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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 76,325

Journal Archives

Quelle Surprise! The voter suppression hijinks have already begun......

ATLANTA -- Across the South, Republicans are working to take advantage of a new political landscape after a divided U.S. Supreme Court freed all or part of 15 states, many of them in the old Confederacy, from having to ask Washington's permission before changing election procedures in jurisdictions with histories of discrimination.

After the high court announced its momentous ruling Tuesday, officials in Texas and Mississippi pledged to immediately implement laws requiring voters to show photo identification before getting a ballot. North Carolina Republicans promised they would quickly try to adopt a similar law. Florida now appears free to set its early voting hours however Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP Legislature please. And Georgia's most populous county likely will use county commission districts that Republican state legislators drew over the objections of local Democrats.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the 5-4 opinion that struck down as outdated a key provision of the landmark 1965 law credited with ensuring ballot access to millions of black Americans, American Indians and other minorities. Roberts' opinion gives Congress an opportunity to retool the law's so-called preclearance sections that give the U.S. Justice Department veto power over local elections. But the prospects of a quick fix seem uncertain, at best, given stark ideological divides on Capitol Hill on a host of matters.

Southern Republicans largely hailed Roberts' opinion as recognition of racial progress since President Lyndon Johnson signed the law at the apex of the civil rights movement. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/voting-rights-act-states_n_3502062.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

Supreme Court’s decision....is a constitutional train wreck of historic proportions

from truthdig:

Gutting the Voting Rights Act

Posted on Jun 25, 2013
By Bill Blum

No matter how you parse it, the Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday in Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted the Voting Rights Act, is a constitutional train wreck of historic proportions. But unlike most such disasters, this is one we saw coming.

In 2009, in an otherwise obscure case involving a Texas utility district with an elected board of directors (Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder) that was brought to the court by the same group of right-wing activists that engineered the Shelby County case, Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion questioned the continued validity of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That section requires states and localities with a legacy of electoral discrimination to obtain “preclearance” from the Justice Department or the courts before implementing new voting laws and procedures. Currently, nine states—mostly in the Deep South, along with a smattering of counties and cities elsewhere—are covered by Section 5.

In Tuesday’s fractious 5-4 Shelby County opinion, also authored by Roberts, the court left Section 5 standing but declared Section 4 of the act unconstitutional, which sets forth the formula for determining which jurisdictions across the country are subject to preclearance requirements. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reasoned in an impassioned dissent joined by the court’s liberals, without the Section 4 formula, Section 5, along with all its vital safeguards, is effectively “immobilized.”

At the heart of the Roberts opinion is the view that racism in America is a thing of the past. When the Voting Rights Act was enacted in 1965, Roberts wrote, “the States could be divided into two groups: those with a recent history of voting tests and low voter registration and turnout, and those without those characteristics. Congress based its coverage formula on that distinction. Today the nation is no longer divided along those lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.” .........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/gutting_the_voting_rights_act_20130625/

Voting Rights (cartoon)


NSA Deletes Surveillance 'Fact' Sheet

WASHINGTON -- A day after coming under fire from congressional critics, the National Security Agency is trying to flush a controversial surveillance "fact sheet" down the memory hole.

That fact sheet was supposed to explain how the NSA interprets and uses section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the part of the law that underpins the agency's PRISM data collection program. But after Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-Colo.) asserted in a letter that the NSA's explanation contained a "significant" inaccuracy, the agency pulled the FISA fact sheet from its website on Tuesday, delivering users instead a server error.

In a letter to the senators, Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, said he "agree(d)" that the fact sheet "could have more precisely described the requirements for collection." He pointed them to the text of the law for further information on how the program works.

NSA spokeswoman Judith Emmel addressed the removal of the fact sheet in a statement. "Given the intense interest from the media, the public, and Congress, we believe the precision of the source document (the statute) is the best possible representation of applicable authorities," she said. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/nsa-fisa-fact-sheet_n_3499026.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

More A-Rod drama

NEW YORK -- Livid over Alex Rodriguez's decision to tweet an update on his rehab process, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had a message for the third baseman.

"You know what, when the Yankees want to announce something, (we will)," Cashman told ESPN New York. "Alex should just shut the f--- up. That's it. I'm going to call Alex now."

Rodriguez tweeted Tuesday that he has been cleared to play in rehab games. Rodriguez's comments seemed to contradict what Cashman told ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews on Monday.

"Visit from Dr. (Bryan) Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news - the green light to play games again!" Rodriguez tweeted. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/9422957/brian-cashman-tells-new-york-yankees-alex-rodriguez-shut-up

Insider Threat: Government Employees Urged to Tattle On Coworkers In Effort to Stop Classified Leaks

Published on Jun 25, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org - As the media focuses almost exclusively on Edward Snowden's possible whereabouts, more details on the Obama administration's crackdown on whistleblowers have come to light. A new investigative report has revealed the administration's crackdown on leaks extends far beyond high-profile cases like Snowden or the Associated Press, to the vast majority of government agencies and departments -- even those with no connection to intelligence or national security. For nearly two years, the White House has waged a program called "Insider Threat" that forces government employees to remain on the constant lookout for their colleagues' behavior and to report their suspicions. It targets government officials who leak any information, not just classified material. All of this leads McClatchy to warn: "The [Insider Threat] program could make it easier for the government to stifle the flow of unclassified and potentially vital information to the public, while creating toxic work environments poisoned by unfounded suspicions and spurious investigations." We're joined by the reporter who helped break the story, Jonathan Landay, senior national security and intelligence reporter for McClatchy Newspapers. Landay also discusses his reporting that revealed how drone strikes carried out in Pakistan over a four-year period ran contrary to standards set forth publicly by President Obama.

Marty Kaplan: I Have Outrage Envy

AlterNet / By Marty Kaplan

Brazil Is in a Standstill Over a Bus Fare Hike -- We're Getting Robbed Blind by Billionaires, and Not Much Is Happening to Stop It
Why aren’t Americans at the barricades?

June 25, 2013 |

I have outrage envy.

For nearly two weeks, more than a million citizens across Brazil have taken to the streets to protest political corruption, economic injustice, poor health care, inadequate schools, lousy mass transit, a crumbling infrastructure and — yes, in the land of Pelé — billions blown on sports.

“Brazil, wake up, any good teacher is worth more than Neymar!” That’s what the crowds have been shouting. Neymar da Silva Santos, Jr. is the 21-year-old Brazilian star who’s getting nearly $90 million to play for Futbol Club Barcelona. “When your son is ill, take him to the stadium,” read one protester’s sign, razzing the $13.3 billion Brazil is spending to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the $18 billion it will cost the country to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Even this soccer-mad nation is saying there’s something out of whack with public priorities, and it’s time to set things right.

The massive demonstrations have stunned Brazilians themselves, for their size, their spontaneity and their civic fury. “If you’re not outraged,” an American bumper sticker goes, “you’re not paying attention.” Brazilians are paying attention to their problems, and they’re mad as hell. So why aren’t we? .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/activism/brazil-standstill-over-bus-fare-hike-were-getting-robbed-blind-billionaires-and-not-much

Jeff Olson, California Man, Faces 13 Years In Jail For Writing Anti-Big Bank Messages In Chalk

Jeff Olson, a 40-year-old man from San Diego, Calif., will face jail time for charges stemming from anti-big bank messages he scrawled in water-soluble chalk outside Bank of America branches last year.

The San Diego Reader reported Tuesday that a judge had decided to prohibit Olson's attorney from "mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial."

With that ruling, Olson must now stand trial on 13 counts of vandalism, charges that together carry a potential 13-year jail sentence and fines of up to $13,000.

"Oh my gosh," Olson said on his way out of court on Tuesday. "I can't believe this is happening." ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/jeff-olson-california-banks_n_3499177.html?1372199922&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

U.S. CEO sets a record with $159 million pension

McKesson’s Chairman and CEO John Hammergren has set a new record in corporate America: Largest pension around.

The drug distribution company disclosed in a regulatory filing Friday that Hammergren was entitled to a $159 million (U.S.) lump-sum payment for his pension, had he voluntarily left the company on March 31. The size of his pension was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

Several compensation consultants say it is by far the largest pension for a current executive of a public company.


Pensions used to be a common retirement benefit. Many companies have eliminated them and moved to defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s, to control costs. But some still have special pension plans for executives. .........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2013/06/25/us_ceo_sets_a_record_with_159_million_pension.html

This Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia is a real piece of .......

WASHINGTON -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP's 2013 gubernatorial candidate, filed a petition Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to uphold Virginia's anti-sodomy law.

Cuccinelli wants the court to reconsider a March 2013 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit striking down the state's "crimes against nature" statute. The 4th Circuit ruled that the law did not pass muster in light of the Supreme Court's 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, which struck down the latter state's anti-sodomy law as an unconstitutional criminalization of Americans' sexual conduct. The Virginia law, however, remained on the books.

The 4th Circuit ruled in favor of William Scott McDonald, who was convicted in 2005 at age 47 under the Virginia statute for soliciting a 17-year-old girl to commit sodomy. That law broadly makes oral and anal sex a Class 6 felony. While such laws historically targeted gay men, they have also been used against heterosexual activity.

The three-judge panel ruled that an unconstitutional law could not be used to convict McDonald. It added that the Virginia Legislature could pass another law to criminalize sexual conduct specifically between a minor and an adult. The Lawrence ruling applied only to consensual adult conduct. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/ken-cuccinelli-sodomy-supreme-court_n_3498444.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

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