News from Arizona that may or may not make anyone angry
This is from Wednesday, 11 January: HOV-lane driver loses debate. A woman in Phoenix was ticketed for illegally driving in the carpool lane. She took the city to court over it. How, you might ask, could she possibly argue this? Well, she was almost ready to give birth when she was ticketed in November (her son was born two weeks later), and she claimed - wait for it - that her unborn child was the second passenger in the car.
Let's chew on that for a bit. This woman said the baby in her belly was the second passenger. I assume that whenever she went to the movies while she was pregnant she paid for an adult and child. No? So shut up, lady. The real issue, of course, is right-to-life people. I don't know what this woman's stance on abortion is, but the Arizona Right To Life director chimed in. Saying the laws need to catch up with the culture, Shane Wikfors said, "A person is a person no matter how small." [Has he been reading Horton Hatches The Egg?] "If it does make a big enough splash, the law will revisit it from the perspective that it does count as another person in the vehicle."
The woman, for her part, remains bitter. "Under all law, a person should include an unborn child. Why should it be any different under the traffic code?" Then, the final kicker: "I didn't drive in the lane to disobey the law, and I don't drive in that lane now." [Emphasis mine.] Wha-huh? Now, when it's legal to drive in the HOV lane, she doesn't? So why was she driving in it when it might get her into trouble? Let me tell you, for a parent, the HOV lane can be a godsend. This woman, I'm afraid, is a moron.
I can't even imagine a hard-core pro-lifer thinking this is a good idea. Hey, anti-abortion people? Don't you have teen mothers to shame into giving up their babies? Don't you have clinics to march in front of? Even though I think pro-lifers are wrong, the least they could do is confront "real" issues. If the ACLU supported this woman, Bill O'Reilly would have an entire broadcast devoted to their idiocy. Where's the outrage at this waste of taxpayer money, Bill?
On Monday, our "sexually ambiguous" governor, Janet Napolitano, gave her State of the State Address (why is it when a man is her age and has never married, he's fine, but when Napolitano remains a bachelor, there are whispers about her sexuality?). She's a Democrat, but a lot of Republicans applauded her because she vowed to secure the border. Illegal immigration remains a hot-button issue here, and a lot of Hispanics protested outside the Capitol because they didn't like her get-tough attitude. Of course, a lot of Hispanics supported her. She wants to post more National Guardsmen on the border and get the Feds to reimburse her. Good luck with that, Janet. The thing that bugs me most about the rhetoric about "guarding the border" is that it is the Federal Government's job. Bush, for all his xenophobia, has really dropped the ball on that. I doubt if Republicans will like the other part of her plan: fining businesses who "knowingly" hire illegal immigrants. Of course, because proving that businesses knew they were hiring illegals is next to impossible, this is just re-election year rhetoric to draw in the voters. She also wants to pressure the Feds to enact immigration reform. Yeah, that will work.
I still don't get illegal immigrants whining about breaking the laws here. I understand why they want to come here and I sympathize with their plight, but they're still breaking the law. I want us to change the laws we have and, like Napolitano, crack down on the hiring practices of businesses, but illegal immigrants are far too entrenched in our society now. Can you imagine what would happen if Napolitano was successful? Prices would go through the roof. Then we'd see how many people rethink their attitude toward those strange brown people. Hey, maybe they're not so bad after all ...
Napolitano also said that teachers need a pay raise. I'm all for that (obviously). She wants to increase the base pay of teachers to $30,000 per annum. Just look at that sentence (and the crucial verb) for a second and you'll understand why teachers don't want to work here. Yes, we can't throw money at problems (at least that's what the Republicans like to tell us), but paying teachers more is a good first step to getting quality teachers to come to the state. Why should teachers come here when the state doesn't care about building more schools (the public schools around here were built before the population boom and are now bursting at the seams), providing adequate resources for the students, ignoring truancy and getting the kids in the schools, and not paying anything to their teachers?
The state projects that it will have an $850 million budget surplus, so some of the items on her agenda could get done, if the Republicans don't give it back to "the taxpayers," meaning, you know, big businesses (Republicans control the Legislature - Arizona is a conservative state, and it's kind of a shock that Napolitano got elected at all). Of course, we'll see how it plays out. The dissent to these kinds of speeches is always fun to check out, because people reveal their true colors. Elias Bermudez, president of Immigrants Without Borders, said, "Our goal is legislation that will allow people to come to this country and work. And to do it legally. Our purpose it to unite the entire Hispanic community." Noble sentiments, but legislation to allow people to come her legally to work already exists. Why is this group opposed to stopping people from coming here illegally? I don't know. I also would love to find out what would happen if I immigrated illegally into Mexico and got caught. Vicente Fox would probably throw me in a hole in the desert and I'd never been seen again. But we're supposed to be nice. Sorry, I rant sometimes. The president of the Center for Arizona Policy, a charming anti-gay group, said, "The governor, while applaudable in many respects, was silent on issues of protecting and strengthening marriage in our state." What the hell? She wants to increase the ability to protect families from sex offenders and continue to crack down on meth dealers. What could this woman be talking about? Oh, that's right - we strengthen marriage by denying gays the right to marry. This bugs me. It's already illegal in Arizona for gays to marry. It's been in front of the State Supreme Court. So of course people want it on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. I wish groups like this would just come out and say it: Homosexuals are icky. They would be ignorant, but at least I would respect them more for having the courage to express their ignorant attitudes instead of pretending it's all about the family. How the hell is Napolitano going to strengthen marriage? If you want to be married, you will be. What a stupid thing to say.
So that's a small sampling of politics in the state today. Fun stuff. It's a big election year, so things are only getting started. I can't wait.