Did you notice? I finally figured out how to stick “bullets” in here to delineate items. It helps greatly on those days when I’m too braindead to think of a little tagline for everything…

  • Apparently campaign reporters aren’t reading CJR’s Campaign Desk, because they’re not getting any better at reporting on the campaign. But then again, with sarcastic smackdowns like this one, I’d probably be afraid to read it, too – for fear of finding myself the featured “stenographer.” But CJR is right. Whatever happened to reporting in the old research and fact-checking sense of the word?
  • George Will forgot himself a few times recently, but this latest column proves he’s the same “clueless” aristocrat he always was: “Should the electoral system be twisted in knots, paralyzed and exposed to vast fraud just to accommodate people too clueless to show up at the proper polling place?” George, all undue respect, “cluelessness” has little to do with it; one side, your side, is systematically and even illegally disenfranchising voters by physically destroying voter registrations, moving polling locations, and stealing absentee ballots.

    On a related note, in conversations at work and home, I’ve been describing the spectacle of this election so far (re: coordinated repugnican efforts at intimidation and blatant fraud) as coming perilously close to what we’d see in a “banana republic.” I’m not the only one. If you need more evidence of the degree of organization these thugs are achieving, check out the Guardian feature picked up by Daily Kos:

    Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign’s national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called “caging list”.

    It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

    An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: “The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day.”

    Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot.

    They may then only vote “provisionally” after signing an affidavit attesting to their legal voting status.

    Mass challenges have never occurred in Florida. Indeed, says Mr Sancho, not one challenge has been made to a voter “in the 16 years I’ve been supervisor of elections.”

    “Quite frankly, this process can be used to slow down the voting process and cause chaos on election day; and discourage voters from voting.”

    Sancho calls it “intimidation.” And it may be illegal.

    In Washington, well-known civil rights attorney, Ralph Neas, noted that US federal law prohibits targeting challenges to voters, even if there is a basis for the challenge, if race is a factor in targeting the voters.

    The list of Jacksonville voters covers an area with a majority of black residents.

    When asked by Newsnight for an explanation of the list, Republican spokespersons claim the list merely records returned mail from either fundraising solicitations or returned letters sent to newly registered voters to verify their addresses for purposes of mailing campaign literature.

    Republican state campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker Fletcher stated the list was not put together “in order to create” a challenge list, but refused to say it would not be used in that manner.

    Rather, she did acknowledge that the party’s poll workers will be instructed to challenge voters, “Where it’s stated in the law.”

    There was no explanation as to why such clerical matters would be sent to top officials of the Bush campaign in Florida and Washington.

  • Fiddling while the planet burns… Which reminds me – have any of our readers read Boiling Point? I’m waiting for a cheap used copy to turn up somwhere. (FYI, Book Browse has provided a very long excerpt from chapter 5 that reviews the Bush administration’s arrogant dismissal of the Kyoto Treaty, and the efforts of states and other nations to show some policy-making leadership, and provides some very sobering reality checks on the rise and spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria.)
  • Like rats from a sinking ship
  • The Revealer liked Nicholas Kristoff’s recent column, too, and adds this:

    Culture warriors, a request: Before you rail against The Revealer, do us this favor: Open up your Bible and review all the relevant passages — all of them, not just Leviticus and Paul. Take another look at 1 Samuel, with the same sophisticated eyes that allow you to perceive homosexual innuendos throughout Hollywood. Revisit Ruth. Consult the work of at least one biblical scholar who doesn’t simply confirm your opinion, whatever it is.

    What’s the worst that could happen? You might conclude that the question doesn’t have such a clear answer. You might strengthen your argument by engaging thoughtfully with evidence to the contrary. Or, we suppose, you might end up demanding that women be veiled.

  • Hmm — I turned the TV to “mute” when the interview with Bush started this morning, so I missed this rather significant…flip-flop.
  • In the newspaper endorsement sweepstakes, The Cleveland Plain Dealer – which made news over the weekend when its publisher Alex Machaskee said he would overrule his editorial board and force them to endorse Bush – decided not to make any endorsement. I think we can count that one in the Kerry column!
  • Eric Alterman today:

    But of course Bush and Cheney are not superheroes; they are, collectively, the head of the single most incompetent, ideological and fanatical administration in U.S. history. When they promise to achieve something genuinely difficult, you can bet the kid’s college fund that they are either deluding themselves or lying, quite possibly both…

    He’s got more from his Book on Bush about numerous nuclear sites left unsecured immediately after the invasion of Iraq.

  • We can all start watching Fox News now. Mr. Murdoch says it shows no favoritism toward Bush.
  • Go to The Progress Report to get the clickable version of this report; I’m just pasting the plain text below. But here’s what you need to think about if you were thinking of staying home on November 2 and letting George Bush pick Renqhuist’s presumed replacement:

    The Scalia/Thomas Majority

    Chief Justice William Rehnquist underwent surgery yesterday related to “a recent diagnosis of thyroid cancer.” Rehnquist’s serious condition – even as he is expected to return to the bench on Monday – “gave fresh prominence to the future of the Supreme Court.” Bush has said publicly that the Supreme Court justices he admires are arch conservatives Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. If re-elected, it is possible Bush could get three or more appointments, “enough to forge a new majority that would turn the extreme Scalia-Thomas worldview into the law of the land.” The result: “Abortion might be a crime in most states. Gay people could be thrown in prison for having sex in their homes. States might be free to become mini-theocracies, endorsing Christianity and using tax money to help spread the gospel. The Constitution might no longer protect inmates from being brutalized by prison guards. Family and medical leave and environmental protections could disappear.”

    A SCALIA/THOMAS MAJORITY WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE: In the second presidential debate Bush was asked, given the opportunity, who he would appoint to the Supreme Court. Bush responded that he wouldn’t pick a judge who supported “the Dred Scott case, which is where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights.” Why would President Bush reference Dred Scott v. Sandford, which hasn’t been good law since the end of the Civil War? Because “to the Christian right, ‘Dred Scott’ turns out to be a code word for ‘Roe v. Wade.'” Dred Scott has been compared to Roe v. Wade by prominent conservatives such as George Will, Peggy Noonan and Michael Novak. By referencing Dred Scott, Bush made it clear that “he would never, ever appoint a Supreme Court justice who condoned Roe.” If Roe v. Wade is overturned, “there’s a good chance that 30 states, home to more than 70 million women, will outlaw abortions within a year; some states may take only weeks.” (For more on Bush’s misuse of the Dred Scott decision read this new column from American Progress).

    A SCALIA/THOMAS MAJORITY WOULD CRIMINALIZE PRIVATE SEXUAL CONDUCT: If Scalia and Thomas controlled the Court, “states could once again criminalize private, consensual conduct between adults, and could prevent local governments from enacting even the most basic anti-discrimination protections for gay men and lesbians.” Last year, when the Court ruled that the police violated a gay man’s right to liberty when they raided his home and arrested him for having sex there, Scalia and Thomas sided with the police.

    A SCALIA/THOMAS MAJORITY WOULD END FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE: The Family and Medical Leave Act “guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one.” Last year, the Court upheld the law, but Scalia and Thomas voted to strike it down, arguing that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law.

    A SCALIA/THOMAS MAJORITY WOULD ALLOW STATE-SPONSORED RELIGION: Justice Thomas has suggested that “despite many Supreme Court rulings to the contrary…the First Amendment prohibition on establishing a religion may not apply to the states.” If that view prevailed, “states could adopt particular religions and use tax money to proselytize for them.”

    A SCALIA/THOMAS MAJORITY WOULD LEGALIZE SEX DISCRIMINATION: If Scalia and Thomas were in charge, “public universities, such as the Virginia Military Institute, would be able to discriminate against women in admissions.” Also, federal law “could no longer be used to protect students from sexual harassment or other types of discrimination at the hands of other students.”

    A SCALIA/THOMAS MAJORITY WOULD LEGALIZE BRUTALITY AGAINST PRISONERS: A recent case considered a Louisiana inmate who “was shackled and then punched and kicked by two prison guards while a supervisor looked on.” The beating left the inmate “with a swollen face, loosened teeth and a cracked dental plate.” The Court ruled that the inmate’s treatment violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Scalia and Thomas dissented, arguing “the Eighth Amendment was not violated by the ‘insignificant’ harm the inmate suffered.”

    A SCALIA/THOMAS MAJORITY WOULD GUT ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS: A Scalia/Thomas majority would make short work of the law that protects our air, water and land. Scalia and Thomas, for example, voted to strip the EPA “of the authority to prevent damaging air pollution by industries when state agencies improperly fail to do so.” Already, federal judges appointed by Bush “were less sympathetic to environmentalists’ pleadings than those appointed by previous Republican presidents… ruling in favor of environmental challenges 17 percent of the time.”

    While we’re at it, we could give Theresa Chambers her job back on November 3.


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