(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To This Post)
Being our semi-regular weekly survey of what’s goin’ down in the several states where, as we know, the real work of governmentin’ gets done, and where you can see that painted wagon and smell the tail of the dragon.
We begin in Michigan, where they keep electing sexist jackasses to their state legislature. From the Michigan Advance:
After the Senate session ended and the chamber cleared out, a line of about 30 boys from Lucido’s alma mater, De La Salle Collegiate, an all boys’ Catholic high school in Warren, stood in front of the Senate doors. I asked Lucido for a moment to address the issue at hand, and he told me he would catch up with me after he was finished honoring the group of students. As I turned to walk away, he asked, “You’ve heard of De La Salle, right?” I told him I hadn’t. “It’s an all boys’ school,” he told me.“You should hang around! You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you.”
The teenagers burst into an Old Boys’ Network-type of laughter, and I walked away knowing that I had been the punchline of their “locker room” talk. Except it wasn’t the locker room; it was the Senate chamber. And this isn’t high school. It’s my career.
Before moving along, though, we should check on “the issue at hand” about which Ms. Donahue wanted to ask. From Detroit Metro Times:
An anti-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer group on Facebook devolved into a vile platform that promoted violence against Democrats and Muslims and churned out degrading comments about women...One of the group’s members is state Sen. Peter Lucido, a Republican from Shelby Township who shared at least seven anti-Whitmer posts since Nov. 29. His office did not respond to Metro Times’ request for an interview.
Jeebus, these people belong in a zoo. Seriously. Hang in there, Alison Donahue. Not everyone is a caveman.
We move on to Florida, where Congressman Matt Gaetz is in the news again. This time, he’s gotten sideways with another Republican and, as the Tampa Bay Times informs us, this is part of an ongoing family feud. It all began with a legislator named Chris Latvala tweeting out a photo of himself chatting with Rev. Al Sharpton.
Gaetz, a Republican U.S. Congressman who represents Fort Walton Beach, was not a fan of the tweet. “Sharpton has called Cops ‘pigs;’ Whites ‘interlopers;’ Greeks ‘homos’ and Jews ‘diamond merchants,’” Gaetz tweeted in response. “So that is pretty disgusting.”
Matters escalated apace.
Latvala, the son of the once-powerful state Sen. Jack Latvala, fired back at Gaetz, accusing the congressman of creating a “game” that involved a sexual scoring system when Gaetz was a state representative...In a text message, Latvala cited a 2013 tweet by Politico’s Marc Caputo, who was then at the Miami Herald, that explained the alleged game: legislators got one point for sleeping with a lobbyist; two points for sleeping with Legislative staff; three for another legislator; six for a married legislator.
Against all possible odds, the exchanger gets even more childish. Please, Florida, stop electing these people. You’re lowering the discourse.
We skip on up to Virginia, where it truly was a helluva week. First, the Commonwealth became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which makes it part of the Constitution—or, maybe not. The fight goes on. From The Atlantic:
Whether the Constitution has actually been amended for the 28th time—and for the first time in more than a quarter century—is now officially in question and a matter for the courts to decide. Even before the two Democratic-led chambers of the Virginia legislature voted today, supporters and opponents of the ERA had filed dueling federal lawsuits, launching a legal battle that could wind up in the Supreme Court. A deadline that Congress originally imposed (and later revised) for ratification of the amendment by the states has long since passed. ERA backers are trying to get the deadline invalidated, while foes want not only to keep the lapsed due date intact but to prevent Congress from retroactively eliminating it.
In the past, Ferriero seems to have taken the position that the ERA is a viable amendment, the lapsed congressional deadline notwithstanding. He accepted the post-deadline ratifications of Illinois and Nevada and included both states on a list of those that had ratified the amendment. A National Archives and Records Administration spokesperson, Laura Sheehan, told me it was the archivist’s “responsibility to document the actions that have been taken by the states with respect to any proposed constitutional amendment. The [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion has separately determined that the recent state approvals cannot serve to cause the Equal Rights Amendment to be adopted.”
Almost at the same time, Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in Richmond because some gun-fondlers were said to be preparing An Action to protest gun control measures that are currently before the state legislature. From The New York Times:
Thousands of protesters are expected to converge in Richmond on Monday to oppose a series of proposed restrictions on gun purchases expected to be taken up in the coming weeks by the Virginia Legislature, where Democrats control both chambers and the governor’s office for the first time in a generation.
The governor said on Twitter that the authorities had identified credible “threats of violence,” including from out-of-state militia groups and hate groups that planned disruptions. He said the authorities had also found extremist rhetoric online similar to what had been seen in 2017 before the Charlottesville rally, when white nationalists and counterprotesters clashed in a deadly fight over the removal of Confederate monuments.
Northam wasn’t kidding, either. Goons of many lands seem to be converging on his capital. Again, from the NYT:
The men were taken into custody on Thursday morning as part of a long-running investigation into the group, known as The Base. The men were charged with various federal crimes in Maryland, according to the Justice Department. They were scheduled to appear in federal court before a judge on Thursday afternoon.
One of the men, Patrik Jordan Mathews, 27, a main recruiter for the group, entered the United States illegally from Canada, according to the officials. He was arrested along with Brian M. Lemley Jr., 33, and William G. Bilbrough IV, 19. Mr. Mathews was trained as a combat engineer and considered an expert in explosives. He was dismissed from the Canadian Army after his ties to white supremacists surfaced. Mr. Lemley previously served as a cavalry soldier in the United States Army.
It is here where we note, without irony, that the Arabic for "The Base" is al-Qaeda.
And we conclude, as is our custom, in the great state of Oklahoma, where Blog Official Fry Cook Friedman of the Plains brings us the tale of another embattled Christian who is being oppressed. From Channel 8 in Tulsa:
Senate Concurrent Resolution 7 would recognize the "unique contribution" the Bible has made in shaping the United States, including that "biblical teachings inspired civil government concepts found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” “We have turned away from the foundational principles and truths that established our country,” Dahm said. “This resolution allows us to recognize the influence the Bible has on our land.”
The measure is supported by one of America’s most respected smugglers.
Hobby Lobby President and Board Chairman of the Museum of the Bible Steve Green supports the passage saying, "It is important in America to keep our religious freedoms safe both as individuals and as businesses.”
And safe from customs officials, I would imagine.
This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.
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