Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday morning quick hits

FEC overwhelmed by donations to Democrats In this historic election year, fundraising by Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has been so successful that it has overcome the abilities of the FEC, government watchdog groups and even software applications - to compile and analyze the data. Both Clinton and Obama have filed fundraising reports that exceeded the 256-columns-by-65,396-rows of standard spreadsheet applications. It all has the oversight groups working overtime.
“Our people are working harder than ever and faster than ever because the candidates are raising more money more quickly than ever and there’s such intense interest in who’s raising what from whom,” said Massie Ritsch, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics. “We know that reporters, in particular, don’t have a lot of time and aren’t always trained in how to manipulate spreadsheets so we’re happy to do it for them.”

In a revealing insight into the significant fundraising disparity between the two Democrats and presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, it is still possible to download his reports with plain-old Excel.

Yet even those with access to higher-powered software capable of handling the Obama and Clinton data aren’t necessarily able to start crunching numbers on the 20th of each month, when the campaigns’ monthly reports are due at the FEC.
Remember folks, an election has to be close to be stolen, and when 85% of the country thinks that we are on the wrong track and 70% oppose the war in Iraq, it looks like it just might be theft-proof. I sure as hell hope it is.

Police are casualties in Mexico's drug war
Top security officials who were once thought untouchable have been gunned down in Mexico City, four in the last month alone. Drug dealers killed another seven federal agents this year in retaliation for drug busts in border towns. Others have died in shootouts.

Drug traffickers have killed at least 170 local police officers as well, among them at least a score of municipal police commanders, since Mr. Calderón took office. Some were believed to have been corrupt officers who had sold out to drug gangs and were killed by rival gangsters, investigators say. Others were killed for doing their jobs.

Mexican President Phillipe Calderon's response to the mounting body counts will sound eerily familiar to Americans. He vows to stay the course.

Oskaloosa County, Florida considers Internet Voting Oskaloosa County, home to Eglin AFB, the largest USAF base in the world, is weighing instituting internet voting for registered voters of the county who are stationed or living abroad.
A small Panhandle county that is home to one of the world's largest air bases is embarking on a sweeping experiment in Internet voting that could transform elections in the 21st century.

But the push by Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Pat Hollarn to use the Internet to make it easier for U.S. soldiers overseas to vote is drawing fire from voting activists who call her project ''unsafe'' and contrary to a new law that requires the state to use paper ballots.

Frustrated by the pace of overseas voting efforts undertaken by the Department of Defense in recent years, Hollarn has championed a plan that will let those living on, or near, three military bases in the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan cast ballots in the November election.

During a 10-day period just before Election Day, voters living abroad will be able to enter a computer kiosk and vote on an encrypted electronic ballot, which will eventually be shipped to Florida via the Internet and then counted. Poll workers will be on site to verify that the person is a registered Okaloosa County voter.

Hollarn, an elections supervisor for the past 20 years, views her ''distance balloting project'' as just another type of absentee ballot that uses the Internet instead of the mail. The ballot will have all of the federal, state and local races that appear on the one used in Okaloosa County.

I am not rushing to the notion with open arms, but I am willing to consider it. The disenfranchisement of military personnel is especially abhorrent, but I am far from objective where the rights of those who serve are concerned.


Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Take a minute at some point today to remember those who have, and those who will, give their full measure in defense of Liberty.


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