For the sake of my cousins, I commend the Tarheels' National Championship in basketball.
I even watched part of the game last night. Though I'm not a fan of college (or pro) basketball, it was obvious that the Tarheels were running the show from the get-go. Outstanding.
I truly loathe the intrusion of "March Madness" on the TV schedule, but at least this year I can be happy for someone.
In a state suffering a severe prolonged drought, where the population has already overstretched water resources, where people are losing jobs and homes, going hungry, going without medical care, where children don't have schools to go to or qualified teachers to teach them, where good productive land is scraped into heaps and paved, while city buildings stand empty...
The Texas legislature prefers to get on its high horse about voter fraud. They haven't been able to produce any proof that it exists, any more than the Bush Administration could when they made that a priority for their law enforcement arms, but they do know that the people who vote Democrat are more likely to be without a passport or a photo ID than people who vote Republican. They do know that the cost of obtaining the kind of ID they want people to have is out of reach for poor people, and also for elderly who don't drive. In other words, it's a pure and simple partisan attempt to keep at least some Democrats from voting.
In a bastion of "we don't want any government interference," they want to interfere with a citizen's basic right to cast a vote, by casting doubt on whether citizens who disagree with them are really citizens.
That's nothing new. The rabid right has been saying for years that Democrats aren't "real" Americans.
And it's nothing new that they're attacking the right to vote: that's the old Southern Democrat method of keeping the dark folks down, and the Republicans were delighted to accept Southern Dems into the Elephant house. If you can't have a poll tax (struck down by the Supreme Court, though this Court would probably uphold it), you can have the even more expensive voter ID. Call it something to do with national security--use the same old scare tactics to convince people that Bad Guys From Over There are sneaking in to vote...don't let people notice the Bad Guys Right Here who chose the electronic voting machines we now have to use...and you've won.
And they're winning--the Texas Senate voted for the legislation to "prevent voter fraud" by forcing people to have specified forms of photo-ID not only when they register to vote, but at the polls. In spite of the fact that there is no proof--no evidence--that non-citizens are voting, they're going right on to impose this unreasonable burden on the real citizens.
They've tried other things. A few years ago, without any notice whatsoever to us, the concerned parties, we were removed from the rolls of those eligible to vote in city elections. I never could pin anyone down to find out who, precisely, made that determination, and who, precisely, agreed that the person making it was *qualified* to make it. That it happened at the county level, I am certain (the county sends out the voter registrations) but the city here denied having any input, and the county office responsible insisted that they'd been handed a map by the county EMS (?) that put our house outside city limits.
We're Democrats. The county power structure has gone Republican (it wasn't when we moved here.) I don't think that's an accident, especially since the city limits haven't moved in the 30 years we've been here, and I've been on the city council here in the past (and running for city office requires that you be a resident in that city.) The only possible reason to pull us off the rolls was partisan politics.
So the Texas House will undoubtedly support the Texas Senate in passing this stupid, unnecessary, and downright dishonest legislation and the Elephants among them will have a love-fest of smugness that they've repelled the vile alien and made the world safer for Their Kind.
The Texas lege is also all hot and bothered about homosexuality. Last session they got all hot and bothered about high school cheerleader uniforms and dances (too sexy.) They get all hot and bothered about problems that don't exist, because they're too stupid & ignorant, or too cowardly, to face the very real problems this state has...but that would mean looking in the mirror and admitting why those big problems exist...because people like them refused to wake up and smell the Elephant-piles many years ago.