The BRAD BLOG Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! 2014-12-19T00:49:01Z Copyright 2014 WordPress Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - December 18, 2014]]> http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10988 2014-12-19T00:49:01Z 2014-12-19T00:49:01Z Ohio West Virginia Alaska New York Accountability Environment Barack Obama Republicans Green News Fracking Natural gas Coal Oil Climate change

 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Nothin' but good news for a change! New York issues first permanent ban on fracking; Obama permanently protects Alaska's Bristol Bay; PLUS: More accountability, more indictments in West Virginia toxic chemical spill... All that and more surprisingly good news in today's Green News Report!

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Drone video footage reveals massive toxic lagoons of pig feces; Warming oceans killing off Maine's cod; Big Coal evicts villagers in Columbia; Ohio coal companies ask government for bailout; Why oil prices keep falling; What is the 'atmospheric river' hitting California?... PLUS: The most brazen political lie of 2014: "Climate change is a hoax"... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...


FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • 4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change Will Do To The Earth, From Pretty Bad To Disaster (Fast CoExist):
    But exactly how bad is still an open question, and a lot depends not only on how we react, but how quickly. The rate at which humans cut down on greenhouse gas emissions--if we do choose to cut them--will have a large bearing on how the world turns out by 2100, the forecasts reveal.
  • How to Solve Global Warming: It's the Energy Supply (Scientific American):
    Restraining global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius will require changing how the world produces and uses energy to power its cities and factories, heats and cools buildings, as well as moves people and goods in airplanes, trains, cars, ships and trucks, according to the IPCC. Changes are required not just in technology, but also in people's behavior.
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Brad on Thom Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Races From Election 2014 [VIDEO]]]> http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10987 2014-12-17T21:17:17Z 2014-12-17T21:17:17Z Election Irregularities BRAD BLOG Oregon BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Election Fraud Maine Thom Hartmann Election 2014 GMOs I'm already on the road for the holidays this week, but pulled over long enough for a quick appearance on Thom Hartmann's radio show to update a couple of the late-contested results from the November 4th elections, including Maine's amazing "phantom ballots" mystery and Oregon's GMO labeling Measure 92 "recount"...

    (Thanks to Thom for the kind words after I hung up.)

    * * *

    P.S. Without a proper break over the summer this year, and then continuing non-stop since the elections, I must say I'm not nearly an accomplished enough writer to properly describe how fried I am right about now.

    As mentioned, I'm on the road and will continue to be until after the New Year. I need to complete some deadlines for articles elsewhere, knock out a few radio shows, and figure out how The BRAD BLOG can survive as we move forward into our 12th(!) year in January. But between now and then, I'm going to try to force myself to take some down time, at least from blogging, if possible, for a few weeks. We'll see if I'm successful. I'm usually not. (I suspect I may, at the very least, be popping up on Twitter. So be sure to follow both @TheBradBlog and @GreenNewsReport there in the meantime if you're not already.)

    So, while there may be a few things rolling here, if things are quieter than usual for a while, all of that would be why...


    ]]>
    Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - December 16, 2014]]> http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10986 2014-12-16T23:24:40Z 2014-12-16T23:24:40Z California United Nations U.S. House Environment U.S. Senate Republicans Los Angeles State Department Green News Coal Solar Climate change Extreme weather

     

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Congress wraps up for the year with Republican anti-environment initiatives to be signed by the President; UN climate summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for final talks in Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate change denier... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

    Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

    Link:
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    Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

    IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Remembering the genius who got BPA out of your water bottles, and more; Jan.-Nov.2014 the hottest ever recorded; Why the US-China climate deal is a true game-changer; Solar efficiency breakthrough from Australia; Fact or Fiction? Can geoengineering solve our global warming problem?; Saudi Arabia 'playing chicken with its oil' ... PLUS: Climate Change Takes A Village: as the planet warms, a remote Alaskan town shows just how unprepared we are ... and much, MUCH more! ...

    STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

    'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

    • Climate Change Takes A Village: As The Planet Warms, A Remote Alaskan Town Shows Just How Unprepared We Are (Huffington Post Green):
      Looking at the long-term reality facing the island, Shishmaref’s residents voted to pack up and move the town elsewhere. Twelve years later, they’re still here.
    • Remembering the Genius Who Got BPA Out of Your Water Bottles, And More (Grist) [emphasis added]:
      By the time Colborn died on Sunday, at the age of 87, she had immersed herself in decades of research — and inspired even more research — that sought to do just that. The many, many proposed BPA bans? Go back to the very beginning, and you’ll find Colborn. The concern over dwindling sperm counts? Same thing....What Colborn was seeing was the result of a wide variety of synthetic chemicals that had come into being in the 1950s and ’60s.
    • VIDEO: Why the US/China Deal Is A Game-Changer (Climate Crocks) [emphasis added]:
      They need to change the course they are on because the breakneck development of fossil fuels has put them on a collision course with some very, very hard physical limits – in particular, water. In addition, they are looking at pollution problems that have become so severe, they are now a primary source of political unrest.
    • Earth's 7th Warmest November Puts 2014 on Pace to be Warmest Year on Record: NOAA (Dr. Jeff Masters, Weather Underground):
      November 2014 was the seventh warmest November on record, and the year-to-date-period January - November was Earth's warmest such period since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Monday. NASA rated November 2014 as the 8th warmest November on record. November ended a 3-month streak with record warm monthly temperatures—August, September, and October 2014 were all the warmest such months on record.
    • Solar energy world first in Australia (Sydney Morning Herald):
      A team from the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (PV) at the University of NSW has achieved 40.4 per cent "conversion efficiency" by using commercially available solar cells combined with a mirror and filters that reduce wasted energy.
    • Fact or Fiction?: Geoengineering Can Solve Global Warming (Scientific American):
      Neither blocking sunlight nor capturing carbon can stop climate change...Scientists are starting to agree that geoengineering will prove insufficient for solving climate change.
    • Cost of cloud brightening for cooler planet revealed (Science Daily) [emphasis added]:
      "I am not recommending that we use any of these techniques now, but it is important to know how best to use them should they become necessary. Should no progress be made to reduce CO2 levels, then geoengineering techniques, similar to this, might become necessary to avoid dangerous rises in global temperatures."
    • Spillovers From Falling Oil Prices: Risks to Mexico and the United States (Michael Levi, Council on Foreign Relations):
      This paper investigates Mexican vulnerability to falling oil prices—and spillovers to the United States—to show how troublesome such a development might be.
    • Saudi Arabia is playing chicken with its oil (Reuters Analysis):
      With ongoing proxy wars in Syria and Iraq, Saudi Arabia risks instigating an oil war with Russia and Iran—a war that the kingdom can perhaps win in the short term. But like sectarian conflict, Saudi actions threaten a conflagration that can spin out of everyone’s control.
    • Congress To Nutritionists: Don't Talk About The Environment (NPR):
      A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices.
    • Is this the beginning of the German PV + storage boom? (Renewables International):
      New figures published by German solar lobby group BSW indicate that prices of solar power storage units are dropping considerably, and sales are picking up. Nonetheless, the market remains quite small.
    • How Solar Power Could Slay the Fossil Fuel Empire by 2030 (Motherboard):
      In just 15 years, the world as we know it will have transformed forever. The age of oil, gas, coal and nuclear will be over. A new age of clean power and smarter cars will fundamentally, totally, and permanently disrupt the existing fossil fuel-dependent industrial infrastructure in a way that even the most starry-eyed proponents of ‘green energy’ could never have imagined.
    • Researchers convert sunlight to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency (Phys.org):
      UNSW Australia's solar researchers have converted over 40% of the sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported...."We used commercial solar cells, but in a new way, so these efficiency improvements are readily accessible to the solar industry," added Dr Mark Keevers, the UNSW solar scientist who managed the project.
    • How to stop global warming, in 7 steps (Vox.com) [emphasis added]:
      5) Cutting emissions will cost us - but so will global warming... Economic modeling suggests that this would shave 0.06 percentage points off global economic growth each year....The world would still get richer over time, but at a somewhat slower rate.


    FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • 4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change Will Do To The Earth, From Pretty Bad To Disaster (Fast CoExist):
    But exactly how bad is still an open question, and a lot depends not only on how we react, but how quickly. The rate at which humans cut down on greenhouse gas emissions--if we do choose to cut them--will have a large bearing on how the world turns out by 2100, the forecasts reveal.
  • How to Solve Global Warming: It's the Energy Supply (Scientific American):
    Restraining global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius will require changing how the world produces and uses energy to power its cities and factories, heats and cools buildings, as well as moves people and goods in airplanes, trains, cars, ships and trucks, according to the IPCC. Changes are required not just in technology, but also in people's behavior.
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Bloomberg Editors Stand By Wildly Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Voting Editorial]]> http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10985 2014-12-15T22:19:42Z 2014-12-15T22:19:42Z Arkansas Florida Election Reform North Carolina Texas Alaska Maryland Rights And Freedoms U.S. Constitution New Hampshire Kansas Photo ID Laws Mainstream Media Failure Louisiana Voter Registration Republicans U.S. Supreme Court Maine Voting Rights Act Election 2014 Bloomberg News A few weeks ago, Francis Barry, whose bio identifies him as having "previously served as Director of Public Affairs and Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg," had a piece published by Bloomberg View (the op-ed arm of the Bloomberg News outlet), portending to examine whether Photo ID voting laws had an adverse effect on turnout this year.

    Specifically, as the very first paragraph of his piece explained, Barry claims to have been looking at whether "voter identification laws suppress turnout" since, as he opined in the same graf, "Liberals" argue "not all citizens have the type of ID that many states now require at the polls."

    The piece, headlined "Quit Blaming Low Turnout on Voter ID", went out of its way to make the case that such laws had nothing to do with turnout this year, as some states with such laws even saw higher turnout than others without them. While one could attempt to make such an argument, in this case, unfortunately, Barry used extraordinarily deceptive data and moving goal posts in order to do so, as detailed in the emails (posted below) between me, him and one of his editors.

    The main trick he employed was an apples to oranges comparison of turnout rates in "21 states that had a competitive gubernatorial or Senate race", where, he misleadingly claimed, "Fourteen of the 21 states had a voter ID requirement in place, while seven didn't".

    But here's the thing. Barry deceptively swapped the type of very specific Photo ID laws cited in his first paragraph, with very non-restrictive ID laws that are in use without objection in many states.

    When I explained all of this in detail to him and his editors via email (all posted below), the response I received back was, as I noted, "mind-boggling, to be frank"...

    The strict Photo ID laws in question --- the ones that "Liberals" are concerned about and where the U.S. Dept. of Justice and many voting rights organizations have been forced to file suit --- are those where hundreds of thousands of registered voters do not have "the type of ID" (as Barry describes it) now required to vote in states like Texas and Wisconsin, where the GOP passed very strict new laws that bars the right to vote to all but those with one of a handful of very specific types of state-issued Photo ID cards.

    For example, Texas has required ID for every single voter at the polls for more than a decade. It has only been since implementing their strict new Photo ID law that voting rights advocates have sued (and where the federal judge who tried the case recently determined 600,000 legally registered voters were likely to be disenfranchised by the new law she found to be "purposefully discriminatory" and "unconstitutional".)

    Most of the states Barry cited in his article do not actually have strict Photo ID laws. While a majority of states in the nation now have some form of ID requirement for voters (and ID has long been required for voter registration in all 50 states under federal law), the bulk of those ID laws are largely reasonable, in that they are not exclusionary. Most such laws allow for a very wide array of potential forms of ID that the voter may show before voting (such as bank statements, utility bills, paycheck stubs, etc.), as an alternative to the strict, state-issued Photo ID requirements opposed by voting rights advocates, as enacted only in GOP-controlled states. Alternately, some of the non-restrictive laws also allow voters to cast normal ballots, for example, by simply signing an affidavit stating they are who they claim to be, in the event that the voter doesn't have one of the many allowable forms of ID in those states.

    Barry, however, took all of those states into his comparison --- even those without strict Photo ID requirements --- in his attempt to argue that "Hey! Look! ID requirements don't hamper turnout at all!"

    Having accomplished his sleight of hand with the two very different types of ID laws, he then makes things even worse by citing high turnout rates this year in places like Arkansas --- even though their state Supreme Court actually struck down the GOP's strict Photo ID voting restriction earlier this year, finding it to be a violation of the state Constitution's "Right to Vote" clause! Barry disingenuously cites a law that wasn't even in place, in order to make his argument (and, as remarkably, then claimed he meant to do so when I called him on it!)

    He goes on to use similarly misleading information to mischaracterize the type of ID laws and turnout rates in states such as Florida, New Hampshire, Louisiana and elsewhere (as I detail in our emails below.)

    Finally, Barry then wraps up all of that entirely faulty information in order to support his conclusion that opponents of such laws "would do well to spend more time motivating voters and less time bemoaning ID laws."

    All-in-all, pretty breathtakingly dishonest, it seems to me. But Barry and the editors at Bloomberg Views, apparently, disagree.

    I sent a polite letter of complaint to Barry and his editor Christopher Flavelle (their email addresses are included at the end of Barry's original article), pointing out the completely erroneous data and the wholly misleading argument and conclusion that followed on it, suggesting they either correct, or even better, retract the entire article.

    Incredibly, after a fairly lengthy back and forth with both of them --- and an additional review, they claim, by a second (unnamed) editor --- Bloomberg has determined that no retraction, nor even correction, is necessary at all. Despite having requested I detail my specific concerns, they offered no specific response to the detailed critique.

    You can decide for yourself who has it right in this matter. Here's the link to Barry's original piece at Bloomberg, and my detailed emails back and forth (very lightly edited) with both Barry and his editor Flavelle follow in full below...

    * * *

    From: Brad Friedman
    Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2014 4:47 PM
    To: Christopher Flavelle; Frank Barry
    Subject: Errors in Voter ID story

    Your story yesterday on Photo ID voting restrictions was incredibly misleading, not to mention filled with all kinds of errors.

    For one, Arkansas' Photo ID restriction was found unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court before the election. In other words, they didn't have such a restriction in this election, despite your claim and chart to the contrary.

    Several other states you cited had ID laws, but not the strict type of Photo ID laws restrict voters from voting in the event they don't have a handful of specific types of Photo ID.

    The complaint by those who oppose strict polling place Photo ID voting restrictions is not about states which ask for ID, but let you vote any way (signing an affidavit, for example, that you are who you are), but those which don't allow you to vote on a normal ballot at all (forcing you to vote provisionally, for example) if you don't have very very specific types of Photo IDs.

    Those states that require IDs, but allow a broad range of them, such as utility bills, paycheck stubs, government letters, etc., are not a problem and few have ever complained about that. Including them in your article to pretend to help readers determine whether or not STRICT Photo ID laws suppressed turnout in 2014, as many voting rights advocates claim, is extraordinarily dishonest and misrepresentational.

    Finally, surely you know that, ultimately, whether such laws swing elections or not is the least important matter here. What matters most is the blatant theft of the fundamental right that protects all others in this nation. If Republicans and those in favor of strict polling place Photo ID restrictions actually cared about such rights, as they often pretend, they would be first in line to oppose that type of unnecessary and offensive disenfranchisement.

    In any event, your article is full of errors and should be corrected.

    Brad Friedman
    Publisher/Editor, The BRAD BLOG
    http://www.BradBlog.com

    From: Frank Barry (BLOOMBERG/ 731 LEX -)
    Sent: Friday, December 05, 2014 9:47 AM
    To: Christopher Flavelle; Brad Friedman
    Subject: Re:Errors in Voter ID story

    Dear Mr. Friedman:

    Thank you for reading my piece on on voter turnout and voter ID.

    There are, of course, various kinds of voter ID laws, some stricter than others, and you are right that strict photo ID laws are the most objectionable to critics. But many also object to other forms of ID laws, considering them to be restrictions on the ballot.

    The point of my article was not to offer an opinion on whether ID laws are a good or bad thing, but rather to look at what turnout in the 2014 elections might tell us about them.

    The newly passed Arkansas photo ID law was not in place, as you note, but Arkansas is among the states that had enacted some ID provisions above what is required by HAVA (Help American Vote Act). In any event, dropping it out of the list of southern states would not change the fact that North Carolina and Maryland finished at the bottom of the pack, behind states that require ID of all voters, including several (Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana) that require photo ID.

    Here is a map of voter ID laws, in case you are interested.

    http://www.ncsl.org/rese...-campaigns/voter-id.aspx

    Turnout is a complicated issue, affected by many variables. I don't expect to convince you that voter ID laws are good - and indeed, I wasn't making that argument. But I do think the data is worth looking at. I'm sorry that you didn't care for my analysis, but thank you again for reading it.

    Best,
    Frank

    From: Brad Friedman
    Sent: Friday, December 05, 2014 2:24 PM
    To: 'Frank Barry'; Christopher Flavelle
    Subject: RE: Errors in Voter ID story

    The fact is, your article is riddled with inaccuracies and misleading assertions. I'm in meetings for the next several hours, but will attempt to offer a more specific response later tonight.

    I'm shocked it made it through the fact-check procedure, if there are any, at Bloomberg, to be frank. But a more specific response a bit later. Thanks for your reply here (and via Twitter.)

    Brad

    From: Christopher Flavelle (BLOOMBERG/ NEWSROOM:)
    Sent: Friday, December 05, 2014 2:26 PM
    To: 'Frank Barry'; Brad Friedman
    Subject: RE: Errors in Voter ID story

    Brad, I edited Frank's piece. Thanks for reading, and for your feedback. If you feel there are specific inaccuracies in the piece, beyond the Arkansas case that Frank addressed in his email, please point them out and we'll take a look.

    Best,

    Chris

    From: Brad Friedman
    Sent: Friday, December 05, 2014 10:50 PM
    To: Frank Barry (BLOOMBERG/ 731 LEX -), Christopher Flavelle (BLOOMBERG/ NEWSROOM:)
    Subject: RE: Errors in Voter ID story

    Thank you again, Frank, and Christopher as well, for the earlier replies. Once again, my apologies that I wasn't able to respond in full until now, as I've been in meetings largely all day.

    First, to respond to a few points in Frank's response below, and then a more complete response to the errors, misleading information and sleight of hand in the piece itself.

    FROM FRANK'S REPLY...

    There are, of course, various kinds of voter ID laws, some stricter than others, and you are right that strict photo ID laws are the most objectionable to critics. But many also object to other forms of ID laws, considering them to be restrictions on the ballot.

    If that is the case, you neither noted that point, nor offered any evidence to back it up. In fact, I suspect it was neither noted nor backed up, because any such evidence is scant at best. As I noted in one of our several different Twitter conversation threads, I must have missed the lawsuits filed against the "other forms of ID laws" you cited.

    The lawsuits I'm aware of (and I've been on this beat for over a decade) had to do with the strict forms of Photo ID restrictions in places like TX, NC, PA, WI, and AR, all of which (except NC, which has yet to see a trial) found that the laws were in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act and/or the particular state constitution. Similarly, in other states where such suits were filed in the past (MO, GA, IN), it was over strict polling place Photo ID restrictions requiring the type of ID that many voters (some 20 million registered voters across the country) simply do not own.

    I believe Frank knows that very well, since he mentions as much in his very first graf, before his sleight of hand, but more of that in a moment.

    The point of my article was not to offer an opinion on whether ID laws are a good or bad thing

    You have an odd way of making that point, by misrepresenting the laws in effect in the states you cite and by linking to a clearly pro-Photo ID piece in the sentence reading "Both sides point to studies that support their case." Linking to an article headlined "Voter ID Laws Suppress White, Latino, and Black Voting About the Same Amount" is very Fox "News" fair and balanced of you.

    The newly passed Arkansas photo ID law was not in place, as you note, but Arkansas is among the states that had enacted some ID provisions above what is required by HAVA (Help American Vote Act). In any event, dropping it out of the list of southern states would not change the fact that North Carolina and Maryland finished at the bottom of the pack, behind states that require ID of all voters, including several (Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana) that require photo ID.

    Here is a map of voter ID laws, in case you are interested.

    http://www.ncsl.org/rese...-campaigns/voter-id.aspx

    Thank you for that link. I'll work from it in a moment to point out how erroneous a number of your claims made both above and in the article itself were.

    Turnout is a complicated issue, affected by many variables. I don't expect to convince you that voter ID laws are good - and indeed, I wasn't making that argument. But I do think the data is worth looking at.

    Me too. And, indeed, turnout is a complicated issue. Telling your readers, however, as you do in the headline (which I appreciate you may not have written) that "Voter ID" had no effect on turnout is disingenuous at best, given the data we do have, the data you seem to have not mentioned (even though you linked to some of it), not to mention the data we don't have yet at all, as you somewhat noted.

    For the record, I am not making the argument here that Photo ID restrictions effected the results of any particular race in any particular state. Nor am I even particularly interested in arguing how much or how little it effected turnout. One reason for that is because we are unlikely to ever know how many people simply didn't bother to show up at all in states where they knew they wouldn't be allowed to vote (that is a number that is usually overlooked in studies of strict Photo ID restrictions, which tend to look at things like increases in provisional ballots cast, etc. to make their assessments.)

    The most important issue here, as I mentioned in my initial note, is that rights are stolen from voters unable to vote because they lack the TYPE of ID that is now required by these ENTIRELY Republican laws. Americans concerned about rights ought to be offended by such laws, whether they change the results of any race, or deny the votes of 10 people or 20 million people.

    You are, of course, welcome to an opinion to the contrary, which I certainly do not begrudge you. You are not welcome, however, to use misleading and erroneous facts to support that opinion. So, let's move on to some of those.

    FROM FRANK'S ARTICLE...

    The first sleight of hand, which makes the rest of the entire article misleading at very best is moving the goal posts from the argument that "Liberals tend to say...not all citizens have the type of ID that many states now require at the polls" (first graf) to become "21 states had a voter ID requirement in place, while seven didn't" (third graf).

    Setting aside the "Liberals" argument (unless folks like the League of Women Voters and conservative Reagan-appointed federal Judge Richard Posner are now "liberals"), it's clear you understand, from the very first graf, that the concern about these laws is about having the TYPE OF ID required to vote, not simply any old ID requirement which most states have in place without a problem. (Along with the ID requirements of all 50 states for registration.)

    Yet, by graf 3, you've moved the goal posts to reference "21 states" with "a voter ID requirement", even though the vast majority of those states do NOT require the narrow TYPE of strict Photo ID found objectionable (leading various organizations "liberal" and otherwise, to sue to block them).

    For example, Frank writes in his article [including the following graphic]:

    The states with a voter ID requirement, including Louisiana and Florida, had the highest turnout rates; the two states where no ID is required --- Maryland and North Carolina --- had the lowest.

    Okay, let's start at the top there. As noted by your own emailed link, Louisiana has "non-strict" Photo ID requirements. As the NCSL [National Conference of State Legislatures] notes at that link, if the voter doesn't have one of the IDs required in LA, they may vote by simply signing an affidavit to that end and providing a date of birth. That's it. So why would that law depress turnout in Louisiana at all, as you misleadingly suggest it otherwise would if "Liberals" were right?

    Next state that you trumpet as proving those "Liberals" wrong is Florida where, guess what? They don't have strict Photo ID requirements either! Once again, the same emailed link you sent shows that if voters in FL do not have the type of ID required (which is much broader than the controversial strict Photo ID states) voters can vote without a problem. Only their signatures need to match the one they gave when registering to vote. So, again, virtually nobody is kept from voting due to ID issues in Florida law.

    Next, on to your third success story in the south, Arkansas. As your own emailed link makes very clear near the very top of the page (emphasis added):

    The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down on Oct. 15 Arkansas' 2013 strict photo voter ID law. A previous law requesting but not requiring an ID will be in effect.

    Further down the page, it specifically cites Arkansas as a state with "Non-strict", "Non-Photo ID" requirements. Citing Arkansas in your list of Southern states with a high turnout, even though they had an ID law in effect that kept no one from voting (other than those turned away by poll workers illegally enforcing the law found by the state Supreme Court to be a vilation of the state's Constitutional right to vote) is extraordinarily misleading, just as citing Louisiana and Florida above it, as states with ID laws but great turnout anyway!

    Moving on to Georgia, where they do have a strict Photo ID law, even if it is far less egregious than the most controversial ones such as TX, NC, AR, WI etc., and where their law has been in effect since 2008, one of the first in the nation to enact such a law. So folks have had at least six years to obtain an ID needed to vote in that state. Nonetheless, you don't mention GA in the rest of the piece, other than in the chart, in an apparent attempt to buttress your misleading argument that "The states with a voter ID requirement, including Louisiana and Florida [and apparently Arkansas] had the highest turnout rates," which, of course, suggests that Photo ID requirements can be great for turnout!

    Moving down through your chart, neither Kentucky, Maryland nor North Carolina have strict Photo ID requirements in effect either, though NC was allowed to kill their long-successful same day/election day registration program, as well as a big chunk of early voting time (that'll be important in a moment.)

    Suggesting as you do that "the two states where no ID is required --- Maryland and North Carolina --- had the lowest" turnout is an extraordinary disservice to your readers, especially without noting that NC gutted same day registration (thanks to SCOTUS at the very last moment) and that MD, unlike GA and FL and NC and LA, didn't have any particularly hot race on the ballot at all.

    So, the chart is COMPLETELY misleading in almost every respect, as is the text leading up to it and following it. It should be retracted with an explanation.

    Next, you sniff away the idea that, "even if it is accurate," the claim that 50,000 voters may have been turned away due to suppressive laws in NC, unrelated to Photo ID laws, "it depressed turnout by less than 1 percent." You are certainly welcome to argue that 50,000 voters who lost their right to vote is no big deal, if you like, but given the number of races we have decided by less than 1 percent and given the fact that Photo ID proponents argue that even a few cases of voter impersonation can flip a race, it seems odd to belittle the loss of 50,000 votes. Is there any chance (in hell?) that 50,000 fraudulent votes might have been deterred by strict Photo ID restrictions in any state at any time? If not, then why would you seemingly support Photo ID, but pooh-pooh the potential loss of the right to vote for as many as 50,000 in a single state in that instance?

    Another way to test the question of whether voter ID requirements suppress turnout is to examine states that adopted ID laws after 2010. Did turnout in those states go down? Only two states with new ID laws also had competitive elections in both 2010 and 2014: Kansas and New Hampshire. Turnout increased in both: by one point in Kansas, and by more than nine points in New Hampshire.

    First, as your emailed NCLS link conveniently explains once again, NH has non-strict, non-Photo ID requirements. It allows for a HUGE array of ID types and, lacking that, a voter may simply sign an affidavit and, according to the page, "The voter may then cast a regular ballot."

    Citing increased turnout "by more than nine points in New Hampshire", when nobody was turned away by their ID laws is extraordinarily misleading and, frankly, just completely erroneous.

    In Kansas, you finally found a place with strict Photo ID and increased turnout! That turnout increase, however, was just 1 percent (an amount you pooh-poohed when it was the amount of those turned away in NC) and it was undoubtedly due to a suddenly very competitive race for the U.S. Senate and another for Governor --- neither of which occurred in 2010, the year you are comparing 2014 to in that instance.

    You then go on to cite Maine as having the highest turnout in the country among the 21 states you describe as having "competitive elections", even though, as you admit, "Maine has no ID requirement and allows voters to register on Election Day". Finally, you have correctly identified the type of voting requirement in a state, and the positive effect it appears to have had on turnout. But it's quickly dismissed to move on to New Hampshire yet again (already discussed above --- an ID law that turns nobody away) and Alaska, which has very lax non-Photo ID requirements, including "Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document with the voter's name and address" and the ability for poll workers to waive even those requirements if poll workers know the voter, which is likely the case in most places in AK.

    So the three highest turnout states, from among those you cite as having competitive races, do not have strict Photo ID requirements --- even though your article is otherwise misleadingly headlined "Quit Blaming Low Turnout on Voter ID".

    If you actually used FACTS in your article, you might have had every reason to, yes, blame lowered turnout on strict Voter ID requirements!

    Don't worry. We're almost done.

    In a recent poll by the Pew Research Center of nonvoters, 87 percent of respondents said they were too busy to do so, unhappy with their choices or otherwise indifferent. Ten percent cited a missed registration deadline, a recent move or a lack of transportation.

    Holy cow! 87 percent didn't vote because they "they were too busy to do so, unhappy with their choices or otherwise indifferent." That suggests most folks are just too lazy to make time to vote!

    But let's look at what the Pew poll that you cite actually says:

    Oh. Of those 87% that you bunched together, the overwhelming number --- 67% --- didn't vote because they were too busy with work or school or were out of town, etc. I wonder if they'd have had a better chance to vote in places like NC and FL if those states hadn't shortened early voting?

    That overwhelming 67% number kinda gets hidden when you add in the 20% who "didn't like the choices/didn't care" etc. The fact is, the vast majority who didn't vote, said it was because of "Time" issues, something that would be greatly eased with more access to the polls, such as early voting, etc.

    But then you go on to cite 'only' a tiny 10% who "missed registration deadline" (how many in NC thought they'd be able to register on election day?) or had "recently moved" (so may not have had Photo ID allowing them to vote where they recently moved to) or had "no transportation" (meaning they probably didn't have a Drivers License and may not have been able to vote because of it in strict Photo ID states). But, hey, it was only 10% versus a whopping 87% (when you combine numbers misleadingly) that had other, non-Photo ID reasons for not voting.

    Lack of ID did not register in the poll, probably because even registered voters without ID can cast provisional ballots, which are counted if the voters later establish that they were eligible to participate.

    Well, we don't know that, since "recently moved" and "no transportation" could be another way of saying "I don't have the type of Photo ID now required". But, either way, even if we take your assertion there as fact, it's also incredibly misleading if not outright inaccurate.

    You took a poll of eligible voters in all 50 states to make the case that few didn't vote because of strict Photo ID restrictions.

    Well, those who went to vote but didn't have ID, were likely able to cast a provisional ballot (that didn't get counted, because they lacked ID) and would not have been counted among Pew's poll of those who didn't vote, as you note.

    More importantly though, there are only 7 of 50 states with strict Photo ID requirements (the kind which, recall at the beginning of your piece, you said "Liberals" opposed because, "not all citizens have the type of ID that many states now require at the polls"). It's unclear which states comprise your full list of 21 with competitive races, but of the 7 states in your emailed NCSL link, at best only 4 of them (GA, KS, TX, VA) are likely among those 21.

    That means Pew's poll of 50 states included voters in only 4 states with strict Photo ID, and yet you use what would be a tiny number at best (out of voters from all 50 states) to argue that "Lack of ID did not register in the poll". Of course it didn't. It would be a tiny percentage of a tiny percentage of a tiny percentage, when using a base of all 50 states. Yet, if you misleadingly argue that 21 states had such laws (they don't), rather than just 4, then you've sealed the deal and completely misled Bloomberg readers.

    Congrats on that. At least the "voter fraud" fraudsters at True the Vote were happy to cite the article on Twitter. But, other than that, it does an extraordinary disservice to voters, to democracy and to Bloomberg readers.

    And yet, as you conclude, Democrats should stop whining about "the type of ID that many states now require at the polls", accept the completely inaccurate "facts" you use to rebut a totally different argument, and just "spend more time motivating voters and less time bemoaning ID laws."

    I'm sorry to say that's not editorializing, Frank. That's just a lot closer to lying. I'm sorry to be so blunt about it, but after nearly 11 years on this beat, I get really frustrated by seeing rights so casually written away, particularly with completely erroneous "facts" to support it.

    I hope Christopher (or the other Bloomberg editors) will retract the misleading article along with an explanation posted on the existing page, as to why.

    Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions, and thank you again for responding to my initial email on this regrettable matter.

    Brad

    From: Christopher Flavelle (BLOOMBERG/ NEWSROOM:)
    Sent: Monday, December 08, 2014 6:08 AM
    To: Frank Barry (BLOOMBERG/ 731 LEX -), Brad Friedman
    Subject: RE: Errors in Voter ID story

    Brad, thanks again for your comments. Having reviewed them, I don't feel any of this calls for a correction, as I don't see anything in Frank's piece that's factually inaccurate. You're welcome to disagree with the way he's interpreted the data, but that's a separate issue and one that doesn't point to a correction.

    If you'd like me to have a second editor look at your email, I can ask one to do so.

    Best,

    Chris

    From: Brad Friedman
    Sent: Monday, December 08, 2014 10:41 AM
    To: Christopher Flavelle
    Cc: Francis Barry
    Subject: Re: Errors in Voter ID story

    Chris -

    Yes, I think another editor should definitely give it a look. I have no idea how you (or Frank) can justify citing non-strict voter ID laws --- specifically written to NOT disenfranchise any voters, unlike the controversial strict Photo ID restrictions voting rights advocates are fighting against --- as evidence to support the claim that those strict ID laws had no effect on turnout.

    That response is mind-boggling, to be frank.

    So, thanks in advance for seeking a second editorial opinion and for letting me know about it.

    Best,
    Brad

    From: Christopher Flavelle (BLOOMBERG/ NEWSROOM:)
    Sent: Monday, December 08, 2014 10:52 AM
    To: Brad Friedman
    Cc: Francis Barry
    Subject: Re: Errors in Voter ID story

    OK, I'll get back to you.

    From: Christopher Flavelle (BLOOMBERG/ NEWSROOM:)
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 2:08 PM
    To: Brad Friedman
    Cc: Francis Barry
    Subject: Re: Errors in Voter ID story

    Brad, a second editor has looked at your complaints, and she agrees with me that no corrections are warranted. Thanks all the same for sharing your concerns.

    Best,

    Chris

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    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Proponents of Oregon's GMO Labeling Measure 92 Concede Defeat Following Adverse Court Ruling]]> http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10984 2014-12-12T23:05:54Z 2014-12-12T23:05:54Z Election Irregularities Oregon Vote-by-Mail Election 2014 GMOs Proponents of Oregon's Measure 92, a GMO labeling initiative, are conceding defeat in what had become the most expensive ballot campaign in state history. The proponents from RightToKnow.org were unsuccessful in their lawsuit this week arguing that some 4,600 ballots were illegally left uncounted and should be included in the final tally from the razor-thin November 4th contest.

    "Oregonians will never know the true outcome of this election," Paige Richardson, Campaign Director for Yes on 92 said, after a judge rejected the group's attempt to block final certification of the automatic statewide "recount" that followed the extraordinarily close computer-tallied results of the contest.

    A hand-count of some 1.5 million hand-marked Vote-by-Mail (VBM) paper ballots cast and previously tallied only by optical-scan computers was triggered after the initially certified margin of defeat for the initiative was just 812 votes, or .02 percent, or just 812 votes. State law requires hand counts for elections with an initial margin of less than .5 percent.

    Some 13,000 ballots across Oregon --- which holds its elections only by mail-in ballot --- were rejected and never counted due to signatures on the ballot envelopes judged by election officials to not match those on voter registration cards on file. Voters with signature problems on their ballots are sent a letter to notify them, allowing them two weeks to contact officials to confirm that they were the one to have cast the ballot in question.

    Additionally, a new state law requires the Sec. of State to publicly release the names of such voters. That allowed proponents to try and contact those voters to urge them to cure their signature problems with county election officials. 8,600 voters responded and ultimately had their ballots included in the tally, while 4,600 did not. Those 4,600 rejected ballots, more than enough to potentially flip the final results of the election, were left uncounted...

    Measure 92 proponents argued that many of those 4,600 voters may not have been able to respond, because they were disabled, for example, or out of town. Their suit contended that state law does not allow ballots to be rejected simply due to signature problems and that voters are not instructed that signatures --- which often change over time for various reasons --- must match those on file. Many registration cards, they noted, were submitted many years earlier.

    Attorneys for the proponents argued that the only requirements for Oregon voters is that they are residents who are 18 or older and registered to vote in the state. State officials argued in response that there has never been a problem in the past with the state's signature requirements and that it is an important security element in Oregon's all Vote-by-Mail electoral system.

    "These voters did everything right; completing, signing and returning their ballots on time and yet they have been denied the right to vote," proponents said in an email to supporters on Thursday conceding defeat after their loss in court. "We strongly believe we would win the election if those votes were counted."

    Multnomah County Judge Henry Kantor, however, denied the supporters request for a temporary restraining order which would have kept the state from certifying the final results of the "recount" next week. Two counties have yet to turn in results, though it is not believed their will be enough changed votes to overcome the narrow margin of defeat for the measure. So far, the hand-count has tallied an additional 100 "Yes" votes and 89 "No" votes over the initial computer tallies, not nearly enough to overcome the 812 margin.

    "The judge agreed that leaving thousands of ballots uncounted in this election will cause irreparable harm to those voters and to the Measure 92 campaign," the proponents said in their email. "But he ultimately ruled that Oregon law didn't allow him to issue the order to stop the count."

    As we detailed at the beginning of the week, on the day the group filed their lawsuit, concern about signatures on Vote-by-Mail ballots (and absentee ballots elsewhere) is just one of the reasons we have long found VBM elections to be problematic.

    The Measure 92 contest became the most expensive in Oregon history with out-of-state corporate opponents from Monsanto, DuPont, Kraft and other processed food companies spending some $21 million to defeat the measure which would have required genetically engineered food to be labeled as such. Proponents spent about $8 million in support of the initiative.

    Similar ballot initiatives have been defeated by massive (and deceptive) advertising campaigns sponsored by the same corporate coalitions in California, Washington and Colorado over recent years. (A citizen-led "recount" of the failed GMO labeling initiative in California, Prop 37, was effectively blocked by a single County Registrar in Fresno in 2013. Unlike Oregon, California has no automatic, state-sponsored "recounts", even in the very closest of elections, though citizens may pay for such a hand-count if they like --- and if they are able to afford exorbitant fees often arbitrarily assessed by local election officials. That's what happened when the hand count of the state's GMO labeling initiative was stopped dead in its tracks in CA in 2013. A legislative effort to require state-sponsored recounts in CA was recently blocked by Republicans.)

    "We have examined all legal options and have found there are none that could succeed in getting the remaining votes counted before the election is certified," the Yes on 92 campaign explained to supporters following the adverse court ruling on Thursday.

    "Challenging election results is permitted in Oregon," they added, "but a successful challenge doesn't change the outcome of that election. It simply sets aside the results and orders a new election be held."

    They promised to continue their effort in the near future, reiterating their belief "that Oregonians will never know for sure the true outcome of this race."

    "We're not done," they vowed. "We're just getting started."

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    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[We Need Your Help]]> http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10982 2014-12-12T17:37:42Z 2014-12-12T17:37:42Z BRAD BLOG Blogging While I never expected to make a profit, much less a killing, covering the things that we do here at The BRAD BLOG, it would be nice if we could even come close to breaking even. Otherwise, it would very much be a shame if we had to make big changes around here after proving the old axiom true that it's impossible to stay "in business" by covering stuff that may not be popular, that may not be "clicky", but that really does need to be covered.

    Please consider a donation to keep that from happening. To put it bluntly, we need your help. So, thanks in advance for whatever support you can offer. - Brad

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    Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - December 11, 2014]]> http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10981 2014-12-12T00:25:47Z 2014-12-12T00:25:47Z United Nations Accountability Environment Democrats Republicans State Department Natural gas Coal Canada Nuclear power Oil Climate change Extreme weather Australia

     

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: GOP anti-environment wish list makes it into "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate treaty talks in Peru; Worldwide calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into joining UN Green Climate Fund; PLUS: 'Freedom Industries' boss facing accountability for West Virginia chemical spill... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

    Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

    Link:
    Embed:

    Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

    IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Russia’s militarization of the Arctic; 7 psychological reasons stopping action on climate change; Study gauges total plastic pollution in ocean; The big hidden energy story unfolding - and it's not oil; Unraveling the El Nino mystery; Should solar homeowners pay for grid maintenance? ... PLUS: How Solar Power Could Slay the Fossil Fuel Empire by 2030... and much, MUCH more! ...

    STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

    'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

    • Russia’s Militarization of the Arctic (Climate Crocks) [emphasis added]:
      But like here in the US, while wealthy interests fund science denial to keep their populations ignorant of the threat from climate change, they quietly prepare for a climate altered future in which the arctic ocean opens for trade and exploitation.
    • How Solar Power Could Slay the Fossil Fuel Empire by 2030 (Motherboard):
      In just 15 years, the world as we know it will have transformed forever. The age of oil, gas, coal and nuclear will be over. A new age of clean power and smarter cars will fundamentally, totally, and permanently disrupt the existing fossil fuel-dependent industrial infrastructure in a way that even the most starry-eyed proponents of ‘green energy’ could never have imagined.
    • Study Gauges Plastic Levels in Oceans (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
      “Plastics are like a cocktail of contaminants floating around in the aquatic habitat,” said Chelsea M. Rochman, a marine ecologist at the University of California, Davis. “These contaminants may be magnifying up the food chain.”... “We’ve got to put some onus on producers,” he said. “If you make it, take it back, or make sure the ocean can deal with it in an environmentally harmless way.”
    • The 7 psychological reasons that are stopping us from acting on climate change (Washington Post):
      When a gigantic threat is staring you in the face, and you can't act upon it, it's safe to assume there's some sort of mental blockage happening. So what's the hangup?
    • There's a Big Energy Story Unfolding and It's Not About Cheap Oil (Vice.com):
      While most consumers have been eagerly watching oil prices plummet in the last several months, little attention has been given to the potentially even more significant developments in the solar sector.
    • How Scientists Unraveled the El Nino Mystery (Climate Central):
      Climate scientists had even found that through long chains of cause and effect, warm Pacific temperatures were linked to warm air over the Arctic and cold air over Russia — regions that were literally half a world away.
    • A Provocateur Sees Profits in Coal’s Long, Slow Death (BusinessWeek):
      His warnings are all the more interesting when framed against what Murray, chief executive officer and owner of Murray Energy Corp., is actually doing. For all the doom and gloom, he is gorging on coal mines --- Murray Energy last fall spent $3.5 billion to acquire five of Consol Energy Inc.’s West Virginia operations.
    • Dr. Michael Mann: Global warming’s dangers stare us in face (Op-ed, Providence Journal):
      Dennis Slonka's Dec. 8 Commentary piece (“Climate science will never be ‘settled’ ”) on climate change is wrong and stoops to personal accusations directed at my work and character. Let me set the record straight.
    • Should Homeowners With Solar Panels Pay To Maintain Electrical Grid? (NPR):
      "Solar is here to stay," said economist Judy Chang of the Brattle Group, a consulting firm that advises both the utilities and solar industries. "Utilities have to cope with that. Personally, I think they should cope with it by embracing it, because you can only fight it so far."
    • DOE Announces $12.5B in Loans for Advanced Nuclear (Green Tech Media)
    • Optimism Faces Grave Realities at Climate Talks (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
      While a breach of the 3.6 degree threshold appears inevitable, scientists say that United Nations negotiators should not give up on their efforts to cut emissions. At stake now, they say, is the difference between a newly unpleasant world and an uninhabitable one.
    • Stanford geophysicist maps saltwater threat to California aquifers (Stanford Univ)
    • Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General (NY Times):
      The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state. But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma's biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon's chief of lobbying.
    • Researchers convert sunlight to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency (Phys.org):
      UNSW Australia's solar researchers have converted over 40% of the sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported...."We used commercial solar cells, but in a new way, so these efficiency improvements are readily accessible to the solar industry," added Dr Mark Keevers, the UNSW solar scientist who managed the project.
    • How to stop global warming, in 7 steps (Vox.com) [emphasis added]:
      5) Cutting emissions will cost us - but so will global warming... Economic modeling suggests that this would shave 0.06 percentage points off global economic growth each year....The world would still get richer over time, but at a somewhat slower rate.


    FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • 4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change Will Do To The Earth, From Pretty Bad To Disaster (Fast CoExist):
    But exactly how bad is still an open question, and a lot depends not only on how we react, but how quickly. The rate at which humans cut down on greenhouse gas emissions--if we do choose to cut them--will have a large bearing on how the world turns out by 2100, the forecasts reveal.
  • How to Solve Global Warming: It's the Energy Supply (Scientific American):
    Restraining global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius will require changing how the world produces and uses energy to power its cities and factories, heats and cools buildings, as well as moves people and goods in airplanes, trains, cars, ships and trucks, according to the IPCC. Changes are required not just in technology, but also in people's behavior.
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition: The Clint Curtis / Tom Feeney Vote-Rigging Scandal, 10 Years Later]]> http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10980 2014-12-11T14:35:23Z 2014-12-11T14:35:23Z Election 2004 Florida BRAD BLOG Jack Abramoff Election 2000 Tom Feeney Clint Curtis Election 2006 BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Accountability Bush Legacy KPFK BradCast Incredibly enough, it's been ten years this month since we broke the story about vote-rigging software whistleblower Clint Curtis. It was certainly the biggest story we'd broken up until that time, in December of 2004, and, for some, it is still the story we may be best known for.

    That's not surprising as it involves election fraud, touch-screen voting systems, Florida, a powerful Congressman, the Bush family, Chinese spies and several disturbing deaths.

    For those not familiar with it, you can find a quick summary here. The index of most of the key articles in our years-long series, beginning with our 12/6/2004 exclusive on Curtis' sworn affidavit can be found at BradBlog.com/ClintCurtis. (And, yes, if you're looking for the horrifying NSFW "crime scene photos" of the main death involved in this case, those are here.)

    In short, Curtis was a software programmer from Oviedo, FL who claimed in a sworn 2004 affidavit and then sworn testimony before members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, that he was asked to create a vote-rigging software prototype for touch-screen voting systems back in 2000 by then Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), a very powerful Republican in the Sunshine State and a close friend of the Bush family. At the time, Curtis worked for a company named Yang Enterprises, Inc., which had many contracts with NASA and the state of Florida. In 2000, when he says Feeney asked him to create the vote-rigging software, Feeney was both the Speaker of the FL House, as well as a registered lobbyist for Yang. Feeney would also go on to great ignominy due to his dealings with Republican uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

    There is much much more to this story, much of which was also eventually told in Murder, Spies and Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story, an award-winning documentary film by Patty Sharaf. It includes spying for China and at least two deaths in addition to the vote-rigging allegations, but I'll let you explore it all via the links above and/or in my all-new interview with Curtis from this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast

    As it's been 10 years since we broke the initial story, it seemed a good time to get caught up with Curtis, reminisce a bit about the original story (and his eventual, gutsy, and at times hilarious campaign to run against Feeney for the U.S. House), as well as find out what he (and Feeney) have been up to since then --- even as we've been almost-continuously reporting on new developments in the case over the years since we originally broke the story in late 2004.

    I gotta say I enjoyed this interview with Clint --- it was great to catch up with him --- and I hope you will too.

    Download MP3 or listen online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

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    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[MAINE 'PHANTOM BALLOT' MYSTERY SOLVED!]]> http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10979 2014-12-10T22:32:27Z 2014-12-10T22:32:27Z ES&S Election Irregularities Election Fraud Paper Ballots Legislation Democrats Republicans Maine Election 2014 In the tiny seaside town of Long Island, Maine --- and for the national media that followed it --- it was an inscrutable mystery fit for Murder She Wrote's Jessica Fletcher. Except that it wasn't murder at the heart of this mystery, it was a potentially 'stolen' election, which, upon additional investigation, has now been 'unstolen', with the state Senate candidate rightfully elected by the people of Maine's District 25 finally set to take her seat in the state legislature after another dramatic turn of events this week.

    We recently detailed the fascinating story of 21 "phantom ballots", all cast for Republican state Senate candidate Cathleen Manchester, which, when reportedly "discovered" during a November 18th recount of the very close Maine Senate race, ended up flipping the results from the slim victory Democratic candidate Catherine Breen thought she had achieved on Election Night to a "win" for her GOP opponent.

    The tantalizing mystery in the town of Long Island included 171 ballots tallied by hand there on the night of the November 4th election and the same number of voters confirmed to have voted in the town's official Voter Manifest, either by absentee ballot or at the tiny town's only polling place.

    Like the public hand-count of all the town's ballots at the end of Election Night, Long Island's only polling place was overseen all day by its Town Clerk Brenda Singo (who, over the past week or so, had strangely, yet repeatedly refused to answer what we thought were fairly simple, straightforward queries from The BRAD BLOG about the town's precinct-based Election Night hand-count and the chain of custody process thereafter for its hand-marked paper ballots.)

    During the recount of paper ballots in the seven towns comprising Maine's Senate District 25, however, a funny thing happened. 21 "new" ballots showed up in Long Island, all for the Republican Manchester, resulting in her being certified as the "winner" of the recount overseen by the Secretary of State's office and the Democratic Breen's subsequent contest of the recount results falling to the Republican-majority state Senate to be investigated and ultimately decided there.

    Before the Special Committee, comprised of four Republicans and three Democrats, could convene, the outcome didn't look good for the Democrats. The GOP majority "provisionally seated" Manchester, despite strenuous objections from state Dems.

    The resolution of the mystery on Tuesday, however --- which resulted in one state official declaring "I'd eat my hat if I had one" --- has flipped the final results back to the Democrat once again, cleared the Town Clerk Singo and other election officials of further suspicion and, as we noted in our original report, underscored once again the undeniable fact that hand counting hand-marked paper ballots at the precinct on Election Night is the most reliable and publicly overseeable way of assuring that election results actually reflect the true intent of the voters...

    Hand-counting vindicated

    On Tuesday at Maine's State House in Augusta, the Senate's Special Committee held a "jam-packed" hearing, according to the Portland Press Herald's Steve Mistler, initially spending hours interviewing state and local election officials and other witnesses.

    "Nearly 30 witnesses had been called to testify, including all of the election officials from Long Island who had been pulled into the controversy," the paper reports.

    Then, following lengthy questions for and testimony by Deputy Sec. of State Julie Flynn who had overseen and signed off on the November 18th recount, the Committee did what they should have simply done in the first place, and what might have been done at the recount itself, had it not been blocked by Republicans: Flynn and a detective from the state Attorney General's office publicly hand counted all of Long Island's ballots again.

    The Bangor Daily News' Mario Moretto reported the "dramatic turn of events" that happened next this way:

    The first batch opened was designated as "Lot A2" - the batch at the center of the inquiry. The tally by Long Island election officials indicated there should have been 21 ballots there --- nine for Breen, eight for Manchester and four blanks. But as was the case during the recount, 21 additional ballots for Manchester were included, for a total of 42 ballots.

    The next batch, designated "Lot A1," should have had 50 ballots, according to the tally sheet --- 28 for Breen, 21 for Manchester, and one blank. However, when it was opened, Manchester's votes were missing.

    Flynn immediately offered an explanation: Manchester's ballots from Lot A1 had been counted twice. She said it's likely the ballots were erroneously put into the next lot before the first was properly put away, and then "rediscovered" as new ballots.

    Moretto reports "The room fell silent as the news sank in for the partisan staffers and Long Island residents in attendance." It was a simple case of the same set of ballots mistakenly being counted twice during the recount.

    "I believe (the error) happened in the recount, and I'm chagrined to say so," Flynn admitted. "I'd eat my hat, if I had one."

    The new recount, Bangor Daily News explains, "showed exactly the results indicated by officials in Long Island on Election Day: 95 votes for Breen, 65 votes for Manchester and 11 blanks."

    It's ironic that the problem occurred in Long Island of all places. As we noted in our initial report on this mystery, Long Island is the only one of the 7 comprising Senate District 25 which hand-counts its ballots on Election Night. All of the others use oft-failed, sometimes wildly inaccurate and easily-manipulated, optical-scan computer tabulators to tally hand-marked paper ballots. While the computer scanners may tally accurately, they usually are off by at least a few ballots and sometimes by a great deal and, in any event, its impossible to know one way or another unless the paper ballots are actually counted by human beings, as Long Island's were in the first place.

    As The BRAD BLOG's review of the November 18 recount documentation [PDF] discovered, all of those other towns (save for tiny Chebeague Island) reported inaccuracies in the initial computer-tallied results once the paper ballots were subjected to a hand "recount" on November 18.

    Unlike the computer-tallied towns in the District, other than those 21 "phantom ballots", Long Island's public Election Night hand-count had been perfect. The new public hand-count on Tuesday in the state Senate confirms that fact, and has served to vindicate the town, its Town Clerk, the 238 registered voters of Long Island, and the process of publicly hand-counting hand-marked paper ballots.

    Republican resigns, Democrat to be sworn in

    After the mystery was dramatically and publicly resolved, according to the Press Herald, Manchester, who was "seated in the front row for most of the morning, quickly departed." She had been provisionally seated by Republicans on December 3rd, when the new session of the legislator first convened.

    She then returned a bit later to the room to announce her resignation.

    "I have full confidence that no one did anything wrong, that we have human error at the recount," she said. "I believe the people of District 25 have spoken, and they have spoken to vote Catherine Breen as their state senator."

    For her part, the Democrat Breen was justifiably jubilant. "I want to thank the committee for their dogged pursuit of the facts that helped us get to the bottom of the mystery on Long Island. I am grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support from the voters in my district and for Democratic leadership who stood up for the integrity of the electoral process," Breen said. "Today's answers will allow us to move forward and get to work on the issues that are important to Mainers."

    BDN's Amy Fried pointed out on Tuesday that all of this could have been easily avoided. "There wouldn't have been any of this drama if the GOP had agreed to check the ballots again, as requested during the recount."

    "No matter how understandable the double count is in retrospect, when the numbers didn't match the initial count nor the number on the voter roster, the simplest thing would have to been to do the count again," Fried wrote. "After all, we are not talking about thousands of ballots. By all counts, there were fewer than 200. If that had happened, everything would have been done right there and then. This wouldn't have been a news story or a mystery."

    She went on to ding the new Senate President, Republican Sen. Mike Thibodeau, who, over the objections of Democrats, provisionally seated Manchester last week. "It's unfortunate that folks were disappointed with the outcome of the recount and are unwilling to accept the result," Thibodeau said at the time, dismissing critics who pointed out the lack of provenance for those "new" ballots tallied in Long Island during the recount.

    On Tuesday, after the new recount, Thibodeau was a bit more contrite when asked for comment: "You can't read my word balloon, man."

    Fried offered one more piece of advice which should be well-taken by all partisans: "Republicans and Democrats should both take this to heart and not try to resolve contested elections before all the facts are in."

    We might add: "...and until all of the votes are publicly hand-counted and reconciled with the poll books."

    About that Town Clerk...

    When the story of Maine's "phantom ballots" first broke, we attempted to contact Long Island Town Clerk Brenda Singo to ask about the specific processes used for her town's hand-counting on Election Night and for the chain of custody of ballots thereafter.

    Our emailed questions had been pretty straightforward, since criticism had flared up in the media and on the Internet against her, despite the fact that it appeared she was likely innocent in the matter. After all, while some had claimed she was the one with access to the ballots, so the first "suspect" in the matter, she had also been the one to sign off on not only the 171 ballots counted on Election Night, but also on the 171 voter names present in the Voter Manifest. If she was going to help steal the election for Republicans, waiting until after the public hand-count on Election Night to add 21 ballots to the box would be an ill-advised way to do so, particularly when the initial public hand-count also perfectly matched the voter registry.

    The BRAD BLOG was the only outlet, to our knowledge, to note that the town's Election Night hand-count --- the only town to hold such a count --- was perfect. We had hoped this "mystery" would not, therefore, be used to try and discredit public, precinct-based hand-counting on Election Night --- what we describe around here as Democracy's Gold Standard.

    Nonetheless, Singo refused to answer our simple questions about the town's procedures, telling us that she would answer any and all questions, but only after her testimony to the state Senate. That response was puzzling and became more frustrating still, once the Special Committee decided to postpone its initial meeting by a week.

    "I will be available to answer questions, and provide information regarding the procedure of the election following the hearing next Tuesday," she wrote to us. "I will keep you updated should there be any further changes."

    When we questioned why she couldn't respond to the simple procedural questions, as pretty much every election official we've ever queried on such mundane issues has in the past, she responded: "Once I have had my opportunity to speak with the Senate panel, I will be more than accommodating to address any inquiries. I'm asking that you respect my position in this matter."

    It was as if she was facing a criminal investigation. At the time, she was not and --- with the ballots in custody of the state by that time --- surely she must have known she was not guilty of any wrong-doing at all. Refusing to respond was an odd position for her to take, particularly with a media outlet which was actually somewhat sympathetic to her (if always skeptical of everybody) in this matter. Her response resulted in more suspicion, rather than less, and seems, ultimately, to have been ill-advised.

    Nonetheless, we waited for the hearing, and today, it seems, Singo, who has been the Town Clerk since 1999, is clearly vindicated. A less thoughtful media outlet might have gone after her for her bizarre refusal to answer questions, however.

    "It's been a very difficult two weeks," she told local media at the State House after the dramatic conclusion of the mystery. Singo said she's "a very by-the-books person", explaining to local reporters: "I have the checklist provided by the Secretary of State's office. When the polls close, we go step by step, dot our i's and cross our t's to the best of our ability."

    As of publication, we have yet to receive the answers she previously promised. But, given that the mystery is now "solved" --- and public hand-counting of paper ballots has been vindicated once again --- most of those questions no longer matter quite as much.

    It's nice to see, in any event, that we finally have an "election fraud" mystery with a conclusive conclusion. It's nicer still to see that it was publicly hand-counted, hand-marked paper ballots that made all the difference by settling this mystery for all voters, including supporters of both the winner and the loser alike in Maine's Senate District 25 election.

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    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Tom Tomorrow's Yesteryear Coverage of Today's U.S. Senate Report on Bush-Era CIA Torture]]> http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10978 2014-12-10T03:02:03Z 2014-12-10T03:02:03Z Iraq War CIA Toons 9/11 War On Terror National Security Rights And Freedoms Afghanistan Accountability Barack Obama Torture Bush Legacy It's difficult to know where Rightwingers are now when it comes to the release of today's remarkable, horrifying, redacted 528-page executive summary [PDF] of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's 6,000-page report on Bush-era CIA torture.

    "Torture never happened!," they used to say. Then, "Okay, it happened, but it wasn't torture!" Then, "Okay, torture happened, but it was necessary!" Now, "This report is just meant as a distraction from America's real problem: ObamaCare!"

    You get the idea. So did legendary syndicated cartoonist and blogger Tom Tomorrow (aka Dan Perkins), and he's been covering it with brilliant, dead-on satire for years. With the release of the Senate report, almost a decade in the making, we're posting a few very-much-related Tom Tomorrow toons from over the years below, as self-selected by Perkins on Twitter today.

    "It's not as if we've learned nothing in ten years," he tweeted. "In a 2004 cartoon, I still had to explain what 'waterboarding' was."

    And, as he also made clear, none of what we are learning today is ultimately a surprise. "Presumably if the cartoonists knew about it, the White House did as well."

    They did indeed, as a glance at these toons from over the years makes clear yet again...

    2004

    2005

    2006

    2009



    2014


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