The poor in America: In need of help Some 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing.
Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”.
No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
posted by infini
on Nov 8, 2012 -
My Fair Election
crowd-sources pollwatching: "We hope that this information will be used by citizens, journalists, and election officials to identify the worst polling places and work to fix them. We hope that officials in charge of polling places with long lines or otherwise operate poorly will be embarrassed, held to account, and so motivated to do a better job." (via Hollie Russon-Gilman
and Archon Fung
posted by anotherpanacea
on Nov 1, 2012 -
Last year, The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU's Law School released a report
) detailing new, more restrictive state laws that affect voting rights and are likely to impact the outcome of the 2012 elections. The restrictions "fall most heavily on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities." On August 3rd, 2012, they updated their analysis
with a pdf
of passed and pending State government legislation. Their conclusion: after a century in which the United States "expanded the franchise and knocked down myriad barriers to full electoral participation... that momentum [has] abruptly shifted." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 17, 2012 -
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law.
The product of a strict party line vote following a
of debate, disinformation
, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act
would (among other popular reforms
) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool
for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives
(including presidential contender Mitt Romney
) is the central question facing the justices today
. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step
of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured
, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state
But despite the pessimism of bettors
, some believe
the Court will demur, wary of damaging
its already-fragile reputation
with another partisan 5-4 decision
. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know
. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog
for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 28, 2012 -
Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason.
After two months of gaffes
, impolitic stands
, and bizarre speeches
that quickly waned his once-strong odds
of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate
sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video]
to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate"
in his memory.
While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes
of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims
-- an oddly ineffective
scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow
. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits
, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own
. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 10, 2011 -
It's Election Day in America
, and as is so often the case in this fickle
land, the results of the 2010 midterm elections are up in the air. Although President Obama's party is expected to suffer significant losses, record numbers of districts remain competitive
, and even minute errors in polling could mean the difference between a historic Republican landslide
and an unexpectedly robust Democratic defense
. At stake are control of not just the Senate and House, but myriad state and local offices, many of which will play key roles in the dynamics of the 2012 presidential race -- and, more subtly but no less crucially, the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting
process. Much uncertainty surrounds the behavior of the electorate -- how many will turn out, and how informed will they be? To help move those statistics in the right direction, look inside for voter guides, national and state fact checkers, and an assortment of other resources to keep tabs on as the results roll in. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 2, 2010 -
A manual for electoral apocalypse
in America. Quite a bit's been written both on MeFi
and other places about how bad Diebold machines are. Rolling Stone wrote an article about election fraud in 2004 that was discussed here
on MeFi. Tonight, Ars posted a very
thorough, very clear article about how we are completely screwed if we do not enact expensive, fundamental changes in how we handle elections in America. It's too late to do anything about the elections in a couple weeks, but perhaps steps can be taken to fix things before 2008...
posted by sparkletone
on Oct 25, 2006 -
Mainstream Media to American Democracy: Drop Dead!
Brad Friedman ask alarming questions about the complete lack of attention which has been paid to the GAO report on electronic voting technology
(PDF link) released more than a month ago, which confirms what security experts have been saying for years: these systems are vulnerable to multiple independent attacks targeting system and network vulnerabilities, access controls, hardware controls, and overall management practices. If you're short of time, at least read Rep. Waxman's fact sheet
Ultimately, there is no real security on these machines; the report shows that overturning election results would not be at all difficult for even a single moderately skilled attacker. And now Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are wondering if American Democracy has died an electronic death
in the wake of massive discrepancies between final pre-election opinion polls and the results of several citizen initiatives designed to reform Ohio's electoral processes.
posted by dinsdale
on Nov 16, 2005 -
Some sites have gone black today in protest of black box voting and/or four more years of Bush. But, actually, I haven't seen many. Are people tired of fighting or is this just a poorly-organized effort no one knows about?
posted by sparky
on Jan 20, 2005 -
Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell was in charge of making sure the election in his state was free and fair. With his recount was still progressing, he revealed
his true colours. You remember towards the beginning of Fahrenheit 9/11, where the objectors to the electoral result needed just one senator to come out and support them? Well, it's that time again.
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Jan 5, 2005 -
John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Minority Member of the House Judiciary Committee, accuses
TRIAD Governmental Systems Inc. of pretty transparent recount fraud in Ohio, as well as having a really suspicious-sounding name. Get Your Democracy On.
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Dec 23, 2004 -
Imminent job openings at CNN...
Open the link and right click the picture of Bush and wife, click "Save Picture/Image" and look at the filename!
In the words of a certain Denis Leary, "He's an asshole, asshole, asshole-e-o-oe-oh".
I suggest someone mirrors this ASAP!
posted by metaxa
on Nov 4, 2004 -
The Big Picture
Yep...one day left. MSNBC.com presents a broadband-only interactive that puts you in the hot seat of a Campaign Adviser. The "Produce and Ad" bit is a hoot.
posted by crunchybird
on Nov 1, 2004 -