4th Circuit Court of Appeals enjoins part of North Carolina’s ‘worst voter suppression law’ in the nation

Ari Berman at The Nation posts on today’s voting rights victory in the state of North Carolina. Voting Rights Victory in North Carolina:

Last year, North Carolina passed the most sweeping voting restrictions since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Civil rights groups like the North Carolina NAACP and ACLU asked the courts for an injunction against three major parts of the law before the midterms—a reduction in early voting by a week, the elimination of same-day registration during the early voting period and a prohibition on counting ballots accidentally cast in the wrong precinct. In early August, District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder denied the injunction, saying the plaintiffs had not proven “irreparable harm.”

Voting-RightsTwo of three judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled parts of Schroeder’s ruling today, reinstating same-day registration and the counting of out-of-precinct ballots for 2014.

In not-so-good news for voting rights, the appeals court also upheld: “(i) the reduction of early-voting days; (ii) the expansion of allowable voter challengers; (iii) the elimination of the discretion of county boards of elections to keep the polls open an additional hour on Election Day in “extraordinary circumstances”; (iv) the elimination of pre-registration of sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds who will not be eighteen years old by the next general election; and (v) the soft roll-out of voter identification requirements to go into effect in 2016.”

“With respect to these provisions, we conclude that, although Plaintiffs may ultimately succeed at trial, they have not met their burden of satisfying all elements necessary for a preliminary injunction,” wrote Judges James Wynn and Henry Floyd, two Obama appointees.

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GOP loses bid in Kansas to force Democrats to name a replacement candidate

In a 22 page unanimous 3-judge decision (.pdf), a Kansas court has ruled that the Kansas Democratic party does not have to name a replacement candidate for Chad Taylor, who withdrew from the U.S. Senate race last week. the Wichita Eagle reports, Shawnee County Court rules Democrats don’t need Kansas Senate nominee:

DorothyA Kansas court has ruled that Democrats can go without a U.S. Senate candidate after their nominee dropped out of the race against three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.

The ruling Wednesday is a blow to the GOP in a key race in the national battle over Senate control.

A panel of three Shawnee County District Court judges said a state election law does not require Democrats to fill the candidate vacancy.

The judges also said the disgruntled who filed a lawsuit to force Democrats to act didn’t prove his case because he failed to show up for a Monday hearing.

That’s the end of the line for the Kansas GOP in this matter. Ballots go out to voters tomorrow (overseas ballots have already gone out).

Questions for Martha McSally from The Republic: ‘Silent Sally’ still has no answers

The candidates for the CD 2 congressional seat had their sit-down interview with the editors of The Arizona Republic endorsement board, and it appears that Tea-Publican Martha McSally did not do well at her interview. The Republic’s Linda Valdez writes, Martha McSally won’t answer border questions:

Screenshot from 2014-04-19 09:46:19Martha McSally wants to secure the border before addressing the 11 million undocumented people living in the shadows.

She couldn’t define a secure border. But she says she’ll know it when she sees it. Sort of like pornography.

She does know some stuff: We can agree it’s not secure, she says. OK.

And she says we should get input from border ranchers in determining whether the border is secure. OK.

But how will we know it is secure? She had no answer.

Perhaps Glinda the Good Witch will float in with a security assurance decree.

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Mark Morrison, candidate for LD 10 Senate, does not meet candidate residency requirements

Senator David Bradley (D-Tucson) from Legislative District 10 is one of the most respected elected leaders from Tucson, and recognized as an advocate for child welfare. Sen. Bradley defeated the widely despised Frank “don’t make me angry” Antenori (R-Not Tucson) in 2012, to everyone’s great relief (even Republican lobbyists have said so).QuestionMarkSilhouette

This year, Sen. Bradley faces a mystery Republican opponent, Mark Edwin Morrison, newly arrived in Arizona.

In doing opposition research on this candidate, I discovered that Mr. Morrison has not lived in Arizona and Pima County long enough to meet the residency requirements to run for political office.

Arizona’s constitutional residency requirement for a state legislator is: an Arizona resident for 3 years, and a resident of the County from which elected for 1 year. Article 4, Part 2 Section 2 of the Arizona Constitution. “Residency” under Arizona election law is defined as physical presence with an intent to remain. A.R.S. §16-311 (A) provides in relevant part that “A candidate for public office shall be a qualified elector at the time of filing and shall reside in the county, district or precinct that the person proposes to represent.”

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Monty Python films at the Loft on every Wednesday in October

And now for something completely Python…

Always look on the bright side of life and prepare for a massive month of Monty Python on the big screen as The Loft Cinema presents a moving tribute to killer rabbits, silly walks and dead parrots – it’s guaranteed to be more fun than the Spanish Inquisition! Monty Python’s Flying Circus started as a television show in 1969, growing exponentially in popularity with each passing year until finally, in 1971, the first Monty Python movie appeared,And Now For Something Completely Different. British comedy would never be the same again. Drawing on the crackpot genius of its members (including Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Terry Jones, to name only the proverbial few), the Python troupe combined brainy satire with utterly ridiculous nonsense to create a new brand of surreal comedy that inspired generations of performers. Following the success of their first film, more (and increasingly hilarious) Monty Python movies arrived at intervals of every few years, even after the original, legendary television series went off the air in 1973. From the outrageous satire of The Life of Brian to the quotable insanity of The Holy Grail to the warped fantasy of Gilliam’sTime Bandits and beyond, the films of Monty Python prove that comedy may be nice, but a shrubbery is ever nicer.


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The Road to Aristocracy

The annual Forbes list of America’s 400 wealthiest individuals was released Monday.

Our 400 plutocrats had another stellar year, increasing their wealth by a tidy 13.5% to a record $2.29 Trillion. As has been the case for all but a few of the past 35 years, they did better than the country as a whole. Our national household wealth was up 10.5% over the past year. A good year, but nowhere near as good as the year the top 400 had.

A few tidbits on America’s concentrating wealth:

In a piece last year for the Arizona Republic, Absurd Inequity is Threatening U.S.,  I noted that our 51 wealthiest Americans controlled a total wealth of $1 Trillion. In 1982, reaching an equivalent share of our aggregate wealth would have required the wealthiest 1500 or so Americans.

Well, that “trillion-dollar club” shrank further over the past year. The 38 wealthiest Americans now have total wealth of $1 Trillion. And to reach $1.1 Trillion, the same share of our total wealth as $1 Trillion represented last year, would require the 47 wealthiest Americans. In other words, the share of our national wealth that the top 51 Americans held last year is now held by the top 47 Americans. See the trend?

Last year, I estimated the trillion-dollar club of 2044 would have just 12 members if our current pace of wealth concentration were to continue. A year later, we’re still on track.

Of course, the road to aristocracy is paved with poverty. While the wealth of the fabulous 400 has soared, the incomes of middle class and poor in America have declined.

So I continue to wonder: How much wealth and how much income can we cram into the top 1% before the bottom 90% explodes?