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Friday, October 31, 2008

ThePete & Siskita: on Our Way to Halloween

utterli-image
TheUs on the A train heading downtown. Hey cool! It's 60 degrees out! We won't freeze! (Until later, that is...)
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Daily Democracy In Danger Post (Brad Friedman Should Get a Pulitzer ed.)

If you haven't noticed, a lot of the links in these daily "Democracy in Danger" posts I've been writing have sent you to BradBlog.com. The man behind the BradBlog is one Brad Friedman, a guy absolutely bent on protecting our democracy--but not by fighting terrorists or bailing out the banks, but by doing his best to call attention to voting problems.

Yep, voting is the most basic of rights we have in this country and is, quite literally, the way we make sure we get to keep all of our other rights. See, that's the big myth our country is founded upon--the idea that there are certain inalienable rights granted to us by our creator. The reality is that our rights are actually granted to us by each other. That's right--each one of us agrees that every human should be allowed to do certain things. You and I protect our own rights and the rights of each other. The way we make sure our government doesn't take those rights away is by voting the right people into office. If the voting process itself is flawed someway, well, you can see how democracy can find itself in danger.

This is where Brad Friedman comes in. He has spent years covering voting irregularities here in the US. He's done absurd amounts of research and dedicated nearly every post in his blog to presenting news and information regarding voting rights in America. Vote switching, voter caging and voter suppression in general are some of the specifics he covers. The man is an Internet superhero for voters across the country.

So, I don't know if they give the Pulitizer Prize to bloggers, but if they do, Brad Friedman should get it for his dogged blogging on the topic of voting.

He is truly fighting the good fight and deserves to be recognized for it. Oh and he's a fellow-independent--he goes after both parties for their tactics, even blaming the Democrats for not standing up for themselves as sections of America that are likely to vote Democrat have their votes threatened.

So, NOTE TO PULITZER PEOPLE: BRAD FRIEDMAN FOR THE PULITZER, PLEASE!

Brad Friedman is the Internet's Edward R. Murrow for voting rights.

OK, now on to the news round up for today's Democracy In Danger:

PA Counties Said Unprepared to Serve Voters, Meet Court Order for Emergency Paper Ballots
Election Official: '80 percent of Counties Do Not Have Emergency Ballots'...
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6597
What this story boils down to is this: counties in Pennsylvania aren't likely to have enough paper ballots should half of the electronic machines fail (as required by a recent directive). If that many machines fail, that means a huge number of people will be unable to vote with them. Think of this like not having enough lifeboats on the Titanic for everyone aboard.

Early & Absentee Voting Scandals in D.C. & L.A.
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6594
It turns out that thousands of voters in DC never got their absentee ballots and will now have to vote in person. Meanwhile LA, "the world's largest voting jurisdiction," according to Friedman, has just a single early voting location. Well, if I were still an LA resident, you can bet I'd be heading over there right now to check it out. As it is, I don't believe NYC does early voting, but I should look into it.

I couldn't find anything new on voting irregularities as CNN.com this afternoon, so I checked out MSNBC.com instead and found a couple stories worth checking out. Here they are:

10 choke points for Election Day
What could go wrong? E-voting glitches, legal challenges and more
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27464554/
Sadly, while this article does talk about voting problems, it calls the intentional suppression of votes and illegitimate voters as "funny business," also managing to make this a partisan issue, rather than pointing out that everyone should want all votes counted. The article goes on to show a serious lack of understanding of the challenges facing voters. The author seems to think of election laws as forces of nature, where the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) came down from On High, requiring states to use voter registration databases that can be matched to IDs. If there's a typo in the database some "persnickety" states will not allow the voter to vote. The author of the article also seems to think "vote-flipping" is just a magical "phenomenon" that "will allocate your vote to the wrong candidate."

Isn't that neat? He calls it "misallocation" due to "miscalibrated" touchscreens--instead of calling it what it is: faulty technology. Once again, I fall back to my position that if my iPhone touchscreen doesn't need calibration, why does American democracy's touchscreen?

I think I'm going to have to tear that article a new one in a separate post. It serves well as an example of how the MSM (MainStream Media) thinks our democracy is not important. Why else would author, Alan Boyle, use words like "persnickety" to describe the states that take the HAVA seriously?

Here's the other MSNBC.com article:

Voter registration smashes records
States say 188 million have signed up to vote — but experts add caveats
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27459551/
This article, while not directly reporting on voting irregularities, does provide a symbolic warning for all of us to expect MAJOR voting issues on November 4. Even if half of those 188 million new voters actually show up to vote on Tuesday, that means 94 million more people will be showing up at polling places compared to previous years. That's a lot more pressure than those poling places are likely used to. Already (see above) we see that Pennsylvania won't have enough paper ballots should more than 50% of their electronic ballot machines crash. This is going to be the messiest damn election EVER. Geh--that article is written by Alan Boyle, too. Sheesh--doesn't MSNBC.com have anyone else on board to write about elections?? HEY! MSNBC.com! I'm looking for work! Why not hire me? I seem to know WAY more than this Boyle guy when it comes to elections!!

:P

Voter machine erratically switches selection
Equipment picks Ralph Nader when John McCain is chosen
http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=79565
This is more coverage of that video that shows a West VA election official demonstrating how sometimes touchscreen machines need to be recalibrated. The funny thing is, even after he recalibrates it, the machine still switches to a candidate other than Obama when Obama is touched.

Video spurs concerns over West Virginia voting machines
http://www.timeswv.com/westvirginia/local_story_304194135.html
Here's more coverage of the video. However, this time it seems like West VA officials are claiming it doesn't show anything wrong at all. The article refers to comments made by DepSecO'State Sarah Bailey who apparently explained that:

...the machines allow voters to select a straight ticket and then depart from that for individual races. She said Secretary of State Betty Ireland plans to complain about the video to the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.


I've just watched the video again and I think I see what Bailey means here. For some odd reason the official touches the button for "straight Democrat" and Obama lights up--but then, without saying anything, he inexplicably hits the "Nader" button. Then he does something else, the screen flashes and then he sees the Nader choice and apparently forgets that he, himself just pressed it seconds ago. So, it's possible that the machine works fine.

Of course, this still doesn't excuse why an uncalibrated machine was actively taking votes during early voting. It also doesn't explain why voting machines are so crappily made that they have touchscreens that need to be calibrated when technology as ubiquitous as the iPhone doesn't. It also doesn't excuse the fact that there is no way to prove you voted one way or another with an electronic ballot machine. You simply must trust the technology to not fail.

W. Virginia Gives E-Voting VP an Award While Machines Malfunction
A day after West Virginia secretary of state Betty Ireland held a press conference to address vote-switching problems with touchscreen voting machines made by Election Systems & Software, she presented an award of merit to an ES&S vice president, who had abruptly and mysteriously left the company in May after 11 years of service, according to the Charleston Gazette.
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/10/w-virginia-give.html
This just shows you how absurd our leaders can be. Giving awards to people for designing generally untrustworthy machines that can't provide absolute proof that a citizen voted one way or another.

So, that's it for today regarding election irregularity news. I'll post more later if anything new comes along, but today is Halloween so I may not hear about it until tomorrow. Either way, I'll be posting about voting irregularities when ever I think it's necessary.

IMF to Become Earth's Central Bank?

A few days ago, Twitter user SRivera posted a link to an article at Telegraph.co.uk:

IMF may need to "print money" as crisis spreads
The International Monetary Fund may soon lack the money to bail out an ever growing list of countries crumbling across Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia, raising concerns that it will have to tap taxpayers in Western countries for a capital infusion or resort to the nuclear option of printing its own money.

Yeah, that's right, the IMF might have to print its own money. Here's a bit from that article:

The IMF, led by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has the power to raise money on the capital markets by issuing `AAA' bonds under its own name. It has never resorted to this option, preferring to tap members states for deposits.

The nuclear option is to print money by issuing Special Drawing Rights, in effect acting as if it were the world's central bank. This was done briefly after the fall of the Soviet Union but has never been used as systematic tool of policy to head off a global financial crisis.

"The IMF can in theory create liquidity like a central bank," said an informed source. "There are a lot of ideas kicking around."


Yeah--and conspiracy folks thought we'd be seeing the "Amero" before the NWO fully kicked in, but if suddenly the IMF becomes the "Federal Reserve" of planet Earth, that'd kinda remove economic sovereignty (at a basic level, at least) away from each nation.

First Globalism, now... Galactism?

I wonder if aliens believe in the free market...

MACROSS 7 (1994)

It's Friday and come politics or high water, I've got another anime series to review!
Macross 7 Gameboy Color box art
Sadly, Macross 7 is not available in the US.
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Definitely positive, but you have stick with it. A lot of anime series suffer from the "WTF is this?" Syndrome but you can beat it and come to enjoy the crap out of it if you can just get past the cheese.


Technically any good? Well, it's horribly cheesy, as I've mentioned, but the story ultimately got me caring quite a bit for the characters. This series takes place 35 years after the original Macross and features a few characters from that series. It is almost a complete tonal departure from the "space opera" feel of the original show, however. That said, some traditional Macross themes do show up and to great effect: transforming robot planes, music and a love triangle. The music this time out is some seriously dated 80s-style rock that, by the end of the series completely grew on me. I now rock out to "Holy Lonely Night" on my iPhone when ever I'm bored on the subway. The triangle works well, but sadly, the robot planes are secondary (or tertiary, I suppose).

The voice acting, as always, is spot-on. The Japanese take their cartoons very seriously. The story and scripts are generally solid and structurally strong, but the subject matter does take some effort to get used to. Still, it's this fanboy's opinion that it's worth that effort.


How did it leave me feeling? Pretty damn satisfied. Most anime series end with a relapse of "WTF is this?" Syndrome with endings that are either so baffling or so disappointing as to leave the viewer feeling the series ended one episode earlier. I don't think Macross 7 does this. While there are a couple of weird things that happen, the end is solidly satisfying. Of course, I may have been biased as I watched since I knew there were two more Macross 7-related projects I had yet to watch. I haven't decided if I will review them as they ultimately weren't very satisfying.


Final Rating? SIYCF - See If You Can Find - This series has not been licensed for broadcast or release on DVD in the US or in any English speaking country. However, you can get the soundtracks on Amazon.com and copies of the series are floating around. However, if you can find it, does that mean you should definitely watch it? Obviously, this anime isn't for everyone. I think if you enjoy fun, 80s rock, cheesy plots and/or are a Macross completist, you should definitely check this out. If you think the original Macross is sacrosanct and feel that its serious space opera tone should not be sullied by lighter, more fantastical plots, don't bother.

Learn more about Maross 7 (complete with spoilers) and learn why this series won't ever see the light of day in the US, check out the show's entry on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macross_7

Thursday, October 30, 2008

20081026 Scientology Dexter




20081026 Scientology Dexter, originally uploaded by thepetecom.


I snapped this on my way to catch a train (I'm SO New Yorky!).

That's a table set up by Scientology recruiters--right in front of GIANT Dexter billboards in the 42nd St subway station. Oddly ironic placing an alleged religious recruitment table in front of ads for a TV show about a serial killer. I'm thinking that's a serious mixed message.

White Men. Telling people what to do for over 2000 years. McCain '08



Compliments of ThePete and http://johnmccainisyournewlogo.com

Am I going too hard on the race thing? Hey, after Obama gets into
office the bad stuff won't be my people's fault any more! SWEET!

:P

Democracy In Danger: Election Irregularity News

utterli-imageThis crap is NOT going away. The good thing is that the MSM is sort of hobbling along, trying to at least pay lip-service to the incredibly serious issue of election irregularities.

I mean, it's only our democracy, right?

ANYway, so, amazingly enough, CNN.com actually did report on voting problems--kinda. If you have a look at that screengrab there, you'll see the headline as being worthy of the "Duh Award". Come on, guys--you think something might go wrong when half-the-country votes for president next week?

GOSH YOU'RE SMART, CNN.COM! Geh...

All that said, here are some links and headlines for election irregularity coverage around the web today:

Voting machines could bring Election Day glitches
http://www.cnn.com/…index.html

More than 3,000 registered Coloradans barred from voting
Thousands of Coloradans have been denied the right to vote because of a policy that may violate federal law.

Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman has authorized county clerks to purge newly registered voters under the so-called 20-day rule. Here, county clerks must send non-forwardable letters to newly registered voters. If the mail bounces back to the clerks, then they must remove the voter applicants’ names from the rolls.

http://coloradoindependent.com/…coloradans
This is some scary stuff--it's been going on for years--even back in 2004. It's called "voter caging" and whether it's illegal or not, it's a form of voter suppression and because we humans are imperfect and make mistakes, so does this system and plenty who should be able to vote end up not being able to. (Though voter caging really is an absurd and unfair way to judge whether a person has registered legally or not.)

Listen Up Karen Handel!
http://www.ireport.com/…DOC-129137
This is a video of a voter in Atlanta waiting in line for hours to vote. Isn't that great? HOURS. I've missed one presidential election in my entire adult life and have never spent more then 40 minutes in line.

Lawsuits, Machine Malfunctions and Missing Absentee Ballots Among Voting Rights Issues Facing Jittery Election
Early voters across the country are reporting long lines and problems with electronic voting machines. Republicans, meanwhile, continue to file lawsuits that could stop thousands from voting. We speak to Harvey Wasserman of Free Press and Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog.
http://www.democracynow.org/…g_absentee
Good stuff from yesterday's Democracy Now broadcast. They interview two guys who know a LOT about election irregularities--both having appeared in a documentary I helped with called "Stealing America". Check it out (in full!) at StealingAmericaTheMovie.org.

Court Backs Penn. Voter Rights Suit on Electronic Machines
A federal judge has ordered state election officials to provide emergency paper ballots if half or more electronic voting machines become inoperable at any polling site in the state.
http://www.democracynow.org/…/headlines
Personally, I don't get why we shouldn't all have the right to vote on paper over a machine if we so choose. It seems like it would be unconstitutional to force us to use voting equipment we don't trust. Still this is good news--just a shame that Penn voters need to wait until half of the machines fail to get to vote with something more trustworthy.

Speaking of which, here's another story on this from BradBlog.com:

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Plaintiff Demand for Emergency Paper Ballots in PA
http://www.bradblog.com/
According to this post, PA law says county clerks can give out paper ballots if just one machine fails. Though this ruling seems to supersede that law. Still, this ruling is better than nothing. Though if it inspires voters to "discover" their machines "break"ing down violently, we know which judge to blame for not going far enough. ;)

Not that I'm endorsing any violent acts, of course.

Election Protection by Amy Goodman
http://www.truthdig.com/…rotection/
This is a blog post from Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and it focuses on all of the issues facing us regarding our ability to vote. Whether you agree with her or not, it's just good people are having this discussion.

Tool Developed to Detect Possible Fraud in Election Tabulating Software
Pima County, AZ Election Integrity Group Creates Software to Analyze Diebold GEMS Databases, Wants to Share Capability With Others...
http://www.bradblog.com/
This is more good news--software has been developed that can scan databases from Diebold-brand voting machines and find errors. For now it's only used in Arizona--why this software hasn't been developed sooner is anyone's guess. However, I'm going to guess that it's because Diebold always claimed their technology was proprietary (aka they could tell us, but then they'd have to charge us a lot of money).

Vote-Flipping Diebold Machine Removed, Quarantined in CO
Karen Long, Adams County Clerk Takes Action After Voter Sees Vote Flip Repeatedly to Republican Candidate in State With Long History of E-Voting Failures
http://www.bradblog.com/
Won't our leaders ever learn? Or maybe they have and like this kind of confusion? While this is good news, it points out serious issues with our leaders' ability to decide what is right for us. If Colorado has had a history of e-voting problems, why are they failing to learn from that history? OH yeah, it's all part of the "All History Left Behind" program spear-headed by the White House. Bush ignored his own father's history in a war with Iraq, so I suppose it's contagious to other government types, too.

In closing this post, I'd like to point out a couple new sites I've come across that are concerned with election irregularities:

http://www.projectvotecount.com/
http://voteraction.org/

Check out both sites if you had trouble voting or if you want to get involved.

WHEW. This stuff is tiring! I hope all of these problems magically go away on November 4th!

:P

For more links to coverage of election irregularities and commentary on the situation, please check out ThePete.Com. I've been working my ass off :)
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Why VideoTheVote.Org is So Important


Want to know what it's like to be a disenfranchised voter? I can tell you--it kinda sucks. How do I know? Back in February of 2008 I was one.

See, I'm a registered independent. My vote in the Democrat primaries this year was not counted and it wasn't because I'm not a Democrat--it was because the state of California added an extra hoop that I had to jump through in order to have my vote counted as an indy voter and I didn't see the hoop, so I didn't jump through it.

Want to see proof that I missed the hoop? Go here: http://tv.thepete.com/…feels-like

That's a video of me failing to jump through the hoop accompanied by an explanation of how it happened.

All this was possible because I brought with me one of those still cameras that shoots video when I went to vote. I didn't check the laws before I did it, either. I only pulled it out and started recording once I was safely ensconced in my "booth" where no one could see me and my camera could see only what I was voting. It was an invasion of no one's privacy but my own. But why would I do such a thing?

Back in 2004, and before then in 2000, I had no problem voting for the guy I wanted to vote for. The catch was that loads of people DID have trouble voting. I became concerned that maybe I was too confident in the system--like I was just assuming that I'd notice it if something went wrong.

So, in 2008, I brought my camera along and I'm glad I did. Because the next day, when news came out that there was that extra hoop for us indy voters to jump through I immediately searched my own memory to see if I remember that extra hoop. I couldn't remember one. So, I pulled up the video and voila--I saw it.

VideotTheVote.org is a website that will serve as a clearing house for videos like this during the 2008 election. So, when you vote, bring a camera!! Take video and then upload it to VideoTheVote.org and then go check out other folks' vote videos at VtV's YouTube page here: http://www.youtube.com/…deothevote

This is so important that you do this. Sure, some places don't allow video cameras inside the polling places by law, but that's absurd to me. As long as you shoot your own voting and don't catch anyone else on camera, I don't know why they should care one way or another.

BE AWARE: you still may get caught and suffer legal repercussions but, to me, the risk is worth it. This is our democracy we're talking about here and each of our votes (regardless of who we vote for) is important.

Once again, that's VideoTheVote.Org!
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INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)


Click to buy!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Yes! It was a blast, actually.


Technically any good? Personally, I've never found the character of the Hulk to be terribly deep, so to me, Ang Lee's take on him was a waste of time (read my Pocket Review for Lee's Hulk). He's not some dark, brooding character, he's a guy doing his best to stay calm--ALL THE TIME. This movie is all about that struggle and I think it handles it very well, script and story-wise. Acting-wise it's very spot-on with Edward Norton's perfect performance as Bruce Banner being the highlight. It's also a comic-fan's dream as a LOT of references, which were missing from Ang Lee's movie, show up in this one. I'm very interested to see a sequel to this as they've started a few interesting balls rolling by creating characters we know from the comic. My one gripe was the simplistic way the script handles Tim Roth's character. I love him as an actor, but he was just too deep to play this one character. Everything else, as I said, is a blast.


How did it leave me feeling? Very entertained. Finally, someone gets the idea that big dumb action movies don't have to completely insult the audience (Michael Bay, I'm lookin' at you, buddy!). Also liked the zinger at the end (though I don't get why it shows up before the credits and not after).


Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - obviously, not everyone likes big dumb actioners, but if you do, I would think this movie would be for you. Also, if you're a comic book purist (like me) this movie is for you since it got a lot right.

Killing the unborn is wrong. Waiting 18 years and sending them to Iraq is Right: McCain '08



Compliments of ThePete and http://johnmccainisyournewlogo.com

That's what I call a late-term abortion!

I just love the Republican "culture of life" that sends American young
men and women into harms way to kill and be killed. How can you be pro-
life and pro-war at the same time?

If you are only interested in protecting American lives then I think
you're being pretty lame. That said, why aren't you pro-Cancer-
research? Cancer is a MUCH bigger threat to American life than
terrorism.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Democracy in Danger: USMSM Ignoring, Other Sources Not

The US Mainstream Media (USMSM) is sadly blowing off stories of voting irregularities. I just trolled CNN.com a few minutes ago and saw almost nothing regarding reports of vote-problems. Luckily, loads of online sources seem to be covering this story. Let's hope it continues and let's also hope CNN.com decides to do more than just offer their "voter problem" page (here: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/category/voter-problems/ ). Talk about treating a problem improperly. What they do by putting all the stories about voting problems on one page and nowhere else is, essentially, ghetto-izing news about our democracy failing us.

If you think a few votes here and a few votes there are no big deal, you clearly don't recall how tight the Bush wins were in 2000 and 2004. Also, a handful of reports can often be the tip of the iceberg. Not everyone is going to notice or be sure that they just had a problem voting. This is why it's so important that election irregularities stay on the front page of EVERY news source on the planet (yes, the planet, since the guy running the USA tends to bomb a lot). If you know of election stories that aren't being covered, why not start your own blog and post about it? Or email your favorite news sources and ask them why they aren't covering these stories? It's just our democracy in the balance.

All this said, plenty of stories are reaching the 'net on non-USMSM sites. Here's a nice round up for you:

Phony Flier Gives Va. Dems Wrong Election Date
In Virginia, a phony flier purporting to come from the state election board has circulated to prevent Democrats from voting on Election Day. The flier tells Democrats and independents to vote on November 5th, the day after the election.
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/29/headlines#4
How are we not supposed to blame the Republicans for something like this? (Mind you, I'm a registered independent.)

Report: Sequoia Voting Machine Prone to Hacking
a new Princeton University report... ...says a machine made by the California-based Sequoia Voting Systems can be hacked in about seven minutes.
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/29/headlines#5
NICE! Sequoia were the blokes said to be behind the "hanging-chads" from 2000.

Your Last Chance to Pull That Big Red Lever
This Tuesday is supposed to be New Yorkers’ last chance to use the old-fashioned voting machines! That is, if everything goes as planned. New York state is already behind in the attempt to switch to newer voting technology in accordance with the Help America Vote Act. According to City Limits, “Using New York state’s old-fashioned lever machines is difficult for people who aren’t able to see the choices or flip the levers.”
http://idealistnyc.wordpress.com/2008/10/29/your-last-chance-to-pull-that-big-red-lever/
I was unaware of this--and I'm a New Yorker now. Sheesh. I should say that I think the argument using disabled voters as the excuse to switch entirely to electronic "ballot marking devices" (or BMDs) is a weak one since disabled voters are a fraction of the people who vote. Also, forcing them to use BMDs isn't fair to them, either. Can't we just create a job where someone is in charge of helping disabled folks vote?

ELECTION DAY TEST LOOMS FOR NEW VOTING DEVICES
Nov. 4 should be the beginning of the end for the city's lever voting machines, as New York continues its belated effort to comply with the Help America Vote Act.
http://www.citylimits.org/content/articles/viewarticle.cfm?article_id=3643
This is a decidedly positive view of the same story from IdealistNYC. These guys seem to really only care about these complying with federal law and not with the possibility that these devices work or are at all trustworthy. It's funny, I'm a total tech-head and I'd never trust technology with my democracy.

More Vote-Flipping in TX by Machines Other Than Those Made by ES&S
Direct Recording Electronic Voting Systems Made by Hart InterCivic and Diebold Also Reportedly Now Flipping Votes From Democratic to Republican in TX...
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6584
Previously, I've blogged about reports that all the vote switching has occurred on just one kind of machine from just one company--the iVotronic from ES&S (blogged here and here). However, according to BradBlog.com the problems are popping up in voting machines from a number of different companies, so no voter using an electronic/computerized voting machine is safe from this kind of "glitch."

National groups laud W.Va.'s response to vote switching
A pair of national voting rights groups say other states should follow West Virginia's lead when it comes to touch-screen voting machines.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University and Verified Voting are touting Secretary of State Betty Ireland's decision to urge counties to recalibrate their machines each morning.
http://wvgazette.com/News/200810290417
While this sounds like good news, it really isn't. These machines shouldn't need to be recalibrated EVER. As I blogged last night, my iPhone has a touchscreen, too and I never have to recalibrate it--why is it that American Democracy seems to have a crappier touchscreen than my iPhone?

The Vote Grab: Voting machines are unreliable and inaccurate
As early voting in the US presidential elections gets underway, ES&S iVotronics touch-screen electronic voting machines have been observed in four separate states flipping the votes – mostly from Barack Obama to John McCain but sometimes to third party candidates too. This has already occurred during early voting in the states of West Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas.
http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/10/the-vote-grab-1.html
This is somewhat old news, but at least they're covering it. Also, just because it's old news doesn't make it untrue. What's nice about this piece (written by Peter Tatchell) is that it goes into some nice detail into the background of these kinds of problems. This makes it a good primer for anyone who hasn't been following this stuff for years.

So, while it's nice to see some print and foreign news sources covering this stuff, it's still not reaching as many people (or as many Americans) as it needs to. Back in 2004 a bunch of us screamed about it, but were ignored. We all need to scream about this stuff. Regardless of who "wins" on November 4, the win won't mean a thing to anyone who respects the truth and the will of the American People.

I'm one of those people.

For the latest news on vote switching your best bet is to do a Google news search here:
http://news.google.com/news?q=vote%20switching

If you see any weirdness at your polling place please one or all of the following (especially the first two items):

Call 877-GOCNN-08 That's CNN's voter problem hotline

Call 866-MYVOTE1 That's an independent hotline run by the guys behind http://www.infovoter.net/

Go here: http://www.votersunite.org/electionproblems_submit.asp and describe what you experienced.

Comment here at ThePete.Com or at any other blog covering election irregularities

Blog about it yourself

If you brought a camera with you to vote, take pictures or video and upload it to the VideoTheVote.org.

In the end, it's up to every American citizen to not just vote, but to do their part in making sure that vote means something.

SHERRYBABY (2006)


Click here to buy
or here to watch it now!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Definitely entertaining, but definitely depressing. For a control freak like me watching movies about people on the edge of destroying their own lives is hard to do.


Technically any good? The script was very solid and entirely believable. It was just depressing as hell. The acting was equally solid. It was nice to see Danny Trejo in a film where he wasn't a hitman or some other kind of killer. It was also great to see Giancarlo Esposito in anything at all (he's great in EVERYthing). The movie does a great job of deeply portraying characters who are themselves not deep as they try determine what is best for their own lives (this was the part that was hard for me to watch as a control freak). Director/writer Laurie Collyer does an excellent job in directing. The movie is very much on the flawless side.


How did it leave me feeling? Entirely satisfied. It was interesting to watch a movie that wasn't about a driving throughline, but instead focuses on the characters' choices, right or wrong. Most stories feature characters who are forced to choose one thing or another. Sherrybaby shows us characters that have options, but perhaps not the capability to make the best choices for themselves. The film ends up being about how the characters make their decisions.

What I got from the movie is to remember that we, as individuals, always have options and that very little forces us to react one way or another.


Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - this movie is not for everyone. It's depressing and there is nudity, sex and drugs. It's not romantic sex, either. It's depressing sex (the drugs are depressing, too). But see it if you love strong performances, especially from women. Maggie Gyllenhaal is great.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Democracy in Danger: the Voting Dramacracy Continues

Homer Votes Obama Wow, take a couple days off and the world keeps going without ya! Sheesh! Sadly, this includes voting irregularities. I was really hoping this would stop happening long before election day, but since the reports keep coming in, I can only assume what we're seeing is the tip of the iceberg.

Why do I feel like our democracy is the Titanic...

Here's the latest coverage on the 'net, well, from my favorite sources, anyway:

VIDEOS: Vote Flipping on Touch-Screens in WV
Failure Seen Persisting Even After Election Official 'Recalibrates' Failed Machine!
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6576
The second video in that post is pretty good, too--shows a guy demoing how flaky the touchscreen really is (though I'm not sure he means to). What ticks me off is how they talk about the screen needing to be "calibrated" after it is moved (this is the excuse given for why it comes up McCain when you touch Obama's name). I never have to calibrate my iPhone's touchscreen. Are you telling me democracy has a shittier touchscreen than my iPhone? Weeeeak!

FL Governor Extends Early Voting Hours
ALSO: Broward County Backs off on Strict 'No Match, No Vote' Voter Registration Directive...
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6583
This is good news! Extended voting hours and backing down on NMNV means more people get to vote. WHEW!

Diebold's 'Express' Voter Registration Computers (Again) Lead to Long Waits in GA's Early Voting
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6581
I love this new emphasis on "express" and how ultimately the systems crash and make everything take longer. Shouldn't we take our time with our democracy so we make sure to get it right? Look what happened back in 2000? Can we ever be sure who really won? Wouldn't you like to PROVE to me that your candidate was the man America wanted?

Too bad you can't.

ES&S Touch-Screens Keep Flipping in WV, Now in At Least 6 Counties
Same ES&S iVotronics Flipping Votes from Democrats to Republicans (and others) in At Least 4 States
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6572
So the reports of vote switching that were originally said to be isolated in two different counties in West VA, have now started coming in from SIX counties. That's a LOT of isolated instances!

Election Unspun Oct 28 - Vote Switching At Voting Machines
In Nashville Tennessee, Patricia Earnhardt, attempted to early vote. On her electronic touch screen voting machine, she tried to vote for Barack Obama - but her vote didn't register. Earnhardt requested the help of a poll worker, who tried to high light the Obama button but nothing happened. Finally, the machine chose selected Green Party Candidate Cynthia McKinney, whose name was located 5 rows below Obama's. A poll worker helped her start the process over and her vote finally registered Barack Obama.
http://www.fsrn.org/content/election-unspun-oct-28-vote-switching-voting-machines/3635
I think the above story is important because it illustrates how much extra effort some voters have to go to in order to actually vote. Of course, since these are still touchscreen voting machines, we still have to worry about whether the vote itself will actually be counted by the machine (it call tell us one thing and then do another, in theory).

Voting Rights Watch: One company's machine behind vote-switching reported in early balloting across the South
http://southernstudies.org/facingsouth/2008/10/voting-rights-watch-one-companys.asp
BradBlog.com reported it earlier this week, and SouthernStudies.org is now reporting that the iVotronic machine from ES&S continues to be the culprit in every case of vote switching reported across the American southeast.

Wondering what all this "election irregularity" stuff is? Wondering why I and so many other folks are worried about this election? Well, Lisa Rein (my good friend and SIL) has written a great primer that covers a great deal of the controversy. Check that post out here:

Voting Irregularities Starting Already - This Year, We're All Detectives
http://www.onlisareinsradar.com/archives/002836.php

Going to blog about VideoTheVote.org soon--I promise. Why wait for me? Go check it out for yourself!

Because White Men Really Are Better Leaders: McCain '08



Compliments of ThePete http://johnmccainisyournewlogo.com

It's true, isn't it?

Come on, name one good black President of the United States!

Betcha can't!

CNN.com Asks: Will Obama's Lead Last?

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This is kind of disgusting. CNN's own numbers (here: http://thepete.com/…n-cnn-poll ) have Obama with a projected lead so far ahead of McCain that even if Senator John got all of the up-fer-grabs electorals left he wouldn't be able to catch up, let alone pass his opponent.

So, why are they trying to be all alarmist in asking if this quite substantial lead last? Well, they've got to pull drama from somewhere (even if it's out of their asses) but it still bugs me.

I mean, wondering if a lead this big will last another 6 days is almost as absurd as the lead Obama seems to have at this point. Yet, here's CNN.com being lame still.

Ah well, it could be worse--they could be trying to make this race seem close, somehow...

I'm actually a little shocked they're not doing this.
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Obama Aces Electoral College in CNN Poll

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Don't know if you saw this, but I thought it was interesting, so I thought I'd post it. According to CNN (here: http://www.cnn.com/…alculator/ ), Obama's got 277 electoral votes (based on polls, trends and cash spent on ads) and McCain has just 174. CNN also claims that there are 87 that still could go either way.

So, let's say McCain gets all of those 87 toss-offs--er--ups. How many electorals would he have then? 261.

That's not enough to win the presidency.

To be clear, those numbers include both "safe" and "leaning" numbers for each candidate. Still, those numbers are important to note.

Meanwhile, for several days now, FiveThirtyEight.com has had Obama with over 340 electorals.

Of course, this all means nothing if we don't all vote.

I just realized "aces" in the headline of this post might have been a bit of an exaggeration. Gomen, gomen--just attempting to be alliterative.
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ThePete Wins Daily Mug Shot of the Day!

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Hey, this was really neat--my fellow users over at DailyMugShot.Com felt that my mugshot for Monday, October 27, 2008 was the best.

I guess DMS users really dig the intense pensivity of that shot... or maybe it was the Dalek, or my ThePeteMan action figure or maybe that vaguely familiar cow back there...

Why does she seem so familiar?? ;)
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Monday, October 27, 2008

George W. Promise I'd Win in 2008 if I Only Played Along: McCain '08



Compliments of ThePete and http://johnmccainisyournewlogo.com

Are you like me? Would you have actually voted for McCain in 2000 had
he won the Repub primary if Bush hadn't? Do you wonder what happened
to that John McCain who ran 8 years ago? I do. I miss that man--he was
a leader with integrity and honor. So what happened?

It seems to me that he made a deal with Bush. "Support me in
everything, vote with me 90% of the time, support the war, vote
against the toture ban, support me in the 2004 debates, as a huge
storm hits New Orleans you are to put celebrating my birthday with me
above any concerns for Katrina victims (McCain brought a cake). Do all
of this and I'll give you all of my psycho amoral campaign guys so you
can definitely get elected in 2008."

To which McCain responded, "Yes, Godfather...and may your first child
be a masculine child..."

"Thank you. Now kiss the ring... And pull my finger! Heh-heh-heh!"

All right, so that may not be exactly how the exchange went, but you
have to admit the change from 1999 McCain (honor, real patriotism) to
2008 McCain (says whatever is required to get elected) is pretty
extreme.

Democracy In Peril: The Ongoing Dramacracy

Ahh, this is FUN. I LOVE it when my greatest fears about my democracy come true!

Wait. No, I don't. This sucks.

I want to just blog about my custom toys and draw comics and write novels.

But nooooo, the government has to go and be all corrupt and whatnot! OK, so, here's a nice little round up of election irregularity news from around the web, most notably that first link--yep, that's CNN.com covering voter purging! Amazing! But let's get to the links:

Some voters 'purged' from voter rolls
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/26/voter.suppression/index.html
(It's funny, this article's headline refers to "some" voters being purged but if you read the article, tens of thousands in various states could lose their ability to vote.)

WIDESPREAD TOUCH SCREEN VOTE FLIPPING!!
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/10/26/112912/81/554/642200
(I hate linking to (let alone Digging) a post at DailyKos--they might as well be called "DailyBias" or "DailyDemocratMouthpiece". I've heard so many bad things about them shutting people down for dissenting with the Democrat POV--but if they're covering voter probs, what can you do?)

Election Developments & Problems in FL, GA, VA, IN, OH, NM, TN, WV
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6561
(LOADS of great info here on all sorts of bizarre crap, including a Florida Elections Supervisor saying: "No one could have anticipated that this election would be so historic and draw as much attention as it has," Seriously? Because the news has been saying that for months, lady!)

11,000 Absentee Ballots Not Mailed Out in Colorado
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/27/headlines#6
(Sequoia Voting Systems failed to deliver half of the absentee ballots they were supposed to deliver to the post office, as a result 10k+ people may not vote.)

Justice Department Pressed by Bush to Contest 200,000 Ohio Voters
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/27/headlines#8
From DN's headline story for this:

The White House has asked the Department of Justice to look into whether 200,000 new Ohio voters must reconfirm their registration information before the Nov. 4 election because their records don’t precisely match other government databases.


Here's another one from BradBlog.com:
'AWOL' Obama/DNC Attorneys Found! Turns Out They Were Working in Secret, Reports Alternet
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6571
Here's an excerpt from the post:

We've had to report on Democrats in PA being sued by the NAACP, because neither the DNC nor the Obama campaign was willing to stand up for voters to demand that emergency paper ballots be made available to voters in PA before every machine in a precinct breaks down, as decreed a month ago from PA's Democratic Sec. of the Commonwealth.

We haven't even had time to report that the Republicans have attempted to intervene in the case, to take the side of the PA Democrats to keep paper ballots from being given to voters.


Yeah, that's pretty bizarre, huh?

Can you think of a reason why voters who want to vote with paper ballots should be kept from voting with paper ballots?

Meanwhile, here's a headline and link to that Alternet.org story Brad blogged about:

Democrats Describe Efforts to Limit Voting Machines Problems
http://www.alternet.org/democracy/104635/democrats_describe_efforts_to_limit_voting_machines_problems/
It goes into what the Dems are supposedly doing to protect the vote, but the article admits:

Whether these resources and responses will satisfy election integrity activists is an open question. That e-voting problems continue to surface undermines their confidence. One big difference between the activist community and DNC is the activists want to end the use of troubling technologies altogether whereas the DNC wants to ensure the election machinery, however flawed, works as best as it can for the public -- because the voting systems in place are the systems that will be used in 2008.


Here are a few sites to check out for more on voter irregularities:

http://bradblog.com
http://votersunite.org

More to come! (Sadly)

Esha Momeni, Women's Advocate Arrested in Iran

Did you hear the one about the Iranian-American women's advocate who walked into a bar and got arrested for trying to help change laws that discriminate against women? Actually, the bar was in Iran and there was no bar, but there was an American-born women's advocate who got arrested in Tehran for doing research for her master's thesis at CSUN, a college in Southern California, not far from my old digs (in fact, I used to date a CSUN grad).

Seems Esha Momeni was quite an outspoken advocate for the rights of women in Iran as well as for the perception of Iranian women outside of Iran. The following comes from Momeni's bio, which she wrote back in 2007:

During her studies Esha was stunned by stereotypes of Iranian women in the United States as weak and passive as well as distressed by the possibility of American military intervention in Iran. Therefore, Esha decided to make her master’s thesis project a personal exploration of the shared experiences of everyday Iranians which included interviews with some members of a grassroots women's rights campaign called the "One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws." The Campaign has made it clear that its activities are peaceful and merely aimed at reforming the Iranian laws in areas that discriminate against women and that it has no political objectives otherwise. Esha is determined to better the lives of her fellow citizens and banish stereotypes of Iranians through photo and film.


Sounds like a pretty cool chick, huh? Well, she's been in a prison cell for two weeks now.

What follows is an excerpt from a blog post at for-esha.blogspot.com that describes how Momeni was arrested:

Esha Momeni, women’s rights advocate and a volunteer of the Campaign from California was arrested on Wednesday October 15, 2008, while on a visit to Tehran. Momeni who is a photographer and graduate student was arrested in an unusual and illegal manner after being pulled over on Moddaress highway, by individuals who identified themselves as under cover traffic police on the pretense that she had unlawfully passed another vehicle while driving. Esha was arrested and taken to Section 209 of Evin Prison, managed by the Intelligence and Security Ministry.

Prior to her transfer to Evin, security officials searched her home and seized property, including her computer and films which were part of her thesis project. The security officials had an arrest warrant and court permission to search the home and seize property.


There is a petition you can sign that requests the government of Iran provide her with health care, a lawyer, contact with her family, and basic human rights. It also requests a "Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Esha Momeni,"

It's a little scary that such a thing has to be requested, but when a country like the USA does such horrible things to its own citizens (COUGHjosepadillaCOUGH) how can we expect American citizens abroad to be treated fairly?

Please sign the petition! I just did.

For the latest on Momeni's situation, please visit: http://for-esha.blogspot.com

Here's a video you can pass on to people or embed in your on blog that tells Momeni's story in a nutshell:



You can also read more about her arrest at CNN.com here:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/10/22/iran.us.student.arrest/index.html?eref=rss_latest

and from AP.org here:

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hgSS56p6YS5kfLZJ5UICpcgWiqIwD940LSBG0

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Because White Male Presidents Represent 232 Years of Tradition: McCain '08



Compliments of ThePete and http://johnmccainisyournewlogo.com

Don't you think it's time to give the white man four years off? I
mean, we've survived George W. Bush, haven't we? How much worse could
the black guy be?

ThePeteToy EyeRobot (in progress)

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When I'm not blogging about politics and current events, I like to have FUN by designing custom toys. There's a great feeling of control you get from drawing on a white piece of pre-molded vinyl or plastic. It's a feeling you just don't get from everyday life.

You know, that feeling you can control anything at all, ever. :)

Above is a screencap of a Flickr photoset I just created featuring progress shots of a piece called "EyeRobot."

He started out life as a blank Egg Qee I picked up at the Giant Robot store here in Manhattan.

Not sure where I was coming from as the design developed in my head, but I started drawing and the first thing that came to me was that big eye.

He's basically done, but I have to apply a clear coat and then put him together.

See the pictures in my Flickr photoset here: http://flickr.com/…394893430/
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Nothing Says Change Like a 72 Year-Old White Guy McCain '08



Compliments of ThePete and http://johnmccainisyournewlogo.com.

No offense to my dad, but Caucasian men in their 70s are not exactly
known for bring change to entire countries. Especially rich ones with
7 homes.

Vote Switching In More States


Not sure what "vote switching" is? The video clip above comes from a documentary called "Stealing America" and I snagged it from YouTube (here: http://www.youtube.com/watch ). It demonstrates the vote switching that occurred in the 2004 presidential election. See the end of this post for more info on "Stealing America."

Yep, Vote Switching is reportedly happening again and while all of the votes have been Democrat-to-Republican switches, it's important to note that this is an AMERICAN issue--not a Dem or Repub issue.

If you're a Republican, don't you want to know for sure that McCain won fair and square? If you don't want this, you should really take a second look at your morals since a fair democracy should be what everyone wants.

Aaaanyway...

BradBlog.com is reporting (here: http://www.bradblog.com/ ) on more instances of vote switching from Texas, Tennessee and Missouri on top of the so-called "isolated" cases in West Virginia.

From the BB post:

This is just getting worse and worse. Now it's happening in Texas. (And in MO, if you read to the end of the article). And the vaunted "thousands of attorneys" from the Obama campaign and the DNC are still nowhere to be found.

With every incident so far reported of touch-screen vote-flipping during early voting in this year's general election --- from county to county in WV and in Nashville, TN) --- it's been the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machine that has failed, flipping votes from one candidate to another not chosen by the voter. In most every instances (see update below), it's been an attempted Democratic vote, flipped to a Republican, or another party.


Yep, it's the same type/brand of machine that's messing up--the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machine. The BB post also says something interesting about electronic voting in general:

...no voter should ever cast a vote on a touch-screen machine unless they are forced to. There is absolutely no way that any vote ever cast on a touch-screen machine --- with or without a so-called paper trail --- can ever be shown as having been recorded accurately.


Brad is right--you have to have blind faith in technology and if you've used a PC or a Mac you know that even the best machines are still fallible. Why we can't take our time by voting with pencil and paper is beyond me. This isn't a pizza, we're ordering--it's a president.

The same post at BradBlog goes on to explain what to do if you see your vote switch:

* Call poll supervisors to observe the problem
* Fill out a problem report
* Refuse to vote on that machine
* Request that the machine be taken out of service
* Get a serial number of the machine if possible (may be unlikely in many cases)
* Tell other voters not to vote on that machine
* Call county/town election office
* Call local reporters
* Call voter problem hotlines (eg. 866-MYVOTE1 and 866-OUR-VOTE)
* Contact bloggers and Election Integrity websites.
* Raise holy hell.

Brad also mentions that the supposed legions of Democratic lawyers ready to defend Obama voters are nowhere to be found.

So, the Democrats are falling down on the job again.

If you didn't follow this stuff back in 2004, this is a direct replay of those events--obvious irregularities ignored by almost everyone--including those Dems who would directly benefit from pursuing the truth.

Of course, every American benefits from knowing the truth.

The video clip at the top of this post comes from a documentary covering the irregularities surrounding recent elections. The movie is called "Stealing America" and is now on DVD and can also be watched entirely online at my website here:
http://thepete.com/…tch-it-now

Or check it out at the official site: http://stealingamericathemovie.org/

Also, when you go to the polls to vote, be smart and bring your camera. If something goes wrong, snap a picture or shoot some video. I'll be posting more on this soon. Don't want to wait? Check out http://VideoTheVote.org/
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Because the Health of the Mother is Just an Excuse

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Compliments of ThePete and http://johnmccainisyournewlogo.com/

I think it was in debate #3 when McCain articulated his view that "the health of the mother" had been "stretched to mean almost anything."

That's my memory, anyway. I'll try to get the exact quote when I get to a machine that actually has cut & paste capabilities. Damn you, iPhooone!
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ThePocket Vlog: Alan Admits to Oopsing Economy


Here's ThePocketVlog for October 24, 2008.

Don't want to watch the video? Read on then!

Amazingly enough, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted yesterday that trusting the banks to self-regulate was a little bit like trusting a fox to sleep inside the hen house.

I'm paraphrasing, of course. Here's an excerpt from the headlines of today's broadcast of Democracy Now (transcript and entire show available here: http://www.democracynow.org/…/headlines )--it's Alan Greenspan speaking his own words in testimony yesterday on the Hill: "I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interest of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms."

OOPSY!

Looks like deregulation does not, in fact, cause anything bad to happen, it just *allows* bad things to happen when greedy bastards are in charge.

The admission also proves that Alan Greenspan is not a Republican since Republicans are incapable of admitting mistakes.
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MACROSS PLUS (1994)


Click here to buy
Positive Experience/Entertaining? I'm a fan of the Macross universe, in general, but this felt pretty damn useless to me.


Technically any good? The story on it's own would have been fine, but it just doesn't mesh with the rest of the Macross Saga. The involvement of the the pre-existing ships and history (but none of the characters we actually know) feels shoe-horned in and doesn't make this Japanese animated mini-series any better. In fact, I think it hinders its ability to stand on its own--not that it does stand on its own very well. While the story is "fine" it's not terribly good. It's watchable, but ultimately not remarkable. It's filled with several anime cliches--the young, brash, disrespectful, yet handsome rogue, the easy-to-bed goofy sidekick woman and the big, dumb, brute who ultimately redeems himself. The creepy girl is also represented. Meanwhile the Macross-specific themes are all there--a love triangle, fighter pilots and music--but ultimately the miniseries lacks anything that might resonate with fans of the Macross saga. The only good thing here is Yoko Kanno's music. She is a brilliant composer and her stuff here is wonderful. Kanno is probably best known for her music for Cowboy Bebop, in case you're curious.


How did it leave me feeling? Disappointed. The original Macross series and the movie-version/remake embodied the space opera at its best. Sadly, this just feels like a sequel capitalizing on an existing brand name.


Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See unless you're a hardcore Macross fan or, like me, a completist who wants to see EVERYthing in the Macross universe.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bad Economy = Violence +Cop Cutbacks = Mad Max?

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So, apparently, police forces are facing budget cutbacks. The above screencap comes from an October 23, 2008 article (here: http://www.cnn.com/…index.html ) at CNN.com. It seems there are a lot of not directly-obvious dangers connected with this economic mess. Seems that while people aren't paying their mortgages, they're also not paying their taxes. Or maybe they're choosing one over the other? Regardless, police forces are facing budget cuts--but that's not what I'm worried about.

When I saw this article, I immediate remembered an AP.org article I had meant to blog on that was posted on CNN.com back on October 13. Check it out here: http://www.cnn.com/…index.html

It's all about how people are turning to violence to deal with their own economic woes.

Now, the AP article talks about people who have tried or succeeded in killing themselves and/or their family in attempts to avoid taking responsibility for their debts. Disturbing stuff.

But I'm concerned with how far people are from using violence on others to solve their economic problems. Combine this with a shortage of police and we're looking at a disturbing coincidence.

Now, I don't think we're at all close to "Road Warrior" stuff, but I don't think it's a bad thing to think about. How close do we want to get to hiring Mad Max as a policeman before we start talking about priorities in this mess?

Perhaps this is why our government believes we need an active duty army unit on American soil now--don't know what I'm talking about? Go here: http://thepete.com/…de-the-us/ and/or here: http://thepete.com/…-inside-us

I think I'm going to stock up on motorcycle jackets and those bats with nails through them--just in case!!
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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)


Click to buy the 2 DVD set!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? You know, I really expected to not like this movie, but I did--aside from a few minor gripes, I enjoyed it much more than expected.


Technically any good? Shockingly, this movie is very much inline with the feel of the other three Indy movies. Aside from a few bad ideas in the first sequence between Indy and Cate Blanchett's character, the film feels very much like an Indiana Jones movie. The mistakes, are minor ones--like Lucas and his CG creatures (not as bad as it sounds), Blanchett's silly accent, and an odd message at the end of the movie that seems to suggest we should not want to seek knowledge. The acting was solid (for an Indy movie) and the script held up. Thankfully, I didn't want to gouge my eyes out every time Shia Le Beowulf was on screen.


How did it leave me feeling? Definitely pleased. Sure, I don't think this movie needs to have been made, but as far as sequels-we-never-wanted, this movie could have been MUCH worse. I just hope they leave Indy retired at this point. We don't need more Indy movies. Let's have a new franchise, what do you say, Lucas?


Final Rating? NFI - NetFlix It. Unless you're a huge collector of Indy-related items. In which case, click the poster image in this post and buy the 2-disk set--it comes with a free mini-crystal skull skullpture! Haha, skullpture. Get it?

ACORN "Epidemic" Overblown: Relax Republicans!

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So, we've all heard how the ACORN voter registration "scandal" is a practical epidemic according to Republicans, including Senator John McCain who said it could represent a threat to the "very fabric of our democracy."

The catch?

It isn't.

At all.

Period.

Full stop.

The end.

ACORN allowed their employees to fake registrations for thousands of voter registration forms. The concern, according to Republicans is that people will show up and vote more than once, using these fake names.

Forget that some of the names were as ridiculous as Mickey Mouse--forget that other names were the team members of the Dallas Cowboys--the thing that is important to pay attention to is that people showing up to vote with another name NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENS. The number of cases in the last four years voter fraud has actually been prosecuted is 120.

On October 17, 2008, Michael Crispin Miller, author of LOSER TAKE ALL: ELECTION FRAUD AND THE SUBVERSION OF DEMOCRACY 2000-2008, gave an interview to PBS' Bill Moyers (transcript here: http://www.pbs.org/…ript4.html ). Here's an excerpt from the interview:

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: It never happens. Let's just talk statistically about this, okay? As of 2007 the Department of Justice had prosecuted - are you ready for this? This number? 120 cases of voter fraud.

BILL MOYERS: Over what period?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Over, well, this is, like four years. Okay? 120 cases. And there were 82 convictions. Now, I think the republic will probably withstand that attack, right? We're talking about voter fraud that's being perpetrated in the tens. And I can tell you, moreover, that not one of those cases of fraud actually involved a person showing up to vote improperly. They were other kinds of fraud. You know, election judges breaking the law and so on.


So, any time someone brings up ACORN or even voter fraud, ask them for names and dates. If they talk about voter suppression, election fraud or voter caging, then we're talking. There is a lot of evidence of that, according to Miller and, well, me. I've been researching election irregularities since 2002 (2000, really). But I'm not credentialed--I'm just a guy with an Internet connection and a blog.

For more from NYU professor Michael Crispin Miller, check out that "Bill Moyers Journal" transcript or check out the interview he gave Amy Goodman on Democracy Now on October 22, 2008--you can watch or listen to the show or read the transcript here: http://www.democracynow.org/…0/22/votes
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Barry O'Bama's Looking for a Good Deal on Votes!

Back on October 14, 2008, Democracy Now included a clip of part of a speech Barack Obama was giving at some damn campaign stop, I don't know--but he said something that kind of intrigued me. Here's a quote from the transcript of the headlines from that day on Democracy Now's show (get the original here: http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/14/headlines#4 ):

...today I’m calling on Congress to pass a plan so that the IRS will mail out the first round of those tax cuts as soon as possible. We should get you a rebate in your pockets to deal with heating your homes this winter, making sure that—making sure that you can afford the new coat for your child or maybe even a new computer to help them in school.


Really? You want to pass an economic stimulus bill that will put money in our pockets BEFORE the winter?? Dude--when George W. Bush bought our votes back in 2000 (remember that extra $300?), we had to wait until after he got inaugurated to get our payments!

Truth be told, I didn't actually vote for him but got a "thanks for your vote" check anyway. Ah well--he should have paid us all a lot more for what he would put us through, but I digress.

Obama making this promise to us to put money "in our pockets" feels like pandering--he wants to pay us now for our votes, rather than wait for us to vote and then pay us.

What's wrong with paying us for our votes?

These days: nothing.

That's right, I said it. Our lives are based around money so much as it is--we want to vote for the candidate that will allow us to be the most prosperous and tax us the least, right?

This is why we hear so much about "tax cuts for the middle class" or "letting businesses thrive." It's because we all want to make money. When our candidates run for office the one who spends the most generally wins because he or she can spend more money on running ads that make them look good (or ads that make their opponent look bad).

So, why bother with any of this campaigning and these speeches? Why not just put the presidency up for auction and let the highest bidder get it? Then the money they use to buy the office can be divided up and spread amongst each American "voter."

Seems like we're practically already there. And since I haven't heard anything about McCain wanting to give me a check before winter hits (hell, I'm an Angeleno in NYC, winter's already here, bitch!) I'm not sure what else I'm supposed to do.

So, here's my vote for sale!!

What's that, Senator O'Bama? You want to give me up to $1000 before the winter comes? Well, my vote is...

SOLD to the man in the dark skin!

All joking aside, this is no joke. Our system is so very much manipulated by money it's practically hypocritical that we bother caring who is even running. We need to be more like the UK--they have caps on time and money spent on the campaign. How you spend your money is NOT a form a self-expression when it comes to politics. It's a form of country-manipulation.

Sadly, it's the system we've got and if we don't vote for the black man this time around, we get yet another white man--and they've all done so well for us in 232 years!! HOW many wars? HOW many economic depressions, recessions and crashes? HOW many American soldiers and innocent foreigners dead for corporate greed and conquest--aka wars?.

Sorry, I just knew I couldn't go out on a joke. :(

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Stealing America" Voting Documentary: Watch It Now

Concerned about your vote counting? You should be. Check out this documentary I helped with. It talks about how a growing pile of evidence suggests that (at the very least) our election system is deeply flawed. Here it is in its entirety compliments of the filmmakers and Vimeo.com:


STEALING AMERICA: Vote by Vote from Concentric Media on Vimeo.


Head over to StealingAmericaTheMovie.Org to buy this movie on DVD.

More on Voting Irregularities

utterli-image
Yesterday, I posted on some problems people were having in West Virginia when they tried to vote Obama only to watch their votes switch to McCain (read my post here: http://thepete.com/…es-in-w-va ) but who else is talking about voting problems today?

CNN.com may be covering Florida's attempts to get things right this time around (here: http://www.cnn.com/…index.html ) but generally, the mainstream media seems to be ignoring the issue of voting problems. Even CNN.com looked like it had a video about the story up, but after looking at their Florida story, I went back to watch the video but it was gone. I even went to their video page and couldn't find it. Meanwhile, here are some other sites that are posting about voting problems:

"Voters in W.Va. Say Electronic Voting Machines Switched their Obama Votes to McCain"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…36332.html

WV Voting Machines Switch Votes from Obama to McCain
http://www.democracynow.org/…/headlines

Attention Voters: Here's What You Have to Do to Make Sure You Get to Vote
http://www.alternet.org/…t_to_vote/

This next headline is my favorite:

Voting Machines Switch Votes; Officials Blame Voters
http://blog.wired.com/…chine.html

Yeah, because touchscreen voting machines ARE SO TRICKY. Don't insult our intelligence and suggest that people are rock-stupid enough to not be able to touch a box on a screen.

Here's a cool, interactive map that shows you just how hackable each state's vote is:
http://dvice.com/…/index.php

Hear of any voting irregularities? Post about them! Blog 'em, Tweet 'em, Utter 'em, comment here about 'em--just make sure you bring them up!
Mobile post sent by thepete using Utterlireply-count Replies.

@Seiden thanks you for being c...

@Seiden thanks you for being concerned. Too many people assume their votes are safe, but in many cases/states they aren't. Scary stuff 4sure

@shindotv Yes, but Shindo, our...

@shindotv Yes, but Shindo, our country is a Christian one, remember? :P Like I said-shocking that this stuff is even being discussed in 2008

@jwlehman Haha, I think the "B...

@jwlehman Haha, I think the "Beyond Petroleum" is just a slogan. I think their company is still called "British Petroleum". :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

In case you missed it: http://...

In case you missed it: http://tinyurl.com/6amhjb folks in W VA watched their votes switch candidates.

@shindotv Yeah, I was reeeeall...

@shindotv Yeah, I was reeeeally hoping things would go smoothly this time 'round but it looks like we still can't hold an accurate election.

@lisarein Todd Palin is an emp...

@lisarein Todd Palin is an employee of BP? As in, British Petroleum? HA! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Palin

@beach I can't believe Califor...

@beach I can't believe California is having that discussion. I'm crazy--I believe *no* marriages should be recognized by the gov. So THERE.

Dem Votes Switch to Repub Candidates in W. VA

utterli-image
Yep, it's already happening. Thanks to the honestly brilliant idea of early voting, a handful of West Virginian voters have reported seeing their votes switch from Obama to McCain. It's happened in two different West VA counties and the elections in that state are run by Republicans.

In the last two presidential elections there have been numerous reports and abundant evidence of election irregularities and even downright fraud. Now, an October 18, 2008 article at WVGazette.com (here: http://wvgazette.com/…0810180251 ), reports that it's happening again.

PLEASE:

When you go to vote, whether it's early or not, please look very carefully at your vote. Whether you've got punchcards, ink-a-vote, computers or the old lever-machines, things can go wrong! (I found out the hard way back during the primaries: http://tv.thepete.com/…feels-like )

I know it sounds stupid, but you must make sure you vote for whom you mean to vote for and if you see something go wrong, DO NOT HESITATE. Please let a balloting place volunteer know ASAP what happened.

DON'T stop there! Report it to your friends, family and post it on the 'net. Let me know or go to BradBlog.com and comment there. Or blog about it yourself! Open a Twitter account or an Utterli.com account or a Kwippy.com account and TALK ABOUT IT!

THIS ISN'T ABOUT DEMOCRAT VS. REPUBLICAN!

This is about YOUR VOTE COUNTING--REGARDLESS OF WHO YOU VOTE FOR.

Please don't give into the BS rhetoric. Yes, these are Dem votes in West Virginia, but as real Patriotic Americans, we should want EVERY American vote counted accurately.

Election Resources Online:

http://BradBlog.com/
http://GregPalast.com/
http://bbvforums.org/

WHEN POSTING ON TWITTER PLEASE USE HASHTAGS. Hashtags are bits of text preceded by "#" that will identify your posts to search engines that are looking for election irregularity posts on Twitter and other microblogging sites. NotMyGal.com has posted the best hashtags to use when reporting voting problems:



* #votereport
* #EP{two-letter state code} - e.g. EPNY for New York, EPOH for Ohio (for serious legal issues only)
* #machine - use this tag to signal a problem with a voting machine
* #registration - use this tag to signal problems with the registration process, people being turned away for paperwok reasons
* #wait:time - use this tag to signal a long wait. Add a colon and the wait time in minutes - e.g. #wait:30 for half an hour, #wait:120 for two hours


Check out more on these hashtags and more about fighting this very serious issue in the "Saving Democracy with Twitter" post at NotMyGal.com here: http://is.gd/4oiS

Please pass this information on to every American you know. Some states have already started voting and it's important that we all know to be aware that this is possible and has happened.

Also, it's my understanding that "Stealing America", a documentary about election irregularities will be available in it's entirety for free starting tomorrow at StealingAmericaTheMovie.Org. Don't quote me on that--I'm waiting to hear back from the director. Please watch and learn how these irregularities have happened before. Thank you!
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