Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday Links

  • Over the last six years, the Defense Department has spent more than $30 million trying to find an efficient way for American soldiers and civilians living abroad to vote in elections back home. Unfortunately, they haven't figured it out yet. “ 'A system should be in place, regardless of the cost, to make sure that the very defenders of our democracy have the opportunity to take part in it,' wrote Sgt. James Mowrer, an Iowa National Guardsman deployed in Iraq who helped organize voters in his unit in 2006."

  • GOP Congressman and lower-tier presidential candidate Duncan Hunter (CA) is having trouble defending his role in helping steer tens of millions of dollars to a La Jolla-based aerospace firm to develop a military jet the Pentagon did not want. Hunter aggressively supported the program over decades even though the Pentagon repeatedly questioned the jet's feasibility and lambasted the contractor's work.

  • The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the nation's one million home healthcare aides are not entitled to minimum wages or overtime pay under federal law, even if they work for private employers. The 9-0 decision, which keeps in place a long-standing rule that denies minimum wages and overtime pay to those who provide "companionship services" at home, could trigger a move in Congress to amend the law.

  • In another unanimous ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court strengthened a landmark anti-pollution program yesterday, enabling companies to recover costs when they voluntarily clean up hazardous material. The Bush administration, as one might imagine, had argued otherwise.

  • The Georgia Supreme Court threw out the latest challenge to the state's voter ID law, but sidestepped a decision on the whether the requirement is constitutional. With a federal challenge still pending, election officials will not require voters to show photo IDs for the special elections scheduled next week in the race to succeed the late Rep. Charlie Norwood in Congress. These voter ID laws are discriminatory, and the argument that they prevent "voter fraud" is bogus.

  • As motorists face near-record gasoline prices, the Senate took up an energy bill Tuesday that would raise vehicle fuel-economy standards for the first time in nearly 20 years and make oil-industry price gouging a federal crime.

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