Thursday, July 13, 2006

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh....Be Vewy Vewy Quiet...HUHUHUHUHUH!

OK, there are a lot of snarky stories I could dissect today, from killer kangaroos and carnivorous ducks to donut shops as terror targets, but today, I want to focus on something that strikes deep into the heart of the American political process: voting.

Or more to the point, the Voting Rights Act renewal. The backstory:
The Voting Rights Act, adopted initially in 1965 and extended in 1970, 1975, and 1982, is generally considered the most successful piece of civil rights legislation ever adopted by the United States Congress. The Act codifies and effectuates the 15th Amendment's permanent guarantee that, throughout the nation, no person shall be denied the right to vote on account of race or color. In addition, the Act contains several special provisions that impose even more stringent requirements in certain jurisdictions throughout the country.

Adopted at a time when African Americans were substantially disfranchised in many Southern states, the Act employed measures to restore the right to vote that intruded in matters previously reserved to the individual states. Section 4 ended the use of literacy requirements for voting in six Southern states (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia) and in many counties of North Carolina, where voter registration or turnout in the 1964 presidential election was less than 50 percent of the voting-age population. Under the terms of Section 5 of the Act, no voting changes were legally enforceable in these jurisdictions until approved either by a three-judge court in the District of Columbia or by the Attorney General of the United States. Other sections authorized the Attorney General to appoint federal voting examiners who could be sent into covered jurisdictions to ensure that legally qualified persons were free to register for federal, state, and local elections, or to assign federal observers to oversee the conduct of elections.
OK, that's pretty straightforward: minorities had undue burdens to voting in elections, therefore were not represented properly in the governmental process. The Federal government, the erstwhile protector of our civil rights against the tyranny of the majority (or even minority), said "Nuh uh!" and passing the Voting Rights Act, whereby they could impose voting equality if necessary.

Makes sense to me, dontcha think? Naturally, the law is revisited every so often as Congress doesn't feel its necessary to carve in stone that which should be etched in our hearts, and I agree. It's been renewed three times, most recently in 1982, and was up for renewal again. Some parts of it have been made permanent, but others will eventually become unnecessary (one can hope!).

Just recently, when it was brought up for a vote to renew, it was, um, shelved temporarily, by some neaderthalic Congresscritter named Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, who felt shocked, SHOCKED, that several states specifically named in the original 1965 act were STILL singled out for their particular peccadilloes in terms of abusing "th' nigras" votes 40 years ago.

Guess again, Sparky.Many of y'all earned the right to be handheld into the 21st Century. Here's a nice tall cool glass of Shut The Fuck Up, Lynn.

Next moron: Steve King of Iowa wants to include language that strips provisions of the Act requiring translated ballots and linguists at polling sites.

Now, Iowa is 95% white. 3.5% of those are counted as Hispanic. Maybe another 1.5% of the state is Asian. Now, I can see why Congresscritter King might believe that minorities don't get the right to vote. He probably doesn't see many driving his Lexus SUV to and from Des Moines "International" *snark* Airport to his mansion in the sprawling suburbs of, say, Council Bluffs, but y'know what, Steverino?

Some of us in the more, um, cosmopolitan centers of the nation realize there are an awful lot of American citizens whose first language isn't English. This has been true since, you know, the first Dutch settlers discovered New York City (Nieuw Amsterdam, to them), and so bilingual America predates some lower-class jackass from some Anglo Saxon family with airs enough to call themselves "King", presumably after a royal hound. Capisci, signore?

Now, onto today's story:
House Moves to Renew Voting Rights Act

Associated Press Writer

July 13, 2006, 8:54 AM EDT

WASHINGTON -- Having quieted dissenting conservatives, House Republicans are trying again to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act in an election-year effort to win support from minority voters.

The bill's progress through Congress is considered by Republican leaders as one way to stem the damage to the party's "big-tent" image among minorities watching the contentious debate over whether to grant most of the nation's 12 million illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship.
Snarky bullet point one: Better check the guy wires on that tent, sugar, because the big top is droopy. You haven't been the big tent party since, oh, I don't know, Bob Dole needed Viagra.
The renewal of the Voting Rights Act -- the legislative centerpiece of the civil rights movement -- is widely supported by House leaders in both parties. It had been expected to sail through the House last month, but a rebellion in a closed GOP caucus meeting forced supporters to cancel the vote.
TRANSLATION from CongressSpeak by way of Newspaperese: The dumb crackers in the South had to go home to their districts and the county fairs and tell the Klansmen that they stopped the darkies from voting.
Conservatives, mostly from the South, contended that the bill singled out their states for Justice Department scrutiny without giving them credit for strides on civil rights.
I was right! But I'm still trying to figure out how they get "strides on civil rights" out of their actions of the past forty years which have been to obstruct, deny, and delay any reforms until they've been forced to, through exhaustion, swallow their medicine.
Hours of negotiations in recent days yielded an agreement, approved 8-3 on Wednesday by the Rules Committee, to allow votes on a few amendments proposing the changes pushed by the objectors.

The changes are not expected to be added to the legislation. But House leaders, intent on passing the bill over to the Senate this week, agreed to allow votes on the four amendments to move it along.

Civil rights advocates, however, see the amendments as the latest in a history of attempts to undercut growing political influence of racial minorities.

This has been your daily demonstration of the absurdity of the right from Actor212, a wholly owned subsidiary of Actor212 Enterprises, a Cayman Islands Corporation.

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