Friday, June 15, 2012

The Vagina Comicals

In the petty police state of Michigan (used to be Michigan, My Michigan; now it isn't) two state reps got a time out yesterday for talking naughty during a pre-vote session on some fancy new man-made anti-abortion bills. These two elected representatives of the people were told they could not speak for an entire day because they "ignored the rules of decorum" and got a little huffy with the menfolks. (It probably won't surprise you, given what you may already know about our once great state, but both of them were Democrats and both of them were women.) 

One of them, Rep. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield,  actually used the word "vagina" in a sentence on the House floor. She spoke for a few minutes about her own Jewish faith and how it understands the legitimacy of medically necessary abortions. She ended by saying, "Finally, Mr. Speaker,
I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no.'"

Oh. My. God.  That word.  That nasty, wasty word:


noun, plural va·gi·nas, va·gi·nae [-nee] . 1. Anatomy, Zoology .
the passage leading from the uterus to the vulva in certain female mammals. Compare oviduct.
 Yesterday's Detroit News reported (with a straight face--at least in public):
Brown's comment prompted a rebuke Thursday by House Republicans, who wouldn't allow her to voice her opinion on a school employee retirement bill.
"What she said was offensive," said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. "It was so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company."
 Lisa Brown responded:  “If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?”

On that same day, Wednesday, Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, wickedly suggested that if the gentlemen of the Republican persuasion want to dictate how a woman uses her body by putting up a draconian bill limiting existing abortion laws, she would introduce an amendment to the bill requiring that all men seeking vasectomies in Michigan provide proof that the procedure was necessary due to a medical emergency or that the man's life was in danger.

"If we truly want to make sure children are born, we would regulate vasectomies," Byrum told reporters Thursday.

(The law passed, anyway, 70-39 with a Republican majority--minus the proposed 20-week abortion ban, which will be taken up at a later date.  It passed in spite of over 10,000 protest signatures, which were apparently invisible to the Republicans and thus weren't recognized.  It goes to the Republican majority senate in September.  Some are calling this anti-abortion bill "the nation's worst."  The specifics are here.  You be the judge.)

Photo courtesy Eclectablog.  More on the story here.
 Yesterday was the last day the legislature was in session before summer recess.  Numerous bills were discussed before voting, it being the last day and all, but neither Brown nor Byrum were allowed to speak on the floor.   These two elected representatives of the people (I repeat) were not allowed to voice their opinions on the House floor because of a few legitimate words spoken in legitimate discussion the day before:
Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger (R), said the women “will not be recognized to speak on the House floor today after being gaveled down for their comments and actions yesterday that failed to maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives.” 
So.  You want to see what the end of democracy looks like?  Outside of an apocalyptic, dystopian blockbuster at the movies, that is?  Take a gander at my state.  It's a thrill a minute.  "Nineteen Eighty-Four", with regular but not necessarily satisfying doses of comic relief.

It's Pure Michigan with a rotten core in Lansing and we have until November to throw the bums out.  In the meantime, women of our state, how about we make "Vagina!" our new "Towanda!"  Can't hurt.  Might even help.


  1. So what term would Rep. Callton use? If the medically correct term is offensive, what wouldn't be? (A meaningless question, I know, as obviously the Republicans in the Legislature would prefer not to talk about women at all.)

  2. It's obvious women are just so icky to them. And yet there they are, making laws that affect us intimately, emotionally, economically. Something is definitely wrong with that picture. Can we say MCPs?

  3. Reading this made me keep thinking of that scene in The Life of Brian where the guy is supposed to be stoned to death by the religious authorities for saying the word "Jehovah" and other people keep saying it without thinking and everyone starts throwing rocks. All that fuss over saying a word. And as Nan says, what other word should they have used?

    Of course, the real point of such legislation is to throw a bone to the Republicans' knuckle-dragging theocratic-minded constituents -- mentioning the victims of the legislation at all is bad form, never mind the anatomy in question.

    1. Infidel, you're the second person who brought up that Monty Python scene to compare it to this story. We seem to be in a phase where ridiculous is the norm. That's a scary thought.

      But I think you're right that they're appealing to the religious intolerant. Women are the perfect scapegoats and sex is the perfect weapon. I'm pretty sure this is a battle we've fought a few thousand times before in our history. And here we go again.

      Who would have thought?

  4. It wasn't "vagina" that these old men found offensive; it was "No!"

    1. lol, Ed. Why didn't I think of that? Good one.

    2. That's exactly what I was thinking when I read the original article. She said, "... but no means no," which is what you tell a male who thinks he has the right to force another to have sex, or to be raped.

      Authoritarians can't stand to be told "no."


  5. All I can say is thank (insert the name of your chosen deity here)I moved out of Michigan in 2003 when my yolungest graduated from HS.(I was medically retired when I was 48)even tho I moved to deep south Texas, I do in fact live in a pretty much democratic enclave.
    I missed a few years of Michigan politics so am wondering like WTF???? Michigan used to be pretty much balanced between liberal cities and south MI and conservative small towns and rural northern MI-I lived in Traverse City
    So like what happened? When did Mi go all rethug/teahadist?
    Why did Mi join in with the red state move towards Authoritarianism? Or if you prefer, when did Mi start moving towards fascism?
    And what happened to all the non rethug/teahadist Authoritarian Followers?
    IOW, why did everyone who actually thinks, not bother to vote?
    In 2010, nationally, less than 40% of eligible voters voted. At least 10% of those voted democrat. Yet the rethug/teahadist collective thinks that they got massive majority and will win big in Nov.
    I have to wonder. Exactly what is going to happen in my home state? Why on earth did so many people sit out 2010.
    Sure, I know that some liberals are poed at Obama and think he did not go far enough left so sat out 2010(just like they did in FL in 2000 when a number of democrats cast protest votes for Nader, giving the election over to bush)I have been reading FireDogLake for years and am quite troubled by the number of people who claimed they sat out 2010 to "punish" Obama(but guess what, the only people you punished were yourselves) and who also say that they will do nothing to help get Obama and other democrats elected in 2012.
    So I guess that those people do not care if the US turns into a 1 party police state.
    Hello, do not those democrats understand that the plutocracy is going to pour about $1 Billion into Romneys campaign? Doesn't anyone understand that more than 30% of the country are sheeple, Authoritarian Followers who believe what faux news tells them and that they really believe all the bs that faux feeds them and will vote. If democrats and independents sit on their hands, you all will have no one to blame but yourselves if the rethug/teahadist collective wins again in Mi. Given their war on women, women should be rushing to the voting booth on election day. And, since women voters have so much to lose if the collective wins in Nov, you all should be out organizing right now and making plans to drive those who can not drive, or make sure they get and return absentee ballots. In any case, turnout will decide what is next. If the collective wins then say hello to the brand spanking new fascist state of Mi

    1. Exactly, Timr, everything you said. What happened? It's been coming for years now, starting with the monied Grand Rapids Republicans like the Amway crowd, who gave us over to John Engler twice; who hobbled Jennifer Granholm's two terms by fighting to keep the legislature Republican, and who allowed the Right Wingers and the Tea Party to grab hold by working behind the scenes with the Mackinac Center and the Koch Brothers to pile so much money into their campaigns they couldn't and didn't lose.

      Michigan is one of about a dozen states that succumbed to the Right Wing machine's efforts to take over by installing like-minded governors, legislatures and judges.

      Their efforts to kill the unions and take over entire communities are getting some press now but unless we can get rid of those despots we'll never thrive again.

      Go to my "Michigan Under Siege" page to read more about it. It's horrifying.

  6. Decorum? Got yer decorum right here.

    First he said it was that she mentioned vaginas. Then he said decorum. Now he's saying it was about rape.
    We all know what it's really about.


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