My name is Sam, and I am a Chinaholic!

This is not news to those of you who know me. Boy do we have some crazy fifties china to fill up those new cupboards with. I collect this pattern:

We just got this piece in the mail today from an Ebay auction. It's called Picknick, and it was made by a German company called Rorstrand in the fifties and sixties. I love this kind of kitschey abstract decoration.

Neither the delivery from Ikea, nor the countless hours of sweat equity time have arrived as yet. Is there some kind of twelve-cupboard program that can help me out?

Newsclipping of the Day: Peace is NOT Popular

Especially now, at this, the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. This is really unbelievable. This person has been fined by her "neighborhood association" for having a wreath/peace sign on her house. It's inspired me to add a peace sign motif to my fabulous green feather wreath. That's about the only bit of Xmas we'll have time for this year. Sometime, Steven has a story about peace signs and people who are offended by them that he would LOVE to tell you!!


It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the neighbors belief selling
And everyone telling you
Be of good fear
It's the most wonderful time of the year

It's the hap-happiest season of all
With those First Amendment bleepings
And great sappy meetings
When neighbors act small
It's the hap-happiest season of all

There'll be rules for the posting
Spirituality for roasting
But religion only says NO
There'll be scary hysteric stories
And tales of the mind's glories
Of independent thinking long, long ago

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be much opinion forcing
And minds will go on closing
When peace signs are near
It's the most wonderful time of the year

Bah fucking humbug, in my best Andy Williams voice.


Chez ma Cuisine

Well, I thought I had posted this collage of stuff we've ordered for our kitchen, but apparently I did not. I haven't been very good about keeping up with my online diary here lately. Sorry. But check it out:

It is going to be fabulous!

Dig those fake foam beams.

Dig that swanky dish drawer washer.

Dig those blue knobs.

And that pot rack with integral lighting.

The star lamps.

Really dig that gigantic faucet sprayer thingie.

And i'm just gonna be beside myself with a self-cleaning CONVECTION oven. I love me some baking.

A Whole Week

Haven't posted in a while, but between work and trying to get the new kitchen underway, haven't had much time.

Here are a couple of 3D views of our new kitchen... earlier I posted the collage of appliances, lighting, beams, colors, etc. combined with the floor. Now, just combine all that in your head with these 3D views, and you'll have a pretty good view of what Steven and I will be doing this holiday season.

The appliances are due to arrive in a week or so; the cabinets are ordered from Ikea and should be here by the second week of December. I found out yesterday that I get to take the 23rd through the second of January off (all as a paid holiday!!), so i'll have my tool belt strapped on the whole time. I've got so much work to get accomplished before that holiday; but the prospect of getting this kitchen work done is motivating me to get it all done.

Anyone want to come help?? We'll give you a free place to stay and jiffy bake oven meals! We are actually getting quite creative with microwave and toaster oven cooking :: tonight I made chicken divan and a salad just fine without a regular range. Tomorrow it's on to the crock pot :: mister will make a Chinese pot roast (with five spice, ginger, and baked tofu).

P.S.: I have no idea what happened to the color in these two views. What looks like blue cabinets are actually a shiney red lacquer, and the tiny little island is butcher block, so definitely NOT blue.


Newsclipping of the Day: A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives

This was in my inbox from Michael Moore this morning. He makes some good points.

Dear Conservatives and Republicans,

I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:

1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.

2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love -- it's a wonderful gift.

3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.

4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.

5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.

6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.

7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.

8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.

9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.

10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you -- and your employees -- that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.

11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism -- starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.

12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.

I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans -- and for the rest of the world.


Sir Elton wants to ban organized religion.

Look at this would you. Elton John sure has some cohones, doesn't he? Well, I certainly agree with his comment about John Lennon. Thank goodness for the Dixie Chicks, but why aren't there any more of them?


Ask a Republican!

This just totally kills me. And he's from Ohio! Goodie!

Bill Maher outs Ken Mehlman remix

Somebody has already remixed this, to my utter delight. Ok, Republicans, reality is on the phone. Are you going to take the call?

More Political Outing

Bruce, over at Not So Different has written a great post about gays collaborating in the homophobic agenda. And surfing around, I just found this great clip (Click on the title to link to it... I still can't remember how to embed a link in my post. Can any of you readers refresh my faulty memory on that one?). It's from Larry King Live from yesterday, and Bill Maher is on, outing Ken Mehlman as a gay man. I love the way he does it... i love the way Maher does everything in fact. Run for office already.


More on Political Events of the Week

Somehow I got into NY Times OpEd pages online for free today. I used to read Maureen Dowd's column with regularity, back in the days when it was free to view it. I love her writing style and the sarcastic sweep of her worldview, putting 43 in his place in history with such ease, everytime she writes about him. Does anyone know if "Times Select" has finally come to their senses and made the OpEd pages free again?

A Come-to-Daddy Moment

Published: November 9, 2006

Poppy Bush and James Baker gave Sonny the presidency to play with and he broke it. So now they’re taking it back.

They are dragging W. away from those reckless older guys who have been such a bad influence and getting him some new minders who are a lot more practical.

In a scene that might be called “Murder on the Oval Express,” Rummy turned up dead with so many knives in him that it’s impossible to say who actually finished off the man billed as Washington’s most skilled infighter. (Poppy? Scowcroft? Baker? Laura? Condi? The Silver Fox? Retired generals? Serving generals? Future generals? Troops returning to Iraq for the umpteenth time without a decent strategy? Democrats? Republicans? Joe Lieberman?)

The defense chief got hung out to dry before Saddam got hung. The president and Karl Rove, underestimating the public’s hunger for change or overestimating the loyalty of a fed-up base, did not ice Rummy in time to save the Senate from teetering Democratic. But once Sonny managed to heedlessly dynamite the Republican majority — as well as the Middle East, the Atlantic alliance and the U.S. Army — then Bush Inc., the family firm that snatched the presidency for W. in 2000, had to step in. Two trusted members of the Bush 41 war council, Mr. Baker and Robert Gates, have been dispatched to discipline the delinquent juvenile and extricate him from the mother of all messes.

Mr. Gates, already on Mr. Baker’s “How Do We Get Sonny Out of Deep Doo Doo in Iraq?” study group, left his job protecting 41’s papers at Texas A&M to return to Washington and pry the fingers of Poppy’s old nemesis, Rummy, off the Pentagon.

“They had to bring in someone from the old gang,” said someone from the old gang. “That has to make Junior uneasy. With Bob, the door is opened again to 41 and Baker and Brent.”

W. had no choice but to make an Oedipal U-turn. He couldn’t let Nancy Pelosi subpoena the cranky Rummy for hearings on Iraq. “He’s not exactly Mr. Charming or Mr. Truthful, and he’d be on TV saying something stupid,” said a Bush 41 official. “Bob can just go up to the Hill and say: ‘I don’t know. I wasn’t there when that happened.’ ”

Bob Gates, his friends say, had been worried about the belligerent, arrogant, ideological style of Rummy & Cheney from the start. He fretted at the way W.’s so-called foreign policy “dream team” — including his old staffer and fellow Soviet expert Condi — made it up as they went along, even though that had been their complaint about the Clinton foreign policy team. A realpolitik advocate like his mentor, General Scowcroft, he was critical of a linear, moralizing style that disdained nuance, demoted diplomacy and inflated villains. In 2004, he publicly questioned the administration’s approach to Iran.

While Vice went off to a corner to lick his wounds, W. was forced to do his best imitation of his dad yesterday, talking about “bipartisan outreach,” “people have spoken,” blah-blah-blah — after he’d been out on the trail saying that electing Democrats would mean that “the terrorists win and America loses.”

“I share a large part of the responsibility” for the “thumpin’ ” of Republicans, he told reporters. Actually, he gets full responsibility.

W. has stopped talking about democracy as a standard of success in Iraq; yesterday, he said that Iraq had to “govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself.”

He was asked if his surprise at the election results showed he was out of touch with Americans. “I thought when it was all said and done,” he replied, “the American people would understand the importance of taxes and the importance of security.”

So it was just that the American people were too dumb to understand? W. also managed to bash Vietnam vets, saying that this war isn’t similar because there’s a volunteer army, so “the troops understand the consequences of Iraq in the global war on terror.” Is that why W. stayed out of Vietnam? Because he understood it?

An ashen Rummy was also condescending during his uncomfortable tableau with W. and Bob Gates in the Oval Office, implying that he was dumped because Americans just didn’t “comprehend” what was going on in Iraq. Actually, Rummy, we get it. You don’t get it.

“Baker’s no fool,” a Bush 41 official said. “He wasn’t going to go out there with a plan for Iraq and have Rummy shoot it down. He wanted a receptive audience. Everyone had to be on the same page before the plan is unveiled.”

They don’t call him the Velvet Hammer for nothing. R.I.P., Rummy.

Stephen Colbert Bids the Republican Majority Adieu

Click on the title of this post to link to this beauty summarizing the Republican disconnect with logic, pragmatism, sanity, responsibility, fairness. Wonder if Ken Mehlman is going to be mothballed like Newt Gingrich? One can only hope.



In our old--very nice--neighborhood in Atlanta, we had a few...how shall I put it? Bossy? neighbors. Our friend Nancy down the block often ridiculed her neighbors across the street, who would knock on her door every fall weekend, saying "We're raking our leaves this weekend, Nancy, what are you doing??" Some of the folks, because we lived in a "swanky, unpscale" neighborhood (in the parlance of my Stepmom, Norma), thought it was their duty to boss around the less fastidious among us.

Well, I have some bossing around to do. Let me apologize in advance to those of you who don't need to be bossed around.

Nancy Pelosi, Sherrod Brown, Hank Johnson, I'm talking to you right now. And all the other Democrats who will make up the new majority in our next Congress, i'm talking to you also. Stop whatever you are doing and click on the title of my post to link to an article at TomPaine.com about the MOST IMPORTANT issue you should tackle when the new Congress caucuses in the New Year. Briefly, quoting the bullet points from this article:

1) Have an affirmative right to vote in the Constitution. Sixty Democrats have already signed onto House Joint Resolution 28, a proposal to establish an affirmative right to vote in the Constitution. We should make protection of our right to vote a national concern, one demanding as many protections as that other great pillar of democracy, our right to free speech.

2) Make election officials nonpartisan and held accountable. It hardly matters whether the method of voting is with paper and pen or open-source computerized equipment if election administrators are not trustworthy or accountable for their actions. Secretaries of state overseeing presidential elections in 2004 in three battleground states—Ohio, Missouri, and Michigan—were co-chairs of their state's George Bush reelection campaigns. In Missouri the secretary of state was running for governor and oversaw elections for his own race! Not to mention a highly partisan Republican secretary of state ran elections in Florida, and a partisan Democrat did so in New Mexico. A Mexican observer of the 2004 election commented, "That looks an awful lot like the old Mexican PRI to me." Election administrators should be civil servants who have a demonstrated proficiency with technology, running elections and making the electoral process transparent and secure. If they make mistakes, they should face consequences.

3) Create a national elections commission. The U.S. leaves election administration to administrators in over 3,000 counties and nearly 10,000 municipalities scattered across the nation with few standards and little uniformity. This is a formula for unfair elections. Most established democracies use national elections commissions to establish minimum national standards and uniformity, and to partner with state and local election officials to ensure pre-election and post-election accountability for their election plans. The Elections Assistance Commission established recently by the Help America Vote Act is a pale version of this and should be strengthened greatly.

4) Have universal voter registration. We lack a system of universal voter registration in which citizens who turn 18 years of age automatically are registered to vote by election authorities. This is the practice used by most established democracies, giving them voter rolls far more complete and clean than ours—in fact, a higher percentage of Iraqi adults are registered to vote than American adults. Universal voter registration in the U.S. is now possible as result of the Help America Vote Act which mandated that all states must establish statewide voter databases. Doing so would add 50 million voters to the rolls, a disproportionate share being young people and people of color.

5) Use "public interest" voting equipment. Currently voting equipment is suspect, undermining confidence in our elections. The proprietary software and hardware are created by shadowy companies with partisan ties who sell equipment by wining and dining election administrators with little knowledge of voting technology. The government should oversee the development of publicly-owned or at least publicly-controlled software and hardware, contracting with the sharpest minds in the private sector. And then that open-source voting equipment should be deployed throughout the nation to ensure that every county—and every voter—is using the best equipment. Other nations already do this with positive results.

6) Hold elections on a weekend or make them a national holiday. We vote on a busy workday instead of on a national holiday or weekend (like most other nations do), creating a barrier for 9-to-5 workers and also leading to a shortage of poll workers and polling places. Puerto Rico typically has the highest voter turnout in the United States, and makes Election Day a holiday.

7) Ending redistricting shenanigans by adopting proportional voting. Most legislators choose their voters during the redistricting process, long before those voters get to choose them. More than 98 percent of U.S. House incumbents won re-election in every House election from 1998 through 2004, with more than 90 percent of all races won by noncompetitive margins. The driving factor is not campaign finance inequities but winner-take-all elections compounded by rigged legislative district lines. As a start, redistricting must be nonpartisan, driven by nonpolitical criteria. But by far the most important solution is a proportional voting system that would make voters more important than district lines.

8) Hold instant runoff voting. Our "highest vote-getter wins" method of electing executive offices creates incentives to keep third-party candidates off the ballot as potential spoilers. Our current plurality system is not designed to accommodate three or more choices, allowing important policy areas to be completely ignored by major party candidates. Most modern democracies accommodate voter choice through two-round runoff or instant runoff elections for executive offices. Instant runoff voting has been introduced with sparkling success in San Francisco and Burlington, Vt., keeps winning at the ballot box and has the support of both leading Democrats like Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich and Barack Obama and leading Republicans like John McCain. Three major November campaigns this year would replace primary elections with one majority, spoiler-free election in November—a change Congress could adopt by statute for all their elections.

I agree most with point 2. And 4, 5 & 7... these are all important.

In my mind, this is the MOST important legislation that you should contemplate, and, symbolically, it should be the first.

Yes, before raising the minimum wage.

Yes, before dealing with campaign finance reform.

Yes, before trying to undo the damage Republicans did to our Senior Citizen's financial health with the Medicare "reforms;" or anything to do with an overall reform to our healthcare system.

Yes, before opening debate on alternatives to the status-quoist policy we've pursued too long in Iraq.

Yes, before ending corporate wellfare and figuring out how and why we switched our tax burden from the richest corporations earning staggering profits, to middle class wage earners.

Yes, even before considering the mountain of evidence, staggering off in many directions like spokes off a gigantic wheel, that has been suppressed by the previous Congress, which supports impeachment of our corrupt, secretive, Napolean-complexed, criminal, constitution-destroying President.

Make our elections fair, documentable, and make those administering them accountable.

Make sure gerrymandering is a practice laid to rest now, confine it to history like child labor and women who couldn't vote were by previous Congressional action.

If there was criminal activity involved in Diebold's hidden agenda of adding more votes to Republican rolls, under the guise of electronic voting, find out who authorized it and hold them accountable, and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.

Do it now.

All you citizens out there: Write a letter to your perhaps newly-elected Representative this week, and ask them to tackle this and to do it now. This article has all your talking points.

I'm writing my first letter to Sherrod Brown this weekend. And I won't be raking any leaves.



This is from my friend Scott, in Atlanta. As he says, if it seems there is mischief today--god I hope there will not be--We do have options: "Four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo - use in that order."

All Four Major E-Voting Machines Flip Votes in Early Voting
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA
November 05, 2006

Early voting in five states showed that voters' choice are being
to the opposite candidate on all four major e-voting machines —
TSx, Sequoia Edge, ES&S iVotronic, and Hart InterCivic eSlate.

Three counties in Texas report vote-flipping on the Diebold and ES&S
machines. Three counties in Florida report vote-flipping on the ES&S
Sequoia machines. One county in Illinois, on the Sequioa Edge, and one
county in Arkansas, on the ES&S iVotronic. In some cases, when the
voter selects one candidate, the machine shows an opponent is selected

A South Florida voter reports:

"When I touched the one [button] for the Democratic vote, that
button disappeared and the vote went to the Republican."

And from Illinois:

"Corrine Stoker pushed the button for one candidate, but her voting
machine showed she voted for the opponent."

In other cases, the votes are reported wrong on the review screen. From

"El Paso County Attorney José Rodríguez said 16 people complained
Friday that a vote cast on their touch-screen ballot was the wrong vote
when they reviewed their ballots."

And from Florida:

"He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a
Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican,
Charlie Crist."

Douglas Jones, a computer scientist at the University of Iowa, says
heard similar stories from voters in several states, including one
computer scientist in South Carolina who said that his attempts to vote
for one candidate on the iVotronic were repeatedly changed to an
opposing candidate by the time he got to the voter verification

Officials normally explain the vote-flipping as calibration errors —
touches on the screen are simply registering incorrectly They point to
the 15-step process that poll workers can do to re-calibrate the

But vote-flipping on the eSlate can't be explained as a calibration
error, since the eSlate doesn't have a touch screen. Voters use
dials and buttons to move the highlight on the screen and make their

A professor at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky (Calloway
County) used the eSlate in early voting and reports that his
straight-party votes were switched to the opposite party in contested

"I tried to vote a straight ticket, but when I checked the final page,
which summarizes one's vote, I noticed that I had voted for some of the
candidates of the other party. I went to the first screen again and
ticked the straight ticket box for the Democratic party, and, again, I
found that for all of the contested races the Republican boxes were

"I had to go through individually to tick the Democratic boxes. I'm not
a Democrat, and I don't suspect vast right-wing some conspiracy. I'm
just telling those of you who will be voting soon to check the
summarizing page carefully, regardless of your voting preferences."

UPDATE Now the ES&S iVotronics in Sarasota County Florida aren't
flipping, just deleting votes from the summary screen. Several people
from different polling places report that their votes for Jennings (Dem
candidate for 13 Cong Dist) don't appear on the review screen. They
to go back and vote for her again.


It's Not Enough to Simply Be Ahead in the Polls

in this day and age, it's not enough to simply be ahead in the polls, apparently. Check out this grim report from a Canadian professor. There are a whole bunch of references and sources included for further reading, if you are interested. Click on the title of this post to link directly to the web page i've taken this from:
The 2006 U.S. Midterms: Another Stolen Election?

by Prof. Michael Keefer

November 4, 2006

During the lead-up to the November 7th midterm congressional election, the Republican Party has appeared to be in serious trouble. George W. Bush's approval ratings have been so consistently low (they're currently hovering around the mid-30s) that most Republican candidates for seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives have been about as eager to be seen in his company as to fall into the embrace of a carrier of bubonic plague. The Democrats have led by growing margins in every one of the 110 generic opinion polls taken since September 2005, and currently hold a more than 14 percent lead over the Republicans in the "5-poll moving average" used by pollsters as the most reliable guide to trends in public opinion.1

On the reasonable assumption that the Democrats could expect to receive 60 percent of the undecided vote, the noted polling and exit-poll analyst who posts at the Progressive Independent website under the name 'TruthIsAll' has calculated their average anticipated share of the November 7th vote, as of October 28th, to be 57.8 percent. He estimates that in an election free from fraud, there is a 97.5 percent probability that Democratic candidates should garner, on average, more that 56.4 percent of the votes cast. Even if the Democrats were to win only half of the undecided vote, they would quite certainly—in a fraud-free election—recover control of the House of Representatives, gaining at least 25 seats. Whether or not they win control of the Senate as well would depend—again assuming a clean election—upon the share of the undecided vote that they receive: the probability that with two-thirds of the undecided vote the Democrats would win control of the Senate is calculated by 'TruthIsAll' as 78 percent.2

But it might be premature to get excited over the prospect of the United States ceasing to be a one-party state. For if the Republican party is in trouble with the electorate, American democracy is in a much more parlous condition—thanks largely to the devious machinations of the Bush Republicans. Given the accumulating evidence of large-scale and systematic preparations by the Republicans and their corporate allies for suppression of the Democratic vote, for mis- or non-counting of the vote in Democratic strongholds, and for an unprecedented level of electronic vote-tabulation fraud, the likelihood of these midterm elections being clean is approximately zero.

In the 2000 election, it was only through a combination of Jim Crow vote suppression tactics and a rich array of different methods of vote-count fraud that George W. Bush was able to arrive at a point at which his father's Supreme Court appointees could push through what has been appropriately described as a judicial coup d'état. His party won control of the Senate in 2002 through what was almost certainly vote-tabulation fraud.3 The 2004 presidential election was marked by fraud on a gigantic scale, not just in Ohio, which ended up being the deciding state, but in many other states as well: by January 2005 there was compelling evidence to show that had the votes been honestly counted, John Kerry would have defeated Bush by a commanding margin.4

My purpose here is not to review yet again the evidence on which these observations are based, but rather to provide a very selective list of recent books, articles and documentary films which assess and analyze the evidence of flagrant Republican breaches of the most fundamental principles of democracy, together with the prospects for a repetition and extension of these fraudulent practices in the 2006 and subsequent elections.

These items are divided into three categories. The first category, "Critical Studies," includes exemplary work by Steven Freeman (the book he co-authored with Joel Bleifuss is, in my opinion, the single most important of these studies), as well as work by other major contributors to an emerging understanding of the theft of the 2004 election.

In the second section I have listed films, including one by the prize-winning director Dorothy Fadiman, which bring together documentary footage and illuminating interviews with election analysts.

And finally, the short list of items anticipating Republican fraud in the midterm election offers a representative cross-section of current concerns—including evidence of further massive purges of voters' lists, and evidence from unimpeachable sources that the touch-screen machines manufactured by two of the major suppliers of voting machines, Diebold and Sequoia, have been designed to facilitate electoral fraud.

It's worth noting, by way of coda, that these skewed machines were hard at work well before election day. According to a report published in the Miami Herald on October 28th, voting machines in Democratic-leaning Broward and Miami-Dade counties in southern Florida had already during the preceding week been detected flipping the choices of early voters from Democratic candidates to Republicans. The problem, as the corporate press likes to insist, must be understood as one of "glitches"—or, more strangely, of a kind of computer fatigue that supposedly induces the video screen "on heavily used machines to slip out of sync" with "the electronics inside."

Only "conspiracy theorists" or voters rendered "particularly skittish" by "a history of problems at the polls"5 would want to go so far as to suspect that electronic voting machines made by Republican-leaning corporations might be inclined to behave in this way, not because they're tired or having bad hair days or hissy fits, but because they've been programmed to do so.

1. Critical Studies

Baiman, Ron, Kathy Dopp et al. "The Gun is Smoking: 2004 Ohio Precinct-Level Exit Poll Data Show Virtually Irrefutable Evidence of Vote Miscount." US Count Votes / National Election Data Archive (17 January 2006, revised 23 January 2006), http://www.electionarchive.org/ucvAnalysis/OH/Ohio-Exit-Polls-2004.pdf.

DeLozier, Abbe Waldman, and Vickie Karp, eds. Hacked! High Tech Election Theft in America. Austin, Texas: Truth Enterprises, 2006.

Fitrakis, Bob, and Harvey Wasserman. How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008. Columbus, Ohio: CICJ Books / www.Freepress.org, 2006.

----, eds. What Happened in Ohio. Columbus, Ohio: CICJ Books / www.Freepress.org, 2006.

Fitrakis, Bob, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman, eds. Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election? Essential Documents. Columbus, Ohio: CICJ Books / www.Freepress.org, 2006.

Freeman, Steven F., and Joel Bleifuss. Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006.

Freeman, Steven F. "Who Really Won—and Lost—the 2004 US Presidential Election?" 61st Annual Conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Montréal, 19 May 2006. http://www.appliedresearch.us/sf/Documents/AAPOR060519.pdf.

----. "Illegitimate election. A key source for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. responds to criticism of his analysis of the 2004 election." Salon.com (12 June 2006), http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/06/12/freeman/print.html.

Kennedy, Robert F., Jr. "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" Rolling Stone (June 2006), http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/10432334/was_the_2004_election_stolen/Print.

----. "Will the Next Election Be Hacked?" Rolling Stone (October 2006), http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/11717105/robert_f_kennedy_jr_will_the_next_election_be_hacked/print .

Miller, Mark Crispin. Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them). New York: Basic Books, 2005.

Palast, Greg. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. 2nd ed.; New York: Plume, 2004.

----. Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats, Bush Sinks, The Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left, and Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War. New York: Dutton, 2006.

----. "Greg Palast Uncovers the 'Armed Madhouse' of the Bush Reign of Greed, Fear and Stolen Elections." A Buzzflash Interview. Buzzflash.com (13 June 2006), http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/06/06/int06022.html.

Peckarsky, Peter, Ron Baiman, and Robert Fitrakis. "Official States Electronic Voting System Added Votes Never Cast In 2004 Presidential Election: Audit Log Missing." The Free Press (1 November 2006), http://www.freepress.org/images/departments/2209.pdf.

'TruthIsAll'. TruthIsAll. The Unanswered Question: Who Really Won in 2004? With an Introduction by Democratic Underground Poster Autorank. http://www.truthisall.net.

2. Documentary Films

Unprecedented: the 2000 Presidential Election. Directed by Richard Ray Pérez and Joan Sekler. http://www.unprecedented.org/UnprecedentedFirstPage.html.

Hacking Democracy. Directed by Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels. HBO Documentary Films. http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/hackingdemocracy/index,html.

Eternal Vigilance: The Fight to Save Our Election System. Directed by David Earnhardt. http://eternalvigilance.us/index.html .

Stealing America: Vote by Vote. Directed by Dorothy Fadiman. http://stealingamerica.org/screenings.html.

Invisible Ballots: A Temptation for Electronic Vote Fraud. Directed by William Gazecki. http://www.realityzone.com/ballots.html.

American Blackout. Directed by Ian Inaba. http://theconnextion.com/american_index.cfm?ArtistID=400 .

No Umbrella: Election Day in the City. Directed by Laura Paglin. http://www.noumbrella.org/index.htm.

3. The Next Stolen Election?

Feldman, Ariel J., J. Alex Halderman, and Edward W. Felten. "Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine." Center for Information Technology Policy and Dept. of Computer Science, Princeton University (13 September 2006), http://itpolicy.princeton.edu/voting/ts-paper.pdf.

Fitrakis, Bob, and Harvey Wasserman. "A Loaves & Fishes / Holy Ghost Victory for the GOP in November?" Common Dreams News Center (18 October 2006), http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1018-26.htm.

----. "Will a shocking new court victory and Karl Rove's attack on Ohio doom the Democrats nationwide?" The Free Press (2 November 2006); reproduced online at the Centre for Research on Globalization, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=FIT20061102&articleid=3681.

Friedman, Brad. "HERE WE GO AGAIN: 'Just Push the Yellow Button and Vote as Many Times as You Want' on Sequoia Touch-Screen Voting Machines!" The Brad Blog (2 November 2006), http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3714 .

Harris, Bev. "10-31-06: Reports from the front line… Anyone who can get at the yellow button can ruin the election. It takes no password, no computer knowledge, no equipment." BlackBoxVoting.org (31 October 2006), http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/1954/44823.html.

Jones, Doug. Voting and Elections. http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/%7Ejones/voting/.

Kuttner, Robert. "Hampering the Vote." The Boston Globe (28 October 2006); reproduced online by Common Dreams News Center (29 October 2006), http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1028-20.htm.

Miller, Mark Crispin. "Our Rigged Elections, Part I: The Elephant in the Polling Booth." The Washington Spectator (1 October 2006); reproduced online at Truthout.org, http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/101906O.shtml.

----. "Our Rigged Elections, Part II: The GOP Playbook: How to steal the vote." The Washington Spectator (15 October 2006); reproduced online at Truthout.org, http://www.treuthout.org/docs_2006/101906O.shtml.

Solar Bus Election Justice Center. http://election.solarbus.org.

Stokes, Jon "Hannibal". "How to steal an election by hacking the vote." Arstechnica.com (25 October 2006), http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/evoting.ars.

Warren, Kenneth F., and Steve Freeman. "Instructions for Conducting an Election Verification Exit Poll." ElectionIntegrity.org (29 October 2006), http://www.electionintegrity.org/Do_Your_Own_Exit_Poll.pdf.

Michael Keefer is Professor of English at the University of Guelph, and a Contributing Editor to the Centre for Research on Globalization.
1 See 'TruthIsAll', "Quantifying the Risk: 2006 Polling Analysis (10/28 Update)," Progressive Independent (28 October 2006), http://www.progressiveindependent.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topicv&forum=120&topic_id=3264.

2 Ibid.

3 One of the more notorious Senate upsets in 2002, Max Cleland's defeat in Georgia by the chicken-hawk Republican Saxby Chambliss, appeared at the time to be highly suspect. Pre-election polls gave Cleland a 5 percent lead, but Chambliss won by 7 percent in an election that was entirely conducted by Diebold Corporation. In the more recent of his two articles cited below, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. provides evidence from a Diebold insider that immediately prior to the election Diebold's CEO illegally altered the software in the touch-screen machines which counted the votes.

4 I summarized much of this evidence in my article "The Strange Death of American Democracy: Endgame in Ohio," Centre for Research on Globalization (24 January 2005), http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=KEE20050124&articleid=389. (The opening section of that article contains two small errors: the Scioto Country Club at which Kenneth Blackwell spoke is in Columbus, Ohio, not in Scioto County; and Congressman King's indiscretion dates not from the day of the election, but from a White House barbecue in 2003—a fact that makes it if anything more incriminating.)

5 Charles Rabin and Darran Simon, "Glitches cited in early voting," The Miami Herald (28 October 2006), http://www.miami.com/mid/miamiherald/news/state/15869924.htm .


Kitchen Is Cooking Along, Finally!

Well, we finally took the plunge this weekend and spent a SERIOUS chunk of change on new appliances for our kitchen. I'm excited, we got the very best of everything. We figure we are both 40-somethings, we are due to have a fabulously deluxe kitchen. And we are both the types to really use it, it definitely won't be a showroom! We purchased a Thermador range (with super groovy blue knobs), the highest powered Thermador hood we could find (1400 CFMs, with a remote blower that mounts on the side of the house, so hopefully it won't sound like a tornado when we have it going full blast!), one of those cool dish-drawer style dishwashers, and a counter-depth fridge. All in Stainless. Cabinets will be red laquer from Ikea, and white stone countertops. What do y'all think? It just occurred to me that it is slightly USA-themed. Red, white, and a little bit of blue.

Secrecy is the Name of the Game

in the new post 9/11 USA. Wonder if the exit polls will be as manipulated as the Diebold votes? Click on the title of this post to read the short atricle about how none of us will know what exit polls say, at least for a while, next Tuesday.


What Do The Experts Say?

This is also from my statistician friend, Kathy Dopp, at uscountvotes.org:
“Only real recounts (cross-checking paper records against official tabulations), not just rereading machine totals, will resolve close elections.”

October, 2006 The American Statistical Association

“Computer viruses ... can spread malicious software automatically and invisibly from [Diebold] machine to machine during normal pre- and post-election activity” and “even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss” “anyone who has physical access to a voting machine or to a memory card.. in as little as one minute.” “some of these problems cannot be remedied without replacing the machine’s hardware.”

Princeton University Computer Scientist Ed Felton

“Technicians or election officials could be producing infected memory cards without any knowledge of what they were doing.” “We’ll never have secure machines if the vendors succeed in keeping the inner workings of their machines secret from the security experts.... Secrecy is not the road to security.” “two attacks: a vote-altering attack and a Denial-of-Service attack”

Yale University Computer Scientist Dr. Michael Fischer

“Errors of (purely) electronic voting machines may often be undetectable and there are many instances of (purely) electronic voting systems reporting highly improbable outcomes, forcing the relevant voting officials to explain the seemingly impossible results” and “The current generation of electronic (DRE) voting machines are not secure, do not provide voters with a way to know that their votes are being tabulated correctly, and do not provide a mechanism for effective recounts when errors arise. As such, they represent an unacceptable technical risk, regardless of how people feel about them.”

BYU & U of Utah Computer Scientists (Carter, Windley, Brundvand, Gopalakrishnan, Hanscom, Jones, Lee, Regehr, Seamons, Shirley, Drake)

“The basic problem of e-voting can be understood without an in-depth knowledge of computer technology. Here is a helpful analogy: Suppose voters dictated their votes, privately and anonymously, to human scribes, and that the voters were prevented from inspecting the work of the scribes. Few would accept such a system, on simple common-sense grounds. Obviously, the scribes could accidentally or intentionally mis-record the votes with no consequences. Without accountability, a system is simply not trustworthy, whether or not computers are involved. “ and “You don't need a Ph.D. in computer science to understand the basic problem with computerized voting. Computer systems are so complex that no one really knows what goes on inside them. We don't know how to find all the errors in a computer system; we don't know how to make sure that a system is secure or that it hasn't been corrupted (possibly even by its designers); and we don't know how to ensure that the systems in use are running the software they are supposed to be running.“

Stanford Computer Scientist David Dill

“Diebold’s system is utterly unsecured. The entire cyber-security community is begging them to come back to reality and secure our nation’s voting.” Pentagon Cyber-Security Advisor Stephen Spoonamore


“We conclude that this voting system [Diebold] is unsuitable for use in a general election.”

Johns Hopkins University Professor Avi Rubin in a paper presented at the 2004 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy.

“There are no standards. There is no scientific research ... there’s an erosion of voting rights implicit in the inability to trust the technology that we use and if we were another country being analyzed by America, we would conclude that this country is ripe for stealing elections and for fraud.”

DeForest Soaries, Former US Election Assistance Commission Chairman (appointed by Bush)

“Many of the hard drives and apparently all of the motherboards of the voting machines are Made in China. China is known to be attacking the Dept of Defense, Commerce Dept and other government computers. The motherboard controls the computer and hiding a malicious program in the boot sector of a hard drive isn’t much of a trick, one has to assume that some or all of the Diebold voting machines are potentially, even probably controlled by China (Security 101).” And “Diebold is based on Microsoft Windows. No other operating system in the world is as subject to so many viruses, Trojan horses, hack tools, worms, or other attacks..” and “Diebold has repeatedly used uncertified and untested software and hardware in elections, making a mockery of even the weak certification and testing procedures in place.” And “Diebold has repeatedly failed to correct known security flaws and software bugs.” and “It has become easy to determine that a Diebold representative is dissembling. His, or her lips are moving.”

Dr. Charles Corry, Colorado Springs, CO, former IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) member of the voting system guidelines committee for 4 years (& former Marine corporal)

“Some believe that computer touch screen machines are the future of electoral systems, but the technology simply fails to pass the test of reliability. As anyone who uses one can attest, computers break down, get viruses, lose information, and corrupt data. We know this to be the case, and so we back-up our files to ensure nothing important is lost. Paper ballots serve as the ultimate back-up for our elections, providing secure and permanent verification of the will of the people....When a vote is cast, a vote should be counted. With paper ballots we will have a record. With paper ballots the fundamental principle of one person, one vote is safe.”

Democratic Governor Bill Richardson – NM

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) called for the state to scrap its $106 million electronic voting apparatus and revert to a paper ballot system for the November [2006] election. "When in doubt, go paper, go low-tech," he said. Ehrlich advocated leasing optical scan machines that use paper ballots...

Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich – MD Washington Post Thursday, September 21, 2006

“All three voting systems have significant security and reliability vulnerabilities, which pose a real danger to the integrity of national, state, and local elections.” and “Few jurisdictions have implemented any of the key countermeasures that could make the least difficult attacks against voting systems much more difficult to execute successfully.”

The Brennan Center (NYU Law School) Experts include statistical consultant, professor University of California at Davis; Electronic Privacy Information Center; Professor Stanford University, PhD, Cyber Defense Agency LLC; former CEO of F-Secure PLC; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Chair of the California Secretary of State’s Voting Systems Technology Assessment and Advisory Board; prof. University of Iowa; PhD NIST; PhD, NIST; prof. MIT; Former Chief Security Officer, Microsoft and eBay; Counterpane Internet Security; PhD, formerly of the Computer Science; Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT; prof. University of California at Berkeley; prof. Rice University; Electronic Frontier Foundation

“It seems that integrity and honesty aren’t terribly important at Diebold...” and “We send people to death row on flimsier and more circumstantial evidence...” “How much are you willing to pay for secure trustworthy elections?” “What more would these machines have to do to prove they’re dangerous, whistle Dixie while they miscount our votes?”

Andrew Kantor, technology writer for USAToday, former editor PC Magazine and Internet World.

Prepared by Kathy Dopp for http://utahcountvotes.org/docs/WhatdotheExpertsSay.pdf 11/3/06

American Blackout

Did anyone watch the Hacking Democracy documentary on HBO last night? Watching that physically affected me--and i'm tired today from not sleeping too well. I woke up so many times worried about the upcoming election and thinking "We've all got to boycott those damnable Diebold machines!" The denouement of Hacking is a demonstration in which it is proven to viewers that votes that go into the memory chips DO NOT come out the same. They come out with a little extra for Republicans, a little less for Democrats, automatically, thanks to the joyous progress the world of computers has wrought. It makes me sick with rage, worry, despair, and a general feeling of helplessness similar to the feeling I got in the first few days after 9/11.

Well, I am glad I live in this little town where everything is real. The trailer above is for a film that is screening for free (what a concept) on Sunday afternoon, at our groovy little theater uptown. Since when has Cynthia McKinney been such a warrior against the Republican, Corporate, and Military-Industrialification of the world?? Maybe the disinformation about her has been that effective. She was my rep for years in Atlanta, and i do really percieve her as a do-nothing. I'm interested to see how big a part of this film she is. Through this American Blackout, she certainly appears to figure prominently in the wave of anti-Republican sentiment that finally seems to be getting traction.

And i'm so glad i'm in an environment where I can walk to go see this, for free, among like-minded folks.


Hacking Democracy

This was just in my inbox, from my statistician friend. And it is very timely, since I was just discussing with Dawn how mad I am that we are an election-stoler-enabling nation now. If any of you have HBO, watch this if you are interested.
"Hacking Democracy" is the shocking story of Diebold voting machine security flaws up until the Leon County, FL Hursti hack.

"Hacking Democracy" stops in point of time before the story of Emery County, UT Diebold Hursti II hack that occurred in Utah in March, 2006 and was instrumental in causing Diebold's voting machine security flaws to be called "the worst security flaws ever found in a voting system" (although it turns out that the same security flaw had been previously discovered three years earlier in 2003, kept secret by Linda Lamone, MD Election Director who was President of the National Association of State Election Directors at the time, and never fixed by Diebold to this day!) The responsible actions of County Clerk Bruce Funk of Emery County, UT caused the Diebold voting system flaws to finally be reported in mainstream US press - including the NY Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Newsweek, and many others. It also caused the Utah Lt. Governor's office to influence Emery County Commissioners, in a secret executive session meeting with two Diebold representatives, to change the locks on the door to Funk's office to prevent the 23 year elected official from going to work afterwards, despite Funk's elected office!


Date/Time Channel Title Rated Min Genre
11/2 9:00 PM HBO High Definition - EAST HACKING DEMOCRACY




11/5 9:00 AM HBO High Definition - EAST HACKING DEMOCRACY




11/7 9:00 AM HBO High Definition - EAST HACKING DEMOCRACY



11/7 6:30 PM HBO High Definition - EAST HACKING DEMOCRACY





11/13 12:30 PM HBO High Definition - EAST HACKING DEMOCRACY



11/13 10:00 PM HBO High Definition - EAST HACKING DEMOCRACY




11/18 6:00 PM HBO High Definition - EAST HACKING DEMOCRACY



For the Children: America 101

Yeah yeah I know, you are all saying "you don't have any children, Sam!" But I have many friends and family with young children. And their future is going to be so way off the chart in terms of diminished living standards and basic quality of life--as compared to ours--that we ALL have to think of them.

I just read an essay by Bill Moyers over lunch, and I'm astounded. Click on the title of this post to read it, if you are interested. I know i'm a bleeding heart Socialist liberal, but damn does Moyers have it figured out. If only he had Presidential ambitions... (Oprah could be his running mate).

I'm also publishing this definition from Dictionary.com, just to remind us all:

hy‧poc‧ri‧sy  [hi-pok-ruh-see]
–noun, plural -sies.

1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.
3. an act or instance of hypocrisy.
[Origin: 1175–1225; ME ipocrisie < OF < LL hypocrisis < Gk hypókrisis play acting, equiv. to hypokr(nesthai) to play a part, explain (hypo- hypo- + krnein to distinguish, separate) + -sis -sis; h- (reintroduced in 16th century) < L and Gk]

—Synonyms 1. See deceit.

Hypocrisy is not just something morally bad, it is going to kill us. Our playing field has become so UNLEVEL that we are guaranteeing our failure and our demise as a culture.

Time to wake up people. Wake up and choose life.

Time to keep it real.

Insist on a re-ordering of our priorities, as a people.

Insist that we stop the killing and taking over the world and its diminishing resources.

Insist that we empathize with the basic human rights of each and every person on the face of the earth.

Insist that we stop spending more than half our collective resources on war and "security."

Insist that we begin to reinvest in our homeland and ourselves.

Insist that we love one another enough to provide equal access to justice, public resources, quality education, and health care.

Insist that we stop our mad obsessive-compulsive preoccupation with consuming everything before anyone else can get their hands on it.

Insist that we stop viewing the regulation of business and corporate interests as somehow evil.

And most of all, insist from your elected representatives that they deal with this and address it head on.

If the people lead, the leaders will follow.
Fight the H8 in Your State