|Progressive Calendar 09.06.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2006 01:29:25 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 09.06.06 1. Roseville candidates 9.06 7pm 2. Uhcan-mn/health 9.06 7pm 3. New Hope vigil 9.07 4pm 4. Eagan peace vigil 9.07 4:30pm 5. Northtown vigil 9.07 5pm 6. NE Mpls art/food 9.07 5pm 7. Small is beautiful 9.07 5pm 8. Moderator training 9.07 6pm 9. Como peace vigil 9.07 7pm 10. Third way peace 9.07 7pm Stillwater MN 11. Coldwater/moon 9.07 7pm 12. Concert/peaceJam 9.07 7:30pm 13. Lakes/rivers conf 9.07-09 Duluth MN 14. Leslie Reindl - 9/11 event RSVP please 15. Marie Braun - Fast for peace 16. Sasha Abramsky - 11 US worst places to try to vote 17. ed - Crapmatic (poem) --------1 of x-------- From: Amy Ihlan <amyihlan [at] comcast.net> Subject: Roseville candidates 9.06 7pm Candidate Forum for Mayor and City Council Wednesday, September 6 7-9pm Roseville Skating Center Sponsored by Roseville Citizens League This is the first candidate forum of the election season. Bring your questions and find out where the candidates for Roseville Mayor and City Council stand. --------2 of x-------- From: joel michael albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: Uhcan-mn/health 9.06 7pm Dear Health Care Activists, Next MN UHCAN meeting Wednesday, Sept. 6, 7PM-9PM Walker Church Lower Level Lounge, 3104 16th ave s. (near lake street and bloomington ave in Mpls) Items: 1. Welcome new people, intros, background 2. Reportback Briefing: - State Fair tabling/petitioning w/ DFL-PC. How it went. Continue petition on website ? - Our Protest of Bush HC visit to MN, major uncensored media coverage, again - Green Party Big Bike Ride/ picnic for Single-Payer, need sum of media cov ? - Single-Payer t-shirts still available to buy or sell, $10.( 75 of 100 already sold) - California state legislature passes Single-Payer; Politically feasible, Political will 3. MN UHCAN Participation in The Walk for Justice on Sept 17th. We need marchers (a few miles) pledge forms available. We will have songs (including the Blue Cross Blue Shield Blues, and chants. We will also be tabling that day. Free food, fun and festive. 4. Debut of our new film, Everybody In, Nobody Out: Sat Oct 7, 1pm at Acadia Cafe. Promoing it , etc. 5. Forming our own HC Coop Pool: for uninsured,self-employed, small businesses, artists etc. Buying equipment to do health screenings. 6. Solving Medicare Part D Disaster: Big issue for upcoming Sept primary,Nov election. 7. Getting ready for next demo of Bill "ionaire" MCGuire and United Holdup Group. 8. other items, ideas ? Come on down, bring a friend. Joel Albers Minnesota Universal Health Care Action Network 612-384-0973 joel [at] uhcan-mn.org www.uhcan-mn.org Health Care Economics Researcher, Clinical Pharmacist --------3 of x-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: New Hope vigil 9.07 4pm NW Neighbors for Peace, Carole Rydberg, carydberg [at] comcast.net Weekly demonstration at the corner of 42nd Avenue N. (Cty. Rd. 9) and Winnetka in New Hope. Many signs available ... just bring yourself. Come and go when you please. --------4 of x-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 9.07 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------5 of x-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 9.07 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------6 of x-------- From: tom [at] organicconsumers.org Subject: NE Mpls art/food 9.07 5pm First Thursdays in NE MPLS are shaping up to be a kinda monthly Art-A-Whirl, carnival and a hoo-haa filled evening with Warholian indulgences and transcendental rhyme. The California Street Gallery. 22nd and California NE. Check out the new and improved Mill City Cafe and Cocktails with 2 buck beers, 3 dollar martinis and scrumptious food. Starting at 5:PM and going late. Support local, independent artists and businesses and having fun while you are at it! -tt 612-788-4252 --------7 of x-------- From: Jesse Mortenson <jmortenson [at] Macalester.edu> Subject: Small is beautiful 9.07 5pm First and third Thursdays of the month 9.07 5pm Cahoots coffeehouse Selby 1/2 block east of Snelling in StPaul Limit bigboxes, chain stores, TIF, corporate welfare, billboards; promote small business and co-ops, local production & self-sufficiency. http://www.gpsp.org/goodbusiness --------8 of x-------- From: erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: Moderator training 9.07 6pm September 7: League of Women Voters of Minneapolis Candidate Forum/Moderator Training 6-8:30 PM. Light supper provided. LWVMpls office, 81 South 9th Street, Mpls. Free for LWVMpls members. $10 for non-members. To register call 612/333-6319. www.lwvmpls.org. --------9 of x-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Como peace vigil 9.07 7pm Ceremony of Renewal for Peacemakers Thursday, September 7, 7pm. Como Park, West of the Pedestrian Bridge. off of Lexington Parkway, St. Paul. Deepen your inner peace through ritual, meditation, and readings. Followed by a prayerful candlelight vigil around Como Lake. This is a quiet evening of peace. Bring yourself and an open heart. Please leave your signs, leaflets, and politics at home. Sponsored by: St. Joan of Arc/WAMM Peacemakers. --------10 of x-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Third way peace 9.07 7pm Stillwater MN Thursday, 9/7, 7 pm, Fr. Jerry Doherty talks about "The Third Way," a peaceful means of conflict resolution, Ascension Episcopal Church, 214 N 3rd St, Stillwater. earthmannow [at] comcast.net --------11 of x-------- From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Coldwater/moon 9.07 7pm Coldwater Full Moon Walk Thursday, September 7, 2006 7:00 pm. What is a Green Museum and how does it fit into the future of the Coldwater Spring area? Now that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement has been issued, what is the role of citizen action in saving Coldwater? Gather at 54th St. & Minnehaha Ave. at the parking lot, just off Highway 55 and 54th St. at the far south end of Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis. www.friendsofcoldwater.org info [at] friendsofcoldwater.org What is a Green Museum? How does the Friends of Coldwater Green Museum fit in with the future of Coldwater, the Environmental Impact Statement, and other visions and dreams held for Coldwater's future? What is the role of citizen action in saving Coldwater? ". . . Coldwater could become an urban wilderness, a place among burr oaks and prairie grasses, where people have gathered for centuries around an ever-flowing spring." - from Green Museum Directions: from Hwy 55, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at East 54th Street, follow the road around (to the left) into the parking lot. If you don't have a parking sticker, park and pay at the meters in the lot or on the frontage road, or find alternative free parking across Highway 55 and walk to the lot. On September 7, the sun will set at 7:39 pm and the moon will rise at 7:46 pm. The moon reaches its fullness at 1:42 pm. Sometimes Minnesota full moon dates are a day different from standard calendars, which are based on Eastern Standard Time or Greenwich Mean Time. The dates and times above are the actual times that full moons occur in Minnesota and are from "Cosmo Doogood's Urban Almanac." --------12 of x-------- From: "lydiam by way of \"Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)\" <web [at] mppeace.org>" <lydiam [at] mn.rr.com> Subject: Concert/peaceJam 9.07 7:30pm Come celebrate peace and hear some great music to help four students raise money to attend a conference celebrating the 10th anniversary of the PeaceJam Foundation. The concert is on Thursday, September 7 from 7:30 to 9 pm and will feature Great River School high school students and local artists. It will be held at Great River School, 1326 Energy Park Drive in St. Paul to benefit GRS students attending the PeaceJam Conference. Tickets are $5 each or whatever you can give. Besides music, you can get some great munchies and find out what our young people think about peace. The four students and one teacher leave on September 15 for the three day conference in Colorado. >From September 15 to the 17th, three thousand young people from across the USA will gather in Denver, Co. to discuss peace. They will meet with the largest group of Nobel Peace Laureates ever in the US, attend workshops and develop projects to take home to schools and cities across America. Among the Laureates who will attend are The Dalai Lama of Tibet, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Wangari Maathai and nine other winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. The PeaceJam Foundation was founded 10 years ago to help educate the next generation of peace makers. Four students from Great River School, a Junior and Senior High Montessor School in St. Paul, will be attending. Please come to the concert to support them. For more information, please call 651-305-2780. --------13 of x-------- From: Debbie <ddo [at] mchsi.com> Subject: Lakes/rivers conf 9.07-09 Duluth MN Lakes and Rivers Conference, September 7-9, 2006, Duluth Information and Registration Now Available Online Registration brochures have been mailed and registration is now available online for the Lakes & Rivers Conference, "The Changing Landscapes of Minnesota's Waters", to be held September 7-9, 2006 in Duluth, Minnesota at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC). Over 48 sessions, 8 workshops and three field trips during the three days, with special sessions of interest to local water planners and local government officials. <http://www.minnesotawaters.org/conference06.html>Click here for all the conference details, including agenda, session descriptions, online registration, and hotel information. Special conference hotel discount rates apply through the weekendmake the conference and Duluth a fall destinationreserve rooms now. To request a registration brochure mailed to you, call the office at 800-515-5253. See you in Duluth --------14 of x-------- From: Leslie Reindl altera vista <alteravista [at] earthlink.net> Subject: 9/11 event RSVP please Sept. 11: 9/11--What Really Happened? event. If you are planning to attend this event, Monday, Sept. 11, 6:30 to 10 pm, in St. Paul, the organizers request that you RSVP. The venue is limited to about 175 people. We need to get an idea of the number coming who have not signed up on the Brave New Theater site on the Internet. Please RSVP to alteravista [at] earthlink.net or call 651-633-4410 and leave a message, stating number planning to come. If you don't know anything about this event, but would like to, e-mail or leave that message. Thank you all. --------15 of x-------- FAST FOR PEACE From; Marie Braun 612-522-1861 Dear Peacemakers, The week of September 21 - 28 marks the Declaration of Peace Week of Nonviolent Action across the United States. The Declaration of Peace is a nationwide campaign to establish, by September 21, 2006, a concrete and rapid plan for peace in Iraq including: a prompt timetable for withdrawal of troops and closure of bases; a peace process for security, reconstruction and reconciliation; and the shifting of funding for war to meeting human needs. The Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq has endorsed the Declaration of Peace (see www.declarationofpeace.org) and is involved in a number of actions, including calling our elected officials, gathering signatures of support for the declaration of peace platform, and participating in vigils and marches to promote this plan. We are also planning a three-day liquids-only fast in the days leading up to the week of nonviolent action, and are writing this letter to you to ask you to join us in this public act of resistance to the war and occupation of Iraq and the ongoing killing of innocents. Three Day Liquids-Only Fast Stop the Killing; Stop the War; Bring the Troops Home Now September 18, 19 and 20 Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge (crossing the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul) End the fast with a potluck dinner, 6:15 pm., Wednesday, September 20 following the weekly 5:00 - 6:00 pm vigil on the bridge Home of Carol and Ken Masters 2528 - 29th Avenue South, Minneapolis Some people will do a liquids-only fast for the entire three days; others may skip one meal or fast for whatever length of time they can. There will be fasters on the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue bridge from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm each day as a public witness against the war and occupation of Iraq. Others are encouraged to spend time with the fasters on the bridge; there will be opportunities for singing, readings, praying and sharing at 9:00 am, 12:00 noon and 4:30 pm each day. Church and political leaders will receive personal invitations to join the fast and to come to the bridge to speak out against war and the killing of innocents. We are deeply troubled and morally outraged at the violence and destruction that currently is being perpetrated not only in Iraq, but also in Lebanon and Palestine. It is our conviction that the killing and maiming of thousands of innocent children is an indefensible act of terrorism. Recent reports out of Iraq indicate that more than 6,000 Iraqis died during the months of May and June (55% of them children under the age of 15) and that close to 100 Iraqi civilians die each day. The situation in Palestine and Lebanon is also dire. It is our hope that this public fast will help to raise the awareness of people in our community, and will be a way to invigorate ourselves to speak out against the violence and injustices being perpetrated against the people of the Middle East. If you wish to participate in the fast, we would appreciate your responding to the form below, indicating if and when you can be on the bridge and what days you will be participating in the fast. Thank you for considering being a part of this action. Sincerely, Marie Braun 612-522-1861 for Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq Fast for Peace Yes, I will join the fast! ____ I will fast for _____ days/meals. ____ I will be on the bridge on ___ Mon.___ Tues.___ Wed. (Sept 18, 19, 20). ____ I will come to one or more of the gatherings. ____ I will come to the potluck dinner. Name ______________________________Address_________________________ City ____________________State _______Zip ____________________________ Telephone ____________________Email_________________________________ Any contribution to help cover the costs of mailings would be appreciated. Return to Twin Cities Peace Campaign, 4015 Upton Ave N., Minneapolis, MN 55412 "Any bombing is a demonstration of human depravity. It breeds nothing but despair and hatred. Above all, it kills innocent children! Injuring and killing children is an "absolute" evil. Bombing is an indefensible act of terrorism. It must be totally outlawed and abolished if humankind is to remain human." Hiroshima survivor, Kosuke Koyama, Peace Garden, 8/6/06 --------16 of x-------- Just Try Voting Here: 11 of America's Worst Places to Cast a Ballot (or Try) By Sasha Abramsky Mother Jones September/October 2006 Issue Machines that count backward, slice-and-dice districts, felon baiting, phone jamming, and plenty of dirty tricks. We used to think the voting system was something like the traffic laws - a set of rules clear to everyone, enforced everywhere, with penalties for transgressions; we used to think, in other words, that we had a national election system. How wrong a notion this was has become painfully apparent since 2000: As it turns out, except for a rudimentary federal framework (which determines the voting age, channels money to states and counties, and enforces protections for minorities and the disabled), U.S. elections are shaped by a dizzying mélange of inconsistently enforced laws, conflicting court rulings, local traditions, various technology choices, and partisan trickery. In some places voters still fill in paper ballots or pull the levers of vintage machines; elsewhere, they touch screens or tap keys, with or without paper trails. Some states encourage voter registration; others go out of their way to limit it. Some allow prisoners to vote; others permanently bar ex-felons, no matter how long they've stayed clean. Who can vote, where people cast ballots, and how and whether their votes are counted all depends, to a large extent, on policies set in place by secretaries of state and county elections supervisors - officials who can be as partisan, as dubiously qualified, and as nakedly ambitious as people anywhere else in politics. Here is a list - partial, but emblematic - of American democracy's more glaring weak spots. #1 The New Poll Tax Atlanta, Georgia In 2005, Georgia state legislators passed a bill requiring voters to present either a driver's license or a state-issued photo ID that costs between $20 and $35 and is available only from Department of Motor Vehicles offices. Supporters claimed this was necessary to keep people from casting votes in someone else's name, even though Georgia secretary of state Cathy Cox noted that her office had no evidence of this happening. Either way, the measure is likely to have a dramatic effect on who can vote. Two-thirds of the state's counties don't even have a DMV office; Atlanta, the state's largest city, has just one, where waits at the ID counters often run to several hours. In late June, the secretary of state issued a report finding that more than half a million active-status, registered voters in Georgia don't have valid photo IDs. Fully 17.3 percent of African American voters, and one-third of black voters over age 65, wouldn't be able to cast a ballot under the law. When the federal Department of Justice had five experts examine the ID legislation in 2005, four of them objected to it, as the Washington Post discovered. But higher-ups at Justice overruled them and the measure (pushed by conservative think tanks such as the American Center for Voting Rights) went on the books. In October of last year a judge blocked its implementation, and the law - along with another version that offers free voter IDs - remains in limbo as appeals continue. At least two other states, Wisconsin and Missouri, have passed similar ID legislation. (Wisconsin's governor has since vetoed it.) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor John Pawasarat has found that fewer than a quarter of 18-to-24-year-old black men in that state have valid driver's licenses, the most common state-issued ID. In Indiana, a new law requires valid IDs to bear an expiration date, ruling out Veterans Affairs cards, among others. "In my view it's an orchestrated vote-suppression strategy by less scrupulous strategists in the Republican Party," says Dan Tokaji, associate director of election law at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. "It's pretty clear to me that these are disenfranchisement strategies. I try not to use that word too often, but in this case it fits." Runner-up: Arizona voters in 2004 passed Proposition 200, which requires "proof of citizenship" when a person registers to vote. There's no evidence that noncitizens had been flocking to the polls, but the measure is bad news for Native Americans, the poor, and the elderly, who often don't have the requisite documents. Driver's licenses issued prior to 1996 don't count - a not-insignificant fact, given that Arizona licenses are valid until a person turns 65. Officials say that 14,000 voter registrations in Phoenix and environs have already been rejected because of the law. #2 Machine Meltdowns Beaufort, North Carolina; Fort Worth, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (tie) In 2004, a touch-screen voting machine in Beaufort, North Carolina, erased 4,439 ballots cast during early voting two weeks before Election Day; they were never recovered. A similar problem in Burke County, North Carolina, resulted in several thousand votes for president not being counted. And, according to the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a voting machine in Ohio managed to add 4,000 extra votes for Bush. But those episodes, voting experts say, are just a preview of balloting debacles to come: The federal Help America Vote Act requires most counties to replace punch-card or lever machines with newer technology by the end of this year, and election officials are scrambling to meet the deadline. Already during this spring's primaries, reports of trouble multiplied: Initial results in Fort Worth, Texas, showed 150,000 votes being tabulated in a county where only about 50,000 people voted. In Pottawattamie County, Iowa, machines suddenly began counting some candidates' votes backward. In Philadelphia, more than 5 percent of voting machines broke down on primary day. The most sensational claims about voting technology have to do with the possibility of actually programming the machines to manipulate elections; computer scientists have warned that viruses could, for example, be inserted into vote-counting programs to delete a set number of votes and then erase themselves. So far no smoking guns have been found to prove such vote-fixing. But there have been myriad well-documented instances of human error and machine failures, and of extreme reluctance on the part of machine manufacturers to make their software accessible to outside experts. "Elections in this country are becoming proprietary," explains Lillie Coney, coordinator of the D.C.-based National Committee for Voting Integrity. "Vendors are saying, 'You can't investigate our technology, or our software.' They've put the technology in place, but the mechanisms for public officials to manage the technology, they're just not there." When Ion Sancho, the elections supervisor in Leon County, Florida, discovered last year that Diebold's machines could easily be tinkered with, the company responded by refusing to service or upgrade the county's voting equipment so long as Sancho remained in charge. Since then, researchers in Florida and California have discovered more problems with Diebold technology, finding that the machines could accidentally allow one person to cast multiple votes, could be tricked into terminating an election count before all the votes had been tallied, and could permit changes to election results without detection. Even some of the "paper trail" systems for electronic voting are deeply flawed. On some machines, logs have been designed so badly that auditors are at risk of counting "tentative" votes instead of the voters' final choices; on others, a voter wanting to check whether her choice has registered must lift an inconspicuous door and then peer, through a plastic screen, at a tiny printout, with the actual vote often not even scrolling into view. #3 Line Forms Here Franklin County, Ohio Like many states, Ohio theoretically requires equal treatment of voters in all parts of the state; in practice, it frequently ignores its own requirements, especially in urban, predominantly Democratic, neighborhoods. In Franklin County, for example, more than 2,500 voters in the city of Columbus found themselves crammed into a single precinct in 2004, even though the state's guidelines call for no more than 1,400 - apparently because officials assumed that in a poor neighborhood, turnout would be low. The state only partially reimburses counties for buying electronic voting machines, so Franklin, like many poor counties, didn't have enough machines on hand to start with. When record numbers of voters showed up, massive lines snaked toward the handful of machines. The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has sued Ohio; among the complainants was an elderly woman with arthritis who had to leave because no one could find a place for her to sit. Runners-up: New Orleans and St. Louis have long been plagued by long lines in poor neighborhoods; in 2000, so many polling places failed to open on time in St. Louis that a judge ordered the polls be kept open late, a ruling that Republicans battled to the last minute. In Broward County, Florida, waits stretched to four hours even during early voting in 2004; on Election Day at least one polling station didn't open until the early afternoon, and poll workers frantically calling the county elections office got nothing but busy signals. #4 Incompetence Cuyahoga County, Ohio Dominated by the city of Cleveland and its Democratic machine, Cuyahoga County has a stunning history of poll-worker incompetence and technology failures, resulting in de facto disenfranchisement on a massive scale. In primary elections this spring, so many poll workers failed to show up for work that numerous polling places opened more than an hour late, some because they didn't have extension cords or three-prong adapters. Once voting began, it was promptly undermined by a shortage of voting machines, confusion over precinct voter lists, and paper jams that poll workers did not know how to fix (some asked random voters to repair the machines). Though only 20 percent of registered voters turned out for the primary, it took more than a week to count their votes. Around the nation, says Brenda Wright, managing attorney at the Boston-based National Voting Rights Institute, election administration is massively underfunded, with poll workers paid mere pittances, trained only marginally, and overseen bystate officials who don't provide "any meaningful check on recurrent problems at the local level." #5 Foul Play New Hampshire Intimidation, deception, and assorted trickery have long been staples of American elections, practiced with equal aplomb by both parties and by operatives working with (or without) a nod and a wink from party leaders. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2004, fliers from the nonexistent Milwaukee Black Voters League were distributed in black neighborhoods, warning residents that "if anyone in your family has ever been found guilty of anything, even a traffic violation, you can't vote in the presidential election," and that "if you violate any of these laws you can get ten years in prison and your children will get taken away from you." Meanwhile, in (again) Franklin County, Ohio, fliers purporting to be from the county Board of Elections announced that because of high voter registration, Republicans would be voting on Election Day, and Democrats would cast their ballots the next day; they ended with the inspired line, "Thank you for your cooperation, and remember voting is a privilege." In the same county, a group of out-of-state Republicans known as the Mighty Texas Strike Force made phone calls from a hotel warning ex-prisoners that they could be returned to the slammer if they dared to vote, and reportedly telling other voters that their polling places had changed. Congressional investigators later discovered that the Ohio Republican Party had paid the Strike Force's hotel bills. The dirtiest-trick award, however, goes to New Hampshire, where the state Republican Party - its executive director, a veteran, working on the military principle of disrupting "enemy communications" - hired a Virginia-based company named gop Marketplace to jam the Democrats' phone bank system during the 2002 U.S. Senate election. Republican John Sununu won the close contest; three men are serving prison terms as a result of the endeavor, and a fourth is under indictment, with evidence still surfacing that the action may have been approved by senior party officials in Washington. #6 Gerrymandering Travis County, Texas In recent elections, 95 percent of members of the U.S. House of Representatives have been reelected; the vast majority ran in districts drawn to be entirely noncompetitive in the general election. In these districts, registered Republicans or Democrats may have a say in the primaries, but everyone else's vote is for all intents and purposes meaningless. Gerrymandering got a major boost with the advent of redistricting software in 1991. The new algorithms were first used to boost the chances of black and Latino candidates; soon, both parties realized that you didn't need the fig leaf of minority representation, and they began slicing and dicing districts at will. In Texas, Travis County, which includes Austin, has long dominated a congressional district that reliably sent a Democrat to Washington. But in 2003, the Texas Legislature snipped off various chunks of Travis and attached them to a series of jagged-edged districts snaking north-south and east-west through strongly Republican areas outside the county. This, and a series of other creatively shaped districts in Texas, would be the ultimate legacy of Tom DeLay, who in 2002 launched a push to create a Republican majority in the Statehouse that would redraw the state's electoral map and thus cement the GOP's hold on Washington. Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this was constitutional, even though Travis and other areas were carved up "with the sole purpose of achieving a Republican congressional majority." At the state level, the redistricting game has also taken the uncertainty out of politics in many places. The New York Public Interest Research Group estimates that only 11 percent of New York's 212 legislative districts are competitive, and that 27 of the state's 62 Senate districts have been engineered to create Democratic advantages of at least 40,000 votes per district. Similarly, researchers at Claremont McKenna College in Pomona, California, have found virtually 100 percent of California legislative districts to be noncompetitive thanks to gerrymandering, and The Economist estimates that November's election outcome is uncertain in only one of the state's 53 congressional districts. Redistricting has produced crazy-looking, swirling districts whose shapes make sense only under an increasingly complex political calculus. In one notorious instance, in 2001, then-Senate leader John Burton, a Democrat, went out of his way to have a specific district's boundaries redrawn to weaken the election prospects of Fred Keeley, a Democrat from Santa Cruz whom Burton viewed as a troublemaker and who had announced interest in the Senate seat. The Senate district, which previously included all of Santa Cruz County, migrated north, extending a thin southward finger through the city of Santa Cruz. So effective was the maneuver, Keeley didn't even bother to run. #7 No Felons Allowed Mississippi Delta Since the 2000 election, when the state of Florida disenfranchised thousands of people by falsely tagging them as felons, half a dozen states have gotten rid of laws permanently barring felons from voting, but felon bans still affect more than 5 million Americans. In Florida, close to 1 million people, or about 9 percent of adult citizens, cannot vote because they have felony records. In 2000 and 2004 the state went to the trouble of hiring private companies to "scrub" the rolls of suspected felons who had registered to vote; both times, it became apparent that because of shoddy database criteria the companies were flagging many people who either weren't felons or had had their voting rights restored. But perhaps the nation's most scandalous disenfranchisement law is found in Mississippi, which in the early days of Jim Crow crafted its felon codes with the specific intent of disenfranchising only those convicted of "black crimes." In the Delta, about a quarter of African American men are for all practical purposes disenfranchised, and even more assume that they are: Though not everyone convicted of a felony is automatically barred from voting - in fact, people convicted of drug felonies retain their voting rights - corrections and election officials have made no effort to get that information out. One ex-con in Jackson told me that she knew people who were terrified of voting because they had become convinced that any interaction with authority would put them at risk of losing their welfare payments. What's more, to get re-enfranchised in Mississippi, a felon has to persuade his state senator or representative to author a bill personally re-enfranchising him, has to get the bill approved by both houses, and then has to get the governor to sign it. In reviewing records from January 2001 to December 2004, I could identify just 52 people - in a state with more than 25,000 prisoners, 2,100 parolees, and 21,000 men and women on probation - who had managed to get their voting rights restored. #8 Voting While Black Charleston, South Carolina Though the Voting Rights Act ended many race-based practices, local politicians continue to come up with creative methods to maximize white clout. A favorite is at-large voting, which dilutes minority votes. In Charleston, South Carolina, 38 of the 41 people elected to the county council between 1970 (when the county switched from district-based voting to at-large) and 2004 were white. A lawsuit from the federal government finally ended at-large voting for council seats in 2004. But Charleston still has at-large voting for school board members; in the 1990s, several black candidates nonetheless managed to get elected when the white vote split among a number of candidates. In response, a conservative state senator named Arthur Ravenel Jr., who'd made a name for himself by defending public display of the Confederate flag and mocking his opponents as the "National Association of Retarded People," pushed through legislation that made the school board election partisan, thus introducing a primary process that ensured a one-on-one fight in the final round. The number of blacks on the nine-member school board went from five in 2000 to one today. Runner-up: The town of Martin, South Dakota, is sandwiched between two Lakota Sioux reservations; its City Council district map, which according to an aclu lawsuit was drawn specifically to ensure a white majority, was found unconstitutional earlier this year. Voting-rights monitors also allege that voter-registration personnel in South Dakota sometimes "forget" to give registration cards to Native Americans, and that sheriffs harass reservation residents coming into town (often across enormous distances) to vote. #9 Suspect Students Waller County, Texas Prairie View A&M is a black school in the heart of east Texas, where the local leadership has, over many decades, worked to deny the students' claims to being full-time county residents and thus eligible to vote. In 2003, Waller County district attorney Oliver Kitzman wrote a letter to the elections administrator and the local newspaper warning that any students who tried to vote could face 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The NAACP filed suit, noting that as far back as 1979 the U.S. Supreme Court, ruling on a lawsuit brought by Prairie View students, held that students could register to vote in the communities in which they attended college. Students in Arkansas, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, and Virginia have also been prevented or discouraged from registering; in Williamsburg, Virginia, William and Mary students were denied permission to register merely for acknowledging that they were going home on vacation. #10 Failing to Register Florida Voter registration forms are easily lost. In 2004, for example, headlines focused on a Republican National Committee contractor named Sproul & Associates, which subcontracted with a company called Voters Outreach of America that, in Las Vegas, was found destroying forms filled out by people trying to register as Democrats. Incidents like this would seem to justify a new Florida law that imposes fines of $250 to $500 per form on anyone who registers voters and doesn't immediately deliver the paperwork to election officials, with no exceptions for difficult circumstances or natural disasters. But since it was already illegal in Florida to deliberately delay handing in voter registration forms, and since the new legislation does not apply to the two main political parties, its only likely effect is to intimidate independent voter-registration organizations; the largest among them, the League of Women Voters, has stopped doing voter registration in the state altogether. #11 Politicos in Charge Ohio Election activists don't have Florida's Katherine Harris to kick around anymore, but in a system where most states' top election officials are also politicians, there's no shortage of other nominees for worst secretary of state. The current leading candidate must be Ohio's Ken Blackwell, now a Republican candidate for governor, who seems intent on making sure as few Ohioans as possible are registered to vote. In 2004 Blackwell achieved national notoriety when he announced that his office would accept only voter-registration forms printed on paper of at least 80-pound weight. Blackwell had to back off that requirement, but a slew of other restrictions remain, including one under which door-to-door registration workers must sign in with county officials, and another requiring them to personally mail in the registration forms they collect. "The constant promulgation of rules and regulations keeps members of the Board of Elections jumping around like cats on a hot tin roof," says Chris Link, executive director of the Ohio ACLU. "And this essentially hurts Democrats. Who is newly registering? People who've just become citizens, young people who've just gotten the right to vote." Meanwhile, Blackwell's office has done nothing to inform voters that come Election Day this year, they will have to bring photo IDs to the polls - guaranteeing that tens of thousands of mostly Democratic voters will be turned away. [How much of more this crap are we going to take? How many shruggings of shoulders, of deferring to the corrupt powers that be? Are we dead? Are we just giving up to third world status? Wouldn't want to rock any boats. Better to be enslaved, just so long as it won't happen say for a year or two. Perhaps there is something in the water that erodes backbones. Other countries aren't this supine; we deserve the Horizontal Award. Perhaps we're waiting for full-blown fascism, by which time it will be too late. -ed] --------17 of x-------- Surround crapmatic TV! Watch news, fertilize your plants, all in one! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments \
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