Wendy Davis Kicked It

KickmIt has been a very long time since I have been to a political event. This is not because I am disinterested in politics, as anyone who reads me knows. The truth is since my shooting I have an abiding fear of crowds. It is difficult for me to quell my fear, to stop my heart beating outside of my chest. Nevertheless, I did it. In fact, I did it twice in one day and I am glad I did.

On 3-October-2013, Texas Senator Wendy Davis announced she was entering the race for Governor. I was there! The invocation by Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks was old school church, moving and at times funny. In my mind, his most appropriate request:

“We ask you, Lord, to change her pink running shoes into combat boots … so she can do battle against the negative forces that rule this state”.

Following the invocation, former TXU executive Alex Jimenez introduced Senator Davis with his own story of climbing from pole setter to Vice President at the largest power company in Texas. His story was met with cheers from the crowd even if his former employers name was met with jeers. Mr. Jimenez provided a fabulous backdrop to what is possible in Texas, just as Ms. Davis does. Their friendship extends back to her days on the Fort Worth City Council where she chaired the Council on Economic development.

Ms. Davis bounded onto the stage as “This Girl is on Fire” by Alicia Keyes played, the crowd was on their feet and enthusiasm was obvious. I must tell you, my nerves were on edge even as I was happy to be there, excited to be part of Texas politics and thrilled to see a woman of integrity with values close to my own fearlessly stand up knowing just how hard this next year was going to be. Make no mistake; this year is going to be hard for Wendy Davis. Even before she announced her intention to run, the attack dogs were out. Before the black drapes were pulled off her campaign signs, the ugly was being prepared and the negative ads were hitting the airwaves in Texas. From outside Texas things were just as nasty, those tweets rolled off, here are just a few examples:

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Of course, lest we forget we have our own champions of ignorance right here in Texas and one of them is currently the front-runner in the gubernatorial race. Greg Abbott is a hypocrite, a far right conservative, a friend and supporter of Ted Cruz; the Tea Party was damned near made for his brand of politics. This man got rich because of a freak accident, not just a little rich mind you but $10M or more rich. He is now a fervent advocate of Tort Reform and derides those who represent individuals in personal injury lawsuits. He has also never seen fit to defend or support others with disabilities; in fact, he has more than once made social gaffes like this one:

GregAbbott

We can only hope Greg Abbott continues down this path to become the Clayton Williams of this campaign, making it ever so much easier to show the stark contrast of the GOP Neanderthal thinking. Honestly? It doesn’t appear we have made much progress since ole’ Clayton made his ridiculous statements about Ann Richards and rape during their hard fought 1990 campaign. He out spent her 2:1 and was at the time considered a shoe in for the Austin Governor’s Mansion, until this:

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Currently Greg Abbott has approximately $25M in his war chest, much of it from out of state. There are no viable sources to tell us where his current war chest comes from yet. However if the history holds true we can expect when Follow the Money, Open Secrets and other reporting agencies start reporting numbers we will see a similar trend to Mr. Cruz and Mr. Perry, millionaires, Big Business, Banking, Big Oil and the far Right-Wing Paks contributing big dollars to keep Texas Red. The single issue nutcases were already out when I pulled up on Thursday, signs a-waving with “Keep Texas Red” and “Pro-Life Texas”, all I could think was dumbasses. I was hoping for a picture of them but by the time I had parked and walked back the police had moved them off.

It was a good day in Haltom City and later in Fort Worth at the reception. People were energized, applauding during all the speeches. The crowd was mixed, all ages from the very young to the octogenarian, every ethnicity and race was represented on the floor and in the surrounding seats. People were smiling, talking to strangers and kind, even for me with my nerves somewhat frayed by the crowd, it was a good day.

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Ms. Davis gave a good speech, she talked about her own humble beginnings and why she cares. She focused on how great Texas could be if we got out from under the yoke of Republican rule and the decimation of our education system and the deep cuts to our healthcare, no not women’s healthcare but our overall Texas Healthcare. She focused on the needs of the state, the needs of all citizens to achieve our goals through opportunity. She spoke for just under 15 minutes and she had the crowd on their feet. Most people don’t know Ms. Davis staged her first filibuster on the $5B cuts proposed by Rick Perry and his cohorts in the Republican Party to our education system. Her most recent filibuster for which she is better known wasn’t her first trip to the rodeo.

Senator Davis ended her announcement with this:

“Until every child from Longview to Lubbock to McAllen to Mesquite makes it to a stage like this, and gets their diploma, and knows that nothing will wash out the road to their future dreams, we will keep going,” she said. “Until the corridors of power are the corridors of the people, until problem-solving trumps partisanship, until our state is ‘a lot less lone and a lot more star,’ we will keep going. As long as we can make this great state even greater, we will keep going. Because with the right kind of leadership, the great state of Texas will keep its sacred promise that where you start has nothing to do with how far you can go.”

http://www.davis.senate.state.tx.us/

http://www.policymic.com/articles/51249/10-facts-about-wendy-davis-the-rookie-state-senator-from-texas

http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/news/2011-06-06/who-is-wendy-davis/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/07/15/five-things-to-know-about-greg-abbott/

http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/news/2013-08-19/greg-abbott-and-the-fail-whale/

http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2013-09-20/abbott-more-twitter-troubles/

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/20/1122097/-Clayton-Williams-Victims-of-Rape-Should-Relax-and-Enjoy-It

http://votesmart.org/candidate/campaign-finance/50168/greg-abbott#.UlAsnFDoZ8E

http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=116443

Nouns Improperly

Is it a “War on Women”? Certainly, with all the new legislation being suggested and in many cases passed within some states if feels as if we, that is women, are under constant barrage. The other day though I ran across a story in Addicting Info among other sites, while the story was horrifying (read it for yourself here http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/08/04/caught-on-camera-police-in-texas-violated-young-girls-during-routine-traffic-stop/) what followed had me laughing for nearly two hours.

If you are easily offended, I would suggest you stop reading what follows, as I said I found it hysterically funny, others might not.

Not laughing at her, with her

Not laughing at her, with her

It all started with a man commenting on how horrible the entire incident of the roadside search of the two women in the story was. It was indeed terrible, worse than terrible, it was a body cavity search conducted in full view of anyone driving by, without any consideration for the health of the women, their privacy or the emotional trauma. It was by any reasonable persons assessment and by the letter of the law, both rape and oppression. The man commenting was trying to be both sensitive to the issue and to the audience, his comment was along the lines of the following (I paraphrase as I didn’t copy).

This is terrible; the cop actually touched their butt and then their vagoo.

Well yes, the cop did just that and yes, it was terrible. But apparently, the next person to comment didn’t think it was near as terrible as this nice man using the incorrect term for female nether parts. For this, she was quite incensed and stepped right in to correct him.

It is a VAGINA. Not a Vagoo. Do you have a problem with VAGINA?

Now I thought this vehemence wasn’t called for, but then I am politically incorrect about so many things. I don’t have a problem with Vagina, but I didn’t have a problem with Vagoo either. What followed were one hundred and eighty-five (185) people who chimed in to add their pet names for the wayward VAGINA. Now and then, our friend would return to admonish the mostly women, eventually she gave up. I wish now I had linked to the actual thread, it is a scream and a half.

I present to you now, the cleaner names offered up for Vagina. Some I suspect are actually personal pet names; others are names I have heard over the years. This is dedicated to my sister and dear friend Red, who is a stickler for proper naming conventions and who I suspect would have been bouncing off the walls as I laughed even harder!

Squish Mitten Vagoo Vaj Hoo-He
Lady Parts Lady Town YooHoo Vagingo
Special Lady Garden Va-Jay-Jay Bajingo Love Grotto
Woohoo Nilly Biscuit Fuzzy Taco Love Box
Honey Pot Twinkle Cave Sexy Time Cootie Cat
Vajinglejangle Promised Land Lady Box Pearly Gates
Muff Tunnel Cooze Hootie Cat Wahoo
Foof Punani (Caribbean) Pum Pum (Caribbean)

Coochiesnorcher      (Vagina Monologues)

Petunia Hoo Hoo
(Boys on the Side)
Poontang Muffin (Betty White)
Flower of Life, Georgia O'Keefe

Flower of Life, Georgia O’Keefe

Do you wonder how many names (other than actual given names and Carlos Dangerous) might be floating about for man parts, that is the Penis.

I loved these; some of them simply slay me. What do you think, funny or just strange.

I know the rest of the story is terrible, I could have raged about this story across three or even four posts. My state (yes, it happened in Texas) is getting crazier every single week. This is one of several stories just like it; the victims filed a lawsuit. One of the officers has been fired (the woman), another is back on the job, seriously why should we be surprised. The victims have agreed to a settlement. None of this solves the problem though, does it?

SCOTUS, Naked Emperors

Let’s talk in real terms about what happened last week at the Supreme Court. Not the MEME’s floating about, not the BS floating hither and yon depending on what news you turn on and tune in but the reality of what all this might mean to you and me.

Supreme_Court_US_2010

First SCOTUS that is the Supreme Court of the United States. Those odd birds who unlike all other branches of government are appointed for life and truthfully have far more impact on our lives than we give them credit for. As a nation we were riveted by their big decisions last week;

  • Obliteration of Section 4 of Voters Right Act of 1965 aka 15th Amendment. To be clear, this section of the act provides the formula for whether a State or even a voting jurisdiction within a state uses a ‘test’ or other ‘device’ to determine a citizen’s right to vote. The formula determined the numbers of eligible citizens registered to vote and how representative of populations within districts were after maps were redrawn. The original formula was  established in 1964, they were evaluated and confirmed in 1982 and again in 2006 through a bipartisan vote of Congress.1
  • DOMA that special legislation where Congress and then President Bill Clinton really stepped in proverbial shit yes I said it. Finally, someone challenged it and shockingly SCOTUS by a small margin agreed DOMA had no Constitutional validity, based only on state definitions of marriage. Make sense? No, it doesn’t to me either, what the court has done is defined marriage as a ‘legal’ definition based on State standing, all 965 places in the federal law that mention marriage will apply to all marriages. If you are married in a state that allows same sex marriage, the federal government will recognize your marriage as legal, however, no states are bound by these rules and it is up to each state to determine whether they will recognize same sex marriage; today twelve states recognize same sex marriage. 2
  • Along these same lines the court sent Hollingsworth-v-Perry packing based on a simple standard, the defendants did not have standing. When Perry, et al sued the State of California because they were denied marriage licenses, then AG Jerry Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to defend Prop 8. Hollingsworth, et al including multiple backers stepped in to defend Prop 8 since the State would not do so. The backing for Prop 8 came from the following groups:
    • Campaign for California Families
    • Protect Marriage

These groups were backed by:

  • Family Research Council
  • California Family Alliance
  • Focus on Family
  • Knights of Columbus
  • California Catholic Conference
  • Catholics for Common Good
  • The Church of Latter Day Saints

Those were the big ones, the rulings those of us who watch the court were waiting for, in essence the court split hairs. No big wins for anyone really, though on the surface striking down DOMA and sending Hollingsworth and the Zealots packing felt pretty good, this wasn’t really a win just a tie.

Obliterating Section 4, well that was a blow for anyone who understands we do not live in a society that is Color or Gender Blind, or economically fair. No less than two (2) hours after this decision was announced by those ScaliaQuotemyopic naked emperors on the highest bench of the land then Governors began to announce they would redistrict and implement voter ID laws previously turned down in federal courts; Rick Perry of Texas is a perfect example of this one. Of course, if you have political stooges on the bench it is impossible not to have results such as this.4

Thanks to SCOTUS Texas now have the most stringent Voter ID laws in the nation and the model for all other states. Thanks to SCOTUS, Rick Perry and his old white man brigade will wipe the slate clean, redistrict the state and maintain the status quo insuring no woman or minority who doesn’t tow the party line is ever elected to high office. Good on you; you parochial Azzhats.

Texas Attorney General

Texas Attorney General

These were not the only decisions handed down by SCOTUS last week; these were not the only game changers. It is important we not lose sight of what else happened and how these decisions affect us.

The court weighed in on adoption and parental rights, specifically on the rights on non-custodial parents in the Indian nations. This is important as it shows money can still buy persons, even when deception is used as part of the argument. There is both case law and federal law in place to protect the Nations from loss of children through adoption placement; the court intentionally read the law to favor the couple attempting to adopt the now nearly three-year-old child. The State Court denied the adoption when the father asserted his rights originally when the child was 4 months old. It is a sad and convoluted case.5

Well so much for States Rights on this one! Proves the States only have rights when big business and big government isn’t involved. In this case, a woman was terribly harmed, her doctor admitted he hadn’t read all the possible outcomes of the medication he prescribed to her and she had the very worst. The state law, which required the pharmaceutical company to list all possible risks of any drug whether name brand or generic. Unfortunately, the state law ran counter to FDA rules and SCOTUS the ruling came down in simple terms as follows, “(a) Under the Supremacy Clause, state laws that conflict with fed­eral law are “without effect.” This ruling left a woman who is forever disabled without means of support. So much for small government, so much for STATES RIGHTS. 6

Finally, we come to the last weakening of protections for women and minorities, SCOTUS pulls more threads out of the EEOC. The court narrowed rather than broadened the definition of supervisor in this case, despite the changes in today’s workplace. The plaintiff in this case brought her complaint based on a hostile work environment, her nemesis was in a position to direct her work but not in a position to ‘hire’, ‘fire’ or affect her pay. By this definition, the conservative bench determined it was not possible for there to be created a hostile work environment and relied on the definition of ‘supervisor’. It appears now, an employer only needs to slap the hand of a bigot at work to perform their duty.

There you have it, the key cases of SCOTUS last week and how they have further eroded our nation and our protections. Despite the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions, this truly was not a good week for those of us who are not middle aged White Men who vote Republican. Between Congress and the conservative court, we are slowly but surely getting all of our protections getting kicked out from under us. Worse still, we don’t realize it and thus, we are unable to fight back.

Is this truly the nation we want to live in? Is the truly the nation we want our children to inherit?

1 Voter Rights: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-96_6k47.pdf

2 DOMA Decision: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_6j37.pdf

3 Prop 8 Decision: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-144_8ok0.pdf

4 Oral Arguments: http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/12-96.pdf

5 Adoption: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-399_8mj8.pdf

6 State Law vs Federal Law Disconnect: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-142_8njq.pdf

7 Weakens EEOC and Labor: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-556_11o2.pdf

C.Thomas Dissent Encourages Privacy for Sex Offenders: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-418_7k8b.pdf

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