Republicans Block Vote-By-Mail Across the Nation Amid Pandemic

(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week From The Blog’s Favourite Living Canadian)

On Friday, the Supreme Court lit a fuse on what could be a consequential detonation on May 18. From The Hill:

The order, signed by Chief Justice John Roberts, halts the disclosure of secret grand jury transcripts and exhibits that Democratic lawmakers had initially requested as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The move pushes back a lower court’s disclosure order on the materials, which was set to take effect Monday, while the justices consider the administration’s request for a longer delay. Roberts gave the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee until May 18 to file its response.

There also may be a substantial temblor occurring next Tuesday, when the Court hears arguments related to the release to Congress of documents regarding the president*’s monetization of his office, as well as to whether he and his bank are obligated to honor subpoenas from two House committees, Oversight and Intelligence.

In all of these cases, the Court is being tasked with determining the essential balance of power between the legislative and executive branches. It also has to decide exactly how much of a tool of Camp Runamuck it wants to be, because, as I did not arrive at this conclusion on a turnip truck, I can’t imagine that the standards being supported by this White House and its Republican enablers would be afforded to a Democratic president. It will be interesting to see if the Supreme Court agrees.

John Roberts is merely tasked with determining the essential balance of power.

Mario TamaGetty Images


This story in Politico got me thinking about a lot of things, including how much I miss being a citizen of an actual representative democracy.

The Republican National Committee and Trump reelection campaign are doubling their legal budget to $20 million as litigation spreads to an array of battleground states. With the virus likely to complicate in-person balloting in November, Democrats have been pushing to substantially ease remote voting restrictions — something the Trump campaign and RNC are aggressively fighting in the courts.

The battle over voting laws — specifically Democrats’ efforts to make it easier for people to vote remotely during the pandemic — has emerged as a key front in the general election showdown between the parties. More than two dozen Republican operatives are focusing on the legal battles and have been closely coordinating with party officials at the state and local levels. The Trump campaign and RNC recently intervened in Nevada, where Democrats are pushing for the state to ease restrictions by mailing ballots to all registered voters. Republicans have also been active in New Mexico, where they fought back a similar Democratic-led lawsuit. The legal skirmishing has also been taking place in such battlegrounds as Pennsylvania and Georgia. While Republicans say they are open to some changes amid the pandemic, they are opposed to many of the farther-reaching reforms Democrats are pursuing.

Here’s something else I thought about. We all have been amused and entertained by the ads created by the Never Trump crew over at The Lincoln Project. They are excellent attack ads. (They should be. They come from the shop that sank Senator Max Cleland by using Osama bin Laden against him.) With any luck, they’ll work. Here’s my idea, though. How about the gang at The Lincoln Project take a few days and put together one of these brilliant ads opposing ratfcking, legal and otherwise, and all other forms of voter-suppression, which not only will be a significant weapon in the president*’s arsenal, but also was a significant factor in his election in several swing states. It also was one of those tactics that made this president*—or someone like him—not only possible, but inevitable. C’mon, gang. Abe would’ve wanted it this way.

election worker erick moss sorts vote by mail ballots for the presidential primary at king county elections in renton, washington on march 10, 2020 photo by jason redmond  afp photo by jason redmondafp via getty images

Republicans are determined to block voting by mail during a pandemic.

JASON REDMONDGetty Images


Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: “Wizard Sleeve” (Charlie Hunter Trio): Yeah, I pretty much still love New Orleans.

Weekly Visit To The Pathe Archive: Because we all need a break, heres the Paris Toy Carnival in 1937. I admit that some of the puppets are a bit creepy; the guy who’s trying to lick the ice cream sundae needs to social-distance himself. But history remains cool nonetheless.

Improvisational sports are saving our souls, and the best one in weeks could be found on ESPN, where world-class pole vaulters competed against each other in their own backyards.

Lavillenie and Mondo Duplantis of Sweden shared the gold medal Sunday during a men’s pole vault competition held in their own yards. Advertised as the “Ultimate Garden Clash,” it was a rare sporting event contested during the coronavirus pandemic. Duplantis, a world record-holder, and Lavillenie, the 2012 Olympic champion, each cleared a height of 16 feet (4.9 meters) 36 times over a span of 30 minutes that was broadcast by World Athletics on its social media channels. Both had one miss. Sam Kendricks of the United States got the bronze by clearing the bar 26 times in a competition featuring three of the event’s biggest names.

Who knew pole vaulters practiced at home, much less there was such a thing as pick-up pole-vaulting? You need a considerable backyard, I’m thinking, and very good tree surgeons to clear the overhead branches. And any competition including a guy named Mondo is always worth watching.


Is it a good day for dinosaur news, Natural History Museum? Its always a good day for dinosaur news!

The latest Cretaceous rocks of western North America host some of the richest dinosaur sites on Earth, but new discoveries continue to be made on a regular basis. In this paper, John Wilson from Montana State University and colleagues describe a new ceratopsian (horned) dinosaur that adds to broader debates on their evolution. This new species, dubbed Stellasaurus ancellae, is based on a partial skull. The name, literally ‘starry lizard’, refers to the characteristic shape of the frill on the back of its skull (and also the David Bowie song Starman).

How cool is it that there now is a dinosaur called Starry Lizard, and that he was named in part from a Bowie song? Personally, I think he’d blow our minds but, at the current remove, he clearly lived then to make us happy now.

(An aside: it is now incumbent upon all of us to adopt a Korean baseball team. Was there any doubt that the shebeen’s ballclub would be the NC Dinos? Here’s our mascot. He lives now to make us happy now. Gotta get me a ballcap.)

I hope you’re all well and being careful, especially those of you in states with idiot governors. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line, and root, root, root for the home team.

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