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NinetySix's Journal - Archives
Posted by NinetySix in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Nov 11th 2008, 10:15 AM
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.





In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Read entry | Discuss (2 comments)
Posted by NinetySix in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Thu Oct 30th 2008, 02:15 PM
I find it ironic that, particularly in the state of Florida, it used to be the case that a person whose name was SIMILAR to that of a felon, even one from another state, would be kicked off the voter roles and disenfranchised from participatory democracy (e.g., if your name were Stephen K. Martin, and the Secretary of State came across a Steven P. Martens who was a convicted felon in California, you might show up at the poll only to find that they wouldn't provide you a ballot, despite the clear distinction in identity).

But now, the trend is to remove voters for the least difference in name, address, etc. as it appears on the voter's identification and on the official voter roll (e.g., voter Stephen K. Martin might show up with his ID, identifying himself as Stephen Kyle Martin, and not be allowed to cast a ballot).

So clear differences wouldn't save you from being kicked off the list before, whereas slight and completely understandable differences can now get you booted from the voter roll. The pattern here is obvious, trending heavily toward preventing citizens from exercising their RIGHT to vote (and to any wingers who tell you voting is a privilege, simply point to the unambiguous language of the 15th Amendment of the Constitution which explicitly enumerates voting as the right of a citizen).

What needs to be done to remedy this problem? In my opinion, voting should be considered a duty, a condition of one's citizenship, as is serving jury duty, paying taxes, and appearing in court when summoned. There is simply no excuse in participatory democracy for excluding ANYONE who is mentally competent to vote (and again, in my own opinion, this includes even felons).

Election day should be a mandatory public holiday, fines should be levied against anyone who fails to arrive at the polls and cast a ballot (I think $250 should do to motivate most), and transportation should be provided free of charge to any able-bodied individual who needs it to fulfill this requirement for citizenship (with poll workers dispatched to provide ballots to anyone who is incapacitated or incapable of attending the vote at their precinct). Voters should have the right to cast their ballots legitimately, or intentionally spoil their ballots in protest.

The ballots themselves should of necessity include ALL candidates who are officially seeking the presidency; a space in which to write in any other name, including unknown individuals, fictional characters, and even one's own name; and a box to tick for "no preference" for the apolitical among us. Ballots should also universally be printed on paper and marked by voters with pencils. Any mark, such as circling, underlining, an arrow drawn, or brackets surrounding a candidate's name or party, or a box checked, Xed, blacked in, or circled by the candidate's name should be accepted as indicative of voter intent.

Vote totals should be tabulated by a public, meticulously careful triple-count of the ballots by hand, with each count regarded as provisional until all three results have been correlated and confirmed. Official results should not be released until this intensive process is complete; after all, the span from early November to January provides ample time to get everything right, even with no margin for error permitted. If a candidate should happen to win by a single vote, there should BE no margin for error.

Further provisions should also follow regarding proportional representation or instant-runoff-voting, but those issues should only be addressed after the fundamental problems of voting have been addressed in this way or some similar manner.

Only if citizens have confidence in the unimpeachable integrity of their elections can their despair and cynicism regarding the redress of their concerns on the issues be alleviated. This is simply my model of the ideal of democratic participation in our republic.
Read entry | Discuss (3 comments)
Posted by NinetySix in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Sat Nov 11th 2006, 10:21 AM
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.





In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Read entry | Discuss (1 comments)
Posted by NinetySix in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Jun 27th 2006, 11:11 PM
The elephant (so to speak) in the room regarding the whole idiotic issue is the fact that the flag would have to be defined, and what might constitute desecration would have to be defined.

Just how close an approximation of the United States' flag would you have to be desecrating before it could be considered against the law? What if I burned a flag with seven red stripes, six white, a blue field in the upper left corner, but just one big white star? Clearly, this is not the United States' flag, which has fifty stars. What if I burned a piece of cardboard with a stylized image of a flag blowing in the wind? The stripes on the U.S. flag are extended horizontal rectangles, not curved bands which intersect and overlap one another. Do U.S. flags have 13 stripes? They haven't always: when Vermont and Kentucky had entered the Union, the flag was changed to a 15-star flag (and later changed back). Do U.S. flags have 50 stars? Obviously, they haven't always.

And is desecration only the burning of the flag? What if one spits bottled water on the flag? Does no real damage mean no desecration? Isn't the whole focus of the issue on the intent of the desecrator? It seems that it must be, since U.S. Code prescribes burning to dispose of faded, soiled, or tattered flags. Surely those who burn flags, say, for the Government will not be subject to penalties under any such law or amendment. (Burn flags for the Government? But the flag over the Capitol Dome is replaced every day and given as a gift to some dignitary or citizen. Yeah sure, but what did you think happened to all those flags that fly over all those Federal Buildings in every state in the Union?) What if the desecration is more symbolic than physical -- say for instance someone projected a film of a guy taking a dump using the flag for a movie screen? Such an act would seem pretty offensive to me, but it does no physical damage to the flag itself; is it desecration?

I've seen the statistic floating around that something like four acts of flag burning have been documented this year. Imagine the waste of time and resources on the courts if these four acts were prosecuted. Now imagine what might have happened if a flag-desecration amendment had passed: since the single most efficient method of inciting people to burn the flag is to outlaw flag burning, the number of incidents would skyrocket. And if all of these were prosecuted in court, the lawyers for the defense would be asking the very questions I did above.


ed:changed subject line from "Flag Desecration. Flag? Desecration?"

Unless, of course, the terms "flag" and "desecration" are clearly and unambiguously defined. Have the Republicans not realized what a can of worms they'd be opening if they'd won? Either they'd have to undertake the colossal task of spelling out precisely what flag desecration is, only to see pseudo-flag desecrations that skirt the law yet express the same intent as actual flag desecration; or they'd see the courts bogged down considering pointless flag-desecration cases.

Guess they dodged a bullet this time.
Read entry | Discuss (18 comments)
Posted by NinetySix in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed May 31st 2006, 10:50 PM
Everyone who's talking these days about the probability of a Gore '08 campaign seems intent on parsing every phrase of every statement he makes regarding a potential run. Who the hell cares what he says? I think focusing on his pronouncements regarding his political ambitions is to overlook the obvious: Gore is waiting to be drafted. If enough delegates are dissatisfied with the field of candidates by the summer of '08, a draft movement is well within the realm of possibility. This holds several advantages.

First, having avoided a potentially bruising primary season, Gore would be unblemished and unbruised going into the general election season. Whatever attacks the opposition aims at him will have to come from their own arsenal, and they would have to be all-new (imagine the GOP trying to tag him again with that "serial exaggerator" line).

Second, and perhaps more importantly, Gore's ability to fundraise via the internet is already formidable. Try to picture that ability enhanced by the surprise, excitement and buzz of an Al Gore draft at the DNC.

Third, Following his graceful departure from contention in December of 2000, Gore's public image has been on the rise. His predictions concerning global climate change are no longer viewed as sci-fi-esque hyperbole, questionable science, or fear-mongering following the patent and measurable effects the gradual but inexorable rise in temperature has had over the last 10 to 15 years, the strongest effects of which have manifested themselves just within the last three to five years. His stiff wonkishness is no longer viewed as an impediment to office quite the way it was at the end of the comfortable '90s, given the ineptitude and wishful thinking of the arrogant and incompetent Administration of George W. Bush. And his apparently earnest attempt to remain above the fray by conscientiously NOT throwing his hat into the ring has people listening to him as to an elder statesman.

It appears, although he's not saying it explicitly, that he's waiting for that draft. He won't run without it, and it's up to the rank-and-file to bring it to fruition. But if it does come to pass, Gore is quite likely a shoe-in to retake the White House.

I'd kind of like SOMEONE to restore honor and dignity to that place....
Read entry | Discuss (15 comments)
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