Kentucky school district complies with mandatory 'In God We Trust' displays with framed dollar bills
Earlier this year, Kentucky Republicans crafted a new law requiring all public schools to prominently display the text "In God We Trust," part of the ongoing effort by Republicans to require everyone believe what they believe or face legal retribution. Schools have been complying, of course.
But in Lexington, Fayette County Public Schools have engaged in a bit of malicious compliance. Rather than using ever-limited school funds to order custom In God We Trust signs or tasking students to come up with the legally required artwork, the district looked at the requirements and came up with the cheapest and most efficient solution: they printed out the enlarged reverse side of $1 dollar bills, which feature the motto prominently (along with the weird pyramid eye that makes us look like nutcases).
"Like every school district in the Commonwealth, Fayette County Public Schools has complied with the requirements of the new law to display the national motto in our schools. All schools in our district have been provided a framed version of an enlarged copy of a $1 dollar bill to display in a prominent location," Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk told WKYT.
Republican lawmakers are, of course, pissed. The intent was for the message to be displayed in a more propaganda-compliant fashion, big and religiously intimidating, only to have some school officials follow the law to the letter rather than jumping onto the theocratic bandwagon. There's no doubt those same lawmakers will be looking for retribution against the district, a new law refining the theocratic intent of the old law, or (most likely) both.
They shouldn't. The point of the legislation was to efficiently indoctrinate American children; you can't come up with a more efficient method of indoctrinating them than encouraging them to worship the dollar bill directly. It's a time-saver, if anything. If the dollar bill loves God and the children love the dollar, both bases are covered. The 20th century adoption of the phrase as a voodoo curse against global communism, during the peak of the Cold War, and the unending efforts of conservative rabble-rousers to return us to those jingoistic days will make for an excellent history lesson. The hollowness of the phrase, the ability to turn any seemingly profound statement of patriotism or faith or both into omnipresent but rote drivel, another bit of visual static to clutter our commercialized, emotionless landscape.
Drunk History (Feat. Bill Hader & Jenny Slate): Coca-Cola Was Invented Using Cocaine (It Really Was)
John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola while trying to create a patent medicine – but it had something a little extra in it.
About Drunk History:
Based on the popular web series, Drunk History is the liquored-up narration of our nation's history. Host Derek Waters, along with an ever-changing cast of actors and comedians, travels across the country to present the rich tales that every city in this land has to offer. Booze helps bring out the truth. It's just that sometimes the truth is a little incoherent.
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It was a weird day yesterday: Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill receives prank box labeled 'industrial strength dildos' https://t.co/23lLwQAn31
— Jim Little (@JimWLittle) August 16, 2019
Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill is fuming after a box labeled “industrial strength dildos” arrived in the mail at his county office Thursday.
Underhill showed the box to reporters following the County Commission meeting on Thursday, saying it demonstrated how far the level of civility has fallen in Escambia County.
“There’s no way this is even remotely appropriate in the way that we conduct business here in Escambia County,” Underhill said while pointing to the box. “We have staff members, young people, who have to handle the mail here. I’m a sailor, you’re not going to offend me with anything, but this kind of garbage, and this is the kind of garbage put out by the same kinds of people, the same lies, the same hate, the same anger that they bring to every single issue.”
The box itself appeared to be a practical joke box and was only filled with paper and a packing slip billing for the package that included the email address of the sender.
The email address belongs to a Perdido Key resident named Scott Anderson, who told the News Journal he had no idea about the box being sent to Underhill or how his email address ended up on the packing slip.
“I’m totally stunned by all of this,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he’s only interacted with Underhill a few times on the Nextdoor website over what he said was a lack of maintenance at the Perdido Key Dog Park.
“I suppose I could’ve irritated maybe an Underhill supporter,” Anderson said. “That’s the only thing I can think of.”
Despite the box appearing to be a joke, it was no laughing matter for Underhill.
Underhill regularly comments in local Facebook groups and often takes a combative tone with people with whom he disagrees.
Underhill said laughing at the antics of his dedicated critics only makes it worse because the time and energy spent on dealing with his critics is time not spent tackling issues that matter such as funding for public safety.
Underhill pointed to the meeting on Thursday as an example. On Thursday, members of Save Pensacola Beach protesting the county’s move to remove language approved by voters last year in a non-binding referendum.
During the discussion, Underhill said he compared the group and its founder Dianne Krummel to antifa, short for anti-facists, the name given to far-left protestors who often wear masks and engage in violent attacks during protest.
“Dianne, at some point you’re going to have to trade in that yellow shirt for a black mask if you keep this up,” Underhill said.
While speaking to reporters, Underhill blamed the press for feeding what he said was “radical activism” of the group and argued that the County Commission chambers should be a place of civil discussion.
When asked if his own speech, especially online, was uncivil, Underhill rejected the idea.
“I don’t think I’m uncivil online at all,” Underhill said. “I engage the adversary. The adversary is the lies, the untruths. The reality is if we as your — especially as conservative elected officials — do not push back against the spending, if we don’t push back against the corruption, if we don’t push back against the lies that are said here, then who will?”
He seems nice.
No word on when the lube is scheduled to be delivered.
Also, The Industrial Strength Dildos are my New Wave Fem Punk cover band.
Dana Milbank writes the most heartwarming (tongue in cheek) story about Wayne LaPierre needing a new house.
After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, he and his wife bravely waited out the uproar on the pink-sand beaches of the Bahamas, part of $542,000 in private jet trips and personal items the NRA bought for him. And now, thanks to some delightful reporting by my Washington Post colleagues Carol D. Leonnig and Beth Reinhard, we know that last year’s Parkland massacre left LaPierre so fearful for his personal safety that he tried to have the NRA buy him a $6 million Frenchchateau-style mansion with nine bathrooms in a gated Dallas – area golf course community.
He told associates that he was worried about his safety and thought his Virginia home was too easy for potential attackers to find.
Oh, I know the feeling, Wayne – with all those damn guns out there not even your own personal armory can make you safe.
Some will see the hypocrisy in LaPierre trying to get the NRA to buy him a mansion in a gated community when the NRA, at the time of the attempted acquisition that LaPierre feels unsafe because of the very gun culture his policies have created.
Some? Just some?
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
Late Night Snark: POTUS Dusts Off His Tin-Foil Hat Edition
"[Jeffrey Epstein's death] has set off a wild wave of conspiracy theories online. The sort of stuff that only unstable tinfoil-hat loons could possibly believe. So: Donald Trump."
—Stephen Colbert—via Occupy Democrats
Clip of CNN's Jake Tapper: President Trump used his massive twitter platform to spread a deranged conspiracy theory tying the pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in prison to the president's former political rivals, the Clintons. I'm not going to show you the tweet.
Seth Meyers: Think about that. The president's tweets are so insane the news can't even show them now. It's getting to the point where, when he talks to reporters, they're gonna have to blur out his entire face. They're gonna have to treat him like accidental nudity. We elected President Nip Slip.
"According to The Washington Post, Trump has now made more than 12,000 false or misleading claims since he took office two-and-a-half years ago. If Trump's nose grew every time he told a lie, he could use it as a zip-line straight to Vladimir Putin's bedroom.”
"We all know how much Trump struggles to do the bare minimum of being a president. But it's still genuinely shocking just how much he struggles to do the bare minimum of being a f*cking person."
"I call [Trump] 'the occupant.' He is just occupying space. We went from a president who sang Amazing Grace to one who displays zero of it. He does not honor the integrity or the responsibility, or the empathy or the compassion, and so for that reason I call him 'the occupant,' not because I dishonor the office but because he does."
—Rep. Ayanna Presley (D-MA) on The Late Show
And my favorite quote of the week, which I’ve also mumbled to myself often:
"Trump is just a lie a minute, which makes me—[Long pause]—drink whiskey."
---Claire McCaskill on MSNBC's Deadline White House
Come on down and splash. Show your Greenland residency card and we'll let you cut in line at the muskox buffet. Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Nobody says the sliced strawberries can’t be served over pound cake. Photo by JeffreyW
I finally finished the first of four cookbooks, so I thought I’d start the recipe threads again. Since I have the menus already formatted, it’s easy enough to copy and paste them into a thread once a week. I’ve had a few requests to start posting again, if only so everyone has a place to share recipes. Seems like a good idea these days.
On the board tonight: Santa Fe Chicken and Black Bean Salad
Santa Fe Chicken Breasts (recipe below)
Black Bean Salad (recipe here)
Santa Fe Chicken Breast
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 cup Picante or salsa (Fresh Salsa recipe here)
- 4 oz sliced Monterey jack cheese
Reusable plastic container
Add chicken, vinegar and cilantro to reusable container and marinate 1 hour or overnight.
Remove chicken from marinade and slice each breast in a butterfly cut (slicing in half horizontally, but leaving attached at one edge, so it folds open like butterfly wings).
Fold open and grill or broil until cooked through (as little as 5 minutes each side, depending on heat and thickness).
Don’t let dry out. Use a meat thermometer – remove at 165°
On one half of each breast, add 1 oz cheese and 2 tbsp or more of Picante/salsa, fold other half over and heat until cheese is melted.
That’s it for this week. What’s cooking in your kitchen? Go ahead and share your favorite recipes and tips. Otherwise, open thread.
Ali Watkins and Michael Gold at The New York Times report:
The New York City medical examiner said on Friday that Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a federal jail cell was a suicide, confirming he had hanged himself.
Mr. Epstein’s death had set off a wave of unfounded conspiracy theories, as people speculated online, without evidence, that he may have been killed to keep him from providing information to prosecutors about others in his social circle, including President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of Britain.
But the chief medical examiner in New York City, Dr. Barbara Sampson, released a terse statement saying that, after an autopsy and a “careful review of all investigative information,” she had determined the cause of Mr. Epstein’s death was “hanging” and the manner was “suicide.”
Mark Taylor, the self-professed "firefighter prophet," joined another extremist to discuss Rep. Maxine Waters, who earlier this week tweeted a rebuke to Donald Trump's weak and cowardly response to the mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy.
Trump, you called the El Paso shooting an act of cowardice. Trump, you're the coward. You could use the bully pulpit to stop these horrific mass shootings, but you continue racist attacks on Americans. We can't let Senate off the hook. Pass the gun bill! Congress, we can do more!
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) August 4, 2019
Taylor declared that Waters was "calling Satan's pastors" forth to "bully" Donald Trump.
“What were the words she used?” Taylor asked. ”Bully pulpit.'”
“The Lord told me the hordes of chaos have been released on the earth right now,” he raved. “He also told me, ‘Satan’s pastors have been activated.’ Satan’s pastors have been activated."
He then offered what could possibly be the most ridiculous and nakedly racist explanation for his rant I've seen in recent days.
Marion Hammer is the powerful NRA lobbyist who has been able, with the help of the state’s republican leadership, keep meaningful gun safety laws off the books over the past couple of decades. Some of her handy work includes Florida’s controversial, and horrendous, Stand Your Ground legislation. Florida republicans, like most every republican official in the country have always been controlled by gun lobby and the NRA in particular. Florida is discussing a proposed assault rifle ban in the state. Come shortly after yet another set of mass shootings, some lawmakers are trying to get something done. The NRA, dealing with its own internal issues is sending one of Wayen LaPierre’s most loyal soldiers, Marion Hammer, to fight this ban.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Hammer told state economists that the assault ban would hurt the Florida hun manufacturing economy, something that former Governor Rick Scott bent over backwards to develop—using “tax incentives.” To put that into perspective, Bloomberg reported how Gov. Scott gave $1.6 million to gun manufacturer Colt to bring a whopping 63 jobs to the state in 2011.
But more importantly, according to the Times, Hammer wondered aloud “How do you tell a 10-year-old little girl who got a Ruger 10/22 with a pink stock for her birthday that her rifle is an assault weapon and she has to turn it over to government or be arrested for felony possession?” My. Brain. Hurts. Here’s the thing, there are quite a few more truthful phrases Hammer might have chosen instead of this last one about Christmas presents. For example, what about:
- How do you tell a 10-year-old to give back a loaded assault rifle?
- How do you tell a 10-year-old with an assault rifle much of anything?
Forget about the fact that legally, one must be at least 16-years-old to possess this special Christmas present gun in Florida right now. As idiotic as all of that sounds, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ representative at the hearing is Katie Cunningham. Gov. DeSantis’ spokeswoman Helen Ferré told the news outlets that “Katie Cunningham is one of the top public safety experts in Florida and that is why she is the Governor’s representative on this issue.” To put Cunningham into a little more perspective, in the 2018 New Yorker profile on Hammer, Cunningham—then working under then Governor Rick Scott—is not simply being advised by the NRA lobbyist, she’s beholden to her.
When Cunningham discussed revisions to gun legislation with other government staffers, she would send e-mails that said things like “Would you like to call Marion and let her know you’ve got another change to her bill?”
“Her bill?” Just remember that. Forever.
This ban is unlikely to pass anytime soon. Not while Republicans run the state into the ground and people continue to die from gunshots.
Thousands of Shell contractors were in attendance at Donald Trump’s big union speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean they wanted to be. While it’s no secret that the workers were paid to be there, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Friday that the consequences of not attending amounted to far more than just the loss of one day’s wages. Employees who wanted to skip the MAGAfest were technically free to do so, but their choice would cause a loss of as much as $700 later in the week.
Those that decided to sit out the event would have an excused absence, the company said, and would not qualify for overtime pay on Friday. The company has a 56-hour workweek with 16 hours of overtime. That means those workers who attended Mr. Trump’s speech and showed up for work on Friday meeting the overtime threshold are being paid at a rate of time and a half, while those that didn’t go to hear the president are being paid the regular rate, despite the fact that both groups did not do work on the site on Tuesday.
And everyone knows how much this administration loves overtime.
Those that did attend were required to be present from 7 AM until well after 3 PM with no lunch break allowed, or lunch provided. Additionally, employees were told that they were expected to “promote good will from the labor unions” by Shell, whatever their personal feelings about the current administration might be.
Not content to limit the suffering it inflicts to human beings, they’re going after endangered species, too. If they have their way, the only species left will be marauding bands of 30-50 feral hogs.
Follow me on Twitter @BrianMc_Fadden.
Friends, let us savor (even though the fare is provided by Politico):
‘I’m worried’: Allies fear NRA has lost its power in Washington
The National Rifle Association’s internal turmoil is preventing the once-mighty organization from crafting a plan to blunt the latest gun control push, highlighting the group’s weakness at a crucial political moment.
The disarray at the NRA is alarming allies who say President Donald Trump and Congress appear to have a brief opening to pass legislation while the group is so politically feeble it isn’t able to aggressively lobby lawmakers against proposals or hold them accountable for their votes, according to a half-dozen Republicans familiar with the situation…
Multiple Republican Senate offices said they haven’t heard from the NRA, which touts 5 million members. The NRA has been slow to respond to the litany of scandals. And Trump has told aides the NRA is vulnerable and on the verge of being “bankrupt,” according to a Republican close to the White House.
The article says Republicans are worried that meaningful gun safety legislation will be passed in the short term. They needn’t be. Trump has already moved on to blaming mass shootings on the closure of old-timey insane asylums.
It’s perfectly on-brand for Trump to question the death merchant lobbyist’s fiscal health after they gave him $30 million in 2016, but a Venn diagram of gun nuts and Trump supporters would be damned close to a perfect circle, so he’s unlikely to cross the NRA in any significant way.
Still, it’s glorious to see the blood-gargling sociopaths at the NRA engulfed in cascading corruption scandals like common TV preachers. LaPierre seems determined to cling to power, which is great news for people who wish the organization a messy, protracted demise.
An unfavorable election cycle that sweeps NRA toadies out the door might finally wrest political power from the organization’s cold, bloody hands. It wouldn’t solve our gun nut problem, but it sure would make it harder for gun nuts to impose their will on the majority of Americans. A girl can dream, anyway.
● Georgia: On Thursday, federal District Court Judge Amy Totenberg ruled that the state of Georgia may no longer continue using paperless voting machines starting with the 2020 elections and excoriated Republican officials over significant election security flaws.Campaign Action
Totenberg declined to bar the use of the machines for this November's municipal elections, citing the short time that would have been available to replace them with another voting method. However, in 2020, her ruling will require the state to either use voting machines that print a paper ballot record or switch to paper ballots that are filled out with a pen and then fed into an optical scanner.
Totenberg's decision also ordered election officials to fix errors in Georgia's voter registration database and provide paper backups for the electronic poll books at each polling place, which are used to track whether a registered voter has cast a ballot or not when a voter shows up on Election Day.
This ruling is not only a victory for the plaintiffs who filed this lawsuit in 2017; it also marks the first time a federal court has blocked the use of paperless voting machines, which more than a dozen others states use. However, it's far from the end of the legal battle over election administration in Georgia.
Earlier this year, Republican legislators awarded a $107 million contract for the new machines to Dominion Voting. Known as "ballot-marking devices," these particular machines print both a bar code, which voters cannot read, and a text summary of their votes, which they can. It is the bar code, however, that is scanned and tallied when votes are tabulated, not the text summary. Plaintiffs contend, therefore, that relying on unreadable bar codes renders the system insecure and undermines voter confidence in the integrity of the results.
Reform advocates have, consequently, vowed to fight the bar code machines by pushing for an alternative, such as paper ballots filled in by hand. Totenberg's ruling didn't foreclose the use of the bar code voting machines, but she expressed doubt that they would be ready for use by the time of next year's March 24 presidential primary. She therefore mandated that officials come up with a backup plan, such as paper ballots, in the event that the machines can’t be deployed in time.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has a policy plan for American Indians. The 19-page plan introduced Friday at Medium isn’t the first proposal from a presidential candidate this election season, but it is by far the most comprehensive. Titled “A Legislative Proposal Honoring Promises to Native Nations Act,” the plan was developed together with Democratic Rep. Debra Haaland, the Laguna Pueblo citizen who in January became one of the first two Native women ever to serve in Congress. Several of more than a score of the plan’s proposals were developed with an eye on the findings last year of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission’s Broken Promises: Continuing Federal Funding Shortfall for Native Americans. That report was a review of a 2003 study.
Throughout U.S. history and in America for decades before it even was the United States, when it comes to indigenous peoples, “promises” and “broken” have been inextricably linked. Moreover, government plans that were supposed to improve Indian life have often had the opposite effect and not infrequently included the transfer of what had been Native lands into non-Native hands, the destruction of tribal identity, culture, religion, language, and economic base. A longstanding effort since the slaughter was ended more than a century ago has been to make modern Indians invisible, only appearing as relics, monolithic stereotypes, and societal misfits. Many Americans view Native problems as our own damn fault even as they condescend to pity us.
This plan, which you can read at the end of this story, challenges that perception and puts it into the proper light. Warren writes:
“This legislation will not address every major policy issue of concern to tribal nations and Indigenous communities. But it will represent an urgently needed and long-overdue step toward ensuring that the United States finally, and for the first time, fully meets its resource obligations to Indian Country.”
The American Medical Association is hedging its bets that the next president and/or Congress are not going to be Republican and that more healthcare reform is inevitable. It has dropped out of an industry group called the Partnership for America's Health Care Future. That group, which includes the health insurer's trade association, America's Health Insurance Plans, as well as the American Hospital Association and a raft of other pro-industry groups has been fighting any serious healthcare reform proposal that involves expanding the Affordable Care Act.
That's what reportedly drove the AMA away. Politico reports that "multiple individuals with knowledge of the decision" say that the coalition's opposition to even moderate proposals like Joe Biden's plan to reform the ACA to include a public option forced the break. The AMA agreed in an annual meeting this summer that it would study the feasibility of a public option to the ACA. In a statement to Politico confirming the break, AMA CEO James Madara said "Missing in the recent debate is an ongoing discussion of practical solutions that will result in more affordable insurance options. […] The AMA decided to leave the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future so that we can devote more time to advocating for these policies that will address current coverage gaps and dysfunction in our health care system."
Trying to put lipstick on the break, the coalition said "Our diverse and fast-growing coalition strongly agrees with the American Medical Association that Medicare for all is the wrong approach for America’s health care and we have appreciated the opportunity to work with them throughout the past year." They also doubled down on resisting anything that would actually improve our system. "Vice President Biden's proposal for a new government insurance system through a 'public option' would undermine the progress our nation has made and ultimately lead our nation down the path of a one-size-fits-all health care system run by Washington," executive director Lauren Crawford Shaver said.
Other member organizations attribute it to a new generation of doctors who support making health care more affordable and accessible for everyone taking over the AMA from older doctors who "remain wary of expanding government-run coverage." Perhaps the younger doctors are more receptive to what their patients are telling them. Or maybe they are aware of how every other economically advanced nation provides care. Or maybe the AMA wants to be a constructive part of the discussion and doesn't want to be left behind.
Republican Dan Bishop echoes Donald Trump’s racism in a new ad that attempts to connect Democrat Dan McCready, his opponent in the Sept. 10 special election in North Carolina’s 9th District, to the recent arrest of an undocumented immigrant from Honduras named Luis Pineda-Ancheta.
Bishop begins, “Over in Charlotte, a liberal sheriff is playing politics with illegal immigration,” and continues, “Why? To spite President Trump.” He then insists that Mecklenburg Sheriff Garry McFadden “released violent criminal illegals back onto our streets,” and declares, “Rogue sheriffs should follow the law or resign.”
Bishop only mentions his opponent at the end when he says, “Dan McCready won't put country over party. Wrong Dan won't stand up to radicals in this party even when they put us in danger.” In case the ad’s race-baiting wasn’t clear enough, the ad shows a picture of McFadden, who is black, next to a mugshot of Pineda-Ancheta with the word “STRANGULATION” in large type just above it.
Bishop is hoping to capitalize on recent stories involving Pineda-Ancheta that have nothing to do with McCready. Pineda-Ancheta was deported from the United States back in 2006, but he later returned. In May, he was twice arrested on domestic violence charges, and the second arrest resulted in a nine-hour standoff with a police SWAT team. Pineda-Ancheta was released both times after paying his bond, but ICE detained him just after he got out of prison the second time. ICE has argued that McFadden’s refusal to cooperate with the agency allowed Pineda-Ancheta to go free when he should have been in their custody.
Bishop has seized on the story and attempted to use it against McCready, even though there’s no connection at all between McCready and the people or events described in the ad. In June, Bishop called for McFadden to resign and accused McCready of staying silent. McCready did comment on the story, though, saying it was “sadly just the latest example of how terribly broken our current immigration system is.”
In 2002, Professor Elizabeth Warren agreed to meet with a former Harvard student who was considering running in the Illinois Democratic primary for United States Senate. She told this “enlightening” story in 2011, around the time she’d decided to run for the Senate herself. You just have to hear it in her own words.x
Elizabeth Warren tells the story of her first time meeting Obama back in 2002 when he was preparing to run for Senate.Ã¢ÂÂ Trojans for Warren (@USCForWarren) August 15, 2019
Wait for the punchline. Ã°ÂÂÂ pic.twitter.com/oN1vYqxPQX
Activists in Missouri are trying to put several initiatives on the 2020 ballot to expand voting rights, but Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has attempted to give the initiatives descriptive language that is so misleading that the measures' supporters have filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to obtain fairly worded descriptions.
The initiatives in question include automatic voter registration; the establishment of early voting; removing the excuse requirement to vote absentee by mail and letting voters permanently sign up to automatically receive a mail ballot in every election; the right to cast a provisional ballot for the correct offices even if voting at the wrong polling place; letting 16- and 17-year-olds "pre-register" to vote so that they're automatically added to the voter rolls when they turn 18; requiring routine audits of election results; and extending the time allowed for military votes to be received and counted.
However, Ashcroft, who is the son of former George W. Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft, certified deceptive language for the petitions that organizers must circulate to collect signatures in order to get their measures on the ballot. One measure is described as "mak[ing] voters' method of voting a public record," even though that information already is public.
Another says that a measure would "allow voters on election day to appear at the wrong polling place, vote on a wrong ballot, and have election judges later transfer the votes to the right ballot," which falsely implies that voters could vote on races they're ineligible to participate in. Rather, provisional ballots only let voters vote in the races that ballots at their correct polling place have in common with those at the incorrect polling place, such as those for statewide office.
Ashcroft has been rebuked in the past for similarly using his powers to try to stymie other progressive initiatives: Earlier this year, a state court overturned Ashcroft's decision to throw out an attempted veto referendum of an abortion restriction law. However, Ashcroft's foot-dragging still had its intended effect, since it delayed the certification of the proposed referendum long enough that organizers didn't have enough time to gather the necessary signatures before a key deadline to make the 2020 ballot.
The plaintiffs seeking fairly worded descriptions for their voting rights initiatives filed their lawsuit in state court; notably, a 4-3 majority on Missouri's Supreme Court was appointed by a Democratic governor through a merit-based system. Last year, the high court declined to disqualify an initiative from the ballot that reformed the state's redistricting and ethics rules, which voters subsequently passed.
The gay conservative group Log Cabin Republicans has decided to endorse Donald Trump for reelection in 2020, with group leaders falsely claiming in a Washington Post op-ed that the same guy who brought us Vice President Mike Pence and banned transgender military service members has taken “bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community.”
"He has committed to end the spread of HIV/AIDS in 10 years, through the use of proven science, medicine and technology to which we now have access,” the group claims. “This scourge decimated a generation of gay men in the United States and continues to inflict pain, suffering and death at home and abroad.”
Back here in reality, LGBTQ outlet NewNowNext reports that Trump “diverted funds from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program to cover the increased costs of detaining immigrant children,” “twice requested cuts to PEPFAR,” and “is so ignorant on this issue he asked Bill Gates on not one but two occasions what the difference was between HIV and HPV.”
Just this week, his administration also “opened the door ... to permitting government contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees with a proposed rule that frames the issue as protecting companies’ religious beliefs.” The American Civil Liberties Union said his administration “is shamefully working to license taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion.”
The endorsement is a reversal from the group’s decision to not endorse back in 2016. There are so many better ways to spend a Friday than wondering why a gay group would support a profoundly anti-gay administration, but some thoughts are that it’s probably why some Latino Republicans would still support a profoundly anti-Latino administration. Maybe they feel proximity will protect them. Maybe it’s about power and relevancy. Maybe they don’t love themselves. Or maybe they’re just terrible.
The Trump administration is having a demolition derby in our government, purposefully destroying the institutions continuously being built by this experiment since 1789. The latest installment comes from the inspector general at the State Department who has found that senior political appointees have "mistreated and harassed staffers, accused them of political disloyalty to the Trump administration, and retaliated against them."
Two senior officials at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs are the primary focus of the report; Mari Stull, a food and beverage lobbyist who blogged about wine using the name "Vino Vixen," and the bureau's head, Assistant Secretary of State Kevin Moley. The report found that Stull (who left the department in January following reports that she had compiled a list of employees who she felt were insufficiently loyal to Trump) berated and belittled employees, accused them of being "Obama holdovers," "traitors," and "disloyal," as well as being part of the "Deep State" and the "swamp." These were all career employees, serving the department and the government, not the president and have probably served under multiple executives. Because that's how the government is supposed to work.
The IG report found that Moley, Stull's supervisor, joined her in the behavior and "frequently berated employees, raised their voices, and generally engaged in unprofessional behavior toward staff." Moley also accused some staffers of "undermining the President's agenda." The two succeeded in removing one senior official from her post and demoting others. According to the report, around 50 career officials, some senior, left the department on their own as a result of the mismanagement and bullying.
Moley is still on the job, and denied the accusations. He told the IG that "The behavior attributed to me regarding raising my voice, berating employees and contributing to a hostile work environment does not represent the person I am or have ever been." He has been receiving counseling from department leadership, the IG was told "on appropriate leadership and management of the bureau. Further discipline will be considered." He apparently isn't taking that counseling particularly seriously, which might be why the department also said that it would submit a "corrective action plan" for Moley within 60 days.
This is actually just one of two IG personnel investigations. The second revolves around "similar issues involving the Office of the Secretary," dating from Rex Tillerson's tenure in the job. The fact that Tillerson isn't there anymore but the investigation has not been ended suggests that his departure didn't fix the problem.