MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/118036 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en How the World Series Might Just Help the GOP Win the Senate http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/kansas-city-royals-world-series-sam-brownback-pat-roberts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Kansas City sports fans aren't used to celebrating. The town's NFL team, the Chiefs, hasn't won a playoff game since 1994. The Royals, the other major sports franchise in town, hadn't made a playoff appearance since 1985. But local baseball fans are experiencing a rare bit of jubilation this year. Not only did the Royals sneak into the playoffs as a wild card, they <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/10/15/kansas-city-royals-win-american-league-pennant-world-series/17325521/" target="_blank">won</a> the AL pennant last week and are hosting the San Francisco Giants in game one of the World Series Tuesday night.</p> <p>That's an exciting development for any millennial-aged sports fan from Kansas City who has lived a full life without post-season baseball. It's also welcome news for a pair of Republican politicians from Kansas, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/sam-brownback-kansas-paul-davis" target="_blank">Gov. Sam Brownback</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/case-senators-skipping-committee-hearings" target="_blank">Sen. Pat Roberts</a>, both of whom are battling their way through tight reelection bids: Research has shown that important wins by local sports teams around election season can boost an incumbent's performance.</p> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/govsambrownback/photos/a.188268587865794.52761.184999488192704/987420011283977/?type=1" data-width="466"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/govsambrownback/photos/a.188268587865794.52761.184999488192704/987420011283977/?type=1">Post</a> by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/govsambrownback">Governor Sam Brownback</a>.</div> </div> <p>A <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/107/29/12804.full#aff-1">2010 study</a><strong> </strong>by researchers from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Stanford University's business school looked at presidential, gubernatorial, and senate elections between 1964 and 2008, and overlaid their outcomes with results from college football games. When the local team won within two weeks of the election, the incumbent on the ballot received 1.05 to 1.47 percent more of the vote on Election Day.</p> <p>But not all sports fandom is created equally, with certain victories carrying extra weight. When one of the teams that the researchers termed "locally important" won ahead of an election, they found that it could boost the incumbent's vote share by as much as 2.42 percent&mdash;a large enough margin to swing any close contest. "We find clear evidence that the successes and failures of the local college football team before Election Day significantly influence the electoral prospects of the incumbent party," the researchers wrote, "suggesting that voters reward and punish incumbents for changes in their well-being unrelated to government performance."</p> <p>The researchers attributed these results to an improvement in overall&nbsp;happiness among voters around the election, boosting a willingness to support the political status quo when they're feeling content about other parts of their lives. The recent success of the long-struggling Royals reaching the championship round would certainly make the cut as a now important team. "These are different times in Kansas City," <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/10/20/royals-are-toast-kansas-city/cfVRkIUxX7GJeDdPwjt0HJ/story.html">declares</a> the <em>Boston Globe</em>. "Passengers arriving at Kansas City International Airport on Monday were greeted with stacks of blue and white balloons with yellow crowns on top."</p> <p>Though the Royals are actually from Kansas City, Missouri, they've got plenty of boosters just across the border in the Sunflower State. About 20 percent of Kansas' population resides in Johnson County, the ring of suburbs outside Kansas City and one of the pivotal electoral zones that could decide whether Brownback and Roberts get to keep their jobs next year.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Here we go Royals <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldSeriesBound?src=hash">#WorldSeriesBound</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BeRoyalKC?src=hash">#BeRoyalKC</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeTheCrown?src=hash">#TakeTheCrown</a></p> &mdash; Pat Roberts (@SenPatRoberts) <a href="https://twitter.com/SenPatRoberts/status/522531883024785408">October 15, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Going to the World Series <a href="https://twitter.com/Royals">@Royals</a>!</p> &mdash; Sam Brownback (@govsambrownback) <a href="https://twitter.com/govsambrownback/status/522523573467242496">October 15, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Brownback, who won by 30 points four years ago, has struggled <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/governor/ks/kansas_governor_brownback_vs_davis-4146.html" target="_blank">in polls</a> against his Democratic opponent all year as voters have <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/sam-brownback-kansas-paul-davis" target="_blank">turned against him </a>over his giant tax cuts and efforts to purify the state GOP. And questions about Roberts' residency hurt his image enough that independent Greg Orman has run about even with Roberts since the Democratic candidate dropped out of the race. Both races have tightened as Election Day approaches, so don't be surprised if Roberts and Brownback strut around town in royal blue until November 4.</p></body></html> Politics Elections Sports Top Stories baseball Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:23:27 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 262991 at http://www.motherjones.com Two SWAT Raids. Two Officers Dead. One Defendant Is Black, One White. Guess What Happened. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/texas-no-knock-swat-raid <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>One Friday last May, the sun had not yet risen when a SWAT team ignited a flash-bang grenade outside Marvin Guy's apartment in Killeen, Texas. Officers were trying to climb in through a window when Guy, who had a criminal record and was suspected of possessing cocaine, opened fire. Four officers were hit; one of them was killed.</p> <p>Five months earlier, 100 miles away, a SWAT officer was shot during a predawn no-knock raid on another house. In that case, too, police threw a flash-bang grenade and tried to enter the residence. Henry "Hank" Magee, according to his attorney, grabbed his gun to protect himself and his pregnant girlfriend. "As soon as the door was kicked in, he shot at the people coming through the door," says his attorney, Dick DeGuerin. With his legally owned semi-automatic .308 rifle, Magee killed one of the officers.&nbsp;</p> <p>The cases are remarkably similar, except for one thing: Guy is black, Magee white. And while Magee was found to have acted in self-defense, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Guy. He remains in jail while he awaits trial.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2014/10/texas-no-knock-swat-raid"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Crime and Justice Prisons Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:25:20 +0000 Shane Bauer 262951 at http://www.motherjones.com The World Just Had its Hottest "Year" on Record http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/10/earth-just-had-its-hottest-year-record <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>This <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/10/20/climate_change_records_the_earth_just_had_the_warmest_12_month_period_recorded.html" target="_blank">story</a> originally appeared in </em><a href="http://slate.com" target="_blank">Slate</a> <em>and is republished here as part of the <a href="http://climatedesk.org" target="_blank">Climate Desk</a> collaboration.</em></p> <p>A few days ago, I told you that&mdash;<a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/10/13/nasa_earth_just_experienced_the_warmest_six_month_stretch_ever.html" target="blank">according to NASA data</a>&mdash;we just finished the warmest six-month streak on record. Welp, it just got worse.</p> <p>According to data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last month was <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/10/13/nasa_earth_just_experienced_the_warmest_six_month_stretch_ever.html" target="blank">the warmest September on record globally</a>. What's more&mdash;and here's the kicker&mdash;the NOAA says the Earth has just completed its warmest 12-month period on record. <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/9" target="blank">From the NOAA</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The past 12 months&mdash;October 2013&ndash;September 2014&mdash;was the warmest 12-month period among all months since records began in 1880, at 1.24&deg;F above the 20<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;century average. This breaks the previous record of +1.22&deg;F set for the periods September 1998&ndash;August 1998, August 2009&ndash;July 2010; and September 2013&ndash;August 2014.</p> </blockquote> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="September" class="image" src="/files/noaa-temperature-630.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>2014 continues on a record warm pace. </strong><a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/9" target="_blank">NOAA</a><br> &nbsp;</div> </div> <p>Though this record-setting "year" is likely to go unheralded compared with a calendar year record, it's actually more impressive statistically. (Each calendar year contains a dozen 12-month-period starting points. Starting the year in January is completely arbitrary.) But, don't fret, the NOAA says we're still on pace to beat the calendar year record in 2014, too.</p> <p>On Monday, the NOAA also announced that global oceans are again record-warm&mdash;the third time this year that ocean temperatures have soared to new heights. The most recent record was set <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/09/18/global_oceans_break_all_time_heat_record_world_on_pace_for_warmest_year.html" target="blank">just last month</a>. Ocean warming has <a href="http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-sea-temperature-rise/" target="blank">implications</a> for the health of coral reefs, sea level rise, and weather patterns worldwide.</p> <p>What's most shocking about our planet's current warm stretch is that the heat records are being broken <em>without</em> an El Ni&ntilde;o&mdash;the periodic oscillation that warms the Pacific Ocean. But, one of those is on the way, too&mdash;and <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/10/14/pacific_decadal_oscillation_we_may_see_two_el_ni_o_years_in_a_row.html" target="blank">it might stick around for a while</a>.</p> <p>So far in 2014, record-setting hot spots have been scattered almost uniformly across the globe, from Alaska to California to Cuba to Scandinavia to Brazil to Australia. A couple of exceptions: The eastern United States has been <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/07/10/polar_vortex_weather_mid_july_will_be_as_cool_as_mid_september_in_east_and.html" target="blank">one of the coldest spots on the planet</a>, relatively speaking. So has coastal Antarctica, where record amounts of sea ice have been recorded&mdash;strangely, <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/09/18/antarctic_sea_ice_is_hitting_record_levels_what_does_that_say_about_global.html" target="blank">also possibly connected to global warming</a>.</p></body></html> Environment Climate Change Climate Desk Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:24:58 +0000 Eric Holthaus 262986 at http://www.motherjones.com Voter's Boyfriend to Obama: "Mr. President, Don't Touch My Girlfriend" http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/mr-president-dont-touch-my-girlfriend <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>President Barack Obama was in Chicago on Monday to cast an <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/21/politics/obama-early-voting-jokes/index.html" target="_blank">early vote</a> for the midterm elections. He did so while standing next to fellow voter Aia Cooper. Cooper's boyfriend, who was also standing nearby, issued a remarkable warning to the president:</p> <p>"Mr. President, don't touch my girlfriend."</p> <p>With Cooper laughing, but clearly mortified, the exchange that follows is just priceless. (Well played, Mr. President.) Watch below:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="357" src="http://www.cnn.com/video/api/embed.html#/video/politics/2014/10/21/newday-ip-obama-votes-joke.cnn" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Obama Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:11:10 +0000 Inae Oh 262971 at http://www.motherjones.com Judge Rips Alabama for Hiring a Discredited Abortion Foe http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/judge-rips-alabama-hiring-discredited-abortion-foe <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Vincent Rue, a marriage therapist best known for his discredited theories about how abortion causes mental illness, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars assembling legal teams to defend extreme anti-abortion bills. But lately, the states that hire him have been getting a raw deal.</p> <p>On Monday, US District Judge Myron H. Thompson skewered Alabama for involving Rue in the defense of a law that <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-31/alabama-abortion-law-challenge-must-go-to-trial-judge-rules-1-.html" target="_blank">requires abortion providers</a> to obtain admitting privileges with a local hospital. Thompson struck down the law, which had <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/us/alabama-suit-is-filed-to-block-abortion-clinic-law.html?_r=0" target="_blank">threatened to close</a> three of Alabama's five abortion clinics. Notably, Thompson disregarded two arguments made by John M. Thorp, an OB-GYN at the University of North Carolina Hospital and one of Rue's go-to expert witnesses: that complications arise from abortion more often than is reported in official statistics, and that admitting privileges are necessary to good patient care. Both claims have been key for states defending these sorts of abortion restrictions.</p> <p>This is the second time this year that a federal judge has dismissed evidence brought by Rue's favored expert witnesses. In September, a Texas judge ruling on an anti-abortion bill that would close all but six of the state's clinics <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/federal-judge-texas-abortion-clinic-vincent-rue" target="_blank">raked the state's attorneys across the coals</a> for bringing on Rue&mdash;and hiding his involvement.</p> <p>Rue was <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/texas-vincent-rue-anti-abortion-law" target="_blank">thoroughly discredited</a> as an abortion expert long before Alabama hired him. When he testified in two landmark abortion cases in the 1990s, judges disregarded his testimony for being <a href="http://www.leagle.com/decision/19902067744FSupp1323_11868.xml/PLANNED%20PARENTHOOD%20v.%20CASEY">personally biased</a> and <a href="http://www.leagle.com/decision/19861404648FSupp756_11287.xml/HODGSON%20v.%20STATE%20OF%20MINN.">lacking expertise</a>. Mainstream medical organizations have <a href="http://www.leagle.com/decision/19902067744FSupp1323_11868.xml/PLANNED%20PARENTHOOD%20v.%20CASEY" target="_blank">rejected Rue's research</a> on a supposed mental illness caused by abortion, "post-abortive syndrome."</p> <p>In Alabama, Rue recruited expert witnesses for the state and in one case wrote the entirety of the report the state's witnesses submitted to the court. Rue didn't testify. But the state <a href="http://open.alabama.gov/checkbook/payee/PayeeCategory.aspx?pname=RUESTANFORD-RUE,PA&amp;pcode=00000264845" target="_blank">paid</a> <a href="http://open.alabama.gov/checkbook/payee/PayeeCategory.aspx?pname=DRVINCENTMRUE&amp;pcode=00000259295" target="_blank">him</a> $82,890 for his work. It <a href="http://open.alabama.gov/checkbook/payee/PayeeCategory.aspx?pname=DRJOHNMTHORPE&amp;pcode=00000259294" target="_blank">paid</a> <a href="http://open.alabama.gov/checkbook/payee/PayeeCategory.aspx?pname=DRJOHNMTHORPE&amp;pcode=00000259294" target="_blank">the</a> <a href="http://open.alabama.gov/checkbook/payee/PayeeCategory.aspx?pname=JAMESCANDERSON&amp;pcode=00000121883" target="_blank">two</a> <a href="http://open.alabama.gov/checkbook/payee/PayeeCategory.aspx?pname=JAMESCANDERSON&amp;pcode=00000121883" target="_blank">witnesses</a> that Thompson called out in his opinion, Thorp and James C. Anderson, a Virginia emergency room physician, $40,174.75 and $76,279.20, respectively. Thorp, Rue, and Anderson did not reply to requests for comment.</p> <p>Thorp based his testimony on a study he wrote for a pay-to-publish journal. (Traditional academic journals do not charge authors for printing their work.) He misplaced decimal points in his report to the court compiling abortion complication rates. When challenged about his methodology on cross-examination, Thorp told the court to "knock a point off" his estimate of complication rates.</p> <p>At trial, Anderson <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/vincent-rue-states-abortion-laws" target="_blank">admitted</a> that Rue had written a report to the court that Anderson signed. Anderson also said that Rue provided most of the research for a second report Anderson wrote. Anderson further <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1184046-al-trial-transcript-anderson.html#annotation/a161946">testified</a> that he didn't know courts had disregarded Rue's testimony. Thompson was incredulous.</p> <p>"You say you don't know his employment or any organizations that he belongs to," the judge <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1184046-al-trial-transcript-anderson.html#document/p69/a162084" target="_blank">asked Anderson.</a> "Why do you trust him?"</p> <p>In his Monday ruling, Thompson tried to guess at the answer: "Either [Anderson] has extremely impaired judgment; he lied to the court as to his familiarity with Rue; or he is so biased against abortion that he would endorse any opinion that supports increased regulation on abortion providers. Any of these explanations severely undermines Anderson's credibility as an expert witness."</p></body></html> Politics Reproductive Rights The Right Top Stories Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:46:21 +0000 Molly Redden 262916 at http://www.motherjones.com Elizabeth Warren Demands An Investigation Of Mortgage Companies http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/elizabeth-warren-nonbank-mortgage-servicer <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate non-bank companies that service Americans' mortgages, <a href="http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/2014-10-20%20EEC%20%26%20EW%20to%20GAO%20re%20Non-Bank%20Servicers_0.pdf" target="_blank">noting in a letter</a> co-signed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) that an increasing number of lawsuits has been filed in recent years against these firms&mdash;which are not regulated as strictly as banks.</p> <p>Mortgage servicers, whether they are owned by banks or not, handle mortgages after they've been sold to a customer. That means they take care of administrative business including collecting mortgage payments and dealing with delinquent borrowers. What Warren and Cummings are worried about is that the share of non-banks servicing mortgages has grown astronomically&mdash;300 percent between 2011 and 2013&mdash;and it appears that the increased workload has led to shoddier service.</p> <p>The rise of the industry, which typically services <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/30/us-mortgage-servicers-lending-idUSKBN0FZ1EY20140730" target="_blank">lower-income borrowers</a>, "has been accompanied by consumer complaints, lawsuits, and other regulatory actions as the servicers' workload outstrips their processing capacity," according to a recent report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Last December, for instance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau&mdash;the agency Warren helped create&mdash;entered a $2 billion settlement with the nation's largest non-bank servicer over mortgage mismanagement. Financial industry watchdogs and consumer advocates have <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/fhfa-inspector-general-cites-risks-on-nonbank-mortgage-servicers-1404187344" target="_blank">charged</a> that the non-bank home loan servicing companies are often unwilling to work with troubled borrowers to modify mortgages and prevent foreclosures.</p> <p>In their letter, Warren and Cummings also urge the Government Accountability Office to investigate how consumers might be harmed in the event that a large non-bank servicer collapses during a economic downturn. Non-bank mortgage companies are not subject to the regulations governing banks that perform the same functions, such as the requirement that they hold onto a certain amount of emergency funds in case of a financial collapse.</p></body></html> MoJo Corporations Economy Regulatory Affairs Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:12:28 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 262961 at http://www.motherjones.com Rwanda Hits Back at America's Ebola Paranoia http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/rwanda-ebola-americans-screening <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Rwanda will be begin <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/10/21/rwanda-united-statees-ebola-screening/17653947/" target="_blank">screening</a> all Americans entering the country for Ebola, regardless if they're exhibiting symptoms or not, government officials in the East African nation announced Tuesday. Coincidence? The new measure comes just days after <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/ebola-america-panic-hysteria" target="_blank">two Rwandan students </a>were denied enrollment at a New Jersey school over Ebola fears, even though Rwanda has had zero cases of Ebola. The United States, on the other hand, has had three confirmed cases. Rwanda is also more than <a href="http://www.nj.com/burlington/index.ssf/2014/10/amid_ebola_fears_students_from_africa_kept_home_in_south_jersey.html" target="_blank">2,500 miles</a> from the closest Ebola outbreak in West Africa.</p> <p>The US Embassy in Rwanda <a href="http://rwanda.usembassy.gov/mobile//sm-102114.html" target="_blank">explains the situation: </a></p> <blockquote> <p>On October 19, the Rwandan Ministry of Health introduced new Ebola Virus Disease screening requirements. Visitors who have been in the United States or Spain during the last 22 days are now required to report their medical condition&mdash;regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms of Ebola&mdash;by telephone by dialing 114 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for the duration of their visit to Rwanda (if less than 21 days), or for the first 21 days of their visit to Rwanda. Rwandan authorities continue to deny entry to visitors who traveled to Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, or Sierra Leone within the past 22 days.</p> </blockquote> <p>Although there's no way to tell if the screenings are indeed motivated by retaliation for the ignorant panic displayed by the New Jersey school, this sure is an interesting turn of events.</p></body></html> MoJo Health Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:40:55 +0000 Inae Oh 262946 at http://www.motherjones.com The Darker Side of Jason Mraz http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/10/jason-mraz-tour-yes-profile <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>It was the early aughts and the American pop scene was closing out the chapter on a decade of boy bands. Singer-songwriters were up to bat, as John Mayer and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2010/06/jack-johnson-interview-to-the-sea" target="_blank">Jack Johnson</a> crooned their way up the charts and into the hearts of a nation weary of synchronized dance moves and contrived collaborations.</p> <p>Armed with an acoustic guitar and an aptitude for wordplay Jason Mraz fit the profile when he burst onto the scene in 2002&mdash;and he came with his own distinctive flavor. Hailing from small town Virginia, he cultivated his talent at a New York City conservatory before rounding out the edges in the San Diego coffeehouse scene. He blended these experiences into an eccentric but charmingly optimistic persona&mdash;in his debut video he dons a trucker hat, sport coat, an "I love sex" pin, and bunny slippers, and is accompanied by an entourage of chickens.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BW17WAwMcoQ?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Alhough he has stopped showcasing his Southern roots (and has dropped the cheeky sexual undertones), the attitude and style captured in "The Remedy" came to define him. "I won't worry my life away," he belted between verses <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YAQ_Fs7xYI" target="_blank">originally intended</a> to highlight the silver lining of his best friend's cancer diagnosis. It was more than just a chorus: Positivity became his doctrine.</p> <p>In the albums to follow, Mraz cemented his feel-good image and continued to highlight his playfulness. Whether performing at sold-out stadiums or little coffee shops, he charmed audiences with charismatic banter, eagerly and effortlessly connecting to his crowds. He called his fans "friends" and featured them on his website. It's been a winning way. Over the years, Mraz has taken home two Grammys, two Teen Choice Awards, a People's choice award, and he's sold millions of records.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Jason Mraz" class="image" src="/files/IMG_2954.JPG" style="height: 420px; width: 300px;"><div class="caption"><strong>Jason Mraz in San Francisco. </strong>Gabrielle Canon</div> </div> <p>Now, 12 years since that debut album, he's been <a href="http://jasonmraz.com/tour/" target="_blank">busy touring</a> to promote his latest release, <em>Yes!</em>, a collaboration with the band <a href="http://rainingjane.com/home.rj" target="_blank">Raining Jane</a>. And while he hasn't abandoned the positivity thing, he's become more nuanced about it. Sure, the album is about positivity, he says, but that's not because he's an overly happy person. These days, he admits, finding happiness can be a struggle for him. Mraz has recast his carefree mantra as a sort of defensive tactic to cope with his worries.</p> <p>"I tend to wake up and feel somewhat pessimistic," he told me. "I will look at the schedule and think 'Oh my gosh, look at all this I have to do today. There's not going to be enough time for myself. Am I going to have enough time to put the show together? Is the show going to be great? Probably not? I have already used all my great stuff.' So anyway, I have this default mode that makes me feel less than&mdash;or makes me feel that something is missing."</p> <p>Yet while he uses music to drown out those feelings, Mraz doesn't want to put out songs that won't make people feel good. His darker compositions don't make the cut: "What goes on an album is something that I am going to tour. Something that I am passing along to listeners that I think could be valuable music. I don't want to release music that is a total bummer."</p> <p>The persona he's cultivated over his career, in other words, no longer quite fits. "When I released that first album," he explains, "my motivations were probably on ego and celebrating my vocabulary and showing off my irregular imagination. Obviously, you read more books, see more documentaries; you've had more trials and errors, been in love a few times&mdash;had failures. So certainly the perspective changes."</p> <p>Even so, Mraz is inclined to give fans what they expect. A few months back, at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall, he put on a great show, complete with improvisational interludes, audience participation, and even footage from an excursion to Antarctica, where he performed for environmental scientists. But at moments he let his sentiments show.</p> <p>After playing a few songs with Raining Jane, he took the stage for a solo version of "The Remedy," which he had recast as a slow, hauntingly beautiful rendition, disguising the familiar upbeat tune. Later in the show, he introduced "Three Little Things," a peppy song about what he does to recover when his "life falls apart." People, he griped to the crowd, accuse him of being happy all the time.</p> <p>The following afternoon, at a fan meet-and-greet hosted at his favorite local restaurant, Gracias Madre, Mraz smiled minimally, performed mechanically, and seemed almost bored to be there. Sandwiched between two big shows, the event was meant to mimic the intimacy of the coffeehouse scene he came up in. The fans, most of who were there thanks to their participation in a local radio contest, didn't seem to mind, even when he lectured them on the importance of eating local. This was, after all, Jason Mraz in the flesh, clad in his signature, slightly askew trucker hat and belting out their favorites. Apart from some laugh lines around his eyes and a goatee that added a few years to his boyish features, he looked the same as always.</p> <p>Even if Mraz's mentality has undergone a shift, his songs speak for themselves. If anything, just focusing on the intentions behind his latest album would overshadow how good it actually is. <em>Yes!</em> may even be his best one yet. He has put aside styles he experimented with awkwardly in the past&mdash;notably scat and rap&mdash;and created an album with catchy songs, great harmonies, and enough lyrical complexity to make you actually feel something. And even if he recorded only the most uplifting material, the less blatantly positive tracks are among the album's best.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Jason Mraz" class="image" src="/files/IMG_2971.JPG" style="height: 451px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption"><strong>Jason Mraz in San Francisco. </strong>Gabrielle Canon</div> </div> <p><em>Yes!</em> reveals what we've always known about Mraz: He knows how to write a great love song&mdash;and that may be his greatest legacy. "My story must be love," he told me. "Whether it is trying to fill in some lack of love that I think I didn't experience when I was a kid, or a lack of love that I might feel like I am experiencing right now. I have been able to use art as an opportunity to fill that hole."</p> <p>It's hard to say what's next for Mraz. He's not quite sure himself. With one album remaining on his Warner Bros. contract, he has hinted that the next one might be his last, and that he's entertaining the idea of retiring.</p> <p>Maybe he'll spend more time tending to his five-acre Avocado farm in Southern California&mdash;you can find Mraz avocados at local farmers markets&mdash;or focusing on his <a href="http://jasonmraz.com/foundation/" target="_blank">charity</a>. He's outspoken about LGBT rights, and uses his music to advocate for other causes, including human trafficking and environmental stewardship. That Antarctica trip was intended to raise awareness about climate change, and the<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wmCI7lPhTw" target="_blank"> resulting video</a> for "Sail Away" features penguins and spectacular views. His future might also include parenting, he says.</p> <p>But Mraz wants people to know that his core philosophy will never change: He's still a dreamer who, despite himself, wants to make people smile. "We are born into society's dream. We wake up here on this modern earth, and while it may seem unfair in some areas, at least&mdash;" He pauses here for a long moment. "At least we have the opportunity to keep dreaming."</p></body></html> Media Music Top Stories Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:45:05 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 260901 at http://www.motherjones.com Man Who Believes God Speaks to Us Through "Duck Dynasty" Is About to Be Texas' Second-in-Command http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/dan-patrick-texas-lieutenant-governor <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As a Texas state senator, Dan Patrick has conducted himself in a manner consistent with the shock jock he once was. Patrick&mdash;who is now&nbsp;the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor&mdash;has railed against everything from separation of church and state to Mexican coyotes who supposedly speak Urdu. He's even advised his followers that God is speaking to them through <em>Duck Dynasty </em>star Phil Robertson.</p> <p>A former sportscaster who once defended a football player who'd thrown a reporter through a door (Patrick believed it wasn't the journalist's job to do "negative reporting"), Patrick became a conservative talk radio host in the early 1990s&mdash;Houston's answer to Rush Limbaugh. In 2006, he parlayed his radio fame into a state Senate seat&mdash;and kept the talk show going. In office, he <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2007/03/texas-tots-sale" target="_blank">proposed</a> paying women $500 to turn over newborn babies to the state (to reduce abortions), led the charge against creeping liberalism in state textbooks, and pushed wave after wave of new abortion restrictions. For his efforts, <em>Texas Monthly</em> <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/lists/worst-senator-dan-patrick" target="_blank">named</a> Patrick one of the worst legislators of 2013.</p> <p>With a victory on November 4, Patrick, who is leading Democratic state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in the polls, would find himself next in line for the governor's mansion of the nation's second-largest state. (Rick Perry, the current Republican governor, was previously lieutenant governor.) But even if Patrick advances no further, he'd be in a position to shape public policy&mdash;Texas' lieutenant governor is sometimes called the "<a href="http://kut.org/post/why-lieutenant-governor-most-powerful-office-texas-and-who-wants-power" target="_blank">most powerful office in Texas</a>" because of the influence it has on both the legislative and executive branches.</p> <p>Here are a few of Patrick's greatest hits:</p> <p><strong>On Islam:</strong> Patrick walked out of the Senate chamber in 2007 rather than listen to a Muslim deliver the opening prayer. "I think that it's important that we are tolerant as a people of all faiths, but that doesn't mean we have to endorse all faiths, and that was my decision," he <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/article/Patrick-boycotts-Senate-s-first-Muslim-prayer-1809254.php" target="_blank">told</a> the <em>Houston Chronicle</em>. "I surely believe that everyone should have the right to speak, but I didn't want my attendance on the floor to appear that I was endorsing that."</p> <p>Five years later, he did it again. "We are a nation that allows a Muslim to come in with a Koran but does not allow a Christian to take a Bible to school," Patrick explained, after <a href="https://cair.com/press-center/cair-in-the-news/9078-tx-sen-patrick-walks-out-on-islamic-prayer.html" target="_blank">walking out</a> on another prayer, delivered this time by Imam Yusuf Kavacki. "We are a Judeo-Christian nation, primarily a Christian nation."</p> <p><strong>On the border: </strong>"While ISIS terrorists threaten to cross our border and kill Americans, my opponent falsely attacks me to hide her failed record on illegal immigration," <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/10/09/the-future-of-gop-relations-with-latinos-in-one-ad/" target="_blank">he says</a> in his first general-election campaign. Patrick's website, meanwhile, warns that Pakistanis are crossing the border as well, presumably to do bad things to Americans. "This is an Urdu dictionary found by border volunteers that was dropped by a human smuggler," Patrick <a href="http://www.danpatrick.org/dan-patrick-border-champion/" target="_blank">writes</a> beneath a photo of an Urdu-English dictionary. "It is concerning that Mexican coyotes are learning Urdu in order to smuggle illegal immigrants?" [sic]</p> <p><strong>On migrants:</strong> "They are bringing Third World diseases with them," he said in 2006, warning that immigrants could bring leprosy and polio to Texas. (This was news to Texas public health officials.) Patrick hired an undocumented worker when he ran a Houston sports bar, and when the worker revealed last spring that he had talked candidly with Patrick about his situation, the candidate <a href="http://www.texasobserver.org/ascendancy-dan-patrick/" target="_blank">insisted</a>: "The worker says I was personally very kind to him and goes on to allege other preposterous events that are not true and for which he offers no evidence."</p> <p><strong>On his first book, actually titled <em>The Second Most Important Book You Will Ever Read</em>: </strong>"As the author, I am obviously biased," Patrick <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A34719YDENOHDJ/ref=pdp_new_read_full_review_link?ie=UTF8&amp;page=1&amp;sort_by=MostRecentReview#R10PUUILIUMRDE" target="_blank">wrote</a> in an Amazon review of his own book. But "since God inspired me to write this book," he added, "He automatically gets 5 stars and the CREDIT!'"</p> <p><strong>On squashing Wendy Davis' filibuster: </strong>Patrick told Mike Huckabee he had a Christian obligation to <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/2013/06/26/dems-approach-abortion-victory-special-session-wan/" target="_blank">ignore</a> Senate rules if the lives of fetuses were at risk. <strong>"</strong>I spoke to my colleagues and said, 'When Jesus criticized the Pharisees, he criticized them because their laws and their rules were more important than actually taking care of people,'" he said. "And in my view, stopping a debate to save thousands of lives, well, saving the thousands of lives is more important than our tradition of, well, you should never stop someone. I said, 'Well, are we gonna become the modern-day Pharisees as Republicans of the Senate and just let her talk this bill to death and thousands that could have been saved a horrendous death and also improving health care?'"</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.texasobserver.org/sen-dan-patrick-on-his-sonogram-bill/" target="_blank">On critics of his 2011 bill, which passed, mandating women see a sonogram before getting an abortion</a>: </strong>"If those aborted souls were in the gallery right now, what would you say to them?"</p> <p><strong>On Connie Chung's TV show, <em>Eye to Eye</em>:</strong> Patrick quipped in 1992 that the Asian American journalist's show should be called "<em>Slanted Eye to Eye.</em>" Although Patrick's remarks sparked a local media firestorm, he did not change his ways. In 1999, a <a href="http://www.houstonpress.com/1999-08-26/news/god-s-plan/4/" target="_blank"><em>Houston Press</em></a> profile noted that "Patrick lapsed into a faux-Chinese accent when he thought he heard a network correspondent call Clinton, in the midst of the Chinese-espionage scandal, 'President Crinton,'" and later joked that Clinton should get surgery to "make his eyes slanted."</p> <p><strong>On MTV:</strong> Patrick issued a call to arms against the cable channel in 2004, in an online bulletin:</p> <blockquote> <p>STAND UP AND FIGHT BACK AGAINST MTV&hellip;LET'S TURN OFF MTV IN HOUSTON....JUST TAKE YOUR REMOTE AND GO TO DELETE CHANNELS....DELETE MTV AND CHANGE THE PASSWORD SO YOUR KIDS CAN'T WATCH....STAND UP TO YOUR KIDS...THEY WON'T BE HAPPY,BUT YOU MUST HOLD FIRM.... DO YOU WANT YOUR SONS AND ESPECIALLY YOUR DAUGHTERS EXPOSED TO THIS CONSTANT BARRAGE OF ATTACKS ON YOUR VALUES........THEN SCROLL BELOW AND CONTACT THE NFL AND CBS....ALSO CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR AND DEMAND THAT THE FCC GET TOUGH WITH THOSE WHO WANT TO COME INTO YOUR HOME AND DESTROY YOUR FAMILY VALUES</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>On <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/2013/12/12/texas-lt-gov-hopefuls-voice-support-creationism/" target="_blank">creationism</a>: </strong>"Our students&hellip;must really be confused," Patrick said at a GOP primary debate last spring. "They go to Sunday School on Sunday and then they go into school on Monday and we tell them they can't talk about God. I'm sick and tired of a minority in our country who want us to turn our back on God."</p> <p><strong>On the <a href="http://www.texasobserver.org/gods-man-senate/" target="_blank">separation of church and state</a>: </strong>"There is no such thing as separation of church and state."</p> <p><strong>On <em>Duck Dynasty</em>: </strong>Patrick tried to raise money off of <em>Duck Dynasty</em> patriarch Phil Robertson's <a href="http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson" target="_blank">comments</a> about homosexuality in <em>GQ</em>,<em> </em>boasting that the bearded reality star was channeling another bearded visionary.<strong> </strong>"This is an exciting time for Christians," he wrote on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/dan.patrick.texas/photos/a.159292911835.127951.114833761835/10151766633736836/?type=1&amp;relevant_count=1" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. "God is speaking to us from the most unlikely voice, Phil Robertson, about God's Word. God is using pop culture and a highly successful cable TV show to remind us about His teaching."</p> <p><strong>On his inspiration for this painting of Christ's face on the Statue of Liberty: </strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/20110829_Michels_JesusofLiberty_059-218x300.jpg"></div> <blockquote> <p>In teaching myself how to watercolor I was trying different styles. After a beach scene, I decided to try a Peter Max type of painting of the Statue of Liberty. I could not get the fact right and used water to remove the paint on her face. When it dried and I tried to clean it up suddently [sic] the face of Jesus appeared so clearly. It struck me that Jesus face on the Statue of Liberty sends an incredible message that the real light that our country has sent in the past, and needs to send once again today, is we are a nation that stands on His Word This was only my 4th try at a painting I had no idea of how to paint the face of Jesus, nor was I trying to do so.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>On film:</strong> "A very popular movie starring Mel Gibson, <em>Signs</em>, has a theme dealing with the concept of coincidence," Patrick wrote in his book. "If you haven't seen it, it's a terrific flick (albeit a little scary). I recommend it."</p></body></html> Politics Elections The Right Top Stories Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:30:06 +0000 Tim Murphy 262866 at http://www.motherjones.com Texas Just Won the Right to Disenfranchise 600,000 People. It's Not the First Time. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/supreme-court-texas-voter-id-law-history <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Saturday morning, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas' harsh voter ID law could remain in effect for the upcoming midterm elections, potentially disenfranchising some 600,000 mostly black and Latino voters. In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1341072-ginsburg-dissent" target="_blank">wrote that the law may be</a> "purposefully discriminatory" and warned that it "likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters." And Ginsburg noted that Texas' 2011 law falls in line with the state's long history of discriminatory voting laws. Here is a look at that history, based on expert testimony by <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1338700-expert-report-of-orville-vernon-burton-ph-d-us-v" target="_blank">Orville Vernon Burton</a>, a professor of history at Clemson University, and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1338707-declaration-of-dr-barry-c-burden-marc-veasey-v" target="_blank">Barry Burden</a>, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison:</p> <p><strong>1865: Voter intimidation.</strong> Beginning with emancipation, African Americans in Texas were regularly denied the right to vote, through intimidation and violence, including lynching.</p> <p><strong>1895: The first all-white primaries begin.</strong> In the mid-1890s, Texas legislators pushed a law requiring political parties to hold primaries and allowing those political parties to set racist qualifications for who could participate.</p> <p><strong>1902: The poll tax.</strong> The Legislature added a poll tax to Texas' constitution in 1902, requiring voters to pay a fee to register to vote and to show their receipt of payment in order to cast a ballot. The poll tax was equivalent to most of a day's wage for many black and Mexican workers&mdash;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1338700-expert-report-of-orville-vernon-burton-ph-d-us-v" target="_blank">roughly $15.48</a> in today's dollars.</p> <p><strong>1905: Texas formalizes its all-white primary system.</strong> The <a href="http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/wde01" target="_blank">Terrell Election Law of 1905</a> made official the all-white primary system, encouraging both main political parties and county election officials to adopt voting requirements that explicitly banned minorities from voting in primaries. The stated purpose of the law? Preventing voter fraud.</p> <p><strong>1918: Texas enacts an anti-immigrant voting law.</strong> The legislation banned interpreters at the polls and forbade naturalized citizens from receiving assistance from election judges unless they had been citizens for 21 years.</p> <p><strong>1922: Texas tries a new type of all-white primary.</strong> In 1918, black voters in Texas successfully <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1338700-expert-report-of-orville-vernon-burton-ph-d-us-v" target="_blank">challenged a nonpartisan all-white primary system</a> in Waco. The state Legislature got around this snag by enacting a law banning blacks from all Democratic primaries. Because the Democratic Party was dominant in the South at the time, the candidate it selected through its primary would inevitably win the general election. Anyone voting in the party's primary had to prove "I am white and I am a Democrat."</p> <p><strong>1927: Texas tries a third type of all-white primary.</strong> After the Supreme Court <a href="https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/273/536/case.html" target="_blank">struck down Texas' all-white Democratic primaries</a>, the Legislature got crafty again, passing a new law that allowed political parties&mdash;instead of the state government&mdash;to determine who could vote in party primaries. The Texas Democratic Party promptly adopted a resolution that only whites could vote.</p> <p><strong>1932: Texas tries again.</strong> In 1932, the Supreme Court <a href="http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/286/73" target="_blank">struck down Texas' white primaries once more</a>. In response, the Democratic state convention adopted a rule keeping nonwhites out of primaries. The high court initially upheld the new system.</p> <p><strong>1944: And again.</strong> The high court eventually <a href="http://www.naacpldf.org/case/smith-v-allwright" target="_blank">overturned the convention-based white primary system</a> in 1944, but party leaders could still ensure that county officials were elected by whites. A nonparty county political organization called the Jaybird Democratic Association had for decades screened candidates for nomination without allowing nonwhites to participate. The Supreme Court only <a href="http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/345/461" target="_blank">invalidated the practice in 1953</a>.</p> <p><strong>1963: Long live the poll tax!</strong> In the middle of the civil rights era, Texans <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1338707-declaration-of-dr-barry-c-burden-marc-veasey-v" target="_blank">rejected a constitutional amendment</a> that would have ended the poll tax. Efforts to repeal the tax were <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1338700-expert-report-of-orville-vernon-burton-ph-d-us-v" target="_blank">labeled a communist plot</a> by mainstream Texas pols and newspapers. The tax <a href="https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/383/663/case.html" target="_blank">remained in place until 1966</a>. Research shows it dampened minority turnout until 1980.</p> <p><strong>1966: Texas implements a strict new voter registration system.</strong> After the Supreme Court invalidated Texas' poll tax, the state Legislature enacted a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1338700-expert-report-of-orville-vernon-burton-ph-d-us-v" target="_blank">restrictive registration system</a> requiring voters to reregister annually during a four-month time period that ended nearly eight months before the general election. The high court <a href="http://www.leagle.com/decision/19711421321FSupp1100_11207.xml/BEARE%20v.%20SMITH" target="_blank">ruled the voter registration regime unconstitutional</a> in 1971.</p> <p><strong>1970: Texas draws discriminatory districts.</strong> The Supreme Court <a href="https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/412/755/case.html" target="_blank">ruled in 1973</a> that the state's 1970 redistricting lines were intentionally discriminatory. In <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1341072-ginsburg-dissent" target="_blank">each redistricting cycle since then</a>, Texas has been found by federal courts to have violated the US Constitution or the 1965 Voting Rights Act.</p> <p><strong>1971: The state attempts to keep black students from the ballot box.</strong> Once 18-year-olds got the right to vote in 1971, Texas' Waller County became a majority black county. To stave off the wave of new African American votes, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1338700-expert-report-of-orville-vernon-burton-ph-d-us-v" target="_blank">county officials fought for years</a> to keep students at the county's mostly black Prairie View A&amp;M University from accessing the polls.</p> <p><strong>1981: Texas draws discriminatory districts again.</strong> After the state redistricted a decade later, the <a href="http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/redist/history/chron_1980s.html" target="_blank">attorney general found</a> that two of the new districts were discriminatory and violated the Voting Rights Act. (Since 1976, the Justice Department has issued <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1338709-voting-rights-in-texas-1982-2006" target="_blank">201 objections to proposed electoral changes</a> in Texas due to the expected discriminatory effects of the measures.)</p> <p><strong>2003: And again.</strong> In a <a href="http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&amp;vol=000&amp;invol=05-204" target="_blank">2006 ruling</a>, the Supreme Court found that one of Texas' recently redrawn counties violated the VRA.</p> <p><strong>2011: And again.</strong> A year later, a three-judge federal court <a href="http://www.lawyerscommittee.org/projects/voting_rights/page?id=0120" target="_blank">ruled in <em>Texas v. United States</em></a> that the state's local and congressional redistricting maps showed evidence of deliberate discrimination.</p> <p><strong>2011: Texas enacts its infamous voter ID law.</strong> The state's voter ID law is the harshest of its kind in the country. Poll workers will accept fewer forms of identification than in any other state with a similar law. Earlier this month, a federal trial court <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/courts-block-texas-wisconsin-voter-id-laws" target="_blank">struck down the law</a>, ruling that it overly burdened minority voters. The Supreme Court reversed that court's ruling this past weekend.</p></body></html> Politics Elections Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:15:06 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 262886 at http://www.motherjones.com