19 May 2012

Poll tax

The Farmville Herald has a weekly feature where they print the front page of the paper from exactly 50 years ago. It's fascinating readingórecently we've seen the building of the physical plant for the newly-established white academy (the public schools having been closed to keep the colored kids out), among other things.

Yesterday's, by which I mean Friday, May 18, 1962, has this little blurb in the National News Summary:

The literacy test bill was tabled for the session Tuesday after Senate leaders tried twice unsuccessfully to shut off Southern debate against the measure by cloture. The bill would have substituted completion of the sixth grade for literacy tests as a requirement for voting in federal elections. Civil rights advocates promised another try next year, but the real fight may come at the beginning of the session if they try to change the rule requiring a two-thirds vote for cloture to one requiring a simple majority.

It brings a certain perspective to our current fights over voting access; Virginia just passed a law that requires ID to vote (or more specifically, changed the existing ID-required law to mean that if you don't have ID you have to cast a provisional ballot rather than merely swearing an affidavit that you are a legitimate voter, and then go to the county clerk within a couple days with your ID to convert the provisional into an actual ballot). It considers your voter registration card to be sufficient ID, so I'm not quite as mad at it as I could be, but it's a transparent attempt to make it harder for already-disadvantaged voters to vote.

But at least it's not a literacy test (or, for that matter, a completion-of-sixth-grade test). So, that's something, I guess.

"Commas group and separate meaning. They're the duct tape of written English. No set of rules based on form rather than content can adequately describe their habits and activities." --Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Posted by blahedo at 12:47pm | Comments (0)

17 May 2012

Further and further

In the scant two months since I walked out, the RCC have doubled down on their reprehensible politicking over the contraceptive mandate, one bishop accusing Obama of being like Hitler and (more recently) a college dropping healthcare entirely in order to deny women access to contraception. Meanwhile the Vatican has smacked down 80% of US women religious (i.e. nuns) for too much focus on social justice (instead of the anti-gay and anti-contraception activism the Pope wants). And then a few days ago, the bishops decided to investigate the Girl Scouts for not conforming well enough to doctrine.

First of all, the clear conclusion here is that I picked a good time to walk out; it certainly hasn't gotten any better since then. (An alternative conclusion was that my presence was the only thing holding it all together, but I am skeptical of this possibility.)

I'd also like to draw attention to a common thread, though. What do all these have in common? Women... women... women. How on earth does anyone defend this? I feel like I've been saying and typing the word "misogyny" an awful lot lately, such that it becomes bleached of its meaning, but seriously, it's getting more and more difficult to even imagine alternative explanations.

"For years, motivational speakers and the like have been touting how the Chinese word for "crisis" is made of "danger" and "opportunity," which (1) is bullshit and (2) is a little insulting as it implies Chinese words were created to teach lessons, unlike any other culture where words are created because you need to say that thing." --Christina H

Posted by blahedo at 11:55am | Comments (4)