Author Archives: Stephen Gordon

About Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

Judge on FCC Internet Spying Argument: “Gobbledygook”

The American Library Association and Association of American Universities is challenging the FCC ruling that requires ISPs to to provide federal investigators internal access of their systems. From Reuters:

U.S. telecommunications regulators on Friday faced tough questioning from a federal appeals court about whether the government can force broadband Internet service providers to give law enforcement authorities access for surveillance purposes.

One of the three judges hearing the case called the government’s rationale for the surveillance requirement “gobbledygook,” and another also expressed reservations.

“This is totally ridiculous. I can’t believe you’re making this argument,” Judge Harry Edwards told the Federal Communications Commission lawyer.

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Nevada Shoots FDA the Bird

It looks like Nevada has more balls than Vincente Fox. At least Nevada is telling the Feds where to stick it on drug policy issues. From Reuters:

Over objections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Nevadans will be able to buy prescription drugs from Canada over the Internet starting next week, a spokesman for Gov. Kenny Guinn said on Friday.

“Monday is the anointed day,” said Steve George, a spokesman for the Republican governor, referring to when a state Web site linking consumers to pharmacies in Canada goes into operation.

I found the last line of the article somewhat humorous:

“There will be a caveat on the Web site saying that the federal government views getting prescriptions filled in Canada with non-FDA-approved drugs as illegal,” George said.

This would be doubly true if they hadn’t shut Marc Emery down.

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Another “No Child Left Behind” Failure

How can one measure if a child has been left behind if the child doesen’t even know where he or she has been? It also seems that children today don’t even know which direction northwest is in. From National Geographic:

Half could not find New York State on a map of the United States.

A third of the respondents could not find Louisiana, and 48 percent couldn’t locate Mississippi on a map of the United States, even though Hurricane Katrina put these southeastern states in the spotlight in 2005.

Many young Americans also lack basic map-reading skills.

Told they could escape an approaching hurricane by evacuating to the northwest, only two-thirds could indicate which way northwest is on a map.

If you think this is bad, read the article to see what they know of geography and culture overseas.

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Immigration Quote of the Day

From the RockyMountianNews.com on Congressman Tom Tancredo’s book about immigration:

Sen. Steve Johnson, R-Fort Collins, was stunned to learn that GOP Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo has written a book railing against illegal immigration.

Oh my God! He’s written a book. It’s like Mein Kampf against illegal immigration,” said Johnson, referring to the book by German Nazi leader Adolph Hitler.

“I know I’m going to get black roses from Tancredo for my comment,” Johnson added.

Props.

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Stuck in the Middle with You

“Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”
— Gerry Rafferty/Joe Egan

There are two people I once disliked who seem to become cooler and cooler each passing day: Bob Barr on the right and Alan Colmes on the left. In addition to his endorsement of Michael Badnarik, Barr as been on the forefront of fighting the Patriot Act and links to the Libertarian Party, as opposed to the GOP, on his website.

As Thomas Knapp and I noted the other day, Alan Colmes is now linking to the World’s Smallest Political Quiz on his site and (unlike Bill O’Reilly) he has no fear of placing LP candidates on his program.

Right now, the scrolling link at the top of his site reads, “Busty candidate gains fame for her cleavage, but commands respect on the real issues. Loretta Nall, Libertarian Candidate for Alabama Governor…”

Nall is scheduled to be a guest on The Alan Colmes Show Monday night.

UPDATE: Nall has now hit the top searches at Technorati. Here’s their current list:

Top Searches

1. Colbert
2. Porter Goss
3. Stephen Colbert
4. Singapore Elections
5. Patrick Kennedy
6. John Tierney
7. Loretta Nall
8. Goss

UPDATE: She’s up to #5 now (6:46PM CST)

UPDATE: She’s up to #1 now (2:11PM CST 5/8/06)

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What Happens in Vegas Hits the AP

They seem to be swapping sex, lap dances and big piles of money for political influence in Las Vegas. From the AP:

Two former Las Vegas-area politicians were found guilty Friday of taking bribes from a former strip club owner in a corruption scandal so laced with sex and money that it shocked a town where indulgence is an industry.

Former Clark County Commissioner Dario Herrera was found guilty of conspiracy, 10 counts of wire fraud and six of eight charges of extortion under color of official right.

Former Commissioner Mary Kincaid-Chauncey was convicted of conspiracy, nine wire fraud charger and three of four extortion charges.

Neither showed any emotion as the verdicts were read in a crowded but hushed U.S. District Court courtroom in Las Vegas. Each faces more than 45 years in prison at sentencing Aug. 21, but will likely face much less under federal sentencing guidelines.

To keep some businesses open, business owners have to resort to legal bribes (campaign and PAC contributions) to the appropriate officials to keep their shops open. If it’s a more controversial business, like a strip club, I guess one has to use illegal bribes. What’s the moral difference between the legal and illegal bribes?

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Privacy Update: Totalitarianism 3, Freedom 0

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Real ID is taking a bit of a hit from the states right now. According to the NY Times, “the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators issued a report saying that the states have not been given the time or money to comply with the law and that they need at least another eight years.”

They say the law “” which requires states to use sources like birth certificates and national immigration databases to verify that people applying for or renewing driver’s licenses are American citizens or legal residents “” will be too expensive and difficult to put in place by the May 2008 deadline. Another issue is the privacy impact of the requirement that states share, through databases, the personal information needed for a driver’s license.

Another issue? Privacy should be the only issue, but it seems that states are milking this for more government cheese. My case-in-point:

“It’s absolutely absurd,” said Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, chairman of the National Governors Association, which takes a stand on issues only when it has a broad consensus. “The time frame is unrealistic; the lack of funding is inexcusable.”

It gets worse. Republican Senators Jeff Session and Arlen Specter seem to be tackling the immigration issue by proposing that we plant RFID chips in foreign workers. From Homeland Stupidity:

So, it appeared, proposed Colombian president Alfaro Uribe, according to Sen. Arlen Specter, (R-Pa.) who said in a speech before Congress (PDF) that “President Uribe said he would consider having Colombian workers have microchips implanted into their bodies before they are permitted to enter the United States to work on a seasonal basis.”

And if you think that’s going to work, consider what Specter thought of the idea. “I doubted whether the implantation of microchips would be effective since the immigrant worker might be able to remove them,” he said.

Michael Hampton’s take:

Yeah, those RFID chips will make it much easier to get a transporter lock on all the immigrants and deport them all at once.

And it gets even worse than this. As adults seem to be resisitant to having the “Mark of the Beast” implanted in them, they are starting the propaganda drive with our school children. From Spychips:

A California public school teacher recently sent us this NY Times “Daily Lesson Plan” designed to “educate” kids about the benefits of tracking people and things with RFID.

Since adults are pretty unconvincable on RFID (consistently, around 65% oppose RFID on privacy grounds) the spin-meisters have begun targeting our kids, instead. This reminded me of something Liz and I wrote in Spychips.

The “Nightmare Scenario” chapter opens with RFID godfather Kevin Ashton discussing predator and prey relationships, explaining how RFID helps the lions better identify, capture, and eat the zebras. I transcribed a section of a video where someone in a crowd of business executives asks Ashton what it’s going to take for society to accept RFID and ubiquitous tracking.

Perhaps we should start implanting RFID chips in our congress critters so we can tell when and where they are spending our money on prostitutes, but let’s leave the children out of it.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Wired has a great article showing how easy it it for criminals to exploit the relatively weak security of RFID (via Boing Boing):

“I just need to bump into James and get my hand within a few inches of him,” Westhues says. We’re shivering in the early spring air outside the offices of Sandstorm, the Internet security company Van Bokkelen runs north of Boston. As Van Bokkelen approaches from the parking lot, Westhues brushes past him. A coil of copper wire flashes briefly in Westhues’ palm, then disappears.

Sure, it may be just cloning electronic door keys now, but the implications of how easy it is to clone actual identities are staggering if we ever get RFID passports.

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Exporting Democracy to Iraq

It seems that Iraqis are taking religious intolerance to the streets. In a move sure to make the Reverend Fred Phelps ecstatic, Iraqi police are now killing homosexual youth. From Yahoo News:

A 14-year-old boy has been shot by Iraqi police officers for the apparent crime of being gay, the Independent of London reported.

According to his neighbors in Baghdad’s al-Dura district, Ahmed Khalil was shot at point-blank range after a scuffle with the police.

Ali Hili, an exiled gay Iraqi who is Middle East affairs spokesman for the London gay rights group OutRage! said, “According to a neighbor, who witnessed Ahmed’s execution from his bedroom window, four uniformed police officers arrived at Ahmed’s house in a four-wheel-drive police pick-up truck.”

“The neighbor saw the police drag Ahmed out of the house and shoot him at point-blank range, pumping two bullets into his head and several more bullets into the rest of his body.”

We owe a special thanks to George Bush for exporting our brand of democracy overseas.

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Russo’s Movie Site Gets Major Facelift

thermRight.jpgThe website for Aaron Russo’s new move, “America: From Freedom to Fascism” got a facelift. They are also calling for donations on the site, and have provided a fundraising meter. From the site:

To date we’ve raised nearly $50,000 to promote and distribute “America: From Freedom to Fascism.” This film may be the best tool we’ve ever had to restore freedom to America. Please donate generously. -Aaron Russo

According to the lastest information I have on the project, the film will still open in New York City around July 20, go to Hollywood, then be released in theaters across the country. The move donations they get, the more theaters they’ll be able to release it in all at once.

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Google Liable for Links?

googlelogokids.gifImagine that you are new to town but need to visit the doctor. Like many people in your situation, you’d likely consult the Yellow Pages. What happens if that doctor commits malpractice? Should you be able to sue the Yellow Pages for the referral?

This situation is no longer hypothetical. Google is being sued for leading people to child porn sites. Here’s the scoop from C-Net:

Jeffrey Toback, a representative in New York’s Nassau County Legislature, charged in a complaint filed Thursday that Google has been taking in billions of dollars by allowing child pornography and “other obscene content” operators to advertise their sites through sponsored links, which are tailored to a user’s search terms and automatically accompany search results. The suit was filed in the New York Supreme Court. […]

The suit, which claims Google acted negligently and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the public, requests monetary damages to be determined at trial. It also accuses Google of violating federal statutes relating to child pornography and calls for the court to order that Google cease “advertising, promoting, or distributing” child pornography through its site or otherwise providing any links to such content.

It’s important to note that Toback has “also co-sponsored a law designed to protect teenagers from tanning beds and has planned this year to pursue a ban of toy guns in the area.”

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More Rats Fleeing or GOP Damage Control?

Porter Goss resignsFrom the TimesOnline:

PORTER GOSS, the Director of the CIA, unexpectedly resigned last night without any official reason being given, prompting widespread speculation about why he had left after less than two years in the job.

Senior White House officials said that Mr Goss, a President Bush loyalist who was the first sitting member of Congress to be appointed to the post, had left by “mutual consent”.

Considering that the White House and the CIA probably considers torture consensual, this means nothing to the rest of us.

That explanation, and the timing of the announcement made by Mr Bush on a day on which he and his Administration had been touting good economic figures, left analysts on both sides of the political divide unclear about the reason for his abrupt departure, particularly as no successor appeared to have been lined up.

Good economic figures? I think Bush needs to drive down the street and pump a tank of gas for himself and pay his own medical bills.

The move caught Pentagon and State Department officials by surprise and did not appear to be under consideration at the White House this week. It also plunged the world’s biggest spy agency into new uncertainty as it seeks to recover from the intelligence blunders preceding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the Iraq conflict.

If for no other reason, Goss should be fired for use of “black prisons” and probable use of torture in them.

Six months before difficult mid-term elections for Republicans, amid fears that they might lose control of Congress, the move also appeared politically unfavourable to Mr Bush. Mr Goss’s successor will face Senate confirmation, giving Democrats another chance to rehash their allegations that pre-war intelligence was manipulated and exaggerated.

This echos my thoughts. The only reason the Repubs would have wanted Goss to resign is if there is some upcoming serious scandal that we don’t know about. Barring that, they wouldn’t want the extra heat. To me, it looks like a swimming rat at the moment.

Props to M. R. Jarrell, despite his picking on one of my favorite local BBQ joints.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Sploid did some heavy lifting and found that Goss may be connected to some really really juicy scandal that the White House is trying to nip in the bud:

here is so much blood on Goss’ hands and so many skeletons in his closets that it’s impossible to guess what particular crime finally ended his odious career. But the growing “Hookergate” scandal connected to convicted criminal Duke Cunningham and CIA executive director Dusty Foggo may have finally wrapped its whorish tentacles around Goss’ neck.

“Something happened,” neo-conservative magazine editor William Kristol said on Fox News this afternoon. “It’s going to be a bad few days. We’re going to discover something … It will be something not good for the Bush Administration.”

Fox News actually got a phone call from a “top White House official” during Kristol’s damning comments, and Kristol was cut off so Bush mouthpiece Chris Wallace could say the Goss resignation is just a harmless part of the “White House shakeup.” Sure.

Wow… you just know something salacious is up when they call Fox News and tell Kristol to STFU about something on air (see update).

Another Update by Stephen VanDyke: Some clarification of the Fox News phone call hooplah coverage thanks to Johnny Dollar’s Place: Kristol was on a rant when the WH did call and Wallace interrupted Kristol to directly refute what he was saying. Kristol seemed skeptical of the new information (“they can spin sometimes”) and continued to pound the issue of this being more than some routine stepping down (“I am just doubtful that this was planned”).

Watch the vids… we’re not spinning this one way or the other.

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Alabama Libertarian Media Update

Loretta Nall’s scheduled appearance on the Alan Colmes program has been postponed until Monday night (10PM CDT) due to the surprise resignation of Porter Goss and the developing Patrick Kennedy story. I prefer Monday media to Friday media, anyway.

In the meantime, those wanting some national Libertarian media from Alabamians might wish to listen to my friend Mark Thornton being interviewed on NPR about price gouging in the oil industry. A quick BTW to Mr. Markels: the Ludwig von Mises Institute is located in Auburn, Alabama.

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Polling Numbers and Impeachment

impeachbush.jpgA new AP-Ipsos poll shows that Bush’s job approval numbers continue to decrease. From the AP:

Just 33 percent of the public approves of Bush’s job performance, the lowest of his presidency. That compares with 36 percent approval in early April. Forty-five percent of self-described conservatives now disapprove of the president.

They also blame the downward spiral on a loss of conservative support:

Angry conservatives are driving the approval ratings of President Bush and the GOP-led Congress to dismal new lows, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that underscores why Republicans fear an Election Day massacre.

I’m sort of curious about the tie between approval numbers and impeachability. As Nixon and Clinton faced similar problems to what Bush now faces, a comparison seems to be in order. According to this article’s slide show, here is how Nixon and Clinton fared.

President: Richard Nixon
Lowest Rating: 24 percent
Dates: July and August 1974

President: Bill Clinton
Lowest Rating: 37 percent
Date: June 1993

If 37 percent can get one re-elected and 24 percent is enough to force a resignation, it looks like we’ve still got up to another 9 percent to go. His conservative support is waning and we need to continue to attack Bush in the areas where he is most vulnerable with those who still support him.

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J. Edgar Hoover’s Legacy Lives On

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If anyone is qualitifed to speak about the FBI investigating journalists, it’s NPR’s Daniel Schorr. If you don’t recall, Schorr was investigated by J. Edgar Hoover — an action which ultimately was listed as one of the reasons to impeach President Richard Nixon. The FBI is trying to access the files of recently deceased Pulitzer Prize winning Jack Anderson. According to Schorr, democratic Senator Patrick Leahy alleges that the motivation of the FBI is to protect information about Hoover’s personal life. From Schorr:

We in the press hoped that the FBI would learn from that experience and refrain from doing political chores. But now it seems that the FBI is back investigating what it has no business investigating. […]

So there we are. I can identify with Jack Anderson, with whom I shared an honored place on the Nixon enemies list. But I have a more immediate concern. I don’t want the Feds poking around in my files after I die. Not that they contain any great revelations. Everything I learned that was of possible interest, I reported.

It’s just the principle of the thing.

So, with Kevin Anderson, I say to the FBI, “Why don’t you go and find some terrorists and leave the files of deceased journalists alone?”

To be quite honest, I don’t that I’d like to know any more than I already do about Hoover’s personal life. I do know that this “enemies list” mentality has to stop.

Graphic Source: Library of Congress

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Another Republican Rips Bush

The line of Republicans bitchslapping Bush is only slightly longer than the line of gay Democrats bitchslapping the DNC. The latest comes from Madison, WI:

A long-time Madison Republican announced his candidacy for mayor while denouncing President George W. Bush and ripping current city leaders for what he calls “social policy experimentation.” […]

“I don’t think anyone who is in the mainstream of politics can support George Bush. I didn’t vote for him. George Bush and I disagree on everything from No Child Left Behind to the war in Iraq,” said Allen.

Why can’t both major parties stop playing political games and start doing what they all know is right?

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Your Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything

coolearings.jpg

“Yes! Now …”

“Alright,” said the computer and settled into silence again. The two men fidgeted. The tension was unbearable.

“You’re really not going to like it,” observed Deep Thought.

“Tell us!”

“Alright,” said Deep Thought. “The Answer to the Great Question …”

“Yes …!”

“Of Life, the Universe and Everything …” said Deep Thought.

“Yes …!”

“Is …” said Deep Thought, and paused.

“Yes …!”

“Is …”

“Yes …!!!…?”from the Hitchhikers’ Guide

Here’s the coolest piece of jewelry I’ve seen lately. Buy them for yourself or as a gift. Male readers with one ear pierced can do both. Props.

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Freedom of Speech Takes Another Hit

Wendy McElroy of ifeminists announced that she’s halting distribution of her email newsletter because of new child protection laws in a couple of states. From History News Network:

I just sent the following notice to the thousands of subscribers to ifeminists.net’s e-newsletter to announce its suspension (at least, in emailed form) and to explain the political reasons why that suspension is legally prudent. The notice follows… Hello to all: I am sorry to announce that I will no longer be sending out the weekly ifeminists.net newsletter. Instead, the exact same content will be featured on a page of the website. Of course, news can also be accessed on a daily basis by browsing the newsfeed or by an RSS feed.

The reason?

On July 1st, new laws regarding e-mailed newsletters went into effect in Utah and Michigan; other states are close behind. Anne P. Mitchell, President/CEO of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy and a law professor, calls those laws “a legal quandry in which every sender of commercial email is about to find themselves.”

Partial explanation:

Both Utah and Michigan have created a “child protection registry” for email addresses that belong to children or to which children have access. It functions like a “no call list.” Spamfo.co explains, “Once an email address is on the registry, commercial emailers are prohibited from sending it anything containing advertising, or even just linking to advertising, for a product or service that a minor is otherwise legally prohibited from accessing, such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, prescription drugs, or adult-rated material.” In short, e-newsletters (such as ifeminists.net) are not permitted to send to registered email addresses if those newsletters include URLs to news sites that, in turn, link to child-inappropriate commerical information or products such as casino or viagra ads, tobacco or alcohol for sale.

Many credible news sources — especially British ones, it seems — offer links to adult-themed sites or products. These links can change constantly, which means that it is impossible to check a URL and “clear” it of so-called objectionable links or ads.

What’s next? I guessing “free speech e-mail zones” so the President can’t be criticized via Outlook Express. Props.

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Are Democrats Abandoning Their LGBT Allies?

South Park's Big Gay Al.jpg

“‘Supporting an LGBT fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton will actually hurt our community,’ wrote Van Capelle in a leaked memorandum to his board of directors. ‘We have become a community that throws money at politicians and we demand nothing in return.’

His comments have started a healthy, if not painful, debate about the place of gay people in the Democratic Party. Van Capelle expressed a growing feeling among many Democrats that the LGBT community isn’t getting a good return on its investment. These disgruntled Democrats believe that gay people raise millions of dollars for the party and provide armies of volunteers, but gain little.”Wayne Besen

The latest round of Democrats turning their backs on their strongest supporters seems to have started when former Clinton staffer and campaigner Paul Yandura sent a letter to gay Democratic activists urging them to no longer send money to the Democrats because of their failure to combat anti-gay ballot initiatives around the country. From the Washington Blade: see more…

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Republicans Continue to Defend Torture

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defended torture, yet again. From The Daily Telegraph:

“I think that the United States has suffered a bit because of the fact that when the war began we were facing such a new and dire threat from Al Qaeda, not knowing whether or not there would be a second wave that the United States took some very aggressive measures,” Mr Gonzales said.

“We did not for a period of time get out and explain to our friends and allies and even perhaps to the people in the United States what we were doing and why we did it because of the nature of the threat” and the fear of leaking information, he added.

Mr Gonzales, in Vienna for meetings with European Union ministers, told a small group of reporters that US officials “can do a better job (communicating) and that’s why I welcome the opportunity to come and talk with you today.”

We know the official US policy on torture, both foreign and domestic:

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Rumsfeld Hammered by Informed Public

It looks like Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld got bitchslapped by the truth a bit during his speech in Atlanta today. Perhaps the only time Rumsfeld told the truth was when he said, “I’m not in the intelligence business.”

Neither is your boss, Rummy.

Rumsfeld doesn’t seem to even know what the truth is, anymore.

QUESTION: You said you knew where [WMDs] they were.

RUMSFELD: I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were and ““

QUESTION: You said you knew where they were Tikrit, Baghdad, northeast, south, west of there. Those are your words.

RUMSFELD: My words “” my words were that “” no, no, wait a minute, wait a minute. Let him stay one second. Just a second.

Rumsfeld on March 30:

We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.

From Think Progress via tipster HelpMeImpeachBush. Full transcript here. Video uploaded to YouTube to spare them bandwidth and for those with QuickTime problems.

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Nall on Alan Colmes Tomorrow Night

I just got this in my e-mail from Loretta Nall:

On Friday evening at 9:15 pm CST I will be a guest on the Alan Colmes Show for around 20 minutes.

They heard about my “Flash for Cash” campaign and started digging around my campaign website and became intrigued with all of the things that I have done over the last four years.

The segment will cover the flash stuff, my start up in drug policy and prison reform and the mexico decrim bill.

You can listen live at http://www.alan.com.

UPDATE: The LP blog is commenting on this, but had to enter the following caveat because of FEC restrictions:

Note that due to restrictions with the FEC, we cannot even link to a state or local candidate that solicits funds, so we can’t link to Lorretta Nall’s campaign site, however HammerofTruth.com has more on the matter.

Sorry for all the Nall stuff lately. I usually try to balance Alabama stuff with that from other states, but recent campaign activites have pushed her to the forefront for the moment. Hopefully, things will get back to normal over the next few day. Actually, I hope the rest of the LP candidates start picking up a competitive amount of media attention. see more…

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Drug Decriminalization: The Third Rail

Columbia News Service just ran an article covering the guys in white hats in the War on Drug Users. There was a good quote which clearly explains the key obstacle we have to overcome if we are ever to truly overcome these draconian laws:

“Either party will use support of marijuana legalization against each other if they think it is to their advantage,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

St. Pierre cited a recent study by the Pew Research Center showing Americans are more comfortable with marijuana use than excessive drunkenness, but added that increasing public approval won’t remove the stigma against legalization.

“Even if Democrats prevail in taking over Congress this year, it is unlikely that anything substantive will occur,” said St. Pierre, a registered Republican. “It’s almost third rail. Marijuana legalization will be impaled on the altar of politics.”

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Diebold and Ohio: Nothing Ever Changes

DieboldOhioCompany.jpgWhile Ohio faces continued problems with their voting machines, one thing is becoming readily apparant: One man, one vote is no longer considered the standard. The AP is reporting a host of new problems with Ohio’s voting system after Tuesday’s primary election:

Election officials had trouble printing ballot receipts, finding lost votes and tabulating election results in Tuesday’s primary. Some election workers were late or did not show up at all in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County, the state’s largest. Others could not figure out how to turn on the machines.

“Ohio’s quickly getting this reputation as most corrupt and maybe most incompetent,” said Chris Link, executive director of the
American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, which fielded dozens of complaints from voters.

Being the one who advised Michael Badnarik to take Ohio to court after the 2004 elections, I’ve been following that state’s response in cleaning up their system. The one thing which is becoming quite clear over time is that the standard for determining if an election result is valid deals with statisitics and no longer relies on the age-old tradition of one man, one vote. Here’s an example:

Glitches were reported across the state, and a few local races remained undecided Wednesday while counting continued. The number of outstanding votes was too small to affect races for governor, Congress and statewide offices.

Columbus attorney Cliff Arnebeck, who handles voting-rights cases, said many of the problems were expected. “You could see in the absence of adequate training, people could just screw up,” he said.

And another:

Cuyahoga County was searching for memory cards holding votes from 74 polling locations. Spokeswoman Jane Platten said the cards might have been left in machines, but she would not discuss details, citing security concerns. The county had reported results from about 98 percent of precincts by Wednesday night.

And another:

Link, of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the problems went far beyond minor snags that could be expected, including complaints that voters were sent away by poll workers who were perplexed by the machines. In those cases, voters should have been offered paper ballots.

And another:

Workers failed to open one polling place until 1:30 p.m. Robert Bennett, the state GOP chairman and head of the Cuyahoga Elections Board, said they might have been criminally negligent and referred the case to prosecutors.

And another:

“We’ve had poll workers with the old system who after 10 years still made mistakes,” Damschroder said. “It’s going to be a learning curve no matter what we do.”

See how they excuse themselves from being 100% accurate:

In North Carolina, the state’s election chief also reported a good experience. Gary Bartlett said the machines arrived in February, giving officials two months to test the systems and instruct poll workers. Only minor problems arose in the primary.

“For a first-time rollout, we’ve got to be pleased,” Bartlett said.

Since when is “only minor problems” considered a good experience? The only “good experience” can be the vote of every citizen being properly counted.

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