Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bush sides with OPEC over oil prices

Washington (Reuters) - The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for limiting oil supplies and working together to set crude prices, but the White House threatened to veto the measure.

Don't you wish Bush and Co. would just move to Dubai already and leave us in peace? I'm sure he and his cronies can still afford to gas up their Hummers, but the rest of us can barely afford to drive to the grocery store. And I'm guessing that might - might - have a little to do with our struggling economy.

I wonder if Americans have finally figured out that electing two oil men to the White House may not have been the best idea they ever had. Perhaps Bush is 'the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with;' but that doesn't put gas in the tank or food on the table. And its not like any of us have exactly been having beers with him in the neighborhood bar, have we? Like he'd slum around with the likes of us...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


“My opponent predicted I would win Pennsylvania, he’d win North Carolina, and Indiana would be the tie-breaker,” she said.

“Well, tonight, we’ve come from behind, we’ve broken the tie and, thanks to you, it’s full speed on to the White House!” - Hillary, speaking in Indianapolis last night

I hate to pick at that bone Mrs. Clinton... but you were expected to win Indiana. After all, you had the endorsement of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.

The candidate that 'came from behind' to very nearly snatch Indiana away from you -- that was Barack Obama. A 1% margin of victory? That is a tie. That is just another case of "we'll never really know, will we?"

Because of the strange 'voter purges,' and the particular counties in which they occurred; the reports of ballot shortages, and Rush Limbaugh's 'chaos vote' (which may or may not have come into play in this Republican state,) I'm always going to wonder who really won this primary.

Just add it to growing pile of the questionable election results since the dawning of the 21st century.

Full speed to the White House?

Hillary... you're delusional. What -- on the strength of Rush Limbaugh's 'chaos vote?' By very nearly losing a state you were supposed to dominate?

The Democratic Party would be crazy to pick a candidate that Republicans are so desperate to have for an opponent in the general election. If they were actually willing to cross over and vote for you in the Democratic primary -- to beat a candidate that actually frightens them -- why on earth would the Democratic Party give the Republican Party such an obvious gift?

Think about this Hillary... Obama has a real and steadily growing majority now among Democratic voters. The Republicans are desperate to see you as the Democratic nominee because they believe McCain can whip you; that you will actually empower the Republican base. You're just a temporary Republican darling, Mrs. Clinton. Do you really think they - not to mention Murdoch and Fox News - aren't going to turn on you with a vengeance once the primaries are over?

If the super delegates choose you now, they will be committing political suicide.

Monroe County Representative and super delegate Baron Hill knew who to pick -- and to come out publicly in favor of Obama -- before the primary even took place. He was up for re-election in the same primary. I'm sure he could see the writing on the wall in his home district when Hillary's rally in Assembly hall at IU was about half full. Obama's rally in the same hall was stuffed to the rafters.

Sure Hillary. I'm seeing it. "Full speed to the White House. " If I were you, I'd book yourself onto a White House tour... its time for the Democratic party to pull together and start preparing for the general election.

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Monroe County at 1 am

It's 1 am, Wednesday May 7th and Indiana is still up for grabs.

Statewide, Hillary is leading Barack Obama by only 2%. Monroe County still hasn't reported in... and neither has Gary (Lake Co.)

Here are the Monroe County (Bloomington/Indiana University) results as of 1 am:

Precincts counted: 97% | [view precincts reporting]
Absentees counted: 100%

Hillary Clinton (D) 9400 | 34%
Barack Obama (D) 17893 | 66%
Mike Huckabee (R) 289 | 9%
John McCain (R) 2619 | 78%
Ron Paul (R) 323 | 10%
Mitt Romney (R) 143 | 4%

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Historical Context

It suddenly dawned on me... the historical context of this primary race in Indiana.

We've had a record primary turnout for a race between a woman and a man who is half African-American... in a state that was once predominately Klan. This is history. This is real change.

In the 1920s, the state was run - politically, and right out in the open - by Klan politicians. It has long been the seat of the KKK Grand Dragon.

And right now, with strong Obama counties yet to report, and only a 2% difference between the candidates, there is now a very real chance that the man with the African American heritage will win this once solidly Klan state.

And perhaps if this comes to pass... the bogyman 'sheets' that terrified me when I was a child will be banished forever; like a bad dream washed away by sunlight streaming in through the window. A new morning in Indiana.

And maybe someday, no more hatred... no more racism.

Whether Obama wins Indiana now or loses, he has given us a precious gift. And somewhere I think... Abe Lincoln is grinning.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Monroe County, so far...

Last updated on Herald Times: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 11:16:40 pm

Precincts counted: 67% | [view precincts reporting]
Absentees counted: 0%

Hillary Clinton (D) 4509 | 35%
Barack Obama (D) 8454 | 65%
Mike Huckabee (R) 172 | 8%
John McCain (R) 1717 | 78%
Ron Paul (R) 204 | 9%
Mitt Romney (R) 100 | 5%

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Just another reason to vote absentee

Well this is interesting.

I was just reading through election coverage in the HT, and I couldn't help but notice that political analysts list three counties with over one quarter of the absentee ballots cast -- which coincidently also happen to be three of the top four 'voter purge' counties on Bev Harris' list -- as likely to be won by Obama:

More than one-quarter of the 32,215 absentee ballots received Friday through Sunday were cast in three counties — Marion, Monroe and Lake — where political analysts expect Obama to win.

Lake County, which neighbors Obama’s hometown of Chicago, and Marion County have the state’s largest concentrations of blacks, who have voted overwhelmingly for Obama in other states. Obama also has typically won big among college-aged voters and Monroe County is the home of Indiana University’s 39,000-student main campus in Bloomington.

Here is that interesting voter purge chart again:

Lake 137,164 48% (Gary) ----- results still not in
Porter 124,958 115% (Valparaiso)
Marion 68,120 10% (Indianapolis)
Monroe 66,009 85% (Bloomington) ----- results still not in
Tippecanoe 53,456 58% ----- results still not in
Madison 42,952 47% (Anderson)
Hamilton 42,325 26%

No wonder so many people voted in advance, and by absentee ballot. I'm guessing it would be difficult for the state to make the case that a voter isn't registered..if the state has already mailed them a ballot.

By the way, they're still counting those absentee ballots, which is why the Indiana race is dragging on into the night. And if Obama is heavily favored among these absentee voters, this race is still a toss.

Still too close to call... and some fishy business

I have been hearing strange reports today about 'voter purges' and 'changed registrations' in Monroe Co., Indiana (home of Bloomington and Indiana University.)

One rather astounding number that just doesn't make sense: 85% of the voters that voted in 2004... have since been purged.

Come again? 85%? Are we the Ohio of the 2008 Primary?

From Black Box Voting:

Posted on Sunday, May 4, 2008 - 6:10 pm

In April 2008 when Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced the release of "record high" voter registration rolls, with 4.3 million voters set to vote in the Tuesday May 6 primary, he didn't mention that a whopping 1,134,427 voter registrations have been cancelled.

Now, the voter rolls are supposed to be tidied up prior to each election. Indiana's last general election was in Nov. 2006, and they have had a slew of special and general elections since then. So how have 1.1 million voters -- 26 percent of the current statewide list -- escaped the regularly scheduled voter registration cleanup squads? Who are these million voters and where do they come from?

One quarter-million of them come from just two northwestern Indiana counties: Lake and Porter. Lake County reports purging 137,164 voters and neighboring Porter County cancelled out 124,958 voters.

Lake County, the home of Gary, Indiana, has spawned the Jackson Five and a great old musical (The Music Man) and and has been referred to as "the second most liberal county in America." Lake County has one of the heaviest concentrations of African-American voters that you'll find anywhere in the USA.

Nearby Porter County, the home of Valparaiso, is 95% white and went solidly for Bush in the 2004 election. It also has a lot of college kids.

For whatever reason, these two counties had ... what ... massive data entry problems? Exceptionally messy records? Lots of dead people who climbed back into their graves? Or will we see a lot of disappointed voters on Tuesday, when they perhaps learn that they were among the lucky million people who got purged?


Lake 137,164 48% (Gary)
Porter 124,958 115% (Valparaiso)
Marion 68,120 10% (Indianapolis)
Monroe 66,009 85% (Bloomington)
Tippecanoe 53,456 58%
Madison 42,952 47% (Anderson)
Hamilton 42,325 26%

The percentage represents the ratio of the number of purges to the current voter list. Example: If a location currently has 100,000 voters on its rolls, and purged 53,000 along the way, we assign a ratio of 53% to the purge vs. current list.

It would be nice to have the original quantities, it would make for a cleaner number, but this is not available on the Secretary of State's Web site, so I haven't got a tidier statistic for you, wish I did. I also wish the time period for these purges was clearly indicated, but it is not indicated -- nor can it be derived -- from available information at Indiana's official election Web site.


It's always interesting to look for impossible numbers on election night, like the "more votes than voters" situation that sometimes crops up. It speeds things up to have a place to plug the information in. Here is a spreadsheet -- quick and not too fancy, I'm sure you can improve on it. It has every Indiana county, along with their official registered voter statistics for the 2008 primary, and some historical data from 1992 to the present, along with links for the source documents from the secretary of state:

(Excel file, 71 KB)

Here are links that may be very good to provide additional statistical information which you can plug in:


And here is a link to the source document containing the cancelled registration information used for this article:


Here's a quick spreadsheet with the Indiana voting machines by county -- you can get that on the Sec. State's Web site too, but it's not in a database format. You can cut and paste these into your analysis sheets if you'd like to get comparisons of results by county.



Another press release on the Indiana Secretary of State's Web site deals with the $360,000 penalty he's hitting Microvote with for failing to follow the law. Oh yes, and the Microvote Infinity, which will be very widely used in the Tuesday May 6 primary, has been decertified!

That's not going to stop anyone in Indiana from using it, however. The decision was that anyone who already bought these things gets to use them -- despite the fact that these machines have been embroiled in lawsuits in at least three counties, one in Pennsylvania for machines that just didn't work, and two in Tennessee where candidates have asked to redo elections due to bizarre anomalies -- like vote totals that wandered away in the wee hours of the night.

Microvote's insurance company declined to cover the firm, according to yet another lawsuit, because the insurance company alleged that Microvote was selling defective products. The judge ruled against the insurance company, saying the product wasn't defective, it just didn't work.

I haven't plugged this in yet, but those of you who are comfortable with spreadsheets can quickly add the voting machines by county to your voter registration spreadsheet to see how many votes all together will be subjected to Microvote.

Ah, but we aren't done with Indiana voting machines yet. Indiana is also fond of the ES&S paperless iVotronic touch-screens, the ones that lost 18,000 votes in Sarasota County Florida and were the subject of a blistering report by Dan Rather. In Rather's report, he showed shocking footage of the touch-screens being manufactured in a sweat shop in the Philippines. Their quality control test was to shake the machine and if it didn't rattle, it passed the test.


1. Do some public records requests to either the state or the counties, and ask for their VRG-5 form, which is the NVRA tracking form on which the number of voters purged must be reported.

For tips on how to do them, here's our tool kit, scroll down to the section on public records:


I'm pushing hard right now to get TOOL KIT 2008 done -- it's a stripped-down model with emergency measures for the fall election. Unless you tell me not to, I'll let you know as soon as it's ready for download.

2. Another useful form you can request: The CEB-9 form, which is the County Election Report that must be turned in after the election. Here's one, take a look at the information it contains:


3. If you are a number-cruncher, grab the spreadsheets here and wail on 'em during Election night. You can get additional historical information from this site:
(Choose the drop-down menu "general by state" and select Indiana, then choose the year you want. Confusion factor -- this site color-codes Republican as blue and Democrat as Red. Has lots of good stuff).

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: People usually catch things like "more votes than voters" weeks after the election. The dang Indiana information doesn't break voter registrations out by party which makes crunching the primary numbers a little harder. But you may still get the jump on some red flags if you track this stuff as it's coming in on spreadsheets that tell you what the stats are going in.


The first number they quote is the adjusted exit poll number, and it comes from asking people about who they voted for.

You'll notice that those projections often change -- sometimes dramatically -- just an hour or so later. That's because we have learned that they are paying elections officials (through their associations or otherwise) to call and fax them the results off the voting machine poll tape.

In fact, the National Election Pool (used to be Voter News Service) is getting this stuff BEFORE the election officials and way before the secretary of state.

The point here is, when what you thought was "exit polls" suddenly changes, that is the impact of those called-in poll tape results. Yep. That's the voting machines talking, and when they say something different than the people answering the exit pollers' questions, we should be looking at the programming on the machine, not the exit pollers, for answers.

I expect to see early projections altered significantly as soon as those poll tape numbers are called in to NEP.

So to recap, good things to do Tuesday:
1. Public records
2. Number crunching
3. Pray

Good luck to us, all,

Bev Harris
Founder - Black Box Voting

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Election day in Indiana

Hard as this is for us to believe, our votes actually matter in this primary. And it appears people are voting in record numbers. For example, take absentee ballots alone, and only for Monroe County (Bloomington:)

As noted in the Bloomington Herald Times:

Surveying a line of people still waiting to vote early Monday afternoon, Monroe County Clerk Jim Fielder said he couldn’t recall a busier lead-up to a primary election.

“Never,” he said. “I’ve been around this since 1979 ... and I’ve never seen a primary like this. Period.”

In fact, with 10,128 people voting before Monday’s early-vote deadline, the early turnout for this year’s primary is just about the same percentage as the overall turnout in 2004’s primary, or about 15 percent of the county’s 73,000 voters, he said.

Monroe’s 2004 primary drew 14,002 voters.

“We’ve had general elections where we haven’t had that kind of turnout,” Fielder said.

Need more context? For this year’s primary election, 10,128 voted early in Monroe County. In comparison, 1,886 absentee votes were cast in the 2004 primary and 2,308 in the 2006 primary.

As for me, I've already voted for the 'hope' candidate, Barack Obama... although I'm not sure I feel any real hope myself. The super-delegates will have the final say. And they are just more Washington 'Big Business' politics-as-usual. They will have special interests at heart; just like nearly every 'representative' we sent to the Capitol in the last election that we thought would pull us out of this downward slide.

The Democrats we sent to Washington in the last election did nothing. They couldn't clean up the epic federal corruption tied to the war -- they couldn't jump-start the rebuilding process leftover from Katrina. They wrung their hands and complained that they didn't have the power to stop Bush and his runaway monarchy. They didn't enforce subpoenas. They did nothing to stop or even slow war spending, or rampant war profiteering in Iraq.

Meanwhile, they dined -- business as usual -- with the big oil, big coal, big Pharma lobbyists and made whatever promises were required for 2008 campaign dollars. For all the talk -- candidates saying that 'they hear us' -- corporate campaign contributions do the real talking.

Government of the Corporation, by the Corporation and for the Corporation.

Would Barack Obama make a difference? I think he is our best hope. Hillary and McCain are entrenched in the system as it is; although McCain along with Russ Feingold at least tried, in the past, to push campaign finance reform through Congress (unsuccessfully.)

So sure, I am stewing in doubt. Apparently, I'm not alone.

If the clients at Hockman’s beauty salon are any reflection of the masses, voters are feeling apprehension and hope.

“Everyone, everyone that comes in here says we need change — big change. And at the same time, they are worried that maybe we won’t get that. Not with any candidate.”
Not until we throw the money-changers out of the temple of democracy. And who will do that?

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Wright-wing media

The New York Times columnist Bob Herbert writes:

"The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is no doubt (and regrettably) a big issue in the presidential campaign. But what we've seen over the past week is major media overkill - Jeremiah Wright all day and all night. It's like watching the clips of a car wreck again and again."

Oh please. This surprises you? Where have you been the last 10 years?

Surely you've been reading your 'talking point memos.' If not, check your office mail slot. All Wright, all the time. It's time for you - you do work for the media establishment, correct? - to assassinate Obama's character for your corporate bosses.

They want Hillary (notice Murdoch is one of her backers.) They believe she will fire up the Republican base for McCain. Obama keeps drawing crowds and talking about issues. He's out of control. And frankly, they're getting a little desperate. Just ask Rush Limbaugh.

Or Jon Stewart... as he presents: "The Festival of Wrights"

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Where have I been?

Well for one thing, my blog was starting to depress me. That was never my intention.

In fact -- I hate politics. I've always considered it a dirty business. This may be partially due to the fact that I grew up during the turbulent 60s. It is most certainly influenced by the fact that my earliest memories of national politics were related to the Vietnam war, the Nixon administration and Watergate. It doesn't get much darker and dirtier than that... well, that used to be the case. I read yesterday that Bush is now more unpopular than any president in modern history -- and this includes Nixon in the month before he resigned.

The fact is, this current American government is now so dark, and our current prognosis so grim, that I really don't feel like writing about it or even dwelling on it.

This doesn't mean I am denying what I see. It means that I have run out of ideas of how I - one person - can change anything I see. The people who have the power to change things, and who are supposed to be representing us... don't care. They report to corporate lobbyists now.

I still sign petitions, still haunt my representatives. I just don't see that it has done any good or made any difference. The darkness is still here, still growing like a cancer in our government. The current sickness in our economy was completely predictable. It will get a lot worse. The looting and pillaging will continue until it is no longer profitable to loot and pillage. Katrina was the wake up call. Actually, the 2000 election was the real wake up call. We just didn't choose to wake up.

We're waking up now.

So every day I wonder: should I write? Is there any point in it? I could look for the positive. I won't find it in our government, but perhaps at a local level. I can write about the past. For example - I was very tempted to plug the recent HBO miniseries 'John Adams,' produced by Tom Hanks. It was excellent. And the theme song (along with the montage of the early, colonial flags) was riveting. I can't get it out of my head.

I can also continue to post multimedia blurbs from the Daily Show. Somehow Jon Stewart manages to make everything funny. I'm not sure how he does it, but he's a national treasure. He is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. I seem to have misplaced my own sense of humor, so its nice to know I can always borrow his.

I'm still here. Still watching. The 2008 election will be interesting. The Indiana primary actually matters this year. Now that's news.


Rob Riggle catches Obamania

This is terribly funny. From a recent Obama rally in Bloomington, IN.

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