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Nov 09 2011

Good news, everyone!

That odious initiative to declare fertilized zygotes as ‘persons’ in Mississippi? FAILED. In fact, it looks like a lot of conservative craziness got slapped down all around the country. Maybe we’re starting to turn around and go in the right — that is, left — direction, at least a little bit.

Also, while we’re feeling politically ebullient, #OCCUPYMORRIS is marching again tonight. Meet at 4:30 on the UMM mall.

62 comments

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  1. 1
    magicbullet

    YES! YES!

    I’m going to DANCE around the living-room now!

  2. 2
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Unfortunately (as mentioned in TET) Virginia is now going to be the next hotbed of Conservative ridiculousness – seeing as Republicans have taken over both House and Senate and we’ve got an extremely virulent anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-progress governor and his toady AG who wants to destroy scientific progress in the country at the same time.

    *sigh* You win one, you lose one.

  3. 3
    davidct

    It is encouraging that people are willing to go to the polls and tell the extremists that they are not the voice of America.

  4. 4
    Ing

    @Kathrine

    This is why I hate the state system we have. We’re not a country, we’re a coalition of small countries pretending to be one unified nation.

  5. 5
    Gus Snarp

    Yeah, I’m happy about Mississippi. But here in Ohio I’m conflicted. I’m quite pleased that 61% voted to overturn the anti-union Senate Bill 5, but at the same time 65% voted to amend our state constitution to exempt us from the Affordable Care Act, which I don’t think we can even really do. . ., and while my county approved levies for hospitals and children’s services, and the city booted four conservatives off the council, they also failed to support a levy for public schools.

    So now I can’t figure out what percentage of Ohioans are idiots.

  6. 6
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I think the Ohio vote on health care just shows the need for a single payer system replacing the present health care. Forcing people to buy something, even if it is good for them, isn’t popular.

  7. 7
    Ing

    @NORH

    Word. It’s odd how Obama’s hardest won success is IMO his greatest failure as a president.

    Ok second greatest…after not rolling back the Bush Doctrine abuses and continuing the bullshit. It’s a DISTANT second.

  8. 8
    Attila

    @Gus

    “So now I can’t figure out what percentage of Ohioans are idiots.”

    I am guessing the ones who are in the tea party is always a good bet.

  9. 9
    EricR

    I’m not particularly sanguine about the results myself, its a good thing of course and I’m pleased but I think its just a blip, a brief respite if you like. last nights results hardly represent any kind of serious stepping away from the rejection of reason and science weve seen from the GOP.

    I think it optimistic in the extreme to think this represents a turn around of any sort from the right to the left, a slight decelleration perhaps but a change in direction, no I dont buy that….alas.

  10. 10
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    That is fantastic. Missississippians, congratulations.

    On the local front, the bat shit crazy tea party libertarian did not get elected in the mayoral race. Luckily, she failed to convince voters that a free ride for the wealthy and the larger businesses would lead to rainbows and unicorn farts for all.

  11. 11
    Zugswang

    This is why I hate the state system we have. We’re not a country, we’re a coalition of small countries pretending to be one unified nation.

    Well, at least we have a unified national economy. (until Virginia or South Carolina decide to print their own currency)

  12. 12
    Gaebolga

    So…I can’t help but read the title and hear Professor Farnsworth’s voice coming out of PZ’s mouth.

    And as that line usually presages something not particularly good for the crew, I find myself strangely unsettled….

  13. 13
    Ing

    Well, at least we have a unified national economy. (until Virginia or South Carolina decide to print their own currency)

    Because the Euro is proving that that is such a good idea for states?

  14. 14
    Steve LaBonne

    The Mississippi result is VERY important. The criminally insane assholes who put that monstrosity on the ballot are geared up to do the same in a bunch of other states. But if they can’t pass it in the heart of the Bible Belt…

    I guess even fine upstanding Christians don’t want the cops coming to investigate when they or their wives have a miscarriage. Who’d a-thunk?

  15. 15
    GregFromCos

    I was interested to see how this did. It’s been voted down pretty substantially here in Colorado twice now. And more surprising it even lost here in El Paso County Colorado, home of Focus On the Family.

    Christians may not like abortion. But to many of them, the idea of making things like in vitro fertilization illegal is not something many are in favor of. Because the thought of couples not being able to have children, on some level is more important than abortion. Score one for reason!

  16. 16
    Gus Snarp

    @Nerd of Redhead – That makes some sense, but I’m not sure that’s enough to fully explain it. The mandatory insurance provision is certainly a poison pill, and one wonders if it’s really in there because it’s the only way to eliminate pre-existing condition clauses affordably or because the insurance industry knew people would hate it.

    I think there’s still a lot of Tea Party sentiment in Ohio and that what this election really shows is that a lot of Midwestern Tea Party supporters really have a lot more in common with the OWS crowd than with their own candidates. I’m pretty sure a lot of those who voted no on Issue 2 were also Tea Party supporters who voted Kasich into office in the first place. That anti-union stuff may work in the South, but clearly the Midwest is having none of it.

    That’s my nuanced answer, since I can’t just call them idiots.

    All in all I’d say this election is a bad sign for Republicans as well as for most incumbents. 2012 will be a very interesting year. I wonder if we can get Matt Damon to run for President as an independent.

  17. 17
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    #OCCUPYMORRIS

    With what? A can of 9Lives.

  18. 18
    Gus Snarp

    @Ing – It works differently for states than it does for countries in the Euro. I still don’t know all the mechanisms behind why though. Krugman has promised to write a detailed piece on this subject, so I’m waiting to see what he has to say.

  19. 19
    T.J. Brown

    Yesterday, I voted a big HELL NO on 26. This issue has split our state in half (well, obviously we got a little more than half :))

    It’s scary to me that this was even on the ballot. It’s also scary to me to count the number of messages I’ve gotten from Good Southern Christians telling me that abortion is wrong, bla bla, what about the babies!?!?

    Blech. But anyway, 26 is no more. I am both surprised and impressed.

  20. 20
    d cwilson

    @EricR #8:

    I think this is more than a blip, because this was an off-year election, which historically have had low-turnouts among democratic-leaning voters. And yet it was a near-across the board rebuke of republican overreach. If the personhood bill couldn’t pass in ultra-conservative Mississippi, then it’s dead.

    I also think we have a lot to learn from the two major losses. Has anyone seen polling data from the Ohio vote? I’d love to see a breakdown of those who voted against the mandate because they’d prefer a public option or single payer plan. I think this will ultimately fuel the effort to bring about the next phase of health care reform.

    The Virginia vote is the one we really have to be concerned with. VA is going to be a battleground state in 2012. Look for it to become the new ground zero in vote suppression laws.

  21. 21
    Carlie

    I’m glad, but sometimes it feels like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.

  22. 22
    Alex

    I’ve been trolling them so hard this morning. Obviously they didn’t pray hard enough. Too busy voting.

    In fact, we should talk about these pesky voting rights distracting from their duty to pray. Perhaps God would have heard if they’d prayed harder.

  23. 23
    d cwilson

    The mandatory insurance provision is certainly a poison pill, and one wonders if it’s really in there because it’s the only way to eliminate pre-existing condition clauses affordably or because the insurance industry knew people would hate it.

    A little bit of both, probably. The mandate is the only part of the law the insurance industry likes, for obvious reasons. On the other hand, most people like all the other stuff in the package except the mandate.

    I think it may ultimately backfire on the industry. People aren’t going to want to go back to the days when insurance companies could drop you the instant you got sick. If Vermont is successful with its single payer plan, people will be able to see the benefits of a public option that isn’t run by them dang socialist Your-OO-Peons!

  24. 24
    Jim Mauch

    I wish I could say that conservative extremism has actually learned to use common sense but we all know better. There will be more to come.

  25. 25
    Frem

    Now is not the time to get overconfident.

  26. 26
    Zaphod

    Here in Virginia, we liberals are not rejoicing. The republicans took a few extra seats in the state senate and they will be evenly split, which means the republican lt. gov. will cast the deciding vote in the case of a tie. Our state house was already in the control of the republicans, the governor, lt. governor and attorney general are all republicans. For the last two years, it has been the senate that has stopped some really bad bills from passing. The governor and AG are religious zealots (not sure about the lt gov). I really fear for our state, or at least 99% of us. Maybe it’s time to move to Canada.

  27. 27
    Alex

    I have no illusions as to why this bill failed: Personhood USA dropped the ball in writing such an abhorrently broad definition of a “person” (fertilization? Are they freebasing?). In the end, we had a lot of pro-life people do an about-face and vote against it because, thank Sagan, they actually read the text and realized just how dangerously vague it was.

    If it gets any more precise in the future, I’m sure we’ll lose all the last-minute support we had because, unfortunately, people are still mental enough to be prohibitively pro-life in this state.

    Still, I’m not taking the high road on this victory. These last few months have felt like being taken hostage, and I want nothing more than to rub their sniveling faces into the mud over it. These hateful, misogynistic freaks have earned it.

  28. 28
    Alverant

    @Ing #4
    I agree, but like with a lot of things, it can be good and bad. It’s bad when the far right takes over a state, but at least their damage potential is limited. It’s cogitative dissonance, conservatives like to make a big deal about how much they love their country while at the same time keep trying to break it apart by acting as if “states rights” override federal law. Are we a country or an alliance of 50 countries?

  29. 29
    Gus Snarp

    @d cwilson – My secret hope is that the Supreme Court strikes down the mandate but lets the rest of the law stand.

  30. 30
    alkaloid

    I’m really surprised in a good way (I rarely say that about American politics) by the result in Mississippi. I thought it was going to pass.

  31. 31
    eric

    Yeah, I’m really glad we repealed SB 5 in Ohio. That is another example of how I wonder about the cognitive dissonance conservatives who aren’t rich must have. They elect Republicans that are not for them, the little guy. No one should be surprised Governor Kasich would make an anti-labor law, what did they expect when they elected him?

  32. 32
    Pierce R. Butler

    I still can’t believe my native state didn’t buy into the religious right’s biggest selling point.

    Expect Rethuglican voter-suppression efforts to redouble, along with maneuvers to manage their issues top*cough*SCOTUS*cough*-down.

  33. 33
    EricR

    @ d cwilson #20

    I hope you’re right but I think Alex #27 is correct, narrowing of the definition will make this bill passable, and we sure as hell havent seen the last of these attempts.

  34. 34
    Lou Doench

    @Gus Sharp
    We were so concerned about Issue 2 that I didn’t even hear about issue 3 until i read it in the Voting booth

  35. 35
    d cwilson

    My secret hope is that the Supreme Court strikes down the mandate but lets the rest of the law stand.

    That would clear the way for a public option, assuming it could pass in Congress.

  36. 36
    Gus Snarp

    @Lou Doench – Issue 3 definitely didn’t get much press, so I expect only the hard core right voters would be prepared for it, but even if you’re surprised by it, if you showed up to vote no on 2 I’d think you would be able to decide to vote no on a constitutional amendment opting out of Federal law. But then my philosophy is that constitutions are really important and any amendments get a no vote if I don’t have a specific inclination to vote yes.

    The other possibility is that having a “no” on Issue 2 equal a repeal of SB 5 confused the hell out of the Tea Party and that’s why the “no”s won.

  37. 37
    d cwilson

    @EricR 33:

    I don’t think they’ll narrow the definition. The people behind it want it to be broad enough to also ban in vitro and several forms of birth control. Abortion is merely the tip of the iceberg for them.

  38. 38
    jimmiraybob

    @Gus

    “So now I can’t figure out what percentage of Ohioans are idiots.”

    When in doubt, just go with the national default:

    27% – complete
    20% – middling
    15% – independent

  39. 39
    Hazuki

    I would be less upset with these people if they would continue their support for the unborn AFTER they’re born. Poor baby? Disabled baby? N*gger baby? LET IT DIE!

    At this point, whenever the right wing says something, you should think the opposite.
    – Personhood = degrading real people in favor of potential persons.
    – Family values = theocracy and abuse of women and children.
    – Religious freedom = freedom for ONLY a few types of Christians to do what they want to all other religions including other Christian denominations.
    – Job creators = job destroyers and job outsourcers
    – Fair tax = unfair tax
    – Small government = no more social services

    And the list goes on.

  40. 40
    Krasnaya Koshka

    I got some pretty awful emails in my inbox this morning (no doubt brought on by my cousins rabble-rousing against me). It was all “you agry bulldyek” this and you “abonromal mosnter” that. Yes, those are quotes. So, this is good news. Really good news. Morons will not run the United States, I hope.

    Criminy, it’s embarrassing to me when these sorts of things even come up. I’m trying to be a good representative of Americans, in Russia. Some days, though, I do feel like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Russians have absolutely no issue with abortion. Even the staunchest of the religious babushki (that I’ve met–yes, anecdotal) will admit they’ve had at least four abortions. Russians don’t use contraception methods at all. So women have to have a lot of abortions. I see condoms for sale everywhere (POP) but that’s a new phenomenon. I’m not so much in contact with young Russians. Most of my contacts are older.

    I’m happy I can still vote from Russia. Though I can’t on any state level.

  41. 41
    raven

    This was great news.

    The female slavery/forced birth crowd picked Mississippi because it is the most backward state in the USA.

    IIRC, 1/3 of the population of Mississippi belongs to the Southern Baptists.

    The forced birthers are Zombies. They will be back. Again and again. What else can they do?

  42. 42
    raven

    FWIW, I doubt this measure 26 would have lasted too long in court for a lot of reasons.

    1. It overrules a lot of federal law, including a Supreme court case.

    2. If you can define a blob of cells as a person by a majority vote, you can define a group of humans as nonpersons by a majority vote. It’s just arbitrary.

    I know the fundie xians would love that. Goodbye atheists, Moslems, scientists, gays, and Fake xians.

  43. 43
    Danaleigh

    Family values = theocracy and abuse of women and children and LGBT people.

    FIFY

  44. 44
    Marius Rowell

    Living next door in Louisiana I have to admit to wondering and worrying about this State Constitutional Amendment vote in Mississippi, but they have proved to be a great deal more intelligent that they’re often given credit for.

    Congratulations to the people of Mississippi are due, for showing the world that they’re not as dumb as the Right Wing religionists thought they were.

  45. 45
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    If you can define a blob of cells as a person by a majority vote, you can define a group of humans as nonpersons by a majority vote.

    How many states have had, or are attempting to have, ballot initiatives regarding who actually gets human rights with regard to gay marriage? Already happening.

  46. 46
    truthspeaker

    Ing says:
    9 November 2011 at 1:59 pm

    @Kathrine

    This is why I hate the state system we have. We’re not a country, we’re a coalition of small countries pretending to be one unified nation.

    We’re a federation of semi-sovereign states, a tighter federation than, say, Switzerland but slightly looser than, say, Germany.

    It’s an extremely common model for a nation-state and I don’t think it’s inherently flawed. The trick is finding the right balance between state and federal power, something we’ve been struggling with since independence.

    If all laws were passed by the federal government then Minnesota couldn’t have its law that bans for-profit health insurance companies.

  47. 47
    This Is A Turing Test

    Speaking from Mississippi (Gulf Coast), I have to say that while I’m glad the initiative failed, I don’t think the margin of failure is enough to congratulate us on, or really even much basis for hope. There were still 335,ooo people who voted for it- that’s 42% of the total vote. As EricR in #9 pointed out, that’s not a change in direction, it’s just a slight decrease in the velocity of the madness. My feeling is that once the anti-abortion organizers recognize their error and tighten up the language to more accurately reflect what they’re more specifically after, the vote will go more the way the voter-ID initiative vote went (62%-38% passed).
    (Parenthetically, I have to say that I think the voter-ID thing went the way it did is because it was so largely overshadowed by the personhood issue, meaning a lot of voters weren’t really that aware of it, as Lou pointed above at #34, to the point where the total thought process involved in voting for it probably consisted of a shrug and “sure, why not?” Probably the only people who gave it any real thought were the ones who voted against it. Everybody was so focused on personhood that the voter-ID issue was clouded- almost like a deliberate smokescreen. Nah- they wouldn’t do that, would they? Am I starting to sound like a 911 “truther”? Hold on- scary noise under my bed…)
    Just the dog

  48. 48
    Anj

    “Won’t someone please think of the zygotes!”

    Just doesn’t have the same urgent emotional appeal.

    I quipped that the criminal death of a woman would have had to include 2 charges – one for the women and one for the zygote. We have to assume the existence of the zygote-person because it would be impossible to prove the nonexistence of the zygote-person. (Unless the woman had a complete hysterectomy.)

    Habeus corpus?

  49. 49
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Anj,
    Even if the woman had had a complete hysterectomy, there could still be zygote-persons lurking around inside her. It would require a bilateral oophorectomy to remove all potential for zygote-persons.

    But I’m guessing that the average godbothering nut job realizes the distinction (or that an oophorectomy is a thing).

  50. 50
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    Before y’all give up on VA completely, it looks like there’s going to be a recount in Frederick. If the Dems win, they’ll still hold on to the Senate.

    If they lose, I’m lobbying for NoVA to join DC (and perhaps some counties in MD) in statehood.

  51. 51
    FPJerome

    I was certain that 26 would pass. I am relieved to have been wrong. Perhaps it was a tinge of despair biasing my opinion. Or maybe it was the awesome hard work all the good folks at No on 26 did, ton of great work, focusing on children, families, IVF, that sort of thing – it took the big “dead fetus stick” away from the poster-wielding maniacs.

    The surge of support from *gasp* church leaders didn’t hurt either. A lot of Churchy-McChurch-Churches obviously crossed the big D/R split there and went with it, right before the Dems lost the House of Representatives and the Voter ID, and pretty much everything but 26 and the AG office.

  52. 52
    Julien Rousseau

    Maybe we’re starting to turn around and go in the right — that is, left — direction, at least a little bit.

    I live in the UK and often hear them say that they “drive on the right side of the road, mainland Europe drives on the wrong side”.

  53. 53
    FPJerome

    Oh, though I should add this hilarious bit: After his election and the NO for 26 determination, our face-palm worthy new Governor (replacing Haley Barbour, who looks like William Shatner, if Shatner ate a statue of Haley Barbour made out of racist butter) said that the people who voted NO on 26 were like Nazis. If only we could Godwin him out of office.

    Of course, the immediate question should be: If a lot of the people in your state are Nazis, and you’re in charge of the state, what does that make you?

    (Oh he also said it was a great win for SATAN.)

  54. 54
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    Sad thing about Virginia. In 2008 it was still a purple state….

    We’re a federation of semi-sovereign states, a tighter federation than, say, Switzerland but slightly looser than, say, Germany.

    While I agree with your assessment of Germany, I disagree with your assessment of Switzerland. Switzerland experienced a time of centralised government under Napoleon and has some more signs of “tightening” coming from that time. For instance they have a national penal code, while in the US every state has its own. (Or the traffic law that varies in each state too).

    When comparing the legislative powers of the respective federal levels, the Swiss federal level has actually more enumerated powers than the US one.

    I think for such a big and diverse country such as the United States, federalism is the only democratic option imaginable. Just imagine that a centralised national government would make policy for the entire nation…

    I also don’t think that nowadays you can talk of the US as a federation any more, but that might ultimately boil down to semantics.

    About the Euro comparisons. Of course poorer states in the US are profiting from the fact that they don’t have their own currency. Economics is a great deal about psychology. The PIIGS states in the Eurozone have jeopardised the Euro because of widespread market concern about the individual debts of those countries. But remember, recently some rating agencies put some states on notice too, that their debt ratings were in danger.

  55. 55
    What a Maroon

    Sad thing about Virginia. In 2008 it was still a purple state….

    We’re still purple. We just get tired of having to go vote every year; it’s especially hard to be motivated the year before a presidential election when there are no statewide races (I voted, but none of the races in our district were competitive; most of the candidates were unopposed). Turnout was only about 30%.

    I think it’ll be close next year, especially with two popular ex-govs running for an open senate seat.

  56. 56
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    We’re still purple. We just get tired of having to go vote every year

    Well, that’s good to hear. It does strike me as odd that Virginia holds state legislature elections in odd-numbered years, most other states seem to hold local elections in odd-numbered years.(So when does Virginia hold local elections, in even-numbered years?)

    After the the shocking results of 2010, and the Republican overreach in the Midwest, I do have the hope that the pendulum will swing back in 2012…

  57. 57
    What a Maroon

    So when does Virginia hold local elections, in even-numbered years?

    Both local and state elections are held in odd years. We’re an odd state commonwealth.

  58. 58
    PeteJohn

    I never thought I’d say this but I’m rather proud of the people of Mississippi. This wasn’t just a bill to make abortions illegal, it was an all-out assault on the autonomy of women and common decency itself.

  59. 59
    KingUber

    I may be pro-choice, but that was a dumb law. Good.

  60. 60
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    This defeat is great, but we’ll be seeing more of these “personhood” amendments next year. There’ll be one on my state’s ballot. It’s extremely poorly worded.

  61. 61
    MikeM

    I’m way late to the game on this one, but I saw a great comic strip on this subject today:

    http://www.campusprogress.org/articles/cartoon_limited_liability_zygote/

  62. 62
    longstreet63

    Based on past observation, the failure of the Personhood amendment will demonstrate to its sponsors that they just didn’t go far enough. So, next election cycle, a blizzard of much more draconian proposals will appear everywhere.
    Remember, in modern Rightwing circles, if turning the crazy up to 11 gets you rejected, crank it up to 15, and that will surely gain you victory.
    It’s because they couldn’t possibly be wrong, you see. If they fail, it’s because they were halfhearted. Everyone REALLY favors them. Those who voted against it must have wanted more.

    As to its obvious unconstitutionality, that’s the point. They want it challenged, that they make go to the Supreme Court and get the Roberts Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, plus all the other immoral decisions this would violate.
    And they really think this will happen.
    So they’ll be back.

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