Cop Allegedly Shot Unarmed Man Parked In His Own Driveway

In this Feb. 18, 2013 photo released by the Columbia County (Ga.) Sheriff`s Office, Earnest Satterwhite poses for a booking bug. Satterwhite spent some of the last moments of his life fleeing from officers that wanted to pull the 68-year-old man over on suspicion of drunken driving. Seconds after he pulled into a driveway off a dirt road in Edgefield County, an officer opened fired, leaving him one of 75 people in South Carolina killed by an officer since 2010. (AP Photo/Columbia County (Ga.) Sh

In this Feb. 18, 2013 photo released by the Columbia County (Ga.) Sheriff`s Office, Earnest Satterwhite poses for a booking bug. Satterwhite spent some of the last moments of his life fleeing from officers that wanted to pull the 68-year-old man over on suspicion of drunken driving. Seconds after he pulled into a driveway off a dirt road in Edgefield County, an officer opened fired, leaving him one of 75 people in South Carolina killed by an officer since 2010. (AP Photo/Columbia County (Ga.)

So…at what point do we Americans begin to call this a full-blown epidemic: cops shooting unarmed Blacks?

The Huffington Post

Ernest Satterwhite was a laid-back former mechanic with a habit of ignoring police officers who tried to pull him over — an act of defiance that ultimately got him killed.

The 68-year-old black great-grandfather was shot to death after a slow-speed chase as he parked in his own driveway, by a 25-year-old white police officer who repeatedly fired through the driver’s side door.

Investigators determined that North Augusta Public Safety Officer Justin Craven broke the law. A prosecutor, in a rare action against a police officer, sought to charge him with voluntary manslaughter, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. But the grand jury disagreed, indicting him on a misdemeanor.

The debate over how police use force against unarmed people has become a national issue since an unarmed 18-year-old black man was shot to death in August by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, where unrest still lingers.    (KS: My emphasis)

But most police shootings make only local headlines, and just for a day or two. The refusal of authorities to release public information about these on-duty actions by taxpayer-paid officials is a big reason why. As with many such killings, Satterwhite’s death in February remains shrouded in mystery.

Video can make a difference: South Carolina gained the national spotlight last week after a dashboard camera showed how in just a few seconds Trooper Sean Groubert went from asking motorist Levar Jones for his license for a supposed seat belt violation, to shooting at him repeatedly without provocation, even as Jones put his hands in the air. Jones was hit once and is recovering.

State Public Safety Director Leroy Smith called that shooting “disturbing,” and Groubert was promptly fired and charged with felony assault.

Sometimes, the video can exonerate officers: In August, a South Carolina prosecutor refused to file criminal charges against a York County deputy who wounded a 70-year-old man after mistaking his cane for a shotgun during an after-dark traffic stop. Using video, the sheriff showed how the cane’s shaft could be mistaken for a gun barrel in the dim light.

So far, 35 people were shot by police in South Carolina this year; 16 were killed. The state is on pace to surpass last year’s total of 42 people shot by police.

In Satterwhite’s case, prosecutors won’t say why they sought a felony charge against Craven, who chased Satterwhite for 9 miles, beyond city limits and into Edgefield County.

Experts say it’s the first time an officer was charged in a fatal shooting in roughly a decade. But the grand jury opted for “misconduct in office,” a charge used for sheriffs who make inmates do their personal work, or officers who ask for bribes. Their single-page indictment, returned in August, contains no details other than accusing Craven of “using excessive force and failing to follow and use proper procedures.”

Black leaders were astonished that an officially unjustified shooting of an unarmed man should merit such a light charge.

“It diminishes the nature of the violation — of the death. This man’s life is only worth a misdemeanor?” said state Rep. Joe Neal, a Democrat who has spent decades speaking out against racism in law enforcement and demanding accountability through data and police cameras.

Neal, who is black, also wants authorities to release evidence more quickly in police-involved shootings. Authorities often say doing so could taint potential jurors. Neal says that doesn’t give people enough credit.

The State Law Enforcement Division denied requests filed by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act to learn what evidence was gathered against Craven. Solicitor Donnie Myers, who is handling the case, didn’t return phone calls. North Augusta Police, the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office and Craven’s lawyer, Jack Swerling, declined to comment.

The few details released raised concerns among law enforcement experts. In the likely 10 to 15 minutes he trailed Satterwhite, Craven should have had time to learn he was headed home and had no violent incidents on his criminal record, said University of South Carolina criminology professor Geoffrey Alpert.

Police records show Satterwhite had been arrested more than a dozen times for traffic violations, most of them for driving under suspension or under the influence. Most of the charges led to convictions. He also was charged at least three times for failing to stop as officers tried to pull him over. But his record shows no evidence he ever physically fought with an officer.

Edgefield County deputies who joined in the chase reported that Craven ran up to Satterwhite’s parked car and fired several shots into the driver’s side door, telling the other officers that Satterwhite tried to grab his gun. The other officers couldn’t get Satterwhite’s door open, so they broke the passenger side window, unlocked that door and dragged him out.

“Why would he run up to the car like that?” asked Alpert. “Why would he put himself in a situation to use deadly force? Why would he put his gun close enough for him to grab it?”

Satterwhite, who worked for years as a mechanic, liked to fish and was remembered by his family as a laid-back man who kept to himself, left behind six children, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Seven months after the funeral, and eight days after his indictment, Craven was put on administrative leave — with pay.

Satterwhite’s family then sued the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, Edgefield County and its sheriff’s office.

The lawsuit alleges Craven ignored the Edgefield deputies’ orders to stop and let them manage the chase when it entered their county, about 2 miles from Satterwhite’s home. It claims Satterwhite never tried to grab the officer’s gun when Craven fired five times, hitting him with four bullets — two in the chest.

The family says the officers yanked the mortally wounded man out of the car, restrained him and left him on the ground unattended until paramedics arrived.

Their lawyer, Carter Elliott, hopes to force authorities to release any video and other evidence.

North Augusta’s Public Safety Department has refused to release any details about Craven’s history. City officials didn’t make him available for interviews, and he didn’t respond to emails.

Police agencies hurt their own credibility when they withhold information, allowing rumors and speculation to fill the void, Alpert said.

“They work for us — the public,” Alpert said. “You need to put as much accurate information out there as you can to get in front of the issue and create your own story.”

NFL Backtracks After Penalizing Player For Brief Muslim Prayer

Apparently the powers that be who made that ridiculous punishment forgot about Tim Tebow’s religious prayer after a goal. Or did they?

Think Progress

When a Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah scored a touchdown during his team’s systematic routing of the New England Patriots last night, he did what many NFL players do: he stopped to say a prayer.

But unlike virtually every other touchdown prayer, Abdullah’s drew a penalty.

During the fourth quarter, Abdullah picked off a pass by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and ran it back for a touchdown. To celebrate the score — just the second of his career — Abdullah slid to his knees and performed sujud, or a Muslim form of prayer. Officials immediately penalized Abdullah for unsportsmanlike conduct, specifically excessive celebration, because of his “going to the ground.”

Here is video of the incident

Abdullah’s prayer, of course, wasn’t “excessive” at all — unless officials think religion itself excessive. He is a practicing Muslim who fasts during Ramadan — going without food and water every day until sundown during NFL training camp. He also skipped the 2012 seasonso he and his brother Hamza, another NFL safety who used to play for the Broncos and the Cardinals, could go on the hajj, a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

After the incident, Hamza retweeted a celebratory picture of his brother with the hashtag “#Abdullahing,” hinting that his performance of sujud was effectively the Muslim equivalent of “Tebowing,” or the kneeling prayer of Tim Tebow, former quarterback for the Denver Broncos and famous evangelical Christian.

But while Hamza was subtle about the connection between Tebow and Husain, others on Twitter were quick to point out what appeared to be a double standard between the celebration of Tebow’s public faith and the apparent penalizing of Husain’s:

After a round of criticism, the NFL clarified on Tuesday morning that the celebration should not have drawn a penalty. Michael Signora, the NFL’s vice president of football communications, tweeted that the league’s celebration rules have an exception for gestures of religious faith:

The NFL has made cracking down on celebrations and unsportsmanlike conduct a prioritythis year, and it’s entirely possible that the referee simply didn’t understand what Abdullah was doing. It also wasn’t immediately clear whether the penalty was issued as a result of Abdullah’s prayer or because of his celebratory slide just before he performed sujud. For his part, Abdullah appeared to be gracious about the incident and gave the referee the benefit of the doubt.

“I got a little too excited,” Abdullah told KSHB Kansas City news. “The slide before it, I’m pretty sure that did it.”

But even with the NFL’s clarification, Abdullah’s prayer celebration exposes the uphill battle many non-Christian athletes in the United States face just to express their faith. Whereas Christian NFL players such as Tebow, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson can openly perform their religion in ways that elicit praise, athletes like the Abdullah brothers must constantly explain and re-articulate their faith to others, and sometimes even fight for their right to express it during games. The fact that officials might not have been aware that Husain was praying — even though there have been Muslim athletes in the NFL, NBA, onprofessional boxing circuits, and MLS, including Kei Kamara, who used to play for nearby MLS team Sporting Kansas City — is a well-known frustration to those who follow faiths other than Christianity in the United States.

The incident also came during a period when other athletic institutions are grappling with how to guarantee players the freedom of religious expression. FIBA, basketball’s largest international body, drew fire recently for its ban on religious headwear such as Muslim hijabs, Sikh turbans, and Jewish yarmulkes. Similarly, FIFA, the international soccer federation, recently lifted its own ban on headwear following protests.

White House intruder was tackled by off-duty Secret Service agent

Omar Gonzalez breached White House security Sept. 19. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Washington Post

The man who jumped over the White House fence and sprinted through the main floor of the mansion could have gotten even farther had it not been for an off-duty Secret Service agent who was coincidentally in the house and leaving for the night.

The agent who finally tackled Omar Gonzalez had been serving on the security detail for President Obama’s daughters and had just seen the family depart via helicopter minutes earlier. He happened to be walking through the house when chaos broke out and the intruder dashed through the main foyer, according to two people familiar with the incident.

Gonzalez, 42, was the first person in modern memory to jump over the White House fence and get into the mansion, largely the result of a failure of numerous layers of Secret Service security on the northern fence line.

Though the Secret Service initially said that Gonzalez was quickly detained inside the front door, The Washington Post reported Monday that the man actually made it well into the house before he was tackled on the far southern side of the 80-foot-long East Room. Once he burst inside the unlocked front door, Gonzalez, a former Army veteran, overpowered one Secret Service officer and, on his journey, sprinted past a stairway that leads up half a flight to the first family’s living quarters.

The additional information about the incident came as Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was being grilled on Capitol Hill about the Gonzalez incident and other security lapses revealed in Washington Post stories in recent days. The Post on Sunday detailed the agency’s fumbling response to a November 2011 shooting, in which a man fired a semiautomatic rifle into the White House residence while Sasha Obama was home, but the Secret Service discounted the gunshots on Constitution Avenue as a shoot-out between rival gangsters.

10 things you need to know today: September 30, 2014

Hong Kong's 'Umbrella Revolution' isn't backing down.

Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’ isn’t backing down. (AP Images/Vincent Yu

The Week

Afghanistan signs a long-delayed security pact, Hong Kong demonstrators defy China crackdown, and more

1. Afghan government signs security pact with the U.S.
Afghanistan’s new government signed a long-delayed security agreement with the U.S. on Tuesday, a day after the inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani. His predecessor, Hamid Karzai, had refused to sign, partly over his anger over civilian deaths. The deal will allow 9,800 U.S. troops to stay behind after foreign forces leave on Dec. 31. Ghani called on the Taliban to join peace talks, saying Afghans are “tired of this war.” [Reuters]

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2. Hong Kong demonstrators defy China crackdown
Pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Tuesday, escalating their fight for free elections in the former British colony now controlled by China. Tens of thousands of demonstrators blocked some of the international financial center’s busiest streets on Monday, with many of the protesters holding umbrellas to deflect tear gas fired by police. Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed leader, Leung Chun-ying, told protesters to end their so-called umbrella revolution “immediately.” [USA Today, The New York Times]

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3. Scientists link wild weather to man-made climate change
Man-made climate change increased the odds of nine weather extremes that hit across the world last year, including a heat wave in Australia, intense rain in parts of the U.S., and possibly California’s devastating ongoing drought. Two teams of scientists found no link to California’s water and air temperatures, but another found that rain-blocking high-pressure patterns were three times more likely with man-made global warming than without. “There’s definitely a climate change signal,” lead author Daniel Swain said. [San Jose Mercury News, The Associated Press]

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4. Court halts Catalonia independence referendum
Spain’s constitutional court on Monday halted preparations for an independence vote set for November in the powerful Catalonia region. The central government is arguing that the vote would be illegal. The country’s 1979 constitution says all Spaniards must have a vote on all issues of sovereignty, and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said holding the referendum only in Catalonia would be “a grave attack on the rights of all Spaniards.” The court’s unanimous decision to hear the case means it could be months or even years before the vote can proceed. [The Associated Press]

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5. Police link suspect in Virginia student’s disappearance to a similar case
The arrest of suspect Jesse Matthew in connection with the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham has yielded what police are calling a “significant break” in the 2009 death of another young woman in the same town, Charlottesville, Virginia. Police said Monday there was a “new forensic link” between the Graham case and the murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, 20, after she left a Metallica concert. [CNN]

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6. Judge holds Argentina in contempt for ignoring orders on paying creditors
A U.S. judge in Manhattan ruled Argentina to be in contempt of court for ignoring his injunction against repaying only the bondholders it chooses. The judge, Thomas P. Griesa, warned that he could impose sanctions if the cash-strapped South American nation does not start following his instructions as the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner contends with hedge funds seeking $1.5 billion in payments on bonds Argentina let go into default in 2001. [The New York Times]

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7. Armed intruder got farther into White House than first reported
The man who hopped a White House fence and ran inside carrying a folding knife got farther into the building than initially reported, according to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), whose House subcommittee on national security oversight will address the breach in a Tuesday hearing. The intruder — Iraq war veteran Omar Gonzalez, 42 — was not tackled just inside the door, but dashed through the entrance hall and the East Room of the presidential residence before he was stopped, Chaffetz said. [Reuters]

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8. Walmart says Tracy Morgan and friends were not wearing seat belts in crash
Walmart filed court papers on Monday saying that actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and others in his limousine were not wearing seatbelts when a Walmart truck driver plowed into them on the New Jersey Turnpike in June, suggesting they were partly to blame for their injuries. Morgan’s colleague James McNair was killed in the crash, which occurred as the entertainers were driving home after a show in Delaware. Morgan’s lawyer called the company’s response to the victims’ lawsuit “appalling.” [The Associated Press]

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9. Search crews stay away as Japan volcano rumbles again
New tremors raised the threat of another volcanic eruption on Japan’s Mount Ontake on Tuesday, forcing hundreds of military searchers to abandon plans to resume the search for at least 24 people still missing after Japan’s worst volcanic eruption in decades. Rescue and recovery crews already have recovered 12 bodies from areas below the 10,062-foot peak that were covered with ash and rocks after the Saturday eruption. [BBC News]

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10. Global wildlife species have declined by half in four decades
The world has lost half its wildlife species in the last 40 years, the World Wildlife Fund said Tuesday, citing the London Zoological Society’s latest Living Planet Index. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and ocean fish have declined by 52 percent, on average, and freshwater species have suffered an even more catastrophic fall of 76 percent. One big reason is habitat loss. West African elephants, for example, are down to six to seven percent of their historical range. [NBC News]

UPDATED: Dem candidate for Michigan’s 93rd House District sends epic response to anti-gay hate group

I’m so proud of this young man who just happens to be a friend.  If this article is too long, go straight to Josh’s letter to the idiot that wanted him to pledge his support for their “anti-homosexual agenda”.  The letter has drawn Joshua Derek into the spotlight nationally.  Watch this guy’s race very carefully.  I predict this is only the beginning for this very smart young man…

Daily Kos

Originally posted at Eclectablog.

UPDATE: Josh Derke now has a fundraising page up at JoshDerke.ruck.us. Please support this incredible Democrat.

You’ve probably heard of the Westboro Baptist Church and their hideously offensive protests. You may not have heard, however, of the Public Advocate of the United States. Public Advocate has been rightfully designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is run by Eugene Delgaudio, the Sterling District representative on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in Virginia.

Public Advocate is a notorious anti-gay group and recently sent out candidates questionnaires to candidates in Michigan. One of these hit the mailbox of Josh Derke, the 27-year old Democrat running in Michigan’s 93rd House District. His response was epic.

First, here is the cover letter accompanying the questionnaire Derke received:

Dear Michigan Candidate,On behalf of Public Advocate of the United States and our members and supporters, thank you for your willingness to serve the families of Michigan by being a candidate for political office in your State

Every day, the radical Homosexual Lobby erodes the American family through legislation designed to incorporate the homosexual “lifestyle.” As a moral, pro-family organization, Public Advocate defends American citizens against such immoral legislation.

In order that members and supporters of Public Advocate may know your views on these important issues, I have enclosed your copy of the 2014 Michigan Family Values Survey.

Review, fill out, sign and return the enclosed questionnaire to me by October 1, 2014. [...]

Sincerely,
HON. EUGENE DELGAUDIO
President

P.S. Responses to the 2014 Michigan Family Values Survey will be reported to the members and supporters of Public Advocate of the U.S. – even if you fail to respond. Sadly, experience has taught us that a candidate’s silence on pro-family legislation is usually a warning of the future abdication to the Homosexual Lobby.

Here are the questions on the questionnaire itself:

1. I Believe the REAL MARRIAGE is exclusively between one (1) man and one (1) woman and should never be redefined to include homosexual “marriages” or any other variation.Yes:__ No:_

2. I Support the State of Michigan’s right to define marriage as between one (1) man and one (1) woman and will do everything in my power to defend and restore the Michigan Marriage Amendment – which protects marriage thusly.

Yes:_ No:_

3. I Pledge to refuse any donation from the Homosexual Lobby or their allies – especially from Tim Gill or Paul Singer – understanding that such donations will be intended to buy my support for their Anti-Family Agenda.

 Yes:_ No:_

4. I will Oppose attempts to add “Homosexuality”, “Transsexuality” or “Pedophilia” as protected classes or statuses under Michigan’s Anti-Discrimination Law.

 Yes:_ No:__

*Please Note: Failure to answer a question will be graded as a no.

On his website, Delgaudio says that homosexuals want to change laws to add civil rights protections in order to “elevate this abnormal behavior [which] serves as legally sanctioned discrimination against Christians and heterosexuals.” He also makes these Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs claims:

[I]n recent years enemies of real marriage and traditional families have sought to elevate pedophilia to the same medically defined level as homosexuality: Sexual Orientation.The Homosexual Lobby is pushing to have pedophilia reclassified as a Sexual Orientation as soon as possible.

Legislation that protects “Sexual Orientations” de facto leaves the door open for Pedophilia’s elevation to a “protected class” if/when it is reclassified.

What came next, Derke’s response, is a thing of beauty. It is posted on his website but I have transcribed it here for you to read. Please stop by his website to learn more about his candidacy.

Eugene Delgaudio,Alas, Mr. Delgaudio, it seems your letter has reached me far too late. The Homosexual Lobby has already dug their fabulously manicured claws into me, and I am afraid to report that I have been brainwashed into mindless support of the Homosexual Agenda. Would that it were that your erudite survey had reached my desk earlier, ere I succumbed to their influence, my mind might yet be unshackled from the horrible idea that all people deserve equal treatment and dignity.

Let me tell you what pro-family is, Eugene. Pro-family is standing by your gay brother for merely being who he is. Pro-family is accepting your cousins, your friends, and homosexual parents across the globe for who they are. It is recognizing that all credible studies that have explored the issue of gay and lesbian parents have shown that they raise well-adjusted children who are just as successful as those raised by straight parents. Pro-family means that you’re not going to rip established families apart because you can’t see through the veil of your own self-defeating prejudices.

Pro-family is not demonizing and dehumanizing people because they’re different than you are. It is not labeling a group of people immoral because you don’t understand human sexuality.

I am far from silent on pro-family issues. I am, in fact, vociferous. I imagine that it is a voice you’d rather be silent. The truth is that there is no homosexual agenda. There is no homosexual lobby. There are only people – men, women, transgendered, and others – who deserve equal treatment under the law, and equal respect in our society. Human beings with dignity, who love and are loved, in return.

I am capable of independent thought and reflection on this issue. There is no abdication. There is no brainwashing. There is recognition of the simple, irrefutable fact that you and people like you want to degrade and discriminate against a group of people based on nothing more than learned prejudice.

Let me address the balderdash on the survey you sent me. What is REAL MARRIAGE? Is real marriage a sanctified union of two people who love each other, and pledge to honor a commitment they make, legally and religiously? Is it an arrangement that has been recognized to foster a healthy environment in which to best raise children? I would argue that yes, marriage is, generally, these things. So why does it have to be restricted to one man and one woman if all the data says that gays and lesbians are just as capable of raising children and loving each other as straight couples? Who is harmed by such arrangements? Certainly not the children. Certainly not you. Certainly not the gay and lesbian couples who seek such arrangements.

As for the second bit of nonsense, let me say this on Michigan’s gay marriage amendment: it lost in court because the judge ruled that there was no legitimate state interest in banning gay marriage. The state could not defend itself in court, and the reasons it gave for maintaining the ban, as revealed in the documents, were not found to be logical or conducive to the ends Michigan seeks to achieve through marriage (Judge Friedman’s ruling can be found here: http://archive.freep.com/… – I suggest that you read it). As has been ruled in Michigan and in other states, there is no right for the State to define marriage so narrowly as to only include one man and one woman without violating time-honored principles of the United States Constitution. As an elected official, I could do nothing to change this. It is not within the power of elected officials to run roughshod over the constitution. If the cases were upheld all the way to the Supreme Court then it is a settled matter. States do not have the right to ban same-sex marriage, and there is nothing anyone can do to change that without either ignoring or changing the United States Constitution.

The third statement is asinine. I don’t know who Tim Gill or Paul Singer are, nor do I particularly care. It would be impossible for any group to buy my support if I already agree with their founding principles. But, again, I must stress that there isn’t any such thing as the homosexual lobby. You are fighting a phantom of your own creation, sir. Each parry and thrust against this phantasm is merely you fighting yourself. I just hope that you’re brave and wise enough to come to understand this someday.

The final point is one that I find to be the most offensive, and to me, solidifies your divorce from reality. Polling in the State of Michigan indicates that as many as 73% of citizens support expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include language similar to this: “sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.” I am amongst them. Nobody, however, has ever seriously proposed adding language to protect “Pedophilia” in these kinds of acts. You signed the letter as “HON. EUGENE DELGAUDIO,” but there is nothing honorable about your letter, your survey, or your conduct. You and your group should be ashamed of sending this pile of excrement. And I hope that if there is even a shred of humanity within you that you feel a twinge of guilt and shame for comparing loving couples and parents to pedophiles.

It is my sincere hope that you should one day drop your prejudice and listen. Listen to the gay and lesbian couples who only want to marry so that they can express their love. Listen to the sons and daughters of gay and lesbian parents. Do not try to silence them. Do not ignore them. They are people, and they deserve to be heard. They deserve to be defended, and represented in government.

I shall be sharing your letter and your survey, along with my own response, on my website. I believe strongly that people should be made aware of the groups that seek to influence elections in this country, and the kinds of language they use and the claims they make.

Respectfully,
Josh Derke
Democratic Candidate, State Representative, 93rd House District

Supreme Court Blocks Early Voting In Ohio

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The Supreme Court Justices | no attribution

This gives us even more reason to “get out the vote” for the upcoming mid-term and 2016 elections…

TPM LiveWire

The Supreme Court’s decision to reverse the injunction — which was upheld by an appeals court last week — was divided 5-4 along ideological lines. The request was submitted to Justice Elena Kagan, who turned the matter to the full court.

The next step is for the lower courts to consider whether the Ohio law is valid on the merits.

Read the Court’s order, via SCOTUSblog.

 

Jon Stewart slams Congress for cravenly ducking debate on ISIS

Jon Stewart | The Daily Show

The Week

Maybe you’re not surprised that Congress is ducking a debate on the war against ISIS for what appears to be purely political reasons, and at this point, maybe you’re not even taken aback. Jon Stewart wants you to be taken aback. On Monday night’s Daily Show, he unfavorably compared Congress to Britain’s Parliament, which was called back into session by Prime Minister David Cameron last week to have a vigorous debate over whether the UK should join America’s ISIS bombing campaign.

Stewart doesn’t go into the differences between Britain’s parliamentary system and America’s separately elected legislative and executive branches — this is a comedy TV show, after all, not a seminar on comparative politics — but his point largely stands: America’s “legislators refuse to debate publicly one of the most crucial issues of our time, for fear that we will hear them.” He singles out House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who warns about President Obama’s handling of the imminent threat of ISIS “barbarians” but won’t call the House back to tackle that threat.

Congress’ excuse is that Obama didn’t ask them to debate the ISIS battle — Stewart isn’t buying it (as he mockingly notes in his Lindsey Graham voice, for some reason, before breaking out a pink magic wand). And the only person in Congress willing to explain the real, brazenly political motives is Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who lost a GOP primary and won’t be returning to Congress next year. “You know what, the rest of you motherf—kers either get back to Washington and debate and vote on this thing, or maybe it’s time to tell ‘mom’ we’re coming home,” Stewart concluded, pointing to a photo of Queen Elizabeth II.

Watch the episode here…

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Citizens United Was The Current Supreme Court’s Worst Ruling

RUTH BADER GINSBURG | (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images) | The Washington Post via Getty Images

Ya think…?

The Huffington Post

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed her extreme regret over several of the current Court’s rulings in a wide-ranging interview published in The New Republic Sunday evening, including their rejecting the commerce clause of President Barack Obama’s health care law, and issuing a huge blow to the Voting Rights Act in their Shelby County v. Holder decision.

But the first Supreme Court ruling Ginsburg would send to the guillotine would be the Court’s decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, giving corporations and unions the green light to give and spend unlimited sums of money on independent political activity. “If there was one decision I would overrule,” Ginsburg told The New Republic, it would be Citizens United.

“I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be,” she said.

 Ginsburg said that the Court, in CItizens United as well as in the case of Shelby County, “should have respected the legislative judgment.”

“Legislators know much more about elections than the Court does. … I think members of the legislature, people who have to run for office, know the connection between money and influence on what laws get passed.”

According to Ginsburg, things may have played out differently had Justice Sandra Day O’Connor not retired so soon. She told The New Republic that O’Connor would have sided with the minority on Citizens United, Shelby County, as well as the Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.

“I think she must be concerned about some of the court’s rulings, those that veer away from opinions she wrote,” Ginsburg said.

Read the full interview here.

John Oliver presents: The enduring influence of Ayn Rand, ‘selfish *sshole’

Ayn Rand via Last Week Tonight (YouTube)

The Raw Story

On HBO’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver presented an informational segment on the enduring influence of libertarian writer Ayn Rand on politicians and captains of industry, asking, ‘Ayn Rand: How is she still a thing?”

Noting that Rand is popular with conservatives, despite the inability by many of them to pronounce her name correctly, the narrator explains that Rand became famous for her philosophy of objectivism, “which is a nice way of saying, ‘being a selfish asshole’.”

Rand is shown in interview saying, “Why is it good to want others to be happy? You can make others happy and when and if those others mean something to you selfishly.”

Rand is noted for her two novels, Atlas Shrugged and The Foutainhead, “Stories about rapey heroes complaining about how no one appreciates their true genius.”

“Ayn Rand has always been popular with teenagers,” we are informed. “But she is supposed to be something you grow out of, like ska music or handjobs.”

The segment notes that Rand is still popular with “a certain type of adult,” using tech billionaire Mark Cuban as an example, pointing out Cuban’s “287-foot yacht is named ‘Fountainhead,’ because sometimes having a 287-foot yacht just isn’t enough to warn people you’re a douchebag.”

Partucular attention is paid to Rand’s popularity with conservative politicians and commentators such as former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and TV host Glenn Beck, noting that her views on subjects near and dear to conservative hearts — such as abortion, atheism, and love of Ronald Reagan — are in direct conflict with mainstream conservative thinking.

The segment concludes by wondering why people still love Rand when there are so many “other advocates for selfishness they could choose, like Donald Trump, or Drake, and basically anyone on Bravo.”

Watch the video below, via Crooks & Liars:

http://embed.crooksandliars.com/embed/8z054InY

Rush Limbaugh Must Be In Real Trouble

Rush Limbaugh Must Be In Real Trouble

Attribution: none specified

Oh, Rush is upset over those petitions to get advertisers to stop advertising on his show…

Crooks and Liars

Limbaugh’s decision to publicize the personal information of volunteers who encourage his sponsors to drop his show highlights his fears over bleeding sponsors, stations dropping him.

For well over two years, many people have been working online through social media to engage Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors and encourage them to drop their sponsorship of Limbaugh’s show. Their message is simple: When they sponsor Limbaugh, they sponsor hate.

They’ve been effective. They listen to the show, they take note of the sponsors, and they reach out and ask them whether they realize they’re sponsoring hate radio. They encourage them to drop their sponsorships, but if the sponsor chooses not to, they will choose not to do business with that sponsor.

This is not a project undertaken by just a few people. This is a movement organized onFacebook and Twitter, dedicated to seeing hate radio become a dying breed. They believe that hate radio poisons our politics and creates an atmosphere of extremism.

This has Rush Limbaugh very worried. So worried, in fact, that he has chosen to unleash his hired crisis consultant, Brian Glicklich, on the ordinary people who are dedicated to continuing the effort.

On Tuesday, Glicklich mounted a media blitz against 10 people who are associated with the StopRush effort, and who chose to use pseudonyms online because they saw what happened to those of us who stepped up in the beginning and used our real names. He didn’t just smear them. He published their full names, cities of residence, Facebook account names, and some “fun facts” about them.

He then shopped the Rush article to The Blaze, Daily Caller, Fox News’ The Five, and more*. The first two helpfully assisted with publishing the information and getting the word out so that these ordinary people could be exposed to the special kind of harassment by Rush followers that was rained down on me and others in the earliest days of the StopRush effort.

Hate speech, you see, is something Rush and his followers value highly, and it is not to be opposed in any way. They fail to understand the nuance of the StopRush effort; that is, that we acknowledge Limbaugh’s freedom to spew all the hate he wants over the airwaves, but we are not obligated to patronize the sponsors who pay to keep him there.

No one is saying Limbaugh should be silenced. But that is precisely what Glicklich believes should happen to StopRush volunteers.

Debunking some lies

It stands to reason that Rush and Glicklich would lie about the StopRush effort, which they did.

Here are some facts:

StopRush was and is a grassroots, organic effort which began to combat Rush Limbaugh’s hateful attitude toward Sandra Fluke specifically and women in general. I was there at the beginning. I know exactly who did what. They want to give all the credit to Angelo Carusone over at Media Matters, but I’m not inclined to permit that, given that Angelo did virtually nothing with regard to organizing volunteers and getting the movement going. He reserved a Twitter name and that’s more or less all he did.

StopRush is not “staffed.” Everyone who participates does so as a volunteer. No one is paid, no one makes any money, and there are no “hard core political operatives leading” it. They are ordinary people who want to make a meaningful difference.

It is not harassment to contact sponsors by phone or online and ask them if they’re comfortable sponsoring Limbaugh’s brand of hate.

StopRush volunteers have been subjected to threats and continue to be subjected to them. One of the reasons they used pseudonyms was to avoid the kind of harassment the early volunteers received. Minimizing those threats is characteristic of the Limbaugh trademark. It falls into the same category of him thinking women are actually saying yes when they say no.

StopRush volunteers are not bots unleashed on sponsors. They’re real people. It seems that Rush Limbaugh cannot fathom why a large swath of people would object to his hate talk. That’s his failing, not ours.

And now, I just have to quote this one single ridiculous paragraph filled with lies:

In summary, #StopRush is an organized effort by Media Matters for America to widely and indiscriminately distribute lists of targets, and harass and bully them, under cover of anonymity. It is not grassroots, but deployed by extremist activists using deception and automated software to appear bigger and more prevalent than they are.

Oh, don’t we just wish Media Matters had been underneath us. We might have had some kind of safety net when we were infiltrated by a right wing con artist with a bent for violence and lunacy, when our email addresses were distributed, when our personal information was posted on SquareSpace websites by anonymous people, when there were anonymous telephone calls on our home phones, and more. But we didn’t, and they weren’t, nor are they now.

There are actually over 100 separate actions by different groups with many still in process. Some were grassroots, others were petitions created by MoveOn, CREDO, DCCC, DSCC and other organizations.

The StopRush effort is not a top-down endeavor. It is a bottom-up example of organizing around a principle at its very best, on and offline.

It’s effective, too. That’s why Glicklich is indulging in the politics of personal destruction. If he can’t stop them, he’ll destroy them. In at least one instance, he’s doing his best to see to it that one volunteer loses her job. I’m sure he would count that as victory even as his minions shout that the StopRush effort is run by a bunch of liberal moochers who don’t work.

Unfortunately, success isn’t much comfort to the people Rush Limbaugh just doxed. He just invited a nation of crazies to rain hell on 10 ordinary people who go to work, come home, and spend some time online fighting for something they believe in.

Who is the tyrant here, again?

It won’t work. If anything, it will make these people even more determined to continue their efforts. Limbaugh can use his bully pulpit to whine about how victimized he is, but it’s not going to fly with anyone who has more than a brain cell. And if one hair is harmed on the people’s heads he and Glicklich doxed, he will be personally responsible. Personally. Responsible.

Maybe that will appeal to his conservative nature.