Last night, Jon Stewart looked at the insane laws being proposed and sometimes passed in GOP-controlled state legislatures like in Missouri and Kansas, which aren't always even proposed by Republicans.
I believe it was Martin Luther King, Jr., who said the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. Or something like that. However, it appears some of America's state legislatures would like to make that arc longer, and maybe have it bend not as much towards justice, but backwards and up their own asses. (audience laughter) As we'll see in our next segment, The States: Meth Labs of Democracy. (audience laughter)Video below the fold.
Like Kansas, the Wheat State, the place you're desperately trying to get back to from Oz, Ol' Boxy. Where state lawmakers are asking their parents, "Is that all you got? Put your back into it."NEWS ANCHOR (2/17/2014): One Kansas lawmaker wants to allow parents to hit their kids harder.(shocked audience laughter)
Yeah. Chew on that for a little bit. "Hello, my name is Representative Gail Finney (D). Are you holding back from punching the shit out of your own children (audience laughter), because you fear legal repercussions? (audience laughter) Well fear no more, your nightmare's over. Whereas theirs is just beginning. (audience laughter)BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN (2/18/2014): This bill allows schoolteachers, allows babysitters, whoever has the guardian's written permission to hit a child harder.Birthday clowns, other children, local drifters, bogeymen or women — whoever it is in your life that you believe hits the hardest. You can sign that power over to them. "Hey, while you're here to fix the cable, would you mind going upstairs? I got a 9-year-old that won't make the bed. Quick shot to the chops should do it. What does this law specifically mean by "harder"? And could you form your answer the way perhaps a serial killer might?
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN (2/18/2014): House Bill 2699: "corporal punishment means up to 10 forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-handed palm against the clothed buttocks of a child acknowledging that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result."(shocked audience response)
Yay, as the rosy handprint blossoms on the young child's buttock, like a blushing flower against a field of virgin snow, only then will a lesson be branded on your once defiant ward, Your Honor.
All right, I'm always looking for a healthy debate. Why shouldn't we hit our children hard enough to bruise them?AMY TERREROS, NURSE (2/18/2014): We have research that has shown that it is less effective than timeout. It tends to lead to more aggressive behaviors with the child.Hm. Scientific studies on the result of such discipline from a bona fide expert. And the counter-argument?
FOX & FRIENDS (2/19/2014): And "Sure Shot" tweeted us:(audience laughter)
Hm, American Academy of Pediatrics? And Sure Shot @darnshootin. Guess all we can do is teach the controversy. Look, I'm not going to hit my kids because some anonymous tweeter thinks it never bothered him. I need role models.2/19/2014:(wild audience laughter)
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Your parents ever spank you?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Oh God, yes.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: My parents spanked me.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Oh, with a hairbrush on the side of the road.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: In my dad, it was one motion. Belt, thwack! Pow!
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Really. Side of the road.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, you didn't want that happening.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Humiliation, it was part of it.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: No, it wasn't humiliation, it was just sheer corporal punishment. And I must say, it was effective.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.
No deep emotional scars there. By the way, Mika Brzezinski's father is a former National Security Advisor. I imagine that anecdote was a tasty addition to his normally undervisited Wikipedia page.
The Kansas spanking bill is all well and good for punishing a child's butt. But how do you punish their brain? For that, we turn to Missouri, where state representative Rick Brattin is on a crusade.2/7/2014:(stunned audience reaction)
NEWS REPORTER: After three failed attempts to change the way the schools teach evolution, Brattin is taking a new approach, using the language of choice.
STATE REP. RICK BRATTIN, R-MO: What my bill would do, it would just allow parents to opt out of natural selection teaching.
TINA DECAVELE, DREXEL, MO: I definitely think parents should be notified if evolution is taught, 'cause I believe in creation.
BRANDON EASTWOOD, HARRISONVILLE, MO: Evolution, it's just... it's not taught in the Bible, so it shouldn't be taught in the class.
The Bible class. Otherwise, you're setting a pretty high hurdle if schools can't teach anything that's not in the Bible. "All right kids, welcome to woodshop. Um... once again, we will be building an ark.
All right, we've had our fun with Missouri, let's move on again to another state. It's really Kansas again?! You just had your turn! This better be good.CBS12 (2/13/2014): This week, the Kansas House passed a bill allowing public and private employees to refuse service to same-sex couples due to religious beliefs."Ah, this arc's not bending towards justice on my watch!" So how's this law work?
JOSH BARRO (2/14/2014): If you work for a company, and that company has a policy against anti-gay discrimination, you're still allowed to say, "Well I'm the bakery guy at the national chain supermarket, but I'm not going to make a cake for this gay couple's wedding."Let me stop you right there. You think a gay wedding's going to have a supermarket cake? (wild audience laughter and applause) That's what you think? Really? This couple's been waiting their whole lives for the freedom to marry. They're not just going to swing by the Safeway and pick up an Entenmann's. "Oh, let's grab one of those '30' candles to commemorate how many years the state has denied us basic human dignity."
Anyway, the no cake for gays bill passed overwhelmingly in the Kansas House. Only to be shot down in the Kansas State Senate. Because there are some ideas that are too ridiculous even for a state senate.2/20/2014:Arizona!! Careful, Arizona, you turn history back too far, you'll go back to being that weird patch between New Mexico and California that no one wants to talk about. Which really isn't that big a change, is it? We'll be right back.
NEWS ANCHOR #1: There is some controversy at the Arizona state capitol today.
NEWS ANCHOR #2: Yes, it seems that the state senate has approved a bill that allows businesses to refuse people's service based on their religious beliefs.