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Archive for April 8th, 2011

46% of MS Repubs Oppose Interracial Marriage

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 8th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

46% of MS Repubs Oppose Interracial Marriage
A new poll out of Mississippi finds that 46% of Mississippi’s Republican voters believe interracial marriage should be illegal. The left-leaning survey group Public Policy Polling found that only 40% thought it should remain legal, with the rest unsure. These Republicans are 17% more likely to view Sarah Palin favorably and 19% less likely to view Mitt Romney favorably.



Late Late Night FDL: I Am The Walrus

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 8th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: I Am The Walrus
The BeatlesI Am The Walrus.

The BeatlesI Am The Walrus.

What’s on your mind?

Introduction to Crazy 101
Oh allowing young people to mix the college experience and guns…spectacular idea! Should be some real enjoyable weekends for campus security.

pic from andertoons at flickr.com

Ah yes, the college years…American style.

Binge drinking among American college students is on the rise, along with its consequences of drunk driving and drinking-related deaths

Granted, that is from not quite two-years ago, but there’s no reason to think it is any better. So it is good to fulfill the fantasies of Glenn Reynolds’ by mixing places of higher learning and even higher keg stands with this:

The Arizona House on Thursday approved a landmark bill allowing guns on campuses…

The Republican-led House voted 33 to 24 to allow firearms to be carried in the open or concealed in public rights of way, such as campus streets and roadways.

What could possibly go wrong?

And, of course, this being Arizona, what a well-timed response to issues of public concern:

“We’re allowing people to defend themselves,” said Rep. David Gowan Sr., a Republican, who voted for the bill.

“The purpose of carrying a gun with you is to defend yourself against that aggressor,” he added.

Jered Lee Laugher couldn’t agree more with that sentiment.


Go Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 8th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Go Obama

By Mr. Fish

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Bye Bye Beck

By Mike Luckovich

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Christopher Brauchli: The Budget and the Unemployed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 8th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Christopher Brauchli: The Budget and the Unemployed
“When a great many people are unable to find work, unemployment results.” — Attributed to Calvin Coolidge The unemployed in many states have been given…

Missouri Senate Passes Bill Putting Restrictions On Late-Term Abortions
April 7, 2011 10:55:27 PM KANSAS CITY, April 7 (Reuters) – The Missouri Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would put further restrictions…

The Media Consortium: Weekly Diaspora: Texas Excludes Low-Income Latinos from Census, Expedites Visas for Wealthy Mexican Immigrants
By Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger Newly released census figures show that the Latino population in the United States surged by 43 percent in…

Government Shutdown Not Yet Averted As White House Meeting Fails To Produce Deal
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says another round of talks with congressional leaders has helped but there is no deal yet to avert a government…

Obama Birth Certificate Request Rejected By Hawaii Appeals Court
HONOLULU — A Hawaii appeals court has rejected a man’s request to “inspect and copy” President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, saying the plaintiff failed to…


Predictable: Right-Wing Media Respond To WI Supreme Court Election With Baseless Voter Fraud Allegations

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 8th, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Predictable: Right-Wing Media Respond To WI Supreme Court Election With Baseless Voter Fraud Allegations

Right-wing media reacted to news that Democratbacked JoAnne Kloppenburg emerged from Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election with a small lead by predictably bringing up baseless allegations of voter fraud. The right-wing media regularly uses voter fraud to respond to elections where a Democrat wins or is winning, especially following a close race.

Right-Wing Media Baselessly Level Familiar Voter Fraud Charges Following WI Supreme Court Election

Hoft Cites “Wisconsin Reader” Who Alleges “Widespread Voter Fraud.” In an April 7 post on Gateway Pundit, conservative blogger Jim Hoft quoted a “Wisconsin reader” who alleged “widespread voter fraud/tampering in Wisconsin Supreme Court election.” The reader claimed a radio host had heard from voters “who described many voting discrepancies, disenfranchisement, ballot shredding, UW students voting more than once, etc.” [Gateway Pundit, 4/7/11]

Power Line: “I Assume” A Kloppenburg Win “Will Have Been Procured By Fraud.” In an April 6 post on the conservative blog Power Line, blogger John Hinderaker wrote, “JoAnne Kloppenburg holds a tiny lead over Justice David Prosser in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race. I assume she will win, and if the final result is within a few hundred votes, I assume it will have been procured by fraud, of which there is some evidence.” [Power Line, 4/6/11]

Red State: Voter Fraud In Wisconsin “Is A Valid Concern.” In an April 6 post on Red State, blogger Moe Lane wrote that “[y]ou’re going to see the phrase ‘margin of fraud’ a lot this morning” and claimed fraud in the election “is a valid concern.” [Red State, 4/6/11]

Carlson: “New Demands For A Recount This Morning After Allegations Of Voter Fraud.” On the April 7 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed there were “[n]ew demands for a recount this morning after allegations of voter fraud in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race. The union-backed candidate edging out a conservative justice by 204 votes. Reports suggest some voters were underage. Oops.” Carlson never explained to which “reports” she was referring. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/7/11]

Daily Caller Hypes Conservative WI Radio Host Claim That There Was “Full-Blown Voter Fraud.” From The Daily Caller:

Madison and Milwaukee conservative radio show host Vicki McKenna aired several concerns during her Wednesday show. She told TheDC she spent almost her entire two-hour show taking audience calls, in which listeners detailed what may be considered full-blown voter fraud.

One caller, McKenna said, talked about a “missing box of ballots,” a voter overheard poll workers talking about. On air, McKenna said the ballot box could have contained blank ballots or it could have been filled with Wisconsin voters’ completed ballot. Either possibility presents a dilemma, though, as blank ballots in the hands of the wrong people could be used to illegally influence counts after the election.

“There are reports of 17-year-olds voting because they didn’t need to show proof of their age or anything like that,” McKenna told TheDC. “There were folks allegedly using their husbands’ or relatives’ utility bills in voter registration, ballots weren’t being counted because they were using the wrong kind of pens. There’s an over-count of 10,000 votes in Dane County.” [The Daily Caller, 4/7/11]

However, Actual Voter Fraud Is Extremely Rare

Justice Department Report Shows Very Few Prosecutions For Illegally Casting Ballots. According to a report by the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department, from October 2002 through September 2005, the Justice Department charged 95 people with “election fraud” and convicted 55. Among those, however, just 17 individuals were convicted for casting fraudulent ballots; cases against three other individuals accused of casting fraudulent votes were pending at the time of the report. In addition, the Justice Department convicted one election official of submitting fraudulent ballots and convicted five individuals of registration fraud, with cases against 12 individuals pending at the time of the report. Thirty-two individuals were convicted of other “election fraud” issues, including Republicans convicted of offenses arising from “a scheme to block the phone lines used by two Manchester [New Hampshire] organizations to arrange drives to the polls during the 2002 general election.” In other words, many of these convictions were connected to voter suppression efforts, not voter fraud. Several other people listed in the report were convicted of vote-buying. [Department of Justice, accessed 4/7/11]

NYU’s Brennan Center: Allegations Of Voter Fraud “Simply Do Not Pan Out” And Distract From “Real [Election] Problems That Need Real Solutions.” From a 2007 report by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice:

Perhaps because these stories are dramatic, voter fraud makes a popular scapegoat. In the aftermath of a close election, losing candidates are often quick to blame voter fraud for the results. Legislators cite voter fraud as justification for various new restrictions on the exercise of the franchise. And pundits trot out the same few anecdotes time and again as proof that a wave of fraud is imminent.

Allegations of widespread voter fraud, however, often prove greatly exaggerated. It is easy to grab headlines with a lurid claim (“Tens of thousands may be voting illegally!”); the follow-up — when any exists — is not usually deemed newsworthy. Yet on closer examination, many of the claims of voter fraud amount to a great deal of smoke without much fire. The allegations simply do not pan out.

These inflated claims are not harmless. Crying “wolf” when the allegations are unsubstantiated distracts attention from real problems that need real solutions. If we can move beyond the fixation on voter fraud, we will be able to focus on the real changes our elections need, from universal registration all the way down to sufficient parking at the poll site. Moreover, these claims of voter fraud are frequently used to justify policies that do not solve the alleged wrongs, but that could well disenfranchise legitimate voters. Overly restrictive identification requirements for voters at the polls — which address a sort of voter fraud more rare than death by lightning — is only the most prominent example. [Brennan Center for Justice, accessed 4/7/11]

Hasen: “No Proof Of Any Systemic Fraud Has Been Unearthed.” In an April 6 Politico column, election law expert Richard Hasen discussed the “razor-thin” electoral results in Wisconsin and noted:

A recount in this race, which some view as a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union policies, seems inevitable, and it is not clear who will ultimately take the seat on the Wisconsin bench. But if this expensive and nasty race ends up in protracted litigation, it could undermine public confidence in both the judiciary and Wisconsin’s electoral process, especially if, as I expect, supporters of Prosser raise ugly allegations of voter fraud

[…]

Whether the 2004 governor’s race in Washington State between Dino Rossi and Christine Gregoire, the 2008 Senate race in Minnesota pitching Al Franken against Norm Coleman or the 2010 Senate race in Alaska between Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller, close elections bring out intense partisan fighting and, often from the Republican side, allegations of fraud or voting irregularities.

While the fraud allegations remain stuck in the public’s mind, no proof of any systemic fraud has been unearthed. Instead, close examination of elections show, time and again, that our election systems are not perfect – but this is due to human error and not fraud.

Allowing counties or localities rather than states to administer our elections can introduce inconsistencies to voting procedures. In addition, thanks largely to election official or voter error — not fraud–some voters’ votes do not get counted, while some people ineligible to vote cast ballots that count. [Politico, 4/6/11]

Conservatives Regularly Level Baseless And False Voter Fraud Accusations

Discussing 2010 Midterms, O’Reilly Claimed Elections In Seattle And Chicago Areas Are “Not Honest.” On the October 5, 2010, edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich discussed Republican prospects in the Senate elections. After O’Reilly asserted that elections in the Seattle and Chicago areas are not “honest” and that the “entrenched power” there “is Democrat,” Gingrich said, “It always helps if you’re the Republican candidate in certain states to win by a big enough margin”:  

O’REILLY: I think Illinois and Washington state — and I know how these elections go in King County, the Seattle area, and in Cook County, the Chicago area. Now, you may say — but I know how they go, and it’s not honest. It isn’t honest. So, if it’s close, the Democrats are going to — they’re going — and I’m not accusing anyone of anything. But I know the entrenched power in the Seattle area and the Chicago area is Democrat. You wouldn’t argue with that. The entrenched power is Democrat.

GINGRICH: It always helps if you’re the Republican candidate in certain states to win by a big enough margin.

O’REILLY: You’ve got to win by four or five —

GINGRICH: That’s right.

O’REILLY: — all right, to win in those states.

GINGRICH: In order to win by two.

O’REILLY: Right.

GINGRICH: That’s right.

O’REILLY: And Patty Murray is a bad senator, awful. Rossi — I don’t know the guy, but he’s — you know, he’s tied with her now. And, that again, you would indicate that the challenger beats the incumbent when they’re tied, but not in those states. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor10/6/10]

Conservative Media Raised Specter Of Stolen Special Election In Massachusetts. Offering no evidence to back up their claims, media conservatives asserted that the January 2010 special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts could be stolen. Glenn Beck said that ACORN and progressives would “lie, cheat, and steal their way through anything” and that Democrats would steal the election if it was “within a couple of thousand votes.” Similarly, Rush Limbaugh stated that Democrats would “hold out and see how many votes they need” and then play “games with voter registrations and absentees.” Newsmax also speculated that the election would be “stolen” by Democrats. However, the Republican candidate, Scott Brown, went on to win the race. [Media Matters1/19/10]

2005 Senate Republican Policy Committee Paper Claimed, “[V]oter Fraud Continues To Plague Our Nation’s Federal Elections.” The executive summary of a 2005 Senate Republican Policy Committee paper stated: “Voter fraud continues to plague our nation’s federal elections, diluting and canceling out the lawful votes of the vast majority of Americans.” The paper later stated: “As the November 2004 election approached, it appeared increasingly likely that widespread voter fraud in battleground states would distort the final election returns. Although voter fraud investigations continue in some cities such as Milwaukee and East St. Louis, it appears that the nation dodged a bullet so that the ultimate election results were unaffected.” [Republican Policy Committee, 2/15/05]

Conservatives Made Baseless Claims Of Voter Fraud In 2009 NJ Race. Several conservative media outlets claimed that then-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) was preparing to steal the 2009 re-election race that he ultimately lost to challenger Chris Christie. For instance, on November 1, 2009, Andrew Breitbart’s blog Big Government suggested that the Corzine re-election campaign and its allies were planning to “rig” or “steal” the election. Big Government offered no evidence to support that claim, instead offering allegations including that “state Democrats are paying for robo calls supporting Independent Chris Daggett” and citing “the sudden appearance of ACORN on the scene.” Similarly, on November 2, 2009, the day before the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, Limbaugh said to a caller: “But you mention the election fraud. I tell you what. Tomorrow’s going to be a dry run for Democrat [sic] mischief and malfeasance, getting ready for 2010 and 2012. ACORN, SEIU, the New Black Panthers, they get their equivalent of the Super Bowl Tuesday.” Also on November 2, 2009, Wall Street Journal writer John Fund appeared on Glenn Beck’s Fox News show to claim that Hispanic voters in Camden were being told that there is “a new way for you to vote, la nueva forma de votar” — an anecdote he suggested was evidence of voter fraud. In fact — as Fund himself wrote in a Journal column published hours earlier — that incident actually occurred in Philadelphia in 1993. [Big Government, 11/1/09; Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show11/2/09; Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/2/09]

Conservatives Baselessly Claimed Fraudulent Votes In 2008 Presidential Election. Numerous conservative media and political figures have accused progressives of committing voter fraud in the 2008 presidential election, such as Fox News contributor Dick Morris. [Fox News, Fox & Friends10/15/08]

Conservatives Falsely Claimed Franken Stole Minnesota 2008 Senate Election. In its decision rejecting former Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-MN) appeal of the decision declaring Al Franken the winner of the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, the Minnesota Supreme Court stated that “[n]o claim of fraud in the election or during the recount was made by either party” and that “Coleman’s counsel confirmed at oral argument that Coleman makes no claim of fraud on the part of either voters or election officials.” The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported in a June 29, 2009, article: “Experts said the lack of crookedness in the election, as well as a commitment to the law and not politics, allowed the five state high court justices to explore the key issues in depth.” The Pioneer Press added: “Rick Hasen, an election law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the court’s ruling Tuesday was so thorough that it also ruled out the possibility that either candidate — or their lawyers — could be accused of stealing the election.” Nevertheless, conservative media personalities, including Brit Hume, Sean Hannity, Dick Morris, Fred Barnes, O’Reilly, Jim Hoft, and radio host Jim Quinn, suggested that voting misconduct took place to help Franken get elected. [Pioneer Press, 6/29/09 accessed via Nexis; Media Matters11/13/08; Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor1/7/09; Fox News, The Beltway Boys11/17/08; Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor10/6/09; Media Matters9/29/09]

Hannity Claimed Voter Fraud In 2004 Presidential Election. One day before the 2004 presidential election, Hannity suggested Democrats were guilty of voter fraud in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Each of Hannity’s claims was contradicted by media reports. [Fox News, Hannity11/02/04]

Contradicting Court Decision, GOP Leader Claimed Illegal Voting Took Place In 2004 Washington Gubernatorial Election. On the June 7, 2006, edition of MSNBC’s Hardball, Ken Mehlman, then the chairman of the Republican National Committee, asserted that illegal votes helped Democrats win the Washington state gubernatorial election. Contrary to Mehlman’s suggestion that Democrat Christine Gregoire owed her victory to illegal votes, the county superior court judge in the case found that Republicans had not proved that even a single illegal vote had been cast for Gregoire. From the judge’s oral decision:

The Court concludes, by clear and convincing evidence, that Mr. [Dino] Rossi received four votes cast illegally by felons and that Ms. [Ruth] Bennett received one vote cast by a felon. There is no evidence, however, in this record that Ms. Gregoire received any illegal votes. Indeed, there has been no evidence produced that Ms. Gregoire received any of the 2,820 votes claimed by petitioners in their closing argument. [MSNBC, Hardball, 6/9/06; court decision accessed via University of California at Berkley, 4/7/11]


New York City Getting Its Own Muslim Radicalization Hearings — Starring Peter King And Frank Gaffney

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 8th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

New York City Getting Its Own Muslim Radicalization Hearings — Starring Peter King And Frank Gaffney
A New York State Senator is taking a cue from Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and holding hearings on Muslim radicalization on Friday in New York City, featuring testimony by anti-Islam mainstay Frank Gaffney, and even King himself.


Democrats Following The GOP Into The Anonymous Donor Game
With 2012 on the horizon, Democrats have begun to open the door to anonymous donors, using the same kinds of organizations they criticized Republicans for relying on in 2010. The Los Angeles Times reports that Democrats are forming independent political…

Tennessee House Passes Bill That Lets Teachers Question Evolution In Science Class
The Tennessee House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass a bill that would shield teachers from disciplinary action if they question the theory of evolution during class.


Kloppenburg declares victory in Wisc. Supreme Court election

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 8th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Kloppenburg declares victory in Wisc. Supreme Court election
Author’s note: Yeah, yeah, yeah…Wisconsin politics probably bores people to death by now, but this election is a major turning point for labor against huge corporations. This has nothing to do with spending or balancing a budget. It has everything to do with defeating corporate money in politics. It is a small victory for every middle […]


Error Swings Wisconsin Race

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 8th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Error Swings Wisconsin Race
In what looked like a photo finish election for Wisconsin Supreme Court, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports a clerk found thousands of previously untallied votes for that gave a 7,500-vote edge to incumbent, Justice David Prosser.

“Once the final official numbers are in, either candidate — but no one else — can request a recount. If the margin between the candidates is less than 0.5%, the state charges nothing to conduct the recount. But the added votes from Waukesha County could push the total far enough toward Prosser that a free recount would no longer be available to JoAnne Kloppenburg, who on Wednesday had an unofficial 204-vote lead out of nearly 1.5 million votes cast.”

Kilpatrick’s New Friend
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s (D) new prison bunkmate is a 28-year-old convicted murderer, the Detroit Free Press reports.

James Thomas, Kilpatrick’s lawyer “said if it were up to him, he would have picked a different cellmate for his client. But, he said, he won’t second-guess the prison officials who made the decision. And he’s not worried about his client rooming with a killer.”

Said Thomas: “I’ll give the guy the benefit of the doubt.”


Paul Ryan’s Plan, the Coming Shutdown, and What’s Really at Stake

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 8th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Paul Ryan’s Plan, the Coming Shutdown, and What’s Really at Stake
I was there in 1995 when the government closed because of a budget stalemate. I had to tell most of the Labor Department’s 15,600 employees to go home and not return the next day. I also had to tell them…

A Scary Portent for Obama
You know that American public discourse is shifting when a column on our soaring, illegitimate and unsustainable disparities in income, by Joseph E. Stiglitz, one of several distinguished economists who was too radical for Barack Obama, is the most popular…


Idaho Rejects Rape Exception In Abortion Bill Because ?The Hand Of The Almighty? Was At Work

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 8th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Idaho Rejects Rape Exception In Abortion Bill Because ?The Hand Of The Almighty? Was At Work
Marching in step with the GOP’s nationwide war on a woman’s right to choose, the Idaho legislature gave final approval to a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks. Modeled after Nebraska’s first-in-the-nation measure, the bill — like the one passed in Kansas last week — is based on highly disputed medical research alleging […]

Marching in step with the GOP’s nationwide war on a woman’s right to choose, the Idaho legislature gave final approval to a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks. Modeled after Nebraska’s first-in-the-nation measure, the bill — like the one passed in Kansas last week — is based on highly disputed medical research alleging that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Idaho’s bill, however, also fails to include exceptions for rape, incest, severe fetal abnormality or the mental or psychological health of the mother. “Only when the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life or physical health could a post-20-week abortion be performed.”

In 1990, Idaho’s anti-abortion Gov. Cecil Andrus (D) vetoed a similar bill expressly because it failed to provide a rape or incest exception. “The bill is drawn so narrowly that it would punitively and without compassion further harm an Idaho woman who may find herself in the horrible, unthinkable position of confronting a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest,” he said.

But this year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, state Republican lawmakers found plenty of reasons to advocate for it. State Rep. Shannon McMillan (R) argued that women who were impregnated under “violent circumstances” should have no choice because it’s not the fetus’s fault. State Rep. Brent Crane, the bill’s sponsor, took it a step further. Believing that “tragic, horrific” acts of rape or incest are the “hand of the Almighty,” Crane said women should trust God to turn the consequences of their sexual assault into “wonderful examples”:

“Is not the child of that rape or incest also a victim?” asked Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton. “It didn’t ask to be here. It was here under violent circumstances perhaps, but that was through no fault of its own.”[…]

The Idaho bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways,” Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”

Crane’s belief that good can come from such horrific circumstances may be one shared or embraced by a sexual assault victim. However, that interpretation, that belief, that choice should be made by the woman — not forced upon her by law. The right to choose is not about the “innocence” or “guilt” of the fetus – or of the woman for that matter. It is about a woman being able to decide whether she is willing and able to carry a pregnancy to term.

The bill does more than compel sexual assault victims to carry pregnancies to term, it makes it a felony to perform such an abortion and allows spouses and relatives to file legal injunctions against physicians who break the ban. The bill also sets up a fund that can accept donations to defend the bill — a needed provision since the Idaho attorney general has issued two legal opinions declaring the bill unconstitutional for violating the Roe v. Wade decision’s viability standard.

Despite the lack of constitutionality or compassion, the bill passed 54 to 14 with only one Republican joining all 13 Democrats in opposition. The bill now heads to Gov. Butch Otter (R) “who is expected to sign it.