God tells me to copy and paste, so you can't stop me. -- Kate

"You know, I could run for governor, but I'm basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business ..." -- G.W. Bush

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. -- Galileo Galilei

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Haven’t been able to think of anything or find anything good to blog about this past week. On Thanksgiving I was thankful that my family stayed away from politics. The possibility of having a Presidential Yacht might have been interesting to discuss. We need billions for a war and Social Security and a bunch of other things but sure we can get a million or two together to get a big fancy boat that will need constant protection even when not in use. I’m sure my father would have said that we were attacking the President for no good reason. From what I remember, he had no problem attacking Clinton. I have a weird family.

The election in the Ukraine is interesting but has been covered well in other places, not that that stops me from covering a topic in my own off-center way. I don’t think there will ever be a voter demonstration here, at least not like in the Ukraine, between the voting machines that can’t do recounts and the general lack of interest or concern about voting, before or after voting. Plus this administration would probably have demonstrators sent to Gitmo or the outer limits of the law.

On a different topic, food gifts seem to be the way to go in my family. Some of them are goofy politically but I still get them gifts. My sister found that I can get a box of single serving packs of peanut butter and jelly at Smuckers on-line. For some reason they don’t sell the peanut butter packs at BJ’s, they do have the variety pack of jellies. I’ve been wanting someone to sell the PBs and now the Smucker’s stuff is sounding like good gifts. I don’t like to push products but these little packets are handy.

On different different topic, it’s the end for Ken Jennings on-Jeopardy. 75 games and $2.5 million and he loses to his opponent by $1. More amazingly, I think I know the answer to the Final Jeopardy question. Wow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I wish they would say how much chocolate these people had. The same thing with the chocolate and coughing. This is need to know information. If a bit of chocolate makes you feel better or makes your baby happeir then why the heck not have some if it's not too much. Chocolate is much cheaper than most prescription medications.

Chocolate 'makes for happy babies'

It could be the perfect excuse for mums-to-be everywhere this Easter.
Scientists in Finland say eating chocolate during pregnancy may make for happier, livelier babies.

They questioned 300 women before and after they gave birth. They found those who ate chocolate daily were more likely to say they had happy babies.

According to a report in New Scientist magazine, the scientists believe mood-altering chemicals in chocolate may be responsible.

Katri Raikkonen and colleagues at the University of Helsinki questioned each of the women while they were pregnant.

The women were asked to rate their stress levels and the amount of chocolate they ate.

The women were surveyed again six months after they had given birth. This time they were asked to rate their infants behaviour.

The scientists found that women who regularly ate chocolate while they were pregnant were more likely to say their babies smiled and laughed a lot. They were also more likely to say they were active.

The scientists also found apparent differences between the babies of stressed women who ate chocolate and stressed women who didn't.

Stressed women who ate chocolate were more likely to say their babies were less fearful in new situations.

Stressed women who didn't eat chocolate said their babies were quite fearful in new situations.

Chocolate chemicals
The scientists said that while they could not rule out other factors, they speculated that the results could be linked to chocolate consumption.

They said chemicals in chocolate could be passed from mothers to babies in the womb.

But chocolate manufacturer Cadbury's played down the findings.

"The chemical in chocolate that is said to boost people's mood is phenylethylamine," a spokesman told BBC News Online.

"However, it is found in much smaller quantities in chocolate compared to other foods like tomatoes and fruit.

"We think the mood altering effects of chocolate are more to do with psychology rather than chemicals.

"When chocolate melts in the mouth, it has a soothing, pleasurable quality and people feel happy about it."

Nigel Denby of the British Dietetic Association was also sceptical.

"While chocolate can stimulate the release of serotonin, the happy hormone, it is unlikely that this will cross the placenta and affect the baby," he told BBC News Online.

He warned mums-to-be against over-indulging in chocolate.

"Women should only increase their weight in line with normal recommendations when they are pregnant.

"Chocolate is very high in calories and eating too much could lead to unsatisfactory weight gain.

"I wouldn't advocate supplementing the diet during pregnancy with chocolate."

Finally, a tasty way to get rid of a cough.

Chocolate could be cough medicine

An ingredient of chocolate could put a stop to persistent coughs and lead to new, more effective cough medicines, research suggests.
Scientists found the key ingredient, theobromine, is nearly a third more effective in stopping persistent coughs than the leading medicine codeine.

They say it produces fewer side effects than conventional treatment - and would not leave people drowsy.

The research, led by Imperial College London, is published in FASEB journal.

This discovery could be a huge step forward in treating this problem.

Researcher Professor Peter Barnes said: "Coughing is a medical condition which affects most people at some point in their lives, and yet no effective treatment exists.

"While persistent coughing is not necessarily harmful it can have a major impact on quality of life, and this discovery could be a huge step forward in treating this problem."

The researchers gave 10 healthy volunteers theobromine, a placebo or codeine at different times.

They then exposed the volunteers to capsaicin, a substance used in clinical research to cause coughing.

The concentration of capsaicin required to produce a cough in those people given theobromine was around one third higher when compared with the group receiving a placebo.

When the group received codeine they needed only marginally higher levels of capsaicin to produce coughing, compared with the placebo.

Nerve activity
Theobromine works by suppressing vagus nerve activity, which is responsible for causing coughing.

The team also discovered that unlike standard cough treatments, theobromine caused no adverse effects on either the cardiovascular or central nervous systems.

Professor Maria Belvisi, who also worked on the study, said: "Not only did theobromine prove more effective than codeine, at the doses used it was found to have none of the side effects.

"Normally the effectiveness of any treatment is limited by the dosage you can give someone.

"With theobromine having no demonstrated side effects in this study it may be possible to give far bigger doses, further increasing its effectiveness.

"At the same time, theobromine may not have any of the side effects such as drowsiness. This means there will be no restrictions on when it can be taken.

"For example, people using heavy machinery or who are driving should not take codeine, but they could take theobromine."

Encouraging results
Dame Helena Shovelton, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation said: "The results of this research sound very promising.

"Persistant coughing often affects lung disease patients so this could be a progressive step in terms of treating it. Also, it is encouraging to find no adverse effects.

"We would like to see more research done to fully understand the potential of these findings and would advise patients to speak to their GP before changing their medication or treating their cough with chocolate!"

Dr Richard Russell, of the British Thoracic Society, said: "Over-the-counter sales for acute cough medicines currently reach approximately £100m a year in the UK - money that is being spent on remedies, where there is no evidence that they work.

"The number of people with undiagnosed chronic cough is increasing in this country - and more effective treatments are needed.

"The condition can be really distressing and so I hope this research provides a clue for future treatments."

Thursday, November 18, 2004

In Texas, 28,000 Students Test an Electronic Eye

Interesting that Texas schools would treat kids like cattle. ;-)

I find it kind of eerie and stomach turning to read about little kids wearing ID badges to school. The parents don’t seem to notice that it’s a false sense of security. How does mom know her little one got to school? The act of wearing a badge does not guarantee that the child gets to school or that the parent will know that their kid got to school for hours. The parent may not know that the kid didn’t get to school until he or she doesn’t come home in the afternoon.
"I'm sure we're being overprotective, but you hear about all this violence," said Elisa Temple-Harvey, 34, the parent of a fourth grader. "I'm not saying this will curtail it, or stop it, but at least I know she made it to campus."
My big problem with all this is that it makes parents feel better but does it really work? Who’s watching? Is anyone really paying attention? Sure the police were watching things the day the reporter showed up to do the interview for the story but what about the next day and the day after that.

The card doesn’t start tracking until it’s read into the system. Mom doesn’t know if her kid got to school unless she saw her kid get on the bus and the driver made sure that all the cards are read. (Just thought, what if one kid had more than one card when they get off the bus. Could more than one card be read at a time? Would anyone notice that more than one was read into the system?) If the kid doesn’t show up at school, do they call the parents to make sure the kid is sick or out for a reason the parent knows about? How on top of it are they at the school to make those phone calls. I guess the ID would help identify the kids if there was an accident.
In front of her gated apartment complex, Courtney Payne, a 9-year-old fourth grader with dark hair pulled tightly into a ponytail, exits a yellow school bus. Moments later, her movement is observed by Alan Bragg, the local police chief, standing in a windowless control room more than a mile away.

Chief Bragg is not using video surveillance. Rather, he watches an icon on a computer screen. The icon marks the spot on a map where Courtney got off the bus, and, on a larger level, it represents the latest in the convergence of technology and student security.
From what I’ve seen, security like this is more for after an accident or a kidnapping. Parents approve of these kinds of systems but don’t realize that it prbably won’t bring their child back in minutes or even hours. After the kid disappears they use it to find or identify the child.

Or it lets the school off the hook.

(Spoken by an authoritative voice.)
Yes Mrs. Smith, our records show that little Johnny left school at 2:47, got on the school bus at 2:52 and got off it at 3:17. It’s your problem now, we did our job. Why don’t you know where your kid went?

This is looks more like cover-your-ass technology. Point fingers away.

Funny thing, adults don't want a national ID but they are quick to put a badge with a chip in it around their kid's neck or even a chip IN the kid (it's in the article). It's ok to track the kids just don't track mom and dad.

I think my sister is right; the idea in the end is to slowly, subtly get people used to being labeled, watched, and tracked. It might not be front of chip promoters' minds but there is a trend towards getting people more and more comfortable with producing identification on demand.

Can't get into your job if you don't have your ID. Can't park your car where you want if you don't have a sticker in the window or a tag hanging from the rearview mirror. Yeah, I really want strangers to know where I work. Your kid can't go to school here if they don't wear their badges in the open. Make sure it beeps to prove you belong here.

(Spoken by a soft caring feminine voice.)
We here at Paranoia School District want you to know that your child is safe at school. We want to gently, with a large bore needle, place a chip in their arm, then mom and dad can just check the internet from work to see that junior got there and is in class. It's all in the name of progress and keeping your child safe. You are for progress aren't you? You want to keep your kid safe don’t you? You aren't some kind of backwards luddite child abusing freak are you?

Seems to me that there are better people to stick chips into. How about people who get restraining orders; both parties get chipped. A signal gets sent to the police if the chips get too close. Odds are a person who needs a restraining order is probably in more danger than a random kid in a school district that has never had a child kidnapped.

Of course this will never happen. Adults have a right to privacy that children don’t seem to permitted to have. Paranoid parent wins out over pissed off kid every time. Not that that’s always a bad thing. Kids do need some protection but I think some parents may go a bit overboard. Just my, unasked for, chipped at work, opinion.

By the way, there are some adults who will happily get chipped. (Gee, I wonder when that meaning will make it into the dictionary?) Barcelona clubbers get chipped

And, in case you need to know how to properly use a chip in a way that does not worship the Beast, check out When is the Chip not the Mark of the Beast ? Remember, ENSLAVEMENT BEGINS WITH NUMBERING.

I’m not interested in being numbered either, too reminiscent of the Holocaust.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Stole this from a commenter at Atrios.
It was under this post, Ridge Gone?. Very interesting.

These are the findings of the Education State Rankings, a survey by Morgan Quitno Press of hundreds of public school systems in all 50 states.

States were graded on a variety of factors based on how they compare to the national average. These included such positive attributes as per-pupil expenditures, public high school graduation rates, average class size, student reading and math proficiency, and pupil-teacher ratios.

States received negative points for high drop-out rates and physical violence.

4 of the 5 smartest states voted for Kerry.
7 of the 10 smartest states voted for Kerry.
8 of the 10 dumbest states voted for Bush.
16 of the 20 dumbest states voted for Bush.
The 7 dumbest states voted for Bush.


KERRY 1. Massachusetts
KERRY 2. Connecticut
KERRY 3. Vermont
KERRY 4. New Jersey
BUSH 5. Wisconsin
KERRY 6. New York
KERRY 7. Minnesota
BUSH 8. Iowa
KERRY 9. Pennsylvania
BUSH 10. Montana

KERRY 11. Maine
BUSH 12. Virginia
KERRY 13. Nebraska
KERRY 14. New Hampshire
BUSH 15. Kansas
BUSH 16. Wyoming
BUSH 17. Indiana
KERRY 18. Maryland
BUSH 19. North Dakota
BUSH 20. Ohio

BUSH 21. Colorado
BUSH 22. South Dakota
KERRY 23. Rhode Island
KERRY 24. Illinois
BUSH 25. North Carolina
BUSH 26. Missouri
KERRY 27. Delaware
BUSH 28. Utah
BUSH 29. Idaho
KERRY 30. Washington

KERRY 31. Michigan
BUSH 32. South Carolina
BUSH 33. Texas
BUSH 33. West Virginia (tie)
KERRY 35. Oregon
BUSH 36. Arkansas
BUSH 37. Kentucky
BUSH 38. Georgia
BUSH 39. Florida
BUSH 40. Oklahoma

BUSH 41. Tennessee
KERRY 42. Hawaii
KERRY 43. California
BUSH 44. Alabama
BUSH 45. Alaska
BUSH 46. Louisiana
BUSH 47. Mississippi
BUSH 48. Arizona
BUSH 49. Nevada
BUSH 50. New Mexico

renato | Email | Homepage | 11.16.04 - 10:00 am | #

Monday, November 15, 2004

Conference on blogs' news impact

Ana Marie Cox [Wonkette!] and others who maintain "blogs" were criticized after the November 2 presidential election for posting exit polls throughout the day -- a practice frowned upon in the mainstream media because the data could sway the outcome.
For exit poll numbers to have any meaning, people have to see them as well as believe them. This study shows that only about 4% of people on the internet read blogs. Not everybody in the country is on the internet but many more watch TV. That makes seeing that stuff on TV much more compelling then seeing it on the internet.
"Our credibility is suffering with so many people rushing to publish things without checking them out," McAdams said after Cox's speech. "Blogging is really great. I like that more and more people have a voice. That's good ... But it doesn't give people who call themselves journalists an excuse to not check out the information."

Maybe we need to call bloggers primitive journalists like they do with artists without formal training. Of course, I’ve always thought that the word primitive was a bit condescending so that word won’t do. Anybody have any ideas?

How manay bloggers call themselves journalists? My cousin was a journalist but I don't think she condsiders her blogging as journalism. I wouldn't. Journalists tend to be told what to write about and bloggers decide for themselves. It's bloggers for me!

Something I just thought of. I know the little button on Blogger says “Publish Post” but I never really thought of it as actual publishing in the formal sense. I don’t feel like I’m publishing anything, it feels more like legal grafitti, I’m just putting my writing out on an electronic wall where anyone who cares to look can see it.

I just passed by the TV in the hallway here at work, it’s set to CNN. The correspondent was talking of how the military is going from house to house looking for insurgents in Falluja.

I can’t help but think of drug raids on houses here. They sometimes go wrong. The police or FBI agents, pumped up on adreneline and expecting a fight, break down a door and scare the crap out of everyone. Kill the family pet, even threaten the baby. Sometimes shoot one or two family members because they run away from the folks with the guns. I’d run away too, it’s human nature to run away from someone who looks like they want to kill you.

My heart aches for the people in Falluja. They are so screwed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I added a couple of links to the Linkity Links list. The Rittenhouse Review and Suburban Guerrilla posted people’s voting day adventures. I want to remember these for next year and probably forever. (Dang! I thought I could just show a single link to SG’s voting day posts but she posted throughout the day. If you want to read them do a Find (Alt+F on Tuesday). Just look at the posts early in the day for Nov 2nd.)

Most of the times I’ve voted are a vague memory. I barely remember the first time I voted, I know I was looking forward to it. I remember it was in the basement of a house and I voted for Jimmy Carter. I remember watching a speech he gave saying that Americans were going to have to buckle down, conserve and save, that times ahead may not be easy. I agreed with him. I was 18 and for some reason I thought he made sense. We needed to do something about dependence on foreign oil then and we still do. Gee, I wonder why he lost.

I’m sure I was unhappy when he lost but nowhere near as unhappy as I’ve been since Nov 2. I don’t remember so many people being so depressed over an election, maybe I don’t hang around the right people. I was at the Reading Terminal Market last week having dinner. There was a woman on her cell phone next to me saying something about going to a friend’s house and that she wanted to be around people who felt like she did, “sick to my stomach.” I felt her pain.

Now I go back and read strangers voting day adventures and I feel a variety of things. Sick to my stomach is one of them but there’s more. I feel amazed that so many people took the time to vote and write about it. I feel optimistic about the people who voted for the first time, I’ve haven’t felt that way about voting for a long time. I feel happiness for the people who had become American citizens and were voting for the first time ever. I felt sad for the people who had to fight to vote and good for them when they won.

People need to remember these stories and their own stories, for next year and forever.

From Josh Marshall through Suburban Guerrilla:
The best of all was an 80 year old African American man who said to me: “When I first started I wasn’t even allowed to vote. Then, when I did, they was trying to intimidate me. But now I see all these folks here to make sure that my vote counts. This is the first time in my life that I feel like when I cast my vote it’s actually gonna be heard.”

To see people coming out — elderly, disabled, blind, poor; people who have to hitch rides, take buses, etc — and then staying in line for hours and hours and hours... Well, it’s humbling. And it’s awesome. And it’s kind of beautiful.

Sometimes you forget what America is.

I think there’s hope.

From The Rittenhouse Review:
Los Angeles: Co-worker story. First time voter, recently became a citizen after 22 years of living in this great country. Felt this was the most important election during his life in the states. From Iran originally. As an ex-Republican activist, he felt that he needed to atone for his sins. That's why he made sure he voted this election, and not for a Republican he wanted me to be sure to add.

Jackson, Mich.: I decided to vote before work so I got up at 6:00 a.m. to beat the crowd. Not that it's a problem, I've been voting in the same precinct for 12 years and have never had to wait at all. I about crapped my pants when I pulled in to the school parking lot. It looked like the middle of a school day there. There were cars everywhere, lots of young first time voters too. Bush is toast!
New York: Voted at Cooper Union in Manhattan. More people than usual, no problems. My wife and I felt exhilarated and powerful.

I’m still a little sick to my stomach but at least PA went to Kerry.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I found this on Kos. You’ve probably seen it already but I think it’s worth repeating. I’ve thought this myself many times. I don’t know why I never wrote it down.

Real Conservative Values
by Chris Bowers

One of the more preposterous things I see many on the lefty blogosphere post about is how George Bush is not a "real" conservative. In making this argument, many bloggers go on to cite the supposed conservative values that George Bush does not represent. These values go something like this:

· "Real" conservatives value fiscal responsibility and solvency, but George Bush does not

· "Real" conservatives value personal liberties, but George Bush does not.

· "Real" conservatives are not interested in overseas adventurism, especially without the help of our allies, but George Bush does not.

To all of this I say hogwash. George Bush is a self-proclaimed conservative. In this election, 84% of those people who identify as conservatives voted for George Bush, thereby endorsing his policies. I say, and my Catholic upbringing says, that your actions are your beliefs, and there is no difference between the two. Considering this, it is time to face some facts:

· Real conservatives value fiscal insolvency, including irresponsible tax cuts, corporate giveaways, massive spending increases, huge undisclosed pork-barrel spending projects hammered out during congressional conference, rather than actual budget legislation on the Congressional floor that is open to the public and recorded in the public record. You know that conservatives value these things, because these are the things the vast majority of self-proclaimed conservatives do.

· Real conservatives do not value your personal liberties. They like disenfranchising voters, challenging voters, and making it more difficult to vote. They like it when the government is in your bedroom. They want to be able to spy on your personal files. They do not respect your right to privacy. They like to tell you who you can and cannot love, and what you can and cannot do to your own body. You know these are conservative values, because conservatives regularly pass laws of this nature.

· Real conservatives like to recklessly use the military They love war, and regularly resort to it as one of their first choices. They have no respect for the lives their policies destroy, as long as they have more bases overseas. They derive their values from violence, and detest peace. They will come up with any excuse possible, and cynically invent several more, to use force whenever possible, wherever possible. You know these are conservative values, because these are the actions conservatives take.

Real conservatives are bloodthirsty, reckless with our tax money, and want to tell you how to live your life. They are intolerant, warmongering and irresponsible. You know these are real conservatives values, because you can find anyone's beliefs in what they do, not what they say.

Republicans :: Sun Nov 7th, 2004 at 10:52:10 PM EST

Repeat this over and over again to everyone you know, particularly to those values voters. When they look at you like you're crazy give examples, there are plenty of them, many of the good ones are above.

Here's my personal favorite. I admit that it's my fovorite mostly because it's personal:
They just raised the debt cap again, is that good money management? The Federal Gov't gets to spend more just because the FG wants to. They use Social Security and my Thrift Savings Plan to help keep things in balance. Let's rob Peter to pay Paul, that's the best way to keep accounts settled. Cooking the books is good enough for Enron and Global Crossing then it's good enough for the Federal government.

Monday, November 08, 2004

All I can say is that if the U. S. government is going to install democracy aroung the world than either the other countries should get the same convoluted system that we have or we get the same simplified verifiable system that we’re installing in Afganistand and Iraq.
New Standards for Elections
The 2004 election may not have an asterisk next to it the way the 2000 election does, but the mechanics of our democracy remained badly flawed. From untrustworthy electronic voting machines, to partisan secretaries of state, to outrageously long lines at the polls, the election system was far from what voters are entitled to.

It's patently obvious that presidential elections, at least, should be conducted under uniform rules. Voters in Alaska and Texas should not have different levels of protection when it comes to their right to cast a ballot and have it counted. It's ridiculous that citizens who vote in one place have to show picture ID while others do not, that a person who accidentally walks into the wrong polling place can cast a provisional ballot that will be counted in one state but thrown out in another. States may have the right to set their own standards for local elections, but picking the president is a national enterprise.

This is obviously a job for Congress, and it deserves the same kind of persistent, intense lobbying effort that reformers have given the issue of campaign finance. But improvements by the states may be easier to achieve, and will clearly help prod Congress by their good example. Advocates should push every level of government to be part of the solution:

1. A holiday for voting. It's wrong for working people to be forced to choose between standing in a long line to vote and being on time for work. Election Day should be a holiday, to underscore the significance of the event, to give all voters time to cast ballots and to free up more qualified people to serve as poll workers.

2. Early voting. In states that permit it, early voting encourages people to turn out by letting them vote at times that are convenient for them. And it gives election officials and outside groups more time to react to voting problems ranging from faulty voting machines to voter intimidation.

3. Improved electronic voting. For voters to trust electronic voting, there must be a voter-verified paper record of every vote cast, and mandatory recounts of a reasonable percentage of the votes. The computer code should be provided to election officials, and made public so it can be widely reviewed. There should be spot-checks of the software being used on Election Day, as there are of slot machines in Nevada, to ensure that the software in use matches what is on file with election officials.

4. Shorter lines at the polls. Forcing voters to wait five hours, as some did this year, is unreasonable, and it disenfranchises those who cannot afford the wait. There should be standards for the number of voting machines and poll workers per 100 voters, to ensure that waiting times are reasonable and uniform from precinct to precinct.

5. Impartial election administrators. Partisan secretaries of state routinely issued rulings this year that favored their parties and themselves. Decisions about who can vote and how votes will be counted should be made by officials who are not running for higher office or supporting any candidates. Voting machine manufacturers and their employees, and companies that handle ballots, should not endorse or contribute to political candidates.

6. Uniform and inclusive voter registration standards. Registration forms should be simplified, so no one is again disenfranchised for failing to check a superfluous box, as occurred this year in Florida, or for not using heavy enough paper, as occurred in Ohio. The rules should be geared to getting as many qualified voters as possible on the rolls.

7. Accurate and transparent voting roll purges. This year, Florida once again conducted a flawed and apparently partisan purge of its rolls, and went to court to try to keep it secret. There should be clear standards for how purges are done that are made public in advance. Names that are due to be removed should be published, and posted online, well in advance of Election Day.

8. Uniform and voter-friendly standards for counting provisional ballots. A large number of provisional ballots cast by registered voters were thrown out this year because they were handed in at the wrong precinct. There should be a uniform national rule that such ballots count.

9. Upgraded voting machines and improved ballot design. Incredibly, more than 70 percent of the Ohio vote was cast on the infamous punch card ballots, which produce chads and have a high error rate. States should shift to better machines, ideally optical scans, which combine the efficiency of computers and the reliability of a voter-verified paper record. Election officials should get professional help to design ballots that are intuitive and clear, and minimize voter error.

10. Fair and uniform voter ID rules. No voter should lose his right to vote because he is required to produce identification he does not have. ID requirements should allow for an expansive array of acceptable identification. The rules should be posted at every polling place, and poll workers should be carefully trained so no one is turned away, as happened repeatedly this year, for not having ID that was not legally required.

11. An end to minority vote suppression. Protections need to be put in place to prevent Election Day challengers from turning away qualified minority voters or slowing down voting in minority precincts. More must be done to stop the sort of dirty tricks that are aimed at minority voters every year, like fliers distributed in poor neighborhoods warning that people with outstanding traffic tickets are ineligible to vote. Laws barring former felons from voting, which disproportionately disenfranchise minorities, should be rescinded.

12. Improved absentee ballot procedures. Voters outside of their states, including military voters, have a right to receive absentee ballots in a timely fashion, which did not always happen this year. Absentee ballots should be widely available for downloading over the Internet. Voters should not be asked, as military voters were this year, to send their ballots by fax lines or e-mail, denying them a secret ballot.

This year's election, thankfully, did not end in the kind of breakdown we witnessed in 2000. But that was because of luck. There were many places in the country where, if the vote had been closer, scrutiny of the election process would have produced the same sort of consternation. In a closely divided political world, we cannot depend on a margin for error when it comes to counting votes. We have four years now to make things right.

Making Votes Count: Editorials in this series remain online at nytimes.com/makingvotescount.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Oh hi. Been meaning to stop in and say something but I've been a bit down the past few days, you understand I'm sure. Still can't bring myself to remove the Kerry/Edwards banner. I figure that eventually it will just disappear by itself. **sigh**

I've had some questions going through my head during the past few days while I've been out of it. Answers to these questions would not mean a change in the outcome from Tuesday. All I know is we really need a change in how things are done here.

1. Why is electing a president by popular vote called democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq but we need an electoral college? (This change wouldn't have changed things this time around, maybe--see question 2)

2. Why are recountable, not as prone to fraud paper ballots the best way to go in Afghanistan and Iraq but we in this great nation have to vote with no way of proving that the machine recorded exactly what we the voter really wanted? (Maybe this would have changed things.)

3. Why do we not have a standard way of voting for the leader of this country but other, so-called lesser countries have a streamlined verifiable way of voting? (Maybe this would have made a difference.)

That second question, that's the question that has really been gnawing at me. Check out this article--Global monitors find faults

MIAMI The global implications of the U.S. election are undeniable, but international monitors at a polling station in southern Florida said Tuesday that voting procedures being used in the extremely close contest fell short in many ways of the best global practices.

The observers said they had less access to polls than in Kazakhstan, that the electronic voting had fewer fail-safes than in Venezuela, that the ballots were not so simple as in the Republic of Georgia and that no other country had such a complex national election system.

"To be honest, monitoring elections in Serbia a few months ago was much simpler," said Konrad Olszewski, an election observer stationed in Miami by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

"They have one national election law and use the paper ballots I really prefer over any other system," Olszewski said
I know darned well nothing is gonna change here.

This is the U. S. of A. and we don't change nuttin' for nobody, 'specially to no foreign way of doin' things, dag-nabbit!

Oh well, who knows. I really do believe miracles happen and maybe if I copy and paste enough over the next few years maybe, just maybe . . . . . .

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I don’t much like Triumph the insult comic dog but I sure like him yesterday. Very funny and kind of sad when a comic and a puppet feel the need to tell news people to do their job.

CARLSON: No. But -- so, as a nonpartisan dog, who do you think is going to win tomorrow?

TRIUMPH: I couldn't care less. Tucker, I'm just happy to be with you, you know? You're the one man in the country who is so repellent, you could make a woman want to sleep with Paul Begala.


CARLSON: You know, that's the sweetest thing anyone said to me all day.



BEGALA: I saw you at the debates in the spin room. You did a terrific job.

TRIUMPH: Yes. Yes.

I said that your head was so far up Clinton's butt that they called you the colonoscope.


TRIUMPH: You people have a responsibility. Jon is right. This is CNN.

CARLSON: OK, now, I'm starting to hate you. So we're going to have to end the program.

TRIUMPH: No, this is CNN. This is CROSSFIRE, the 36th most popular show on CNN.



BEGALA: Thank you, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.

From the left, I am Paul Begala. That's it for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: And from the right, chastened, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow, as James Carville, Bob Novak, join us...


CNN Crossfire

I kind of remember the dog saying more than that but that’s how CNN does its transcripts. The funny part was when whiney Tucker immediately said he didn’t like Triumph any more. How awful, to be mad at a puppet.

Here are some useful state links

PA Dept of State

NJ Office of the Attorney General

State of Delaware Voter info

CBS Phila Election Coverage

BBC: Timetable: US election results

Well folks, today is the big day! Papers are talking records turnouts and major and minor annoyances.


Vote early, go to work late. I did. Do you think they will fire you for being an little late? Probably not today.

Go vote at lunch time, it’s worth the trip. See if you can take some time off so you can miss the crowds.

Act sick, leave early.

Call out sick, vote.

Two divisions vote in the same recreation center as me. I voted about 7:30 and was number 32, my sister was 31. We waited in line for about 10 minutes, not bad at all. The other line was already in the 60’s when we got there. I got to the polling place a little later than I meant to so I got to work a little later but that’s ok. My work will get done and the really important work is already done.



Monday, November 01, 2004

This is something I’ve been meaning to look up for some time now. This article doesn’t tell me everything I want to know but it’s a start.

Picking a President: Six Major Papers Choose
By E&P Staff
Published: October 10, 2004 10:00 AM EDT

NEW YORK Three more important news papers today endorsed Sen. John Kerry, who has been on a roll this weekend in E&P's exclusive daily tabulation of newspapers throwing their support to a candidate in the hard-fought race for the White House.

The largest papers in three swing states endorsed Kerry today: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Portland Press Herald in Maine.

Yesterday Kerry picked up the backing of three other large papers: The Oregonian in the other Portland (which backed President Bush in 2000), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Bush notched no major endorsements this weekend (that we are aware of), and the current official E&P count stands at ten papers for Kerry and five for Bush, with Kerry holding about a 5-1 advantage in the circulation of the newspapers backing him. (If you know of any endorsements published this weekend but not included here, please write to: letters@editorandpublisher.com)

Today's Inquirer pick gives Kerry both major papers in Philadelphia, with the Daily News having endorsed him back in June.

In its editorial today, the Inquirer calls its recommendation "urgent, deeply felt." It attacks Bush's presidency as one that started with "high promise that lapsed into multiple disasters." Among those disasters: running up the deficit and a response to the 9/11 attacks that has "gone fatefully awry," leaving Americans "less safe."

It concluded: "John Kerry isn't perfect. He has things to learn. One thing Americans should have learned by now, though, is that the incumbent lacks the realism, judgment and ability to adjust to events that the United States needs in its commander in chief. In this perilous moment, the safer choice, the wiser choice, is John F. Kerry."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch declared, "President George W. Bush has not earned re-election. He has mishandled the war on terrorism, shut his eyes to disagreeable facts, left the next generation in hock and presided over a sharp loss in jobs, health insurance and prosperity for millions of Americans."

In its editorial today, the daily in Portland, Maine -- the largest in that state -- said, "it is because we believe Kerry has, on the whole, the better plan for America that we endorse him for President of the United States."

After mentioning several areas where Kerry had the edge, the paper highlighted one issue not often discussed in endorsement editorials.

"With four members of the U.S. Supreme Court over the age of 70, the next president is likely to have the opportunity to shape its ideological framework for years to come," the Press Herald wrote. "This has many implications and one issue especially stands out: President Bush is committed to appointing justices willing to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that underpins abortion rights.

"Reversal of Roe would harm the reproductive rights of women, of course, but could also drive abortion services underground, making it unsafe for those who choose exercise this right. The person best qualified to decide whether to have an abortion is the woman who is pregnant. The candidate most likely to protect that right to choose is Kerry."

Now I know there are some people who might look at this and say, ‘Of course the stupid liberal media is endorsing Kerry, that's what they do.’ My view, the stupid media isn't really liberal if Rush dumbo, Tucker Carlson and a host of other rightwingers are encouraged to spout their dreck.

I figure that the people at local newspapers are the people who read every thing that comes down the newswire and know more than I know. If the majority of big papers are pro-Kerry then maybe everybody should be too, they probably know something you don't know.

Most Papers Back Kerry

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Centre Daily Times on Sunday endorsed Sen. John Kerry for president, saying the nation needs a fresh start on issues ranging from foreign policy to constitutional rights. The Scranton Times and The Tribune made no endorsement.

In New Jersey, five daily newspapers endorsed Sen. John Kerry for president, and one backed President Bush.

"Four years ago Al Gore won the popular vote and George Bush, after a Supreme Court decision, became president. The new chief executive promised to be a uniter, not divider. So much for that pledge," The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said.

. . .

"George W. Bush's approach to the economy has been to take care of the rich, his political base; give the companies run by his campaign contributors free rein; and tell other Americans that his policies will improve their situation, eventually."
. . .

The newspaper said Kerry "because of his strong labor ties" will be more responsive to the country's unemployed and working families and will also make America stronger abroad.
. . .

"After Sept. 11, America enjoyed more worldwide goodwill than at any time since 1941 -- perhaps since 1776," the newspaper wrote. "Rather than doggedly pursuing terrorist leaders in Afghanistan linked by solid evidence to the cowardly attacks in New York, Washington and the skies over western Pennsylvania, he invaded Iraq."

"And that debacle has engendered even more hostility for America and our way of life in parts of the Islamic world than existed before hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and into a field in western Pennsylvania.

The editorial praised Kerry's "thoughtfulness" and said he would be more prudent with taxpayers' money.

"Sen. John Kerry offers a thoughtfulness sadly missing in the current administration, ..." the editorial said. "He promises a more disciplined fiscal policy, expanded health care coverage and better environmental protection."
. . .

There’s more to read, go take a look. I counted 162 endorsements for Kerry listed on the John Kerry for President website, Newspaper and Media Endorsements.

I’m guessing that Bush/Cheney endorsements aren’t as numerous or impressive since I can’t seem to find a list of them on their website. You can go hunt for them if you have the urge, I spent at least 15 minutes searching the site and couldn’t find a comprehensive list. I really did try to find a list, maybe that's a another area of unclassifiied but secret information. Look here for GWB news.

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