the nation's tech hub would be on the forefront of robo taxis. And one other place, the Phoenix, Ariz., area, also has self-driving cars buzzing around. But for the most part, self-driving cars are not common around the U.S. I ask UC Berkeley researcher Shladover when self-driving cars will be able to go everywhere and do everything human drivers can do.

SHLADOVER: The answer for that one is probably never.

ALLYN: There are tons of regulations. These cars are expensive to operate. The technology is complicated. And it's just not there yet. Shladover says it's really hard to train a computer to learn the nuance of human driving.

SHLADOVER: Eye contact and gestures that other road users use to communicate with each other to coordinate their use of the road space.

ALLYN: Recently, I was in an Uber at a stoplight and to our left and to our right pulled up Waymo Jaguars with nobody in the driver's seat. I asked my Uber driver, do you worry these cars are going to put you out of a job? And he responded, no because I know how to fix a flat.

Bobby Allyn, NPR News, San Francisco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.