Friday Morning Open Thread: Good News on Voting Rights

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(Non Sequitur via

Adam Liptak, in the NYTimes, “Courts Strike Down Voter ID Laws in Wisconsin and Texas“:

The Supreme Court on Thursday evening stopped officials in Wisconsin from requiring voters there to provide photo identification before casting their ballots in the coming election…

Around the same time, a federal trial court in Texas struck down that state’s ID law, saying it put a disproportionate burden on minority voters…

The challengers to the Wisconsin law asked the Supreme Court to block the voter identification requirement for now, saying it would “virtually guarantee chaos at the polls.” Whatever the legality, they said, the state cannot issue enough IDs and train enough poll workers before the November election.

The law requires absentee voters to submit identification. But forms sent before the appeals court acted did not include that requirement. State officials had said they would not count ballots returned without copies of valid ID…

Thursday’s ruling from Texas, issued after a two-week trial in Corpus Christi, found that the state’s voter ID law “creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose,” Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos wrote.

A spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general’s office said it would immediately appeal “to avoid voter confusion in the upcoming election.”

Ryan P. Haygood, a lawyer at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, welcomed the decision. “The evidence in this case,” he said, “demonstrated that the law, like its poll-tax ancestor, imposes real costs and unjustified, disparate burdens on the voting rights of more than 600,000 registered Texas voters, a substantial percentage of whom are voters of color.”

And you say that like it was a bad thing, mutter the Good Ol’ Boys.
Apart from redoubling our efforts to Get Out the Vote, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?

98 replies
  1. 1
    Botsplainer says:

    So I wonder what was wrong with the NC pleadings?

  2. 2
    Gene108 says:

    If dreams mean anything, I have failed miserable in completing my book report of Tom Sawyer for my high school English class and therefore will not get the take home final and thus not pass.

    I was thwarted because I had not read dream-Tom Sawyer, which was as long and thick as one of Dostoevsky’s major works.

    I decided to forego handwriting a rough draft* and breaking out the typewriter for the final draft. I was going to dothe whole thing on my shiny modern day lap top because the report’s only 3-5 pages double spaced, so who needs a rough draft, since you can edit as you go in MS Word, which can auto format citations.

    I even blew off the morning classes to hand it in before lunch period, since even getting a low grade on it was not as important as getting the take home final. Despite driving like mad from the home, where I lived during my high school years, to school, I could not hand it in, in time because there was only a half day and everyone had gone home.

    I am now up at 4:45 am and cannot get back to sleep.

    * Graduated high school in 1992. Long enough ago that 90% of us still used type writers for final drafts, as most of us did not have home computers.

    ** I was also delayed because water was dripping from the ceiling to the dining room, and therefor had to find another room in which to work.

  3. 3
    Gene108 says:

    Given the history of discrimination in America, with regards to voting rights, I really wish the courts would take a broader interpretation of the 15th Amendments.

    It still seems to me that unless a law explicitly states minorities cannot vote, the actual impact of the law on minorities being able to vote is irrelevant.

    I do not think any other Amendment has such a narrow interpretation, when brought before the courts.

  4. 4
    Elizabelle says:

    Malalah just won the Nobel Peace Prize. Way to go!

  5. 5
    Another Holocene Human says:

    I came home and made Frito pie with Fritos and mushroom’n’onion instead of chili because that’s what was in the fridge and now my kitty-cat is being so ‘nnoying, y’all!

    She is actively looking for something horrible to break off and attempt to swallow because pica is how she deals with stress? Ugh.

    Your food dish will go off shortly, dumb cat. Cats don’t eat onions, anyway.

  6. 6
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Elizabelle: Awesome.

  7. 7
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Gene108: “The courts”

    I think you need to direct all inquiries to John “Vote caging” Roberts.

  8. 8
    Another Holocene Human says:

    ON topic:

    Lewis Black on voting rights!

  9. 9
    Elizabelle says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    NYTimes: She shared the prize.

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday awarded the 2014 peace prize to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India for their work in helping to promote universal schooling and protecting children worldwide from abuse and exploitation.

    … The committee cited Ms. Yousafzai’s “heroic struggle” for girls’ rights to education. Mr. Satyarthi was praised for “showing great personal courage” in leading peaceful demonstrations focusing on grave exploitation of children for financial gain.

  10. 10
    Botsplainer says:


    I’ve been done with undergrad since ’84 and law school since ’88. I still routinely dream skip class for most of the semester and find myself late for a dream final without knowing which dream building it is in.

    Dream-me also made a recent court appearance in just my underwear as well, and for some reason I even slipped those off and tossed them on the floor while wondering what I was going to do if I had to stand up and address the court, as is customary.

  11. 11
    Gene108 says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    I was thinking of the 2005 Indiana voter ID law/case, where the people in favor of voter ID were given a pass in proving the issue of rampant voter fraud, while the opponents were ignored because their “hunch” that it would adversely impact minority voters was ignored because there was no hard data, just conjecture.

    I think in other cases, like 1st amendment cases,,the group in favor,of restricting rights has to show why it would not hurt free speech, for example, rather than the other way around as in the Indiana voter ID law.

  12. 12
    Gene108 says:


    What made this dream unique for me was the Russian-novel length of Tom Sawyer, having a laptop handy, as well as viewing 3-5 pages as a short report I could crunch out in no time, which is something the adult me thinks, whereas teenage me would have been plenty intimidated by the length.

    I have regularly had dreams about failing high school or not handing in assignments, but they usually do not overlap adult me’s view point with teenage me’s view point.

    Though failure seems to be a constant theme.

  13. 13
    Kay says:


    They’re shaping up along two tracks. If the state expanded access (North Carolina did) and then the GOP cuts it back courts are less likely to find that objectionable, because it’s a return to what was the status quo for the state.

    So, If the cases are based on cut-backs in things like same-day registration, early vote or counting a “right church, wrong pew” ballot, they have a harder time winning than they do with a law like that in Texas where they deliberately and carefully put in restrictive ID provisions to limit ANY Latino and AA access to the ballot. Texas never expanded access. They cut deeply into what people always had.

    Lots of states don’t have early vote or same day registration and lots of states don’t count “right church, wrong pew” ballots so if a state did offer those expansions and then Republicans cut the previous expansion to access back it’s harder to claim it’s a deliberate suppression mechanism.

  14. 14
    Gene108 says:

    xkcd’s apt take on dreams about school and assignments.

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    How high is the water Mama?

    3 feet high and rising. 2 inches yesterday, more to come today, tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday… It’s enough to make me glad I live ridge top.

  16. 16
    Kay says:

    The delightful thing about the Texas case is, it could force Texas to be the first state to go back under federal supervision after Justice Roberts gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

    It’s like a scarlet letter, a trophy you don’t want to win. This state is SO BAD it met even the nearly-impossible-to-meet test of the Roberts court.

  17. 17
    Baud says:


    I thought Texas would be in trouble when I saw they entitled their voter suppression law the Jim Crow Act of 2013.

  18. 18
    Elizabelle says:

    Just hit mute on Morning Joe. 2 minutes in. Joe is braying about what are Democrats, and all congresscritters, doing about ISIS. (Intro was NC GOP attack ads against Kay Hagan for missing ISIS hearings/votes whatever to fundraise.)

    We got lots of more important issues than ISIS. Click.

    (NBC seems to be in the pocket of its defense contractor advertisers. Always war porn.)

  19. 19
    Kay says:

    Karen Lewis is the head of the Chicago teachers union and she’s really sick. This is an editorial from the Chicago newspaper that “tussles” with her constantly:

    Since winning the CTU presidency four years ago, you’ve been a disruptive and delightful newcomer in the Chicago realm of politics and policy. That realm has no shortage of heirs riding on generations of family clout.
    Then there’s Karen Lewis.
    You are nobody nobody sent. But you’ve made yourself essential to the debate in this metropolis — to almost any debate, that is, about Chicago and its children, its schools, its finances, its direction. You’re not yet a week in the hands of a medical team and already we miss you.

    She fights, and it’s nice to see that acknowledged as valid and legitimate, for them to admit that this is adversarial, that Emanuel set out not to compromise with her but instead to beat her union and that’s why she fought back. She’s supposed to fight. She’s an advocate, and there’s nothing wrong or “uncivil” or out of bounds about that.

  20. 20
    Botsplainer says:

    Kentucky has always been ridiculously tight on access in terms of day/time. Nothing retarded on ID, but no early voting, and if you are traveling for family of leisure, you are technically ineligible for an absentee ballot. It’s always been that way.

  21. 21
    Kay says:


    I do the voter protection for this county every election and part of that is a checklist the Lefty lawyers compiled years ago where we ask the County Bds of Election about a list of things that matter to voting rights people prior to the election. The idea is you need a record if there’s litigation later.

    I know both the women at the Bd of Elections quite well and honestly the Republican (it’s even-steven, R and D in Ohio) is the more competent of the two managers I work with. She’s an older lady and I feel as if the county GOP are pressuring her to be more of an asshole than she has been in the past, like she has to ‘push back” against me. The whole thing makes me sad because the truth is she’s a nervous, fairly timid person -she’s always afraid she will do something wrong in that job. Partisan warrior just isn’t natural to her, and I think she likes me personally so this attitude they are having her adopt where she challenges everything I ask is just such a bad fit for this person.

    They suck, they really do.

  22. 22

    RNC Chair Reince Priebus tells the NY Times that they’ll win by scaring the voters into their column by saying Obama is incompetent in these scary times.

    Think back to 1984. It’s a scary time, too. There’s turmoil in the Middle East. An incurable and contagious disease is going pandemic. Terrorists are threatening to attack us at home and abroad, and the Russians are threatening mischief and occupation in Eastern Europe. The president has so many things on his watch that even his advisers are privately — and sometimes publicly — wondering if he’s up to the task. And yet Ronald Reagan told us “it’s morning in America” and the GOP was shitting rainbows. None of those problems are worth worrying about because Ronald Reagan is in the White House. Whether or not he had the ability to deal with any or all of those real-world problems is not the issue. The Republicans were promising a brighter day.

    Fast forward thirty years. We have the same problems, just with different names. But now the Republicans are sowing fear, paranoia and doubt because they’re no longer the party in the White House and without them, oh god oh god we’re all gonna die.

    It’s pretty ironic that the party that gave us George W. Bush is complaining about a lack competence on the part of President Obama. The people who gave us the worst recession in 80 years, who lied us into a war, and who turned the Justice Department over political hacks are showing their full-blown talent for chutzpah, not to mention the brass-balled cynicism that it takes to think their base is so stupid and short-sighted to fall for it. But chances are they will.

  23. 23
    Baud says:


    So she’s one of those fabled reasonable Republicans I’ve heard stories about. I wonder if she’ll be pushed out in 2016.

  24. 24
    Kay says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    I maintain that the thing that bothered the Bush people the most was not the fact that they started a war, but that they were perceived as incompetent in war-making. Republicans see themselves as great managers.

    They didn’t give a shit that New Orleans drowned. They cared that the whole country saw that they couldn’t get bottled water to Biloxi. By 2006 they were considered incompetent, and I think that hurt worse than anything else. It’s payback time.

  25. 25
    Elizabelle says:


    The irony being that, if anything, the 2014 Republicans are even more incompetent and backwater.

    Fear might have a “Sell by” date too. I am hoping crazy has a ceiling.

    As you pointed out, way too many Americans live in economic uncertainty, and Republican incompetence and gridlock are a luxury we cannot afford.

    I think the African American community is going to turn out for the 2014 midterms. They have to!

    PS: I don’t believe this “security moms” schtick the GOP/military industrial complex is peddling. Are you lining up to see your son captured and beheaded on TV? There are other ways to fight that battle.

  26. 26
    Baud says:


    It’s always payback time for them.

  27. 27
    Schlemazel says:

    We have been getting a lot of questions about what ID requirements are when voting while calling for Franken. Even though MNs ID law failed back in the Pawlenty admin (thank His noodley appendage the DFL still controlled one House). People are scared thinking they may not be allowed to vote or will be fiercely challenged when they do.

    While most of these court cases are falling in the right direction they have succeeded in creating a climate of fear, particularly in minority communities. I think ‘voting parties’ might be one solution – don’t go alone, go in a group.

  28. 28
    Kay says:


    It would be a disaster for her. She’s been there 30 years. I have no earthly idea what she would do with “knows nitpicky and arcane election process in rural county”

    OTOH, they got rid of a good lawyer and nice man who was on the Bd of Elections because he wasn’t insane enough. He has 4 kids and he’s self-employed. They booted him off and he lost the health insurance that comes with the job. Just nasty, and also dumb. Now they don’t have a lawyer on the board and we do, and ours is really aggressive and combative but well-liked; a “happy warrior”. Who fires the only lawyer they have on their side when the other side has Mr. I’m Filing a Motion?

  29. 29
    Elizabelle says:


    Again, competence. Ideology trumps it, over and over again, on the GOP side.

    Another topic: Allison Lundergan Grimes really stepped in it. Refused, at meeting with the Louisville Courier Journal editorial board, to say if she’d voted for Obama in previous elections.

    She says Obama is not on the ballot, she is, and she really likes Hillary.

    Color me disgusted. If she’s not a racist, personally, she is trying to appeal to them.

    I don’t care if Obama has a 29% approval rating in Kentucky. Greater America does not look to Kentucky for out of the box thinking.

    I’d applaud courage and team loyalty over pandering any day.

    Is there a significant number of Kentucky voters who hate Obama but would vote for a Democrat? Perhaps so …

  30. 30


    Funny, I didn’t get my dream-assignment to write a letter to my aunt in Pinyin done because I stayed up late watching the dream-remake of 2001:A Space Odyssey with my son and then we had to go find the dog. And so the dream-ink and calligraphy brushes my wife had bought me all went to waste.

  31. 31


    Another topic: Allison Lundergan Grimes really stepped in it. Refused, at meeting with the Louisville Courier Journal editorial board, to say if she’d voted for Obama in previous elections.

    Jesus. She has to know that’s going to be in wall to wall campaign ads. “What is she hiding…” etc. That may have just lost her the fucking election.

  32. 32
    Kay says:


    I don’t know who will come out here. Our governor candidate imploded and Ohio loves state elections. They are usually all anyone talks about, even if they fall on a “national” year. It’s just a drag without a top of the ticket. Democrats may pull out one statewide race with a weak incumbent GOP’er and one supreme court seat BUT that means beating Josh Mandel who ran against Sherrod Brown in 2012. That will be the one consolation. Josh Mandel losing twice in two years.

    The Dem judge will win only because his name is so much like another long-serving judge. It’s one letter different. I know people will think they’re voting to retain that other guy :)

  33. 33
    Baud says:


    Maybe she didn’t vote for Obama.

  34. 34
    Elizabelle says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    And if so, she deserves it.

    I was watching her, and planning to travel over for a few days of canvassing if she had a genuine chance at unseating McConnell.

    Not inspired to do that for an Obama-basher or PUMA (same diff, I know).

    Courage inspires. Cowardice detracts.

    Many of her fellow Kentuckians are now insured, due to Obamacare that dare not use its own name (Hi there, Kynect!). McConnell did squat to get them insured.

    Foo on Allison if she’s such a coward.

  35. 35
    Elizabelle says:


    It would seem she’d be in better shape if she’d come out and said that. For being honest, at least.

    Did she vote for Romney/Ryan? Did she write in a candidate? Did she not vote?

  36. 36
    Baud says:


    It would be a disaster for her. She’s been there 30 years. I have no earthly idea what she would do with “knows nitpicky and arcane election process in rural county”

    I don’t wish her ill, but she would get a sense of what her party means for the rest on the country.

  37. 37
    debbie says:


    It might be worth it just to see Rick Perry’s glam glasses fogging up in fury.

  38. 38
    Kay says:


    Dumb move. I think politicians always discount authenticity, but it really does matter. Eventually people want to know who they are, and it just kills if they can’t or won’t reveal it. I think it killed Romney. I never understand it because the risk runs the other way, if they’re perceived as inauthentic. I think it’s a trust issue. She doesn’t trust voters enough to reveal anything.

  39. 39
    Baud says:


    The Dem judge will win only because his name is so much like another long-serving judge. It’s one letter different. I know people will think they’re voting to retain that other guy :)

    The first Latino president will be a Republican named Renaldo Reagan.

  40. 40
    Botsplainer says:


    Is there a significant number of Kentucky voters who hate Obama but would vote for a Democrat? Perhaps so …

    Yertle is disliked on a visceral level by a not insignificant number of people. The fact that she stonewalled won’t change any votes, and hardly anybody gives a shit what the local newspaper reports on or endorses anymore, as it went to a USA Today Lite format.

    What she accomplished was an absence of a playable sound bite.

  41. 41
    Kay says:


    I know! It’s great. And not just him, I think he’s mostly performance art, he could give a shit, really, but Texas!

    Under the bootheel of the feds. They may have to threaten to secede again.

  42. 42
    debbie says:


    The most telling thing about Katrina was the GOP’s concern about Trent Lott’s damaged front porch. More people need to be reminded of the callowness of conservatives. I’m sure there are many more examples.

    Have you been following the Reynoldsburg teachers strike? Not only was it settled last night, but the superintendent (a Kasich puppet if ever there was one) has lost buckets of face. A recall petition has already been started.

  43. 43
    Kay says:


    I have been following it. Plunderbund had good coverage.

    I’m so pleased that it looks like the community went with the teachers rather than the jerks. I didn’t know how it would play out. I also love that the teachers made the issue class size, because every parent I know cares about that. The parents will consider it a win for their kids, and that’s so important because as you know one of the goals of ed reform is to frame public school issues as teachers vs kids. It’s one of the shittiest, low-down tactics they use because it serves to make THEM the “saviors” of children rather than the people who work with kids every day.

    I actually read about Reynoldsburg months ago because ed reformers were touting it as a success; their scores have gone up. It was even on the USDOE website. So that’s the reward for improving? They cut teacher pay and health benefits? They’re just bad faith people, reformers. They don’t keep their bargains.

  44. 44


    Has anyone bothered to point out Wingnut Sen. Duncan Hunter was calling ISIS “a bunch of guys in pajamas” a bare month ago?

  45. 45
    Elizabelle says:


    I think she did give Republicans a soundbite.

    @Kay: Agree about the inauthenticity. You are most gracious in putting that down to not trusting Kentucky voters. Maybe it’s that, maybe it’s cowardice.

    And how do you enthuse Democrats of other than pasty white color out if you distance yourself from a 2-term Democratic president? It’s depressing. Not saying Dems won’t turn out because they believe in their vote and dislike McConnell. But it’s a diss. I felt it from Virginia.

    Especially since she’s on board for abortion/contraception/women’s healthcare (again, thanks Obamacare calling itself Kynect), gay marriage, and other issues that would say she gets it.

    Shorter Elizabelle: she should go down fighting. People respect that. Of course, she may have calculated dissing Obama will play well for her in Kentucky. To be seen.

  46. 46
    Johannes says:

    @Gene108: In point of fact, there’s a very good argument that the Court’s decision in Shelby County effectively nullified the 15th Amendment. It goes like this: The Court acknowledges that it is required to show great deference to Congress’s exercise of an enumerated power, of which the 15th Amendment is one. In Shelby County, however, the Court stated, based on its own recent precedent, that” the Act imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs.” 557 U. S., at 203. And we concluded that ‘a departure from the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty requires a showing that a statute’s disparate geographic coverage is sufficiently related to the problem that it targets.’” In other words, the Court essentially held that the exercise by Congress of an enumerated constitutional power that limited a “tradition” (of state’s rights, one not in the constitution) was inherently suspect.

    What then does the 15th Amendment mean?

  47. 47
    Elizabelle says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    That’s amusing, but I tune out “Duncan Hunter” automatically. Not one of the country’s great minds.

  48. 48
    Botsplainer says:


    Not inspired to do that for an Obama-basher or PUMA (same diff, I know).

    Courage inspires. Cowardice detracts.

    She’s going to be about the most progressive that has a chance to win Kentucky this cycle. She’ll carry Louisville handily, despite the fact that Yertle was a fairly competent and non-ideologue Jefferson County Judge-Executive (Louisville is in Jefferson County – his post was pre-merger) early in his career, and had been good at bringing home the bacon for the city. He’s also been really good for the University of Louisville and can be fairly complimented for enhanced standing as well as capital improvements. Even with all that, though, the city and inner suburbs are really progressive, and will go Grimes. Outer suburbs and exurbs are a lost cause – those manly men paper shufflers and Stepford wives are emotionally invested in an R win because ‘Murkan Exceptionalism and Freedom. The question is in how many of the smaller city/village, productive agricultural and rural votes she can swing statewide. She’ll pick up a decent share of agricultural votes because those farmers are businessmen first and emoters second; they know Yertle doesn’t give a shit.

  49. 49
    Elizabelle says:


    Oh yeah, the Trent Lott house. And talk about someone taken down by even more rabid Republicans for compromising too much. A good memory, all around.

  50. 50
    Elizabelle says:


    Thank you. I still have my fingers crossed for Allison. Would love to see her elected.

  51. 51
    Baud says:


    I’m old enough to know that what appeals to me doesn’t appeal to the people we need to appeal to. I just hope she pulls it out.

  52. 52


    The question is in how many of the smaller city/village, productive agricultural and rural votes she can swing statewide. She’ll pick up a decent share of agricultural votes because those farmers are businessmen first and emoters second; they know Yertle doesn’t give a shit.

    Interesting. Thanks for that. So what is she doing to target them?

  53. 53
    Randy P says:


    Graduated high school in 1992. Long enough ago that 90% of us still used type writers for final drafts, as most of us did not have home computers.

    Graduated high school in 19… well, a lot earlier than 1992. But typing was a college thing. In college I used the typewriter for my first and only draft as I would get tired of writing long-hand somewhere about 300-500 words in.

    The big technical innovation in term paper writing in those days was “corrasable bond”, which was typing paper that you could erase because it had a surface that didn’t absorb the ink. I thought that was pretty cool and made extensive use of it, but Stephen King made fun of it in “Misery” and points out that the same feature makes all the typing come out all smudged.

  54. 54
    Kay says:


    We’re building a school and they put me on the “visioning” team ( I refuse to use that word, but that is the name!).

    We have our next meeting, seminar, whatever this is later this month and I’m looking forward to it. It’s “teacher voice”. Seriously, I’m curious how they perceive “us”, the parents. I hope they feel comfortable enough to tell the truth.

    I think it was pretty obvious I was pulling for them at the last visioning session, but they really didn’t need me. They did a fine job defending themselves against the “business community” who of course had to tell them schools should be run like businesses, like everyone in the fucking world hasn’t heard that a million times, applied to everything under the sun.

    We’re meeting in a church and I wanted to say “churches? should churches also be run like businesses? What about families? Are those just small businesses?” So, so sick of that lecture. How about we run businesses like businesses and schools like schools? What was wrong with that plan?

  55. 55
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    I think people underestimate how much impact there is from cutting back voting hours or early voting. They think as long as you can walk into a voting booth on election day, your right to vote hasn’t been harmed.

    The least democratic aspect of the Iowa caucuses is that you have to physically be at a given place at 7:00 on a Tuesday night. I used to teach in a town 100 miles from where I live, so I stayed there during the week. I was unable to go to a caucus until I retired. The fact that the caucuses are closed is much less important because they’re always set up so you can change your party registration at the door.

  56. 56
    evodevo says:

    @Gene108: Have I said today how much I LUV xkcd?

  57. 57
    Baud says:


    should churches also be run like businesses?

    They should bring back the sale of indulgences.

  58. 58
    Botsplainer says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    She’s spent a lot of time west of I75 and north of the Cumberland Parkway talking with local ag, business and trade groups and meeting people while wisely avoiding too heavy a schedule here in the Democratic People’s Republic of Louisville.

    She’s also – smartly – avoiding the thicket of the coal extraction/meth/OxyContin nonproductive rurality east of I75, as those people are incapable of persuasion and wouldn’t change their voting habits even if criminality was a central campaign pledge of a GOP candidate. Aside from a naked pander and a few visits, she’s written them off for the most part.

    As to the places south of the Cumberland Parkway (and really, south of the W Ky Parkway), it is basically the Confederacy. Not a lot of people, but those that are there are complete assholes – basically, it’s a suburb of rural Tennessee.

  59. 59
    Elizabelle says:


    Really appreciate your inside view. You should do a front page post or two.

    And wasn’t Xandar from Kentucky? What happened to him/(her)? Miss him and Dengre (from Baltimore Charm City).

    Moar Xandar and Dengre, please.

  60. 60
    debbie says:


    Good luck with that! When they talk about running schools like a business, I know you’ll point to the excellence of charters, particularly the one (whose name I’ve forgotten) that is closing down but demanding to be able to keep all the computers they were given.

    Back to Reynoldsburg, the teachers not only had support from the community, that support was very solid and seemingly unanimous. My local news station (very conservative) had zero interviews with a parent complaining about the teachers. Pretty unusual for Ohio.

    The only down note was the clown who anonymously distributed flyers in neighborhoods where scabs lived. Not only were they listed by name, the flyers also included their telephone numbers, which I thought was entirely unnecessary. It gave conservatives the chance to point out the thuggishness of unions.

    But all in all, a good moment for education. It makes me think that the issue of SB5 lives on.

  61. 61
    Eric U. says:

    I have stopped having those dreams about the exam in the class I didn’t know I had for the most part. I used to dream that I was outside without my hat, that is one that haunts people in the military

  62. 62
    GregB says:

    The end game for this election is falling back to the Republican love of big daddy protectors.

    Here in NH Cosmo-nude model Scott Brown is beating up Jeanne Shaheen for being soft on ISIS.

    There is a new meme floating around about how then Governor Shaheen abandoned the state on 9/11 and the poor Republican Senate didn’t know where she was and left us vulnerable to Al Qaeda.

    Save me me from Al Qaeda/ISIS/Saddam/Noriega/China/Vietnam/Russia/the drug cartels/Ebola.

  63. 63
    Tokyokie says:

    @Gene108: Before the voter ID laws, the test for government restriction of a civil right, which would carry a presumption of illegality, was two-pronged: It was permissible only to further a legitimate state interest and the measure could only achieve that legitimate state interest and go no further. With the voter ID laws, the supposed state interest is prevention of in-person voting fraud, an act that has been shown to be so rare (something like 1 in 100,000 ballots, as I recall), that it does not rise to the level of legitimate state interest. And to achieve that supposed state interest, these measures disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters. Obviously, these laws miserably fail both parts of the test, which is why the Supremes have blithely ignored inconvient res judicata, and gone along with states’ wink-wink voter fraud arguments, not bothering to address the civil rights restriction test. These decisions have been breathtaking in their cynicism, mendacity, and dishonesty.

  64. 64
    Gene108 says:


    It is always about payback. Read David Brock’s Blinded by the Right and he states they wanted to nail Clinton on some sort of corruption charge as payback for Republican administrations getting caught and penalized for Watergate and Iran-Contra.

    The fact that outside of cheating on his wife, Clinton was not particularly corrupt while in office did not matter. They had to nail him on something, no matter what.

  65. 65
    Elizabelle says:


    Payback, projection, and service to their plutocrat overlords.

  66. 66
    Botsplainer says:


    A funny story-an office mate of mine was a wheel in the part of the Attorney General’s office that handled public integrity cases. He was recently telling me about one GOP County Clerk (it’s an elected position with lots of attached patronage jobs) in Eastern Kentucky that didn’t have a bank account for the deposit of funds for deed recording, marriage licenses, notary commissions, UCC filings, car titles, etc. what he had instead was a big pocket with wads of cash that he’d shove in, and every week or two, he’d treat the staff to a meal at the Applebee’s the next town over from his county money pocket.

    My friend also had responsibility over the capital crimes unit, which provided trial expertise to primarily rural prosecutors who either needed assistance with the procedural pitfalls or sometimes complete replacement on death cases, as there is a wide gulf between good prosecutors and bad ones. Those stories are interesting, too.

  67. 67
    Matt McIrvin says:


    Lots of states don’t have early vote or same day registration

    For instance, deep-blue Massachusetts doesn’t, and this irks me. But it doesn’t get a lot of attention in part because Massachusetts isn’t perceived as a pivotal swing state nationally (though it has been, in the 2010 special Senate election for instance).

  68. 68
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Botsplainer: Bingo.

    She’s not stupid.

    People should remember that Jimmy Carter campaigned on a repugnant platform when he ran for Governor in Georgia in 1970. But he repudiated those beliefs with his actions almost immediately when he took office.

    Sometimes one has to dance along the lines of what is acceptable to get elected. Especially in the South.

    What matters in this election is which party controls the leadership of the House and Senate. That means in the general election Team D gets the vote.

    Politics can be dirty business…


  69. 69
    Botsplainer says:


    In one sense, the wingnuts are absolutely correct about her – she is a vote for Harry Reid. If elected (it’ll be a hard slog), she’ll drive the Trve Progressive Nutroots batshit insane. They’ll scream about her being a sellout corporatist blue dog, and like in 2010 will want her beaten in 2020 to “send a message”.

  70. 70
    Corner Stone says:


    What she accomplished was an absence of a playable sound bite.

    Their entire playbook has been to make ALG=PBO. Why would she come out loud and proud and make it easy for them? I’m surprised she even said his name and didn’t just say, “He’s not on the ballot this time”.
    The example of Kynect is a perfect one. People in Kentucky hate Obamacare. They seem to like all the parts of Kynect. Hmmm, go figure.
    I don’t get this righteous anger when a politician is being a politician.

  71. 71
    Elizabelle says:

    Thank you to all who provided context for Allison Lundergan Grimes’ actions. You make a lot of sense, and one has to be pragmatic and realize a vote in the Senate is a vote in the Senate.

    I have been hoping to make a late campaign trip to Kentucky to do some volunteering, if it looks like ALG has a serious chance of victory. (Otherwise, would stick to a more winnable race — Kay Hagan in NC or even Landrieu in Louisiana, in the hope that goes to a runoff or even outright Democrat win.)

    I want the Democrats to win and I want pundits and mainstream media to be shamed for their “all bad for Democrats, all the time (and remember — both sides do it)” coverage.

    They sell their credibility too cheaply.

  72. 72
    Botsplainer says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The whole thing realistically hinges on vote totals in KY02. It is a sprawling sucker, runs from The borders of Henderson to the borders of Louisville to the borders of Lexington and takes in Bowling Green to the south. There’s a registration imbalance (favors D), but they send GOPers to Congress. McCain did 60% there in 2008.

    Their congressman, Brett Guthrie, is an interesting guy. I met him a few weeks ago while sitting in the Bowling Green courthouse (my client and I chatted with him for about half an hour – he just wandered up to say hi while killing time), and I found him to be charming, interesting, engaging and not an asshole. He’s incredibly fond of John Yarmuth on a personal level, and I got the impression that they frequently fly back and forth from DC together. I hadn’t given him much thought in the past; I figured after talking to him that he wasn’t a nut and would be a great ward-healer, glad handing type if the Teatards weren’t driving the House agenda. Thirty years ago, he’d have been a Democrat.

    Took a look at his record just now, and it seems I wasn’t wrong.

    He’s not aligned with the tea party, and voted to end the shutdown. He’s West Point and Yale, so not stupid. He’s serving his agricultural interests and Main Street interests as well as a GOPer can in this environment.

    For Grimes, if she shows well in that district, I think she wins.

  73. 73
    Yatsuno says:

    @Botsplainer: She’s going to be more Heitkamp than Manchin really. But Heitkamp is at least a reliable vote. And Yertle stepped on his dick during the sports radio interview which had a much bigger audience than this thing does. She’ll be fine here.

    Why is no one talking about Kansas or Georgia?

  74. 74
    Elizabelle says:


    Now I have a target for Google Maps. KY 02. Very good. I know that area a little bit. Kentucky’s a beautiful state.

  75. 75
    Botsplainer says:


    Yertle SERIOUSLY stepped on his dick. Jones is the go-to on everything UK, and mildcat fans adore him even when they disdain his politics.

    They can forgive him for weaseling on favoring the Cards (they know he’s a huge UofL fan), but treating Jones rudely will lead to some of them sitting it out.

  76. 76
    Botsplainer says:


    Most of the population of KY02 is located along I65, 10-15 miles to either side, with the largest demographic lump running from Bardstown to the southern border of Louisville. That chunk is mostly Louisville media market, and is included in the Louisville CMSA.

  77. 77
    Mike E says:

    @Botsplainer: Today is the voter registration deadline, so no same-day option this election in NC… early voting was reduced to 10 days, down from two and a half weeks. Voter ID won’t be imposed tho so there’s that.

  78. 78
    Elizabelle says:


    Georgia, you ask, Mr. Yatsuno. Happy to oblige.

    Why Georgia May Be Bluer than it Appears, Nate Cohn, NY Times, 2 days ago

    For all the hype about “Purple Texas,” the real front in the Democratic demographic offensive is Georgia.

    No other plausibly competitive state has seen a more favorable shift for Democrats in the racial composition of eligible voters over the last decade. The pace of demographic change is so fast that Michelle Nunn, a Democrat, is locked in a tight race against the Republican David Perdue for an open Senate seat — even with an off-year electorate that is favorable for the G.O.P.

    ….According to data from the Georgia secretary of state, the 2010 electorate was 66.3 percent white and 28.2 percent black. Since then, the white share of registered voters has fallen, to 58 percent from 62.6 percent. White voters turn out at somewhat higher rates than other voters in midterm elections, so we should expect the white share of the actual vote to be a little higher. Combining the data on registered voters with census data on the voter-eligible population, I expect the 2014 electorate to be about 64.2 percent white and 28.8 percent black. (Ms. Nunn is expected to win at least 90 percent of the black vote.)

    Yet the last four nonpartisan polls that released demographic data showed an electorate that’s 65.7 percent white and 25.7 percent black. Those polls show Mr. Perdue ahead by 3.3 points, but they would show something closer to a dead heat if the likely electorate matched my estimates.

    … Of course, the black share of the electorate might not stay as high in 2014 as the 28.2 percent share in 2010. Black turnout, for instance, might well go up, but white turnout might go up even more. But we can safely dismiss the possibility that the black share of the electorate will crash into the mid-20s — and that’s where several of the most recent polls put it.

    Whole article is worth a click and a read. Most informative on how one structures a poll sample, and how Census figures can go out of date quickly.

    Cohn notes that, even if polls underestimate demographic changes, Michelle Nunn might not avoid a runoff.

    And he does not touch voting restrictions/voter ID as a factor at all. Maybe the NYT reader comments do.

  79. 79
    danielx says:

    It’s Friday, and hence time for…..a David Brooks extravaganza! In this week’s edition, my man Dave proclaims that Money Matters Less in electoral outcomes since the Supremes decided that money is speech and buying elections is just lovely, and Dave thinks all this hysteria is misplaced. Dave’s contention is that…

    The final and most important effect of Citizens United is that it will reduce the influence of money on electoral outcomes. Yes, that’s right. Reduce.

    Remember, money is quite important in local races, with unknown candidates.

    Why yes, I’d argue that Scott Walker thinks that campaign funds donated by Koch Incorporated are quite important, as does Sam Brownback. When your policies demonstrably suck and produce poor results, you gotta have major cash in order to gild the turd, as it were, not to mention cash to bury your opponents under enough negative advertising to make them tunnel their way out.

    Reading further, we get…

    And money is really not important when both candidates are well-financed. After both candidates have hit a certain spending threshold, the additional TV commercials they might buy are just making the rubble bounce. The economist Steve Levitt has found that if you cut a campaign’s spending in half, and held everything else constant, then the candidate would only lose 1 percent of the popular vote. If you doubled a candidate’s spending, the candidate would only gain 1 percentage point. In other words, big swings in spending produce only small changes in the vote totals.

    The tell is right in the very first sentence, natch. Whenever somebody says “money is no treally important”, in any context, said statement comes from someone who a) has never had to worry about money, or b) somebody who is peddling obfuscatory horseshit. In this case, since it’s Dave’s soapbox, we have to go with door #2, although I seriously doubt my good buddy Dave has had to worry – ever – about keeping the lights on or financing his kids’ private school/Ivy League educations. The point, Dave, my man, is that if your last name is Koch or Adelson and you have an endless supply of money to throw at buying the outcomes you want, small changes in vote totals are all you need. As that noted political philosopher George W. Bush has pointed out, a 1% margin constitutes a mandate.

    Dave feels this is all much ado about nothing, and “the upshot is that we should all relax about campaign spending”. Yet another tell – when David Brooks sez we should all relax about whatever, it’s the rhetorical equivalent of “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”, and you best watch that motherfucker like your life depends on it.

    Sidebar: Additionally, Brother Brooks somehow has missed what I, personally, regard as one of (the only?) amusing result of Citizen’s United – the spectacle of Republican presidential hopefuls visiting Las Vegas to line up and kiss Sheldon Adelson’s ring, not to mention other portions of his unattractive anatomy. When you’re willing to line up to suck up to Jabba the Hut, there are no limits to what you are willing to do.

  80. 80
    shelley says:

    So, can there be any serious appeals by the “poll tax” side before the November elections?

  81. 81
    Jager says:

    A letter to “Ask Amy” in the LA Times.

    Dear Amy: As I’ve entered my later golden years, I often think about mistakes I’ve made during my life – people I’ve wronged, people who have wronged me, poor financial decisions I’ve made, things I should have done (but didn’t), and things I shouldn’t have done but did.

    I would like to go back in time, reboot my life and correct everything. Sort of perform a “do-over” of my life. I need a cure for this, so I can stop thinking about my mistakes, since we don’t get a second chance in life to fix them.

    What advice can you offer about how to forget mistakes of the past, think only of the future, and get on with the business of life?


    Could this be from Willard “Mitt” Romney?

  82. 82
    JoyfulA says:

    @Botsplainer: Pennsylvania has always had voting on Election Day only and absentee ballots only for medical or work reasons.

    We staved off a harsh Voter ID law, which a GOP leader publicly claimed would guarantee Romney’s victory, through the state courts.

  83. 83
    Elizabelle says:

    @JoyfulA: Pennsylvania’s law is cruel for a state with a lot of elderly residents and cold weather. I hope PA becomes less stringent over time.

  84. 84
    Turgidson says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What’s infuriating (though hardly surprising) is that the Conventional Wisdom Puke Funnel was in full flower this morning, with Chuckles Todd declaring Grimes’ evasion “disqualifying.”

    Good fucking lord. Trying to avoid a soundbyte/gotcha question means she’s not fit to serve? What the fucking hell is he talking about? I get that she opened herself up to some mocking and criticism, but “disqualifying”? What a fucking asshole. Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner can say and believe scary, barking-mad things that make you wonder if they have severe head injuries or mental illnesses, and the Puke Funnel says nothing (and Braley will never hear the end of the time he got kinda pissed about his neighbors chickens and didn’t file a lawsuit but totally could have, maybe).

    The Villagers are putting their thumbs on the scale for the GOP this election as much as they have since they smeared Al Gore for shits and giggles. And look where that got us. They’re helping put the party of “default on the national debt because we hate that boy in the White House” in power of both branches of Congress. This place is so fucking fucked. At least I’m in the People’s Republic of California, which has been resisting this madness pretty effectively in recent years.

  85. 85
    rikyrah says:

    PHUCK Allison Grimes.

    Her cowardly azz.

    I don’t give a phuck if she loses.

    Been saying this from the beginning – I think she’s a lousy candidate who should be running away with this race.

  86. 86
    rikyrah says:


    I’m praying for Karen Lewis. She is a warrior.

  87. 87
    Corner Stone says:


    Been saying this from the beginning – I think she’s a lousy candidate who should be running away with this race.

    You’d prefer Mitch to be Senate Majority Leader? Good to know.
    She’s fighting against an entrenched dirty pool master. The guy looks funny but he’s well regarded as one of the nastiest street fighters in Congress.
    She should be doing every single thing she can to keep their BS soundbytes off the air and out of ads. And if that pisses off your delicate purity feelings, too bad. Obama’s not going to take it personally, why are you?

  88. 88
    Corner Stone says:


    Trying to avoid a soundbyte/gotcha question means she’s not fit to serve? What the fucking hell is he talking about?

    Yeah, it makes for an awkward pause but then should be a poof blown away in the ether. If she said anything positive about Obama at this stage she’d probably lose another 2 to 3% points, and she’s in for a fucking dogfight as it is.
    People who literally can’t see beyond the slightest slight of Obama to get what’s happening are hilarious. Especially when they talk about PUMA and other bullshit.

    And, no, I can’t stand fools like Joe Manchin either but as long as he’s on board with Leader Reid staying on, we’ll have to deal with his broke dick self too.

  89. 89

    I will vote for a syphilitic baboon if they’re my alternative to Mitch McConnell, and I will crawl over broken glass to the polls to do it.

    All of this is true.

  90. 90
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Kay: Because the inmates are running the asylum, Kay. It’s the end stage of the Religious Right Revolution. People for whom ignorance is a badge of honor have Dunning-Kruger so hard they not only don’t see the need for somebody on their side with “credentials” and summa’ that fancy book-larning, they actively mock and disdain anybody who does.

  91. 91
    Another Holocene Human says:


    Is there a significant number of Kentucky voters who hate Obama but would vote for a Democrat? Perhaps so …


  92. 92
    Turgidson says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’m too annoyed by the whole story to look, but was the questioned asked as a terse “yes or no” with no room for explanation, or could Grimes have said “yes, but” and then explained all the ways she may not agree with Obama on much, but the Romney platform was total bullshit for Kentucky?

    Not sure that answer is any better than evasion, but maybe there’s a way to finesse it. And she had to know that she’d get put on the spot with that exact question eventually.

  93. 93
    Another Holocene Human says:


    As to the places south of the Cumberland Parkway (and really, south of the W Ky Parkway), it is basically the Confederacy. Not a lot of people, but those that are there are complete assholes – basically, it’s a suburb of rural Tennessee.

    Drove through there a couple of years ago, beautiful country but seriously scary*. Scarier than Tennessee, and in Tennessee some old white dude accosted me on the street and made vague threats because I was wearing a hat for a sports team north of the Mason-Dixon line.

    *-I got to admire the people who travel to places like rural Pakistan and Afghanistan and so on. Kenfucky was too scary for me, even though I’m sure the number of tourists who mysteriously disappear and then their bones are found fifteen years later in a clandestine grave is a lot lower, you know, relatively speaking.

  94. 94
    Another Holocene Human says:


    The only down note was the clown who anonymously distributed flyers in neighborhoods where scabs lived. Not only were they listed by name, the flyers also included their telephone numbers, which I thought was entirely unnecessary.

    I hate this shit. People who think any tactic in support of their group is justifiable. No. Go away. You’re making our side look bad.

    Self-defeating tactics do not make us more “powerful”. Why don’t you ask the GOP in 2006 about that shit, hengh?

  95. 95
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Botsplainer: At least somebody in the state is cleaning up after messes. That probably explains why KY does so much better on shit like murder rate than Louisiana, which has a bribe culture than would put India to shame.

  96. 96
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Matt McIrvin: But on the plus side, thanks to the machine there hasn’t been real attempts to make voting impossible for, er, urban people. No enormous lines around and around the block, Miami-style. Also, there are better labor laws and labor protections, like if an employer really tried to fire someone for voting there would be consequences.

    None of that’s true in Florida. That’s why early voting is so critical. Also, in frigging florida many of the polling places are churches and the population can be very transient. My experience going to precinct in both states was TOTALLY different. When I early vote in Florida I got to the county building on my day off. It’s voting more like it should be. If I vote on voting day I have to make my schedule fit voting hours which isn’t always possible and then I have to make my way to some wingnut church which may or may not be easily accessible on foot, bike, public transit. Also, too, this is why so many send in absentee ballots here.

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:


    Not sure that answer is any better than evasion, but maybe there’s a way to finesse it. And she had to know that she’d get put on the spot with that exact question eventually.

    It doesn’t really matter how it was asked, that’s kind of the point.
    “When did you stop loving Barack Obama?”

  98. 98
    JR in WV says:

    Ask Amy and all the rest of the advice givers get made up letters, sometimes from Yale or somewhere like that. This sounds like a Demo fishing for a rise to me. But a good one, funny any way you look at it.

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