Archive for Arkansas

Black voters in South could play big role in midterm elections

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chris christie fear of black voters

Republicans don't treat black voters well at all. They disenfranchise them, they suppress their votes, they make it nearly impossible for them to get to the polls, they put up all kinds of obstacles to keep them from registering, and they do everything they can to make those Voter I.D.s they insist upon as inaccessible as possible.

Or as I like to call it, GOP outreach.

Thank you, Supreme Court, for your decision last year to gut the Voting Rights Act. How impartial of you.

Consequently, African American voters won't exactly flock to the Republican party any time soon. Nor will they be inclined to fill in a dot next to anyone with an R after their name on the ballot. Can the GOP be any more shortsighted?

Ironically-- with a twist of karma-- black Southern voters are about to play a prominent role in the November elections.

Via Nate Cohn for the New York Times:

Nearly five decades after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, black voters in the South are poised to play a pivotal role in this year’s midterm elections. If Democrats win the South and hold the Senate, they will do so because of Southern black voters. [...]

This year’s closest contests include North Carolina, Louisiana and Georgia. Black voters will most likely represent more than half of all Democratic voters in Louisiana and Georgia, and nearly half in North Carolina. Arkansas, another state with a large black population, is also among the competitive states. [...]

If Democrats win this November, black voters will probably represent a larger share of the winning party’s supporters in important states than at any time since Reconstruction. Their influence is not just a product of the Senate map. It also reflects the collapse in Southern white support for Democrats, an increase in black turnout and the reversal of a century-long trend of black outmigration from the South... Southern black turnout today rivals or occasionally exceeds that of white voters.

You know what this means, right? Say it with me:

gotv 3

As Cohn reminds us, black voters played a big role in Thad Cochran's primary win against a tea party candidate. Please read his chock full o' info, background, and history article in full, here.

And then help everyone you can to register, and in November, to get to the polls. Swarm the polling places. Vote in droves. Use your voices. Because it doesn't do much good to have winning numbers without access to the ballot box.

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Karma: GOP gubernatorial nominee forgot his Voter ID, turned away

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karma police

Karma can be a bitch, especially if you're a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Arkansas. Especially if you support Voter ID laws that suppress mostly Democratic votes. Especially if those same Voter ID laws end up humiliating you because you failed to present an ID just as you're about to vote for yourself for governor.

Karma bit pro-Voter ID candidate Asa Hutchinson in the ass when he arrived at the polls and was turned away.

MSNBC:

Asa Hutchinson, who won the Republican nomination in the race for Arkansas governor Tuesday, forgot his ID when he went to the polls, despite backing the state’s new voter ID law, according to the Associated Press.

Christian Olson, a spokesman for the Republican candidate, told the AP that Hutchinson believed the situation was a “little bit of an inconvenience” and that a staffer retrieved his ID so he could cast a ballot. Olson said the former congressman still believes voters should be required to show an ID.

His campaign refused to comment, but that doesn't mean we can't. How many voters out there can send their (non-existent) staffers to fetch their IDs for them under the same circumstances?

Come to think of it, how many voters are unable to afford the cost of an ID or can find transportation to the nearest agency that provides them?

How many voters are being denied a chance to participate in elections because of Republican laws intended to prevent them from using the only power they have left: their voices?

The voter ID measure could make it harder for minorities, students, and people from low-income communities to cast ballots.

Or as I like to call them, Democrats.

Here's one for you: How much of that evil, threatening-to-upend-our-elections voter fraud is actually taking place? Think Progress:

[S]uch fraud is virtually non-existent. Indeed, Iowa’s Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz recently completed a two-year investigation into voter fraud within his state. He was unable to find a single case where one voter impersonated another at the polls — meaning that his own investigation discovered zero cases where a voter ID law would have prevented a fraudulent vote from being cast.

Yet Asa Hutchinson had to tap his foot and look at his watch while waiting for his flunky to deliver his ID to him so that he could vote. Because, karma.

Via onamatopoeia.wordpress.com

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Three lessons and some hope for Democrats

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hope for Dems in red states map

obamacare is winning

Yesterday a few polls came out that gave Democrats some hope, because they showed that red state Democratic Senate candidates are still alive and kicking. Stick that in your musket and smoke it, conservatives. And just to rub salt in some very red wounds, it seems that Obamacare is aiding and abetting these numbers.

Last night, Chris Hayes did a segment on this very topic:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In today's Los Angeles Times, there is an article that is titled, "Senate polls offer three lessons and some hope for Democrats." The piece picks up where Chris Hayes and the polls left off.

Here are the three lessons that suggest that there is, indeed, real hope for Democrats, hope for victories in some very red states:

-- First, just as Democrats have been saying, their endangered incumbent in Arkansas, Sen. Mark Pryor, is doing better than analysts in Washington had believed.

-- This second one is my favorite: Despite all the attention they have received, the money poured into early campaign ads by the Koch brothers and conservative groups has made relatively little difference.

-- Third lesson: Although Obama’s standing in Southern states remains very low, Democratic governors in two battlegrounds — Arkansas and Kentucky — are far more popular. They are also more popular than Republican governors in North Carolina and Louisiana. [...] By contrast, Republican Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Pat McCrory of North Carolina got relatively low marks. Jindal won approval from 40% of his state's voters, with 54% disapproving. McCrory stands at 43% to 44%.

There is real potential here, so let's not waste it, Dems.

Details at the link.

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Poll-itics: Red state Democratic Senate candidates are still alive and kicking

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red state horror film

It's poll-itics time! And from the looks of the latest poll-itics numbers, we shouldn't count out red state Dems yet. According to four new non-partisan polls, Democrats vying for U.S. Senate seats are still in the running.

The Hill has the story:

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), a top GOP target, leads Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) by 46 percent-36 percent in a live-caller poll conducted for The New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Pryor's approval rating is at 47 percent with 38 percent disapproving, good numbers for any Democrat in a state as conservative as Arkansas.

You'd never know that by listening to the talking heads on the Tee Vee Machine. It's early yet, but still, the doomsdayers are out there doomsdaying. Meantime, Progressives should continue to get out there and help voters register. Then, come election day, we should all do what we can to get out the vote and help people to the polls.

Speaking of doomsday, I wonder how old Mitch McConnell's doing these days...

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is also in a dogfight, according to the poll. McConnell leads Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) by 44 percent-43 percent in the heavily Republican state. McConnell's approval rating is at 40 percent with 52 percent disapproving.

The GOP has spent millions to defeat Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), but she leads her opponents by two points. And Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is ahead of Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) 42% to 18%.

While it would be a vast improvement to elect Progressives to replace the Blue Dog Democrats who are currently running, that's not in the cards.

So until that day comes-- say it with me now:

gotv 3

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Big Boobs Do In Mike Huckabee Producer

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large boobs

Yes, you read that headline right. Former Arkansas governor as well as former and possibly future Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee fired his radio show producer over a guest's rather buxom figure. Magic Mike has a problem with talking about the human body. Female breasts, specifically. That's quite an amazing self-indictment made by the Huckster considering he's also a former pastor -- the very person a member of his flock should be able to freely discuss anything with, especially personal issues. Where else would you go for advice if not the solace of your ecumenical leader?

The problem began when the cultural conservative, on his radio talk show, became uncomfortable when one of his show's guests claimed to be victim of a peculiar bit of discrimination. According to this Huckabee interview with POLITICO:

“It was a woman who got fired because she said that her boss thought that her breasts were too big. And I’m not making this up,” Huckabee told Politico. “So I’m sitting there having to interview this woman about her boss thought her breasts were too big.

I’ve had conversations with a lot of people, public and private, but this is just not one I want to have on a national radio show. It was bizarre. It was absolutely the most awkward, uncomfortable conversation I think I’ve probably ever had.”

“That’s one I've tried to forget; unfortunately I’m unable to,” he said of the interview, which he described as “the most awkward, uncomfortable conversation I think I’ve probably ever had.”

Well, as awkward as this may have been for host, it became even more problematic for the radio show's producer.

Huckabee said the guest was scheduled by a producer who “didn’t last very long with the show," suggesting that the interview may have played a part in his short stint.

So there you have it. Mike Huckabee has a thing for big boobs. He's so embarrassed by them and has even fired his show's producer over them.

Putting the outrageous Mike's actions on a back burner -- justifiable firing or not -- is this the kind of person we want handling the reins of the US government? A childish, right-wing nut-job Tea Party wackadoo who can't even discuss a legal matter without tittering ? (yes, that was intentional, I could of used snickering) If he can't discuss an actual discrimination suit, how's he going to govern over the rights of women's reproductive issues? This guy is truly considering running again for president. I can just see his campaign slogan this time around -- "Vote for Mike. A chicken in every pot and two boobs in every bra"

Oh, and this little news piece from today, New Year's Eve day, 2013 -- The Hill is reporting:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) leads the field of potential Republican presidential candidates in early-voting South Carolina, according to a new poll from Gravis Marketing.

Doesn't it make you wonder?

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Judicial Openings, Facts Need Not Apply

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Blacks need not apply

Talking Points Memo reports:

A conservative group is attacking Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), who is up for re-election in 2014, with a TV ad buy demanding he refuse to let President Barack Obama fill three judicial vacancies on the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Judicial Crisis Network, a right-wing activist organization focused on the courts, has taken out what it claims is a six-figure ad buy airing the spot below for two weeks on Little Rock television, a spokesman for the group said.

As you watch the ad, keep in mind they talk of court packing:

Court packing. Hmm. Sounds pretty ominous. Kind of an underhanded, subversively sneaky, maybe even a covert plan to leverage control of the judicial wing of our three branches of government.

The term court packing means to add additional judges to the Supreme Court to tip the "political" slant of the judicial make up. It refers to the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 where FDR tried to increase the size of the Supreme Court by up to 6 additional judges. These were ADDITIONAL judges, not FDR's filling of vacancies.

Obama's faced with three federal judge appointments to fill vacancies. Positions that already exist. Republicans are against this, not because his nominees aren't qualified, but because the right wingnuts are just trying to prevent Obama from doing anything. These nominees are picked based on their judicial rulings in the past, not what they might do in the future, and certainly not based on their political bent. And the Senate can vote them down -- but only if they get to vote. The anonymous holds the Republican wackadoos place on these nominees prevents that.

Filling these federal court vacancies is part of Obama's job description. He names the nominees to the federal court to fill empty seats and burgeoning courtrooms. There's a backlog of cases because of judicial vacancies. So these seats need to be filled, for our justice, safety and security. But the GOP senators don't seem to care about that.

Strategically, if Obama had come out and said I don't think I should be filling these seats, we've got enough justices already, the same right wingers would be up in arms saying that Obama was trying to obscure justice by not filling these vacancies. Maybe that's what he should have done. The negative sales method. It's worked in advertising and in election campaigns. Maybe that's the way the Republicans need to be handled. At least until they catch on. But that would be like evolution. Something they don't believe in.

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Here we go again: No. Dakota kept oil pipeline spill quiet for days; oil firm doesn't know when it started.

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that's oil folks smaller

I recently posted Canada's booming oil sands industry offering a "choice between whether we starve to death or are poisoned to death". That was one of our many, many stories about how the oil industry is slowly destroying our environment (scroll) and life on this planet. We can't take much more pollution before the damage becomes irreversible. Oh wait.

Today I opened my Los Angeles Times and, once again, another pipeline leak story reared its slimy head. This time it was in North Dakota, and once again, it was a disgustingly frustrating tale of destruction and irresponsibility:

At least 20,600 barrels of oil leaked onto the [North Dakota farmer Steven] Jensens' land from a pipeline owned by Tesoro Logistics, one of the largest land-based spills in recent history. Neither the pipeline company nor the state informed the public of the spill for 11 days.

To put things into perspective, the Kalamazoo River spill in Michigan, where cleanup has gone on since 2010 (!), also gushed more than 20,000 barrels of oil.

Did I mention that a Shell pipeline broke in Texas, spilling 30,000 gallons of crude? And hey, how about that Arkansas pipeline rupture, folks?

But back to North Dakota:

No one knows how long the pipeline was leaking before Jensen discovered it, nor why sensors on the pipe failed to detect the leak. Neither the state nor the company could say what the pipeline's capacity was. Experts on pipeline spills question the accuracy of Tesoro's leak estimate, disputing its methodology.

Details, schmetails.

frustrated30

By the way, Jensen is worried that the goo could seep into the groundwater. He smelled the oil in his wheat field before he saw it, which makes to wonder how long the pipe had been leaking. Why wasn't he alerted again?

The questions have stirred concerns about North Dakota's handling of a major spill, especially because thousands of miles of pipe are being installed as part of the state's oil boom.

And then there's that little thing called accuracy:

The company initially reported that 750 barrels had spilled, but a week later revised it to 20,600.

Let's see, gimme a second here, gotta do the math; subtracting 750 from 20,600, carrying the one, calculating.. calculating... got it! Hey, that's only a difference of 19,850 barrels. Pffft! Chickenfeed. Why, whoever would be so critical as to fault Tesoro for a measly little 20,000 barrel error?

Steve Wereley, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University and an expert on spill flows, who helped establish an accurate flow rate for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil volcano in the Gulf, put it this way:

"If we're talking about tens of thousands of barrels, shouldn't you notice 20,000 barrels missing at the end?"

Answer: yes.

And there's this:

The company has cleaned up about 3,000 barrels of oil. The remediation is expected to continue until late 2014 and to cost about $4 million, the state and Tesoro said.

Again, the Kalamazoo mess is still being mopped up, and it's been three years and counting.

Meanwhile, Jensen is still fretting about what's in his water supply. Silly Steven. What's he so worried about?

what me worry

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