Three wins for voting rights today!

In Wisconsin:

Laws that limited in-person absentee voting to one location, limited early voting hours and eliminated weekend voting are unconstitutional, Peterson ruled.

The 2013 law limiting hours for in-person absentee voting “intentionally discriminates on the basis of race,” Peterson wrote in a 119-page decision.

“I reach this conclusion because I am persuaded that this law was specifically targeted to curtail voting in Milwaukee without any other legitimate purpose. The legislature’s immediate goal was to achieve a partisan objective, but the means of achieving that objective was to suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans,” Peterson wrote.

Take note that Milwaukee’s suburbs are Governor Scott Walker’s base; he’s been running against the inner-city population there for twenty years.

The judge

also overturned laws that increased the residency requirement for voters from 10 days to 28 days, prohibited distributing absentee ballots by fax or email and required “dorm lists” used as proof of residence to include citizenship information.

The judge also overturned a provision of the voter ID law banning the use of expired but otherwise qualifying student IDs at the polls.

In North Carolina:

Federal appellate judges on Friday struck down a 2013 law limiting voting options and requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls, declaring in an unsparing opinion that the restrictions “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The three-judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law was adopted with “discriminatory intent” despite lawmakers’ claims that the ID provision and other changes were designed to prevent voter fraud.

[snip]

The ruling prohibits North Carolina from requiring photo identification from voters in future elections, including the November 2016 general election. It restores a week of early voting and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and ensures that same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting will remain in effect.

Finally, in Kansas:

Acting on a request made by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Shawnee County District Court, Judge Larry Hendricks on Friday issued an injunction preventing Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach from implementing a dual voter registration system in the August primary election.

The dual registration system that Kobach attempted to create would have allowed thousands of qualified Kansas voters to vote in federal elections, but prohibited them from voting in state and local elections due solely to their method of registration.

How’s that for blatant discrimination, not to mention ridiculous vote rigging? “Oh, we’ll let you vote for President and Congress, but don’t you even think about voting for local officials like state legislators. If I let you do that we might lose our majority in the State Legislature!” Freaking Kobach is a real piece of work. He’s been attempting to restrict voter access and deport immigrants for his entire career, all on the flimsy pretext of preventing individual voter fraud.

Democratic Convention, Night Four

Jeebus. Some people just have to criticize no matter what.

11:33 p.m. ET | The New York Times’ David Brooks: “I thought it was a below average speech, to be honest. I don’t know why she can’t project humanity.”

To hell with you, Brooks. She hit all her marks, she smiled, she hammered her opponent into the dust.

10:54 p.m. ET | Hillary Clinton: “My mother was saved by the kindness of others. Her first grade teacher saw that she had nothing to eat at lunch, so she brought extra food every day for the whole year. The lesson my mother passed on to me years later stuck to me: ‘No one gets through life alone.'”

That’s human enough for me.

Democratic Convention, Night Three

“Don’t boo, vote.”

Those were President Obama’s words when he mentioned the Republican candidate’s name during his speech tonight. The exhortation encapsulates the sentiment behind all the evening’s speeches, from VP Joe Biden through former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and VP-nominee Senator Tim Kaine culminating in a wonderful speech by President Barack Obama.

Tonight was focused on security, Hillary’s readiness to be Commander in Chief and Donald Trump’s complete lack of qualifications to be the same. Senator Kaine showed an ability to mimic Trump’s “Believe me” catchphrase, Veep Joe Biden spoke from the heart when he ticked off Trump’s many failings, and ex-Mike Bloomberg just demolished Trump’s claim to honesty in his business dealings. Then Barack came out and made the strongest case he could for Hillary Clinton and her qualifications to be President of the United States.

Democratic Convention, Night Two

Tonight didn’t have quite the blockbuster speeches that last night did, but it had Bill Clinton extolling the virtues of his wife and telling stories about the early days of their courtship and marriage. Many of them were stories I don’t think have been told before.

I actually did learn a few things; I had no idea about the amount of work she did for the Children’s Defense Fund and its predecessors while still in law school. I’m sure the pundits will say he didn’t succeed in humanizing her, but I disagree.

Here’s his 43-minute speech.

Democratic Convention, Night One

Cory Booker gave a good speech, Elizabeth Warren gave a good speech, Bernie Sanders gave probably a stronger endorsement than the Clinton campaign expected, but the star of the night was the current First Lady of the United States. As somebody said, she just kept stepping up to the plate and parking balls in the left field seats.

After all the kerfuffle of the morning with the apparent Russian hack of the DNC’s servers and its subsequent turnover of email info to Wikileaks, who released it at a very inopportune time for the Democrats, the evening’s speakers brought the convention back to its moorings.

No Olympics ban for the Russian team?

So it appears the IOC has passed the buck. Rather than issue a blanket ban of all Russian athletes from the Olympics, as the evidence in the McLaren Report would indicate should happen, it has turned the decision over to each individual sport federation.

The moment the McLaren Report was issued the World Anti-Doping Agency called for a complete ban of all Russian athletes and officials. The IOC resisted, possibly because of this: consider that Russian President Putin did the Olympics a huge favor by holding the Winter Games in Sochi a couple of years ago and the IOC’s President Thomas Bach seems to think his friend Putin is owed something. I read here:

Bach is totally beholden to Russia President Vladimir Putin, the man who spent $51 billion to put the Olympics in the middle of nowhere (Sochi), endearing himself to Bach and the IOC if not forever, at least through the summer of 2016.

It’s hard to imagine Bach not caving in to his buddy Putin and letting the Russians compete in Rio.

But he shouldn’t. In his relatively new IOC presidency, this is the challenge of a lifetime. What he decides will be his legacy. He will forever be known as the man who let the cheaters in — or as the man who did not.

If Bach is indeed beholden to Putin and this refusal to ban his country’s cheaters is the result, Bach should be thrown out of his job just as Sepp Blatter eventually was at FIFA. All the Olympics has is integrity, and it took a long time for it to recover from the doping of the Cold War. Hell, you can still make jokes like “A two from the East German judge” and depending on the age of the listener you’ll get a big laugh.

Here’s a timeline of decisions made by some of the individual sports federations. What a surprise — none of them are banning Russian athletes. Bach’s leadership is forever suspect, and so is his judgment.

Darby and vulnerability

It’s a nice Irish name spent on a scary tropical storm.

You feel like a sitting duck out here, completely at the mercy of the water temps and the air currents above. You can’t drive far enough to get out of the way, often the airports will be shut down so you couldn’t fly elsewhere anyway, and there aren’t enough ocean liners in the world to hold a million-plus people if you wanted to evacuate them all.

This time we got lucky. Darby was headed directly for the state and was forecast to hit the Big Island of Hawai’i, the one farthest south, and then turn north and travel directly up the island chain. It did, but it’s dropped to the lowest level of tropical storm, packing barely 40 mph sustained winds. In an odd coincidence, Darby made landfall on the Big Island near Pahala, just a few miles away from where Hurricane Iselle landed in 2014.

Here’s what the track is forecast to be as of 8:00PM this evening:

DarbySunday

That’s a pretty terrifying track, but it’s not so bad as long as it’s got those low wind speeds, right?

Now look at this. This is what we were expecting as of Wednesday the 20th, when we had no idea whether it was going to strengthen into a hurricane:

DarbyWednesday

It gets a little worrisome.

Hillary picks Kaine

He seems like a good choice to me. Planned Parenthood and NARAL both approve of the choice:

“While Senator Kaine has been open about his personal reservations about abortion, he’s maintained a 100% pro-choice voting record in the U.S. Senate. He voted against dangerous abortion bans, he has fought against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and he voted to strengthen clinic security by establishing a federal fund for it,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in the statement.

[snip]

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards made a brief appearance on MSNBC Friday night to give Kaine her approval, echoing NARAL’s statement.

Richards said Kaine holds a 100 percent rating on Planned Parenthood’s scorecard for his Senate record and said “he’s been not only a solid vote but really an ally.”

The NRA loathes him and has given him an “F” rating, the coal industry worked against him in his Senatorial campaign in 2012, he’s recognized that climate change is real and he’s got a lifetime 91% record from the League of Conservation Voters.

He’s not Elizabeth Warren, but I want her to stay in the Senate anyway. She can speak out without clearing her remarks with a boss down the hall in the Oval Office if she stays there. I know the people who call themselves progressives and who desperately wanted Bernie Sanders to win aren’t happy, but they’ll either come around and vote for the Democratic candidate or they won’t. At some point the pragmatists have to be like Elsa.

Republican Convention, Night Four

But here, at our convention, there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else.

After hearing that speech I need a shower. Despite Trump’s claim up there, there were a lot of lies told in that speech (this site enumerates some 21), but more than that there was an attempt to portray America as a country in decline, one hopelessly indebted to the future, beset by crime, with invading brown hordes at the border, all of whom are coming here to kill us.

I’ll bet that if you surveyed every one of the people in that hall no more than ten could say they’d been a victim of a crime in the past ten years. Nonetheless, they’ve allowed themselves to be persuaded that they’re in danger of being murdered or robbed at gunpoint or burglarized every day. I don’t understand how they can ignore the facts as they’ve experienced them to believe that, but they’ve apparently done so.

The Democrats have got to figure out how to fight back against a candidate and campaign which ignores complaints that its facts are wrong, its claims are ridiculous, and its principal can’t go two sentences without pronouncing a lie.