Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Case Against Impeachment

Presidential succession:

1. The Vice President Richard Cheney
2. Speaker of the House John Dennis Hastert
3. President pro tempore of the Senate Ted Stevens (age 82)
4. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
5. Secretary of the Treasury John Snow
6. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
7. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
8. Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton

Why the UAE Should NOT Control our Ports

Well, this explains much . . . My Mom always said you are judged by the company you keep:

UAE royals, bin Laden's saviours
March 25, 2004 12:04 IST

The Central Intelligence Agency did not target Al Qaeda chief Osama bin laden once as he had the royal family of the United Arab Emirates with him in Afghanistan, the agency's director, George Tenet, told the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States on Thursday.

Had the CIA targeted bin Laden, half the royal family would have been wiped out as well, he said.

The 10-member bipartisan commission is investigating the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Tough Week for Liberals

We baby booming liberals lost 4 greats in the past week --

Stew Albert -- Yippie founder, one of the Chicago 8, tried to promote cooperation. Taught us that you can have fun during the struggle.

Betty Freidan -- Who like Prince Charming, kissed us women in the '60's, gave a rationale for our mother's depression and poor self esteem, and woke us up to a different life.

Corretta King -- Dignified wife, victim of the FBI, witness to history, conscious to us all.

Wendy Wasserstein -- told our dark secrets and gave us hope because we realized we weren't alone.

They each touched and enhanced my life. I'll miss each of them.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Fundraising Calls

I've done plenty of 'dialing for dollars' myself so I know how difficult these calls are but for cripes sake! Listen to the person you're calling -- don't just barge through your script!!

I got a call last night from the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and as soon as I knew who they were I informed them that I would NOT be contributing this year to any campaign that might benefit Maria Cantwell. I'll give plenty of money to individual democrats but none to DINOs like Cantwell.

The caller just kept going through the script about 'this is an important year, blah, blah, blah . . .' NO! I will not contribute money to candidates that vote with the republicans.

Then the caller said I could give her my credit card number but I would have a couple days to change my mind. I will NOT change my mind.

Candidates cannot call themselves Democratic but vote against the party time after time and get my financial support. We need to stand by our values.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

We Need Paper Trail for Our Votes

Letter to State Senator Sam Hunt & State Legislator Brendan Williams:

Sam and Brendan,

Considering your leadership supporting HB 2873, you both seem to be well aware of elections issues before the legislature this session. I wonder if you'd consider signing on as sponsors to HB 2532.

This bill would require sample audits comparing paper ballots to machine counts for both optical scan and DRE voting machines. Adopting it would provide some needed assurance that what the machines report as vote tallies do, in fact, have some relationship with how voters actually voted.

I see it has a fiscal note with an indeterminate cost as it would requre each county auditor to implement a process of sampling ballots. This expense would seem negligible if it ensures a reliable and accountable public elections system.

Thanks for your consideration.

Update: Response from Sam Hunt:

we voted this bill out of the State Government Committee today. I voted against the bill in committee and do not support it. County auditors are required by law to run "accuracy and logic tests" on all vote counting equipment before an election. This is a public process with observers welcome. The Nixon bill has two major problems from my perspective: (1) It will add costs to the elections process to conduct an extra set of tests and no money is provided or anticipated from the state, and (2) the bill requires that the tests be run right after the election which would delay vote tabulation. The current process of using the accuracy and logic tests immediately prior to each election is, in my view, satisfactory.

Update: Our Rebuttal:


Thanks, as always, for being responsive and getting back with me. I'm disappointed you voted against the bill in committee but have complete confidence you'll keep an open mind and would reconsider when the bill reaches the floor, should you have then concluded it may be worth some minimal expense up front to ensure we have accurate and reliable vote tabulation, and a process in which the voting public has faith that would accordingly be less vulnerable to post-election challenge.

Having personally observed several "L&A tests," I'm not convinced they accomplish the same thing, or, frankly, much at all. To me they're sort of like having the bank demonstrate its ATM functions "as advertised" in that it prints receipts for dummy transactions of cash withdrawls and tallies the total of those dummy withdrawls correctly. This seems a far cry from me taking a sample of entries on my actual monthly statement and comparing them to the paper receipts I have for actual transactions.

Being one who works with computer technology daily, I know how easy it is for unexpected errors to occur and for someone familiar with a system to program a test to do one thing while the actual process the program completes does another. Most auditors and staff in the Secretary of State's office are not familiar with the inner workings of the technology they are being encouraged to purchase from private sector technology vendors, the owners and managers of which are mostly Republican. It just leads to too many unanswered "what if" questions in the voter's minds, most of which could be allayed by some sort of random sample audit of computed vs. real results.

As for timeliness, I'll take accuracy anytime! I think we here in the US are consumed by somehow believing we have to do everthing immediately with the highest technology available, which leads to all sorts of errors and unnecessary expenditures. I believe some other modern Western nations, like France and Canada, still use paper ballots and they seem to be able to determine the results of their elections within several days of the actual vote.

Does This Sound Familiar??

From Roll Call:

Election Update: Do-Over on First Ballot
Ben PershingRoll Call Staff
Thursday, Feb. 2
House Republicans are taking a mulligan on the first ballot for Majority Leader. The first count showed more votes cast than Republicans present at the Conference meeting.