Saturday, May 06, 2006

Go forth, and light more candles...

Reminder: Howard will appear on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday, May 7. (Check your local listings.)

I first became aware of Charlie's situation when mprov made a comment at 12:53 a.m. in the Tuesday Night Open Thread at Howard-Empowered People. Well, that's not quite accurate, because I was asleep at that time. I first *saw* mprov's comment shortly before 6:48 am, when I made a comment of my own. And then I asked if one of the other bloggers at HEP could get a main post up, because I was on my way to work and would be unable to post anything myself until evening.

Corinne answered the call, and posted this during the day on Wednesday. Normally I would try to crosspost something like this, to help the story reach a wider audience. But it was the middle of the work week, and I was feeling entitled to at least a teeny-tiny sulk over yet *another* candidate I have been passionate about got beaten badly. And then I was coming down with a bit of a bug (starting to feel better, thanks). And then it was the National Day of Prayer, and I couldn't let *that* pass without comment.

This morning I saw a comment from Charlie in the overnight thread, and decided that I really did need to buckle down and post something for a wider audience. So, in addition to the post below, which features Charlie's own words, I crossposted excerpts from the High Springs Herald article about the arrest to Daily Kos, My Left Wing, Booman Tribune, ePluribus Media, and Democratic Underground. I tried to point people back here for discussion, but you know--herding cats, and all. Thing is, there's no way that I can keep up with responding to questions, comments and suggestions at this point.

Not to mention the fact that I *started* doing a post about this issue when I got up this morning, and now it is almost dinnertime. MUST...PRY...FINGERS....FROM...KEYBOARD.

Except that I can't, because I need this keyboard to work on some things for my class next week. So how 'bout I just close this browser window instead. But before I do that, I have a request. Check out the crossposts I linked above. If you are a member at one of those blogs and can answer a question someone has asked, please do. If you see a comment or link that you think others would be interested in, please post it in the comments below. If you see a suggested "someone we should tell about this", go ahead and do it if you feel so inclined.

Tag--you're it!

Or, to be a little bit more poetic, I lit a few candles today. If people use those to light more candles, together we can shine a whole lot more light on this thing.

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Shining a light on north Florida "plantation" politics

Charlie Grapski founded the online Democracy University, and was a presenter at DemocracyFest I and II. He is currently running for the State House of Representatives in Florida.

For background on this story, see the Wednesday, May 3 post at Howard-Empowered People, Charlie Grapski Arrested for Recording Meeting and the editorial 'Alachua Gotcha' in the May 3 edition of the Gainesville Sun. Also, thank you to Connie in the comments for passing along another article about the arrest and the issues surrounding it, State House candidate arrested in Alachua City Hall, published in the High Springs Herald.

When Grapski was finished reviewing the records, police arrested him.

Grapski was released Monday night on his own recognizance.

What we have down in the City of Alachua is literally a plantation mentality - and one should not forget that this state (and this county and this city of Alachua were at the heart of the good ole boy system of Florida for most of its history) was among the last to "give in" to the civil rights movement and desegregation. And this was only done by force.

The Supreme Court had to step in in the seventies to demand the "all deliberate speed" issue be taken seriously. It was not until the 1980s that Florida's politics really began to change as a result of the 1950s and 1960s and the civil rights movement (and really all that happened was the loss of the Southern Democrats total control over the state - led to a two party system in Florida - with the viability of the Republicans - who have effectively taken over the role of the former Southern Democrats).

Folks, I am not exaggerating when I say that this was a stolen election in Florida. And this has national significance - and particularly for the Democrats and their presidential aspirations.

We all know how Florida's election was, well, manipulated in 2000. But it has not stopped - and Florida, above all, needs to be reformed.

Florida is one of the key electoral college states - being one of the largest. And Alachua County is one of the two remaining Democratic strong-holds in the state. However - the Republicans (and locally the developers - who are often Democrats nationally but vote Republican locally) are engaged in a very strategic effort to try and find a way to take over Alachua County for themselves.

And the City of Alachua has a key strategic element in this. They are in control of that city. Literally in control - there is no semblance of legitimacy or democracy - it is run by a cabal of individuals and they use it effectively as their private plantation (indeed one of their new housing developments - and they have a large number that have now been "approved" is called "Plantation Oaks" - aptly named).

There was a major scandal with the bringing of the Dollar General distribution center, then the Wal-Mart distribution center, and likely a Wal-Mart supercenter (they want it in Gainesville - but they have not been able to break into a controlling power on the Gainesville City Commission - although they are desperately trying).

This was a major problem - and numerous illegalities. A series of lawsuits was filed - a local attorney took this on at his own expense - and they attacked him - and due to health problems he filed something late - the judge (who has been problematic in a number of other cases involving abuses by public officials) dismissed the case outright - without ruling on the merits - which is not appropriate - based on the lawyer's error (which was caused by his health problems - which were exacerbated by the attacks on him as a result of his efforts). That is inappropriate.

We are dealing with a very real problem here - if Alachua local elections can be stolen - then they can steal the presidential election through similar means as well. This must be addressed - and again - the national spotlight is necessary to bring enough sunshine onto this situation - which is really about deep seated corruption going to the highest levels of Florida politics and involving all sorts of criminal activities (think of the worst types of such activities - and you are likely thinking of what is involved here).

Take a look at the following - it is a novel entitled Tortoise Stew by Patricia Behnke - who was an Alachua resident and had owned a local paper (she's moved out of Alachua - as a number of people are being forced to do). Its a Carl Hiassen type novel (and Carl should get into this - he went to the University of Florida where he began his writing career) - meaning that it may be fiction, but its based upon the truth - the characters in this book - are the real characters I am dealing with.

From the review at The Author's Den...
"The bomb sat in a bag on Kelly Sands' desk for an hour before she noticed it."

And so begins a tale of developers and politicians so intent upon their plans to destroy some of the last rural lands in north Florida, they will go to any means.

Through it all, reporter Kelly Sands remains dedicated to uncovering their underhanded methods.

From a bomb to dead gopher tortoises to a dead commissioner, Tortoise Stew takes the reader on a mysterious and murky ride through politics - north Florida style.
Clicking the graphic above will take you to the Tortoise Stew page on The book is also available at

Also - to see the Wal-Mart issue - and related issues - see:

Moon Magazine (I'll try and see if I can digitize there articles - I don't know if their archives are still up on the internet - I'll see one of the founders of that magazine tommorrow and see if he has them digitized still).

The Alachua Post - this was created by those who became the ALA (Alachua Leadership Alliance) - and took on this battle a few years back. Unfortunately - they have been targetted for vicious attacks. (There is even now a "paper" - more like Fox News - in town which is "funded" very heavily (we don't know by whom - but we do know with what intent) - and originally hired someone from the National Inquirer to set it up - they are an attack dog for the cabal running that town (plantation)).

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Why I had a voice mail call from MS Dick Durbin

By Holly J

Some of you may remember that I had blogged a couple of months ago that I had applied for a scholarship program to be trained as an "Illinois Women in Leadership" program. It is highly competitive program and after reading the resume of previous accepted applicants I was compelled to throw the form in the trash last 2 years.

Now some of you really think the Democratic Party is hopeless and I have to say I have been more than a little discouraged a few times. But I have really taken to heart Howard Dean's challenge to "take back America" and like him feel the best way to get America going is to work through and with the Democratic Party. I honestly believe the true Democratic values include the belief that "we all in this together" unlike the Republicans actions that "you are on your own." I truly believe that if anyone is left behind all of America is worse of for it.

Some of you have seen from my posts telling how I am DFA organizer, am active in my local party and even ran for park district commission. But I was not sure if I was ready to take it a step further. I decided to take the leap and filled out the application for the IWIL program.

After my name and address the form asked for high school accomplishments!!! High School Accomplishments, that was 35 years ago. Was I really supposed to write I went to anti-Viet Nam war rallies? Then it asked for professional organizations and degrees. Degrees - plural??? My degree in physical therapy was a far cry from a master's in political science or a law degree. OK maybe that I lived in a town of 2000 would impress them.

Fill it out and send it. My resume needed updating anyway because I have worked at Easter Seals for the last 25 years.

2 weeks ago I got a call telling me I was a finalist. The selection committee which included state legislators. leaders in the IL dem. Party and CEOs would interview me. 25 people would be interviewed and they would select 12. odds 50/50.

I decided that I better beef up on IL politics. Who was Governor, Lt Gov. Sec of state etc? I also researched the interviewees. I prefer to know who I am talking to.

It also just so happened that the IL Dem Women's convention was taking place. I couldn't pass up a weekend with my cool democratic women friends and get to eat in the Governor's mansion. OK, I am a little star struck with politicians. I blame Howard Dean for this.

Typical with my history of studying, I decided to wait to review the information for the interview the night before but first I had a banquet to go to. Little did I know that the interviewers would seek me out and ask me questions at the dinner. Not until I was halfway through the conversation did I realize that I was talking to an IL congresswoman and an interviewer. Once I realize it, I went numb, chocked and then got my composure back. A POP Quiz. I WAS NOT ready for the interview here. I didn't have my mind set and I hadn't finished studying yet. When she asked my about a local State rep I confidently answered her question not knowing if the answers were right.

The next day I had a 4 hour drive to Chicago in pouring rain and had to decide if I should get stuck in a oil spill on 355 or in construction on the Dan Ryan. Knowing Chicago I gave myself an extra hour. With mapquest in hand, I threaded my way through downtown Chicago, parked and walked 2 blocks to the UAW building. After trying 3 doors with the doorman watching me, the doorman stated, "Holly Johnson, take the elevator to the 6th floor."

Waiting to interview before me sat a woman in her early 20's. OK-at least they will remember me for being the oldest applicant. A very friendly professional woman led me into the room with 6 women sitting around a long executive table. "Holly, we have been looking forward to meeting you" Did that mean the woman from last night had warned them about me or that they were so glad because I was the last interview for the day?

I looked around the room, there sat the circuit clerk, over there was Asst. director of Dept of Registration and next to me was an IL Senator. -- Hookay.-- But I have to say I do love talking about myself and that is what they wanted to do for 20 minutes. The more I talked the more animated I got. What I lack in experience I make up for enthusiasm. The last question was. "Tell me 3 words to describe yourself." I have never thought about that before but I quickly came up with, energetic, motivator and compassionate. I quickly added. "Oh dear that Republicans have ruined that word." They laughed and the director of registry stated, "We are taking that word back".

Today on my way home from work, my cell phone kept giving this little annoying beep. I kept driving, At a stop light I pulled it out to try to figure out how to shut it up. I opened up the phone and it said I had a voice mail but I had no idear how to retrieve it! I could see the number and it was a Chicago area code and I DON'T have friends who call me from Chicago so I knew it must be the IWIL people. I shook the phone, I click around and I still had no luck in opening up the voice mall. The mystery of whether I was accepted into the program would have to wait until I called my daughter to find out how to get into my voice mail.

After carefully following my daughter's instructions and racking my brain for the password, I opened the mail. "Holly this is Loretta Durbin and I want to let you know that you have been accepted as a delegate into the IWIL program, congratulations.."

I was going to save this voice mail for prosperity put I punched 7 instead of 3 and the voice mail disappeared into cyberland!

For those of you that can't learn enough about the program that I am now a delegate for, here is the link

Thanks all for sharing in my joy!

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Tim Tagaris' Goodbye Post (DNC blog)

Under the title GBCW--and since not *everyone* around the internets knows this, I'll add that those initials stand for "Goodbye Cruel World"--Tim Tagaris has posted his farewell.

About two years and a half years ago you would probably only find me working at Pinch Penny Pub or playing basketball everyday at "the rec" in Carbondale, Illinois on the campus of Southern Illinois University. Then one fateful night I watched as an otherwise anonymous candidate for U.S. Congress, Jeff Seemann (OH-16), posted an entry on the sorta-popular blog, Daily Kos. I don't know what persuaded me to abandon the pursuit of my Masters Degree (was done with all my classes, but hadn't finished my thesis -- sorry mom and dad!), but I packed my car and moved to Canton, Ohio.
As for me, I'm off to Connecticut next week to get that adrenaline flowing on a daily basis in a campaign setting -- I'm sure you'll be hearing from me again. But before I leave, I want all of you to know that I am grateful for the conversation we've had over these past six months. Oh, and one more thing ... shame on you, Jean Schmidt.

Read the rest here.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Open Thread

Update: Howard will appear on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday, May 7. (Check your local listings.)

Holman (the puppy Mom is raising for Canine Companions for Independence) at 12 weeks.

'Night, everybody.

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Reflections from Howard Dean

I just visited the Democratic Party blog and found that they have posted a statement from Howard Dean on the National Day of Prayer. Before I go on, I just wanted to say that I am mindful of keeping a balance here, and figured that if I managed to get a new post up tonight, it would *not* be something else on the NDOP.

But, it's from Howard! Can you blame me? And for a post at Howard-Empowered People, it would just be wrong to merely tack a link on to my earlier post.

In a post called "Reflections"...

Governor Dean on a National Day of Prayer: For people of all faiths, prayer is a powerful act of devotion. Today, people of faith gather all across the country to reflect on our many blessings as a nation and to seek thoughtful discernment on the many challenges before us.

We know that the suffering of our neighbors, both domestic and around the world, is a burden we must work to alleviate. For the nearly 1 in 5 American children living in poverty, for the nearly 46 million Americans who are uninsured, for the millions of refugees around the world, and for the hundreds of thousands of innocent lives lost to genocide in Darfur, we must come together around these and other common concerns to offer hope. Today and every day, we must strive to find the moral high ground to impact real change.Today we reaffirm our commitment to work to heal our nation and to come together around our shared values to rebuild our American community with honesty, security and opportunity and to demonstrate moral leadership around the globe.

I've been off looking for some pictures of Howard that would go well with this post. This photo is from his trip to Israel in September of 2005.

There are a lot of great pictures in John Pettit's Cloudview gallery here, but since there are pretty explicit directions that those photos are not to be published without written permission, I'll have to settle for posting a link to the gallery.

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Today is the National Day of Prayer

Today, May 4, is the National Day of Prayer. By presidential proclamation, no less.

I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God's continued guidance and protection. I urge all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
It is unfortunate that Bush only pays lip service to religious pluralism (as well as assuming that all Americans *have* a faith), because all of the official National Day of Prayer events are overtly Christian in nature. And not just *any* kind of Christian.

From an article about an inclusive, interfaith event taking place in Troy, Michigan, some details about the "National Day of Prayer Task Force":
The task force, run by Shirley Dobson, the wife of evangelical radio commentator James Dobson, requires each volunteer to sign a personal pledge as "an evangelical Christian who has a personal relationship with Christ."

Task force-sponsored events often focus on declaring the United States a Christian nation and praying in opposition to such hot-button political issues as abortion and gay rights.

"Those usually are things we pray about," Jim Weidmann, national vice chairman of the task force, said Tuesday. "We're looking at almost 2 million people who we expect at up to 8,000 events."
I do pray for our nation, and our president. Every day. Just not for the same reasons as the Dobsons and their cohorts.

Do read the article about the Troy, Michigan interfaith event. I like that some people are trying to turn the day into a more positive statement about diversity and inclusion. In Columbus there will be Interfaith Prayers for Peace. I think that is just a happy coincidence--or is it? But those events are always on the first Thursday of the month, as I recall.

Here's a blog you may not be aware of, that you might like to check out today: The Wall of Separation is the blog of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Also, here's that link again for the transcript of the PBS NOW program about the Patriot Pastors. And here's a link to an article about the Bible-reading marathon at the U.S. Capitol. (Events like that are taking place at state capitols too. )

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Blackwell's "Patriot Pastors": Must-see video

I had every intention of watching--or at least recording--NOW on PBS this past Sunday. It was to feature the report entitled "God's Country?", which profiled the "Patriot Pastors" group that is working to elect Ken "Diebold" Blackwell governor of Ohio. It also included an interview with Rev. Eric Williams, one of the Ohio ministers who signed onto the IRS complaint against Blackwell-boosting Reverends Russell Johnson and Rod Parsley. Fortunately, George at Buckeye State Blog pointed out this video, available online at Brad Blog. (George found the link via a comment at Bob Fitrakis's new blog, You can also read the transcript here. (Be very afraid.)

Some excerpts from the transcript, with accompanying screen captures from the video.

For Johnson, this coming Tuesday is d-day. That's when Ohio holds it's primary for governor. The real battle is on the republican side, between two candidates: Ohio attorney general Jim Petro, widely recognized as the establishment's choice, and Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a conservative Christian.

Blackwell is the only candidate pictured on Johnson's website. And on the day we visited, a newspaper published by Johnson's group was hot of the presses, to be mailed to half a million homes across Ohio. These newspapers provide a guide to the candidates' stand on issues important to conservative Christians.

And there is more. Look at this videotape, obtained by "NOW." It's of a rally Johnson held in February outside of Canton, featuring Ken Blackwell.

"Our times demand your engagement. Our times demand your prayers.

Hundreds of local religious leaders listened as Johnson praised Blackwell in no uncertain terms.

"When it came time to look for a leader, we found one, Ken Blackwell, who said yes, it's the right thing to do, marriage is defined by the bible as one man and a woman, and I will stand with you."

Johnson finished by giving candidate Blackwell what the Ohio restoration project calls its "courageous leadership" award.

On a related note, tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer, being celebrated all over the country in spectacles that embody the opposite of what Jesus advises in Matthew 6:4-6

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
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DemocracyFest Update

Here's a belated DemocracyFest Update:

Paul Hackett will speak at DemocracyFest on Saturday, July 15th in San Diego, CA.

I apologize that this update is not only a day late, but is also very short. I'm really overwhelmed and don't even have time to type up something nice about Paul Hackett. Ack! I'll just have to go ahead and assume you all know who he is ;-)

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Charlie Grapski Arrested for Recording Meeting

BFA's own Charlie Grapski, a University of Florida instructor and doctoral student who is also a candidate for Florida's State House, was arrested and briefly detained after Alachua City Manager Clovis Watson Jr. alleged Grapski recorded him without his knowledge on Friday, April 28.

Grapski had met with Watson "to discuss Grapski's request for public records relating to last month's Alachua city election." Watson alleged that he "left his office briefly during the discussion, and only realized when he came back in and saw a blinking red light on what appeared to be a phone that he was being recorded." Watson asked if the meeting was being taped and Grapski said it was and "since Watson is a public official, the recording was legal."

Watson disagreed. Grapski, in an e-mail to Watson, said "Watson could "clearly see" his recorder, because Watson "openly stated" he knew he was being recorded and because "as a public official . . . anything you say is deemed to be a public statement." " The two agreed to meet again on Monday where Watson told Grapski that the public records they discussed on Friday would be available.

Grapski arrived on Monday with co-chairman of the Alachua County Green Party Michael Canney. When Grapski was finished reviewing the records, police arrested him. Grapski was charged with "interception and disclosure of wire, oral or electronic communications."

While Canney believes the punishment was too harsh for the crime, Watson said the police department acted appropriately and that the arrest "was necessary to impress upon Grapski the seriousness of the matter." Watson charges that a felony was committed resulting in Grapski's arrest.

Canney points out that the arrest deflected attention from Grapski's reasons for requesting the records in the first place:

"Grapski was looking through materials relating to absentee ballots for the recent city election, which is being challenged by a lawsuit Grapski is participating in.


The lawsuit says city officials are "guilty of misconduct in conducting the absentee ballot portion of the election."

Grapski was released Monday night on his own recognizance.

UPDATE, from Charlie on BFA:

Charlie Grapski wrote on May 3, 2006 09:55 AM:

Thanks all,

Very interesting stuff Monica. I did not realize they arrested you in Alachua when running. There is a very serious problem in the City of Alachua - and when we say "plantation" - I mean that literally.

By the way - the statement that he "heard" his voice played back is false. The recorder was on at all times and plainly in his view - and we even discussed it - and he continued to talk while being recorded.

My view is that in Florida (especially because we have the Sunshine Law) - and everywhere - a PUBLIC official is exactly that. Anything he/she does AS that PUBLIC official - must be ASSUMED TO BE public. Thus anything they say or do - in their official capacity - should be considered to be done AS IF it were being recorded (and thus if someone recorded it - even without their knowledge or consent - that would be acceptable).

In this case, however, this was done without any attempt at "secret" recording. I can provide more details at a later time.

But this statute that is being cited - with the felony charge - is really intended for COVERT spying on individuals (kind of like the President has authorized - just the other way around - in this case the issue is the public "spying" on public officials in their public capacity). And no one has EVERY been prosecuted for what I have been alleged to do (or what I have actually done).

The only thing that could come out of something like this - although in this case since it was a public official and was done openly it should not - is that the tape evidence cannot be used as evidence in court.

But I made the recording - as I am doing with all interactions with officials of the city of Alachua - to DOCUMENT what happens and what they do. Particularly in this case of stealing an election.

You may recall that a few years back - two Floridians "intercepted", taped, and distributed a cell-phone conversation of Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) on a conference call with Gingrich and a number of other key Republicans.

They turned the tape over to the House Ethics Committee (Jim McDermott) - when they were investigating Gingrich's ethics violations. It woud up in the hands of the newspapers - and a transcript was printed in the NY TImes.

Gingrich tried to have them brought up on the felony charges and arrested (like what happened to me) - but they were not able to do that.

I believe they actually eventually pled guilty - and were fined $500.

But what they did - and what I did - are two completely different things. My actions don't even come close to that.

I am not worried - they made a major mistake - and have attempted to use their positions of power (and abuse them) for their advantage. I will indeed prevail on this - but more importantly - I will now have a much greater chance of prevailing on the exposure of the stealing of the election - and then the deeper corruption in the City of Alachua.

I'll share more of this later.

What is important is that last Monday, along with Prof. Joe Little of the Law School (who I have worked with for many years on such cases) - we filed a lawsuit challenging the election based upon improprieties of the election officials (including Clovis Watson - the City Manager and Police Commissioner - who is also on the Canvassing Board).

I filed a public records request on Thursday to review the absentee ballots and all of the related documents.

On Friday I tried to inspect those documents. Alan Henderson, the Deputy Clerk (Clovis is also the City Clerk by the way) who also is the Supervisor of Elections tried to stonewall me. I recorded that.

Then I was seated - with a witness - in Clovis' office when I would not be bullied by Henderson (and that is not an understatement - this is how the city officials treat the residents). I continued to record - and Clovis walked in - and saw and knew I was recording and spoke to me about the records request. He tried to find ways to delay or deny - but I was not taking no for an answer. Eventually we discussed the issue of recording - on the tape (which by the way he and the Chief of Police (who works under him) confiscated). (Also the Mayor is a defendant in the case). They thus took the evidence AGAINST them into their custody - by arresting me.

Now - the arrest happened after I appeared for an appointment on Monday to inspect the ballots. I made that appointment with Clovis.

No arrest was made on Friday - when he alleges the "secret" recording was made. He never went to the State Attorney to have me prosecuted. No warrant was issued for my arrest.

But instead - on Monday - he had the Chief of Police and two officers in his office waiting to arrest me (and then effectively sent out a press release about this!) - when I was reviewing the ballots.

The editor of the High Springs Herald was there - be

Charlie Grapski wrote on May 3, 2006 09:56 AM:

The editor of the High Springs Herald was there - because I was speaking with him - and he wanted a picture of me inspecting the ballots (he got a lot more than he - or I - expected).

While I was reviewing the ballots - in mid-process - they arrested me (as in the photo - those are ballots on the table).

There is something rotten here in Alachua, Florida. And it needs to be exposed to the light of day and remedied.


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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tuesday Night Open Thread

Once again, here are the links for checking Ohio and Indiana returns. (For anyone who missed this story a while back and wondering about the other "Democrat" running against Sherrod Brown, click.) You can check Ohio Leftyblogs to see what the various Ohio blogs are posting about today's primary election and the incoming results.

Corinne has a new post up at We've Got Howard Dean's Back: Voter ID: Howard was right (again!)

And, for your late-night viewing pleasure, here is a picture from the Cats in Sinks web site. You'll what what that site is all about... ;-)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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Election Day Thread

Update: You can check on Ohio election returns here, and Indiana returns here.

Today is the primary election in Ohio, and if you're been around this blog at all for the past couple months, you know that I'm rooting for Subodh Chandra for Attorney General. He is in a contested primary, but the Ohio Democratic Party endorsed his opponent, so that means his name won't appear on sample ballots the party puts out.

I'd like to keep this thread up all day, so I have time stamped it for 7:30 p.m., which is when the polls close in Ohio--and if you are in line at 7:30, you are still entitled to vote.

In addition to using this as an open thread, I'd appreciate it if people could post election day updates. You might be able to find some of them through the Ohio leftyblogs feed.

I don't know if anyone plans to post another thread today, but if someone does so before 7:30, it will appear *below* this thread. So just give a shout-out to alert people to the new thread below this one, if that happens.

Thanks, and go Subodh!

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Monday, May 01, 2006


Some links for the overnight. What with the National Day of Prayer coming up later this week, I didn't want to pass up an opportunity to honor the religious diversity of this nation. In addition to being May Day and "Loyalty Day", May 1 is also Beltane.

From the Religion and Ethics Newsweekly Multifaith Calendar:

Beltane (also called Beltain, May Eve [April 30] and May Day) celebrates the conjoining of the infinite potential of the Goddess with the life-sparking energy of the God in a sacred marriage, the basis of all creation. It is a time for balancing the feminine and masculine tides within the psyche as each celebrant prepares to participate in bringing the creative potential of the year to fruition.
Some diaries at Street Prophets:

Sex, love, and Beltane
The Meaning and Mystery of Beltane

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Quintus Jett liveblogging at MViMV

Now at My Vote is My Voice blog:

Quintus Jett is scheduled to join us tonight talking about voting in New Orleans. If his post shows up we'll join the discussion - in the meantime I'd like to talk about today's immigrant marches and meetings throughout this country. Particularly disturbing to me is that the current administration continues to turn it's back on the citizens it's represents - making us more and more, as individual's responsible for lack of government presence. Locally, apple growers would be made responsible - with possible fines and jail time, for hiring mirgrant workers without proper documentation - sent to them by the Dept. of Labor. I think we're definitely going in the wrong direction here - what can we really do about this collapse of responsibility by the government?

Click here to join the conversation.

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Reid: A Sad Anniversary of a Sorry Public Relations Stunt

Text of the floor remarks of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, as published in U.S. Newswire.

...To their families, to the families of all 2,404 U.S. troops who have fallen in Iraq, and to the thousands of families who have loved ones serving there now, our thoughts and prayers are with you. I know you are proud of your sons and daughters, and I am confident our nation's people are also proud of them. Their exemplary patriotism, dedication and competence speaks volumes.

Mr. President, I mention our troops and these fallen Nevadans for a reason.

Today, our country marks an unfortunate anniversary-the three year anniversary of President Bush donning a flight suit to declare "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.

President Bush's dramatic landing on the aircraft carrier the Abraham Lincoln will be marked historically as a public relations stunt gone horribly wrong.

More pictures of Chimpy McFlightsuit at The Peace Pretzel. The pResident, on that day of the photo-op, proclaimed May 1 to be "Loyalty Day", and he is still calling it that.
Loyalty Day is also a time for us to reflect on our responsibilities to our country as we work to show the world the meaning and promise of liberty. The right to vote is one of our most cherished rights and voting is one of our most fundamental duties. By making a commitment to be good citizens, flying the American flag, or taking the time to learn about our Nation's history, we show our gratitude for the blessings of freedom.

Regarding that cherished right to vote, Upper Arlington Progressive Action has some suggestions for Ohioans going to the polls tomorrow.

Voting hours on Tuesday, May 2nd are from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM. If you are in line at 7:30, you are still entitled to your vote.

When you enter, ask for a Democratic ballot.

Ohio has new electronic voting machines in many places.
If you are unsure how to use the machine, ask a poll worker for help.

Review your ballot, and make sure you have voted for every candidate you intended to vote for.

Voting is your right, and nobody should be able to take it away from you.

Speaking of people who might want to take our right to vote from us, gubernatorial candidate/Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has been running radio ads encouraging registered Democrats to ask for Republican ballots in tomorrow's primary. Hamilton County Democrats have cried foul, and ask that Blackwell pull the radio ads or resign as Secratary of State.

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Open Thread

Another picture from Cute Overload. Yes, I'm feeling about that sleepy right now.

Before I turn in, though, I thought I'd share the news that the Columbus chapter of the League of Pissed Off Voters just endorsed Subodh Chandra.

Anyway, talk amongst yourselves. Good night, blog.

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Subodh Chandra--he's downright "Howardly"

Bear with me for a couple more days, folks. The Ohio primary will be held on Tuesday, May 2. But really--read some of what Subodh Chandra has to say, and I think you'll agree that this man is downright "Howardly" and deserves our support. Like Howard Dean, he is not getting the support of party "insiders", which makes support from the grassroots that much more critical.

The letter that he had published in yesterday's Columbus Dispatch certainly reminds me of the "What I want to know..." speech Howard Dean gave.

Although I regret The Dispatch did not join the overwhelming majority of Ohio newspapers that have endorsed my attorney-general candidacy in the Democratic primary, I respect the newspaper's right to endorse my opponent.

I take issue, however, with one word in The Dispatch's April 22 editorial. By calling me intemperate, The Dispatch has misinterpreted my motivations and misled Ohio voters.

Intemperance is the lack of self control. I'm not intemperate. I am outraged. There is a big difference between the two.

I'm outraged because instead of using the law to protect Ohio familied from harm and loss, our last two attorneys general have helped auction off our state government -- and our future -- to the highest bidder.

I am outraged that last year alone, 1 out of every 71 families lost their homes to foreclosure. When Cleveland and Dayton passed ordinances to protect homeowners, Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro fought for the predatory lenders instead of the families upon whom they preyed.

I am outraged that he failed to protect Ohioans against the gouging and market manipulation of natural gas prices that cost consumers millions every month.

I am outraged that instead of fighting for Ohio's children, our attorney general failed to join other states to force the federal government to pay for its unfunded mandate called the No Child Left Behind Act.

I am outraged that while Ohio has continued to destroy its public-education system, our governor and legislature have failed to comply with four Ohio State Supreme Court rulings determining that Ohio's education-funding system is unconstitutional.
Click here for the rest.

Also, this story of a Cornfield Conversion reminds me of the way Howard was able to reach out to Republicans. Here's the link to the "Flat Subodh" Demetrius has made available.

I might add more links to this post later, but I need to take my daughter to choir practice now. I'm hurrying to get this post up before leaving, because, well, this campaign is *that* important to me. So any help spreading the word would be much appreciated.

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Further thoughts on the National Day of Prayer

I crossposted What fresh hell is this? to a number of other blogs, including the Buckeye State Blog. As part of the discussion that came from that post, I just added the following comment, which I may as well reproduce here...

...I do object strenuously to everything about the way the National Day of Prayer has been handled in recent years.

I frankly don't like the "under God" being in the Pledge. And this is coming from someone who, if money were no object, would start the discernment process (for studying for the priesthood) tomorrow. But I wouldn't fight to have those words taken out, because there are more important fish to fry.

Now, some people have come up with another way to mark the day, calling it the "National Day of Reason", but, I guess in my mind that seems more like a "sez you!" to the National Day of Prayer. When people feel overtly opposed, I think the tendency is to "dig in their heels" and resist. Anyway, that's why my response last year was to say that we should repurpose the day as a National Day of Inclusion.

If you look at that link, which points to a Kos diary, you'll see that there are groups in some cities that very intentionally plan events that are inclusive and diverse. I have yet to see such a thing in Ohio, though. The only "official" action item I found last year was this one in the Columbus Free Press.

Anyway, I'm all about that idea of having a positive response to the day--one that celebrates diversity in a spirit of inclusion. (I know, I sound like such a liberal.)

Checking back at the Free Press, although this is not stated as an alternate event, I have discovered that the local Faith Communities Uniting for Peace group--which gathers for Interfaith Prayers for Peace on the first Thursday of every month--is holding a Quaker worship service at noon on Thursday, May 4. So, that would work as an alternative, inclusive event for people in my area.

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