Friday, June 27, 2003

The MoveOn.org Democratic Presidential Primary results are in

and Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont was the overwhelming favorite - though not quite overwhelming enough to garner the 50% he needed for full MoveOn backing. Still, he made quite a showing, considering the field of 9, all of whom (other than Sharpton) are proven vote-getters.

There were almost 320,000 votes cast. Here are the basic results:


The full results are available here.

Internet democracy in action. Did you vote?

Thousands cast votes in online Democratic primary

By SAM HANANEL, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (June 25, 2:02 p.m. ADT) - More than 210,000 people have voted so far in the 48-hour, online Democratic presidential primary being held by the advocacy group MoveOn.org, officials with the organization said Wednesday.

That total has already surpassed the number of registered voters who cast ballots for Democratic nominees in the 2000 New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses combined, a sign of the influence the Internet can wield in national elections, said Wes Boyd, the group's co-founder.

The winner will be announced at noon EDT today. If the leading vote-getter gets more than 50% of the vote, MoveOn will endorse him/her and ask its membership to contribute to that candidate's campaign.

Join MoveOn.org, right now!

Strom Thurmond, dead at 100

He led a long life and, while it's sad for his family, I'm not sorry to see the old SOB go.

The current Republican leadership could learn a thing or two from him, though - especially by studying one of his all-time Senate records. In August of 1957, Thurmond singlehandedly filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes, speaking against passage of a civil rights bill. While the motivation was odious, Senator Frist might re-consider whether he really thinks the Senate's long history of filibustering is as unpatriotic as the Bushista's want you to belive.


What a relief!

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Maybe, just maybe, all is not yet lost here

The Supreme's did something right for a change ... and it was a decisive 6-3 vote instead of the dicey 5-4 we've seen so much of.

Scalia, predictably, led the minority against the decision. He says the court has been co-opted by the "so-called homosexual agenda," and that "The court has taken sides in the culture war..." He conveniently failed to note that a decision the other way would have been just as much taking sides.

Scalia goes on to lament that the ruling would invite laws allowing same-sex marriages. Well shave my ass and call me Shirley - what a concept! Maybe our very own state of NJ will be first in line. There's an active lawsuit challenging NJ's limitation of marriage to heterosexuals. The grounds of the Lambda Legal Defense Fund's suit, brought on behalf of 7 gay couples in New Jersey, is that denying them the right to marry violates their constitutional rights to privacy and equality - very similar to the Texas sodomy case in that way. One can only hope that the NJ Supreme Court reads the tea leaves that way too...

Monday, June 23, 2003

Welcome to the United States of Argentina?

Remember the Argentine "Dirty War" and its los Desaparecidos (the Disappeared)? Thought it couldn't ever happen here in the land of the brave and home of the free? Think again.

Jimmy Breslin is scared for us, and for the depths to which the press has sunk, and he's taking me along for the ride:

Now there is a charge by the government that terrorists intended to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge, or pull it down. Simultaneously, while protecting the bridge, the government was doing frightening damage to the life of the country.

Because of it, I am thinking that it could be time for me to begin thinking about leaving this news business. It is not mine anymore. Let me tell you why.

Friday, the newspapers and television reported the following matter with no anger or effort to do anything other than serve as stenographers for the government:

On March 1, give or take a day, in Columbus, Ohio, the FBI arrested an American citizen they say is Iyman Faris. There wasn't a word uttered. He vanished. No lawyer was notified. He made no phone calls and wrote no postcards or letters.

He was a United States citizen who disappeared without a trace into a secret metal world.


This government's kidnapping of Faris/Rauf violated the laws handed down by Madison, Jefferson, Marshall. A small religious zealot, John Ashcroft, takes their great laws and bravery and using our new Patriot Act, turns it into Fascism.

He could do this openly because news reporters go about the government like gardeners, bent over, smiling and nodding when one of the owners shows up. You only have to look at a White House news conference to see how they aggressively pursue your right to know.

The newspeople stand when the president comes into the room. They really do. They don't sit until he tells them to. You tell them a lie and they say, "Sir."

And now you have a citizen kidnapped by agents and there is no anger. The day's news is about a children's book, and a has-been heavyweight, Mike Tyson, under arrest in a Brooklyn precinct at the foot of the bridge. Newspeople like to be called "journalists" and write of "the need to protect sources." They don't have any. Here's a guy held for three months and nobody even got a phone call.

The newest attribution in today's news reporting is, "senior law enforcement official." That is news report for a cop. Newspeople can speak French all over the place but I know of only two reporters in New York who can speak Arabic, and one of them is in the Middle East now and is of no help. That means you can't even quote somebody and attribute it to a "senior Arab."

There is not even the beginnings of anger about an American kidnapped by his government, over freedom being taken from us all, and bet me you won't see it back. The newspeople are comfortable with being known as the "media." That is a dangerous word; all evil rises around those afflicted with it.

Harry Potter

Like a lot of folks, I've been more-or-less patiently waiting for "Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix" for on to 3 years now. Our patience has been rewarded...I'm about 200 pages into it, and so far it appears to have been worth the wait. Harry, like most 15-year-olds, is one frustated, angry puppy, and who can blame him? He's an orphan with hateful guardians, he finds himself in the center of all the action but is shunted aside whenever "adult" decisions are required, he never quite gets the things he really wants ... who wouldn't be angry?

So far, it's an even darker book than "Harry Potter and Then Goblet of Fire." Not hardly for the 9 year-old set, though plenty of them will plow through the almost 900 pages. 15 year-olds will identify with Harry's fears and frustrations, but may not quite get the motivations, fears, and worries of the adult characters. If you're 15 or older, go for it - but don't be pushing this one on your 4-graders...

The economic incompetents

Republicans are always tellling us about how they are better guardians of our wealth and prosperity ... but you certainly wouldn't know it from Dubya's record. The dollar is weaker than it's been in many years, the US economy has lost over 3 million jobs during the 2 years and change of the current administration, the federal government has gone from a projected $5-plus trillion surplus to a projected $5-plus trillion deficit in those same 2 years. Even if you give Bush the benefit of the doubt and blame the current economic woes on 9/11, the Republican record just doesn't hold up.

Back when I was in college and taking an intro Statistics course, my term project was to look at GDP growth during Democratic and Republican administrations to see when the most growth took place - in my admittedly simplistic analysis, the Dems came out way ahead. While I liked to believe that the stats I developed accurately reflected reality, deep down I suspected that the numbers wouldn't hold up to deeper inspection. Apparently, though, my initial anlysis was right after all.

Avedon Carol's terrific blog The Sideshow has compiled a series of blog entries from Dwight Meredith's P.L.A. blog, under the rubric Just for the Record. Meredith shows, pretty convincingly, that in every significant category, the economy has fared much better during Democratic administrations than during Republican ones. The numbers used were from the Kennedy Adminstration through the Clinton administration - over those 40 years, Democrats and Republicans each held the White House for 20 years.

The gist?:

1) Economic growth averaged 2.94% under Republican Presidents and 3.92% under Democratic Presidents.

2) Inflation averaged 4.96% under Republicans and 4.26% under Democrats.

3) Unemployment averaged 6.75% under Republicans and 5.1% under Democrats.

4) Total federal spending rose at an average rate of 7.57% under Republican Presidents and at an average rate of 6.96% under Democratic Presidents.

5) Total non-defense federal spending rose at an average rate of 10.08% under Republicans and at an average rate of 8.34% under Democrats.

6) During the forty-year period studied, the National Debt grew by $3.8 trillion under budgets submitted by Republican Presidents and by $720 billion under budgets submitted by Democratic Presidents. Stated differently, the average annual deficit under Republicans was $190 billion; and, while under Democrats, it was $36 billion.

7) During the period studied, under Republican Presidents the number of federal government non-defense employees rose by 310,000, while the number of such employees rose by 59,000 under Democrats.

Those facts make it difficult to argue that Republican Presidents have done a better job than Democratic Presidents in managing the economy. Indeed, if someone will suggest a measure of economic performance in which Republican Presidents have done better than Democratic Presidents, we will be happy to look into the issue. Surely there must be some measure of economic performance that favors the Republicans; however, we have been unable to locate it.

Next time Republican candidates ask for your vote, citing their expertise and Democratic economic incompetence and profligacy as reasons to send your vote their way, ask them how they explain these numbers. See if they actually can, or if they even try. Odds are they'll just change the subject.

A worthy cause

SOMEF, the South Orange Maplewood Education Foundation, has created a fund in memory of Shelley Riecke. If, like Shelley did, you believe in our schools and our kids, you should contribute to this worthy organization. What they mostly do is make grants to individual classroom teachers, so they can creatively augment the curriculum in ways that the school district, with its severely constrained budgets, cannot.

Honor Shelley- contribute to SOMEF.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

My Dog Ate Them

Dubya's latest excuse for no MDs being found yet? Iraqi looters stole them. What next? Saddam left them in his other pants?

Shelley Riecke

Shelley Riecke, immediate past President of the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education, passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. Our communities will miss her passion and commitment.

Our sympathies go out to her husband Jon and her children. May her memory be for a blessing.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?