“Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) even likened the investigation to the Salem Witch Trials.”
By Doug Porter
Having failed to find evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood insinuated by doctored videos, a House committee led by anti-abortion Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is ready to start a new campaign targeting individuals engaging in fetal tissue research.
Since July 2015, 20 states have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing or decided not to pursue the matter. Yesterday, Planned Parenthood affiliates in three states joined a federal lawsuit filed in California against the videographers, alleging fraud, illegal recording, trespassing and invasion of privacy. The videos’ makers have also been indicted in Texas.
Now the committee — called the “Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives” by the conservative representatives behind it — is seeking subpoenas to medical companies to gather the names of medical researchers, graduate students, laboratory technicians, and administrative staff.
Earlier this year UCSD redacted individual researchers names in responding to a letter from the House committee asking for information on its research concerning fetal tissue. Investigators asked for and were provided with a list of “all entities” providing fetal tissue, internal and external communications, along with banking records on the same subject.
From the Union-Tribune:
Then on March 2, UC San Diego neuroscientist Larry Goldstein was one of a handful of noted scientists to face sharp questioning from some of the panel’s members about their use of fetal tissue. He testified during the hearing that such tissue is essential to the study of diseases like Alzheimer’s, which killed his mother.
On Thursday, Goldstein told The San Diego Union-Tribune: “It’s hard to comment on this because I don’t know who they are going after. A subpoena seems like an extraordinary move since we have all been happy to give information voluntarily when it has been appropriate.
“(The panel) has not asked me the names of people in my lab who work with fetal tissue. I would probably have a problem with that, if they did. Naming names harkens back to a period in government that we look back on with horror – McCarthyism. … Students are entitled to privacy. I would be worried if I was a grad student or a postdoc and learned that the head of my lab had given my name in relation to fetal tissue during a time of heightened sensitivity and sensibilities.”
From Think Progress:
Opponents in Congress, including every Democratic member of Blackburn’s House committee, have said her request for specific information about researchers is eerily reminiscent of former Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s crusade against communism in the 1950s. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) even likened the investigation to the Salem Witch Trials.
“This time, those being burned at the stake are our scientists, who hold future medical breakthroughs in their hands,” said Speier at the March hearing. “They are joined by brave women’s healthcare workers who are simply trying to care for their patients.”
The looming subpoenas are especially unsettling for universities, whose lead researchers and students are at risk. Some schools and organizations have blacked out the names of the researchers in documents already requested by the House committee — but this new round of subpoenas wouldn’t allow for this security measure.
The Union-Tribune send out a survey to 75 local Republican officeholders and candidates asking them if they were prepared to publicly support the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.
Nine have responded thus far. Congressman Duncan Hunter has publicly endorsed The Donald. Three said that, while Trump wasn’t their first choice, they would support him if he was the nominee.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego Councilman Matt Kersey both said they support Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the primary. When asked if they would support Trump, both responded that they do not believe he will be the party’s nominee.
“I believe Gov. Kasich or another consensus candidate will emerge from the convention in Cleveland,” Kersey said.
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said she is undecided about a candidate to support in the primary, and also didn’t answer the question about Trump.
Meanwhile, former publisher Papa Doug Manchester and a host of dead Copleys must be unhappy about the fact that the UT published an op-ed on the supreme court today penned by President Barack Obama. The horrors!
And then there’s the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, lighting up the UT’s op-ed space with an essay taking House Speaker Paul Ryan to task for failing to condemn The Donald by name during his recent “Address on the State of American Politics.”
… the current crisis is very specific: A xenophobe who makes scapegoats of racial and religious minorities is threatening to take over the Republican Party and to throw the country into turmoil – and Ryan isn’t denouncing him, or even saying he won’t support him.
Instead, Ryan spoke Wednesday of the need to “raise our gaze and aim for a brighter horizon. Instead of talking about what politics is today, I want to talk about what politics can be.” But while Ryan gazes, his party – and his country – burn.
Ryan, I believe, is a decent man. His aides tell me he’s in a tight spot, and it’s true: As chairman of the Republican convention, he will be the enforcer of rules if Trump’s claim to the nomination is challenged – hence Ryan’s desire, as he puts it, “to be Switzerland, to be neutral and dispassionate.” Also, he clearly would, despite his demurrals, like to be the consensus nominee.
But to preserve his neutrality, and his presidential prospects, Ryan is making a corrupt bargain. There is no neutrality between good and evil.
On the San Diego Police Beat
A proposal making changes to a citizen panel charged with oversight of San Diego Police Department is now headed to the Council’s Charter Review Committee for consideration. Women Occupy San Diego has headed up a coalition of more than two dozen organizations pushing for changes.
The proposed changes include having independent investigators, more diversity in the board’s makeup and opening meetings to the public. As some of the proposals involve altering the City Charter, a vote of the public may be needed.
An NBC 7 Investigates story revealed two former board members, Lucy Pearson and Benetta Buell-Wilson, said they think the board has a “fixed” and ineffective review process. According to the women, the process subverts the board’s intent, something that’s detrimental not just for citizens but for SDPD officers as well.
Buell-Wilson and Pearson claim a lack of transparency and secret decision-making stifles dissent between members and the city. Both women said CRB members who are “pro-police” get the more serious cases, depriving the complaining citizens of a fair hearing.
Voice of San Diego reports on Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman’s appearance before a City Council committee wherein she argued that the city doesn’t need to create a policy for when or how it releases body camera footage. Her contention was that she and Mayor Kevin Faulconer should continue to privately make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Meanwhile, KUSI is reporting that the San Diego Unified School District has asked the Sheriff’s Department to act as an independent third party to review the facts and circumstances surrounding an officer’s use of a taser at Lincoln High School last month.
Despite the school district’s request that video of the incident be made public, the DA’s office has refused to do so.
The NAACP and other civil rights organizations have called for the District Attorney to drop all charges against the students and for the school district to end the use of uniformed and armed officers at Lincoln High.
Weekly Progressive Calendar: Upcoming in San Diego
Conversation on Race
Saturday, March 26, 9:30am
Peace Resource Center of San Diego
3850 Westgate Pl.
Info & Updates
This conversation gathering is inspired by our recent series of films and conversations on race. If you missed any/all sessions before, it’s okay!
As a group, we wanted to continue to have space to talk about the issues surrounding race, privilege, and systems of inequity. We also wanted to somehow move forward, beyond watching films… so…
This 3-hour program is a facilitated conversation space around race and related systems. Activities will include trust building, small breakouts, large group sharing, and action steps! We will examine our embedded assumptions, discover new questions, and explore avenues for change.
Refreshments provided. Donations appreciated. RSVP via Facebook or message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-hosted by the Peace Resource Center & San Diego First Church of the Brethren.
HerWord 2016: The Same Difference Screening!
Saturday, March 26, 6:30pm
Museum of Photographic Arts
1649 El Prado (Balboa Park)
Info & Updates
The Multicultural LGBT Literary Foundation and the Museum of Photographic Arts is proud to welcome the award winning Black lesbian producer and director Nneka Onuorah for the debut screening of the brilliant documentary The Same Difference for HerWord 2016! The film has received rave reviews from many LGBT and mainstream news sources including AfterEllen, Autostraddle, VH1, NBC, and The Huffington Post to name but a few. There will also be a fabulous reception and director meet and greet at 6:30 PM where women can enjoy wine and mingle with one another and the artist. Be sure to join us for this fabulous event. All funds raised through ticket sales go towards supporting LGBT artists!
Teresa Gunn performs “Teresa Joins the Pep Squad”
Saturday March 26, 7pm
Saville Theater, City College
1450 “C” Street San Diego
Info & Updates (Donation at the door)
Benefit for Street of Dreams Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational and creative support to high risk teen mothers living in urban San Diego
The Trailer Park Queen Show is presented in association with San Diego City College Alcohol & Other Drug Studies Department. The One Woman Show is an arts education program performance/workshop that demonstrates the importance of art as a primary prevention.
Fearless Voices, Planned Parenthood’s 53rd Anniversary Dinner
Wednesday, March 30, 5:30pm
Hilton San Diego Bayfront
1 Park Boulevard
Info & Updates (Fundraiser)
This one night can do so much to advance and protect vital access to reproductive health care, essential sexual health education and advocacy year-round.
Our chairs, Rosette Garcia and Daniel Kisner, M.D., are planning an inspiring evening at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront in recognition of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest’s 53 years of service throughout San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties. We are excited to welcome our featured speaker, Dr. Carole Joffe, an expert on contemporary abortion rights and reproductive justice and a professor at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UC San Francisco. In addition, Dr. Willie Parker, a fearless voice and the last abortion provider in Mississippi, will be accepting the Fearless Voice Award.
Every dollar raised benefits thousands of women, men, and families living in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties who depend on our health centers. Join us as we honor those who speak up and out for reproductive justice to make sure our patients receive the best possible care in a compassionate, safe environment.
Cesar Chavez’ Birthday March- Raise the Wage for San Diego Families
Thursday, March 31, 11:30am
4360 La Jolla Village Drive
Updates & Info
In support of an 8 hour day for Farmworkers. Unfortunately not much other info is available yet.
Streetlight Cadence Comes to the GO!
Saturday, April 2, 7:30pm
The Grassroots Oasis
3130 Moore St. (Old Town)
Info & Updates (Admission Charge)
Streetlight Cadence is a four-piece Alternative Folk Pop band that started on the streets of historic Waikiki. What began as a means to pay for groceries has now turned into a full-time career for this group of friends. The band has spent the last six years honing their craft as songwriters and entertainers. Although they come from a strict classical background of musical performance, the young men of Streetlight Cadence are anything but your typical quartet.
Streetlight Cadence carries half a decade of experience performing at restaurants, venues, weddings, coffee shops, and corporate events. Driven by their infectious storytelling and whimsicality, Streetlight Cadence has made its mark on Hawaii’s musical landscape (e.g., 2015 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards Alternative Album of the Year). Now based out of Southern California, none are safe from the friendly neighborhood busking band.
Get your event listed: I try to list the next 10 days or so of mostly non-commercial events I think our readers might find of interest. I source my material from social media listings and press releases. In cases where there are competing but similar events or campaigns of the progressive persuasion, I do my best to list everything. (Hint, hint Hillary fans.) Unfortunately, my subscription to the psychic hotline has lapsed so if you don’t tell me or Facebook, etc., about your event it won’t get listed. See my email address below.
On This Day: 1894 – First “Poor People’s March” on Washington, in which jobless workers demanded creation of a public works program. Led by populist Jacob Coxey, the 500 to 1,000 unemployed protesters became known as “Coxey’s Army” 1911 – In New York City, 146 women were killed in fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City. The owners of the company were indicted on manslaughter charges because some of the employees had been behind locked doors in the factory. The owners were later acquitted and in 1914 they were ordered to pay damages to each of the twenty-three families that had sued. 1966 – The Supreme Court ruled that the “poll tax” was unconstitutional.
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