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.