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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, December 19, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2014 6:05am PT  

In an earlier life, I played a fake news man for some years. The character, which shared my name, was a slightly dumber Colbert-type rightwinger, though it pre-dated Colbert. (As I've previously noted, the line between fake news man and real one is uncomfortably thin.) At one point during that period, there had been an epidemic of well-publicized shootings. One of them was the Columbine Massacre. I remember using the satiric character, even at the time, to rail against the media for making the killers famous by headlining their names and plastering their faces on front pages and magazine covers, etc. In other words, for giving them exactly the infamy they likely sought in the first place.

You may have noticed we haven't written much about ISIS here. One of the reasons is because that's precisely what they'd like us all to do. And, since they emerged as the latest big scary menace on the world stage a few months ago, along with glossy and often horrible PR videos and a fairly sophisticated social media presence, the mainstream media and the political world seem to be all too happy to grant them every last bit of the very publicity they seek.

As of Wednesday night, it looks as though President Obama is similarly happy to take the ISIS bait and grant them the honor of being elevated as the latest Public Enemy #1 of the United States of America. The precise direct threat they pose to the U.S. at this time remains unclear. At least I haven't been able to figure it out and Obama's speech on Wednesday night made it no clearer. But the GOP war hawks seemed to be thrilled with it all, and party-line Democrats seem to be offering few, if any, objections either. The military industrial complex is certainly rejoicing over their newest apparent windfall.

To be clear, all available evidence suggests that ISIS or ISIL or the Islamic State is most certainly dangerous (at least to those within their expanding vicinity), extremely ruthless, and extraordinarily barbaric. Still, granting them the fame or infamy they seek --- be it in the mainstream media or from the U.S. Government, much less from the bully pulpit of the Presidency --- seems to be playing precisely into their hands. I'm not interested in doing so.

It's also, at least according to this report from Associated Press published just hours before the President's speech on Wednesday, exactly what their PR masterminds have been working towards. Another very public over-reaction to a most-likely "exaggerated" threat described by the AP as "no unstoppable juggernaut" and "wield[ing] outsize influence" thanks, in no small part, to their mastery of social media...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2014 11:36am PT  

Part 1 of this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio: How the NFL's Ray Rice knocked out his wife in a hotel elevator, lost his job and outraged America --- and how U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller beat his wife bloody in a hotel room, will have his arrest record expunged, gets to keep his lifetime appointment to the federal bench and very few in America seem to give a damn.

Part 2: What would you do about ISIS if you were President? Callers, lots of 'em, share their thoughts. I share a few of mine in kind. Nobody gets a free pass.

Plus, Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report, and a few more items here and there in what was a very lively show this week. You should listen to it.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2014 6:05am PT  

The NFL has been appropriately shamed this week for not taking substantive action immediately in the case of Baltimore Ravens' superstar Ray Rice after he knocked his wife out cold in an Atlantic City hotel elevator earlier this year.

But what about the failure of the Judicial and Congressional branches, so far, to take any action at all in the case of federal U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller after he beat his wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel room last month?

Both Rice and Fuller, as supposedly first-time offenders, were allowed to participate in pre-trial diversion programs to avoid prosecution entirely. Rice agreed to attend domestic abuse counseling for a year. Fuller will have his arrest record expunged after completion of once-weekly domestic abuse counseling for just 24 weeks.

Rice was eventually suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

Fuller enjoys a lifetime appointment as a federal judge --- and can only be removed from his $200,000/year job-for-life if he is impeached and found guilty by Congress.

Fuller, a Republican George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench, sits in judgment of others. For example, rather than recuse himself for blatant conflicts of interest, he sent former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman to federal prison for 6.5 years for something that 113 bipartisan former state Attorneys General argue was never a crime before the popular Democratic Governor was charged with it.

America was outraged by the video tape showing Rice knocking out his then-fiancée (now wife) in mid-February.

America hardly even knows about Judge Fuller dragging his wife around the hotel room by her hair and striking her repeatedly in the mouth, leaving blood behind on the bathroom tub in early August, despite a police report and a 911 call during which his wife begs for police and an ambulance and repeatedly says "Help me, please. Please help me. He's beating on me." The 911 dispatcher reportedly says during the call that she can hear the Judge hitting the woman.

But, of course, we have no video of Judge Fuller's violent assault on his wife. We also have no access to the records of Fuller's first wife charging that he beat her as well, because a fellow judge, in an unusual and still-unexplained move in 2012, ordered the divorce records sealed, against the wishes of that first wife.

So where is the outcry over what is going with Fuller?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Vows to close 'election loophole' allowing early voting in DeKalb
UPDATE: Millar doubles down, clarifies he just wants 'more educated voters'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2014 11:56am PT  

Just another reminder for those of you who have been stooged into believing that Republican attempts to restrict Early Voting (or any voting, for that matter) has anything to do with anything other than keeping Democratic-leaning voters from being able to conveniently participate in their own democracy...

A Republican state senator in Georgia has vowed to end Sunday balloting in DeKalb County due to the fact that the area is "dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches."
...
"Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election," [State Sen. Fran] Millar wrote in the email. ... "I’m sure [Democratic candidates] Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb."

Millar's vow comes in response to news that DeKalb plans to reserve Oct. 26 for early voting. He ends the email saying he's spoken with other lawmakers.

"I have spoken with Representative Jacobs and we will try to eliminate this election law loophole in January..."

"Election law loophole" = voting opportunity. For black people. Gotta close that "loophole".

You'll note Millar doesn't call, in response to the addition of early voting in DeKalb, for more voting opportunities in districts he believes would be favorable to Republican voters. His response, instead, is to suppress the vote of perceived political opponents. Period.

Sadly, but factually, that's what the Republican Party now amounts to. Maybe someone can try and let the the New York Times know.

* * *

UPDATE 9/10/2014: In response to criticism over his comments, Millarclarifies keeps digging and doubles down, by responding:

I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters. If you don't believe this is an efort [sic] to maximize Democratic votes pure and simple, then you are not a realist. This is a partisan stunt and I hope it can be stopped.

For the record, Fullar and his voters --- the white ones that he is happy to see vote --- are more than likely Fox "News" viewers, the most misinformed news consumers in the nation, according to poll after poll...

World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.

So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/8/2014 5:06pm PT  

We've written about this problem for years here and, indeed, have spent no small part of those years repeatedly spanking papers like the New York Times for being amongst the worst repeated offenders.

Fairness is one thing. Balance, on the other hand --- particularly in cases of known, independently-verifiable, well-established facts on one side of an issue but not on the other --- is largely bullshit meant to do little more than level an unlevel playing field for bad guys. That's why Fox "News" loves the motto "Fair and Balanced", because it gives them an excuse to forward bullshit disguised as "balance", as if it was only fair to counter an established, well-supported (if not Right-leaning) view point. Never mind if that established view point has mountains of evidence and independently verifiable facts to support it. If those facts don't agree with ideological Republican dogma, they must be "biased" and "unbalanced".

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias," Stephen Colbert once famously quipped.

The New York Times has a long history of falling for, and forwarding in "the paper of record", false balance produced by those on the Right. Often, as was the case when The BRAD BLOG outed the James O'Keefe ACORN "Pimp" Hoax for being a complete fraud in 2010, the paper has sided simply with the word of Rightwingers, actual evidence-before-their-eyes be damned. Longtime readers will likely remember Greg Brock, the Times' Senior Editor for Standards(!), telling us that falsely reporting O'Keefe wore a "pimp costume" into ACORN offices (he never, ever did) was perfectly appropriate, because, as Brock explained to us in email at the time, "Our article included that description because Mr. O'Keefe himself explained how he was dressed --- and appeared on a live Fox show wearing what HE said was the same exact costume he wore to ACORN's offices."

"If there is a correction to be made," Brock incredibly added, "it seems it would start with Mr. O'Keefe himself. We believe him. Therefore there is nothing for us to correct."

After we took our complaint, and the independently verifiable facts to support them, to Clark Hoyt, the New York Times Public Editor at the time, he embarrassingly backed up Brock, despite the actual hard evidence that existed --- such as an independent investigative report from a former prosecutor and the videos themselves --- to the contrary. His remarkable defense of that egregious and damaging misreporting, repeated over a series of articles, earned Hoyt an infamous depiction as an actual "weasel" by cartoonist Tom Tomorrow. Eventually --- some six months later --- Hoyt admitted that both he and the paper were wrong, but not before the false reporting led to irreversible damage to ACORN, which had been long-vilified by the Right for little more than the crime of legally registering millions of largely low- and middle-income voters to participate in their own democracy.

So it's refreshing, finally, to see that the Times' current Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, is not only not falling for the same old crap, she's actually attempting to hold the paper accountable for inappropriately advancing false balance on Rightwing stalking horse issues like pretend GOP claims about voter fraud and global warming denialism. And she's doing so repeatedly...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Mark Fuller's charges to be dropped, record expunged following court-approved drug and alcohol evaluation and successful completion of once-a-week domestic violence program...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2014 3:46pm PT  

While Don Siegelman continues to serve out a 6.5 year prison sentence for something that 113 bipartisan former state Attorneys General argue has never ever been a crime until the former Democratic Governor of Alabama was charged with it, the federal U.S. District Court judge who presided over the trial and sentenced him has now struck a deal to avoid his own prosecution all together after having beaten his wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel room last month.

As we reported in an update last week, Judge Mark Fuller --- appointed to a lifetime job on the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2002 --- had reportedly checked into an unspecified "treatment program" in hopes of avoiding prosecution after being charged in August with domestic battery. Police reported at the time that they discovered the federal judge had dragged his wife around the hotel room by her hair, kicked her, and struck her several times in the mouth, leaving her with lacerations on her face, bruises on her legs, and blood found on the bathroom tub.

In court on Friday, Fuller struck a pre-trial deal to avoid prosecution entirely, despite reports that he had also beaten his previous wife as well, according to records from his 2012 divorce. Those records are said to have included accusations of drug abuse, domestic violence and infidelity with his court bailiff. The divorce papers were mysteriously sealed by the court at the time against the wishes of his former wife.

According to AP this afternoon, following the arrest on domestic abuse charges with his new wife, who has similarly charged that Fuller had an affair with his law clerk, it appears that Fuller will, once again, get off the hook...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2014 1:27pm PT  

When will this 'tyranny' end?! Out today from the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation:

MENLO PARK, Calif. - An early look at the cost of health insurance in 16 major cities finds that average premiums for the benchmark silver plan - the one upon which federal financial help under the Affordable Care Act to consumers is based - will decrease slightly in 2015. The new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation analyzes premiums in the largest cities in 15 states and the District of Columbia where information from rate filings is available.

Premiums for the second-lowest cost silver plan for individuals will fall by an average of 0.8 percent from current levels in these cities when open enrollment begins on Nov. 15, according to the study. The analysis finds that the premium for the second-lowest-cost silver plan is decreasing in 7 of the 16 areas studied - but also that changes in average premiums will vary considerably across areas. They range from a decline of 15.6 percent in Denver, Colorado (to $211 per month), to an increase of 8.7 percent in Nashville, Tennessee (to $205 per month). In both cases premiums are for a 40-year-old nonsmoker, before taking into account any tax credit. It is important to note that rate changes may be different in different rating areas in these states.

"There is variation, but so far, premium increases in year two of the Affordable Care Act are generally modest," said Drew Altman, Kaiser's President and CEO. "Double digit premium increases in this market were not uncommon in the past," Altman added.

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Restores evening hours, 'Souls to the Polls' Sunday, and 'Golden Week', allowing both registration and same-day voting...
By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2014 4:31pm PT  

This statement from the ACLU follows today's federal court ruling [PDF] restoring Early Voting hours --- yet again --- in Ohio in advance of the November mid-term elections:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A federal judge today ruled that cuts to early voting in Ohio must be restored in time for the November election. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a state law and directives that have dramatically slashed early voting opportunities in Ohio. The ACLU was in court last month to ask the judge to restore the cuts prior to full trial, in time for the midterm election.

"This ruling will safeguard the vote for thousands of Ohioans during the midterm election," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "If these cuts had been allowed to remain in place, many voters would have lost a critical opportunity to participate in our democratic process this November. This is a huge victory for Ohio voters and for all those who believe in protecting the integrity of our elections."

Today's ruling restores the first week of early voting, often referred to as "Golden Week," in which voters are able to register and cast a ballot on the same day. It also restores evening early voting, as well as multiple Sundays.

The ruling includes a temporary injunction on the Republican-enacted state law and on additional new restrictions on voting hours implemented by its Republican Sec. of State John Husted, finding the regulations are in violation of both the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, as well as Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act which bars racially discriminatory voting laws in all 50 states.

"Ohio keeps trying to cut early voting and the federal courts keep striking the cuts down," writes The Nation's Ari Berman in response to today's ruling.

It's true. This has been going on for years. State Republicans, whether in the form of the legislature or their Republican Sec. of State in Ohio, keep attempting to make it harder to vote, and the federal court keeps ruling those attempts to be in violation of federal law. It has happened over and over again over the past several years.

Berman notes, in regards to today's ruling, that "In 2012, 157,000 Ohioans cast ballots during early voting hours eliminated by the Ohio GOP" and that African-American voters in the state "voted early in person at a rate over twenty times greater than white voters," according to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.

The expansion of early voting in Ohio was implemented following the disastrous 2004 elections there when many voters --- largely in minority areas --- were forced to wait for 6 hours or more to cast a vote under restrictions implemented by then partisan Sec. of State and co-chair of Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., J. Kenneth Blackwell. The last ballot cast in the Buckeye State that year, when the state's electoral votes would determine the Presidency, was around 2am on Wednesday morning at Kenyon College, where some students had waited on line as much as 10 hours to vote.

The new GOP restrictions cut many of the additional voting opportunities instituted in 2005, which had otherwise led to a fairly smooth election under Democratic Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner in 2008, as she described to us during an exclusive interview in 2012.

Early Absentee voting numbers had doubled between 2004 and 2008 after the expansion of voting hours, as a quick glance at the numbers starkly demonstrates...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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GUEST: Attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2014 9:24pm PT  

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman became the first federal judge since the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 Windsor decision to uphold a state marriage-equality ban. But it's hardly the first questionable ruling by Feldman.

On this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast I was joined by BradBlog.com's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning to discuss his 2010 call for Feldman's impeachment after his ruling that lifted the temporary federal moratorium on off-shore drilling following the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. Feldman, it turns out, failed to disclose his many conflicts of interest in the case or recuse himself at the time.

(And speaking of corrupt federal judges with lifetime appointments who need to be impeached immediately, please do not forget this one!)

I also talked with Ernie about his belief that Photo ID voting restrictions will be struck down by the federal court in Texas, and then at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Other issues also covered on this week's show: rape and murder convictions tossed out after 30 years for two NC men on death row, thanks to DNA evidence; the CA 'recount' reform bill blocked by state Republicans after the close election in state history; the new report finding Citizens United has directly resulted in more Republicans elected to office; and much more, including, as usual, Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report...

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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First judge to find marriage equality ban Constitutional since landmark 2013 SCOTUS decision, failed to disclose personal financial conflicts in 2010 BP Gulf oil disaster case...
By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2014 12:33pm PT  

Today, a federal judge in Louisiana upheld that state's ban on marriage equality, making him the first to find that such bans are not in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause since the Supreme Court's landmark Windsor v. U.S. decision.

Today's ruling follows an unbroken string of federal decisions --- in both U.S. District and Appellate courts --- striking down similar bans in state after state after the 2013 Windsor decision's determination that the U.S. government may not deny equal benefits to married same-sex couples.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, wrote that the concept of same-sex marriage was "nonexistent and even inconceivable until very recently"; that the state had a "legitimate interest...in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents"; and that marriages between two individuals of the same sex was based on "lifestyle choices".

And now, you'll be shocked to learn that Feldman --- a Ronald Reagan-appointee and a close friend of Justice Antonin Scalia (who wrote the Windsor dissent for the Court's minority) --- has a damning record of judicial corruption.

The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst and attorney Ernie Canning offered a damning case for Feldman's impeachment in 2010, after he struck down the federal moratorium on off-shore drilling instituted in the Gulf of Mexico following the deadly 2010 BP oil disaster there.

As Canning detailed at the time, despite financial holdings in the oil industry that would have been directly affected by his own ruling, Feldman failed to properly disclose those conflicts of interest and recuse himself from the case.

"Despite having served as a federal judge for 27 years, Judge Feldman is unfit to sit in judgment of others," Canning wrote in response to the evidence in June of that year. "The only appropriate recourse is for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who takes his or her oath of office seriously, to introduce articles of impeachment against Judge Martin Leach-Cross Feldman."

Read Canning's detailed 2010 coverage and call for Feldman's impeachment here...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2014 7:04am PT  

I'm sure fans of the Death Penalty will be terribly disappointed to learn that these two men have had their convictions tossed after 30 years in jail and before they could be killed by the Government...

LUMBERTON, N.C. - A North Carolina judge overturned the convictions Tuesday of two men who have served 30 years in prison for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl after another man's DNA was recently discovered on evidence in the case.

Superior Court Judge Douglass Sasser ordered the immediate release of Henry McCollum, 50, and Leon Brown, 46. The half brothers were convicted in the 1983 slaying of Sabrina Buie in Robeson County.

Lawyers for the men petitioned for their release after DNA evidence from a cigarette butt recovered at the crime scene pointed to another man. That man, who lived close to the soybean field where the dead girl's body was found, is already serving a life sentence for a similar rape and murder that happened less than a month later.
...
Authorities said McCollum, who was 19 at the time, and Brown, who was 15, confessed to killing Buie.

Attorneys said both men have low IQs and their confessions were coerced after hours of questioning. There is no physical evidence connecting them to the crime.

Both were initially given death sentences, which were overturned. At a second trial, McCollum was again sent to death row, where he remains, while Brown was convicted of rape and sentenced to life.

* * *

UPDATE 9/3/2014: Dahlia Lithwick at Slate offers more details on this case, and explains how U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia cited the case of McCollum, who we now know to be innocent, several times over the years in support of the Death Penalty.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/2/2014 2:04pm PT  

Earlier this summer, a statewide primary election and an aborted recount that followed it, revealed a pretty enormous problem with California's recount laws. Several enormous problems, actually. As we reported in July, those problems revealed, among other things, that it's now "a great time to steal an election in California."

The June 3rd primary race for Controller, the state's chief financial officer, was the closest statewide contest in history. The primary to determine who would go on to compete in the general election was ultimately decided by just 481 votes [PDF] out of well over 4 million ballots cast.

In response, Democrats in the state legislature took quick action before last week's end of the legislative session to try and mitigate at least some of the gaping problems, at least temporarily, as revealed by the mess in advance of the November general election.

Republicans have now blocked that effort...

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After a year unplugged, the great climate blogger returns with a few words of wisdom that may be useful for all of us...
By Brad Friedman on 9/2/2014 12:09pm PT  

Just over one year ago, the great climate blogger David Roberts of Grist (we fondly call him "Dr. Grist" around here, as based on his Twitter name: @DRGrist) announced he was unplugging entirely from the Internet for a year.

"I am burnt the fuck out," he lamented at the time. "I spend each day responding to an incoming torrent of tweets and emails. I file, I bookmark, I link, I forward, I snark and snark and snark. All day long. Then, at night, after my family's gone to bed and the torrent has finally slowed to a trickle and I can think for more than 30 seconds at a stretch, I try to write longer, more considered pieces."

"It's doing things to my brain," he explained. "I've gotten to the point where I'm irritated and impatient with pretty much everything everybody says about anything. And I feel bad about that."

I know the feeling --- including the part about "tweeting in the bathroom".

And with that, a few other related thoughts and explanations of what he'd hoped --- or guessed --- he might do over the next year in his "Goodbye for Now" explanation piece, he promised he'd return a year later, after Labor Day 2014, with a hopefully healed brain and a re-invigorated sense of purpose.

"I'll let you know in a year how it went," he promised at the time. And then he was gone and on his well-deserved, if virtually unheard of, year-long unpaid sabbatical that I've been quietly envious of, on a very regular basis, ever since. If I could figure out how to afford the same, I'd do it. If I could figure out how to afford it for even a month --- hell, I'd take seven uninterrupted days in a row --- I'd do it. I need it.

The very technological innovations that were supposed to have made all of our lives better --- and, still, arguably do --- may also be slowly killing us all and rotting our souls at the same time.

In any event, today, as promised, David Roberts is back on the Internets. Just reading about what he's learned over his year of digital detox, as published today by Outside Magazine, helps calm my own brain and slow my own heart-rate...a bit. It may very well do the same for you.

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Having 'lost' the 'debate' on science, now he just doesn't care about global warming anymore and is taking his ball and going home...
By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2014 3:05pm PT  

Wingnut Erick Erickson is on the verge of toppling the proverbial chess board entirely as, once again, he finds himself on the losing side of both the factual and political game when it comes to the "debate" about global warming.

In a rant this week headlined "I Simply Do Not Care About Global Warming", Erickson, who has a long petulantly violent history of not only being obnoxious and offensive, but of being wrong on just about everything, writes that even if climate change is killing us (which, he wants you to know, it couldn't possibly be) he just doesn't care. It's just too late or too difficult or too expensive to do anything about it.

Seth D. Michaels at TPM accurately describes the tantrum as "somewhere on the fine line between 'putting his foot down' and 'stomping his feet.'"

The reason for Erickson's latest embarrassing bluster is that the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is about to release yet another well-sourced, meticulously researched, stark assessment report on the deadly effects of global warming, warning once again that while it's still not too late to take action to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the window of opportunity to do so is quickly closing. The new report is described in this AP story about a leaked draft.

"It's easy to overstate Erickson's importance (he's perfectly capable of doing that on his own) but his climate tantrum shows a lot about the psychology of climate change denial," writes Michaels. True. And it's particularly useful as a barometer to help us understand where the bleeding edge of the mainstream, right-wing, dead-ender denialist movement finds itself now, as breathing room becomes harder and harder to gasp for, and mountains of science about the deadly effects of carbon pollution continue to suck the oxygen out of the fossil fuel-funded propaganda machine.

As a "thought leader" on the Right, Erickson is at the forefront of the clown show that has either bought into, or knowingly lies about, the ridiculous notion, put forth by a tiny handful of fossil fuel industry profiteers, that taking action to mitigate the man-made climate change crisis will lead to nothing less than total destruction of the global economy.

"If they are right and the world is warming, there is nothing we can do short of economic Armageddon to stop it," blathers Erickson, either deceptively or ignorantly (take your pick).

"We should not now tell [third world countries] they have to turn off their electricity and never improve their existence because of global warming," he responds to an argument that absolutely nobody is actually making. "Likewise, we should not need to shut off our power grids or stop harnessing the power of the natural world, including fossil fuels. Adapt. The amount of money we would have to spend, if they are right, to stop the inevitable is obscene and better spent adapting us to changing times."

In the meantime, actual grown-ups, even from the pinnacles of capitalism, such as UBS, the largest private bank in the world, are letting investors know that increasingly abundant renewable energy presents a fantastic economic growth opportunity. And academics, like those at MIT, are detailing how cutting deadly carbon emissions actually pays for itself, "in some cases, more than 10 times the cost of policy implementation." But, of course, Erickson is too willfully ignorant --- or just ignorant --- to bother educating himself about those things when he's got a long-held ideological policy position to protect and defend at all costs.

"I think many of those involved in the science of global warming oppose capitalism in general and the United States in particular," Erickson writes in the very same week the two reports cited above came out. "I think they are manufacturing a panic and their solutions are designed to hinder economic progress." Whadda jackass...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2014 11:44am PT  

This is heartbreaking. A 20-year old gay college student from Kennesaw, Georgia is confronted, assaulted and disowned by his own twisted, confused, cruel family, as captured on video...

The video went viral after it was published by Dan Savage on Wednesday.

Despite the incredibly disturbing video, in which Daniel Ashley Pierce's father, stepmother, mother and grandparents confront him --- at times violently --- to go get therapy so he'll stop being gay, or else move out of the house, there is a "happy" ending here, of a sort.

Pierce's boyfriend set up a Go Fund Me site for him yesterday to raise $2,000 for him to live on, after being kicked out of the house and trying to find a new place to live.

By this morning, the video has been viewed nearly 2.5 million times, and the Go Fund Me site, which Pierce said he didn't even know had been created, has raised some $66,500 for him. Thirty minutes ago he posted this updated note to supporters there:

WOW!! I am so blessed by all of this! I want to give everyone of y'all a hug! I am without words right now! THANK YOU THANK YOU! I will be using a portion of this money to help others in the same situation! I want to make a difference and if I can save one kid the hurt and abuse that I went through I will be happy!! Each and everyone of y'all have made a huge impact on my life and I am feeling the love!! The kind words are helping me move on :-)

As clueless, sad, twisted folks like Pierce's family members wanted Daniel to seek (cruel and discredited) "Pray the Gay Away" therapy, perhaps it's time someone sets up a "Pray the Hate Away" movement. We could really use one right about now.

[Hat-tip RAW STORY...]

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