Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
If there was any doubt before, after several findings by several courts that the Wisconsin GOP's attempts to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions were in strict violation of their state Constitution, yesterday's verdict ought to (but probably won't) put a hard end to that question...
A Dane County judge on Tuesday permanently barred enforcement of the photo identification requirements of Wisconsin's voter ID law, saying that it imposes too great a burden on voters in Wisconsin than the state constitution allows.
Circuit Judge David Flanagan ruled that Wisconsin Act 23, the voter ID law, "tells more than 300,000 Wisconsin voters who do not now have an acceptable form of photo identification that they cannot vote unless they first obtain a photo ID card."
That requirement, he wrote, imposes a "substantial burden" upon a significant proportion of state residents who are registered or eligible to vote because of the cost and difficulty of obtaining documents needed to apply for a state photo ID. That creates a "substantial impairment" to the right to vote guaranteed by the Wisconsin Constitution, he wrote.
The MN Constitution mandates that a ballot question must truthfully inform voters of what it is they are voting on. The ACLU, following the same format it applied when it successfully prevented a similar photo ID initiative from being placed on the November 2012 ballot in MO, sets forth specific examples of how the ballot question, as enacted by MN's GOP-controlled state legislature, falls well short of that standard.
The ACLU argument may well succeed before the MN Supreme Court. However, as reflected by polls suggesting nearly 80% of Minnesotans support the adoption of photo ID restrictions, there is a very real prospect that the ACLU's legal objections will neither be heard nor understood in the utterly deceived court of public opinion...
Good news for democracy. Bad news for the GOP deceivers and the billionaire sociopaths, like the Koch brothers, who fund them. Missouri's courts have shown that their state's nickname, "The Show-Me State," is apropos.
In Weinschenk v. State (2006), the MO Supreme Court struck down a GOP-enacted polling place photo ID law because it violated the Equal Protection clause of the MO Constitution which treats voting as a "fundamental right." It recognized a compelling governmental interest in preventing voter fraud, but observed that "the Photo-ID Requirement is intended to prevent only impersonation of a registered voter and will not affect absentee ballot or registration fraud."
As the GOP could not muster evidence of in-person impersonation, they failed to establish that their 2006 Photo ID law was narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling governmental interest. The Court, in Weinschenk, based on the facts presented, also determined that the 2006 GOP Photo ID law operated as an unconstitutional poll tax, thereby violating the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
But since when have Republicans hell-bent on undermining our system of electoral democracy let a few negative court rulings or fundamental Constitutional rights stand in their way?...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT:EXPOSED: Right-wing Heartland Institute's plot to undermine US science education; REVEALED: Climate change deniers recommend super-rich sugar daddies to buy the media; BUSTED: Monsanto convicted of poisoning; FIGHTING BACK: 'Pitchfork Rebellion' in OR; PLUS: Mysterious exploding pig foam --- No, it's not 'santorum', but it's close! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 166 wolves killed as hunting season ends; State Dept. agreement on short-term climate pollutants; Arctic drilling blowout on Alaska's North Slope; Federal funds flow to clean-energy firms with administration ties; Sierra Club backlash on taking industry cash; Climate change to increased risk of storm surges ... PLUS: Air pollution linked to heart disease: Five deadly air pollutants on five continents ... and much, MUCH more! ...
On Tuesday, we dismantled the latest absurd attempt by pretend journalist and real federal criminal James O'Keefe to demonstrate the rampant "voter fraud" that he and his Republican Party claim to be so pervasive in these United States so as to require polling place Photo ID restrictions guaranteed to prevent little, if any, voter fraud at all, while serving to deter hundreds of thousands of legal (disproportionately Democratic-leaning) voters from being able to even cast their legal vote on Election Day.
We noted that O'Keefe's silly new video purporting to show his proudly unnamed and unseen co-conspirators being told that no ID is necessary to register to vote via third party application is extraordinarily misleading at best, as it fails to note that all newly registered voters who failed to register in person are already required --- by federal law --- to show ID before voting at the polls for the first time. We did concede, however, that those O'Keefe's band of merry pranksters might fraudulently register could, potentially, go on to commit voter fraud via absentee ballot (if they wished to risk the high penalties of a felony). However, as we pointed out, the polling place Photo ID restrictions O'Keefe and his GOP friends are arguing for with his latest series of "Voter Fraud Investigation" silly propaganda videos, would do nothing to prevent absentee voter fraud.
It appears, however, in fact we may have given O'Keefe far too much credit in even conceding that much, as a followup article on our report elsewhere has since revealed.
Yesterday, Mediaite's Tommy Christopher cited our short-order dismantling of O'Keefe's latest ruse and that I had explained in the piece that I'm "currently on the road and don’t have enough time for [O'Keefe's] idiocy as is."
So Christopher did us the favor of picking up the ball at the point, humorously noting "so I generously made time for this idiocy, and found out that even O’Keefe’s absentee scenario is false"....
Convicted federal criminal James O'Keefe and his band of co-conspirators at his ironically named Project Veritas outfit have another new video in their "Voter Fraud Investigation" series out. So that means, naturally, they're misleading the public again.
This time, O'Keefe's video portends to show some of his courageous, unnamed and unseen cohorts at various voter registration centers in Minnesota, asking whether they can have voter registration forms to take home to "Thomas Brady" and "Timothy Tebow", so they can register them to vote. The unseen voices are heard asking the helpful public clerks whether ID is necessary for those folks to register to vote. They are told that ID is not necessary in order for them to submit registration forms.
You'll recall that with O'Keefe's previous video --- in which they committed polling place voter fraud during the New Hampshire primary in order to "prove" that polling place voter fraud exists in the Granite State, despite no more than, at best, two known incidents of it over the past decade in the entire state --- he claimed: "Unlike the establishment media, Project Veritas works to release full, unedited versions of its investigations and stories," before he then linked to a video purporting to be the "full, unedited version" of his New Hampshire "investigation" videos. What he linked to, however, wasn't the "full, unedited version" of those videos, as they failed to show, among other things, the (at least) one incident in which one of his partners was chased out of the polling place. In other words, O'Keefe lied. That's what he does.
So I don't know if he has released an "unedited" version this time or not. I'm currently on the road and don't have enough time for his idiocy as is, so I haven't checked to see if there's another version of this. But let's go ahead and presume, for the moment, that the following edited version accurately-ish represents what happened when he sent his people into Minnesota voter registration offices...
Okay. Now let's dismantle O'Keefe's latest horse shit...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama plays the infrastructure card; Perry jumps in; Huntsman refers to EPA as 'terrorists', while all of the GOP candidates positions on science and global warming are difficult to swallow; the Summer of Records continues; PLUS: Arctic ice melting 4 times faster than predicted ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): DoE panel calls for more study on natural gas fracking; After North Sea oil spill, Shell to drill in Arctic; New GMO corn for gas, not food; Battle over new coal depot in WA; China to double solar capacity by year end; Coast Guard: Arctic oil spill response capability lacking; Record-breaking electric car gets 1000 miles on one charge; CNN FAIL on Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining; Coping With Change: can humans adapt again?; "The (Polar) Bear Facts," checked; Massive protest shuts down Chinese chemical plant; Federal judge throws out Obama drilling rules ... PLUS: Monsanto's Roundup herbicide research shows plant, soil problems ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama calls again for eliminating billions in oil subsidies; Coal mine owner Massey Energy kept two sets of books; U.S. Interstate Highway system proves federal infrastructure good for business; PLUS: Jellyfish attack a nuclear power plant --- no, really --- natural disasters and the Achilles heel of the U.S. nuclear industry ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 2010: Second warmest year on record; How rising temperatures change weather; CA delays nation's 1st cap-and-trade emissions auctions; AAAS decries intimidation, threats aimed at climate scientists; Undercover video links major retailers to barbaric handling of pigs; How the meat industry turned abuse into a business model; Dick Cheney's Big Fracking Mess; Google's plan for cleantech world dominance; More radioactive water leaks from Fukushima; "Our economic system must adapt to climate change"; A clean, green economy will arrive 'like a grenade in a glasshouse; How to make solar panels with paint; Environmentalists Speak Out Against Excessive Cheese Logging; Did ExxonMobil break its promise to stop funding climate deniers?; CA to delay its greenhouse gas emissions trading system; Sierra Club Can't Join U.S. Lawsuit Seeking BP Spill Damages ... PLUS: Republican governors AWOL during state emergencies to attend secret Billionaire Koch Brothers event ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another Republican global warming non-denier enters the 2012 race; US solar industry now employs more people than the US steel industry; Bad news for the world's oceans, good news for those who like to lie about them; PLUS: Inspiration and dedication from the antidote to cynicism, Van Jones ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Yep: Artificial Meat Made From Poo; US Nuclear Plant Safety Rules Inadequate; Humans 'blissfully unaware' of coming climate crisis; Google invests in home solar; Japan Strains to Fix a Reactor; Flooding Brings Worries Over Two NE Nuclear Plants; Radioactive tritium leaks found at 48 US nuclear sites; US nuke regulators weaken safety rules; Japan Stops Water Treatment at Fukushima After Radiation Spike; 'Ominous Trends' in Atrazine exposure, but no proof; CO tests fracking in surburbia; Supreme court rejects states' global warming lawsuit; Rain-hit China braces for more storms; Gas Pipeline Industry Funds & Shapes Pipeline Safety Studies; Arctic Oil Spill Would Challenge Coast Guard; Ultra-efficient solar cells copy plants' 'quantum biology'; Armadillos Move North; Public Skeptical on Climate Change, Scientists Sure ... PLUS: NOAA Makes It Official: 2011 Among Most Extreme Weather Years in History ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's official: record flooding on the Missouri River, record snowpack & record drought mean another record-breaking Spring in the US; Record drought in Europe too, bringing crop failure and blackouts this summer; Obama Administration boosts funding for the smart grid; PLUS: It's that time again: Get ready for a year and a half of Republican presidential campaigning ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 'Liquid battery" breakthrough?; Where's that green jobs revolution Obama promised?; Obama Pushes for More Cleantech, Green Jobs; Planet Earth Doesn't Know How To Make It Any Clearer It Wants Everyone To Leave; Oil to spike again before new recession; Japanese unite against nuclear power; NM Abandons Efforts to Restore Mexican Gray Wolves; New breed of wheat 'near immune' to devastating plague; Appeals Court Rules for Massey Over U.S; In Koch Country, KS gov begs federal government for climate disaster relief; High levels of Strontium Found at Fukushima Plant; EPA Delays Rule on Power Plant Emissions; New Rules For Offshore Fish Farms; 150 Chemicals No Longer Icognito; 2 Common Materials Pose Risk of Cancer; GAO finds most plants lack emissions controls; Do You Live Near One of the Top 25 Dirtiest Coal Plants?; Mining Company to Pay $263 Million settlement; Do we have a moral obligation to stop screwing up the planet? ... PLUS: "Humans ‘blissfully unaware’ of coming climate crisis"...
Republicans in state after state across the country today, Memorial Day 2011, are remembering those who fought and died to protect our democracy by celebrating recent victories in their renewed effort to remove the right to vote for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of legal American voters.
Both of them, as opponents have documented over and over again, will serve to do little more than to disenfranchise far more legal (largely Democratic-leaning) voters than those who will be kept from fraudulently impersonating other voters at the polling place, which, as even most proponents admit when forced, happens almost never --- if it all.
Thankfully in at least one instance since our last report, Gov. Mark Dayton (D) of MN vetoed a photo ID measure passed by Republicans in his state. So there is one case, at least, where the memories of our fallen soldiers might be appropriately honored this weekend, as one governor has remembered to protect the very thing that so many of them died for.
Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the enactment of Indiana's photo ID law in Crawford vs. Marion County Election Bd. (2008), both the new WI photo ID law, which may cost WI taxpayers $7 million to implement, and both the SC and TX photo ID laws, which do not even recognize student photo IDs, may be subject to significant legal challenges...
The state's canvassing board Tuesday ordered that all 2.1 million ballots cast in the gubernatorial election be counted again --- by hand.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the board accepted a report by the Minnesota Secretary of State that found Democrat Mark Dayton leading Republican Tom Emmer by just 8,770 votes. Because the difference is less than one-half of one percentage point, it automatically triggers a recount.
The recount is slated to begin Monday in each of the state's 87 counties and should be finished by Dec. 7. Then the canvassing board will review any challenged ballots and certify a winner on Dec. 14.
Good for Minnesota! Great to see that somebody in this nation still believes in actually counting ballots in a democracy!
Short of counting them publicly, by hand, at the polling place, on election night, in front of everyone, including video cameras, with results posted at the precinct before ballots are moved anywhere, MN has previously shown itself to have one of the best, most transparent sets of procedures in the country for publicly hand counting all of their paper ballots (all of their ballots are paper ballots, thankfully.)
They do all of the above in close races which trigger hand counts. By necessity, they happen at central locations instead of at the precincts, obviously, so questions of chain of custody can still arise to introduce doubt into the process. From what I can tell, however, as based on the superb Franken/Coleman '08 U.S. Senate hand count, their chain of custody procedures are also very good and so the entire process is about as open and transparent as could be asked for in such a case.
For that, the state also owes no small debt of gratitude to Sec. of State Mark Ritchie for his expert, transparent, non-partisan work in overseeing such counts --- at least if the last big one was any indication --- in such a way that when they're over, the winner and their supporters know they've really won, and the loser and all but their most dishonestly misinformed supporters know they've lost. That's what democracy is supposed to be about it. In Minnesota, happily, it still is.
TheUptake continues their important role of sharing with the citizenry every step of the long U.S. Senate contest in Minnesota, with some "backstage" video of Sen. Al Franken, thanking supporters at a luncheon in his honor, following his swearing-in yesterday...
And now we'll find out --- over time I'd think --- which Al Franken we'll get in the U.S. Senate. Will it be the feisty, funny, dogged, hypocrite-busting, pre-Air America best-selling author Franken? The too-careful, not-so-funny, conservative Air America stalwart party-Democrat Franken? Or will it be the independent, heroic, and courageous Paul Wellstone progressive Franken, whose seat Franken now fills, and whom he so often nods to, as he does with a few tears at the top of the video above, and again at the end when he notes, through more tears, what Wellstone "said politics is about...It's not about power, it's not about elections, it's about improving people's lives."
UpTake.org interviews Senator-Elect Al Franken: "I want to thank the UpTake for what you did during the recount and the contest, for making it so transparent, what the process was, the transparency of it. It was an unbelievable great service."
On that point, we'll concur with Franken wholeheartedly. Their coverage alone helps make specious, partisan propaganda disguised as commentary, like the WSJ's, even more laughable and baseless than it already was.
The UpTake's live video, radio, and live-blog coverage and analysis of every step in the Franken/Coleman hand count, election contest, etc., set the standard for the very best of indispensable citizen journalism. Big thanks and kudos are owed Michael McIntee, Noah Kunin, et al! Take a well-deserved victory lap, guys!
In an unbylined Wall Street Journal editorial (why a liar and sore-loser like WSJ/GOP operative John Fund is so ashamed to put his name on his own writing we'll never know...okay, maybe we do), the once-respectable paper shamelessly asserts: "Mr. Franken now goes to the Senate having effectively stolen an election."
In response, we'll associate ourselves with TPM's Eric Kleefeld's take on it, calling it "an essay that is so full of factual errors and distortions about what happened, it can drive you nuts if you'd spent countless hours following all the gritty details like I did."
But since the sore-losing, sour-grapes, tin-foil hatted conspiracy theorists of the Wall Street Journal have taken the opportunity to propagandize the transparent Franken/Coleman election results by comparing them to the 2004 Washington state Gubernatorial race, where the Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire defeated Republican Dino Rossi during a long, sloppy post-election contest and court case, let's remind folks for the record, here in the reality-based community, what the judges in each case found in regard to the keyboard wingnut claims of "fraud"...