Monday, April 23, 2007

Something There Is That Doesn't Love a Wall

Good one:
There was a time in American education when young students were forced to memorize these lines, although that time is unfortunately behind us. Certainly, President Bush was never forced to spend a snowy evening frantically preparing to recite "Mending Wall" from memory in front of his high school class. As a result, he never earned the benefit of such an exercise: America doesn't love a wall. We see them as the symbols of a loss of freedom, great monuments to the death of liberty. Walls confine. Walls divide. In our collective imagination, Americans do not build walls, we tear them down.

One wonders why President Bush did not, as Frost would have him do, ask that simple question before he built his walls in Baghdad: What was I walling in or walling out? If he had asked that simple question, he surely would have seen that the walls in Baghdad will "wall in" far more human spirit in a giant urban prison, than "wall out" potential suicide bombers.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Compact Action: Faint Blue Lights

Before I ever left California, I knew I would find allies in Springfield. Thanks to the Internet and the almighty power of Google, I moved knowing there were at least a few faint blue lights in this red-state landscape.

One of the first I found was The Radish, an anarchist infoshop. Infoshops act as a clearinghouse for activist information. Just seeing they had one in Springfield was a very good sign to me. Alas, they are homeless at the moment, but I am still networking with them.

Feel isolated and alone in your beliefs? Use the Internet to find a local branch of your community. I networked through Democratic Underground and The Compact before I ever left California.

Open Secrets is another amazing resource. You could find all the Nader, Gore or Kerry supporters in your zip code with a well-crafted search. I did.

Search out sympathetic businesses. I find like-minded souls at Mama Jean's, a popular health food store. They help me find organically grown and locally produced products.

Finally, you can grow your own allies.

That's the experiment I'm in now. Writing for the Springfield Business Journal, I've already gotten some Domestic Partnership coverage written. I tell everyone I meet about the Compact and find common ground in a determined Ozark resourcefulness.

Before long I expect to find others to join me along this path. Together we'll fan the flames of these ever brightening blue lights.

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Lee Iacocca Blasts Bush

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?:
"Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course.'

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!"
HT -- Katymine

Time for PBS to Go?

Time for PBS to Go?:
"PBS is broadcasting what amounts to a neoconservative propaganda series entitled “America at a Crossroads,” which has included a full hour info-mercial for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq written and narrated by Richard Perle, one of the war’s architects."
PBS has been sinking into this pattern of corrupt behavior for years, especially after the Right took aim at public broadcasting in the 1980s and early 1990s. CPB was intended to insulate PBS from political pressure, but the Reagan administration began a systematic process of salting the board with partisan Republicans and neocon ideologues.

By reshaping the CPB board, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush turned CPB from its original purpose as a shield to defend professionalism at PBS into a weapon for breaking down the network’s editorial independence. Simultaneously well-funded right-wing pressure groups went after individual PBS journalists and programs.
HT - Mark Crispin Miller

A Direct Unreported Connection in the U.S. Attorney Purge Scandal Leading Straight to the White House

"Arkansas U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins Was Fired Just After Reports Surfaced of Investigation into Law Firm of Top Level White House/GOP Operative and Close-Friend-of-Rove, Thor Hearne. Prosecutor Was Replaced by Rove Aide Timothy Griffin..."
...and that's just the headline!

Ayn Rand's Quotes to Live By: I do not endorse the filthy slogan, “The end justifies the means.”

The Ayn Rand Institute: Ayn Rand's Q & A on Libertarianism
Q: The Libertarians are providing intermediate steps toward your goals. Why don’t you support them? [Ibid., 1981]

AR: Please don’t tell me they’re pursuing my goals. I have not asked for, nor do I accept, the help of intellectual cranks. I want philosophically educated people: those who understand ideas, care about ideas, and spread the right ideas. That’s how my philosophy will spread, just as philosophy has throughout all history: by means of people who understand and teach it to others. Further, it should be clear that I do not endorse the filthy slogan, “The end justifies the means.” That was originated by the Jesuits, and accepted enthusiastically by Communists and Nazis. The end does not justify the means; you cannot achieve anything good by evil means. Finally, the Libertarians aren’t worthy of being the means to any end, let alone the end of spreading Objectivism.
Wow. HT -- Zelph

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ginsburg's Dissent May Yet Prevail

Oooooo...this is a good one:

Ginsburg's dissent may yet prevail
In this week's case, Ginsburg, now the only woman on the court, attempted to re-conceive the foundations of the abortion right, basing it on well-established constitutional principles of equality. Borrowing from her 1985 argument, she said that legal challenges to restrictions on abortion procedures "do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman's autonomy to determine her life's course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature."

For Ginsburg, this alternative understanding of the right to choose has concrete implications. It means that any restrictions on the abortion right must, at a minimum, protect a woman's health. It also means that no such restriction can be justified on the paternalistic ground that women might turn out to regret their choices or are too fragile to receive all relevant information about medical possibilities. In her view, such paternalistic arguments run afoul of the guarantee of sex equality because they reflect "ancient notions about women's place in the family and under the Constitution — ideas that have long since been discredited."
HT -- Mark Crispin Miller (again)!

The Dirty 93?

Hmmmmm...good point:
Seeing the Forest: Alberto Gonzales Isn't The Point: "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales can resign or not - so what? The PROBLEM will remain. The PROBLEM is that we have 93 US Attorneys who have already proven - by not being fired - that they will indict innocent Democrats and ignore Republican corruption and criminality. THAT is the problem we have to do something about!"
HT--Mark Crispin Miller


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Media Finally Discovers Army of Pat Robertson Acolytes in Bush Administration

Sadly, you can't make this stuff up:
Media Finally Discovers Army of Pat Robertson Acolytes in Bush Administration: "The Christian right is far more than a pantheon of charismatic backlashers with automatonic followers of 'old men and women.' It is also a sophicated political operation with a coherent long-term strategy. Goodling may be out of a job, but thousands of capable Christian right cadres remain, waging the culture war from inside the White House, federal agencies and Republican congressional offices. Together they will continue to inflame conflicts that were previously unimaginable.

Anyone insisting in spite of continuously mounting evidence that the Christian right is going to simply shrink into oblivion because the Democrats control Congress, or because evangelical leaders are prone to scandal, should learn from Goodling's example and take the fifth."

Imus Is Out, But Whitey Execs Get the Last Laugh

I'm not letting the Imus thing go just because the MSM is gurgling over some clearly brain-diseased Korean boy that melted down and took America's largest victim list for such events with him:
Imus Is Out, But Whitey Execs Get the Last Laugh: "People say that Don Imus isn't funny, but let's face it, there is a joke in all of this. It's a joke on the black community. And the joke is this: white people don't even have to call black people niggers and bitches and whores anymore. They do it for us. You throw a couple dozen talented black artists mid-level stockbroker money and they'll be ho-calling bitch-slapping modern Bojangles acts till the end of fucking time. From Whitey's point of view that's a hell of a punchline. The mistake Imus made was saying it out loud."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Compact Action: Feet Along the Path

I saw signs and portents all along the path from California. My thinking has been so changed by The Compact and my growing political awareness that almost every scene along the way holds a warning or lesson.

In California, we crossed ridge lines of wind turbines, now a decade old. You know, the kind of power we are told "isn't ready yet" by those with a stake in the status quo.

In Arizona, we saw the Homolovi ruins. An Anasazi people, the dwellers at Homolovi thought they had it all figured out, then their climate changed. Now their cities lie in dust.

A free limo whisked us from our hotel to the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, where we turned down the challenge of eating a 72 oz. steak in an hour. If the cult of over-consumption had holy places, this would be one.

Springfield felt frozen in time. The idea that the climate may be changing, oil may be running out, or what our culture of over consumption costs in terms of lives and pollution abroad simply doesn't occur to most of them. The faith in their leaders, mostly Republican, is absolute. The idea that corporations might not be in their best interest is mostly unheard of.

When I placed my feet along the path toward a political awareness of these issues, I found there was no turning back. We made a similar commitment in my family joined the Compact and when we came here.

How do you find allies? How do you change minds? How do you build awareness about so many issues from the erosion of our democracy to the power consolidation behind the politicians?

In two weeks, we'll look at a few of these new local allies and how to find them.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Blogoshpere Takes Down Shock-jock Imus?

About The Fall:
At 6:14 a.m. on Wednesday, April 4, relatively few people were tuned into the "Imus in the Morning Show" when Don Imus referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's."

Ryan Chiachiere was. A 26-year-old researcher in Washington, D.C., for liberal watchdog organization Media Matters for America, he was assigned to monitor Mr. Imus's program. Mr. Chiachiere clipped the video, alerted his bosses and started working on a blog post for the organization's Web site.
On the morning of the original broadcast, there was little response to Mr. Imus's slur. Media Matters posted the video and transcript on its Web site and sent an email blast to several hundred reporters, as it does nearly every day. The post received dozens of comments, many heated, some more than 300 words long. The next day, top news outlets didn't mention the incident.

On Thursday, at about 3 p.m., NBC News President Steve Capus was conducting a routine planning meeting in his third-floor offices at Rockefeller Center when an assistant interrupted him to take an urgent phone call, according to a person at the meeting. On the other line: MSNBC General Manager Dan Abrams. Mr. Abrams said MSNBC executives were fielding complaints from viewers and employees who had seen a video clip of Mr. Imus's remark on the Media Matters site, this person says.
Mr. Imus's problems were compounded by a power vacuum at CBS Radio, which produced his show. Two weeks earlier, CEO Joel Hollander, a longtime supporter of Mr. Imus and his various charities, had resigned. The company had been underperforming lately and was still reeling from the loss of shock-jock Howard Stern to satellite radio. Mr. Hollander's successor, Mr. Mason, wasn't due to start until April 16. He consulted with CBS executives by phone and email from his home outside Washington, D.C.

Mr. Imus's show is on just one CBS station -- WFAN -- but the media giant also earns revenue from syndicating the show to radio stations around the country. CBS owns 18% of the show's syndicator, Westwood One Inc.

Local stations that carry Imus say they sensed the situation was drifting. "Nobody had a firm hand on it," says Gabe Hobbs, head of talk programming at Clear Channel Communications Inc., which airs the Imus show on a handful of stations, including in Washington, D.C., and Providence, R.I. Some station managers say Westwood's affiliate-relations staff stayed in touch with them throughout the week.


Thursday, April 12, 2007


This is PFAW's excuse --which theya re now providing in "canned" format to folks contacting them about Holt811 revisions:
We also believe that due to legislative and political realities, changing the bill to add a total, permanent ban on DREs, as some have advocated, would make it impossible to pass, and could spell the end to any hope of election reform on the federal level this year. Such a ban is opposed by groups representing voters with disabilities and minority language voters due to concerns that it would diminish accessibility.
So lets see if I've got this right; PFAW would rather throw every voter in this country and the 2008 elections --and that includes the minorities for which they purport to speak --under a f***'n bus, then fight the DRE makers on Capital Hill??!!!

Oh PFAW, when 2008 melts down, you, Common Cause, MoveOn and your supporters will be firmly and squarely to blame. You better be ready for it.

Well, obviously, we now know that there is no voice for those without big lobbying groups, and now that we know it, what are we going to do about it?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

INCOMING: We Told You So!!

Panel Said to Alter Finding on Voter Fraud:
"A federal panel responsible for conducting election research played down the findings of experts who concluded last year that there was little voter fraud around the nation, according to a review of the original report obtained by The New York Times.

Instead, the panel, the Election Assistance Commission, issued a report that said the pervasiveness of fraud was open to debate."
HT -- John Ridgway

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

ACTION ALERT: Amend Holt bill HR 811!!!

It's pretty esoteric if not plain boring I admit, election integrity issues that is...wouldn't you just like to solve some other bigger problem, like the occupation of Iraq?

Oh wait, there would BE NO OCCUPATION OF IRAQ had the 2000 elections *had* the integrity we are yammering about now!

So, now that I have (some) of your attention, let me say that had you listened to my show you would have heard two cases for amending HR811, the bill introduced to do the job the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) has failed to do and *that* bill was introduced to prevent another presidential appointment ala Florida 2000.

The bad news you need to know is that Holt 811 in its current form, like HAVA of 2002, has requirements that are going to be *impossible* for states to enact in time for 2008. In case you don't know what it looks like when election laws are half-enacted, let me direct you to Ohio 2004. Yes, HAVA requirements were only partly in place in Ohio and with the HAVA legislative interpretative wiggle room and the Secretary of State (Ken Blackwell) being a "bad" actor, well, you remember Ohio....

So if you don't want one complicated piece of legislation complicating another in time for a 2008 melt-down, you will NEED TO ACT THIS WEEK because on this April Friday the 13th, the Holt bill goes into "mark-up", i.e. revision.

These are your choices:

1 --
from Abbe Waldman DeLozier and other Hand Counted Paper Ballot proponents; reintroduction of Representative Dennis Kucinich's HR 6200 (September 27, 2006) to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 requiring states to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and count those ballots by hand. To learn more about and best understand the position of the Hand Counted Paper Ballot position visit Democracy for New Hampshire.

2 --
keep HR811 with at least four election integrity-agreed-upon amendments. If you'd like to know more about the HR811 as currently written and constructive criticism for the amendments visit Election Defense Alliance and Voters

When you have come to your own conclusion on which of the two approaches best suits your conscience DO the following:

  • (UPDATE 4-10-2007) Make your own pass-out flyer by combining this1-page diagram from Voters Unite combined on the other side with this key point explanation of the issue from me (pdf) to send, give or fax!
  • Go to and download the 98 page citizens handbook. Pick 1 or 2 actions to do in the handbook. It is loaded with detailed simple action items.
  • Contact your state representatives at their local and Washington DC offices
  • Talk with their legislative aids and inform them on the issues as you understand them
  • Ask that your concerns be met either by:
Reintroduction of Representative Dennis Kucinich's HR 6200 (September 27, 2006) to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and count those ballots by hand.
OR at least,
Amend HR811 with these minimums:
1. Ban electronic ballots and the e-voting machines (DREs) that create them.

2. Do not require not-yet-invented text conversion in every polling place.

3. Require all recounts to be hand counted paper ballots.

4. Prohibit all Internet connections to voting systems.
That's it. That's all. But doing something in this case is as vital to your future as any activism you may undertake on any other political issue: effective election reform *is* the silver bullet for which you have been waiting.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Now Why Would the Bush WH Want to Meddle with College Accreditation?

Arlington, Va.

The face-off between the Education Department and accrediting organizations entered a sharper phase on Monday as the two sides began a new round of negotiations on changes the government wants to make in accreditation rules.

Unsurprisingly, the friction centered on two controversial areas in which the Bush administration wants to influence higher education by changing how the accreditors operate.

The first involves proposed changes that would require accreditors to establish standards on what students should learn and then measure the extent to which individual colleges meet those standards.

The second rule change would tell colleges they could no longer refuse to accept credits earned at another institution solely because the sending institution did not have regional accreditation.

The proposed changes, if adopted, would "constitute a massive expansion of the federal role" in overseeing higher education, said Judith S. Eaton, president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, an umbrella group representing accreditors. The changes "would replace the professional judgment of accreditors with federal regulations," she said.

The three-day meeting, at a hotel just outside Washington, is the second of three gatherings in a process known as "negotiated rule-making." The third gathering will be in April. Taking part in the negotiations are 12 nongovernment negotiators -- accreditors and senior officials of state and for-profit college systems -- and officials of the Education Department.

The department called the meetings as part of its efforts to use accreditation to put in place some of the key proposals of last fall's report of the federal Commission on the Future of Higher Education. The department says it intends to take the opinions of the group into account in any rule changes it makes. But the government alone has the final word.

During their first meeting, in February, the panel members discussed the department's proposed changes in more general terms. On the table at this week's meeting is a 36-page document with new language the government would like to insert into rules governing 12 areas of the accreditors' work.

The Education Department e-mailed the document to negotiators only on Thursday evening, and some of the nongovernment negotiators said that had left them with little time to analyze the text. The meetings' protocols state that "to the extent practicable, the department will provide members with documents ... at least seven days in advance."

Vickie L. Schray, a senior department official who is leading the talks, promised to try to provide future texts in a more timely fashion.

At the first gathering, the nongovernment negotiators pushed through softer language in place of a department proposal to have accreditors set minimum standards for "student achievement" at the colleges they oversee. The idea of minimum standards is opposed by many traditional colleges, which believe it would undermine the great diversity of American higher education.

But the department hardly seemed to have taken notice of that in the proposals it sent back to the group.

Some of the proposals "seem to suggest a significant change in the function and role of accreditation," said Ralph A. Wolff, president of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges' Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities. "We're trying to figure out the implications."

Under an item titled "Institutional success with respect to student achievement," the document says accreditors could select one of three approaches for measuring success. Those options are as follows:

* An accreditor establishes "specific quantitative and qualitative measures of student achievement and an expected level of performance."
* An accreditor "develops a set of evaluative rubrics for groups of institutions with similar missions, which includes quantitative and qualitative measures. The agency then weighs the components of the rubric for each institution and specifies an expected level of performance for each component."
* "The institution establishes quantitative and qualitative measures for each of the programs it offers, and an expected level of performance, that is satisfactory to the agency."

Betty Horton, an official of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors, questioned the validity of that proposal. "Is there any scientific way to determine which measures
of student learning are effective?" she asked.

In fact one of the two occasions on which the nongovernment negotiators stopped the meeting to caucus among themselves on Monday was related to that issue. The interruption was to stop discussion of the third agenda item, "monitoring of institutions," and agree to take it up only on the last day of this week's talks, after the issue of assessing student achievement and the department's proposals to make more accreditation findings public have been made clearer.

On the other highly controversial issue, credit transfer, the accreditors themselves are divided. The six regional accrediting organizations, which oversee most comprehensive institutions, may like the approach proposed by the Education Department: that the lack of regional accreditation of the sending institution should not be a reason to reject credits out of hand. But they, and many college groups, don't want federal regulations interfering with colleges' decisions on the matter.

Some believe the department has no authority to make rules in this area.

But career-oriented institutions -- and especially the for-profit networks of such colleges -- complain that their students are often unable to bring with them credits they have earned when they transfer to traditional institutions. Elise Scanlon, executive director of the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, said she was "encouraged" by the department's proposed changes on this issue.

At Monday's meeting, negotiators also discussed proposed changes intended to strengthen the "due process" obligations of accreditors when they take disciplinary actions against institutions, and accrediting rules governing "substantive change," such as when institutions open multiple sites, or are bought by a new owner.

Although the meeting remained cordial and even friendly under the leadership of the department's Ms. Schray, the far-reaching impact of the proposed changes created a certain tension in the room.
The nongovernment group's first call to interrupt the gathering for a caucus came shortly after the meeting began. The reason was a complaint by a number of the accreditors and college leaders that the summary of the previous month's meeting prepared by the department was incomplete and slanted.

When members of that group came back from their hourlong caucus, they presented a statement saying the department's summary "could lead to misunderstanding and misinterpretation." The department agreed to withdraw the summary.

HT: Mark Crispin Miller

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More on the Justice Purge Cover-up

As much as I hate the suffix "-gate" on national political scandals involving cover-ups, the term "attorney-gate" keeps coming to mind on the latest involving debatable firings of United States attorneys that are then replaced by Rove appointees. But I argue this; Watergate et al were a walk in the park compared to the dimensions of Consitutional battering this administration has gotten into its head it has the right--the DUTY- -to undertake. Such offenses need new words.

The biggest scandals have not yet been codified. Maybe not until after BushCo is dead and gone from office will the breadth of their scandals come to light, but until then I pretty mush refuse to give them the cover of a "-gate"-- a pardonable offense.

Moving on, if you listen to my show, expecially the latest, you know I think the USA purges are at least positioning for 2008 election "engineering".

Anyway, here's the latest tid-bit regarding Little Rock’s interim U.S. Attorney J. Timothy Griffin:
The 38-year-old Griffin claims on his official Web site that he prosecuted 40 criminal cases while at Ft. Campbell, where he was stationed from September 2005 to May 2006. But Army authorities say Ft. Campbell’s records show Griffin only serving as assistant trial counsel on three cases, none of which went to trial.

AU Students Attempt Citizen Arrest of Karl Rove

...and were this a truly free country Karl would be doing the frog walk. Well for that matter, DC students would have a vote...

Funniest thing about the incident (video) is that wingers are whining about liberals trying to block his arrival and supposedly attacking free speech!

The students didn't interfere with Rove's arrival or his "free" propoganda pitch. They were trying to keep him from leaving!

They were going to arrest him--citizen style:
Goodman said students went to the Ward Circle building where Rove spoke to make a "citizen's arrest" of the presidential adviser. He said the students claimed they had compiled evidence indicating that Rove had violated what they say is a presidential records act stipulating that all presidential e-mail be recorded on White House servers.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Election Integrity Events in the Lone Star Sate

Contact: Abbe Waldman DeLozier 512/736-5802
Vickie Karp 512/775-3737



Wednesday, April 4th, 2pm CST, Austin Capitol, Rm. E2.028, Texas House Committee on Elections hearing:
Bruce O’Dell, an award-winning software designer specializing in software security for American Express, General Motors, and other Fortune 100 companies, will deliver a 20 minute presentation to the Committee on why electronic voting is neither secure nor reliable and should be banned for use in Texas.

Thursday, April 5th, Austin Capitol, Rm E2.002, Legislative Conference Room, 11:15 am CST: Press Conference:
Rep Lon Burnam, Texas House District 90, will make the announcement of new HB 3894, mandating paper ballots, hand-counted in public view with citizen oversight, with totals posted at the precinct level.
David Rogers, assistant general counsel of the Texas Legal Foundation and former campaign manager for Republican Texas Supreme Court Justice Candidate Steve Smith, will make a statement about his experience in the Texas 2006 primary regarding e-voting disaster and huge cost of recounts that do not even reflect voter intent. Rogers is a longtime conservative Republican activist.
Bruce O’Dell, (mentioned above), will give a statement about why electronic voting is unsafe and can not technically be made "easier, faster, nor secure…"
Sputnik, Founder and State Chairman of the Texas Motorcycle Bikers’ Association, member of the National Legislation Task Force and a member of the Texas Chapter of the Lawmakers Club. Sputnik will speak in support of HB 3894.
Vickie Karp, PR Director, Vote Rescue and Board Member, Black Box Voting, will address why "voter verifiable paper audit trails" won’t solve e-voting fraud, and introduce VoteRescue’s Cost Analysis of E-Voting Elections vs. Hand-Counted Paper Ballots. Joni Ashbrook of VoteRescue will present a short summary of the astronomical costs of electronically held elections as reported through interviews with Texas county election officials.
Karen Renick, Founder and Director of VoteRescue, Austin election integrity group supporting HB 3894, will introduce the "Vote-PAD", the non-electronic voting system which allows the disabled to vote without assistance, fulfilling the mandate of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Thursday, April 5th, Austin Capitol, Rm. E2.002, Legislative Conference Room, Noon CST – 1:30 pm:
A video presentation of a hacking of real Diebold electronic voting equipment (a vendor used in Texas), and a presentation by Bruce O’Dell on the acute security issues with electronic voting in Texas. Lunch, plus three repeat presentations: Noon – 12:30pm; 12:30pm – 1pm; and 1pm – 1:30 pm. All Texas Representatives, Senators, and their Legislative Staff have been personally invited. The media is welcome to attend.

Thursday, April 5th, First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover, Austin, Texas, 7-10 pm:
Showing of the startling and revealing HBO documentary, "Hacking Democracy", featuring the electronic vote fraud research of Bev Harris of Black Box Voting and ending with the hacking of real Diebold electronic Optical Scan voting equipment in a sanctioned setting in Leon County, Florida under direct supervision of the Superviser of Elections, Ion Sancho on certified election equipment; and presentation and follow up explanation by Bruce O’Dell. Media welcome.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Compact Action: Red State Blues

I thought leaving California would mean leaving behind the overwhelming arrogance of place that spawned comments like "fly-over state" and horrified looks when I said I came from Tennessee. What I've discovered in Springfield, MO is an equal arrogance steeped in ignorance.

I expected to reign in my political voice a bit. I expected to go along to get along to some extent. What I didn't expect was the outspoken, fundamental belief in the superiority of racism, religion and over consumption.

The dental hygienist who congratulated me for getting out of California because it was "swarming with mexicans" comes to mind. So does the nurse who said I was "too stupid to save money" because I chose not to shop at WalMart. Yesterday, a fellow congratulated me for "getting out of that godless place" when I told him of my recent move. I thought he was joking. He wasn't.

It has been simply stunning. I've held my tongue to some degree. I usually lead by example, or try to anyhow. How do you argue with such forthright ignorance? I'll put the question to you, dear readers, for suggestions.

I've also found that such ignorant and bigoted statements are in the overwhelming minority here. Currently, in my unofficial and unscientific tabulation of right-wing vs. left-wing bumper stickers, lefties are ahead 31 to 22. There are a lot fewer "W" stickers here than when I visited three years ago.

Lefties here are quiet though. When I begin to discuss the current Attorney General, or the Iraq war, I find agreement coupled with a tentative look over the shoulder. When you are afraid to speak, there is a problem.

And finally, two organizations of would-be allies have gone under. The Radish, a local infoshop, and the Springfield Sudbury School both closed their doors in March. Two tiny blue lights went dark.

It feels something like the second installment of a movie trilogy, like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, where everything comes crashing down and allies are thin on the ground. But hey, we are just setting things up for a triumphant final act.

I'm beginning to organize and I'm finding allies. Next week we'll talk about a few of those and how they are helping me adapt my California ways to the Show Me state. I'll find a niche here someplace between arrogance and ignorance and make my stand.

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