How did the Florida purported-felon list, which included over 47,000 persons, list only 61 Hispanic persons? Matthew Waite of the St. Petersburg Times:
The reason Hispanics were being overlooked is that state criminal records and voter registration rolls do not account for race and ethnic categories in the same way. The state's criminal database, used to find the names of felons, did not have "Hispanic" as a category. Voter registration rolls do. When the two lists were matched, the Hispanic discrepancy made an accurate count impossible.
1. "Made an accurate count impossible"? Omitting almost all Hispanic felons while listing thousands of eligible black and white persons isn't just an inaccurate count.
2. Why are they basing the match-ups on race, anyway? Why are they using voter-registration race information for anything having to do with eligibility to vote, instead of just for statistics?
More: You're not required to list your race or gender when you register to vote in Florida -- and for this reason the state doesn't keep voting statistics by race. If racial information isn't available or reliable enough for state data-keeping, how is it good enough for use in purging felons from the rolls?
Remember that Spongebob cartoon in which Plankton gets millions of his relatives together to steal Mr. Krabs's secret recipe for the Krabby Patty? Of course you do -- it was hilarious -- but maybe you found the notion of cooperative action among individual planktons farfetched.
Florida's felon lists includes tens of thousands of wrongly disenfranchised persons. The state has abandoned its plan to use the list to purge its voter rolls, but many counties will use it on their own anyway. It's chaos!
Half of Florida's voters will use touch-screen electronic voting machines, which won't provide printed confirmation of anything. The state has outlawed manual recounts of these machines' results, despite known software problems. An obvious set-up for a huge robbery.
In 2000, fake and possibly real cops set up roadblocks and intimidated voters in poor, black counties from going to the polls. No reported actions are being taken to prevent similar actions this year. Welcome to America.
(a) Much of what's wrong with our political discourse, wrapped in a failed amendment: Thomas Franks limns the sad (if obvious) truth.
Ian Spiers has brown skin and is therefore a terrorist.
(Fascinating how photography is thought by the feds to be a tool of terrorism, when clearly here it's a tool for intimidation by the government.)
And again, note that no actual charges have to be filed for the cops (or the feds!) to be abusing their power. Thankfully Ian wasn't arrested or shipped off to Guantanamo. But just as no one should do time for legal acts, neither should anyone have to be barked at or publicly accused of being Osama bin Laden for engaging in a legal act -- or for having skin that's similar in color not only to millions of Americans but also to hundreds of terrorists.
Charleston Police Chief Jerry Pauley says that his department's only mistake in handcuffing and hauling away the t-shirt terrorists was filing municipal instead of state charges. But really, the law isn't what the police are about -- they're all about the take-down:
The object was to get them out of the area ... I don't know if it would accomplish any more now to refile charges."
That seems right to me. Why go through the pretense of actually filing charges? The offending t-shirts were removed from the President's field of vision, so mission accomplished!
I think that whenever we get the chance, we should describe Bush as "prideful." To me it's his biggest sin, and pride happens also to be the worst of the seven. Yes, Bush is indeed prideful. A Bush-is-prideful campaign might get the point somewhat across that Bush's famous resolve and moral certainty should actually trouble good Christians.
Afterthought: It's true that good Christians would say that most of us -- Kerry and Atrios included -- are guilty of all of these sins. Here's why I pick on Bush:
1. Bush's sins don't end with him -- they manifest themselves as horribly flawed policy and become the sins of the nation.
2. Bush makes a big public deal of his recent-found faith -- it defines his character and guides his political decisionmaking -- but he doesn't seem to have picked up any soul-searching or humility to go with his Bible-thumping.
3. Character is so important to Bush's supporters, but Bush's good character exists mostly in his assertions of his Christianness. In fact, the guy just wears a Christian costume to distract people from his administration's prideful, greedy, vengeance-driven actions.
The trespassing charges against Nicole and Jeff Rank were dismissed because one can't trespass on public grounds. So, did the Ranks win the day? No one is in trouble for removing the Ranks from the event, and Nicole lost her job with FEMA.
The Ranks don't plan to sue the City of Charleston. Nicole should sue FEMA, though, and someone should sue someone over the "free-speech zones."
(Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer. I'm just a struggling t-shirt manufacturer with no legal training.)
Time for a break. There are some projects I'd like to work on, to say nothing of being busy at work, so I'm going to have to take time off from the blog. I've been trying to do a little of everything, but I'm just running out of time each day. I'll still check in and post occasionally, and I'll really miss the comments, because I'm pretty sure we (secretly) have more fun than any other blog community.
So, over to Unf, and Bob, and Fontana. God help you bastards if there's ever a blank page up here again.
See you all back here later.
Tom Ridge has rendered mute and embarassed all who stooped to accuse the Dept. of Homeland Security of politically motivated fearmongering. From the AP story:
"We don't do politics at Homeland Security," Ridge said at a news conference, adding that the department's job is to transmit credible information to the public. Those who suggest otherwise have reached "rather cynical" conclusions, he said.
Classic. Accusations of politicizing terror must themselves be political. It drives me nuts -- and nuts is exactly what any articulate anger on the part of the left gets labeled (crazy and wild-eyed!) without any substantive rebuttal by Bushco and its supporters.
How do they get away with it? How does Al Gore give a brilliant, carefully but forcefully constructed indictment of the administration's use of fear, simply to be dismissed by the righties as insane? How does Bush just get to assert eight times in one speech with no actual support that America is safer now that we've invaded Iraq? How does Bushco get away with rhetorical tactics that seem little more sophisticated than a Lionel Hutz cross-examination -- and still enjoy the support of half the likely voters in America?
Part of it is the incumbent's advantage: everything the Dems do is campaigning, while the Repubs are just doing the work of keeping the nation safe. The other part of it must just be the refusal of many Americans to believe that anyone -- much less the President -- could possibly be so greedy and calculating as to start a war and alienate the world just to secure enormous wealth for the already very rich. For some, it's about reverence of the military and the Presidency. All the soldiers who refuse even to go see Fahrenheit 9/11 because they've heard it's unpatriotic. For others, it's because it feels smarter to realize that a war can benefit the Bushies and still be justified. This from New Republic editor Peter Beinart's June reversal on the war:
In the run-up to the Iraq war, I tried hard not to be partisan. I distrusted the Bush administration and feared it would be politically empowered by the war. But such thoughts felt petty and limited at such an important time. And so I evaluated the arguments for war on their merits, irrespective of my feelings about the people making them.... But, in retrospect, my efforts not to be limited proved limiting. Partisanship, it turned out, was an extremely useful analytical tool in understanding the Iraq war. Had I not tried so hard to cleanse myself of it, I might have seen some of the war's problems earlier than I did.
Everyone involved in political discourse spends a lot of time preaching to choirs. That's good and useful, but we have to work harder on disillusioning those who just have in the good of the government, of professed Christians, of people who don't claim to be smarter than they are. We have to do more to convince people that the harm that our leaders do is more important than unquestioning loyalty to apple-pie America.
And we have to stop calling GWB stupid. That doesn't matter. What matters is that GWB is not our boss, is not our dad, is not our nation. If anything is our nation, it's our duty to fire our leaders every two or four years.
U. of Missouri journalism professor Tom McPhail thinks Fox News shouldn't be credentialed at the nominating conventions:
''They're certainly not committed to being objective. They thrive on rumor and innuendo.... [They] should be put in a different category, like 'pretend' journalists.''
Correction: McPhail is referring to bloggers, not to Fox. I regret both my error and McPhail's.
(Via Athenae at Eschaton.)
I don't find it very convincing, but I'll wait to hear more informed commentary from the law bloggers. Two University of Chicago professors argue that the torture memos weren't unusual or reprehensible.
HMM: The document seems to have been taken down. Odd. I'll post another link if I find it.
UPDATE: Link updated; thanks to Ben W-lfs-n.
Let's see, Star Jones humping on a bed; Monica fleeing Chelsea; Barbara Bush hurling on the sidewalk...sounds like a pretty nifty job...read the whole thing.
Gadzooks, they really traded Shaq. This seems right.
We've been here before. In 1992, Philly made the EXACT SAME MISTAKE with a disgruntled Barkley, swapping him for 40 cents on the dollar (Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry). In 1982, Houston traded Moses to Philly for Caldwell Jones and a piddling No. 1. In 1975, Milwaukee traded Kareem for Brian Winters, Junior Bridgeman, Laverne and Shirley. In the 1960's, even Wilt was freaking traded . . . twice. Every one of those guys ended up playing in the Finals within two years of said trade. You can look it up.
Have fun, Kobe.
Proof that Unfogged is not biased toward the
liberal blue-state state of mind: I'm right in the middle. It's completely because I grew up in the Midwest, though. I fired a gun once at Y-camp, was dragged to Door County for a family "vacation," can name a Quad City. Truth is, I have no idea where the nearest Wal-Mart Supercenter is, and I don't eat brisket because I don't eat beef (pork?).
Recent Florida high-school grad Luana Marques asked Jeb Bush a question lifted from the FCAT, Florida's main standardized test used in school assessment.
Marques: What are the angles on a 3-4-5 triangle?
Bush: The angles would be ... If I was going to guess ... Three-four-five. Three-four-five ... I don't know, 125, 90 and whatever remains on 180?
No. Everyone knows it's 90-53.1-36.9 (more or less). Just use arctan! Florida students learn how to do arctan in their heads, right? That's why it's on the exam.
Actually, Marques got it wrong, too: "It's 30-60-90."
Mark Kleiman relates an expression of small-governmentalism so pithy I'm just about ready to vote Repub.
The reason that the American Revolution created a republic that has done so well for so long, while the French and Russian revolutions degenerated so quickly into tyranny, was that the American Framers didn't try to create a government capable of doing great good in the hands of brilliant and well-intentioned people. Instead, they tried to create a government that couldn't do too much to ruin the country in the hands of a bunch of corrupt morons. And they did a pretty good job of it.
Nice, eh? Mark takes it that the very structure of our government will shield us from the damage we fear from a second Bush term. But Jack Balkin isn't sanguine at all.
Mark's argument actually cuts in the opposite direction he thinks it does. We no longer live under the Constitution of 1787. The basic devices that the founding generation believed would keep the Executive out of the most serious mischief have largely been eroded ... although Mark assumes that the constitutional system will keep us safe during a second Bush term, he overlooks the fact that the Constitution as we know it is very much up for grabs in this election ... Indeed the Supreme Court did rap the Bush Administration soundly across the knuckles in Hamdi and Rasul. But the next President will be able to appoint new Justices to the Supreme Court, creating a new working majority that is considerably further to the right of the current one. Don't think that Hamdi and Rasul can't be read narrowly by a future majority of conservative Justices so as to give the President virtually everything he wants. They can easily be so read.
I'm hoping that Mark is right that a second Bush term won't be a disaster. But I'm not counting on it.
Again, the fragility.
Uh oh, the apostropher gets serious about North Carolina politics. Seriously.
In the course of a fairly odd rant against Bill Clinton for his mediocrity, Phillip Greenspun makes an interesting guess.
[Clinton] believed right from the start that he was the best-qualified person for whatever job he was seeking. Perhaps this is why we've had so many presidents from small towns in obscure states and surprisingly few from big cities. If you grow up as the only smart person in a tiny school you might subconsciously believe for the rest of your life that you ought to be elected governor, president, whatever. If, on the other hand, you grow up in Manhattan you might remember "hey, there were a bunch of folks in my old neighborhood who knew a lot more than I did and would probably do a better job." This might tend to sap your confidence.
This has a neat and plausible David Brooksian feel to it. By my count, six (seven, if you count Omaha, Nebraska) out of eighteen of the 20th century's presidents were big city born. Is that "surprisingly few?" Dunno.
But the larger point is more interesting. What difference does it make to grow up somewhere dense with talented peers? Is it fair to say that people who do are more humble about their talents? Does that humility make them pursue different goals? My own experience is something of a counter to Greenspun: the smartest group of people I've known are my high-school peers, and of those, the ones that have pursued politics are far from the most talented.
Remember, Jack O'Toole is doing the Insta-link blogging thing for the left. Lots of stuff over there.
I know you'll want to read them all yourself, so here's the quick version: the makers of the documentary Outfoxed have several memos from Fox News head John Moody to his staff, and Wonkette has posted the lot.
Unf here, with a little update on IL politics. I would have provided an update on the events that have brought the IL GOP to the state it's in, but once I heard about Jack Ryan's "interests" I immediately had to find pictures of his wife on the Internet. Pictures that would reveal the soul of the sort of woman who would marry a man like Jack Ryan. And that would reveal other things. I found such pictures, but after looking at them for a while, I suddenly lost interest in the whole topic.
But now it appears that this race has taken another interesting twist. Mike Ditka appears poised to enter the race for Peter Fitzgerald's Senate seat against Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Some Illinois Republicans are unsure. Some are enthusiastic. Other Illinois residents may simply be lamenting the untimely passing of Chris Farley.
Allow me, then, to make the case for Iron Mike:
- Coordinating the vast income stream that is the Super Bowl Shuffle no doubt provided great insight into the nation's complicated intellectual property laws.
- You ask if the man understands oil policy. Have you seen his hair?
- Ditka and Cheney could bond over the experience of suffering multiple heart attacks. Result would be massive favoritism for Illinois in a 2nd Bush Administration.
- Can the man connect with senior citizens? One word: Levitra.
- Would be able to teach Republicans timely and much needed lessons in how to whip New England "Patriots".
- Later career experiences coaching the Saints would provide valuable help in dealing with Republican base in the South.
- Barack Obama would no doubt whine about due process if Congress were to repeal the 8th Amendment with respect to the McCaskey family. Ditka would be a co-sponsor.
- Ditka not named Ryan.
- Finally, allow me to offer a personal anecdote. I was once on a flight with Ditka from New York to Chicago. The flight did not crash.
Need I say more? Can anyone, in fact, say more?
Jack O'Toole is trying Insty-style blogging for the left (well, add a bit of good sense, take away the innuendo, etc.). Worth a look.
From Nathaniel Frank in yesterday's Washington Post:
The Pentagon's recalls are targeting specialists with needed skills in intelligence, engineering, medicine, administration, transportation, security, and other key support and logistical areas. Under the gay ban, the military has expelled thousands of just such troops: 268 in intelligence, 57 in combat engineering, 331 in medical treatment, 255 in administration, 292 in transportation, 232 in military police and security, and 420 in supply and logistics since 1998. It also booted 88 language specialists (many of them Arabic-language translators and interrogators); 49 nuclear, biological and chemical warfare experts; 52 missile guidance and control operators; and 150 rocket, missile and other artillery specialists.
In certain badly needed specialties, the military could have avoided involuntary recalls altogether if it had not expelled competent gay troops in those fields: It is recalling 72 soldiers in communication and navigation but expelled 115 gay troops in that category; 33 in operational intelligence but expelled 50 gays; 33 in combat operations control but expelled 106. In total, while the Army is set to recall 5,674 troops from the Individual Ready Reserve, 6,273 troops have been discharged for being gay, lesbian or bisexual since 1998. The discharges continue, at the rate of two to three per day, despite alarming reports that the military is stretched dangerously thin and is overtaxing its current forces.
So, scary Arabs are actually Priority Two. Priority One is those guys from Queer Eye.
It's not a simple matter of the administration's being incompetent. The larger problem is that they have so many distractions and ideological blinders -- from the religious right, from the neocons, from personal entanglements with the Saudis and with the energy industry -- that their minds are on everything but America's real problems.
Bah. Apologies to Thunderbird. The culprit in my disappearing Inbox was Symantec Anti-virus. In Thunderbird, the Inbox is one big file. My anti-virus is set to delete any infected files. Receive a virus...poof! Bye-bye Inbox. I'll have to have the anti-virus asks me what to do each time. Unsatisfactory.
I flogged the Plame outing quite hard here, so some response to recent attacks on Joseph Wilson's credibility is in order. I don't have time for a long post of my own, so I refer you to the Poor Man, and this key passage.
We then look at the "Additional Views of Chairman Pat Roberts" section, in which the Chaiman is "joined by" Senators Bond and Hatch, is an opinion piece, written in a partisan and less formal tone, which is largely concerned with the (utterly irrelevant to the larger issue, IMO) matter of Wilson's truthfulness, and which laments:
Despite our hard and successful work to deliver a unanimous report, however, there were two issues on which the Republicans and Democrats could not agree: 1) whether the Committee should conclude that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's public statements were based on knowledge he actually possessed, and 2) whether the Committee should conclude that it was the former ambassador's wife that recommended him for his trip to Niger.
In other words, issue of Joseph Wilson's truthfulness, which has no bearing that I can see on the issues facing the Committee, is a partisan football, and everyone will believe or reject these "conclusions" as their partisanship dictates. Pure piffle.
And, while it seems like a dodge, it's still true that Wilson's truthfulness is irrelevant to whether the outing of his wife was a crime. (And, as the Poor Man makes clear, the issue of Wilson's truthfulness is hardly resolved.) Also keep in mind that everyone is concentrating on the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, (which requires that the leaker knowingly divulges classified information) and ignoring the Espionage Act, under which outing Plame would still seem to be a crime, even given the partial defenses mounted of the leak. I posted on this way back when (and I still believe we shouldn't use the Espionage Act, even if it's the best or only way to nail the leaker).
Megan just went on a blind date. It's too good to be true.
When I made lighthearted digs on the movie Star Trek, he literally got up from the table and said, "I'm going to let that comment sit for a little bit while I excuse myself."
And yet, and yet, that guy's been on a date more recently than I have.
The worst blackout in more than a decade hit Athens and southern Greece on Monday, leaving millions sweltering in a heat wave and raising concerns about whether the lights will go out at next month's Olympics....
it was yet another hurdle in Athens' attempt to convince the world it is ready to host well-run and safe games. Olympics preparations have come under criticism because of construction delays and concerns over security arrangements to stop terror attacks.At least they got the "Know Thyself" part.
Pictures of Anne Frank you likely haven't seen. And a well-done accompanying article.
When Thunderbird decides there's nothing in your inbox and you need to re-download 6000 messages, you can live with that. When it also forgets its spam filter settings and you have to go through 6000 messages to mark the spam yourself...oy.
In sweeter news, The Story of the Weeping Camel is really quite...sweet. No, it's good, and you'll like it, unless you have a flinty heart, like Unf and baa. My friend's question: "How do you make a camel act?"
UPDATE: I can't leave all the folks clicking through from Brad's site hanging: I did go through them all, and it took me a little over an hour. Perversely, the ratio of spam to real mail proved to be a boon, as I was able to sort and mark rows and rows of messages as spam. And, truly, it's the first time in well over a year of use that Thunderbird has blown up on me.
Bushco may not want terrorists actually to attack the US, but they have no problem with making all the necessary plans to exploit the unthinkable to their political advantage (while stirring up xenophobic hysteria along the way). We saw it with 9/11, and we see it now with this nonsense about possibly delaying the vote. There is no doubt that a delayed election day would reduce voter turnout -- by confusing voters, thwarting get-out-the-vote planning, and just making voters too scared even to go near the polling places. There's also no doubt that low voter turnout benefits Republicans.
No, no, no! And lest the righties accuse me of wild-eyed paranoia in the face of reasonable measures to protect the democratic process, I ask this: why isn't the Bush administration adequately funding homeland security instead of messing around with the election itself? Proposing an $800 million budget cut for state and local preparedness monies!
(Yes, Ogged already covered this. Well, now so did I.)
God damn. I've been chatting regularly with a charming young lady, wondering, perhaps, if there was romance in the air--when today, she said she had a "soft spot" for...
...I'm fucking serious. I don't rattle so easy, but I yelped. Really, I yelped. Bill M***erF***ing Laimbeer?? Really hon, just sleep with my best friend and give me gonorrhea, please. Tell me it's the smallest, funniest looking one you've ever seen. Bill Laimbeer? Soft spot? Ok, sure, who doesn't like smirking lumpy sadists?
Here's a piece they meant to call, "I Still Hate Bill Laimbeer." Closing quote:
God, I hate that guy.
Yeah, but that just scratches the surface. Words fail. She seemed so nice.
Yes, the Tour de France is going on, and there are two very cool resources you might not have seen. ESPN has a quite nifty Tour Tracker that lets you click around and find out about the riders, and each stage, and lots more. And Scott Sunderland, who is a real-life rider in the race, is keeping a diary that gives the inside skinny on each day.
I've been a passing fan of cycling for a while, but only now that I'm reading Lance Armstrong's book do I have any clue about the tactics that make racing more interesting. The key, of course, is drafting: following closely behind another rider can let a rider go the same speed as the rider in front, while expending 30-40% less energy. From that follows teammates "pulling" their star rider for most of the race, and also the difficulty of breaking away from the larger group, given that at least some of the chasing riders will be using far less energy and will be able to close gaps late in the race, when the lead rider fades. Good stuff.
By the way, I'm still waiting for some of blogdom's putative cycling fans to respond to this article, which calls the Tour de France the "world's worst spectator sport." Even technorati shows only silence.
If they really do try to postpone the election, it's incumbent upon people of goodwill to start blowing shit up. On the other hand, that's clearly a case in which appropriate protest only bolsters the rationale for what's being protested.
A general strike would be great, but I can't see enough people joining; hunger strikes are dramatic, but seem a bit loony; may I suggest groups of people clogging major expressway?
If this debate becomes more serious, there'll be lots of yelling about fascism, and Spain, and democracy, and hysteria. But there's only one even semi-coherent way to postpone an election and no one seems to be contemplating it.
Our representatives can't decide to postpone an election, because as soon as they do, they cease to act as representatives, and become agents of a state divorced from its democratic legitimacy. We can't decide, via, say, a referendum after a terror attack, because we'd be voting about whether we're capable of voting rationally, which is incoherent. The only way that makes sense is to vote before a terror attack to grant the government the power to postpone the election briefly. But there are still complications: who decides if a terror attack is serious enough to warrant a postponement? How long can a postponement be? What if there are a series of attacks?
Unless roads are inaccessible or cities are burning, or some such logistical challenge, there just isn't an acceptable way to postpone an election. Yes, it's quite true that people might be voting hysterically and irrationally, but agents of the government could well be acting in the same way. In an interesting way, by protesting or not, the people will wind up choosing whether they want democracy or an imitation of it. It's amazing how fragile the whole thing has turned out to be.