Aasif Mandvi interviews Fox Business commentator, Todd Wilemon.
- Jimmy Fallon’s Monologue; March 7, 2014
Massachusetts lawmakers have approved legislation to crack down on those who secretly take photographs of “the sexual or other intimate parts” of women or children in public.
Thursday’s vote came a day after the state’s highest court ruled that a man who took cellphone photos up the skirts of female passengers riding the Boston subway didn’t violate state law.
The new law passed both houses of the Massachusetts legislature in startling quick fashion Thursday, and now goes to the desk of Gov. Deval Patrick, who is expected to sign it Friday.
(Photo: David Kamerman/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Minutes before midnight last June 25, after state Sen. Wendy Davis concluded her 12-and-a-half-hour filibuster of a bill to severely limit abortion access in Texas, a colleague of Davis’ took the mike. Angered that the Republican leadership seemed to be ignoring female senators like herself, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?” The Davis supporters who’d filled the gallery suddenly erupted in applause, a roar that only got louder as order turned to chaos, midnight came and went, and the infamous SB 5 legislation was, for the time being, defeated.
Today, 59-year-old Van de Putte once again finds herself alongside Davis, who’s running for governor. She is the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Texas and will face either incumbent David Dewhurst or hard-right conservative state Sen. Dan Patrick in November. (Dewhurst and Patrick will compete in a May 27 runoff to pick the GOP nominee.) Right now, Davis is the talk of Texas politics, grabbing all the headlines and raising eye-popping sums of money. But Van de Putte may figure larger in the future of her state. Latina, progressive, and a sixth-generation Texan, she has a serious chance of winning, especially if a fire-breather like Patrick wins the runoff, and she is the type of candidate Democrats need as they try to capitalize on the state’s growing Latino population and turn Texas blue.
Every schoolchild, the saying goes, learns that the most powerful politician in Texas is the lieutenant governor. If the governor of Texas dies, the lieutenant governor assumes the top spot. If the governor leaves the state even for a few days, the lieutenant governor becomes sitting governor. The lieutenant governor appoints the powerful committee chairmanships in the state Senate, picks which committee bills are sent to, and decides when a bill comes up for a vote and when someone is recognized on the floor of the state Senate.
In other words, if Van de Putte wins, instead of asking for permission to speak, as she did last June, she’d be giving it. While she may be an underdog—any Texas Democrat running for statewide office is—she’s no long shot. A recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll showed her trailing Patrick by 9 percentage points—2 less than Davis’ deficit against her Republican rival, Attorney General Greg Abbott—and Dewhurst by 12. If Van de Putte did pull off an upset—and Davis fell short—it would still be the biggest win for state Democrats since Ann Richards won the governorship in 1990.
Davis and Van de Putte share the top of the ballot, but in many ways they couldn’t be more different. Davis is composed, lawyerly, and on-message; Van de Putte (whose maiden name is San Miguel) practically preaches from the dais, her speeches peppered with one-liners and zingers and folksy wisdom. At one event last year, a copy of her prepared remarks given to reporters included the disclaimer: “**Please note that the Senator frequently diverges from her prepared remarks**”
On a recent Sunday morning, Van de Putte didn’t appear to have any prepared remarks as she addressed a Texas AFL-CIO convention at a downtown Austin hotel. “My journey here was not an easy one,” she said. In the past year, her six-month-old grandson, 82-year-old father, a beloved employee of her husband’s company, and her husband’s mother had all died. Grief stricken, Van de Putte said she wouldn’t have thought about running for lieutenant governor but for her friend Becky Moeller, the president of the Texas AFL-CIO. Moeller gently nagged her about running, and gave her polling data showing a narrow path to victory. Van de Putte and her family prayed on the decision. Ultimately, seeing the direction her state was headed, she couldn’t say no. She told the convention attendees, “You know, Mama ain’t happy. And if your family’s like my family, Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.’” Pause. ”And if Grandma’s not happy, run! And so I am.”
Van de Putte’s 20-minute speech veered from the tragic (her family’s recent losses) to the euphoric to the hard-hitting. She singled out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for “throwing a temper tantrum” that shut down the federal government. Yet as any politician worth her salt knows, Texans don’t take kindly to criticism of their beloved state, and Van de Putte’s speech deftly walked the line between touting the so-called Texas miracle (“It’s because of Texas families that we’re succeeding”) and slamming her Republican counterparts for not investing in public schools and infrastructure.
Throughout her speech, Van de Putte hit on a populist theme: “I know who you are. I know where you’ve been. I know where you’re going.” She used that line to appeal to the teachers, tradesmen, communication workers, and others gathered in the ballroom, and she urged them to remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” That populist message could play well should the GOP nominee be Dewhurst, a wealthy businessman who spent about $25 million of his own money on a losing US Senate campaign in 2012. Dewhurst has said this will be his last run for office; Dewhurst, who was worth at least $200 million heading into his Senate run, recently told the Associated Press he needs to “go back [to the private sector] and earn some money.” Patrick, the other GOP hopeful, has come under fire for his overheated rhetoric, such as describing the flow of immigrants from Mexico to Texas as an “illegal invasion.”
Of course, Van de Putte will need a lot more than her friends in the labor movement to win in November. But as local and national Democrats pour money, manpower, and technology into their quest of turning Texas blue, Leticia Van de Putte is a name you can expect to hear a lot more often.
If you don’t want to spend a long time reading and/or can understand a person who speaks very quickly, here is your primer to the Ukrainian situation.
Dick Cheney, when he was Vice President of the United States
#just gonna put this up for kicks and giggles(via politicalprof)
Note to conservatives: The House Republicans have voted to give ‘uncapped” billions in aid to a foreign country. Your party has run you over again.
Banks win, we lose.
I object to this post. Like it or not, we have a responsibility as the leading superpower in the world. When these countries left the former Soviet Union we guaranteed we would protect their sovereignty and preserve the world order. The incursion by Russia into Ukraine’s semi-autonomous Crimea is in direct violation of our oaths and of international law. Ukraine will need more than loans to get through this, but in the meantime it is a pretty good start. If we intend to show our allies that we value them and will protect them, than we damn well better defend them when they’re invaded. I have a number of objections to the policies adopted by our Republican-controlled House, but they’re in the right here.
A report from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey conducted by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, found that transgender people faced double the rate of unemployment of the general population, with 63 percent of the transgender people surveyed reporting they experienced a serious act of discrimination that majorly affected their ability to sustain themselves. These numbers are even worse for trans people of color, especially trans women of color, the deaths of whom have been deemed a “state of emergency.”
Trans women have been saddled with the responsibility of taking on trans-exclusionary feminists for far too long—but it’s not their issue to deal with alone.
Read: It’s Time to End the Long History of Feminism Failing Transgender Women by Tina Vasquez at BitchMedia.org. Infographic by Michelle Leigh.
Harry Reid nails it.
Reid’s not the best public speaker, but he makes points that need to be made here. The video is a little long, but so worth it if you need a quick primer on why the Koch Brothers, and largely why the Citizens United decision, have been so disastrous for the United States.