Former zoo owner and reality TV superstar Joe Exotic has been resentenced to 21 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot, a federal judge said Friday. The resentencing — a shortening of just one year — came despite pleas from his lawyers after an appeals court ordered a new sentence. Supporters were hoping the zookeeper would be freed from prison. The star of the hit Netflix show “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced to 22 years in January 2020 after he was convicted of hiring two men to kill animal rights activist Ca...
Kenneth Thompson, 95, told the outlet that he fears the new Republican voting law, SB 1, could prevent him from voting for the first time in his life.
"I've been voting many, many years and I've never missed a vote," Thompson told the station, recalling paying a poll tax to vote in the 1950s.
The new Texas law, which includes numerous restrictions on ballot access, requires voters to submit their driver's license number or a partial Social Security number, which election clerks then have to match to their voter registration. But more than 100,000 voters in the state do not have either number on file, and more than 700,000 do not have at least one of the numbers on file, according to the Texas secretary of state's office.
"He registered to vote in the 1940s and they didn't require that," Thompson's daughter, Delinda Holland, told KPRC.
Thompson said his application was denied twice because of the new requirement but Harris County election officials did not notify him of the rejection until he called to inquire both times.
"There's gonna be a lot of people not gonna vote," he told the outlet. "If I hadn't have called in about mine, people wouldn't have known."
Holland tried to contact the county and the secretary of state's office to add the data to his voter registration online only to discover there is no way to do that. Texas is one of about a dozen states that do not offer online voter registration.
"We know it's a new law, we're happy to correct it," Holland told KPRC. "He's a law-abiding citizen. He doesn't want to miss voting, and yet, there's no mechanism to add that driver's license to your record."
The report drew condemnation from veterans' groups and voting rights advocates.
"This is reprehensible and unacceptable," the progressive veterans' group Vote Vets said on Twitter. "Texas has prevented a WWII Veteran from casting a ballot in the nation he proudly served."
Thompson said he may be able to go vote in person in the state's March primaries but worries that other voters will be denied the ability to vote.
"I can get out and move around and go to a regular polling place, but these people, lots of people just can't," he told KPRC.
State Rep. Gene Wu, a Democrat who has accused Republicans of voter suppression, argued that Thompson's rejection shows that the Texas Republican strategy is "working EXACTLY as designed and intended."
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Thompson is one of many Texans facing new challenges just to be able to cast his ballot. Some counties have been forced to reject up to seven times as many mail-in ballot applications as they did previously, as a result of the new requirements.
"In Harris County," tweeted Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, "percentage-wise we're rejecting 7 times more mail ballot apps than before, because of new TX voter suppression laws that create a maze of technicalities."
The problems have been compounded by another provision in SB 1 banning election officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications. As a result, some voters' requests have been rejected because they used dated forms that do not include new fields required by the law. In other cases, voters simply did not include the information because they were not aware it was necessary.
Many local election workers themselves are still unsure about the new rules, according to the Texas Tribune, and say that the secretary of state's office has not been helpful.
The secretary of state's office told the outlet it has been working to backfill its records to include both driver's license and Social Security numbers and some election officials were unaware that updated data had been added to the state database.
"There were several large counties that are offline that were not aware that they'd have to go beyond their internal systems, and I'm one of them," Williamson County elections administrator Chris Davis told the Tribune.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office this week tried to pin the blame on election officials, accusing them of rejecting "valid" applications because of the miscommunication and accusing election administrators of spreading "misinformation."
But election officials told the Tribune that the problems were foreseeable long before the public dispute that emerged this month. Voting rights advocates say Texas Republican lawmakers bear "the responsibility to foresee problems in the implementation of a law."
"They are now reaping what they've sown," James Slattery, a senior staff attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, told the Tribune. "Though I should say it's really the voter reaping what they've sown, which is the tragedy of all this. At the moment, it's the voters that are facing the consequences."
Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson offered a damning assessment of the network as she explained just how bad its spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation has become.
During an appearance on the CNN segment, "Democracy in Peril," Carlson discussed many aspects of Fox News' critical role in the spread of misinformation and falsehoods. Since former President Donald Trump took office, conspiracy theories have been on the rise and Fox News has become a driving force for it.
Conservative primetime news anchor Tucker Carlson has been at the center of misinformation and the power of his opinion has begun to influence Republican members of Congress.
“This is the result of fake news,” Carlson said. “You know, we're seeing not only the fallout from fake news during the Trump era, but what happened with the insurrection on January 6th. Now it's moving into other areas. Not just news, now it’s hitting science with vaccines, and now it’s into Cold War politics.”
Carlson also touched on another significant topic as she shed light on the actions of her former Fox News colleagues, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. While they reportedly sent pleas to the White House for the violence to stop on Jan. 6, they still put up a united front on-air and circulated a completely different narrative about the series of events that unfolded.
“I think the bigger story coming out of that is how disingenuous it was to be sending those texts of warning while then going on the air to the American people and doing a complete injustice and disservice by saying something completely opposite,” Carlson said, “and ginning up this whole reaction that it was just fine and patriotic for people to be there on January 6th.”
She went on to express concern about the journalistic state of her former network since the rise of Trump. Carlson also noted how conspiracy theories have become a fallacious replacement for opinion.
“Slowly but surely, this has morphed into eradicating any other point of view since the Trump era that is not just opinion,” Carlson said. “It's gone from an opinion, which was fine, to completely devolving into non-fact-based conspiracy theories and outright dangerous rhetoric, in my mind, and I think it’s a complete disservice to our country.”
Noting the dangers of biased journalism, Carlson explained how dangerous it is to only get information from one news source. She also stressed how imperative it is for Republican leaders and lawmakers to use their platforms to offer clarity regarding some of the dangerous false narratives perpetuated by Fox News.
“For the safety of the Republican Party and for our democracy, I wish more would, because this is not going to end well, in my mind,” Carlson said. “It's really hard to change people's opinions because they're only watching what they want to hear, you know? And that's the other problem that we have in society with the media right now, is that we're so siloed into only watching what we agree with. And so every day that thought process just gets reinforced time after time.”
Carlson also conceded that conservative media has changed considerably over the last five years as there is no longer a clear line between opinion and conspiracy theory. “Conservative television news is certainly not the conservative news that was out there even just five years ago,” Carlson said, later adding, “There’s a big difference between having a conservative opinion and having one that supports conspiracy theories.”
"There is a big difference between having a conservative opinion and having one that supports conspiracy theories" \n\n@GretchenCarlson on how the far-right media is aiding in dismantling the US democracy.pic.twitter.com/ggFmgNNU4Q— CNN Newsroom (@CNN Newsroom) 1643339143