Messing with Texas

A Federal Judge has ruled that the restrictions on reproductive rights passed by Texas – the ones Wendy Davis filibustered – are unConstitutional! Hooray!

Of course Texas Republican Attorney General and Governor-wannabe Greg Abbott (the guy behind Texas’s recently-passed sexist Voter ID law) is expected to file an emergency appeal to the 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans…

And these laws are specifically designed to make their way through the appellate system until one reaches the Supreme Court because anti-choicers think that’s the key to overturning Roe v. Wade…

And this ruling does not affect the part of the law that bans abortions after 20 weeks, because most abortions take place before that; or the part requiring that all abortions take place in an “ambulatory surgical center,” which means only 5 of Texas’s 42 abortion providers would be legal, because that part doesn’t go into effect until 2014…

But the rest of this terrible law was supposed to go into effect TOMORROW, and for the moment anyway, it looks like it won’t.

I’m taking my yays where I can get ’em!

Texas Targets Female Voters

Let’s play a game. It’s called Think Like a Texas Teabagger.Pretend there’s a really popular Democratic woman running for Governor of Texas. What the hell, pretend her name is Wendy Davis. You want her to lose. The game is to come up with a law that would drastically lower the number of her likely supporters who are eligible to vote. What do you do?

(Hint – The key is a custom that dates back to the days when women were property, and legal ownership of that property was transferred from fathers to husbands through marriage.)

The name change.

Texas has passed a Voter ID law, effective Nov. 5, that says voters must present an original legal document that reflects their current legal name. (No photocopies.) 34% of women in Texas don’t have one, because they didn’t get their documents updated when their marital status changed.

The law affects 1% of Texas men.

This is in addition to the voter ID laws targeting Hispanic and Black voters that Texas passed in the immediate wake of the Supreme Court’s summer decision to gut the Voting Rights Act. Those laws are being challenged by the Justice Department.

In general, Voter ID laws target low income, minority, and elderly voters who don’t have access to the money, transportation, or information necessary to meet the new ID requirements. Proponents of these laws claim they’re intended to prevent voter fraud. Studies have repeatedly found that the frequency of the kind of fraud that would be prevented by voter ID is lower than 0.0001%.

What does one see when one looks at the government shutdown through a Vagina News lens?

Here are the names of the five Senators who ignored threats of local backlash and reached across the aisle to formulate the bi-partisan deal that ended the shutdown:

Susan Collins, Republican Senator from Maine
Lisa Murkowski, Republican Senator from Alaska
Kelly Ayotte, Republican Senator from New Hampshire
Barbara Mikulski, Democratic Senator from Maryland
Patty Murray, Democratic Senator from Washington

I’m just saying.


Cracks in the Ceiling

Hiya! Boy am I happy to have time to post about two fantastic Vagina News items that happened this week.

First, President Obama announced his nomination of Janet Yellin for Chairperson of the Federal Reserve. If confirmed, Yellin will be the first woman to hold the position.  In addition to that milestone, some interesting things to note:

  • Linguistic nerds like me may take interest in how various media outlets are reporting her title, now that the word ‘Chairman’ doesn’t apply. Some are using it anyway, some are employing ‘chair’ with a lowercase ‘c’, The New York Times is the only one I found to use ‘Chairwoman.’
  • She has a long history of focusing on how monetary policy affects rates of employment, believes unemployment is the biggest threat to a healthy economy, and developed a theory – alongside her Nobel Prize-winning economist husband – that people would rather be unemployed than underpaid.
  • She has an excellent track record on predicting economic trends, including being one of the few people at the Fed who predicted a recession in 2007.
  • She is not Larry Summers.

Second, Canadian author Alice Munro has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature. Some facts:

Looks like I have some reading to do!

Vagina New’s Least Favorite SCOTUS Justice Gives an Interview

The busy continues, so today’s Vagina News is that Antonin Scalia gave an interview that could be subtitled, ‘Why Vagina News Hates Antonin Scalia.’

To wit, “One of the things that upsets me about modern society is the coarseness of manners. You can’t go to a movie—or watch a television show for that matter—without hearing the constant use of the F-word—including, you know, ladies using it.”

I think we all know the appropriate response to that.