"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Sunday, February 27, 2011

We get the leaders we deserve

Which, looking at what's going on in this country, annoys me -- I don't think I did anything to deserve this.

Leaving aside the insanity of Gov. Walker of Wisconsin (who sees himself as a harbinger of the future, but as Rachel Maddow asks, "Can you lead when no one is following?"), and the Teabaggers Go To Washington assault on just about everyone except the super rich, it's sort of astonishing to see what's going on in the states:

From Montana: Teabaggers in the legislature are unveiling their vision of the future:

Their state would be a place where officials can ignore U.S. laws, force FBI agents to get a sheriff's OK before arresting anyone, ban abortions, limit sex education in schools and create armed citizen militias.

Don't forget the declaration that global warming is good for business.

(Montana's not really that backward -- it only took them eight years to catch up with Lawrence vs. Texas and fourteen to catch up with their own supreme court. That's a hell of a lot better than the Catholic Church managed with Galileo.)

In Tennessee, always a reliable source of crazy, comes this:

A proposed bill in the Tennessee Legislature wants to spell out how schools can introduce sexuality - and only heterosexuality - to your child. It's sponsored by State Sen. Stacey Campfield and Rep. Bill Dunn - both Republicans from Knoxville.

At the heart of the bill is a move to prevent children in elementary and middle schools to have classes that discuss sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.

The rationalization(s) provided are the usual fog of dumb and ignorant. (Please don't accuse me of being prejudiced against Tennessee -- some of my best friends are from Tennessee.)

In Iowa, which I always thought was a level-headed sort of place, we have a license to kill:

House File 7, which has been sponsored by 29 GOP House members, seeks to expand state law regarding use of reasonable force, including deadly force. Current state laws provide that citizens are not required to retreat from their dwelling or place of business if they or a third party are threatened. The proposal would significantly expand this to state that citizens are not required to retreat from “any place at which the person has a right to be present,” and that in such instances, the citizen has the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect himself or a third party from serious injury or death or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Also included in the proposal is a new section to the Iowa Code that would provide automatic criminal and civil immunity to a person who uses deadly force, unless a police investigation proves that the person was not acting “reasonably.” Also key to the immunity clause is the fact that law enforcement would likely be barred from arresting a person at the scene of an incident “unless the law enforcement agency determines there is probable cause that the force was unlawful under this chapter.” If law enforcement does make an arrest, and if that person is later found to have used reasonable force by a court of law, taxpayers could be on the hook for the reimbursement of the person’s attorney fees, court costs, compensation from loss of income and other expenses.

Basically, not only would it be legal to kill an abortion provider, but also to kill a pharmacist dispensing the morning after pill.

There's also a bill to ban same-sex marriage and pretend the Iowa Supreme Court doesn't exist:

County recorders would be prohibited from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and the Iowa Supreme Court would be unable to rule on the issue under a bill sponsored by six conservative House Republicans.

House File 330 specifically says that the Supreme Court would not be able to overturn or restrict the law if the bill were passed.

There were other things that I couldn't find when I went back for them, so this is just a tip of the iceberg sort of thing -- there's a lot happening, and blog posts are getting bumped down the line pretty fast.

But this gives you a good idea, I think. What really worries me is that some of these loons might be re-elected.

Update: I'd forgotten this one -- I knew Kansas had to be in the mix somewhere:

[O'Brien] spoke during the meeting of her son's difficulty paying for classes in 2010 at Kansas City (Kan.) Community College and a feeling of despair at waiting in line at the college with a female student who appeared to them to have been born outside the United States.

“My son, who’s a Kansas resident, born here, raised here, didn’t qualify for any financial aid,” according to a recording of her statement to the committee. “Yet this girl was going to get financial aid.”

"My son was kinda upset about it because he works and pays for his own schooling and his books and everything and he didn’t think that was fair. We didn’t ask the girl what nationality she was, we didn’t think that was proper. But we could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country," she says on the recording.

During the meeting, Rep. Sean Gatewood, D-Topeka, asked O'Brien to clarify her remark.

"Can you expand on how you could tell that they were illegal?" Gatewood asked.

"Well, she wasn't black," O'Brien said. "She wasn't Asian. And she had the olive complexion."

She insists she's not a racist -- her son has "the olive complexion" -- but no one asked her if she's just stupid.

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