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Democratic Diva

Would be nice if women got to “focus on more important things”.

27 May 2016 02:18 am
Posted by: Donna

double standard
“Young lady, cover yourself! You are an abomination upon this institution!” “Young man, go on with your cheeky t-shirt! You will one day make a fine candidate for office!”

The GOP nominee for President Donald Trump is attempting to distract from his considerable bad history with women* by attacking the probable Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over her husband’s past behavior. This, of course, tends to spawn the inevitable reaction of:

Why can’t we focus on the important things and leave their personal lives out of it?

Easily 99 times out of 100, when you hear that phrase uttered about a politician, that politician is male. And when I saw it thrown out to dismiss the Donald Trump/Bill Clinton contretemps the other day I had my usual inner response to it which was on one hand, agreement in principle that policy and competence should outweigh personal issues when we’re the evaluating people we want to put in leadership positions and, on the other, “must be nice”.

Must be nice. (more…)

Anti-choicers continue to hound Phoenix clinic, with Channel 12′s help

24 May 2016 12:48 pm
Posted by: Donna

911 questions

While many anti-choicers still keep up the thin pretense in public that they don’t wish to punish women for abortion, they have never made any bones about their intention to go after doctors who perform abortions via legislation targeting them and smear campaigns. Sadly, they’ve gotten gullible (or possibly sympathetic, I can’t really tell at this point) MSM news people to go along with that, as Channel 12 has with their ongoing coverage of lurid account of a “born alive” fetus at a Phoenix abortion clinic.

The reports said a nurse went to weigh the fetus, which is standard procedure, and thought she saw it move and struggle to breathe. “Oh my God this fetus is moving,” the reports claim she said.

Staff at the clinic then called 911 and paramedics began CPR while transporting the baby to Banner University Medical Center, the report said. But doctors there did not find a heartbeat and pronounced the baby deceased within a few minutes.

Under federal law, abortion clinics have to provide medical care to a baby that survives an abortion.

“Nobody did anything wrong,” Kat Sabine, executive director of the Arizona chapter NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Absolutely, nobody did anything wrong. The doctor, in fact, did everything right.”

This should be the end of it but, no. Here’s LifeSite News, which I read daily so you don’t have to, keeping their troops riled up about the story:


Candidate’s boyfriend in danger of being overshadowed by qualified women

24 May 2016 12:56 am
Posted by: Krista

It’s been a great year for women, right? I mean, Emerge Arizona has 16 women running for office in 2016, and then there’s that whole woman-about-to-become-President-of-the-free-world thing. As an Emerge AZ alumna and Emerge AZ board member for nine years, I have a lot to be grateful for. Things are so awesome, our work here is practically done. We can go home and take a nap, and won’t that be nice?

But then… this:


Le sigh.

Really, Capitol Times? Reducing Athena Salman’s accomplishments to being about who she’s dating and not how she’s qualified to run for office? Seriously, we can’t get this shit right. I can’t even figure out why this is news. Primaries are a part of the process, and I can’t imagine Representative Celeste Plumlee is running scared because she was left to “fend” for herself. She is going to run a good campaign because that was what she was trained to do, and she had a successful first year in the legislature on which to run.

As for Athena, since the Cap Times glossed over Athena’s accomplishments, let’s get a few things straight. Athena is qualified to run for office because of her experience in building coalitions, her activism and strategy in registering under-represented voters, and her work in student government, NOT because she’s dating a lawmaker.

Between Celeste’s work in the legislature and stellar reputation amongst her peers and Athena’s vivacity and energy for reaching voters and penchant for taking the lead in situations, other candidates are in danger of being overshadowed. These women are amazing role models and leaders. But that’s politics. Those who led need to make way for those who will lead. As these women shine, we will see a change in the way they are written about. That will be exciting to read.

In the meantime…

The real news here is that a reporter felt the need to write about a qualified candidate in such a demeaning way, showing us that no matter how far we’ve come, we still have a long way to go.

That’s fine, I can always nap later.

Bernie and (some of) his supporters have become my dad.

18 May 2016 11:52 am
Posted by: Donna

linda dupree
Yes, this (now former) Facebook friend threatened to murder super delegates

My father was a man whose default setting was bitter and his temper, when he lost it completely, was hot-fire explosive. Growing up in his household was not fun, as you might imagine. One thing I learned about my dad early in life, out of necessity, was his desperate insistence on winning, by whatever means necessary. That meant that rules existed exclusively for him. If they went in his favor, he demanded a strict and relentless enforcement of them. If they went against him, why they were just wrong! Heads he won, tails you lost!

In other words, my dad made the rules. And unless you were amazingly prescient at figuring out what his desires were in advance, you had a yelling at coming to you, and perhaps a slap across the face. He was prone to throwing things and berating you loudly in public. That’s what you could expect if you were his child, this constant feeling of dread and uncertainty. If you were a neighbor who did something that displeased him, like playing music too loud, as the young man who lived in the condo a floor above us did in the mid-1980s, he declared all-out war on you.

At that time Dad placed our stereo speakers atop piled pieces of furniture, such that their tweeters and woofers were abutted directly against the ceiling. He then blasted classical music into them. Which was supposed to, I guess, jar our upstairs neighbors such that the young son who lived there would realize the error of his ways and turn his rap music down. The young man never did. But the cacophony in our house was deafening, our downstairs neighbors were irate (as it was loud enough to bother them), and my own embarrassment was achingly acute.

My Dad, true to his form, was never in the wrong. Sure, he was breaking the rules of the condo, by playing his favorite classical music at a decibel level that could be heard across the condo complex. But Dad had a point to make, by God, and he would make it! He needed to win. This “victory” ended up being a physical altercation between my father and the young man upstairs, in which said young man pushed Dad in the chest (according to my dad) and the cops were called. I honestly don’t remember how that ended, probably because I’m blocking it out of my mind.

I do remember being utterly mortified by the whole thing, and being disliked by all our neighbors, thanks to my dad’s obstinance. My pleas to him to consider that his own behavior in the situation worsened it were met by my dad petulantly insisting that he was right and that I was being disloyal. And, of course, the “system” was rigged against him, as it was in any instance where he couldn’t throw his weight around and get what he wanted. It was always a desperate time, when Dad didn’t get his way, calling for desperate measures.

I like a good argument over politics. I really do. I want a strong debate over ideas and policy directions. But I am utterly terrified by people who simply cannot stand to lose, and who refuse to cope with it. They go off on wild tangents, and that can range from stupid music feuds to calls for murder. Most death threats aren’t sincere but they are intended (obviously) to make recipients and bystanders viscerally uncomfortable and panicked into compliance or silence.

Why do (some) Bernie supporters remind me of my father? Because they remind me of my father, that’s why. The familiar dread and shame welled up in me when I watched videos of their meltdown in Las Vegas this past Saturday. And yes, I hold Sanders himself culpable because defended the obnoxious jerkwad behavior with an “I condemn violence…but…” statement, which is quintessential my dad justifying his bullying bullshit.

Meanwhile, I keep being told that Clinton supporters risk alienating those who support Sanders if we’re not deferential enough to them. Now that they’re at the point of chair throwing and death threats, what does that deference look like? I recall as a kid it meaning being cowed in fear and treated for PTSD as an adult. No thanks.

Center for AZ Policy couldn’t resist getting that last dig in at poor women. Which will only increase the number of abortions.

13 May 2016 01:34 am
Posted by: Donna

monica miller
Nope, still not about “saving babies”

File this under News That Should Surprise No One. It turns out that restrictions on abortion, which are more often than not criminal ones that target women for prosecution (despite the insistence of anti-choicers that they never, ever will do that!), do not actually reduce the rate of abortion but that the availability of contraception does.

The new estimates, published Wednesday in the Lancet, provide another bit of evidence that criminalizing abortion does not curb the practice. In countries where abortion is completely illegal or permitted only to save the life of the pregnant woman, the most recent data places the average annual abortion rate at 37 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. In countries where abortion is legal in most cases, the rate is 34 per 1,000 women.

“The obvious interpretation is that criminalizing abortion does not prevent it but, rather, drives women to seek illegal services or methods,” wrote Diana Greene Foster of the University of California’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health in a comment linked to the report. “But this simple story overlooks the many women who, in the absence of safe legal services, carry unwanted pregnancies to term.”

Part of the reason why abortion rates in these anti-abortion countries are so high is the fact that contraception, sex education, and other family-planning services are usually similarly hard to obtain. Where there’s little contraception, there are more unintended pregnancies; where there are more unintended pregnancies, there are more abortions. Those who don’t get one of these often unsafe illegal abortions, carrying their unwanted pregnancies to term, bear a higher risk of maternal mortality and may be condemned to a cycle of poverty driven by a growing family they can’t afford…

…Every other region in the developed world saw lesser but still significant decreases in the abortion rate: Southern Europe’s rate fell from 38 per 1,000 women to 26; Northern Europe’s from 22 to 18; and North America’s from 25 to 17. Meanwhile, in developing countries, the abortion rate saw only a slight decrease between 1990 and 2014, from 39 abortions per year per 1,000 women to 37.

“In developed countries, the continued fall in abortion rates is largely due to increased use of modern contraception that has given women greater control over the timing and number of children they want,” author Gilda Sedgh said in a press statement. “In developing countries, however, family planning services do not seem to be keeping up with the increasing desire for smaller families. More than 80 percent of unintended pregnancies are experienced by women with an unmet need for modern methods of contraception, and many unwanted pregnancies end in abortion.”

Not that Cathi Herrod and her pals have any interest in such “evidence-based” frippery! Their crusade is solely to separate poor women from any ability to control their reproduction, by any means necessary, with the aim of punishing them for having sex. In this year’s Arizona legislative session they were thwarted in their quest to pass their key piece of harmful anti-choice garbage when the those meddling kids at the FDA updated its abortion drug label to reflect current best practices. Womp womp!

But they were not sad pandas over at CAP for long, as they managed to squeak out a couple of bills at the end of the session that target Planned Parenthood. HB2599 enables the state to deny Medicaid patients the choice of family planning clinics that also provide abortions, while HB2704 enacts complicated language about how Medicaid can be billed for drugs which is, you guessed it, directed at Planned Parenthood.

None of this should be understood as stemming purely from a desire to stop abortion. Anti-choicers definitely want to do that, and I’ll even throw them the bone of acknowledging that most of them genuinely consider terminating pregnancy to be murder. But that belief coexists with a very strong objection to women “getting away” with non-procreative sex. When those two positions are in conflict, as they often are, anti-choicers can almost always be counted on to side with the latter. So of course they’re going to block birth control access, with no regard for how it is proven to reduce unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Because priorities!

Ducey’s court packing scheme is the most IOKIYAR thing ever

12 May 2016 02:16 am
Posted by: Donna


Per Russell Berman of The Atlantic:

Republicans have not traditionally been fans of Franklin Roosevelt, but in statehouses across the country they are trying to emulate one of the Democratic president’s most notorious schemes: court-packing.

The latest effort is in Arizona, where the GOP-controlled legislature has passed a measure to increase the number of justices on the state’s Supreme Court to seven from its current five. Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, must now decide whether to sign the bill, which has become enmeshed in negotiations over increased funding for the judiciary and raises for state judges. Republicans enacted similar legislation earlier this month in Georgia increasing the number of justices on the state Supreme Court to nine, from its current seven…

…In Arizona, the expected expansion has been the culmination of a years-long effort by Republican legislators that has divided jurists and the public alike. Proponents have pointed to the state’s growing population: It has tripled since the last time Arizona expanded its Supreme Court, to five justices from, in 1960. Never mind that by this logic, the U.S. Supreme Court would have a few dozen justices by now instead of its current nine (actually eight, because of Republican opposition to filling Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat)…

…So is the expansion effort by Arizona Republicans the same as court-packing? The term has taken on slightly different definitions over the years. Most recently, Republicans in Washington tried to accuse President Obama to “court-packing” when he wanted to fill three existing vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals—an attempt at rhetorical misdirection that was widely mocked. In Arizona, there are a couple of key differences between the GOP effort and FDR’s bid to secure approval for New Deal legislation in the 1930s by adding more of his own appointees to the nine-member Supreme Court. For one, even critics of the Arizona plan say it is not motivated by specific legislation or a specific case. And the appointment process is different, too. The governor must select judges from a group recommended by the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments; he could still choose candidates from his own party, but his power is more limited than a president’s. Yet there is little dispute that conservatives have pushed the expansion with the goal of padding the court during Republican gubernatorial administrations. The sponsor of the bill, state Representative J.D. Mesnard, acknowledged that “if there were different person appointing, I might feel less comfortable.”

You bet your ass Mesnard would. Which is why this post from from last month at the right wing blog Seeing Red AZ tut-tutting over “far-left editorial writer” Linda Valdez of the AZ Republic expressing concern over the sudden move to increase Supreme Court justices is so comical:

“Court packing” double talk from the devious left

Linda Valdez, the far-left editorial writer at the Periódico de la República de Arizona (Arizona Republic) is having anxiety attacks over what she repeatedly refers to as “packing the court.” A piece of legislation (HB 2537) winding its way through the chambers allows for the addition of two new Supreme Court justices on the Arizona high court, expanding the number from the current five to seven members. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey would make the appointments filling the two vacancies if the bill wins approval.

The court building and bench were constructed to accommodate the increased number of justices.

SRAZ currently takes no position on the plan. But it’s interesting to ponder if Valdez would be so indignant if the date were 1937 and it was the U.S. Supreme Court that was under consideration for expansion to as many as 15 justices.

That was the Machiavellian scheme of Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt who planned to expand the U.S. Supreme Court, allegedly to make it more efficient. Critics charged that Roosevelt was trying to “pack” the court and neutralize Supreme Court justices hostile to his radically liberal “New Deal” of overreaching federal programs. During the previous two years, the high court struck down several key pieces of New Deal legislation on the grounds that the laws delegated an unconstitutional amount of authority to the executive branch and the federal government.

Critics of Roosevelt’s plan did have a point that it was overreaching and clearly driven by an agenda so it went nowhere. But comparisons to Roosevelt are moot anyway, since Roosevelt did it as a threat, and one that was quickly rendered unnecessary when enough sitting Justices came to his side on some key issues.

A better thought exercise would be to imagine if it were Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, the Democrat who served from 2003 to 2009, who even dared to propose such a thing. Can you imagine the apoplexy from the Right if she even idly suggested it? I think you can.

Of course, there’s no need to engage in such imagining as regards conservatives’ forked tongues over judicial appointments, is there? One only need consider how they have been handling existing federal ones that Barack Obama has had the temerity to think he should be able to fill, like he’s the President of the United States or something. Talk to me about “liberal hypocrisy” because of something FDR tried to do eighty years ago when Merrick Garland gets a hearing this year, Republicans.

AZ Republic engages in some last minute hippie punching to shore up Prop 123

09 May 2016 02:44 pm
Posted by: Donna

Bob Robb is very disappointed in you hippies

Before I begin let me state that I plan to vote for Prop 123 so the following is not intended to be an argument against it.

I tell you, if there’s one thing you can count on here in Phoenix besides sunny weather is the tendency of the editors at the Arizona Republic to strain has hard as they can to spread blame on liberals for debacles that are unequivocally the fault of the Republicans. Republicans had already been gutting public education for decades when they used the recession of the late 2000s as an excuse to violate the state’s constitution and refuse to adjust school funding as required by voters in Prop 301 in 2000. Prop 123, which is on the ballot this month, asks the voters to approve taking higher disbursements from state land trust fund to settle the lawsuit filed by education groups and (partially) make up for the funding lost.

On the pro side of the measure are Governor Ducey, both Republican and Democratic legislators, and various civic, business, and education leaders and groups. On the anti side are the State Treasurer, the League of Women Voters, and other equally civic-minded groups and individuals. There are people of good faith and (in my opinion) bad faith on either side. There are also people from across the political spectrum on either side. But you would not know that from today’s AZ Republic house editorial, in which Robert Robb (who most likely wrote it) focuses his stern glare squarely on liberals, whom he believes to be producing most of the opposition to Prop 123:

Prop. 123 won’t be straightforward because a growing number of liberals who are typically rank-and-file supporters of schools have decided they’d rather pillory the Republican governor than supply badly needed funding to public education.

They have dived into the fever swamps and resurfaced with conspiracy theories about GOP leaders pulling a fast one on the schools.

It is rank nonsense and always ignores this key fact: The top leadership in public education has signed on to and supports Proposition 123. The compromise could not have happened without them…

Liberals think they know better

Segments of the left that practice a highly partisan brand of politics are essentially patting all of these education advocates on the head and telling them, “Sorry, but we know better than you what’s good for schools.”

Further, they’re insulting the education leaders who were plaintiffs to the lawsuit and who signed on to the settlement. They’re telling them they were duped.

While they’re busy patronizing education leaders, they’ve found their new darling in Republican State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, who when he’s not getting thrown out of Mesa hotels for screaming, loves nothing more than a good fight with the Governor’s Office.

While I’m well aware (believe me) that liberals are not immune from susceptibility to conspiracy theories (cf immediate accusations of “election theft” by Hillary Clinton every time she wins a primary) and there have, admittedly, been recent conspiracy rumblings around Prop 123, it’s unfair to characterize the opposition to Prop 123 as primarily comprised of left wingers indulging in conspiracies and baseless personal animus toward the Governor. Not trusting Doug Ducey and Republicans in the legislature to do the right thing as regards public education is a sign of mental acuity, not paranoia, even if you think people are wrong about Prop 123.

It’s also absurd to downplay the considerable opposition to Prop 123 from the conservative side, as the Republic editorial does, as “factions of fringe conservatives”. There are plenty of conservatives opposing it in the publicity pamphlet, many of whom seem to believe it’s a stealth tax of some sort or whatever equally silly reason they put forth. The fringe-iest conservatives here exert at least as much influence as liberals do and I’d say it’s a safe assumption that Treasurer DeWit, the hotel screamer who chairs Trump’s presidential campaign along with (still popular among Republicans) former Governor Jan Brewer, enjoys a far bigger fan base among right wingers in Arizona than he does among the Left.

In other words, if Prop 123 fails it probably won’t be because of liberals, who make up 20% of the electorate. It’s likely that most rank-and-file Dems, even the liberal ones, will vote yes on it because it’s for education the money will go to paying teachers, as the multiple ads running in favor of it say. This preemptive blaming of liberals is clearly a bid by the Republic (or at least Robert Robb) to further marginalize liberals, which I guess takes priority over even passing Prop 123. Because wouldn’t using that editorial space to encourage supporters to get on the phones and doors to get the vote out be more productive than hippie-punching?