Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I've been in post-election detox. I'm resting.

Since tomorrow is the official start of the holiday shopping season, I thought it would be a sensible thing to point you to my sidebar "affiliate" ads for your shopping pleasure. Just a couple. I interrupt my normally scheduled blathering for some advertising.

No Sweat

I like No Sweat, purveyors of no sweatshop, fair trade clothing and gifts. I've bought several things from them, and it's all good. Check out their website. I have the Code Pink high top tennies, of course. The other product worth checking out is the Tsong thong. Flip flops designed by girls who were orphaned in the tsunami in Ache, Indonesia. From the website:
A portion of the profits (30%) goes to rebuilding schools in tsunami-devastated Aceh, Indonesia and to a scholarship fund [for the child that designed the shoe you purchase]. The rest (after cost, shipping and duties) goes to building a brand that will stamp out child labor. Fair trade? Produced by SPSI-TSK workers in Jakarta, Indonesia.

If you buy flip flops order a size up. They're very cute.


Powell's is a good alternative to Amazon if you're into the Buy Blue philosophy of voting with your wallet. I like their little bookshelf thingie too. If you click on my link it'll take you to my bookshelf where I've entered a lot of the political/social issue genre books that I've either read or have had recommended to me over the past couple years.

Ok, thanks. The commercial is over. Enjoy your turkey.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Michael Steele wishes he was a Democrat...

Michael Steele, Republican from Maryland, sure went to great lengths to hide his party affiliation. Slimey stuff, eh? If I remember correctly, (and I do) CNN even identified him as a Democrat at one point within the past week. I guess he even fooled them.

Lie Cheat and Steele

GOP Fliers Apparently Were Part Of Strategy


The six Trailways motorcoaches draped in Ehrlich and Steele campaign banners rumbled down Interstate 95 just before dawn on Election Day.

On board, 300 mostly poor African Americans from Philadelphia ate doughnuts, sipped coffee and prepared to spend the day at the Maryland polls. After an early morning greeting from Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s wife, Kendel, they would fan out in white vans across Prince George's County and inner-city Baltimore, armed with thousands of fliers that appeared to be designed to trick black Democrats into voting for the two Republican candidates.

The glossy fliers bore photos of black Democratic leaders on the front. Under the headline "Democratic Sample Ballot" were boxes checked in red for Ehrlich and Senate candidate Michael S. Steele, who were not identified as Republicans. Their names were followed by a long list of local Democratic candidates.

Monday, November 13, 2006

talk about sending a message....

Dead woman wins election in US

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Marie Steichen died two months ago but she won a battle to become a county commissioner for a small South Dakota town in the US elections, an official said.

Jerauld county auditor Cindy Peterson said that the election list closed on August 1, and while Steichen died from cancer in September her name was kept on the list for Tuesday's election.

Steichen beat a Republican rival by 100 votes to 64 and Peterson said she believed that voters knew the woman was dead but wanted to make their political point.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hurrah for the election protection movement

A monumental victory for the election protection movement

A nationwide movement has been born to apply the lessons of the stolen elections of 2000, 2002 and 2004. In the lead-up to 2006, activists and independent experts scrutinized voting machines and electoral processes as never before. Mainstream media reports from the New York Times to CNN's Lou Dobbs to hundreds of radio talk shows finally paid attention to "glitches" and "problems" and "long lines" and "disputes" that just an election cycle ago were dismissed as "business as usual" or the stuff of conspiracy theory.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In other Democrats Don't Have a Plan News....

Bush Buys Land in Northern Paraguay

From Prensa Latina:

Bush Buys Land in Northern Paraguay

So what do you think? Investment or refuge? You be the judge.

Friday, November 10, 2006

CA-50 exit poll by Zogby

Here's the Zogby poll information that Paul Lehto referred to in his comment at Brad Blog.

And here's the text of the accompanying press release:

Contact: Paul Lehto, Esq., 425.422.1387


Haas’ Decision To Delay Paper Ballot Count Artificially Inflates Votes For Republican

November 10, 2006 San Diego, CA – Attorney Paul Lehto, a national expert on election integrity, today released the results of an independent Zogby exit poll of voters in the November 7 election in California’s 50th District. The exit poll shows the race much tighter than the results published by the San Diego Registrar of Voters as of the day after the election, six percentage points closer. Moreover, after adjustment for an oversampling of Bilbray voters, the adjusted poll shows Democrat Francine Busby well within the margin of error, making the race uncertain in actual outcome. Paper based votes yet to be counted favor Francine Busby, such as paper ballots obtained at the polls, which constitute 6.4% of all voters and favor Busby 58% to 39%.

The poll also contains important findings about the relationship between different forms of voting and voter demographics, revealing a tendency for Democrats to use paper ballots versus other forms of voting such as electronic machines. In violation of state and federal law, and despite lawsuits filed to stop the process, San Diego Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas delayed the paper ballot count for paper ballots obtained at the polls by fully qualified voters, preferring to have other forms of ballots have been counted preferentially first, attempting to justify this second class service to paper-based voters by stating “this is an electronic election” when in fact the public is legally allowed a choice of either technology.

In a midterm election marked by concerns about the security and integrity of electronic voting, the delay essentially eliminates paper ballots from the early results typically publicized on election night, and thus eliminates Democratic votes from the consideration of what the election means for candidates, for the public, and for the perceived competitiveness of districts for several news cycles if not permanently, and therefore leads to distorted news headlines and interpretations. This can only be avoided if the media realizes that in situations where choices of voting technology are available, it is becoming increasingly common for voters of different parties to prefer different technologies.

According to Lehto, “Mr. Haas’ abuse of discretion stems from the current nationwide bias by election officials toward electronic voting which, in San Diego’s case, skewed election day results toward the Republican candidate. The resulting bias in media coverage caused irreparable harm to the other candidates. This preference flies in the face of serving actual voters, which the Zogby poll establishes that over 80% of them prefer a voting system based on the ability of the public to witness and observe vote counting (like paper balloting) and not one based on invisible electrons and trade secrecy (touch screen voting). Delaying the count for one class of voters that’s more Democratic but not for another class that’s more Republican also creates 'second class ballots' and 'second class voters' who don’t get considered by the media and politicians on election night and the day after, which is outrageous and unconstitutional. It is very clear in the law that each voter is entitled to 'equal dignity' under the Constitution.”

Given the deep mistrust of electronic voting by people across the country, the Registrar’s office had ample reason to anticipate that many San Diego voters would reject electronic voting. In fact, the exit poll shows that 12.7% either had a problem in voting or know someone who did, a very high percentage for what should be a simple process that’s been practiced for centuries. In fact, media coverage before the election cited Haas’ admission that an insufficient number of absentee ballots were printed. Poll worker training was reportedly focused on electronic voting, and Haas imposed an arbitrary limit on the number of paper ballots available, despite widespread reports of problems due to problems with electronic voting machines. In other jurisdictions, such as Maryland, problems with Diebold voting systems created chaos during the September 12 primary and led the governor to push to scrap electronic voting.

In a related development, a petition which names Haas as respondent, alleges violations of due process and equal rights in voting in a case called Peterson v. Haas. (Ed Note: Details on that complaint here and here.) By limiting the number of paper ballots available and delaying the count of paper ballots, Haas violated requirements issued by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson. McPherson had issued a letter on October 3 to all county registrars which provides that all county officials shall have an adequate supply of paper ballots, available at the voting locations for use in the event of a loss of the ability to use electronic equipment, or if a voter chooses not to vote on electronic equipment. Haas failed to do so even after clear evidence of failure presented itself, preferring instead to “transfer” votes from photocopies to official ballots after being voted by voters, a process voters certainly never agreed to, and which violates laws preventing third parties from assisting voters with voting unless necessary. It is unknown how many mistakes or intentional errors were made in transferring the voters’ votes onto new ballots.

## END ##


Walk to end the war, con't....

Just a reminder that Bill McDannell has started walking his walk for peace, and I'm sure he'd appreciate any financial or material support you can muster.

His journal is worth reading, and you can track his progress there.

I really wanted to walk with him when he left Lakeside on Saturday (health stuff still...bleh), but I was sending him good vibes!

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Learning from Lamont

I think the article linked in the title is a good one by David Sirota, who worked on the Lamont campaign the past few months. He's got an interesting perspective from there. Interesting and true, imo.

Here in the San Diego area there are several reliably Republican districts, currently held by entrenched Republican politicians. This is a conservative place, overall. In past years, Republicans have had a firm hold on their seats, and their Democratic challengers barely make a dent during the elections. The Democrats end up with 25 percent of the vote or less...sometimes a lot less.

This year was different. Even where they didn't win, Democrats....grassroots Democrats...presented a real challenge to the incumbents. The votes aren't all counted here yet. The paper ballots (which I expect to be overwhelmingly Dems) aren't included in the totals yet, and the races were much closer than I ever remember. I don't recall anyone getting over 30% in the district Duncan Hunter calls home, but Rinaldi did just that. Jeeni Cricenzo got over 30% against Darrell Issa, and Francine Busby has run a strong race against Brian Bilbray.

Maybe these good folks haven't won the elections, but they showed that grassroots Democrats have made inroads and are NOT the "fringe" candidates the MSM rail against. They're the public face of a whole lot of people who want the Democratic party to return to Democratic/democratic values. I think this is a great success on top of the overall success by Dems in this election cycle.

I feel much the same way regarding Lamont's campaign. He did respectably well facing the overwhelming obstacles of an entrenched incumbent, and forced that incumbent to move back toward the center (or at least to talk the talk) in order to win. Grassroots candidates forced the career politicians into the light,and I like that a whole bunch.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Busby won't consider conceding until all of the votes are counted

Brad at Brad Blog says Three Cheers for Francine Busby!

Busby has said she won't concede until all the ballots are counted. I think that's a good idea. Why not? Each one of those votes count. There are a whole lot of uncounted ballots.

A couple interesting points in the comments:

Paul Lehto's comment refers to a Zogby exit poll that was done in CA-50. He thinks a lot of those uncounted, paper ballots will go to Busby.

And according to Prantha, the RoV hopes to have all the ballots counted by next Wednesday.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Woo and Hoo!

I won't go over the details since you've heard it all by now, but just a few thoughts on yesterday's election.

I'm not sure what to think about Prop 89. I was afraid it wasn't going to pass, but I didn't expect it to get whooped.

I'm especially thrilled about Bowen and McNerney. Debra Bowen will be an outstanding Secretary of State, and I really liked McNerney when I saw him here in San Diego at Democracyfest.

My birthday was yesterday. I told everyone that the only gift I wanted was a Democratic house. I got my wish, and a bonus! Thanks!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Yes, I know I said I was going to bed. I didn't.

I've been waiting to see some exit poll numbers, but it looks like they'll be later than anticipated. At this point, I'll take a look at that tomorrow.

The Busby/Bilbray CA-50 race is a little closer now. There are still a lot of ballots to count.


Looks like the Bowen/McPherson Secretary of State race is a little closer now....

I'm going to bed. Wake me when it's over.

updates at TPM Cafe

Election Results in CA

The returns are starting to come in here in So Cal.

I shouldn't even look until morning because early returns make me nuts....yet here I am.

Here are live returns from the CA Secretary of State web site.

As of now, things aren't looking great for Proposition 89. :-( Yes: 23.5% No: 76.5%. Most of the rest of the propositions are within a few percentage points right now.

Looks like we're keeping Arnold.

Secretary of State: Debra Bowen 42.7% Bruce McPherson 51.6%

Still this is only 8.7% of the's going to be a long night. I've already seen leads change over the last half hour.

Locally, with 23.5% of the precincts reporting, the CA-50 race between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray stands at Busby 39.7% and Bilbray 57.3%.

In CA-49, it's Jeeni Criscenzo 30.6% and Darrell Issa 66.5%.

District 51, it's John Rinaldi 30.2% Duncan Hunter 67.0%. Bleh. Though this is the stiffest competition Hunter's had in recent memory.

And in my own Congressional district, Susan Davis leads John "Woody" Woodrum 61.9% to 36.1%.

These are the local races I'm watching. I'll check in again a little later this evening.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Iraq Oversight Outrages Uncovered

The Democratic Policy Committee has published a Top Twenty list of fraud relating to Iraq.

I understand that one of the first things a Democratic congress will do is investigate these companies, and the complete lack of fiscal oversight, accountability and responsibility. That will make me very happy because it just frosts my cookies to see how they've ripped off citizens and taxpayers, especially while they're "supporting the troops".

S.D. runs short of absentee ballots

Photocopies mailed; registrar says all votes will be counted

I don't know what to say about that, but as Mr Durfee said ...

“I just think it's bizarre that they literally transfer people's votes from one piece of paper to another,” said San Diego County Democratic Party Chairman Jess Durfee. “Any time you do that, there have got to be mistakes.”

“It's just another example of poor planning,” he said.

So we're supposed to trust Diebold with our entire voting system, and they can't even handle the printing order. Does that inspire confidence? I don't think so.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Prop. 89 puts voters in charge again

There's a good editorial by Malinda Markowitz at the San Jose Mercury News about Proposition 89.

It's time we took California off the auction block and put the voters back in charge.

Wealthy interests write big checks to politicians and get favors in return in the form of corporate tax breaks, pork barrel projects, legislation or regulation and vetoes. Everywhere you look, regular Californians lose. Higher charges at the pump, inflated HMO premiums, contaminated food, rising chronic asthma rates from polluted air, shoddy products, inadequately funded schools because of corporate tax loopholes that divert money that could be used for education.

With Proposition 89, voters can restore balance to our political system. Even critics, such as the Mercury News editorial board, acknowledged that ``the pay-to-play money machine in Sacramento is warping politics, values and public policy.''

Proposition 89 would make politicians work for the voters, not campaign donors. It would reduce how much corporations, unions and individuals could give to candidates, ban contributions from lobbyists, and provide limited public funds to qualified candidates who rejected private contributions. Lawbreakers could be removed from office or jailed.

Proposition 89 also would limit corporations from spending more than $10,000 on initiatives, a provision some, like the Mercury News, dislike. But this election -- already the most expensive in state history -- illustrates why Proposition 89 is needed. Oil and tobacco companies have alone spent about $144 million on just two ballot measures. Last fall, it was drug companies spending $83 million on two initiatives.

Year in and year out, corporate spending has ignited a spending race that overwhelms voters and leads to a growing disenchantment with our political process. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has expressed alarm, upholding a Michigan law to ban corporate political contributions due to ``the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accomplished with the help of the corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public's support for the corporation's political ideas.''

Read the rest.....