July 3, 2013 at 12:02 am #92024
Rachel Maddow – GOP sneak tactic gives Ohio new anti-abortion laws
The Last Word – FOX News blows Zimmerman trial coverage
As you make it through Hump Day, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful dayJuly 3, 2013 at 12:03 am #92025
Good Morning, EveryoneJuly 3, 2013 at 8:45 am #92035
Rep. James Clyburn urges national standards in revised Voting Rights Act
by Perry Bacon Jr. | July 2, 2013 at 4:14 PM
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C,), the man House Democrats have tapped to lead their push for revising the Voting Rights Act after last week’s Supreme Court decision gutted the law’s Section 4, urged the creation of national voting standards that would likely replace the special restrictions for a bloc of Southern states under the current law.
While not ruling out a new kind of “pre-clearance” system, which had required parts or all of 15 states to get federal approval for changing their voting provisions, Clyburn said Democrats were mostly debating a new provision that would mandate every state abide by certain “minimum standards.” Clyburn said such a law, for example, might require every state have at least nine days of early voting. States could chose to have many more days, but could not have fewer than nine, he said.
Similar federal standards would apply to redistricting and ballot access concerns, such as voter ID laws, although he did not provide details.
“Section 4 needs to be written in such a way that covers any state law that is designed to yield a specific result outside of fundamental fairness,” Clyburn said in an interview, noting that many of the state voting provisions that he found most problematic were not in states covered under the pre-clearance formula the Court struck down. He added, “every state ought to be subject to some standards.”
According to Clyburn, with these federal standards, if a state passed a controversial voting law, a voter could file suit citing these federal provisions.
The comments by Clyburn, the highest-ranking black member of Congress, mirror those made last week by President Obama, who similarly suggested some kind of national voting law could replace Section 4.July 3, 2013 at 8:57 am #92036
Another fabulous comment by Camille about our First Lady:
If you have a moment, please watch this video from the African First Ladies Summit hosted by the George W. Bush Institute in Tanzania.
Mrs Obama has been invited into the makeshift den of wolves (Africa edition) and is participating in a chat with Laura Bush moderated by Cokie Roberts.
(Cherie Blair -the um, liberal wife of the um, liberal Tony Blair, is there in the audience as great friend and supporter of Laura!)
It’s really interesting to observe Cokie Roberts’ shock at just how easily relaxed and incredibly smart, witty, gracious, kind, genuine, generous, insightful, fun, inclusive and all around amazing, Mrs Obama is — even in the company of some really hostile folks who’ve managed to extend their ideological hate and contempt of her husband to her – and in such a personal way–
Mrs Obama effortlessly charms and captivates this audience – and with such grace and humility, but certain assuredness–
She stops to compliment her host often and even compliments and includes the African first ladies present in the audience – making them feel very much a part of the conversation. She chats with them and doesn’t talk down to them – she isn’t condescending or chest-thumping — And she very easily connects with, includes and engages them in the conversation as equals – and in their shared roles and experience as wives, mothers and First Ladies–
It was also interesting to observe Laura Bush; She came off often as a tad spiteful, insecure and a bit threatened by Mrs Obama — and intent on not being overshadowed or shown up — or maybe that’s just how and who she is and we just never noticed — because we never really bothered or cared to observe-
Laura kept revising history and indulging in a bit too much self-praise– which to so many of us who were paying attention during those 8 years, was something of a surprise -especially to find out that Laura was according to Laura, a very visible and hands-on first lady — who knew–?!
And who knew Laura yapped so much?! And so consumed with such absurd self-congratulations too!
Isn’t the frequent right-wing line of attack on Mrs Obama the idea that she isn’t as quiet, demure, invisible and hands-off as Laura Bush was–?
LOL. So much for that concept!
Laura kept talking over Mrs Obama — and Cokie Roberts kept interrupting and cutting Mrs Obama off whenever she started to comment or share wise and insightful observations which kept the audience quite spellbound–
Cokie and Laura quickly realized that even without trying, Mrs Obama was such a hit and completely stealing what was supposed to be Laura’s thnder and show—
Never mind that Mrs Obama spent a great deal of time trying to make Laura feel comfortable – very generously giving her compliments and quite a bit of credit for stuff she didn’t even really have to–
I suspect that in typical fashion, Cokie Roberts and their clique had just as they do with President Obama, spent so much time creating and buying into their convenient caricature of Mrs Obama —
I suspect they’d invited her – or quite frankly, their caricatured version of her – to participate in this summit hoping to show her up and boost Laura Bush–
But then the real-life amazing woman that is Michelle Obama shows up — LOL.
Elegant, sweet, brilliant, gracious, sincere, thoughtful, comfortable in her own skin, confident, warm, unassuming, caring, unaffected, engaging, captivating—
Someone really should have told Cokie them–
And even in spite of her grueling, jet-lagged, sleep-deprived, jam-packed schedule, Mrs Obama came, she saw and she effortlessly and thoroughly conquered—
And in the end Cokie was left deflated — and quite in awe — as she quickly brought the chat to an end—
Mrs Obama wasn’t supposed to come off looking this good and even without trying—
Start watching from 34:16 if you don’t want to see the initial parts–
And I must say just how interesting -and not in a good way – it is to see that the Bush staff who made up a huge part of the audience (only 6 African first ladies showed up by the way), still bear such a grudge and are still too petty to briefly put aside their silly partisanship to applaud Mrs Obama who took time out of her schedule to help boost their event–
They were still doing that really childish thing of only applauding and cheering exaggeratingly loudly and only for the Bushes exactly as they did at the opening of the Bush library in Dallas. Pitiful -
Even the African first ladies seemed surprised at how pleasant and generous Mrs Obama was to Laura; you could tell some of them were sort of cowered and thought they had to take sides and play down their excitement at seeing Mrs Obama – for fear of offending or incurring the wrath of the Bushes who were hosting and feteing them–
But it’s fair to say that none of us would have known about this event had Mrs Obama not participated –July 3, 2013 at 8:58 am #92037
BREAKING: ADP says U.S. added 188,000 jobs in June
BREAKING: Weekly applications for US unemployment aid fell to 343K last week, a sign of steady hiring.July 3, 2013 at 8:59 am #92038
@BlackEaglePower I think Cornel West children need to come get their daddy.July 3, 2013 at 9:02 am #92039
Go behind the scenes with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as they visit Robben Island. From the 1960s through the 1990s, this Island housed a maximum security prison. Many of the prisoners there were activists who worked to bring down Apartheid, the South African government’s policies that discriminated against people of color including Nelson Mandela and current South African President Jacob Zuma. Narrated by the First Lady, Michelle Obama. June 30, 2013July 3, 2013 at 9:12 am #92041
An Early Warning About Hernandez
Before the NFL, a Personality Test .
Shortly before the 2010 NFL Draft, a scouting service that prepares confidential psychological profiles of players for NFL teams found that Aaron Hernandez enjoyed “living on the edge of acceptable behavior” and cautioned that he could become “a problem” for his team.
On one personality test, Hernandez, who was arrested last week on murder and weapons charges, received the lowest possible score, 1 out of 10, in the category of “social maturity.”
The evaluation, which was done before the New England Patriots selected Hernandez in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, was produced by a North Carolina scouting service called Human Resource Tactics.
The one-page form, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, includes scores Hernandez received on several tests routinely administered to NFL draft prospects. The results of these tests are kept confidential.
The Patriots declined to comment on whether they had seen the report before drafting Hernandez. Hernandez’s attorney, Michael Fee, didn’t return messages seeking comment.July 3, 2013 at 9:14 am #92042
Obama’s Brilliant Move Deals A Blow To The GOP’s 2014 Hopes
By: Jason Easley
Jul. 2nd, 2013
With one brilliant political masterstroke, the Obama administration pulled the rug out from Republicans who were hoping to run against Obamacare in 2014.
An innocent looking blog post at the Department of the Treasury has turned the GOP’s strategy for the 2014 election on its ear. Mark J. Mazur wrote, “The Administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin. This is designed to meet two goals. First, it will allow us to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law. Second, it will provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees. Within the next week, we will publish formal guidance describing this transition.”
Republicans have been telegraphing since they lost the 2012 election that they intended to run against the employer mandate. John Boehner mentions Obamacare every week when he meets with the media for a reason. Republicans at both the congressional and state level can’t run on their economic records. They can’t run on their legislative records. Republicans were planning on making 2014 a replay of 2010 by focusing on Obamacare, but the White House kneecapped them with an announcement that nobody expected.
Republican former CBO director, Douglas Holtz-Eakin explained why this announcement was both a stunner and deviously brilliant, “Democrats no longer face the immediate specter of running against the fallout from a heavy regulatory imposition on employers across the land. Explaining away the mandate was going to be a big political lift; having the White House airbrush it from the landscape is way better. It helps with ObamaCare in other ways as well. The administration was flailing to find high-profile allies (e.g., the National Football League) to advertise the wonders of ObamaCare. In a single masterstroke it has given every company a reason to explain its existence (“don’t worry, you’ll be fine in the exchanges”) and created a de facto advertising campaign of enormous scale and reach. Deviously brilliant.”July 3, 2013 at 9:18 am #92043
Media Tries to Blame the Color of Obama’s Skin for GOP’s Congressional Failure
By: Sarah Jones
Jul. 2nd, 2013
When explaining why the 113th Congress is an absolute historic fail legislatively, NBC first quoted the very conservative John Samples saying the fail comes from how divided we are, and then proceeded to blame the re-election of the first African-American President for the “divided country”, among other social changes.
This narrative sounds very Republican, seeing as it lets Republicans off of the hook for doing their job. So, somehow Obama’s skin color is partly responsible for turning Republican lawmakers into inept clowns who might be funny if only they weren’t so dangerously extreme.
Instead of admitting the reality that Republicans are focusing on investigating Obama for fictional scandals rather than legislating — as they were directed to do by the conservatives at Heritage Action, Republicans blame the lack of action on the “divided country”.
John Samples of the libertarian Cato Institute instructed NBC, “The country is pretty divided in a lot of different ways, and [Congress] not doing things reflects those divisions.”
Wait, okay, how does Obama’s skin color play into House Republicans’ refusal to engage in the budget reconciliation process? How did the SCOTUS decision regarding gay marriage, which just happened last week, keep Republicans from passing a jobs bill? How are minorities’ growing numbers keeping Republicans from addressing our crumbling infrastructure? Are jobs and the economy only Democratic, liberal concerns now? Or is NBC admitting that if Republicans can’t impose their cultural problems on the rest of the country, they will refuse to legislate?
It’s fine to suggest that the “divide” is responsible for a failure on social issues, but in fact, Republicans in the House have excelled in jamming through extreme social issue legislation. The fact that this legislation is so extreme due to the gerrymandering of House districts as to never get passed by the Senate is not the fault of a “divided” nation, but rather, the fault of a party chock full of fringe extremists who are out of touch with the rest of the country.
No, Congress’ failure can’t reasonably be blamed on the color of Obama’s skin, or minorities, or gay marriage.
The Republican narrative of a “divided country” is one of their own making. It is Republicans who stirred up racial animosity on purpose as a get out the vote tactic, along with ginning up hatred against gays and immigrants with brown skin. It is Republicans who proposed a record number of bills to steal liberty from women and put a concerted effort into keeping minorities from voting. These actions created a divide; the divide was not inevitable. Republicans are furthering the divide with fake scandals that deliberately and desperately feed into the narrative they need in order to get anyone to vote for them.
Because you see, the Republican record sucks. If people knew what they were getting when they voted R (15 laws in 6 months, not one of them a jobs bill), they would never do it. But they will vote against the black guy, the gays, etc. They will vote for white supremacy and resentment.July 3, 2013 at 9:20 am #92044
North Carolina ‘trying to pull a Texas’ on reproductive rights
By Steve Benen
Wed Jul 3, 2013 8:00 AM EDT
Following up on our coverage from last night, developments in North Carolina unfolded quickly and by surprise as state Republican lawmakers launched a new effort to restrict reproductive rights in the state. They did so under highly unusual circumstances.
The state Senate was poised to consider a foolish measure, predicated on a common far-right conspiracy theory, intended to undermine Sharia law in North Carolina courts. Late in the afternoon, however, Republican state senators launched a legislative ambush, quickly amending the Sharia law bill to include sweeping new anti-abortion measures, intended to close clinics and prevent Planned Parenthood from providing legal abortion services in the state.
“They’re doing it quietly on Fourth of July weekend because they’ve seen what’s going on in Texas and know that women will turn out,” Melissa Reed, vice president of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Health Systems said, referring to the protests surrounding a similar bill in Texas. She said Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights advocates had no idea the measure would be taken up Tuesday.
NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina executive director Suzanne Buckley added, “It seems to me that they’re trying to pass under cover of darkness legislation that would not otherwise be passed. They’re trying to pull a Texas.”July 3, 2013 at 9:22 am #92045
Key ‘Obamacare’ provision delayed until 2015
By Steve Benen
Wed Jul 3, 2013 8:52 AM EDT
News from the Obama administration about the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act caused quite a stir last night, but it’s worth pausing to appreciate the extent of the impact.
In a significant setback for President Obama’s signature domestic initiative, the administration on Tuesday abruptly announced a one-year delay, until 2015, in his health care law’s mandate that larger employers provide coverage for their workers or pay penalties. The decision postpones the effective date beyond next year’s midterm elections. [...]
While the postponement technically does not affect other central provisions of the law — in particular those establishing health insurance marketplaces in the states, known as exchanges, where uninsured Americans can shop for policies — it threatens to throw into disarray the administration’s effort to put those provisions into effect by Jan. 1.
Well, maybe. Let’s back up and recap what this policy is all about, because I think some of the reactions to the one-year delay have been a little excessive. Maybe it’ll be easier to tackle this in Q&A form.July 3, 2013 at 9:23 am #92046
Jobless claims improve, exceed expectations
By Steve Benen
Wed Jul 3, 2013 9:25 AM EDT.
Ordinarily, the report on initial unemployment claims is released on Thursday, but given this week’s holiday, the good news came a day early this morning.
The number of people applying for new unemployment benefits was little changed last week, falling by 5,000 to 343,000. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to total 346,000 in the week ended June 29, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The average of new claims over the past month, a more reliable gauge than the volatile weekly number, edged down by 750 to 345,500, the U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday. That’s the lowest level in six weeks.July 3, 2013 at 9:24 am #92047
NC Senator Nesbitt busts GOP for sneak attack in war on women
By Will Femia
Tue Jul 2, 2013 9:48 PM EDT.
As Rachel reported tonight, Republicans in the North Carolina are trying to sneak a set of anti-abortion measures into a bill ostensibly about Sharia Law in family courts. Below is North Carolina State Senator Martin Nesbitt’s full reaction to the revelation of what his Republican colleagues are up to. Nesbitt said, in part:
We have a state full of people out there that don’t even know we’re doing this. And let me tell you what I think you’re doing to them.
I think the provision having to do with ambulatory care centers is going to do away with health care as we know it for women who need help. And there are going to be more of them, not less of them. When you force these things in the ambulatory surgical centers, planned parenthood has four centers in the state — none of them comply. Out of business. Nobody told us that in committee. I scurried around and got that information myself.
That crowd that is going to descend on you when you get back down here is going to know it. It is a frontal attack on these facilities that offer women’s health care to women — things they need, mammograms, etc.July 3, 2013 at 9:26 am #92048
The war on voting in a post-VRA world
By Steve Benen
Tue Jul 2, 2013 4:18 PM EDT
In North Carolina, thanks to Republican gains in the 2010 state elections, the congressional district lines already drawn in such a comically gerrymandered way, the state’s delegation bears little resemblance to the actual wishes of voters. In 2012, for example, a majority of North Carolinians voted for Democratic congressional candidates, and yet, only 4 of the state’s 13 members of the U.S. House are Democrats.
But as the Los Angeles Times reports today, that’s apparently not quite good enough for GOP state policymakers. In a story Rachel has covered on the show, now that the district lines have been gerrymandered to ensure a Republican advantage regardless of voters’ wishes, the next step is to restrict voters’ access to their own democracy.
The GOP chairman of the state Senate rules committee, Sen. Tom Apodaca, said he would move quickly to pass a voter ID law that Republicans say would bolster the integrity of the balloting process. GOP leaders also began engineering an end to the state’s early voting, Sunday voting and same-day registration provisions, all popular with black voters. Civil rights groups say the moves are designed to restrict poll access by blacks, who vote reliably Democratic
Up until about a week ago, this would ordinarily be the point at which voting-rights advocates, civil rights activists, and anyone concerned with voter access and election fairness would say, “Whew, it’s a good thing the Voting Rights Act still exists. There’s no way these North Carolina’s measures will pass muster.”
But all of that changed rather abruptly when five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act and gave GOP policymakers in North Carolina and elsewhere a green light to start restricting Americans’ access to the ballot box. It is open season on voting rights and Republicans throughout the South are seizing the opportunity.
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