What the hell:
Some drivers along a busy Fort Worth street on Friday were stopped at a police roadblock and directed into a parking lot, where they were asked by federal contractors for samples of their breath, saliva and even blood.
It was part of a government research study aimed at determining the number of drunken or drug-impaired drivers.
The study was conducted on behalf of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who said the study was voluntary. However, off duty police officers - in uniform - were directing drivers to pull over then asking for cheek swabs or a blood draw. At the very least, they wanted drivers to submit to a breathalyzer.
The NSA is even claiming sobriety checkpoints as precedent justifying their metadata surveillance (Source). When does it stop?
(h/t: Grits for Breakfast)
The ratification of the conventions of nine states, shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states so ratifying the same. - Article VII
Two hundred twenty-five years ago to the day, New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify the constitution. Only a fragment of the New Hampshire ratifying convention debate remains (that I have been able to find), and it is here.
That’s the argument made in a lawsuit moving through the Texas courts (Source). Currently, the question is whether or not the plaintiff has the standing to bring the suit; you can read the petition here and the response here. Earlier this year, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson said that the Texas Constitution should be amended to allow for non-partisan judicial elections (Source). State Sen. Jeff Wentworth also filed legislation to eliminate straight ticket voting (Source). The bill by Sen. Wentworth was SB139. It was referred to the State Affairs committee, where it sat all session. Wentworth also filed similar legislation in the 81R [SB317 (it made it out of State Affairs, but was never voted out of the Senate)] and the 80R [SB134 (it was not voted out of State Affairs)].
Sen. Wentworth’s argument for eliminating straight ticket voting is that voters will educate themselves about the candidates and make a more informed choice. I don’t think this is necessarily the case (especially in a county like Harris where hundreds of judges are on the ballot and voters do not have the time or the resources to educate themselves on every judge). A certain percentage of voters identify with a party whose values and positions with which they agree and rather than tick each R, D, G or L down the line, they have the ability to conveniently check one box. One can also vote a straight ticket and cross the lines to vote for another parties candidate for a particular office. Personally, as a hack, I like the straight ticket option, because it provides a fairly good measure for determining either parties base of support.