January 31, 2008
"John Edwards and I"
Uh-oh, I sense a drinking game coming on. How many times will Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama say that each was working on an issue "similarly to John Edwards"?
UPDATE: Never mind. I guess it was something to get out there, and then move on.
District 6 financial reports
I have been watching the Election Commission site for these numbers to come in, but there is a reason that John Wilson is considered tops in breaking local news. Plus, you know, I have other stuff to take care of.
Anyway, the results are not that surprising. Carol Berz leads in contributions, as could already be detected in the size of her organization and the prevalence of her signage.
One of Berz's larger contributions ($2500) was from a group that is rather ubiquitous these days in local politics: the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which also endorsed her. The SEIU (through its Nashville-based attorney) filed one of the residency-related complaints against former District 6 Council member Marti Rutherford, whom this special election replaces. Earlier this year, Rutherford had voted against a pay increase for city employees, many of whom are represented by the SEIU.
The Chattanoogan article doesn't mention whether or not Marti Rutherford contributed financially to Melinda Hickey's campaign. Rutherford endorsed Hickey early in the election cycle. Ms. Hickey did, however, collect some cash from a few "big names" in the area.
Julie Chamberlain enjoys a lot of support from her realty association; and of course friends, business associates, and relatives can be counted among the contributors for about any candidate.
For the most part, the candidates have themselves been their biggest financial backers, through loans.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Carol Berz and Rick Igou have yet to file their disclosure forms. I guess local races are different than state elections, because if one is late filing in the latter, the penalties from the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance are quite steep.
Quote of the day
I continue to hear and read a lot of complaints that GOP Senator John McCain is not a Republican. But Republican voters seem to think he's jes' fine. Does that mean the real complaint is that a majority of Republican voters aren't really Republicans?
-- Joe Powell
January 29, 2008
Goodbye Rudy Tuesday
Okay, so I called it as occurring a week later, but still.
You can get anything you want with Ron Paul
So, I guess he's still sitting on the Group W bench, huh?
Rand Paul coming to Chattanooga
Breaking: Rand Paul, son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), will make a stop in Chattanooga on behalf of his father's presidential campaign, on Saturday, February 2, at 9:00 am.
The event will be held at a former church site at the corner of Main St and Rossville Ave in southside Chattanooga, behind the Main Street fire station.
Organizers are looking for volunteers to help prepare the facility, direct traffic, and perform other duties as needed. Contact Lauren Walker: mrsjtwalker [at] gmail [dot] com if you would like to volunteer.
I'll post more info as it becomes available.
Hat tip: gid
January 28, 2008
A campaign's driving force
A Chattanooga blogger not only hosted staffers for the John Edwards presidential campaign in her home, she was selected as the driver for the candidate himself as he made a quick stop at the local IBEW hall today. Read her entertaining account here, and get video clips of his appearance here.
Ron Paul not coming to Chattanooga
Gid forwarded me an email, from which I extracted a sort of haiku:
Ron Paul is now not
Coming to Chattanooga
Keep the work going
Meanwhile, John Edwards did pay a very short visit here today. Chattanoogan.com has video.
January 26, 2008
NBC calls South Carolina for Obama with no returns yet in
Wow. I can say that I've never seen this before.
Edwards, they say, came in third, even after making some last-minute gains. What will he do now?
January 25, 2008
O how the mighty linemen have fallen(?)
Eight years ago, as I was helping to form a local chapter of the Green Party, I learned that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) had endorsed then-Green Party* candidate Ralph Nader for President.
On Monday, January 28, 2008, John Edwards will be making a campaign stop at the IBEW local to support his bid for the Democratic nomination.
*(Four years later, if you'll remember, Nader ran as an Independent (slash Reform?) candidate, while Texas lawyer David Cobb was the Green nominee.)
District 6 candidate forum
Last night, the six candidates running for the partial term in the seat left open by Marti Rutherford's resignation faced residents of Brainerd (along with campaign supporters that came with each) in a 90-minute forum that was followed by a straw poll.
I am in the process of writing a more detailed account of the event, but for now, here is a video account shot and produced by WDEF's Gary Ainsworth for the station's "top local story" last night.
Also, Michael Davis's Times Free Press story has audio clips.
Providence police chief to lecture on crime reduction
I can hear some people's reaction to this already: "We don't need no Yankee cop coming down here to tell us how to run our city." But I have read before about the successes that Providence, Rhode Island has had in moving from a city quite known for its crime rate to one that is much safer for its residents (and more tourist-friendly to boot).
From a press release:
The Community Research Council, in partnership with the UTC departments of Political Science and Criminal Justice, is pleased to sponsor a presentation by Col. Dean Esserman, Police Chief of Providence, Rhode Island. Col. Esserman’s talk will be entitled “Reducing Crime in a Midsize City: The Providence Model.”
Col. Esserman is a nationally-renowned expert on community policing and crime data measurement. His innovative policing techniques have contributed to a double-digit drop in Providence’s overall crime rate for three years running.
This presentation will be held on Thursday, January 31st at 1:30 pm in the Raccoon Mountain Room of the University Center on UTC campus. It will be open to all students and UTC faculty, as well as any interested members of the community.
You'd need to RSVP to Lori Quillen, whose email address in the release is lquillen [at] researchcouncil (dot) net. Please do so by the end of day today.
And here's one more thought: crime statistics (and jail overcrowding) could be almost instantaneously reduced by a lot if nonviolent drug offenses were not treated (and therefore counted) as crimes requiring arrest and incarceration, but rather as offenses requiring court appearance and/or payment of a fine. (We'd have to work through shifting the load balance from Sessions to City courts, but that would be do-able. And the processing would theoretically be faster, and reduce demands on public defenders, and on and on.)
But I guess the Legislature might have to weigh in on that one; or is that similar to what Denver and other large cities have done on their own?
January 24, 2008
Third-party lawsuit filed on Wednesday
Here's the latest on a legal case that will challenge Tennessee's strict ballot access laws. Stay tuned for updates as the case progresses.
UPDATE I, from Ballot Access News:
On January 23, Libertarian Party of Tennessee v Thompson was filed. It is case 3:08cv-63 in U.S. District Court in Nashville, and was assigned by Judge William J. Haynes, a Clinton appointee.
Happy Birthday, TT
I wouldn't mention the arrival of this blog's third anniversary otherwise, but an interesting coincidence made me think about it.
Later today I will moderate a candidate forum to prepare voters in Chattanooga's 6th Council District for the upcoming special election. While I'm sure several events led to this, the most direct link is that I produce this website.
As I looked back and noticed what my very first post was, I smiled. Though the post doesn't say much at all about it, I found it very fitting that the subject was, in fact, the Chattanooga City Council election in District 6.
So, here we are, having come full circle in a way. And that gives me energy to keep going. I won't try to predict what things will be like three years from now, but if the previous three years are any indication, then life won't be bad at all.
January 23, 2008
In which the wife blogs
My challenge to Americans is this: Stop listening to the negativity. Believe that you can make a difference. Vote your conscience in your state's primary. It feels sooooo good to cast a vote for someone you really believe in, as opposed to someone you think you're prepared to tolerate.
-- Sally White
What are they teaching kids these days?
I know it's probably annoying when bloggers write about the search terms that lead visitors to their sites, but sometimes perusing the logs can reveal astonishing things about ourselves.
I got a hit yesterday afternoon because someone in Gaithersburg, Maryland typed the following into a Google search box:
should students be subjected to the bill of rights
Subjected to? In what way? As in, learning about the first ten constitutional amendments? If so, the answer is a hearty "Yes."
But even more disturbing: does the person not realize that the Bill of Rights describes ways that we (including students) avoid being subjected to something? A monarch has subjects; the United States of America was created as an antithesis to that idea.
All right, I know I'm making all kinds of assumptions about the purpose and motive of the internet search in question. But it really stood out.
Free advice for presidential candidates on picking a running-mate
It seems like this cycle has included more speculation than at any previous time that one or another candidate currently (or formerly) running for POTUS will be selected as the running-mate by the eventual nominees.
Examples: Bill Richardson, Mike Huckabee.
But just think about this for a minute, Senators Clinton, McCain, Obama; and Gov. Romney, and others: I know it has happened before, like with Reagan/Bush and Kerry/Edwards, but why would you pick a recent rival for the Number 2 spot on the ticket?
Assuming that that person started out really wanting to be President,* and given the line of succession as outlined in the Constitution, I might give this some serious double-thought.
If you do pick someone from the current cast of candidates, just watch your back if/when you get elected. Heh.
Seriously, though, there are any number of qualified Americans who have not run for the office you seek within the past year. Open the circle just a little bit.
*Exceptions are hereby granted for Fred Thompson.
January 22, 2008
How many people voted early for Fred Thompson?
I'm doing a story on the February 5 elections (local, as well as the presidential primaries) for an upcoming alt-weekly issue. I plan to cover early voting in general; but today's announcement by former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson that he is no longer seeking the Republican nomination makes me wonder how many votes were (I won't say "wasted," but..) cast for him since early voting began on the 16th.
Do you have any anecdotal evidence to share? Do you know any Tennessee Fredheads who might be wishing they would have waited?
Share your thoughts below in the comments.
January 21, 2008
A name for February 5
I'm a little bored with "Super Duper," "Mega," and other outsized modifiers for the day when parties in so many states hold their primary contests. I am here to suggest a new name for that day.
With all apologies to Jagger (or Jones) and Richards, I hereby dub February 5, 2008 "Goodbye Rudy Tuesday."
This post is not intended to be construed as an anti-endorsement of any candidate, but is for entertainment purposes only. Not paid for by the McCain for President campaign.
January 20, 2008
"A speech...we'll be reading 20 to 30 years from now" (if not longer)
Don't walk, but run, to the nearest place you can find a transcript of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's speech given today in Atlanta. It is powerful, and moving, and it perfectly illustrates that Americans do not have the opportunity very often — and certainly not every four years — to consider a candidate as purely inspirational as this.
Read that speech. I don't care if your politics don't align with Obama's; mine don't (at least not squarely). This is about more than issue positions. This is about empowerment, and involvement, and setting aside our apathy in the spirit of actually making a better future, rather than hoping (irony noted) one will just appear. This is a Churchill moment, an FDR moment, a Lincoln moment, and an RFK moment all rolled into one. I'm sorry, but I don't think that Hillary Clinton or John McCain can offer that. And it's more important than you might at first think.
Vote your conscience, but read the speech.
Endorsements in District 6 (updated)
This is just to update readers who may not have caught these items in the news already.
The Southeast Tennessee Political Action Committee, or SETPAC, heard from five of the six District 6 candidates last week at the Mountain City Club. (The choice of location led one candidate, Rick Igou, to forgo the proceedings.)
Dr. Carol Berz has picked up a couple of endorsements as well. This morning's TFP reported that she has procured the nod from the city's firefighters union (but the TFP website is not working, so see Chattanoogan.com); and she earlier gained the support of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
In the private sector, so to speak, here are some individual LTE's:
Mary Gardenhire for Carol Berz
Bill Craig, James Parker, Tom Fryar Jr., Sid Arnwine for Rick Igou (and Jason Herndon against)
Jay Craven and Uneva Shaw for Charles Shaw
Colleen Carboni for Charles Shaw
Chuck Mehan for Carol Berz
If I have left out any announced endorsements, it is simply because I am not aware of them. Your help in completing the record is appreciated.
Early voting for this election began Wednesday, and continues through the 31st. Don't forget the Brainerd Unity Group's forum on January 24, 6:00pm, at the Friendship Community Church. Election Day is Tuesday, February 5.
A list of candidate websites and other information is available here. (This page will be moving soon, but I will try to put in a redirect).
Quote of the day, yesterday
"[I]t’s starting to look like Fox News has a political agenda."
-- Stephen Gordon, Ron Paul supporter, writing at Third Party Watch on the fact that the cable news outlet displayed a trio of photos: of the first-, third-, and fourth-place finishers in the Nevada GOP caucus, obviously skipping over (however distant) runner-up Ron Paul. (Emphasis added.)
In the graphic (available at the above link), the lower-right corner does show the candidates' last names in order (at the time), but Mike Huckabee's appearance in the pictorial lineup is puzzling, to say the least.
I'm glad people like Stephen are starting to notice. The network will never change its ways if the only people calling them out are doing so from the left.
On the other hand, the display was put up when fewer than one percent of precinct results were in. I'm skeptically willing to give producers the benefit of the doubt and hypothesize that when the top display was assembled, it's possible that the order of candidates was correct, and that Paul's 48 delegates showed up after Huckabee's 26, and the lower-right ranking was assembled later. But that's a stretch, you have to admit.
January 19, 2008
Destroying a couple of myths
Look. I know that people are gullible; and I myself have some embarrassing moments from time to time. But I can't currently count the number of people, including some extremely close to me, who've parroted a vicious set of lies about one of the candidates running for president as if they were gospel truth. Some others have stopped short of outright recitation, but still harbor a sense of distrust that has been fomented by falsehoods.
The lies usually travel by email. I'm about to the point where, if I see "FW:" at the front of a subject line, I delete. (The wife suggested that "FW:" is short for "False Words Ahead.") In addition, there are some websites that have joined in the lying.
I found a political blogger who puts these myths to death in just about as good a way as any, so I'm quoting:
Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat or for or against Barack Obama is really irrelevant. Ultimately, everyone should be basing their decision on accurate information and more importantly should want to base their decision on accurate information. Accordingly, I urge everyone to be especially cautious when it comes to information provided to you that seems a bit too extreme, especially if that information is contained in a chain email.
Claim 1: Obama is a Muslim, a radical Muslim, an atheist and/or went to school in a radical Madrasah
Fact: This claim is simply false. Obama is a Christian. He did not attend a radical Madrasah, but he did attend a school in Indonesia when he was young; however, this school is NOT some clandestine terrorist camp.
Claim 2: Obama refuses to say the pledge of allegiance and/or Obama refuses to place his hand over his heart during the pledge of allegiance [this claim is usually accompanied with a photo featuring Bill Richardson and Hillary Clinton with their hands over their hearts while Obama has his hands folded in front of him].
Fact: First, Obama does say the pledge of allegiance and when he says the pledge of allegiance, he does place his hand over his heart. Secondly, the picture was in fact taken during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner and Obama’s hands were not over his heart. That said, this is NOT wrong. (I should note that I’m a bit of a protocol buff) The required protocol during the playing of the national anthem is to stand at “respectful attention.” This is the described protocol adopted in 1942 by the National Anthem Committee. On the other hand, Title 4 Chapter 1 Section 4 of the United States Code states that during the pledge one’s right hand should be placed over their heart.
I don't put my hand over my heart during the "Star-Spangled Banner" either. (I do during the Pledge of Allegiance.) Furthermore, the photo of Obama referenced in the lying emails is a one-time occurrence; who knows whether or not he usually does? And why does it matter, as long as one stands up, as appropriate?
And unlike many Americans, I really wouldn't care if Obama were a Muslim, just like I don't care that Fred Thompson is a member of the Church of Christ, nor that Huckabee is a Baptist, nor that Romney is a Mormon. My perfect candidate would be agnostic with regard to religion, but not hostile toward persons of faith. (He or she might even adopt religious-sounding words from the common usage when speaking or writing publicly, like our Deist and Unitarian founders did.) So I won't see that anytime soon; who cares? But it's worse when people are spreading pure lies about someone being of a certain faith. Cease and desist, I say; and if you receive this hogwash, hit that delete key.
That is all for now.
UPDATE 1/20: I forgot to include the Jewish reaction.
Hint: his name's not on the dollar
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur [(D-Ohio)] came to a House committee hearing on Thursday prepared to ask U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson tough questions about his involvement in the subprime mortgage crisis.
Unfortunately, she was questioning the chairman of the Federal Reserve.
The Ohio Democrat, at a House of Representatives Budget Committee hearing, said she wanted to know what Wall Street firms were responsible for the securitization of subprime mortgages.
She then asked: “Seeing as how you were the former CEO of Goldman Sachs…” But the only person testifying at the hearing interrupted.
“No, no, no, you’re confusing me with the Treasury Secretary,” said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
“I’ve got the wrong firm? Paulson, Oh, OK. Where were you sir?” Kaptur said.
Bernanke noted that he was head of the Princeton University economics department.
I myself do not recall ever having seen either Bernanke or Paulson on television or in photos, so I'm not above Congresswoman Kaptur. Perhaps, like me, she gets her news via the National Public Radio and blogs. Regardless, it had to have been an embarrassing moment. It's always good to double-check the agenda and invite list when heading to a meeting.
January 18, 2008
Headlines for your weekend
Mike Bloomberg Meets With Ross Perot’s Son-in-Law
"[H]e is an attorney with extensive interest in, and knowledge of, ballot access laws."
Presidential Candidate Ron Paul Comes To Chattanooga? It Could Happen...
"Two locations have been mentioned, including a local higher education institution."
But Magic Johnson Was An Awesome Rookie...
"Moments after I posted a link to a new Hillary Clinton radio ad in South Carolina featuring Magic Johnson implying that Obama is a "hyped...rookie..." several Obama spokesfolks responded with a ream of statistics and video clips pointing out how Johnson was one of the awesomest rookies ever...."
Russ Feingold--An Elitist Who Hates Working People
"'The one that is the most problematic is (John) Edwards, who voted for the Patriot Act, campaigns against it. Voted for No Child Left Behind, campaigns against it. Voted for the China trade deal, campaigns against it. Voted for the Iraq war … He uses my voting record exactly as his platform, even though he had the opposite voting record.'"
Mike Huckabee Takes Up For The Confederacy, Suggests Unnatural Acts
"'[I]f somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell ‘em what to do with the pole, that’s what we’d do,' Huckabee said."
January 17, 2008
Ward Crutchfield gets probation, house arrest, small fine
The Chattanoogan.com report says that the former state Senator must pay a $3,000 fine for his crimes. It's true that in his guilty plea, Crutchfield admitted to taking a $3,000 "gratuity" from undercover federal agents; but the charges originally alleged that he was given at least $12,000 by bagman Charles Love. So, I figure he nets around nine grand. On the other hand, he did lose his license to practice law.
No matter. I'm glad to have this story over. Now let's keep a close eye on our other elected officials. And don't forget the appointed ones, either.
Repeat: the calls are coming from _inside the county_
You've heard about those unauthorized push-polls for Mike Huckabee that attack fellow candidate Fred Thompson, I'm sure. Today the Tennessean reveals a large source of funding for the group responsible: a Mark West of Ooltewah, Tenn.
Local gang: do we know who this is? The name is vaguely familiar, but I can't place the context. I'm actually surprised it wasn't someone from Cleveland.
The "Common Sense Issues" group, though, is based in Colorado Springs. That ought to tell you something.
It's getting drafty in here (updated)
It appears that some hunches were right on about the Unity08 guys closing up shop so that they could concentrate on their real goal: inciting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for President.
I got an email from the ostensibly nascent Draft Bloomberg movement the other day, and it was co-signed by Doug Bailey. How did Bailey have my email address? It couldn't have been from the Unity08 address book, could it? Yeah? UPDATE: I received a definitive NO on that question. Please see the first comment below. Good to know.
And what of the Draft Sam Nunn crowd? Any word from them since Nunn was at the Oklahoma University gathering of the centrists?
Finally, don't rule out a movement coming your way sometime after Super Tuesday that will ask Congressman Ron Paul to mount a third-party run.
Forgot to add: Bloomberg wouldn't win New York City.
January 16, 2008
GOP throwdown in Maryville
Overbey voted for Speaker Naifeh to retain his seat atop the chamber last year and Finney is a noted conservative member of the state Senate. I’d love to hear Bill Hobbs take on this, wouldn’t you?
[Finney] supports the anti-abortion amendment, he supports guns in public parks, bars, and now in the Capitol building, and last year he introduced a bill directing the Department of Education to determine once and for all that God created everything and therefore all this "evolution" stuff is just a bunch of junk science. And he's a medical doctor.
Perhaps what Rep. Overbey is really saying is that people around the district want a senator who isn't batshit crazy.
In the city (my the city), we’re about to have a Good Ol’ Boy face off.
I'm not as freaked out by "Republican on Republican" news as some seem to be. Surprised? A little. But politicians need to be individuals first, and, if necessary, partisans second.
Also, Overbey does need to know that if he does anything stupid as Senator, he may end up being interviewed by this guy.
I knew there was something I liked about Montana
We weren't surprised Friday by reports that the federal government has further delayed implementation of the REAL ID act, which U.S. Sen. Jon Tester calls a "textbook Washington boondoggle."
So troublesome is the act that both chambers of Montana's quarrelsome Legislature voted unanimously to outlaw it.
REAL ID would create federal standards for issuing driver's licenses, "something that has historically been within the rights of states to decide," said Matt Sundeen, with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.
What's more, states would have to pay for it.
[U.S. Sen. Max] Baucus and Tester are co-sponsors of the Identification Security Enhancement Act, a bipartisan bill that repeals REAL ID and gives states more flexibility in fighting terrorism.
A state attorney general also could challenge the act under the 10th Amendment, which protects state sovereignty, [Montana ACLU spokesperson Scott] Crichton said.
We hope one of those strategies works and, once again, we heartily agree with Gov. Brian Schweitzer who says to REAL ID: "No, nope, no way, hell no."
HUGE BREAKING NEWS: frozen precipitation
My colleagues in Maine, and my former schoolmates in Massachusetts and Michigan, would get such a kick out of local news in Chattanooga this evening. The TV stations have multiple reporters stationed at different spots around the county, and each is giving up-to-the-minute reports on, well, the fact that a little bit of snow/sleet is falling.
It is something, dear northern friends, that you'd have to see to believe.
Brokaw: "Candidates should debate drunk"
“I would bring the candidates over to my apartment, and I would mix them a batch of martinis or we’d do a few tequila shots,” he said. “About three martinis in apiece, or about four or five tequila shots in apiece, I’d say, ‘Alright what do you really think about Hillary or Obama.’ My guess is that’s a form of truth serum.” -- Tom Brokaw
See Newscoma for the link.
It's most interesting that the hypothetical interviewer proposes doing the tequila shots with his subjects. I do think that would work best. Who'd want to moderate a bunch of tipsy candidates while sober?
Careful, though, Mr. Brokaw. Two of the candidates — Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain — made small headlines a while back when they reportedly engaged in some serious vodka-quaffing on a trip to Estonia. They might have an advantage.
January 15, 2008
DO NOT vote early
Well, do what you want, actually. And believe me, if it comes down to voting early or not voting at all, then by all means, vote early.
But if you can hold it, wait until the 5th. There are a couple of reasons.
1) In the presidential preference situation, the Nevada and South Carolina primaries are yet to occur, as are any number of events that could cause a "D'oh!" moment if you've already made your decision permanent.
2) In the Chattanooga City Council District 6 race, financial disclosures by the six candidates are not due until 1/31. I strongly advise waiting until those are available, and reading them, before casting a vote.
January 14, 2008
Democrats finally get a challenger against Lamar
The online Leaf-Chronicle reports that 2006 Green Party candidate Chris Lugo will seek the Democratic Party's nomination this year for the US Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander. (More: Volunteer Voters)
In related news, some are speculating that an opinion piece on US-Pakistan relations by Nashville attorney Kevin Doherty signals that he will run, despite the fact that Doherty spent several formative years living in Pakistan and could thus just be offering a somewhat informed opinion on current events.
A handy reminder on open records
"It is not incumbent upon you to prove a document is public. It is incumbent upon a government employee to prove it is not." -- Michael Silence
The story that prompted an utterance of this rule of thumb can be found at ET blogger/watchdog Linda Noe's place.
January 13, 2008
New leader in "worst candidate video"
There was "Obama Girl," a long time ago. That turned out to be fake, because the "girl" really supports Senator Hillary Clinton, or so I read.
Then there was the young singer-songwriter who sang "Ron, Ron, Ron, Ron Paul" all over the YouTube.
But now, thanks to the Memphis Flyer, I have found the one. This video doesn't just invoke a snarky response, nor does it insincerely titillate. It will truly turn your stomach. Viewer (more to the point, listener) discretion is hereby advised.
I give you a rap video (and I use the word "rap" in only the most loosely defining way) titled "Stuck on Huck."
January 12, 2008
REAL ID becomes more of a reality
Were you born on or after January 1, 1964? Are you ever a passenger on commercial aircraft, or do you ever enter federal buildings?
The Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, announced yesterday that the schedule has been extended somewhat for the new driver license rule known as "Real ID." States are being given until
2014 2011 to provide those with birth dates in the range above with a new type of identification card; those who will be 50 and over at the time get three more years, according to NPR's Pam Fessler.
What will the Tennessee General Assembly do about this, you ask? Well, last year they passed a joint resolution (that's both houses), with wide bipartisan support, against Real ID. They therefore helped us join a number of states that oppose it.
I myself find Sec. Chertoff's comments, that anyone who is against this program is either a terrorist, an undocumented worker, or a "con man," to be disingenuous. I have read blog posts and opinion articles from persons all along the political spectrum — though civil libertarians all — decrying this move.
For some technical issues surrounding Real ID, see this Underground Politics post. I know people who work at a company that uses RFID cards for security. (I think they're the passive kind.) My assumption is that a database stores information on each entrance (internal or external) that is accessed by the card, with a date and a time. They know where one has been, and when. While its use by a private employer is practical and cost-effective, the ramifications in terms of a federal government application are alarming, to say the least.
Is there a chance that the new President (whomever he or she may be) can work with Congress next year to rethink some of this?
The esteemed Joe Powell, writing at TennViews
Tennesseefree (aka Glen Dean)
Campaign finance update for Chattanooga's District 6
In an effort to provide Chattanooga's 6th Council District voters with the most information possible regarding the six candidates, I have attempted to locate campaign finance disclosure documents that each is required to file with both state and county election commissions.
Unfortunately, these documents are not yet available, because the deadline to turn them in isn't until January 31 — less than a week before the election, which is on February 5. (Thanks to Angela Tant for the tip.)
I feel it is always important to follow the money (as much as possible/practical) in any election, in order to identify any potentially concerning donors.
In the days leading up to the election, I will locate and post anything that is available along these lines.
In other District 6 election news, I have heard from several people who are becoming involved in a campaign. This is excellent. I am of course remaining neutral in this race, but I am glad to see that the citizens of this district are paying attention.
Who has heard the candidates on WGOW? I know that each was scheduled to appear sometime within the last week or so. I am curious as to how those sessions went.
January 11, 2008
I'm sure you've all heard by now that Unity08 is closing up shop, and will not be seeking ballot access in the 50 states, and will not be aiming to nominate an independent/bipartisan ticket in 2008. I got the "Dear Joe" breakup message via email last evening. (Am I the lone holdout who still contends that "email" is not a word without a hyphen?)
There are some who smell a rat in this, and think that the whole Unity08 project was a ruse designed to front for an eventual Michael Bloomberg campaign. I am not so sure. I'm inclined to think that the Unity08 folks are logically reacting to the fact that "the market" (in electoral terms) is doing their job for them. The Iowa caucuses themselves showed that the "beyond partisanship" spirit is alive this season. And it looks like Bloomberg may be planning a run, after doing some polling and some data mining.
If the goals of Unity08 are being met through other means, then Unity08 itself arguably becomes redundant.
I don't know, though. I am not privy to those phone calls and boardroom meetings. It could have been about Bloomberg all along, but I guess it will have to be proved to me.
And here's a shameless plug for my chosen candidate: Barack Obama is a Democrat, and not necessarily a centrist one, even; but his message is appealing to voters (and causing more people to become voters, which is a huge deal to me) from all points on the political compass. So it kind of works out for me that Unity08 broke up with me, before I had to do it to them.
January 10, 2008
How stupid are voters?
I'll bet that Clinton got at least 3 percent more votes than Obama simply because she was listed close to the top [of the ballot].
-- JON A. KROSNICK, Professor, Stanford University
Oh, yeah. I wanted Obama to win, too, but do you really think voters got to the polls and said "well, I don't see my candidate's name here in the first few, so I'll just pick one of these here at the top"?
There were 21 names on the Democratic primary ballot, which is a substantial number; but the whole premise of voting, and perhaps especially in a primary, is to go vote for a candidate. No matter where that candidate's name is — on the front, on the back, in the margin, wherever — you find that name and you mark it.
I would be sympathetic to those who just pick a random name in Tennessee's judiciary elections. Sure, I can see that.
But in a presidential primary, or pretty much any other election, you'd better just stay home if the order in which candidates are listed is going to affect the outcome. Leave the voting for those of us who can read.
January 9, 2008
What are the least/most gratifying books you've ever read?
I'll never forget the experience of reading Umberto Eco's finest work of fiction, Foucault's Pendulum, in the early 1990s. The translator, William Weaver, I knew from his work translating Italian opera, so I trusted that I was getting a good rendition of the text. At any rate, quite a few passages in the book are in languages other than English or Italian, so it doesn't matter. They stretched every linguistic fiber of my brain; but I digress.
After I read that book, twice over, I was hungry for more. I went to my favorite
neighborhood independent bookstore chain bookstore in the mall to see if I could get a recommendation on something else to slake this new thirst. An employee there heard my description of the Eco book, and recommended two titles:
So, I bought both and read them. The classic Rand novel was interesting, to say the least. It introduced me to that soulless philosophy for which she is so famous (or infamous). I absolutely hated the heroine, Dagny Taggart, with a vehement passion. But I liked the book.
The Ken Follett oeuvre was a miserable read. Maybe my expectations were set too high after Eco and Rand; but I just didn't get much out of it. The story dragged on for page after page without any seeming substance; and even though there was evidence aplenty of historical research, there wasn't enough of anything else.
Surprisingly enough, two other high and low points of my experiences in literature last decade are by the same author: popular novelist Stephen King. I adored The Stand, even though the end was a bit anti-climactic. I even made it through the TV miniseries (which, of course, didn't come close). The other extreme, for me, was It. What a joke that was — a long, long, cruel joke. But, hey; ya gotta pay the bills.
What are some of your greatest disappointments and/or most awesome finds?
January 8, 2008
Exactly what is Obama changing?
You've heard the word "change" so much lately that it jingles and rattles in your head; and news producers have found an excuse to play snippets of a great David Bowie tune.
But what is at the root of all this talk? People have been claiming that Barack Obama is the candidate of change — yet policy analysts and others are skeptical. Isn't Barack Obama, after all, just another Democrat? And not even a very centrist one at that?
Well, for one thing, consider this comment I left over at Volunteer Voters:
We have to ask ourselves: what’s changing, then, if not policy? I see the point there; but don’t forget the fact that Obama is energizing hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of young and/or otherwise disaffected, apathetic citizens to be involved and to vote, and to do so with a sense of hope for the future.
If that’s not change, I don’t know what is.
Turnout in today's New Hampshire primaries is astounding, particularly in the Democratic primary.* Of course not all of those voters are lining up to select Obama, and we shouldn't rule out the draw of major candidates Clinton and Edwards, and even Bill Richardson; but I think you'll find, at the end of the day (and this is a time when that overused expression works), that a great many of them were drawn into the process by the Obama promise.
*Is this good news for Mitt Romney?
Earliest New Hampshire returns
I rather like the pattern here:
Dixville Notch got the voting under way. The results:
* John McCain 4 votes
* Mitt Romney 2 votes
* Rudy Giuliani 1 vote
* Barack Obama 7 votes
* John Edwards 2 votes
* Bill Richardson 1 vote
UPDATE: In Hart's Location...
* McCain 6 votes
* Mike Huckabee 5 votes
* Ron Paul 4 votes
* Romney 1 vote
* Obama 9 votes
* Hillary Clinton 3 votes
* Edwards 1 vote
January 7, 2008
Hillary Clinton calls for government bloggers
Even Bill Hobbs wouldn't argue with this one, right? In a bit about government openness and transparency, New York senator Hillary Clinton told a crowd of supporters in Manchester that "maybe we ought to have teams of government bloggers" to tell the American people about what is happening in each federal agency.
Letting the existing bureaucrats blog is one thing; hiring extra people just to do that is quite another.
That's my initial reaction, anyway.
January 6, 2008
Move on over, HOV lane
On second thought, just stay where you are. I'll go up and over.
TX: Rex Hammock
Romney wins Wyoming, national media shrugs
What? There was another caucus after Iowa's, and before the New Hampshire primary? We didn't know about that.
Yes, Saturday marked an attempt for more national attention by Wyoming Republicans, who moved their caucus up to January 5 at the cost of half their convention delegates. This attempt for the media spotlight failed. Some blogs are talking about the event, but I haven't heard but a peep out of the major news outlets. Have you?
Mitt Romney 8 delegates
Fred Thompson 2 delegates
Duncan Hunter 1 delegate
January 4, 2008
Up with Hope
Hope, Arkansas: home of two of the state's more recent governors (Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee), and of some other notables. (I was just looking up Melinda Dillon the other day on IMDB and found that piece of trivia). Clinton obviously went on to become a two-term President of the United States; Huckabee is aiming to do the very same thing.
The Audacity of Hope: popular book by Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who cites "change" as one of the most important things he can bring; and whose supporters in Iowa last night cited "change" as being among his most attractive qualities.
Huckabee was on "The Tonight Show" the other night, and had this to say, interestingly enough, about Obama:
“I think he’s a person who is trying to do in many ways what I hope I’m trying to do and that is to say let’s quit what I call ‘horizontal politics.’ Everything in this country is not left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican. I think the country is looking for somebody who is vertical, who is thinking, ‘Let’s take America up and not down,’ and people will forgive you for being left or right if you go up.”
I know I've forgiven several things in Obama's platform, some of which could be considered to my right, and others to my left. Is this wise? I don't know. I do know that the perfect candidate does not exist. I also believe that Barack Obama is aiming upward.
Obviously there are many more state contests to go, and facts could change minds (including, to be clear, my own).
January 3, 2008
NBC just called the Republican straw vote for Huckabee. The top three Democrats are in a complete white-knuckle tie, although Obama holds the lead this very second.
I know you know this; I just have to have something to say right now.
I couldn't be more thrilled that Mike Huckabee won Iowa. The Republican Party needs a wake-up call, after their dalliances with George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzalez, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, the Dick Cheney of the 2000s, Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, etc. A Huckabee win in Iowa will shock many.
Chip Saltsman on TV now. I am pretty stuck on the MSNBC coverage.
Poor Mitt Romney. $7M in TV ads down the drain.
UPDATE: OBAMA WINS. OBAMA WINS!
Okay, so it's just Iowa. But it is a major step, nonetheless.
January 1, 2008
The tech vote
I just voted in, then viewed current results for, an online primary at TechCrunch.
Can we just limit the voting this year to the tech-minded? (I'm kidding, of course.)
But check it out:
Democrats: Barack Obama and Dennis Kucinich at 46% and 31%, respectively; everyone else in single digits
Republicans: Ron Paul running away with the thing at 72%, John McCain a distant second at 16%, everyone else in single digits
And here's my problem. I could probably be reasoned with to accept the election of any one of the four names above, and especially the top vote-getter in each; while mention of the rest of the field elicits yawns, curses, or just plain old retching.
I repeat: Can we just limit the voting this year to the tech-minded? (I repeat: I'm kidding, of course.)
Also, in case you're wondering: yes, I know about internet voting. But that applies to exact numbers, while the general trends are still pretty obvious, even accounting for so-called "Paulbots."
Register to vote by Monday, January 7
Another important date coming up very soon is the deadline to have your voter registration complete in order to participate in the February 5 election. You must be registered by Monday, January 7, 2008.
Go ahead and take care of it now. Here's a handy link (PDF). After you turn this in, you will then be registered for the August primaries, and the November general election, and the March 2009 Chattanooga elections — you get the idea — unless you move or something.
February 5 is a very important election day, for up to three reasons, depending on where you live:
1) Presidential Preference ~ the Democratic and Republican primaries; plus, for Republicans, the election of delegates to the national convention. (Democratic delegates are not popularly elected.)
2) Hamilton County Assessor of Property ~ I once thought this was going to be held in 2009, but a recent newspaper article placed it on this date. I think it's safe to say that not very many people ever know when this official gets elected. For some reason, this office is not included with the other county offices. It's very strange. And it's very safe for the incumbent.
3) Chattanooga City Council, District 6 ~ former Council member Marti Rutherford resigned due to residency concerns, and interim member Mike Feely has been ably filling in; but now it's time to elect a replacement for the remainder of the term (the next citywide elections will be held in March 2009). There are six candidates.
Friday is primary petition pick-up day for TN Legislature and US Congress
If you or someone you know plans to be a major-party candidate in Hamilton County for the Tennessee House of Representatives (Districts 26-31), the Tennessee Senate (District 10), the U.S. House of Representatives (District 3), or the U.S. Senate, then know this: this Friday, January 4, 2008, is the first day to pick up petitions for the primary elections on August 7.
Tennessee, even though it has strict ballot access laws for parties other than the big two, has one of the lowest thresholds in the nation for individuals seeking the qualification to run for office. One needs a mere twenty-five (25) valid signatures from registered voters who reside in the district where one plans to run. A great many candidates pick up and turn in their qualifying petitions the same day. Those without strong party connections need to work a little harder, but the good news is that they have until noon on Thursday, April 3 to turn in their signatures. If you can't find two dozen or so backers in three months, then chances are you need to work on your skills to represent the district.
What if you qualify, but then change your mind? Or what if you qualify, but then move out of your district (and you aren't like a certain former Chattanooga City Council member)? The law allows you to withdraw by a specified deadline,* and no questions are asked (but I think that you still have to turn in financial disclosure papers throughout the remainder of the cycle). If you miss the withdrawal deadline, your name will still be on the ballot.
Independent (and in Tennessee, this includes Constitution, Green, Libertarian, or any other so-called third party) candidates for the November legislative elections will pick up their qualifying petitions on Friday, May 23; and the deadline for signatures is Thursday, August 21.
All of this information is available at the Hamilton County Election Commission website, which is now using Google Calendar. If you have a Google account, you can simply click on an event on the Election Calendar, and add it to your own in a couple of easy steps. This isn't a plug for Google, necessarily, but I'm glad to see that a tool has been selected that is far superior to prior means of publishing this information.
*It doesn't look like the withdrawal deadlines are yet published, but they are usually a week or two (if memory serves) after the respective qualifying deadline.