Summary: Featuring guests Juvenile Court Clerk candidates Jeff Brousal, Howard Jones, Vic Lineweaver, Karen Johnson, and David Smith; Plus, the Media Matters for America Smackdown with Karl Frisch.

Listen to the entire show in two parts or scroll down to listen to each of the separate Juvenile Court Clerk interviews.

It’s the Circle of Clerks, Part 1 We start the show off with some flood relief info and welcome and the Media Matters for America Smackdown with Karl Frisch. Then, it’s the first two of what supposed to be 6 but turned out to be 5 (Vivian Wilhoite got her a.m.’s and p.m.’s mixed up) interviews with Democratic primary candidates for Juvenile Court Clerk. First up this hour is Jeff Brousal followed closely by Howard Jones. [25.47MB Click on the arrow below to listen or download mp3]

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It’s the Circle of Clerks, Part 2 In this hour we talk to three more of the Democratic candidates for Juvenile Court Clerk – Vic Lineweaver (the incumbent), Karen Johnson, and David Smith. Because it seemed like too bold an assertion to make on the eve of an election, we contacted Councilwoman Megan Barry for confirmation of the statement made by candidate Karen Johnson that she “recruited” Ms. Johnson to run for Juvenile Court Clerk. Councilwoman Barry said she often advises those who reach out to her to get involved in the democratic process. However, Ms. Barry stressed to us that she did not recruit Ms. Johnson to run for the office of juvenile court clerk. Election day is tomorrow, May 18. Go to Nashville.gov/vote for information about polling changes due to the flood disaster as well as to view a sample ballot.[19.82MB Click on the arrow below to listen or download mp3]

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Jeff Brousal
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Howard Jones
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Vic Lineweaver
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Karen Johnson
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David Smith
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Summary: Featuring Federal Public Defender Kelley Henry, Center for American Progress Policy Analyst Ian Millhiser, and Karl Frisch and the Media Matters for America Smackdown.

A Conversation with Justin Bieber, Part 1 We apologize, but by the time our show aired, Justin Bieber had to cancel. We’re sad but we forge ahead with the Liberadio(!) “To Do” list, Freddie as a bicycle valet, the Davidson County Democratic Party straw poll debrief, and a rundown of the news. Plus, Federal Public Defender Kelley Henry joins us live to tell us the story of her client Gaile Owens, one of two women on Tennessee’s death row, and Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper issues an opinion[pdf] on the constitutionality of yet another vanity license plates. Beep, beep, who got the keys to the…ZOMG! Jesus is Lord! [25.4MB Click on the arrow below to listen or download mp3]

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A Conversation with Justin Bieber, Part 2 In the second hour we tell you all the fun facts that weren’t reported about self-described “Tea Partiers,” and we speak to Ian Millhiser, Policy Analyst for Center for American Progress about the upcoming Supreme Court nomination – what it means to a court primarily made up of conservatives “nuts” and what the confirmation process will look like. Then, it’s once again time for Karl Frisch(!) and the Media Matters for America Smackdown – this week Karl takes Maureen Dowd and the Sunday morning talk shows to the mat – and a quick but important word about a bill that would outlaw some forms of birth control in Tennessee (which has passed in both the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor to be signed). [23.4MB Click on the arrow below to listen or download mp3]

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Summary: Featuring guest Neal Darby, Jr., Senior Partnership Specialist Team Leader with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Don’t Confuse Your Census with Your 1040, Part 1 The Liberadio(!) “To Do” list is long this week and includes marijuana jokes, coveting the Seattle Center Monorail (and flume ride), and a historic march. Plus, love him or hate him, you know Barney Frank would never try to bite the head off a baby bunny – or would he? And we are disgusted with Sarah Palin’s unchallenged and unrelenting display of disrespect for the highest office in the land and chagrined – again – at what Tennessee Republicans and, therefore, Tennessee Democrats have decided is going to be the issue to talk about in this campaign. Then, we begin the breakdown of what’s going on with voter roll purges in Benton County. [28.14MB Click on the arrow below to listen or download mp3]

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Don’t Confuse Your Census with Your 1040, Part 2 We talk to Neal Darby, Jr., Senior Partnership Specialist Team Leader with the U.S. Census Bureau and he answers all our questions about the 10 questions. Then, we continue our discussion about the controversial Benton County voter roll purges – who was affected, why, and why can’t we locate the laws that the election administrator said were followed during the purge process? [19.82MB Click on the arrow below to listen or download mp3]

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Here’s the link to the full video from WSMV we talked about on the show this morning (sorry, no embed available). A must watch, here’s how it starts:

“I voted every election since 1962,” said Benton County resident Charles Hubbs, 69.

Hubbs registered to vote when John F. Kennedy was president. He said he was shocked when he received a letter in the mail from the Benton County Election Commission letting him know his voter registration was invalid.

He was even more shocked when he found out why.

Unanswered follow up question to the report: just which law is Benton County election admin Mark Ward following? We have a request in to the State Election Commission for clarification and specifics and will update when we get a reply. So far we are unable to find reference to his inorthodox approach in the Tennessee Code, the Help America Vote Act, or the National Voter Registration Act 0f 1993.

“According to state law, this is the only way to do it,” Ward said. “I don’t know any other way to do it.”

But some said Ward went too far by throwing out voter registrations from decades ago.

They said it’s especially difficult for those where the birthplace is on the registration but the citizenship box isn’t checked.

Ward said even if their birth date is on the form, he had to throw out registrations if they didn’t check the box for being over 18.

“It’s not good enough to me because the question isn’t answered on the form,” said Ward.

“Yeah, he followed the law,” said Mark Goins, Tennessee election administrator. “He did exactly what the law said.”

The state acknowledged there’s a mess in Benton County, and while it said Ward followed the law, the state doubts a judge would have invalidated the voter registrations of these longtime voters if there had ever been a challenge.

If this is happening in Benton County, it’s happening in other Tennessee counties as well. Protect your vote – confirm your registration.

UPDATE: Additional reporting from Kumari:

“It appears to me that they are going far beyond the legal, the proper reasons for purging a voter record,” said Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville.

Odom said he’s upset that these people are in danger of being thrown off the rolls. He said the way he reads state law, once a person is declared a registered voter, he or she can be purged only for specific reasons, such as committing a felony or dying.

He’s proposing a change to state law that says registered voters can’t be purged if their form is found to be deficient years later, and it would take effect immediately.

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Long Lines to VoteI am so confused about what makes one a patriotic American. I always thought it was things like participating in the democratic process by voting and encouraging other voting-like activities.

So if that’s the case then the opposite of being a patriotic American would be not voting or discouraging other not-voting-like activities in others, right?

HB1770, a bill sponsored by Rep. Curry Todd that comes before the House Elections Subcommittee tomorrow afternoon proposes to make “various revisions to the election laws including allowing a person to email a transfer of voter registration with a scanned signature and increasing maximum size of precincts from 5,000 voters to 7,500 voters.”

Basically, Todd’s bill is Step 1 in a 2-step process that could – if we don’t monitor county election commission meetings very closely – artificially manufacture long lines on election day.

Step 1, let’s load precinct with 2,500 more voters than we allow now. Step 2, let’s allocate fewer voting machines in each of these precincts with the 2,500 more voters. Mix together and then, Viola!, long lines!

And longs lines = discouraged voters who don’t have time to wait. We saw these longs and discouraging lines during the 2004 and 2006 elections and the hope was that we would never see them again.

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Red PhoneNotice was given that tomorrow’s State Election Commission meeting will be held at 10 am Central Time by “telephonic communication.”

Because this particular meeting will be held via the telephone, this is a rare opportunity to monitor State Election Commission business without having to get out of your pajamas. (Not that you would get kicked out of the Tennessee Tower for attending a meeting in your PJs, but a day without any weird looks is always a plus.)

Within Nashville call 615-253-5120. Outside Nashville call 1-877-385-1979.

I’ll be driving to East Tennessee – also known as “God’s country” – during the meeting so Tweet me and let me know what I missed.

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ConstitutionSo the same folks who want to require a birth certificate to register to vote also want to remove the birth certificate requirement to apply for or renew a handgun carry permit (see HB 2718 by Rep. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville).

Someone’s priorities are way screwed up not to mention unpatriotic and dangerous.

And if their argument is that by requiring a birth certificate we make it more difficult to exercise a basic Constitutional right, then why doesn’t that logic apply to all Constitutional rights?

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Very Sneaky:Two Voter Suppression Bills in One

Vote Baby VoteA bill that would require a birth certificate to vote is back and this time it’s packing a requirement for a photo ID to vote as well.

Today the House Elections Subcommittee will hear HB0270 (by Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, the vice-chair of the committee), the bill that would require one of the following to register to vote if you have recently moved to Tennessee or if you move from one county to another:

(1) Driver license, driver certificate, or other ID issued by the department of safety or equivalent governmental agency of another state if proof of United States citizenship is evident;
(2) A legible photocopy your birth certificate;
(3) A legible photocopy of a United States passport;
(4) Naturalization documents
(5) Other documents or methods of proof that are established pursuant to the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986; or
(6) The applicant’s federal Bureau of Indian Affairs card number, tribal treaty card number, or tribal enrollment number.

Nothing new, we saw the same bill last year and discussed the barriers to participation in the democratic process this would put in place on the elderly and working poor.

What is new, interestingly, is the last line of the summary of this bill:

“This bill requires voters to present one form of identification that bears the name, address and photograph of the voter to the registrar in order to vote.”

I wonder if legislators know that they will actually be voting on two voter suppression bills in one? Both of which would, as Senator Thelma Harper stated last year, put “an awful lot of stumbling blocks in folks way in order for them to register to vote, change their voter registration, just to move from other states and cities here to register to vote.”

The Elections Subcommittee will hear HB270 today immediately following the State and Local Government Committee which meets at noon.

More on HB270 from WPLN’s Capitol Hill correspondent Joe White.

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Harold Ford Makes it in New York, New York

Harold Ford met Stephen Colbert last night. You can watch the video below.

Note to Mr. Ford: If you want “to expand the definition of ‘pro-life’ to apply to other issues, such as [education and] health care and veterans’ benefits,” stop using the term “pro-life.” It’s their language not ours. It will never be ours and can only be defined by the definition they have chosen for it. Create your own language to say what you mean to encompass the important issues you cite and then repeat the heck out of it to make it stick.

Also, the next time someone confronts you on marriage equality try, “I don’t think churches should have to marry two men or two women if they don’t want to.”

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Harold Ford Jr.
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Economy

T/F/B: Kleinheider

Updated: Apparently CQ Politics’ Taegan Goddard has never hear of the “Colbert Bump.” The election is a long way off and more New Yorkers know who Harold Ford is now than did a month ago. Why wouldn’t he go on The Report?

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Congressman John Lewis, Freedom Rider and leader of the Civil Rights Movement, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was beaten by an angry white mob in Alabama in 1961, has some perhaps prescient words of caution about voting rights and voter suppression in 2010.

We should listen to him, Tennessee.

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