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Today's Must Read

For anyone who's had their eyes open, the fact that the only substantial effect of Voter ID laws is to restrict voting by minorities, the young and the poor has been clear for a very long time. But now even many of those who at first bought into the concept are seeing the reality. Last week, Judge Richard Posner, one of the most esteemed and conservative judges on the federal bench, wrote an opinion that amounted to a scathing denunciation of voter ID laws and the simple fact they not only restrict voting by minorities and the poor but that they do so by design. Posner's fury on the matter is heightened by the fact that he originally bought into the vote suppressors' main arguments and wrote one of the key opinions that helped open the floodgates for these laws around the country. We've picked out some of fieriest quotes from Judge Posner's opinion. It's really a must read. And if you have the time, Posner's opinion itself.

The DC Folks Missed It

TPM Reader CS reports in from South Dakota ...

Yes, Marion Michael Rounds was a two-term Republican governor of South Dakota. But here's the "secret": He was never that popular. The only reason he ever became the Accidental Governor in the first place was because of the three-person Republican primary when he first ran for governor. Rounds was a distant third to Steve Kirby and Mark Barnett. However, the two front-runners ran such ugly campaigns throwing mud at each other that everyone was disgusted with them by the time election day rolled around. The result? Rounds sneaked into office past the two of them.

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Mission Accomplished?

Since the Supreme Court nixed a key part of the Voting Rights Act last year, voting rights supporters have been worried that previously covered states would no longer have to go through the pre-clearance process when making changes to voting laws. But Texas may have saved the day. A federal judge's ruling that the state's Voter ID law not only had discriminatory effect but an "unconstitutional discriminatory purpose" might be enough to land Texas back in the Voting Rights Act penalty box.

Francis's Church

Jesuit priest James Martin on the document released this morning as the meeting of bishops in Rome reaches its midway point. "This is a stunning change in the way the Catholic church speaks of gay people. The Synod is clearly listening to the complex, real-life experiences of Catholics around the world, and seeking to address them with mercy, as Jesus did."

'De Facto Reparations'

Republican Thom Tillis, who is hoping to unseat Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) managed to call the social safety net "de facto reparations" while defending his vote in favor of apologizing for slavery. Takes some talent to do that.

Bush and Public Health Emergency Preparedness

An anonymous TPM Reader explains he complex Bush legacy on public health emergency preparedness ...

I'm an epidemiologist with Los Angeles County Public Health Department, and I worked there all through the Bush years, and have worked closely with CDC throughout my career.

I just want to inform your reporting on the trend of public health spending during those years. Bush sent a LOT of money to public health departments. A LOT. There was the push to vaccinate every person against smallpox (remember that?) and there were other foolish vaccination-type initiatives as well.

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Prosecutor to Tallahassee PD: Please, Dudes

You'll remember that earlier this month a 62 year old African-American was tazed by a Tallahassee police officer - notionally for 'resisting arrest' but in fact for doing no more than walking in the street. State Attorney Willie Meggs has decided that neither Viola Young nor her daughter or two grandchildren will face charges. Meggs noted that while the tazing "may have been technically lawful" it was unnecessary.

As for the decision not to prosecute, the court documents noted with an admirable understatement that "four arrests stemming from somebody walking in the roadway is not a scenario that lends itself to a successful prosecution."

Thanks to TPM Reader BJ for flagging this latest development to our attention.

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