Thursday Reads: A Mixed BagPosted: January 12, 2023 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, just because | Tags: classified documents, CPAC, Herschel Walker staffer, Hunter Biden, hypocrisy, Jeff Beck, Jim Jordan, Joe Biden, Matt Schlapp 23 Comments
There isn’t any big overarching story dominating today’s news, so I have a mixed bag of articles to share.
I’m going to begin with a story that should be a huge scandal, but the mainstream media and cable news stations have been slow to cover it–I’m not sure why. I posted the story a couple of times here after Roger Sollenberger of The Daily Beast broke it on January 5: Herschel Walker Staffer: Matt Schlapp ‘Groped’ My Crotch.
A staffer for Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign has alleged to The Daily Beast that longtime Republican activist Matt Schlapp made “sustained and unwanted and unsolicited” sexual contact with him while the staffer was driving Schlapp back from an Atlanta bar this October.
The staffer said the incident occurred the night of Oct. 19, when Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union and lead organizer for the influential Conservative Political Action Conference, “groped” and “fondled” his crotch in his car against his will after buying him drinks at two different bars.
The staffer described Schlapp, who had traveled to Georgia for a Walker campaign event, as inappropriately and repeatedly intruding into his personal space at the bars. He said he was also keenly aware of his “power dynamic” with Schlapp, widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in national conservative politics.
Read more at the link. Yesterday, CNN finally picked up the story and discussed it extensively on the air; and The New York Daily News published an article about it. Maybe now it will get more attention.
From the CNN story: GOP strategist alleges powerful conservative Matt Schlapp sexually assaulted him.
A Republican strategist alleges that Matt Schlapp, the influential chairman of the American Conservative Union, groped and fondled his groin as he drove Schlapp back to an Atlanta hotel several weeks before the November midterm election.
The strategist, a male in his late thirties who was working for the Georgia GOP and Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign at the time, told CNN that Schlapp made the unwanted sexual advances on the ride back from two area bars on October 19. Schlapp allegedly invited the strategist, who was assigned to drive Schlapp, to join him in his hotel room. The staffer declined the offer, and hours later reported the incident to senior campaign staff….
The staffer says he called and texted friends in real time to tell them what happened. CNN reviewed a text exchange between the staffer and a friend in politics, where the staffer is clearly upset and wondering how to tell the campaign that one of their surrogates had allegedly assaulted him. The exchange is being made public for the first time.
“He’s pissed I didn’t follow him to his hotel room,” the staffer wrote.
“I’m so sorry man,” the acquaintance responded. “What a f**king creep.”
The staffer later texted, “I just don’t know how to say it to my superiors thst heir [sic] surrogate fondled my junk without my consent.” [….]
Schlapp runs the ACU, the organization most widely known for staging the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. Both Schlapp and the group occasionally butted heads with Donald Trump before he was elected president in 2016, but have since become fierce loyalists. Schlapp, who served in the George W. Bush White House as director of political affairs, took over the ACU in 2014. His wife, Mercedes Schlapp, worked as Trump’s communications director for nearly two years, from 2017 to 2019.
More on the text messages:
According to text messages reviewed by CNN, Schlapp suggested meeting the staffer for drinks.
“I have a dinner at 7. May grab a beer after if you want to join let me know,” Schlapp texted the staffer. The staffer told CNN he joined Schlapp because of the ACU leader’s standing in conservative political circles.
Once at the bar, the staffer says Schlapp began to inappropriately invade his personal space. After leaving the bar, the staffer alleges Schlapp sexually assaulted him as he was driving Schlapp back to his hotel. The staffer said he did not respond in the moment because he was stunned into silence and was focused on getting Schlapp out of the car as quickly as possible.
Later that evening, Schlapp called the staffer, according to a call log reviewed by CNN, to confirm the staffer would be driving him to another Walker event the next morning. After receiving the call, the staffer says he broke down and memorialized what happened by recording videos of himself describing the alleged assault.
“Matt Schlapp, of the CPAC, grabbed my junk and pummeled it at length. And I’m sitting there (in the car) saying, ‘What the hell is going on that this person with a wife and kids is literally doing this to me, from Manuel’s Tavern to the Hilton Garden Inn there at the Atlanta Airport,’” the staffer says in one of the self-recorded clips, which CNN reviewed. “He literally has his hands on me. And I feel so f**king dirty. Feel so f**king dirty. So I don’t know what to do in the morning.”
The next morning, the staffer told top Walker campaign officials about the alleged incident and they immediately directed him not to drive Schlapp and to pass on a number of a car service.
Why isn’t this story getting more traction? Is it because Schlapp is so powerful within the GOP? He heads up organizations that are virulently anti-gay. I’m waiting for it to come out in The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Next, Joe Biden’s lawyers found a second batch of classified documents in Delaware. There’s no comparison with what Trump did, but I’m worried that this may prevent the DOJ from prosecuting Trump for actually stealing government documents and refusing to return them.
The New York Times: Second Set of Classified Documents Were Found at Biden’s Wilmington Home, White House Says.
The second set of classified documents from President Biden’s time as vice president were discovered at a storage space in the garage of his home in Wilmington, Del., a top White House lawyer said on Thursday….
The White House statement, by Richard Sauber, a special counsel to Mr. Biden, did not answer fundamental questions about the contents of the documents, who packed them and whether anyone had gained access to them after he left office. It also did not say when the second batch had been found.
The statement came after the White House acknowledged this week that an earlier batch had been discovered on Nov. 2 in the closet of an office at a think tank that Mr. Biden had used after leaving the vice presidency.
The statement added that the Biden team immediately notified the Justice Department and arranged for it to take possession of the documents.
Mr. Sauber said Mr. Biden’s team had also searched a house the president owned in Rehoboth Beach, Del., but found no documents stored there.
On Tuesday, Mr. Biden told reporters in Mexico City that he was “surprised” to learn in the fall that his lawyers had found classified government documents in his former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
He said his staff had fully cooperated with the National Archives and the Justice Department, but made no mention of the documents later found in Delaware.
Mr. Biden’s lawyers discovered “a small number” of classified documents in his former office at a Washington think tank last fall, the White House said on Monday, prompting the Justice Department to scrutinize the situation to determine how to proceed.
As you probably know, the Justice Department is investigating and will eventually decide whether a special counsel should be appointed. So far, there isn’t any comparison between what Trump and Biden did, but of course Republicans will make that claim. Here’s a good thread on the differences between the two.
Read the rest on Twitter.
Jim Jordan, who will be in charge of the Judiciary Committee and the so-called “weaponization of government” subcommittee, is probably salivating over this story. This is from Loch K. Johnson, Frederick Baron, and Dennis Aftergut at The Bulwark: Jim Jordan, Church Committee Pretender.
Members of the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives are trying to stick a civil libertarian label on the subcommittee they’re creating to “investigate the investigators.” Its formal name will be the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. But when talking about it to the press, some Republicans have taken to calling it a reincarnated “Church committee.”
They are invoking the 1975-76 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities chaired by Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho). That committee was launched after a bombshell 1974 New York Times report about Nixon-era CIA domestic surveillance on anti-war activists and other dissident American citizens.
Two of us (Johnson and Baron) served in key staff positions on the Church committee. The comparison is preposterous. The new House subcommittee is not remotely up to the Church committee standard—in origin, composition, or purpose.
To begin with, the Church committee bore serious moral authority, which arose from its truly bipartisan mission: tough-minded rethinking of intelligence agency activities under administrations of both parties stretching back almost twenty years.
Indispensable to its credibility was the energetic participation of steely moderate Republican senators like Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), Charles Mathias (R-Md.), and Richard Schweiker (R-Penn.). These were statesmen—intellectually honest and adept. In particular, Baker performed an indispensable, fair-minded role for Church committee Republicans, as he had done on the Senate Watergate Committee.
One example: Concerned about the Church committee’s probe into FBI activities against Martin Luther King Jr., Baker sought evenhandedness without obstruction. “Let’s have a balance, not just focus on King,” Baker said. “Perhaps a session on FBI infiltration of the KKK, too.”
On the Church committee, GOP senators—including the committee’s vice chairman, the conservative John Tower (R-Texas)—were willing to pursue the truth about the actions of Republican administrations. In turn, Democratic senators, including Church, Walter Mondale (D-Minn.), and Gary Hart (D-Col.), were willing to probe the actions of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. That commitment to nonpartisan inquiry catalyzed the committee’s powerful, evidence-based critique of intelligence agency misconduct, and serious proposals for agency reforms later adopted in the Ford and Carter administrations.
What the Church Committee did:
The Church committee unearthed dramatic breaches of law and American norms:
- CIA assassination plots against foreign leaders such as Fidel Castro in Cuba and Patrice Lumumba in the Congo.
- FBI COINTELPRO surveillance, infiltration, and disruption targeting King, his Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the anti-Vietnam War movement.
- CIA and FBI mail-opening programs that snooped on broad swaths of U.S. citizens.
Those legitimate subjects of investigation are a far cry from what the new House subcommittee is setting out to do: fishing for stories about the mythical deep state and looking into “ongoing criminal investigations”—that is, going after the law enforcement officials investigating the January 6th insurrection.
Read the rest at the link.
Republicans are also salivating about the opportunity to “investigate” Hunter Biden. That could come back to bite Trump though.
The New York Times: Hunter Biden’s Tangled Tale Comes Front and Center.
The way Republicans tell it, President Biden has been complicit in a long-running scheme to profit from his position in public life through shady dealings around the world engineered by his son, Hunter Biden.
Taking a first step in their long-promised investigation, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday demanded information about the Bidens’ banking transactions from the Treasury Department. And in an earlier report on the Bidens intended to lay the groundwork for hearings they plan to hold, they said they had evidence “demonstrating deliberate, repeated deception of the American people, abuse of the executive branch for personal gain, use of government power to obstruct the investigation” and more.
The real Hunter Biden story is complex and very different in important ways from the narrative promoted by Republicans — but troubling in its own way.
After his father became vice president, Hunter Biden, a 52-year-old Yale-educated lawyer, forged business relationships with foreign interests that brought him millions of dollars, raised questions about whether he was cashing in on his family name, set off alarms among government officials about potential conflicts of interest, and provided Republicans an opening for years of attacks on his father.
And after the death of his brother, Beau, in 2015, Hunter descended into a spiral of addiction and tawdry and self-destructive behavior.
He is sober now and no longer entangled in foreign business deals. He is a visible presence in his father’s life — his oldest daughter was married at the White House in November, and he attended a state dinner last month.
But the investigation into his previous dealings may be coming to a head.
David C. Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware, is closing in on a decision about whether to prosecute Hunter Biden on charges stemming from his behavior during his most troubled years.
Investigators have pored over documents related to and questioned witnesses about his overseas business dealings. They include his role on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company led by an oligarch who at the time was under investigation for corruption — a position that Hunter accepted while his father, as vice president, was overseeing Obama administration policy in Ukraine.
They also include his equity stake in a Chinese business venture, and his failed joint venture with a Chinese tycoon who had courted well-connected Americans in both parties — at one point he gave Hunter Biden a large diamond as a gift — but was later detained by Chinese authorities.
Investigators have similarly sought information about interactions between Hunter Biden’s business associates and his father.
But Mr. Weiss, people familiar with the investigation say, appears to be focused on a less politically explosive set of possible charges stemming from his failure to meet filing deadlines for his 2016 and 2017 tax returns, and questions about whether he falsely claimed at least $30,000 in deductions for business expenses.
Mr. Weiss is also said to be considering charging Hunter Biden, who has openly acknowledged his years of struggle with drugs and alcohol, with lying on a U.S. government form that he filled out to purchase a handgun in 2018. On the form, he answered that he was not using drugs — an assertion that prosecutors might be able to challenge based on his erratic behavior and possible witness accounts of his drug use around that period.
One more sad story for us old fans of 1960’s rock. Yesterday, guitar legend Jeff Beck died suddenly of bacterial meningitis.
From the NYT obit: Jeff Beck, Guitarist With a Chapter in Rock History, Dies at 78.
Jeff Beck, one of the most skilled, admired and influential guitarists in rock history, died on Tuesday in a hospital near his home at Riverhall, a rural estate in southern England. He was 78.
The cause was bacterial meningitis, Melissa Dragich, his publicist, said.
During the 1960s and ’70s, as either a member of the Yardbirds or as leader of his own bands, Mr. Beck brought a sense of adventure to his playing that helped make the recordings by those groups groundbreaking.
In 1965, when he joined the Yardbirds to replace another guitar hero, Eric Clapton, the group was already one of the defining acts in Britain’s growing electric blues movement. But his stinging licks and darting leads on songs like “Shapes of Things” and “Over Under Sideways Down” added an expansive element to the music that helped signal the emerging psychedelic rock revolution.
Three years later, when Mr. Beck formed his own band, later known as the Jeff Beck Group — along with Rod Stewart, a little-known singer at the time, and the equally obscure Ron Wood on bass — the weight of the music created an early template for heavy metal. Specifically, the band’s 1968 debut, “Truth,” provided a blueprint that another former guitar colleague from the Yardbirds, Jimmy Page, drew on to found Led Zeppelin several months later.
In 1975, when Mr. Beck began his solo career with the “Blow by Blow” album, he reconfigured the essential formula of that era’s fusion movement, tipping the balance of its influences from jazz to rock and funk, in the process creating a sound that was both startlingly new and highly successful. “Blow by Blow” became a Billboard Top 5 and, selling a million or more copies, a platinum hit.
Along the way, Mr. Beck helped either pioneer or amplify important technical innovations on his instrument. He elaborated the use of distortion and feedback effects, earlier explored by Pete Townshend; intensified the effect of bending notes on the guitar; and widened the range of expression that could be coaxed from devices attached to the guitar like the whammy bar.
Drawing on such techniques, Mr. Beck could weaponize his strings to hit like a stun gun or caress them to express what felt like a kiss. His work had humor, too, with licks that could cackle and leads that could tease.
Click the NYT link to read the rest. I saw the Jeff Beck Group at The Boston Tea Party in 1968 or 1969. The warm-up group was Buddy Miles. Rod Stewart was impressive as the lead singer. That was before he went more mainstream. Anyway, it was a great show. The Tea Party was a great big hall–no seats or anything and it was LOUD.
Have a great Thursday everyone!!
Tuesday Reads: Toni Morrison, Trump’s Gaslighting, and Other NewsPosted: August 6, 2019 Filed under: Barack Obama, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Donald Trump, Gaslighting, George W. Bush, Google, hypocrisy, Racism, Toni Morrison, white supremacist terrorism, xenophobia 22 Comments
The news just broke that Toni Morrison has died. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t read her work; maybe now would be a good time to start. The Washington Post: Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate who transfigured American literature, dies at 88.
Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist who conjured a black girl longing for blue eyes, a slave mother who kills her child to save her from bondage, and other indelible characters who helped transfigure a literary canon long closed to African Americans, died Aug. 5 at a hospital in the Bronx. She was 88….
Ms. Morrison spent an impoverished childhood in Ohio steel country, began writing during what she described as stolen time as a single mother, and became the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in literature. Critically acclaimed and widely loved, she received recognitions as diverse as the Pulitzer Prize and the selection of her novels — four of them — for the book club led by talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.
Ms. Morrison placed African Americans, particularly women, at the heart of her writing at a time when they were largely relegated to the margins both in literature and in life. With language celebrated for its lyricism, she was credited with conveying as powerfully, or more than perhaps any novelist before her, the nature of black life in America, from slavery to the inequality that went on more than a century after it ended.
Morrison begins the essay, published in 2015 in the 150th anniversary edition of The Nation, by recalling her despairing thoughts after George W. Bush was reelected in 2004. Was she foreshadowing our future under Trump?
Dictators and tyrants routinely begin their reigns and sustain their power with the deliberate and calculated destruction of art: the censorship and book-burning of unpoliced prose, the harassment and detention of painters, journalists, poets, playwrights, novelists, essayists. This is the first step of a despot whose instinctive acts of malevolence are not simply mindless or evil; they are also perceptive. Such despots know very well that their strategy of repression will allow the real tools of oppressive power to flourish. Their plan is simple:
1. Select a useful enemy—an “Other”—to convert rage into conflict, even war.
2. Limit or erase the imagination that art provides, as well as the critical thinking of scholars and journalists.
3. Distract with toys, dreams of loot, and themes of superior religion or defiant national pride that enshrine past hurts and humiliations.
The Nation could never have existed or flourished in 1940s Spain, or 2014 Syria, or apartheid South Africa, or 1930s Germany. And the reason is clear. It was born in the United States in 1865, the year of Lincoln’s assassination, when political division was stark and lethal—during, as my friend said, times of dread. But no prince or king or dictator could interfere successfully or forever in a country that seriously prized freedom of the press. This is not to say there weren’t elements that tried censure, but they could not, over the long haul, win.
In these demoralizing days and nights in Trump world, we need artists and journalists so much more than in Bush’s awful presidency.
We are still feeling the aftershocks of the latest mass shootings in California, Texas, and Ohio. Yesterday Trump was forced to read someone else’s words from a teleprompter; it didn’t take long for him to go back to tweeting his resentments. We all knew he was gaslighting us. Nothing he could ever say or do will erase the damage he has done with the ugly racism, xenophobia, and hatred he has spewed since he announced his campaign for president in 2015. He words and deeds have enabled white supremacists and encouraged them to act out violently.
Politico: Trump attacks Obama for statement on shootings.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked former President Barack Obama over the latter’s statement on the weekend’s mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, tweeting edited quotes from Fox News hosts to make his point and again claiming he is “the least racist person” in the world.
“‘Did George Bush ever condemn President Obama after Sandy Hook. President Obama had 32 mass shootings during his reign. Not many people said Obama is out of Control,’” Trump wrote online. “’Mass shootings were happening before the President even thought about running for Pres.’ @kilmeade @foxandfriends”
Trump’s message was a distillation of a sentiment “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade expressed on air shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. The president followed up that tweet with another post paraphrasing a comment from Kilmeade’s morning show colleague, Ainsley Earhardt.
“‘It’s political season and the election is around the corner. They want to continue to push that racist narrative.’ @ainsleyearhardt @foxandfriends,” Trump continued. “And I am the least racist person. Black, Hispanic and Asian Unemployment is the lowest (BEST) in the history of the United States!”
Obama on Monday afternoon lamented the violence that transpired Saturday morning in El Paso, Texas, and early Sunday morning in Dayton, Ohio, which left at least 31 people dead and injured dozens more.
In his statement, Obama called on Americans to “soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments.” The former president did not mention Trump, or any other politician, by name.
Obama simply did what Trump could not and would not do: act like a president.
Gizmodo: Trump Boosts Fired Google Engineer Who Proposed Richard Spencer Fundraiser, Suggested Skinheads Rebrand.
On Monday morning, President Donald Trump finally took the time to issue a (hollow and thoroughly unconvincing) denunciation of white supremacy in the wake of mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas over the weekend that collectively resulted in at least 31 deaths and scores of injuries—in the latter case involving a gunman whose manifesto clearly reflected Trump’s racist immigration rhetoric and reportedly targeted Hispanics.
Of course, it never takes long for him to return to his usual bullshit. So it’s the opposite of surprising that by Monday evening, Trump was posting clips from a Fox News interview with a former Google engineer who claimed the company discriminated against him for his conservative political views. In reality, said employee had reportedly urged other Googlers to contribute to a “bounty” to find an individual who punched white supremacist Richard Spencer, as well as suggested that the Golden State Skinheads (GSS) rebrand so as to provide better “branding” for the “American nationalist Right.”
In the clip from Lou Dobbs Tonight posted to the president’s feed at 9:33 p.m. ET, former Google engineer Kevin Cernekee parroted debunked claims that the company’s executives “want to use all the power and all the resources that they have to control the flow of information to the public and make sure that Trump loses in 2020.” This dovetails nicely with Trump’s grudge against Google, which along with all of the president’s other perceived political enemies, he has targeted with baseless smears and doctored videos asserting a devious conspiracy against him.
While many news outlets were reporting on the stunning hypocrisy of Trump’s speech on the mass shootings, The New York Times chose to take Trump’s words at face value with a headline that was quickly attacked on Twitter.
The Washington Post: ‘The headline was bad’: New York Times amends front page on Trump’s response to mass shootings after backlash.
The New York Times weathered intense backlash Monday night for its front-page headline about President Trump’s response to the pair of mass shootings that read: “TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM.”
A preview of Tuesday’s front page shared to social media sparked instant criticism from members of the public, journalists and politicians, including several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, many of whom took issue with how the publication framed Trump’s comments on the weekend attacks in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, that left at least 31 people dead and dozens injured. In the aftermath of the tragedies, major media outlets have faced scrutiny from all sides over how they confront Trump and his often inflammatory rhetoric.
About an hour after the headline went viral, the Times announced it had amended its wording.
“The headline was bad and has been changed for the second edition,” a spokesperson for the Times told The Washington Post in an email.
Later editions of the print paper feature the words, “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS.” Subheads above the two stories about Trump’s speech were also changed.
It’s the new “but her emails.” It’s time for executive editor Dean Baquet to resign.
The Washington Post story was more in line with reality: Teleprompter Trump meets Twitter Trump as the president responds to mass slayings.
Teleprompter Trump repudiated Twitter Trump in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on Monday.
Speaking in the wake of two mass shootings in less than 24 hours that left at least 31 dead over the weekend, President Trump spoke of “the inherent worth and dignity of every human life” and the scourge of “destructive partisanship.”
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” the president said, reading from a script that scrolled on a teleprompter in front of him. He added, “Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside — so destructive — and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion and love.”
That unifying message stood in stark contrast tomore than 2½ years of name-calling, demonizing minorities and inflaming racial animus, much of it carried out on Twitter. Just two hours before his White House speech, Trump tweeted an attack on the “Fake News” media for contributing to a culture of “anger and rage.” And in another set of tweets, the president suggested pairing “strong background checks” with “desperately needed immigration reform” — then dropped the matter entirely during his speech.
Such is the picture of a divisive leader trying to act as a healer, particularly in the aftermath of Saturday’s anti-immigrant attack in El Paso, where officials are still investigating but believe the alleged gunman posted a manifesto that echoed Trump’s harsh rhetoric on immigrants, including describing his attack as “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Trump, in tweets and in rallies, has repeatedly decried the “invasion” of undocumented immigrants across the nation’s southern border.
More stories to check out:
Max Fisher at The New York Times: White Terrorism Shows ‘Stunning’ Parallels to Islamic State’s Rise.
Ali Soufan at The New York Times: I Spent 25 Years Fighting Jihadis. White Supremacists Aren’t So Different.
The Daily Beast: DHS Official: Trump Can’t Admit ‘This Is Terrorism.’
Los Angeles Times: Foreign countries are warning their citizens about U.S. travel after mass shootings.
Los Angeles Times: Trump officials have redirected resources from countering far-right, racism-fueled domestic terrorism.
USA Today: Hypocritical talk, worse action: Trump dismantled tools to fight white supremacist terrorism.
The Dallas News: Donald Trump, who’s going to El Paso this week, owes city more than $500K for his February rally.
The Texas Tribune: A racist manifesto and a shooter terrorize Hispanics in El Paso and beyond.
The Texas Tribune: Running while brown: How Julián Castro is navigating white presidential politics.
The Washington Post: Ex-girlfriend says Dayton shooter heard voices, talked about ‘dark, evil things.
Thursday ReadsPosted: January 15, 2015 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: #RememberOurGirls, Boko Haram attacks, Boston Olympics 2024, cartoonists, Charlie Hebdo attack, FBI sting operations, hypocrisy, January thaw, national warming trend, Suicide Attacks 20 Comments
Before I get started on the news, I need to ask our readers for a little help. We need about $50.00 to pay WordPress for upkeep on the blog–for our design and extra storage space, that kind of thing. We’d be very grateful if some of our readers would kick in just a small amount to help us pay our bills. If you can spare a few bucks, please click on the “Make a Donation” button down below on the right. Thanks for whatever you can do.
Now that that’s out of the way, on to the news of the day.
A Change in the Weather
Mother Nature has decided to be kind to those of us who are sick and tired of being so cold. There’s a warming trend on the way! From the Weather Channel, January Thaw: Weather Pattern Change to Erase Arctic Blast.
While weather patterns can get “locked in” for lengthy periods of time, one thing is for sure: Change will occur if you wait long enough. If you’re sick of bone-chilling temperatures, you’re in luck. A thaw is now taking shape thanks to a large-scale weather pattern change.
Wednesday morning was the last hurrah for the worst of the cold, with subzero readings again over the Great Lakes as well as parts of the interior Northeast.
A temperature moderation began Wednesday and will accelerate Thursday into Friday.
Our Friday forecast high temperature compared to average map shows that much of the Plains, Rockies and West will be engulfed by above-average temperatures. Some cities, including Omaha, Nebraska and Fargo, North Dakota, could be 10 to 20 degrees above mid-January averages.
The above-average warmth will spread to the East Coast over the weekend.
Read more and watch a video at the link. For the Boston area, it means that for the next 10 days it will be in the 30s and 40s instead of the ‘teens and single numbers. I hope you’ll get warmer days where you live too!
Boston Olympics Update
On Saturday, I wrote an anguished post about a the Olympic Committee submitting Boston as the U.S. location for the Summer Olympics in 2024. I think this would be a disaster for the city I love. Today The Boston Globe reported on the organized opposition to bringing the Olympics here.
Boston’s Olympic Opposition Lays Out Arguments and Plans.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and the Olympic bidding group Boston 2024 have said they believe the majority of the public supports holding the 2024 Summer Games in the Hub. With little public polling on the issue to this point, it’s hard to judge whether that’s the case.
But if No Boston Olympics, the group leading the opposition to the city’s bid, does represent a minority, it showed that it plans to be a vocal one at a public meeting it held in the Back Bay Tuesday night. More than 100 people attended the meeting at the First Church in Boston.
The meeting featured a talk by sports economist and Smith College professor Andrew Zimbalist.
Zimbalist, who has written extensively on the lack of economic benefits sporting events like the Olympics bring to cities and countries, scoffed at the idea that Boston’s bid can be done on a $4.5 billion budget for operating expenses, and said he was skeptical that the budget can be entirely privately financed (as is proposed by Boston 2024). Boston 2024 also says public money would go toward infrastructure and security.
Zimbalist discussed some of the hidden expenses to hosting the Olympics, including the loss of advertising revenue on the MBTA during the Olympics. (The International Olympic Committee has historically required control of advertising space in the host city during and around the Olympics. An example of host city requirements built into the bidding process can be seen here, from page 213 on.) He also said that construction costs can go up if planning falls behind at all, because projects may need to be done in a rush as the Games approach.
“It’s one thing to have a nice idea and say the private sector is going to cover this,” he said. “It’s another thing to have hard contracts.”
On possibility the group is considering is getting a question on the ballot in 2016. This has worked in some cities in the past.
In other cities across the country and the world, opposition groups to Olympic bids have gone directly to the voters. Bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics lost in referendums in Poland and Switzerland.
Perhaps most famously, Colorado voted not to put any state money toward a 1976 Denver Winter Olympics bid. At the time of the bid, Colorado had already been awarded the games for that year by the IOC. But voters said no, leaving the IOC high and dry and in need of a new host. (It got one, in Innsbruck, Austria.) [….]
But going to the voters is not the only method opposition groups have used to oppose the games. A referendum in Oslo, Norway, over whether to host the 2022 Games passed in 2013. Even so, that bid was eventually dropped as the public soured on the idea over the course of the next year. And in Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Games, the Windy City’s opposition group had the opportunity to meet with the IOC and voice its concerns. The IOC ended up choosing Rio, Brazil. It’s also possible the Olympic bid could turn into a 2016 state elections issue.
How do voters feel about the Olympics coming here?
Public opinion polling on the Boston bid has been pretty sparse, but in a survey of likely Massachusetts voters earlier this year, The Boston Globe found 47 percent support for pursuing a bid, with 43 percent against. When asked if they supported taxpayer money going to funding the games, 64 percent of respondents were against the idea, though.
So there is a realistic chance of preventing what I believe would be a terrible mistake.
Boko Harum Attacks
I thought I’d follow up on Dakinikat’s post from Monday, in which she called out the hypocrisy the media and cultural elites for expressing faux outrage over the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, while basically ignoring the horrific Boko Harum attacks in Nigeria. Other writers around the internet also noted the disparity in coverage; and several days later, the corporate media has begun to call more attention to the Nigerian situation.
From CNN, Satellite images show devastation of Boko Haram attacks, rights groups say.
Charred ground and cinders mark the sites where once thousands of homes stood. That’s according to a series of satellite images released Thursday by Amnesty International, which the rights group said shows the “horrific scale” of the devastation wrought by Boko Haram militants.
As they’ve trickled out, accounts of the bloody attackson the northern Nigerian town of Baga and surrounding villages have shocked even those all too used to reports of violence by Boko Haram militants.
Witnesses told how the attackers sped into the town on January 3 with grenade launchers — their gunfire and explosions shattering the early morning calm. Some terrified residents fled, while others took refuge in their homes — and were torched with them.
Local officials reported death tolls ranging from hundreds to as many as 2,000 people. But authorities have yet to access the remote area near the border with Chad to get a full picture.
View the before and after satellite images at the CNN link. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the attacks.
Of the 30,000 people displaced during the latest attacks, 20,000 camped in Maiduguri city, capital of Borno state, while another 10,000 headed to Monguno town, nearer Baga. Others were stranded on Kangala Island on Lake Chad.
“These people are adding to the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people and refugees, who have already stretched the capacity of host communities and government authorities,” Amnesty International said….
Boko Haram has terrorized northern Nigeria regularly since 2009, attacking police, schools, churches and civilians, and bombing government buildings.
It has also kidnapped students, including more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted in April — and remain missing.
NBC Nightly News reported on Boko Haram’s apparent use of the kidnapped girls as unwitting suicide bombers.
Three suicide bombings by girls aged as young as 10 suggest that Nigeria’s Boko Haram has employed a new tactic of forcing abducted children to blow themselves up, according to experts.
The Islamist sect has been carrying out almost daily killings and kidnappings across northeast Nigeria in a campaign of violence now in its sixth year. Deadly attacks on Saturday and Sunday were carried out by three young female suicide bombers.These came just days after a week-long killing spree by Boko Haram, in which the group torched at least 10 towns leaving around 2,000 people unaccounted for. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday called the attack “a crime against humanity.”It is not clear if the girls were coerced or were even aware they were strapped with explosives, which may have been detonated remotely. But experts say that Boko Haram appears to be using the children it kidnaps — such as the 276 Chibok girls who sparked the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign — and using them as a readily available supply of suicide bombers.
“It is highly likely that Boko Haram is conscripting young girls to use as suicide bombers,” said Elizabeth Donnelly, assistant head of the Africa program at London’s Chatham House think tank. She told NBC News that these conscripts were little more than “slaves fed by countless abductions since the crisis started.”
Boko Haram roughly translates to “Western education is sinful.” The group aims to create its own state based on strict Islamic law.
At Huffington Post, Okello Kelo Sam wrote about the #RememberOurGirls twitter campaign, Amid Boko Haram’s Latest Killings: I Vow to #RememberOurGirls.
Eight months is a long time. Long enough for international outrage to rise, fall and fade away. That’s how long it’s been since Boko Haram militants stormed a secondary school in the northeastern village of Chibok in Borneo State, abducting more than 200 still-missing teenage girls.
A global Twitter campaign – #BringBackOurGirls – caught fire with the help of US First Lady Michelle Obama, former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and, most importantly, millions of global hashtag activists. They focused the world’s attention on the girls, leading to support from the US, UK, France, Canada, China, Iran and Israel, reportedly in the form military intelligence and special forces…..
Meanwhile, the international efforts to recover the girls failed. So did several rounds of negotiations to exchange the girls for the release of captured Boko Haram fighters held in Nigerian jails….
Sam himself was a victim of the violence in Africa. He was abducted and forced to be a child soldier in Uganda. He was able to escape, but later his younger brother was also forced into combat with Joseph Kony’s group and lost his life.
Yes, I lost my brother. But I never lose hope. I do, however, fear hope for the Nigerian girls is slipping away, internationally. Media tickers marking the days since their abduction have disappeared from front pages, web pages and broadcast reports. Sometimes I wonder: Does anyone still remember the 219 missing girls?
They do in Abuja. Every day the Bring Back Our Girls demonstrators – which fueled the hashtag campaign – rally at Unity Fountain in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. Families of the missing girls, neighbors, and fellow countrymen congregate and chant the now-familiar mantra: “Bring back our girls.” [….]
It’s easy to naysay advocacy efforts like #BringBackOurGirls as “slacktivism.” After four million Tweets, the 219 girls have not been rescued. So what’s the point, right? Wrong. Until a social-media savvy Nigerian lawyer, Ibrahim Abdullahi, came up with #BringBackOurGirls, there was a practical media blackout of the abductions.
Had it not been for this social media campaign I wonder if anyone outside of Africa would know about the Chibok girls? Would the story have lasted more than one news cycle in the West? Would you be reading this now?
No, social media won’t return the girls. But it got my attention and probably yours. It’s been said by the demonstrators what is needed is a renewed campaign to once again gain mindshare of a distracted world. Mine is one voice of millions demanding the girls’ rescue. But I stand in solidarity with those at Unity Fountain and declare this My 2015 Resolution: I will #RememberOurGirls.
Please go read the whole article at HuffPo. Today, I resolve to remember those lost girls.
In Other News . . .
CNN, After four years, American cartoonist Molly Norris still in hiding after drawing Prophet Mohammed.
Vox, Vox got no threats for posting Charlie Hebdo cartoons, dozens for covering Islamophobia
NYT, Oklahoma to Resume Executions 9 Months after a Lethal Injection Went Awry.
WCVB Boston, Phase 2 of jury selection set to begin in Tsarnaev trial: Judge set to start questioning prospective jurors.
Politico, Mitt Romney backlash intensifies: Conservatives argue he has too much baggage and the GOP needs a fresh face.
The Hill, GOP presidential convention to be held earlier in 2016.
SFGate, Ohio man accused of plotting to attack US Capitol, arrested.
ABC News, Dad Accuses FBI of Setting Up ‘Mommy’s Boy’ Son in Bomb Plot.
WaPo, Teachers: Ohio man accused in terror plot a typical student.
Global Research, FBI Thwarts Terror Plot on Capitol (That They Planned).
Vox, Days after free-speech rally, France arrests a comedian for this Facebook post.
Mediaite, ‘Je Suis Confused’: Stewart Tackles France’s Hypocrisy for Arresting Comedian.
CBS New York, De Blasio: I Won’t Apologize To Police For My ‘Fundamental Beliefs’.
What stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a tremendous Thursday!
Wednesday Reads: Hobby Lobby Loves Them Pre-CookedPosted: July 30, 2014 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics, Women's Rights | Tags: abortion, Climate change, Felicia Allen, Hobby Lobby, hypocrisy, Jacqueline Bouvier (Kennedy), John Kerry, murder, Nixon tapes, NRA, religious violence, Reproductive Rights, Robert J. Dowlut 21 Comments
You must have heard about the latest from Hobby Lobby, the hypocrisy is so disgusting…Hobby Lobby Allegedly Fired Employee Due to Pregnancy
When a very pregnant Felicia Allen applied for medical leave from her job at Hobby Lobby three years ago, one might think that the company best known for denying its employees insurance coverage of certain contraceptives—on the false grounds that they cause abortions—would show equal concern for helping one of its employees when she learned she was pregnant. Instead, Allen says the self-professed evangelical Christian arts-and-crafts chain fired her and then tried to prevent her from accessing unemployment benefits. “They didn’t even want me to come back after having my baby, to provide for it,” she says. Her allegations—as well as those brought by other former Hobby Lobby employees—call into question the company’s public claims when it comes to protecting life and operating its business with Christian values. Additionally, they highlight a practice by which Hobby Lobby prevents its employees from seeking justice through the courts.
Yeah, you can read more details at the link. But as Eric Loomis, LG&M points out: That Pro-Life Hobby Lobby
And here I thought Hobby Lobby was acting out of very strong principle for life and not because it hates women and wants to punish them for having sex. There’s also this gem:
When Allen applied for unemployment benefits, she says Hobby Lobby’s corporate office gave the unemployment agency a false version of events, claiming she could have taken off personal leave but chose not to. In the end, Allen says she won her claim for unemployment benefits, but she felt she had been wrongly discriminated based on the fact that she was pregnant. In February 2012 she sued Hobby Lobby, but her lawsuit was swiftly dropped because, like most—if not all—Hobby Lobby employees, Allen had signed away her rights to sue the company. Though the multibillion-dollar, nearly 600-store chain took its legal claim against the federal government all the way to the Supreme Court when it didn’t want to honor the health insurance requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the company forbids its employees from seeking justice in the court of law. Allen had signed a binding arbitration agreement upon taking the job, though she says she doesn’t remember doing so. The agreement, which all Hobby Lobby employees are required to sign, forces employees to resolve legal disputes outside of court through a process known as arbitration.
Lying so she couldn’t get unemployment is very special, but forcing employees to sign documents waiving their right to sue the company in order to be hired should be as illegal as the yellow-dog contract. I would ask how something like that is even legal in this nation, but of course I already know why–because corporations control our lives in ways they have not in a century.
I have plenty more links for you, but because I must take the boy to his endocrinologist in Atlanta tomorrow…I will just give it to you in dump fashion. Religious violence in 2013 displaced millions | Al Jazeera America
Millions of people were forced from their homes because of their religious beliefs last year, the U.S. government said Monday, citing the devastating impact of conflicts in Syria, Iraq and the Central African Republic. Secretary of State John Kerry called the displacement of families and devastation of communities from sectarian violence a troubling trend in the world, as he launched the State Department 2013 report on religious freedom. The report said that in much of the Middle East, the Christian presence is becoming “a shadow of its former self.” Hundreds of thousands of minority Christians have fled Syria after three years of civil war. It also highlighted more than one million people displaced in the Central African Republic during 2013, amid an upsurge in Christian-Muslim violence. In Southeast Asia, the spread of anti-Muslim violence spread from Myanmar‘s volatile west to central Meiktila, with up to 100 deaths and 12,000 displaced. Kerry further cited the “savagery and incredible brutality” by the al-Qaeda-inspired militant group active in Iraq and Syria, known as the Islamic State, saying it had slaughtered Shiite Muslims and forcibly converted Christians under threat of death. The report, released annually, reviews how religious freedoms are respected and violated in almost 200 countries and territories.
This 19-year-old confessed to killing a woman in 1963. You won’t believe what happened next.
In 1963, a 17-year-old Indiana youth named Robert J. Dowlut reportedly confessed to police — amid a pile of evidence — that he’d killed a local woman. The next year, a jury of his peers heard the case and found Dowlut guilty. What happened next? A) He died in the electric chair. B) He lived a long life and is currently the chief lawyer for the National Rifle Association.
Read about this here: The NRA’s Murder Mystery | Mother Jones I really don’t know why they bother to research this next item of news, WASHINGTON: Past-due debt prevalent across U.S., with South the highest | Economy | McClatchy DC What more would anyone expect. At least there is Good News: Mississippi’s Only Abortion Clinic Can Remain Open Here is a few health stories: Take Two: Just How Good Are Generic Meds Anyway? | Mother Jones Previously unknown virus that lives in half the world’s population could play a major role in obesity and diabetes – Medical News Today The Challenges of Having Sex as a Little Person – Merissa Nathan Gerson – The Atlantic And let’s not stop with little people sex, what about panda sex: Nixon on Panda Sex – Lawyers, Guns & Money In fact, more of Nixon’s tapes are in the news, as two new books are released, The Untapped Secrets of the Nixon Tapes – Evan Thomas – The Atlantic From a former president to a former First Lady: The Best “Dear John Letter” Ever Sent | Mother Jones
In 1947, years before she met John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier sent her high school boyfriend what is maybe my favorite Dear John letter of all time.
“I’ve always thought of being in love as being willing to do anything for the other person—starve to buy them bread and not mind living in Siberia with them—and I’ve always thought that every minute away from them would be hell—so looking at it that [way] I guess I’m not in love with you.”
Jackie O. would have been 85 Monday. RIP.
For more fascinating reads, look at this: Read the Notorious RBG at Her Most Blistering
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, teeny tiny goddess of judicial feminism incarnate, has authored many a badass piece of legal writing in her day. Now, thanks to some devoted brainiacs who are better at this sort of thing than I am, you can read the sharpest work of the grand dame in one place.
The folks at People for the American Way (a progressive think tank) have put together a lovely treasury of RBG’s greatest hits. Perfect light reading for the next time you put your head in a big pile of curls on your head and take a bubble bath, or lie out on a Caribbean beach, or a good thing to read to the kids when you’re trying to get them to bed. Yep. Just a little light legal reading.
Meanwhile, Officials Pull Back From Crash Site as the Army Puts Pressure on Rebels – NYTimes.com And if you are worried about the big flood: Climate refugees, DO NOT MOVE TO THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST | Grist
Many Seattle residents revere Cliff Mass as the Yoda of weather in the Northwest. On his blog and through spots in local media, this professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington helps us process our snowpocalypses and measure out Lexapro for 10 months of the year. Now he’s turning his big-weather brain to something regularly on our minds here at Grist: “As global warming takes hold later in the century, where will be the best place in the lower 48 states to escape its worst effects?” Here’s the short answer from Cliff:
On his blog entry, Mass goes into much more scientific detail on climate effects for the Lower 48 (complete with loads more charts). But even from this map, we can glean a few key takeaways.
- You’ll notice Mass highlighted most of the Eastern seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico, and sections of California in bright red. Areas of sea-level rise? Ohnonononono. You misunderstand completely. Those are spots where candy will grow on trees — because adaptation! Florida’s famous orange groves will evolve into chocolate orange groves and just work their way up the coast to Connecticut. Delicious!
- Take a look at all that yellow in the Southwest. Any guesses? Correct: That is precisely where state and local governments are likely to enforce three-day workweeks. And if you worry that moving to Phoenix, Los Angeles, or Austin means you’ll spend every extra-long weekend wearing spikes and riding in a rusty dune buggy on your way to bludgeon the neighbors to death over water resources, here’s a tip: Don’t!
- Orange! This DOES NOT mean this area gets more oranges (duh, pay attention; that was yellow). It does signify that every day will be Christmas. It also signifies that more Christmases will be wetter, windier, and generally more hurricane-y. P.S. I got you galoshes. (AGAIN, I know. Tee-hee!) Merry Christmas!
- Purple, purple, purple — Big Purp practically owns the map. Good thing, too, because from Montana to Maine, climate-changed citizenry will THRILL to the incredible cellphone coverage. No more dropped calls in Chicago. No more blips in Butte. Just blazing-fast downloads and crystal-clear audio, from your hot, cracked lips to your heatstroked fingertips. (Caveat: Customers will notice an increase in dropped calls from underground bunkers and heat hovels.)
- Say what about the green dots? Oh, those are flooding rivers and total shitholes.
Now for the last few remaining links for the day, a couple of stories from Hollywood and two others on digging up the past… Effort to save ‘Tara’ plantation facade before it’s ‘Gone with the Wind’ – NY Daily News Kodak, Studios Negotiating Last Ditch Effort to Keep Film in Hollywood – Hollywood Reporter Traces of Lincoln’s Courthouse Found in Illinois – Archaeology Magazine Erosion Exposes Human Remains on Kwajalein Atoll – Archaeology Magazine Have a good day and hope you share your thoughts in the comments below. A woman waves from a float during the Carnaval des Fleurs…
Thursday Reads: Aftermath of SCOTUS Voting Rights DecisionPosted: June 27, 2013 Filed under: 2014 elections, Civil Rights, court rulings, Elections, morning reads, open thread, racism, Real Life Horror, Republican politics, U.S. Politics | Tags: Antonin Scalia, GOP Southern strategy, hypocrisy, Judicial Activism, SCOTUS, U.S. Supreme Court, Voter ID laws, Voting Rights Act 66 Comments
This is going to be a quickie post, because I’m feeling kind of sick this morning.
Although I’m thrilled with the DOMA decision yesterday, I still can’t get past my anger and sadness about the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act. So I’m just going to post the (above) “official 2013 photo” of the U.S. Supreme Court and some accompanying links that demonstrate the damage the Court has done in its horrendous decision on the Voting Rights Act.
I’ll begin with this excellent post by Linda Greenhouse at The New York Times: Current Conditions, which neatly summarizes the Court’s “conservative” wing’s blatant “judicial activism,” to quote a frequent charge of conservatives against “liberal” judges.
These have been a remarkable three days, as the Supreme Court finished its term by delivering the only four decisions that most people were waiting for. The 5-to-4 decisions striking down the coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act will go far toward defining the Roberts court, which has concluded its eighth year. Monday’s place-holding ruling on affirmative action in higher education, although it decided very little, is also definitional, for reasons I’ll explain. There is a great deal to say about each decision, and about how each reflects on the court. My thoughts are preliminary, informed by that phrase in the chief justice’s voting rights opinion: current conditions.
By this phrase, the chief justice meant to suggest that there is a doctrinal basis for drawing a boundary around Congressional authority, for judicial insistence that a burden that Congress chooses to impose on the states has to be justified as a cure for a current problem. In the context of voting rights, an area over which the 15th Amendment gives Congress specific authority, this is a deeply problematic position that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissenting opinion demolishes.
Please go read the whole column–it’s difficult to get Greenhouse’s thesis into an excerpt. The blatant hypocrisy of the “conservative” justices–especially Scalia is mind-boggling, especially when the stunning effects of the Voting Rights decision on “current conditions” are already obvious and dramatic–just as were the disastrous effect of the Citizens United decision. A few examples.
The Guardian: Texas rushes ahead with voter ID law after supreme court decision
Officials in Texas said they would rush ahead with a controversial voter ID law that critics say will make it more difficult for ethnic minority citizens to vote, hours after the US supreme court released them from anti-discrimination constraints that have been in place for almost half a century.
The Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, declared that in the light of the supreme court’s judgment striking down a key element of the 1965 Voting Rights Act he was implementing instantly the voter ID law that had previously blocked by the Obama administration. “With today’s decision, the state’s voter ID law will take effect immediately. Photo identification will now be required when voting in elections in Texas.”
Greensboro News and Record: NC senator: Voter ID bill moving ahead with ruling
Voter identification legislation in North Carolina will pick up steam again now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, a key General Assembly leader said Tuesday.
A bill requiring voters to present one of several forms of state-issued photo ID starting in 2016 cleared the House two months ago, but it’s been sitting since in the Senate Rules Committee to wait for a ruling by the justices in an Alabama case, according to Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, the committee chairman. He said a bill will now be rolled out in the Senate next week.
The ruling essentially means a voter ID or other election legislation approved in this year’s session probably won’t have to receive advance approval by U.S. Justice Department attorneys or a federal court before such measures can be carried out.
Northwest Ohio.com: Voter ID and restricted early voting likely after SCOTUS ruling
ATLANTA (AP) — Across the South, Republicans are working to take advantage of a new political landscape after a divided U.S. Supreme Court freed all or part of 15 states, many of them in the old Confederacy, from having to ask Washington’s permission before changing election procedures in jurisdictions with histories of discrimination.
After the high court announced its momentous ruling Tuesday, officials in Texas and Mississippi pledged to immediately implement laws requiring voters to show photo identification before getting a ballot. North Carolina Republicans promised they would quickly try to adopt a similar law. Florida now appears free to set its early voting hours however Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP Legislature please. And Georgia’s most populous county likely will use county commission districts that Republican state legislators drew over the objections of local Democrats.
AL.com: Alabama photo voter ID law to be used in 2014, state officials say
MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision clears the way for Alabama’s new photo voter ID law to be used in the 2014 elections without the need for federal preclearance, state officials said.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and Secretary of State Beth Chapman said they believed the voting requirement, which is scheduled to take effect with the June 2014 primaries, can simply move forward.
“Photo voter ID will the first process that we have gone through under this new ruling,” Chapman said today.
Memphis Business Journal: Mississippi voter ID law could start next year
Voters in Mississippi may have to start showing a photo ID to vote by the middle of 2014, according to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.
According to the Associated Press, Hoseman spoke Tuesday after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that certain state and local governments no longer need federal approval to change election laws. That ruling opens up the possibility that Mississippi will implement a voter identification requirement.
According to Think Progress, Arizona and South Dakota will likely be trying to pass Voter ID laws soon. I’m sue that won’t be the end of it.
Just a few more links:
Joan Walsh: The ugly SCOTUS voting rights flim-flam
Ari Berman: What the Supreme Court Doesn’t Understand About the Voting Rights Act
Stephen Hill: So the Voting Rights Act Is Gutted—What Can Protect Minority Voters Now?