5 Terrible Acts Of Voter Discrimination The Voting Rights Act Prevented

LBJ MLK VRA 630

The Article: 5 Terrible Acts of Voter Discrimination the Voting Rights Act Prevented—But Won’t Anymore by Lauren Williams in Mother Jones.

The Text: President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law 48 years ago today. But in June, the conservative justices on the Supreme Court struck down a major section of the law, freeing jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to change their voting laws without federal permission. For decades, Section 5 of the VRA required a number of jurisdictions, mostly in the South, to seek the feds’ approval—called preclearance, in legal parlance—before modifying voting rules. The Supreme Court’s decision gutted Section 5, paving the way for new discriminatory laws.

Since the high court ruling, North Carolina has passed what critics have called the worst voter ID law in the country, Texas pushed ahead with a voter ID law and redistricting plan that the VRA blocked last year, and Attorney General Eric Holder has vowed to continue to challenge discriminatory voting laws despite the Supreme Court ruling. Florida’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, announced this week that he would renew his efforts to purge “noncitizens” from the voter rolls, a messy, inaccurate practice that the Justice Department says violates the VRA and unfairly targets black and Latino voters.

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The NSA Comes Clean

NSA Comes Clean

Never a sour note with This Modern World commentary.

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When A Company Pays Low Wages, It’s A Choice–Not A Law

Cashier Customer

The Article: Sorry, It’s Not A ‘Law Of Capitalism’ That You Pay Your Employees As Little As Possible by Henry Blodget in Business Insider.

The Text: One of the big reasons the U.S. economy is so lousy is that big American companies are hoarding cash and “maximizing profits” instead of investing in their people and future projects.

This behavior is contributing to record income inequality in the country and starving the primary engine of U.S. economic growth — the vast American middle class — of purchasing power. (See charts below).

If average Americans don’t get paid living wages, they can’t spend much money buying products and services. And when average Americans can’t buy products and services, the companies that sell products and services to average Americans can’t grow. So the profit obsession of America’s big companies is, ironically, hurting their ability to accelerate revenue growth.

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10 Great Ricky Gervais Quotes On Life, God, And Humor

Engaging in over-the-top, occasionally cringe-worthy and downright despicably dark humor for years, atheist funny man Ricky Gervais leaves no stone unturned in his refreshingly biting social commentary. Many would be surprised to learn that before he appeared as snide manager David Brent in “The Office”, Gervais set his sights on academia and earned honors from University College of London when he graduated with a degree in philosophy. Without further ado, here are ten glimpses into Gervais’ own.

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There Is No Terrorist Threat

NSA Surveillance

The Article: There is no terrorist threat: The feds want you to think there is, compliant media goes along by Patrick L. Smith in Salon.

The Text: Summertime, and the chicanery is easy. The Obama administration’s latest rendering of our invisible but eternal “terrorist threat,” I mean.

After a week of ghost stories about an imminent but vaporous plot on the part of an al-Qaida “affiliate” — this is the big new word — it is hard to decide which is more disheartening: 1) The White House’s blithe if clumsy deployment of factoids, 2) the supine complicity of the media (and this, frankly, is my choice), or 3) the willingness of honorable liberals and capital-D Democrats to go along with the show simply because Obama is maestro and one stays with Obama no matter what he does.

Nothing can be said for certain as to what prompted the State Department to close more than 20 embassies and consulates in the Middle East and North Africa last Sunday, and this is by design. But it is no excuse not to raise the possibility that Americans are eating a summer salad of nonsense served to justify objectionable surveillance practices now coming in for scrutiny.

This prospect seems so self-evident that one feels almost silly raising it, except that so few have. Let us insert it into the conversation. To me, the silence among our newspapers and broadcasters on this point confirms only how dangerously circumscribed American political discourse has become. It is all text and subtext now, and the subtext, by definition, is known but never allowed to pierce the surface of silence.

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