Day: November 9, 2012

Court to Review Key Part of Voting Rights Act

This case is to be heard in the winter of 2013 or the spring of that year.   Given the voter suppression efforts in the recent Presidential election, in my opinion, the plaintiff’s justification and argument for the upcoming lawsuit should be rendered moot.

The Wall Street Journal

The Supreme Court said Friday it would review whether a core provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act remains constitutional, signaling that the justices may be ready to end Washington’s aggressive supervision of locations that historically discriminated against minority voters.

The case comes from Shelby County, Ala., which maintains that the official racism that prompted the Voting Rights Act was eradicated long ago and can no longer justify what officials there consider intrusive federal oversight of local affairs.

Three years ago, the Supreme Court declined to invalidate the challenged provision, known as Section 5, which requires state and local governments with a history of voting discrimination to obtain approval from the Justice Department or a federal judge before changing election procedures. But the 8-1 decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, indicated that unless Congress amended Section 5 or found stronger ground to justify it, the provision might not survive future Supreme Court review.

The 2009 opinion, in the case of Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder, was widely viewed as a compromise between the court’s conservatives, who consider Section 5 an intrusion on state sovereignty, and its liberals, who credit the provision with ending widespread voter suppression.

A bipartisan vote had reauthorized Section 5 in 2006, but since then Congress has shown little interest in revisiting the legislation. Views of Section 5 now divide generally along party lines, with Democrats in support and Republicans critical.

After the 2009 decision, opponents of Section 5 wasted little time developing a follow-up lawsuit that sought to press the high court’s discomfort with the provision.

The 14th and 15th amendments, ratified soon after the Confederacy’s defeat in the Civil War, authorize Congress to protect individuals from mistreatment by state governments. The latter amendment specifically empowers Washington to prevent states from interfering with voting rights “on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”

Congress made little use of that authority until 1965, when police in Selma, Ala., attacked voting-rights marchers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge with billy clubs and tear gas. The incident, known as Bloody Sunday, shocked much of the nation and inspired Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 was designed to stymie state and local authorities that routinely devised new impediments to minority voters as soon as an existing one was challenged.

The provision aimed particularly at Southern states with long histories of disenfranchising African-Americans. In 1975, Congress expanded the criteria to include language minorities, a formula that has remained largely unchanged through successive reauthorizations, the last in 2006 for 25 years. The legislation permits jurisdictions with a clean record of at least 10 years to seek exemption from Section 5, and increasing numbers of local governments have obtained these so-called bailouts.

Shelby County and other critics argue that it and other covered jurisdictions have made extraordinary progress since the 1960s and ’70s, and that the blatant discrimination they once enforced is long past. Minorities vote in numbers comparable to whites, they argue, and African-Americans now occupy many elective offices—including Rep. John Lewis (D., Ga.), who was one of the nonviolent marchers beaten on Bloody Sunday.

Critics say the Justice Department has used its preclearance powers too aggressively, blocking, for instance, several voter-identification laws.

Lower courts, however, rejected Shelby County’s arguments, finding that Congress relied on a voluminous record of evidence in reauthorizing Section 5 powers. The Justice Department argues that while Congress may not have unlimited authority to intervene in state election laws, Section 5 falls well within its constitutional authority to protect the right to vote.

The case is likely to be heard in winter or spring, with a decision by July.

Fox News Claims Obama’s Win Triggered ‘Massive Layoffs Across America’

Well of course if Fox News says it, it’s not true.  It’s just another example of Fox News incessant lies…

 

Think Progress

According to Fox News’ Fox Nation website, the re-election of President Obama has triggered a wave of layoffs across the country. Fox Nation is featuring the claim prominently on its website (screenshot above). The evidence? One Utah company owned by a prominent Romney supporter has decided to lay off workers in the wake of election day:

A Utah coal company owned by a vocal critic of President Barack Obama has laid off 102 miners.

The layoffs at the West Ridge Mine are effective immediately, according to UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. They were announced in a short statement made public Thursday, two days after Obama won re-election.

The layoffs are necessary because of the president’s “war on coal,” the statement said. The slogan is one used frequently during the election by Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who was an ardent supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Fox also linked to a series of other unrelated layoff stories, including those announcing layoffs in other countries, as if they proved the point. There are hiring and firings at firms all the time, and Fox presented no evidence that these layoffs were either related to the election or unusual in any sense.

Also, the claim that Obama has launched a “war on coal” is nonsense: coal employment hit a 15 year high last November, and coal jobs are either higher or at the same level as four years ago in West Virginia, Virginia, and Ohio.

The coal CEO laying off workers is the same one who forced his workers to attend a Romney rally in August. Those workers had to forgo a day of pay in order to attend the rally. In the past, Murray has also forced his workers to make campaign donations to Republicans.

Many CEOs threatened their workers with layoffs if Obama won the election. One of the most prominent, Florida timeshare mogul David Siegel, instead gave his workers a raise after Election Day.

But Fox is not only blaming Obama for layoffs. Earlier this week, Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney repeatedly blamed Obama for stock market losses.

UPDATE

One of the laid off workers took to Reddit today to answer questions. He said, “Despite the fact that nothing has changed in the two days since the election they decide to lay off employees. I’ve seen how corrupt the company can be over the years and am fairly certain the layoffs are just a way to make the President look bad.”

CIA director resigns over extra-marital affair

MSNBC

Video

CIA Director David Petraeus resigned Friday afternoon, citing his “extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair.”

Petraeus, a four-star general who led American forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has served his post in the CIA since he retired from the military and was sworn in September 2011. He was a widely respected figure in the military and the intelligence community.

“Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

Petraeus first alerted President Obama of his affair on Thursday, and offered his resignation to which the president later accepted.

“Going forward, my thoughts and prayers are with Dave and Holly Petraeus, who has done so much to help military families through her own work. I wish them the very best at this difficult time,” Obama said in a statement

Petraeus’ resignation comes just three days after results of the presidential campaign first started rolling in. He is likely to be succeeded by Deputy CIA Director, Michael Morell.

Petraeus was slated to speak before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week over the handling of the consulate attacks in Benghazi, Libya. His resignation is not said to be linked to the controversy over the September attacks, NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell reports.

“This is by any account a shocking announcement,” she said.

The general’s wife, Holly Petraeus, worked in the Consumer Advocacy Agency for the Obama administration and had been one of the deputies under Elizabeth Warren.

Read Petraeus’ resignation in full:

HEADQUARTERS
Central Intelligence Agency

9 November 2012

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA. After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation.

As I depart Langley, I want you to know that it has been the greatest of privileges to have served with you, the officers of our Nation’s Silent Service, a work force that is truly exceptional in every regard. Indeed, you did extraordinary work on a host of critical missions during my time as director, and I am deeply grateful to you for that.

Teddy Roosevelt once observed that life’s greatest gift is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing. I will always treasure my opportunity to have done that with you and I will always regret the circumstances that brought that work with you to an end.

Thank you for your extraordinary service to our country, and best wishes for continued success in the important endeavors that lie ahead for our country and our Agency.

With admiration and appreciation,

David H. Petraeus

“Another four years of this n—–, maybe he will get assassinated this term..!!”

This is outrageous but predictable from a bunch of adult children who are used to having things their way.

These people need to get over it.  Democracy won, they lost. End of story.

I hope the Secret Service is paying close attention to the gathering of “nuts” out there…

America Blog

After posting the above on Facebook, a California woman doesn’t understand why the Secret Service got involved.  The blacked out part is the n-word.

She also lost her job as a result.

The interview she did with the local news is priceless.  From the ModBee:

She told the Fox 40 reporter: “I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. … The assassination part is kind of harsh. I’m not saying like I would go do that or anything like that, by any means, but if it was to happen, I don’t think I’d care one bit.”

She added that she does in fact think the President is a n—–, but she doesn’t think that’s racist.

The ModBee reports that she lost her job as a result of this.  This case reminds me of the anti-gay bigots who lose their jobs after professing their hate.  Should people lose their jobs for being bigots?  Is bigotry, though vile, protected political speech?  Does it matter what kind of job you’re in – one that deals with the public, say, or one in which you work with children, maybe a teacher?

While it’s of course tempting to say “fire her,” it’s an interesting question as to what constitutes a firing offense when they’re comments made off-the-job about something not related to your work.  Just curious what you all think – feel free to weigh in in the comments. But first, watch the video – I had posted it, but the folks at the Modesto Bee haven’t figured out that auto-play videos are obnoxious, so you’ll need to go the site to see it.

Tea Party Begs Queen Elizabeth II – Take Us Back Please?

More “sorting out the crazies”

Addicting Info

After the election, a wide variety of responses to the complete disconnect between reality and the right-wing blogosphere have emerged. On the popular right-wing website the Free Republic, one particular tea party member has posted an Open letter to the Queen of England to much applause, which we will reproduce now for your amusement:

Your Majesty,

We, the people of the former American colonies, would like to offer our most sincere apology over that little misunderstanding we had 236 years ago. Had we known that we were going to be subjects anyway, we could have saved a lot of trouble and hard feelings.

We were under the mistaken belief that we would be free, sovereign citizens; we believed that our hard work would yield its own rewards without someone coming along and taking what we built in the name of “Fairness.” We thought our laws and Constitution would protect us from a foreign born dictator, and our freedom to worship would prevent us from becoming a corrupt, morally bankrupt society (silly us).

Little did we know that our own free press would intentionally sabotage, deceive and withhold the truth from us in order to reelect a Socialist that still holds distain for our nation and contempt for its founding principles. Nor did we believe that there would be so many citizens dependent on government handouts that they would blindly elect an unqualified charlatan, let alone reelect him.

Anyway, Your Grace, we are truly sorry and humbly sincerely beg your forgiveness. If you can find it in your heart to forgive us and take us back, we promise never to trade British oppression for Socialist tyranny again.

Your most humble servants,

The American People

 

Now, beyond the bad grammar, the letter has a few issues. One, it is clear this person operates under the banner of the “Sovereign Citizens,” a group listed as domestic terrorists by the FBI.  But more than that, they have no idea how the rest of the world works.

To run away from Obamacare, which requires the purchase of private insurance, they have decided to run to a single payer, socialist, healthcare system.  The UK is also a member of the European Union.  Many tea party members have commented negatively on the structure of the European Union, stating as such “Marxism provided the intellectual foundations of the modern European welfare state.”

But, for our friends in the United Kingdom, and to the Queen herself, I apologize and tell them that, no, we will not force them to endure the funny hat wearing, bad sign carrying buffoons of the Tea Party, and shall keep them for ourselves. They might be a few sticks short of a bundle, but we would not wish to unleash their insanity on to the nobility of the United Kingdom.