Monday ReadsPosted: June 20, 2011
Floods in Missouri! Drought so bad in Florida that some cities may run out of water! Terrible fires in Arizona and New Mexico! Wow! You would think it was 2012 or something!
Hundreds of firefighters fought to control several dangerous blazes in Arizona, fighting to make progress even as expanded evacuations and power outages signaled that the battle was far from over.
The Monument fire — which U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell has deemed the nation’s “number one priority,” putting it first in line for any air, ground or other resources — jumped Highway 92 late Sunday afternoon at Carr Canyon heading east, according to the Cochise County website.
“We’ve had a hard day today, with things that we didn’t want to happen,” fire spokesman Bill Paxton told CNN on Sunday night. “The bull came out of the pen.”
Thanks to dry, windy conditions, the fire broke through four different contingency lines, including going over to the other side of the highway, said Paxton, part of the national Interagency Incident Management Team.
“Everything aligned for a massive push,” he said. “It’s really hard on the community here.”
The county sheriff’s office broadened the evacuation zone soon thereafter east to the San Pedro River, reports InciWeb, an online interagency database that tracks fires, floods and other disasters.
On Sunday evening, that website noted that the fire had burned at least 20,956 acres and was 27% contained. More than 1,000 personnel — as well as 100 engines and nine helicopters — were battling that blaze, which had burned 44 homes and 18 other structures from its start June 12 through Sunday.
The UN is holding closed door talks on the Fukishima Nuclear plant failures. I wonder what’s so bad they don’t want us to know anything?
The crisis, which involved three reactor meltdowns, has been dogged by complaints that the plant operator and safety watchdogs haven’t been transparent enough. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s decision to shield the inquiry in Vienna from public view may backfire, analysts and scientists said.
The handpicked participants include scientists, diplomats and people from the industry who will have a chance to question Japanese authorities about what went wrong in the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years. Journalists are excluded.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano called the ministerial meeting to learn lessons from the March 11 Fukushima accident and plot strategies to improve nuclear safety. While the agency, which operates under the slogan “Atoms for Peace,” will give public access to delegates’ opening statements, it’s locking down panel discussions on Tokyo Electric Power Co’s response to the accident and how nuclear safety can be improved after Fukushima.
State legislatures have not only passed laws attacking unions and women, they have also passed voter ID laws in record numbers. These types of laws were widely used during the Jim Crow period to deny black voters the ability to vote.
Buoyed by big Republican gains in the 2010 elections, six states have enacted photo ID laws since January — Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Bills New Hampshire and North Carolina await gubernatorial action.
The measures, all passed by GOP-controlled legislatures, could bring to 17 the number of states with photo ID requirements and come nearly 18 months before elections for Congress and the White House. Other states, including Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia, have reduced the period for early voting.
“It’s remarkable,” Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said of the proliferation of new laws. In all, 33 states have considered new voter ID laws this year. “I very rarely see one single issue come up in so many state legislatures in a single session,” she said. “This issue has historically fallen along stark partisan lines. Democrats tend to oppose voter ID, and Republicans tend to favor it. This year, there are a lot of new Republican majorities in legislatures.”
Republicans now control both legislative chambers in 26 states, up from 14 in 2010.
“I find it ironic at a time when all over the world people are struggling, marching, even dying, for the right to vote and cast meaningful votes that anybody in this country would be working to limit the franchise,” Axelrod told USA TODAY.
He said the campaign would “organize vigorously” to make voters aware of the new requirements.
“This is the most significant assault on voting rights that we have seen in a long time,” said Wendy Weiser of New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, which opposes the new rules.
The Right Wing version of Net Roots was the center of a flash-mob style protest by Muslim women who were protesting an earlier incident that smacked of racism and misogyny.
A group of around ten women in Muslim headscarves crashed the RightOnline conference for about ten minutes Saturday, protesting what they said was an incident targeting Muslim women Thursday night.
The event was the latest spark kicked up by the proximity of Netroots Nation and RightOnline. The two conferences are blocks apart — RightOnline is being held in a hotel many Netrootsers are staying in — and interaction between the progressives at Netroots and the conservatives at RightOnline has been inevitable.
A spokesperson for the group of women told TPM they weren’t sure of the identity of the man responsible for the Thursday incident — when two hijab-wearing women were followed by a man with a cell phone camera who reportedly asked them why they were dressed the way they were “in America” — but rumors that the incident involved an employee of conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart were rampant at Netroots.
It was partially a confrontation over those rumors that caused the Breitbart kerfuffle at Netroots Friday.
The women who arrived at RightOnline were Netroots attendees, and were accompanied by blogger Joe Aravosis and gay rights advocate/provocateur Dan Choi.
The spokesperson for the “flash mob,” Allison Nevitt, told TPM that there was a larger message to their protest beyond the Thursday incident, which Nevitt said had been reported to Minneapolis police.
“The point was mostly that Muslim women are an equal part of this nation, and that we have an equal right to exist here,” Nevitt said.
So, that’s a few odds and ends to start up a conversation! What’s on your reading and blogging list this morning?