Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
Here are a few news items to talk about. Feel free to share anything you think readers would find interesting. Please make sure to include links.
Here we go!
First news item
Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan on Sunday said he wants to expand voting, calling many voting reform proposals “solutions in search of a problem.”
“Republicans don’t need election reform to win, we need leadership,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” disavowing former President Donald Trump’s attempts to undermine faith in elections.
“I think there’s millions of Republicans waking up around the country that are realizing that Donald Trump’s divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections,” Duncan said.
Pulling dumb, tone-deaf stunts like this is not “leadership”:
A controversial provision of a massive voting and election administration-related bill signed into law in Georgia on Thursday will prohibit volunteers from delivering free supplies like food, water, chairs, or rain gear to voters waiting in line to vote.
Those limits apply inside and within 150 feet of voting locations, and within 25 feet of voting lines. The section of the law says that volunteers and election officials, however, can set up water stations that voters can independently go to.
So Georgia Republicans believe that making it illegal to hand out water to voters waiting in line is a sure path to victory? Got it.
A majority of voters in Georgia oppose a provision in the recently signed election bill that makes it a crime to provide food and water to voters while they are waiting in line to cast their ballot, according to a new poll.
The poll, which as conducted by Target Smart, found that 76 percent of voters in the state said they oppose the provision, including 83 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans.
Georgia Republicans had been pushing to:
1) Eliminate mail voting for most people under age 65
2) Curtail early in-person voting
3) Completely end “Souls to the Polls” Sunday voting
4) End automatic voting registration
5) Eliminate drop boxes
None of that got included.
Second news item
Poor is poor and hungry is hungry, no?:
The mayor of Oakland, Calif., announced on Tuesday that a privately funded program will offer low-income families of color $500 per month, with no restrictions on how to spend the funds.
To be eligible for the Oakland Resilient Families program, which has already raised $6.75 million from private donors, must be non-white, have at least one child under 18, and income at or below 50 percent of the area median income — roughly $59,000 per year for a family of three.
Half of the spaces are set aside for those who earn below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which amounts to roughly $30,000 per year for a family of three.
Participants will be randomly selected from a pool of applicants who meet eligibility criteria. It will aim to help up to 600 families, one of the largest efforts nationwide and the first to restrict participation to black, indigenous and people of color communities.
Third news item
The San Francisco school board voted 5-2 Thursday to strip Board member Alison Collins of her title as vice president and committee assignments in a rare and somber vote of no confidence…
Collins has been the subject of widespread calls for her resignation this week after a group working toward the recall of several board members resurfaced 2016 tweets of hers targeting Asian Americans.
In the tweets, Collins wrote that she was attempting to “to combat anti-black racism in the Asian community at at [sic] my daughters’ mostly Asian Am[erican] school.” She wrote that she once attended a “mostly Asian Am[erican] school” and knows “all too well” that many Asian Americans “believe they benefit from the ‘model minority’ BS,” and use “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’” She noted that on Facebook, her former high school peers’ timelines are full of whites and Asians, and yet “No recognition #BlackLivesMatter exists.”
She demanded to know where “are the vocal Asians speaking up against Trump? Don’t they know they are on his list as well?”
“Do they think they won’t be deported? profiled? beaten? Being a house n****r is still being a n****r. You’re still considered “the help.”
Collins’ apologized for the tweets but said they were taken out of context. Just gonna say, Allison, you are a grown-ass woman and not some dumb 17-year old, and you cannot justify tweeting what you did, so just sit down.
Collins also pushed to rename 44 of San Francisco’s public schools because a pandemic and thousands of school kids stuck in fronts of screens at home apparently wasn’t the pressing problem that parents believed it to be.
Fourth news item
Identity crisis: no, we will not refer to you as Her Royal Highness:
I didn’t write the loopholes you exploit, @amazon – your armies of lawyers and lobbyists did. But you bet I’ll fight to make you pay your fair share. And fight your union-busting. And fight to break up Big Tech so you’re not powerful enough to heckle senators with snotty tweets. https://t.co/3vCAI93MST
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 26, 2021
Dear Liz, you entitled prig, consider yourself heckled with the purest, most precisely aimed, well-honed bit of passive-aggressive snottiness ever lobbed your way. America’s wonderful freedom to criticize, heckle, and insult its leaders – especially those self-regarded aristocrats – shall not be allowed to languish when such a ripe opportunity presents itself. Sniff.
Fifth news item
How is this not censoring the news:
As the Biden administration scrambles to accommodate a spike of migrant children crossing the border, it has largely cut off media access to the story where it is taking place, leaving the American public blind to the costs and consequences. Every administration endeavors to manage the images that shape public opinion, but this is not management; it seems more like censorship…
Unfortunately, with almost no journalists allowed inside, there is little indication how those strains look, sound and feel. A few members of Congress have visited — one, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who accompanied Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to a Customs and Border Protection processing facility in El Paso last week, described young migrants sleeping on thin mattresses on the floor, bunched a foot or less apart from each other. But for now, that description and a few other scraps are all Americans have to go by…
News organizations that for weeks have been requesting access to facilities, or permission to go on ride-alongs with border agents, have been refused or ignored. One photojournalist who has worked along the border for years, John Moore, wrote in The Post that the restrictions he has encountered are unprecedented in recent years.
Sixth news item
A colossal container ship that ran aground in the Suez Canal on Tuesday has ensnarled one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in a marine traffic jam.
Two days later, more than 100 container ships are still waiting at each end of the canal as tug boats and dredgers struggle to free the Ever Given, which weighs 200,000 metric tons and stretches 1,300 feet long.
“It’s just like having an accident on the interstate,” Donald Maier, the Dean for the School of Maritime Transportation, Logistics, and Management at the California Maritime Academy, tells Pop Mech. “That accident shuts down all lanes of travel, and everything will then start to back up.”
If the Panamanian-flagged ship isn’t freed soon, it could spell disaster for a global shipping industry already hobbled by the effects of COVID-19.
The Ever Given, which is owned by the Japanese company Shoei Kisen Kaisha, was on its way to the port of Rotterdam from China when it became stuck after a sandstorm blew through the region. Visibility plummeted and wind gusts reached speeds of up to 31 miles per hour.
It’s certainly a grave situation given that the longer the ships remain stuck, the greater the possibility of piracy.
Japan puts on an optimistic face:
On Friday morning, the canal’s service provider, Leth Agencies, said in a tweet that the Ever Given “remains grounded in the same position” with tugboats and dredgers working to dislodge the vessel, which is blocking the flow of an estimated $12 billion in goods.
Meanwhile, the Japanese owner of the ship expressed hope that it could be freed by Saturday night. Yukito Higaki, president of Shoei Kisen Kaisha, apologized Friday for the “great trouble and concern,” adding, “we want to work hard and get the situation back to normal,” according to the Japanese financial news website Nikkei Asia.
Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority said Friday afternoon that its dredging operations were roughly 87 percent complete, but navigational safety regulations prevented the dredging ship from moving too close to the Ever Given. Other methods of removing the sand will be deployed, the authority said, without specifying what that might entail.
I’m adding this to end on a lighter note and because it’s so cleverly done:
The former traffic reporter in me couldn’t resist giving you a Suez Canal traffic update… pic.twitter.com/1CssLkQDty
— Jon Hansen (@JonHansenTV) March 26, 2021
Seventh news item
The sister of a man who was shot and killed by a juvenile gang member is outraged after the motion to have him prosecuted as an adult was withdrawn by District Attorney George Gascón as part of his new reforms, despite the fact that the murderer has continued to post his allegiance to his gang on social media while in custody.
In September 2017, 40-year-old Ontario Courtney’s car broke down in the wrong neighborhood in South LA, in an area that was controlled by the Hoover’s gang.
While he was waiting for AAA, a vehicle full of four Main Street Mafia Crips gang members spotted him, pulled up, and shot at him at least 36 times, according to prosecutors.
Ontario didn’t survive. He had been mistaken as a member of the Hoovers gang, according to prosecutors.
No wonder victims of violent crimes are campaigning to recall Gascon.
Eighth news item
Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser labeled the state’s top Democratic officeholders “witches” and referenced “assassination” when pressed Thursday for answers about how to remove two sitting GOP congressmen.
After the remarks were reported by The Detroit News on Friday, prompting a firestorm of criticism mostly from Democrats and calls for his resignation from the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents, Weiser said on Twitter that his comments “are clearly being taken out of context.” But he admitted he should have “chosen my words more carefully,” while saying he wouldn’t resign from the UM board.
Someone in the crowd asked how to unseat U.S. Reps. Fred Upton of St. Joseph and Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids Township, who were among 10 House Republicans to support the impeachment of former President Donald Trump in January. The Senate voted to acquit.
Weiser responded the party is focused on beating the “three witches” in 2022, apparently referring to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson — the three statewide Democratic leaders who are up for re-election next year.
Then someone in the crowd can be heard asking about the “witches in our own party.”
“Ma’am, other than assassination, I have no other way … other than voting out. OK?” Weiser said. “You people have to go out there and support their opponents. You have to do what you need to get out the vote in those areas. That’s how you beat people.”
Ninth news item
Blasting filibuster flip-flop:
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., ripped President Biden and congressional Democrats Friday for changing their view of the Senate filibuster rule, telling “Fox News Primetime” that they are invoking racism in order to scare Republicans.
Scott told host Brian Kilmeade it was both “frustrating and irritating” to see Democrats use the filibuster last year to block a police reform bill he proposed and claimed would have disproportionately helped the Black community.
“Here’s what we know about the Democrats,” Scott said. “They were for the filibuster before they were against the filibuster. I keep asking myself, ‘Will the real Chuck Schumer please stand up?’ Is it the one who was for the filibuster or is it the new one who is now against filibuster?”
Finally, this is so true! (Keep an eye on the gate):
People online vs Reality pic.twitter.com/PlTTerQIbU
— Nick Rickles (@NickRickles) March 24, 2021
Have a great weekend.