Posts Tagged ‘fear’
The Obama administration embarked on a new strategy on Thursday to challenge voting laws it says discriminate by race, an effort to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month that freed states from the strictest federal oversight.
Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to start in Texas, a conservative stronghold where his Justice Department will ask a federal court for renewed power to block new election laws it says illegally discriminate against blacks and other minorities.
The Texas action was expected to be the first in a nationwide roll-out of cases to work around Shelby County v. Holder, the Alabama case in which the Supreme Court on June 25 invalidated a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
“This is the department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last,” Holder said to a standing ovation in Philadelphia at the annual conference of the National Urban League…
Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican and possible presidential candidate in 2016, said the move demonstrated contempt by the Obama administration…
Poisonally I don’t believe bigots and racists deserve anything more than contempt…
The Justice Department was already tangling with Texas in federal courts, alleging that the state discriminated by race in two impermissible ways.
First, department lawyers objected to the drawing of congressional and state legislative district lines that they say leave too few places where a minority candidate can win.
Second, although the Justice Department has allowed voter ID requirements in some states, it said Texas failed to include measures to protect minority voters…
Holder also said Texas has a “history of pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities that the Supreme Court itself has recognized.”
RTFA for more detail and history. Though, if you need lots of convincing to be certain of Texas’ bigotry you need to get out and feed a little fresh air and information to your brain.
Joking with kin about this – a recovering Republican – he reminded me he still has a receipt squirreled away for paying a poll tax in Texas in the Bad Ol’ Days before civil rights law, voting rights law, became the law of the land.
Nope, there’s nothing new in Texas except the number of definitions of ethnicities, genders and ideologies some old-fashioned Texans fear are lurking under their bed at night.
Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry on Wednesday launched another battle to pass sweeping abortion restrictions after a marathon speech by a Democrat lawmaker briefly halted a bill critics say could shut most abortion clinics in one of the nation’s biggest states.
Democratic Senator Wendy Davis, once a teenage mother who went on to earn a Harvard Law degree, was propelled on to the national political stage when she spoke for more than 10 hours to block a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
It proved a short-lived victory for women’s groups and abortion rights advocates fighting to stop abortion restrictions across several states. Perry called for another special legislative session to reconsider the proposal on July 1…
I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Texas Republican. They respect the truth even less than they care for women’s rights.
Davis’ filibuster of the Republican supermajority in the Texas legislature was streamed live on some national media websites.
Republicans managed to stop her about two hours before the midnight end to the special legislative session, citing parliamentary procedures, but they were unable to complete voting on the abortion bill before the deadline…
If the measure ultimately passes, Texas would become the 13th state to impose a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and by far the most populous. In addition, the legislation would set strict [phony] health standards for abortion clinics and restrict the use of drugs to end pregnancy.
Republican backers said blah, blah, blah…
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, but conservative states have enacted laws in recent years that seek to place restrictions on the procedure, especially on abortions performed late in pregnancy.
The debate rages across the nation. Twelve states have passed 20-week bans, including two states where the bans take effect later this year, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Courts have alreaady blocked the bans in three of the 12 states – Arizona, Georgia and Idaho.
Folks outside the United States have to understand that the rule of law only means obedience to 19th Century ideology for what passes for Republicans, nowadays. Science, honesty, dialogue, consensus, democracy and respect for all citizens – are meaningless words leftover from some time warp when traditional American conservatism valued those standards.
Who’s the coward? The gun nut sending poison through the mail – or Mike Bloomberg who ain’t running away from a fight?
Deadly threats will not prevent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg from pursuing tighter gun laws, the outspoken gun control advocate said Thursday after anonymous letters addressed to him tested positive for ricin.
“The letter was obviously referring to our anti-gun efforts, but there’s 12,000 people who are going to get killed this year with guns,” Bloomberg said. “We’re not going to walk away from those efforts.”
U.S. Secret Service also confirmed on Thursday that the White House mail screening facility intercepted a separate letter addressed to the White House that was similar to the letters previously addressed to Bloomberg…
Tests conducted on Wednesday confirmed two anonymous threatening letters sent to Bloomberg and Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, contained the presence of ricin. The poison, which can be a white powder or orange liquid, is found naturally in castor beans. It can be fatal for up to 72 hours.
“What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you,” the anonymous person wrote in the letter sent to Bloomberg. “You’ll have to kill me and my family before you get my guns…blah, blah, blah!
Law enforcement sources said the letters were postmarked May 20 from Shreveport, La.
The letter to Bloomberg was opened on Sunday and the letter to Glaze was opened on Friday. Bloomberg’s letter was intercepted at a mail sorting facility in Manhattan, and Glaze’s letter was encountered at Washington, D.C., offices. Everyone who came into contact with the letters was unharmed.
“I’m not angry. There are people who I would argue do things that may be irrational, do things that are wrong,” Bloomberg said. “But it’s a very complex world out there, and we just have to deal with that.”
Bloomberg is way too forgiving. I don’t mind laying a bit of understanding on the woefully ignorant who populate, say, the Tea Party or line up at the American Legion bar on Friday night to tell war stories. But, the criminal arrogance of cowards who fear democracy so much they resort to attempted murder deserve no sympathy.
Lock ‘em up and throw away the key.
Pope Francis has backed the Vatican’s doctrinal crackdown on a major group of American nuns, reasserting the Roman Catholic Church’s conservative approach to various social issues in a move that could cool the warm reception he has received from some liberal Catholics since taking office last month.
The Vatican said in a statement Monday that Francis had reaffirmed the doctrinal evaluation and criticism of U.S. nuns made last year by the Holy See under his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The assessment accused the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization that represents most U.S. female Catholic orders, of promoting “radical feminist themes” and ignoring the Vatican’s hard line on same-sex marriage and abortion…
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious represents about 57,000 sisters, or 80% of U.S. nuns.
On Monday, officials from the conference met with Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith…Mueller reminded conference officials that organizations such as theirs “are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See,” the Vatican’s statement said, and that Francis had “reaffirmed the findings of the assessment and the program of reform” prescribed for the nuns.
Kenneth Briggs, the author of a book about the Vatican’s clash with U.S. nuns, said Francis’ backing of the Holy See’s unyielding line was “a major blow” to prospects for more dialogue.
“It seems like the Vatican has put a more appealing salesman in charge of the same old product,” Briggs said.
You got it. The “new” pope seems perfectly happy in charge of a ideology in decline – at least as long as the coffers continue to keep him and his brethren living according to whatever style of royalty they choose.
Being out-of-date and irrelevant is, after all, perfectly acceptable behavior to many religious old geezers who fear women, equal opportunity, democracy and progress.
The House on Thursday gave final approval to a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, sending a bipartisan Senate measure to President Obama after a House plan endorsed by conservatives was defeated…It amounted to a significant victory for the president and Congressional Democrats, who have assailed Republicans for months for stalling the legislation.
The successful measure passed the Senate last month with 78 votes — including those of every woman, all Democrats and just over half of Republicans.
The alternative unveiled by the House last Friday immediately came under sharp criticism from Democrats and women’s and human rights groups for failing to include protections in the Senate bill for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse. The House bill also eliminated “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from a list of “populations” that face barriers to receiving victim services — and stripped certain provisions regarding American Indian women on reservations.
With House Republicans divided, the leadership agreed that it would allow a vote on the Senate bill if the House version could not attract sufficient votes, and it failed on a vote of 257 to 166. Sixty Republicans joined 197 Democrats in opposition; 164 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted for it.
The newly passed legislation creates and expands federal programs to assist local communities with law enforcement and aiding victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Most notably, the bill goes further by offering protections for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse, as well as allowing American Indian women who are assaulted on reservations by non-Indians to take their case to tribal courts, which otherwise would not have jurisdiction over assailants who do not live on tribal land…
The legislation’s approval underscored the divide in the Republican party as it struggles to regain its footing with women after its 2012 electoral drubbing among female voters. House Republicans — even split at the leadership level — ultimately bowed to what they saw as the best interests of their party nationally, even if that meant overriding the will of the majority of rank-and-file Republicans.
“Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Today’s vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the L.G.B.T. community.”
“Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk,” Mr. Obama said…
Various flavors of House Republicans will now spend the next few weeks fabricating the next generation of lies about why they voted against the Senate bill, why they tried to pass a bill riddled with loopholes.
This has been a bill generating automatic bi-partisan support for decades. It has grown in breadth and concern as have the same qualities among American voters. But, now, the nutballs in charge of the Republican Party not only reject growing and learning, they reject bipartisan discussion and negotiation – and most of all – they reject any bill which appears to reflect the leadership of President Obama.
They have the stature that tiny minds deserve. An STD infecting Congress!
Women’s clothing stores warned not to use mannequins – faceless heads are OK
The Brooklyn shopkeeper was already home for the night when her phone rang: a man who said he was from a neighborhood “modesty committee” was concerned that the mannequins in her store’s window, used to display women’s clothing, might inadvertently arouse passing men and boys.
“The man said, ‘Do the neighborhood a favor and take it out of the window,’ ” the store’s manager recalled. “ ‘We’re trying to safeguard our community.’ ”
In many neighborhoods, a store owner might shrug off such a call. But on Lee Avenue, the commercial spine of Hasidic Williamsburg, the warning carried an implied threat — comply with community standards or be shunned. It is a potent threat in a neighborhood where shadowy, sometimes self-appointed modesty squads use social and economic leverage to enforce conformity.
The owner wrestled with the request for a day or two, but decided to follow it. “We can sell it without mannequins, so we might as well do what the public wants,” the owner told the manager, who asked not to be identified because of fear of reprisals for talking.
In the close-knit world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, community members know the modesty rules…Women wear long skirts and long-sleeved, high-necked blouses on the street; men do not wear Bermuda shorts in summer. Schools prescribe the color and thickness of girls’ stockings.
The rules are spoken and unspoken, enforced by social pressure but also, in ways that some find increasingly disturbing, by the modesty committees…
A 15-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of two adults and three children, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office said.
Last night, police found five people dead at a South Valley home in the 2800 block of Long Lane SW. A man, a woman, two girls and a boy were found in the home with several gunshot wounds. Friends identified the man as Greg Griego, a pastor at Calvary Church in Albuquerque.
Shortly after 1:00 p.m. police identified the 15-year-old as Nehemiah Griego.
Police believe the teenager used an AR-15 semi automatic rifle in the shooting. Multiple weapons were retrieved from the house.
Various nutballs from around the state turned out at the beginning of the weekend to voice their hatred and fear, their mindless rote about the 2nd Amendment somehow being threatened. There were fewer than 100 people at the state capitol.
They were the same people who showed up for the so-called Tea Party rallies.
They were the same people who threatened violence and death for Black children who dared enter previously all-white schools.
They were the same people who volunteered to join the army, see the world, visit foreign lands and kill everyone.
This week millions of “Chreasters” — Americans who attend church only on Christmas and Easter — will crowd into pews to sing carols and renew their vague relationship with the Christian God. This year, there may be fewer Chreasters than ever. A growing number of “nones” live in our midst: those who say they have no religious affiliation at all. An October Pew Research Center poll revealed that they now account for 20 percent of the population, up from 16 percent in 2008.
Avoiding church does not excuse Americans from marking the birth of Jesus, however. Most of us have no choice but to stay home from work or school — and if you complain about this glaring exception to the separation between church and state, you must be a scrooge with no heart for tradition. Christmas has been a federal holiday for 142 years.
Yet Christianity’s preferential place in our culture and civil law came under fire this year, and not simply because more Americans reject institutional religion. The Obama administration subtly worked to expand the scope of protected civil rights to include access to legal marriage and birth control. Catholic bishops and evangelical activists declared that Washington was running roughshod over religious liberty and abandoning the country’s founding values, while their opponents accused them of imposing one set of religious prejudices on an increasingly pluralistic population. The Christian consensus that long governed our public square is disintegrating. American secularism is at a crossroads.
The narrative on the right is this: Once upon a time, Americans honored the Lord, and he commissioned their nation to welcome all faiths while commanding them to uphold Christian values. But in recent decades, the Supreme Court ruled against prayer in public schools, and legalized abortion, while politicians declared “war on Christmas” and kowtowed to the “homosexual lobby.” Conservative activists insist that they protest these developments not to defend special privileges for Christianity, but to respect the founders’ desire for universal religious liberty — rooted, they say, in the Christian tradition…
How accurate is this story of decline into godlessness? Is America, supposedly God’s last bastion in the Western world, rejecting faith and endangering religious liberty?