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June 15, 2012 04:23 AM UTC

At Least He's Not Your Speak--Well, Actually, We'd Probably Be Willing to Trade

  • by: ProgressiveCowgirl

Michigan’s Speaker of the House, Republican Jase Bolger (currently under investigation for misuse of public resources), sure has a funny definition of “decorum.” Consider this:

Decorous: Introducing a bill that increases the difficulty of obtaining an abortion and burdens abortion providers with the additional liability of yet another unenforceable criminal law relating to abortion.

Failing to Maintain Decorum: Saying “vagina” while discussing a bill that directly affects one’s own choices concerning one’s uterus, ovaries, and vagina.

If you find that distinction annoying and offensive, you may wish to mail Speaker Bolger a postcard with the word “vagina” on it. Here’s his mailing address:


164 Capitol

P.O. Box 30014

Lansing, MI  48933

Details after the jump:

State Reps. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, and Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga were gaveled down and prevented from speaking in the debate on an anti-abortion bill, which ultimately passed 70-39. Brown’s crime was a pithy comment to supporters of the legislation: “I’m flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no.”

Byrum was ruled out of order for complaining when the majority floor leader did not recognize her to speak on her own amendment to the bill. Analogous to a Republican amendment banning abortions past 20 weeks unless medically necessary, Byrum’s amendment would have required proof of medical necessity for vasectomy procedures.

A statement from the Speaker’s spokesman (what, the Speaker can’t speak for himself?) clarifies his thinking, as much as is possible:

Ari Adler, spokesman for Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, said it was the prerogative of Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland, to maintain order and decorum during session of the House.

They “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,” Adler said.

“House Republicans often go beyond simply allowing debate by welcoming open and passionate discussion of the issues before this chamber,” he added. “The only way we can continue doing so, however, is to ensure that the proper level of maturity and civility are maintained on the House floor.”

Funny how it’s acceptable and even encouraged to introduce a whole piece of legislation focused on preventing women from deciding which intimate medical procedures are “necessary” for themselves, but it’s out of order, un-decorous, immature, and uncivil to introduce an amendment doing the same for intimate medical procedures concerning male organs.

I’m proud of both of my sisters for teaching their children to call body parts by the correct names. Good thing none of my nieces or nephews serve in the Michigan state house, where the mature and responsible habit they’re learning would get them gaveled down and condescended to.

Perhaps Speaker Bolger would prefer “hoo-ha,” “vagoo,” or “no-no-square?”


11 thoughts on “At Least He’s Not Your Speak–Well, Actually, We’d Probably Be Willing to Trade

  1. I’ve been watching the Michigan state legislature from afar, and appalled at the audacity of the Tea Party-heavy legislature in my old home. Rep. Brown’s speech was important for another reason besides her accusation that the Speaker of the House is too interested in women’s vaginas.

    Her courageous speech was also important because it said what so many of us have been thinking: how dare these right-wingnuts talk about religious liberty while trampling the rights of Jews, and members of many other religions that differ from their own.

  2. Michigan’s Tea flavored body is a great example.

    They’ve been routinely passing laws with “immediate effect” provisions that require a legislative vote they can’t reach by calling for a show of hands and then declaring that they’ve met the threshold without counting, and ignoring points of order for a roll call vote.

    Unfortunately for Michiganders, the state’s court system has long been stacked toward the right.  I’m surprised that they’ve so far allowed the ballot measure challenging the emergency manager law on the ballot.

    (For those not following, Michigan’s had a battle over an emergency manager law which has allowed the state to take over cities and sell off assets with no local say; a petition was circulated to repeal that law, and the state has challenged based on invalid font size because the new Microsoft fonts are smaller for their point size than traditional print – i.e. the 14-point Calibri font the printer used only stands about 12 points high.  The law says petition headers have to be in 14-point bold font, but it doesn’t say “measures 14 points by standard print measurements”.  The state court of appeals ruled that precedent allows the ballots, but that the precedent is wrong; state court rules prevent them from overturning the precedent (the state supreme court is the only body that can do that), so they were contemplating a panel of “experts” to issue a formal opinion to tack on to any appeal to the state SC.  Yesterday they decided against that move…)

    1. this amazing strategy in action, with Dems screaming for a count which would clearly show an inadequate number of votes to qualify for the use of the immediate effect provision while the R leadership gavels them down after claiming to have counted a sufficient number of votes (obviously not close to accurate) in a matter of a couple of seconds. It’s so incredibly blatant I wouldn’t believe it without the video.  

      The fact is that Michigan no longer has a functioning democratically elected representative form of government, either in its municipalities, with the emergency take overs and dissolving of elected city councils to be replaced by state appointed dictator/managers, or in its state legislature. Period.

      The fact that it’s an elected dictatorship  simply puts Michigan in the same category as all those not so fondly remembered old style communist “democratic people’s republics”.

      The moral is, as things are today, don’t vote for any Republican under any circumstances. At present, Republican majorities are too great a threat to our existence as a free self governing people to make a single exception for any individual Republican, no matter how allegedly moderate or reasonable, because every single one potentially contributes to a GOP majority somewhere backed by GOP courts.  

      With the ultimate court, the Supreme Court, now serving as an arm of the out of control Republican party, just say no to any and all Republicans before it’s too late to take our country back from this madness.  

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