Posted by: Donna
No standing. That’s the verdict of Maricopa County Superior Court to the whiny cast of idiots suing the state to block the Medicaid expansion. Judge Katherine Cooper handily dispatched with all their baseless arguments.
In short, Plaintiffs are a minority group within the Legislature who lost a battle over H.B. 2010. They do not claim a concrete, individual injury. Rather, they seek to overturn the vote of the House and Senate. The Legislature as a whole did not authorize them to bring this action. Like the legislator plaintiffs in Bennett, Plaintiffs here lack standing
Constituents Dubreil and Miller allege a denial of effective representation in the voting on H.B. 2010. Like the Legislators, these plaintiffs fail to allege a distinct injury. Constituents are two out of hundreds of voters represented by the Legislators. An injury shared by a large “class of citizens” is not sufficient to confer standing. Sears, 192 Ariz. at 60, 961 ¶ 2d at 1017.
Jenney seeks standing under the private attorney general statute, A.R.S. § 35-212(A). This statute provides standing to enjoin the “illegal payment of public monies.” The issue, however, is not the payment of public funds; it is the collection of money from hospitals which Plaintiffs characterize as a tax. A tax is not a payment; it is a collection. A.R.S. § 35-212(A) does not apply and cannot confer standing in this case.
Plaintiffs ask the Court to waive standing because no one else will bring this case. As a result, the subject of the lawsuit will not be challenged and will evade judicial review. The Court respectfully disagrees that there are no other potential challengers. The hospitals subject to the assessment are proper plaintiffs. The Court finds no authority to waive what our courts have firmly established as a “rigorous” standing requirement.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs lack standing, Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED, and Plaintiffs’ Complaint is dismissed in its entirety.
Pursuant to Rule 54(c), this Order constitutes a final order. There are no other matters
Date: February 7, 2014
Posted by: Donna
There was a lot of hand-wringing among progressives/secular types before, during, and after “Science Guy” Bill Nye’s debate with Creation Museum founder Ken Ham on Tuesday night, which was held at the aforementioned “museum” in Kentucky. There is certainly a good argument for avoiding such debates entirely, as Richard Dawkins does. Eschewing them is probably a wise general rule for proponents of evolution since the debate format gives undeserved credibility to evidence-free assertions like Creationism. Also, debates are too often focused on performance over substance and “winners” and “losers”. For example, Mitt Romney “won” his first Presidential debate by boldly lying about his positions and catching President Obama off-guard. But, having watched it, I’m glad that Nye took the risk with this particular debate.
The format of the debate, which you can watch here, was that Ham and Nye both got thirty minutes to present their argument and then answered questions. Ham’s presentation was first and I was both transfixed and nauseated by what a glib, practiced liar he is. He has a similar throw-everything-at-the-wall style as Duane Gish, for whom the internet term Gish Gallop was coined. Ham used impressive-looking power point slides to illustrate his rapid fire of pseudo-scientific bunkum. He also made it clear that he wants Creationism taught in schools and Biblically influenced public policy. Ham said he wants scientists to be trained to see things like diseases as not the result of random occurrences but of “sin”. In other words, he’s a dangerous lunatic who has amassed a considerable amount of money and influence and intends to use it. When it was Nye’s turn to present he did a capable job of defending evolution and poking holes in Ham’s absurd claims, while being his likable self, and pointing out that the future of our children’s education and America’s place in the world was at stake. But that was not enough to stop some liberals from turning into panicky theater critics.
Ham had nothing to lose. When you exist on the cultural fringe and make your living by antagonizing established authority, there’s no form of media attention you don’t love. All Ham had to do was sit still for two-and-a-half hours, sound vaguely professional, and pander occasionally to his base. Sure, if you listened closely, what Ham was saying made absolutely no scientific sense. But debate is a format of impressions, not facts. Ham sounded like a reasonable human being, loosely speaking, and that’s what mattered.
Nye, meanwhile, spent three-quarters of the debate sounding like a clueless geek, even if his points were scientifically valid. He went on strange asides and make awkward appeals to the obviously hostile audience, which he at one point referred to as “my Kentucky friends.” He spent 10 minutes delivering a dry lecture on geological sediments and biogeography, using the kind of PowerPoint slides that a high school junior might make for his AP Biology class. Ham, seemingly aware that debate is a form of entertainment, and that entertainment thrives on human stories, presented testimonial videos from engineers and biology PhDs who hold creationist views. Nye, on the other hand, spent a lot of time talking about the “billions of people” who “are religious, and who accept science and embrace it”—because God knows that Americans love nothing more than conforming to the religious opinions of foreign nations.
I’m not sure this Daily Beast writer and I watched the same debate, which 92% of respondents to the Christian Today poll on it said Nye won. But I’m not surprised that some liberals are fretting over it. It reflects a larger problem we have, an obsession with the perfect “message” so overwhelming that liberals often don’t speak up at all about really important topics for fear of it coming out wrong, or even worse, undermining the cause. I attribute it to the rise of communications experts like George Lakoff (author of Don’t Think of and Elephant and other tomes scolding liberals for poor “framing”), as well as armies of Democratic consultants earning exorbitant fees (that some of them actually deserve), for instilling this demoralizing and demobilizing fear into progressives. It’s gotten to the point that anything a liberal says in public that isn’t perfectly pitched to a precisely selected persuadable audience (soccer moms!), using the most suitably inoffensive yet somehow passionate and inspiring terms, and expressed in the appropriate Nurturing (but not too nurturing!) Parent frame is going to be deemed an unmitigated disaster.
Conservatives, oddly enough, don’t operate under such exacting standards. They say whatever they want and, to be sure, they offend people all the time but they damn sure get their ideas out there, don’t they? The great thing is that liberal ideas have a way of becoming popular and mainstream very quickly when people advocate for them. We have seen this recently with the rapidly increasing public acceptance of immigration reform, gay marriage, and pot legalization, as well as the sudden attention that the public is now paying to income inequality. The most forceful defense of reproductive rights I’ve seen in years helped usher in important electoral victories for Democrats in 2012 and 2013. I do not discount the importance of message discipline and choosing battles wisely but putting so much emphasis on perfection has not done progressive movements a favor. Sometimes you need to seize the opportunity to stand up for what you believe and say what you need to say even if your voice trembles or some Daily Beast writer snarks that you’re boring. No one ever got good at communicating without going out there and failing at it a few times. Where Nye is concerned I agree with Ecology and Evolution Professor Jerry Coyne:
My advice to Nye is this: keep talking and writing about evolution, but not in a debate format. You’re charismatic, funny, and, most important, have the truth on your side. Learn a little bit more about radiometric dating, and about the crazy arguments that Biblical literalists are wedded to—like the bizarre and unscientific concept of animal “kinds”. Talk to people about how there’s no real difference between the accuracy and value of “observational science” and “historical science.” It is the combination of eloquence and truth, not his skill in a rhetorical contest, that will bring Nye his victories.
As for Democrats, the message doesn’t seem to be the problem at all. The majority of the country is already with the Dems on the issues. It’s the physical, economic, and legal barriers to voting that are coming between Democrats and taking over a lot more offices across the country. And Republicans know it, which is why they are working so diligently to suppress voting. Even their most skilled wordsmith, Frank Luntz, is despondently admitting the public is no longer buying his bullshit.
Posted by: Donna
To be a liberal in America is to be acutely aware of the gaping double standard that exists with regard to the expectations placed on you versus those put on conservatives. The disparity is so enormous that I doubt even the most dimwitted “both sides do it!” centrist pundits can deny it to themselves. Liberals are expected to argue politely and rationally, have our facts perfectly in order, and maintain a calm and pleasant demeanor at all times no matter what mendacious, hateful nonsense the other side is flinging at us. No concomitant expectation exists for conservatives. They are free to behave as poorly as they want and take whatever liberties with the truth they’d like, knowing that “both sides” will be blamed, which lets conservatives escape accountability and encourages them to see how much farther they can push the envelope.
Similarly, when Democratic politicians are in power, it is simply assumed that they will demonstrate a high level of competence and attentiveness to the details of the job. They’re the adults in the room, after all, everyone knows that. When there is a problem, as with the Obamacare website rollout, Democratic are expected to dedicate themselves to fixing it, which they often must do in the face of massive Republican opposition and outright obstruction. When Republicans are in charge, on the other hand, it’s assumed they will embark on a mostly ideological agenda with no regard to the practical consequences. When they reveal themselves to be incompetent at governing as they so often do (it’s part of the plan, you know), the Democrats (being the adults in the room) are expected to focus on solutions and help them fix the mess. We’ve seen this with Medicare Part D rollout (which had plenty of glitches), both military conflicts started by Bush, the Hurricane Katrina response, etc. etc. None of which is to say the Democrats are perfect, because of course they’re far from it and I’m not speaking to specific Dems who may be shiftless or corporate sellouts or whatever. This is a general observation of groups and what is expected of them.
Naturally, conservative pundits are given the same type of latitude as Republican and rank-and-file right wing activists to substitute partisan fervor for actual competence at whatever it is they’re supposed to be doing. On Sunday, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly was granted an interview with President Obama on the coveted pre-Super Bowl slot and chose to use it to push idiotic right wing bugaboos (unwed mothers!) and conspiracy theories rather than ask substantive policy questions.
Naturally Benghazi came up.
O’REILLY: All right.
Libya, House Armed Services testimony, General Carter Ham, you know, the general?
OBAMA: Yes. Right.
O’REILLY: Security in Africa.
O’REILLY: He testified that on the day that the ambassador was murdered and the three other Americans, all right, he told Secretary Panetta it was a terrorist attack. Shortly after Ham, General Ham, said that, Secretary Panetta came in to you.
O’REILLY: Did he tell you, Secretary Panetta, it was a terrorist attack?
OBAMA: You know what he told me was that there was an attack on our compound…
O’REILLY: He didn’t tell you…
Attacks on US Embassies happen all the time, including several during the George W. Bush administration. What struck me, as I watched this Fox buffoon grill a sitting President about one attack on a US consulate on foreign soil, was the utter lack of similar interrogation his predecessor enjoyed over the terrorist attack that occurred on US soil, on his watch, that killed over 3000 people. When is any interviewer going to demand to know from former President George W. Bush, or perhaps former Vice President Cheney, why their administration rebuffed outgoing Clinton officials trying to brief them about the dangers of Al Qaeda and ignored warnings of planned attacks for eight months in 2001. What, is it too soon? I think not. Over twelve years have passed and we are no longer the stunned and trauma-addled nation we were then. But we’re still paying for two wars and this big honking Homeland Security apparatus today, aren’t we? At long last, some grilling of President George W. Bush (or really, Dick Cheney) might be in order, don’t you agree?
It’s interesting that whenever I’ve asked a conservative about Bush’s inaction prior to the 9-11 attacks, invariably they respond by ignoring that and blaming – you guessed it- Bill Clinton for failing to capture Osama Bin Laden when he was President. Which is basically their unwitting admission that you should just expect incompetence from a Republican administration where big, important things are concerned. If a Democrat doesn’t take care of it, it doesn’t get done.
Posted by: Donna
So it’s been revealed that NJ Gov. Chris Christie probably knew about the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last year. Shocker! What this means is:
1. It is Christmas in February over at MSNBC
2. There is an important lesson in this for Dems who turn into big, wobbly piles of goo at the slightest sign of decency in a Republican.
Christie famously hugged President Obama after Hurricane Sandy and then bamboozled the public and credulous pundits desperate for a Moderate Republican SaviorTM for months after. He won his reelection for Governor easily – getting one third of the Democratic vote in the state – last November. Since taking that office in 2009, Christie had taken a sledgehammer to unions and public pensions and been a total dick to public school teachers but none of that mattered. Christie’s PR machine worked overtime to portray him as a likable guy with the “common touch”.
But, we continue to believe that in spite of Christie’s problems with some elements of the conservative movement, he is a major player in 2016 if he decides he wants to run for president.
Why? A lot of reasons but most importantly because Christie has the sort of common touch that is the rarest (and most valuable) gift in a politician. Take the clip below — from a Montville, New Jersey town hall meeting — where Christie gives his answer to a little girl’s questions about the best part of being governor. (Hint: It involves blocking traffic.)
Arizona liberals sure are familiar with this Regular Guy schtick, aren’t we? Christie’s ascension reminds us a lot of a certain Maricopa County Sheriff’s. As local filmmaker and muckraker Dennis Gilman pointed out on my Facebook page: “Christie reminds me of the “likeable” Arpaio. Many Dems supported him for years.” They sure did. Some still do, I bet. Joe Arpaio’s handlers spent years crafting and hammering home his phony image as a tough-on-crime, no-nonsense lawman with a soft spot for puppies and breast cancer patients. It worked brilliantly. Arpaio has won every election and enjoyed teflon-like popularity despite his office’s heinous human rights abuses, racism, gross incompetence, and fiscal debacles too numerous to list here.
Damn, if only he’d blocked traffic for a few days. We might have gotten rid of him.
Posted by: Donna
Text of the proclamation:
“Whereas, on January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the cases of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that states may not enforce laws prohibiting abortion; and
Whereas, in the forty years since those decisions, the lives of over fifty million preborn children have been terminated; and
Whereas, many mothers have been physically and psychologically harmed by abortion; and
Whereas, women have faced dangerous conditions and substandard medical care in abortion clinics across the country, including at least one Arizona clinic where a woman needlessly lost her life after a botched abortion; and
Whereas, countless women and men live with the emotional scars of the tragic and painful choice to have an abortion; and
Whereas, no right to abortion is rooted in the traditions of the American people and no national right to abortion is conferred by the Constitution of the United States; and
Whereas, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton have no basis in the text or history of the Constitution of the United States; and
Whereas, human life founded on inherent and inalienable rights is entitled to the full protection of law and due process and the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion decisions have failed to protect the lives of preborn children.
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives and Senate of the State of Arizona:
1. That the Members of the House of Representatives and Senate express their sorrow at the loss of life and the physical and psychological harm caused by forty years of legalized abortion.
2. That the Members of the House of Representatives and Senate shall make every effort to secure for preborn children at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to persons, citizens, and residents of this State, until the decisional interpretations of the United States Constitution by the United States Supreme Court provide protection for every human being.
3. That the Members of the House of Representatives and Senate shall make the health and safety of women in this State a priority by requiring that abortion providers meet standards that protect women from unsanitary facilities and unsafe practices.”
I’m often admonished that the Democrats are a “big tent” and told that it’s not fair to disparage “pro-life” Democrats on account of they come by their views honestly and earnestly. Okay, I’ll buy that some Democrats think abortion is taking a human life and, therefore, immoral. But Democrats are supposed to be more thoughtful and rational – the grownups in the room, so to speak. How, then, should Democrats in elected office (or aspiring to such) treat the subject of abortion?
1. Join with the Republicans and vote to criminalize doctors and women, redefine rape, deny rape and incest victims emergency contraception and abortion care, deny insurance coverage for abortion, etc.
2. Advocate for comprehensive sex ed, contraception access, and a strong social safety net, while leaving women and their doctors to make their own decisions.
Democrats who support the latter and not the former I’ll call pro-life and welcome into the tent. Dems who are for the former and in league with the freaking Center for Arizona Policy? They’re just anti-choice and need to be primaried.
Posted by: Donna
Kat Sabine, executive director of NARAL AZ, appeared with Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod to discuss new abortion rules in Arizona resulting from a law passed in 2012.
The rules require that the most common abortion-inducing drug be administered only at the FDA-approved dosage no later than seven weeks into a pregnancy, and that both doses be taken at the clinic. The usual dose is lower, decreasing the chance of complications and the cost, and used up to nine weeks. The second dose is usually taken a day later at the woman’s home.
The rules also require that physicians who perform surgical abortions have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic and that doctors administering abortion-inducing drugs have admission rights. It also required abortion clinics to report complications that require ambulance transport of a patient.
The proposed rules published Monday by the Health Services Department were required under a 2012 law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer. A portion of the law banning abortions after 20 weeks was struck down last year, but the other provisions remain in effect.
The new regulations will go into effect April 1.
Here is the 12 News segment, where Herrod lied her ass off and Sabine explained why the CAP law makes it harder for women to access abortion care. Herrod started right off by claiming, “This is not a pro-life or pro-choice issue. These are common sense regulations.” None of the restrictions make abortion one iota safer. In fact, they make it more likely that women will have to resort to unsafe self-abortions or dangerous quacks like Kermit Gosnell. CAP does not want abortion to be legal, period. Why would they want something they think is murder to be safe?
Posted by: Donna
In case you haven’t seen it yet, Irin Carmon has a couple of nifty graphs on abortion stats up at MSNBC. The first is a visual representation of how the country has changed, state by state, on hostility to reproductive rights since 2000. The second is a profile of the women, about 1/3 of us in America, who get abortions. It dispels several myths that a lot people seem to hold about that. The largest number of women who abort pregnancies are in their 20s, not their teens. The majority of abortions go to women who are already mothers, contrary to the anti-choice stereotype of women who abort being selfish strumpets who reject motherhood and hate children. Also, most women who get abortions practice a religion.
Speaking of stereotyping the women who choose abortion, I often point out that one of the main goals of the anti-choice movement is to stigmatize and punish female sexuality and, sure enough, along comes this report from The Christian Post to prove me right. Apparently, the Family Research Council has an important study out purporting to show what big old sluts women who abort are. And if you’ve wondered what the magic number of lifetime sex partners it takes to confer sluthood upon a lady, the answer is “three”.
Fagan and Talkington also found that 40 to 50 percent of women who reported having 10 or more sexual partners have had an abortion versus 6 percent of women who reported having only one sexual partner. Nearly 90 percent of abortions were procured by women who reported having three or more sexual partners.
When asked by CP what sort of influence he believed this report will have on the abortion debate, Fagan responded that it might lead to recognizing a link between abortion and permissive sexual practices.
Anti-choicers, I really do appreciate when you come right out and admit what you’re up to. And by not even mentioning men, and certainly not handwringing over how many sex partners they have, you are making it ever so much more abundantly clear.
In related news today, Wendy Davis, the Texas candidate for Governor who famously and heroically filibustered a heinous anti-choice bill in the state legislature has come under attack by the right for the flimsiest of pretexts. Amanda Marcotte has the scoop in Slate:
The big, uh, lie is that she dates her first divorce to the time she actually left her husband at age 19 instead of 21, when the paperwork was final. Slater also accuses her of overselling what a struggle it was to lift herself out of poverty and go to Harvard Law because her second husband, Jeff Davis, offered her child care and financial assistance. “The basic elements of the narrative are true,” Slater wrote in his piece, “but the full story of Davis’ life is more complicated, as often happens when public figures aim to define themselves.” Frankly, most politicians spin their life story more egregiously between getting out of bed and having their first cup of coffee.
While Slater’s story fails at demonstrating that Davis is dishonest, it does do a smashing job of portraying Davis as the embodiment of a particularly misogynist stereotype, the scheming gold-digger who manipulates a hapless man with her sexuality. (Slater is not the first to lean on sexist tropes to define Davis: Her good looks have been a sore spot for conservatives since her filibuster made her famous, which is why some have lovingly nicknamed her “Abortion Barbie.”) Slater emphasizes that Davis’ second husband was older and wealthier and that she was the aggressor in pursuing the relationship. Slater all but counts every dollar Davis’ second husband spent on her education. Even though Wendy Davis had her own law practice by the time she divorced Jeff Davis in 2003, Slater portrays her as squeezing her husband dry before running out the door:
Marcotte also notes the supreme irony of conservatives busily touting marriage as the surest path out of poverty for women these days while castigating a particular woman for, well, getting married to a guy who helped to support her financially. We ladies really can’t win with them, can we?
It begins: The first anti-choice bill making it’s way through the AZ lege this year would allow surprise inspections of abortion clinics, under the pretense of making the procedure “safer”. Arizona anti-choicers got zero bills passed last session so you better believe they are gunning for them this year.