Sauce For The Gander

English: Indiana House of Representatives Cham...

Indiana State House

What a good week this has been for quirky news. Let’s start with Virginia, where Democratic Senator Janet Howell has proposed that men who want to have a prescription for erectile dysfunction should be forced to submit to a rectal exam and stress tests before getting their meds, even though the tests are totally unnecessary and vehemently opposed by the men and their doctors.

She argues that if pregnant women are being compelled, against their and their doctors’ ardent wishes, to get a vaginal ultrasound (an invasive procedure) before having an abortion, then men should be compelled to undergo equally distasteful, invasive and unnecessary procedures.

The amendment was defeated by a 21 – 19 margin! Wow, that’s closer than I’d have imagined. There’s still hope for Virginia!

Next up, on Tuesday, January 31, the Indiana House of Representatives approved a bill that would mandate drug testing of welfare applicants. GOP Rep. Jud McMillin, the bill’s sponsor, said in his statement, “I am excited to help our state become a national leader on this important issue.” Rep. McMillin did not seem equally as enthusiastic about Democratic Rep. Ryan Dvorak’s amendment, which included drug and alcohol testing for legislators in the Indiana General Assembly. This is a tactic Democrats are using in a number of the over 30 states where Republicans are doing everything in their power to force drug testing on the poor and the unemployed. They, by virtue of being poor and out of work, must by their very nature be abusers of drugs and drink, such inexpensive habits. (I am up to 9.7 on my personal barf-o-meter and barely holding on.)

Shockingly, the amendment had been watered down a bit for final passage. Rather than simply testing all the General Assembly members, the weaker version would let lawmakers opt into a system of random screening similar to the procedure for families seeking cash assistance. Failure to opt in could lead to the loss of parking spaces and other perks. (I think they should also be made to stand in a corner and wear a dunce cap!)

And finally, my personal favorite (and again with the Indiana Senate; what is with these people?) is a February 3 article entitled, “Creationist School Bill Looks Doomed In Indiana”, by Jeffrey Mervis of Science Insider.

Last Tuesday the Indiana Senate approved Senate bill S.B. 89, which would allow schools to teach “various theories on the origins of life.” From there it gets kind of hazy as to specifics, but it wasn’t rocket-science tough to make some pretty clear inferences. Oh, well, who really needs Science anyway?

The bill passed, of course, with six votes to spare, but the Senators seemed unprepared for the media’s halogen spotlight and for the storm of anger and condemnation they swiftly received from the scientific community and various scientific organizations throughout the country.

“Creation science” was put forth as one alternative to evolution, but the bill was amended prior to the vote to include for discussion as well “theories from multiple religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.” (I’ll take Buddhism for $400, Alex!)

After some backpedaling by the Senate, Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma conceded that “delving into an issue that the U.S. Supreme Court has, on at least one occasion, said is not compliant with the Constitution may be a side issue and someplace where we don’t need to go.” Apparently this was in reference to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, that a Louisiana state law which would require the teaching of creation science would violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment by advancing religion. (Oh, clever Founding Fathers!)

Hmmm, 1987, huh, and it took him until several days after the bill was passed to ‘remember’ the existence of this ruling? I don’t think so. I think what we have here is a ‘gotcha’ moment, Mr. Speaker. On the bright side, you made my day!

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Born in a small, Illinois log cabin. No, that won't work. The pampered only child of incredibly wealthy parents. No, that doesn't fly either. Raised by French nuns after her aristocratic parents were beheaded. No, that's been done! An East Coast transplant to the Pacific Northwest, this notoriously late bloomer began her new life with a new career as a writer and blogger. She has taken to both the new location and the career move like a duck to water. Writing for Expats Post is a new adventure, and our intrepid risk-taker is diving in, feeling right at home with so many old friends.
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  • Cher Duncombe

    Melody, things are getting curiouser and curiouser. The tests in order to get pills for E.D seem ludicrous. Some young men in their 20’s are getting them to be show-offs! I have heard rumblings about drug testing for Welfare recipients here in PA too and think it must be unconstitutional. In that they are also throwing seniors who smoke and get Medicare. Heck, why not fine people who are more than ten pounds overweight? It is all so absurd.

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  • Melody,

    Let’s spare a moment’s thought for the New Hampshire House:

    “House Bill 1580 is the product of such a brainstorming session this summer between three freshman House Republicans: Bob Kingsbury of Laconia, Tim Twombly of Nashua and Lucien Vita of Middleton. The eyebrow-raiser, set to be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes next month, requires legislation to find its origin in an English document crafted in 1215.

    “All members of the general court proposing bills and resolutions addressing individual rights or liberties shall include a direct quote from the Magna Carta which sets forth the article from which the individual right or liberty is derived,” is the bill’s one sentence.”

    It is not uncommon for reactionary politicians to want to go back in history, but this might be a record. This almost makes the Virginians seem forward looking.

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  • Larry, I had heard of this a while back, but I thought it had been allowed to die quietly. The Republicans all seem to be caught between 33 A.D. and the Middle Ages. Are they All crazy? 😛

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