Final Four- Insanity of the States Edition- IN, TX, AZ, NC

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, Screen shot 2016-03-25 at 12.36.28 PMmaybe 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.

  1. 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.

Abortion Is Now Illegal in Indiana If the Reason You Want One Makes Republicans Uncomfortable, For Instance a Fetal Genetic Abnormality Such as Down Syndrome

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.Screen shot 2016-03-25 at 1.39.27 PM 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 Screen shot 2016-03-25 at 3.56.01 PMabortion 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 Gentlemen here.  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 Screen shot 2016-03-25 at 3.35.56 PMlawmaking.  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 Screen shot 2016-03-25 at 3.41.44 PMCarolina.  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:

 

 

I admit I profile mass shooters’ religion, their ethnicity, their politics, their motives. Boy, was I wrong about the Colorado guy. Non-judgemental media sets me straight.

 

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Dear Robert Dear, I sincerely apologize for prejudging you upon hearing of the Colorado Planned Parenthood Murders.  Even though all day Friday and Saturday the news reports were 100% neutral, saying “we don’t know if there were political motives” or my favorite, “we don’t know if this specifically had anything to do with Planned Parenthood and the abortion issue,” I harbored the worst possible thoughts about you.  Thank you, media, for not speculating on this man’s reasons for invading a PP clinic and firing away.   Several times I heard it said that “we don’t know for sure he intentionally targeted a Planned Parenthood clinic.”  Correct.  He could just as easily holed himself up in a Starbucks, a Chuck E. Cheese, or a dentist’s office.  Here’s the Denver Post, late Saturday afternoon:

Planned Parenthood shootings increasingly seem politically motivated

 

Ya think?  There I was, simply assuming you, Dear, were a liberal, Jewish, Obamacare-supporting, card-carrying member of the ACLU, a labor union member possibly angry over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, or a NAACP, NARAL, Amnesty International, Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence-type.  It’s just so wrong to assume, isn’t it? As the information began to take real shape on Sunday, boy was I ever surprised that while in custody you ranted, “no more baby parts,” possibly (let’s not speculate falsely, again) referring to the doctored, anti-Planned Parenthood, discredited sting videos.
How should I feel that a fully intimidated, politically correct media has taken a cue from Obama, refusing to label radical rightwing anti-abortion rights domestic terrorism for what it is?  Remember, as poll leader Trump tweeted a few weeks ago:

 

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I look forward to other bloggers, conservative talk radio, and Fox News to set me straight this week…. to help me get over my jumping to conclusions, rushing to judgement and assuming things about a mass shooter that turned out so wrong.  What other things could a logical person have thought?  That the guy went to the Nick Nolte School of Mugshots….?

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