July 9, 2013 at 9:21 am #92295
President Obama Speaks on the New Management Agenda
As you go through your day, don’t forget JJP at TWiB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.July 9, 2013 at 9:22 am #92296
Good Morning, EveryoneJuly 9, 2013 at 9:23 am #92297
Court blocks Wisconsin’s new restrictions on reproductive rights
By Steve Benen
Tue Jul 9, 2013 8:00 AM EDT
On Friday, when he hoped no one was looking, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) approved sweeping new restrictions on reproductive rights, including a requirement that women receive a medically unnecessary ultrasound before terminating a pregnancy, and regulatory measures that would close half of the state’s abortion clinics.
The law was supposed to go into effect statewide yesterday. A federal court had other ideas.
A federal judge Monday temporarily blocked part of Wisconsin’s new abortion law and scheduled a hearing for next week.
The law, which went into effect Monday, includes provisions similar to those in several other states that require women to undergo an ultrasound procedure before having an abortion and require doctors who provide abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital.
Specifically, Conley noted in his 19-page ruling that the admitting-privileges provision of the Republican measure serves “no medical purpose” and was rushed into law for no apparent reason. It is up to state officials to prove that it safeguarded women’s health, he wrote, which he said “does not bear even superficial scrutiny on the current record.”July 9, 2013 at 9:26 am #92298
“ANGRY TRAYVON” GAME REMOVED FROM APP STORES
AS THE TRAYVON MARTIN TRIAL PLAYS OUT ON CABLE NETWORKS, MANY ONLINE WERE OUTRAGED BY THIS SMARTPHONE GAME.
BY: ANJALI MULLANY
A smartphone game called “Angry Trayvon” which sparked outrage online has apparently been removed from app stores, according to a Facebook post.
The main character of the game, who sported a hooded sweatshirt, bore the same first name as Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was shot to death in Sanford, Florida last year and whose alleged assailant is currently being tried for his murder.
A Change.org petition demanded the removal of the game from Google Play;complaint tweets were posted on Twitter, as well. About two hours ago, the following message was posted to the “Angry Trayvon” Facebook page:
The people spoke out therefore this game was removed from the app stores. Sorry for the inconvenience as this was just an action game for entertainment. This was by no means a racist game. Nonetheless, it was removed as will this page and anything associated with the game will be removed.
According to the Google Play website, the game had last been updated on June 1, 2013. According to TradeDigital, the game was made available to the public on Christmas Day last year.July 9, 2013 at 9:27 am #92299
Ed Snowden has disembarked on the next leg of his White Privilege World Tour.
8:54 AM – 23 Jun 2013July 9, 2013 at 9:32 am #92300
The secret weapon that could save the Voting Rights Act
Adam Serwer, @adamserwer
12:36 PM on 07/08/2013
Voting rights advocates are testing whether a little-used provision of the Voting Rights Act could limit the damage of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key part of the landmark civil rights law.
Hours after the Supreme Court’s verdict was announced, representatives for the state of Texas celebrated its demise by announcing that they would move ahead with restrictive voting law changes that will disproportionately disenfranchise minorities. Those changes were previously blocked by the Justice Department, through a part of the Voting Rights Act the forces jurisdictions with a history of discrimination in voting to submit their election law changes to Washington in advance, often referred to as “preclearance,” under Section 5. Preclearance prevented discrimination in advance, rather than relying on drawn out litigation that might not be resolved until long after ballots are cast.
Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which the high court struck down as unconstitutional, determined which jurisdictions were covered by that requirement. But Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act allows the federal government to subject jurisdictions with recent records of deliberate discrimination to the preclearance requirement. With Congress polarized and unlikely to come together to fix Section 4′s coverage formula, Section 3 could become the primary tool for the Justice Department and voting rights activists seeking to patch the gaping hole left by the Supreme Court’s verdict. Travis Crum, now a clerk for federal judge David S. Tatel, laid out this approach in an article for the Yale Law Journal in 2010, anticipating that the Supreme Court would someday strike down part of the Voting Rights Act. Crum called Section 3 the Voting Rights’ Act’s “secret weapon.”
Related: How Section 5 stopped a modern day ‘poll tax‘
Voting rights advocates are already putting the Section 3 strategy to the test. Last Tuesday, attorneys representing the Texas branches of the NAACP, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, and Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis in a legal battle with the state over Texas’ redistricting plan asked a federal court to place the entire state of Texas back under preclearance in accordance with Section 3.
“What the court found in the case as a factual matter, their findings were that the congressional map and the senate map were both intentionally discriminatory,” says Gerald Hebert, an attorney with the Campaign Legal Center who represents the groups who filed the request. “That kind of intentional discrimination violates the 14th and 15th amendments.”
That high standard of proof is also part of what limits the effectiveness of Section 3 as a replacement for Section 4. To impose preclearance on a jurisdiction not covered by the now-defunct Section 4 formula, you have to prove that officials intended to discriminate. Under the old formula, all that had to be proven was that the election law changes would have discriminatory effects—precisely because most people are smart enough to hide when they’re deliberately trying to discriminate.
In Texas, state officials weren’t that smart. Nevertheless, the requirement that deliberate discrimination be proven means that it will be very difficult to subject states that try to disenfranchise minority voters to preclearance, because all they need is a superficial “race-neutral” reason for making the change.
“What you’re likely to see in states where these actions are brought is states trying to avoid an adverse Section 3 ruling by saying, our real intent here is to hurt Democrats. Since that’s our intent, that’s not a racial intent and that’s not forbidden by the Constitution,” says Brenda Wright, a legal expert with liberal think tank Demos. Judges might not subject jurisdictions to preclearance even if deliberate discrimination is proven, or they might do so only in areas related to the discriminatory policy.July 9, 2013 at 9:35 am #92301
Boehner completes his 180-degree turn on immigration
By Steve Benen
Tue Jul 9, 2013 8:44 AM EDT
For those eagerly watching comprehensive immigration reform work its way through Congress, it’s difficult to know what to make of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Are his signals reliable? Does he have any authority? Is he bluffing? Does he have any strategy in mind at all?
The answers are more than just insider trivia. The fate of the entire initiative may very well rest in the Speaker’s hands, and if we take his words at face value — which may or may not be wise — Boehner appears to be in the process of killing immigration reform.
The trajectory of his posturing sheds quite a bit of light on how Boehner is approaching the issue. As the process got underway, the Speaker endorsed “comprehensive” reform, vowed the House would “work its will” on whatever the Senate passed, and refused to rule out the possibility of passing reform by relying on Democratic votes.
That was then; this is now. Boehner now rejects the notion he wants a “comprehensive” bill, refuses to let the House even cast a vote on the bipartisan Senate legislation, has said categorically he’ll only consider a bill most House Republicans support, and yesterday, seemed to drive a nail into immigration reform’s coffin.July 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm #92314
If you would like to follow a liveblog of the George Zimmerman trial:July 9, 2013 at 12:16 pm #92315
Fostering excellence: From underachievers to college-bound scholars
It is a day 18-year-old Brittney Edmondson thought she’d never see.
As a foster child, she finished her freshman year with a 0.00 GPA and just didn’t care. And yet here she is four years later graduating from Novato High School, near San Francisco, with honors and going to college. What changed? She got the right foster parents — Roy and Claudia Asprer.[....]
Over the last 15 years, the Asprers have taken in 90 foster children in addition to their own four. All the kids are loved. But it is the older
teenagers who have seemed to benefited from staying with the Asprers. Of the dozen or so who have spent their high school years with the couple, beginning with Marjorie in 1997 (“I graduated with a BA in humanities,” she said), virtually all the foster teens that have passed through the house are either in college or have already graduated.[....]July 9, 2013 at 12:27 pm #92316
Oregon Legislature Unanimously Passes Tuition Free Higher Education
[....] The bill passed the Oregon legislature unanimously on Monday, ironically the same day interest on federal subsidized Stafford Loans doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The bill is expected to be signed into law by Governor John Kitzaber this month.[....]
The biggest obstacle revolves around funding the initial program which will amount to 9 billion dollars. Since the first year of students won’t graduate for several years, the committee must find a way to help fund the program. However, since it appears everyone is on board with the plan, concessions are expected to be made in order
to achieve the planned goal.[....]July 9, 2013 at 12:29 pm #92317
@DylanByers @blakehounshell Greenwald tries to blur Snowden’s work history but the job at BAH is distinct, w/ appl, hire, start & end dates.
— Only4RM (@Only4RM) July 9, 2013July 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm #92318
“Stand your ground” law helps white defendants a lot more than black ones
As George Zimmerman’s trial begins, the stories of two very different shooters show the inequality behind the law
By Katie Halper
A man in Florida shoots a man he finds having sex with his wife, killing him. A woman in Florida shoots the wall to scare off an abusive husband, harming nobody. Guess which one was acquitted? Guess which one was convicted?
On March 10 of this year, around midnight, Ralph Wald, 70, of Brandon, Fla., got out of bed to get a drink and found Walter Conley, 32, having sex with his wife, Johanna Lynn Flores, 41, in the living room. He immediately went back into his bedroom, grabbed his gun and shot Conley three times. Conley died. Wald claims that he thought Conley was a stranger who had broken in and was raping his wife – despite the fact that Conley lived next door, had been his wife’s roommate and lover, and had his wife’s name tattooed onto his neck and arm. During a 911 call, when the dispatcher asked Wald if the man he shot was dead, Wald responded, “I hope so!” Wald never used the word “rape” in later reports to police, opting instead for “fornicate.” And while the fact that the two were lovers doesn’t imply consent, Flores has never accused Conley of rape — nor do prosecutors buy that that’s what Wald actually thought was happening. They say that Wald, who suffers from erectile dysfunction, killed Conley in a jealous rage. Flores admits that she and Conley had sex regularly before and after her marriage to Wald. While testifying, Wald explained that his erectile dysfunction and his wife’s reluctance to have sex with him made them compatible: “In fact, she would joke a lot with me … that we were a perfect couple … She didn’t want to do it, and I couldn’t do it.” On May 30, after deliberating for two hours, a jury found Wald not guilty. After the verdict was announced, Wald continued to show no remorse: “If the same thing happened again, I would do the same thing.”
On Aug. 1, 2010, Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three, with a master’s degree and no criminal record, was working for a payroll software company in Jacksonville. She was estranged from her abusive husband, Rico Gray, and had a restraining order against him. Thinking he was not at home, she went to their former house to get some belongings. The two got into an argument. Alexander says that Gray threatened her and she feared for her life. Gray corroborates Alexander’s story: “I was in a rage. I called her a whore and bitch and … I told her … if I can’t have you, nobody going to have you,” he said, in a deposition. When Alexander retreated into the bathroom, Gray tried to break the door. She ran into the garage, but couldn’t leave because it was locked. She came back, he said, with a registered gun, which she legally owned, and yelled at him to leave. Gray recalls, “I told her … I ain’t going nowhere, and so I started walking toward her … I was cursing and all that … and she shot in the air.” Even Gray understands why Alexander fired the warning shot: “If my kids wouldn’t have been there, I probably would have put my hand on her. Probably hit her. I got five baby mommas and I put my hands on every last one of them, except for one … I honestly think she just didn’t want me to put my hands on her anymore so she did what she feel like she have to do to make sure she wouldn’t get hurt, you know. You know, she did what she had to do.” And Gray admits Alexander was acting in self-defense, intending to scare and stop but not harm him: “The gun was never actually pointed at me … The fact is, you know … she never been violent toward me. I was always the one starting it.” Ultimately nobody was hurt. Nobody died. On May 12, 2012, it took a jury 12 minutes to find Alexander guilty of aggravated assault. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Both defendants used the defense of “stand your ground,” a Florida law that holds that a person has “no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.” The man who shot his wife’s lover to death was successful and walks free. The woman who shot at a wall to scare an abusive husband failed and sits in jail.
The disparity between these outcomes should be shocking. But, sadly, it’s not, once you take into account the fact that Wald is white and Alexander is black. The “stand your ground” law is notorious for being applied in a biased and inconsistent way. The Tampa Bay Times found that defendants claiming “stand your ground” are more successful if the victim is black. Seventy-three percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty. Only 59 percent of those who killed a white person got off. The Urban Institute determined that in “stand your ground” states, when white shooters kill black victims, 34 percent of the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable. When black shooters kill white victims only 3 percent of the deaths are ruled justifiable.July 9, 2013 at 12:35 pm #92319
Rand Paul is a Neo-Confederate
Tue Jul 9th, 2013 at 11:01:03 AM EST
The people who swoon over Ron or Rand Paul because they agree with them on one subject or another really ought to come to terms with the true nature of the Paul family. They have always been neo-confederates or Lost Causers, and that is never going to change.
A close aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) who co-wrote the senator’s 2011 book spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist, raising questions about whether Paul will be able to transcend the same fringe-figure associations that dogged his father’s political career. Paul hired Jack Hunter, 39, to help write his book The Tea Party Goes to Washington during his 2010 Senate run. Hunter joined Paul’s office as his social media director in August 2012.
From 1999 to 2012, Hunter was a South Carolina radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger.” He has weighed in on issues such as racial pride and Hispanic immigration, and stated his support for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
During public appearances, Hunter often wore a mask on which was printed a Confederate flag.
Prior to his radio career, while in his 20s, Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which “advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.”
“The League of the South is an implicitly racist group in that the idealized version of the South that they promote is one which, to use their ideology, is dominated by ‘Anglo-Celtic’ culture, which is their code word for ‘white’,” said Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research at the ADL. The ADL said it does not necessarily classify it as a hate group
This isn’t some kind of aberration. The Paul movement has always been intertwined with white supremacists and it always will be. That is who they are.July 9, 2013 at 12:39 pm #92320
Obama eyeing expedited departure from Afghanistan
By Steve Benen
Tue Jul 9, 2013 10:12 AM EDT
In recent years, we’ve seen occasional reports about a changing timetable for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, some of which have proven accurate, others less so. And with this history in mind, it’s generally best not to overreact to rumors.
That said, if this front-page New York Times piece is accurate, U.S. policy in Afghanistan may soon receive a major shake-up — and the end of the war may come far sooner than expected.
Increasingly frustrated by his dealings with President Hamid Karzai, President Obama is giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan and to a “zero option” that would leave no American troops there after next year, according to American and European officials.
The option of leaving no troops in Afghanistan after 2014 was gaining momentum before the June 27 video conference, according to the officials. But since then, the idea of a complete military exit similar to the American military pullout from Iraq has gone from being considered the worst-case scenario — and a useful negotiating tool with Mr. Karzai — to an alternative under serious consideration in Washington and Kabul.
An unnamed senior Western official in Kabul told the NYT, “There’s always been a zero option, but it was not seen as the main option. It is now becoming one of them, and if you listen to some people in Washington, it is maybe now being seen as a realistic path.”July 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm #92321
GOP finds new excuse to oppose immigration reform
By Steve Benen
Tue Jul 9, 2013 10:49 AM EDT
ne of the challenges for Republicans engaged in the debate over comprehensive immigration reform is that they’ve run out of rationales for saying, “No.” The Senate bill gave the right just about everything it asked for, including the so-called “border surge,” leaving bipartisan legislation that doubles the border patrol, shrinks the deficit, boosts the economy, improves the finances of the Social Security and Medicare systems, and help private-sector employers.
What’s not to like?
The right has been left to scramble, looking for something to complain about. Yesterday, they came up with a new one.
The talking point appears to have started in earnest with this Washington Examiner piece from Conn Carroll, who argued that the Obama administration delayed implementation of the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act — a move the right should, in theory, love — which proves the White House shows discretion when it comes to enforcing parts of major laws, which proves Obama might not enforce the border-security elements of immigration reform, which proves Republicans can’t trust him, which proves Congress should kill the bipartisan bill.
As is usually the case, the argument quickly moved from online conservative commentary to the lips of Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said Monday night that Republicans who oppose the Senate’s immigration bill don’t trust President Obama to enforce the border enforcement provisions in that bill.
“One of the biggest fears we have about the Senate amnesty bill … is we can’t trust the president,” Fleming said on the House floor. “We can’t trust him.”
There is, in case you were curious, no evidence of Fleming complaining when George W. Bush issued signing statements explaining which parts of laws he intended to ignore.
Regardless, that’s the new pitch: Republicans have to kill immigration reform because of the delay in the employer mandate in health care reform. Does this make sense? I’m afraid not.
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