We don't usually write about state-level legislative wrangling, but in this case, we think you'll agree that there's good reason.
Before the election, we wrote a lot about the Republican effort to make it harder for poor and minority voters to cast ballots. In several states, the GOP took advantage of restrictive voter ID laws, passed in recent years, to try to force election officials to purge voters from the rolls.
A well-organized campaign by voting rights groups and Democrats helped mitigate the damage. But that doesn't seem to have deterrred the GOP...
In fact, Texas Republicans have doubled down on the strategy, "pushing a bill to require voters to show a photo ID -- a requirement that, studies show, would hit poor and minority voters, who vote disproportionately Democratic, particularly hard. As usual, the stated rationale for the bill is to protect against voter fraud -- and as usual, Republicans have produced no actual evidence that such fraud is occurring.
Similar laws exist in Indiana and Florida, Republican election officials in both states sought to use those laws to make it harder to vote.
The bill passed the GOP-controlled Texas Senate today, on a party-line vote, reports the Dallas Morning News -- but not before some noteworthy developments during Senate hearings.
First, in an sign of how the movement for this bill ties in to broader GOP efforts to make voting harder, Republicans wheeled out arch voter suppression guru and TPMmuckraker fave Hans Von Spakovsky to testify about the dangers of voter fraud.
Then, the hearing, run by Republicans, ended up dragging on from Tuesday morning all the way until this morning. Some citizens who had been called by Democrats to testify did not get to speak until 6am this morning.
Reported the DMN:
One woman who waited all night sobbed during her testimony, saying she had no idea she would have to wait more than 20 hours to speak.
The bill is expected to face a much tougher time in the closely divided House. And Democrats have said they plan to challenge the bill's legality in court, under the Voting Rights Act.
Meanwhile, in Washington, the Senate Rules committee, chaired by Chuck Schumer, released an MIT study finding that up to 7 million voters were prevented or discouraged from casting votes in the November election, thanks largely to barriers to voter registration.
As Republicans understand, making voting harder can make a difference in a close election. And the terms of battle for 2010 and 2012 are already being drawn...
I kind of like this guy when he's being frank and honest. He's clearly not a Republican at heart. Kind of sad, really. Too bad it's probably going to get him fired. From Taegan:
In an interview with GQ, RNC Chairman Michael Steele made some statements that will likely be controversial with many of his Republican constituents.Comparing being gay to being black? The religious right is going to FLIP. Well, they're already going to fire him over the abortion comment - the gay one is just icing on the cake.
On if women have the right to choose an abortion: "Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice."
On whether homosexuality is a choice: "Oh, no. I don't think I've ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there's a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can't simply say, oh, like, 'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being gay.' It's like saying, 'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being black.'"
ANYBODY WANNA KNOW WHO’S DONATED TO SLIMEY NORM COLEMAN?!?!ANYBODY?!The ineptitude of this man is shocking. Hrmmm…Stunning. Umm… RIDICULOUS!On my PC, I have two files - one which holds over 51,000 names of people who’ve donated to Norm Coleman’s campaigns over the past decade. The other file, an additional 4,700.You want to snoop? Help yourself! [...]
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As part of our ongoing race to the bottom, having an American family of five live in a motel room is something for which they should be grateful. After all, how many other families are living in storage bins?
COSTA MESA, Calif. ? Greg Hayworth, 44, graduated from Syracuse University and made a good living in his home state, California, from real estate and mortgage finance. Then that business crashed, and early last year the bank foreclosed on the house his family was renting, forcing their eviction.
Now the Hayworths and their three children represent a new face of homelessness in Orange County: formerly middle income, living week to week in a cramped motel room.
?I owe it to my kids to get out of here,? Mr. Hayworth said, recalling the night they saw a motel neighbor drag a half-naked woman out the door while he beat her.
As the recession has deepened, longtime workers who lost their jobs are facing the terror and stigma of homelessness for the first time, including those who have owned or rented for years. Some show up in shelters and on the streets, but others, like the Hayworths, are the hidden homeless ? living doubled up in apartments, in garages or in motels, uncounted in federal homeless data and often receiving little public aid.
The Hayworths tried staying with relatives but ended up last September at the Costa Mesa Motor Inn, one of more than 1,000 families estimated to be living in motels in Orange County alone. They are among a lucky few: a charity pays part of the $800-a-month charge while Mr. Hayworth tries to recreate a career.
The family, which includes a 15-year-old daughter, shares a single room and sleeps on two beds. With most possessions in storage, they eat in two shifts, on three borrowed plates ? all that one jammed cabinet can hold. His wife, Terri, has health problems and, like many other families, they cannot muster the security deposit and other upfront costs of renting a new place.
Motel families exist by the hundreds in Denver, along freeway-bypassed Route 1 on the Eastern Seaboard, and in other cities from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Portland, Ore. But they are especially prevalent in Orange County, which has high rents, a shortage of public housing and a surplus of older motels that once housed Disneyland visitors.
Did the wrong guy get an earful about toeing the line on the omnibus?
Will John Culberson ever learn to control his churlishness?
Find out at Congress Matters. Your Daily Kos ID and password work there, too, so if you're registered here, you're registered there.
And no, you can't comment on this thread. Because you didn't hold a "secret ballot" vote on whether or not you're really a bona fide commenter or not.
Sorry. The secret ballot's sacred, you know.
In a Q&A at the Wonk Room today, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) was asked why “the media still giving space” to global warming deniers. “I?m hopeful that while the old talking heads are still singing the ‘anti-science’ tune, most of America doesn?t really believe it,” replied Edwards.
Unfortunately, a new Gallup poll shows that while a majority of Americans still believe global warming is happening, a record number now say that it is “exaggerated” by the news media:
Considering the manner in which the media covers global warming, it’s not surprising that the public is confused. For instance, when conservative columnist George Will published demonstrably false claims about climate change in the Washington Post, the Post refused to run a correction. Editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, defended Will, claiming that he was simply ?drawing inferences from data that most scientists reject” and that his critics were ?irresponsible.?
In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore pointed out that studies have found that “essentially zero percent of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles disagreed that global warming exists,” but that “53 percent of mainstream newspaper articles disagreed [with] the global warming premise.” Gore says that this is “balance as bias.”
Homelessness is easy for most people to distance themselves from.It happens to 'other people'. They[...]
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A new DCCC poll conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group (400 LVs, Feb. 24-25) shows Democrat Scott Murphy closing in on Republican Jim Tedisco in the race to replace Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the House (via Politico.) Tedisco 44 Murphy 37 Sundwall[...]
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If the GOP wants to boot Michael Steele, what would they have to do to fire him? Matt Cooper takes a look at the rules. [...]
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New internal polling shows that Democrat Scott Murphy, candidate for the U.S. House seat from New York's 20th Congressional District in the March 31 special election, is closing rapidly on the favorite, Republican Jim Tedisco.
In fact, Murphy - who has trailed by as much as 21 points in some polls - was within single digits in a poll taken two weeks ago, and Tedisco has had a very bad couple of weeks since then.
Benenson Strategy Group for the DCCC. 2/25-28. Likely voters. MoE 5%. (No trend lines)
Jim Tedisco (R) 44
Scott Murphy (D) 37
This is fantastic news. The district leans strongly Republican in registration, and voted solidly for Bush in 2000 and 2004 before going narrowly for Obama in 2008.
It was initially drawn to protect a Republican, but the seat was won by now-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2006. When Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate, Republicans jumped all over this race as the one to prove They Were Back, much as they figure to use the Virginia Governor's race this fall.
The deck seemed stacked for them - Republican district, famous candidate (Tedisco is the State Assembly Minority Leader), short campaign cycle in which the Democrat probably wouldn't have time to make himself known to voters. So the Republicans have been going all-in:
Top Republicans, including House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, have made picking up the GOP-leaning 20th District their top political mission, steering money and donors to the race. Steele has been to the district twice, while Boehner is expected there soon. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former New York Gov. George Pataki have also been involved.
Gillibrand, who is enormously popular in the district, has cut ads and recorded "robocalls" for Murphy, while Paterson and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are helping him on the fundraising side. Murphy's upcoming disclosure report will show that he has ranked in well over $1 million, while Tedisco is approaching that threshold as well, according to sources from both parties.
Here's the thing: despite the Republicans' best efforts, Murphy is gaining.
And that means mayday for RNC chairman Michael Steele, who is likely to lose his job if Murphy wins the election.
Republican insiders tell Political Wire that a no confidence vote on RNC Chairman Michael Steele is likely to be called after the NY-20 special election on March 31 -- regardless of whether Republicans win the seat or not.
Katon Dawson, who came in second in the January RNC vote, is said to be quietly organizing a vote and is getting the support of several state party chairmen who want to dump Steele.
So let me get this straight - if they lose this election, and perhaps even if they don't, Team Elephant is going to throw over Steele in favor of a former segregationist?
This is comedy gold. And Scott Murphy is the man who can make this happen, on March 31.
On the web:
Scott Murphy for Congress