Monday Reads

Good Morning!

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.

In Florida, a key battleground state, the new law signed last month by Republican Gov. Rick Scott also restricts efforts to register new voters by groups such as the League of Women Voters.

“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.

David Axelrod, a top strategist in President Obama‘s re-election campaign, called the wave of new legislation a “calculated strategy” by Republicans to “hold down voter turnout.”

“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?


15 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. glennmcgahee says:

    Well the Nutroots may finally be starting to do some activity that requires them to get off their butts and act rather than talking amongst themselves. Meanwhile, people from all over the country need to be marching on DC asking some big questions, like why our gov’t seems to think Goldman Sachs has any ability to help pull us up by our bootstraps. With their allowed infiltration of the executive branch, we’re seeing about the same thing the know-it alls have done for their own shareholders. I caught this over at Yahoo Finance –

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Thanks for the roundup, Dak. Those fires are really getting widespread. I’ve heard they may spread to several other states.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Demonstrators in Damascus chant “No to dialogue with murderers,” after Syrian president says country being exploited by “saboteurs, microbes” in 3rd address since uprising began.

    It’s really getting bad in Syria.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Lambert linked to this fascinating post on the Greek crisis and how it affects all of us. From the post:

    I have never been more desperate to explain and more hopeful for your understanding of any single fact than this: The protests in Greece concern all of you directly.

    What is going on in Athens at the moment is resistance against an invasion; an invasion as brutal as that against Poland in 1939. The invading army wears suits instead of uniforms and holds laptops instead of guns, but make no mistake – the attack on our sovereignty is as violent and thorough. Private wealth interests are dictating policy to a sovereign nation, which is expressly and directly against its national interest. Ignore it at your peril. Say to yourselves, if you wish, that perhaps it will stop there. That perhaps the bailiffs will not go after the Portugal and Ireland next. And then Spain and the UK. But it is already beginning to happen. This is why you cannot afford to ignore these events.

    The powers that be have suggested that there is plenty to sell. Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s party, recently made the helpful suggestion that we should sell some of our islands to private buyers in order to pay the interest on these loans, which have been forced on us to stabilise financial institutions and a failed currency experiment. (Of course, it is not a coincidence that recent studies have shown immense reserves of natural gas under the Aegean sea).

    There’s much much more!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Also this quote from Nicholas Taleb:

      Nassim Nicholas Taleb is the Lebanese-American philosopher who formulated the theory of “Black Swan Events” – unpredictable, unforeseen events which have a huge impact and can only be explained afterwards. Last week, on Newsnight, he was asked by Jeremy Paxman whether the people taking to the streets in Athens was a Black Swan Event. He replied: “No. The real Black Swan Event is that people are not rioting against the banks in London and New York.”

      • dakinikat says:

        Wow. That’s some statement. We should be protesting the war on women and the war on the middle class and the war of religious extremists on democracy. Our rights are under attack from all sides.

    • dakinikat says:

      The euro is the best thing that happened to greece. Their problems are rooted in the Olympics which they couldn’t afford but were enabled to afford by Goldman.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    High alert at Nuke plant in Omaha (This was tweeted by Mark Crispin Miller)

  6. bluelady says:

    just saw an interesting headline
    Supreme Court limits Wal-Mart sex bias case (AP)
    The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a massive sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart on behalf of women who work there
    Just fucking great. Don’t want to inconvenience Walmart, now do we?

    • dakinikat says:

      Too big to sue. Sheesh.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      I saw that, bluelady, and despaired.
      The banks/investment companies are too big to fail and Walmart is too big to sue.
      I wish the Wally World employees would go all Norma Rae, walk out and shut the mofo down.
      I hate that whole “privilege” club that some on the left use to shame people but, I do recognize that I’m coming from a privileged position when I tell the Walmart workers to walk out. The politicians, banksters and corporate chiefs have made damn sure that if you leave your lousy, lousy, job, you’ll starve in the streets.
      Dak, thanks for the roundup, this planet is heaving with pain and turmoil.
      Looks like God really hates that new immigration law/snark.