Early Voting for Ohio

September 30, 2008

John Legend, a Springfield, Ohio native, encouraged Barack Obama supporters to cast their ballots early and take advantage of the month-long early voting window leading up to Election Day. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)
I got a note from Eric (formerly of Ohio) yesterday. Here’s some of what he said:

When I lived in Ohio and voted for the last presidential election, voters had to stand in line for over 3 hours. This was in Franklin county ohio in a poor district. Some handicapped people and elderly were not able to stand in line for 3 1/2 hours and ended up not voting. In this day of technology, I think we should revise the voting system so that people can vote from home on the web if they want and every vote could be linked to a social security number to help prevent fraud…

The good news for Franklin County voters is they can start voting today. Here’s an Associated Press article:

Ohio election officials brace for early voting

By THOMAS J. SHEERAN – 2 hours ago

CLEVELAND (AP) — Voters in this crucial swing state began casting absentee ballots Tuesday, after state and federal courts upheld a ruling that allows residents to register and vote absentee on the same day during the first six days of voting.

Five people were waiting at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections when doors opened at 8:30 a.m. Two in line said they were voting for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, including John Fuller, 73, a retired hospital orderly from Cleveland.

Fuller said voting early would allow him to work on Election Day helping others get out and vote. Fuller and others in line Tuesday morning were previously registered.

Read more here.

AND the nice folks over at Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio can walk you through the process.  Check their website!  Go vote today!


From VoteForChange.Com

September 30, 2008

For voting information go to Vote for Change. They’ve made finding out how to vote very easy. You can use this website to:
* 1. Register to vote.
* 2. Request to vote absentee.
* 3. Find your polling location.
Having read all of the Greg Palast/Robert F. Kennedy Jr. information, I wanted to make sure I was really registered. I was able to access my Bergen County election official’s email and phone number. I ended up calling and reassuring myself that I was on the rolls. Whew!

To make sure it gets there on time with a tracking # I’m going to express my vote with FedEx. Do you live in a “swing” state, or a state that tends to “lose” ballots? FedEx will express your ballot in most states, too.

Thank you for making all of this easier, Obama!

From Air America Radio

RFK Jr and Pap: “Is Your Vote Safe?”

By Ring of Fire

Bobby: “There are about 30 scams the republicans are deliberately using, particularly in the swing states to get democratic voters off the rolls. These scams originate in the so-called Help America Vote Act which was passed after the Florida debacle in the year 2000. It was originally suggested by democrats and republicans but it was passed by a republican congress with a republican senate and a republican president. And instead of reforming what happened in Florida it basically institutionalized all the problems that happened in Florida. And institutionalized a series of impediments that make it very difficult for democrats to register, for democrats to vote and then for democrats to have their vote counted.

“One of these requirements under HAVA is called “the perfect match” and what that does is little known but it is devastating. A quarter of the voters in Colorado have just been removed from the rolls because of this–just this one scam. And what it does is they use a computer system to compare your registration application to all other government records of you in the state. So they’ll look at your social security records, your motor vehicle records and any time you’ve had any interaction with the government and if there is any information on your voter registration that is different than the information on another government record that they find they remove you from the voting rolls.

“For example, if I registered as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and yet my motor vehicle license said Robert Frances Kennedy Jr. I’d be removed from the rolls. If your initial is different, if you leave an initial out, if you leave a “Jr.” out, if you leave a hyphen out in your name. And what they’ve done is a study in New York that said 80% of the errors are errors that were done by state clerks who are taking down this information. And particularly immigrant communities that people tend to vote democratic, people have names…spell Muhammad with an “o” instead of a “u” (crosstalk)

Pap: “Are the democrats suing to stop this?”

Bobby: “No, the democrats are doing nothing to stop it. In New Jersey, which is a swing state, 300,000 voters in New Jersey were just sent letters saying that they are now ineligible to vote. New jersey is nice enough to actually notify them–most states will not even notify them. And New Jersey intends to send out 870,000 letters so that is three quarters of a million people off the voting rolls in a state that could decide this vote by 50,000 votes. And these are democrats that are being pushed off the rolls.

Bobby: “Let me tell you about one other of these scams people should know about. If you’re a newly registered voter–and of course the democrats have done these gigantic registration drives–12 million people on registration–if you’re a new voter you MUST include your license or some other state I.D. when you come to vote. What that means is that if you’re a college kid (and college kids now–they’re sending in absentee ballots–they’re not going to the voting place, they do everything online or they do everything remotely–they don’t dream of going to the precinct house voting on election day and waiting in a long line) so if they send in the absentee ballot and they don’t include a color copy of their license their vote is going to be thrown into a trash can. And none of these people know this because you have had to read the law in order to know it. So there is no notification for when you fill out your registration form, so all of those 12 million people that the democrats have registered: those ballots are going to be just thrown out.

Pap: “And if democrats won’t talk about this how the hell’s anybody gonna know about it? I’m involved with this kind of thing every day–I didn’t know that until you just told me. The media is not talking about it. How in the hell is somebody gonna find this out? It’s just incredible.

Bobby: “Hopefully–Obama is getting 66 million dollars a month–hopefully somebody in the democratic organization is going to pay some attention to this before election day.

Investigative journalist Greg Palast and voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have just released an investigative comic book voter guide “Steal Back Your Vote.” it lays out the ways Republican have are stolen votes in 2004 and how they are trying to steal the 2008 election… And Palast and Kennedy have devised seven ways you can steal it back, in a 24 page downloadable graphic guide. It’s non-partisan (truly, they aren’t pushing one candidate over another, they just object to vote stealing!!!), it’s humorous, it’s totally snarky, and it’s helpful.

When you go to bed tonight, can you answer this question: do you know where your registration is? Find out how your vote is being stolen, and how you can steal it back, by downloading the guide here: www.stealbackyourvote.org.

Here’s a paraphrased version of their 7 ways to steal the vote back:

1. Greg suggests you not vote absentee if you can help it.
Greg asked “For those of you who mailed in your ballot, please tell me, what happened to it? You don’t know, do you?”

I can answer that. Yes, Greg, I do know what happened to my ballot. I called to check on it after the fact and of course there was no record of it… Sigh. My ballot was one of the three-fourths of a million absentee ballots were never counted last time (that’s the official count), on the weakest of technical excuses.

Also, tens of thousands of ballots are not mailed out to voters in time to return them – in which case you’re out of luck. Most states won’t let you vote in-precinct once you’ve applied to vote absentee.

2. Vote early!
Every state now lets voters cast ballots in designated polling stations and at county offices
in the weeks before Election Day. Do it. Don’t wait until Election Day to find out you have the wrong ID, your registration’s “inactive,” or you’re on a challenge list. By Election Day, there’s little to do but hold up the line.

3 Register
Think you’re registered to vote? Check online with your Secretary of State’s office or call
your County Board of Elections. Contact the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the League of Women Voters, and your local party organization, and commit to a couple of days of door-to-door
registration, especially in minority neighborhoods or at social service agency offices. And if you’ve served the time, you can sign: in almost every state, ex-cons can vote.

4. Vote Unconditionally, not provisionally!
In 2008, they’ll be handing out provisional ballots “like candy”. Demand adjudication from poll judges on the spot; demand a call to the supervisor of elections; or return with acceptable ID if possible. And be a champ: defend the rights of others. If you’ve taken Step 2. above and voted early, you have Election Day free to be a poll watcher. You’ll need training and credentials, either from a voter group or, in some states, a designation from a political party.

5. Take the resistance door-to-door—to register the vote,to canvass the voters, to get out the vote. Donate time to your union (if you’re not in a union, why not?) or to the organizations listed on the Palast Kennedy site.

6. Sue
There aren’t enough lawyers in the US—at least not enough pushing back against the vote-fixing tide. But there are some. Shining examples include the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice. You don’t have to be an attorney to join the fight. These are political battles, in all cases supported by street-fighting activists like Votersunite.org who rouse the public behind the legal actions.

7. Make the democratic demand: No vote left behind!
Greg has a crazy fantasy in his head. In it, an election is stolen and the guy who’s wrongly declared the loser stands up in front of the White House and says three magic words: “Count the votes.” You can have all the paper ballots in the world, but if you don’t demand to look at them, publicly, in a recount, you might as well mark them with invisible ink.

Just in case you think this is an exaggeration check this New York Times article and this article in TruthOut.

Wait a minute, is that funny or scary???

First watch this clip from Saturday Night Live…

Then watch an actual clip of Sarah Palin and Katie Couric!  What this woman doesn’t  know is SO frightening!

I’m hearing that some women voters really are switching support from Hillary to Palin.  Please say it’s a joke, please tell me that I am dreaming!  Hillary should be so insulted by this, she should be running around campaigning for Obama double time, just to make sure that people understand there’s a difference between herself and Palin.  And the difference is way more than lipstick!  Stop by Women Against Palin if you need a lift (I sure did)!

Extremely interesting! Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is talking about the press in 2007. Have you ever wondered how it is that we can have access to news 24 hours a day and still feel totally uninformed? Here’s the answer:

You can go here to watch the whole marvelously educational talks by Palast and Kennedy.

Here’s a great article by Rosa Brooks.  She says “…beware of those who now embrace regulation with the fervor of new converts…” but I say beware folks that take money from big business of any kind.  They owe too much to the wrong people.  And here’s the proof.

Keating Five Ring a Bell?

Thursday 25 September 2008

by: Rosa Brooks, The Los Angeles Times

In this November 20, 1990 file photo, Senator John McCain, R-Arizona (left) sits with his attorney Plato Cacheris during a Senate Ethics Committee hearing on the Keating Five Savings and Loan Scandal. (Photo: John Duricka / AP)

McCain’s past collides with the present Wall Street debacle.

Once upon a time, a politician took campaign contributions and favors from a friendly constituent who happened to run a savings and loan association. The contributions were generous: They came to about $200,000 in today’s dollars, and on top of that there were several free vacations for the politician and his family, along with private jet trips and other perks. The politician voted repeatedly against congressional efforts to tighten regulation of S&Ls, and in 1987, when he learned that his constituent’s S&L was the target of a federal investigation, he met with regulators in an effort to get them to back off.

That politician was John McCain, and his generous friend was Charles Keating, head of Lincoln Savings & Loan. While he was courting McCain and other senators and urging them to oppose tougher regulation of S&Ls, Keating was also investing his depositors’ federally insured savings in risky ventures. When those lost money, Keating tried to hide the losses from regulators by inducing his customers to switch from insured accounts to uninsured (and worthless) bonds issued by Lincoln’s near-bankrupt parent company. In 1989, it went belly up – and more than 20,000 Lincoln customers saw their savings vanish.

Keating went to prison, and McCain’s Senate career almost ended. Together with the rest of the so-called Keating Five – Sens. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), John Glenn (D-Ohio), Don Riegle (D-Mich.) and Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.), all of whom had also accepted large donations from Keating and intervened on his behalf – McCain was investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee and ultimately reprimanded for “poor judgment.”

But the savings and loan crisis mushroomed. Eventually, the government spent about $125 billion in taxpayer dollars to bail out hundreds of failed S&Ls that, like Keating’s, fell victim to a combination of private-sector greed and the “poor judgment” of politicians like McCain.

The $125 billion seems like small change compared to the $700-billion price tag for the Bush administration’s proposed Wall Street bailout. But the root causes of both crises are the same: a lethal mix of deregulation and greed.

Today’s meltdown began when unscrupulous mortgage lenders pushed naive borrowers to sign up for loans they couldn’t afford to pay back. The original lenders didn’t care: They pocketed the upfront fees and quickly sold the loans to others, who sold them to others still. With the government MIA, soon mortgage-backed securities were zipping around the globe. But by the time many ordinary people began to struggle to make their mortgage payments, the numerous “good” loans (held by borrowers able to pay) had gotten hopelessly mixed up with the bad loans. Investors and banks started to panic about being left with the hot potato – securities backed mainly by worthless loans. And so began the downward spiral of a credit crunch, short-selling, stock sell-offs and bankruptcies.

Could all this have been prevented? Sure. It’s not rocket science: A sensible package of regulatory reforms – like those Barack Obama has been pushing since well before the current meltdown began – could have kept this most recent crisis from escalating, just as maintaining reasonable regulatory regimes for S&Ls in the ’80s could have prevented that crisis (McCain learned this the hard way).

But, despite his political near-death experience as a member of the Keating Five, McCain continued to champion deregulation, voting in 2000, for instance, against federal regulation of the kind of financial derivatives at the heart of today’s crisis.

Shades of the Keating Five scandal don’t end there. This week, for instance, news broke that until August, the lobbying firm owned by McCain campaign manager Rick Davis was paid $15,000 a month by Freddie Mac, one of the mortgage giants implicated in the current crisis (now taken over by the government and under investigation by the FBI). Apparently, Freddie Mac’s plan was to gain influence with McCain’s campaign in hopes that he would help shield it from pesky government regulations. And until very recently, Freddie Mac executives probably figured money paid to Davis’ firm was money well spent. “I’m always in favor of less regulation,” McCain told the Wall Street Journal in March.

These days, McCain is singing a different tune.

“There are no atheists in foxholes and no ideologues in financial crises,” Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week, explaining the sudden mass conversion of so many onetime free marketeers into champions of robust government intervention. Fair enough. But as you try to figure out what and who can get us out of this mess, beware of those who now embrace regulation with the fervor of new converts.



Did you see the debate?
It was late for me, but worth it!
What a dignified, respectful, and strong debater.
Just what you would want for a head of state!
And best of all, he’s a Democrat beholding to nobody but us. I coughed up a couple more dollars. What do you think?
Thanks! Lani

PS – Also there’s lots of other ways to contribute:

David Letterman show

September 30, 2008

As a hungry ghost, this is one of my current collections.  Can’t wait to see if Palin gets on Letterman…