This was an important discussion about an important article about one of the most important issues to directly effect the outcome of virtually every election in the nation in 2012. None of that, apparently, given what the rest of the MSM decided to cover today, is any where near as important as whether John Boehner will allow the President to speak to a joint session of Congress on Sept 7th or or whether it'll have to be on Sept 8th, and whether Christine O'Donnell or Sarah Palin will appear at a "Tea Party" event this weekend in Iowa.
And you wonder why we're in the mess we're in.
My conversation on "The GOP War on Voting" with Ari Berman today follows...
[NOTE: Ari Berman, author of the article discussed below, joined me on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show today. That interview is now posted here. - BF]
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While readers of The BRAD BLOG may be familiar with many of the items covered in Ari Berman's fine new article "The GOP War on Voting" at Rolling Stone today (and in its Sept 15, 2011 issue on newsstands), it's great to have a summary of all of the latest state-based assaults on voting rights instituted to date, in the wake of last year's Republican wave election, all in one place.
Berman covers all of these and more in his piece on the "unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008," described by one civil rights advocate as "the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century"...
The Malloys have asked us at last minute to fill in tonight, so I'll be sitting in to guest host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show this evening!
As ever, we'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT) tonight, coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
BILL MCKIBBEN of 350.org on the still-ongoing, weeks-long TarSandsAction.org protest at the White House, calling for the President to reject the proposed transcontinental Keystone XL pipeline scheduled to unlock an enormous amount of dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
ROBERT STIREWALT from Vermont Emergency Management on the catastrophic, record floods and devastation across the Green Mountain State in the wake of Hurricane Irene --- and how you can help with disaster assistance at Vermont211.org.
PLUS! BOB KINCAID from the Head On Radio Network checks in from the Tar Sands protests in D.C., Green News Report's DESI DOYEN joins us for more on Irene's continuing fallout and the media failure in its wake. Also, the RW assault on Social Security and everything else this nation holds dear, and much more! And anything else that you'd like to talk about (would love to hear from folks dealing with flooding in the Northeast!), via calls to 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Hurricane Irene Special Report: Assessing the damage, and the response; Catastrophic flooding in VT; Rightwing's nutty response to disaster (We're talking to you, Howard Kurtz, George Will, Eric Cantor & Ron Paul!); PLUS: Making the link with climate change - the corporate media won't do it, so we will ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Despite protests, Keystone oil sands pipeline moves one step closer to approval; NASA's Hansen: We Will Continue To Fight Tar Sands Pipeline; Climate scientist vindicated again; Koch Industries fighting against tougher national security rules on chemical plants; Calfornia's 'solar highways' faces regulatory speed bumps; Reversible OLED Solar building tiles light the night; Powering your car with old newspapers?; Wind Power Gains As Gear Improves; More oil drilling in Obama era than Bush era; Earthquake may have exceeded VA nuclear plant's safeguards; Source of Gulf oil sheen near BP oil well is unclear; After Recall, Egg Farms Rack Up Violations; UN warns new mutant strain of bird flu on the rise; Monsanto GMO corn losing bug resistance ... PLUS: Republicans Against Science ...
[UPDATED a number of times at bottom of article, with more extraordinary photos and videos of devastating "hype" in NY, MA, NC and VT leading their governor to declare Sunday that the state has "a full-blown flooding catastrophe on our hands." ||| To date, at least 45 are now dead in 13 states in 3rd deadliest U.S. storm in more than 30 years.]
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Setting aside that at this time following 2005's Hurricane Katrina --- the morning after --- most in the media were breathing a sigh of relief that New Orleans had "dodged a bullet", one wonders if the folks in Wilmington, Vermont today...
...are inclined to agree with insightful media critic Howard Kurtz' assessment that Irene amounted to little more than "A Hurricane of Hype":
National news organizations morphed into local eyewitness-news operations, going wall to wall for days with dire warnings about what would turn out to be a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest possible ranking.
Um, surely Howard knows that category rankings for hurricanes refer to wind speed and velocity, not the amount of moisture in the storm or the possibilities of life-threatening floods that may accompany it, along with the storm surge to follow, right? Surely he has many reliable sources that have explained that to him by now, doesn't he?
Does anyone seriously believe the hurricane would have drawn the same level of coverage if it had been bearing down on, say, Ft. Lauderdale?
Dunno, Howard. Would a storm bearing down on Ft. Lauderdale have some 65 million people in its path, as Irene had? Please, Howard, have some apples with your oranges...
Be sure to click the "Layers" button on the map below and check some of the other boxes like "Cloud Imagery - East Coast". Yeesh. Or, if you live in the path of the storm, check the "Storm Surge" layer and then zoom in to where you live to see if you may be in for some serious flooding.
In a terse announcement from the prosecutor, Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett would say only that she had "determined that no criminal charges will be filed against either Justice Bradley or Justice Prosser for the incident on June 13, 2011."
The letter notes that Barrett reviewed transcribed reports from law enforcement officials given to her after Dane County Democratic District Attorney Ismael Ozanne recused himself from the case, as the matter over which the Supreme Dispute took place was a lawsuit he had brought charging that the anti-union bill in question was passed by Republican legislators in violation of the state's open meetings law. The newly-assigned prosecutor also reviewed an audiotape interview with Prosser who was, apparently, the only one who had a taped interview. In addition to Bradley, four of the other Justices were said to have been witness to the fracas.
According to the Journal-Sentinel, "Barrett declined to say whether she had rejected charges because no criminal conduct had occurred or because no crime could be proven to a jury. She would say only that a case must meet both those standards before a prosecutor could bring charges"...
In a written statement following word that there would be no criminal charges, Prosser said Bradley "made the decision to sensationalize an incident that occurred at the Supreme Court." He said he "was confident the truth would come out and it did. I am gratified that the prosecutor found these scurrilous charges were without merit."
That is not, of course, what the prosecutor actually stated that she found...
I'd returned to NYU from my parents' home in St. Louis a few weeks earlier than usual in the late Summer of 1985 to produce and direct a play I'd written, PUCK: A Power Play --- about two hockey players in the desert, naturally --- so we'd be able to open during the first week of classes.
We were forced to postpone opening weekend thanks to Hurricane Gloria, the last hurricane, prior to this weekend's Irene, to have drawn a bead on New York City.
"Play Canceled Due to Hurricane" seemed as unthinkably bizarre at the time, to someone like me from the Midwest, anyway, as "Play Canceled Due to Volcano" or "Play Canceled Due to Plague of Locusts."
It was in the pre-Katrina, pre-Ike, pre-Tuscaloosa, pre-Joplin, pre-100 year flood, fire, and drought days, however. So while the city took things relatively seriously, I suspect its nothing like what's going on there this weekend.
Gloria ended up taking a right turn at the last minute, and little more than the barest drizzle ended up hitting the empty streets of Manhattan that weekend, though I remember well the big white Xs taped across virtually every window in town --- NYC's version of "boarding" things up.
Here's hoping Irene changes her mind as Gloria did 26 years ago(!), in the Summer of 1985. And here's hoping our friends on the entire Eastern Seaboard stay safe, smart, and dry over the next few days.
You can always open the play next weekend instead. We did. And lived to tell the tale.
Noting that someone earning $106,000 a year contributes the same amount as a billionaire, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced his intention to introduce the "Keeping Social Security Promises Act."
The legislation, modeled after a promise President Obama made during his 2008 campaign, would attach the Social Security payroll tax to all incomes over $250,000.
Sanders cited the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration, who said that the move would "ensure that Social Security can pay out all benefits for at least the next 75 years."
Receiving a standing ovation from some 3,000 labor leaders at last week's Las Vegas United Steelworkers Convention (see video below), Sanders blasted both Republicans and those Democrats who've called for cuts to Social Security. He noted that as Social Security is funded by the payroll tax and not the U.S. Treasury, it "has not contributed one nickle to the deficit."
"In fact," said Sanders, "according to...the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security has a $2.6 trillion surplus."
"When [Social Security] was developed, 50% of seniors lived in poverty," explained Sanders. "Today…that number is 10%. Social Security has done exactly what it was designed to do….For 75 years…Social Security has paid out every nickel owed to every eligible American."
The Senator went on to tell the union workers in Vegas that he'd "be damned if they're going to cut Social Security."
Video of Sen. Sanders' speech at the United Steelworkers convention follows...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Bracing for Irene; Hey, how's your infrastructure? Earthquakes and now hurricanes test the East Coast; Fukushima Exclusion Zone to become permanent; Hundreds more tar sands protesters arrested at the White House; PLUS: Did Fox "News" just accidentally acknowledge human-caused climate change?!?! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 'Hockey Stick' climate scientist vindicated again; India & China spar over water; TX record-breaking drought getting 'worse by the day'; BP Oil Spill Fund has paid out $5B; 'Green Scissors' proposal to cut billions oil subsidies; EPA to creates mini-Civilian Conservation Corps for Great Lakes; Van Jones slams misleading NYT article on green jobs; "The Intermittency of Fossil Fuels"; Shell plugs North Sea pipeline spill; Shell’s shoddy safety record in the UK; GOP bashes Obama Admin for refusing to promote oil shale; Since 9/11, Koch Industries has fought tougher rules on chemical plants; National Review twisted in knots over GOP science denial; US natural gas reserve estimates cut by 80% ... PLUS: Climate cycles are driving wars: When El Nino warmth hits, tropical conflicts double: study...
Glenn who? Some guy who used to be on TV here in the U.S. At one point, it seems, he actually mattered to some people in this country. Those were the days, eh?
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UPDATE: Though Beck's folks said the event was sold out, Ami Kaufman, who covered it for Israeli oulet +972 offers coverage and photos suggesting otherwise. Writes Kaufman: "It must have been pretty rough for Glenn Beck to see this"...
Kaufman adds: "After months of preparations, hours of television and radio talk all geared up for the big day, tons of merchandise manufactured, Glenn Beck could just about muster over a thousand people at his 'Restoring Courage' last night in Jerusalem. ... I can’t help but think that this flop might be a lethal blow for this guy."
Sitting in for Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's The Last Word, Chris Hayes' coverage tonight (video posted below) highlights another hilarious passage from Beck's rally in the Holy Land: "O, Israel, hear the words of my mouth!" ...
The League of Women Voters in Wisconsin announced it will file a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court charging that the Badger State's newly-enacted polling place photo ID restriction law violates the state's Constitution.
From a strictly legal perspective, the decision by the League's attorney Lester Pines to challenge the new photo ID law pursuant to the state's Constitution is significant.
Under Equal Protection analysis, any impartial jurist would readily understand that the statute does not meet the heightened scrutiny that accompanies the fact that, under the WI Constitution, voting is deemed a "fundamental right."
While certain exclusions are allowed in the Constitution, such as laws which exclude felons or those whom the state deems "mentally incompetent," the language explicitly notes that "every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident" of Wisconsin may cast a vote.
What the hell is the matter with Mississippi and their elections all of a sudden?!
You'll recall that two weeks ago, e-voting system failures --- such as machines that wouldn't boot up at all and votes that were counted twice --- created chaos during Mississippi's state primaries, leading one official to declare days afterward, as they were all struggling to sort out results of several close elections: "At this point there is no election...Everyone is baffled."
Then, last week, we reported on the Jones County, MS election clerk who asked for, and received permission from, the county Board of Supervisors to remove the so-called "paper trail" printers from his county's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting machines because, as he told the board reportedly (with a straight face), "the voting machines record every vote and there is no way for them to be tampered with."
(That Jones County Circuit Clerk, Bart Gavin, has still not replied to our request for comment hoping to determine whether he's just hopelessly clueless, or something worse.)
And now comes this, from Rankin County, MS in advance of today's Democratic gubernatorial run-off election...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT:BREAKING: East Coast Earthquake!; Inhofe's 'Hoax' - Hot and Hotter: more record-breaking heat around the world in a record-breaking year; Civil disobedience at the White House over dirty oil pipeline; PLUS: GOP cat fight erupts as Republican candidates spar over science ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Fox News compounds inanity over inane 'aliens will kill us over climate change' study; Fukushima zone may be declared uninhabitable; Australia passes CO2 offset laws, carbon pricing next; Vietnam’s rice bowl threatened by rising seas; No ‘train wreck’ from EPA utility rules: report; EPA to review regulations for 'unjustified burdens'; Canadian gov't bypasses public's right to know about fracking; Is nat-gas fracking industry sucking PA's creeks dry?; Ford, Toyota team up on hybrid trucks; Hurricane Irene could boost insurance industry; ConocoPhillips finds 9 new leaks in huge China oil spill; Just Say No to Arctic drilling; Human excrement to blame for coral decline; Fall of Tripoli won't result in cheaper gas; Army Corps: Budget cuts will slow levee rebuilding; Environmental violations found at tribal schools ... PLUS: 'Hockey Stick' scientist vindicated again: Federal auditors find no evidence to support 'Climategate' accusations ...
In apparent response to GOP leaders of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee who requested in June that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Julius Genachowski "strike the Fairness Doctrine from the agency's rulebook," the former corporate media executive has announced exactly that today, striking the rule, and 82 others, from the official FCC rulebook...