Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Florida Voter Purge: DOJ Papers Claim Process Violates Voting Rights Act

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted: 

Florida Voter Purge
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (AP Photo/Bill Cotterell)
Florida's voter purge efforts are facing a fresh federal challenge.
The Justice Department filed court paperson Friday alleging that the Sunshine State's actions violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act. At the heart of the impending legal battle is Section 5, which would require submission of "citizenship list maintenance practices," the Miami Herald reports.
Back in early June, the Justice Departmentissued a warning letter, charging that the Florida's activities are "different from the benchmark practice currently in force" within the Voting Rights Act. But the state moved forward with its plan to weed out non-citizens, with Gov. Rick Scott (R)calling the process necessary "to have fair elections."
Later that month, a federal judge refused to stop Florida's voter purge, noting that no federal laws prevented the state from making last-ditch efforts to eliminate non-citizens from its voter rolls. By mid-July, Republicans had scored some federal support with approval to use a law enforcement database when questioning individuals' right to vote. 

As for the public, a June Quinnipiac University poll found that three out of five Florida voters were behind the purge plan. The state's primary election will be held on August 14.

Florida Eliminates Early Voting On Sundays

Tensions run high in Florida, a critical battleground state that passed an election law last year with several contested provisions. One bans a decade-long practice of early voting on Sundays before the election -- a window when asmany as 30 percent of black voters have previously cast ballots after attending church in a "souls to the polls" movement. Republican lawmakers claim the provision is meant to reduce election fraud, but some black Democrats say the calculation is more sinister.
"It's my feeling it was done deliberately, a premeditated design, to suppress the vote of African-Americans in this country because it's playing out all over the nation in every state. It was intentional," Florida Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) said.

Photo ID Firestorm Rocks South Carolina

The Justice Department dealt a blow to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls, arguing that it discriminated along racial lines. Haley's administration fired back with a lawsuit that is expected to be decided in September.
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said earlier this year that Republicans hope to tip the outcome of the presidential election by lowering voter turnout by 1 percent in each of nine states that have passed voter ID laws, the West Ashley Patch reports.

"I know nothing has changed yet," he said. "But I just do not trust the judiciary that we're operating under."


Disenfranchised Grandmother Sues Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania's new voter ID law, voters must show a photo ID issued by the state or federal government. The state-issued IDs are free, but getting one requires a birth certificate, which costs $10 in Pennsylvania.

Not everyone is having an easy time navigating the new system. Earlier this month, Viviette Applewhite, 93, filed a lawsuit with the ACLU and Nmarched with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement, does not have a driver's license, and the state cannot find her birth certificate. She is afraid that this year will be the first since 1960 that she will be unable to vote.

Applewhite's dilemma is not uncommon. Some700,000 Pennsylvanians lack photo ID and half of them are seniors. According to the Brennan Center, 25 percent of voting-age black citizens have no government-issued photo ID, compared to 8 percent of white citizens.AACP challenging the law. 


Kansas Moves To Accelerate Proof Of Citizenship Law

The Kansas House voted earlier this year to move up the date a proof of citizenship law goes into effect to June 15, 2012, so it will limit who can vote in the presidential election.

HuffPost's John Celock reports:
Rep. Ann Mah (D-Topeka) said the entire idea of proof of citizenship to vote would fail in court due to it being discriminatory against married women who change their names. Mah said that women who change their name need to provide proof of marriage and citizenship and an affidavit regarding the name change.
Rep. Scott Schwab (R-Olathe) took issue with Mah's claims of court challenges. "I get frustrated that everyone who does not like policy says we'll end up in court," he said.
Only 48 percent of voting-age women with access to their birth certificates have a birth certificate with a current legal name, which means that as many as 32 million American women do not have proof of citizenship with their current legal name,according to the Brennan Center.

The bill to change the start date eventually failed, but will still go into effect next year.


Wisconsin Law Continues To Disenfranchise Voters After Suspension

Last year, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a voter ID bill into law, calling it a "common sense reform" that would "go a long way to protecting the integrity of elections in Wisconsin." As Walker's June 5 recall election approached, two judges suspended it on the basis that it is unconstitutional.
Still, poll workers reportedly asked some voters to show photo ID during Wisconsin's April 2 primary, and one woman said that she and her 87-year-old mother were turned away at the polls because they lacked current photo IDs -- even though they were registered to vote.

"We were listed on their friggin' poll list and yet we had our names highlighted," the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

When It Rains, It Pours: New Study Finds Extreme Snowstorms And Deluges Are Becoming More Frequent And More Severe

By Climate Guest Blogger on Jul 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm

'No Man is an Island'

As our climate warms, wet areas will generally get wetter (and dry areas drier). One of the consequences of global warming is the severity and frequency of rain and snow storms – fueled by the increase moisture in the atmosphere as the air warms.
new report released by Environment America Research & Policy Center analyzed more than 80 million daily precipitation records across the United States from 1948 through 2011. The analysis reveals that climate change is now affecting the large rain or snowstorms.
The following are highlights from the report:
  • Extreme downpours – rainstorms and snow falls … are now happening 30 percent more often on average across the contiguous United States than in 1948.
  • New England has experienced the greatest change with intense rainstorms now happening 85 percent more often than in 1948.
  • Not only are extreme downpours more frequent, but they are more intense. The total amount of precipitation produced by the largest storm in each year at each station increase by 10 percent over the period of analysis, on average across the contiguous United States.
Just like a baseball player on steroids hitting more homeruns, climate change is weather on steroids and industrial pollution if fueling the extreme weather. Though we are experiencing droughts due to the U.S. southwest and southeast drying out, precipitation is increasingly concentrated into heavy downpours space further apart.
The fingerprint of climate change can be clearly identified with the increase and severity of rain and snowstorms.
The report explains that due to humans increasing emissions of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere – including pollution from fossil fuels – warmer temperatures in the atmosphere cause more evaporation. With warm air sitting in the atmosphere holding more water, when it rain – it pours ultimately intensifying the water cycle.
Another finding in the report is that 43 states showed statistical “significant” increase in the frequency of extreme storms. The authors define “significant” as a high probability the trend is real based on statistical analysis. The map below identifies the regions of the U.S. and recognizes the increase in frequency of rain and snowstorms:
According to the World Metrological Organization’s provisional status report issued at the United Nations climate talks in Durban, 2011 was the 10th warmest year on record and warming than any over year with a La Nina event.
But the United States is not the only country to experience extreme rain, snow, and flooding. Australia saw the country’s worst floods since 1974. A surge of rain in Brazil caused deadly landslides north of Rio de Janerio. Rainfall during June to September’s monsoons season in Thailand was up to 80% higher than the season average according to the WMO.
It is becoming much clearer how climate change affects extreme weather.
– Matt Kasper
Related Post:

I love it when a plan executes this good.  The music plays so have fun
Gay Marriage -- "Can't Fight This Feeling"
(May 9, 2012) -- In a sit-down interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Obama explained his evolution on the issue, affirming his support for gay marriage. "[A]t a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," he said.

Kelly Keisling, Tennessee Legislator, Mass Emailed Obama 'Staged Assassination' Rumor

Posted:  Updated: 07/31/2012 5:18 pm

John Celock

Kelly Keisling Obama
Tennessee Rep. Kelly Keisling sent an email to constituents with an Obama conspiracy theory.
WASHINGTON -- A Republican member of the Tennessee state legislature emailed constituents Tuesday morning with a rumor circulating in conservative circles that President Barack Obama is planning to stage a fake assassination attempt in an effort to stop the 2012 election from happening.
Rep. Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown) sent an email from his state email account to constituents containing a rumor that Obama and the Department of Homeland Security are planning a series of events that could lead to the imposition of "martial law" and delay the election. Among the events hypothesized in the email is a staged assassination attempt on the president that would lead to civil unrest in urban areas and martial law.
Keisling appears to have forwarded a more widely circulated email from Joe Angione, a Florida-based conservative blogger. Angione prefaces the rumor by saying it has not been confirmed but likewise notes it has not been denied. Angione also writes that people need to work to prevent the rumor from becoming reality.
The conspiracy theory started with an article written by Doug Hammon and posted on, which he said arose from conversations he had with an informant within the Department of Homeland Security.
The Constitution Party of Florida posted the same Angione story on their website this week. Party chairman Mark Pilling wrote a note saying that he believes some sort of unrest will occur this year.
Pilling wrote:
Personally, I believe something will happen the last quarter of this year. Financial unrest or another false flag event that causes civil unrest. Now is the time for all Americans to band together against the financial influences that are running our puppets in Washington and the mass media that keeps us distracted to that and their treasonous actions. Here is the rumor. Based on alot of factors, I think it has potential. Divide and Conquer. Below, there is a link to one of the other more recent false flag events.
Keisling's assistant, Frankie Anderson, confirmed that the email was sent "at Keisling's request" from a state account under the name of Holt Whitt, who is identified in the email as Keisling's assistant. Anderson said he is filling in for Whitt. 
Anderson said that Keisling did not offer an explanation for why he wanted the email sent. It went to residents across the 38th district, which includes Clay, Jackson, Pickett and Scott Counties, along with part of Anderson County. Keisling has not returned messages left at his Byrdstown insurance office, and there was no answer at his home.
Janet Moore, one of the recipients of Keisling's email, said she called the lawmaker Tuesday morning to express her disagreement with his decision to send the email. Moore, who lives in an adjoining legislative district in rural Tennessee, told HuffPost that Keisling told her that the rumor was "pretty ridiculous, isn't it?"
When she asked Keisling why he sent the email, if he found it ridiculous, she said that Keisling told her, "I wouldn't put anything past anybody."
Anderson did say that Keisling regularly sends out emails to his constituents using the state account. A copy of the email obtained by HuffPost did not contain an explanation from either Keisling or Anderson. The subject line of the email is "FW: Unbelievable election rumor....." The email also contained a note below Whitt's contact information from a woman identified only as Ruby, who may have sent the email to Keisling. Ruby's name and contact information were not included.
"PLEASE SCROLL DOWN," Ruby wrote. "Something to think and PRAY about. Interesting times...Blessings, Ruby."
Keisling, who owns an insurance agency, was first elected in 2010. In an online profile on, Keisling noted that he favors job creation, allowing voters to pick local school directors and that he opposed abortion. Keisling, a former Pickett County executive, serves on the agriculture and transportation committees.

Mitt Romney Praises Socialized Healthcare, As Long As It's Not American

| Mon Jul. 30, 2012 9:31 AM PDT
Over the weekend, as I was watching Mitt Romney extol the virtues of Israel's entrepreneurial spirit, I tweeted sarcastically, "Wikipedia tells me that top marginal Israeli tax rate is 48% on income over $125,000. I wonder if Romney knows that?" Apparently not. Here's Romney at a fundraiser in Jerusalem on Monday:
Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent. You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more....We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.
It kind of makes you wonder if Romney actually knows anything about Israel aside from the fact that they fight Arabs and Persians now and again. I mean, he does know that Israel has historically been a socialist state, right? And they have universal healthcare. ThinkProgress tweaks Romney by suggesting that he was praising a system that includes an individual mandate, but really, they're giving him too much credit. Yeah, there's a mandate, but it's a mandate to choose which of four free systems you want to sign up with. What Israel has isn't really a mandate in the same way Obamacare has a mandate, it's the full-blown lefty dream of free, universal healthcare funded through the tax system. Properly speaking, Romney ought to be appalled with their healthcare system.
And wouldn't that have been great? After visiting London and questioning whether they'd manage to pull off their Olympics, maybe he should have gone to Israel and chastised them for their socialist healthcare system. I'm not sure what that would leave for Poland, but I'm sure something will present itself. Maybe he could attend a concert and then muse afterward about how he's always thought Chopin was overrated.
POSTSCRIPT: By the way, speaking of Israel and healthcare, I heard an interesting story a few weeks ago. It turns out that among end-of-life patients in hospitals, CPR is essentially useless. In America, we don't care. When a patient goes into cardiac arrest, we call a code and rush to their bedside anyway. In Israel, they don't. They deliberately respond slowly, essentially letting the patient die if he or she is near death anyway. In other words, in Israel they really do have death panels.
I wonder if Romney knows that? Probably not. Also: I'd love to hear either confirmation or otherwise about this policy. Is this really common practice in Israeli hospitals? Or did I hear some kind of garbled old wives' tale?

House passes Chaffetz bill that would fire federal employees who owe back taxes

  • Chaffetz_J.jpg
    FILE: June 2011: Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, flanked by GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (REUTERS)

The House voted Tuesday to pass a bill that would fire federal employees for being tax deadbeats.
The bill, which was proposed by second-term GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, also would keep tax scofflaws from getting hired by the federal government in the first place.
It passed by a vote of 263 to 114 and will be sent to the Senate.
Federal civilian employees “draw their compensation and funds from the American taxpayers (so) they owe it to the taxpayers themselves to be compliant,” Chaffetz said. “Those that do not should be fired or lose funding.”
Chaffetz, R-Utah, cites IRS data that shows nearly 100,000 federal civilian employees owed $1 billion in unpaid federal income taxes in 2009. That number has remained fairly constant since 2004, but the amount owed has increased nearly 70 percent, from $599.8 million, according to the agency.
The bill specifically targets applicants with tax liens.
Those on a plan to repay back taxes or in negotiations with the IRS would be exempt from the proposed change. IRS employees already can be terminated for non-payment of federal income taxes.
In April 2011, the bill was passed out of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of which Chaffetz is a member.
The bill would include those seeking federal contracts and grants, but exempts uniformed military personnel. In addition, federal agencies would be required to give 60 days notice before taking personnel action.

Jamison collects more than 1,500 cans for food bank

Most kids don't think about someone else on their own birthdays. But then Jamison Bethea isn't like most kids.
On July 21, Jamison, 10, and his mother, Cynthia Bethea, spent his birthday at Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center collecting food for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. Jamison will be in the fifth grade at Downtown Elementary School.
"I wanted to collect 500 and got almost 1,600" cans, Jamison said.
Jamison decided to have the food drive in memory of his grandmother Jacqueline Ingram. Cynthia Bethea said Ingram died in April 2011 and Jamison was very close to her.
"He started a charity called Granny's Love and he donated the food in her name," Cynthia said. "He's got a heart to help others."
Homeless shelters are among the agencies that receive food from Second Harvest. Jamison said he got the idea for the food drive from seeing homeless people around the Samaritan Inn that is near Union Baptist Church, which his family attends.
"I wanted to help out," Jamison said.
They sent invitations to friends letting them know about the food drive, and in turn they told others. Nigel Alston, a columnist for the Winston-Salem Journal, wrote about it in his column.
"We had about 75 to 80 people come out," Cynthia Bethea said. "The first family got there about 9:15 and they kept coming until 4. There were so many wonderful people who came out. We cried two or three times."
On Wednesday, Jamison and his mother visited the food bank to see what happens to the food that he collected. The food had been picked up earlier in the week.
Tomi Melson, the director of development and community relations for Second Harvest, gave them a tour and explained how the food is distributed.
"His food has been sorted and prepared to go out," she said.
Second Harvest serves 18 counties and has more than 300 member agencies. It provides food to such agencies as food pantries, soup kitchens and group homes, which distribute the food to people in need.
Clyde Fitzgerald, the executive director of Second Harvest, congratulated Jamison on his food drive.
"It's a great thing he did," Fitzgerald said. "He far surpassed his goal. His act to make a difference will make a difference. I'm very proud of him."

Senator Sanders  NEWS with Links 
July 31, 2012
Global Warming Sen. Bernie Sanders took on the Senate's biggest global-warming skeptic on Monday in a speech aimed at prodding Congress to stop ignoring the issue, according to theBurlington Free PressFox 44National Journal, theGuardianThe HillTulsa World, Talk Radio News ServiceEnergy Guardian, and Raw StoryLINKLINK, LINKLINK, LINKLINKLINKLINKVIDEO
India Power Grid Fails About 600 million people lost power in India on Tuesday when the country's northern and eastern electricity grids failed, crippling the country for a second consecutive day, The New York Times reported. LINK
Spending Deal Near House and Senate leaders are nearing a temporary spending deal that would keep the federal government running for the first half of the next fiscal year, aides in both parties told The Washington PostLINK
USPS The U.S. Postal Service is bracing for a first-ever default as Congress deadlocks on ways to stem the red ink. Pay­ments for future postal retirees' health benefits - $5.5 billion due Wednesday, and another $5.6 billion due in September - will be left unpaid, the mail agency said Monday, but post offices will stay open, mail trucks will run, employees will get paid, current retirees will get health benefits, The Associated Press reported.
Judge Blocked Senate Republicans blocked one of President Obama's noncontroversial judicial nominees on Monday - invoking a long-held tradition that no confirmations be approved in the waning months before a presidential election, Politico reported. LINK
Gay Marriage The Democrats appear ready to embrace same-sex marriage as part of their party platform. The New York Times said the move would place the party in line with the beliefs of President Obama, who in May became the first sitting president to declare that gay men and lesbians should be able to marry. LINK 
Ask Jackie: Could we form a WPA-style organizationto promote infrastructure improvements?

--July 25, 2012--
Ask Jackie is a series of highlights from Congresswoman Jackie Speier's telephone town halls. Town halls are opportunities for constituents of California's 12th Congressional District to keep in touch with Jackie and ask her any question or raise any concern.
Would it be practical in today’s environment for the formation of a WPA-style organization that would promote infrastructure improvements and repairs.
Congresswoman Speier:
I have been promoting that concept for years now. You know when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President, he became President in March, and then the first three months of his tenure as president he created, I believe, three million jobs. He created them by creating the WPA, the CCC, the Tennessee Valley Authority. We have been trying for easily two years now to try and develop more infrastructure work so that we could do a similar program for people who are unemployed in many job categories. We need bridges to be built that are in poor shape, we have roads that need to be resurfaced, there is much work to be done. Now we did if you recall have that stimulus right after the crash, which went for infrastructure projects in communities – so, construction projects at schools, local public works departments. There is some talk by Chairman Bernanke of the Fed of encouraging a second stimulus to get the economy rolling again. The other thing we are starting to focus on is creating incentives for companies that have off-shored their jobs to bring their jobs back home because a lot of the studies that have been done very recently have shown that it is not as attractive to off-shore jobs as it once was. It actually makes more sense to do the manufacturing here in the US so I’m hoping that all of us will take the time to look at labels and do our very best to buy American because when we do we give our next-door neighbor a better chance of getting a job or keeping a job.
"Ask Jackie: Could we form a WPA-style organization to promote infrastructure improvements?" by RepSpeier is licensed under a Creative Commons License


FUNNY......The Republicans and democrats could not come to an agreement on budget so these cuts are coming due in January.  Now the Republicans are crying foul.  This is on their heads, they knew what was coming, by not doing their jobs. They have no one but themselves to blame, so do not put your problems on the President and the Democrats. Democrats knew what would happen.  NOW LIVE WITH YOUR PUNISHMENT.

July 30, 2012

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today released the following joint statement on the Obama Administration’s guidance issued today by the Department of Labor that it would be “inappropriate” for defense companies and other government contractors to notify their workers of the possibility of mass layoffs as a result of the looming across-the-board budget cuts coming next year under sequestration, as is required under the WARN Act:

“At a time when our economy continues to suffer from staggeringly high unemployment, the Obama Administration today took away an important planning tool for Americans who may lose their jobs as a result of the failure of Congress and the White House to address the looming and entirely predictable threat of budget sequestration. Sequestration is currently the law of the land, and our nation's workers have a right to know how these sequestration cuts which begin in January may impact them. 
 “This decision is especially disturbing in light of the fact that the Department of Labor previously stated in a Fact Sheet that ‘since it has no administrative or enforcement responsibility under’ the WARN Act, it ‘cannot provide specific advice or guidance with respect to individual situations.’ Today the Department did just that, issuing guidance to government contractors not to provide their employees advance notification of potential layoffs as a result of sequestration. This is a troubling turnaround that lays bare the obvious political aim of today’s announcement – avoiding mass layoff notices just days before the November 6th election.
“Today we are visiting communities in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia that will be hardest-hit by these budget cuts precisely because they do so much to support and equip our men and women in uniform. The Americans we have met today are asking Republicans and Democrats to do their jobs – to come together to find a solution that avoids this threat to our national security and economy. They are also asking for something that has been totally lacking in Washington – presidential leadership.
“President Obama has completely refused to engage in this debate, and he shares direct responsibility for the potential loss of over one million jobs if defense sequestration takes effect. The Senate Armed Services Committee has received letters from eight defense companies, all of which advise that they will have to lay off thousands – if not tens of thousands – of workers if sequestration occurs. These Americans deserve fair warning that politics in Washington is placing their jobs in jeopardy. President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget has ordered the Department of Defense not to plan for defense sequestration and now the President’s Department of Labor is citing the lack of planning as a reason WARN Act notices cannot be issued. Today’s ruling represents a deliberate political effort from the White House to skirt the law and continue to use our national security and our troops as a partisan bargaining chip.

“American workers deserve a Congress and a President that puts their interests and our national security over partisan gamesmanship in an election year. Time is running out.”

Shell scales back Arctic drilling this summer

Capt. Kristjan B. Laxfoss via AP
A Shell drilling ship drifts near shore on Unalaska Island, Alaska, on July 14. ship lost its mooring but did not ground and was not damaged, the Coast Guard said.
The first drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska later this summer is being curtailed, Shell said Tuesday. The company focused on the ongoing presence of sea ice, while environmentalists pointed to the fact that Shell has yet to get certification for its spill containment system. 
"We have continued to be delayed by the sea ice in place, and while the ice is just now beginning to clear near one of our locations, we are still monitoring for ice to clear elsewhere," she added.Shell had planned to drill five exploration wells this summer but now will aim for two as well as additional "top hole" locations, "meaning we will begin new wells which can be completed in 2013," Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh told NBC News.
The containment system was being tested Tuesday and later in the week, she said, adding that "we feel very good about the progress we’ve made.""If the ice had been cleared, we would be awaiting final testing and certification of the containment barge,' she said.
The drilling will be in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Thick Chukchi sea ice stands in contrast to thin ice or wide-open seas in other parts of the Arctic.
Shell hopes drilling the "top holes" will allow it to get back on track and still have 10 wells drilled by the end of summer in 2013.
Shell suffered another setback in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, earlier this month when one of its exploration ships, the Discoverer, drifted toward shore and nearly grounded.
Drilling opponents say the recent problems show why Shell's plans are too risky.
"As Shell Oil continues to push to drill exploratory wells in our Arctic Ocean this summer, the oil giant is giving us a preview of how disastrous a situation this could be," Kristen Miller of the Alaska Wilderness League said in a statement.