Wiretap: A ‘dark day for democracy’ in Texas

The Supreme Court ruling that lifted an injunction on Texas’s controversial voter ID law marks a “dark day for democracy,” write Ernest Canning and Brad Friedman at the BradBlog. Roughly 600,000 Texans lack the kind of IDs now needed to vote in the Lone Star state. “If voters cannot be protected after findings — including a finding of intentional racial discrimination — and a permanent injunction in a case where there was a year of discovery, nine days of trial, and an exhaustive, comprehensive District Court opinion, then when will they be?” the plaintiffs wrote the court.

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race is now all about ISIS and Ebola, Ebola, Ebola. Hardline conservative Thom Tillis is building steam in his race against incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan with lurid warnings of beheadings to come and a “Walking Dead”-style outbreak of plague in the Raleigh-Durham research triangle, or something. If you have been following the Cory Gardner-Mark Udall race in Colorado, Tillis’s rhetoric has the same Gardner ring to it. There’s a late-election-season playbook, obviously. “This president has failed the American people,” Tillis told volunteers in Raleigh on Saturday, according to the Washington Post. “Senator Hagan has been with him, with her rubber stamp, every step of the way. Our safety and security is more threatened now than it has ever been.”

Alan Feuer at the New York Times writes that Ebola-panic conspiracy theories tell us less about the outbreak than they do about ourselves. “In the last few weeks, conservative figures like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham have floated the idea that President Obama had sent aid to Africa, risking American lives, because of his guilt over slavery and colonialism.”

Jelani Cobb at the New Yorker writes that, whichever party wins the Senate in two weeks, it will continue to look like a men’s club cigar room. “The Senate will not look like the country. There are currently eighty male senators. Women, who make up fifty-one per cent of the population, hold just twenty per cent of Senate seats… thirty-three states are represented by two men.”

Is it really true that Spotify killed the indie-rock snob… by draining music snobbery of any substantive meaning? The New York Times magazine writing about indie-rock music identity, so, you know, kind of “Gen X man-boy shades Boomerish about music.” This will keep happening until the millennial music writers reach their forties and then their kids can be embarrassed.

Azar Nafisi wrote “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” a flattering exploration of the liberating nature of U.S. culture. In her new book, “The Republic of Imagination,” she says Americans are “abandoning a glorious cultural legacy to wallow in materialism, narcissism and groupthink,” as Laura Miller at Salon puts it. But “Reading Lolita” was Nafisi’s Iranian work written about an outside perspective on U.S. culture. “The Republic of Imagination” is her American book, written from within the great complex, frustrating, glorious beast.

The New York Times reviews scientist Steven Pinker’s book on writing. Yes it’s a scientist writing on writing, which is annoying because he’s such a good writer and he thinks we make too much of the business of writing. “Pinker pefers to think of writing as something that can be pleasurably mastered, like cooking or photography. (He is no doubt ridiculously proficient at those, too.)”

[Manor Texas east of Austin by Jim’s Photos. ]