The Texas Senate is currently debating House Bill 2, the restrictive abortion legislation Wendy Davis filibustered against last month. The vote is expected to be called this evening.
In the meantime, the Texas Department of Public Safety has been searching bags and confiscating paper goods they fear could be thrown at the Senators on the floor: “magazines, receipts, feminine pads and tampons.” News of the latter two items has sparked a bit of snark among those who see the irony in a state where carrying a concealed weapon is considered practically a birthright. It caused us to wonder if perhaps the Texas GOP were worried about women in the gallery bringing in a lethal weapon like this.
(To be fair to the Texas DPS, they are no longer making women dump their feminine hygiene products. And they say their search did turn up some highly inappropriate items, such as jars of material that looked like urine and feces. But honestly, folks: If a woman really wanted to sneak a tampon into the chamber, she can do it pretty easily — unless you’re going to institute body cavity searches next.)
While we make dark jokes about the conservatives in Texas, we are gratified by the show of strength among progressives living there. Despite all the draconian measures being voted in Southern state houses, the region is NOT solid red, as noted in this post originally published in the American Prospect: “The voters are moving left while the state governments are moving right. The only safe prediction is that… the South is about to become the most fiercely contested, and unpredictable, political battleground in America.”
On CNN today, Wendy Davis lists the things REAL Texans want accomplished — for a start, health care for women & children, regulations preventing fertilizer plant explosions, strong well-funded schools — and that state lawmakers & Governor Perry have utterly failed to do. Real Texans are going to keep demanding that the state respond to their needs until they get met.
For those of you keeping score, Mother Jones summarizes the four worst new anti-abortion laws… in the past three weeks. We shudder to think what they’ll come up with next.
Talk about strange bedfellows — could Senators John McCain and Elizabeth Warren together push through a bill that brings back the protections of Glass-Steagall and separates speculative investment banking from solid retail banking that serves regular folks? Recall the Glass-Steagall was enacted after the Great Depression and kept banks from getting too big or risky to fail until it was repealed under Clinton.
Americans want safe banks,” Warren said when asked how she would respond to opponents of Glass-Steagall. “The banks that handle their checking and savings accounts should be rock-solid secure, and they should not be juicing their profits by taking those insured deposits and insuring them in wild financial schemes.” McCain echoed those comments in a statement, adding, “If enacted, the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act would not end Too-Big-to-Fail. But, it would rebuild the wall between commercial and investment banking that was in place for over 60 years, restore confidence in the system, and reduce risk for the American taxpayer.”
And the filibuster fight we’ve all been waiting for may finally happen. (It’s about time!)
We also learned today that Department of Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano is resigning to lead the University of California. That’s one less woman in the cabinet.
Finally: Citizens United is REALLY unpopular throughout the country, with 62% telling pollsters they disapprove of the big money corruption it has enabled in our politics. And lawmakers are listening… on the state level.