I received some interesting blowback from a supposedly progressive commenter on my recent post, So Are We Britain or Rome? The comment exhibits a mindset that I think contributes to a serious deficiency in our discourse, so it’s worth another post.

The commenter’s identity, by the way, is entirely besides the point. He’s far from alone in his mindset, and it’s the mindset I want to address.

The problem with my post, according to this commenter, was that it was too depressing and my thoughts were too gloomy. I should refrain from writing such posts because I was just depressing him and others, and I wasn’t offering any solutions. I see the “you’re not giving us solutions” line a good bit. Apparently, it’s irresponsible to point out a problem and stop there. It seems there is a moral obligation to end with a hopeful solution.

I would argue that it was not my post, but the comment, and the mindset it embodies, that is depressing. Here’s why: Continue reading

Forecasting the Court’s opinion in the Arizona redistricting case

SupremeCourtIt’s a rare day when the media arm of the Arizona Republican Party, The Arizona Republic(an), Our View: Lawmakers vs. the people – who wins? (Our View: The people have spoken. They don’t trust lawmakers to draw election maps. But will the Supreme Court listen?), and the “librul” New York Times, Will the Supreme Court Say No to Gerrymandering? (Americans need to have more direct control over the integrity of the electoral process), can agree with one another: Republicans in the Arizona legislature determining congressional district boundaries is a bad thing.

Unfortunately, both editorial boards are going to be disappointed by what the U.S. Supreme Court appears most likely to do in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

I have read most of the national news media reporting on the oral argument yesterday, and the vast majority of reporting is in the vein of this AP headline: Justices Seem Skeptical of Independent map Drawers.

Election law attorney Rick Hasen has his Analysis: Supreme Court Looks to Endanger Citizen Redistricting Commissions and MORE:

I have now had a chance to review the transcript in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and the news is not good. It appears that the conservative Justices may be ready to hold that citizen redistricting commissions which have no role for state legislatures in drawing congressional districts are unconstitutional. What’s worse, such a ruling would endanger other election laws passed by voter initiative trying to regulate congressional elections, such as open primaries. For those who don’t like campaign finance laws because they could protect incumbents, this is a ruling that could make incumbency protection all the worse, removing the crucial legislative bypass which is the initiative process (for congressional elections).

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Celebrate Your Vote – PCDP voter registration drive

President Obama will travel to Selma, Alabama to mark the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” on March 7. C-Span will televise the anniversary events live on Saturday, March  7, 12:00pm EST on C-SPAN 3. Selma March 50th Anniversary. I presume other cable networks will be covering the anniversary events as well.

To coincide with the anniversary of this historic event in the struggle to secure voting rights for all Americans, culminating with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Pima County Democratic Party is sponsoring a voter registration drive at local libraries this Saturday:

Celebrate your vote

Celebrate Your Vote

Pima County Democratic Party Hosts Day of Action Commemorating 50th Anniversary of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Marches for Voting Rights

Tucson, AZ – On Saturday, March 7 the Pima County Democratic Party will be hosting a county-wide voter registration drive to commemorate the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement.  This event also coincides with President Obama’s trip to Selma, Alabama to attend the ceremony marking the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Volunteers will be staffing voter registration and information tables at six Pima County area libraries from 10am to 1pm on Saturday.

  • Flowing Wells – 1730 W. Wetmore Rd.
  • Kirk-Bear Canyon Library – 8959 E Tanque Verde Rd. (9am – 12pm)
  • Quincie Douglas Library – 1585 E 36th St
  • Himmell Park Library – 1035 N. Treat Ave.
  • Martha Cooper Library – 1377 N. Catalina Ave.
  • Joyner-Green Valley Library – 601 N. La Canada Dr., Green Valley

Anyone of any political leaning who wishes to register to vote, update their current registration, or has questions concerning the voting process, is encouraged to visit the locations to learn more.


50th Anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Selma this Saturday

This Saturday, March 7, is the 50th anniversary of the first Selma to Montgomery March and Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama:

Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, and, led by John Lewis and other SNCC and SCLC activists, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River en route to Montgomery. Just short of the bridge, they found their way blocked by Alabama State troopers and local police who ordered them to turn around. When the protesters refused, the officers shot teargas and waded into the crowd, beating the nonviolent protesters with billy clubs and ultimately hospitalizing over fifty people.

State troopers swing billy clubs to break up a civil rights voting march in Selma, Alabama, March 7, 1965. John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (in the foreground), is being beaten by state troopers (Photo: James “Spider” Martin Photographic Archive/Briscoe Center, University of Texas at Austin)

“Bloody Sunday” was televised around the world. Martin Luther King called for civil rights supporters to come to Selma for a second march. When members of Congress pressured him to restrain the march until a court could rule on whether the protesters deserved federal protection, King found himself torn between their requests for patience and demands of the movement activists pouring into Selma. King, still conflicted, led the second protest on March 9 but turned it around at the same bridge.

On March 21, the final successful march began with federal protection.

On August 6, 1965, the federal Voting Rights Act was passed, completing the process that King had hoped for.

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The TanMan caves to reality: House to vote on ‘clean’ DHS funding bill today

Screenshot-6Senate Democrats blocked a motion Monday by conservative Republicans to “conference”  with the House on the Senate’s “clean” bill to fund Homeland Security through the end of September. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his number two, Sen. John Cornyn, both voted with the Democrats to send the “clean” bill to fund Homeland Security back to the House. Message delivered.

These procedural maneuverings served a purpose. Could Democrats save Boehner from his crazy caucus and fund Homeland Security?:

[T]his is confusing, but here goes: The House voted last week to “conference” with the Senate on the “clean” funding bill it passed. Conferencing is when House and Senate leadership aides get in a room and verbally work out the differences between their bills. During the conference, some House Republicans hoped they might add some of the anti-immigrant riders back into that “clean” bill that funds Homeland Security through Sept. 30. Senate Democrats can block (or filibuster) the motion to move to conference [they did so Monday].

At that point, House Democrats could invoke Rule XXII, which states, “When the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with House or Senate amendments, a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged.”

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John Nichols & The Nation Are Coming to Tucson (video)


John Nichols fires up progressives at a PDA event.

Author and commentator John Nichols of The Nation will make his annual trek to Tucson for the Festival of Books, but this year, he’s bringing his colleagues. To mark it’s 150th birthday, The Nation is doing a celebration tour that includes several events in Tucson.

A tradition for the past several years, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Tucson will host a special evening with John Nichols on Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at the IBEW Hall. (Event here). Nichols is a long-time friend of PDA and the founding Executive Director the late Tim Carpenter. Consequently, when Nichols is in town, he always stops by the union hall to inspire progressive ground troupes. (This event is free, but donations are gladly accepted.)

After the jump, check out the complete list of Tucson events with Nichols and other inspirational speakers from The Nation. There also will be a regional premiere of the documentary Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation at The Loft on Sunday, March 15 (details below).

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