A new week dawns, and Daylight Saving Time is done for another year. Del and my Dear Husband are thrilled. I am not. I don’t like leaving work in the dark; it makes me feel like it’s the middle of the night instead of late afternoon. Oh hi, Seasonal Affective Disorder, I’ve missed you. NOT. Could Alabama just move to the Eastern time zone already?
Two big votes on Tuesday:
In Ohio, voters will hold a referendum on Senate Bill 5, which drastically curtails the right of public employees to organize. A YES vote on Issue 2 will uphold the law; a NO vote overturn it. Recent polls show the measure going down by 25 percentage points. Local right-wing groups and “outside agitators” haven’t given up the fight, however. Greg Sargent details the expenditures here:
* Building a Better Ohio — the leading conservative group in the Ohio battle that is partly bankrolled by private sector interests — has booked a total of $1.8 million in Ohio broadcast and cable time from November 2-8.
* Restoring America — a shadowy group which is reported to have been funded by a single donor during a recent battle in Kentucky — has booked $448,000 in Ohio broadcast and cable time from November 3-8.
* Citizens United, the well-known conservative group, has booked a total of $101,070 in Ohio broadcast and cable time from November 4-8. (A group spokesman confirmed the figure.)
And, of course, there are the old-fashioned mailers going out across the state, “including ones that use debunked statistics to portray public workers as greedy and overpaid.” It remains to be seen which side will do a better job of turning out voters.
In Mississippi, voters will go to the polls to decide whether or not a fertilized egg is a person. I listened to a proponent of Amendment 26 on the Diane Rehm show last week, and oh my goodness did he ever wiggle and squiggle. I didn’t hear the whole segment, but I heard enough to know he claimed repeatedly that passage of the amendment would have no effect on settled law regarding abortion.
Oh, sure – if the state adds a constitutional amendment declaring a fertilized egg to be a person, there will be no ramifications whatsoever. It will just be a feel-good measure for the anti-choice crowd. Swamp land and bridges, people. Swamp land and bridges. He slipped up long enough to admit the amendment would outlaw several popular forms of birth control, although he continued to deny that it would outlaw abortion in Mississippi. So what’s its purpose again?
I keep hearing that the amendment is sure to pass, although for the life of me I can’t find any polling results on the Google. Outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour had a brief bout of sanity on November 2, telling MSNBC’s Chuck Todd he might vote no on 26, citing serious concerns “about some of the ramifications on in vitro fertilization and [ectopic] pregnancies where pregnancies [occur] outside the uterus and [in] the fallopian tubes.” He was quickly brought to heel and voted for the measure by absentee ballot the very next day.
The amendment is so ambiguous that even the Catholic Church in Mississippi and the National Right to (Unborn) Life Movement are withholding support. I wish I thought the voters would reject this poorly conceived (yeah, ha ha) initiative, but even if they do, Personhood USA (no link), which is pushing this cookie cutter initiative around the country, will just keep bringing it back.
What does any of this have to do with Alabama?
Our newly-Republican legislature has done its best to gut the Alabama Education Association, the most powerful advocacy group in the state for public employees, and we’re now paying for ongoing litigation.
Alabama’s very own version of the personhood bill went nowhere in the 2011 session, but it’s already prefiled for 2012, along with bills mandating ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, opting out of abortion coverage in health insurance exchanges, and introducing some of those onerous government regulations for physicians prescribing abortion-inducing drugs (which will, of course, be moot if the personhood amendment passes). A personhood bill that clearly challenges Roe v. Wade will mean more expensive litigation.
Add all of this to the mess that is Alabama’s immigration law, and we have what looks very much like a jobs program for lawyers.
What is it with Alabama? We purport to hate government spending unless, apparently, it is in aid of passing and defending unconstitutional laws. At the rate we’re going, we may very well find ourselves unable to fund any services other than legal ones.