Early Voting · Voter Suppression · Voting Rights Act

Ohio Is Trying To ‘Suppress The Voting Rights Of African Americans,’ Congresswoman Claims

Most Americans knew this already but confirmation from an elected official adds a multitude of weight to the issues of suppressing early voting and the general election in Ohio…

Think Progress

Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D) has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to review two voting measures making their way through the state legislature that she claims could “suppress the voting rights of African Americans and other minorities.”

The proposed bills (S. 238 and H.B. 269) would reduce the number of absentee-voting days by six, prevent newly registered voters from voting the day they register, and require voters to present valid identification — a driver’s license, a state or military ID card, or a passport — when casting a ballot.

In her letter, Fudge charges that the legislation violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which “prohibits any voting qualification or practice applied by the state which results in the denial or abridgment of the right to vote based on race.” “Recent estimates indicate that over 900,000 eligible voters in Ohio” lack the necessary ID, including as many as “one in four eligible African Americans,” the letter says. Same-day registration and voting “have recently been used at a higher rate by African Americans and lower-income voters.”

“With no indication that voter fraud is a widespread problem in Ohio, this proposal is a thinly veiled attempt to reduce the number of people able to exercise their right to vote,” she writes. “They are attempts to suppress the voting rights of African Americans and other minorities.”

Supporters of the effort argue that limiting early voting would free-up overstressed election boards “during their busiest time of year” and note that the legislation “allows for free photo IDs for people who can’t afford to purchase one and who are at or below the federal poverty level.”

“I think we can have a reasonable debate about policy here,” said State Sen. Frank LaRose (R), the sponsor of the early voting change. “To invoke the specter of a racial matter, I think, takes it too far. It is kind of shameful to do that. What we are talking about is a very modest reduction in the number of early voting days that still leaves Ohio as a leader in the nation, by far, for early voting.”

On Saturday, The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s editorial board came out against the limitation, writing that “absent compelling evidence of election fraud…there is no good, pro-voter reason to end the practice.” It also condemned a separate measure that would change absentee ballot rules.

During the 2012 presidential election, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) attempted to limit early voting to weekdays, and he defied a court order requiring early voting hours to be restored — although he eventually backed down.

GOP · Pope Francis

A Progressive Pope is Driving the Wingnuts Batty

Daily Kos

As Pope Francis comes more and more out of the Progressive Closet he begins to gain more and more pushback from the Rightwing who have long claimed that their Unrepentant Greed was Godly.

Unfortunately it isn’t, and the Pope has been most clear on this.

“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,” the pope said in the 224-page document that essentially serves as his official platform.

And the response has been truly amazing.  For example Palin’s overreaction to the Pope’s statements on Twitter actually made her do something she seems to never done before.  (Except for one other time to John McCain for possibly, maybe, making him LOSE!)Apologize.

She didn’t apologize for TrooperGate.  She didn’t apologize for “Refudiate”.  She didn’t apologize for quitting in the middle of her Term as Governor of Alaska.  She didn’t apologize for defending Dr. Laura’s N-Word use with “Don’t Retreat, Relaod! She didn’t apologize for her BLOOD LIBELaccusations.

But she apologized to the Pope.  I think something unique and different is going on here. 

The Pope’s comments apparently got deeply under the skin of Fox Business Host Stuart Varney.

The Raw Story

“Capitalism, in my opinion, is a liberator,” he said. “The free choice of millions of people is the essence of freedom. In my opinion, society benefits most when people are free to pursue their own self-interest. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it is not. When individuals are free, we collectively are better off in every way, financially and spiritually.”

It doesn’t seem to matter to Varney that the Pope didn’t criticize “People’s Freedom or Self-Interest” – he criticized The Markets. He criticized the manipulation of those markets using financial speculation. It’s not an accident that Varney gets this wrong, because he’s a knave. A lapdog of the Markets.  His job is to make sure that his True Religion – Unfeterred Greed – is never questioned, never criticized and if it is that persons veracity and character has to beDestroyed.It just becomes a little difficult when that person – Is the Holy Pontiff.

See how he tries to rewrite and redefine the Pope’s words for him.

“I go to church to save my soul,” Varney said. “It’s got nothing to do with my vote. Pope Francis has linked the two. He has offered direct criticism of a specific political system. He has characterized negatively that system. I think he wants to influence my politics.”

A political system?  He criticized a Political System? No actually, he didn’t.  He criticized aFinancial System, by putting that system into a Moral Context.  A context in which it is sorely, severely lacking.  Politics is about how people make choices in who their Political Leaders will be.  In this case Varney is confusing Politics with Finances, and not hardly by accident.For years we’ve been hearing from the Right-wing how the U.S. is a “Christian Nation”.  How we should and must let our Christian Value guide how we vote, and how we govern.  That such considerations are what drives the anti-Choice movement, and the Prayer-In-Schools movement and the Creationist/Anti-Science movement – yet when the Head of the Largest Christian Organization in the World says that our financial systems should have a moral component.

Continue reading here…

 

Blog Roundup

Saturday Blog Roundup 11-30-2013

Black Friday Questions.

Church Of England Proposes Gay Marriage ‘Blessings’

Mitt Romney’s Son Helped Rescue Four People After Car Crash

After years on the sidelines, New York’s liberals retaking control

Obama to issue a new statement of U.S. national security strategy

Syrian chemical arms ‘to be destroyed on US Navy ship’ – BBC News

Dems should not hesitate to further streamline the Senate rulebook

President Obama Visits Immigration Advocates Fasting For Reform

Conservatives live in a different reality from us, ‘history book’ edition

Former KKK Leader And His Mother Indicted After Alabama Cross Burning

 

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: November 29, 2013

Black Friday shoppers carry discounted items from a Florida Best Buy that opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Black Friday shoppers carry discounted items from a Florida Best Buy that opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Week

HealthCare.gov braces for a key test, Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping rush, and more

1. ObamaCare website faces crucial new deadline
The Obama administration’s technology team is scrambling to complete a workaround for the ObamaCare website ahead of the self-imposed Saturday deadline to fix it. The focus is on a new mechanism called EZ App to let people enroll without calculating the precise subsidy they could receive to help cover their health insurance premiums, eliminating a major complaint since the site’s disastrous Oct. 1 launch. Administration officials say 80 percent of users will find the site faster, but some will still encounter delays. [Washington Post]
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2. China patrols its disputed defense zone with warplanes
China said Thursday that it had sent fighter jets to patrol its newly declared air defense zone over a disputed part of the East China Sea, raising the stakes in a dispute with Japan over control of a remote island chain. China’s show of force came after Japan and South Korea defied Beijing’s new claim on the area by flying surveillance aircraft through the area. The U.S. also sent military aircraft into the area this week and condemned China for demanding to be notified before any aircraft enter the zone. [Washington Post]
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3. Black Friday kicks off holiday shopping spree
American retailers officially launched the holiday shopping season with deep discounts in Black Friday sales, hoping to lure in shoppers still hurting as the economy limps through a slow recovery. Brawls broke out at several stores. A dozen major chains, including Target, Walmart, and Toys R Us, got a jump on the competition by offering savings on Thanksgiving Day. Last year Thanksgiving sales reduced the Black Friday haul by $810 million, but it was still the biggest shopping day of the year with $11.2 billion in sales. [Associated PressNew York Daily News]
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4. Karzai vows to not sign security deal if drone strikes continue
Afghan President Hamid Karzai harshly criticized the U.S. for two alleged drone strikes that reportedly killed civilians, including a 2-year-old, in southern Afghanistan. Karzai suggested that he would not sign a long-term security agreement with Washington as long as the attacks continue. Tribal leaders last week overwhelmingly approved the pact, which would let the U.S. leave behind thousands of troops to train and support Afghan forces after NATO withdraws at the end of next year. [New York Times]
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5. Thai leader rejects new elections despite protests
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday ruled out holding early elections following six days of protests calling for her to step down. Yingluck called for negotiations on Thursday after surviving a no-confidence vote, but protest leaders rejected her plea. At least 1,000 demonstrators forced their way into the country’s military headquarters on Friday to call for the army to back them, then left peacefully. Yingluck has vowed not to use force to quiet the protests. [BBC News]
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6. Iran clears inspectors to visit key nuclear site
The International Atomic Energy Agency announced Thursday that Iran had invited its inspectors to visit a heavy-water production facility that is part of a site where Tehran is building a new reactor. The invitation marked the first concrete step by Iran to honor its obligations under alandmark deal with world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some of the international sanctions hobbling its economy. The reactor, if completed, would produce plutonium that could fuel a nuclear bomb. [New York Times]
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7. SpaceX aborts satellite launch
SpaceX called off the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket just before it was supposed to lift off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Thursday. The problem was a “slower than expected thrust ramp,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said. It was the second time the launch had been delayed in three days. The private aerospace company has a contract with NASA to fly supplies to the International Space Station, but this mission will put a telecommunications satellite into orbit. SpaceX will inspect the rocket and try again in a few days. [CNN]
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8. Abenomics stops deflation in Japan
Prices in Japan rose by the most in 15 years, in what government officials said Friday was a sign Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s aggressive effort to stimulate the economy and stamp out deflation was working. Prices, not including energy and fresh food, increased by 0.3 percent in October, a little better than economists expected. The Bank of Japan’s easy money policy has weakened the yen by 15 percent against the dollar, pushing up prices for imports. Next Abe wants companies to hike wages to sustain growth. [Bloomberg]
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9. Part of comet lives through a close encounter with the sun
Scientists say a part of Comet ISON might have survived a near crash with the sun. The comet passed through the solar corona on Thursday. Karl Battams, a comet scientist for the Naval Research Laboratory, says the comet appears to have re-emerged and started to brighten, although its too early to be sure about its fate. “It’s throwing off dust and (probably) gas,” Battams says, “but we don’t know how long it can sustain that.” [CNN]
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10. Unpublished Salinger stories leaked online
Three unpublished works by the late reclusive author J.D. Salinger reportedly were leaked online this week. Scans of the works were posted after an unauthorized book was sold on eBay. It includes the short stories PaulaBirthday Boy, and The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls, which is seen as a prequel to Salinger’s best known novel, Catcher in the Rye. [Reuters]

Establishment clause

The Unfair Tax Exemption for Politically Active Churches Must End

tax-churches

I’m a firm proponent of separation of Church and State, therefore I have no problem with the  above stated proposition to tax politically active churches…

PoliticusUSA

Throughout American history this country has alienated, disenfranchised, and legally discriminated against many groups of people despite what scholars and historians have called an “immortal declaration,” “perhaps (the) single phrase,” or the “theory of prediction with the greatest continuing importance” of the Revolutionary period. It is likely that when Thomas Jefferson penned “all men are created equal” it was his hope that the young nation would evolve into a country where every citizen was equal, but his hope has never fully been realized.

Over several generations, one group or another had to fight tooth and nail to achieve equal rights in the land where “all men are created equal,” and a new group found the courage to join women, gays, minorities, and the poor in demanding equality and that the U.S. government hold everyone to the same standards and be given the same rights. If the concept of equality is predicated on the idea that everyone is given the same rights, when the federal government gives preferential treatment to a certain group the rest of the population does not have, then the rest of the population is being discriminated against and are not equal.

In 1954, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson granted a “favor” to churches with the “Johnson Amendment” giving religious organizations tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status churches decry as unfair because of the proviso they were “prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” Religious groups say Johnson giving them taxpayer-funded welfare was devastating and an attempt to “eliminate the significant influence the church always had on shaping public policy,” but American Atheists and other secular groups say “We find it (tax-exempt status) discriminatory, so we’re suing. The way that this is set up, we all pay for it. We’re all supporting churches for what they do.”

The president of the American Atheists, David Silverman, elucidated precisely what is supposed to be the basic premise of the U.S. Constitution; “This is about the U.S. government holding everyone to the same standard and giving the same rights to all. No exceptions. We are seeing religions getting preferential treatment by our government, a government that is supposed to serve us and respect us all as equals, and that’s wrong. It’s not what this country is about and it’s unpatriotic.” It is also undemocratic, unconstitutional, and costs American taxpayers more than $82.5 billion annually to “support false doctrines.”

Continue reading here…

U.S. Politics

7 Everyday Complaints That Are Really Just Reminders To Be Thankful

I know so many folks with complaints similar to those listed below.   This is a reality check for them.  If at all possible, please share on your blogs.  Thank you.

The Huffington Post 

Whether it’s lamenting about loans or long lines, some of us love to complain like it’s our job. (Especially if you don’t have one) Enough already! This Thanksgiving, let’s ditch our gripes for gratefulness. We’d like to offer you some perspective for all your problems — as well as ways you can actually help.

1. Woe is me: You really deserve to be paid more for your advanced skills and your unique liberal arts degree.

Quantcast

Reality check: Be thankful you’re not one of the 2.4 billion people living on less than$2 a day. This covers their food, housing and all those needs. You can gain some perspective on the issue and then learn about what you can do to help at the Global Poverty Project.
2. Woe is me: Your utility bills are so high! Which roommate left the lights and heat on?

Quantcast

Reality check: Be thankful you’re not one of the 1.3 billion people who lack access to electricity. Learn more about the issue of energy poverty, and then find out how you can help at Sustainable Energy For All.
3. Woe is me: The Internet is too slow and you can’t upload your sandwich to Instagram right this minute!

Quantcast

Reality check: Be thankful that you don’t live in one of the 58.7 percent of households across the globe without Internet access. Find out more about the issue atBroadband Commission For Digital Development.

4. Woe is me: Your student loans are overwhelming you.

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Reality check: Be thankful you’re not one of the 122 million young people worldwide who can’t read. The implications involved in lack of access to education are far-reaching and include issues such as poverty and gender inequality. Learn how you can make a difference at the Malala Fund.

5. Woe is me: You still live at home.

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Reality check: Be thankful you’re not one of the 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to a toilet or sanitation. This reality for much of the developing world causes disease and death. See how you can help at Water.org.

6. Woe is me: There’s an insufferable line at Trader Joe’s.

Quantcast

Reality check: Be thankful you’re not one of the 49 million Americans living in food insecure households. Learn how to help decrease this statistic at Feeding America.

7. Woe is me: You can’t buy all the hot fall fashions.

Quantcast

Reality Check: Be thankful you’re not one of approximately 1.5 billion people who don’t even own shoes. Gain some perspective and provide shoes for someone in need at TOMS.

Affordable Care Act

DNC Wants To Help You Talk With ‘Your Republican Uncle’ On Thanksgiving

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You gotta love this idea from Democrats.  Just in time for the holidays at that…

TPM LiveWire

The Democratic National Committee is launched a Thanksgiving-themed website Wednesday called YourRepublicanUncle.com that purports to help people deal with “lively discussions with Republican relatives about politics” that occur during the holiday season.

YourRepublicanUncle.com features talking points Democrats can use during hypothetical political conversations with their family members.

“This time of year, the only thing more annoying than holiday traffic is an awkward conversation with family about politics,” DNC Digital Director Matt Compton wrote in an email announcing the site. “We designed YourRepublicanUncle.com so that it look greats and loads quickly on your phone — no getting ambushed when you go back for seconds on stuffing.”