Have Satellite Truck, Will Travel

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Location: Sitting inside a TV truck, Somewhere, more then likely in the Southeastern region, United States

I am a grouchy, bald headed old fart filled with opinions and not the least bit shy about sharing them.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who really decides US elections?

Slidell, LA - It recently came to my attention lots of folks do not understand who decides elections in this country. The key words for the purpose of this post are "who decides."

When a Democrat speaks to an all Democrat crowd that is called preaching to the choir. Unless that Democrat screws up beyond belief, no one in that room is going to vote for the Republican. If that same Democrat speaks before an all Republican crowd, that is called preaching into the wind. None of them are going to vote for that Democrat no matter what is said.

So there are two substantial groups of people out there that are already decided. Many members of both groups are decided even before the candidate is nominated for the race.

The rest of the electorate is made up of the people that will cast the deciding votes in most US elections. These are the undecided independent voters. In most races neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have a numerical majority by themselves. It takes the votes from those people in the middle to push one candidate ahead of another.

This is why most politicians forget their voting records and put on a game face more palatable to the center during election cycles. Of course once they are done with the election, those campaign statements are promptly "refined" to suit their actual mind set.

This post comes from my expressing concerns the Republicans will run Sarah Palin for President in 2012. Many of my conservative friends are appalled at my doubt she is electable.

But there is no escaping the fact Gov. Palin scares the Hell out of a large number of independent voters. Not only that, some of her message doesn't sit all that well with more then a few conservatives.

The 2010 general election promises to send a lot of liberal representatives home. The 2012 presidential election is in the Republican's hands right now. The conservatives quite literally will have to go out of their way to lose it as things stand now. (Based on current approval polls. Looking at the President's programs, projects and ideology, I don't see any change for the better anywhere on the horizon.)

If the conservatives run an extreme candidate like Gov. Palin, there is an excellent chance we will see four more years of Obama's politics. Hopefully conservative voters will see this in the 2012 primaries. What is left of our future is in their hands.


Hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against.
- W. C. Fields

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Playing games with military absentee voting…

Tallahassee, FL - The 2000 Presidential election debacle left us with many gifts. The nationally televised statements and actions on everyone's part showed us adults behaving like too many kids in a sandbox. Florida was comedic fodder for years afterwards. We learned the importance of a clear statewide standard, codified in law for what does and does not constitute a vote on punch card or black marker style ballots.

The most disturbing thing to come to light as a result of the 2000 voting mess was how overseas absentee military votes were being handled. After some pushing by veteran's groups, active service support organizations and some of the news media we confirmed that many counties and some states never count the overseas military votes.

Election officials excused this situation saying those ballots were "always late" because they could not be produced and mailed to the voters in time. One idiot stated that those uncounted votes rarely amounted to enough to swing the outcome of an election. He apparently forgot he was addressing a room full of reporters. When pressed by reporters for some proof, he literally said "no more questions" and disappeared never to answer media questions again.

Other elections officials across the country simply refused to confirm or deny that statement saying they didn't keep those kind of statistics. Some were able (brave enough?) to count rejected ballots from overseas addresses and came up with some disturbing results. They found that had those ballots been postmarked and arrived on time roughly a third of local elections and a few national contests would have come out differently .

The media storm surrounding that revelation was incredible. Even Vice President Al Gore's running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman, went against the advice of legal teams fighting for Gore in court. Lieberman appeared on national TV and stated without reservation the military votes must be counted. (I always did like him.) Even after the 2000 election, the matter still simmered, unforgotten by military support organizations.

That brought us to the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act)(pdf). This act was crafted over the last few years and signed into law by President Obama. It guarantees that US Service Personnel get a reasonable chance to cast their votes. Part of that law requires state election officials to prepare and mail absentee ballots 45 days prior to the election. That should be more then enough time to get the ballot to the serviceman, fill it out and get it back.

Sounds good, right? Wrong.

State and local officials can request waivers through a loop hole in the law. Right now the exact number of states requesting waivers is unknown. It seems the Administration isn't all that anxious to talk about it.

M. Eric Eversole, the executive director of the Military Voter Protection (MVP) Project and former litigation attorney in the Justice Department's Voting Section, wants to know why military voters are being involuntarily disenfranchised. He and J. Christian Adams accused the Justice Department of encouraging states to use waivers to bypass the MOVE Act.

The accusations prompted Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) to write a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding answers and requesting specific information about how the agency was going to enforce the MOVE Act provision.

Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich responded: "The Department of Justice is firmly committed to ensuring that our men and women serving in the uniformed services and living overseas have the opportunity to vote and to have their votes counted. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply untrue."

Yet the Obama administration refuses to release the waiver requests filed by a dozen states and territories claiming an inability to meet the legal deadline. Eversole and 17 members of Congress led by Rep. Robert E. Latta (R-Ohio), sought this information through formal requests. By Eversole's count, nearly one-third of the states have failed to implement one or more of the key provisions of the MOVE Act, with at least 11 states having not yet implemented the 45-day deadline for mailing absentee ballots, and at least five states having not implemented the electronic-delivery requirement under the MOVE Act.
Fox News: Military Voting Rights at Risk

You have to wonder why these bureaucrats are making it so difficult for service personnel to exercise the most fundamental of rights. If anyone should be granted dispensation to get their votes in and counted, it has to be the men and women that chose to join, maybe fight and possibly die to protect the rest of us.

There is no excuse. If the timing and method of your state and local elections doesn't allow enough time for overseas military voting, then they are doing it wrong and need to fix it.


Hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against.
- W. C. Fields

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Goodbye Hoss

This afternoon my Friend Hoss Warner moved on to what ever comes next after this life. He fought a battle with leukemia that would have killed anyone else long ago. He did well. But sometimes the cure is worse then the disease. Doctors blew out his immune system to allow for a bone marrow transplant. The transplant was successful and the leukemia in full remission.

But without an immune system, his body was repeatedly infected from many sources. The last time was just too much. His organs shut down.

I got to know Hoss better after he got sick. He and his mother displayed an amazing amount of courage in the face of overwhelming odds. Every time I stopped by to see him, he was always making jokes and smiling. Even when covered head to toe in an itchy rash, he found something about it to poke fun at.

Lesser men would have rolled over and died. Hoss kept up on the business through trade journals and talked eagerly about getting back to the work he loved.

Goodbye Hoss. I hope the other side is peaceful. You certainly earned some rest after the rough ride you drew in this life.


Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.
- Rabindranath Tagore

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Bullshit: The missing episode in the seventh season set.

As a fan of Penn & Teller's Bullshit it is disappointing to find out the Vatican episode was not included in the 7th season DVD set. Both Showtime and Penn & Teller have been silent on the omission. Even after numerous inquiries, there is still no word on the reason.

The missing episode exposes some major flaws in the way the Catholic Church conducts itself in the areas of condoms vs. AIDS, child molestation by clergy and their interference in government legislation concerning gays and lesbians. Even more troubling is the episode was left out of the DVD collection without explanation.

I would like to think a private organization like the Catholic Church doesn't have veto power over Showtime Entertainment.

The Vatican Episode can be found on these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. They are not work safe.


The Roman Catholic church... carries the immense power of very directly affecting women's lives everywhere by its stand against birth control and abortion.
- Robin Morgan