GOP threatens government shutdown over Confederate flags and Planned Parenthood, but will not consider a bill to restore the Voting Rights Act

This coming Thursday, August 6, is the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most consequential pieces of legislation in American history.

Voting-RightsWhen the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the coverage section, Section 4 of the Act, in 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that Congress remained free to try to impose federal oversight on states where voting rights were at risk, but must do so based on contemporary data.

The Tea-Publican controlled Congress has failed to act on this suggestion from the Court, preferring the status quo of a gutted Voting Rights Act, followed by the largest number of voting restrictions enacted by GOP states since the Jim Crow era.

A bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) in response to the Supreme Court ruling that struck down Section 4 of the law in 2013 was introduced in 2014, and again earlier this year (The Sensenbrenner-Conyers bill, known as the Voting Rights Amendment Act). Bill To Restore Voting Rights Act Gets Another Bipartisan Push. A separate Democratic bill has also been introduced. Democrats Unveil Bill To Restore Gutted Voting Rights Act (The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, which goes beyond the version introduced in 2014).

Democrats have made a push for Congress to vote on these bills on the eve of the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, but Tea-Publican congressional leaders have refused.

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Navy Veteran Marla Closen to challenge Supervisor Ray Carroll in District 4



Marla Closen

Marla Closen


“Tired of potholes, increasing taxes and debt?  It is time for a new direction!

Marla Closen, who is running for District 4 Pima County Supervisor, believes we can do better. Marla, a Republican, is running to change the ineffective and stagnant policies the current Republican supports.  When questioned about challenging a decades – old incumbent she said, “I believe Pima County’s success depends upon decreasing debt and taxes, eliminating non-essential spending and prioritizing our spending on roads and county necessities, and implementing pro-business policies.  If I thought the current Supervisor – Ray Carroll – supported any of those principles, I would be voting for him, not running against him. “

Marla is living proof the combination of personal initiative, a fiscally conservative mindset and pro-business attitude equals success, and she intends to apply this formula to Pima County as Supervisor.  As a former small business owner and engineer, she knows how high taxes, over regulation, and even complicated and expensive zoning requirements can crush the dream of creating a small business.

When asked about her additional qualifications for improving Pima County, she said, “I owned a construction management business, so I know how to run a small business, and I know contracting and construction, procurement and project management.  I worked for the Department of Defense as an Intelligence Analyst, so I know the discipline of researching and connecting the dots until I find a solution. I was a Chief Intelligence Specialist and combat veteran in the Navy Reserve, so I know how to develop strategies that have to work, in an environment that does not allow failure.”

It is time. Time for Marla’s leadership and experience to provide the new direction Pima County needs.

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Arizona Republic: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

I thought reporters who cover the courts for big city newspapers were supposed to understand how America’s justice system works. Apparently not, based on my reading of the Republic’s Michael Kiefer article, Debra Milke’s new world after a half-life on death row.

Here’s Kiefer’s bio:

Michael Kiefer is a senior reporter who has covered courts, justice and Maricopa County government issues for The Arizona Republic since 2003.

And here’s the reporting on Debra Milke’s recent release from prison by the senior reporter who has been covering the courts for over a decade: Continue reading

The GOP campaign to dismantle the Voting Rights Act of 1965

This coming Thursday, August 6, is the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most consequential pieces of legislation in American history.

Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times in a lengthy exposé, “A Dream Undone,” examines the 50 year GOP campaign to dismantle this landmark piece of legislation. A Dream Undone (excerpts):

Screenshot from 2015-08-01 16:19:52[I]n the American South in 1956, not every would-be black voter was an Air Force officer with the wherewithal to call on the local election board; for decades, most had found it effectively impossible to attain the most elemental rights of citizenship. Only about one-quarter of eligible black voters in the South were registered that year, according to the limited records available. By 1959, when Frye went on to become one of the first black graduates of the University of North Carolina law school, that number had changed little. When Frye became a legal adviser to the students running the antisegregation sit-ins at the Greensboro Woolworth’s in 1960, the number remained roughly the same. And when Frye became a deputy United States attorney in the Kennedy administration, it had grown only slightly. By law, the franchise extended to black voters; in practice, it often did not.

What changed this state of affairs was the passage, 50 years ago this month, of the Voting Rights Act. Signed on Aug. 6, 1965, it was meant to correct “a clear and simple wrong,” as Lyndon Johnson said. “Millions of Americans are denied the right to vote because of their color. This law will ensure them the right to vote.” It eliminated literacy tests and other Jim Crow tactics, and — in a key provision called Section 5 — required North Carolina and six other states with histories of black disenfranchisement to submit any future change in statewide voting law, no matter how small, for approval by federal authorities in Washington. No longer would the states be able to invent clever new ways to suppress the vote. Johnson called the legislation “one of the most monumental laws in the entire history of American freedom,” and not without justification. By 1968, just three years after the Voting Rights Act became law, black registration had increased substantially across the South, to 62 percent. Frye himself became a beneficiary of the act that same year when, after a close election, he became the first black state representative to serve in the North Carolina General Assembly since Reconstruction.

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Political Calendar: Week of August 2, 2015

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Political Calendar for the Week of August 2, 2015:

Monday, August 3, Noon: Democrats of Greater Tucson luncheon, Dragon’s View Restaurant (400 N. Bonita, South of St. Mary’s Road between the Freeway and Grande Avenue, turn South at Furr’s Cafeteria). New price: buffet lunch is $10.00 cash, $12 credit; just a drink is $3.50. (Updated) Featured speaker is Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias on County Bond Proposals rundown. Next Week: Michael McDonald, CEO Community Food Bank on “Issues with the Food Bank and community farming.”

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Cartoon of The Week



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