Thursday, April 12, 2007

The GOP, "Voter Fraud", and Vote Suppression

How can you decrease voter turnout amongst Democratic constituencies? Institute onerous voter ID laws that make it hard or impossible for poor and minorities to vote. (Not to mention highly mobile young people.)

How can you get some of those stupid voter ID laws passed to suppress voter turnout? By manufacturing bogus cases of "voter fraud" and directing millions of tax payer dollars to pursue these false claims. OK, that's not enough. But what the GOP has done over the last five years or so was to generate a hysteria about voter fraud. Guess what? Their claims of massive "voter fraud" have been shown to be without merit. Or, to put it bluntly, a bunch of bullpop. The GOP has been spending taxpayer dollars on pure, unadulterated bullplop. ("Bullflop" is a Simpsons reference that fits well into this story.)

Evidence is all over the place that puts to rest the false claim of concerted "voter fraud" efforts, as The New York Times clearly shows. (See Kevin for a little more.)

Unfortunately, this has a seemingly direct connection to the recent firing of certain US Attorneys. Two states close to my heart, New Mexico (my home state) and Washington (where I went to undergrad), had US Attorneys fired. Part of the reason for their termination seems to be that they were not interested in pushing bogus "voter fraud" cases that the GOP wanted to pursue for partisan gain. I discussed some of the GOP hackery in Washington state a while back. It's a small look at what the GOP does and does not consider "voter fraud".

RIP Kurt Vonnegut

I first read Vonnegut when I was in high school but didn't pay that much attention. When I got to college a girl I knew gave me Cat's Cradle and I became hooked. I have now read most of Vonnegut's books. I really enjoy his ability to talk about serious issues with wit and hilarity. I often find humor and sarcasm to be a way of coping with frustration.

I've mentioned to friends that if I were to describe myself as a book, I'd be Gulliver's Travels or a Vonnegut. Those who talk to me enough probably notice a Vonnegut-esque sarcasm. We are all losing a brilliant writer.

(Photo from the Times via C&L.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Six Million Dollars Is Something

With Clinton and Obama getting over $20 million in Q1, it's easy to downplay even Edwards's fundraising total of $14 million. But Kevin Drum notes that Bill Richardson's $6 million isn't too shabby. The last cycle, that would have been a pretty solid total for Q1 of 2003 and have garnered some press. But as Kevin notes, Richardson was able to get a good amount of money despite being an unknown because he receives almost no press (even though he's negotiating with N. Korea!)

Of the declared candidates, Richardson is by far my favorite candidate. And if Clark doesn't jump in, then you can bet I'll be eager to help the Richardson campaign. Really, name a current candidate who has more valuable experience and has accomplished as much as Richardson. Perhaps in a time where demonstrated competence in a variety of areas was desirable for a presidential candidates, everyone would be talking about Richardson instead of those other three (who I'm happy to vote for should they win the primary). Too bad we're in the Britney Spears era of politics. I would welcome substantive policy discussions about the direction the U.S. should take.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Yo, Joe!

I'll admit it. I prefer Joe Biden as president over both Edwards and Obama. I saw him give the best political speech I've ever heard back in '04. And that includes President Clinton and Obama's '04 convention speech.

But I like Biden for reasons other than his oratory. He's a pretty wonky guy who has delivered some common sense legislation for longer than Edwards and Obama have been in public office--combined. The latest is his amendment to get money for the COPS program. From his website:
Senator Biden is the author of the 1994 Crime Law that is widely credited with helping to create the lowest crime rates in decades, and has been pushing to get this legislation passed, particularly in light of recent FBI statistics that show a steady increase in violent crime. Last summer the FBI released its 2005 Uniform Crime Reports and found that murders were up 3.4%. Also, the Police Executive Research Forum recently released an updated examination of crime numbers from 56 cities around the country. They examined the two year trends and found that total homicides were 10.6% higher in 2006 than they were in 2004. Homicide rates in major cities across America were even higher according to the study, which reported 20% increases in Baltimore, Charlotte, Charleston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Newark, and Seattle, among others.
Biden isn't my first choice, but he's not far behind my top two choices (Clark, Richardson) because of his pragmatism and understanding of how to get things done. In a fair world, he'd be getting a lot more publicity than he currently is. He is spoken of a lot when foreign policy is discussed, but his deep understanding of domestic issues is really quite impressive.

It's a shame that experience and results don't matter much in today's presidential politics.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

This guy should consider running for president

In a stunning move demonstrating that innovative, "out-of-the-box" thinking we've heard so much about, State Senator Dan Patrick (Idiot-TX) has proposed a gameshow-esque solution to the abortion debate. In his brilliant, brilliant scheme, the State of Texas would offer $500 in exchange for the pregnant woman not having an abortion.
It's libertarian "Deal-or-No Deal" policies like this that remind us of the power and grace of the American entrepreneurial spirit. And to think the idea is being criticized as "violating Texas laws against buying babies"!

"If this incentive would give pause and change the mind of 5 percent of those women, that's 3,000 lives. That's almost as many people as we've lost in Iraq," Patrick said.

Yes. If only we could have somehow prevented deaths in Iraq.
Hey! Maybe we could use a bizarre bribery program there, too!

[CNN: Texas lawmaker offers choice: Abortion or $500]

Friday, March 23, 2007

Good News For Richardson

Finally. Some good news for the most decorated and experienced Democrat in the presidential field, Bill Richardson. He just landed the support of Howard Dean's former pollster. I might be a little biased because I grew up in New Mexico, but if you want more than cheap and easy rhetoric, Bill Richardson is worth another look. It's a shame that a former UN ambassador (frequently called on for diplomatic efforts), who was also Secretary of Energy gets so little press when our country is in such a dire situation internationally and trying to develop an alternative energy policy. Oh yeah, he's also the popular governor of a key swing state in the "important" West. How he manages to go under the radar is beyond me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Hope Everything Is OK

I know I haven't said much nice about Edwards lately, but I have been meaning too. He's taking some serious steps of late and has now moved above Obama on my list. I'm a little worried about the latest news on Edwards. I know he hurts my top candidates chances, but I hope he drops out for political, rather than personal reasons.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Do Unions Make the US Less Secure?

I'm up late working and not entirely focused on the news, but this was quite the jaw dropper:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized the legislation, saying it would weaken U.S. security overall by "pumping for big labor." By allowing the workers to unionize, Democrats "would make the Department of Homeland Security more like the Department of Motor Vehicles," he said.
Really, what else is there to say? According to mainstream Republicanism (only 10 GOPers voted for the 9/11 recommendations bill in question), skilled union workers are a threat to American security.

Welcome to Grover Norquist's America, folks!

Revisiting Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Life long Republican and former Senator from Wyoming, Alan Simpson, thinks it's worth reviewing and overturning the anti-gay "don't ask don't tell" policy. I don't have much to add to what Senator Simpson says since I share many of the same thoughts. But one thing he says is worth pointing out:
First, America's views on homosexuals serving openly in the military have changed dramatically. The percentage of Americans in favor has grown from 57 percent in 1993 to a whopping 91 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed in a Gallup poll in 2003.
Young people, and the ones most likely to be joining the military these days, overwhelmingly support this idea. It's time the older folks start looking to the views of the people who will be serving instead of their own outdated views. It's not just about equality, it's about national security.