Ovaries at the wheel
The latest volley from Saudi clerics in the campaign to keep women off the streets — and no, we don’t mean like that — takes the tack of basic concern for the health and well-being of women and their innocent babies everywhere.
“If a woman drives a car, it could have a negative physiological impact,” Sheikh Saleh Al-Loheidan told the Saudi news website http://sabq.org. “Medical studies show that it would automatically affect a woman’s ovaries and that it pushes the pelvis upward.”
He goes on to claim that women who drive cars give birth to children with “varying degrees of clinical problems.”
Here in post-Feminine Mystique America, we’ve heard the choices made by women to get out of their kitchens and into the workforce and the government blamed for all manner of ills in American families, but this is a new one.
The comments come in response to the ongoing participation in online petitions asking the Saudi Arabian government to issue driver’s licenses to women. No legislation expressly prohibits women from driving, but the government won’t issue Saudi women a license based on interpretations of religious edicts.
Saudi women joining the movement are planning to demonstrate on Oct. 26 — by driving.
The movement has been coordinated online, with Saudi women using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to spread their messages, beginning with a seven-minute video made by Saudi woman Manal al-Sharif. Al-Sharif was filmed driving her car (she has a driver’s license from a different country) while making an argument for the undue burden placed on women when they have to rely on a male driver, including the financial expense of hiring a driver or paying for a taxi. The video led to Al-Sharif ’s imprisonment. But so far, at least, her ovaries seem to be fine.
PUC throws weight around
The news that the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) claimed its territory in the municipalization debate this week was a setback for the city of Boulder, but not really a surprise, considering that the PUC is the regulatory gorilla in the room.
On Oct. 9, the PUC declared that it — not the city — has the right to decide which assets Boulder is able to condemn and acquire from Xcel if it creates its own municipal electric utility, meaning that the question of whether about 6,000 county residents would suddenly become city of Boulder utility customers lies in the hands of the commission.
And it was really no surprise that the PUC said the city has to pay Xcel for any facilities it takes over or causes Xcel to have to replicate — Boulder officials have acknowledged as much. What will really be interesting is where the commission comes down on the issues of “stranded costs” — the ongoing debt payments that Xcel will have to make on investments it made on Boulder infrastructure if the city pulls out — as well as “going concern,” which is the amount Xcel stands to lose in rates that would have been paid to the company by Boulder customers in future years.
More likely than not, as we knew long ago, this whole thing is going to end up in court and be a long, drawn-out legal battle that will likely take years to resolve.
Get comfy, because regardless of the outcome of the dueling muni measures on the ballot this fall, it’s going to be a while before you can flip the switch and get Boulder’s juice instead of Xcel’s.