The State Senate exploded when debate on a mandatory ultrasound bill abruptly ended, and Senators were screamed down by Senate President Mike Ellis (R).
Senate Bill 206 (text here ) is the latest in a series of ultra-strict anti-abortion bills that would enforce mandatory, unnecessary, and invasive, as well as not even medically sound ultrasounds on women seeking an abortion. What's more is that Governor Scott Walk is most likely going to sign it into law, as it's expected to sail through the GOP-controlled House.
Rachel Maddow's commentary on the issue adds poignancy to it all:
@ 0:20 - Watch what happens when he forces debate to end and he loses his mind
@ 0:32 - Lays waste to Democratic traditions by forcing an end to debate
@ 0:54 - "YOU'RE OUT OF ORDER." "NO YOU'RE OUT OF ORDER." Completely explodes at Senators voicing their dissent
@ 1:41 - Dissent will "not be tolerated"
@ 1:50 - 8th ear-splitting gavel smash... it indicates that the loudest and angriest person in the room dictates policy
@ 1:51 to end - Maddow's take. Will there be a political cost to pay for forcing medically unnecessary procedures on women?
All of this begs the question, "What the hell is going on?"
If you follow us on Facebook, maybe you saw this post. For a brief summary, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that interracial marriage was a Constitutionally protected practice in 1967. How often do we get unanimous rulings on anything now? That ruling also laid the claim that marriage was a basic civil right for all, and four decades later we stand to make total marriage equality a civil right.
There's plenty to get mad about, but history has given us something be hopeful about.
There are two cases the Supreme Court will rule on this month. One, the Defense of Marriage Act that the Obama administration stopped supporting long ago, and California's Proposition 8.
History has shown that the Supreme Court will stand up for civil rights, and that can be seen in several rulings over the years.
Lawrence v. Texas, 2003, which ruled sodomy laws to be unconstitutional
Loving v. Virginia, 1967, which found that VA's law barring interracial marriage was unconstitutional, which also overturned the 1883 case Pace v. Alabama and made any restriction on race-based marriage unconstitutional
There are also non-SCOTUS rulings to consider. California's long history with the battle over marriage equality has its own tale to tell:
In re Marriage Cases, May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that the "...legislative and initiative measures limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violate the state constitutional rights of same-sex couples and may not be used to preclude same-sex couples from marrying."
This overturned the legislature's 1977 law and the initiative that passed in 2000 that both banned same-sex marriage.
Prop 8, which passed in November, 2008 with 52% of the popular vote, overruled California's Supreme Court by adding a ban same-sex marriage to the state constitution.
Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 2010, the Federal District Court in San Fransisco overturned Prop 8, saying the state violated the Due Process Clause of the US Constitution, and had no compelling/rational interest in the law.
Perry v. Brown, 2011, had the case moved to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and by Feb. 2012 ruled that Perry v. Schwarzenegger should be upheld, as Proposition 8 did nothing but lessen the status and dignity of gay and lesbian couples.
There is a definite pattern of courts supporting civil rights and marriage equality.
The Obama administration wouldn't defend DOMA, and pressure is mounting for President Obama to sign an Executive Order barring LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. The Supreme Court will rule on Proposition 8 in a matter of weeks, or even days, giving the tens (or hundreds) of thousands of couples the right to marry the partner they love, and the millions of marriage equality supporters and activists who have stood up for basic civil rights a reason to be happy.
Finally, check out this awesome video from Americans for Equal Rights, on their support to overturn Proposition 8:
The banks have failed. No, we're not really going to hear it screamed on the streets, but the only profits they're making are the tens of billions in subsidies that taxpayers are shoveling into them every year.
3 cents of every tax dollar collected goes to subsidizing "too big to fail" banks
That's 3% of the total taxpayer pie going to help out an industry that already controls $9 trillion, or roughly half of the US economy. This amounts $83 billion, three-quarters of which goes into JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co, and Goldman Sachs. But what if those subsidies were taken away?
Seen below is a chart generated by Bloomberg, show the typical annual profit, values of subsidies, profits without subsidies, and the return on equity without a subsidy. The results are pretty sad.
You get the picture rather quickly. It's bad, and their profits are literally transfers from taxpayers to their balance sheets. Without that, some of them are even in the negative - Citigroup by over $4 billion.
So what would happen if we removed those subsidies? To start, we could cancel sequestration. That sits at $85 billion (two billion more than these subsidies), and has real impacts on the daily lives of Americans across the entire country, and the half of the economy not controlled by the banks.
Another effect of cancelling these subsidies could be the end of "too big to fail". Forcing the banks to actually act responsibly and get their own profits would be a great step towards forcing them to act in the markets.
Rep. Ed Markey and Gabriel Gomez squared off in the first of their four debates, and the results show what we know all along.
Markey is the progressive candidate that the country needs. His opponent, Gomez, spent much of the debate putting himself right in line with the same values that conservatives always trot out. And despite how much Gomez may try to separate himself from the national party with a line like this...
“I’m an absolutely new kind of Republican. You know it and the people of Massachusetts know it.”
...he isn't going to get very far when his views on abortion draw condemnation from Planned Parenthood. He insisted that he would not change any laws, but went on to say that he thought waiting 24 hours for an abortion was fine. This creates a character problem, because he would not fight Roe V. Wade, but he would morally support anti-choice legislation as well as confirm an activist judge to the Supreme Court. How does this make sense for a Massachusetts Senator? Here's Planned Parenthood's reaction to Gomez' remarks:
"It’s ignorant and dangerous to think that delaying a woman’s access to timely medical care by forcing her to wait 24 hours before having an abortion is ‘not asking a lot.’ Passing restrictions on safe, legal abortion such as unnecessary, onerous waiting periods or approving the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice who opposes Roe v Wade is changing the law – and not for the better.” -Tricia Wajda, director of public affairs for the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts
On Markey's part, he said an abortion should be a decision between a woman and her physician.
For someone who claims to be a new kind of Republican, Gomez' stance on women's reproductive health and contraception are in line with mainstream conservative values
And while Markey claimed he would not vote for any Supreme Court nominee that would overeturn Roe V. Wade, Markey claimed that he would have no litmus test. This differentiates him not only for Markey, but with Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, and Senator Warren. His near refusal to clarify his position on reproductive rights might be a sign that he would be yet another anti-choice Republican. This, of course, all happening in a state where 51% of people held the right to choose as a significant reason they voted Democratic.
If nothing else, this debate serves as proof that Gabriel Gomez is just another Republican willing to wage war on women. He can say he believes in equality all he wants, but when he follows up by dodging questions on women's reproductive rights and says his anti-choice position really doesn't matter, it's worrying.