Can't test the Electronic Machines

From NYT:

A laboratory that has tested most of the nation’s electronic voting systems has been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federal officials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests.

The company, Ciber Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colo., has also come under fire from analysts hired by New York State over its plans to test new voting machines for the state. New York could eventually spend $200 million to replace its aging lever devices.

Experts on voting systems say the Ciber problems underscore longstanding worries about lax inspections in the secretive world of voting-machine testing. The action by the federal Election Assistance Commission seems certain to fan growing concerns about the reliability and security of the devices.

The commission acted last summer, but the problem was not disclosed then. Officials at the commission and Ciber confirmed the action in recent interviews. (more…)

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I’m thinking we need to go back to the paper ballot.

It's Showtime…

So let’s get busy.

Thursday will be day one for the 110th Congress and it’s time to roll up the sleeves and get to work. House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi has not made much of a secret of the items on the agenda for the first 100 hours. So much for those old-fashioned “100-day” agendas. Strap on your socks and get ready. With the stage set by Pelosi and Harry Reid’s pledges to keep the House and Senate open for business with…. gasp…. actual five-day work-weeks, I’m looking forward to tuning into C-SPAN.

The Preznet tried to jump the gun and grab a little press for himself on Wednesday with a little op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, begging for a spirit of bipartisanship. I caution you that before you read it, you might want to make sure you’ve taken some sort of anti-emetic and that you not try to read the whole thing at once. The degree of hypocrisy and stubborn-headedness, not to mention the insistent repetition of misleading statements sold to us for the last six years is not for the faint of heart. I may try taking a shot at dissecting it a bit when I can carve some time out over the next few days.

Whatever he says, though, the cheerleader-in-chief is on the wrong side of public opinion and the wrong side of the vote count on almost everything that the Democrats plan to put forward in their agenda. DailyKos pointed me towards this CNN poll that was taken in December for release Wednesday. They slice and dice the questions a couple of ways in their survey, but they basically asked people whether they favored/opposed/lacked opinion on the various Democratic proposals that we will see coming forward. Suffice it to say that these are pretty popular proposals amongst the American public (numbers in parentheses are favor/oppose/no opinion):

Allowing the government to negotiate with drug companies to attempt to lower the price of prescription drugs for some senior citizens: (87/12/1)

Raising the minimum wage: (85/14/1)

Cutting interest rates on federal loans to college students: (84/15/1)

Creating an independent panel to oversee ethics in Congress: (79/19/2)

Making significant changes in U.S. policy in Iraq: (77/20/3)

Reducing the amount of influence lobbyists have in congressional decisions: (75/21/4)

Implementing all of the anti-terrorism recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission: (64/26/10)

Maintaining the current Social Security system to prevent the creation of private investment accounts: (63/32/6)

Funding embryonic stem cell research: (62/32/6)

Reducing some federal tax breaks for oil companies: (49/49/2)

Changing the rules to allow Congress to create new spending programs only if taxes are raised or spending on other programs is cut: (41/54/5)

Over half of these proposals are favored by the public by a three-to-one margin. All but two of them are favored by at least 30 percentage point margins. We’ve seen how little was accomplished in the last six years under single party Republican rule. Now let’s show them how it’s done.

Choose Generosity, Not Exclusion by Congressman Keith Ellison

Did you see how an intelligent man gives an opponent the finger? Keith Ellison during his private swearing in ceremony used Thomas Jefferson’s Koran (I need to find out what the official spelling of this Holy Book is. I have seen it spelled a number of ways)!! It is hard to say that he isn’t patriotic now!

From WaPo:

Somewhere in Minneapolis or Jackson or Baltimore, somewhere in America today, there is a young couple that is feeling vulnerable. Maybe one has been laid off due to outsourcing, and maybe, the other is working for something close to a minimum wage. They probably have no medical benefits. Today real income is lower for the typical family than in 2000, while the incomes of the wealthiest families have grown significantly. Things are tough for working people, but in America, we often turn to our faith in tough times.When our couple shows up for worship service, probably on a Sunday, there is no doubt that the preacher will tell them of God’s unyielding love. “God loves you.” But the next thing the preacher tells them is crucial – not only to the young couple, but to us all. The next message from the preacher may help to shape, not only the next election results, but the political landscape of the nation.

Will the preacher tell our young couple, “God loves you – but only you and people like you?” Or will the preacher say “God loves you and you must love your neighbors of all colors, cultures, or faiths as yourselves”? One message will lead to be a stinginess of spirit, an exclusion of the “undeserving”, and the other will lead to a generosity of spirit and inclusion of all. Continue reading