24 August, 2008

Unsurpringly, McCain didn't do very well at Linux World 2008

I think the final tally was something like 5-to-1 Obama over McCain. Mind you, Linux World 2008 was in downtown San Francisco, which may be the "bluest" city in the world (eat your heart out, Eugene, Oregon!).

What is it? Open Voting Consortium has designed and created a secure, open sourced version of the electronic voting machine. These run Linux, but I do not see any reason why they couldn't also support Free or Net BSD, Open Solaris or some other platform (even MS Windows or OS X).

Instead of paying $4000 or more for a Diebold manufactured proprietary and closed-architecture voting machine, these machines run on commodity hardware with a price tag of roughly $400 or less.

And unlike their proprietary counterparts, the OVC machine provides a paper trail with a securely signed receipt.

More over, the ultimate value of this system is that peer review is possible for anyone who cares to download the code and read it themselves.

Unlike today, to borrow a phrase from a movie, where we have "TOO MANY SECRETS".

23 August, 2008

Liberal Media

Pass it on:


Fournier Is At It Again

By Steve Benen
(Political Animal) FOURNIER IS AT IT AGAIN.... The latest piece from Ron Fournier, the AP's Washington bureau chief and the man responsible for directing the wire service's coverage of the presidential campaign, on Joe Biden joining the Democratic ticket, is drawing a fair amount of attention this morning. More importantly, McCain campaign staffers are pushing it fairly aggressively to other reporters, in large part because it mirrors the Republican line with minimal variation.

Who is Ron Fournier?


Ron Fournier is the acting Washington bureau chief for Associated Press (AP).[1] He formerly served as the AP's chief political writer and subsequently as "online political editor".

In mid-2006, Fournier was a founding member and editor in chief of the online political and social networking community HOTSOUP.com.[2][3] Fournier returned to the AP in March 2007 "in the newly created role of Online Political Editor". In a memo announcing his return, AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll stated that "his primary responsibilities will be developing new approaches to political and election coverage online, working with AP's news, multimedia and revenue groups."[4]

Fournier is listed with the speakers agency, Leading Authorities, as costing $5,000 to $10,000 for east coast speaking engagements and double that for west coast engagements.[5]

Not bad, but Fournier has his eyes on a bigger prize:



Before Ron Fournier returned to The Associated Press in March 2007, the veteran political reporter had another professional suitor: John McCain’s presidential campaign.

In October 2006, the McCain team approached Fournier about joining the fledgling operation, according to a source with knowledge of the talks. In the months that followed, said a source, Fournier spoke about the job possibility with members of McCain’s inner circle, including political aides Mark Salter, John Weaver and Rick Davis.

Salter, who remains a top McCain adviser, said in an e-mail to Politico that Fournier was considered for “a senior advisory role” in communications.

Fournier turned the job down, and why wouldn't he if he can bill out at $10,000 an hour speaking in front of elite audiences on the East coast or $20,000 on the West, but with an Obama campaign that is showing signs of fatigue, Fournier may be back to considering taking a senior post in a McCain Administration. Which is why it comes as no surprise today that Fournier has penned this AP wire piece, now well above the fold on most online media (I saw it on Salon this morning):


Analysis: Obama's pick highlights his weaknesses

By RON FOURNIER Associated Press Writer

Aug 23rd, 2008 | DENVER -- The candidate of change went with the status quo.

In picking Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate, Barack Obama sought to shore up his weakness — inexperience in office and on foreign policy — rather than underscore his strength as a new-generation candidate defying political conventions.

"I searched for a leader who is ready to step in and be president," said Obama, a transformational political figure who nonetheless faces criticism about whether he has enough experience to be president.

He picked a 35-year veteran of the Senate — the ultimate insider — rather than a candidate from outside Washington, such as Govs. Tim Kaine of Virginia or Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; or from outside his party, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; or from outside the mostly white male club of vice presidential candidates. Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't even make his short list.

Fournier's objectivity is highly suspect, to put it very midly. He has access to the highest levels of policy makers in the Bush White House: none other than Karl Rove himself, to whom in an exchange over coverage of the war on terror and Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch Fournier said "Keep up the fight." Fournier certainly is very very chummy with Republican movers and shakers, so chummy he even brought Senator McCain doughnuts. How nice?

16 August, 2008

Politics and Religion Redux - Its going to be a long road to November

I am ambivalent about this commercial, but stripped of its religious underpinning, I agree with (and who wouldn't) the underlying argument.

In the 1990s, especially after the 1994 mid-terms and Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America", the hegemony of the right wing and the religious right became iron-firm (although it has its roots with Reagan, a draft-dodging Hollywood actor and sportscaster who beat last centuries most authentically religious president, Jimmy Carter, partially by appealing to "family values" conservatives).

The net effect of the past 31 years of religious rule in America has arguably been a disaster for many people. The effect of the cynicism of "new" Republican rule and their systematic and intentional bungling of services can been seen on a daily basis in San Francisco, a city that is understandably liberal. Reagan's dismantling of services for the poor, the addicted and the mentally ill has now become my problem, as a San Francisco resident and tax payer, and not society's at large. At the same time, instead of investing in harm reduction, his pill-addicted wife eschewed drugs with the catch-phrase "Just Say No" on national TV, a campaign roundly and rightly mocked by its intended target audience (again, me) in the 1980s. Many billions of dollars were spent ineffectively battling an un-winnable drug war as drug use, drug-related incarceration, crime and the AIDS epidemic skyrocketed.

The United States now imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other industrialized nation, over 6 times as much as the European average. The complexion of inmates is overwhelmingly darker compared to the general population. These things are all related: incarceration, the AIDS crisis, the war on the poor, the war on drugs, the dismantling and privatization of government services. We the people are charged with the duty of due process, yet the job of handling our swelling prison population, rightly a function of government, is handed off to private corporate contractors. For profit.

Who started the political war of attrition between Republicans and Democrats in the 1990s is up for debate. There is no question that Bill Clinton, and the Democratic Leadership Council, practiced a form of hard-ball politics that was a formalized, methodical answer to Richard M. Nixon with his "enemies lists", win-at-all-costs tactics. Except the intervening years separating Watergate and 1992 were rife with lessons to be learned, the biggest: don't get caught.

Sexual dalliances have always been a part and parcel of politics, but it came to its apex, or nadir in recent decades, peaking with President Clinton's impeachment proceedings. Sex and betrayal resonates with every talking primate on this marble: every cheated-on wife, and every wandering eye possessing husband, wary of his wife's wrath. The same decade that brought us the literal dismemberment of Joey Buttafuoco, and the sex-rage killings of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman also brought us Monica Lewinsky and Ginnifer Flowers, and an alpha-male president whose predilections tended toward the sensual unlike the Current Occupant and his sociopath's glee for mass homicide and fascism.

In the name of Family Values, our just and righteous leaders like adulterer Newt Gingrich and homosexual Larry Craig, Bill Clinton must be made to answer for "hav[ing] sex with that woman."

Remember, these are the people so busy locking up blacks for smoking plants and plant derivatives White Society has told them they are not allowed to have that they have to sell off the burden of running prisons to private industry. Small-government, family values conservatism using your tax money to enrich for-profit enterprise whose job it is to incarcerate people suffering from a disease.

Returning to religion, the Gospel of Matthew is one of four canonical doctrines related to Jesus Christ in the Christian faith, and it is the one that most vociferously promotes the idea that followers in Christ have as their core and solemn duty in life to emulate Jesus in humility, charity, faith and good works. Matthew records Jesus' sermon on the mount, considered by most to be the core tenants of Christian faith just like Moses and the revelation of the Ten Commandments is central to Jewish dogma. In practice, however, the devil is in the details.

The religious right openly and loudly identifies themselves as Christian (with some strange bedfellows recently from the Zionist Jewish far-right), and largely Baptist. Fire and brimstone baptists. Shortly, "bible-thumpers." But all this self-identification with Christianity begins to unravel upon inspection. Instead of healing the sick and helping the poor, the Religious Right in America is more concerned with GGA - Guns, God and Ammo, and preventing reproductive rights or any advancement in rights for homosexuals (even though at least one of Jesus' disciples was himself gay, psst, it was Paul). Jail, not forgiveness for sinners, and bombs for the Commies and later the Terrorists. You could turn the other cheek, but only while reloading your assault weapon, while riding shotgun in a Hummer blasting through Falluja, spreading Motherfucking Freedumb Uhmerikan Style to the Hajis.

John Edwards cheated on his wife, who has cancer and probably not long to live. I do not know the details but assuming it was done in secret, without Elizabeth's knowledge or consent, that was a dastardly, selfish, cruel and, frankly, asshole thing to do. Perhaps it was John Edwards' way of moving on in the face of a terminally ill spouse, who knows. Rush Limbaugh blamed the victim, Elizabeth Edwards, by insinuating that she was a know it all ball buster, based on no evidence at all. Rush Limbaugh is the darling of the Religious Right. Knowing nothing at all about John and Elizabeth Edwards' private lives, he accused her of driving her husband away for the crime of being smarter than him.

As deplorable as it is, it bears repeating: Rush Limbaugh thinks it is the fault of Elizabeth Edwards for her husband's admitted infidelity.

Turn the other cheek. Charity. Faith. Uplift the poor and care for the sick.

It is remarkable that Rush Limbaugh is in possession of absolutely none of these qualities. He promotes family values and has himself been divorced multiple times over. He dares to uphold the sanctity of marriage and himself has broken the vow "till death do us part" multiple times, supposedly made in earnest and before an all seeing, all knowing and perfect God. The only sick that he seems to want to heal is his own dope-sickness by chasing the Oxycontin dragon.

John McCain's infidelity is a matter of public record and he, like Edwards, has admitted to it. Yet somehow when Democrats cheat on their spouses it is bigger news than when Republicans do, as if Democrats were some how more vulnerable to moral interpitude. But the party that values divorce court as much as it values homosexual trysts in public toilets, mass murder and the privatization of re-enslaving the Black poor in America as prisoners of a false and unending war on drugs has not a leg to stand on.

So, I call fair game. Let us all put are cards on the table, or, as someone famously said, lets let our chickens come back to roost. Is this a truly zero-sum game?

Well, I for one would prefer to be lead by someone who takes to heart the Gospel of Matthew, who loves the sinner and hates the sin. Maybe such a person will treat the ill instead of lock them up. Maybe such a person will sit at the table, across from our adversaries, to open up a dialog; thus to him offering the un-struck cheek.

Maybe America deserves a president who is not a murdering sociopath, or fully of envy, lust, greed, avarice. Nobody is perfect, certainly not Barack Obama, but I want to believe that he is not a criminal psychopath. I'm just afraid that America is incapable of electing someone who isn't.

14 August, 2008

The Obama Nation


As you know, Jerome R. Corsi of "Unfit to Serve: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" infamy has penned another precious tome to fuel the pulpy conflagration that is this election cycle, namely, "The Obama Nation". This screed is poised to overtake, if it has not already, the #1 slot in the New York Times Nonfiction Bestsellers list, which is ironic as by most reasonable accounts the book is a work of fiction.

Never mind that many book stores have received bulk orders of the book, some by the palette. Surely not all of the book's readership is also fictional. Yet, Corsi has enjoyed a plethora of media coverage, bolstered by the "fact" of his latest opus' "status" as a top selling book. If this offends your sense of fairness, Nation, you are not alone.

The Corsi commentator conundrum requires containment. But what can be done? As you know, I would never, never, never recommend that we, as Obama supporters, take the tack of hitting below the belt of Senator McCain, a multi-millionaire senior in favor of privatizing Social Security and an admitted adulterer whose foreign policy aims and dim view of Constitutional protections are in every way as bad or worse than the Current Occupant. If Obama represents a promise of a new kind of politics, then we as supporters must also rise up to this high standard and come up with a creative solution to the Corsi problem that builds up, but doesn't tear down.

Let's return to alarming popularity and visibility of Corsi and his new book; as I said, not everyone who bought it has bought it by the palette -- some readers genuinely agree with Corsi, or are at least vulnerable to his book's message. Who are these people, and why are they vulnerable?

You, like me, probably have a family member, a relative or a friend (or acquaintance) who is either pledged their intention of voting for Senator McCain or has not made up their mind. You, like me, are worried that Corsi's arguments may hold sway: Obama is this, that and the other thing. He can't be trusted. He's inexperienced. He's too liberal. He's not liberal enough. He's too black. He's not black enough. He's a recipient of affirmative action. He's an elitist.

I put my thinking cap on and I thought to myself, "golly, there have got to be a few people who have already contributed the maximum amount to the campaign.. even still, there are people who can afford $15, $30 or $60 for a flashy, one day event to do something positive to help out the Obama campaign even if they haven't maxed out.. and gee, self, there has got to be a way that regular people, not pundits or commentators or mainstream media infotainment talking heads can help someone who is not already an Obama supporter get to know our nominee a little better."

That's when the light bulb went on: bingo!

I have family all over this country. I have a lot of Red State Dyed in the Wool Republican cousins and aunts and uncles in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio. I have friends in the reddest enclaves of Orange County. I personally own a copy of "Dreams From My Father", and so do most members of my immediate family. I could buy copies of that book and send it to three, five or ten Republican relatives or friends, but that wouldn't offset Corsi's book.

What if I got ten people to do the same thing? That's potentially 100 copies of "Dreams From My Father".

What about 100? 1000? What if the idea got out there, on the Internet, and it spread like a smile, or like sunshine at daybreak? A hundred thousand copies of the book? A million?

On August 28, 2008, Senator Barack Obama will accept the Democratic National Convention nomination for President of the United States.


I saw we use that day to introduce our candidate to those who are on the fence, who are unsure, or even who swear they never will vote for him -- especially to them! -- and undo some of the damage that Jerome R. Corsi has done exercising his right to freedom of expression, his right to his opinion, and show him the real power of The Obama Nation.

On August 28, 2008, give an undecided or McCain supporter relative or friend the gift of Senator Obama's book "Dreams From My Father."

Are you with me?


10 August, 2008

The Change You Deserve

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Of course, its not just Republicans. Harold Ford Jr, head of the Republicans in Democrats clothing "Democratic Leadership Council" famously said "the constitution doesn't poll well."

If that doesn't sum up the failure of the American body politic, and its constituency, surely the flat "Money Bomb" of the Accountability Now PAC is further evidence.

On the entire Internet, only 2300 people could be bothered to contribute money to be used to hold politicians feet to the fire for their failures on FISA, the Global War on Terror, torture and so on. On the anniversary of Richard M Nixon's resignation, and here, 34 years later, we collectively shrug.


Once again, and near Alexandria, our empire feeds it's coffers with foreign riches. Abroad, too many of us for too long have been tempted to shield ourselves under the banner SPQA - Senatus Populus Que Americanus.