Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ellen puts her own spot out there

h/t to Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars

You can help defeat Proposition 8 - click here.

Here is Betsy's two cents:


--the BB

More Scenes of Nova Aurelia

I regret that when I met my friends from Oakland last week I forgot my camera. I would have like a photo of us together. I also wish I could have taken photos of the sights they pointed out to me. I will try to take a long lunch this coming week and do that.

As we were scoping out the Piazza d'Italia and St Joseph's Fountain I noticed, the inscriptions all being in Latin, that New Orleans is rendered in Latin as Nova Aurelia. The city of Orléans in France was named Aurelianis when the Roman Emperor Aurelian refounded it. All right, that explains my header and those who enjoy etymology can imagine the evolution of the city name.

There are just shots from last weekend. At the moment I am in Albuquerque, noticing that the light on the houses across the street is now an ever-so-slightly golden shade as the sun slants low from just above the West Mesa.

Additional note that I am tossing in here: I have been working on the revision of my novel all but one day of the last six. This is proving to be quite exciting for me. Friend Kathy is clamoring for the sequel but I need to get the first volume finished before going into the next one wholeheartedly. Having said that, I am constantly toying with the sequels in my mind and occasionally on "paper" (actually on the computer).

A neighbor rang my doorbell today. She is an Obama volunteer visiting Democrat households and urging us to vote early. I told her I had just voted by absentee ballot and she checked off my name. Two of her children were with her. I looked across the way and saw a Tom Udall yard sign planted. There is a Martin Heinrich sign in my window. We are not alone. I also learned that there is an Obama office in my own neighborhood. Who knew? Now I do.
--the BB

Disenfranchised at the polls

What if you get to the polls on November 4 and are told you are not registered? What are you going to do?

And how did it happen?

That's the whole point of the "voter fraud" brouhaha - to distract you from the voter roll purges currently taking place that will disenfranchise legal, entitled voters. And then, when it seems too late to do anything about it, you are expected to go, "Wha?" and wander in dazed and ineffectual confusion.

Paranoid? I don't think so.

Everyone needs to know what is going on AND fight back.

Jamess has an extensive article on this at Daily Kos and I urge you to read it.

CBS News has picked up the story but we are far from widespread awareness.

Question: What can a Voter do to Protect themselves?

Answer: 1) Don't take No for an Answer!

2) Cast a Provisional Ballot and

3) Call a Voter Hotline

[Also you can usually (4) lookup ahead of time to see if you are still registered to Vote in your State.]
There are, of course, legitimate reasons for purging voter rolls. When I moved to Albuquerque I needed to be taken from the voter roll in Hercules, California. The deceased need to be removed from the rolls and bereaved families do not, I suspect, often notify the county with voting in mind. The county needs to use death certificates and check them against the roll of registered voters. Felons may not vote, though in a few states convicted felons who have completed their sentence and "paid their debt to society" may be reinstated as voters. Check your state laws. All of this is normal business for county election offices.

What is the scope of the issue of maintaining current and correct rolls?
Both the Brennan Center for Justice and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group have independently called into question the methods states use to clean up their voter rolls and the integrity of the information those purges are based on. Roughly 13 million names were purged from the rolls in 2005 and 2006, and while most of the removals were legitimate, that still leaves thousands likely disenfranchised, they say.
A 5% error rate (and yes, I just pulled that number out of my ass - unlike Bill O'Reilly, I admit when I do this) would yield 650,000 legitimate voters up the proverbial creek and most likely without much of a paddle. That is a bit more than the population of metropolitan Albuquerque and a bit less than the population of the entire State of Alaska. What if an entire state showed up to vote and couldn't?

What if it happens to you?

1) Don't take No for an Answer!

2) Cast a Provisional Ballot and

3) Call a Voter Hotline

This is a good reason to vote early where possible or to vote by absentee ballot as your right to vote has been verified in sending you the absentee ballot.

You can read background on voter hot lines here. Each state has its own regulations and procedures so be sure to check out your state. This is a PDF file for New Jersey voters. In California the Voter Assistance Hotline is 1-800-345-VOTE. I give these as examples. You're a clever lot so I know you can google the information for your state. Your Secretary of State web pages should provide the information you need. My fellow New Mexicans, you can check here.

Now, VOTE!
--the BB

John McCain and Gordon Liddy

If you have any curiosity about McCain's relationship with radicals, just read BarbinMD's article.

--the BB

Yes v. No on Prop 8

Don't insert discrimination into the California Constitution!

h/t to digby who pointed me to this
--the BB

More smelling salts, please

It seems many Republicans and their followers are having a collective case of the vapors over "voter fraud." The recent decision of SCOTUS to NOT require the Ohio Secretary of State to verify registrations with other state databases has them all in a tizzy.

Why? Is it that voter fraud - which should actually be termed "registration fraud" because the issue is not yet over someone actually coming to cast a fraudulent ballot - is a huge problem or is it because they are busy trying to (1) suppress voting and (2) lay the groundwork to question the election when Obama wins?

First response: There are many, though hardly vast, instances where folks paid to register voters file phony registrations or turn in registrations of folks already registered. In the latter case the registered voter is still only going to get to vote once. In the former you then need to produce a fraudulent voter who shows up to cast a fraudulent ballot. I am sure it sometimes happens and there are instances in American history when lots of dead people cast votes. We do need to prevent that sort of behavior. Proportionally this is not a huge problem. Do instances such as these seem to threaten the election this time around? No one can point to sufficient examples.

Second response: Are the "remedies" proposed by Republican operatives helpful in addressing any actual problems? No. Let me repeat that in case it is too complex and needs repeating. No.

Matching to databases such as driver's licenses or other records places the voter registration and verification process at the mercy of clerical errors. If your signature is illegible or the records show a different spelling or different middle initial, the registration kicks out - but was it an instance of fraud? Seeking to purge voting lists of felons leads to similar errors as persons with the same (or similar) name as a felon may be disenfranchised. The intent may be valid and worthwhile but the implementation has, thus far, been far too riddled with errors. I won't even go into the game of telling foreclosed voters they cannot vote because the no longer live at their registered address (most states have grace periods for situations such as this and one does not lose the right to vote over this).

Consider the concluding portion of this passage by Mary Pat Flaherty in today's Washington Post:
Thousands of voters across the country must reestablish their eligibility in the next three weeks in order for their votes to count on Nov. 4, a result of new state registration systems that are incorrectly rejecting them.


Michigan must restore thousands of names it illegally removed from voter rolls over residency questions, a judge ruled this week.

Tens of thousands of voters could be affected in Wisconsin. Officials there admit that their database is wrong one out of five times when it flags voters, sometimes for data discrepancies as small as a middle initial or a typo in a birth date. When the six members of the state elections board -- all retired judges -- ran their registrations through the system, four were incorrectly rejected because of mismatches.
[Emphases mine]

So, four out of six valid voters were rejected when this sort of test was applied. This tells me such an approach is not only useless but dangerous as it disenfranchises thousands, probably tens of thousands, of legitimate voters. That cannot be the solution to much smaller problem.

This is rather like the fallacious crisis over social security and the alarmists who wanted to convince us that it is doomed and then recommend solutions that would be fatal - such as privatizing it. Wouldn't we all be happy today if our social security had been put in the market and then had huge portions evaporate? Wow, what a great idea that was!


No, the people putting forth these phony solutions are not idiots. They are malevolently at work to undermine the institutions of democracy. They are perpetrating evil.


1. Do not buy into their fearmongering.

2. Look at the situation calmly and use your reason.

3. Reject phony solutions that make matters worse.

4. Laugh at them. Don't ratchet up the collective anxiety level.

5. If they won't go away on their own, kick them in the groin. really hard. Then walk away. They needed it, they deserved it, and you have better things to do than listen to them whimper.

6. Now that you have registered, be sure to VOTE. That is how we change things in civilized societies.

7. Know your rights. Don't let them disenfranchise you.

8. Did I say, VOTE?

h/t to georgia10 for a post noting:
The GOP in Ohio didn't ask for all name mismatches to be crosschecked and challenged. No, the Ohio GOP merely insisted only that those who registered since January 1, 2008 be targeted. And the numbers are clear: by vast margins, new voters who registered this year live in highly Democratic areas.
On the matter of clerical errors, a coworker came to me Thursday morning puzzled at not being able to find the in-house e-mail address of someone I had been training. Normally all we need to do is type part of the name and the rest comes up (or those options matching the fragment and we can then click the one we seek). He was having no luck. He was using the most recent update of the list that shows who is working on what part of the project and had already corrected the obvious typo on the person's last name. What he did not know is that the first name had been typed phonetically but not the way this person actually spells her name. We were thus dealing with a double typo. I knew how she spelled it, fortunately, and could point him to her name in the corporate database. Problem solved. If he had used only the "official list" provided to us he would never have found her. No one should love lose the right to vote over something like this.

[Thanks, Fran, for catching my typo.]
--the BB

Compare and contrast

I am sure many of you had exercises in school where you were called upon to write an essay in which you would compare and contrast two perspectives or two systems or two fill-in-the-blanks. Such essays were designed to stimulate careful observation and critical thinking. Perhaps essays like this are largely a thing of the past; I don't know. In the "no child left behind" era the last thing the Bush crime regime wants is a populace capable of careful observation and critical thinking.

So for those who have never done such an exercise I offer this opportunity.

Compare and contrast the comments of these two candidates for Vice President of the United States:

"We believe that the best of America is in the small towns that we get to visit, and in the wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard-working, very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation," she said.
--Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska

"It doesn't matter where you live, we all love this country, and I hope it gets through. We all love this country," he said. "We are one nation, under God, indivisible. We are all patriotic. We all love our country in every part of this nation! And I'm tired. I am tired, tired, tired, tired of the implications about patriotism."
--Senator Joe Biden of Delaware

Extra credit: Discuss the pros and cons of "small-town values" and the value of such a concept in contemporary society. Provide specific examples and take a position.

h/t to Kula2316
--the BB

Friday, October 17, 2008

Follow-up on the voter fraud issue

A few items to check out if you are interested:

1. The AP looks at the GOP attacks on ACORN here.

2. The US Supreme Court rejects the GOP attacks in Ohio. Three cheers for Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner for standing up to a boatload of nonsense. Americablog covers this.

3. Former US Attorney David Iglesias, who was fired because of pressure from Pete Domenici and Heather Wilson (may their conscience haunt them in retirement) for not pursuing alleged voter fraud issues aggressively enough, has an interview at TPM.

--the BB

En voici un autre

Quelqu'un de la Martinique nous a visité et je veux leur souhaiter la bienvenue.

Martinique brings out total of virtual flags to 143. I included two flags in the graphic, however, since (1) Martinique is an overseas department of France and (2) it also has a cool regional flag.

Martinique is located in the eastern Caribbean, its capital is Fort-de-France, and it has a dangerous active volcano, Mount Pelée. I'm loving trivia like this: "Martinique was the main setting of the 1944 film To Have and Have Not starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall."

Your tourist bureau introduction (shake your hips):

For something completely different and very local: Conch music in Fort de France Martinique (to borrow a phrase from MP, "where does he get them?" - but the second half will surprise you)

A short video on handmade drums:

This is labeled zouk music from Martinique. Christiane valejo- padoné mwen

OK, I hadn't heard of zouk either, so here's the info on Wikipedia:
Zouk is a style of rhythmic music originating from the islands of Haiti, Guadeloupe and Martinique. It has its roots in compas music from Haiti,. Zouk means "party" or "festival" in the local creole of French with English influences. In Africa, it is popular in franco/luso countries, while on the African islands of Cape Verde they have developed their own type of zouk. In Europe it is particularly popular in France, and in North America the Canadian province of Quebec.

--the BB

Good News and Bad News

This morning I slept in and have been reading online (as usual) and taking it easy. I paid a bill online. Generally just chilling. Then came two serious tasks.

I got on the scales. I have been doing lots of boredom, anxiety, reflexive eating in the past few weeks. This has taken its toll. Up three pounds. That's the bad news.

I also walked across the street to the mailbox. My absentee ballot was waiting for me. I just opened it up and looked at it. Today I am going to vote. That's the good news. It far outweighs, so to speak, the bad news. I will vote to restore law, responsibility, and the well-being of the people to the White House. w00t!

Back to more carrots and less candy (the latter being supplied in abundance at work).

Today is also Martin Heinrich's 37th birthday. He is fighting hard to be the DEM Representative from NM-01. I just contributed $137 to help make that happen. I can't believe how much money I am pouring into that campaign but I really, really want a good, green Dem representing me in Congress (no more Heather Wilson years and I pray no Darren White years either).

More bills to pay but my political contributions this election cycle have all been a joy.

Especially after listening to a vicious McCain-Palin ad on the radio (our progressive station, in the midst of the Ed Schultz Show, no less), an ad full of craptastic distortions that disguise the truth. I really want to see these dangerous persons defeated. Crushingly. By a margin so wide that no one can steal the election.

Happy Friday, y'all!
--the BB


10/17/08 signonsandiego:
San Diego police officer, 33, dies in Afghanistan war
The San Diego Police Department learned of the death yesterday, police spokeswoman Mónica Muñoz said. The officer, Federico Borjas, 33, was a reservist who was called to duty in August. The department hired him in 1999....

10/16/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (3 of 3)
Spc. Cory J. Bertrand, 18, of Center, Texas...died Oct. 14 in Qazi Bandeh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

10/16/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 3)
Spc. Stephen R. Fortunato, 25, of Danvers, Mass...died Oct. 14 in Qazi Bandeh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

10/16/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 3)
Sgt. Preston R. Medley, 23, of Baker, Fla...died Oct. 14 in Qazi Bandeh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.



Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Christopher A. McCraw, 23, of Columbia, Miss., died Oct. 14 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when he encountered small arms fire while on dismounted patrol in Nasar Wa Salam. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment...

10/16/08 MNF:
CF Soldier killed in IDF attack
A Coalition force Soldier was killed in an indirect fire attack Oct. 16 in Diyala. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.

10/16/08 MNF:
MNC-I Soldier dies of non-battle related causes
A Multi-National Corps – Iraq Soldier died of non-battle related causes at approximately 10 p.m. Oct 15 in Baghdad. The Soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin and release by the U.S. Department of Defense.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Michael K. Clark, 24, of Sacramento, Calif., died Oct. 7 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered when he encountered small arms fire while on dismounted patrol. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team...


Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm voting for Tom Udall for US Senator from New Mexico

We need more than lip service for our vets.

Thank you, young man, for serving this country. May you and all our veterans be surrounded with love and respect.
--the BB


Kagro X fills us in (with transcriptional goodness):

So how bizarre is that? Sarah's dad, Chuck Heath, browbeats his daughter Molly into applying for a moose permit even though she has little or no interest in hunting, and then berates her for not going out to shoot a moose. Then the threatens to go out and shoot one on her tag whether she goes along or not, prompting Wooten to agree to go out hunting with her the next day and take care of it himself.


Anyway, crazy though he might be, Wooten complies and takes Molly out to shoot the moose Chuck demanded, succeeds in bagging one, takes it back to Chuck's house where Chuck happily butchers it, keeping the family in mooseburger for two years.

Then, when things later turn sour, Chuck and Sarah are on the phone weeping and wailing to the AST that Wooten needs to be fired because he illegally shot a moose.

Why do I think my mother would have called them trash?
--the BB

I should have a choice about this


h/t to MissLaura
--the BB

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

News on Iraq

Iraq and the United States have finally agreed on a security pact which would mean that US forces would withdraw from Iraq by 2011, American and Iraqi officials said yesterday.
Obama's Iraq plans vindicated as US agrees to pull out by 2011
Independent - 4 hours ago
By Patrick Cockbur

Twitchy McBlink

I'm liking Jane Hamsher's term for him. Here comments on the debate are here.
--the BB

JSMIII, you just got served

h/t to Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars
--the BB

Hmmmm - updated with video

I guess there is no room in John McCain's world for considering the health of the mother.

But then I never thought there was.


Video thanks to TPM:

--the BB

It's debate night

I have fallen asleep on the couch in the course of the last three so I don't expect tonight to be different. Still, you never know.

Eddie is mixing the mojitos and Dillinger is heating up the queso. (He is such a little Texan, and so cute!) I bought some popcorn from a cub scout last week and have been saving it for tonight.

I was briefly a cub scout back when I was around eight years old, so that was one for nostalgia and solidarity.

Will Bob Schieffer betray his admiration for McCain or keep it in check? Will McCain manage to rattle Obama? Can Obama possibly not rattle McCain, given how McCain's resentment of even being staged as an equal with Obama has oozed from every pore of McSame's being at each debate? Will there be fireworks? Or dullness? What will be the sound byte that emerges from tonight?

Can we please, please, please go back to having the League of Women Voters run the debates?

I will keep an emesis basin at hand for each time the senior senator from AZ says "my friends."

Are you registered to vote? Do you know where your polling place is? Can you help GOTV?
--the BB

Well, big fracking Duh!

From the Washington Post:
The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects -- documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.

Those of us who have been paying attention have known this for a long time, though we did not have concrete proof. The world has known it.

Meanwhile, Congress asks nicely for documents the White House refuses to give and then issues stern letters that accomplish sod-all.

May I remind the Speaker that so long as impeachment remains off the table so is democracy.

Spineless [multiple expletives ending in a plural obscenity].

And if I believed in a retributive deity and did not fear for my own karma I would be actively promoting a very nasty spot in hell for George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney. I would be ecstatic to settle for trial at the Hague for war crimes.

We cannot get them out of the White House soon enough.

h/t to Kagro X
--the BB

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Olbermann has a message for McCain


DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Cpl. Reuben M. Fernandez III, 22, of Abilene, Texas, died on Oct. 11 of wounds sustained when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Majar Al Kabir, Iraq. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team...

10/14/08 MNF:
MND-B Soldier dies of wounds from SAF attack
A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died of wounds at approximately 5 p.m. at a Coalition force's Combat Support Hospital Oct. 14. The Soldier was wounded when enemy attacked his patrol with small-arms fire in western Baghdad...

10/13/08 MNF:
MND-B Soldier dies of non-battle related causes
A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died of non-battle related causes at approximately 5:50 a.m. Oct 12 in Baghdad. The Soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin and release by the U.S. Department of Defense.


It was as I rounded the corner in the WWII Museum to where one sees the rows of crosses in the military cemeteries of Normandy that I managed to say "Thank you for serving" to a young man in uniform. I could hardly speak but I try never to walk past or near our troops without saying thank you.

Yes, I am opposed to war in general and to the Iraq War, among others, quite specifically. I protested the Vietnam War (quietly wearing an armband the day I graduated from college - speaking up when I dared - getting my bumper stickers scraped anonymously from my car). But that does not mean I don't think we need a national defense or that I do not appreciate and honor the commitment and sacrifice of those who serve in this manner. The world is simultaneously glorious and dangerous. I try not to live in constant fear but I do not pretend the world is safe. I have sense of what the young man I spoke to risks and the fears his young wife must face every moment he is away. Only a sense. I have never been there. And I am keenly aware of the stakes. He risks his life for me and I had just walked through a barrage of photos and mementos illustrating what that means, and how many lose their lives.

I believe every life matters. I mourn all the victims of war on every side. I grieve over those turned from fear, poverty, ignorance, and manipulation into hatred and violence. I don't excuse evil acts; I sorrow over them.

By reckoning the toll on our military (in lives lost, not even counting injuries and abiding loss in emotional health and long-term impact on health, families, and the effects of PTSD) I seek to mourn, to remember, to honor sacrifice, and recognize the true costs of war - no matter how or why it begins. Yes, I do so with a political edge, but the point of these memorials is not to attack Bush but to thank our men and women for what is aptly called "the ultimate sacrifice." I try to include names when I have them because no one - no one - is ever simply a number. I want to pay attention. These posts are a way I try to do that.

May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

May we all learn a better way to share the planet than war.

May God have mercy on us all.
--the BB

A kick-ass response - updated (3x)

And the asses of anyone frothing at the mouth over "voter fraud" deserves to be kicked. Soundly. Repeatedly. Often.

The periodical hand-wringing that Republican operatives go through over "voter fraud" every election year is a flimsy mask (and reprehensible excuse) for their own efforts to suppress the vote of eligible voters. No one seriously thinks that some pathetic registration of Mickey Mouse in order to pad stats or earn money in a registration drive will eventuate in a costumed mouse showing up to vote on election day. Get a grip. Almost every instance (and they were very few) were allegations were made of this have proven insubstantial. It is not a real threat and it is not a real issue. But it is a great tool for fear mongering and diversion.

The activities that confuse, irritate, dishearten, and intimidate people who are entitled to vote, however, is a very real threat to the democratic process. It is a longstanding Republican pattern. It is aimed at minorities and likely Democratic voters. Discouraging people from voting seems, IMHO, eminently contrary to democratic principles. If we are allegedly promoting democracy around the world, why the fuck aren't they promoting it right here at home?

I think I know why. Because the fewer people who vote the easier it is to manipulate and control power.

Well, the Obama campaign has no interest in rolling over for these asshats. Here is a response to their bullshit. Oh, by the way, Senator Danforth (a fellow Episcopal clergymen) should be ashamed of himself for being in the midst of this.

Obama Campaign's Response to McCain's ACORN Letter

September 23, 2008

Honorable John C. Danforth

Honorable Warren B. Rudman

McCain-Palin 2008

P.O. Box 16118

Arlington , VA 22215

Dear Senator Danforth and Senator Rudman:

We have received your letter of September 15, 2008, informing us of the formation of what you call the "Honest and Open Election Committee" by the McCain-Palin Campaign.

However attractively labeled, this seems a starkly political maneuver to deflect attention from the reality of the suppression strategies pursued by national,state and Republican party committees. This has been the shameful history of the party from the Goldwater "Operation Eagle Eye" program to the present day—a history replete with instances of systematically planned and executed programs to block access to the vote for targeted communities of voters.

In 2004, the Republican Party, on the eve of the general election, mounted challenges to tens of thousands of voters in Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin based on "caging lists," that is, lists of returned mailers or based on similar information providing no legitimate grounds whatsoever for such challenges. None of these challenges, to our knowledge, was upheld and accusations of voter fraud by national Republican Party leaders were proven utterly baseless.

Now,in 2008, the Republican Party again appears determined to engage in tactics and strategies to deny the right to vote to qualified citizens:

· In Michigan, the chairman of Macomb County Republican Party has threatened to use lists of persons whose homes have been foreclosed to challenge those persons at the polls. Only after public exposure, did he deny that this was the plan for Macomb County, and this matter is now before the federal district court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

· In Florida, the RNC has mailed non-forwardable letters to Democratic voters asking them to "confirm" their party affiliation as Republican—thereby raising doubts about their registration status and creating the basis for possible challenge lists. Even top Republican election officials in Florida, including the Secretary of State,have publicly condemned this tactic.

· In Wisconsin, the Republican Attorney General, who serves as co-chair of the McCain-Palin campaign in the state, has filed suit challenging the refusal of the state’s own election administration authorities to throw thousands of voters off the rolls based on dubious and impractical matches of identifying information.

· In Ohio, Republicans are challenging the decision of the Secretary of State to allow first-time voters to obtain an absentee ballot at the time they register even though the law clearly affords this right.

Manifestly, the confusion,uncertainty, deprivations of rights and interference with efficient election administration created by these tactics, and similar ones that the Republican Party has used in recent election cycles, cannot be effectively addressed by the creation late in the day of "committees" with gloriously self-serving names. Rather, the best way to address them is for responsible Republican leaders like both of you to speak out, loudly and forcefully, to condemn these tactics, to insist that they be shut down once and for all and then to make sure that they are.

This is what we would hope that you could accomplish. If your concern truly lies with 'Honest and Open Elections", then your work is properly and effectively begins at home--with the Republican operatives who are planning and running these suppressive programs and who are being directed in these activities by the same national McCain and party leadership that recruited you to this "Committee".

Sincerely yours,

David Plouffe,

Campaign Manager, Obama for America

Election fraud - not voter fraud - is the real threat. It is about vote suppression, ballot manipulation, and untraceable and unverifiable voting machine manipulation.

If you know anyone freaking out over ACORN, they are required BY LAW to turn in ALL registration forms. They cannot toss out ones they think are fraudulent. Does this mean they turn in bad registrations. Yes, it does, because they have to. They alert election authorities of all the forms they suspect of being invalid. There is simply no attempt to perpetrate fraud there. Don't be bamboozled by lies. Sheesh.

h/t to drational

Check out dday's article "What Actual Election Fraud Looks Like"

And Digby's post "Forgetting Yesterday" (with links to more information)

I hope she will forgive me borrowing 4 entire paragraphs:
Their full blown propaganda campaign of the moment is aimed at furthering several different related goals. The first is to freak out the local registration offices, many of which are run by small town bureaucrats who are either subject to the propaganda or are GOP partisans themselves. They want to create a feeling of chaos around the voting processes and call the absentee ballots into question.

The second is to intimidate voters into not participating and making it difficult for those who do. They want people to believe that they will be grilled and scrutinized when they try to vote and perhaps make lines long and the process so arduous that people will give up.

Third, if the election is close, they will challenge its validity in court. After all, that worked like a charm in 2000. But barring that --- and it looks like it won't be close enough to do that --- they are laying the ground work to delegitimize the victory. That is an essential tool for rebuilding their movement and crating justification for the kind of character assassination and obstructionism that is their specialty.

If Ann Kornblut on MSNBC a few minutes ago is any indication the press sees this as a "both sides do it" sort of thing. Democrats complained about Bush vs Gore and vote caging and phone jamming and the vote suppression program in Ohio over the past two very close elections. Therefore, it's equivalent that the Republicans would complain about voter fraud and ACORN. The difference, of course, is that vote suppression was so inculcated in to the republican governing apparatus that they fired the US Attorneys for failing do their bidding and bring false voter fraud cases. That should be just a little bit of a heads up about who's doing what here.
Emphasis mine

Update 3:
This morning Big Blue has a post with this headline:
BREAKING: GOP Attempts to Disenfranchise 600,000 Voters In Ohio

We need to promote this story and fight it tooth and nail. The GOP is intentionally undermining voter confidence in the electoral system despite having not a shred of evidence to prove any conspiracy to commit voter fraud. In fact, a five year investigation by the Bush Adminstration revealed only 120 prosecutable offenses of voter fraud in a nation where 100 million people turn out for presidential elections.

And now 600,000 people in Ohio could possibly lose their right to vote just so the GOP can "insure the integrity of the voting system." Just like the Clear Skies Act (which reduced air pollution controls) and the Patriot Act (which undermined the constitution), we can always be sure that whatever Republicans are claiming to do, they are really doing the exact opposite.

--the BB

Kudos to Campbell Brown

So what if he were an Arab?

Wonderful to hear her articulate what should be understood but evidently is not sufficiently understood and accepted.

And remember: " In Standard British English, as in Greek, Kudos is a singular and not a plural noun,...." The "-os" ending rhymes with moss or floss. Back-formation of a singular "kudo" would be nonsensical.

(My curmudgeonly mini-rant of the evening - especially since I am well aware of historical precedent and tide of usage against me. There is the example of "cherry" which used to be a cherrys or something like that, cognate with Spanish cereza or French cérise - somewhere along the line we dropped the plural-sounding "s" at the end of the singular form. I fight a losing battle.)

h/t to eurthamudtoes
--the BB

Γνωθι σεαυτον

The Greek header is the inscription at Delphi, echoed by Socrates: Know thyself.

John McCain today accused Obama of being erratic.

Sarah Palin has denounced abuse of power in Washington.

Irony is dead.

Check ScoutFinch's post.
--the BB

Just call me. I'll pick you up, no questions asked.

h/t to SusanG and the folks at
--the BB

Monday, October 13, 2008

WaPo does some digging

Michael Leahy has an article up in today's Washington Post. I commend it to you.

POWs kept their minds occupied.
Stratton would imagine meticulously assembling a large glider and flying it over the Alps. Another prisoner imagined himself fishing. But McCain had the most audacious dream of all, and he shared his vision one day with a group of fellow POWs. "He was talking about his father to us and then he said: 'I want to be president of the United States. Someday I'm going to be president,' " Stratton recalls. "If the cell wasn't so small, we'd have been rolling around laughing."

His friend, thought Stratton, ought to be concentrating far less on his fantasy and more on how to redirect a naval career that had been adrift before he was shot down over Hanoi. "We reminded him that he had dug himself a big hole with his demerits in the past and nearly being the bottom man of his class at the Naval Academy," Stratton recalls. "And now he was talking about being president? 'Come on, John. Get your career straightened out.' "

Not at all dissuaded, McCain offered his view on the meaning of real command, shaped in part by his father's perspective on genuine power. He wanted to be the one who made the decisions, McCain said, and his father had taught him that even such impressive-sounding jobs as chief of naval operations, the service's highest uniformed position, didn't always provide that opportunity. The only job that guaranteed it was that of president, McCain believed.
Great. Another "Decider."

More of the Same.

You can read it all here.
--the BB

A great silence

When a U.S. citizen receives a Nobel Prize in any field there is usually a great hoopla in the press (sort of like our fixation on Olympic medals which only seem to matter if we win them). So why is it that when Paul Krugman wins the Nobel for economics I don't see any mention of it in this evening's Google News?

We've got stuff about Levi and Bristol. Why not some delighted headlines about Krugman?

Is it because he has long been a fierce critic of the Bush administration and usually right about his critiques?

And, my fellow bloggers, Dr. Krugman is a blogger!

A very hearty congratulations, sir. Well done!

Prof Krugman lectures in economics and international affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey, and also writes a regular column for the New York Times.

He has long been a fierce critic of US President George W Bush's administration, arguing that its economic policies have helped spark the current financial crisis.

The Nobel jury said Prof Krugman's work had led to theories that could help explain the effects of free trade and globalisation and the driving force behind worldwide urbanisation.

"He has thereby integrated the previously disparate research fields of international trade and economic geography," the academy said in its citation.

--the BBC

--the BB

Glimpses of the devastatiion and rebuilding

Boarded up with open windows
This building was boarded up after Katrina; Gustav removed the front wall.

We commute by it each morning; it was days after I had returned from my road trip before that wall was removed from the street.

Reconstruction next door to St Anna's

Awaiting renovation. Lots of greenery growing on the roof to the right.

Still needing work

I have more photos and hope to take some more. Almost all of New Orleans consists of new building, renovations, and abandoned, deteriorating structures like this. The side-by-side contrasts are staggering. There is so much work still to be done to bring this city fully back to life.

As I have said before, I admire and respect the people of Greater New Orleans.
--the BB


The Court House Administration Office at 2700 Tulane Avenue has some great inscriptions on it. I shot this one while stopped at the light at Broad Street recently. I really wanted a memento of this sentiment as carved there in stone.

' I will close Guantanamo. I will restore habeas corpus. And we will end torture and rendition because you will have elected a president who has taught the Constitution and believes in the Constitution and will obey the Constitution of the United States of America." -- Barack Obama, February 27 2008.'

Given that this is so central to my concerns about national politics and the current state of the nation, this one statement by Senator Obama would be all the reason I would need to vote for him.

I want my country back.
--the BB

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Debunking lies

h/t to Susan Russell

A weekend in New Orleans

Eddie and Dillinger went to work with daddy yesterday and hung out with Aunt Jen. For a couple of certified scamps, they were very well behaved. Of course, what dad can't see or hear for being at the other end of the floor need not be explored. Eddie allegedly used Aunt Jen's extra minutes and made long-distance calls on her cell phone. I hope they weren't to Australia.

Anyhow, here they are checking out the swimming pool at the neighboring hotel. I believe some bikini-clad females had been out taking in the sun earlier.

My carpool chum and I went to the WWII Museum this afternoon.

And, finally, here is a shot to prove I went to church this morning. Kirstin, you will recognize the candle bank in the narthex at St Anna's on the Esplanade. I want you to know the lit candle in the lower right of the photo was lit for you. I had no small currency so it's a $20 candle - I hope it works and you feel better!

--the BB

Yes we can

In this country, justice can be won against the greatest of odds; hope can find its way back to the darkest of corners; and when we are told that we cannot bring about the change that we seek, we answer with one voice - yes, we can.

- Barack Obama, Raleigh, North Carolina, May 6, 2008

h/t to NLinStPaul

Hope or Hate? You Decide

Another h/t to noweasels (who was called a "Demonazi" while out registering voters)
--the BB

Military wives for Obama

h/t to noweasels
--the BB