Cloudtransit will sometimes answer. There may or may not be a debate within Cloudtransit on the utility of reposting New York Times reporting. In this case it is worth it, because we have a teachable moment (go ahead and barf at the cliché). I’m referring, of course, to the show that the Texas Legislature put on last night. There was the heroic Wendy Davis, the state senator, wearing pink tennis shoes and launching into a filibuster at 11:18 a.m. The filibuster was to stop legislation that shut down 37 of the states 42 abortion clinics. The rules for filibuster in Texas are that you have to stay on point and you can’t sit down. She had to make it until midnight. With some help from the gallery, she made it. What happened afterwards is the sort of soul-destroying comedy that must be published far and wide. The following quote relates to the actions of the presiding officer, a Republican supporting the anti-abortion legislation. (from the New York Times, linked here).
But at 3 a.m., Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the presiding officer of the Senate and a Republican supporter of the bill, told lawmakers and reporters that although the bill passed on a 19-to-10 vote, the bill could not be signed in the presence of the Senate and was therefore dead, blaming “an unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics” as the primary cause.
“With all the ruckus and noise going on,” Mr. Dewhurst said, he could not complete administrative duties to make the vote official and sign the bill. Senate Democrats and women’s right’s advocates said the real reason the vote could not be made official was a time stamp on official documents that showed the bill passed after midnight. The Legislature’s official Web site first posted that the Senate’s vote occurred on Wednesday, after the midnight deadline, but the date was later changed to Tuesday for unknown reasons.
Goddam time stamps and the whole world watching! Why, how is an honest republican supposed to get God’s work done?
If you care to burn through your ten free monthly trips to the New York Times you can read how closely watched Wendy Davis was for any violation of the strict filibuster rules. If she strayed off topic or sat down, then the filibuster would be over.
But at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, 11 hours after she first stood up, Mr. Dewhurst sustained a violation against her for straying off the topic. It was her third violation. As the senators debated the next steps, Ms. Davis remained standing, because it was uncertain whether the filibuster had officially ended.
This is how authoritarianism works. When it comes to your agenda a timestamp is just a meaningless detail. When it comes to anyone who opposes your agenda, every nitpicking rule is critical. Fortunately, the world was watching, so for once the authoritarians had to submit to the rules.