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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Department of Justice Claims Gov. Rick Perry Is in Violation of the Voting Rights Act, and More

In today's On the News segment: Davis denied clemency by a Georgia paroles board today; the post-Reagan generation now has 37 percent of young families living in poverty; Don't Ask

In today's On the News segment: Davis denied clemency by a Georgia paroles board today; the post-Reagan generation now has 37 percent of young families living in poverty; Don't Ask, Don't Tell repealed after 18 long years; Department of Justice claims Gov. Rick Perry is in violation of the Voting Rights Act; a Tea Partier has stepped forward in Ohio's eighth district to take John Boehner's Congressional seat in 2012; Fox and Google to host GOP debate; and more.


You need to know this. It’s the end of the line for Troy Davis. Davis was denied clemency by a Georgia paroles board today in a last ditch effort to save himself from lethal injection scheduled for tomorrow. Davis was convicted of murdering a police officer in 1989 – but today – nearly all of the witnesses who implicated him have recanted their testimony and are now claiming someone else committed the murder. Not only that – there has never been any hard evidence – be it a murder weapon or DNA – to tie Davis to the murder. Yet – he’s still slated to die. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions to save Davis’s life – and former President Jimmy Carter – as well as the Pope have come forward to stop the execution. So far – nothing has worked. Davis’s lawyer said about the decision today, “I am utterly shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice.” So with that – our nation could be just hours away now from putting an innocent man to death.

The post-Reagan generation is screwed. According to the latest census data – 37% of young families – defined by people who are under 30-years-old – now live in poverty. That’s more than one in three young families in America living in desperation. That’s the highest level of poverty ever recorded for that group. The unfortunate situation of young families stands in contrast to the low poverty rate of elderly families – of just 5.7%. The New York Times pegged the rise in poverty among young people to the decline in manufacturing in America, writing that, “Opportunities for low-skilled workers have dwindled, as manufacturing and other industries have declined. That has pushed more young families into poverty.” Northeastern University Professor Andrew Sum added, “Young families with children are now six times as likely to be poor as elderly families…This is a major generational change. From a public policy standpoint, we should be very deeply troubled by this.” This is the clearest indictment yet of thirty years of Reaganomics and so-called Free Trade that have cut off today’s young generation from pursuing the American Dream.

In the best of the rest of the news…

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is official dead. At midnight last night, the discriminatory policy regarding gays serving in the military was officially repealed after 18 long years. Now – our soldiers no longer have to hide their sexual orientation when they go off to fight for this country. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “Our nation will finally close the door on a fundamental unfairness for gays and lesbians, and indeed affirm equality for all Americans.” Of course – nearly the entire Republican Party is against this sort of equality for all Americans – and history books will judge them for it. But let’s give credit where credit is due – to President Obama – who pledged on the campaign trail to repeal DADT – and delivered.

In our “How Republicans are rigging the 2012 election” news…the Department of Justice smacked down Texas yesterday – claiming that Governor Rick Perry is in violation of the Voting Rights Act – with his approval of the Lone Star state’s redistricting plan. Every ten years – state legislatures carve up congressional districts in their states based on the latest census data information. And in Texas this year – Republican lawmakers deliberately carved up the state to marginalize and weaken Latino voters by splitting up minority communities – and making sure they were included in districts with overwhelming majorities of Republican voters. The DOJ argues Rick Perry’s new redistricting plan violates section 5 of the Voting Rights Act – which forces lawmakers to “maintain or increase the ability of minority voters to elect their candidate of choice in each district.” Under normal procedures – state legislatures have to seek prior approval by the DOJ for new redistricting – but Texas skipped that step. Now – a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday where a 3-judge panel will issue a final ruling. Unclear if Rick Perry will threaten secession if he loses.

We all know President Obama is a socialist – according to the Tea Party at least – but now Speaker of the House John Boehner is a socialist too?! A Tea Partier has stepped forward in Ohio’s 8th district to try to take John Boehner’s congressional seat in the 2012 election. David Lewis – who claims to have the backing of the Tea Party – appeared on Fox so-called News yesterday to proclaim, “John Boehner is a socialist.” Lewis went on to defend his remark by saying, “Here is someone that refuses to phase out Social Security. What I would do as a U.S. House member is work to phase out Social Security totally. 100 percent. That includes Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps. These are socialist policies.” He hasn't weighed in yet on doing away with laws against child labor, the vote for women, and indentured servitude, but if he's going to roll back the 20th Century, it's gotta be coming.

Speaking of the Republican race – we’ll all get another glimpse into post-Apocalypse America later this week when the Republican Presidential candidates step on stage for yet another debate – this one hosted by Fox so-called News and Google. But now one “forgotten” Republican candidate – Fred Karger – is pressuring Fox so-called News to include him and the other forgotten candidates like former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer in the debate. Karger wrote a letter to Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes – and filed a complaint with the FEC – demanding that he be allowed on stage to debate also. Karger is a gay rights activist – who supported repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – so he’s not your typical Republican of today. And while most Americans might be refreshed to hear a differing view on stage – we all know Chairman Roger Ailes can’t stomach it. Sorry, Fred – looks like you’ll be sitting this one out too.

And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, September 20th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.

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