Photo: Progress OhioThe effort to get a referendum on Ohio's SB 5 needed 231,149 valid signatures from 44 counties. Today, pro-repeal groups marched in Columbus to deliver 1,298,301 petition signatures to the secretary of state.
Two weeks ago, when the repeal campaign announced that more than 700,000 signatures had been collected, Chris Bowers provided an overview:
The only public polls released on SB 5 have shown wide majorities of Ohio voter in favor of repeal. A Quinnipiac poll from mid-May showed repeal ahead 54%-36%, while a PPP poll from later in May showed repeal winning 55%-35%.
This signature gathering campaign does not just force a November referendum on the bill. It actually prevents the bill from going into law until the results of the referendum are certified. As such, if the repeal wins in November, which seems likely, then SB 5 will never become law. This is shaping up to become a total defeat for Ohio Governor John Kasich and his union-busting allies.
That defeat won't come without a lot more hard work, but today the campaign to get enough signatures to force a referendum ends, and the campaign to win the referendum begins.
TONY PEYSER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Is she an absolute idiot?
This proof is prima facie:
She mixed up John Wayne
And John Wayne Gacy
Fifteen Democratic Senators have written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Justice Department to carefully review the "highly restrictive photo identification requirements" that are sweeping state legislatures across the country.
Concerned that the measures could "block millions of eligible American voters without addressing any problem commensurate with this kind of restriction on voting rights," the Senators ask DOJ to use the "full power of the Department of Justice to review these voter identification laws and scrutinize their implementation."
The letter -- written by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and signed by Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), Sens. Dick Durbin (IL), Chuck Schumer (NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Sherrod Brown (OH), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Jeff Merkley (OR), Mark Begich (AK), Ben Cardin (MD), Mary Landrieu (LA), Patty Murray (WA), Ron Wyden (OR), Tom Harkin (IA), Herb Kohl (WI) and Tom Udall (NM) -- comes as Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Kansas and Tennessee have already passed voter ID measures.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) questioned DOJ's Thomas Perez about the Department's review of voter ID laws at a hearing earlier this month. Perez said that the Justice Department was reviewing all of the laws that had been passed under Section 2 and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
But the Justice Department's ability to step in to stop voter ID measures is hampered by a 2008 Supreme Court decision which found that Indiana's state voter ID law was constitutional. Indiana provides IDs free of charge to the poor and allows those who don't have IDs to cast provisional ballots.
A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed receiving the letter and said DOJ was "monitoring, as we routinely do, this type of legislative activity in the states."
TPM's full coverage of voter ID developments is available here.
The text of the letter is reprinted below:
Dear Attorney General Holder: We are writing to express our concerns about highly restrictive photo identification requirements under consideration or already signed into law in several states. These measures have the potential to block millions of eligible American voters without addressing any problem commensurate with this kind of restriction on voting rights. Studies have shown that as high as 11% of eligible voters nationwide do not have a government-issued ID. This percentage is higher for seniors, racial minorities, low-income voters and students. Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and we urge you to protect the voting rights of Americans by using the full power of the Department of Justice to review these voter identification laws and scrutinize their implementation.
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act vests significant authority in the Department to review laws before they are implemented in covered jurisdictions. As you know, the burden of proof in this preclearance process is on those covered jurisdictions, which must be able to show that legal changes will not have a discriminatory impact on minority voters. New photo identification laws, for instance, must be subjected to the highest scrutiny as states justify these new barriers to participation. In Section 5 jurisdictions, whenever photo identification legislation is considered, the Department should closely monitor the legislative process to track any unlawful intent evinced by the proceedings.
Restrictive photo identification requirements are also being considered or have passed in states and jurisdictions that are not covered by Section 5. The Department should exercise vigilance in overseeing whether these laws are implemented in a way that discriminates against protected classes in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Additionally, federal civil rights law - 42 U.S.C. 1971(a)(2)- prohibits different standards, practices or procedures from being applied to individuals within a jurisdiction. We believe the Department should ensure that these photo identification laws do not violate this statute or other federal voting rights statutes.
Highly restrictive photo identification requirements at the polls can make it more difficult for well-intentioned voters to cast their ballots, and as far as America's civil rights trajectory is concerned, that sort of effect takes America in the wrong direction. We urge you to exercise your authority to examine these laws so that voting rights are not jeopardized. We also request that you brief us on the efforts the Department is undertaking to ensure these new laws are implemented in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.
Thank you for your work protecting the civil rights of all Americans.
It appears to now be politically difficult to even find a proper venue for investigating the alleged physical altercation at the Wisconsin Supreme Court -- in which liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has accused conservative Justice David Prosser of grabbing her neck in a chokehold, during an argument over the court's recent decision regarding the upholding of Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation.
Dane County (Madison) Sheriff Dave Mahoney, who was elected as a Democrat in a partisan election, has separated himself from the investigation, following complaints by some conservative activists -- and also following the investigation having been transferred to him on Monday by the Capitol Police, who had originally been investigating the matter.
Some conservatives had complained that in this past spring election for the state Supreme Court, Mahoney had endorsed Prosser's opponent JoAnn Kloppenburg. In addition, he has previously endorsed Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson -- whom Prosser has previously called a "total bitch," and when the incident was later reported said the comment was "entirely warranted"
In his statement, Mahoney described the process by which the case was transferred throughout his office in multiple steps, such that he would play no role in assigning detectives or overseeing the investigation.
Mahoney's full statement:
The Office of Sheriff is an elected Constitutional Office and as such the Sheriff is political, even at times endorsing other candidates at the local, state and national level. Although the Office of Dane County Sheriff is an elected office, the duties of the men and women of the Sheriff's Office are not now nor have they ever been political.
"As Sheriff I demand a high level of ethical conduct and integrity of staff and investigations undertaken by the Sheriff's Office; and I place those same expectations on myself," said Sheriff Dave Mahoney.
"Although as Sheriff, I honored the request of the Capitol Police to conduct an investigation into the Supreme Court incident on June 13, 2011, I turned the case over to the Chief Deputy. The Chief Deputy then assigned the case to the Captain of Field Services, who in turn assigned a team of detectives and supervisors to investigate the case and oversee the investigation. As the Sheriff I have no role in the assignment of detectives and supervisors or overseeing the investigation," said Sheriff Dave Mahoney.
I’m not as squeamish as some are about the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA arming for 2012. Karl Rove’s Crossroads ad, seen first below, which I’ve seen on Fox News channel several times, has been met by progressive Super PAC[...]
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According to a recent Sanford University Medical School study, the big tobacco companies are trying to lure minority youth into taking up the smoking of menthol cigarettes. Even thought these companies know many of the these young people will die down the line from smoking their product, and they claim not to be targeting young people, the evidence uncovered by the Stanford report makes it it clear these companies are out to make a profit by selling as much death and disease as they can to minority youth.
The report is featured in ScienceDaily, "Menthol Cigarettes Marketed in 'Predatory' Pattern, Study Shows," for June 27, 2011. The Food and Drug Administration is on the verge of banning menthol in cigarettes. The lead researcher of the report, Lisa Henriksen, PhD, says, "The tobacco companies went out of their way to argue to the Food and Drug Administration that they don't use racial targeting. This evidence[of the Stanford study] is not consistent with those claims."
Menthol is used to makes cigarettes less harsh and is said in company ads to bring about a feeling of "freshness." The major users of these kinds of cigarettes are teenagers, minorities and the poor ("low-income populations"). The FDA tasked the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee to study the health hazards of menthol cigarettes and the committee concluded, in its own words, "removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States."
This is not very startling since removing all cigarettes would benefit public health so naturally we didn't need a special committee to report back that banning menthol cigarettes would be beneficial. The recommendation in non-binding anyway. The committee is going to meet again in the middle of July to write up a final report-- let's hope it is more specific than the quote in SD.
The FDA should ban menthol cigarettes just to stop the industry's predation against middle and high school students. The committee, which has the Stanford report, should really come down hard on the industry. Since it was charged, Dr, Henriksen said, "with considering a broad definition of harm to smokers and other populations, particularly youth. We think our study, which shows the predatory marketing in school neighborhoods with higher concentrations of youth and African-American students, fits a broad definition of harm."
The report reveals an increase in cigarette use by youth between 2004 and 2008, and that in the age group 12-17 71.9% of African American youth prefer menthol brands (the figures for "whites" was 41% and Hispanics 47%). Comparing the actions of Newport (menthols made by Lorillard) with Marlboro Reds (Obama's brand and non menthol made by Philip Morris) the report shows that Newport offers special price reductions around schools that have a large African-American enrollment. Other brands were also studied.
SD reported that the study found that ads for menthol cigarettes increased by almost 6% near schools for every increase in the proportion of African-American students of 10%, and Newport cut the price of a pack by 12 cents for each of those 10% increases.
Also in the surrounding neighborhoods Newport also seemingly checked out the proportion of youth ages 10-17 (!)-- and for each 10% increase in their proportion, increased ads by 11.6% and had odds of 5.3% that Newports would sell at discounted prices. Marlboro Reds had no ads or price changes related to the presence of youth or African-American students.
So we now know despite the claims of the industry that it is targeting young people and minorities to take up smoking menthol cigarettes. African-American teens are being especially targeted.
Stephen Fortmann, MD, who also participated in making this study, was quoted as saying, "When kids are exposed to more cigarette advertising they are more likely to start smoking, which will undoubtedly lead to dire health consequences. Our study finds that tobacco companies are trying to make smoking more attractive to teens, when we as a society should be doing just the opposite. Adding menthol to cigarettes makes it easier to smoke and harder to quit, so the public health community strongly supports an FDA ban on menthol flavoring."
My prediction. The FDA will vote for the ban and the Supreme Court will over turn it as a violation of free speech. Libertarians and Tea Party folks will be against the ban as an infringement of personal liberty. What 10 year doesn't want a Newport to suck on while playing a slice'em and dice''em video game.
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Michele Bachmann has Ed Rollins as one of her political gurus, so you'd think by now her infamous gaffes and ridiculous statements would have started to calm down. Well, as we've seen with her theory that John Quincy Adams was a Founding Father and that she had the spirit of an Iowa serial killer named John Wayne Gacy -- this is a problem that isn't going away soon. Oh, by the way, since Michele refuses to admit she made a mistake on Adams...
John Quincy Adams was eight years old when the Declaration of Independence was written.
Anyway, calls of the angry librul press victimizing her are ringing out by the RWNM to defend her from her own words and actions. You know, actions like businesses that she's involved with which are accepting a ton of cash from the government.
But it's not only the press or left-wing blogs who are highlighting her troubling behavior. As Chris Wallace said, FOX gives news from the other side of the story, and Brit Hume was on The O'Reilly Factor with Juan Williams hosting the other night and said that Michele Bachmann's weird Gacy-type statements will make independent voters very uncomfortable.
WILLIAMS: .... And she seemed to try and downplay the kind of extreme language she was using in the past where she was talking about President Obama running a gangsta government or being anti-American, she's being all, I might not put it that way now, so if she gets by some of these stumbles, if she tries to modulate her personality Brit, will that help?
HUME: Yes it would. Over the weekend, perhaps unfairly, she's vulnerable to -- she said over the weekend in more than one place, I believe, that Waterloo, Iowa, where she was born and where she made her announcement today, was also the place where John Wayne came from. Well, John Wayne didn't come from Waterloo, Iowa, he never lived in Waterloo Iowa, his parent were there briefly... There is somebody with a similar sounding name though that did live in Waterloo, John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer.. Now this was not an important declaration on her part. It's a mistake that normal people make, but it is the kind of thing on the campaign trail can be very damaging...
WILLIAMS: And she's susceptible to it.
HUME: I think she's vulnerable to it and that may not be fair, but I think that's how it is and I think that's the thing she struggles against and might make her vulnerable among independents.
Wow, when have you ever heard something like that so early in the process? It appears FOX are the ones nervous about her campaign and are trying to guide the Tea Party FOX viewers over to Mitt Romney's corner because they almost never highlight conservative gaffes like that.
Hume is correct, of course, because Sarah Palin has very high negatives with independents and MB shares her base of voters, but Brit Hume not backing her up this early in the game is an indication the GOP elites hope she doesn't win the nomination.
And I'm wondering: Will Laura Ingraham refer to Brit Hume as part of the Republican elitists who are against Michele Bachmann?
Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) raised hell last year to stop the federal government from investigating Goldman Sachs regarding allegations that the company defrauded investors. In April 2010, shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)announced a civil suit against Goldman Sachs, Issa sent a letter to SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro demanding to know if there was ?any sort of prearrangement, coordination, direction from, or advance notice? between the SEC and the Obama administration or congressional Democrats over the timing of the lawsuit.
Issa?s investigation of the SEC?s investigation into Goldman Sachs stolethe headlines and reinforced Goldman Sach?s claim that they had done nothing wrong. Explaining his defense of Goldman Sachs, Issa said he was representing the views of ordinary Americans who are worried about the ?growth of government and the growth of government wanting to become more complex, with more agencies and more control over our lives.?
However, recent personal finance disclosures reviewed by ThinkProgress paint a different picture of Issa?s motivations. According to documents filed recently with the House Clerk, Issa went on a buying spree of high yield Goldman Sachs bonds at the same time he was running defense for the investment bank in Congress. From February to December of 2010, Issa bought 12 Goldman Sachs High Yield Fund Class A bonds, each worth up to $50,000 (view page 10 the disclosurehere). Many of the bonds were purchased in the months after he filed his letter to the SEC. The $600,000 in new Goldman Sachs investments added to Issa?s already multimillion dollar stake in the company, valued from $5.1 to $15.5 million.
We’ve been reporting on statistics from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that illustrate a dire global problem: We squander nearly one third of our food through food waste (on the consumption side) and food losses (on the production side). In developed countries, over 40% of losses come from companies and consumers throwing out perfectly good food. And on the production side, we lose enough food to feed at least 48 million people due to inefficiencies in harvesting, storage and delivery, according to the FAO. The WorldWatch Institute is addressing the problem through its Nourishing the Planet project, a two-year effort to make the food system more equitable and efficient. It couldn’t come soon enough. ? Stephen Lacey
From the WorldWatch Institute:
At a time when the land, water, and energy resources necessary to feed a global population of 6.9 billion are increasingly limited ?and when at least 1 billion people remain chronically hungry-food losses mean a waste of those resources and a failure of our food system to meet the needs of the poor. The Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project, a two-year evaluation of environmentally sustainable agricultural innovations to alleviate hunger, is highlighting ways to make the most of the food that is produced and to make more food available to those who need it most.
According to Tristram Stuart, a contributing author of Worldwatch’s State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet report, some 150 million tons of grains are lost annually in low-income countries, six times the amount needed to meet the needs of all the hungry people in the developing world. Meanwhile, industrialized countries waste some 222 million tons of perfectly good food annually, a quantity nearly equivalent to the 230 million tons that sub-Saharan Africa produces in a year. Unlike farmers in many developing countries, however, agribusinesses in industrial countries have numerous tools at their disposal to prevent food from spoiling-including pasteurization and preservation facilities, drying equipment, climate-controlled storage units, transport infrastructure, and chemicals designed to expand shelf-life.
“All this may ironically have contributed to the cornucopian abundance that has fostered a culture in which staggering levels of ‘deliberate’ food waste are now accepted or even institutionalized,” writes Stuart in his chapter, “Post-Harvest Losses: A Neglected Field.” “Throwing away cosmetically ‘imperfect’ produce on farms, discarding edible fish at sea, over-ordering stock for supermarkets, and purchasing or cooking too much food in the home, are all examples of profligate negligence toward food.”
Nourishing the Planet researchers traveled to 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, meeting with 350 farmers’ groups, NGOs, government agencies, and scientists. “This amount of loss is shocking considering that many experts estimate that the world will need to double food production in the next half-century as people eat more meat and generally eat better,” says Danielle Nierenberg, Nourishing the Planet project director. “It would make good sense to invest in making better use of what is already produced.”
“Humanity is approaching — and in some places exceeding — the limits of potential farmland and water supplies that can be used for farming,” notes Worldwatch Institute Executive Director Robert Engelman. “We’re already facing food price spikes and the early impacts of human-caused climate change on food production. We can’t afford to overlook simple, low-cost fixes to reduce food waste.”
Nourishing the Planet offers the following three low-cost approaches that can go a long way toward making the most of the abundance that our food system already produces. Innovations in both the developing and industrialized worlds include:
You can check out the campaign and the latest State of the World Report here.
Today, 13 senators have released a video for the anti-bullying It Gets Better campaign. The video features Democratic senators Richard Blumenthal (CT), Sherrod Brown (OH), Maria Cantwell (WA), Chris Coons (DE), Dick Durbin (IL), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Al Franken (MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Chuck Schumer (NY), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Mark Udall (CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), and Ron Wyden (OR.):