On September 9, the Tennessee state government filed this brief in Green Party of Tennessee v Hargett, which is pending in the Sixth Circuit. The issue is mainly whether the law requiring newly-qualifying parties to submit 40,042 valid signatures is constitutional. Another issue in the case is whether it is constitutional to mandate that the two largest parties are entitled to the top lines on general election ballots.
The state’s brief doesn’t explain why the state requires so many signatures for newly-qualifying parties. Tennessee requires only 25 signatures for independent candidates, and no filing fee. Independent candidate ballot access in Tennessee is easier than in any other state. Clearly Tennessee is not afraid of a crowded general election ballot. So, one wonders, why is Tennessee so strict on having new or minor parties on the ballot? Read The Full Story
One of the challenges in addressing the underfunding of public pensions is determining how big the funding gaps are. Estimates vary because of disagreement over accounting methods. State pension actuaries calculate pension plans’ future funding using discount rates based on high rates of expected returns on investments. State officials have an incentive to engage in this kind of fudging because higher expected returns tomorrow mean lower contributions into the pension funds today. Read The Full Story
The Pentagon is preparing for a longer bombardment of Syria than it originally had planned, with a heavy barrage of missile strikes followed soon after by more attacks on targets that the opening salvos missed or failed to destroy, officials said.
The planning for intense attacks over a three-day period reflects the growing belief in the White House and the Pentagon that the United States needs more firepower to inflict even minimal damage on Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, which have been widely dispersed over the last two weeks, the officials said. Read The Full Story
The White House has been beating the war drum lately in an effort to build support for a bombing campaign in Syria. The Obama administration alleges that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, though this claim lacks proof, as many experts believe that the gas attack was perpetrated instead by the Al-Nusra rebels that are currently locked in a bloody civil war with the Syrian regime.