Conservatives and their "media division," known to some as Fox News Channel, believe the U.S. has a voter fraud problem. And how big is this alleged problem?
"I'm gonna say it's bigger than ringworm and less than Bieber fever," Jon Stewart said Wednesday. "Actually I didn't know we had a voter fraud problem in this country."
We don't, actually. The Republican National Lawyers Association in a study found only 340 cases of voter fraud over the course of a decade.
Stewart imagined how conservatives would defend the voter ID laws popping up in swing states with Republican-controlled legislatures: "It doesn't happen, this won't stop it ... I think you can see why we have to do it now."
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Not content to let Mars get all the attention, Earth shows what it's got. Impressive. [...]
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From high above the Earth, the International Space Station (ISS) provides a unique vantage point to view our home planet. Stunning time-lapse photography of cities, aurora, lightning and other sights are seen from orbit. Famed astronomer Galileo imagined these views from space and now through the technological marvel of the space station, we can see them for ourselves. – NASA
News on the climate catastrophe front: ? I've been working on the close-out posts of the Climate Catastrophe series. (If you're interested, the most recent post in the series contains an organized list of all the previous posts.)The final posts will deal with the "what to do" problem. We're not helpless, and this isn't hopeless yet. Stay tuned.? We've started attracting some interest...
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A 30-year employee of Vanderbilt University has been caught on security cameras throwing away large stacks of an LGBT newspaper. The Nashville area newspaper Out & About has suspected for over a year that copies of its newspaper have gone missing, enough so that it started charging for copies so that the situation could be investigated as a criminal matter. The woman has not been charged, but admitted to throwing the papers in recycle bins. Vanderbilt officials explained that “the matter is under internal review to determine if there is any need for further action.”
The Affordable Care Act’s opponents invested more than two years into convincing the judiciary that the Constitution and nearly 200 years of precedent does not apply to President Obama’s signature accomplishment. They peppered cable news shows with elected officials, riddled the nation’s op-ed pages with articles touting their false view of the Constitution, and they hired as their general a man who, despite a long list of reprehensible clients, is arguably the best lawyer in the United States. And after investing every single resource the conservative movement had at its fingertips, they still lost their case in the Supreme Court.
Nevertheless, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) thinks that the brightest conservative minds in the country, after spending more than two years searching for something — anything — that they could use to undermine health reform, somehow managed to miss a fatal flaw. And he recently introduced a resolution seeking to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional based on this novel new theory:
Whereas article I, section 7, clause 1 of the United States Constitution provides that, ?All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives?;
Whereas, on June 28, 2012, a majority of the United States Supreme Court held that the individual mandate provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 ?cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress?s power under the Commerce Clause? but ?was within Congress?s power to tax?;
Whereas the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 was originally introduced in the United States Congress by its sponsor as the ?Senate health care bill? in the form of a Senate Amendment to H.R. 3590, which had passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 416-0 as the ?Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009? . . . .
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that–
(1) the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 was a ?Bill for raising Revenue? as those words were intended to be understood in article I, section 7, clause 1 of the United States Constitution; and
(2) the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 did not originate in the House of Representatives.
In essence Gohmert claims that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because it first passed the Senate, and bills that contain new taxes or other revenue raising measures must originate in the House. Gohmert’s resolution, however, only quotes half the relevant constitutional text, which provides that “[a]ll bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.” As Gohmert admits, the bill that eventually became the Affordable Care Act was an “Senate Amendment to H.R. 3590, which had passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 416-0.” Had Gohmert actually bothered to read the entire sentence that he quotes from the Constitution, he would know that our founding document places no limit on the kinds of amendments the Senate can attach to a House bill that already concerns revenues.
Ultimately, however, these kinds of attacks on health reform have never had much to do with actually following the Constitution, and much more to do with throwing as much mud on Obamacare as possible to see if something sticks. The Supreme Court has spoken on these issues. It’s time for Gohmert to give it up.
– George Zimmerman’s attorney announced that a “mini-trial” specific to the “Stand Your Ground” issues will be decided by a judge in addition to the full jury trial.
– How industry games climate change rules.
– The liberal media:
– The firsthand story of how an industrial farm from Food, Inc. ended up going free-range.
– And finally, why a bad summer for the Arab Spring might get better.
By Andrea Peterson
As an associate art director at Alfred A. Knopf, Chip Kidd designs books. More specifically he designs iconic book covers for writers including Bret Easton Ellis, Haruki Murakumi, David Sedaris, John Updike, and Michael Crichton. Even if you’re not a bibliophile or design freak, if you survived the nineties you’ve undoubtedly seen at least one of his designs: the dinosaur skeleton from the Jurassic Park logo.Kidd has become “the closest thing to a rock star” because he excels at taking the core elements of a narrative and distilling them into a single graphic representation of what the core elements of the story. It’s a process he explained in a TED Talk:
As Kidd touches on during his TED Talk, the rise of electronic ooks and the digital marketplace is bringing rapid change to his industry. When he spoke with NPR’s Weekend Edition last Sunday, he noted “people don’t buy a book on the web because of its cover.” Monday Amazon announced Kindle ebook sales had overtaken print sales in the United Kingdom for the first time. Those two facts hit me hard as someone who frequently purchases a wide variety of items based solely on outward appearance (I first listened to Supertramp because the cover of Crisis? What Crisis? caught my eye) and as someone who had been captivated during one of my youthful booksale scouting missions by a small paperback adorned with the strange juxtaposition of three monkeys considering a piece of cheese.
As it turns out, Kidd, writes books in addition to designing them. It was his first novel, The Cheese Monkeys: A novel in two semesters, that I’d fixed on. It is a satirically grim college novel with an ample dash of coming of age poured over Graphic Design 101 that I devoured over a weekend– although, admittedly without the ability to fully grasp some of the adult material–and have reread on a fairly regular rotation since.
The novel’s outsider perspective on the post-secondary experience felt uncomfortably close to the midwestern college town setting I grew up in, and I came to near adolescent heroine worship of the female lead, one Himillsy Dodd: A pintsized dot of an underclassman who flitted with a manic pixie dream fever through the protagonist’s life and the first year of his public art school career, spending equal time flouting authority and worshipping Americana. Kidd’s ability to design a terrific cover got me to read his book, and that book in turn left me with a greater appreciation of his craft.
The digital age may be convenient, but it lacks a certain romance that can only come from physical objects; finding a new gem while browsing for familiar titles, striking friendly conversations up on public transit, and as Kidd suggests, the very experience of physically cradling a book. That romance will by no means disappear, but already with the rise of ebook sales and the closing of local bookstores and large chains like Borders it is quietly declining. Libraries will no doubt help fill the gap left by the exodus of physical retailers, but they face increasing budget issues across the board–even the Library of Congress lost about 9% of its budget and 10% of its workforce in 2011–and many are in the process of making the same move as many consumers: to eBooks. There is already a second hand and collectors market for used book stores that can thrive on the decades of existing material, and a niche market with an industrial infrastructure in place to keep new releases available in print for the near future, but it’s possible we are approaching a time where a hard copy release of a book is the same as a vinyl release of an album — a collector’s edition of sorts.
Kidd even suggests as much in his interview with NPR, remarking ”books are frankly luxury items, and always sort of have been.” He’s right: Books seem commonplace to me because I grew up in a specific, privileged blink in human history when the explosion of wealth, technology, literacy and leisure time following the Industrial Revolution allowed for the mass marketing and consumption of literature. Kidd’s covers provide an instantly compelling graphic rendering of more complex text that can pull a reader into a book and shape their expectations, but they are also a byproduct of that market. Covers are an added value consumers sacrifice when taking the digital leap that raises even bigger questions about what aspects of production are central to the context of consumption. What do we lose when we discard the visual packaging of our culture? A central tenet of the canon of graphic design espoused by the mentor figure in The Cheese Monkeys and its sequel is that the labeling and design of our society shapes our perspective on the world around us. That the spread of his own designs’ impact on culture will be limited by the evolution of the same industry that gave Kidd his career seems at once a natural progression and a cruel a joke.
Despite my anxiously premature nostalgia, I am complicit in this joke: I have purchased only a handful of physical books in the past year, and the the bulk of my new release purchases have gone straight to my Kindle. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s awe inspiring that technology has advanced so far I can pull thousands of books from the air at the push of a button, an idea as contradictory and as promising as three monkeys contemplating a block of cheese.
Newt Gingrich has spent the last two days doing interview after interview to discuss the Romney campaign’s disingenuous attack claiming that the Obama administration is out to “gut welfare reform.” But during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Gingrich was presented with the actual text of the Department of Health and Human Services regulation that the administration is adopting, and had to acknowledge that the directive, as written, doesn’t gut welfare. “None of us believe them,” was all Gingrich could say.
Gingrich made a similar admission Wednesday night, when he all but all but admitted to CNN’s Anderson Cooper that a Romney campaign ad about welfare reform has no evidence behind it:
COOPER: But under the — I mean, this ad said under Obama’s plan you wouldn’t have to work, you wouldn’t have to train for a job, they just send you your welfare check. There’s no evidence of that at all.
GINGRICH: Well, given that this is an administration which has maximized the increase in dependency, maximized the number of people on food stamps, maximized the effort to get people to rely on the government, there’s also no evidence that once the waiver system is in place that you could rely on this administration to defend work. [...]
COOPER: I want to just try to clarify this. You do think that the actual wording under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work, you wouldn’t have to train for a job, they just send you your welfare check, that is not factually correct?
GINGRICH: We have no proof today, but I would say to you under Obama’s ideology it is absolutely true that he would be comfortable sending a lot of people checks for doing nothing. I believe that totally.
Romney’s ad claims that, “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.” In reality, the administration is simply granting states waivers to experiment with their job programs, not ending them. One of welfare reform’s conservative architects even called the Republican attacks “exaggerated.”
And none of this political debate grapples with the fact that today’s welfare programs were wholly inadequate during the Great Recession, getting aid to just a fraction of those families who needed it.