Let the record show: that you can be a United States senator for 21 years, you can be 79 years old, you can be the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and one of the most recognizable and most widely respected veteran public servants in your nation. But if you are female while you are also all of those other things, men who you defeat in arguments will still respond to you by calling you hysterical and telling you to calm down. They will patronize you and say they ‘admire your passion, sweetie,’ but of course they only deal in facts, not your silly girly strong feelings. It is inescapable, you can set your watch by it.
--Rachel Maddow, discussing Senator Ted Cruz’s condescending lecture to Senator Dianne Feinstein during a Senate debate on gun control. March 14, 2013. (via mamaatheist)
Marvin Wilson sucked his thumb into his adulthood, reads at a second grade level, has an IQ of 61, doesn’t know the difference between left and right, and as a child couldn’t wear a belt without cutting off his circulation. On Tuesday, barring a last-minute intervention from the US Supreme Court, he’ll be executed in Texas.
Film: At the Death House Door
[T]his promise of free voter ID is a mirage. In the real world, poor voters find shuttered offices, long drives without cars, and with spotty or no bus service, and sometimes prohibitive costs. For these Americans, the promise of our democracy is tangibly distant. It can be measured in miles.
--Brennan Center for Justice, The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification
The Rush to Abandon the Poor
While some governors and lawmakers are searching for new revenue sources, others are using the downturn as an excuse to end a long tradition of states being the final backstop for society’s neediest.
Over the last year, for example, eight states have cut or eliminated cash welfare payments to their poorest residents. It happened last week in Pennsylvania, where 61,000 residents — almost all of whom are disabled and poor — were told that they would abruptly lose their $200 monthly general assistance payments, all to save $150 million a year. Our hands are tied by a tightening budget, welfare officials told astonished recipients, though Gov. Tom Corbett’s hands didn’t seem restrained when he handed out $300 million in business tax cuts earlier this month.
Gov. John Kasich of Ohio has cut hundreds of millions from education, but when the state found itself with a $235 million surplus a few weeks ago, he announced that it would all go into a rainy-day fund, doing nothing to deal with rising classroom sizes. In Maine, Gov. Paul LePage — who compared the health care reform law to the Holocaust — signed a budget bill in May that will reduce or eliminate existing Medicaid coverage for 21,000 people.
Chris Hayes takes a look at the 1965 law that may determine the outcome of the 2012 race.
In closing arguments this Friday, attorneys for the state of Texas argued that the state should be released once and for all from the Justice Department’s supervision of its voting process… which is currently authorized by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
2012 REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TEXAS PLATFORM
“We oppose the teaching of higher order thinking skills, critical thinking skills and similar programs…[which] have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
If you can stomach it, here’s the entire PDF.
That’s seriously a real quote (see p. 12). The platform also calls for repealing the Voting Rights Act (except that it keeps referring to the Voter Rights Act).
Women In Texas Losing Options for Health Care in Abortion Fight
Leticia Parra, a mother of five scraping by on income from her husband’s sporadic construction jobs, relied on the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Carlos, an impoverished town in South Texas, for breast cancer screenings, free birth control pills and pap smears for cervical cancer.
But the clinic closed in October, along with more than a dozen others in the state, after financing for women’s health was slashed by two-thirds by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
The cuts, which left many low-income women with inconvenient or costly options, grew out of the effort to eliminate state support for Planned Parenthood. Although the cuts also forced clinics that were not affiliated with the agency to close — and none of them, even the ones run by Planned Parenthood, performed abortions — supporters of the cutbacks said they were motivated by the fight against abortion.
Now, the same sentiment is likely to lead to a shutdown next week of another significant source of reproductive health care: the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which serves 130,000 women with grants to many clinics, including those run by Planned Parenthood. Gov. Rick Perry and Republican lawmakers have said they would forgo the $35 million in federal money that finances the women’s health program in order to keep Planned Parenthood from getting any of it.
Read the entire article here.
Funding for Wisconsin Public Schools Slashed, While State Spending for Private Schools Increases
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has an outstanding piece on education funding and the influence of political donors.
Public schools in Wisconsin will have to make do with $800 million less from the state over the next two years, under the budget passed by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-led Legislature. But state spending on programs that provide public dollars to private schools will see a net increase of nearly $17 million. And, for that, these private schools can thank Alice Walton [a resident of Texas] and her family.
Walton, the multi-billionaire heiress to father Sam Walton’s Walmart empire, was the largest individual contributor to successful state legislative candidates in the 2009-2010 election cycle that brought Republicans to power in Wisconsin…
But the Waltons’ contribution to the state’s choice program — which allocates tax dollars to private schools, most religiously affiliated — goes well beyond campaign contributions. The Walton Family Foundation is a major funder of School Choice Wisconsin, the state’s leading voucher advocate, and other state and national groups that play a role in school choice efforts in Wisconsin.
In just the past several months these efforts have produced major gains, including expanding school choice in Milwaukee and extending it to Racine. A vast and interconnected array of choice proponents, many from out of state, is changing the face of education in Wisconsin.
I absolutely recommend reading the entire article, which can be found here.
Most Horrifying Sentence on Our Site Today
Texas’ Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice, Don Clemmer, later testified that his office didn’t have the resources to investigate allegations of sexual abuse at a TYC facility in Ward County because at the time the local agent was busy investigating charges of voter fraud by a 68-year-old Hispanic woman.
Here’s why I find it impossible to be a Republican: any crowd that instantly cheers the execution of 234 individuals is a crowd I want to flee, not join.
--Andrew Sullivan on the debate crowd’s positive response to the large number of executions that Perry resided over while governor of Texas. (via liberal-life)