A new home

I went and started a new site, mediagirl.org, and figure I may as well be posting there. It's a more open site, utilizing Drupal CMS, which means blogs, articles, forums, etc. I'm still tinkering with the look and feel, but the bones are there. I hope you all will take a look.


Took a look at your blog. Which template are you using, and how hard is it to edit the additional stuff on the side? And if I change templates, will I lose what I ahve already posted?
Kenneth, there's a "feedback" link on the new site. If you have a question about the new site, why don't you ask it there?

(To answer your question, templates just read and format what's in your database. Your database does not change, so no, you don't lose what you've already posted.)

A month late, but hopefully this is helpful.


The Earth, is it flat or is it round?

I thought it might be interesting to compare discussion of potentials for election fraud from two media sources yesterday. On Democracy Now, statistician Kathy Dopp discusses the mathematically curious and counterintuitive results of election results in several counties:

A group of mathematicians and statisticians that I'm working with, including people in the Statistics Department and Math Departments at Stanford University and Temple University and all the way over in England, we're planning a comprehensive statistical study of the 2004 election, and we plan to see if we can develop methods to pinpoint counties with large errors in vote counts and provide that evidence for others who would like to do Freedom of Information Act recounts to check our methods, and spend the next year or two uncovering problems with particular voting machine vendors. What we found was that in the touch screen machine counties in Florida, they all showed significantly positive percent changes in votes for both Republicans and Democrats. However, the counties using opt-scan machines of Diebold and EF & S showed significant positive change only for the Republican candidates, and so we hope to have in place by 2006 a system so that by the day or two after an election, we'll have this analysis available to candidates so they can know where to ask for recounts before conceding.

She does not draw any bold conclusions about fraud, but she does point up some causes for concern.

Meanwhile, writer Kim Zetter, in a Wired article titled, "Florida E-Vote Fraud? Unlikely," offers a different spin:

But according to academics, the internet pundits are reading the data out of context. Demographic figures and vote trends over several years show the numbers to be consistent with previous elections. According to University of California at Berkeley political scientist Henry Brady, the Republican vote share has been going up in Florida's rural optical-scan counties for years.

...and this proves optical scanners are reliable and immune to tampering how? To be fair, most of the academics quoted in the article express caution when it comes to drawing any conclusions. But that did not stop Zetter or the Wired editors, who label fraud as "unlikely" and, therefore, not worth thinking about.

Of course, what Zetter ignores altogether is the bigger question of how we ended up with private companies having such an inordinate amount of control over our elections. Radio host Thom Hartman said it best on Democracy Now yesterday:

The fact that of all of the commons, our road systems, the police, the fire, the air, our water, of all of the commons that we administer through our government, the most important of the commons is our government itself. That's what we collectively own, we, the people. That's the thing that's unique about our form of government. And the way that we, you and we the people, administer that commons of the government is through the vote. That's our direct route into the Administration of the commons. How we have set up a situation that we have inserted private for-profit companies into the middle of this process between you and I and our pushing the button or marking the mark, and then these corporations saying to the government, and here's the vote total, this in my mind is just absolutely the ultimate crime.

Hopefully we can address these concerns and reclaim (or perhaps claim for the first time in history) public control and accountability of our elections. But first it will take winning the public debate with the Flat Earth Society, who seem so eager to place election fraud questions into the Area 51 of public consciousness.


I always thought electronic machines for voting was a horrible idea. It is ironic that the screaming of acusations of election fraud in the 2000 election birthed this move to electronic voting machines. Now that they are here the same ideologic side is now tossing around more allegations towards the republican party. It is always better to keep it simple.

Paper ballots work fine and keep everything accountable. If you are incapable of punching a whole or filling in a circle, then you have someone help you or suffer your vote not counting. Simple. I always end up back to a problem in this country with personal accountability. Hmm


Big Bird whitewash

One would think that after all the well-documented shenanigans on election day, the news media would pay a little attention. Of course, this has been a disappointment, so far. Yet anyone who is paying attention would know that the corporate media is very unlikely to engage in such a story that questions the operations of the establishment.

But when NPR's All Things Considered offers up the incredible whitewash by Pam Fessler, where she does a fair imitation of Karl Rove in dismissing reports of election fraud as so much ignorant misinterpretation of data, and Robert Siegel, who called people concerned about the very integrity of our democracy "conspiracy theorists." Their "sources" for information dismissing these "conspiracy theories"? Election officials! (Who are elected and often are leaders in candidate campaigns.) I'm left wondering: Are they stupid? Or were they bought? (Or pressured?) Probably the latter. It's no secret that Big Bird did indeed turn right under corporate pressures felt all the more after Congressional cuts in funding that began with the Contract on America. Still, it's shocking to see NPR line up with Fox News. (Happy birthday, Big Bird! So sad to see you go so soon!)

Thank goodness (or Goodman) for Democracy Now, who spent some time today (Wednesday) talking with statisticians, reporters and political observers about the irregularities and curious questions that have come to light in these past elections.

Meanwhile, on GE-owned MSNBC, Keith Olberman observes:

The election vote mess is like one of those inflatable clown dolls. You knock it down with your hardest punch, it goes supine, and then bounces back up, in the meantime having moved an inch or two laterally.

The big danger is the misplaced reaction. For example, Molly Ivin's advocacy of the suggestion she saw on Daily Kos that George Soros buy Diebold is hardly the answer. Do we respond to corruption and fraud with more corruption and fraud, albeit with the correct political view? Yes yes, she talks about then placing it into the "public trust." But I don't believe any multi-billionaire is the one to save democracy. It's going to take all of us. I'm a big fan of Molly's writings and humor (and Daily Kos, too, for that matter), but on this one she (and the Kos diarist she cites) struck out with me.


Ivin's advocacy is strange. Preventing vote fraud is not rocket science! The right way to do it is a viewpoint-neutral, trust-restoring way: improve the laws (things like mandatory paper trails, mandatory hand recounts irrespective of how close or not the result is - or - if you can't get mandatory hand recounts, which is one of the most secure solutions - get mandatory disclosure of blueprints and source code for the electronic voting apparatus).

The way to do it is not buying out one voting company out of several!


Is that a blip on the radar?

Late Sunday, MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann posted a rather intriguing (to say the least) blog entry that opens with the observation that "no Presidential candidate’s concession speech is legally binding."
This is mentioned because there is a small but blood-curdling set of news stories that right now exists somewhere between the world of investigative journalism, and the world of the Reynolds Wrap Hat. And while the group’s ultimate home remains unclear - so might our election of just a week ago.

He goes on to try to explain why the news media has fallen down on the job so many times in the past few years:
The only reason I differentiate between the blogs and the newspapers is that in the latter, a certain bar of ascertainable, reasonably neutral, fact has to be passed, and has to be approved by a consensus of reporters and editors. The process isn’t flawless (ask Dan Rather) but the next time you read a blog where bald-faced lies are accepted as fact, ask yourself whether we here in cyberspace have yet achieved the reliability of even the mainstream media. In short, a lot gets left out of newspapers, radio, and tv - but what’s left in tends to be, in the words of my old CNN Sports colleague NickCharles, a lead-pipe cinch.

Thus the majority of the media has yet to touch the other stories of Ohio (the amazing Bush Times Ten voting machine in Gahanna) or the sagas of Ohio South: huge margins for Bush in Florida counties in which registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 2-1, places where the optical scanning of precinct totals seems to have turned results from perfect matches for the pro-Kerry exit poll data, to Bush sweeps.

This is coming MSNBC (aka GE [F-16 engines, nuclear bomb detonators] + Microsoft [you owe them money, by the way]), hardly a lefty anti-establishment corporate venture. Should be interesting (aggravating) viewing in the news this week.


Pachinko election, continued

As the saga begins to unfold, it is my sincere hope that Republicans will recognize that potential election fraud is serious issue for all Americans. They would be well advised to recognize that any vote count rigging in the future could go against either party. To take a page from Republican rhetoric: Only people with something to hide would resist a transparent, open, comprehensive audit and evaluation of electronic voting machines.

Gating the internet?

Some people are concerned that Microsoft may be about to assert IP rights over the internet.. That means claims to TCP/IP, among over 100 alleged patents. That means, in theory, everyone using the internet would have to pay Microsoft a toll. Rather alarming, if true. Something to watch.


That's decidedly weird. TCP/IP predates the Microsoft Corporation itself by several years. I don't really wonder what else MS is going to assert claims to followed by being buried in prior art, because I have every confidence that we will find out soon enough.



A "better internet"

Something seems to have slipped under the outrage sensors of the active posters at Slashdot, where a post warning about international efforst to control the internet has received little response. The post cites an article by Vinton Cerf where he advocates an open forum of "public policy issues" relating to the internet.

Considering that the internet has provided the means for the most free speech the world has seen, I consider the prospect of governments allying with corporations to restrict and control the internet rather alarming. Already we're seeing AOL ads with people wanting to "make the internet better." Better how? More centralized control. Let's not forget that AOL could serve as something of a model for other ISPs. It's already starting in benign ways. For example, Earthlink is blocking websites that some people may find offensive.

How "family friendly" do we want the world wild web?


This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
"Freedom of the Press" means just that - - freedom. Does it make sense to create a world that is geared toward the lowest common denominator? Already in politics we have discourse geared toward Sesame Street.

"The people can't handle freedom." Says who? When the media is run by the few, they will decide what gets talked about and while they may have pure motives, they do not have complete understanding and insight into what views need to be explored.

A "popular" press will espouse "popular views" and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Who sets the agenda? Who applies the "filters." The last link in the filtering process is the individual.

The government that filters best is the one that filters least.


Would you trust your money with these things?

Bev Harris's Black Box Voting, a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit, consumer protection group for elections, has filed the largest Freedom of Information request in the history of the law, to obtain internal computer logs and other documents from 3,000 individual counties and townships. Says BBV:
The central servers are installed on unpatched, open Windows computers and use RAS (Remote Access Server) to connect to the voting machines through telephone lines. Since RAS is not adequately protected, anyone in the world, even terrorists, who can figure out the server's phone number can change vote totals without being detected by observers.

The passwords in many locations are easily guessed, and the access phone numbers can be learned through social engineering or war dialing.

This means the voting machines are virtually no more secure than if you left your laptop at the coffee shop, up and running. If you think there've been no problems before, think again:
The audit log is a computer-generated automatic record similar to the "black box" in an airplane, that automatically records access to the Diebold GEMS central tabulator (unless, of course, you go into it in the clandestine way we demonstrated on September 22 in Washington DC at the National Press club.)

The central tabulator audit log is an FEC-required security feature. The kinds of things it detects are the kinds of things you might see if someone was tampering with the votes: Opening the vote file, previewing and/or printing interim results, altering candidate definitions (a method that can be used to flip votes).

Three hours is missing altogether from the Sept. 14 Washington State primary held six weeks ago.

There's a 30-minute documentary viewable online. Watch it. On the BBV website, there are several documents that make for interesting (and upsetting) reading. There are real reasons for concern.

This is not about sore losers -- this is about making sure that the people's choice really is the people's choice, not a corporation's or a terrorist's choice, so that we the people maintain ownership and control of our own elections in the years to come.


The left forgot what's right

imsmith responded to my rant about the need for a new Democratic agendaon ofbyandfor.org. It's an interesting response worth reading. I then posted this reponse:

The very assumption that morality = Christianity is what I question. The Dems have bowed to that equation, and allowed themselves to be painted into the left corner. The answer I'm suggesting is not dragging a secular humanist dialogue over to the right, but rather declaring moral rightness of many positions traditionally held by the left.

Reponding (loosely) topic by topic....

Where are the films about teenagers grappling with homosexuality, you ask? They're out there, at film festivals, online here and there. But you won't see them in the mainstream because the right has claimed the moral authority on this topic, and their fear that homosexuality is a choice, like choosing to be vegetarian, drives away any realistic discussion.

Yet traditional appeals to reason are not going to sway public views of homosexuality. Homophobia arises out of fear and sexual insecurity. Jon Stewart captured it well last night: "No more looking at dudes!" But the right's arguments are founded upon erroneous moral assumptions. Nobody really stood up and said, "Homosexuals don't threaten the sanctity of my marriage!" No, the Dems, including John Kerry, hemmed and hawed and tried to bargain their way around a moral position instead of facing it head on.

You're right, the Gay Pride circus doesn't help matters. By parading around in ridiculous costumes, they don't engage in the moral debate, they try to avoid it altogether with ostentatious I-don't-give-a-fuck attitudes, which makes them seem almost like screwy versions of pod people. Maybe they will become more savvy in the coming years. But when I look at gays, I'm no more threatened by them than by those RPG folks who dress up in armour and swing broadswords on the third Saturday of every month. I don't "agree with" or clearly understand homosexuality, but morally I feel they should be free to do what they will. And if they want to be stand-up citizens making lifelong commitments, I think that's great!

You say someone should say birth control is wrong, but it's not the government's job to ban it. I'm sorry, but that is spoken just like a man, someone who never has had to face the implications of unwanted pregnancy. Birth control is a right of women, helping us retain control over our own lives. Personally I don't think that the rights of just over half the American population should be sacrificed in the name of political expedience. Birth control is a moral issue: women are not chattel, women are not baby machines, women are not property of the Catholic Church, and it's time paternalistic attitudes behind such ridiculous positions by the right are questioned and exorcized from the public policy debate.

Regarding guns, I can't say I've heard any concise or compelling arguments either way, except for what Michael Moore said in Bowling for Columbine: [paraphrasing] Guns themselves aren't the problem. But in our fear-mongering culture, we Americans are just a bit too emotionally unbalanced for it to make sense to have so many guns around.

Having lived in a rural area, though, I understand the desire to "assert my second amendment rights." When you live a 30-minute drive from the nearest police station, out in a country of misogynist hicks, having a gun is a real line of defense. Even the appearance of having a gun provides some measure of security. In case you haven't noticed, 1/3 of all women in this country have been or will be raped in their lifetime. That's 50 million American women who have or will be raped. (Which takes us back to the birth control issue.) Not all of us live on West 72nd Street with 10,000 neighbors around to deter, stop or witness violence done against us.

As for health care, the 900-pound gorilla nobody is talking about is the insurance companies. Everyone talks about rising premiums, but nobody talks about who's raising them. Everyone talks about fears of government control over our health care, but nobody talks about the un-elected corporate control over our health care. The tone was truly set in the '90s, when the CEO of USHealthCare (I believe) merged companies and laid off tons of doctors and nurses. The company's board of directors gave him an $800 million bonus that year -- enough money to pay all those laid off workers for three years. Outrageous? Not to our politicians. Bush scored points in the debate by pointing out the obvious: The problem is that the consumers are not involved in the spending decisions. Ironically his healthcare plan is more of the same: Doctors recommend, insurance companies approve and deny, and patients pay pay pay. But Bush won just for pointing out what we all know.

Should everyone be entitled to health care? I think so. But it's a moral case the Dems never have really made. Universal health care in some form or another has been on the Dem platform since Harry Truman, but they have never won on this issue. Why? I submit that the public still is not convinced of the moral right to health care. It's a case that needs to be made. The problem needs to be clearly pointed out, not with numbers but with implications for everyone -- in self-interest terms and in moral terms. Is it right for a few old men to make millions of dollars at the expense of decent healthcare for the patients? What kind of society denies a child health care? Those are the moral questions.

I'm one of the people not expecting to see any Social Security benefits when I retire. The Dems lost on this one by not pointing out that this is a pay-as-you-go system, not a savings account. Sure, I would love to get a chunk of money to invest for myself; I feel pretty sure I could manage it better than your average knucklehead. But dammit, FICA owes me money! I paid in and I want to get paid, not some shell game solution of privatizing it all. Which companies will get to administer those billions of dollars? I wonder. Is it moral for a few private individuals and private (and even international) companies to profit so greatly from a public policy decision? How do we balance profits against dividends when it comes to a government-mandated program?

The moral issue lost here is the question of the role of government. I'm not for big government, but at least government is moderately answerable to the people -- presumably, that is (but I have many questions about these black box voting machines manufactured, programmed, managed and viciously protected by the lawyers of private corporations). What kind of government do we want? One that regulates the public realm and protects the private realm? Or one that rigs the public realm and regulates the private realm?

It's not a matter of moving towards the center. John Kerry was pretty centrist in his presidential campaign, but it wasn't enough. It's a matter of moral vision and clarity. Most people are voting on that these days, and when they look at the Dems, it's not all that easy to discern what that moral vision might be.

Thanks for responding to my little rant with such a thoughtful reply. I hope this kind of discussion happens inside the Beltway ... and in the homes of Democrats everywhere. I'm an independent, not a registered Democrat, but it sure is sickening to see blow-out after blow-out, where the Dems just seem lost and confused. Looking at the Red Sox, you could see in their faces that they knew who they were, and how good they were. Who are the Democrats? Do they know?

I welcome your comments -- here or at Of, By, andFor.

Pollyanna or Patsy?

Washington Post writer Robert MacMillian writes:
Polling places across the Washington metropolitan region closed Tuesday night with no sign of the widespread problems with new voting technology that were predicted by some computer scientists and voting rights activists....

With no paper trail, no background checks of the programmers, no way to audit the code, how do we know there were no problems? We don't even know what the machines do! We're prohibited from knowing by claims of proprietary computer code on the part of the manufacturers.

A new Dem agenda

Whoever officially wins this election -- at this writing, it's technically still a squeaker that could conceivably go either way, though it's looking like Bush's first election to office -- what is clear is that the Republicans owned the political agenda. I'm not talking about Iraq or terrorism, though those were significant issues. What I'm talking about is what got so many people to turn out and vote Republican on Tuesday: values.

It has been a long, meandering slide for the Democrats over the decades since the civil rights era, when the Democratic Party last was pushing the moral agenda forward. Some people point to the election of Ronald Reagan as the watershed moment for the rise of conservatism. For eight years, the Dems were rocked on their heels. But they still had fight. They still debated on values.

In 1988, it all changed. When Michael Dukakis was nominated, at first he seemed a hopeful candidate, the governor of the "Massachusetts Miracle." And George H.W. Bush, with his seeming lack of personality and problems with the "vision thing," seemed vulnerable. But it wasn't to be. One can point to any number of reasons why Dukakis lost the election. But there was one moment when the Democrats lost their hold on morality: When Bush the elder called Dukakis a "Liberal," spitting out the word like an epithet, and Dukakis sputtered and backpedalled and denied it, sounding like a guilty man.

And the Democrats were lost.

Bill Clinton regained the White House for the Democrats only with popular minority votes (in part thanks to Ross Perot), but he won on personality and intelligence. His capable management of the government, working with Congress to balance the budget, won him points. But let's face it, the Democrats suffered yet again on the morality question when he was caught with Monica Lewinsky. (Never mind that the Republicans managed to successfully ignore and quash any talk of George H.W. Bush's sexual escapades, which were well known in Texas society.)

Now, when people talk about morality in politics, they talk about the "sanctity of marriage" and "pro life" stances and getting creationism taught in schools. And nobody in the Democratic Party ever debates these questions on moral terms, or questions why people need an anti-gay-marriage amendment to stop them from turning gay, or why a party advocating small government weighs such importance in establishing government authority over a woman's womb, or why people fear their faith is so weak that government must enforce it.

Today, equal rights for all is not considered a moral question. Graft in government is not considered a moral question. Lying is considered "spin" and is considered morally justified. Educating our children is not considered a moral question. Executing innocent people is not considered a moral question. Killing 100,000 people in Iraq is not considered a moral question. Economic justice and relief for the growing poor population in this country is not considered a moral question. None of these things are considered moral questions. What passes for morality today is intolerance, bigotry, divisiveness -- all expressed in loud voices of outrage and privation.

The Democrats must realize now that they cannot roll over on these issues any more. And they need to realize that the old solutions aren't going to fly, either.

Everyone wants sensible government. What "sensible" means, reasonable minds can disagree. But the Dems have lost the heart of America. Dean knew it. Kucinich knew it. John Kerry seemed to realize it ... but too little, too late.

It's time the Democrats focus not on what's expedient, but on what's right.


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To everyone who's choosing not to vote

My little rant posted on the Slashdot Election Day Discussion, where a lot of wise monkeys expressed stay-at-home intentions and attitudes:
All of you cynics who are refusing to vote, congratulations! You're claiming all the rights of a citizen of Nazi Germany -- i.e., nothing! By staying home, you are doing exactly what many in power want. They want apathy. They want helplessness. Have you noticed that there are concerted efforts by certain parties to prevent people from voting?

The purpose of voting is to provide ballast against special interests. If everyone who could vote actually did vote, imagine the earthshaking implications -- not so much in this election (which I personally still consider EXTREMELY important) but in all elections in the future. If only a few people vote, then the powers only have to pay attention to them ... and not to you. You bitch about government not responding to your interests and needs, and you guarantee it by not voting. You whine about your vote not making a difference, and you prove it by not voting at all.

What can your vote do? Well, for one thing it can cancel out one vote of some dumb ninny who is out there voting against everything you're for (whatever that may be). Sometimes you just do your small part, take out one ninny vote, and you've made a difference.

I imagine many of you will go back to your RPGs and 1st person shooters rather than vote. And you know what? In 4 years you'll pull your heads back out of your backsides and see that the government still isn't doing what you want. And it will be your own doing.

Get your butt out there and vote. If you bothered to register, you must have some inkling of giving a shit. I don't care whom you vote for. (Well, I do, but it's not for me to say.) If everyone who can vote does vote, at least we start to get a government that responds to the people instead of the special interests.

And you guys who really really really really just don't want to bother -- you're the ones who should really motivate and get out there. There are a lot of rabid knuckleheads trying to steal our country. Stand up and be counted. Or sneer your way right into a police state, a welfare state, a fundamentalist state, whatever (it doesn't matter, because you chose not to care).


The promising (yet unpromised) land awaits

Or: Hope for reasoned discourse

Once this election is over, there will be much navel gazing and hand wringing by the media punditry and party machines, and (I expect) befuddled introspection on the part of news editors in the mainstream media. How could they have been so wrong? How could they have been so clueless?

It doesn't take being a most-minor blogger personality to see that the mainstream media is -- and has been for quite some time -- rather out of touch with the realities of what we Americans think, want and experience in our day-to-day lives. Esconced in their corporate and corporate-sponsored thrones in front of the cameras, they cannot, do not, or simply never have thought to see, the world outside their windows. Like passengers in limousines speeding along freeways elevated and walled off from the neighborhoods they presumably connect, they see glimpses of people, the ones on high ground or briefly visible through gaps in the terrain, but all too often they see only the other cars in traffic -- they see each other -- and draw their conclusions about the world accordingly. They speak of fast lanes and lanes, of racing to milestones, of who's blocking whom and who's getting the honks of other drivers, all the while claiming to speak for the multitudes who live in those neighborhoods they have not seen. They speak out of ignorance, allowing for nothing but certitude, platitudes, and heavy doses of attitudes.

It's rather telling that it takes a comedian to get anyone to even discuss the possibility that the emperor has no clothes. The monkey shows on the networks and cable may make for valuable commercial time, but they don't advance the cause of understanding; they may serve the desires of the political machines who want to keep things simplistic, but they don't serve the needs of the people who elect them.

All this can change, however, when the saying machines realize that the people aren't serving their needs, either. What will they think when all their spin, prognostications, prevarications and pompous posings turn out to have little relevance to the reality out here in the electorate?

Perhaps it doesn't matter. Perhaps the answer is not in the idiot box, but rather on the desktop, laptop and palmtop. After all, the problem with the tube is that it's not interactive -- which means it's more reactive to its own shadow. Lost on the far end of a one-way cable feed, it has no way to feed back to the source. What an interactive medium like the net offers is feedback.




What this means in the political realm is that the more moderate voices on right, left and center and behind can find traction and be heard.

And be appreciated.

Today you have to go to the more marginal shows on the more marginal channels to hear voices of true progressives, who are for smart and effective government, and true conservatives, who are for small and non-intrusive government (so oversimplify both "sides"). In the mainstream, these voices are lost in the grandiose, self-righteous posing of the reactionary Right and Left. While some of these more moderate (yet no less passionate) voices, especially the progressives, have taken advantage of the net, not all have. But once they do -- and you know they will, eventually, even if they come kicking and screaming -- the very nature of the medium changes the message.

When influential political dialog can happen with an engaged and interacting public on rational terms, where spin cannot easily pose as fact, our politicians win. Our nation wins. We the people win.

It can happen sooner, or it can happen later. (Or, if we let the centralizing forces bull right over us, it might never happen at all.) Each of us can do our part by reaching out and engaging on issues important to us.

But it will take real leaders to take our political discourse firmly into these greener pastures -- especially with the knowledge that this revolution certainly will not be televised.

Where will we find this man or woman?

Will it be you? If not you, then who?



Arnold Schwarznegger tells CBS News he wants to amend the Constitution so he can be president of the United States. This scary 60 Minutes interview will air oh-so-appropriately on Halloween. In it, he says:

With my way of thinking, you always shoot for the top.

I wonder how calling international leaders "girlie men" will strengthen our leadership of the world.

Daily Kos :: Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.

The daily kos offers up this little bit of outrage this morning, found by Sierra Club's John Barry.

Note especially the last line. Just how low will the GOP go?


Draft? Nawwwww!

If you want to see why so many young people are fired up about the issue of the draft -- why so many Americans are so fired up this election -- you must take a look at this stream of Congressman Tim Ryan's passionate speech in Congress about the Bush Administration, the Iraq War and the possibility of a draft.

9/11 "black boxes" found?

This Philadelphia Dailey News article claims that 3 of the 4 black boxes of the planes that flew into the WTC were recovered. The Article by Will Bunch says, in part:
Both the independent 9/11 Commission and federal authorities continue to insist that none of the four devices - a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) from the two planes - were ever found in the wreckage.

But New York City firefighter Nicholas DeMasi has written in a recent book -- self-published by several Ground Zero workers -- that he escorted federal agents on an all-terrain vehicle in October 2001 and helped them locate three of the four.

His account is supported by a volunteer, Mike Bellone, whose efforts at Ground Zero have been chronicled in the New York Times and elsewhere. Bellone said assisted DeMasi and the agents and that saw a device that resembling a “black box” in the back of the firefighter’s ATV.

This is one of the aggravations of the internet. Is this really true? Only time will tell. And even the, we can never know for sure?


This is amazing. If this is true, why suppress the information? Even if the boxes were damaged, why say they were not found?

The Pennsylvania boxes were found.
Well, that is the question, isn't it? What could be so dangerous for the public to know? I have no idea if the boxes could survive such an inferno. But I do know that there is a lot about the workings of our government we the public are not told. This looks like another one for the x-files.

a pea hits her in the neck

Big Brother is watching ... and reading blogs, as anniesj discovered. She offers a word to the wise. [slashdot]

Has your computer ever crashed?

Verified Voting:


Technologists warn that electronic voting machines are flawed. They say we should "trust but verify." Others disagree. For example Florida's Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore counters technologists' analysis of electronic voting machine flaws with her claim: "It's just a bunch of lies." But Broward County is now unable to comply with Florida law because of the flaws technologists, Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), and many others have pointed out!

Many people are very troubled by the use of uncertified software in recent California elections. Many are concerned about the backgrounds of some programmers and managers who control the secret voting machine software.

Our primary concern is the threat that unverifiable electronic voting poses to elections in the United States. We have been concerned that without a paper record verified by the voter, there would be no way of knowing whether votes were recorded accurately and no way to do a meaningful recount if one is necessary.

Now we are seeing these predicted problems occurring in real elections. We are seeing election results that will remain forever in dispute because an audit was impossible. We are seeing that electronic miscounts of votes is no longer a theory - it's a fact.

What if the miscounts we know of are only the tip of an undetected iceberg of electronic miscounts? They might be. We have no way of knowing.

Let's pass H.R.2239/S.2437.

Verify your vote

Today's advice from media girl: bookmark this site right now. Elections always have had their ragged edges, but now, in this tight election (or so they tell us), we the people can do something about it.

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