(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 a man can't give his address out to bad company.
We begin this week here in the Commonwealth (God save it!), where the folks running the St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston have decided to be prejudiced dopes again regarding gay people. This time they're targeting Outvets, an organization of gay veterans, as Boston's WCVB tells us:
Parade organizers said in the two years the OutVets were allowed to march in the parade, there were misconceptions. "There were some violations that were made and they needed to be discussed and worked out," Tim Duross, the parade organizer said. "You can read our code of conduct, and see that we don't allow the portrayal of one sexuality." OutVets said it was informed that the violation was the rainbow patch on their uniforms and their flag. "If they want me to change my logo, if they want me to change the identity of this organization to satisfy their discrimination, absolutely not, absolutely not," Bryan Bishop, an Air Force veteran who founded OutVets said.
The difference this time around is that the parade organizers are pretty much stewing alone in their own poison.
The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, the parade's organizer, drew immediate condemnation from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who said he would not participate in this year's parade, scheduled for March 19, unless the council reversed course. A second vote is scheduled to take place Friday evening. "I will not tolerate discrimination in our city of any form. We are one Boston, which means we are a fully inclusive city. I will not be marching in the parade unless this is resolved. Anyone who values what our city stands for should do the same," he said.
Gov. Charlie Baker also said he likely would not march if the group was banned."The idea that we would restrict the opportunity for men and women who put on that uniform, knowing full well they could put themselves in harm's way, and deny them an opportunity to march in a parade that's about celebrating veterans doesn't make any sense to me," Baker said. "If veteran's groups aren't allowed to march in that parade for whatever reason, then I'll probably do something else."
Dan Magoon, executive director of Mass Fallen Heroes, said Wednesday that he has resigned as chief marshal for the parade following organizers' decision."We have fought battles across this city, state and country in regard to Veterans rights, benefits, employment, mental health, discriminatory practices,and many other significant areas important to our Veterans. To participate in a parade that would exclude OutVets does not coincide with the work I do advocating for all Veterans," he said in a statement.
In 1995, behind the leadership of one Whacko Hurley, the parade famously won the right to discriminate against gay people from the United States Supreme Court. They still have that right, I guess, but I think, sooner or later, they're probably going to rather have a sponsor.
Skipping from Commonwealth to Commonwealth, we find ourselves in Kentucky, where the Democratic attorney general, Andy Beshear-who is the son of the famous hash-house philosopher and former governor, Steve Beshear-has been inconveniencing the state's current Republican governor, Matt Bevin, and his pet Republican legislature. They have responded by trying to make the AG into the functional political equivalent of a garden gnome. Local Kentucky activists caught them at it, and the Courier-Journal shared the news.
A surprise proposal by Senate Republicans would strip power from the attorney general to file civil lawsuits or handle appeals on behalf of Kentuckians, instead awarding broad power to the governor to handle such matters...Beshear said it would concentrate enormous power in the hands of the governor, allowing the governor to shield himself from legal challenges to his actions. It would "create a get out of jail free card for the governor," he said.
But Senate President Robert Stivers, a Manchester Republican who presented the proposed legislation to the committee, rejected Beshear's objections and said it wasn't tied to any recent clashes between Bevin and Beshear. Rather, he said, it is to "clarify" the role of the attorney general, a concern of his for many years...The measure, presented at an 8 a.m. special meeting Wednesday of the committee, came as a last-minute addition to House Bill 281, a bill involving contracts awarded by the attorney general's office. The committee took no vote on the bill but expects to take it up next week, said Chairman Whitney Westerfield, a Hopkinsville Republican.
Coupled with this new bill sliming its way through Congress that will pretty much eliminate most class-action suits, if you're a town in, say, Kentucky, whose water has been poisoned by mining run-off, start paying close attention to those late-night ads for personal injury attorneys who look as though they'd steal soup. They might be your only hope.
We skip on back up north to New Hampshire, a state that I devoutly wish would secede like clockwork every four years. There, the state legislature has had it with imaginary people committing theoretical voter fraud and has decided it's time to do something about it. So, they're calling in the law. Or so says Valley News, anyway:
For those who do not return to their town halls with documentation, their local checklist supervisors will be responsible for obtaining the verifying information by requesting that police officers on routine patrol visit the address provided the voters; ask the Secretary of State to send a letter to the address given by the voters; or have at least two supervisors or other municipal officials visit the address to verify the address. Gilles Bissonnette, legal director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, noted that under the bill, if a voter fails to present documentation verifying residency, he or she will have their names removed from their local checklist. And, he said, "The bill goes so far, at least by my reading, to effectively criminalize voters" by stating that they "shall be subject to the penalties of wrongful voting." "This is punishable by a civil fine of up to $5,000," Bissonnette noted. "That is a very big deal in our view." Opponents said the requirements add a significant burden on town officials and police. Leslie Enroth, a former Sutton selectwoman, asked, "How many trips is a policeman supposed to make before he can with confidence say, 'I never reached that person now, and therefore, I don't believe they were living there" on Election Day?' That's a lot to ask of a policeman."
It's a lot to ask of a democratic republic, too, friend. If I read this correctly, if you show up to vote without proper documentation that you live in New Hampshire, and you get so disgusted by the whole process that you go home and vow never to vote in this ass-backwards hick backwater ever again, in, say, 30 days, the cops can come and bust you, even if you never voter-frauded a vote at all. I'm sure this is a regime guaranteed not to be abused at the local level.
And we conclude, as is our custom, in the state of Oklahoma, where Blog Official Trackless Wasteland Surveyor Friedman of the Plains brings us the tale of a very confused young man named Travis Dunlap, who got elected to the state legislature because it's Oklahoma and that's what they do now that they're running the country and everything. This comes to us courtesy of the Tulsa World.
The House voted 62-26, with 11 members not voting, to send House Bill 1495, by Rep. Travis Dunlap, R-Bartlesville, to the Senate. The bill would require death certificates to list "suicide" as the cause of death in cases of assisted suicide. As skeptics pointed out, and supporters of the measure readily agreed, assisted suicide is already illegal in Oklahoma. And Dunlap said he knew of no specific cases of it in the state. But he and his most vocal advocate, Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Oklahoma City, argued that the bill is necessary to head off a rising tide of assisted suicide laws across the nation and in other countries. They said the bill is supported by National Right to Life, which is best known for its anti-abortion-rights positions. "Assisted suicide is not legal in Oklahoma," Calvey said. "Is it occurring? I don't know. I suspect it is, but I don't know."
Again, this is another attempt to make double-secret illegal that which already is illegal. (It's not dissimilar to those bills that continue to defund ACORN even after its demise.) But Dunlap is a very special case. As NewsOK reminds us, Dunlap once took extreme umbrage at the notion that the justices of that state's Supreme Court got themselves a pay raise. His response was illuminating, and would have been even more so, had he carried it out.
Calvey is upset with court rulings that have gone against efforts to restrict abortions and said that withholding the pay increase would be effective in punishing the justices. He loudly said that if he were not a Christian, he would go across the street to the state Supreme Court building, douse himself in gasoline and set himself on fire to "protest the evil in that building."
Yes, the man who is leading the brawl against assisted-suicide is a guy who once threatened the DIY kind unless he got his way.
This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.
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