Ohio Republicans Poll Taxing the Poor

The NY Times leads off with more disgusting news about Republicans in general and Ohio Republicans in particular.

If you live in Butler or Warren counties in the Republican-leaning suburbs of Cincinnati, you can vote for president beginning in October by going to a polling place in the evening or on weekends. Republican officials in those counties want to make it convenient for their residents to vote early and avoid long lines on Election Day.

But, if you live in Cincinnati, you’re out of luck. Republicans on the county election board are planning to end early voting in the city promptly at 5 p.m., and ban it completely on weekendsaccording to The Cincinnati Enquirer. The convenience, in other words, will not be extended to the city’s working people.

 How can this not be a major civil-rights and voting-rights issue?  How can Justice not step in with a cease-and-desist order?

If poll-taxes are illegal, requiring certain people to pay money in order to exercise their right to vote, how can it not be a poll-tax when they have to pay in time?  Equal opportunity, not equal outcomes is what Ryan and Romney like to say.  Here is a prime example of their party stripping certain classes of people of equal opportunity — to vote!


Republicans Vote to Block Transparency on Political Ads

From ProPublica:

“The FCC voted in April to require television stations to put detailed data on political ad purchases online. The information, which includes who buys ads, for how much, and when they run, is currently open to the public but is available only on paper at individual stations. Media companies have lobbied hard against the rule, and the National Association of Broadcasters recently sued in federal court to stop it. The rule is currently under review by the government and will not go into effect until July at the earliest.

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., chair of the financial services and general government subcommittee of the House appropriations committee, added language to an appropriations bill ordering that no funds to be used to implement the disclosure rule.

ProPublica


It’s Even Worse Than It Looks — Ideology at the throat of governance

Coming back to the American political scene after three weeks away and not much has changed.  Or perhaps that is unfair: at least more, and more from the middle, are talking about the root cause of the toxicity in politics.  Not everyone is pumping the same sludge.   The Washington Post has a review of a scathing new book about Republican extremism, by two veterans of the political scene who have striven to keep their views free of damaging rhetoric.

It’s Even Worse Than It Looks  — by y Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein

Today’s Republicans in Congress behave like a parliamentary party in a British-style parliament, a winner-take-all system. But a parliamentary party — “ideologically polarized, internally unified, vehemently oppositional” — doesn’t work in a “separation-of-powers system that makes it extremely difficult for majorities to work their will.”

These Republicans “have become more loyal to party than to country,” the authors write, so “the political system has become grievously hobbled at a time when the country faces unusually serious problems and grave threats. . . . The country is squandering its economic future and putting itself at risk because of an inability to govern effectively.”


Class War in Texas

This is the way the greatest country in the world treats its poor.  The Republican controlled legislature in Texas already has several mentions in the National Hall of Shame.  They are working towards having a wall all of their own.

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.

It then goes on to say

As the case in Texas illustrates, such battles are affecting broader women’s health services. Some women have lost the only nearby clinic providing routine care.

Nationally, the newest target is Title X, the main federal family planning program. All four Republican presidential candidates support eliminating Title X, which was created in 1970 with Republican support from President Nixon and the elder George Bush, then a congressman.


Climate Change Denial is Not Very Conservative

Bounced into this goof Op Ed by Bracken Hendricks in the Washington Post on Sunday

I admire many cherished conservative values, from personal responsibility to thrift to accountability, and I worry that conservatives’ lock-step posture on climate change is seriously out of step with their professed priorities. A strong defense of our national interests, rigorous cost-benefit analysis, fiscal discipline and the ability to avoid unnecessary intrusions into personal liberty will all be seriously compromised in a world marked by climate change.

In fact, far from being conservative, the Republican stance on global warming shows a stunning appetite for risk. When faced with uncertainty and the possibility of costly outcomes, smart businessmen buy insurance, reduce their downside exposure and protect their assets. When confronted with a disease outbreak of unknown proportions, front-line public health workers get busy producing vaccines, pre-positioning supplies and tracking pathogens. And when military planners assess an enemy, they get ready for a worst-case encounter.

When it comes to climate change, conservatives are doing none of this. Instead, they are recklessly betting the farm on a single, best-case scenario: That the scientific consensus about global warming will turn out to be wrong. This is bad risk management and an irresponsible way to run anything, whether a business, an economy or a planet.

And this as promising news: [LAT]

Climate scientists plan campaign against global-warming skeptics

The American Geophysical Union plans to announce Monday that 700 researchers have agreed to speak out on the issue. The effort is a pushback against congressional conservatives who have vowed to kill regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.