London After Midnight's official blog

This is the blog for Sean Brennan and London After Midnight. For more information please see the LAM website at


Shop at the LAM store

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Racists Support Voter ID laws • Libertarian/Republican Idea of Privatization is Harmful • Sarah Palin Supports Anti-Gay Views • No Liberal Media • Gore Vidal Dies • Climate Change Storms Deplete Ozone • Meat Industry Lies • No Fish in 40 Years • more

- Scientists Tell Senate Panel: Climate Change Is Here and Disaster Costs Will Be Huge
    Climate scientists who appeared Wednesday morning before a Senate committee hearing on climate change and extreme weather impacts had stark warnings for the lawmakers: climate change is here, climate change is man-made, and climate change is going to cost us big time.
- Storms May Speed Ozone Loss Above the U.S.
    Summer thunderstorms across the United States inject water vapour far higher into the atmosphere than was previously believed, promoting a cascade of chemical reactions that could pose an increased threat to Earth’s protective ozone layer as the climate warms.
- 'When It Rains, It Pours': Global Warming Brings Increased, Heavier Storms
    The impacts of human-caused global warming are being felt across the U.S. as increased and heavier storms -- predicted by climate scientists -- are confirmed in a report released Tuesday.
- Area in extreme drought increases by size of Texas, report says
    Areas of the contiguous United States under extreme or exceptional drought conditions increased by an area roughly the size of Texas - from 13.5% of the land to 20.5% - in the past seven days, according to the Drought Monitor report released Thursday.
- 3 Myths About Protein and a Plant-Based Diet
    The first question I am often asked when discussing a whole-food, plant-based diet is, “Where do you get your protein?” Protein has become widely recognized as a miracle macronutrient that, apparently, is challenging to acquire in effective doses. However, this is far from accurate. Let’s clear up three of plant-powered protein's three most-common misconceptions.
- Scientists predict our seas could be empty of fish in 40 years - now one Scottish island is fighting overfishing.
    At current rates of decline, scientists predict our seas could be empty of fish within 40 years. With a billion people eating fish as their primary source of animal protein and 200 million people depending on fishing as their only source of livelihood, that would mean a humanitarian disaster.
- Beef Industry Has a Cow Over USDA's Support for Meatless Monday
    The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an agency notorious for its unabashed promotion of animal agribusiness and animal-based foods. As noted by the Associated Press: "The USDA often promotes the beef industry by encouraging Americans to eat meat."This week, however, the USDA got caught in the line of fire from, of all groups, the National Cattleman's Beef Association (NCBA). Why? Because it (the USDA) touted the benefits of meat-free foods.
- Japan workers 'told to lie about radiation'
    A subcontractor at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant told workers to lie about possible high radiation exposure in an apparent effort to keep its contract, media reports said.
- Facts Are Facts
    Pro-Israel groups have reacted with outrage - and their own plans for an ad campaign - in response to billboards in New York train stations showing the implacable loss of Palestinian land, and creation of millions of refugees, over the last 64 years. But Henry Clifford, 83, says he's puzzled by the charge the ads are "inflammatory."
- Extremism Normalized: How Americans Now Acquiesce to Once Unthinkable Ideas
    That’s how extremist powers become normalized: they just become such a fixture in our political culture that we are trained to take them for granted, to view the warped as normal. Here are several examples from the last couple of days illustrating that same dynamic; none seems overwhelmingly significant on its own, but that’s the point:
- Gore Vidal Dies at 86
    American novelist, playwright, media critic, political historian and pundit Gore Vidal died at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday following complications with pneumonia. He was 86. A towering figure in both literary and political circles for most of his life, Vidal leaves a legacy seared with adoration, contempt, and mourning for the country of his birth. Born into power, privilege, and steeped in the elite world of Democratic politics, Vidal -- who resided in self-selected exile in Italy for many years -- became a vocal and unabashed critic of US foreign policy.
- The Complete Dishonesty Of Fox News' Economic Context
    Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum rewrote economic history to blame President Obama for the recession that began in December 2007...
- REPORT: Drudge Funneled At Least 30 Million Visitors To Conspiracy Websites In The Last Year
    A ThinkProgress study of the [Republican/Libertarian] Drudge Report reveals the popular internet aggregator has linked 184 times to InfoWars and World Net Daily, two sites that promote the internet’s worst conspiracy theories, since June 2011. By directing millions of visitors to these websites, Drudge is providing critical financial and reputational support to publications that argue 9/11 was an inside job, FEMA is building concentration camps and President Obama was not born in the United States.
- Poverty and the Hypocrisy of the Republicans
    “The relatively low social expenditures in the United States partially explains the high poverty rate,” said Gould. “When it comes to alleviating the effects of poverty, the U.S. could learn from its peers.”Some of the major findings: Despite the relatively high earnings at the top of the US income scale, inequality in the United States is so severe that low-earning US workers are actually worse off than low-earning workers in all but seven peer countries; more than one in five children in the US lived in poverty—this level is over two times higher than the peer-country average of 9.8 percent; the average peer countries’ tax and transfer programs achieves a poverty-rate reduction of 17.4 percentage points—an effect nearly two times greater than that produced by such programs in the United States.
- Conservative Media Attack The Muppets For Founding Company's Chick-Fil-A Rebuke
    Members of the conservative media are attacking The Muppets for its founding company's decision to sever ties with Chick-fil-A, which supports numerous anti-gay causes. The Muppets have been called "heterophobic, anti-diversity, anti-inclusive bigots," and against family and Christian values. Conservatives, including Fox News, recently criticized The Muppets for allegedly promoting liberal propaganda in their 2011 film.In the wake of criticism, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy recently defended the company's support of anti-marriage equality groups.
- Sarah Palin On Chick-Fil-A: Republican Shows Support Amid Gay Rights Debate
    Sarah Palin waded into the Chick-Fil-A debate Friday night, posting a tweet and Facebook photo showing her support for what she called "a great business."Chick-Fil-A's President Dan Cathy recently sparked controversy when he gave a blunt response to a question about his franchise's "support of the traditional family." [he made openly homophobic and bigoted comments towards gays and lesbians]
- Privatization: The Big Joke That Isn't Funny
    The [Libertarian and Republican ideas of] privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That's more than a joke, it's an insult, it's a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.
- Fox Guest's Voter ID Law Defense: "Voting Is A Privilege"
    Fox News regular Jay Sekulow claimed that voting is a privilege as he went to bat in support of the Texas voter ID law today, and denied that such laws disenfranchise eligible voters. In fact, Americans are constitutionally protected from having their vote denied on the basis of race - which the Department of Justice has said would happen under Texas' law -- and voter ID laws have already disenfranchised hundreds of voters, and could prevent millions more from voting in this year's elections.

Study Links ‘Racial Resentment’ and Voter ID Support
Published on July 20, 2012 on The Nation

A new survey indicates that people who “harbor negative sentiments towards African Americans” are also more likely to support voter ID laws. And the correlation extends beyond party and ideological lines.

Researchers at the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication weren’t surprised to find that most Republicans and conservatives were in favor of voter ID laws—regardless of how they measured on the “racial resentment” scale used in the study. The shocker came when Democrats and liberals who rated highest on the racial resentment scale also indicated support for voter ID laws.

How likely one is to possess or be able to acquire a specific form of voter ID is also affected by race. The Brennan Center released a report illustrating, among other challenges to obtaining identification, the lack of overlap between offices that issue valid voter IDs and high populations of people of color. More than 1 million blacks and half a million Latinos live more than 10 miles away from such offices.

One map in the study illustrates that in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, driver’s license offices that are open more than twice a week are located largely away from rural black populations. An additional map illustrates that areas with high Latino populations also lack offices that issue IDs that will be considered valid if Texas requires them in the upcoming election.

Another Judge Blocks Wisconsin’s Voter ID
A second judge blocked Wisconsin’s voter ID requirement, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan ruled the measure unconstitutional. Citing obstacles to getting a valid identification, Judge Flanagan wrote that obtaining “a DMV Photo ID can easily be a frustrating, complex and time-consuming process,” adding that any associated costs are significant for poor people. The state is expected to appeal the ruling.

Feds Hand Over Database for State Purges

The Department of Homeland Security has agreed to allow Florida access to the SAVE database, AP reports. The Sunshine State sued the DHS for access, and the Department of Justice sued Florida to block it from conducting a voter purge. A federal judged ruled in favor of Florida’s purge, and now, the DHS is handing over a database meant to identify non-citizens eligible for public assistance. DHS says it will also make the SAVE system available to Colorado and Washington. The battleground states of Ohio, Michigan, New Mexico and Nevada are expected to acquire the database as well—and Texas is already drafting its demand. The states believe that by identifying non-citizens who are eligible for public assistance, they’ll be able to identify names to purge from voter rolls as well.

Check Out My Voter ID

Memphis city libraries began adding photos to cards so that they could be used as voter IDs—but the Shelby County election commission says the IDs cannot be used to cast a ballot, reports WMC-TV 5. Local Democrats say they may initiate a lawsuit in order compel the election commission to accept the ID.

Iowa Investigates Three Cases of Voter Fraud—and Finds None

Iowa’s Secretary of State “has made it his top priority” to pass a voter ID law in his state. In order to do so, he wants to illustrate at least one example of voter fraud. Yet after vigorously investigating a whopping three possible instances of voter fraud, Matt Schultz’ office can’t conclude that any of them amount to actual fraud, according to the Associated Press. Had Secretary Schultz been paying attention, he might have noticed that fraud occurs only 0.0002% of the time—so it’s unlikely he’ll find anything to bolster his claim.