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(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 the only actor on the scene missing was the Jack of Hearts.
It has been noted how many veteran Republican congresscritters have been hitting the silk rather than run for re-election with a vulgar talking yam at the top of the ticket. What is interesting is that there is something similar happening out in the states. For example, in, of all places, Texas. From the Houston Chronicle:
His decision to not run for re-election puts GOP control of that seat in peril. Incumbents typically enjoy an upper hand in re-election bids, generally in better name recognition and stronger fundraising. Democrats have targeted his district as they try to take control of the Texas House. Political operatives from either party have identified more than two dozen House seats that are flippable in the greater Houston and Dallas areas: 11 in the greater Houston area, 16 in the DFW Metroplex.
Democrats need to win nine seats to make up a majority of the 150-member House, which would break up decades of Republican dominance in Austin. The stakes are high — the party that controls the House in 2021 will wield influence when the Legislature redraws Congressional and state district boundaries following next year’s census.
Texas, of course, has been ground zero for Republican congressional retirements; that state legislators are taking the same route back to the private sector might indicate that the president* has poisoned the Republican brand all the way down to the taproot. Texas Democrats need to flip nine seats to control the Texas House, and this state representative, Dwayne Bohac, opted out of facing two Democratic challengers.
We move along to Tennessee, the government of which seems bound and determined to out-Mississippi Mississippi. The state is presently setting taxpayer dollars on fire defending one of those nakedly unconstitutional Waiting-For-Justice-Boof anti-choice laws. (Texas, it should be noted, already has spent $2.5 million defending an even worse pile of dreck.) Anyway, the Tennessee law under challenge requires a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking to exercise their right to choose. This is, of course, paternalism run amok. There are only seven clinics left operating in Tennessee. From the Courthouse News Service:
After anti-abortion activists bought the building in a bankruptcy sale and shut the clinic down in 1993, they demolished a portion of the building where abortions were performed and, inspired by an account in the Old Testament, placed a limestone boulder – an Ebenezer stone – to commemorate a victory they believe came about only with God’s assistance. Today, if a woman in Chattanooga seeks an abortion, she must drive about two hours to Knoxville or Nashville, Atlanta, Georgia or Huntsville, Alabama.
Chattanooga is one of 27 cities in the country termed an “abortion desert” by a 2018 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, a city where a woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy has to drive more than 100 miles to the nearest abortion clinic. The distance some women have to drive for an abortion is the reason why abortion clinics in the state are challenging a Tennessee law in federal court requiring women to wait 48-hours between an initial, in-person consultation with an abortion provider and the actual procedure.
I will never understand why people who will turn into Che Guevara if their water bills go up a nickel are perfectly fine with their states’ spending millions on doomed and lunatic lawsuits. I mean, I understand it, but I don’t understand it.
And further proof that associating with El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago will threaten to kill your political career not merely dead, but really, most sincerely dead can be found just north of the border in Kentucky. That’s where magnificently unpopular Republican Tea Party Governor Matt Bevin hosted a rally for Donald Trump, Jr. back in August, and the advance team put the event in a hall that was much too big for it, thereby providing for some lovely TV shots of empty arena seats, something up with which the president*’s spalpeen will not put. This cost the campaign manager for Bevin’s November re-election effort his job. From Politico:
Michael Antonopoulos, a GOP strategist who has worked for an array of Republican candidates and has been advising Bevin, has taken over operational control of Bevin’s campaign. He takes over for Davis Paine, who has been serving as campaign manager for Bevin. Paine will retain his title.
The staff change occurred around Labor Day. Two people familiar with the decision said it was at least partly related to the handling of a late August rally that Donald Trump Jr. held for Bevin. The rally was held on a Thursday afternoon in a large Eastern Kentucky event space, leading to embarrassing images of a near vacant arena. Paine chose to hold the rally at the venue over the objections of Trump Jr. advisers who recommended holding it in a smaller ballroom instead, according to people familiar with the matter.
I feel bad for Paine. I think maybe all the phone booths were booked.
And we conclude, as is our custom, in the great state of Oklahoma, whence Blog Official Boot Scooter Friedman of the Plains brings us the saga of an extremely touchy education “reform” mill. From the Tulsa World:
The move by the state’s largest virtual charter school against Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, comes one week after Epic called for an investigation of Sharp by Oklahoma Senate leadership — a request that went nowhere. “You are hereby put on notice to CEASE AND DESIST ALL DEFAMATION OF EPIC, ITS STAFF AND FALSE ACCUSATIONS RELATED TO THE SCHOOL,” Epic attorney William Hickman wrote to Sharp in a letter dated Tuesday, also putting that capitalized passage in bold type.
In mid-July, Sharp issued the first in a series of news releases questioning how Epic could have received millions of dollars in state funding the previous two years for 3,000 to 4,000 students in middle and high school when the Epic Blended Learning Centers in which they were enrolled could be attended only by students in early education and elementary school grades. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has an ongoing probe into allegations of embezzlement, obtaining money by false pretenses, racketeering and forgery at Epic. And as the Tulsa World previously reported, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Education’s law enforcement arm have also been investigating Epic Charter Schools’ student enrollment practices and finances for the past several years.
Stop defaming us until the feds are done with us is an interesting legal strategy there, Cotton. Let’s see how it works out.
This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.
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Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976.