I know his type so well. He gets so angry when you don’t smile for him.

24 Jul 2015 06:07 am
Posted by: Donna

I’m so white I could be Conan O’Brien’s twin sister so I obviously can’t speak to the experience of racialized encounters with law enforcement. Let me just get that out of the way. But when I watched the arrest video of Sandra Bland there was something that police officer Brian Encinia said – and the tone in which he said it – to the late Ms. Bland that hit me viscerally as a woman. “Oh, I know him.”

From the transcript:

Encinia: OK, ma’am. (Pause.) You OK?

Bland: I’m waiting on you. This is your job. I’m waiting on you. When’re you going to let me go?

Encinia: I don’t know, you seem very really irritated.

Bland: I am. I really am. I feel like it’s crap what I’m getting a ticket for. I was getting out of your way. You were speeding up, tailing me, so I move over and you stop me. So yeah, I am a little irritated, but that doesn’t stop you from giving me a ticket, so [inaudible] ticket.

Encinia: Are you done?

Bland: You asked me what was wrong, now I told you.

Encinia: OK.

Bland: So now I’m done, yeah..

I have a strong sense that Brian Encinia is the type of guy who has ordered a woman, possibly a stranger on the street or in a elevator or whatever just minding her own damn business, to “smile” on more than one occasion. I got that shit a lot when I was in the near vicinity of Ms. Bland’s age (28)*. Pissed me off royally as well as making me feel awkward and embarrassed but many times I would comply, simply out of a desire to have the fucker leave me alone or because he had power over me. But when I refused to smile for the smile-demanders, oh man, did they get hostile!

In watching and listening to Encinia’s interaction with Bland, I did not perceive an actual interest on his part about whether she was okay or not. I heard zero empathy in it. I detected the distinct sound of a white guy annoyed that a young woman, and a young black woman at that, dared to express anything short of enthusiasm for making the traffic stop that he initiated for a probable bullshit reason (failing to signal a lane change while pulling over to the side for Officer Encinia) an ego-buoying experience for him.

Huffington Post has compiled the entire transcript, which contains Sandra Bland using some very blunt language toward the officers who (finally) arrested her after pulling her out of her car and manhandling her quite a bit.

Here’s the telling statement from Encinia for why he “roided out” on Bland so soon after the stop, and well before she cussed him and the female cop out.

She gave me her driver’s license. I came back to the car and started running her stuff. Print it out. Coming to get back to the car to complete and tell her what’s she receiving and what to do and so forth.

At that time, she’s still very much irritated and so forth. I’m pulling her over for she didn’t turn on her signal and so forth and so forth.

She wouldn’t even look at me. She’s looking straight ahead, just mad.

He could have told her the reason for the ticket and simply handed it to her or dropped it on her lap. They both would have been on their ways. Him with an anecdote about how a grouchy black woman wasn’t deferential to him. Her with one about the white cop who (probably) profiled her and pulled her over for a bullshit reason. But no, Brian Encinia had to have that smile.

*Now that I’m 46 I can go about my entire day with a scowl on my face and, weirdly, no man demands that I brighten my, and his, day by flashing a winsome grin. You’d almost think that the annoying men who pestered me to “smile” on an almost daily basis up until about ten years ago were never interested in my well-being at all!

Cathi Herrod smears AZ Planned Parenthood CEO

23 Jul 2015 06:52 am
Posted by: Donna


Oh my.

Statement from Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod

PHOENIX – “Like millions of Americans, I was horrified to see a top Planned Parenthood official callously discussing the strategic dismemberment of preborn children for the possible sale of their organs. As the video revealed, this issue has struck close to home because the Planned Parenthood executive clearly discussed Arizona as a target state for this process due to Planned Parenthood Arizona having a ‘business savvy’ CEO, Bryan Howard.

Mr. Howard has denied any wrongdoing. Yet his words ring hollow, especially after a new video shows another Planned Parenthood executive saying she ‘wants a Lamborghini’ while discussing compensation for preborn children’s organs.

If Bryan Howard and Planned Parenthood truly have nothing to hide, then prove it. They should open up their records to authorities for an immediate investigation.

There is clearly smoke here, and now the onus is on Bryan Howard and Planned Parenthood to prove there is no fire by opening up their books to investigators. According to Planned Parenthood Arizona’s 2013-2014 annual report, they performed abortions on

7,100 women during that fiscal year. Did they compromise the health and safety of these women in order to profit off their preborn children’s organs?

Arizona women deserve to know.

No more talk, no more excuses.”

For more information, contact Aaron Baer, 330.219.1792 or abaer@azpolicy.org.

Center for Arizona Policy promotes and defends the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious freedom. For more information, visit azpolicy.org.

Wow. So Bryan Howard is guilty of, uh…something…, because a Planned Parenthood rep in another state said something complimentary of him on the second “gotcha” video (produced by a disreputable ,to put it mildly, group) that, once again, showed nothing illegal happening.

Yes, the doctor being scammed by the actor did make a quip about wanting a Lamborghini. CAP appears to be both unable to recognize a joke (which is entirely possible since puckered-up prudes are famously humorless) and stupidly unaware that a $200,000 car would require a lot of “sales” of donated fetal tissue – well over 2000 of them at the highest estimated $100 “sales” price per unit, taking taxes and overhead into account. I’m not the foremost expert on economies of scale but I’m pretty sure this is not an efficient way to acquire a Lamborghini.

And I’ll remind everyone that CAP’s blubbering about the “health and safety” of women in this press release stands in stark contrast to their opposition the HPV vaccine a few years ago:

The vaccine has become a hot-button issue across the U.S. with social conservatives rallying against requiring it because they say it sends the wrong message to young people about sex.

“This is not a disease that schoolchildren catch sitting at a desk,” said Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, which backed the prohibition.

You think someone like her might want to scrutinize the records of abortion patients for reasons other than ensuring they were healthy and safe? I sure do.

Governor Ducey hops aboard the idiot train on Planned Parenthood

21 Jul 2015 11:26 am
Posted by: Donna

duceyPhoto: ABC15.com

This took longer than I expected, honestly:

Governor Doug Ducey’s Statement on Planned Parenthood

JULY 20, 2015

PHOENIX – In light of recent allegations of unlawful practices and procedures being performed by Planned Parenthood, Governor Doug Ducey today directed the Arizona Department of Health Services to conduct a thorough review of current law and immediately promulgate emergency rules designed to prohibit the illegal sale of any tissue from an unborn child.

“The footage released by The Center for Medical Progress regarding the alleged sale and trafficking of aborted fetal tissue and body parts by Planned Parenthood is horrifying and has no place in a civilized society. I am calling on the Department of Health Services to conduct a thorough review of the law and immediately promulgate emergency rules designed to prohibit the illegal sale of any tissue from an unborn child. This is consistent with federal law and will deter action that we all agree is abhorrent. Further, I have instructed ADHS to provide any and all assistance required to Attorney General Brnovich in any efforts conducted by his office.”


At least he isn’t launching a full investigation as other GOP governors are but this baseless “review” that Ducey is demanding is still going to waste the state’s time and resources.

I never ever expect anti-choicers to think rationally so naturally none of them have stopped screeching about this “sting” for the thirty seconds or so it would require to ask themselves why the people conducting it chose to release a heavily edited video to the press instead of turning all their footage over to authorities if something illegal were truly going on.

Certain famously anti-choice members of Congress admittedly colluded with the bogus “medical research” group and sat on the supposed “evidence” of illegality by Planned Parenthood rather than alerting law enforcement. Congressman Trent Franks’ explanation that “the hope was to have as much information as possible so that the authorities could be notified effectively before the media” strains credulity since no such expectation has ever existed prior to contacting authorities about suspected crimes and the anti-choice “investigators” claim to have thousands of hours of tape of people admitting to committing crime. If you have reason to believe Planned Parenthood is illegally selling fetus parts, you should call the cops and let them sort it out. But again, the “Center for Medical Progress” did alert the media, via the doctored nine-minute video, prior to anyone initiating any investigations.

From where I sit it looks like they knew they had nothing and decided to get the edited video out there to do the work of alarming credulous pearl-clutching pundits and providing grist to anti-choice politicians. We can now add our Arizona Governor to this confederacy of dunces.

There is simply nothing to this “scandal” beyond some people’s overblown emotional reactions to a medical procedure (and most surgeries are gross, BTW) being described in graphic detail and in said overwrought people’s unwillingness to consider the circumstances that might lead a woman to have a post-first trimester abortion and to decide to donate the fetal tissue to researchers. I do hope that anyone who is bothered by this research will be consistent and refrain from using any medication or treatments developed by it.

Does Doug MacEachern oppose abortion to save the life of the woman? I have concerns about that!

17 Jul 2015 12:17 am
Posted by: Donna

I will not suffer a defective incubator to live!

Well, the modicum of goodwill Doug MacEachern had built up with me on Wednesday for acknowledging the allegations that Planned Parenthood sells fetus parts are spurious was demolished on Thursday, when he walked that back and proceeded to insinuate that something sinister is going on after all. And also lets you know that the Planned Parenthood rep “enjoyed a sumptuous lunch” (which is what we’re calling “salad” these days, I guess).

I argued in an earlier column that it is not exactly clear from Nucatola’s lunchtime performance that she is describing “products” that are for sale, which is against federal law, albeit an ambiguous federal law.

I’m less sure now. Oddly enough, Planned Parenthood — which is clearly in a public-relations panic over this video — is contributing to its critics’ arguments. The abortion provider hired a PR firm that is contradicting Nucatola’s own description of payments, which she says go to “shipping” and to account for the fact that “somebody gonna have to take it out..”

According to Planned Parenthood’s new line of defense “Nucatela was speculating on the range of reimbursement that patients can receive (emphasis added) after stating they wish to donate any tissue after a procedure.”

That just is not what she said. The Planned Parenthood official said nothing, explicitly or implied, about any “reimbursements” going to patients. She describes, more than once, that payments are constructed so that Planned Parenthood affiliates can “do a little better than break even.”

Plenty of people are convinced that Nucatola is describing a body-parts market.

Plenty of people are also idiots. But this renewed scrutiny of Planned Parenthood is not the main thrust of MacEachern’s column. That, he saves for the last sentence.

That is the most disturbing message from Nucatola’s performance. That partial-birth abortion of well-developed fetuses is far more widespread — and perhaps far more lucrative — than we’ve been led to believe.

This is a perfect illustration of the disturbing willingness of many people to believe the absolute worst of women, in many areas but especially where abortion is concerned. What might MacEachern be imagining here? Does he think women are deliberately getting pregnant and waiting to abort until such time as they have Grade A fetal tissue to provide to the eager peddlers of such at Planned Parenthood? Sure seems so!

And I’m going to take the worst assumptions about Doug MacEachern and those of the people he seems to agree with further – because MacEachern is being such a stickler for exactly what was or was not stipulated to by Dr. Nucatola in the Planned Parenthood video – to note how he made his unfounded claim of “widespread partial birth abortion” without even mentioning the possibility of women needing abortions late in pregnancy to save their lives! Since MacEachern didn’t spell that out in his column, then isn’t it entirely possible that he, in fact, does not believe pregnant women on the brink of death should be allowed lifesaving terminations? Wow, that would be pretty ghoulish of him.

On assuming the absolute worst of women (and the people who care for them) by default

16 Jul 2015 01:46 am
Posted by: Donna

female symbolLiar!

To his credit, AZ Republic columnist Doug MacEachern examined some of the available evidence of recent the “OMG PLANNED PARENTHOOD IS SELLING BABY PARTS!!” allegation, found it wanting, and said so on Wednesday morning.

But he wasn’t letting us off that easily. Doug did what many conservative pundits are doing, where he went with the strategy of “okay, it’s not selling but look how ghoulish the process to get this tissue is!” to argue that people should still take this very, very seriously and feel very, very sad about it. He pressed the point by citing a tweet of mine and of Amanda Marcotte mocking the “shocking hidden video!” kerfluffle.

This strategy can be pretty effective because the process sounds gross and people are squeamish about medical procedures (most people would faint if they had to draw blood), unlike medical professionals who tend to develop a hardened attitude and often engage in casual black humor. But what if you leave the ick factor aside and considered who it is who might want to donate fetal tissue voluntarily? A picture could emerge of a woman who had a wanted pregnancy and who opted for termination upon learning in about the 5th month (which is the earliest many conditions can be detected) that her fetus had conditions that were incompatible with life outside the womb. She may decide that donating the fetal tissue is a way to salvage the horrible situation since maybe a researcher could learn about why the fetus’ development went awry and other prospective parents could benefit from the knowledge in the future.

If you think about it unfolding as I described (and why would such a scenario be unreasonable?) then it’s easy to see why the abortion doctor would do the procedure in a way that would best preserve the organs in their complete state. Why were so many people, including many who could not be described as anti-abortion zealots, so willing to leap to the least charitable assumption about what Planned Parenthood and their patients were doing with fetal tissue (selling baby parts! for money!) and not the more benign possibility that I just laid out? Wouldn’t my hypothetical be more plausible than simply assuming it’s done to “harvest baby parts!” out of a callous profit motive, as the anti-choicers would have you believe?

Obviously this in large part because it is about abortion and anti-abortion advocates have done a masterful job sowing misinformation and confusion about the subject. They are also very opposed to the idea of women having non-procreative sex, hence their general opposition to preventative measures like contraception access and sex ed. But they haven’t gotten as far as they have in a cultural vacuum. As I’ve said many times before, anti-choicers operate in a larger culture that is profoundly distrustful and contemptuous of women (and yes, women are often complicit in that, intentionally or not).

To illustrate: About a year and a half ago I was at a NARAL event – I repeat, a NARAL event – and was chatting with a very nice and intelligent woman about anti-choice legislation that was happening in Arizona when, without warning, she hit me with, “But I’m just not sure about the ones done later in the pregnancy.” It turned out that she and her wife were the parents of an infant who had been born prematurely and saved by intensive neonatal care. She said the experience made her feel ambivalent and also something along the lines of “women shouldn’t wait so long to do it.”

I’ll reiterate that this was a very nice and intelligent woman clearly not speaking from a place of malice at all and it’s understandable that her and her wife’s experience would color her opinion. But why did she (a woman at a freaking NARAL event!) go straight to what seemed to be the very worst assumption about women who seek abortions after the first trimester? Again, a lot can be laid at the feet of anti-choicers and their relentless insistence that such abortions are only done for callous and frivolous reasons but, again, their claims still resonate with the general public for reasons that go beyond that.

If this were just about people’s uncharitable conclusions about women (other women, bad women!) that they kibitzed among themselves, it would be one thing. But it’s not. It’s about the laws that are passed based on anti-choice zealotry and greeted with a yawn by the public due to those same uncharitable conclusions about women. I don’t have time to give an intricate explanation to every random person I meet at a party that her squeamishness about fifth month abortions might contribute to her wife possibly dying from pregnancy complications because the doctor dares not perform the termination without a second doctor’s opinion and hospital legal department approval because the law was written and/or enforced assuming the absolute worst about women and those who care for them.

I shouldn’t have to. People should just stop assuming the worst of women and their health care providers.

Anti-choicers push a dumb conspiracy theory yet again

14 Jul 2015 10:38 pm
Posted by: Donna

Perhaps looking for something, anything to distract from the devastation (for them) of the Iran nuclear deal (OMG, we’re going to negotiate instead of drop bombs on them, the humanity!), right wingers dredged up the tiresome urban legend of abortion clinics selling fetal body parts for profit on Tuesday. I’ve been familiar with this tale since the early 90s. It always gets debunked as the risible garbage it is but not before it is breathlessly blanketed across right wing media and is picked up by at least some credulous MSM reporters.

When I first saw #PlannedParenthood trending in the morning and saw what it was about, I felt it best to assume the worst before scoffing. Maybe they had (finally) caught someone who worked for Planned Parenthood fiendishly selling fetal organs unbeknownst to patients. Or maybe in full collusion with the dirty abortion-having skanks. Who can tell what may be going on in the febrile imaginations of anti-choicers at any given time? So I tweeted this:

Because honestly, if the allegations of the heavily edited “sting” tape were 100% true I would put it in the same category as Margaret Sanger being a fan of eugenics (she was) and Kermit Gosnell (terrible monster who ran a filthy clinic in Philadelphia and killed at least one patient and who is currently in jail for his crimes). When either is thrown at me my response is (something along the lines of): Of what relevance is that to the right of women to have safe legal abortion and access to contraception? Seriously, I and other women should be in constant state of pregnancy in 2015 because Margaret Sanger was a dick about some things a century ago? All clinics should be shut down for “safety” because of one asshole who ran an unsafe one? Absurd.

As the day went on I became safely certain the anti-choice sting operation was bullshit but my tweet, naturally, caused my timeline to be swarmed with angry anti-choicers screaming how I’m a baby killer and whatnot. And Doug MacEachern, editor at the Arizona paper of record where he works the angry birther uncle beat, tweeted this at me because journalism.

I provided MacEachern with a link to Planned Parenthood’s statement in response to the “sting” video so that he might discontinue looking foolish about this, but we’ll see. I hate that this is distracting from real, important news like Iran but anti-choice conspiracy nuttery has a way of becoming widely circulated enough to seem vaguely credible and then used to justify concrete attacks on reproductive health care access so it needs to be quashed quickly.

What Jim Webb considers to be the liberal equivalent of Donald Trump

13 Jul 2015 03:49 am
Posted by: Donna

bree newsomeA woman doing the exact same thing as Donald Trump did when he described Mexican immigrants as rapists, obviously

Former Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), who announced his candidacy for US Presidency to the enthusiasm of literally no one, had scathing words for GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Per The Hill:

“This kind of divisive, inflammatory rhetoric from people who want to be commander in chief is not helpful,” Webb told host Bret Baier on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Don’t be throwing these bombs,” he added.

So far so good, but I have learned when a centrist like Webb uses violent metaphors like “throwing bombs” to describe any political rhetoric he finds distasteful, a false equivalence is bound to follow. And sure enough:

Webb argued on Sunday that a liberal equivalent exists in the recent push to remove all Confederate symbols from government grounds.

“We’ve seen it on the liberal side too with Southern white culture,” he said of insensitivity towards Southern culture.

While much of the “both sides do it!” palaver should be understood as errant nonsense from people too lazy or fearful to address the very real threat to this country posed by radical right wing reactionaries, a veritable cottage industry of centrists pushing their own agenda has emerged to take advantage of it. Here’s an example how it works: “Extremists on the Right want to shut the government down while extremists on the Left are refusing to accept our awesome ideas about cutting Social Security and Medicare and privatizing the schools! Join our No Labels/Americans Elect/Simpson Bowles/Open Primaries movement to put partisanship aside and work toward sensible solutions! (That the rich people funding this endeavor just so happen to favor).”

In Jim Webb’s case, it’s not so much about rich people’s desires. Webb seems to have a real affinity for the loser traitor Stars and Bars flag and other relics of the Old South. He is acting as if the people who have been offended by having a symbol of slavery and bigotry shoved in their faces by the very institutions their taxes support for decades are demanding its removal by those institutions – in the aftermath of a brutal massacre of nine African-Americans by a white guy who waved it proudly – merely as a personal affront to guys like Jim Webb. That is a staggering level of oblivious narcissism on his part. It, unfortunately, does not end with Webb’s flag fetish:

“You’re right – the Democratic Party has moved way to the left,” Webb told Baier when asked about the emergence of progressive politics into Democratic ideology.

“That’s not my Democratic Party,” he said. “I believe that we can bring a different tone to the Democratic Party.”

Webb charged on Sunday that his campaign could find success with America’s working class.

“These are people who have not (sic) been forgotten by both parties,” he said of blue-collar voters. “I think they need a voice.”

There’s nothing new about this supposedly colorblind appeal to economic populism from certain right-leaning Democrats and this has been Jim Webb’s particular jam for some time.

Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. The need for inclusiveness in our society is undeniable and irreversible, both in our markets and in our communities. Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.

Memo to my fellow politicians: Drop the Procrustean policies and allow harmony to invade the public mindset. Fairness will happen, and bitterness will fade away.

It’s hard to see how picking angry white Southerners as winners by allowing their hateful symbol to be displayed on public sites funded by all taxpayers advances harmony in the public mindset and is conducive to bitterness fading away. I’m also unsure as to how it helps anyone economically to massage bitter white egos in this way. Then again, has improving economic conditions ever been the point of race-baiting on behalf of white people?