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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Quick follow up to Abraham's post on the Draft 
check out the front page of Sheperd Express this week. the hard copy is best, but i'll post a link to the online version for those that don't live in milwaukeee. amazing...scare people into voting for your man. that's a Tony the Tiger tactict.....it's grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat! (online version here --> http://www.shepherd-express.com/shepherd/25/40/cover_story.html

Here's more: something i should have realized a long time ago regarding this draft story is this... does anyone know who the sponsors of the draft bills in the Senate and the House? Take a guess...oh come on, guess. Ok, fine. I’ll tell you. Fritz Hollings (SC) and Charlie Rangle (NY), respectively. So what's the big deal? These two fine fellows are democrats. D.E.M.O.C.R.A.T.S. Now kids, which party is throwing the big fuss about the draft being reinstated? I think you can guess that one. So they introduce legislation, hoping we will not remember who introduced it, in order to scare people? That, in itself, is scary. Was that the plan all along? I would hope not, but i can't say it wasn't. Maybe they all suffer from amnesia.

Blacks "afraid" of touch screen voting machines 
Now, before the hate mail begins, I didn't say it. I'm just reporting the news i find.

Apparently, black folks are afraid of new voting machines. And I’m sure this is being used to set up a new challenge to the result in Florida. They (democrats) couldn't find one single person in 2000 to say that s/he was kept away from the polls by republicans (read: whites), but now they're going to have to find someone that is willing to admit that s/he was "afraid" of the big, bad touch-screen voting machine and that caused him/her to not be able to vote properly. Maybe another issue would be solved too if they just put the candidates pictures on the screen so then people wouldn't have to try and read the names and get all screwed up over that too. What a freaking joke.

Black Voters 'Afraid' of Electronic Voting Machines, Activist Says
By Marc MoranoCNSNews.com Senior Staff WriterSeptember 30, 2004Miami (CNSNews.com)

- An African-American civil rights spokeswoman said on Wednesday that the new computerized voting machines "terrify" her, and that blacks are "afraid of machines like that." Joanne Bland, the director and co-founder of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Ala., told CNSNews.com on Wednesday that the new computerized voting machines are going to intimidate black voters in Florida and elsewhere and surpress their vote in the November presidential election because many blacks are not "technologically savvy."
"The computers really terrify me. The electronic voting --
the new machines -- I think it will turn off a segment in my community,
particularly the elderly. We are not as technically savvy, and we are afraid of
machines like that, and they (African-Americans) probably won't go [to the
polls] and they probably won't ask for assistance"
, said Bland, who spent the last week in Florida."It is going to turn them off totally and I want that to stop," said Bland, who also serves as a spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Public Accuracy, which predicts that "several million voters" may be "deprived of voting rights again" in 2004.
When asked if she preferred low-tech punch-card ballots that
produced the controversial hanging chads in Florida in 2000, Bland responded,
"Now that was low technology to who? People that have been privileged to learn
technology? There have been lots of changes in the United States, but if you
look at the statistics, our biggest block of voters would be between 40 and 80,
so when did those people have access to any kind of technology?"
Entire story here --> http://www.cnsnews.com//ViewSpecialReports.asp?Page=/SpecialReports/archive/200409/SPE20040930a.html

Frankly, I’d be offended if I were a Black voter. Hell, I’d be offended if I was simply Black. To have someone of my own race, someone that is supposed to be “promoting my interests”, sit and say that I’m incapable of comprehending a freaking touch screen voting machine because I’m Black, would incense me. I’d go nuts. I hope Ms. Joanne Bland realizes how idiotic her statements were.

I thought this country was attempting to move away from classifying someone based solely on skin color (however, affirmative inaction is still around, so I guess we’re not all too dedicated to the cause). But here we have Ms. Bland screwing everything up. Can you imagine, just for a moment, the amount of shit that would have hit the fan, had Limbaugh, Hannity, or O’Reilly made those same comments about Blacks not being “technologically savvy”? CBS News would have been all over them like forged documents. It would have been craaaaaaazy.

I can’t understand why MSM (main stream media) has not yet picked up on these comments. Why not expose her for the racist she is? She might have well just said “Oh, we Blacks, we’re just below those whites with technology and all that. We just po city folk that don’t understand technology cause we black.”

I guess I’m simply dumbfounded.
CBS Meltdown Continues 
The CBS News Meltdown shows no signs of slowing.

On September 28th, CBS aired a story that can only be described as shameless rumormongering. Apparently, there are lots of emails going around saying that Bush is pushing a bill through Congress to get the draft reinstated immediately after the elections. This, of course, is nonsense, and has been repeatedly debunked. But that's not something that's going to stop CBS from reporting on it.

Bill at INDC Journal has a fascinating interview with a CBS producer and spokesperson, who apparently take the position that the truth of the rumors is irrelevant, because what they're reporting on is the reaction. ?!?!?! So CBS seems to be playing the part of trial counsel trying to slip this in for "effect on listener" instead of for the truth of the matter asserted, without realizing that they're supposed to be telling us THE NEWS, not arguing Kerry's case at as!

CBS is a laughingstock. Even their corrections are dishonest.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Orin Kerr's challenge 
Orin Kerr has thrown down the gauntlet in this Volokh post to those who supported military intervention in Iraq. He poses three questions, and has promised to link to blogged responses to those questions. I was in favor of military intervention when it became clear that Saddam had no intention of complying with the UN weapons inspectors. So I will post my answers to the three questions, and I hope that any of you who might have points to add would post follow-ups to my answers.

First, assuming that you were in favor of the invasion of Iraq at the time
of the invasion, do you believe today that the invasion of Iraq was a good
idea?
Why/why not?

Yes, I do think it was a good idea. First of all, I want to make it clear that I think it is only fair to evaluate whether or not the Iraq invasion was a good idea based on information available at the time. In doing so, I concede that our intelligence information may have been inaccurate. But this only underscores my primary point, which was that we simply did not know, and had no way of finding out, because of Saddam's intransigence. The fact that we could not know meant that we had to assume a worst-case scenario, involving a chemical, biological, or nuclear weapon being transferred from Saddam to a terrorist organization was at least possible, if not probable. Since the invasion, we may be able to conclude that at that time, the actual risk was not as high as we thought, but more importantly, we now know what the risk is. A lack of actual knowledge is at least as dangerous as actual knowledge of nefarious plans, and that danger has been resolved.

Second, what reaction do you have to the not-very-upbeat news coming of Iraq
these days, such as the stories I link to above?

My first reaction is to be concerned, and to be a little disappointed. But I also have a skeptical reaction, given the tendencies of these reports to be often second-hand, and often coming from people or organizations that have evinced a clear bias against our involvement there. I also try to maintain a little perspective, in that it could realistically be much, much worse than it is. I did not expect perfection, and I was well aware that we would make mistakes and some things would not go as we hoped. Such are the fortunes of war. Most importantly, however, I feel no reaction of being inclined to abandon the project. Not only would this be counterproductive to our interests in a free and democratic Iraq, but it would be extremely dishonorable to the Iraqis to do so.

Third, what specific criteria do you recommend that we should use over the
coming months and years to measure whether the Iraq invasion has been a success?

Success has already been achieved for the most part, from a security standpoint. We can now be relatively confident that the chances of trerrorists receiving WMD from the Iraqi government are very low. For longer-term success, I would expect to see:

  1. A (relatively) free and democratic Iraq, including a quasi-capitalist economy
  2. An active Iraqi anti-terrorist force that cooperates with the U.S.
  3. Unrest and upheaval in the militant factions of Islam in the region, spurred by a redefinition of Islam as a religion of peace by Iraqi clerics
  4. Unrest and instability in other oppressive countries in the region, caused both by a demonstration of U.S. will and by an Iraqi example of the success of freedom.

I believe that our best chance for these outcomes is to maintain a strong presence in the region until the Iraqi government is able to take over both the political and security functions of a state. It is very close politically, with the January elections a major milestone. Security may take longer, but ultimately I think the key to success in security is success in politics. To abandon the government now would be disastrous for its prospects and distastrous for our credibility.

Back to business 
Well, it's fall again; the summer has come and gone. As I get back into the swing of things, I hope to post some more, and I hope others will too. This seems to be an ideal forum for sharing thoughts and objects of interest.

In case anyone is interested, I spent the summer in Arlington, VA, interning with U.S. Army JAG. I worked in the administrative law division of OTJAG (Office of the Judge Advocate General), which is sort of the HQ of Army JAG. It was pretty neat, though I was repeatedly told that because it was basically a regular office and not on an Army installation, it was not the "real Army" and would not resemble what I would actually be doing if I receive a commission.

This semester, I'm taking a trial advocacy workshop and participating in the prosecutor clinic, which so far is a blast. I've just found out I'll be working in the domestic violence unit.

What have the rest of you been doing? Post your experiences for posterity!

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