Friday ReadsPosted: March 21, 2014
I’ve found a few things I think you’ll find interesting this morning.
Here’s an interview with Anita Hill who argues that Biden basically did a “terrible job” with the Clarence Thomas hearings. It would sure be nice if ol’ Uncle Thomas wasn’t on the bench.
Anita Hill, the woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, on Thursday said that as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vice President Joe Biden did a “terrible job” overseeing Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991.
Hill said on HuffPost Live that Biden failed to call witnesses and experts to testify who could have shed light on the sexual harassment claims made about Thomas.
“I think he did two things that were a disservice to me, that were a disservice more importantly to the public,” Hill said. “There were three women who were ready and waiting and and subpoenaed to be giving testimony about similar behavior that they had experienced or witnessed. He failed to call them.”
Will the South see a rise of liberal activism? Recent signs of activism have been seen in acts like Moral Mondays in North Carolina to arrests in Georgia in protests over Governor Deal’s refusal to expand Medicaid.
There was a son of a sharecropper and an advocate for the homeless, a college student and a great-grandmother, a retired store manager and the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
By the end of the day, they were among the 39 people who were arrested Tuesday during choreographed waves of civil disobedience here at the state Capitol in protest of the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.
They shouted slogans and unfurled banners from the Senate gallery, sang spirituals in the marble rotunda and held a sit-in blocking the entrance to the governor’s office.
The Moral Monday movement, which began last year in North Carolina, took firm root in Georgia on Tuesday, where the arrests at the Capitol were the group’s boldest action since it started protesting here in January. There were similar protests in South Carolina, where a smaller but persistent campaign of civil disobedience played out for the third week in a row.
The movements are rare stirrings of impassioned, liberal political action in a region where conservative control of government is as solid as cold grits and Democrats are struggling for survival more than influence.
The question raised by all three groups, which have echoes in at least four other states, is whether they can become more than an outlet for protests by liberal activists who feel shut out of state politics.
Proponents insist they are building a movement and are in it for the long haul.
“We are at the beginning of a new Southern strategy,” says Tim Franzen, 36, the lead organizer behind Moral Monday Georgia. “The changes we need to make in Georgia to transform the state are going to take years. But with the changing demographics of the South, our victory is inevitable. This train has left the station.”
A medical marijuana bill unanimously passed both the Alabama House and Senate on Thursday and is headed to the desk of Gov. Robert Bentley, who has said he will sign it into law.
The measure makes it legal to possess only a prescribed medical grade extract known as CBD or cannabidiol, which is non-intoxicating.
The U.S. Congress in 1972 deemed the oil to have no accepted medical use and banned it.
However, some studies have shown it to be useful in treating a number of conditions, including seizures, and it has been legalized for use in 20 states, according to the Medical Marijuana ProCon website.
Called Carly’s Law, the bill in Alabama originated to help control violent seizures suffered by a toddler with a severe neurological disorder.
The girl’s family won the backing of Republican state Rep. Mike Ball, sponsor of the bill, and the governor, who has indicated his support.
A new forecast by Charles Gaba contains a devastating prediction for Republicans. The expert Obamacare signups tracker predicts that the ACA will smash its enrollment goal of 6 million, by the end of the month.
Mr. Gaba has been delivering incredibly accurate predictions about the ACA on his blog, acasignups.net. His latest prediction would be a nail in the Republicans’ anti-Obamacare coffin. Gaba predicts that the final sign up total will be 6.22 million by the end of March. If this is forecast is accurate, it will mean that the ACA smashed through its revised CBO goal of 6 million sign ups. All Republicans hopes of being able to claim that the law is a total failure hinge on Obamacare missing the enrollment goal.
As people continue to enroll at a brisk clip before the March 31 deadline, it is becoming obvious that the White House is going to meet their goal. The demand for access to affordable healthcare should serve as another reminder to Democrats that they should avoid getting suckered into the Republican trap of abandoning the Affordable Care Act.
For decades, liberals wielded the 1st Amendment to protect antiwar activists, civil rights protesters and government whistle-blowers.
These days, however, the Constitution’s protection for free speech and religious liberty has become the weapon of choice for conservatives.
This year’s Supreme Court term features an unusual array of potentially powerful 1st Amendment claims, all of them coming from groups on the right.
And in nearly every case, liberal groups — often in alliance with the Obama administration — are taking the opposing side, supporting state and federal laws that have come under attack for infringing upon the rights of conservatives.
The free-speech challenges include cases on campaign contribution limits, no-protest zones in front of abortion clinics and mandatory union dues for public employees.
At the same time, devout Christian employers are claiming their religious liberty should entitle them to an exemption from a provision in President Obama’s healthcare lawrequiring that full contraceptive coverage be offered to female employees.
And waiting on deck is a free-speech appeal from a Christian photography company challenging a New Mexico state law that bars businesses from discriminating against gays and lesbians.
Conservatives and libertarians say the role reversal at the high court reflects a larger shift in political alliances and attitudes toward government.
“The progressive mind-set sees government as a force for good,” said Ilya Shapiro, a lawyer for the libertarian Cato Institute. So, increasingly, “the energy behind those who are battling with the government” comes from libertarians and conservatives.
“This is a real trend over several years,” said Washington attorney Michael Carvin, a staunch conservative who led the constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act. “The liberals are in favor of an expansive federal government, and the conservatives are making the arguments for individual autonomy on speech and religion.”
Citing the campaign funding case, which seeks to knock out aggregate limits on how much wealthy donors can give congressional candidates and political parties, Carvin accused liberals of abandoning “the idea of assuring all voices can participate freely because they don’t like rich people and corporations.”
You might expect the biggest lease owner in Canada’s oil sands, or tar sands, to be one of the international oil giants, like Exxon Mobil or Royal Dutch Shell. But that isn’t the case. The biggest lease holder in the northern Alberta oil sands is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the privately-owned cornerstone of the fortune of conservative Koch brothers Charles and David.
The Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres — an area nearly the size of Delaware — in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, according to an activist groupthat studied Alberta provincial records. The Post confirmed the group’s findings with Alberta Energy, the provincial government’s ministry of energy. Separately, industry sources familiar with oil sands leases said Koch’s lease holdings could be closer to two million acres. The companies with the next biggest net acreage positions in oil sands leases are Conoco Phillips and Shell, both close behind.
What is Koch Industries doing there? The company wouldn’t comment on its holdings or strategy, but it appears to be a long-term investment that could produce tens of thousands of barrels of the region’s thick brand of crude oil in the next three years and perhaps hundreds of thousands of barrels a few years after that.
The finding about the Koch acreage is likely to inflame the already contentious debate about the Keystone XL Pipeline and spur activists and environmentalists seeking to slow or stop planned expansions of production from the northern Alberta oil sands, or tar sands. Environmental groups have already made opposing the pipeline their leading cause this spring and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called the Koch brothers Charles and David “un-American” and “shadowy billionaires.
So, there’s a few things to get your started. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?