aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Block the vote update
From an LATimes article today on the opposition from mostly-southern conservatives to renewal of the Voting Rights Act:
One of the conservatives supporting changes to the Voting Rights Act said GOP leaders were “playing politics” with a law that is unfairly targeting his home region because of its past - and failing to account for progress in racial relations.
“Do you think we treat Japan or Germany differently [because of World War II]?” asked Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia. “Do we treat the British any differently because of the Stamp Act? Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ If we’re going to do that, then let’s go back to the Indians and say they butchered Custer.
It’s a telling reaction. As far as Westmoreland and his colleagues believe, racially-motivated interference with the right to vote is so far in the past, it doesn’t even make sense to worry about it. They see a color-blind south where minority voting rights are fully protected.
They’re wrong. In fact, Westmoreland’s Georgia is one of the worst states in the nation for Voting Rights Act violations. The problems aren’t just a scar on previous generations; they’re still ongoing.
And we just don’t get it! Today the latest Georgia voter photo ID law lost in two courts:
U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy, after a hearing in Rome that lasted more than five hours, ruled that Georgia’s photo voter ID law appeared to violate the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law and due process. [...]
Earlier in the day, the state Supreme Court let stand the ruling of a lower court judge who said the new law unconstitutionally restricted the right to vote.
More from Spencer Overton at MyDD.
UPDATE: House renews Voting Rights Act provisions 390-33, “Conservatives introduced four amendments to weaken the act, and all were rejected by large bipartisan majorities.”
Ralph Reed a win-win
Until recently, Ralph looked like he was likely to win his primary against state senator Casey Cagle, buttressed as he was by support from the rancid cream of the national and Georgia GOP (as we speak, Republican voters are being treated to robo-calls on Reed's behalf from Rudy Giuliani and Zell Miller). But shortly after Cagle launched a truly vicious ad campaign focusing on the Abramoff scandal and such ancillary issues as Ralph's support for the Abramoff/Norquist pet cause of the Northern Mariana Islands, Reed began sinking in the polls. And while the race is still close, and Ralph will presumably run a pretty good GOTV operation, he's in big trouble.
It's perversely delicious to see the master of the culturally-based negative campaign strategy get hoisted on his own petard. And it's also an interesting sign that the man who has always paid so much attention to dollar signs was recently forced to loan his campaign a half million smackers to stay competitive financially with Cagle.
If Ralph goes down next week, it will be a clear indication that Republican corruption carries some electoral freight, even among Republican primary voters in a very conservative state. And if Ralph survives his primary, he will be a nice symbol of what's wrong with the GOP right down to November.
Mass lawmakers put off amendment vote
Watching developments in Massachusetts this week, I asked a knowledgeable Boston buddy for his sense of things:
Conventional wisdom around here has it that we are so over the gay marriage thing, the anti-marriage carpet-baggers are slowly going home and the only real momentum they have left is Gov. Romney. Romney has officially broken every rule of being a Republican governor in Massachusetts now, he didn’t stand a chance of being re-elected anyway. Of course, Romney will be a moot point soon enough as he moves on to run for the presidency. Furthermore, after Romney we are pretty much guaranteed a Dem. or Ind. governor. Healy is the Republican nominee and she doesn’t stand a chance, the Republicans are done in Mass. for a little bit after the horror that Romney became. The script is written, it just needs to play out.
So how did the amednment script play out today?
Not only did the legislature delay, but they delayed taking the heat off everyone - even themselves. Supporters and opponents of all sides will have little ammunition against their rep in the election because it’ll all happen two days after their representative finds out if they’re coming back for the rest of the story.
The real fun comes with the new governor. Although Romney will still be around for the vote - if it even happens - and can grandstand on his way out the door, the new governor will influence the next round the following year. Considering everyone up for the job is pro-marriage but Healy, who doesn’t stand a chance, this is all just noise. Go home kids, nothing to see here.
All Teh Flarf That’s Fit To Print!
I passed on posting this when I saw it the other day. It’s stuck with me so here you go:
The funny folks at BumperActive (who did the Free the Mouse and “I )( WiFi” stickers) have a new mashup project with the New York Times. They scrape the NYT new stories feed, and republish just the headline and the last paragraph, a kind of skip-to-the-punchline approach to news that is surprisingly effective, though sometimes a little surreal.
Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit:
“Spending has not been restrained,” Mr. Riedl said. “One hundred percent of the reduced deficit is because taxpayers are sending more money to Washington.”
U.S. to Negotiate Russian Storage of Atomic Waste:
But the report also cited such an agreement as a way to foster cooperation on securing spent fuel and providing nuclear energy to nonnuclear nations seeking to develop their own enrichment facilities.
Ally Warned Bush on Keeping Spying From Congress:
A spokesman for Mr. Negroponte’s office said he had not yet replied to the complaint.
At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust:
“I think men do better out in the world because they care more about the power, the status, the C.E.O. job,” Mr. Kohn said. “And maybe society holds men a little higher.”
In today’s paper:
Proposal to Ban Same-Sex Marriage Renews Old Battles:
Mr. Meoni said he found those responses “disturbing,” but added, “We just have to keep moving on and find people that support us.”
Shuttle Crew Works to Fix Part of Station:
Mr. Fossum replied, “It’s all expensive.”
Military Lawyers Prepare to Speak on GuantÃƒÂ¡namo:
Colonel Shaffer said she was restrained under the rules from calling as a witness a Qaeda informant whose information had been used to charge her client. “I’m going to want for my client to face his accuser,” she said, “and for me to have an opportunity to impeach his testimony.”
Health Industry Warms to Clinton
As she runs for re-election to the Senate from New York this year and lays the groundwork for a possible presidential bid in 2008, Mrs. Clinton is receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from doctors, hospitals, drug manufacturers and insurers. Nationwide, she is the No. 2 recipient of donations from the industry, trailing only Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a member of the Republican leadership.
Some of the same interests that tried to derail Mrs. Clinton’s health care overhaul are providing support for her Senate re-election bid. The Health Insurance Association of America ran the famous “Harry and Louise” commercials mocking the Clinton health care plan as impenetrably complex. Some companies that were members of that group are now donating to Mrs. Clinton.
Charles N. Kahn III, a Republican who was executive vice president of the Health Insurance Association in 1993 and 1994, now works with the senator on some issues as president of the Federation of American Hospitals, a lobby for hospital companies like HCA and Tenet. He describes his battles with the first lady as “ancient history,” and he said health care executives were contributing to her now because “she is extremely knowledgeable about health care and has become a Congressional leader on the issue.”
She was “extremely knowledgeable about health care” when she tried to overhaul the nation’s health care system as first lady. What she wasn’t as knowledgeable about then was politics.