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A Time For Reflection: Carson Reveals Battle With Terminal Cancer

Prayer It is with great sadness that we learn the news today that U.S. Rep. Julia Carson is battling terminal lung cancer:

"The Indianapolis Democrat, who took a leave from Congress in September because of a leg infection, said her doctors discovered the cancer while treating her late this summer.

"In her statement, Carson, 69, disclosed that she had battled cancer before and that it had gone into remission but was back with "a terminal vengeance."

"She said she had planned to return to Washington before 'the second shoe fell -- heavily.'

"Carson made no comment beyond the statement she issued to The Indianapolis Star.

"The news left her supporters saddened and hoping that somehow she might pull through.

"'The statement comes as a surprise to me,' said Rozelle Boyd, a Democrat and longtime member of the City-County Council. 'She is able to walk with giants without losing the common touch. That is what I think was so very important to her and to the people of the district.'

"Carson is known as an advocate for the poor and those who can't speak for themselves.

"She was first elected to Congress in 1996. Previously, she served in the Indiana House of Representatives for two terms before being elected to the Indiana Senate, where she served until 1990. She then served as Center Township trustee, a post she held until she was elected to Congress in 1996.

"A steadfast Democrat, Carson opposed President Bush's request for authority to wage war in 2002 and, in 1999, won enactment of a measure awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to civil rights figure Rosa Parks.

"As Center Township trustee, she turned the office's $20 million debt into a $6 million surplus. Former Rep. Andy Jacobs Jr., D-Ind., has said she 'not only took cheats off the welfare rolls, she sued them to get the money.'"

The Star's Matt Tully writes:

"If the statement Rep. Julia Carson released Saturday is indeed her goodbye, it'd be a good idea for us all to forget for a bit about the never-ending debates that have surrounded her career and think instead about the inspiring message it sent to so many.

"Carson's tale is nothing short of a classic American success story. Born to a single mother in Louisville nearly 70 years ago, the woman constituents simply call "Julia" emerged from poverty to take her place in the U.S. Capitol -- the heart of the American political system.

"Carson's rise should tell every child in Indiana and beyond that anything is possible.

"'Her mom instilled in her the idea that you get what you work for,' said Marion County Auditor Billie Breaux, a longtime friend. 'She loved her mom and wanted to make her proud. She made all of us proud.'

"Carson rose from poverty but never forgot what it was like to be poor, never hesitating to stand up for those who were down. And even before she got old, she focused on the area's eldest. I could write a book about the calls I've received over the years from people Carson helped -- senior citizens, single parents, crime victims and more.

"But mixed with that compassion has been what Breaux calls the mind of a "political genius." It was on display election after election, as Republicans convinced themselves they could defeat Carson. Time and again, she proved them wrong."

Please keep the Congresswoman and her family in your thoughts and prayers.


Thoughts and prayers, yes.

But that's still no reason to accept her grandson as her successor!

Nobody can go to Congress by appointment or caucus ... all U.S. Representatives are elected solely by voters of the District. Those constituents decide who will be their Representative in Washington.

In my thoughts and prayers. Absolutely. But forgiven for her breech of political ethics and integrity, never.

As a right-wing conservative who likes a political warrior, I have always admired Congresswoman Carson, though I've disagreed with her on most everything. I'll be praying for her. God Bless the Honorable Julia Carson.

I would hold much more sympathy and empathy for Carson had she not lied to her constituents in district #7.

Andy Jacobs and the rest of the 'machine' truly do not have the citizens' best interests at heart or they would have told the the people to whom she is so vocally beholden the truth.

Those of us in her district were purposely deceived by Julia Carson in effort to maintain power among Julia's family. This is shameful and should not be forgiven by the citizens in district #7.

Was/is Julia a heavy smoker?

The news is getting worse for Julia. Channel 6 reported this afternoon that she has been placed in hospice care and can barely speak. She recently asked her doctor how much time she had to live.

He wouldn't tell her.

A lot of people are going to be praying for Julia tonight. I'll be one of them.

"we learn the news today that U.S. Rep. Julia Carson is battling terminal lung cancer:"

I am sorry say I do not believe that the State and or county democratic party learned TODAY of the full extent of her medical condition.

I do believe that statements made by Andy Jacobs since August and Amos Brown just before the election of her condition were out right lies.

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Geez, some of you people posting are unconscionable. You can't even wait for her to die before you begin slamming her and her supporters. What's next, you're going to start kicking puppies?

Some of you here should be ashamed of yourselves. No matter what your politics, one should be able to recognize that she's been a hell of a fighter all her life. As she enters that final battlefield, we should all keep her in our thoughts and prayers and save the political bickering for later.

Kicking puppies, no.

Kicking ourselves, for allowing this shoddy reporting to go unchallenged? Yes.

Fact: Last year, on a televised interview show, Rep. Carson lost her mind. She hallucinated in front of two journalists and Robin Winston. One of the journalists, Mr. Tully, never, ever reported again about this sad event.

Fact: "Leg infection" was reported over two months ago. Her staff reported it only after asked.
Anyone can check any number of medical sources, including WebMD.com, or perhaps a public information officer at the wonderful Simon Cancer Institute locally, about the chances of a leg infection occuring, in a leg where a vein was taken 12 years ago for a heart bypass. The answer would be, uh, zero chances.
And the local media sucked it up without saying a word.

The sad truth is, when it comes to certain elected office holders, questions are off-limits. At least certain questions, most relating to accountability.

Her health's decline is regretable, and all humane souls pray for her today.

The bigger loss, was the public's right to know in a timely fashion, not so much about the details, but about her ability to serve.

It's a pathetic attempt to control the news process, and perhaps thus control the choice of her successor. Which, if Andy Jacobs is to be believed, will be her grandson. Which is laughable. He couldn't carry her political, uh...diary.

The earlier poster was right. Love her opinions or hate them, she is a warrior. She earned the first primary win over Ann Delaney, and she earned every election she won. The last one...well, she should've quit.

It'd have been nice to have the former Congresswoman around for awhile, to help us sort out George Bush's nonsense as a fellow retiree.

With a lot of luck, maybe we still can.

Godspeed, indeed, warrior Julia Carson.

Back off, Andre. Not on your best day.

Julia is only 69 years old. That's young, barely an age at which people are considering retirement nowadays. She fought the Big C once and she won. Why wouldn't she have thought a few months back that she could win again? As long as she's doing her job, I'm not sure why we think that (a) Julia's personal health is any of our business and (b) why she shouldn't have been afforded the privacy and dignity that other cancer patients are given while they fight for their lives? And before you all jump on her record in Congress, check out a few of her comrades who spend more time traveling and on golf courses than they do with their constituents. She's been a hell of a representative for her district and that's what we should be focusing on right now. This is the time to be discussing her legacy not her replacement!

I don't know if David Orentlicher lives in her district. He's a M.D., as well as holding a Law Degree. He is most often availble at public rallies and forums to keep connected to what the public is requesting. I think he would be a fine, bright and capable representative in Washington to fill the worthy shoes that Julia will be leaving.

As for the lady, she stood against the grain and her fellow democrats to oppose this president on all the issues that we now know he was wrong about. She has courage and has proven to many who followed her terms in the Congress, that she is wiser than most including most of the current candidates for president.

I saw her frequently at the rallies opposing Bush's foolish war. She talked candidly and frequently to us who she has been elected to represent and asked our opinions.

I suspect that history will give her the credit that she has due. She is a people's elected official and not just an empty headed icon puppet that echo's the popular sentiment of the day.

Bless you Julia and I will always think of you as one of our best representatives.
Thank you for your service.

"As long as she's doing her job, I'm not sure why we think that (a) Julia's personal health is any of our business and (b) why she shouldn't have been afforded the privacy and dignity that other cancer patients are given while they fight for their lives?"

The problem is that she was not doing her job. She was so sick that she was missing votes or had other people functioning in her capacity. She represents the people of the 7th district. They should know her condition if they are to make a informed choice about who is going to represent her. This feeble attempt to help her grandson get her seat is ammusing. Does Bart live in her district? It maybe his chance to revive his dying political career. The people should be given the chance to elect our Democrat representative for the 7th not Julie or Mr. Jacobs.

Privacy and decency demand that we give even public officials some room in these cases.

Julia needed a few feet of room, and deserved it. She and her staff took four miles of room, and created a bypass around the truth.

In any major media market in this nation, where reporters actually work hard on such stories, this would've been more aggressively-reported when that flimsy leg infection story arose in August.

But here, we've got a daily paper, the state's largest, where the editor is married to a TV reporter at its news-gathering "partner." And when the newspaper's political polling methods are questioned, the same TV reporter covers the incident. Without disclosure. And no one bats an eye. That kind of warped world is the media environment in which we got the leg infection story in the first place.

Of course I wish Julia peace and dignity at this rough time. Her own conduct, and that of her staff, in recent weeks,unfortunately sullies an otherwise unblemished record of populist public service. Not a lot, but some. It was all so unnecessary.

Those of us who wanted to know more about her ability to serve, did not want her CAT scans. We wanted an honest public interview from which we could judge for ourselves. Instead, we got misleading and untrue statements. And then a pre-election "interview" conducted by Amos Brown at an "undisclsoed location."

This is journalism? Respected political reporters and radio hosts reduced to currying favor with a terminally ill Congresswoman? Ignoring her obvious frailties and failing to question taxpayer-financed staff explanations which make no sense?

It is a sad day for a pioneering woman's personal health. And it is a typical day for Indianapolis media. In other words, we have to find out for oursevles, if we can, the important answers to important questions, more than we should have to.

Remember--this same media will now report to you on other important issues of our region: property taxes, the General Assembly, a new and interesting mayor and council leadership...

Pardon my cynicism if I don't take everything I read and hear as gospel. Been there, done that, got duped.

Interesting tidbit, Crazy: Members of Congress, in this state, are not required to live in their district.

They need only legally be Indiana registered voters. Period.

So yes, Bart could seek that seat should it become open.

It's no secret that I am not a big Julia Carson fan, however, I do wish that she would have to go through this pain. This is a disease that I would not wish on my worst enemy!
Julia served in, what she felt, was the best interest of the people and should be rewarded with a long and happy life.
I wish her the best in battling this painful time in her life.

I extend my prayers to Congresswoman Carson. I agree with 9:54.

As commented earlier: we should be "kicking ourselves, for allowing this shoddy reporting to go unchallenged."

If she was told in LATE SUMMER (according to the news report) that she had terminal lung cancer, and it's now late November (closer to winter than summer), somebody withheld vital information from her constituency during an election that turned out to be crucial for one certain member of her party, not to mention her grandson.

Mom TDW wrote:
"Some of you here should be ashamed of yourselves."

I absolutely agree with you, Mom TDW.

To those who have made this about politics:
You dislike Julia Carson? Fine. You can't stand her politics? Fine. You're pissed off that you didn't know more (and, frankly, we should have known more earlier, true)? Fine.

But we aren't talking politics here, folks, we're talking about a public servant (love her or hate her) who has been diasgnosed with a terminal condition. Now, if you can't see that, and instead want to turn this whole thing into a political statement, be my guest. But it shows just how little class some of you have.

Sheesh. Some days folks here make me ashamed to be a Republican. Sometimes the political battles are secondary to more important issues.

If you recall Ronald Regan, he once said of Jimmy Carter, "he's not my enemy, he's my opponent." I think we'd do well to remember that lesson.


amen. i've found myself agreeing with you more and more. i used to be a republican, but then the party got more interested in what was going on in my bedroom than how to keep the taxes down on my whole house.
while we might disagree on the idealogical points, i think we both agree that the 'little guy' is getting left out of *both* parties.
still not ready to change my name to angry democrat though. life's too short to be angry for too long.

AR: It was Ronald "Reagan", the president. Donald "Regan" his chief of staff. Both horrid at their jobs. One likable, one an always-angry troll.

Your views are appreciated. No one here wants to pile on a poor, ill old woman. She deserves dignity.

I think the anger here, which I share as a Democratic committeeperson, is over the months-long coverup of obviously serious health. I havhe to conclude it was done specifically to control the potential replacmeent process: whether she lasted until the next election or not, it is clear she and her minnions wanted to annoint her successor.

If you are a private citizen manipulating the process, it's one thing. But this was done on our dime, with staff paid by our tax dollars. This was not a small effort, either. It was never honest.

The web and newspaper have been full of examples of ill public servants who have acted otherwise.

Not a pretty sight.

It's "minions", not 'minnions' -- it's "anoint", not 'annoint' -- illiteracy is never a pretty sight.

I had the privilege of getting to know Julia Carson when I served as The Star's Washington correspondent. I have tremendous respect for her and when I consider her legacy, the words, "courageous, outspoken, audacious, humble, ruthless and kind," come to mind. She is one of these larger-than-life people that God blesses us with from time to time. My prayers are for her and her family.

I don't suppose it's occurred to any of you that, at 69, she might just have thought she could beat this thing and go back to work? Why is it nowadays, so many always want to think the worst of people? Personally, right now I think we should focus on all the good she's done in time she's served Indianapolis and the seventh district. There will be plenty of time later for all this petty bickering.

Thanks George .. we need more posts like yours right now. Julia is indeed someone to be respected and for whom are prayers are needed.

Consistently on point, Congresswoman Carson was always there for the grossly unrepresented—the poor, the elderly, and the downtrodden. Officially, Julia was my representative for five years, unofficially, from the day she took office. My hope is that Representative Carson’s successor will honor the amazing precedent of service she established in the 10th, held steadfast in the 7th and remarkably shared with all Indiana.

Godspeed, Congresswoman Carson.

I thought you were on house arrest or something.

The typos are regretable..alas, fat thumbs, small Blackberry keyboard, poor contrast...

But the posts remain, and are true. Manipulating the public is still not a pretty sight.

Glad to see you're not muzzled, though! (Seriously)

And George S.'s post is excellent.


A thought on the leg infection stories from an uninvolved bystander: "And the local media sucked it up without saying a word."

Have you ever tried getting past the HIPAA sentries?

same thing can be said about national media and george 'scarecrow' bush and dick 'tin man' cheney.

Yes on the HIPPA stuff, Marie, but...:

HIPPA has nothing to do with this. Julia's staff put out the leg infection thing. Simple enough: take her story, whatever it is, and run it by some medical experts who love to be quoted. They're on TV all the time. The media did nothing.

Or an impartial website that peddles this stuff, like WebMD.com.

We were misled. Purely and simply.

I do wish that those who say they did not agree with her voting record, (not the number of misses), but her actual votes on issues, I'd surely like to seem them be specific rather than continue to be vague and uninformative.

I am one of her constituents in the 7th district and feel that she always represented my point of view...especially on foreign policy decisions. She conferred frequentely with the grassroots organizations to learn opinions and garner information that the mainstream press and the usual channels did not provide. I'm not sure that those who oppose her are acting on some emotional bias or if they truely do know what she stands for?

Wilson's right. Illiteracy is never a pretty sight, especially when it involves a representative of the U.S. House. I've never wished Ms. Carson ill, but let us not try to re-write history. She quit helping this community when she left the trustee's office. Her efforts to hold onto her seat(whether her idea or her handlers') despite her in ability to represent her constituents is a clear example of her concern for the 7th District and its people.

Seriously... what freaking difference does it, make what specific illness or disease kept the good Congresswoman out of the office. When you call in sick, does your employer demand the release of your medical records.

What a piece of work you people are... your bias and true objectives (to bash Julia, grab power, or whatever it is that goes on in those twisted little minds) are shallow and overwhelming oblivious.

Get, AI wants you home.... now!

No matter what else, I wouldn't wish cancer on anybody. I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to Congresswoman Carson, her family and her friends in this time of tribulation.

"If you recall Ronald Regan, he once said of Jimmy Carter, "he's not my enemy, he's my opponent." I think we'd do well to remember that lesson."

You claim to be a Rebublican but you you can't spell Ronald's last name correctly?

Hey, 2:20. I'll give you "good state senator"..I guess. I'll even, reluctantly, give you "good trustee". But, NO, I will not give you or anyone else "good Congresswoman". She has been, perhaps, the most ineffectual Rep in the entire U.S. House for the decade she's been there.
Oh, and by the way, she is supposed to be a representative of the people. Her condition, and her ability to represent us, IS OUR BUSINESS!

To Deeanne,

One of Ms. Carson's votes definitely come to mind. She was one of only fifteen U.S. Representatives who voted against The Born Alive Infants Protection Act which protected an infant post-birth from being murdered by the doctor. Look it up! Whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, we should all be appalled by this barbarism. I truly hope she has made peace with God. With a vote like that, God may need convincing.

Whatever you say about Julia's service in Congress, she was the only Indiana member of Congress in either party with the foresight and guts to vote against this ridiculous and unnecessary war.

Hey, 2:28, you are an embrrassment to the human race... and Indy... and blogging... and a legimate point of view... and politics... and yourself... and your mamma...

I guess that's a shortcut to thinking.......

You know, it took longer than I expected for the trolls to show up and start in.

Most have been over on the Indystar forums.

Hey TDW, are the trolls you mention the ones accurately pointing to a U.S. Rep's voting record, or the ones being insulted for doing so?

They're the ones who ask stupid rhetorical questions instead of showing some respect to an ailing public servant.

There's a reason I don't read the TalkBack forums.

Barbara Henry and Dennis Ryerson must be so proud of the racist abuse and filth so abundant on those Indianapolis
Star TalkBack Forums today against Congresslady Julia Carson. If either Gannetoid had a shred of decency left, they would shut down that orgy of Klan exultations!

Wilson, look closely at your statement!!!
Indpls. Star, run by Bart Peterson and Mike O'Connor, with Dennis Ryerson wearing the hat!
Two WELL KNOWN racists in Indy! What did you expect?

Did someone tell the nutballs on TalkBack that they should come here?

Did IndyU shut down?

Tom wrote:
"You claim to be a Rebublican but you you can't spell Ronald's last name correctly?"

I was in a hurry when I posted. I apologize for spelling his name incorrectly.

However, I think ReAgan's message/quote is far more important than the spelling of his name.


It is amazing that one 69 year old ill African American woman in Indianapolis can have the hate, venom, lies, and trashing that has been heaped upon Julia for the last couple of days.....Do the neocons and the republicans in this city have no conscience? Do they not realize that this is a human being whose death they are mocking and celebrating? What has happened to the heart and sould of the GOP?

Incredulous wrote:
"What has happened to the heart and sould of the GOP?"

You have no idea how many times I have asked that same question.


Born Alive Act, yesterday at 2:42? Don't even get me started. Rick Santorum (ugh) attached that garbage as a rider to a Patients Rights Act to appease the same pro-life religious lobbyists who think murdering abortionists is good policy, then got so emboldened by that small victory (small because laws in place already covered humans born alive) to gather steam for the deplorable Terry Schiavo fiasco which became a national embarrassment. Argh! It still makes me mad! Julia and 14 other House Democrats voted no but without dissent because they didn't want to give Santorum the chance for debate on the Floor. Good for them.

Julia also was one of the few to vote against the war in Iraq. Good for her.

I'll miss her. Hell of a gal. It is upsetting that so many already have her dead and judged by their version of God, who appears to be as petty, vindictive, and partisan as they.

I got behind Julia's Tralblazer SUV yesterday in traffic on W. 10th. At least I think it was hers... US Senator 5 license plate. Couldn't see who was inside or driving; tinted windows. When I got alongside of it to make my turn I honked and threw a thumbs up sign and the SUV honked back.

Godspeed, Julia. Your time in this veil of tears has been well spent.

She voted no on the ban, PERIOD. This was a horrible practice that was taking place in a Chicago clinic. No matter what one's opinion is on abortion, to condone the murder of a full-term baby outside of the womb is shameful.
My thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Carson, as well. Nobody should endure the suffering she is currently experiencing. But it is difficult to sit idly by when the history of her career as a U.S. Rep is re-written. The decline of the Indy community this last decade has been apparent to all but those wearing the rosiest of glasses.
By the way, in the SUV could have been one of her gangsta grandsons who have contributed so much to our increasing crime problem.

My gawd! How extreme can you get against Julia? Attacking her grandchildren? Yes, 10 years ago one grandchild (she had nothing to do with raising) was incarcerated and is still locked up (no SUVs!!!). Her other grandchildren are decent, honest, God-fearing folk.

Stop the crazy personal attacks against an entire family -- have you no decency whatsoever? It's well you dare not sign your name - you are truly shameless.

uh...she's not a senator. She's a Congresswoman.

Ms. Carson has the distinction of being a real people's representative. She has always been available to those of us who called on her.

I remember going into Dan Burton's office back in the 80's with a group of fellow peace activists to talk about the Iran-Contra situation. Dan was too busy to see us and left us with an aide who made sure that we saw his pistol sticking out of his pants holster. (what a dud). I asked him if he thought we were going to "peace sign" him to death? He said, "you can never be too careful what citizens might do". Yeh...like visit their elected officials to voice an opinion or express their constitutional rights.

Julia always came out among us and let us know that we are her focus and her main concern.

She is a treasure who, as years go by, the nation will forever be thankful for.

My name is Rick, Wilson. You said,"Her other grandchildren are decent, honest, God-fearing folk...."
How soon we forget....

It took three years, but Indiana resident Joshua Runnels finally got justice on May 10 when Jamie Carson, the ringleader of three men who broke into his house and tortured him and his roommate in an antigay attack, was sentenced to 120 years in prison. Carson, 20, is the grandson of U.S. representative Julia Carson, an Indiana Democrat.

Runnels's nightmare began October 28, 1999, when Jamie Carson, Bryant Clark, and Joshua Powell, all then 18 and on a robbery spree, broke into the Indianapolis apartment Runnels, then 24, shared with Eric Heyob, who was also 24. When the robbers discovered the roommates were gay, they forced them to strip and have sex. They were then tied up, beaten, and tortured with a steam iron. In addition, Runnels was forced to drink a mixture of urine and bleach.

This is not an attack on Julia.......just setting the record straight.

What a perfect time to dredge up old matters as a grandmother lies dying! How proud you must be to "set the record straight"!

~~~ "By the way, in the SUV could have been one of her gangsta grandsons who have contributed so much to our increasing crime problem.
Posted by: | Nov 27, 2007 at 12:26 PM

I was responding in particular to that totally racist and unwarranted familial attack by the Anonymous Nobody at 12:26pm. I had also particularly included the disclaimer about that one awful criminal that somebody like "Rick" uses regularly to smear an entire decent family...

The craven cowards are really shameless with their abuse as Julia lies dying this week...

Wilson wrote:
"The craven cowards are really shameless with their abuse as Julia lies dying this week..."

This will come as a surprise to no one, but I don't think I've ever really come to Wilson's defense or, on most cases, sided with him.

But he's right. Some of the stuff here about Julia's family is just over the top. Look folks, I get that you don't like her (I'm not a fan, either.) At the end of the day, a woman is dying. How about you just let her go in peace instead of continuing this crap?

Lord Almighty, some people just have no class, no shame, and absolutely no sense of decency or compassion.

Please, just let this go, and that really means everyone. Wilson, I get this is tough for you, but you aren't helping matters either. You need to let this stuff go, too - there will be more than enough time later for you to defend her honor (I won't help you do that, of course, but you're certainly more than capable.)

Let her go in peace, please, and for the present time, why not leave her family out of this?


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