26 February 2009

Going nowhere fast

I've been pretty busy with work lately so I haven't been able to update as much as I'd like. I'm trying, though! Speaking of keeping busy has anyone been paying attention to the Alabama State Legislature this year? (WARNING: IMPENDING RANT) I'll go ahead and tell you now that I try to pay a lot of attention to Alabama politics, especially when the legislature is in session. There are two primary reasons for this. The first and foremost is that I think it's important for people to be aware of the politics in their area so, if nothing else, they can be part of the discussion. The second is that Alabama politics is hilarious. Watching the Senate do its 'thing' is like watching the Keystone Cops. As soon as they're in session people start wondering, "Gee, I wonder what those wacky overpaid assholes are going to get into this year? Is there going to be another fistfight on the Senate floor? Are they going to fail to pass an education budget again? What could they possibly do this year to top themselves?" If any of you pay any attention to Alabama politics you'll know what I'm talking about.

For those of you that are unaware of the nature of the beast I'll give you a quick fill-in. The Alabama State Constitution is the active longest constitution in the world. It has 798 amendments. 798! It was written in 1901 and meant to centralize all of the power in the state to the capital, Montgomery. Almost no authority was given to local government. So anytime, say, Limestone county (most recently) wants to make bingo legal they have to amend the constitution of the state, meaning it has to go through the state legislature. So in any given legislative session in the state of Alabama you'll see an untold number of bills dealing with small municipal affairs. As you may imagine this slows things down a bit. Adding to that hurdle is the fact that personal vendettas in the Senate lead to a whole lot of useless filibustering and backstabbery. Seriously. PERSONAL VENDETTAS. These are the type of people that'll punch you in the face, after all. And in the Alabama Senate if you mean to filibuster apparently all you have to do is tell the legislative body that you mean to filibuster and they just leave for the day. Ever seen Mr. Smith goes to Washington? The final scene where Jimmy Stewart is giving his hours-long, impassioned speech in defense of his position to prevent a bill from going before the House? NOT IN ALABAMA. No sir. All you have to do is imply that you'd be willing to do that and they just give right the fuck up.

Currently, the Senate is being held up by Sen. Poole (D) from Tuscaloosa county. He is filibustering his own bill. HIS. OWN. BILL. Why? Because he knows it'll get shot down and he doesn't want that to happen. It has to do with sewage piping in his county. I don't know why it'd be shot down but I bet it's because this guy is a dick. He has said before that he will not quit. They are in session for 28 weeks and he full well intends to filibuster 'em all until he gets his way. To pass a sewage reallocation bill for Tuscaloosa county... Stops the entire Senate legislative process in its tracks... NOW YOU SEE WHY THIS IS SO FUN?

Oh, and one of the other main reasons I pay attention to this is the Gourmet Beers bill. It always helps to have a horse in the race, so to speak.


Heather Rose said...

Oh, how I loathe politics. While I agree that it's important to know what's going on, I like to pretend that politicians aren't as frighteningly unintelligent/just plain evil as they appear. Sigh.

So, Gourmet Beer Bill? I don't drink, but I know a lot of folks who'll be PRETTY hoppy if this gets by. :P ( Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)

Anonymous said...

Yay Gourmet Beer Bill! Maybe it'll get through this year! Fingers are crossed!

Alabama politics is much akin to the Jerry Springer show - a bunch of pompous rednecks beating the shit out of each other. . .it could be worse. right?!

Apollo said...

Heather- I understand your distaste for politics and politicians. I used to listen to nothing but punk rock. :)

Terrible pun, by the way. If this thing passes you should start drinking and prove all the bill's naysayers right.

Ari- I'm not very convinced that it could be worse. They didn't pass an education budget in the regular session last year because of all the hold-ups. It doesn't get much worse than that.