Florida Voter Purge:
• BREAKING: Justice Department Demands Florida Stop Voter Purge: TPM has the story: “The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act, TPM has learned. DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16.” More as this story develops.
Update: Ryan Reilly posts the full letter from the Department of Justice.
Update: Florida Department of State spokesman Chris Cate responds in a statement to ThinkProgress: We just received the letter from DOJ this evening, and haven’t had a chance to thoroughly review it. Bottom line is we are firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot.[thinkprogress/Judd Legum/31 May 2012]
• BREAKING: Federal Judge Blocks Florida Voter Suppression Law: A federal judge blocked much of Florida’s year-old voter suppression law today as an unconstitutional infringement on speech and voting rights. Last year, the Republican-held Florida legislature passed HB 1355, which imposed harsh new restrictions on third-party voter registration groups, requiring them to turn in completed registration forms 48 hours — to the minute — after completion, or face fines. Outside groups often register hundreds of people at a time and, before this law, had used a quality-control process that took days to ensure the accuracy of submitted forms. With the onerous restrictions now in place, some groups like the League of Women Voters were ultimately forced to cease registration drives in the Sunshine State. [thinkprogress/Scott Keyes/31 May 2012]
• EXCLUSIVE: Palm Beach Elections Supervisor Rejects Florida’s Voter Purge List, Says Effort Is ‘Not Credible’: While several Florida elections supervisors have expressed serious concerns about Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) controversial effort to remove voters it thinks may be non-citizens from the state’s voter rolls, one supervisor has drawn a line in the sand. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, a former Democratic state representative, told ThinkProgress in an interview that while the state of Florida sent her county 115 names of voters it considered “sure matches” with a list of non-citizens, her office determined the list’s documentation to be “not credible” and has not sent out letters asking for verification of citizens to any of those voters. Bucher said: We need to make sure we have reliable and credible information, by a preponderance of evidence. We could prove that the information was not credible before sending letters and even the Division of Elections has admitted substantial flaws. I did not feel we had credible information and told them I wouldn’t send [any letters] until they could give me a better list. This thing is not working out so well, we know the information [on which the state relied to flag these names] is very old. They [listed the voter's] last transaction date with [the Florida Department of] Highway Safety — in many cases, [the was 2000, 2002]. By now they probably have become citizens – I questioned immediately. [thinkprogress/Josh Israel/31 May 2012]
• Justice Department Demands Florida Stop Purging Voter Rolls: The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act, TPM has learned. DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16. Five of Florida’s counties are subject to the Voting Rights Act, but the state never sought permission from either the Justice Department or a federal court to implement its voter roll maintenance program. [talkingpointsmemo/Ryan J. Reilly/31 May 2012]
• BREAKING: Two Republican Judges Declare DOMA Unconstitutional: A three judge panel of The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit just handed down a decision declaring the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Notably, the panel included Judges Juan Torruella and Michael Boudin, both of whom are Republican appointees. Judge Boudin, who authored the opinion, is one of the most highly regarded judges in the country; he frequently sends his former law clerks to clerk for Supreme Court justices. More analysis of his opinion will follow shortly. [thinkprogress/Ian Millhiser/31 May 2012]
The Romney Campaign:
• Solar Company Used In Crossroads Anti-Obama Attack Ad Received Taxpayer Dollars From Governor Romney: Ads from Mitt Romney and American Crossroads earlier this week disparaged solar energy, leading up to Romney’s surprise visit to Solyndra today. The Crossroads ad targets the Obama administration for green energy investments, but features a company that once received taxpayer support from Governor Romney’s administration. Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent points out that one company featured in Crossroads’ ad — Evergreen Solar — received $2.5 million during Romney’s term. …Romney’s attacks on Solyndra and clean energy have been misleading and often downright false. The rhetoric on Solyndra veers far from the reality of a loan that Republicans have thoroughly investigated, yet have found no scandal. [thinkprogress/Rebecca Leber/31 May 2012]
• Did the Romney campaign really think there was a White House conspiracy to sabotage their Solyndra press conference? Is World Net Daily now doing their advance work?
• OH RIGHT. You were afraid black people would show up and call Romney “garbage.” But of course if you said you were afraid of protesters, that would sound silly. So it is much better to be afraid that the President himself is out to get you, using his network of flying monkeys and city zoning boards to deny you your basic right to hold a press conference.
• Romney falsely claims Obama said he’d lower unemployment to 6 percent by 2012: From the Obama campaign, via email: In his CBS interview tonight, Mitt Romney repeated the debunked and misleading claim that the President said he would drive unemployment down to 6% by this time in his term. As numerous independent fact-checkers and news outlets have highlighted, the President never said that – the figure comes from a report prepared weeks before the President took office and before even economists knew the depth of the economic recession.
…INDEPENDENT FACT CHECKERS HAVE REPEATEDLY DEBUNKED THE CLAIM THAT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PROMISED THE RECOVERY ACT WOULD KEEP UNEMPLOYMENT BELOW 8 PERCENT
PolitiFact “Could Find No Evidence Of Anyone In The Administration Making A Public Pledge That The Stimulus Would Keep The Unemployment Rate Below 8 Percent.” “Obama warned upon taking office that if “dramatic action” were not taken, “the unemployment rate could reach double digits,” with the recession lasting for years. But PolitiFact could find no evidence of anyone in the administration making a public pledge that the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent.” [PolitiFact, 10/13/2011] [americablog/John Aravosis/01 Jun 2012]
• [H]eaven forbid that anyone shine a spotlight these people who want to buy the country’s democratic system outright. If we don’t give them the ability to buy a President in secret, it’s the same as torture in the Middle Ages.
• GOP’s Selective Abortion Bill Targeted Asian-Americans, Perpetuated Racial Stereotypes: A bill that bans sex-selective abortions — the practice of aborting a fetus based on gender discrimination — failed in the House on Thursday. The measure, known as the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act or PRENDA would have required a doctor to deny abortions to patients who they suspected of engaging in gender discrimination and and further eroded women’s access to abortion services. [thinkprogress/Annie-Rose Strasser/31 May 2012]
• Any woman seeking an abortion would be a suspect if the fetus is female—or in other words, all women seeking an abortion are suspects.
• White Supremacist With Ties To Neo-Nazi Groups Elected To Pennsylvania County GOP Committee: Republicans in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania have elected Steve Smith, a lifelong white supremacist with close ties to neo-Nazi groups and groups like Aryan Nations, to the county’s GOP Committee. The elections, which took place in late April, were certified by the committee two weeks ago, and Smith notified supporters of his victory last week by posting a message to the online forum White News Now. The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented Smith’s participation with known skinhead organizations like Keystone State Skinheads, (now Keystone United) which he co-founded in 2001. And his racist activism extends far beyond violent rhetoric as well, into actual violence [thinkprogress/Adam Peck/31 May 2012]
• Allen West (R-FL) Brags about Torturing Iraqi Policeman: When last we saw Allen West (R-FL), he was peddling feverish McCarthyite fantasies about the Democratic caucus in the House. And before he was a Teabagger Congressman—he was a war criminal.: In testimony at an Article 32 hearing — the military’s version of a grand jury or preliminary hearing — West said the policeman, Yahya Jhrodi Hamoody, was not cooperating with interrogators, so he watched four of his soldiers from the 220th Field Artillery Battalion beat the detainee on the head and body. West said he also threatened to kill Hamoody. Military prosecutors say West followed up on that threat by taking the suspect outside, put him on the ground near a weapons clearing barrel and fired his 9 mm pistol into the barrel. [...] But while West’s supporters call him a hero, military prosecutors said his actions amounted to torture and violated articles 128 and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. [crooksandliars/Blue Texan/31 May 2012]
• Rick Scarborough Worries that More ‘Non-White Families’ Will Mean Fewer Christians in America: A few weeks ago, Roger Schlafly mourned a Census Bureau report showing that non-white births have now exceeded white births in the U.S, declaring that this was “not a good thing” because “immigrants do not share American values,” by which he meant “vote Republican.” Today, Rick Scarborough of Vision America sent out an email warning that “the non-Hispanic white share of the population will fall from 70% today to a bare majority by the year 2050″ and suggesting that is a bad thing. While insisting that “the racial mix of this nation shouldn’t matter,” Scarborough lamented “the sad reality is [that] America is changing,” suggesting that “more non-white families” means more single-parent households, which in turn means less Christians [rightwingwatch/Kyle Mantyl/31 may 2012]
• Amb. Rice: Advocates Of Arming Syria Rebels Haven’t ‘Fully Thought Through The Consequences’: Amb. Rice: Wolf, even in Libya, we did not take the very exceptional decision to arm the opposition. And in Syria, we know much, much less about the nature of this opposition. It’s not coherent. There’s not a unified command and control. It’s a series of different groups in different cities. There’s, clearly, also an extremist element that is trying to infiltrate elements of the opposition. So to argue that we ought to be arming the opposition is a very consequential statement. And I don’t think that those that are advocating that have fully thought through the consequences. That would mean that we are conceding that the only option is to see the further militarization, to see an intensified regional war, which is hardly in our interests or in the interests of our allies and partners in that neighborhood.
…Rice’s words of caution were preceded by similar warnings yesterday from the Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers (MI), who told CNN: “I’m not sure arming is the right answer here, mainly because we’re just not exactly sure who the bad guys are and who the good guys are right now in Syria. So you don’t know who you’re giving weapons to.” Top U.S. officials have already acknowledged that they believe, for instance, that Al Qaeda in Iraq is behind some of the anti-government bombings in Damascus. [thinkprogress/Ali Gharib/31 May 2012]
• The New York Times reports: “From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons.”
• Shark fins burned as Honduran president watches: Honduran president Porfirio Lobo Sosa joined some of the country’s top law enforcement officials Thursday to watch the burning of hundreds of illegal shark fins, a move aimed at underscoring the country’s commitment to protecting sharks. [washingtonpost/31 may 2012]