Revealing rural Minnesota, everything on a stick, is energy independence possible, crop-dusting season, and sometimes you have to just keep rowing.
Minnesota, of course, is not the only state debating Voter ID, which would require people to show a valid ID when they vote. But what's happening in other states certainly frames the debate here, too, especially in states where the law has recently passed and is being tried for the first time.
In Pennsylvania, a state judge today has refused to toss the Voter ID law in a case that includes almost all of the reasons on both sides of the issue in Minnesota.
In a post on the blog, Above the Law, Elie Mystal points out why the rush is on to strike down the law before it is employed:
This was always the brilliance of the Republican push for these voter ID laws. They've been perfectly timed to get them through this election. By the time this issue is ripe for judicial review, the votes will already have been counted. If the GOP is right and this kind of suppression really does influence the outcome of the election, well, they'll have their victory long before courts start unpacking which individuals were disenfranchised.
Pretty lucky that the threat of voter fraud only became a big GOP issue in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential election, isn't it?
Of course, the game isn't over. Simpson says that the photo ID requirement has a "plainly legitimate sweep," and I'd imagine that contention will be attacked on appeal, seeing as there is no evidence that voter fraud occurs at any significant level, or that a photo ID requirement would stop the de minimis fraud that allegedly takes place.
But Simpson's ruling should be another good reminder to everybody who wants a second crack of political battles through the courts: it's a lot easier to prevent a law from being passed than it is to get one overturned.
Some of the people who sued to overturn the law say they will not be able to get a state ID in Pennsylvania because they can't obtain a birth certificate, according to the Associated Press.
Here's a copy of the judge's decision:5 Comments)
These are some amazing images posted on the Flickr page of Chicago Public Media (WBEZ).
It's young immigrants lining up for a reprieve from deportation. WBEZ's Peter Sagal posted this image from his office window, showing a line longer than Navy Pier.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights organized the event after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began taking applications for deportation deferrals and work permission under a new policy.
Applicants must prove they arrived in the United States before turning 16 and have been here for five years.3 Comments)
Over the years, I've posted several pictures from Arlington National Cemetery, each has shown the scars of war in its unique way.
Yesterday, Sgt. Richard L. Berry was carried to a gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. He was killed by an IED in Afghanistan last month.
Unlike previous photographs of similar occasions, the picture of this ceremony is somewhat different. There were relatively few people in the photo itself.
There's a war going on, but you wouldn't know it by the presidential campaign. Why?
The world, broadcast last night on MPR, had a compelling segment on this question.
"Right now, the U.S. is pledging billions and billions of dollars each year from now until 2024 to train and support the Afghan government and the Afghan army.I i think it's appropriate for the American people to be asking their candidates running for office exactly what we're getting for all of that money and for all of those lives being put on the line," analyst Joshua Foust said.
You can also find the interview here.
"How can it be anything else but fraud?" a political wonk posted on Twitter yesterday after MPR's Tom Scheck broke the story that 3,100 family members of state workers have been removed from state health insurance coverage because they are ineligible.
Catherine McDonnell-Forney of Minneapolis can easily answer the question.
McDonnel-Forney, whose husband has worked for the Department of Vehicle Services since 2007, is eligible for health care coverage. But she only found out she'd been dropped when she went to the pharmacy earlier this month.
"We did not find out until I went to fill a prescription after the first of August and was told I had no insurance and would have to play the full price," she told me today. "We still didn't receive notice until about a week after the first of the month."
How did she end up in this situation?
"Employees were asked to have paperwork submitted by the middle of June. Employees were sent an email and then four reminder correspondence to their homes. We were asked to submit our wedding certificate, our daughter's birth certificate and a utility bill. The paperwork was sent before the deadline," she said.
Her husband turned in the documentation on time, she says, but the outside consulting firm that the state employed to conduct the audit says it didn't receive the paperwork. Scheck's story indicated 770 families reportedly didn't turn in the documentation.
"I work for a small nonprofit with only six employees and we are not offered health insurance, so my daughter and I are dependent upon my husband's health insurance policy," Ms. McDonnel-Forney said in her e-mail to me. "Because we weren't notified until after the beginning on the month, I was not able to get any health insurance for the month of August. We will hopefully be able to be covered from September 1st through January 1st when we can be added back on to my husband's policy and hopefully won't need to go to the doctor or the emergency room for any reason."
She says they appealed the decision that tossed them off health care, but it was rejected.
"We got a letter saying that we failed to qualify and that we were eligible for COBRA, which we are not taking because it's obscenely expensive," she said.
Instead, she'll pay $175 a month for a Blue Cross policy with a $9,000 deductible that will cover routine care.
"I'm mostly anxious not being covered for the next 2 1/2 weeks. You don't plan accidents, " she said.
"What makes me so mad is the shabby manner in which a dedicated employee is being treated and I'm sure that the public reaction is that we were defrauding the state and stealing tax dollars."(10 Comments)