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Democratic Diva

In which once again it is demonstrated that “partisanship” = “a Democrat showing a spine”

14 Jul 2016 01:20 am
Posted by: Donna

stand with ruth

The Notorious RBG laid down some truth about the racist orange buffoon currently running for President as the actual GOP nominee for that office and, of course, the Very Serious wags are Very Upset about it!

Per James Freedland in the NY Daily News:

The bed-wetting, pearl-clutching, hand-wringing very serious thinkers need to relax.

Yes, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made comments this week that were critical of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. And while this may be seen as a departure from the norms of political discourse, who cares?

From the left, right and center, the backlash to Ginsburg has been as hyperbolic as it is ahistorical.

Editorial reactions have ranged from the melodramatic (“RBG just risked her legacy to insult Trump”) to the Country Club scolding (“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has crossed way, way over the line”) to the both-sides-now provocative (“Donald Trump is right about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg”).

This is hogwash. Ginsburg’s legacy is solid, no matter what today’s observers say, and what she did ought to be considered perfectly acceptable.

If it wasn’t acceptable, as Freedland points out, then said bed-wetting pundits should have acted just as horrified by SCOTUS justices such as Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas engaging in nakedly blatant partisanship in recent history, but nah.

This is just further proof of what has been obvious to me (and other attentive observers) for a long time: that “partisanship” is only a problem, nay, even a thing really, when Democrats exhibit behavior that distinguishes them from doormats.

To wit:

Healy tweeted this about a speech Clinton made at the site of Lincoln’s “house divided” speech (warning, autoplays). She was making the standard overture that prominent Dems are expected to make (and Republicans almost never are) toward “bipartisanship”, followed by a series of true statements about Trump. But it was so “partisan” of her to say such things about the man who is literally dividing the country with hateful rhetoric right now!

Obviously, Clinton should have been more like Abe Lincoln, who was careful not to criticize the slavery-loving ways of his opponents when arguing for the need to for a whole union. Oh wait, no, he made what was considered a radical speech in Springfield in 1858, demanding of his audience that they make a choice in the direction of the country regarding slavery:

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

Such a partisan hack, that guy.

What if Governor Ducey were a Democrat?

13 Jul 2016 01:55 am
Posted by: Donna

Doug DuceyPhoto by Gage Skidmore

Governor Doug Ducey appears to be poised for an easy reelection in 2018 and people who know far more about inside GOP baseball than I do tell me he fully intends to run for President in 2020. He will do so on the strength of what I guess are considered impressive accomplishments over on his side of the aisle – cutting corporate taxes, starving the schools, demolishing safety nets for the poor. You know, the stuff that makes him the Koch Brothers Manager Trainee of the Month for their wholly owned Western Subsidiary.

Recently the Governor used his political capital in a startling way:

With a sweep of the pen, Gov. Doug Ducey canceled all state contracts with lobbyists.

The move comes as part of the administration’s sweeping program to look for more efficiencies in state government…

…The executive order, which takes effect immediately, instructs the Arizona Department of Administration to terminate all existing contracts and revokes the procurement authority of government entities to spend on professional lobbyists. A state entity may ask to enter a contract only if they can prove that doing so is in the best interest of the public health, safety and welfare of the state and the taxpayers – a request that must be submitted in writing and will be heavily scrutinized.

Swooning has ensued:

Political observers say Gov. Doug Ducey has expanded on the authority of the executive branch more than his predecessors in recent months, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

The former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery has brought the management style of an executive not afraid to make big decisions, such as firing lobbyists.

“That’s what happens when you elect a CEO,” said Sen. Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix. “That’s what I think the electorate wanted when they elected him. He’s a decision-maker.”

Yep, Ducey is definitely acting like a CEO here, which is surely the kind of autocratic leadership that Arizonans crave! And his motivation for issuing this executive order was clearly in the interest of fiscal responsibility and the advancement of democratic principles and not petty vindictiveness or Ducey being power-grabby, oh no never.

The failure of a bill that would have moved 19 health-profession regulatory boards into the Arizona Department of Health Services was among the reasons Ducey issued the executive order last month, terminating all state contracts with professional lobbyists, said Daniel Scarpinato, the governor’s spokesman. The decision means state agencies, regulatory boards and commissions cannot spend public dollars on contract lobbyists.

“He clearly has taken steps to increase the control or the authority of the governor as the head of the executive branch,” said Senate Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler.

It’s cool how when a Republican Governor blatantly uses executive orders to expand his power and punish opponents that’s just ducky but when a Democratic President uses them (and much more sparingly than his predecessors) to do things like granting legal status to DREAMers (after years of GOP obstruction in Congress), well, he’s a megalomaniacal tyrant! Neat. And do you think Ducey won’t use procurement clause executive orders to go after other people and entities *cough*PlannedParenthood*cough* he opposes in the future?

Governor Ducey and his fan club seem strangely undisturbed by public health and safety concerns when it comes to partnering with health care corporations to write legislation allowing them to treat Arizonans like a cash cow, as they did last year, in what became this year’s Theranos debacle:

Theranos had at one point attained a $9 billion valuation on the strength of an apparent scientific breakthrough—whose details were kept secret even from the company’s investors—by which Theranos claimed it could detect medical conditions from just a pinprick of blood. (It turned out the company stopped using those testing machines entirely last summer and voided all their results.) In the media, Theranos was cast as a quintessential Silicon Valley success story.

If there is a way forward for the much-diminished Theranos now, though, it won’t be in California but in Arizona. By way of Theranos’ partnership with Walgreens, Arizona customers provided the bulk of the startup’s business. Phoenix was the company’s biggest market, and Theranos’ Scottsdale lab performed 90 percent of the company’s bloodwork.

In a statement released on Thursday night, the company said it would stop patient testing at its Newark, California, lab until further notice but would continue to provide service for customers at its Arizona facility.

Theranos has pressed on in Arizona despite bad news. Walgreens closed its Theranos facilities in June, not long after Arizona State University Health Services shut down its Theranos centers in downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale. A $350 million deal between Theranos and Safeway collapsed in November. It was largely Arizona customers who learned in May that they may have received faulty blood reports from the company. But Theranos pushed ahead in the state, launching an effort to open a half-dozen independent testing centers this year. An independent network of Theranos centers in Arizona was always the goal, the company said.

In one very important respect, Arizona was a better fit for Theranos than California. The company’s biggest achievements were in sales, marketing, and deregulation—rather than in medical technology. In the spring of 2015, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey traveled to the Theranos lab in Scottsdale to sign a law, co-authored by the company, allowing Arizonans to request any blood test without a doctor’s note. In this, Holmes liked to say that Arizona was a model for the rest of the nation.

The Theranos business failure was not quite analogous to that of solar company Solyndra but Republicans certainly made a big political stink over the latter for years to demonize President Obama. It doesn’t take much to image them doing their utmost to ruin Governor Janet Napolitano over Theranos here in Arizona had their disaster, with its continued implications for Arizona consumers, happened on her watch.

IOKIYAR is not merely an acronym expressing long-term liberal frustration with sucky hypocrisy. It’s a real obstacle to good governance.


We white people need to get over ourselves, for the good of the country.

11 Jul 2016 02:01 am
Posted by: Donna

Late on a Saturday night back in 1999 I was at an IHOP in Scottsdale after club-hopping (I was young once!) with a group of friends. Prior to being seated I greeted a couple of coworkers, who happened to be African-American men, as they were leaving the restaurant. During a later conversation at the table with my friends I brought them up (don’t remember the context), describing them as “those black guys we saw earlier” or something similar. One of the guys in our group (we were all white) was a handsome schoolteacher I had a bit of a crush on. He asked me why I felt it necessary to point out that they were black.

Naturally I immediately realized I had erred and…no, of course I didn’t do that! I instead pouted and accused him of being too “politically correct” (not sure if I used that jerkass expression but wouldn’t be surprised if I did). He responded (paraphrasing to the best of my recollection) that he was trying to teach the kids in his classes to be aware of racism and that what I had done was an example how inequality is perpetuated. I remember knowing that he was right but that my pride wouldn’t let me admit it there and then and I don’t recall anyone at the table taking a side either way in the argument.

We didn’t end up dating (surprising, right?) but I do know that since then I have made a conscious effort not to mention a non-white person’s race if it has no relevance to the discussion at hand. Which simply means I try to describe everyone the same way I describe the white people I encounter the vast majority of the time. As people.

But to be clear, I’m not making a case for, as Stephen Colbert famously put it, “not seeing color”. That’s simply not possible and “colorblindness” is conceit designed to maintain the status quo*. I am saying that we white people need to think about the ways in which we put our feelings and self-image ahead of the lived experiences of people of color and to stop doing that.

I swear to god, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a white person insist that they couldn’t be racist because their parents taught them better, I could buy up all the IHOPs in Greater Phoenix. As if, just because a white person’s parents didn’t tolerate the use of the N-word in their presence and admonished their kids to treat everyone equally, they didn’t also establish and reinforce the othering of people of color in myriad ways (such as my learning from somewhere to describe people reflexively by their race if they weren’t white). If so many white American parents were doing such an excellent job of instilling anti-racist attitudes in their children, then so many black American parents would not have to be carefully coaching their children in how to act when a police officer approaches them, would they?

A lobbyist in Washington, D.C., Nicholson told ABC News today that ever since his sons were adolescents, he has been educating them about how to deal with law enforcement.

“I tell them, when you’re in the car and a white police officer pulls you over, put your hands on the dashboard or the steering wheel,” he said of his sons, who are biracial.

“Saying, ‘Sir’ helps. Hands visible helps. Even if you’ve got a Ph.D. from Harvard,” he added. “It’s about survival. I describe it as … making him feel at that time he’s in charge.”

I have been pulled over several times in my life while driving. Every time it was deserved. It never once occurred to me that I should address the officer as “sir” so as to increase my chances of surviving the encounter. You can’t colorblind that away.

*The Atlantic article I linked is a much more detailed and scholarly explanation of the problem with “colorblindness” than mine.

Best spokeperson legal pot advocates could hope for!

06 Jul 2016 02:33 am
Posted by: Donna

church lady

Center for Arizona Policy, the state’s foremost organization dedicated to meddling in your personal life, led by its President Cathi Herrod, has suffered some stinging defeats lately. Same-sex marriage is now legal in the entire country, thanks to last year’s Supreme Court decision. Antiabortion laws based on flimsy “women’s health” rationales are being toppled, due to a SCOTUS ruling announced last Monday.

It’s a hard time right now for puritanical busybodies. In perhaps a last grasp at relevance, CAP has inserted itself into the debate over legal recreational marijuana:

Arizonans Are Smarter Than the Marijuana Monopoly

Those Who Stand To Make Millions Off Pot-Laced Candy & Amped-Up Marijuana Underestimate Commonsense

PHOENIX – A couple hundred thousand signatures and the Million-dollar Marijuana Monopoly thinks it’s a done deal. Arizonans will be toking by year’s end and they, themselves, will be rolling in the dough. Not so fast says Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod, “When voters learn the devastating consequences of legalizing recreational pot they won’t be so easily deceived by those trying to make a buck at society’s expense.”

For example, when gathering the signatures, the collectors probably didn’t tell voters a few things. Such as:

The only ones who will make money are the folks behind the big push. The dispensaries are monopolized.
Half the pot sold in Colorado is in the form of candy – gummy bears and lollipops spiked with ten times the THC as an average joint. Children in Colorado are ending up in the ER for accidentally and innocently overdosing.
Pot shops will pop up all over town. Within two years after legalizing marijuana in Colorado, pot shops now outnumber, Starbucks, liquor stores, and public schools.

Any money the state makes off legalizing pot will be outpaced by added expenses due to increased traffic accidents, workplace accidents, crime, rehab, needed regulation, and huge increases in accidental overdoses when kids mistake pot-laced candy for the real thing.

The marijuana monopoly likes to downplay the drug, stating it’s safer than alcohol and doesn’t hurt anyone. But Herrod calls that a dangerous deception, “This isn’t the kind of pot they smoked at Woodstock. Today’s marijuana is at least five times stronger. Even the DEA lists marijuana in the same category as heroin, LSD, and meth. Are we going to legalize them too?” Herrod continued, “It has been proven, more people use marijuana when it is legal. That’s why Colorado is now the number one state for marijuana use. Arizona shouldn’t compete for that title.”

The marijuana monopoly probably did tell voters a few things when collecting all of those signatures. They tout regulation, revenue, elimination of the drug cartel, and black markets. But the truth is:

Alcohol and tobacco are also regulated and kids still get them both. Prescription drugs are regulated, and also highly abused. If regulation is supposed to also keep pot out of the hands of children, why are they putting it in candy?
The only people who make money off pot for pleasure are the monopolized dispensary owners.
The black market in Colorado thrives, supplying other states where it is illegal. Nebraska and Oklahoma have filed lawsuits against CO because their jails are being overwhelmed by smugglers getting caught crossing the border.

Herrod concluded, “Arizonans are smart. The commonsense conclusion they will reach – once they get the facts – is that amped-up pot and pot-laced candy are dangerous for our kids, detrimental to our society and way of life, and cost a whole lot more than they offer. The best way to keep Arizona’s youth safe is to keep marijuana illegal.”


One can go line-by-line in that screed, and rebut or debunk all of it. But what I find to be more pertinent is the pure desperation of CAP and Cathi Herrod. They’re so anxious to win something this year that they’ll put their fussbudget fun-stealing faces on an effort that is not well-served by them doing that. In other words, if the legal MJ initiative on this year’s ballot fails, I’m fairly certain it won’t be because so many voters were motivated to vote against it by Arizona’s preeminent Church Lady clucking her tongue over “pot for pleasure”.

Can you please not, The Left, with this?

05 Jul 2016 02:51 am
Posted by: Donna

I have spent years, YEARS, objecting to this particular “both sides” formulation. There is no “Tea Party of the left”, I have insisted, given how there is an actual Tea Party caucus in the Congress and in state legislatures, which is actually shutting down the government and denying Medicaid to millions of Americans. While I’m not wrong about that, Jennifer who tweeted the above is right. This Presidential election has really brought out an element of the left that behaves disturbingly similarly to the teabaggers.

And I don’t mean in a mirror image way, where they’re being the opposite of them, fiercely pushing for awesome progressive economic/social policies against the regressive ones proffered by Paul Ryan. No, I mean, being like them in a much more fundamental way. Dr. Stein and her followers, which include a whole bunch disgruntled Sanders supporters, have blithely skipped over the entire Bush/Cheney era like it never happened, which is standard practice of Republicans since, oh about Katrina or so. I can understand why the Green Party Presidential candidate is doing this. Don’t want to remind people of the 2000 election, do you, Dr. Stein? I just can’t grok why other lefties are also acting like the Aughts were an uninteresting blur. (more…)

Cathi Herrod’s very bad, no good week continues!

01 Jul 2016 02:49 pm
Posted by: Donna


Cathi Herrod, who heads the execrable Religious Right organization the Center for Arizona Policy, is a bigoted and contemptible human being, as we all know. But I have to say that I’ve always had a sort of grudging respect for her ability to remain resolute and unruffled even in the face of enormous amounts of (well deserved) public scorn. While I have heard numerous times that Herrod has an explosive temper behind closed doors, I can’t think of a time when I’ve seen her lose her composure in public.

She did respond to her critics after the 2014 election, in the most passive aggressive manner possible, through a now-infamous softball interview on Channel 12 Phoenix with then-anchor Lin Sue Cooney (warning: autoplay video at the link). But it seems the Supreme Court Texas abortion clinic ruling has really caused Cathi Herrod to flip her shit for all to see.

Herrod decided the other day that it was a good idea to respond to a column in the Scottsdale Independent by Angela Hughey, President of the pro-LGBT organization ONE Community. Hughey’s column was a heartfelt plea after the Orlando massacre to homophobes to stop perpetuating a “climate in this country that breeds anti-LGBT hate and demonstrative actions”. And she (rightly) called out CAP and the Alliance Defending Freedom (the right wing legal arm of CAP) for their crusade against LGBT rights.

The tl:dr version of Herrod’s rebuttal is her whining that Hughey is mean and why can’t the gays and other perverts find common ground with her people over the radical Islams being the worst and also, too, Christians should still be able to discriminate against whomever they want because freedom America.

But if you want to read the entire incoherent word salad of grievance and references to things most people aren’t following, enjoy!

Let’s not torch the witch just yet in the Tucson newscaster cocaine case.

30 Jun 2016 01:00 am
Posted by: Donna

This is something you should not use while pregnant or breastfeeding. Should you be prosecuted for it, though?

A couple in Tuscon who were new parents and also newscasters were arrested recently for being in possession of drugs and because their four month old infant was found to have cocaine in his blood.

Two former local TV personalities have been indicted in Arizona for child abuse after their 4-month-old baby was found with cocaine in its system, authorities tell PEOPLE.

A public information officer for the Oro Valley Police Department says Krystin Rae Lisaius and Somchai P. Lisaius – both news personalities in the Tucson area – were indicted June 9 on three felony charges: possession of a dangerous drug, drug paraphernalia and child abuse…

…Police said they were alerted after the couple brought the baby, who was showing signs of distress and appeared lethargic, to the Oro Valley Hospital on May 15. The couple allegedly refused to allow a blood test on the baby, who was then transferred to Diamond Children’s Center at the Banner University Medical Center in Tucson by ambulance, police said.

At Banner, a urine test was conducted after the parents again allegedly refused a blood test, police said. Toxicology results showed the presence of cocaine. (more…)