Jerimee's blog

Feinstein Defending Voters from Suppression Tactics

Last week, the Senate Rules Committee heard testimony on the Ballot Integrity Act of 2007 (S. 1487). Senators Diane Feinstein and Christopher Dodd are the bill’s chief sponsors, but Senators Biden, Boxer, Brown, Clinton, Inouye, Kennedy, Leahy, Menendez, Leahy, and Obama have also signed on. While much of the bill is taken up with voting equipment standards, a significant number of voting rights issues are also addressed. These include increased safeguards for voters from being purged, uniform requirements for training poll workers to a set of minimal standards, and equitable allocation of polling place resources. Most importantly, the bill prohibits states from restricting voter registration drives.

Voter registration drives by nongovernmental entities play a critical role in the health of our democracy. They have been effective vehicles through which eligible Americans from traditionally disenfranchised communities have become registered to vote. According to the US Census, 12 million Americans have registered to vote through a voter registration drive, accounting for 8.5 percent of all registered voters. Minority voters, in particular, rely on the voter registration drives. Fifteen percent of Blacks, 15.5 percent of Latinos and 12.5 percent of Asians registered to vote through a drive compared to 8.6 percent for White non-Hispanic voters. In fact, Blacks and Latinos are 65 percent more likely to have registered through a voter registration drive than Whites.

Another WaPo article on Bush Silencing of Surgeon General

Global Health Draft In 2006 Rejected for Not Being Political

A surgeon general's report in 2006 that called on Americans to help tackle global health problems has been kept from the public by a Bush political appointee without any background or expertise in medicine or public health, chiefly because the report did not promote the administration's policy accomplishments, according to current and former public health officials.

The report described the link between poverty and poor health, urged the U.S. government to help combat widespread diseases as a key aim of its foreign policy, and called on corporations to help improve health conditions in the countries where they operate. A copy of the report was obtained by The Washington Post.

Three people directly involved in its preparation said its publication was blocked by William R. Steiger, a specialist in education and a scholar of Latin American history whose family has long ties to President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Since 2001, Steiger has run the Office of Global Health Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services.

have left undone those things which they ought to have done and done those things which they ought not to have done

Harlow Barget of State Government Radio featured the following commentary on GOP hypocrisy on his radio show:

I’ve tried to resist, but the temptation to comment is just too great. I’m talking, of course, about the recent sex scandals involving self-righteous politicians in the Old North State.

Maybe the Devil made them do it, but I see the Hand of a Higher Power bringing justice to the smug and proud. In recent years, especially in the South, there has been an overt attempt by pious politicians to exploit religion for their own ends.

The Republican Party as a whole has been successful in winning a majority of churchgoing voters. Fundamentalist Christians in particular have voted overwhelming for Republicans. That’s not some liberal cant. That’s a fact.

There’s nothing wrong or undemocratic about that voting pattern. Republicans have best represented the views of such voters.

What’s been wrong are the suggestions--and it’s more than suggestions from people such as former and disgraced House Majority Leader Tom Delay of Texas--that their opponents are godless infidels.

People can disagree honestly over how to fix our broken health care system or how to interpret Roe v. Wade. But it’s not American to question people’s faith because they disagree with your political solutions. Such absolutism is the path to the world of the Taliban.

What Me Worry?

Republican State Auditor Les Merritt’s website explains that the Auditor’s office exists “to ensure that our state government executes its management responsibilities in compliance with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and policies.” [http://www.ncauditor.net/webproject/default.asp?intro_full]

But when it comes to his own business affairs, Mr. Merritt has a hard time following the law.

When he’s not working as State Auditor, Mr. Merritt is the president of LDC Mobile Estates, Inc.  State law requires all corporations to file an annual report with the Secretary of State’s office.

But Mr. Merritt has failed to submit required paperwork and now his annual reports for 2004 and 2005 have been rejected. It also appears that his annual report for 2006 will soon be rejected as well.  [http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations/AnnualReportCount.aspx?PItemId=6457211]

“Mr. Merritt expects others in government to be meticulous in filing reports,” said NCDP Chair Jerry Meek.  “Perhaps he should practice what he preaches.  Either Mr. Merritt is incompetent, or he just doesn’t believe in following the law.  Either way, voters should be worried.”

Same Day Voter Registration: done and done!

Congratulations everyone. This a significant accomplishment that we can all be proud of.

NCDP Chair Jerry Meek and Young Democrats President Zack Hawkins applauded Democratic leaders today on the passage of same day voter registration. Gov. Mike Easley signed the bill into law on Friday.

The new law allows voters to register up to three days before Election Day, down from 25 days under the old law. The measure also provides several safeguards to ensure the integrity of voter registration and toughens criminal penalties for those who commit fraud.

Republican State Auditor Les Merritt attempted to stall passage of the bill by citing a flawed preliminary report that ultimately yielded no evidence of voter fraud.

Rudy and Romney: Artful dodgers

When the most belligerent Republicans start to beat the war drums, it's important to look at what they're trying to hide.

Both Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani have draft dodging as part of their political resume. From Salon.com:

Nothing unites the Republican candidates for president or excites the conservative base more than their bellicose barking about war and confrontation. The GOP presidential debates often sound like a tough-man competition, with Rudolph Giuliani denouncing the "cut-and-run" Democrats, Mitt Romney demanding a double-size Guantánamo detention camp, and the rest of the pack struggling to keep pace with the snarling alpha dogs.

Yet while their rhetoric is invariably loud and aggressive, none of these martial orators has seen a day of military service. The Republican party seems to prefer its hawks to be of the chicken variety.

Consider Giuliani, the former New York mayor who has remained among the most vocal supporters of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He never hesitates to suggest that politicians with differing opinions simply lack guts. When he spoke at the 2004 Republican convention, he gleefully insinuated that Democratic nominee John Kerry lacked the fortitude to combat terrorism. Now he denigrates the supposedly spineless Democrats running for president in 2008.

But he has always confined his enthusiasm for war to podium speeches and position papers. Born in 1944, young Rudy was highly eligible for military service when he reached his 20s during the Vietnam War. He did not volunteer for combat -- as Kerry did -- and instead found a highly creative way to dodge the draft.

Read the full story at Salon.com

burr sells out students to his banking buddies

Republican Senator Richard Burr would rather sell out low income students than say no to his special interest friends in Washington.

Burr is a primary sponsor of a measure that reduces by several billion dollars the money that low-income students receive in federal Pell grants. The neediest of students would lose about an average of $300 in increased scholarship aid under Burr’s proposal.

That’s remarkable considering that 147,095 North Carolina students received Pell Grants totaling more than $365.8 million during the 2005-2006 school year. (US Department of Education: http://www.ed.gov/finaid/prof/resources/data/pell-2005-06/table-22-2005-06.xls)

What would make Burr sell out his own constituents?

Checking the Power of the Executive Branch

Democratic US Rep. Brad Miller, NC-13, wants to stop the Bush Administration’s pattern of replacing sound science and expert knowledge with political judgments that benefit corporate special interests.

As the chairman of the House Science and Technology subcommittee, Miller is fighting the Bush Administration’s attempt to decide who will have the most influence over writing rules that protect the health and safety of our citizens.

Click here to read about Miller’s efforts in the Washington Post.



Front-paged by Anglico

Dole Sides With Bush, Votes For More Of The Same In Iraq

For the fifth time this year, North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole voted to stay the course in Iraq today, rejecting a Democratic proposal to end the war in Iraq by redeploying most U.S. troops by April 2008. Siding against her North Carolina constituents, Dole’s vote ensures that President Bush will be able to continue to pursue his failed Iraq policy with no oversight or accountability.

"Elizabeth Dole could have used her vote today to support a new direction in Iraq, but instead she used her vote to support George Bush's failed policy," said NCDP Chair Jerry Meek. "North Carolinians are crying out for a change in Iraq, but Dole time and time again has turned a deaf ear to their voices. If Elizabeth Dole refuses to accept changing course, then North Carolina will insist on changing its senator."

MoveOn holds "counter-filibuster" rally in Asheville

Local members of MoveOn held a rally today to counter the proposed Republican filibuster blocking a vote to withdraw U.S. combat forces out of Iraq by next spring.

The “counter filibuster” rally took place today at the corner of Otis Street and Patton Avenue in front of the Federal Building, where Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has an office.

At issue is a piece of proposed legislation that would require President Bush to begin bringing the troops home within the next 120 days and complete the task by April 2008.

According to a news release from MoveOn, members will read letters from Iraq war veterans and their families that call on Congress to bring the troops home soon.

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