(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 if you go down in the flood, it’s going to be your fault.
We begin in the state of Washington, where a state representative did his Dennis The Peasant routine in about the foulest way you can. From the Washington Post:
Washington state Rep. Jim Walsh has decried “vaccine segregation” and likened his state’s lottery encouraging immunization against the coronavirus to the “The Hunger Games.” Then, last weekend, the Republican lawmaker wore a yellow Star of David. “It’s an echo from history,” Walsh wrote of the star in the comments below a live stream of his talk Saturday in Lacey, Wash. “ … In the current context, we’re all Jews.”
Help, help! He’s being oppressed!
“Fear sells politically. And the guardrails have come off with respect to what is acceptable for elected officials’ political discourse,” said Brian Levin, a professor at California State University at San Bernardino who studies extremism. “There are no guardrails now with respect to offense, ignorance and downright stupidity,” he said.
You think? Somebody should write a book.
We move along to Wisconsin, which has a state Republican chairman who seems to be in the middle of an extended campaign to get hired as a greenskeeper at Mar-a-Lago. Recently, the former president* conjured up a tantrum in which he criticised Wisconsin Republicans for not immolating themselves fast enough in the matter of the “rigged election.” Well, chairman Chris Kapenga, a state senator, wasn’t going to let any bad feelings get between his lips and the ex-presidential hindquarters.
This leads me to your recent press release stating that I am responsible for holding up a forensic audit of the Wisconsin elections. This could not be further from the truth. Let me first say that very few people have the honor of being named publicly by a United States President. I never imagined mine would be mentioned, much less in this light, from a President that I have publicly supported, and still support. I feel I need to respond even though you will likely never hear of it, as the power of your pen to mine is like Thor’s hammer to a Bobby pin.
I’m sorry, Senator Kapenga, but Dr. Freud is taking the long holiday weekend. Can you call back on Tuesday? Good Lord.
I write this as I am about to board a plane due to a family medical emergency. In addition to my Trump socks, I will pull up my Trump/Pence mask when I board the plane, as required by federal law. I figure, if the liberals are going to force me to wear a mask, I am going to make it as painful for them as possible. I will continue to do this regardless of whether or not I ever hear from you.
And I thought Ted Cruz had reached the bottom of Self-Abasement Gulch. Good Lord, again.
We move along to Pennsylvania, where the Republicans in the state legislature woke up one day this month and decided to be Texas. From CBS3 in Philadelphia:
This proposed bill would amend the law so Pennsylvania residents who are at least 21 years old [can] skip the permit process and conceal their firearms by right. But not everyone is on board with this proposal, including law enforcement in Philadelphia. “These people have already went through the exact same exact in background checks when they purchased that weapon so they would not need to go through those same background checks again,” Republican State Rep. Aaron Bernstine said. House Bill 659, also known as Constitutional Carry, would make it easier for Pennsylvania residents to legally carry or conceal a handgun without a permit.
Coming on top of Democratic Governor Tom Wolf’s veto of a new voter-ID law, and the legislature’s apparent effort to move that initiative forward through an amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution, the commitment of the legislature’s Republicans to Texafy all of Pennsylvania demonstrates that ni shagu nazad remains the presiding philosophy of the GOP. From WESA in Pittsburgh:
Critics say it's a technique that Republicans appear increasingly willing to use as they clash with Gov. Tom Wolf over highly politicized issues such as voting and the pandemic. "The Republicans don't want to go through the legislative process for their far-right wacky ideas because they know the governor will veto it," Democratic state Sen. Vincent Hughes said. "So now they're just going to change the constitution."
And we conclude, as is our custom, in the great state of Oklahoma, where Blog Veteran Chuckwalla Roper Friedman of the Plains brings us a sad tale of penal Keynesianism. From Nondoc.com:
As legislative leaders lauded their budget as a comprehensive balance of savings, tax cuts and investments that would help local communities, they knew nothing of the DOC decision to close the prison. Neither did the public until Dawnita Fogelman of the Woodward News published a June 16 article breaking the news. Fogelman had contacted DOC officials the day prior to ask about a rumor that the minimum-security facility would be closing, and on June 16 the state agency issued a press release to an unknown slate of media confirming the decision.
While emphasizing that the facility needs at least $35 million in structural repairs, Everest repeatedly referred to closing the prison by the end of 2021 as an “opportunity,” a word that boiled Murdock’s blood. “I don’t see this as an opportunity. I see this as a death sentence to a community, (to) three different counties,” he said before asking DOC director Scott Crow a series of questions that began with how many employees work at the prison.
Any small prison that needs $35 million in structural repairs must be an absolute hellhole.
He then asked Crow what he thinks the prison’s closure will do to Fort Supply.
“I understand, sir, that it’s a significant impact to that community,” Crow said.
Murdock then asked, “The day that you made this decision, when you went home that night. How much sleep did you lose?” Crow responded quickly. “Sir, I lose sleep on nearly a daily basis because of the problems in the correctional system around the state of Oklahoma,” he said. “It’s not limited to one facility or community.”
The prison was opened in 1988 and employment at the facility rivals agriculture as the town’s economic drivers. There are hundreds of towns like this, where a prison underpins the local economy. That's another roadblock to true criminal justice reform.
This is your democracy, America. Cherish it, and wish it happy birthday this weekend because it hasn’t been its best year.
That’s going to be it for the week, folks. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line. Wear the damn mask, or don’t, it’s up to you, but get the damn shots.
Oh, and is it a good day for dinosaur news, CNN? It’s always a good day for dinosaur news!
A new study suggests that dinosaurs were in decline for as many as 10 million years before the city-sized asteroid that hit off the coast of what is now Mexico dealt the final death blow and that this decline impeded their ability to recover from the asteroid's aftermath. The strike created the 125-mile-wide Chicxulub crater, unleashing climate-changing gases into the atmosphere, ultimately killing off three quarters of life on the planet.
It’s always something.
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