Friday, October 31, 2008

Voting Rights Watch: Red Alert in Georgia!!

In a bold move this week, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) announced she was sending letters to 4,770 registered voters that they may have to cast "challenge" ballots that won't be counted on election day.

In a striking announcement, she also declared that regular citizens could respond to the problem of non-citizen voting by contesting the citizenship of fellow voters at the polls -- forcing them to also cast challenged ballots that won't be included in election day tallies.

The surprising announcement is the latest in a winding saga between Handel, voters, the Department of Justice and a panel of federal judges over a new and aggressive Georgia policy to flag voters whose citizenship is in question.

Earlier this month, the ACLU sued the state of Georgia on behalf of Jose Morales, a Cherokee County voter who was wrongfully targeted to be purged from the roles despite having become a citizen in November 2007. Earlier, the Department of Justice had argued that Georgia's citizenship purge violated the Voting Rights Act because it had not be pre-cleared with the DOJ, something Georgia must do because it falls under the Act.

After the DOJ questioned the purges, many counties stopped mailing letters to flagged voters. A three-judge panel of federal judges said on Monday of this week that the state must notify those who have been flagged and find a way to allow them to vote.

But it's not at all clear that Handel's decision to do an end-run around the counties and directly mail letters to 4,770 flagged voters will in reality allow them to vote. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

Those whose citizenship is in question can go to a county elections office before Election Day and produce documents proving their citizenship and resolve the issue, Carrothers said.
But if the letters were only mailed Wednesday, that means that many flagged voters will only be receiving the letters today -- giving them only 1-2 business days at crowded election offices to resolve the problem. If they're not able to, Handel has made it clear the votes might not count:

The letter from Handel’s office tells the voters that if they appear at their polling place with the issue still unresolved, they will be given a “challenge” ballot —- a paper version of the ballot that appears on electronic voting machines. The ballot will not be included in the precinct’s vote totals, Handel said.
Even more worrisome is that Handel made a point of stating that any voter's citizenship can be contested by any other voter, a policy which could be used to target the state's rapidly-growing Latino population and other racial groups. As the AJC reports:

Any voter can challenge another’s qualifications to cast a ballot by notifying a precinct poll manager, Handel said. That voter then would be given a challenge ballot and would have to go before the election board.
And as Handel has made clear, "challenge ballots" will not be counted, forcing those who are challenged to prove their citizenship later.

Handel seems to admit the approach opens the door for vigilante racially-targeted voter intimidation at the polls, but dismissed the threat:

If large numbers of challenges are made on Election Day, Handel said, her office will investigate whether they are part of an orchestrated effort to influence the election’s outcome.

But, she said, “I’m not anticipating any kind of huge issue there.”
Handel has been roundly criticized for her partisan approach to running Georgia's elections. In a scathing editorial today, the AJC editorial board looks at other controversies surrounding Handel and finds her reputation damaged:

No matter the outcome of Tuesday’s election, a loser has emerged —- Secretary of State Karen Handel.

Her relentless crusade to bounce Democratic Public Service Commission candidate Jim Powell from the ballot, her posturing over yet-to-be-seen voter fraud and her flippant dismissal of voter delays this week have tarnished her and her office.

UPDATE: Several other states have laws on the books like Georgia's that allow voters to challenge other voters. For example, Republicans recently pushed through a similar law in Florida which provoked widespread controversy:

Challengers [in Florida] need not prove their accusations. Instead, the challenged voter has two days to justify his right to cast a ballot.

State Republican lawmakers who pushed the law say it will help combat fraud. Democrats call it a vote-suppression measure

What seems especially pernicious about what's happening in Georgia is that Secretary of State Handel appears to be encouraging Georgians to use the law as a way to deal with the "problem" she and Republicans see of non-citizens voting on election day. In a tight election with these controversies making big headlines in Georgia, that seems very dangerous.

UPDATE 2: Karen Handel takes great pride in being a zealous leader of the Republican "anti-voter fraud" movement. On her own website Handel boasts of supporting controversial laws beyond her own state:

Secretary Handel filed a brief of amicus curiae in December 2007 in support of Indiana’s photo ID voting requirement. Handel’s amicus brief noted that since the Murphy ruling "there has not been one single demonstrated deprivation of any right to vote or any other violation of a constitutional or statutory right resulting from the photo ID requirement."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We're #1! Can't Be #2! We're Gonna Knock the Dookie Outta You!

Thursday, October 30, 2008
With stars coming back, North Carolina is unanimous preseason No. 1

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- news services

Eventual champion Kansas knocked off North Carolina in the semifinals of last year's NCAA tournament, but it's the Tar Heels who are the big favorite heading into the 2008-09 season.

North Carolina received all 31 first-place votes as the unanimous No. 1 in the preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, which was released Thursday. After losing a big chunk of its roster, the Jayhawks debut at No. 23 following a 37-3 season.

Since ESPN began participating in the coaches' poll in 1997-98 -- USA Today began the poll in 1991 -- the Tar Heels are the first unanimous preseason No. 1. They're also the top-ranked team for the second straight preseason.

The other Final Four teams from 2008 earned strong rankings. UCLA came in at No. 4 and national runner-up Memphis landed at No. 12. The Tigers and Bruins have been ranked in the coaches' Top 25 for 61 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak.

Connecticut and Louisville are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, as the Big East set a record with seven teams among the preseason Top 25. Previously, a conference had five preseason Top 25 teams on seven occasions.

The top 10 is rounded out by Duke at No. 5; Pittsburgh sixth; Michigan State seventh; Texas eighth; Notre Dame ninth, and Purdue 10th. Duke is the only program that has been ranked every year in the preseason Top 25 since 1997-98. The Blue Devils and Michigan State have tied Kansas for the most appearances (nine) by any team in a preseason top 10.

In the history of the poll, only two preseason No. 1 teams -- Florida in 2006-07 and Connecticut in 2003-04 -- have gone on to win the national title. The eventual champs have been in the preseason top 10 in nine of the 11 years ESPN has participated in the poll.

North Carolina's candidacy as the nation's top-ranked team and national championship favorite got a significant boost last spring when player of the year Tyler Hansbrough announced he would return for his senior season. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds in leading the Tar Heels (36-3) to the winningest season in school history while sweeping the major national player of the year awards.

Hansbrough already has qualified to become the eighth player in school history to have his jersey retired and can add several more records to his resume in his final season. He will be the first returning Associated Press national player of the year since LSU's Shaquille O'Neal in 1991.

Meanwhile, Jayhawks saw three players depart early for the NBA; Darrell Arthur and Brandon Rush went in the first round, while Mario Chalmers was selected in the second round. Memphis' hopes of returning to the title game were hurt when Derrick Rose declared for the draft and went No. 1 to the Chicago Bulls.

The second 10 is led by Gonzaga, which is followed by Memphis, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Miami of Florida, Marquette, Georgetown, Florida and Davidson. USC and Wisconsin (tied at No. 21), the Jayhawks, Wake Forest and Villanova round out the poll.

Kentucky was among 19 teams receiving votes, the first time the Wildcats were not part of the preseason Top 25.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Also, Via

Tell John McCain and Sarah Palin to Reject the Politics of Division

The Republican nominees are increasingly relying on a strategy of race-baiting and fear-mongering to win this election. It's completely unacceptable and it has to stop.
— Click here to see the email we sent to our members. —

Watch the video from Brave New Films showing the McCain/Palin campaign and its supporters in action. Then, please sign the open letter demanding that they reject the politics of division and fear. We'll publicize the letter and make the sure the McCain campaign has to respond.

When you're done, please pass the video and the letter on to your friends and family and ask them to do the same.

Back to Politics!:5 Ways to Protect Your Vote

Why would anyone want to stop you from voting? It's simple -- because when you can control who votes, you can control who wins. Check out this compelling new video put together by the folks at VideoTheVote. It's fun, dynamic, and does a great job of telling the story of what's at stake and the power of our vote.

This year, with so many Black voters, young voters, and folks from all backgrounds who want change participating in huge numbers, those who want to hold onto power by suppressing the vote are in full force. But they can't stop us.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you successfully cast your vote, and to help others do the same.

If there's one thing we see every election, it's that Republicans will try to manipulate the rules any way they can to prevent some people from voting. Don't be discouraged--be prepared. If we're armed with the right information, we can beat most of these dirty tricks.

1 - Be Prepared, and Conquer the Lines. We can't let long lines stop anyone from voting. There are several ways you can reduce lines and make sure they don't prevent you or anyone else from voting:

*Vote early if you can. You can find early voting times and locations at
*Double-check your polling location before you go to vote. You can look it up at

*Have a Plan & Have Fun. Have a plan in case there are lines. Bring some food, drinks, friends, books, games, a chair -- anything that will prevent you and other voters from walking away. Have fun while you wait and encourage your friends and neighbors to stay in line so their vote is counted.
*Don't give up--don't walk away without voting.

2 - Two numbers you should have in your phone. Put these numbers in your phone so you're prepared to report problems and help other voters find their polling place:

*866-OUR-VOTE is a hotline that's been set up to collect information about problems on election day--lawyers and election protection advocates are ready to respond. It's the best way to make sure someone addresses any problems you see.
*The number for your local election board--in case you need to tell someone where they can vote. Enter you zip code at, then look for "Contact [your county] election officials" on the right.

3 - Beware of lies, misinformation and dirty tricks; spread the truth.
Republican operatives are spreading plain lies to frighten new voters. In Philadelphia, anonymous flyers in Black neighborhoods have falsely claimed that voters with unpaid traffic tickets or outstanding warrants will be arrested at the polls. If you hear a scary rumor, it's probably a lie. Call your local election officials to check it out--and make sure your friends and neighbors know the truth.

4 - Leave the Obama gear at home.
In some places, you won't be allowed into the polling place if you're wearing clothes and pins that support a given candidate. This isn't true everywhere, but it's best to play it safe. You can contact your local board of elections to find out if it's a problem in your area. If it is, bring some extra plain T-shirts or sweaters to loan neighbors who show up unaware of the rule.

5 - Read the ballot carefully, and ask questions!
Some ballots can be confusing even for smart and informed voters. Read instructions on the ballot carefully, and if you're not sure you understand something, ask a poll worker to explain. Remember what happened in 2000 in Florida--a confusing ballot caused thousands of people to mistakenly vote for the wrong Presidential candidate. Don't let that happen to you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Evolution II

Well . . . since I spent yesterday describing my evolution, I suppose I need to explain how I got through the really tough times. I mean, the nights when I couldn't sleep but knew I need to avoid the kitchen because there were knives there, I had to really call on Jesus.

That's the truth. That's why I just can't for the life of me imagine renouncing or converting from my Christian faith.

Now, let me say I did avail myself of counseling/therapy. If you feel you need to talk, but don't have think you can afford it, you probably can. Do some calling around and there is probably a mental health facility in your county that provides services that, depending on your situation, can range from free to your insurance co-pay with no upfront cost.

Then there're a few scriptures that helped me out, too.

When graduation came and I had no plans, hadn't applied to grad school or for any job, hadn't even taken the GRE, Jeremiah 29: 11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV)." Now, I place emphasis on what really spoke to me at the time I needed it. The fact that God knew the plans he had for me meant that . . . I didn't have to know. What's said in the Black Church is usually, "I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow." Eh . . . that didn't quite do it for me at the time. I was freaking No1KState and I was supposed to have plans. I was supposed to be on my way to a PhD. Not knowing what "tomorrow held" just "won't getting it."

But one day, I was reading that verse expecting "plans to prosper" to soothe my anxiety. It didn't. But every time I read through, "I know the plans I have for you," my spirit calmed. And that finally did it for me. I knew I had to quit fighting God on the issue and just let him have his way (By the by, Hezekiah Walker has a song that says exactly that. I listened to it endlessly. Can't find it online, but I'll keep looking.). I had to, as David says in Psalms 131, stop worrying about things I had no control over, and just trust God like a child trusts her mother (I paraphrased.) And honestly, that kept me from . . . Let's just say it kept me. (There's a song with those lyrics, too, by the way.)

Then, as far as finally receiving God's love for me, well, the involves all of the book of Ephesians as well as some other New Testament passages, and most especially a book by Robert McGee titled, The Search for Significance. I strongly suggest you read the book yourself and get the workbook, too. I most confess, the college staff member of The Impact Movement who was assigned to UNC gave a group of us all the book with workbook for free my second year. I was so full of myself then, I really didn't pay it much attention. I "graciously" went through it with the rest of the group because really . . . I'm No1KState. I felt I was the very definition of "being significant."

Er . . . uh . . . yeah. That kind of pride will lead to a bit of a battle with God. Hence, perhaps, the whole episode prior to graduation of not having any plans.

It was till just a few years ago that I read the book seriously. To say it changed my life would not be an overstatement. It helped me open myself and my heart to love. It helped me reject the lies I had believed about myself. Oh, I'm still working on trusting God with my heart. But, I used to respond to the staff member, who is now I dear, dear friend, saying "I love you," with a disbelieving shake of my head. She would tell me how I was such a sweetheart, and I would respond that she really didn't know me. She would argue that she thought she did, and I'd just let her win. I didn't see the point in a needless argument with someone who didn't know me.

Now, I can say, "I love you," first. This morning even, I told my parents I loved them. That's a big deal for me! I mean, it's not that I didn't love people the way Christians are supposed to love everyone, I just didn't hold anyone in any special affection.

Except my little cousin who's my "little sister."

That's part of what I love so much about my church family Palmer Grove. You know what, this is my blog, I'll tell you exactly what happened. I heard a woman call out my name, I just smiled and waved in the direction of the voice. Then Minister Thurman grabbed my shoulder and asked if I knew who she was. I didn't. She explained who she was and how she knew me, and that's when I realized that there were people who held me in special affection . . . just for me! Granted, folks were always impressed and sometimes proud of my accomplishments. But, it wasn't till that moment that I realized she was showing affection to me, not because of my family connections or accomplishments, but because of me. I mean, lots of people were greeting me because I had just joined the church. But the look on her face when I confessed I didn't know who she was (because I previously didn't care - she doesn't know that), let me know she was interested in me. Me. Not No1KState. Not the lead soprano or trumpet player or the basketball player or the genius. Me.

And guess what? Me, myself and I am sweet. I am a sweetheart. A number of people, strangers, have told me I have a beautiful spirit. At a group of young adults meeting together to minister to each other, a woman just all of a sudden hugged me tight and kissed my head. Once, a visitor at church pulled me aside and said he just wanted to speak because I had such a beautiful spirit. Apparently, that means just in my presence, people feel loved. That's what the strange hugging lady explained to me.

That's the truth. That's my truth. If I've accepted you as a part of my "circle," I do love you; and, I love you strongly and unconditionally. That has always been the case. I have always been willing to fight on behalf of my family, even if that meant I'd get beat up. And excepting God's love for me has made loving others all the more easier.

I'll end with this verse: Zechariah 11: 4 "This is what the LORD my God says: "Pasture the flock marked for slaughter. 5 Their buyers slaughter them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, 'Praise the LORD, I am rich!' Their own shepherds do not spare them. 6 For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land," declares the LORD. "I will hand everyone over to his neighbor and his king. They will oppress the land, and I will not rescue them from their hands." 7 So I pastured the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock."

Yeah, few people actually get to the part of the Bible. (I'll save my thoughts about Evangelicals and Fundamentalists for another post.) But, that's what inspires and prompts my quest to change the world, to fight racism, sexism, capitalism, and other oppressions. And now that I'm broadening my horizons to international issues, nationalism. At first, it was just American nationalism that bothered me, but now that I've learned about Turkey - I'm taking that on, too.

So, basically, I'm still celebrating turning 27. It's my own tradition to celebrate my birthday for at least a couple of weeks. Especially since my brother thought I was his early birthday present, I take the liberty of extending my own celebration past his. I'm not sure I'll be blogging about my personal growth again for a day or so, but. :sigh: My next posts will probably be about some political or international issue. It's just that, I'm so proud of myself for how far I've come. I'm thrilled that I'm finally receiving sufficient treatment for my CFIDS. I can hardly contain myself. I mean, of course, I have to. My health can't take a lot of hoopla, no matter the cause. But, I'm just excited about another day and another year.

Listen. Life is an adventure. I'm on this adventure with Elohim, another name for God, which, by the way, is Hebrew feminine plural, and a couple of other friends. I'm finally living life to the full and I love it! I wish you the same peace, contentment, and anticipation I have!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Evolution

Today's my birthday. I'm 27 today.

Yeah. I know 27 isn't a special birthday. It's not like I'm getting my driver license or anything. And, I'm not going crazy like my closest friend did last year when she cried, "Now, I'm just 3 years from 30!"

Actually, I'm looking forward to my 30s.

But for now, I'm 27. Not that 26 wasn't good. It was. But, this birthday is special to me. Even now, I can feel eyes watering. It's because of how far I've come since . . . ever.

You know. Usually, when I give my personal testimony, I recall how I couldn't believe Jesus loved me so much that he became a baby just for me. And the fact that he came back to life with Papa Smurf's help did it for me. I was sold! It was gonna be me and Jesus for life.

I was 4 when I accepted Christ. And don't worry. If I didn't know what I was doing then, and I did, I certainly do now. Nothing's changed about that testimony. That God would put on flesh and limitations of humanity just to pay for my sins still sends shivers down my spine, and that he was cruxicified and arose without a defibilator still blows me mind. I'm still sold. It's still me and Jesus for life.

But, I've never told anyone the entire truth of why accepted Christ. It wasn't that I didn't know anyone who loved me more. I didn't think I knew anyone who loved me. Yeah. Odd for a four year-old, and my mother would hate to hear that, but that's how I felt.

I used to have a hard time accepting or believing anyone loved me. Unconditionally, I mean. Even through my teens. You don't know my family, and this would make more sense. My mom is a local politician and has a lot of influence in the black community. My grandparents' and uncle owned their own business. I was a star student and basketball player. So, when people smiled and hugged me or shook my hand, I always thought it had more to do with mom than me. Or because my grades or basketball play impressed them. Even when older women would comment to my mom how pretty I was, I didn't pay that much attention. I thought that was more a compliment for my mom than for me; everyone swore how much I looked like her. And boys, well . . . let's say I was aiming for an academic scholarship and I wasn't interested in high school sex. I mean really. Having sex with someone who walked around with his pants hanging off his hips and couldn't remember to bring paper and pencil to school? Yeah, um, no.

College wasn't much different. Of hundreds of classmates, I only managed to remember close to 60 or 70 or their names, and most of that was due to some nudging. So, I really didn't care much for other people. Only a few people really stuck.

Oh. And that was just school. I was star in religious circles, too. Not a bad singer. Pretty good speaker (when I wasn't full of myself at the time).

But now, and granted it's took sometime, I actually believe people love me for me. And I can actually love them back. Nothing's changed in the way my family demonstrates affections, but I even believe my mom loves me. That wasn't always the case.

So, now that melodrama's been explained, there's actually more.

I know who I am now. Growing up, there were some lies I believed about myself. One was that I had a mean streak. That was punctuated by the fact that I could successfully discipline a youth choir of 15 kids without much hometraining. But now, I know who I am. I like sports, but I'm not gay. I can be quite prissy actually. But, going through life believing the worst about yourself just isn't a way to live. . . . Unless it's true, then, it's time for some self-examination I'd say.

And I know what I want from life. I know who I want in life. I don't wake up every morning hoping to die because the pain and exhaustion of chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction is so disorienting.

The best part is that I'm not afraid of the future any more. I'm not absolutely sure what the future holds for me, but I'm not afraid to meet it.

And here is where I digress a bit for the purpose of making a point. Contrary to what evangelicals and fundamentalists believe, not all lives are worth living. Terry Shiavo's husband was doing the right thing. Her parents didn't care about her. They just wanted to have their need for her presense met. Waking up hurting places you didn't realize you had isn't a way to live. So, let your loved ones go. Don't make them suffer for your own selfish reasons.

Back to me. I have been suicidal. It started during adolesenses. Part of the reason I spent over half my life thinking my mother didn't love me isn't just that she didn't say it; it's because she was always fussing at me about something. And there seemed to be nothing I could do that she wouldn't critique. And parents, that's not a way for your kids to live, either. What I didn't know was how she bragged about me to other people, including my brother. He and I both thought the other was the favorite child - parents, don't do that to your kids. Everything doesn't have to be perfect. Don't get me wrong. My mom didn't miss a basketball game. Even if all she talked about on the way home was how I didn't hold my follow through long enough.

But I've put all that behind me. I'm responsible for what I feel and think about myself. And, I'm taking God's word for it that I'm the apple of God's eye.

So, basically. Since life has no more meaning that what you're able to put into it, and I know that, I'm not afraid of the future. I know I have plenty to put into life. And know I have definite plans. In college, it killed me that I didn't have a clue as to what I'd be doing after graduation. Plus, I was sick and didn't know. Think it's bad having a doctor tell you there's nothing left for them to do and you only have a few months to live. Try just turning 22 and have a doctor look you in the eyes and say, "I know something's wrong. I just don't know what." My world crashed. I could hear and see my life shattering like broken glass. Like I had been in a head on without a seat belt, but not dead. I wish I could say no pain . . . but well, unbeknownst to me and the doctor, I had CFIDS.

Now, treatments are getting better. I finally have enough pain medicine, none of which is narcotic - but if you got an extra vicodine or something from oral surgery . . . Ha ha ha! I'm just kidding.

Not really. So, I was afraid of a future that virtually had little to nothing to offer. But now, I'm 27. I'm not as afraid to share my heart as I was just a few months ago. I don't know exactly what I'll be doing the next few years, but you can believe the world will change as far I can reach it.

I've come a long way in what's really a short time. I'm 27. And I'm making my life happen.

Obama's Closing Argument

You Know I Love Her!

Michelle Obama on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno"

Sad But Encouraging News Out of Africa

October 28, 2008

Court Rules Niger Failed by Allowing Girl’s Slavery
By Lydia Polgreen

DAKAR, Senegal — A West African regional court ruled Monday that the government of Niger had failed to protect a young woman sold into slavery at the age of 12.

The landmark ruling, the first of its kind by a regional tribunal now sitting in Niamey, Niger’s capital, ordered the government to pay about $19,000 in damages to the woman, Hadijatou Mani, who is now 24.

Slavery is outlawed throughout Africa, but it persists in pockets of Niger, Mali, Mauritania and amid conflicts like the one in northern Uganda. Antislavery organizations estimate that 43,000 people are enslaved in Niger alone, where nomadic tribes like the Tuareg and Toubou have for centuries held members of other ethnic groups as slaves.

Ms. Mani’s experience was typical of the practice. She was born into a traditional slave class and sold to Souleymane Naroua when she was 12 for about $500.

Ms. Mani told court officials that Mr. Naroua had forced her to work his fields for a decade. She also claimed that he raped her repeatedly over the years.

“I was beaten so many times I would run back to my family,” she told the BBC. “Then after a day or two I would be brought back.”

Ms. Mani brought her case to the court this year, arguing that the Niger government had failed to enforce its antislavery laws.

She had initially sought protection under Niger’s laws. In 2005, Mr. Naroua gave her a certificate freeing her, but when she tried to get married he claimed that she was already married to him.

A local court ruled for Ms. Mani, but a higher court reversed the judgment. In an absurd twist, Ms. Mani, who had gone ahead and married the other man, was sentenced to six months in jail for bigamy. She was released after serving two months.

“Nobody deserves to be enslaved,” Ms. Mani said in a statement. “We are all equal and deserve to be treated the same. I hope that everybody in slavery today can find their freedom. No woman should suffer the way I did.”

Slavery has long been tolerated in Niger. The Niamey government outlawed the practice in 2003, but it continues in the remote reaches of the vast, arid and impoverished nation that straddles the Sahara.

Antislavery organizations hailed the decision as an important victory against deeply entrenched social customs.

“For 17 years, we have been working towards bringing slavery to the attention of the authorities,” said Ilguilas Weila, president of Timidria, a Niger antislavery advocacy group, in a statement. “This verdict means that the state of Niger will now have to resolve this problem once and for all.”

The Community Court of Justice, the entity that ruled against Niger, is a judicial arm of Ecowas, a political and trade group of West African nations. The court, which can sit in any of the member nations, was created in 2000 and has made a number of important rulings.

But its limited ability to enforce them has sapped its influence.

Earlier this year, the court ordered the government of Gambia to release a journalist who had been missing for two years and was believed to be in government custody. Gambia ignored the judgment.

Monday, October 27, 2008

McCain's View Are Racist

I'll take time to explain. Not to give any hype or pub to the guy who published these two videos on, but it's the material I need.

Here's the thing to keep in mind when considering wealth redistribution and the Black Freedom Movement. A form of slavery, on author Douglass Blackmon calls neo-slavery, continued well into the 1950s. That's not to take into account the how little money was spent on black education, the educational pursuits blacks were prevented from attempting, the unequal pay for more work given to blacks and so forth. Not to mention the redlining, the FHA loans and GI Bills that benefited and grew predominantly the white middle class. Let's not pretend that the "ghettos" just popped out of nowhere and consider the money spent on highways to help the new white middle class along with new jobs move to suburbs.

Yes, we're starting to talking about reparations. Barack Obama is correct in saying that's something the BFM missed out on. In fact, if you remember, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was in Memphis marching with striking black union workers for better pay when he died. There are many companies and businesses even now that at some point was involved in slavery and neo-slavery.

And there is no doubt that while the income gap had been closing, the wealth accumulation gap has been increasing.

See, what you have to consider is a number of things. First of all, slaves were never given in reparations and after maybe a sip of freedom, found themselves again drowning under white male control. Thousands of black men were lynched. Probably thousands, if not tens of thousands, of black women and children were raped. No reparations. Finally, the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s were passed, and no reparations were paid.

And before open housing laws even passed, white Chicagoans were demanding the right to sell their homes to whomever they chose.

So, let's then add the discrimination and inequality that occurs today. The poor schools in poor majority black neighborhoods. The job discrimination, pay discrimination, the discrimination in the justice, so forth and so on, McCain's views, are in short, either ignorant, racist, or both.

John McCain 10/27

Now, let's walk through this. If your parents own their home and have more money to help with college or buying your own home, as most whites did and do by comparison to most African Americans - then you don't have to take out as high a college loan, if you have to take one out at all. You have help with a mortgage down payment. In short, you have a head start in accumulating your own wealth.

And while those who propagate racist ideas and notions would lead you to believe that blacks are fiscally irresponsible, facts show that blacks are as responsible if not more than white Americans. One large difference is that blacks do spend more money trying to help out more family, but that again points out to a gap in wealth accumulation that started decades and centuries earlier.

The radio interview.

So McCain and the guy who posted this videos need to learn more about American history. And McCain cannot be trust to stand up for equal rights for all. Period.

And we haven't even gotten into the discrimination in health care or sub-prime lending. Or even all the, "Kill him!" cheers and neo-nazi plans of assassination, or the fact that I guess McCain remains proud of all his supporters.

Oh, and by the way racially resentful white person who believes affirmative action is reverse-racism - black people don't have your money; rich white people do. (That's why Rev. Jeremiah Wright wasn't talking about all of you and is not an anti-white racist.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Updated: My Little to Help the Hudson Family

Julian King was found dead.

My heart goes out to the Hudson family. And now, to learn it was a domestic event.

So, you know what? I take back a little of what I said about black celebs coming back home.

But I will say this, ladies (and men for that matter), be careful who you let in your life. And relatives, be careful who you let in the family. I hope I don't need to share any stats on domestic violence. We know the signs are early and escalate. We know if you don't handle the situation properly, things could go bad.

Here are some steps for having a plan to leave a bad marriage. Let me add, if you plan on getting a divorce, and I hope you do, try to have some record of the abuse. And if you think your friend is being abused, you can help by keeping a diary of all the days and times when you've seen her (or him) bruised and/or upset.

Jennifer is quoted as saying her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will get her through this. He will. This whole thing is terrible. But like I said, God's grace is sufficient. Even for the perpetrator.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This, I Feel Better About: "A Defining Moment"

This One's Painful: Guess Someone Couldn't Share the Spotlight

My heart goes out to Jennifer Hudson and her family. I hope the nephew will be found safe and alive. Cause this is just ridiculous! On a number of levels.

First of all, black community, we can't on one had complain that not enough of the ones who make it come back and then also terrorize them and murder them when they do. Now, I know the same thing probably goes on in the white community, except, they're celebrated for moving to Hollywood and staying. But, come on people. Please.

Second of all, black folks who make it out . . . stay out! This is what happens when you come back home. Those negros who were already jealous to begin with are really gonna let you have it. Luckily, I can come back home. I didn't grow up in a "rough area," and I have to hand it to my local black community - we handle our business (That's a shout out to Ms. Bradshaw and all the black bus drivers who were illegally fired while a white . . . I just blog about that later. Oh, and Mrs. Degree and Mrs. Accor and Mr. Hooker. Pastors Smith, Thompson, Littlejohn. And, of course, my big brother and little sister-in-law. And, and I better mention my momma cause I there's this car I want. And even the people who used to tease me in school now recognize the importance of spiritual and political engagement.).

But, I guess Hudson's tragedy is especially saddening because, I don't know, I identified with Effie White. I identify with a down home black sister who's just trying to make good. And I can't imagine a world without my momma and my brother. And just recently, some good friends have had their grandmother and greataunt pass. My little cousin's mother's funeral was just this past week. And, I guess, I'm still in a mournful mood.

I told one friend of mine that it was okay that even maybe two weeks after her grandmother's passing, that she still missed her and her heart still ached. It's part of the human experience. It took a while for me to adjust to my grandmother's passing. Now, I see her in my dreams . . . and she usually has a date. I don't get that. But, anyway.

I wouldn't know what to tell Jennifer. This is one of those times when, "Hold on to God's unchanging hand," won't do. My grandmother and my friend's grandmother died because they were sick. They didn't die because someone murdered them. Now, I do know that God's grace is sufficient - sufficient enough for her to be really pissed off at him if that helps her grieve. I also know that God can piece back together a broken heart. And if you need to be angry with God or scream or cry or yell, it's okay.

I'm not going to say, "It's going to be all right." The first person really close to me who died was my grandfather. I was thirteen. And I distinctly remember fighting the urge to punch someone in the face for telling me, "It's going to be all right." Excuse my language, but who the hell cares about what's going to be. If you wanna make it all right right now, how about you bring my grandpa back? How about that? If you can't do that, then you need to shut your dang pie-hole. "It's going to be all right." All right, hell. Oh yeah, the next person who told me that was gonna catch an unholy "rhetorical flourish."

But I will say, the sun will rise and it will set, and another day will pass, and another, and another, and in one of those days, somebody better get that nephew back to the family. Don't play no "ransom" shit. You've done enough. We get your point. You can't come from "da hood," do well, and expect to stay like nothing ever changed. No matter how homeopathic it is for you or how much you wanna help your people. Yeah. You're the ones who make the rest of us look bad because ignorant crackas judge all of us by your nigger-acting black ass. So, yeah, thanks.

Oh, wipe the drool of your face. I said I'm a Christian. I never claimed to be a saint.

But back to my condolenses to the Hudson family, you'll always miss your mom and brother. You'll always love them. Right now you still can't believe it, and that's okay. The pain is overwhelming and that's okay, too. Whatever you feel, it's okay. God's grace is sufficient, and it's okay.

You're listening to some songs I chose to go out to the family. Now, at black funerals in my area, we have a good time, so I added some hallelujah gospel songs as well Hudson's songs.

Oh, and by the way, Palin's lied about some dirt she's done about the whole Alaskan pipeline.

And UNC beat Boston College. The Hudsons aside, that does make me feel better.

More About Ultra-Conservative Debra Honeycutt (Psst . . . She's black!)

Thanks to a commenter, who's apparently going around busting on African American Republicans for funsies, from an earlier post, "This Is Why Black Folks Don't Vote Republican," we have this article from the Atlanta Constitution. (Psst . . . look for the part where she accuses Obama of supporting black genocide. No, she's not referring to Darfur or Congo.) - No1KState

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Non-incumbent raises $4.3 million for her campaign, but questions linger
By Ben Smith

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Deborah Honeycutt has raised $4.3 million to run for Congress, more than any candidate seeking a Georgia seat in the U.S. House this year.

That includes all of Georgia’s veteran GOP congressmen, none of whom has raised more than $1.5 million for their re-election campaigns. Among non-incumbents running for Congress, Honeycutt ranks third in fund-raising nationally, according to

Honeycutt is a Riverdale physician who’s never held elected office, running in a congressional district that’s overwhelmingly Democratic. Honeycutt knows that firsthand. She raised $2.3 million to run for the same seat in the suburban metro Atlanta district in 2006 and lost. Democrat David Scott, the 13th District incumbent, trounced her by a margin of more than 2-to-1.

Honeycutt is seeking a rematch. Political experts find that puzzling.

“It’s a rather strange phenomenon,” said William Boone.

Boone, a Clark Atlanta University political science professor, noted that Honeycutt, who, like Scott, is African-American, is an “ultraconservative” candidate running in a district that doesn’t vote that way. Honeycutt says she opposes Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama because “he’s for black genocide.” (Emphasis mine. Didn't want you to miss it.)

Honeycutt is referring to Obama’s support of abortion rights. On Feb. 5, a large majority of voters in the six-county district cast ballots in the Democratic presidential primary. The vast majority of voters picked Obama over Hillary Clinton.

Boone also said the Honeycutt campaign “doesn’t appear well organized, not well enough to unseat an incumbent congressman.”

“It doesn’t come close to looking like a $4.3 million campaign,” Boone said.

Honeycutt has paid to advertise on billboards and radio. The campaign has spent $390,000 on cable TV spots. But cable doesn’t reach nearly as many people as TV commercials broadcast on major network affiliate stations. To date, according to records filed at Atlanta’s four affiliate stations, Honeycutt has spent roughly $4,000 to air one ad.

By contrast, the two candidates in the state’s most competitive congressional election, Democrat Jim Marshall of Macon and Republican Rick Goddard of Warner Robins, have spent at least $1 million combined in television advertising at broadcast stations in Middle Georgia. Honeycutt has raised more money than both candidates combined.

But records show that most of the $4.3 million reported by the Honeycutt campaign went to the Washington direct mail firm that raised it, BMW Direct and its contractors.

Honeycutt and a company official said that’s not unusual.

“It takes money to raise money,” said Honeycutt.

Campaign watchdog groups have questioned whether BMW Direct shortchanges clients running longshot campaigns by raising huge sums of money on their behalf and then keeping most of it.

The Boston Globe, in a June 29 story, reported that BMW Direct had raised money on behalf of a conservative write-in candidate long after the congressional hopeful had suspended his campaign. The candidate, Charles Morse, only received $30,000 of the $700,000 the company reported raising on his behalf, the Globe reported.

Company officials defend their fund-raising practices.

“When this election’s over we will have transferred $1.1 million to the Honeycutt campaign,” said Jordan Gehrke, director of business development for BMW Direct. “We have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Boone said the chances of Honeycutt winning the 13th District are extremely slim. But the Scott campaign is taking her candidacy seriously.

Tuesday, Scott filed a formal complaint accusing the Honeycutt campaign of paying for a flier distributed by a group called “Democrats for Good Government,” whose founder has denied that he’s working for Honeycutt.

“We caught them red-handed,” Scott’s attorney, Michael Williams, said at a news conference.

Honeycutt said she was unaware of the flier, but would investigate whether her campaign was involved in distributing it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Few Things, Namely Making Sure Your Vote Counts

First, if you're a small business owner who profits less than $250K, quit worrying about being taxed. Er . . . duh. Obama has been saying the same thing about taxes since he began campaigning.

And this whole thing about "spreading the wealth" and "eating pie?" Listen, taxes spread wealth. Period. Regressive, flat, or progressive, taxes spread the wealth. Now, if you're worried about someone else getting your piece of the pie, again, if you make less than $250K, you got nothing to worry about. Also, there's historically been more pie to go around under Democratic administrations and progressive taxes. And the pass 8 years under Bush's tax cuts, the wealth has been spread upwards. So, yes, someone has been getting your share of the pie, but it wasn't that no-good welfare "queen," it was the "famous for being famous" welfare "queen." I mean really America, please, take a moment to think. I know it hurts, but get yourself some pain medicine, I recommend vicodine, and THINK!

Like your broke-self got any wealth for someone to "spread."

You want universal and more affordable health care, you better vote for Obama. You want better education for kids, you better for Obama. Even if your kid's education is just fine, we are only as strong as our weakest link. In order to have a strong economy, we need a well educated work force. For that matter, to have a strong democracy, we need a well educated electorate.

And, Christians, correct me if I'm wrong, but does not God teach us that to who much is give, much is required? Now, doesn't that sound like progressive taxation to you? Don't call yourself and follower of Christ is you're not willing to give to the poor and you're so worried that you're busy holding on to your little piece of pie instead of seeking first the Kingdom of God and Her Righteousness. Call yourself what you are - a nonbeliever.

Now. That I've gotten all that off my chest, here are a couple of ways to make sure your vote counts from someone who has been a precinct chief judge. These are not necessarily in order of importance. Just as they come to mind.

1 - Vote early. That's the easiest way to make sure your vote counts. Find out where in your county they're holding early voting and go. There, they'll take your address and give you the proper ballot. You won't have to worry about driving from one polling place to another.

2 - Don't wait until election day to make sure you know where to vote. Call your Board of Elections, make sure you're still on the voter rolls cause there's no telling what your local Republicans have done.

3 - If for some reason you miss 1 and 2, then sorry, you may have some heavy lifting to do. Here's what's important to realize - YOU DON'T WANT TO VOTE BY A PROVISIONAL BALLOT UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST!!

"Huh?" you ask. "I thought after 2000, they passed the laws to make sure people could vote by provisional ballot."

Yes, but here's the think. You're provisional ballot may or may not be counted. That's why it's called pro-vi-sion-al. As in lets provide the vision that they're voting when they're not. Get to the polls early. If someone tells you you're at the wrong poll, they should give you a slip that states what polled you first went to, and the poll you should be at. Now, if you have to go through that a few times, you can still go to your county's board of election's polling place just like you would had you voted early.

4 - If your local polling place has run out of ballots, DO NOT LEAVE!! Stay and wait for more ballots to arrive. This election is too important for you not to vote because you got tired of waiting for a ballot. Wait to get a ballot, vote, then go home and whether it's on Obama's site or McCain's site, log the election day problems.

5 - I think that's it, but if I remember anything else, I'll post it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Can't Say I Didn't Think It'd Get Worse

Cause I never really gave any thought to whether or not the Republicans could get any worse, go any lower. Especially after the way they kicked Rep. Michele Bachmann to the curb. But then again, she was gonna cost them the election, and someone else is already taking her place, granted as a write-in.

But. Now. After all the fuss about ACORN; and. the news that the McCain/Palin campaign has people doing worse things on purpose; and the already incoincidental pattern of voter fraud complaints from the same folks who had those US attorneys illegally fired; John Boenher, house minor-oh, I mean, can't call white people minority for some reason (?)-House Republican leader has asked the president to cut funds from ACORN.

WASHINGTON – House Republican leader John Boehner on Wednesday urged President Bush to block all federal funds to a grass-roots community group that has been accused of voter registration fraud.

"It is evident that ACORN is incapable of using federal funds in a manner that is consistent with the law," Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote Bush, saying that funds should be blocked until all federal investigations into the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now are completed.
No, ACORN hasn't been found guilt of anything. The number of legitimate registrations outnumber the false ones, that ACORN flag, by a 200%+ margin if not greater. But, the Republicans, who hate the government, really got to have it under their control. Otherwise, Obama might "spread the wealth" and they might have to order off the special menu at Spagos!

This is why I can't see why anyone, black or white, Christian or non Christian, pro-American or anti-America, could vote for the Republican party. I'm not just angry, I'm repulsed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

These Are My Confessions

Updated - I changed "white atheist" to "Republican Christian" and "black Muslim" to "Democrat Muslim."
. . . with apologies, of course, to Usher Raymond.

There are a few. Like, I should actually be in bed now if not asleep. I have a head cold on top of the usual CFIDS, and I have to get up in the morning to be sure to make it to Wednesday morning Bible study, in part because I love Bible study at my church, but mostly because I gave my word to my pastor. And I want him to know my word is bond.

Here's another one. There's a guy a like who I might run off because I'm afraid I'll run him off because I haven't been in an adult relationship ever. If you actually saw me, you'd think that were impossible. But if you actually knew me, you'd see how that could happen. And my mom and brother think it's funny that he wants to own a . . . spa. That doesn't sound as bad as the word originally used that my family thinks is funny. And I'm not even sure how he feels about me yet, or for that matter, how I really feel about him. (Though, I do want to change my relationship status on my networking sites.)

But here's my real confession. I'm a Christian. Yes, yes. With my support for contraception and even "abortion on demand" (I'm not telling anyone to have a kid I have no intentions of helping her raise.); and my support of gay rights and even same-sex marriage - or something legally equal to it; and my belief in evolution, or at least some form, I. am. a. Christian.

Born and raised in a Baptist church. My grandfather baptized me. Oh, don't worry God-haters, I've gone to college. I've had my doubts. I have none presently, but on occasion I do, and something unexplainable just won't let me go.

I've heard all my life how important it is to vote for someone who's Christian who shares my Christian values. Now, being that I'm black, that has usually meant concern for racial and economic justice, truth and honest in politics, so forth and so on, but not necessarily, if at all, anti-abortion and gay rights. Black folks have enough on our minds before we start actually considering voting on personal issues like that. You lucky white person you.

You know how the best response to accusations that Obama is a Muslim is to say, "First of all, he's not. Second of all, so what if he were?" Well, honestly, I do have a mild problem if he were. That's my confession. I'd have a much easier time voting for a Republican Christian than a Democrat Muslim.

That's not to say I wouldn't vote for that black Muslim or any Muslim. And, I guess, here's my basic point, there are some things some of us Americans are dealing with that are so deep and unconscious that they don't come up without prodding. Racism, for example. Granted, doesn't take much prodding, but you get my point.

Here's the thing. Whatever you were taught as a child, that's over. You can't keep blaming your parents or even society for your willful ignorance and prejudice. Just like I can't blame my upbringing for the anxiety I feel voting for a random Muslim or in this fledgling relationship.

I'm an adult. I'm my own person. I make my own choices and decisions, good or bad, which accounts for why I'm still up long after I should actually be in bed . . . if not asleep. And if there's something inside of you that won't let you vote for a colored/negro/black/African-American, you have to make a decision to vote based on principles, policy, etc and not race. And. You can do it. You mush. Otherwise, and here's where I can release some pent-up cynicism, you're a racist.

So, that's my little piece of sincerity today.

The Best and Worse of White North Carolinians

'Socialist,' 'Muslim' — Ugly reception for Obama
By: Politico Staff
October 19, 2008 03:56 PM EST

Barack Obama's stop at Cape Fear BBQ and Chicken in Fayetteville, N.C., this afternoon underscored the continued resistance of some voters to his candidacy — and his identity. The trip, according to a pool report, offered “some powerful and at times ugly interaction.”

Campaigning in a traditionally Republican state, the Democratic nominee found lots of supporters of John McCain, at least one woman who believes the Illinois senator is a "closet Muslim" — and another who repeatedly shouted “Socialist.”

The following is a compilation of pool reports from print, TV and wire reporters who accompanied Obama to the diner:

Obama arrived at the barbecue joint around 12:30 p.m., where an older and majority white clientele of several dozen were eating lunch after church services. Many patrons applauded as he walked into the diner, but Diane Fanning, 54, began yelling “Socialist, socialist, socialist — get out of here!”

Obama did not look directly at her, as she was across the diner, but it was loud enough that he most likely heard her.

The gentleman next to Fanning, Lenox Bramble, 76, flashed an angry look at her. “Be civil, be courteous,” he admonished her. Another woman, Cecilia Hayslip, 61, yelled back at Fanning (per Reuters), “At least he’s not a warmonger!”

Bramble told Reuters’ pooler that he wasn’t voting for Obama because he didn’t think he had enough experience. Bramble’s wife, Kit, 75, said after meeting Obama, “He was very nice,” but added she’d been a conservative Republican since Barry Goldwater’s era and said she wouldn’t vote for Obama.

Fanning said she’d heard that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had endorsed Obama but said that “Colin Powell is a RINO, R-I-N-O, Republican In Name Only.”

Later, Obama came to the long table where Fanning and other members of a local First Presbyterian church were gathered. He held out his hand to her and asked, “How are you, ma’am?” but she declined to shake his hand.

Fanning asked Obama about a North American union, and Obama responded: “Well, you know, I am opposed to it if it were happening. But it doesn’t seem to be actually be happening. The truth of the matter is there is no plans. I’ve talked to a lot of people, including folks down in Texas. There’s no plan to create a common government between Mexico, U.S. and Canada. That’s just not … that’s just not happening. I know some people have been hearing rumors about it. But as far as I can tell, that’s just not something that’s happening. We would never give up our sovereignty in that way. Any other questions?

In an interview, Fanning said, “I still think he’s a closet Muslim.”

Obama spoke at length with many of the others parishioners at the long banquet table and got a much friendlier reception as he spoke about health care, taxes and Social Security. Fanning told your pooler, “Some of ‘em are just nicer than I am. I know how some of ‘em think.”

But several of her fellow churchgoers said their support was genuine.

Betty Waylett, 76, told Obama, “You’re doing a great job.” She told your pooler that she is a Republican but that she will vote for Obama because she likes the way he speaks and his manner. Waylett, who is white, said Obama’s race is not a factor. “I never thought about it one way or the other.”

Pastor Randal Bremer, also at the table, said Obama told him, “Whether you vote for me or not, I’ll need your prayers.”

“I’m very impressed by his ability to meet people on a down-to-earth level,” Bremer said in an interview. He said that he would pray for Obama but that he planned to vote for McCain, mostly because he prefers smaller government and McCain’s position on the Iraq war. He thinks there have been important gains in Iraq, and “I don’t want to see that damaged by a premature pullout.”

Mike Long, 33, a first-time voter in furniture sales, said after talking with Obama about health care that he’d gone from less than 50 percent likely to vote for him to “98 percent” likely.

Sheila Evans, 39, who is biracial, told Obama, “I’m so proud of you.” She told your pooler Obama had chosen a restaurant frequented more by whites, while one a couple of doors down had predominantly African-American diners on Sundays.

But some of the other older white diners looked surprised and slightly uncomfortable as Obama stopped at their tables to shake hands. “I’m surprised, but I’m not going to say anything else,” said Pat Smith, who was joined by her husband.

A group of six retired women said they were mostly Democrats — but mostly undecided about how to vote.

“I have to pray about it, think about what’s best for our country,” said Dorothy Buie, one of the women.

Obama ordered some food to go for himself and his aides. They ordered chicken, collards, baked beans, slaw and wings. The tab was $13.91. The visit lasted about half an hour.

© 2008 Capitol News Company, LLC

Rolling Stone Post Made Simple

Keith Olbermann on the issue.

Rachel Maddow on the issue.

Bonus Rachel Maddow on voter fraud and suppression.

It's Not Your Kid!

I have no problem with not selling candy or soda.

But new Virginia pharmacies that will sell no birth control?

As far as I can tell, it's okay to control when, where, with whom, and how many kids you have. If you're relying on the death of Onan died because he refused to impregnate their late brother's wife and be responsible for a child who wouldn't legally be there's, let me remind you that having a child, especially a son, was a woman's social security at the time. You're comparing apples to fish. Yes. Apples to fish.

Give people whatever birth control they request and their doctors' prescribe. The world is overpopulated. God isn't gonna be upset that not every emission of sperm and ovulation leads to the birth of a child. Er . . . duh!

At least their intentions are laid bare for all to see as the stores are named Divine Mercy Care Pharmacy. Whatever. Can We Talk a Minute?

The Biggest Untold Story in Politics Special Message from Eli

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Please click here for the form and video. It's much funnier and makes more sense here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Socialism from a Person Who Knows More About It Than Me

"Socialist" Is Not an Epithet

John Nichols

The Nation October 20, 2008

"There is always a charge that socialism does not fit
human nature. We've encountered that for a long time.
Maybe that's true. But can't people be educated? Can't
people learn to cooperate with each other? Surely that
must be our goal, because the alternative is redolent
with war and poverty and all the ills of the world." --
Frank Zeidler

John McCain hopes to revive his campaign by suggesting
that Barack Obama is some kind of socialist.

The Republican nominee for president says that his
Democratic rival's plan for stimulating the economy
sounds "a lot like socialism."

"At least in Europe, the socialist leaders who so
admire my opponent are up front about their objectives.
They use real numbers and honest language. And we
should demand equal candor from Senator Obama," the
Arizona senator claimed over the weekend.

Asked if he thinks Obama is a socialist, McCain offers
an insinuating raised eyebrow and a shrug non-response:
"I don't know."

McCain is not really concerned about socialism. He is
trying to suggest that Obama is somehow un- American.

Obama's no socialist.

But, as a Wisconsinite, I can't buy the basic premise
of McCain's argument.

I grew up in a state where socialism was as American as
my friend Frank Zeidler.

Zeidler, an old-school American socialist who served
three terms as the mayor of Milwaukee from 1948 to
1960, died two year ago at age 93. His passing was
mourned by Democrats and Republicans, liberals and
conservatives, who recognized the gentle radical as one
of the most honorable men ever to cross the American
political landscape.

Zeidler actually ran for president in 1976 as the
nominee of the American Socialist Party. In fairness,
it was more an educational campaign than a serious bid
for an office that the former mayor never really
coveted. Like so many of the great civic gestures he
engaged in over eight decades of activism, Zeidler's
1976 campaign promoted the notion that: "There's
nothing un-American about socialism."

Campaigning on a platform that promised a shift of
national priorities from bloated defense spending to
fighting poverty, rebuilding cities and creating a
national health care program, Zeidler won only a
portion of the respect that was due this kind and
decent man and the values to which he has devoted a

Had Zeidler been born in another land -- perhaps
Germany, where the roots of his family tree were firmly
planted -- his Socialist Party run would have been a
much bigger deal. Indeed, he might well have been

In most of the world, the social-democratic values that
Zeidler advanced throughout his long life hold great
sway. Latin America has been experiencing a revival of
socialist fervor in recent years. And virtually every
European country has elected a socialist government in
the past decade. Indeed, the current leaders of Britain
and Spain head political parties that are associated
with the Socialist International, of which Zeidler's
Socialist Party was a U.S. affiliate. In the recent
Canadian elections, the socialist New Democratic Party
experienced a substantial boost in its parliamentary

In Zeidler's youth, America's Socialist Party was a
contender. During the 1920s, there were more Socialists
in the Wisconsin legislature than Democrats, and a
Wisconsin Socialist, Victor Berger, represented
Milwaukee in the US House. When Norman Thomas sought
the presidency as a Socialist in 1932, he received
almost a million votes, and well into the 1950s
Socialists ran municipal governments in Reading,
Pennsylvania; Bridgeport, Connecticut and other
quintessentially American cities - including Zeidler's

For millions of American voters in the past century,
socialism was never so frightening as John McCain would
have us believe. Rather, it was a politics of principle
that added ideas and nuance to a stilted economic and
political discourse.

For the most part, Zeidler and his compatriots
campaigned along the periphery of presidential
politics, especially as the Cold War took hold.

But they earned respect in communities such as
Milwaukee, where voters kept casting ballots for
Socialist candidates even as Joe McCarthy was promoting
his "red-scare" witch hunt.

Years after he left the mayor's office, Zeidler's
contribution -- a humane, duty-driven, fiscally
responsible version of socialism that is reflective of
the man as much as the philosophy -- was always
recognized by Wisconsinites as a very American
expression of a legitimate and honorable international

Zeidler was the repository of a Milwaukee Socialist
tradition with a remarkable record of accomplishment --
grand parks along that city's lakefront, nationally
recognized public health programs, pioneering open
housing initiatives, and an unrivaled reputation for
clean government -- that to his death filled the
circumspect former mayor with an uncharacteristic
measure of pride.

Because of its emphasis on providing quality services,
the politics that Zeidler practiced was sometimes
referred to as "sewer socialism." But, to the mayor, it
was much more than that. The Milwaukee Socialists, who
governed the city for much of the 20th century, led a
remarkably successful experiment in human nature rooted
in their faith that cooperation could deliver more than

"Socialism as we attempted to practice it here believes
that people working together for a common good can
produce a greater benefit both for society and for the
individual than can a society in which everyone is
shrewdly seeking their own self-interest," Zeidler told
me in an interview several years ago. "And I think our
record remains one of many more successes than

Would that John McCain - and, frankly, Barack Obama --
had the intellectual honesty to assess those successes,
and the ideals that underpinned them. The candidates
would not, necessarily embrace socialism. But they
would recognize the absurdity of tossing the "S" word
around as an epithet.

* Copyright (c) 2008 The Nation


Portside aims to provide material of interest
to people on the left that will help them to
interpret the world and to change it.

This Is Why I'm Not Always Proud of America

. . . if I ever am. Full disclosure, I haven't read the entire article. I'm still supposed to be resting. But, what I've read is important to spread and get the word out.

For some of you, it may be too late. But if you have the time, go to your local county board of elections and volunteer to be a poll worker. You'll have to go through some training. You will get paid, at least in my state, you get paid. And you'll be able to help protect people's right to vote.

The other thing you should consider doing is running for you county's board of elections, whenever that next election is. Don't get me wrong, it's important to make sure on a federal and state level, there're laws that protect the write to vote. But the truth is, if someone is illegally prevented from voting or had their vote tossed out, it happened at the local level.

Activism. It's the only way to change the world.

Block the Vote

Will the GOP's campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president?


Posted Oct 30, 2008 11:10 AM

• Video: Behind the Story With Kennedy Jr. and Palast

These days, the old west rail hub of Las Vegas, New Mexico, is little more than a dusty economic dead zone amid a boneyard of bare mesas. In national elections, the town overwhelmingly votes Democratic: More than 80 percent of all residents are Hispanic, and one in four lives below the poverty line. On February 5th, the day of the Super Tuesday caucus, a school-bus driver named Paul Maez arrived at his local polling station to cast his ballot. To his surprise, Maez found that his name had vanished from the list of registered voters, thanks to a statewide effort to deter fraudulent voting. For Maez, the shock was especially acute: He is the supervisor of elections in Las Vegas.

Maez was not alone in being denied his right to vote. On Super Tuesday, one in nine Democrats who tried to cast ballots in New Mexico found their names missing from the registration lists. The numbers were even higher in precincts like Las Vegas, where nearly 20 percent of the county's voters were absent from the rolls. With their status in limbo, the voters were forced to cast "provisional" ballots, which can be reviewed and discarded by election officials without explanation. On Super Tuesday, more than half of all provisional ballots cast were thrown out statewide.

This November, what happened to Maez will happen to hundreds of thousands of voters across the country. In state after state, Republican operatives — the party's elite commandos of bare-knuckle politics — are wielding new federal legislation to systematically disenfranchise Democrats. If this year's race is as close as the past two elections, the GOP's nationwide campaign could be large enough to determine the presidency in November. "I don't think the Democrats get it," says John Boyd, a voting-rights attorney in Albuquerque who has taken on the Republican Party for impeding access to the ballot. "All these new rules and games are turning voting into an obstacle course that could flip the vote to the GOP in half a dozen states."

Suppressing the vote has long been a cornerstone of the GOP's electoral strategy. Shortly before the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Paul Weyrich — a principal architect of today's Republican Party — scolded evangelicals who believed in democracy. "Many of our Christians have what I call the 'goo goo' syndrome — good government," said Weyrich, who co-founded Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell. "They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Today, Weyrich's vision has become a national reality. Since 2003, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, at least 2.7 million new voters have had their applications to register rejected. In addition, at least 1.6 million votes were never counted in the 2004 election — and the commission's own data suggests that the real number could be twice as high. To purge registration rolls and discard ballots, partisan election officials used a wide range of pretexts, from "unreadability" to changes in a voter's signature. And this year, thanks to new provisions of the Help America Vote Act, the number of discounted votes could surge even higher.

Passed in 2002, HAVA was hailed by leaders in both parties as a reform designed to avoid a repeat of the 2000 debacle in Florida that threw the presidential election to the U.S. Supreme Court. The measure set standards for voting systems, created an independent commission to oversee elections, and ordered states to provide provisional ballots to voters whose eligibility is challenged at the polls.

But from the start, HAVA was corrupted by the involvement of Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, who worked to cram the bill with favors for his clients. (Both Abramoff and a primary author of HAVA, former Rep. Bob Ney, were imprisoned for their role in the conspiracy.) In practice, many of the "reforms" created by HAVA have actually made it harder for citizens to cast a ballot and have their vote counted. In case after case, Republican election officials at the local and state level have used the rules to give GOP candidates an edge on Election Day by creating new barriers to registration, purging legitimate names from voter rolls, challenging voters at the polls and discarding valid ballots.

To justify this battery of new voting impediments, Republicans cite an alleged upsurge in voting fraud. Indeed, the U.S.-attorney scandal that resulted in the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales began when the White House fired federal prosecutors who resisted political pressure to drum up nonexistent cases of voting fraud against Democrats. "They wanted some splashy pre-election indictments that would scare these alleged hordes of illegal voters away," says David Iglesias, a U.S. attorney for New Mexico who was fired in December 2006. "We took over 100 complaints and investigated for almost two years — but I didn't find one prosecutable case of voter fraud in the entire state of New Mexico."

There's a reason Iglesias couldn't find any evidence of fraud: Individual voters almost never try to cast illegal ballots. The Bush administration's main point person on "ballot protection" has been Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department attorney who has advised states on how to use HAVA to erect more barriers to voting. Appointed to the Federal Election Commission by Bush, von Spakovsky has suggested that voter rolls may be stuffed with 5 million illegal aliens. In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that voter fraud is extremely rare. According to a recent analysis by Lorraine Minnite, an expert on voting crime at Barnard College, federal courts found only 24 voters guilty of fraud from 2002 to 2005, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast. "The claim of widespread voter fraud," Minnite says, "is itself a fraud."

Allegations of voter fraud are only the latest rationale the GOP has used to disenfranchise voters — especially blacks, Hispanics and others who traditionally support Democrats. "The Republicans have a long history of erecting barriers to discourage Americans from voting," says Donna Brazile, chair of the Voting Rights Institute for the Democratic National Committee. "Now they're trying to spook Americans with the ghost of voter fraud. It's very effective — but it's ironic that the only way they maintain power is by using fear to deprive Americans of their constitutional right to vote." The recently enacted barriers thrown up to deter voters include:

1. Obstructing Voter-Registration Drives
Since 2004, the Bush administration and more than a dozen states have taken steps to impede voter registration. Among the worst offenders is Florida, where the Republican-dominated legislature created hefty fines — up to $5,000 per violation — for groups that fail to meet deadlines for turning in voter-application forms. Facing potentially huge penalties for trivial administrative errors, the League of Women Voters abandoned its voter-registration drives in Florida. A court order eventually forced the legislature to reduce the maximum penalty to $1,000. But even so, said former League president Dianne Wheatley-Giliotti, the reduced fines "create an unfair tax on democracy." The state has also failed to uphold a federal law requiring that low-income voters be offered an opportunity to register when they apply for food stamps or other public assistance. As a result, the annual number of such registrations has plummeted from more than 120,000 in the Clinton years to barely 10,000 today.

2. Demanding "Perfect Matches"
Under the Help America Vote Act, some states now reject first-time registrants whose data does not correspond to information in other government databases. Spurred by HAVA, almost every state must now attempt to make some kind of match — and four states, including the swing states of Iowa and Florida, require what is known as a "perfect match." Under this rigid framework, new registrants can lose the right to vote if the information on their voter-registration forms — Social Security number, street address and precisely spelled name, right down to a hyphen — fails to exactly match data listed in other government records.

There are many legitimate reasons, of course, why a voter's information might vary. Indeed, a recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that as many as 20 percent of discrepancies between voter records and driver's licenses in New York City are simply typing mistakes made by government clerks when they transcribe data. But under the new rules, those mistakes are costing citizens the right to vote. In California, a Republican secretary of state blocked 43 percent of all new voters in Los Angeles from registering in early 2006 — many because of the state's failure to produce a tight match. In Florida, GOP officials created "match" rules that rejected more than 15,000 new registrants in 2006 and 2007 — nearly three-fourths of them Hispanic and black voters. Given the big registration drives this year, the number could be five times higher by November.

3. Purging Legitimate Voters From the Rolls
The Help America Vote Act doesn't just disenfranchise new registrants; it also targets veteran voters. In the past, bipartisan county election boards maintained voter records. But HAVA requires that records be centralized, computerized and maintained by secretaries of state — partisan officials — who are empowered to purge the rolls of any voter they deem ineligible. Ironically, the new rules imitate the centralized system in Florida — the same corrupt operation that inspired passage of HAVA in the first place. Prior to the 2000 election, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and her predecessor, both Republicans, tried to purge 57,000 voters, most of them African-Americans, because their names resembled those of persons convicted of a crime. The state eventually acknowledged that the purges were improper — two years after the election.

Rather than end Florida-style purges, however, HAVA has nationalized them. Maez, the elections supervisor in New Mexico, says he was the victim of faulty list management by a private contractor hired by the state. Hector Balderas, the state auditor, was also purged from the voter list. The nation's youngest elected Hispanic official, Balderas hails from Mora County, one of the poorest in the state, which had the highest rate of voters forced to cast provisional ballots. "As a strategic consideration," he notes, "there are those that benefit from chaos" at the ballot box.

All told, states reported scrubbing at least 10 million voters from their rolls on questionable grounds between 2004 and 2006. Colorado holds the record: Donetta Davidson, the Republican secretary of state, and her GOP successor oversaw the elimination of nearly one of every six of their state's voters. Bush has since appointed Davidson to the Election Assistance Commission, the federal agency created by HAVA, which provides guidance to the states on "list maintenance" methods.

4. Requiring Unnecessary Voter ID's
Even if voters run the gauntlet of the new registration laws, they can still be blocked at the polling station. In an incident last May, an election official in Indiana denied ballots to 10 nuns seeking to vote in the Democratic primary because their driver's licenses or passports had expired. Even though Indiana has never recorded a single case of voter-ID fraud, it is one of two dozen states that have enacted stringent new voter-ID statutes.

On its face, the requirement to show a government-issued ID doesn't seem unreasonable. "I want to cash a check to pay for my groceries, I've got to show a little bit of ID," Karl Rove told the Republican National Lawyers Association in 2006. But many Americans lack easy access to official identification. According to a recent study for the Election Law Journal, young people, senior citizens and minorities — groups that traditionally vote Democratic — often have no driver's licenses or state ID cards. According to the study, one in 10 likely white voters do not possess the necessary identification. For African-Americans, the number lacking such ID is twice as high.

5. Rejecting "Spoiled" Ballots
Even intrepid voters who manage to cast a ballot may still find their vote discounted. In 2004, election officials discarded at least 1 million votes nationwide after classifying them as "spoiled" because blank spaces, stray marks or tears made them indecipherable to voting machines. The losses hit hardest among minorities in low-income precincts, who are often forced to vote on antiquated machines. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, in its investigation of the 2000 returns from Florida, found that African-Americans were nearly 10 times more likely than whites to have their ballots rejected, a ratio that holds nationwide.

Proponents of HAVA claimed the law would correct the spoilage problem by promoting computerized balloting. Yet touch-screen systems have proved highly unreliable — especially in minority and low-income precincts. A statistical analysis of New Mexico ballots by a voting-rights group called VotersUnite found that Hispanics who voted by computer in 2004 were nearly five times more likely to have their votes unrecorded than those who used paper ballots. In a close election, such small discrepancies can make a big difference: In 2004, the number of spoiled ballots in New Mexico — 19,000 — was three times George Bush's margin of victory.

6. Challenging "Provisional" Ballots
In 2004, an estimated 3 million voters who showed up at the polls were refused regular ballots because their registration was challenged on a technicality. Instead, these voters were handed "provisional" ballots, a fail-safe measure mandated by HAVA to enable officials to review disputed votes. But for many officials, resolving disputes means tossing ballots in the trash. In 2004, a third of all provisional ballots — as many as 1 million votes — were simply thrown away at the discretion of election officials.

Many voters are given provisional ballots under an insidious tactic known as "vote caging," which uses targeted mailings to disenfranchise black voters whose addresses have changed. In 2004, despite a federal consent order forbidding Republicans from engaging in the practice, the GOP sent out tens of thousands of letters to "confirm" the addresses of voters in minority precincts. If a letter was returned for any reason — because the voter was away at school or serving in the military — the GOP challenged the voter for giving a false address. One caging operation was exposed when an RNC official mistakenly sent the list to a parody site called — instead of to the official campaign site

In the century following the Civil War, millions of black Americans in the Deep South lost their constitutional right to vote, thanks to literacy tests, poll taxes and other Jim Crow restrictions imposed by white officials. Add up all the modern-day barriers to voting erected since the 2004 election — the new registrations thrown out, the existing registrations scrubbed, the spoiled ballots, the provisional ballots that were never counted — and what you have is millions of voters, more than enough to swing the presidential election, quietly being detached from the electorate by subterfuge.

"Jim Crow was laid to rest, but his cousins were not," says Donna Brazile. "We got rid of poll taxes and literacy tests but now have a second generation of schemes to deny our citizens their franchise." Come November, the most crucial demographic may prove to be Americans who have been denied the right to vote. If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat John McCain at the polls — they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering.

Contributing editor Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is one of the nation's leading voting-rights advocates. His article "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" [RS 1002] sparked widespread scrutiny of vote tampering. Greg Palast, who broke the story on Florida's illegal voter purges in the 2000 election, is the author of "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." For more information, visit No Voter Left Behind and Steal Back Your Vote.

Related Stories:

More From Issue 1064
Video: Kennedy Jr. and Palast Go Behind the Story
Was the 2004 Election Stolen? By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Make-Believe Maverick: The Real John McCain
[From Issue 1064 — October 30, 2008]

Take a Gander at This!

Voters Say They Were Duped Into Registering as Republicans
Sacramento - Dozens of newly minted Republican voters say they were duped into joining the party by a GOP contractor with a trail of fraud complaints stretching across the country.

Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed.

Freddie Mac Secretly Paid Republican Firm to Kill Regulation
Washington - Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse.

Case Study: Thailand

To be honest, I'm a little confused about what's going on in Thailand.

The former Prime Minister Thaksin is in England in self-exile. There was a military coup because PM Thaksin was accused of corruption. Charges included selling his family's controlling stake in telecommunications company Shin Corp. to Singapore's state-owned Temasek Holdings for a tax-free $1.9 billion. Critics allege the sale involved insider trading and complain a key national asset is now in foreign hands.

Thaksin also has been accused of stifling the media and mishandling a Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand that flared under his rule.

Here's the thing. People’s Alliance for Democracy, the coalition of businessmen, academics and activists, has accused the new Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat of being a political proxy for Thaksin, his brother-in-law. The PAD is now going for broke, according to many political analysts. The arrest of two of PAD leaders, Chaiwat Sinsuwong and Chamlong Srimuang, who were detained on treason charges in for their roles in the anti-government group's late August raids on government buildings, signals a renewed campaign to attempt to topple the government. Many believe Chamlong orchestrated his own capture to fire up the PAD protestors, whose enthusiasm for the battle has waned in recent weeks.

But, the Thai who live in the large rural sections of the country love Thaksin. Villagers point to the homes they built during Thaksin's tenure from 2001 to 2006, the refrigerators they bought, the general store they opened - all a result of the low-interest loans his government offered.

"Thaksin was the savior of the poor," said Kamcham Pokasang, 68, a farmer from Kok Loi in the northeastern province of Buriram, where lush green paddies of jasmine rice stretch to the horizon. "Before Thaksin we had nothing, only rice fields. Thanks to Thaksin, my family now has everything."

What's most sad is that the political crisis is a tug-of-war between Thaksin's supporters in the countryside, where two-thirds of Thailand's 65 million people live, and an educated middle class who feels threatened by the rural majority's growing political clout.

This isn't to say there hasn't been corruption and that Thaksin's opponents don't care for the poor - like our Republicans. They, unlike our Republicans, Thaksin's critics want to jettison his policies promoting privatization, free trade agreements and CEO-style administration.

There is more to be read about this story here, from BBC News Asia-Pacific, which leads with the fact that you know something ain't right when doctors break their hypocratic oath and refuse to treat injured policement. Also here, Bangkok Post General News details more Thaksin legal troubles.

Admittedly, I came upon this story because my mom has some thing about no one in the house changing the internet homepage, and the story popped up as soon as I opened the web browser. I caught glance of it just before I began to type in the web address to my email account. But, I think there's something here for us Americans to glean. And it does have to do with the difference between socialism and democratic socialism.

First of all, wow! I mean really politicians, do enter politics because you're corrupt? or is it that you were led astray?

Second of all, another wow! at how Asian countries deal with their corrupt politicians. Can you imagine what America would be like if we got rid of our corrupt politicians? And it's not even like Thaksin illegal invaded and sovereign nation or anything like that, and he's had to leave the country!

Third of all and actually most important, all kidding aside, I'm concerned that 1/3 of Thai people think they know what's best for the other 2/3. I'm concerned because maybe the 2/3 were bought off with the new houses and help entering modernity. I'm concerned because maybe the 1/3 are being so legalistic, they see the forest for the trees.

All said, I'm concerned that these groups can't come together and about the swirl of rumors of lies which are believed no matter how sensationalized or ridiculous. Sound familiar.

Listen, Americans. You can't make political decisions based on what you think is best for you as an individual. I mean, you can, I just question the wisdom of such thinking. And you certainly can't make a decision based solely on what the politicians are saying. Get informed. Find out what happens when. And especially, don't believe what one guy (McCain) is saying about the other guy (Obama, for whom I just voted!).

And you can't vote based on "scary" words like "socialism" or "spreading the wealth." Especially if you don't have any wealth, then, dumb- , er, I mean dear voter, you're gonna get some help from the government, which you probably deserve.

And you know what, I just can't figure out how we've gotten to this notion that a person worth is based solely on their paycheck. That if you don't make much, it's your fault, not the fault of the CEO who's milking your labor for all it's worth.

You gotta understand, in a capitalist society, labor is a form of capital. And many of us are allowing a labor to be undervalued. Whether it's because we're believing lies labor unions hurting rather than helping workers. Or, whether it's because you actually believe affirmative action puts whites, especially white men at a grave disadvantage. Or, maybe it's because you think we're being "invaded from the South of the border." Your labor is being undervalued and it's you're own fault. You don't keep yourself informed. You don't read all the different points of views about an issue. And Lord knows it seems like you can hardly read the truth about an issue, Mr and Mrs "I can't trust Obama because he's an Arab."

So, let's do some informing.

socialism: 1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. 2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory. 3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

democratic socialism: a form of socialism with a democratic government; the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., by the community as a whole -- combined with a democratic government

Now, am I saying that we should move to a completely socialist society where everybody makes the same no matter what work they do or how hard they work? No, no quite. What I'm saying is we shouldn't privatize corporate profit and then nationalize corporate losses. What I'm saying is that instead of being a proud know-nothing, maybe you should find sometime to learn what's really going on. And, trust me, when it comes to telling the truth, NY Times laps anything owned by Ruport Murdoch. (And by the by, am I the only who thinks it's funny the truth always happens to be "liberal.")

And while I encourage everyone to vote, especially for Obama, for the love of all that's good and holy, don't vote for a fellow proud six-pack know-nothing, which amounts to a drunk idiot. And yes, that's a shot a Sarah Palin, I'm sure you couldn't tell.

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But Don't Jack My Genuis