One of the main planks of all Voter ID Suppression Laws is to shrink the number of days or completely eliminate early voting, especially on Sundays when “souls to the polls” efforts at black churches became famous and successful. That’s one of the many ways these laws are specifically designed to shave, on the margins, traditionally black voters. Donald Trump, ironically, has made the best argument of all against early voting: that you really, really, just might want to change your vote the final few weeks or days after you’ve early voted. Sometimes history grabs you by the crotch and everything is upside down. It actually seems possible that on November 4th Donald Trump might shoot someone on Fifth Avenue thinking it’s his last chance to demonstrate his manhood and he shouldn’t be denied those already locked-in early Hillary votes that would swing over to him in such a case. We need to be fair. Early voting is not fair. Right.
A month to go. The Obama Weather Machine unsuccessfully tried to divert attention by creating an east coast hurricane. Epic fail. Most of the country still focused on new news about the election. “The people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry,” Hillary says in leaked documents (thanks, Vlad) referring to Wall Street bigshots. Not a great moment for her, but hardly worse than Trump bragging that he knows the rigged, corrupt system better than anyone and only he, the Messiah, can fix it. Neither is her comment, “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.” Don’t weaken because of one line, Bernie Brothers. The American people will have to decide whether that was private suck-up talk or whether Hillary would push not only for not a wall with Mexico, but Welcome Centers every 3 miles along the border…. like you see when you cross into a new state on an interstate highway.
The Trump Access Hollywood tape of his admission that he is an out of control, star/rich guy privileged, Tic Tac-swallowing, unsolicited crotch-grabbing sexual predator has such high shock value not only because of the timing, but because we only believe stuff these days if it’s on tape. After all the bad publicity surrounding domestic violence situations in the NFL, only one player lost his career: Ray Rice, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens. That’s because there was actual video of him dragging his wife out of the elevator. Other domestic abuse cases against women and children just can’t be so bad, apparently… because there’s no visual evidence. Resume play, please.
Those of us on the complete other side of Trump Train Tracks start the process of beginning to breathe out. Not completely yet, but beginning to see what we’ve hoped for with the guy from day one: that eventually the total weight of all of the insanity, the hate, the racism, the fraud of the con man, the unconstitutional ignorance of his very being and knowing nothing about anything plus the entire sordid 40-year public history of Donald Trump would finally collapse on him. The Russian Winter is approaching and is upon this Hitlerian figure of American History. One Con Too Many.
One thing that is a 100% sure bet: The Republican Convention in Cleveland will draw the highest television ratings we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Why wouldn’t it? Trump’s Delusion…. that he’ll actually be elected president… makes its last stand in a totally controlled environment this week. When the Nielsens come in huge he’ll predictably brag about them and add the rating number to the insufferably boring recitation of the victorious glory days of primaries past he spits out, from memory, to kill 40% of the time at his rallies.
Speaking of controlled environments, I was in Cleveland over the Fourth of July weekend and one of my lifetime complaints has been addressed there: smoking in casinos. I wondered if I was the only person in the world who liked to play blackjack but hated smoking and the smell of the casino. The Jack Casino in downtown Cleveland is smoke-free. Delightful. Las Vegas made the calculation years ago that the connection between smoking and gambling was too strong to risk banning it. Risk what? That people just won’t gamble, or gamble as much if they can’t smoke for a few minutes or hours at the Bellagio? That always made as much sense as the fake warnings airlines issued when it was suggested flying become smoke-free. (the law officially changed in 1990) Nervous flyer-smokers were supposedly being denied their Constitutional rights, would stop flying and the airline business would come to an unprofitable end. Try telling someone under 40 that at one time you could smoke on an airplane. They won’t believe you.
That stolen George Burns/Groucho Marx quote appears to be what will decide this presidential election that eclipses all others in having two candidates with such high negatives, albeit for different reasons. If you’re an undecided voter, you need to consider whether you think that the past, horrible or allegedly horrible things that the candidates have done in their public and business lives are likely to be a replicable roadmap to their behavior as president. Or, are the most egregious errors that will be pointed out simply unfair exaggerations that can always be countered with, “yea, but what about?…..”
No matter what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did regarding her cavalier attitude towards email security, do you believe she’d actually try to continue to have a private server as President Hillary Clinton, caring so little about state secrets that she’d continue her careless ways unabated… she must hate America even more than Barack Obama? If not and you think that last sentence was written by Sean Hannity, then she should get your vote. If you don’t think she went on a 15-hour bender, sleeping through the Benghazi disaster, only to wake up for 3 minutes to call off the readily available troops to rescue Chris Stevens and company, then she should get your vote. If you think the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy outweighs Hillary Clinton’s own personal foibles and insecurities, she should get your vote.
If you don’t believe that Donald Trump stiffs his contractors and workers, trying to negotiate them down, he should get your vote… if you don’t believe that in 2006 he started Trump Mortgage specifically to become a lending slumlord, read this:Cleveland’s Pain Was Donald Trump’s Gain.
A deeply reported story on NextCity.org from local writer Dan McGraw looks at how the Republican Party is about to nominate in Cleveland a man who encouraged investors to exploit the foreclosure crisis. Donald Trump “once sold subprime mortgages through a short-lived venture called Trump Mortgages and taught America, through a for-profit education company he founded called Trump University, how to profit from foreclosures,” the story notes. In the same year that Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland lost 783 homes to foreclosure, Trump University “was running ads with a picture of its founding namesake and the message, ‘Investors Nationwide are Making Millions in Foreclosures … And So Can You!,’ ” McGraw writes.
If you think the above is malarkey, vote for Trump. If you believe his explanation on why he, allegedly the richest guy to ever be a nominee, refuses to release his tax returns (it’s not the law that he has to…. he’s under audit… the Yankees lost 3 in a row….)…. if you don’t care that his returns would show how little he’s ever given to charity, how much lower his yearly income is than would be typical of someone of his alleged net worth, how little in actual income tax he has been paying…. that he hypocritically demanded the VP-Political Apprentice candidates show him their returns…. then vote for Trump.
My macro-confidence grows over some things that have always stuck out, for me, about Trump. He is the richest, most brilliant businessman guy I’ve ever seen who has never produced one person who has said, “he made me rich.” Every other mogul spawns disciples. The real people who’ve had any kind of financial dealings with Trump, directly or indirectly, seem to be people he’s ripped off and destroyed through schemes and scams over the decades. The tax return thing is so far beyond inexcusable that it cannot be explained away. And picking Mike Pence to show what a Team Unity Player he is should be seen as the transparent, ultimate flip-flop that it is. The establishment Republicans can like me…. they can really like me!
Here are some key words for the Republican Convention Drinking Game: God, Obamacare, 35%, Mexico, China, the blacks, the Hispanics, women, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, bathrooms, Second Amendment, tennis balls, law and order, Benghazi, Lyin Hillary, Radical Islamic Terrorism, Obama, Nobama, Lebron, apologize, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, dishonest, illegal alien, Cleveland Orchestra, Republican Party, Titanic. Enjoy the show!
—Marcia Clark, recounting her reaction to the revelation that there were tapes of Mark Fuhrman spewing every racial invective ever heard against African-American
S–t gets real in episode 4 of OJ: Made in America, the excellent documentary series from ESPN. Graphic pictures are shown of a nearly-decapitated Nicole Brown Simpson, her body so bloody and disfigured that it barely resembles a human being. Likewise, the butchered lifeless body of Ronald Goldman is shown with deep neck wounds that reveal his vocal chords. Vocal chords that were probably used to scream for his life until there was no life left in him
Beyond the cameras, the circus outside the courthouse, and the Dancing Itos, People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpsonshould have been about those two dead people. Instead it became about anything but. You name it: Rodney King, the LAPD, Fuhrman, gloves, Bruno Maglis…all of the diversions became the story and the victims became forgotten souls, lost in a tidal wave of so much flotsam
OJ: Made in Americais likely the best examination of Simpson and the creation of the monster who perpetrated those murders on that June night in 1994. The OJ who came out of the ghetto effectively turned his back on the black community for 30 years before he discovered his African-American identity when he needed to wear it like a cloak against the murder charges he was facing. As OJ is in police custody, following the low-speed chase, as he looks at all the people gathered outside his estate, he is quoted by one police officer on-the-scene as saying “What are all these n—-s doing in Brentwood?”
Later, as The Juice is on his “Thank You, My Brothers Tour” following the not guilty verdict, OJ attends services at an AME Church (probably for the first time) and gets a bite to eat at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. While dining at Roscoe’s, he tells his agent Mike Gilbert “When in the hell have you ever seen me here?”
Say it loud, indeed
Gilbert, for my money, is the star of the series (along with Clark, whose biting wit barely masks palpable, understandable contempt) because of his insight, particularly in the last two episodes. Gilbert happens upon Simpson at his house one night as The Juice is drinking beer and smoking pot and asks his friend what happened that night. OJ asks Gilbert what he thinks happened on that fateful night. Gilbert says that he feels Simpson committed the murders. Then OJ tells Gilbert Nicole would still be alive he she hadn’t come to the door with a knife in her hand. Chilling
Gilbert also details OJ’s descent into the life of a frat boy, when Simpson leaves Brentwood for south Florida. Juice lived the South Beach life hard with all-nighters, strip club visits, and threesomes with women sporting no tan lines, That debauchery leads to Vegas and Vegas leads to OJ’s downfall
Ezra Edelman produced and directed the series and deserves a great deal of credit for interviewing practically everyone who ever knew Simpson or had anything to do with the trial. He even gets a sit down with the reclusive (at least, this century) F. Lee Bailey. Edelman deserves multiple Emmy Awards™ and, probably, a Peabody™, but I was a little annoyed that he decided to use interviews that gave credence to the idea that OJ’s punishment in Nevada was “get back” for his acquittal in People v. Simpson
Edelman also hits the “Made in America” theme hard as he shows Simpson lowering the American flag on his Brentwood property as he vacates it on his way to South Beach. Even this becomes a show as Gilbert is instructed to act as though he an intruder on Simpson’s estate and OJ works up fake tears, as he raises and lowers the flag, ultimately a prisoner to his Hollywood showbiz surroundings
God bless America
All five episodes of OJ: Made in America are now streaming on the Watch ESPN app
NOTE: In this piece, NASCAR refers to the Sprint Cup Series, which is NASCAR’s premiere series and what most people think of when they think of the term NASCAR
I’d like to think that the current death spiral for NASCAR started when it’s chief executive endorsed the Klan’s favorite presidential candidate
But, that’s a little simplistic. As far as I can tell, NASCAR’s current problems began on February 18, 2001. Dale Earnhardt died on the last lap of the Daytona 500 and the sport has been looking for the next Intimidator ever since Again, a little simplistic, but there’s an element of truth to it. In a sport where the old-timers always talk about how things will never be as good as the “good old days,” it’s just not possible that any of today’s drivers will ever measure up to Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Think about it: Earnhardt probably knew real moonshine runners, the people who founded the sport. His father and grandfather raced on dirt tracks for money that barely covered their expenses. With all due respect to legacy driver Austin Dillon (an immensely talented star who pilots the number 3 car made famous by Earnhardt), do you think Austin rolled around on the garage floor looking for ball bearings the night before he drove 300 miles to go make twenty bucks at a dirt track? But, is that even what NASCAR is about? Is the “dirt track hero” narrative something that excites today’s younger consumers/fans? After all, today’s NASCAR (particularly the Sprint Cup series) is less about Jim Bob and more about Jimmy John’s™ being “freaky fast” The numbers tell a striking story. The first five races of the season showed steep declines in television viewership
Daytona — 6.6 final rating (down 14% from 2015), 11.4 million viewers (down 15%) Atlanta — 4.1 final rating (down 27%), 6.8 million viewers (down 28%) Las Vegas — 4.4 final rating (down 4%), 7.2 million viewers (down 7%) Phoenix — 4.0 final rating (down slightly), 6.6 million viewers (down 5%) Fontana — 4.0 final rating (down 7%), 6.8 million viewers (down 7%)
NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Charlotte earned a 3.2 overnight rating on FOX Sunday evening, down 11% from last year (3.6), down 18% from 2014 (3.9) and the lowest overnight for the race since moving to FOX in 2001 — including rainouts. The race has now set or tied a multi-year low in five of the past seven seasons and each of the past three. Overnight ratings have now declined for all-but-three Sprint Cup races this year, with seven of the 13 down by double-digits and six hitting a multi-year low. The 3.2 overnight is not just low by Charlotte standards, tying the second-lowest overnight for any Sunday Sprint Cup race on FOX. This season has produced the three lowest Sunday overnights, with Bristol also earning a 3.2 and Richmond setting the low bar at 2.9
We’re living in a UFC world. There’s a reason that UFC is being valued at $4 billion. It’s because, more than any sports entity this century, they’ve adapted to the digital lifestyle of young consumers. It’s very easy for UFC fans to share clips on social media with their friends. It’s easy for UFC fans to interact during big fights on twitter, which has become the best sports bar ever. Unless NASCAR pushes fans to share spectacular crashes, which seems a bit morbid, they’re probably not going to be social media friendly. Coca-Cola™ isn’t in the snuff film business Which, gets to the heart of the problem: NASCAR has become too corporate. With billion-dollar brands as part of the equation, it’s impossible for anybody to have any fun. It’s one thing for Jethro to fight Clem, but when it becomes Metro PCS™ endorser slugging it out with Skittles™ spokesperson, it becomes a little less dangerous and a lot more boring So, given the unassailable facts, what is NASCAR to do? So far, a lot of nothing. And, to be fair, in today’s media landscape, there is value to being able to attract an audience of 5 or 6 or 7 million viewers. So, the big brains who run the sport will continue to point to that and not address existential problems which threaten the future of the sport Which brings us back to this guy
He’s been repeating that he got more votes than any Republican presidential candidate ever received in history (also true of Mitt Romney in ’12 and John McCain in ’08, etc.). He insists that he’s energized the base. He brags that he’ll bring new people into the fold Meanwhile, America has changed. It’s less white, less male-dominated, and more diverse. The America that could have elected Donald Trump president isn’t there anymore. And, due to the sycophantic bubble he lives in, he won’t make the changes he needs to in order to appeal to more people because he doesn’t think he needs to make any changes Which means we should be pretty close to a NASCAR driver who debuts by wrecking half the field and fighting the other half. He’ll curse profusely in interviews on national television and smoke unfiltered Camel™ cigarettes as he signs women’s ample breasts unapologetically in front of their children. He’ll do Fireball™ shots at the drivers’ meeting and make You Tube videos of him wiping his rear end with NASCAR fine notices. And NASCAR will enjoy a spike in popularity, but the march towards irrelevance will continue On the hood of his car: Make Racing Great Again
For many of us Cleveland products across the country it will be another nervous two weeks as the NBA Finals start. The pressure is enormous to break the 52-year curse of No Championships. Thanks to the always exploitive ESPN for producing “Believeland,” which they will run ad nauseam through the Finals. It is
the story of the five-decade failure of Cleveland sports. You know, the same ESPN that televised LeBron’s “decision” a few years ago to leave Cleveland high and dry for a few more years while he vacationed in Miami.
I was 9 when the Browns won that last championship in 1964. We’d just moved to Cleveland (Beachwood, suburb) that spring. How great it was! Who knew it would be the last time a local team would ever win it all? The Browns ruled Cleveland through the sixties. My older brother went to a summer camp run by Browns Dick Schafrath and Vince Costello. The peak for me was sitting there freezing at the 1968 NFL Championship game at the Stadium with my cousin Maxine. That’s the game the Colts won so they could go get smoked in the Super Bowl by Joe Namath and the Jets. I moved out of Ohio by 1981 and have generally lost touch with the Browns and Indians. Beating Golden State or Oklahoma City will be tough, but as close at the Cavs came last year with 2 of the Big 3 out, it’s certainly possible. The parade might dwarf any sports celebration parade anywhere, anytime. There are millions of us scattered across the country waiting for this moment. It was one thing for the Red Sox to finally win, but Boston itself had hardly been starved for pro championships in the other sports. Same with the Cubs and Chicago. Cleveland is a special case. Lift a glass for LeBron and the Boys!
The worker said Mr. Wade (who said he chooses not to capitalize on his father’s name in his activist efforts) detailed that he had been conceived when his parents were students at Auburn. Shortly after he was born, his parents’ relationship ended and Mr. Wade characterized his relationship with his father as more akin to a “grandfather.”
The transportation worker said Mr. Wade was especially proud of his work with an organization called Help or Hush(link) and was heading from Fayetteville immediately to St. Louis to do work for that organization.
The worker also said Mr. Wade talked about the pressures of being the son of someone famous. photo courtesy of NBA.com
Charles Wade maintains his innocence of the charges.
NBA Goes to the Line- Commissioner Adam Silver had been hedging until Thursday, having said no decision could POSSIBLY be made about the 2017 All Star Game scheduled for Charlotte because playoff games are being held in Charlotte right now (did somebody say those home games must be moved?) and the league has a team there (no kidding, Adam!…did someone say Michael Jordan should be forced to immediately move the team to Toledo?)… a totally fake slippery slope argument that no one was making. The All-Star Game (only) has been the topic, as a singular, big event. Directly comparable to the NFL yanking a Super Bowl from Arizona in 1990 over the Martin Luther King holiday. Silver unfudged the fudge Thursday, saying “the NBA has been clear that if the status quo in North Carolina remains in place the All-Star Game would have to be moved.” The league, of course, hadn’t been so clear until that more definitive statement, but it’s never too late to do the right thing.
Incalculable, Self-Inflicted Reputational/Economic Damage In Billions- It’s one thing to buy a stock, watch it tank, realize it’s never coming back, finally selling it and taking the loss. You made a bad decision, you digest it…. you move on. It’s another thing to buy a stock, watch it tank, realize it’s never coming back, refusing to sell it, never acknowledging your bad judgement… riding the stock down all the way into the toilet out of pique, spite, and arrogance. So far, that’s what appears to be happening with the adherents of HB2. The more the concert cancellations pile up, the more that companies, both large and small, express their hesitance to expand or relocate to North Carolina, the more overall permanent damage that is done to North Carolina’s former reputation as the “smart, progressive” member of the Old Confederacy with the great university system (also being destroyed in a separate crime)…. the more damage done, the stubborner they get. At a news conference on the upcoming legislative session, NC Senate leader Phil Berger referred to the law as “our commonsense bathroom safety bill” for its measures governing transgender bathroom access in many public buildings.
WWE Announces HB2 Trump vs Cruz Restroom Stall Match! Not really, but these two heading to opposite sides of the ring on this is the perfect campaign metaphor for the unforeseeable, unintended consequences of the law’s political effects anywhere and everywhere politicians are asked about it. On the Today Show Thursday, Donald Trump smartly went full Libertarian/hands off/status quo in opposing HB2: “There have been very few problems, leave it the way it is,” he said. “North Carolina, what they’re going through with all of the business that’s leaving and all of the strife, and that’s on both sides, you leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble.”… When asked about which bathroom Caitlyn Jenner would use in the Trump Towers, he said she could use whichever bathroom she chooses. He was also asked if he had any transgender people working for him, he said he did not know.
Ted Cruz saw an opening:“Donald Trump is no different from politically correct leftist elites. Today, he joined them in calling for grown men to be allowed to use little girls’ public restrooms,” Cruz said. “As the dad of young daughters, I dread what this will mean for our daughters — and for our sisters and our wives. It is a reckless policy that will endanger our loved ones.” Cruz said the famously outspoken real-estate magnate succumbed to “political correctness. This is not real tolerance. The Left wants to force its belief system onto Americans across the country and silence people of faith in the public square,” Cruz said. “Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump is all too eager to join them.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich has also said he would not sign or support a law similar to North Carolina’s.
The irony of the most potty-mouthed person to ever run for president sounding reasonable and inclusive, using this issue to cut through to Democrats and liberals should be lost on no one. Right now we’re all on this crazy tour leading to who knows where….
Raleigh, North Carolina (AP) North Carolina governor Patrick Lloyd (Pat) McCrory expressed his disappointment in the matchup Monday night for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. McCrory, already stung in his home state with shame, embarrassment, and economic boycotts from A-Z (Apple to Zaxby’s) due to fallout from the notorious “bathroom bill, was furious over Villanova’s advancement to play “his” Tar Heels. Governor McCrory released this statement:
“It was bad enough that we had to tolerate those jerks from Syracuse, which in case you didn’t realize, is in New York State. Their Democrat governor, Andrew Cuomo, has joined the cross-dressing, gender-confused, probably bisexual parade of hypocrites who don’t realize we have expanded protections against discrimination for all of our citizens, not just the weirdos. Cuomo had told his state workers not to do business in North Carolina. As a result, no zany bet between governors occurred before the semi-finals. Sadly, Villanova is in Pennsylvania, a state governed by yet another tax and spend liberal governor, Tom Wolf. I have no intention, nor will I buckle to outside pressure groups or the liberal media, to make a bet with Governor Wolf. Unfortunately for our citizens, they are once more deprived of another piece of Americana… what made our once great country great. Had those Sooners beaten Villanova, a bet would have occurred between the wonderful Oklahoma Republican Governor Mary Fallin and me. We had it all lined up and now my plans are in ruin. I am a victim of the lack of bipartisan spirit by the Democrat leaders of New York and Pennsylvania and will never give in. Unless they tell me to.”
If it were to come to pass that Trump’s astounding unpopularity outside the core of his most-supportive, unshakable followers not only would guarantee a Goldwater-sized defeat and a flipping of the US Senate, maybe the House, and changes in statehouses and governors’ mansions across America…. what a wonderful world it would be. Let’s drill down and see what’s going on in the Blue Chip States of Creativity, those wonderful laboratories of democracy.
Indiana!: Remember the brouhaha a year ago over Memorie’s Pizza, the Indiana pizza joint whose owner said he’d refuse to cater a gay wedding? Not that he’d ever been asked to, and not that he was refusing to actually serve gay people in his restaurant… but that was enough to start a moronic social-media firestorm that ended up with a million dollars being raised for the guy via GoFundMe, and more recently another $40,000 when the owners finally decided to throw in the towel. We should all go out of business so lucky.
But that pales in comparison to the latest move by the Hoosier legislators and the governor on one of your Big Three Wishes For Republican Purification of America… in the arena of gay rights, voting rights, or abortion rights.
NARAL reacted: “This is one of the most extreme anti-abortion measures in the country and only further penalizes Indiana women and their doctors for accessing constitutionally protected abortion care. Preventing a woman from choosing abortion based on a medical diagnosis substitutes a politician’s ideology for a woman’s judgement. Politicians like Governor Mike Pence who insert themselves into a woman’s private medical decisions aren’t just practicing bad medicine, they’re betraying the seven in ten Americans who support safe and legal access to abortion.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD spoke up: “Now Indiana’s Legislature has passed a bill that forces women to give birth if a doctor has detected a fetal abnormality. Which, yes, would mean that a pregnant woman who contracts Zika would lose her right to abortion, while a woman with a healthy pregnancy would retain her right to say no to giving birth.”
THE INDIANA RIGHT-TO-LIFERS:“By signing the dignity for the unborn bill, Gov. Pence has again signified his commitment to protecting life. We are pleased that our state values life no matter an individual’s potential disability, gender or race. We also believe that the other measures in the bill are positive steps forward for providing dignity and compassion.”
Assumedly this (?) is what Ronald Reagan meant in 1986 when he zinged out his now-famous quip: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help force you to have that baby.” Oops, I cheated and that would have been 14 words.
2. Texas!: This is the state that has given us Ted Cruz. That’s enough. I should stop right there, but I won’t! Along with Donald Trump, he forms the Axis of Republican Inanity. I have no idea whether conventional wisdom will hold and the Republican Party will cease to exist following a Hillary blowout of LBJ-1964 proportions. But the Republican anti-Trump movement is certainly real, his attack last week on Cruz’s wife possibly the only way humanly possible that Ted Cruz has ever engendered any degree of sympathy in the campaign, even from former opponents like Lindsey Graham and other folks who find him the poison to Trump’s firing squad as not much of a choice.
3. Arizona!: Long-time leader and favorite to make the finals, Arizona just keeps coming up with new ways to top itself. As part of the state’s long-running stage version of “Old White Men Who Are Obsessed With Abortion And The Women Who Love Them,” they were at it again this past week. They never stop trying to prevent pregnant women who need or want an abortion for personal, private reasons from getting one, forcing them to cross borders, possibly to California if they can afford it. Read the latest from the Cactus League of Extraordinarily Silly Gentlemenhere. Other gems that have just passed include:
Affordable Care Act: A bill that bars the state from using any resources or staff to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act. Most importantly, said sponsor Rep. Justin Olson, R-Mesa, if the bill is signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, it would prevent Arizona from establishing its own health-care exchange.
Apparently, after all these years, some Arizonans inside the health care establishment weren’t fully onboard with hatin’ on Obamacare enough.
Plastic-bag ban: 1.The bill would block cities, towns and counties from passing ordinances that ban or regulate the use of plastic bags, Styrofoam and other containers. 2. The bill also would prohibit local governments from requiring businesses to report how much energy they use, halting efforts by Tempe, Flagstaff and Phoenix officials, who are considering new environmental ordinances.
I guess even the question “paper or plastic” is too pro-choicey for Arizona politicians. And part two there is just one more state legislative Big Foot move by Republicans, the ones who have reinterpreted “states’ rights” to mean a state government always gets to tell the cities and counties who’s in charge.
4. North Carolina! is my home, and now clearly the favorite to go all the way. It’s quite an impressive, tone-deaf, obstinate, bigoted, small-minded, wrong-side-of-history, pander to prejudice that they’ve just pulled off in Raleigh. The gift of geriatric gerrymandering keeps on giving to the residents of the Tar Heel state, who looked the other way in 2010, got steamrolled in the Tea Party backlash election, and have paid for it ever since, with ever-increasing arrogance by near one-party control of lawmaking. This time, it was special legislation to make sure Caitlin Jenner still must use the little boy’s room. Scrambling to quickly waste $42,000 of taxpayer money on a special session, the New York Times notes that Orwellian-labeled House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act was triggered by:
the passage of an anti-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte last month that would permit transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, rather than their gender at birth. But the law passed by the legislature on Wednesday night, which prohibits municipalities from passing their own ordinances allowing such bathroom use, also prevents cities from protecting gays and bisexual people against discrimination generally.
Greensboro News & Record columnist Susan Ladd notes that in a demonstration of cynicism and what they think will be some kind of business-friendly move, the law also “limits the ability of cities like Greensboro to provide a living wage. While the city can control the wages of its own employees under this bill, it cannot mandate a higher minimum wage for private businesses or companies contracting with the city.” More here.
Yes, “business-friendly” for the Republican state legislators apparently means a financial irrelevancy like Hobby Lobby or another Christian-based business. And Billy Graham already lives in North Carolina.Too late for that. Only about 150 Chick-fil-A’s in NC…. always room for more of those! They have no idea what a modern workforce looks like.The cigar-chomping Republican goobers in bolo ties from the small towns that dominate a state legislature have really blown it this time. There’s probably more open debate right now in the Iranian Parliament than in the North Carolina statehouse, where the Democrats in the state senate walked out and didn’t vote on this travesty, claiming they were not allowed to participate at all during the process. The Charlotte Observer makes it irrefutably clear:
From American Airlines to Lowe’s, and from Apple to Google, big companies are pushing back against North Carolina’s new law invalidating Charlotte’s protections for LGBT individuals.
Sports organizations also said they’re weighing the new legislation, signed Wednesday by Gov. Pat McCrory, as they schedule events in the state.
The NBA, which is set to host its All-Star Game in Charlotte next year, said it is “deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect.” The league said it doesn’t yet know what impact the law will have on its “ability to successfully host” the event.
The NCAA, which has men’s basketball tournament games planned in North Carolina in 2017 and 2018, said it is monitoring the situation. The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and said Friday it is also monitoring the situation.
Meanwhile, dissatisfaction around America gets refocused on the fast-motion train wreck that is the Republican Party. From Gallup:
PRINCETON, N.J. — Thirty percent of Americans say the presidential election process is working as it should, down from 37% in January. The decline is driven mainly by Republicans’ increasingly cynical views as the campaign season has progressed. The percentage of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who say the election process is working has fallen from 46% to 30% since January. Democrats’ and Democratic leaners’ views haven’t changed.
What’s not to like? Make your final four pick and have fun!!! Meanwhile, I will not point out that I am sad that Donald Trump lives and Garry Shandling is dead. And I didn’t.