Friday, December 02, 2005

Suppressed DOJ Memo Found Delay's Texas Redistricting Plan Illegal

"Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan.

The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department's voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts. It also said the plan eliminated several other districts in which minorities had a substantial, though not necessarily decisive, influence in elections.

***

The 73-page memo, dated Dec. 12, 2003, has been kept under tight wraps for two years. Lawyers who worked on the case were subjected to an unusual gag rule. The memo was provided to The Post by a person connected to the case who is critical of the adopted redistricting map. Such recommendation memos, while not binding, historically carry great weight within the Justice Department.

***

Mark Posner, a longtime Justice Department lawyer who now teaches law at American University, said it was 'highly unusual' for political appointees to overrule a unanimous finding such as the one in the Texas case.

'In this kind of situation, where everybody agrees at least on the staff level . . . that is a very, very strong case,' Posner said. 'The fact that everybody agreed that there were reductions in minority voting strength, and that they were significant, raises a lot of questions as to why it was' approved, he said."

Full story here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Iraq: The Most Foolish War in 2014 Years

"There is a remarkable article in the latest issue of the American Jewish weekly, Forward. It calls for President Bush to be impeached and put on trial 'for misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them'.

To describe Iraq as the most foolish war of the last 2,014 years is a sweeping statement, but the writer is well qualified to know.

He is Martin van Creveld, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of the world's foremost military historians. Several of his books have influenced modern military theory and he is the only non-American author on the US Army's list of required reading for officers."

Read more here

The Texas Miracle

How Texas ranks among the 50 states, according to
Texas Monthly Magazine, May 2005 issue:

50th in:
Percentage of population with health insurance
Percentage of high school graduates age 25 and over
Percentage of insured low-income children
Average consumer credit score
Per capita spending on government employee wages and salaries
Per capita spending on government administration
Affordability of homeowners’ insurance
Affordability of residential electric bill

49th in
Tax revenue raised per capita
Per capita spending on state arts agencies
Total general expenditures per capita
Per capita spending on water quality
Amount of monthly Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits paid



48th in
Per capita spending on parks and recreation
Mean Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores
Average spending per child on child protection
Percentage of workforce represented by a union

47th in
Amount of welfare and food-stamp benefits paid
Percentage of poor who receive Medicaid

46th in
Per capita spending on environmental protection
Per capita spending on mental health
Per capita spending on the protection of open spaces
Average hourly earnings

45th in
Per capita spending on public health
Number of secondary teachers with degrees in the subject they teach
Percentage of women ages 50–69 who received mammograms within the last
two years
Total assets of banks, trust companies, and savings institutions
Home ownership rate


And here's the Top 5:


5th in
Total crime rate
Number of diabetes deaths per 100,000 people

4th in
Percentage of children living in poverty
Per capita consumption of energy

3rd in
Percentage of population that is malnourished

2nd in
Sales tax dependence
Percentage of population that goes hungry
Overall birth rate
Teenage birth rate
Amount of exposure to ozone pollution
Number of hazardous-chemical spills
Number of inmates per 100,000 people
Number of highway fatalities
Number of adults diagnosed with diabetes



1st in
Child population growth
Percentage of uninsured children
Percentage of home refinance loans that are sub-prime mortgage loans
(generally three to four percentage points or more higher than a
comparable prime market loan)
Amount of toxic and cancerous manufacturing emissions
Number of clean-water permit violations
Number of environmental civil rights complaints
Per capita consumption of electricity
Number of job discrimination lawsuits filed
Number of deaths attributed to floods
Number of executions

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Rude Pundit Declares War on Christmas

Read it Here.

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