Friday, June 1, 2012

Last Call

And the Wall Street Journal goes there, accusing AG Eric Holder's crusade to combat voter suppression of minorities as being nothing more than "racial incitement".

The United States of America has a black President whose chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder, is also black. They have a lot of political power. So how are they using it? Well, one way is to assert to black audiences that voter ID laws are really attempts to disenfranchise black Americans. And liberals think Donald Trump's birther fantasies are offensive?

"In my travels across this country, I've heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from citizens, who—often for the first time in their lives—now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation's most noble ideals," Mr. Holder said Wednesday in a speech to the Council of Black Churches. Voter ID laws and white discrimination, he added, mean that "some of the achievements that defined the civil rights movement now hang in the balance."

That's right. The two most powerful men in America are black, two of the last three Secretaries of State were black, numerous corporate CEOs and other executives are black, and minorities of many races now win state-wide elections in states that belonged to the Confederacy, but the AG implies that Jim Crow is on the cusp of a comeback.

Yeah.  You understand that correctly:  the WSJ is publicly saying that black people now are the most powerful people in America, and that the notion of GOP voter suppression of minorities is just as crazy, if not worse, than birther nonsense.

Oh, and black people are racist assholes, too:

The likeliest explanation is economic, as job losses and mortgage foreclosures lead to dislocation and migration to new areas. But it's also possible that many minorities are as disappointed as everyone else with the lackluster recovery. For all of Mr. Obama's attempts to portray Mitt Romney as out of touch, no one has suffered more in the Obama economy than minorities. 

Which explains Mr. Holder's racial incitement strategy. If Mr. Obama is going to win those swing states again, he needs another burst of minority turnout. If hope won't get them to vote for Mr. Obama again, then how about fear? 

And apparently there's no one more racist and bigoted towards Latinos and African-Americans than Barack Obama and Eric Holder.   Astounding.

You literally cannot find a better example of the concept of projection of the GOP's own hatreds, fears, and foibles onto their own victims than this piece here.  It's staggering to see this level of pure, unalloyed inchoate rancor directed at Eric Holder or Barack Obama than the Wall Street Journal putting out a piece comparing voting rights activists to birthers, and accusing the Attorney General of the United States of trying to start a race war.

The implication here, bordering on outright accusation, is that the President, his supporters, and anyone who voted for him in 2008 and plans to vote for him in 2012 are anti-white bigots who couldn't possibly have any valid reason to support the President other than a burning desire to see white America set on fire with Eric Holder leading the way, because we're too stupid and savage to see that the President is destroying dumb-ass black folk.

I expect this level of blind vitriol from Newsmax or World Net Daily or VDARE, but to see the Wall Street Journal publish this, well it's pretty clear what the next five months will bring, won't it?  They hate him so much that they're willing to say in a national editorial that Holder, his boss, and the voters who support them are all exactly the kind of vile bigots that they themselves truly are.

This is pretty much the most vile thing I've seen so far this campaign season, and we've got 20 weeks and change to go.


If You Can't Steal A Presidential Election...Or Not

It didn't take the Justice Department long to fight back against Florida's awful voter purge plan disenfranchising African-Americans, minorities, and the poor.

The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act.

DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16.

Five of Florida’s counties are subject to the Voting Rights Act, but the state never sought permission from either the Justice Department or a federal court to implement its voter roll maintenance program. Florida officials said they were trying to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls, but a flawed process led to several U.S. citizens being asked to prove their citizenship status or be kicked off the rolls.

Six members of Congress wrote Scott earlier this week demanding that he stop purging the state’s voting rolls since the process improperly flagged numerous individuals who were eligible to vote.

“To enable us to meet our responsibility to enforce federal law, please inform us by June 6 of the action that the State of Florida plans to take concerning the matters discussed in this letter,” Christian Herren, chief of the voting section of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, wrote in the letter. “Specifically, please advise whether the State intends to cease the practice discussed above, so that the Department can determine what further action, if any, is necessary.”

This is outstanding and I'm glad to see the DOJ's Civil Rights Division move so quickly to stop this nonsense.   You move, Governor Luthor.

Release The Big Dog

Big Dog comin', yo.  Big Dog!  Greg Sargent:

Former President Bill Clinton has decided to go to Wisconsin to campaign against Scott Walker in the final days of the battle over whether to recall the Wisconsin Governor, a move that could give a boost to the anti-Walker forces in a campaign that will depend heavily on who turns out to vote, a source familiar with Clinton’s plans confirms to me.
As late as yesterday afternoon, it was still not certain whether Clinton would go to Wisconsin. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in a meeting with Democrats, seemed to suggest that he was trying to determine whether he would go. But neither the DNC nor Clinton’s camp would confirm whether it was going to happen, and Democrats cautioned that Clinton had not made up his mind.
But now he will go to Wisconsin, the source confirms.
Democrats badly want Clinton to campaign in Wisconsin for Tom Barrett, and had lobbied him heavily for weeks. But Clinton remained undecided until today.

That's...awful nice of you, Mr. The Dog.  Magnanimous, even.

Between DWS stepping it in over the weekend and Bill here finally deigning to drag himself up to the Fox River Valley for some A&W mini corndogs and a Culver's butterburger or two, I'm convinced that the maximum amount of voter-turning-out firepower may not have have been most judiciously applied in the case of beating the Kochsuckers on Tuesday.

Still, the ramparts are finally being manned.  I just hope it's enough.

On Wisconsin.

Tech Roundup: Noob Edition

I suppose you don't have to be a beginner to take advantage of this, but newbies will surely appreciate seeing changes appear live.  Mozilla Thimble allows a split screen, one side for HTML code, the other a preview that runs the code.

I hate HTML.  I hate it with the power of a thousand flaming suns shining through a thousand magnifying glasses.  There aren't enough words to describe my disgust, so this is perfect for someone like me, the occasional user.  Super advanced users won't need it, but they have their own awesome tools.  This is just for the normal folks, the dabblers.

Even current users are noobs to Google Drive, it hasn't been around that long.  However, a major improvement is on the way with online syncing.  Google Docs is so close to perfect that its few drawbacks are glaring issues.  This is the last major one (besides their stubborn refusal to allow us to control appearance) to keep them from being The Most Awesome Thing Ever Ever Ever.  Details aren't widely available, but it seems if you leave connection, you can continue to work, and as soon as connection is available your changes are uploaded.  This would make two people in bad connection a bit like dueling doc editing, but for 99% of users this is a great thing.

All around, I'm happy enough to give Thimble a shot for my projects, and I hope my love affair with Google Docs is eternal.  I'd love to hear back from any readers who want to speak up.  Everyone's needs are different, if you have found a flaw or glowing positive, let us know in the comments!

Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?

Clint Eastwood's daughter is getting death threats after taking a chainsaw to a $100,000 purse and lighting it on fire.  The art project actually produced neat results, but the outrage is ridiculous.

  • Yes, it's disgusting to live in a world with starving people and $100,000 purses coexisting, often in the same zip code.
  • Regardless of how you feel, a person's money is their to spend however they wish.  As long as it's not harming anyone (and to a degree, unfortunately, even if it is) it is none of our business.
  • If she had used a knock off it wouldn't have been the same for her purposes.
And if I forgot to mention it, she's Clint Eastwood's daughter.  Who's going to have the marbles to pick a fight with her?  I think we can all agree it's a silly and wasteful thing to do, but she owes no explanation or apology.  If she wants to burn a million dollars in cash, it's her prerogative.  

Beyond Thunder DOMA

And the inevitable Supreme Court case on the federal Defense Of Marriage Act got one step closer today as a three-judge panel on the First Circuit just declared the law unconstitutional.

A three judge panel of The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit just handed down a decision declaring the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Notably, the panel included Judges Juan Torruella and Michael Boudin, both of whom are Republican appointees. Judge Boudin, who authored the opinion, is one of the most highly regarded judges in the country; he frequently sends his former law clerks to clerk for Supreme Court justices.

Here's the money quote from the ruling linked above (PDF, emphasis mine):

For 150 years, this desire to maintain tradition would alone have been justification enough for almost any statute. This judicial deference has a distinguished lineage, including suchfigures as Justice Holmes, the second Justice Harlan, and Judges Learned Hand and Henry Friendly. But Supreme Court decisions in the last fifty years call for closer scrutiny of government action touching upon minority group interests and of federal action in areas of traditional state concern.
To conclude, many Americans believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and most Americans live in states where that is the law today. One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity of governance based on local choice, but this applies as well to the states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage. Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress' denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest.

Both the "closer scrutiny" Fifth Amendment and the "permissible federal interest" Tenth Amendment arguments are key to taking down DOMA.  The basic argument is that the federal government has a duty to protect minority groups under the Equal Protection clause, and that same-sex couples meet the standard of a minority group that needs equal protection, and as such the denial of federal marriage benefits specifically to same-sex couples violates that equal protection when the state, in this case Massachusetts, makes those benefits at the state level legal.  It's the scope of how far that applies (if it's just to states where same-sex marriage is legal or all 50 states) that seems to be the question the panel is leaving up to SCOTUS to chew over, but they definitely accept the argument as valid.

The ruling also spells out pretty plainly that in the end, only SCOTUS can decide this one.  But seeing the lower court ruling affirmed here is a definite point for the good guys.

Eat, Drink, And Be Outlawed

Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban NYC restaurants and eateries from serving soda and other sugary drinks in larger sizes than 16 ounces.  Good luck with that, Bloomy.

If New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, you won't be gulping down any 44-ounce Cokes at any of the Big Apple's eateries after March 2013.

Citing what he says is the contribution sugary beverages make to obesity in the U.S., Bloomberg says the buck, and the big Dr. Pepper, stops with him.

“Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible.’ New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something. I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do,” Bloomberg told The New York Times.

His proposal would ban any the sale of any sugary beverage over 16 ounces in any of the city's restaurants, delis, movie theaters or even street carts, according to reports from New York.

Here's an idea.  If you're worried about soda causing obesity, ban high fructose corn syrup instead, that would be effective (and of course would bring down the wrath of the food giants and Big Agra like a tornado upon the city too).  This is just piddling, ineffective, and goofy.

People can still get giant sodas at the store.  They can still get refills at restaurants (and they will.)  This isn't going to make a dent, period.  Not sure what he's thinking, but this is like trying to put a wildfire with, well, 16 ounce cups of water.

Nice to see Bloomy's inner dictator shine through.


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