The race for the Republican presidential nomination took a new turn Sunday night, as the campaigns of Ted Cruz and John Kasich announced they would form an alliance to thwart frontrunner Donald Trump in three upcoming primaries, aiming to block the billionaire real estate tycoon from securing the 1,237 delegates required to win the GOP nod.
The agreement: With 15 GOP nominating contests remaining, Cruz and Kasich have reached an understanding pertaining only to three.
Kasich will stand down in Indiana, allowing Cruz to focus his resources on winning the Hoosier State’s May 3 primary. Meanwhile, Cruz will clear the path for the Ohio governor to take on Trump in the May 17 Oregon primary and the June 7 New Mexico primary.
The latter two states “are structurally similar to the Northeast politically, where Gov. Kasich is performing well,” chief strategist John Weaver said in a statement, adding that Kasich planned to “compete with both the Trump and Cruz campaigns in the remaining primary states” not covered by the agreement.
The numbers: Given that it covers only one-fifth of the remaining nominating contests, the Cruz-Kasich unity pact seems quite limited in scope. But it could make a big difference in the outcome of the GOP race.
Consider Indiana, where 57 delegates are up for grabs. The statewide winner automatically receives 27 of those delegates, while another 27 are awarded by the state’s nine congressional district, with the winner of each district claiming all three of its delegates. The remaining three delegates are Republican National Committee delegates bound to support the winner of the state’s primary.
To reach the magic 1,237 delegate threshold, Trump must win about 53% of the remaining delegates at stake, so denying him most or all of Indiana’s delegation is paramount to the stop-Trump forces.
It’s unclear that Cruz will overtake Trump, though. The RealClearPoliticspolling average currently gives Trump a slight lead in Indiana, with the frontrunner taking 39% of the vote to the Texas senator’s 33%. Kasich lags far behind at 19%.
Kasich’s decision to effectively concede the state may help Cruz close the gap, but Kasich’s name will still appear on the Indiana ballot (in either a momentary lapse or the first sign that the alliance may be unraveling, Kasich said Monday that his Indiana supporters should vote for him), and Trump’s momentum coming out of his expected victories in the five April 26 primaries could further complicate Cruz’s path to victory.
In the states where Kasich will effectively go mano-a-mano with Trump, there are only 52 delegates at stake — 28 in Oregon, and 24 in New Mexico. In a contest where every last delegate matters, those numbers are nothing to sniff at — but given that both states will award their delegates proportionally, the anti-Trump movement would only gain limited traction from successes there.
Trump’s foes could effectively knock him off by overtaking him in the June 7 California primary, in which 172 delegates will be awarded. But recent surveys show Trump growing his lead there, with the RealClearPoliticspolling average showing him at 44% to Cruz’s 29% and Kasich’s 18%. Trump may be more vulnerable in a head-to-head race in the Golden State, but with the Cruz and Kasich camps vowing to compete in each of the states not covered by their new unity pact, that scenario is unlikely to come to pass.
In Ohio’s March 15 presidential primary, a car crash blocked a major highway near Cincinnati, leaving thousands of people stranded in their cars as the polls were set to close. A local judge received calls from voters frantic about losing their chance to cast a ballot, and ordered the polls to remain open just one hour later than scheduled. Now, a Cincinnati Republican is pushing a billto make sure it’s much more difficult, and expensive, to get such an emergency extension in the future.
If legislation sponsored by Republican State Senator Bill Seitz is approved, anyone petitioning a judge to extend voting hours would have to put up a cash bond to cover the cost, which could range in the tens of thousands of dollars. If a court later finds that the polls should not have remained open, the voter would forfeit all the money. Only those who are so poor they can be certified as indigent would be exempted.
Rep. Dan Ramos, a Democrat who represents the working class Lorain community, told ThinkProgress he finds the effort “sickening.”
“This has been par for the course, ever since the Republicans took control of the House. They’ve been trying to do everything they can to make it more difficult to vote,” he said, noting the state’s cuts to early voting hours,voter roll purges, and attempts to block some students from voting in the primaries. “Now they’re saying the only way a person can have access to courts for voting is if they’re a wealthy person.”
The bill is already gaining support in Ohio’s House and Senate, where Republicans hold majorities. The first hearing on it will be held this week. Though Seitz has said the purpose of the bill is to save taxpayers money, Ramos sees a partisan agenda.
“What types of places would be allowed to stay open? Only wealthy areas, where people tend to vote Republican,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of people in my district with that kind of cash laying around.”
Yet voting rights experts are reassuring Ohioans that the bill wouldn’t do too much damage even if it became law, since it only dictates the actions of state courts, and the vast majority of poll extension motions are filed in federal court. Gary Daniels with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio told ThinkProgress the measure is “unnecessary.”
“Making people pay a bond in order to ensure their voting rights are protected on election day is a further barrier to voting in Ohio, of which we already have plenty,” he said. “People can debate whether a particular extension is frivolous or not. But it seems like overkill to completely blow up the system. I’m worried that what simply is going to happen is that people won’t go to court to file these motions.”
Daniels added that he has seen polling extensions requested due to a number of unexpected problems, from internet outages to poorly trained poll workers to extension cords that are too short for the voting machines to reach the room’s outlets. “It’s never the fault of the voter, but this bill says that you, the voter, have to pay for this,” he said.
This November, the swing state of Ohio could tip the scales and decide the presidency. Since 2008, when some Ohio voters waited 10 hours to cast a ballot, the state’s Republican leadership has passed an array of new voting restrictions, some of which are being challenged in court for suppressing voters of color. One of those legal challenges succeeded last year in restoring some of the Sunday and evening early voting hours the administration had slashed, but Ramos says more efforts are needed.
“We want to make sure everyone who wants to vote can vote, and participate in a way that fits the reality of their economic circumstances,” he said. “The Great Recession is not yet over in Ohio. Lots of people working two or three jobs to survive, and these are not nice white collar job like we legislators have. I can take an hour in the middle of the day to go vote, but most people can’t do that.”
Ramos introduced a bill in March to expand the number of early voting sites so that one is available for every 60,000 residents. Currently, some counties have just one open site to accommodate more than a million residents.
At least one member of the GOP seems to be very well aware of the Republican party’s descent into something bordering on Nazism.
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich just released an ad that has to be seen to be believed. It’s based on the famous “First they came for…” quote, attributed to German Pastor Martin Niemöller.
The original statement by Niemoller speaks of the conditions in Nazi Germany, prior to the Second World War.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
The ad, which was released on Tuesday, features Col. Tom Moe, a retired Air Force serviceman, and former Vietnam prisoner of war. As the video begins, Col. Moe says “I would like anyone who is listening to consider some thoughts.”
He then goes on to paraphrase the words of Pastor Niemoller.
Last month Kasich slammed his fellow candidates at a campaign rally in his hometown of Westerville, Ohio.
During his speech he asked, “What’s happened to our party? What’s happened to the conservative movement?”
He told his supporters in no uncertain terms that he is at the end of his rope when it comes to his fellow conservatives.
“I’ve about had it with these people,” he said. “I want you to know I’m fed up. I’m sick and tired of listening to this nonsense and I’m going to have to call it like it is in this race.”
Kasich asked, “Do you know how crazy this election is? We got one candidate that says we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. You ever heard of anything so crazy as that?”
Speaking of Ben Carson’s flat tax proposal, he said, “We got one person saying we ought to have a 10 percent flat tax that will drive up the deficit in this country by trillions of dollars.” He went to ask, “Why don’t we have no taxes? Just get rid of them all, and then a chicken in every pot on top of it,” bringing the Hoover era, and the corresponding Great Depression, to mind.
“We got one guy who says we ought to take 10 or 11 million people … we’re gonna pick them up and we’re gonna take them to the border and scream at them to get out of our country? That’s just crazy,” he said.
After lamenting the descent of his party into complete stupidity and craziness, he remarked to the audience,
“You know, folks, we better be careful that we don’t turn this country over to somebody who’s not capable of running it. Because if we turn this country over to somebody with wild ideas that thinks they can scream and bluster or operate their way to success, it’s my kids who are going to be at risk and your kids and your grandchildren and all of us. So why don’t we grow up?”
Here’s an excerpt from the speech, via NowThis Politics on Facebook.
It didn’t take long for Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate to devolve into an angry back-and-forth between rival candidates. And for once, it was actually kind of substantive.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich spent his first moments on camera attacking what he considered to be his party’s drift toward the fringe. Although he didn’t mention candidates by name, he hammered Donald Trump’s proposal for mass deportation of undocumented residents; Ben Carson’s decision to base his tax rate on biblical tithing; and many of the other candidates’ support for throwing millions of people off the insurance rolls.
Trump didn’t take that sitting down. He sniped back, noting that Kasich worked at the investment banking firm Lehmann Brothers prior to the company’s collapse in the 2008 financial crisis. Then they fought over what, exactly, Kasich’s role at the company was. (He was a managing director of the investment banking division.)
The circuit judges agreed that the restrictions run afoul of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
The law, enacted earlier this year, scaled back early voting in the Buckeye State from 35 days to 28 days and scrapped “Golden Week,” when residents could both register and vote in the same week.
From here the state of Ohio can either seek a full court — en banc — ruling at the 6th Circuit or appeal to the Supreme Court.
“With the press of time, it is not clear that Ohio is going to bother to try to change this for this election,” wrote election law professor Rick Hasen of UC-Irvine. “But if and when this case gets to the Supreme Court, I expect 5 Justices could well adopt a much narrower definition of equal protection and the Voting Rights Act than offered here.”
It’s hard to believe, surveying the GOP field of possible presidential nominees, but back in 2008 the parties were not that far apart on climate change. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee, backed cap-and-trade for carbon emissions. After joining his ticket, so did Sarah Palin. But back then, lots of Republicans and conservatives also supported an individual mandate to buy health insurance. The Republican Party of 2008 was a big enough tent to include people who admitted demonstrable problems existed and supported free-market-oriented solutions. Not anymore. The rise of the Tea Party movement and the rightward shift of the Republican base and the politicians who pander to it put an end to all that. Whoever is the Republican nominee for president in 2016, it’s a safe bet that he—and yes, it will be a he, as all the leading contenders are male—will oppose taking any action on climate change. Chances are that he won’t even admit it exists.
The Republicans basically fall into four categories: (1) Flat-Earthers, who deny the existence of manmade climate change; (2) Born-Again Flat-Earthers, who do the same, but who had admitted climate change exists back before President Obama took office; (3) Do-Nothings, who sort of admit the reality of climate change but oppose actually taking any steps to prevent it; and (4) Dodgers, who have avoided saying whether they believe climate change is happening, and who also don’t want to take any steps to alleviate it. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker fall into the latter category. The Do-Nothings are blue and purple state governors, Chris Christie of New Jersey and John Kasich of Ohio. In a sign of how far rightward Republicans have moved since 2008, these are actually the guys who are trying to position themselves as relatively moderate and pragmatic. The Born-Agains are Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Both are staunch conservatives but only partial wingnuts. Back when that meant believing in climate change, they did, but they have since followed their base into fantasyland. Everyone else is an outright denier and always has been.
Here’s our full breakdown of all 13 of the top potential hopefuls, including their lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters if they served in Congress. No, we did not include Donald Trump even though he would probably lead in the polls if he ran. And alas, we cannot predict who might be the next Herman Cain. MaybePapa John? If he, or any other pizza moguls, run, we’ll add an update.
While President George W. Bush never did anything about global warming, his brother goes further, by not even admitting it exists. In 2009, Jeb Bush toldEsquire, “I’m a skeptic. I’m not a scientist. I think the science has been politicized. I would be very wary of hollowing out our industrial base even further… It may be only partially man-made. It may not be warming by the way. The last six years we’ve actually had mean temperatures that are cooler. I think we need to be very cautious before we dramatically alter who we are as a nation because of it.” Last year, he talked about how generating power with natural gas instead of coal would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but he avoided actually saying the C-word or mentioning why reducing emissions would be a good thing.
Notable quote: “I think global warming may be real.… It is not unanimous among scientists that it is disproportionately manmade. What I get a little tired of on the left is this idea that somehow science has decided all this so you can’t have a view.” (2011)
Compared to all of his competitors, Christie’s position on climate change is refreshingly reality-based. In 2011, he said: “There’s undeniable data that CO2 levels and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are increasing. This decade, average temperatures have been rising. Temperature changes are affecting weather patterns and our climate…when you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.” Other than the fact that he understated the scientific consensus—it’s more like 97 or 98 percent—there isn’t much to find fault with there. But if you think that means Christie will back action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, think again. On the same day he made those comments, he withdrew New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program for Northeastern energy utilities, complaining that it was “nothing more than a tax on electricity.” He also rolled back his state’s renewable energy goal, from 30 percent by 2021 to 22.5 percent. And the Christie administration conspicuously does not mention climate change in the context of Sandy recovery.
Notable quote: “I haven’t been shown any definitive proof yet that [climate change] is what caused [Sandy]. And this is just, listen, this is a distraction. I’ve got a place to rebuild here and people want to talk to me about esoteric theories.” (2013)
Cruz—a high school valedictorian, Princeton alum, and editor of the Harvard Law Review—is supposed to be smart. His grasp of climate science, however, leaves much to be desired. In a February interview with CNN, Cruz deployed classic, bogus GOP talking points about climate change. “The last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming. Contrary to all the theories that they are expounding, there should have been warming over the last 15 years. It hasn’t happened,” said Cruz. “You know, back in the ’70s—I remember the ’70s, we were told there was global cooling. And everyone was told global cooling was a really big problem. And then that faded.” There has, in fact, been global warming in the last 15 years. And it is not true that in the 1970s “everyone was told global cooling was a really big problem.”
Notable quote: “Climate change, as they have defined it, can never be disproved, because whether it gets hotter or whether it gets colder, whatever happens, they’ll say, well, it’s changing, so it proves our theory.” (2014)
In 2007, when all the cool kids were for cap-and-trade, so was Huckabee. He said, “One thing that all of us have a responsibility to do is recognize that climate change is here, it’s real.… I also support cap-and-trade of carbon emissions. And I was disappointed that the Senate rejected a carbon counting system to measure the sources of emissions, because that would have been the first and the most important step toward implementing true cap-and-trade.” But Huckabee totally flip-flopped after the rise of the Tea Party and anti-Obamaism reshaped the GOP. In 2010, he even denied that he ever had supported cap-and-trade. “This kind of mandatory energy policy would have a horrible impact on this nation’s job market,” he wrote in a blog post. “I never did support and never would support it—period.” By 2013, he was hosting climate-denier-in-chief Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) on his radio show to spread falsehoods. Among the ones Huck contributed himself: “When I was in college, all the literature at that time from the scientific community said that we were going to freeze to death.”
Notable quote: “The volcano that erupted over in Northern Europe [in 2010] actually poured more CO2 into the air in that single act of nature than all of humans have in something like the past 100 years.” (2013) Actually, no, it didn’t.)
Jindal was supposed to be the great hope of smart Republicans. He majored in biology at Brown, was a Rhodes scholar, and he famously declared, “We’ve got to stop being the stupid party.” But he’s done his fair share of dumbing down the GOP. As Brown biology professor Kenneth R. Miller wrote in Slate, “In [Jindal’s] rise to prominence in Louisiana, he made a bargain with the religious right and compromised science and science education for the children of his state.” He signed into law the Louisiana Science Education Act, which “allows ‘supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials’ to be brought into classrooms to support the ‘open and objective discussion’ of certain ‘scientific theories,'” such as evolution and climate change. In other words, he’s promoting creationism and climate change denialism in public schools. Still, Jindal has never come out and stated whether he accepts climate science.
Notable quote, on EPA’s proposal to regulate CO2 from power plants: “This is such a dangerous overreach in terms of the potential threat to our economy and our ability to restore those manufacturing jobs, I absolutely do think litigation needs to be on the table.” (2014)
In what passes for moderation in today’s GOP, Kasich actually acknowledges the existence of global warming. That doesn’t mean he wants to do much about it. “I happen to believe there is a problem with climate change. I don’t want to overreact to it, I can’t measure it all, but I respect the creation that the Lord has given us and I want to make sure we protect it,” Kasich said in 2012 at an energy conference hosted by The Hill. Ohio is rich in coal and heavily dependent on it for energy, and Kasich pledged to keep it that way, touting the promise of ever-elusive “clean coal.” In comments to reporters after that 2012 event, Kasich said he opposes EPA regulation of coal-fired power plants’ CO2 emissions: “I believe there is something to [climate change], but to be unilaterally doing everything here while China and India are belching and putting us in a noncompetitive position isn’t good.” Still, give him credit for evolving; in 2008, he claimed, “Global warming is cyclical, and the focus of a ferocious debate.”
Notable quote: “I am just saying that I am concerned about it, but I am not laying awake at night worrying the sky is falling.” (2012)
What makes Paul so scary is that he actually believes the crazy things he says. When your average Republican talks about small government, you know it’s all just code for “protecting the currently wealthy and their businesses.” So, if you could convince most GOP politicians that it’s in their political interest to take action on climate change, they could be moved. Paul isn’t like that. He is actually committed to his far-right, small-government ideology. He doesn’t even think, for example, that the federal government has the power to force businesses to racially integrate. So of course he doesn’t support action to address climate change, and he never will. When he’s trying to sound more mainstream, he says climate science is “not conclusive“; at other times, he caricatures the science of climate change to try to discredit it.
Notable quote: “If you listen to the hysterics…,you would think that the Statue of Liberty will shortly be under water and the polar bears are all drowning, and that we’re dying from pollution. It’s absolutely and utterly untrue.” (2011)
Pence is an ultra-conservative who does not much care for environmental regulation. He also remains unconvinced that the Earth is warming. “In the mainstream media, there is a denial of the growing skepticism in the scientific community on global warming,” Pence claimed in a 2009 interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. It is not clear what “growing skepticism” he was referring to. In the same interview, Pence refused to say if he believes in evolution but implied that he does not.
Notable quote: “I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming.” (2009)
Perry is no one’s idea of a man of science or an intellectual, not even his supporters’. Texas political insiders call him “Bush without the brains.” At Texas A&M, he got mostly Cs and Ds, even in gym, and an F in organic chemistry. When drought parched Texas in 2011, Perry’s solution was to call for three days of prayer for rain. Remarkably enough, that didn’t work. Perry, who is extremely close with polluters who donate to his campaigns, simply invents facts to suit his conviction that climate change isn’t happening. In 2011, he said, “I think we’re seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.” The Washington Post fact-checker debunked this claim. Perry’s 2012 presidential run was disastrous, in part because he proved himself too dumbeven for Republican primary voters, which is sort of like being too white for Iceland. And yet, he is making noises about running again. And since Republican primary voters seem to get dumber with each election cycle, he could be a contender this time.
Notable quote: “I don’t believe man-made global warming is settled in science enough.” (2011)
Like a lot of ambitious Republicans, Rubio tacitly accepted the science of climate change back in 2007. He talked up renewable energy and referred to global warming as one of the reasons to embrace it. By 2009, he had seen the error of his ways, saying, “There’s a significant scientific dispute” about climate change. By 2010, he was using his Republican primary opponent Charlie Crist‘s belief in “man-made global warming” as an attack line. In May 2014, Rubio made an inept effort to deny climate science, saying, “Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that’s directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activities.” Ah, merely “a handful of decades of research.” That’s nothing, right? After getting a lot of blowback for those comments, he tried to clarify and just dug himself in deeper.
Notable quote: “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.” (2014)
Climate change can be a tough issue for someone who wants to present himself as a wonk, as Ryan so very badly does. To just ignore the science is to risk looking dumb. So, for Ryan, opposition to climate regulation is more about his intense opposition to economic regulation more generally. He constantly asserts that climate regulations, for example, would impose an enormous cost on our economy. Insofar as he discusses the underlying science of climate change, though, he tries to cast doubt on it, using a combination of phony concern for scientific accuracy and an even phonier regular-Midwestern-guy shtick. In a 2009op-ed, he devoted several paragraphs to the trumped-up scandal at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and suggested that climate change should be a low priority for Wisconsinites because it snows in their state in the winter, writing: “Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow.” In July, while refusing to discuss the science of climate change, Ryan asserted that the EPA’s proposed power plant regulations are “obnoxious.” “I think they’re exceeding their authority and I think they kill jobs,” he said.
Notable quote: “[T]here is growing disagreement among scientists about climate change and its causes.” (2010) LCV score: 13 percent
As you might expect from a religious extremist who once compared homosexuality to “man on dog,” Santorum’s beliefs on climate change are unapologetically ignorant. At least he can boast of having been consistent. As Politico noted of Santorum in 2011, “Unlike Romney and some of the other GOP presidential candidates, the former senator has never backed cap-and-trade legislation or other mandatory policies to curb greenhouse gases.” Santorum attacked Romney for admitting that climate change was happening, calling it “junk science” that was invented by liberals to gain greater control over the economy. And his May 2014 book calls climate change a “hyped-up crisis.”
Notable quote: “I for one never bought the hoax. I for one understand just from science that there are one hundred factors that influence the climate. To suggest that one minor factor of which man’s contribution is a minor factor in the minor factor is the determining ingredient in the sauce that affects the entire global warming and cooling is just absurd on its face.” (2012)
Walker is a favorite of the Koch brothers—he notoriously kissed ass during a call with a prankster pretending to be David Koch. The oil oligarchs like him because he opposes governmental regulations, except for when the regulation stymies clean energy. Walker imposed regulations to keep wind turbines further away from homes and signed a pledge never to pass a carbon tax. He has also raised money for the Heartland Institute, an organization that spreads climate misinformation. But he’s never actually said whether he accepts climate science.
Notable quote, criticizing his gubernatorial opponent for pushing climate legislation: “Governor [Jim] Doyle [D] has put his trust in international politicians, bureaucrats, celebrities and discredited scientists to replace the real manufacturing jobs Wisconsin is losing every day.” (2009)
An Israeli strike hits another U.N. school, an earthquake in China leaves at least 150 dead, and more.
1. Israeli strike kills 10 near U.N. school
An Israeli air strike on Sunday killed at least ten and wounded dozens more near a United Nations-run school in Gaza. A spokesperson for the U.N. said it appeared as though the strike hit outside the gate to the school, which has been converted into a shelter for some 3,000 displaced residents. The strike was the second in a week to claim lives at a U.N. school. [The Guardian, USA Today]
2. Report: Israel spied on John Kerry during peace talks
Israeli intelligence listened in on Secretary of State John Kerry’s private phone calls during the failed peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine over the past year, according to Germany’sDer Spiegel. Israel captured the communications when Kerry spoke on unsecured lines, and then used the intel when it came to the negotiating table. The Jerusalem Post said Sunday it had confirmed the eavesdropping with “several sources in the intelligence community.” Begun last year, the peace talks collapsed in April. [Der Spiegel , The Jerusalem Post]
3. Earthquake kills at least 150 in China
A magnitude 6.3 earthquake rocked southwestern China on Sunday, killing at least 150 and injuring another 1,400, according to state-run media reports. The quake, which hit in Yunnan province, was the strongest to hit the area in 14 years. [The Los Angeles Times, NBC]
4. Toledo warns residents against drinking, bathing in water
Residents of Toledo are effectively without water after the city warned them not to drink nor shower from the tap due to a possible contamination from Lake Erie. The city, Ohio’s fourth-largest, was warned that toxins from algae in the lake could have fouled the water supply, prompting a run on bottled water. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) declared a state of emergency, but said it was too early to say how long the water advisory would remain in effect. [CBS, Cleveland Plain Dealer]
5. More than 100 feared dead in Nepal landslide
Nepalese officials said Sunday they were not optimistic that more survivors would be found after a deadly landslide buried villagers in the country’s Sindhupalchok district one day earlier. Rescue crews recovered eight bodies, though the government said around 155 people remained missing. “It has been over 24 hours that people would have been buried in mud,” Yadav Prasad Koirala, disaster management head, told AFP. “We have no hope of finding anyone alive.” [AFP, USA Today]
6. First Ebola-infected patient arrives in U.S.
An American physician who contracted the deadly Ebola virus while working in Africa has been flown back to the states for intensive treatment, making him the first ever infected patient to be treated in the U.S. Thirty-three-year-old Kent Brantly arrived in Atlanta late Saturday on a specially outfitted “air ambulance” and was admitted to an isolation unit at Emory University Hospital. Brantly contracted the virus while working with a charity organization in Liberia, where an Ebola outbreak has already killed hundreds. [The Washington Post, The New York Times]
7. Arizona used 15 lethal doses on executed prisoner
Arizona executioners administered 15 times the mandated dosage of an untested drug cocktail to kill death row inmate Joseph Wood, who took two hours to die in a procedure widely decried as torture. Records obtained by Wood’s attorneys revealed the prisoner was injected 15 times over a two-hour span, the last one coming four minutes before Wood was pronounced dead. Wood reportedly gasped more than 600 times before dying, prompting the state to review its execution protocol. [Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times]
8. Three-year-old killed by stray bullet in Philly
A three-year-old girl was shot and killed Saturday in Philadelphia when a stray bullet hit her in the chest as she sat on a front porch. Tynirah Borum was having her hair braided when two men began arguing, allegedly leading one of the men, 22-year-old Douglas Woods, to open fire. Woods was arrested and charged with murder, as well as multiple counts of attempted murder. [Associated Press]
9. Missing Israeli solider was killed in battle
An Israeli soldier who went missing Friday and was feared to have been captured was actually killed in battle, the Israeli military confirmed Sunday. The disappearance of Second Lt. Hadar Goldin escalated the weeks-old conflict between Israel and Palestine, with Israel initially saying Goldin was kidnapped and “dragged into a tunnel” by Hamas militants. [The New York Times, NBC]
10. Bill Murray joins cast of Jungle Book
Bill Murray has signed on for a reboot of Disney’s The Jungle Book. The legendary comedic actor will voice Baloo the Bear in the animation-enhanced live-action film, which is due out in October 2015. [Variety]
So, how far back into the last century do they want people of color to regress in terms of voting rights? Perhaps till they have no voting rights at all? Is this their punishment for having voted for Obama? 92% of Black voters voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
It appears that this is the only way “they” can reduce those numbers…simply by making it difficult for people in “urban areas” to vote for him again. However, the most disturbing aspect of this is that of the Black voters they have targeted, many of them are poor minorities with no political power at all, thus making them an easy target.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s recent decision to prohibit early voting on nights and weekends in all districts has many concerned about the effect on voter turnout in the state, particularly among low-income and minority communities. But one Republican Party chairman is content to suppress votes among this vulnerable demographic. Doug Preisse, chairman of the Republican Party in Franklin County, which contains the city of Columbus, admitted in an email to the Columbus Dispatch that black voters would now have a more difficult time voting:
I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine. Let’s be fair and reasonable.
Preisse was one of the board of elections members who blocked Democratic efforts in Franklin County to expand voting hours to evenings and weekends. According to the Dispatch, he called claims of unfairness “bullshit. Quote me!”
Preisse also served on Newt Gingrich’s leadership team in Ohio during the primary and is a top political consultant to Ohio governor John Kasich (R).
In 2008, 82 percent of early voters in Franklin County voted on nights or weekends. The Secretary of State has defended the move to cut hours across the state by pointing to his initiative sending absentee ballots to every registered voter. But according to a study by Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates, black voters and Democrats prefer to cast their ballots in person, with 13.3 percent of black Ohioans casting early ballots in 2008 compared to just 8 percent of white voters.
Secretary of State Husted most recently suspended two Democratic members of the Montgomery County Election Board for voting to allow weekend voting in spite of the directive to restrict hours.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigned with Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who presides over one of the least job-creating states in America, today at Otterbein College — a school that benefited from the passage of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the stimulus.
Otterbein received a grant worth more than $80,000 for a federal work-study program in July 2009. Ignoring that fact, though, Romney proceeded to attack the stimulus in his speech to students:
ROMNEY: Then there was the stimulus itself. $787 billion of borrowing. It could have been entirely focused on getting getting the private sector to buy capital equipment, for instance. That puts people to work. Or to hire people. Instead, it primary protected people in the governmental sector, which is probably the sector that should have been shrinking.
Romney also mixed up the facts about the stimulus. In calling the stimulus a hand out for government programs (which he said “probably should have been shrinking”), Romney ignores that the last three years were the worst on record for government job losses. In calling the stimulus a failure, he ignores its obvious successes: It saved or created millions of jobs, turned around economic growth, and pulled the American economy away from the precipice of collapse.