TIME voting rights

Voting Rights Battles Heat Up Ahead of Midterm Elections

Voting booths in polling place
/Getty Images

After Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas may send voting rights cases to the Supreme Court

Updated: September 30, 2014

Voting rights advocacy groups and Ohio state officials submitted dueling briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday and Sunday in a fight over early voting in the state.

On Sept. 24, the U.S. Appeals court for the Sixth Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision to block Ohio’s new election rules, which would cut back early voting from 35 to 28 days before the election and limit early voting on weekends. The courts found that Ohio’s new laws if enacted would violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Ohio officials have asked Justice Elena Kagan to overrule the state courts and prevent voting from starting Sept. 30. She could hand down a decision as early as today.

Ohio is just the latest flashpoint as early voting fights are heating up around the country ahead of midterms. Democrats seek to mobilize lower-income voters who are less likely to turn out for general elections if they have to take time off of work to vote on a Tuesday. Republicans object, claiming the risk of voter fraud and other concerns require tighter voting restrictions.

Here are the three other voting rights laws cases that could work their way up to the Supreme Court before the midterms:

Wisconsin- On September 12, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals put into effect a law requiring most voters to present photo identification at the polls. Proponents of the law say it will discourage voter fraud, while critics say it will deter minorities from voting. On Friday, the entire Seventh Circuit split 5-5 on whether to hear the case, which may send it to the Supreme Court.

North Carolina – North Carolina’s 2013 state voting law, which eliminates same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting and shortens the early voting window by ten days, will be in place for the first time this year in a statewide election. A panel of three judges heard oral arguments about the law on Sept. 25, with one judge pointedly asking, “Why does the state of North Carolina not want people to vote?” The case will likely end up at the Supreme Court, especially if the Fourth Circuit rules against the law.

Texas – Last week, trial ended in a challenge to Texas’s voter identification law requiring voters to display government-issued forms of identification. Under the stringent law, a concealed-carry permit is a valid form of identification, but a student ID is not. The judge is expected to rule soon on whether the law violates the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act, and if the decision comes out against the law, the state could appeal to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Update: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on September 29th to block early voting in Ohio. The order will stand until the Court acts on an appeal by state officials.

TIME viral

Man’s Obituary Says He “Despised” the Kardashians

He also hated oatmeal and wearing shorts

“Funny obituary” may seem like an oxymoron, but the one that ran for Raymond Alan “Big Al” Brownley in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after his September 21 passing is the latest humorous write-up to go viral on Legacy.com.

Here are the five best lines:

• “He despised canned cranberry sauce, wearing shorts, cigarette butts in his driveway, oatmeal, loud-mouth know-it-alls, Tabasco sauce, reality TV shows, and anything to do with the Kardashians.”

• “He was highly proficient at cursing. He liked four-letter words just about as much as four-wheel drive pick-up trucks.”

• “Big Al was known for his timeless words of wisdom, including ‘Life is hard; but it’s harder if you’re stupid’ and ‘Don’t be a jackass.'”

• “His famous holiday eggnog had enough whiskey to grow hair on your chest.”

• “He had a life-long ménage a trois with his homemade chili and Gas-X.”

And you can check out a roundup of some of the other hilarious viral obituaries here.

TIME Business

There Are Plans to Build an Underground Beer Pipeline in Bruges

Bar Beer
Bar Beer Jack Andersen—Getty Images

An attempt to reduce traffic in an environmentally friendly way

The Bruges city council just approved plans to install a beer pipeline under the northern Belgian city. Yes, you read that right – a beer pipeline.

The 1.86 mile (3 km) long tunnel will run beneath the city streets and funnel 6,000 liters of beer per hour from the brewery Brouwerij De Halve Maan to an offsite bottling facility, CityLab reports. The purpose? To reduce traffic and help the environment by taking about 500 delivery trucks off the streets, according to The Drinks Business.

But Bruges isn’t the first city to adopt this method of transport; Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio, uses underground tubes to bring beer from its brewery to the pub across the street.

Cheers.

TIME viral

Watch This Hilarious Bad Lip Reading of The Walking Dead

Season 4

This “Bad Lip Reading” clip has a lighter take on The Walking Dead, AMC’s notoriously grim zombie-apocalypse TV show.

Instead of Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) talking about maintaining morality in a ruined world in a husky southern drawl, here his voiceover waxes poetic about apples and what qualities he shares with dolphins. And instead of inhuman growls and gurgles, the zombies say things like, “Excuse me sir, I need to get in and I can’t,” as they attempt to break down a gate.

Oh, and don’t miss Carl’s rap at the end.

TIME viral

NFL Player’s Pep Talk With 4-Year-Old Daughter Before She Has Surgery Goes Viral

She has a form of pediatric cancer

Devon Still, defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, has more important things on his mind than football. He posted a video on his Instagram account Thursday morning of him driving his four-year-old daughter Leah to the hospital to get a tumor removed.

“You ready to get this cancer up out you?” Still asks his daughter in the video. She nods.

“Let’s do it,” he replies. “Fist bump.”

Leah has neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer that has given her a 50-50 chance of survival, according to ESPN. Many of Still’s teammates took to Twitter today to show their support:

TIME Marriage

Hugh Jackman’s Wife Is Sick of Being Called ‘Lucky’

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness at NBC Universal's Golden Globes Post-Party on January 13, 2013.
Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness at NBC Universal's Golden Globes Post-Party on January 13, 2013. Christopher Polk/NBC—NBC via Getty Images

"That to me is a putdown"

Deborra-Lee Furness says people need to stop calling her “lucky” for being married to sex-symbol Hugh Jackman.

“That to me is a putdown,” she said in an interview with the Australian Women’s Weekly. “[It is] like you suggesting I won the chook raffle. I think we create our own destiny.”

Since Furness, 58, is 13 years older than Jackman and not considered as traditionally attractive as her Wolverine husband, people often say she’s “lucky” to be married to him or that Jackman is gay and Furness is his beard.

But Furness said their almost two decades of marriage have nothing to do with luck: “If you want something, you put it out there with good intention and you realize it.”

TIME beauty

Here’s Kim Kardashian and North at Fashion Week

All black everything

PARIS : Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and North West at the Balenciaga fashion show.
Kim Kardashian, her husband Kanye West and their Daughter North West go the Balenciaga fashion show, in Paris on Sept. 24, 2014. Antoine Cau—Sipa

The reality star favors no-frills, no bows, monochrome outfits for baby North, that often match her own high fashion looks. Kardashian’s no-pink-on-my-daughter stance is good because it shows that everything doesn’t have to be ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls,” says Lori Duron, author of the blog RaisingMyRainbow.com about making traditional gender definitions less rigid.

TIME celebrity

Watch Kirsten Dunst’s Short Film About How Anti-Social Selfies Are

Pics or it didn't happen

In a new short video called “Aspirational,” Kirsten Dunst takes a cynical look at the selfie trend that has altered fan-celebrity interactions and photography around the world.

Directed by Matthew Frost, the clip shows two girls who freak out when they see Kirsten Dunst on the sidewalk.

“Do you want to talk or anything?” Dunst asks as the girls vamp and take seflies with her. “I mean you can ask me a question, or are you curious about anything?”

Nope, they’d rather just pout and turn the camera on themselves, eschewing any actual conversation for the picture that will be sure to get them lots of new “random followers.”

“I’ve already got like 15 likes!” One of them squeals as the clip ends. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but here Dunst and Frost show what’s lost if you do away with words altogether.

TIME Bizarre

This Exists: Colognes Inspired by Che and Hugo Chávez

Argentinian-born Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. Havana, Cuba, January 7, 1959.
Argentinian-born Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. Havana, Cuba, January 7, 1959. Joseph Scherschel—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The Che scent is "woodsy and refreshing" while the Chávez scent is "softer and fruitier," the AP reports

New in the perfume aisle: the smell of socialism.

The Associated Press reports a Cuban company Labiofam spent over a year working with the French perfumer Robertet to create two new colognes, Ernesto and Hugo, inspired by the Argentinian revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara and the late Venezuelan socialist president Hugo Chávez.

According to AP, the Che scent is “woodsy and refreshing” while Hugo is “softer and fruitier” with “hints of mango and papaya.”

Mario Valdes, who led the scent design team, told the AP, “We didn’t want to create propaganda, but rather pay homage to them and help their names endure.”

But creating a Che Guevara-inspired cologne is an ironic way to “pay homage” to the famous Marxist, since many report that he avoided bathing for most of his life. “Woodsy,” maybe, but “refreshing” he was not.

TIME World

White Skull Cap Worn by Pope Francis Is Now on eBay

Pope Francis gives a speech during the International Meeting of Pastoral Care project " Evangelii Gaudium "at the Vatican, on September 19, 2014.
Pope Francis gives a speech during the International Meeting of Pastoral Care project "Evangelii Gaudium" at the Vatican, on September 19, 2014. Andreas Solaro—AFP/Getty Images

Thanks to a satirical Italian TV show

Pope Francis’s white skull cap is up for auction on eBay and bidding is already up to €100,050 (about $130,000) so far.

The satirical Italian TV show Le Iene (which means “hyenas” in English) went up to Pope Francis as he boarded his jeep in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City and offered him a new white cap in exchange for his old one, AFP reports. The Pope agreed to the switch, and his old cap was posted on eBay Wednesday evening. Within 24 hours it had already attracted a bid of over €100,000.

According to AFP, the proceeds of the sale will go to an Italian charity fighting child mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are 128 bids so far. Bidding closes September 24.

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