Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
By the our count, at least twelve Ohio counties have split the presidential contest over two columns on their paper ballots for this November's election. This "column split" often confuses voters and results in double voting in the presidential race and an uncounted vote. Today the Brennan Center urged election officials and advocates in Ohio to make sure that voters are aware of the split, and to make sure they vote only once for president.
As a quick glance will show, it's no surprise that many voters cast two votes for president when the contest is listed across two separate columns
A sample of the split ballot follows below, and looks like it could result in a lot of spoiled ballots from overvotes, and folks writing in their choice for President in addition to filling in the bubble on the first column. More details from Larry Norden at the Brennan Center here...
Tonight's CBS Evening News finally covered what may well be the November Surprise that we've been trying to warn about for months here at The BRAD BLOG: Massive voter roll purges being done in secret, with little or no oversight, and often under federal Justice Department cover, in states and counties around the country.
And the Democrats, who likely have the most to lose via such secret purges, are doing little or nothing about it.
The CBS story, posted below (appx 2 mins) starts with an elderly New Jersey voter who was suddenly removed from the voting rolls after thirty years, for apparently no reason whatsoever, before launching into findings from a new non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice study on "Voter Purges".
We've yet to read this Brennan report, but the brief coverage from tonight's Evening News notes 10,000 voters purged in Mississippi, 21,000 in Louisiana and "to top it off, another new study discovered 19 states are ignoring federal law (the National Voter Registration Act), banning systematic purges within 90 days of a federal election."
Among those 19, are a number of battleground states. The report lists: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Masachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington, as places where massive purges have recently taken place.
CBS ends by noting that their New Jersey voter has now been restored to the rolls, but they warn, "come Election Day, don't count on thousands of others being as fortunate"...
CBS' coverage doesn't even note that many states have now contracted the same private companies who did such a crappy job on their voting machines (companies like Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia) to manage, with the same lack of oversight, entire newly computerized state voting rolls. Names will be dropping from rolls this year by error or by evil...
Expectations for Sarah Palin continue to plummet in advance of the Veep Debate Thursday night. From NYTimes today...
"I think she has pretty thoroughly — and probably irretrievably — proven that she is not up to the job of being president of the United States," David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush who is now a conservative columnist, said in an interview.
At this rate, all Palin should have to do on Thursday is show up, and not pass out in the middle of the debate, and she'll be declared "the winner". For more background, please see Quayle '88, Bush '00 and Bush '04.
[Note: We'll be Guest Hosting The Mike Malloy Show this week, Wed - Fri, including during the debate on Thursday night. We'll be carrying it in full, starting at 6pm PT (9pm ET) followed by a world-class "Bloggers Roundtable". To hell with Chris Matthews and the professional spinners! We'll be talking with the folks who have been right, instead, for years! Scheduled to be with us so far: Marcy Wheeler of Empty Wheel, David "dday" Dayen of Hullabaloo and Calitics and more to be announced soon. Hope you'll tune in!]
Wow. These CBS/Katie Couric interviews on the economy with Sarah Palin are breathtaking. Cafferty's response afterwards is, on the other hand, a breath of fresh air in the corporate media.
If any serious John McCain supporter can claim, with a straight face, to actually have no problem voting for this woman for President, as that's what she's ostensibly running for, I'd sure like to hear it.
As it seems very few saw these when they originally aired (during the bailout panic last week), perhaps they need a bit more play. My god. Seriously, take a look at these...
Little wonder, then, that even rightwingers, after looking at this stuff, are starting to face reality, and call for Palin to be dropped from the ticket.
On CNN, Jack Cafferty was at least as alarmed by the interview as I was, noting on air that "If John McCain wins this woman will be one 72-year-old's heartbeat away from being President of the United States. And if that doesn't scare the hell out of you, it should." Take a look at his reaction...
As you'll note by the increase in items in John Gideon's Daily Voting News, coverage of election concerns is again reaching a fevered pitch. When it comes to election machines, most of those reports come far too late to effect any real change (other than perhaps to help encourage election officials to ensure there will be plenty of paper ballots on hand, to make sure they tell voters and poll workers about them, and then to finally count those damned ballots!)
It's clear, however, that while most election officials likely do their job honestly, there are a great number of them around the country who have little interest in voters --- certain voters --- being allowed to excercise their franchise at all.
While there is little time to do much about the machines, as they prepare to melt down, there is still time do something on the front-end voter suppression issues. Yet sadly, despite a few spotty efforts around the country, it seems those parties that do have an interest in voters actually voting (such as Obama and the DNC) have little clue about what they are facing. At least from what I've been able to learn about coordinated plans --- or lack thereof --- to combat the Republican assault on voting.
And, all the while, as Democrats dither, the well-coordinated Republican War on Democracy continues apace around the country, with new and disturbing reports coming out almost by the hour, revealing the national extent of the GOP's anti-democracy campaign.
The effort, by a number of election officials in so-called "swing states" around the country, meant to keep Democratic-leaning voters, such as students and minorities, from casting votes this year, is remarkable and growing. It is, of course, also appalling...
Today Laura Bush told CNN that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the Alaska governor, lacks experience in foreign policy.
You know, that's not been her role. But I think she is a very quick study, and fortunately John McCain does have that sort of experience.
Asked if she thought Palin's resume included sufficient foreign policy experience, Bush said, "Of course she doesn't have that."
If a similarly striking comment had been made by a powerful Democrat (or their spouse) about Barrack Obama or Joe Biden do you supposed it would have received a bit more coverage?
Nonetheless, I'll look forward to the wingnut commentary all weekend --- from the disingenous propagandists and their kool-aid chugging chumps alike --- following tonight's debate, about how the media is "in the tank" for Obama. And I'll look forward, as well, to the media internalizing that phony criticism and continuing to give every benefit of the doubt to a Republican, that they'd never even consider giving to a Democrat.
From a USA Today article, noting that The Simpsons will now be tied with Gunsmoke's record of 20 seasons on television...
Even though production begins nearly a year before broadcast, some upcoming shows are timely...In a segment of "Treehouse of Horror XIX" (Nov. 2), the annual Halloween trilogy, Homer tries to vote for Barack Obama, but the machine keeps casting ballots before attacking him.
UPDATE 10/2/08: The very funny (were it not so unfunny) clip of Homer trying to vote on Election Day 2008 is now posted here...
The Democratic candidate for Secretary of State in Washington state has released what he says will be the first of a series of campaign spots, satirizing the well-known "Mac v. PC" commercials, to highlight the differences between touch-screen voting machines and paper ballots.
Jason Osgood, a long-time election integrity advocate and opponent of unverifiable electronic voting systems, is running against the incumbent Republican Sec. of State, Sam Reed. Osgood joins several other citizen advocates across the country --- inlcuding Susan Rose Pynchon in Volusia County, FL, and Ellen Harriet Brodsky in Broward County, FL --- who have stepped up and decided to run this year against incumbent election officials who, they allege, have not been as responsive or transparent, in regard to voter concerns and citizen oversight, as they should be.
The 60-second spot released today by the Osgood campaign is seen below (text transcript is posted at the end of this article). It features two men standing in front of a white background, one who identifies himself as "Paper Ballot" and the other, dressed in a slick white leisure suit with sunglasses and headset, who declares, "I'm a high-tech, touch-screen votin' machine!" It quickly becomes apparent, as the spot begins, as "Voting Machine" searches through his pockets, that he's lost something --- "a few thousand votes is all"...
The comical ad, Osgood tells The BRAD BLOG, is to be the first of several in a series, highlighting the differences between electronic voting systems and paper ballots. "These videos are funny," wrote Osgood in an email this morning. "Each spot highlights just one problem with the voting machines. This is a very effective way to explain a complicated issue."
Osgood believes the ads may also help the issue of election integrity nationally, as they serve to simplify the concerns that advocates, as well as computer scientists and security experts, have been trying to share with the public.
"We're steeped in the arcana of computers and election administration," Osgood, who is himself a software engineer, told us. "When we talk to others [about these issues], we quickly lose them. Which is a shame, because counting votes should be simple! To be effective, we need to tailor our message to reach the broadest audience. We need to engage every voter in the fight to reclaim our democracy and restore integrity to our elections," he said...
Wondering what was discussed during those important, question-free, :30 second photo-ops embarrassingly created by the McCain campaign to display Sarah Palin "meeting" with foreign leaders at the UN, this week? CNN offers some insight...
On entering a room filled with several Pakistani officials this afternoon, Palin was immediately greeted by Sherry Rehman, the country's Information Minister.
"And how does one keep looking that good when one is that busy?," [Pakistani Information Minister Sherry] Rehman asked, drawing friendly laughter from the room when she complimented Palin.
"Oh, thank you," Palin said.
Pakistan's recently-elected president, Asif Ali Zardari, entered the room seconds later. Palin rose to shake his hand, saying she was “honored” to meet him.
Zardari then called her "gorgeous" and said: "Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you."
"You are so nice," Palin said, smiling. "Thank you."
A handler from Zardari's entourage then told the two politicians to keep shaking hands for the cameras.
Telegraphing panic over the economic crisis to his fear-addicted followers, John McCain has announced he is suspending his campaign and that he wants to delay the debate Friday night, according to Washington Post...
Republican presidential nominee John McCain this afternoon said he would suspend his presidential campaign tomorrow to return to Washington and help reach agreement on a plan to solve the financial crisis on Wall Street, and called for a delay of Friday night's presidential debate.
"It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration's proposal,'' McCain said in a brief statement to reporters. "I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.''
It's not as if John McCain has announced any sort of definitive measure to resolve the crisis that he needs to be in Washington to push --- or that he has a record of providing leadership on the economy in the past. (Quite the opposite, in fact. He was an advocate of the deregulation that underlies the failures.)
More importantly, if John McCain can't juggle a debate with Barack Obama while simultaneously working on the economic collapse, how can he possibly handle the multiple world crises that inevitably come with the presidency?
It's likely that what's really going on here is that the campaign has seen some dire polling numbers --- today even the new Fox "News" poll shows Obama support widening nationally, with a full 6-point lead, 45% to 39%, beyond the poll's margin of error --- and they want to push the debate forward, with the hope that the issues that are dragging him down have turned around.
(Please note, however, in re: the Fox "News" poll released today, FNC's "Fox News Polls Home" on their website currently ledes with a headline screaming that "McCain Leads Obama 45% to 42%". Click on that top headline, and one finds that it's headlined Sept. 10. Guess they're in no rush to update their polls page for some reason.)
Beginning in October, the Army plans to station an active unit inside the United States for the first time to serve as an on-call federal response in times of emergency. The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent thirty-five of the last sixty months in Iraq, but now the unit is training for domestic operations. The unit will soon be under the day-to-day control of US Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command. The Army Times reports this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command. The paper says the Army unit may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control. The soldiers are learning to use so-called nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals and crowds.
The report from Army Times is certainly troubling, given the timing and the Constitution-hating evil-doers still allowed by Congress to continue holding the reins of our military. Back in 2005, an AP report headlined: "Bush: Boost military role in domestic emergencies" discussed the Constitutional issues that would block such domestic deployments of the U.S. military. Guess they got that all worked out? Or Bush just decided that following (and defending) the Constitution is a bit too quaint for him at this point in his failed "Presidency".
The brigade, according to the report, will be "known for the next year as...Consequence Management Response Force." Rest easy, kids!