The Republican National Convention in Tampa is officially beginning today after Monday’s session was postponed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. But the storm did not stop the partying. Dozens of events have already been held across Tampa — mostly paid for by lobbyists and corporations taking advantage of loopholes. We’re joined by Keenan Steiner, staff writer at the Sunlight Foundation, a D.C.-based organization that promotes transparency in government. To keep track of the RNC’s sponsored events and parties, the group has launched a website called "Political Party Time."
A recent study by the Brennan Center estimates that new voter ID laws could disenfranchise more than five million people across the country in November, including voters in swing states such as Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin. On Monday, Democracy Now! producer Mike Burke spoke with a prominent supporter of the new voter IDs laws, Ken Blackwell, vice chair of the Republican National Committee’s platform committee and the former Republican secretary of state in Ohio. In 2008, Blackwell oversaw the election process for Ohio while serving as state co-chair of the committee to re-elect George W. Bush. His role in the Ohio election, which saw George W. Bush narrowly beat John Kerry, remains controversial to this day, making him the target of over a dozen lawsuits.
A coalition of groups are planning to stage a protest outside the Republican National Convention today to decry new voter ID laws and cutbacks in early voting. To discuss voting rights ahead of November, we’re joined by two guests: the Rev. Charles McKenzie of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and organizer of a protest today at Tampa’s Centennial Park in Tampa against voter suppression, and Brentin Mock, a ColorLines reporter covering the challenges presented by new voter ID laws, suppression of voter registration drives, and other attempts to limit electoral power of people of color. Mock’s latest article reveals how a tea party-backed organization called "True the Vote" is building a nationwide "poll watcher" network for November that critics say is designed to intimidate voters.
An Israeli judge has cleared Israel’s military of responsibility for the killing of the U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie. A 23-year-old college student, Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza nine years ago. She was standing in front of a Palestinian home to help prevent its demolition. Today’s ruling came in a wrongful death civil suit brought by Corrie’s family, with the judge rejecting any negligence on the part of the driver and finding that Corrie’s death resulted from "an accident she brought upon herself." Today’s ruling follows an earlier internal Israeli army investigation that also exonerated the bulldozer drivers. The Corrie family had been seeking a symbolic $1 in damages, as well as legal fees.
Tropical Storm Isaac is heading through the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to batter the Gulf Coast. Federal officials expect the storm to develop into a category 1 hurricane and make landfall on Wednesday. The storm will mark the most serious test of New Orleans’ rebuilt levees in the seven years since Hurricane Katrina. We go to New Orleans to speak with Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia.
After repeatedly touting his business experience as an asset towards reviving the U.S. economy, Mitt Romney has been put on the defensive by Bain Capital workers who are fighting back against the outsourcing of their jobs. One hundred and seventy workers at a Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Illinois — of which Bain is the majority owner — are calling on Romney to help save their jobs from being shipped to China. The factory manufactures sensors and controls that are used in aircraft and automobiles, but has been dismantling and shipping the plant to China piece-by-piece — even as it requires the workers to train personally their Chinese replacements, who have been flown in by management. We’re joined by two workers from the Sensata plant in Freeport, Illinois: Tom Gaulrapp and Cheryl Randecker. Both worked at Sensata for 33 years and were told their jobs would be terminated by the year’s end.