Dana Golstein interviewed the new president of Emily's List, the group that raises money for progressive female candidates, about the dearth of women in political office. While Stephanie Schriock says that women aren't obligated to vote for women who run for office, she points out the stark numbers showing just how important it is to vote for women, who make up only 17 percent of Congress.
A sheriff in Lawrence County, Arkansas, is working to collect $500,000 in unpaid court fees from those previously convicted of felonies, according to an Associated Press story. If they don't pay, they could be jailed.
As part of his effort to reform the way government contracts are rewarded, Obama plans to favor companies that offer higher wages and better benefits packages in government contracts, reports the New York Times. It would also reinstate controls started by Clinton and rolled back by Bush that prevent the government from doing business with companies that frequently violate regulations. Not surprisingly, the plan is drawing fire from business groups, who say it's an excuse to reward big labor and will hurt small businesses.
The Justice Department has launched a program to help states bolster and repair their legal defense systems for people who cannot afford a lawyer. While all states have a system in place for indigent defense, as it's known, the design of the programs and their quality vary from state to state. A Harvard constitutional lawyer, Laurence Tribe, will head the effort:
E.D. Kainprotests the sometimes elitist dismissals of tea-party folks, and -- as Jamelle Bouiepoints out -- some of what he says is fair. But Kain sets up an either/or dichotomy. Either you believe the tea partiers have valid concerns, or you think they're racists. Both ignore the possibility that the tea partiers' have concerns that sound valid and aren't explicitly racist, but are rooted in a history that is. Kain writes: