Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I can still remember the first time I voted in a National election.  I was a young, 18-year-old student and I could finally have a say in who was going to run the country.  It was a proud day for me and the countless other 18 year olds who were also voting for the first time.  I can honestly say that I have not missed voting in any election since.  That includes both primary and general elections.  There wasn’t always a lot to vote for in some of those primaries over the years, but I consider voting a duty, so I made sure that I made it to the polls.

It hasn’t always been easy for all citizens to cast their vote.  Even in my lifetime, the Jim Crow laws of the South made it difficult, at best for African-Americans citizens to register and to cast their ballots.  After years of protests and legal battles, I thought the Jim Crow style of voter suppression was a thing of the past.  It turns out I was wrong.  Very wrong. (more…)

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Good afternoon folks, and welcome to the sports holy day known as NFL Sunday. We mostly all love it. The collisions, the sparkling cheerleaders, the feats of athleticism that would have made an ancient Greek Olympian proud. It’s all there – drama, excitement, pageantry, bright colors and morality. Yep there’s bad boys (think Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens) and good guys (anybody named Manning or Russell Wilson) and there’s music – marching bands, pep bands, loud speakers blaring just about any rap, punk, pop, or country song you like depending on locale. Football is king! Long Live The King!

But the king has had better seasons.

From the professional gladiators to the high school gladiators-in-training, football’s morality play has come off the skids. The carefully cultivated image of athlete as hero that echoes through the centuries from the plains at Marathon to an Olympic stadium in 1936 Berlin overseen by a bad man with a bad mustache, yes, and all the way to modern day techno-proficient, thunder booming, firework blasting sports theatres, Football America is suffering.

Maybe is was avarice or a sense of invulnerability or most likely hubris. All of football was riding high early this year. The NFL was enjoying record profits even having the audacity to ask its halftime acts to pay it for the privilege of sweating it out before millions of Americans at home and in person.  It was pushing the Old Man of US sports, Major League Baseball, from the headlines but moving its pre-season draft of players to prime time in … gasp … May, smack in the middle of  baseball season. The colleges had just finished a game of musical chairs and chicken all at the same time and got the venerable, doting NCAA to approve a bowl championship, an acknowledgment of the 5 Big Boy Conferences, and the shunning of anything approaching governing the Big 5.

Yes football was riding high — but there were signs of looming disasters to come.

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220px-Modern_British_LED_Traffic_LightHaving just been in Chicago, one of the most prevalent subject of conversation (despite the football season of course) is the ever-rising number of tickets being given to drivers. The Daley administration first made Chicago the most expensive parking city in the country with a corrupt deal that bordered on the criminal. The city was also accused of corrupt dealings with the company handling red-light ticking. However, none of this has curtailed the city contractors and officials clipping motorists for revenue in the form of endless ticketing. The latest outrage was the city reducing the time of yellow lights — a small tweak of a second that resulted in nearly $8 million in new tickets. Drivers are being treated as sources for revenue and hit with the equivalent of speed traps and short lights to generate more and more tickets.

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305px-USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_CroppedWe previously discussed how the White House opened admitted that it was delayed the increasingly unpopular immigration plan until after the election. Now it appears that another radioactive issue is being slow marched until after the election. The Army has completed its investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance from his base in Afghanistan five years ago. However, Pentagon sources have said that any release will have to come after the election and there is no guarantee that the findings will be made public.

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President_Barack_Obamaimages-2The Washington Post is reporting it as one of the most painful 40 seconds of this election cycle. Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) was asked a simple question: did you vote for President Obama. What followed in the clip below was one of the most revealing 40 seconds of how bad this election is becoming for Democrats and how radioactive the President has become. Grimes refuses to answer. She is trying to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and these mid-term elections tend to reflect the view of the incumbent president as some voters try to either add support or resistance to a president in Congress. Obama’s popularity stands at a dismal 30 percent in Kentucky. The clip is particularly interesting given the recent public statements of the President that this election is about his policies. It was an effort to rally Democrats but candidates who have been increasingly fleeing associations with the unpopular president cringed across the country. Given Obama’s national polling, an election based his policies and Administration would magnify the already great expected losses in November, including the possible loss of both houses. Even long-time ally and former campaign manager David Axelrod said that the President’s framing of the election as a vote on his policies was a huge mistake. The deer in the headlights look of Grimes reflects that point vividly.

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President_Barack_ObamaWhile President Barack Obama continues to assure the public that he is protecting privacy and the press, his Administration continues to do precisely the opposite in court with comprehensive attacks on civil liberties. A good example is the continued abuse of two-time Pulitzer prize winner and New York Times investigative reporter and author James Risen. Risen continues to be threatened by the Justice Department with arrest because he is protecting the identity of his sources. Risen spoke this weekend and observed simply that “Obama hates the press.”

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300px-Chernobyl_Disaster1280px-Fukushima_I_by_Digital_GlobeOne of the chief objections to nuclear power is the catastrophic implications of nuclear accidents or leaks. No better examples of that danger can be found in the aftermath of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters. Reports out this week show precisely how lasting such damage can be.

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