Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Election Fraud Question

The question of whether or not there was large-scale voting fraud in the last election is moving out of the internet, and into more traditional media.

I still do not want to believe that there is any basis for this. At what point, though, will the issue be investigated and resolved? Why is the government, and are the major news outlets, doing nothing to either verify or refute these claims? We’re not talking internet rumor-mongers. Reliable statistical poll observers, the same that are used to verify the fairness of oversees votes, are questioning the results.

I would be much more comfortable if this were all proven to be wrong, than if it is ignored and ridiculed.

Family Values in Pennsylvania

It’s amazing what you can find with a little time and effort. The posting below called “A Northern Response” references an article that compares “Family Values” in red and blue states. With help from the Pennsylvania State Data Center I was able to look up divorce rates by county, and compare them with whether or not they voted primarily democratic in the last election.

By my count, 13 counties of the 67 in Pennsylvania cast more votes for Kerry than Bush. Of course, these 13 counties have by far the largest population. Pennsylvania as a whole has a divorce rate of 3.3. Of those thirteen, only two (Erie at 3.4 and Fayette at 3.5) exceed this average, and Northampton at 3.3 ties it. All the remaining 10 are far below the average, including Allegany at 2.8, Lackawanna at 2.8, Lehigh at 3.1, Beaver at 3, Luzerne at 2.5, Bucks at 2.7, Montgomery at 2.6, Washington at 2.8, Philadelphia at 2.1, and Delaware at 1.5.

Take a wild guess which counties pulled the average up to 3.3.

Again, those who would like to make an issue of morality and family values might try to clean up their own homes before criticizing the rest of us.

Some Quotes

I’ve been immersed in it too long. My spirit is wobbly and my mind is confused. The hurt has become too great.

Ernie Pyle

[If you don't know who Ernie Pyle was, take the time today to look him up. A WWII war reporter who actually cared about the soldiers who were really fighting and dying, rather than the spin from their commanders]
– - -
It is not right, my fellow-countrymen, you who know very well all the crimes committed in our name. It’s not at all right that you do not breathe a word about them to anyone, not even to your own soul, for fear of having to stand in judgment of yourself. I am willing to believe that at the beginning you did not realize what was happening; later, you doubted whether such things could be true; but now you know, and still you hold your tongues.
- Jean Paul Sartre

A northern response

Not exactly the language I would allow here, but the sentiment is right on: http://shorl.com/hodydradredyru

[the real url is visible from the site]

Red State/Blue State

Interesting article from Fortune Magazine

Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but an interesting point. For the most part, the Blue States pay out much more to the Federal Government than they receive back. The Red States, on the other hand, are just the opposite. In other words, those free spending stupid northern liberals are funding all the federal giveaways to the anti-tax republicans in the south. Alabama alone got $100 billion more from the Federal Government than it contributed.

The Tax Foundation, a right-leaning organization dedicated to simplifying taxes, presents the information in tabular form. For each dollar they contributed to the federal government, Alaska spent $1.82, Mississippi $1.84, Oklahoma $1.47, South Dakota $1.59, Kentucky $1.46, Montana $1.64, Louisianna $1.44, South Carolina $1.32, North Dakota $2.04 and so on. California and New York? $0.81, Connecticut? $0.64, Massachusetts? $0.79, Minnesota? $0.77, Michigan? $0.90, Delaware? $0.85, Washington? $0.91, Wisconsin? $0.87. And New Jersey? a whopping $0.62.

If you red states are so anti-tax, how about giving us back some of our money? If welfare is a dirty word, ought it to be given to states that can’t support themselves? It kind of gives a different meaning to the term “welfare state”, doesn’t it?

War crimes

An editorial in the Toronto Star suggests Bush should be arrested and indicted for war crimes when he visits Canada.

An interesting thought.

Election statistics.

I am not one of those who believe the election was stolen (this time.) I believe Bush got the majority of votes cast.

There are irregularities, though. Statistically, many of the reported results are nearly impossible.

Read this. Read it with an open mind, without the presupposition that it is just another liberal with sour grapes. I would like to read an educated, statistically correct, refutation of what is in that article, if one is possible.

Goodbye, General Powell

It should come as no surprise that Colin Powell is resigning as Secretary of State. The surprise, I suppose, is that he stayed on as long as he did. It must have been a struggle between his morality and his loyalty to the administration as to whether he should have resigned months or years ago. I really cannot fault him for whichever path he took. His was a voice of moderation and reason, respected throughout the world. In addition, he fought the chickenhawks in the administration as much as could, representing the perspective of a true military man, trying in his way to bring some sanity to Washington.

CNN reports on the respect he obtained worldwide:

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat was one of the voices who praised Powell.

“In our deliberations with him, he has gained our highest respect and appreciation,” Erakat said. “He’s a fair man and highly dignified and will indeed leave his mark on international politics.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said he was “very sorry” to hear of Powell’s resignation.

“You are a very good friend of Israel, but more than that, you are a very good friend of peace,”

and more.

Condoleeza Rice, on the other hand, scares me. She is an undoubtedly bright person, with strong convictions. Two issues make me question her suitability as Secretary of State.

First, she is primarily an academic, who has specialized for her entire career in Cold War relations with the former Soviet Union. When she briefly served previous administrations it was as an advisor in that role, only. She appears to see all international relations through that prism, treating anything subtle or nuanced in foreign relations as some sort of major power confrontation. Dealing with the Soviet Union had some semblence of rationality, despite the problems there. Dealing with Islamic countries such as Pakistan, which can’t even control their own territory, or military for that matter, is an entirely different matter.

Second, her ties to industry, particularly the oil industry, is an entirely different background from Powell’s. As a military leader oversees, Powell needed to deal with and gain the respect of not only his own people, but the people in the countries where he was working. Rice comes from the much more autocratic background of academia and big business. How much will Arab countries believe someone professing a balanced American policy, when that someone has actually had an oil tanker named after her? How much can she represent a balanced policy, with her background?

Colin Powell has served as a General, and later as a Statesman, should. He had strong opinions, but when they did not agree with those of his boss, he kept them to himself for the presumed good of the of the administration. In so doing, he earned the respect of much of the world, at a time when general opinion was widely turning against the United States.

I sincerely doubt we will be able to say the same, four years from now, about Condoleeza Rice.

Freedom of Religion

What it seems is that our so-called “Freedom of Religion” applies only to the conservative view of religion. My faith teaches equality and love for all, but the Boy Scouts, who encourage me to do my duty to God, do not allow me to treat, as I should, a homosexual as a valuable and important part of my community. My “Duty to God” is defined by the Mormon or Roman Catholic church, not my own. Views on abortion, homosexual rights, and science are only moral or faith based if they correspond to the blighted world view of the religious right and snake handlers of the country.

Quakers have always been in the forefront of scientific research. On the whole, we believe that what God reveals to us about the universe is a better way to understand Him, never in conflict with His truth. However, I must allow my children to be exposed to the idiocy of creationism, at least in some states.

I AM A CHRISTIAN!!!!
I AM A LIBERAL!!!

I do not buy the self-righteous bullshit of Billy Graham, Tammy Fay Baker, or Robert Schuller. God is not represented by hypocritical fakir’s in shiney suits on television, begging for money!!!

If God did not want me to use it and reason, why would he give me a brain?

God is not in the words of the bible. He is in the sacrifices and efforts of those who strive to show His love for others, and make the world a better place.

I’m ranting, and I know it. It’s been a generally bad day.

Deep shit.

The conservative’s are finding Arlen Specter way too liberal for them, A Wisconsin district will allow teaching of creationism, and Texans are pushing to have highschool textbooks specifically state that marriage is between a man and a woman.

We have opened the floodgates of religious bigotry and stupidity, and we may never be able to close them.

Personally, I feel anyone who honestly advocates creationism should be barred from voting on the basis of stupidity, but I doubt that could be adopted as a constitutional amendment.