politics

Clinton tries dirty disenfranchisement tricks in Nevada

Last March, Democrats in Nevada planned their caucus to include nine at-large sites to allow casino workers (union and non-union) to vote during the workday. It's a great idea to make it easy for as many people as possible to vote, right?

Hillary Clinton doesn't think so, at least not anymore. Two days after Culinary Workers Union Local 226 (Vegas's casino, hotel, and restaurant worokers union) endorsed Obama, the Nevada State Education Association – clearly acting as a Clinton proxy – filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to shutdown the sites.

I've come to expect efforts from Republicans to keep people from the polls, but this...ah, well. Remember when Greenspan called Bill Clinton "the best Republican president we've had in a while"? Perhaps this just shows that Hillary is indeed trying to follow in her husband's footsteps, as a moderate Republican in a Democrat's skin.

Also worth reading are these two little pieces on Clinton in Slate: Timothy Noah on her claims of "experience", and Christopher Hitchens on her flexible approach to truth.

Was the New Hampshire primary "hacked"?

Rumors fly about the New Hampshire primary results, tabulated by Diebold machines from paper ballots. There are calls for a recount, but there are said to be issues with the ballot chain of custody which might make a recount worse than meaningless.

The results don't match the exit polls, which is a big problem. It was results not matching the exit polls that set of the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine. Of course, when that happened in Ohio, Bush apologists claimed that people just lied to exit pollers.

It's already been admitted that one town "mistakenly" reported zero votes for Ron Paul when the actual count was 31.

Huckabee: quarantine AIDS patients, gays are sinners

According to this AP report, Huckabee says he stands by belief from fifteen years ago that AIDS patients should be quarantined. (Though he declined to call it that, there's no other word for what he advocated.) He also stands by previous statements that homosexuality is "an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle."

Obama in Japan; press declares Hillary done

In honor of Barack Obama's victory in Iowa, a photo from my last trip to Japan. Did you know that "Obama (小浜市, Obama-shi) is a city located in Wakasa Area of Fukui Prefecture," on the main island of Honshu, Japan?

I was going to make a joke about "O'bama" being a good Irish name - well, the Universe beat me to it. Seems his great-great-great-great grandfather was "Joseph Kearney, a well-to-do shoemaker from Moneygall, County Offaly, Ireland".

I am reminded of Bill Murry's speach from Stripes:

more from Ron Paul, racist loon

It turns out that not only is Ron Paul disconnected from consensual reality on abortion, evolution, and the separation of church and state, he's also a racist dingbat. phenry at DailyKos provides the evidence, from a 1992 article from the Ron Paul Political Report entitled "LOS ANGELES RACIAL TERRORISM":

Many more are going to have difficultly avoiding the belief that our country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists -- and they can be identified by the color of their skin. This conclusion may not be entirely fair, but it is, for many, entirely unavoidable.

Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action.... Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the "criminal justice system," I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal. [emphasis added -tms]

In a 2001 interview, Paul claimed this and similarly racist articles (such as one where he claimed that it's ok to try young teens as juveniles, except for black teens who should be tried as adults) were written by a staffer - a laughable defense. This wasn't a slick glossy mag where he just served as an "adviser" or something, it was an eight-page 'zine that he published under his own name. Even if we grant the fantasy that someone else wrote it, that would mean that Paul was irresponsible enough to let it go out under his name, demonstrating such rank incompetence that he shouldn't be allowed to hold any position of public trust.

Really, it's time for folks to get over their crush on Paul. Yes, he's the only Republican talking sense on war, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Armed customer foils holdup

What happens in a state where ordinary people are able to carry guns? Mayhem? No. What you tend to see are under-reported incidents like this.

Charlie Merrell was in a checkout lane at an Indianapolis IGA Supermarket, when a masked man jumped over a counter and pointed a gun at an employee. Merrell drew his own handgun (for which he had a permit), ordered the robber to drop his weapon, and held him until police arrived.

If the robber had shot a bunch of people, this would be all over the news. (In this case, the robber's gun wasn't loaded.) But an incident like this gets little coverage; this imbalance is part of why so many otherwise rational people have such fear of citizens carrying guns.

Ron Paul: three strikes on the batshit-o-meter

Something I posted to Slashdot regarding Ron Paul and some of his batshit-crazy views.

No, I don't mean eliminating the IRS and Social Security, those I'm willing to discuss. I mean his relationship to consensual physical reality. Ron Paul's campain has picked up a lot of interest among libertarian-leaning internet folks, but I think a lot of them don't know his views on some key concepts, and might understand him as less of a friend of liberty if they saw him for the religious wacko he is.


But, puhlease give up the single-issue bullshit.

His position on Roe v. Wade is only a symptom, not the whole of his disease. It shows that his position is not one of preferring less government and more freedom, but of simply moving government powers around; and it shows the influence of irrational religious belief on his thoughts and opinions.

It shows that he's anti-science, when he makes statements such as "As an obstetrician, I know that partial birth abortion is never a necessary medical procedure." The whole purpose of intact dilation and extraction (the real name of the procedure) is to avoid damage to the woman's uterus. It is generally safer for the patient that dilation and evacuation. IDX is only "never a necessary medical procedure" if the health of the patient isn't a concern.

This is not a surprise from someone who, for all the noise he makes about the Constitution, believes that "a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution", and who does not accept the reality of evolution.

Peace tags

Very interesting project here: PeaceTags.

They are selling silver "dog tag" style necklaces with quotes about peace, from folks ranging from Walt Whitman to Pope John Paul II to the Dali Lama. Proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and the Voices in Wartime Education Project.

The mission of PeaceTags is to ignite peace in our hearts, in our homes, and in our world by spreading the words of wise sages through the ages. We raise funds and awareness for innovative non profit organizations helping troops, their families, and communities.

They ain't cheap, but it's a good cause.

why we must question authority, or surely destroy ourselves

This is the weirdest, most disturbing thing I've heard about in a while. It illustrates so well the dangers of the human impulse to submit to authority.

Friday, a jury awarded $6.1 million to Louise Ogborn, who said she was subject to a strip-search in a McDonald's back office after someone posing as a cop called the restaurant and accused her of theft.

Ogborn claimed McDonald's was negligent when they failed to warn her and other employees about this caller, who had already struck other fast-food joints. Yes, this wasn't an isolated case: there were over 70 such incidents.

Obama again criticized for common sense

It's sad to see how much heat Barak Obama draws when he says the most commonsensical things.

Following the lead of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan during the Cold War, you're willing to talk to leaders of nations at odd with us? Then you must be "inexperienced" or "naive".

You're willing to take a nuclear first strike off the table? You must be "irresponsible". (No matter if the one criticizing you made the same statement last year.)

Now he's getting criticized for his fashion choices, for saying that he decided that he ought to display his patriotism with actions than with an American flag lapel pin. (One probably made in China.)

The whole thing reminds me of the great old John Prine song Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore.

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