Delightful News

A grand jury has indicted David Daleiden and another videographer:

A Harris County grand jury today decided not to take any action against Planned Parenthood in Houston. But two people who used undercover videos accusing the group of selling fetal tissue have been indicted.

The sting videos recorded last April alleged that Planned Parenthood illegally profited from donations of fetal tissue. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office investigated those allegations for more than two months, along with the Texas Rangers and the Houston Police Department.

In the end, a grand jury has cleared Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast of breaking the law.

“It affirms 100% what we have said from the very beginning, and that is that Planned Parenthood follows local, state and federals laws and extremely high medical standards, and our first priority is patient care,” said Rochelle Tafolla, with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. “These individuals broke the law and committed fraud in order to spread lies about Planned Parenthood and today they’re going to be held accountable for breaking those laws.”

Both David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt have been indicted for Tampering with a Governmental Record, which is a felony. Daleidan was also indicted for Prohibition of the Purchase and Sale of Human Organs, meaning he illegally offered to purchase human organs in the video recording. A violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”

In Texas, no less.

From the Weight of Your Own Past

UCSF researchers are studying women turned away from abortions due to state restrictions.  Their first effort showed that more of them end up in poverty:

In its first analysis of turnaway data published two years ago, the team found that women seek out abortions for complicated reasons, with the most common being a feeling of financial unpreparedness. This earlier analysis also showed that 86 percent of turnaways chose to keep their children, and 67 percent of them wound up below the poverty line a year later. By comparison, 56 percent of women granted abortions in the study were below the poverty line a year later. […]

Their latest effort looks at hope for the future:

Of all the goals measured, 47 percent were achieved. There was little difference between turnaways and women who had abortions when it came to achieving their goals. However, as the researchers write in their paper, women who received abortions “were significantly more likely to have both an aspirational plan and to have achieved it” than turnaways who kept their children. Upadhyay was quick to point out that overall, most of the women’s goals were aspirational. “They all had high hopes,” she said. But Turnaways “were much more likely to have negative goals.”

What this latest phase in the Turnaway study reveals is that not having access to abortion can negatively impact women’s lives. As Upadhyay and her colleagues put it in their paper, “Whether or not a person has aspirational plans is indicative of her hope for the future. Without such plans or hopes, she misses out on opportunities to achieve milestones in life.”

Put bluntly, the Turnaways had fewer hopes, so they had fewer reasons to push themselves toward what they defined as better lives.

It’s not surprising that an unplanned and unwanted child is more likely to make you poor and hopeless – this study just puts a number on the poverty and hopelessness.

Time To Face the Courts

Well, well, well:

Recordings secretly made by an anti-abortion group at meetings of abortion providers do not show criminal activity and could put the providers at risk, a federal judge said Friday, citing the recent shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick made the comments during a hearing over the National Abortion Federation’s request for a preliminary injunction that would continue to block the release of the recordings. Orrick did not immediately issue a ruling. He previously issued a temporary restraining order blocking the recordings pending the outcome of the preliminary injunction hearing.

The Center for Medical Progress has released several secretly recorded videos that it says show Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal tissue for profit, which is illegal. Planned Parenthood has said it abides by a law that allows providers to be reimbursed for the costs of processing tissue donated by women who have had abortions.

Alright, legal eagles. Does this mean that David Daleiden and the sociopaths at the “Center for Medical Progress” are in danger of facing criminal and/or other charges?

Late Night Open Thread: If It’s Good for the Goose…

Not that the bill will pass, but major props to State Rep. Stacey Newman. Per the STLMag website:

Missouri is home to some of the strictest requirements on abortion in the U.S., including a 72-hour waiting period and mandatory, state-directed counseling.

Missouri is also home to some disturbingly high gun crime rates. St. Louis and Kansas City each rank in the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest rates of gun violence, and a recent report showed that toddlers shot more people in Missouri than in any other state.

A new bill from State Rep. Stacey Newman attempts to tackle Missouri’s gun violence problem by applying the restrictions placed on women seeking abortion services to all prospective firearm purchasers, such as a requirement that anyone buying a gun first watch a 30-minute video on fatal firearm injuries.

“Since Missouri holds the rank as one of the strictest abortion regulation states in the country, it is logical we borrow similar restrictions to lower our horrific gun violence rates,” Newman said in a statement.

The bill, pre-filed Tuesday for the 2016 session, is doomed to die in Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature, something that Newman knows perfectly well…

If we truly insist that Missouri cares about ‘all life’, then we must take immediate steps to address our major cities rising rates of gun violence,” Newman said. “Popular proposals among voters, including universal background checks and restricting weapons from abuser and convicted felons, are consistently ignored each session. Since restrictive policies regarding a constitutionally protected medical procedure are the GOP’s legislative priority each year, it makes sense that their same restrictions apply to those who may commit gun violence. Our city mayors and law enforcement drastically need help in saving lives.”

Full details at the link.

Now Can We Blame Political Rhetoric and Easy Access to Guns?

Ok, concern trolls, we now know that Robert Deer, who shot up and attempted to blow up and PP and stated “no more body parts” upon arrest wasn’t a transgendered leftist, and believed the following:

But in court documents and interviews with people who knew Mr. Dear well, a picture emerges of an angry and occasionally violent man who seemed deeply disturbed and deeply contradictory: He was a man of religious conviction who sinned openly, a man who craved both extreme solitude and near-constant female company, a man who successfully wooed women but, some of them say, also abused them. He frequented marijuana websites, then argued with other posters, often through heated religious screeds.


A number of people who knew Mr. Dear said he was a staunch abortion opponent, though another ex-wife, Pamela Ross, said that he did not obsess on the subject. After his arrest, Mr. Dear said “no more baby parts” to investigators, a law enforcement official said.

One person who spoke with him extensively about his religious views said Mr. Dear, who is 57, had praised people who attacked abortion providers, saying they were doing “God’s work.” In 2009, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concerns for the privacy of the family, Mr. Dear described as “heroes” members of the Army of God, a loosely organized group of anti-abortion extremists that has claimed responsibility for a number of killings and bombings.

Now can we point out that irresponsible rhetoric from politicians ranting and raving about baby parts and abortion and Planned Parenthood might have contributed to his murderous spree? Is it still too soon? Just tell me when you feel comfortable. I don’t want to rush you.

Jesus fucking christ, I am so sick of the sniveling horseshit from people every time some lunatic is prodded into doing something evil. It’s a gigantic hoocoodanode, ain’t it? How were we supposed to know that this might cause problems:

During the second Republican presidential debate on 16 September, Fiorina made a sharp impact when she said: “As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain’.”

If you continue to believe that kind of political rhetoric had no impact on this and other previous murders, you’re as full of shit as Fiorina but don’t have the balls to go all in like she does.

Blind Science Trials

It’s pretty weird how that whole theocratic crushing of ideas thing kicks in for Republican Conservative Champions Of Free Speech whenever the subject turns to a woman’s reproductive system.

University of Missouri doctoral student plans to continue research for her dissertation on the effects of the state’s recently imposed 72-hour waiting period for abortions, despite a state legislator’s push to block the research, the student told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview.

“I stand by my research project,” Lindsay Ruhr said Wednesday. “I feel that my research is objective, and that the whole point of my research is to understand how this policy affects women. Whether this policy is having a harmful or beneficial effect, we don’t know.”

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Republican from Columbia, Missouri, who chairs the Missouri state senate’s interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life, sent a letter in late October to the University of Missouri calling Ruhr’s dissertation “a marketing aid for Planned Parenthood — one that is funded, in part or in whole, by taxpayer dollars,” according to a copy of the letter posted to Schaefer called for the university to hand over documents regarding the project’s approval and said that, because the University of Missouri is a public university, it should not fund research that he said would promote elective abortions. Missouri law prohibits the use of public funds to promote non-life-saving abortions.

“We are still in the process of responding to Sen. Schaefer’s request for documents,” Mary Jenkins, public relations manager for University of Missouri Health, said Wednesday in an email. Schaefer did not respond to Al Jazeera’s multiple interview requests.

Now, let’s break this down here because there’s a national theater chain’s worth of projection going on.  First, let’s pause to contemplate that Missouri’s state senate actually has an interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life.  Is this going to be a permanent thing in the future? Will this committee mobilize in case Springfield is attacked by extra-dimensional beings dedicated to drawing silly mustaches on all life, ruining its sanctity? I’d like to know.

Second, let’s have a discussion of just how much Christian Taliban fascism garbage that’s packed into this story here. Republicans have long stated that waiting periods, required counseling, forced ultrasounds, etc. before abortions are to be allowed are good for women and change societal behavior in a way that positively affects people, in particular how women act (and please put aside the notion that Republicans think women are broken, stupid creatures that constantly need vaginal guidance, that is.)

Somebody finally decided to take that theory, which is a testable theory, and decided to research and test that theory scientifically as part of a doctoral research project at a university, so far so good.  But instead of even waiting for the findings, Sen. Schaefer is effectively saying that research cannot even be done on this subject because it might support the notion that women may be harmed by all these restrictions.

Then you have to make the jump that research that might show women are harmed by abortion restrictions are automatically promotion of  abortion itself, and that doing the research at a public university is automatically promotion of abortion. Finally you have to make a massive, rocket-assisted leap in microgravity conditions to reach the notion that a state legislative body has the power to effectively censor a university doctoral thesis that hasn’t even been completed yet.

I mean, we’re all aware that religious fanatics will go to extraordinary lengths to control a woman’s body here, but this is super bonus hyper bonkers mode even for these guys.

But nobody should be surprised.

Nutpicking Can Be Fun…

…until you realize that these guys, were they to be nominated, would get 45% of the vote just for showing up.

But still, some mid – day recreation, first from the kiddie table:

In a fundraising email flagged by The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel on Thursday, the Republican candidate bragged about his ability to take on “radical world leaders.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 1.33.20 PM

Damn, women can be pretty terrifying, eh, Ricky my boy?

Alright.  I admit that the closest Santorum is going to get to anything oval will be if he sits on a hula hoop, but still, that’s a Republican former senator who made an actual impact, for a time, on the presidential race as recently as four years ago.  That he’s not been gently, kindly escorted off stage in a nicely padded and very secure topcoat is a measure of how batshit insane half of the American body political has become.


But not as terrifying a measure as the current status of our next contributor:

Carson also defended the idea Wednesday evening when asked by reporters about it.

“The pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments. You wouldn’t need hermetically sealed compartments for a sepulcher. You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time,” he said, according to MSNBC.

The only consolation I can take from the fact that the current GOP frontrunner doesn’t want you to pay any attention to that stupid archaeology stuff is that it isn’t just climate expertise he disdains. He’s an equal opportunity science denialist.

OK.  That’s no consolation at all.

I’d point and laugh — but then you’d see my own terror in the trembling of my finger tip.

Seriously:  that people like Santorum and Carson matter even momentarily in a presidential race is more than just a measure of GOP pathology.  It’s a sign of its own version of endtimes.  I think I want to save the full thumbsucker for another post, but the derangement of so much of the electorate (Houston voters freak out over even the remote possibility of a penis in a women’s bathroom?!) is not just-a-once-every-four-years freak show.  It’s not even on some level political, or not entirely so.  The world is apocaplyptically misbehaving for a lot of folks, and Carson and Santorum are as much as anything the straws in the wind of that much greater dislocation.

And with that, I’m galumphing into dread pundit territory.  Run away! (and talk amongst yourselves).

Image:  Antonio Parreiras, The crazy man from Chevillat, 1920.

ETA: Perhaps I went a little overboard on the categories. Ah well….

ETA 2:  OK, for readability porpoises, just removed some categories.  Killjoys.