Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's Only Fraud If You're the One Doing It

So, if you watch Fox News or generally subscribe to the Republican party line you surely know for a fact that voter fraud is a grave and very real threat to our fragile democracy. So you certainly must support all of the efforts being put in place by multiple states to ensure the integrity of our votes.

Of course, in the real world, voter fraud is about as much of a threat to democracy as the infield fly rule.

Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.

Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.

In Miami, an assistant United States attorney said many cases there involved what were apparently mistakes by immigrants, not fraud.
So, because after five years of the Bush administration investigating and finding nothing of any real impact going on, the natural response of the Republican Party is to push harder to eliminate the scourge that their own president's administration found to be virtually non-existent. They would have done it sooner but they needed to take over a mess of state legislatures first. Which they now have.

Is there a single honest person alive who doesn't know what this is really about? The people least likely to have photo IDs, which is the new standard that the Repubs are pushing, are (and this is entirely coincidental, I'm sure) the same folks who are most likely to vote for Democrats. That is, poor people, black people, young people, poor black young people and the elderly, who are turning on the GOP like German Shepherds over the Paul Ryan gang's efforts to kill Medicare.

So the voter fraud issue needs to be revived in order to a) deflect attention from the actual problems we have right now, and b) help to ensure that fewer people who might vote against them next year and in years beyond are actually able to do so.

This is gutter politics. This is gross. This is much more of a threat to democracy than the supposed voter fraud going on. Tens of thousands of voters will be turned away or have their votes not counted. And I think we know who's going to benefit from all of this.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Easiest job in the world? I'm guessing copy editor at Here's the Boston Bruins current roster.

The B's apparently have not one, not two, but three players from a country that hasn't existed since 1992. I suppose that it was technically their birthplace, as they were all born before the split. But still...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dumb Letters: The Narcissist

I reckon we see what we want to see. I'm loving this letter to the WaPo about The Prez's announcement of an assassination you may have heard about.

When the happy announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed was made, it was disappointing to hear the president report the event by drawing so much attention to himself. He practically made it seem as if he had been there and pulled the trigger. Even if credit is due to him, it was immodest at best not to give all the attention to the men and women of the intelligence and Special Operations services who ushered bin Laden out of the world.

So much of contemporary life is sullied by politicians seeking advantage from situations largely outside their control. The country needs good news more than it needs the president’s preening.

Really? Do I even need to comment on this? He neither said nor implied that he did it. Or anything even close to it. He said "The United States" has done this. And then he went to New York City and didn't say a freaking word. Contrast.

I suppose the president, commander-in-chief of our military and supposed leader of all of us, was supposed to have one of the Navy SEALs do the talking. Because he shouldn't seem immodest. The dude gave a speech and announced what the hell happened. Get over yourself and your fantasies about the guy.

Crikey, this is about as preen-free a president as you can get.