“Nearly 5.2 million Americans won’t be able to vote in this year’s election due to their felony record, according to a new report from the Sentencing Project.
It’s an improvement from 2016, when 6.1 million couldn’t vote due to a felony record. But it means 2.3 percent of Americans old enough to vote, including 6.3 percent of Black people otherwise eligible to vote, still don’t have a say in the country’s democracy.
The vast majority of people prohibited from voting aren’t in prison. Only 25 percent of people disenfranchised are in prison or jail, while 10 percent are on parole and 22 percent are on felony probation. The rest — 43 percent — have completed their sentences but still can’t vote.”
“Only Maine and Vermont let everyone vote, even while they’re in prison. The rest impose some restrictions on voting rights — in prison, on parole, on probation, some or all of the above, or after people complete these sentences.”
“it tells us is exactly what Kim said at the end of his speech, which is that time is on North Korea’s side, not on America’s side. The parade also demonstrated the ability of North Korea to continue advancing its weapons programs despite international sanctions, despite pressure. It really showed the progress they’re continuing to make in terms of their capabilities.”
“If the North Koreans are not convinced to maintain at least some restraint on weapons testing, regardless of which administration is in office next year, it will basically destroy any chance for diplomacy on favorable terms. It will be very, very difficult to say that we’re containing the threat or having any sort of a negotiation that’s advantageous to us.
Once you get past that point, if you can get North Korea to halt its testing of the more advanced systems, then it becomes possible to talk about having a different type of negotiation with North Korea. But you have to deal with it early and prevent the North Koreans from launching a new provocative test, otherwise you’re just reacting to them — and then you’re in another really, really tough spot.”
“I think we got much closer to war in 1994, in 2010, and in 2015 than we did in 2017. There was a very large gap between the rhetoric and the activity in 2017. And if you say we almost went to war in 2017, then you’re essentially saying the US almost started the war, because there was no sign Kim Jong Un was interested in going to war — he was testing weapons. He wasn’t striking South Korea or sinking ships.”
“We have to be willing to go back to a 2017 level of confrontation. If Kim senses that the US is more afraid of war than he is, then he has the advantage.
North Korea, no matter how many weapons advances it makes, is never going to get to the point where it has the capability to win a war against the United States of America.
As long as you proceed from the premise that Kim is not crazy or suicidal — which of course I don’t proceed from because he’s a rational, cunning, intelligent man who’s really learned a lot about how to deal with the United States and how to lead this country — as long as that’s the basis, then you have to be comfortable with the idea of confronting Kim and convincing him there are military options the United States has and could use.
If we get to a point where we feel sanctions and war can’t work, then that basically puts Kim in the position where he can dictate terms, and I don’t think that’s going to get us where we need to be.”
“The United Nations’s premier body for protecting human rights has elected serial human rights abusers, including Russia and China, to the panel, once again calling into question whether it’s actually an important platform to address the plight of millions — or an anachronism.
The Geneva-based, 47-member UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) does two main things: It passes nonbinding resolutions on human rights issues around the world, and it oversees the work of experts who investigate violations in specific countries. Its supporters, those of whom in the US typically lean left, say it’s a place where nations can address issues that don’t usually garner the world’s attention. Its critics, who mostly lean right, argue it’s a toothless organization that kowtows to authoritarians and harbors a deep anti-Israel bias.
Detractors gained an upper hand in the debate this week when China, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan each won enough votes to sit on the UNHRC for a three-year term (though China received fewer votes than it had in previous years). Other despotic regimes angling for a spot, like Saudi Arabia, didn’t get the nod, however.”
“it’s fair to look at the council and think it’s a problematic forum the US should stay out of. But experts say there are a few problems with that view, namely that the US loses any influence in that forum to push back against the Russias and Chinas of the world — and Israel is left without a strong backer on the council.”
“Barrett’s refusal to express her stance on climate change comes in spite of the overwhelming scientific evidence on the subject.
“I don’t think that my views on global warming or climate change are relevant to the job I would do as a judge, nor do I think I have views that are informed enough,” Barrett has also said.
As the New York Times’s John Schwartz wrote, however, her approach to the subject could be important in future cases: “In past decisions, the justices have accepted that human-caused climate change is occurring and determined that the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate greenhouse gases in the case Massachusetts v. E.P.A., but a more conservative Supreme Court might revisit the issue.”
What Barrett did say ended up echoing the way many Republicans have approached the subject of climate change in the past: She declined to comment on whether humans contributed to global warming, an evasion that still seemed to signal quite a lot about where she stands.”
What’s often cited is an effective deployment of technology, such as a contact tracing app, to fight the pandemic. There’s the frequently praised mass testing program, which rivals South Korea’s, and the oversupply of ICU beds — controversial before the coronavirus, now lauded. It also helps that Angela Merkel has a doctorate in quantum chemistry and heads a country that treats scientists, like the Berlin-based virologist and podcaster Christian Drosten, like superstars.
Yet this is far from the whole story of Germany’s relative success.”
“Over the past few weeks, I talked to doctors, health officials, and researchers in Germany— including some of the country’s first Covid-19 responders — and elsewhere to get a deeper perspective on why Germany has had better-than-average pandemic performance in Europe.
I heard, again and again, four explanations for the country’s coronavirus success. They had nothing to do with tech, Merkel, or hospital beds. And they’ve been largely overlooked.
Let’s call them the L’s: luck, learning, local responses, and listening. While the pandemic certainly isn’t over, and Germany is facing a pivotal moment with a record number of new infections, these factors may be the reason Germany bends the curve quickly once again.”
“Young people are attending college, often in a different location from where they grew up. They’re working full-time or part-time while attending school, often at low-wage jobs that can have unstable work schedules. They don’t have access to transportation. They move around a lot, change schools, or study abroad. They don’t know where they’ll be living three months in the future.
“You think about the fact that most 40-year-olds … have a stable workweek where you kind of know when you’ll fit voting in on that first Tuesday in November,” said Sunshine Hillygus, a political science professor at Duke University who co-wrote a book on young voters, on the EdSurge podcast. “Whereas young people have a far more fluid and unstable schedule and lifestyle.”
Registering to vote — and figuring out where and how to vote — can look easy on paper. But for many young adults, getting clear instructions, along with all the variables that can change at the last minute, is more challenging than you might think. Hillygus suggests reforms that ease the process of voting, such as preregistering young people to vote in high school or when they get their driver’s license at 16, as well as better overall civic education in schools that connect government and politics with teens’ everyday lives.
Vox spoke to three young people who encountered logistical difficulties that prevented or nearly prevented them from voting. All of them wanted to make clear that they and their young peers do want to vote, but that the barriers to making it happen can feel daunting.”
“Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is a critic of Roberts’s decisions upholding most of Obamacare. In a book review published in 2017, for example, Barrett denounced Roberts’s opinions in both NFIB and King, claiming the chief justice “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute” in the first decision.
If Obamacare is struck down, roughly 20 million Americans will lose health coverage — a likely conservative estimate, as it does not count many people who have lost their employer-provided health insurance during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Questions over Obamacare have taken a starring role in Barrett’s confirmation hearing. Democratic senators have repeatedly brought up Barrett’s objections to the NFIB and King decisions and frequently referred to California v. Texas, a third case attacking Obamacare that the Supreme Court will hear in November.
Barrett didn’t deny criticizing the NFIB and King opinions, but suggested that perhaps she didn’t engage in particularly rigorous analysis when she attacked those two decisions.
After Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) asked Barrett about a 2015 NPR interview in which the future judge claimed the dissenting justices had the “better of the legal argument” in King, Barrett said she was merely a law professor when she made that statement. “A professor professes and can opine,” Barrett claimed, adding that she did not go through the “judicial decision-making process” when she determined that King was wrongly decided.”
“Barrett’s record..suggests she is a long-term threat to the viability of the ACA — even though the Court may very well still reject the unusually shaky legal arguments in Texas.”
“Of all the innumerable “horrors,” the diplomat said the worst aspect of Trump is the chaos he brings to the world arena: “The lack of being able to plan, the lack of being able to extrapolate from a normal set of facts and arguments what might be a course of action that the United States might take.
“Even if you don’t like it, it’s useful to have an idea of where they are going,” the diplomat said.
Radosław Sikorski, a former Polish defense minister and longtime foreign minister, called Trump’s first term “an extraordinary saga of bluster and incompetence.”
Now a member of the European Parliament and leader of its delegation for U.S. relations, Sikorski said he expected a second Trump term would feature more of the same, including when it comes to the president’s preference for courting authoritarian leaders over traditional, liberal democratic allies.”
“North and South Dakota have taken a laissez-faire approach to dealing with Covid-19 — never instituting stay-at-home orders or mask mandates as other states, including some of their neighbors, did.
South Dakota in particular took a very hands-off approach, with no restrictions even on large gatherings. The strongest action Republican Gov. Kristi Noem took was to push businesses to follow safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Otherwise, Noem has boasted about her state’s loose strategy: She argued in an ad that businesses struggling with restrictions in other states should “come grow [their] company” in South Dakota.
“Here in South Dakota, we trust our people,” Noem said. “We respect their rights. We won’t shut them down.”
Noem still defends her approach, arguing in a recent op-ed that she’ll continue to resist stricter measures. “I’m going to continue to trust South Dakotans to make wise and well-informed decisions for themselves and their families,” she wrote.
North Dakota has done a little more. While avoiding statewide restrictions and lockdowns, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum in October called for reduced business capacity in some counties as cases spiked in his state. But these are mere recommendations — it’s hard to know if any businesses are following them — and, even then, he stopped short of recommending closures.
North Dakota also has one of the most expansive testing regimes in the US — consistently reporting one of the highest rates of coronavirus testing in the country. This may partially explain its high case count, although its positivity rate indicates that it still doesn’t have enough testing. And that testing-and-tracing system can only do so much once the virus is completely out of control, which growing hospitalizations and death rates are evidence of.
“Our contact tracers are overwhelmed with a backlog of cases,” Carson said. “We have further heard from many of our contact tracers that they are meeting increasing resistance from people to give up their contacts or abide by quarantine rules. People have become fatigued with the restrictions.”
Similar to South Dakota’s governor, North Dakota’s Burgum has pushed a message of personal responsibility. “It’s not a job for government,” he said. “This is a job for everybody.””