Monday, December 17, 2007

Debate links

This is a pretty fascinating CNN/YouTube debate question on abortion becoming illegal at the Republican Debate Nov. 28th 2007.

This is useful information about the dems positions on healthcare from a September 20th 2007 debate. For some reason Obama didn't come to this one.

And here are the final debates before the Iowa Caucuses. Dec. 12th (Republican) & 13th (Democratic) 2007 held by Iowa Public Television.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


A clip courtesy of Bradblog.

John Edwards in the Why Tuesday? candidate challenge discusses almost every reform I mention in the film, including problems with electronic voting equipment, lobbyists, voting on a work day, the need for public financing of elections and same day registration.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Lies, Gospel and Money - the Joys of the Campaign

Catch up with the Republican debate on fox news if you missed it. Sam Brownback has dropped out of the race and is being courted by the front runners for an endorsement. Mitt Romney won the poll after the debate - but Ron Paul came in second. OHH! If only the actual election could be decided by Anarchist text messaging! It would be so much more fun.

According to Romney and Giuliani are both stretching the truth, but Fred Thompson seems to be sticking to the facts so far.

Logo online has some interesting angles that you don't always get from the mainstream coverage. The LGBT site reports that the Human Rights Campaign is upset with Obama for including a homophobic preacher in his South Carolina gospel tour.

And Brian Lehrer at WNYC is doing an interesting crowdsourcing exercise - getting listeners to rummage through the Federal Election Commission report. You can also go to if you want someone else to do the digging for you.


Friday, October 5, 2007

Voting Twice in Texas

Courtesy of Black Box Voting


Monday, October 1, 2007

Cartoon About Exploding Prison Population

Got it courtesy of The League of Young Voters (formerly the League of Young/Pissed Off Voters).


Thursday, September 6, 2007

You Tube Debates & Fred Thompson

Here's the link to part 1 of the You Tube Democratic Debate on July 23, 2007. There are 19 parts total, and after about the first 11, you have to search for the others.

And here's the link to the 1st part of the You Tube Republican Debate on August 5th 2007. There are 9 parts total. The other parts come up in the column next to part 1.

Fred Thompson skipped the Republican debate and went on Jay Leno instead. Then at midnight he made the announcement that he's running for president on his website. Here's the longest announcement speech ever. Big focus on security, a little of the "dangerous times" of the Cheney/Bush camp, but not quite as bad, conservative Supreme Court judges, new technologies to reduce oil dependence and probably drill in Alaska "... utilize national resources"... pro-life, a lot of time on his biography, fix Social Security - several mentions of unity, and working together make it sound like he could be more bi-partisan in his approach... small government, get the feds out of schools and healthcare since they mess everything up anyway... probably vouchers (choose your school), give people a chance to buy their own healthcare on the market instead of through their employer.

I can see why people like him. All that time on Law and Order makes him really comfortable in front of the camera, and he has a great "persona". He seems confident, knowledgeable and folksy at the same time.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Who Gets to Vote First?

Lots of contention about who gets to have the first primary. Michigan and Florida moved their primaries earlier than Iowa and New Hampshire, but are getting a lot of flack. The Democratic National Convention is threatening not to seat their delegates at the convention, meaning their votes wouldn't count, and the major candidates have agreed not to campaign in those states unless the primaries are moved back into their previous order on the primary calendar.

Hillary, ever the opportunist, waited until all the other major candidates had vowed not to go to Michigan or Florida before she agreed to pass those states by.
'A number of other states are undergoing a process,' Elleithee [Clinton spokesperson] said. 'And we have repeatedly said we are going to let that process play out.'


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Barack Background

This is an excellent interview with David Mendell - a reporter who has been covering Obama in Illinois since 2002. He has a book out called "Obama: From Promise to Power". The interview discusses the massive amount of legislation that he authored in Illinois (800 bills), their overall tenor, his ambition, the story of his father and his father's political career in Kenya, as well as his wife's attitude toward his political career.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Michigan Plans to Move Primary to Jan 15, 2008

From the newsletter:

The Michigan Senate voted this week to move the state's primary election to January 15. The move, which was not unexpected, could prompt Iowa and New Hampshire to possibly move their caucus and primary elections to December 2007.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Visible Vote - Gay & Lesbian Prez Debate

Logo - the TV channel for gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender peeps is hosting a debate for the democratic presidential candidates tonight. They were originally not going to invite Mike Gravel. True hypocrisy since he is one of 2 candidates who support gay marriage, the other being Dennis Kucinich. John Edward's wife Elizabeth is in support of gay marriage, but last I heard she wasn't running for president, although I think she's more popular than her husband.

The Republicans were offered a Logo debate but they all declined. I hadn't realized that not a single Republican is in support of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military. I don't know why we can take high school drop-outs, ex-felons, and people who are out of shape in the military, but not gay people.

The debate will be online tonight at 9pm ET, in case you don't get Logo yet.


Monday, July 23, 2007

CNN Democratic primary debate

Tonight at 7. Anderson Cooper hosts, taking questions from Youtube.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Mike Gravel's Metaphors

I didn't get the first one with the rock:

But when I saw the second one, then they both made sense.

Here's an interview where he talks about the videos as metaphors. I like where he talks about the power of an ordinary citizen to create ripples, or start a fire. I believe in that. That's in some ways what the film is about. How people either believe they have that power or they don't.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Video & News roundup

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg left the Republican party today and became an independent. Ho hum.

Hillary announced her campaign song in a funny video where she offers Bill carrots. Some people think their are more appropriate songs for her. Hi ho.

John Edwards sneezes and shakes hands. Hi dee hi dee hi dee ho.
I'm sure you've seen the hair video, but just in case you missed it...

President Bush gets shit on by a bird - you could say it was a timely moment - but he's had so many timely moments, a bird could have shit on him at almost any point in the last few years and it would have seemed ironic. Hi dee ho.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Evolution Light

US Senator & Republican Presidential hopeful Sam Brownback raised his hand at the debate to say that he didn't believe in Evolution. Turns out he believes in parts of Evolution. He clarified his position in a New York Times Editorial that I have to admit I had a hard time following. He says that science and faith do not contradict each other - but the truth is that sometimes they do. If you believe that the Grand Canyon is 3000 years old - that's a direct contradiction to scientific findings. It's one thing to say, "Let's agree to disagree." It's another thing to pretend that we agree when we don't.

Here is an excerpt where he seems to be making an argument that I've heard before, basically - I believe in Evolution - but God could have created the process of evolution.

"Ultimately, on the question of the origins of the universe, I am happy to let the facts speak for themselves. There are aspects of evolutionary biology that reveal a great deal about the nature of the world, like the small changes that take place within a species. Yet I believe, as do many biologists and people of faith, that the process of creation — and indeed life today — is sustained by the hand of God in a manner known fully only to him. It does not strike me as anti-science or anti-reason to question the philosophical presuppositions behind theories offered by scientists who, in excluding the possibility of design or purpose, venture far beyond their realm of empirical science."

I don't have a problem with this argument. What I'm uncomfortable with is that after plowing through 11 paragraphs of Brownback's hedging - I still basically have no idea what he actually believes about the science of evolution. The closest he comes to being specific about what he thinks is this sentence:

"If belief in evolution means simply assenting to microevolution, small changes over time within a species, I am happy to say, as I have in the past, that I believe it to be true."

Many scientists replied to this statement saying that one cannot pick and choose what to believe from scientific evidence. The point of science is that the evidence demonstrates what can be believed and what theories the evidence does not support. Here is an excerpt from one of the letters:

"As a person of science who does not believe that sound reason must be “purified,” I find his pick-and-choose approach to science very worrisome, as he might one day be responsible for making the most important decisions for this country.

We can only hope that he chooses to believe the facts when it comes to decisions about our health, national security, economic policy and education."

Here is an interesting and detailed blog on this exact topic.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Letter to the Wall Street Journal

To the Wall Street Journal -

I am disheartened to hear that you are seriously considering Rupert Murdoch's offer to buy the Wall Street Journal. I'm sure the money he's offering is tempting. But do not kid yourself that you are doing anything except selling out. You can put editorial guidelines in place, but he has a demonstrated history of distorting the facts to suit his own agenda, and if you sell your newspaper to him you are giving him the most legitimate platform to date to pursue his own political and business interests.

Many news organizations have abdicated their responsibility to the public in the last 20 years. Are you ready to join them? Is our connection and responsibility to each other worth more than a dollar amount? That is a question we must all look at when making important decisions, keeping in mind that each decision toward or away from integrity serves as an example or excuse to others as well.


lulu Fries'dat

Documentary Filmmaker

"Holler Back - [not] Voting in an American Town"


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Presidential Premie Primary Fever

CNN Democrat debate online here.

Republicans debate on CNN tonight.

Very funny round up of the best video footage of the race so far, from a cool site -

Is it true that Hillary is working with a psychic who's channeling Eleanor Roosevelt and Ghandi for her? Those are great picks for channeling if you ask me. (3rd video down on the page)

Ron Paul on The Daily Show here.

Ron Paul surrounded by grunge hipsters for freedom.

This race is going to be a blast.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

American Idol vs. The President

You can look at the numbers a variety of ways, but there does seem to be more enthusiasm for American Idol than for the Presidential Elections.

Total Number of Votes cast in the 2004 Presidential Election = 122 million
Total Number of Votes cast in American Idol = 609 million
American Idol does let people vote more than once. There's no way of knowing how many votes would be cast for president if people could vote more than once. Also, to be fair the American Idol tally is over the course of the entire season. So for a somewhat more fair comparison you could add in the votes for the Presidential primary. Turnout in the 2004 Presidential primary would have varied state to state, but tends to be lower than the actual election. The off-year election of 2002 had a turnout of 39%. So if we estimate the primary as comparable to an off-year election with 39% turnout that would be approximately an extra 78 million votes. Which would bring the total Presidential votes up to 200 million. Still 1/3 of the 600 million votes cast for American Idol.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

2nd Republican Debate Available Online

The 2nd Republican Debate was in South Carolina on May 15, 2007. It was sponsored by Fox News Channel and is available online here:


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Republican Presidential Debate tonight at 8pm

Clips from the debate available here.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Democratic debate is online

For those who missed it, the democratic debate is still online here.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Featured unregistered voter: Heather

Heather was in our Voter Registratoin Ads at VH1 in 2004. She wasn't registered at the time I met her. I followed up with her to see what has happened since:

On the 2004 Election:
By the time that the ad taped I had registered and actually what happened was weird.

I registered to vote at Sephora, and then when I went to the polls they didn’t have my name on the list - so they said there was a form I could fill out. I actually got a form a couple weeks later –but they said “your vote didn’t count”, which I thought was ironic. The registration hadn’t gone through or something. I voted for Kerry , and Kerry won in New York – so it didn’t really matter.

So I guess that’s it.

On registering now:
After that – I didn’t get around to it. It wasn’t a presidential election.

I’m going to be an English teacher, so I care about politics, but I kind of just forgot about it. I'm from Connecticut and there was a lot going on last summer with Ned Lamont and Lieberman. I just had whatever going on at school, and it sort of slipped my mind. I’d like to be involved in local elections, but with school and working I sort of forget about that - and not being a native New Yorker, I don’t feel attached – I don’t know all the local politics in Brooklyn , who the councilmen are...

I understand why people feel their votes don’t count. Going into education – I notice how little funding education gets – in Bushwick when I was teaching we didn’t have enough books, the facility felt like a prison... There’s schools on Long Island that have thousands more dollars per student – it’s really sad and it feels like it’s not a concern that gets seriously addressed by politicians. They give it lip service – like "No Child Left Behind" but it’s not genuinely doing anything to help the students.

It’s ironic that Bush doesn’t want to set deadlines for Iraq but he’s set this deadline for 2014 when the achievement gap between whites and minorities, and poor and rich students is supposed to be closed. Kids in poor schools don’t have the money to prepare. It becomes about studying to take the test rather than learning the subject matter.

Is she regisered to vote now?
No – I’m going to register as soon as I move back to Connecticut.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

DC voting rights clears a hurdle

The House voted on thursday to give DC voting rights along with a new representative from Repulican-leaning Utah. Challenges ahead: A dubious reception in the Senate, a threatened presidential veto, and claims that the law is unconstitutional because the district is not a state:

"Opponents of the legislation pointed to Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, which says members of the House should be chosen 'by the people of the several states.' "

Why does Eleanor Holmes Norton wanna vote anyway? Everyone knows voting is for sissies, and she's no sissy. Did you see her on Stephen Colbert when he told her he didn't know if he was white? She assured him that he was white.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Responsibility of the Media

Received this letter as a forward from a friend. Working in TV and film I try not to land on projects that are violent, or exploit violence, but it's difficult because so much of production includes or relies on violent themes from the news to features and shows. I wish that more people would express this point of view to media execs - or vote with their remotes and their feet away from violent programming.

From: David Markle
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 11:20 PM
Subject: Regarding your recent decisions

Dear Mr. Williams:

I feel that full disclosure of my emotional involvement in this matter is warranted before I discuss my problems with your recent actions.

My name is David Markle, and I am a Virginia Tech Class of 1998 graduate in Computer Engineering. Both my brother and my sister are also Tech graduates. One of my brother’s professors and my sister’s sorority sister were both murdered this week. I and a great many of my friends had classes in Norris Hall, so this all hits quite close to home for me. This being said, I hope you will not take my comments as a purely emotional response to last night’s broadcast.

I am going to try to explain to you why I, as well as many others, find your recent airings and web postings of the murderer’s publicity materials so upsetting.

The murderer sent you his package for the express purpose of you broadcasting it. With your broadcast and web postings, you dutifully fulfilled his wishes. You have sent a message to current and future psychotic individuals that the way to get their message to the world is to cause as much mayhem as possible, and that this behavior will be rewarded with your compliance with their wishes. Your action, more than anything else I have seen after this tragedy, greatly increases the danger of an act like this recurring. You need look no further than the contents of the messages you received to know this – the killer’s references to the Colorado murders of a few years ago validates the idea that extreme attention paid to murderers will inspire other unstable individuals to commit similar acts.

In your “vlog”, you mentioned how conflicted you were, and how newsworthy these materials were before you published them for the world to see. Let me ask you this question: wouldn’t it be newsworthy if, on June 5, 1944, NBC news learned that the Allies were to land at Normandy instead of Calais? You and I both know that although the answer to that question is “yes”, your duty as Americans would have prevented you from disclosing that information. Your duty as a human being and as an American is no less clear in this matter.

No doubt some may compare your actions to those of the Washington Post in 1995 when they printed the manifesto of the Unabomber. In that case, the Post did so with the consultation of law enforcement, and as we all know, it led to Ted Kaczynski’s subsequent arrest. Your actions were conducted unilaterally, and after any good could have possibly come from them.

The news media in the 20th and 21st centuries has become a very powerful instrument in affecting change in the world. Terrorist ideologies are spread by it and sometimes wars are started using it. We don’t need you to add incitement of the criminally insane to the list. But please don’t apologize to me, to the families of the murdered, or to the wounded. Save your apologies for the victims that are yet to come.


David Markle


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Featured non-voter: Porsche


On Why I Don't Vote:
I don't believe that we live in a democracy. I think that everyone has to believe in something, so some people buy into the belief that we live in a democracy. Everything around you is pointing to the fact that we don't have very many choices. The electoral college is a scam. It's all designed to make people feel imporant, and I think they've done a great job at fooling the American people.

On the Imus "Nappy Ho" Controversy:
I think that everyone is overlooking the point that Imus thought he said something cool - like trendy. He knew it meant something bad, but I don't think he gets it. I don't think that his intent was as horrible as we believe it to be. But at the end of the day you are responsible for your words and your actions. And although he can be forgiven, he's been punished - rightfully so. Just stop tryin to be cool and be yourself Imus... bein cool didn't pay off.

On 9/11:
I think that they shot that last plane down in Pennsylvania and why everybody overlooked it, I don't know. Maybe because you can't handle the truth. (I'm crackin myself up...)

On The Media:
The news is written. First of all - how do you write the news? I stopped watching because Jay-Z telling people to stop wearing throwbacks and to start wearing button-downs is not news.

On Chocolate Cake:
Everyone needs something to believe in - I believe in chocolate cake.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

internet neutrality

barack obama explains & supports it.
very thoughtful point & counterpoint.
history of... a little dense.
advocating for...
good, hard questions against.

illustration by Richard Barnes


Saturday, March 17, 2007

House for Sale

Democratic Congressman are being asked to raise $155 million dollars each by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Only partly responsible for trying to kill the Pope

A Variety of responses to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's confessions.
(The photo btw is from his capture in March of 2003. The Pentagon must have more recent photos - so the choice of this photo where he looks dishevelled and insane is deliberate. It seems possible that it violates the Geneva convention provision that prohibits photographs of prisoners that might hold them up to ridicule.)

True Believers here:
Breaking News: Terrorist Scumbag Confesses to Masterminding 9/11/01

What best to say in the name of the 2,996 people who died at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, United Flight 93, those who died on the ‘93 attempt against the Towers, the Bali attack, those who survived the shoe bomb attempt on a plane flying over the Atlantic, and WSJ reporter Danny Pearl, among others?

Two things.

May your last meal consist of pork chops.

And may you rot in Hell.

BTW - Would we know about this without Gitmo? Or the intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq? I don’t think so.

Posted by newton

Not buying his logic, but not doubting his confession, here...

Even the conservatives have some doubts though:
He apparently stopped short of claiming credit for killing the czar and his ministers, and shooting either the sheriff or his deputy.

cnn poll shows 76% of respondents dubious about some of the claims

From the bbc forum:

It's amazing how talkative 220 volts can cause a person to become....

I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't the guy that knocked the wing mirror off my car in Milton Keynes last week...

I guess another couple of weeks and he'll admit to stealing my bike...

And finally the true skeptics:
KSM: The Ultimate Patsy "Confesses"
Go back to sleep, you can trust a press release from a heavily redacted secret military tribunal of a tortured detainee conducted by individuals representative of an oligarchy whose every deception, gross violation of U.S. law, and act of imperial bloodletting over the last six years rests on maintaining the orthodoxy of the official 9/11 myth


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

serious voting machine security

I spoke - along with other voting activists - at my community board about the need for serious voting machine security here in New York. They responded with a truly excellent set of recommendations to the state and city board of elections:

Here is their letter:

March -, 2007

Mr. Peter S. Kosinski
Co-Executive Director

NYS Board of Elections
40 Steuben Street
Albany, NY 12207-2108

Stanley L. Zalen
Co-Executive Director

NYS Board of Elections
40 Steuben Street
Albany, NY 12207-2108

Dear Mr. Kosinski and Mr. Zalen:

Manhattan Community Board 4 at its March 7, 2007 meeting approved the following recommendations as it relates to the NYS Board of Elections (NYSBOE) and the NYC Board of Elections under the NYS Election Reform and Modernization Act of 2005 (ERMA).

ERMA was passed in order for the state to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), which was a response to the concerns surrounding the presidential election of 2000.

ERMA requires local boards of elections, in this case NYCBOE, to select new technology to replace the mechanical lever machines which are currently used throughout the state.

The NYCBOE may select either a Precinct Based/Optical Scan (PB/OS) voting system or a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting system. The deadline for compliance was the first federal election of 2006, which was the September 2006 primary.

The NYSBOE has the responsibility for certification of the various models that will be available to the NYCBOE.

Given these facts Manhattan Community Board 4 makes the following recommendations:

n That the deadline for compliance be moved to September 2009. It seems to the Board that given the stage the NYCBOE is at there will not be a new system until at least 2008, at which point there will be a presidential election. The use of a new system is bound to be fraught with a host of unforeseen problems that may be minor in nature but in a presidential election year could become large and disruptive.

n That the NYSBOE certify PB/OS voting systems for procurement and require the NYCBOE select a PB/OS voting system for the City of New York. Although the “Escrow Requirements” under sections 7-208(1) and (2) of ERMA would tend to mitigate against the danger, the past history of DRE voting systems are inconsistent with the need for public control to maintain voting integrity given that the vendors tend to retain an interest in the hardware, software or source-code of such technologies. In addition, other jurisdictions like those in the state of Ohio during the presidential election of 2004 experienced severe problems and irregularities with DRE voting systems that hurt voter confidence and caused numerous lawsuits by candidates and voters. PB/OS voting systems can be used with electronic ballots which provide a type of paper ballot back-up and can provide quick Election Day results and accessibility.

n That NYSBOE require that the NYCBOE impanel an independent, civic-minded team or several teams of computer scientists who have demonstrated the ability to manipulate the software and firmware of voting machines to assist with an ongoing evaluation of the voting system to ensure that it is secure, reliable and accurate. Circumstances such as the secret de-certification of the Ciber testing facility have shown that the certification process has been severely compromised. Therefore, the work of a computer science team must be separate and distinct from any corporate lab that is hired to evaluate the voting equipment. We ask that this requirement be done pursuant to section 7-208(3) which:

Require[s] that the manufacturer and/or vendor of such equipment . . . consent to having and cooperating in the testing of any programming, source coding, firmware, or software pursuant to an order of any board of elections or court of competent jurisdiction.

n That NYSBOE explore the option of developing its own voting software and firmware as the most secure and cost-effective route available. This option is especially desirable given the troublesome criminal history of three of the four companies under consideration by the NYCBOE. There is an established precedent of a state, Oklahoma, developing its own voting software and firmware.

n That NYSBOE and NYCBOE develop procedures to protect against insider tampering and carelessness, pursuant to the “lock requirement” of section 7-202(g) of ERMA. It has been shown that the locks on some of these voting machines are the same locks used on office equipment, and in hotel mini-bars and they are easily available on the internet. Ballots could be stuffed, as well as computer programs accessed, if the machines and ballots do not have strict custody protocols before, during and after an election, as well as multiple observers and possibly cameras recording the counting process. On January 29, 2007 the Atlantic Journal-Constitution reported on various voting equipment that wound up on E-Bay©.

n That the law mandates the use of recycled paper when satisfying the “permanent paper record” in section 7-202(J). The crucial policy issue of global warming can be accommodated while resolving other crucial policy issues.

The above recommendations were approved by a vote of ________ for, _______ against, ______abstain, and ______ present but not eligible.


J. Lee Compton
Manhattan Community Board 4

cc: John Ravitz, Executive Director, NYCBOE