Re Doug Smith’s article about election woes:
Why did Arkansas have so many problems with the voting machines and the voting machine company? Why don’t all counties have verified voting? Why are counties being forced to get rid of the voting machines that have paper ballots and are compliant with federal law?
North Carolina successfully rolled out new voting machines with less time than Arkansas. The state purchased thousands of new voting systems from the same vendor that Arkansas used, for 100 counties and 5.2 million registered voters, and still was applauded by the media and voting-integrity groups.
North Carolina approved voting machines on Dec 1, and required delivery by early March. Machines had to be ready by mid April for early voting. The testing and programming of the machines was done in plenty of time before the primary. The state board closely monitored the testing and programming of the new equipment.
Arkansas must re-visit this entire situation. Keep all optical scan voting systems that are in good working order. Require all counties to have voter verified paper ballots. Don’t buy more touchscreen voting machines — other assistive devices are more affordable and accessible.
Founder, NC Coalition
for Verified Voting
Getting it right
Two things the Democrats have done right lately. First of all, they told this neo-con administration to talk to the North Koreans. Kim wants respect and even an agreement that is violated three years later is better than no agreement at all, according to former ambassador Bill Richardson. Secondly, a Democratic governor and legislature balanced the budget in New Jersey.
The Republicans screwed FEMA up after it successfully handled hurricanes in the 1990s. They care less about climate change or people losing their jobs here. Some say the GOP has sold out to illegal immigrants and corporate America.
If Americans wake up and vote, we can reverse the ineptitude of these administration and congressional leaders.
North Little Rock
For several months I have been unemployed. This last winter I lost my truck to a blown head gasket. An old friend was gracious to allow me to stay at his home in Faulkner County until things turned around. My friend has now been called to active duty with the Army Reserves and will be shutting down his house to save on costs. I will be homeless.
I am 25 miles from Conway and just that much further from Little Rock. Since I grew up in Little Rock, was educated at UALR and UCA, and obtained most of my work experience in Little Rock, I plan to return there as a homeless person looking for a job and a place to sleep.
I’ve done some research that can be used to understand the plight of the homeless and the need for minimum wage increases. The aim was to see what the minimum is for moving to Little Rock in my condition — unemployed, no car and broke.
I qualify for $152 in food stamps. To rent a typical apartment, most places require the first month, last month and a deposit equal to a month’s rent. At $400 a month, that’s $1,200 right off the bat. Entergy requires a $120 deposit for a $35 monthly average bill. There’s a non-refundable turn-on fee of $50. To search for a job, I will need a telephone. That’s about $25 a month with a $75 deposit. I’ll need a $35 bus pass. That’s cheap for a month’s transportation. It may be slow, but it is trustworthy. And I’ve added the $152 in food the government says I should be able to survive on per month. So far, it will take $1,732 to cover my first month. The second month will not have deposits and turn-on fees. Bills should run in the $687 range.
Figuring all this on a job that is 40 hours per week comes to $4.64 per hour. Then there are taxes. Of course I am homeless. There is no $1,732 to move into an apartment. And the $687 in monthly bills is moot.
If I had a car, I’d have to add on the costs of fuel, insurance and taxes. Other add-ons would include health insurance. I’d have to buy clothes. I’d want a chair, lamp and maybe even a television. I can get Internet through the library. I’d like to get eyeglasses. I’d like to visit friends and places outside Little Rock once in a blue moon.
If I add more to my basic needs with more food, medical and dental co-pays, some extra clothing, the Internet, cat food and litter, some extra trips in my car to Wal-Mart and Kroger, Christmas presents for friends and family, I come up with a minimal requirement of $1,200 per month. That’s $7.47 per hour, not counting taxes.
Gee! Minimum wage is bare bones, to say the least. Everyone should have a copy of the U.S. Constitution. It begins by saying in order to form a more perfect union we promote the general welfare. We the people are to see to it that those less fortunate have a chance to have a roof over their heads, buy toilet paper and ride the bus.
I want everyone to be ready when I arrive. I will be there in the next few weeks, walking down the street. I should have my food stamps, so I won’t panhandle you. But I will be filling out my job application without an address or a telephone. When I say, “I’ll get back to you,” I will.
Facts and truth
It’s a real shame, what the conservatives have done to the concepts of “fact” and “truth.” They repeat lies and half-truths so many times that even their opponents and critics come to accept them. Case in point: an off-the-cuff comment in David Koon’s review of “An Inconvenient Truth.” Although appropriately sympathetic to Al Gore’s side of the story, Koon repeats that hackneyed Republicanism that Mr. Gore “once claimed he invented the Internet.” I will state here once more what I screamed to deaf ears in 2000: He did no such thing! What Gore said was “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” Ignoring context (as any misinformation artist is apt to do), “creating” and “inventing” sound rather equivalent. But this admittedly poor choice of words came in the middle of Gore’s explanation of his record of contributions in the U.S. Congress. There, he indeed took the lead in assuring a federal budget outlay for the burgeoning network of telnet nodes and file-transfer protocols that eventually evolved into the World Wide Web. That’s all he was trying to say — to suggest otherwise is to imply a degree of delusion that would qualify as clinically psychotic.
When a financial backer in the private sector says he “created” a commercial enterprise, no one presumes a claim that he personally laid the bricks and mortar. Al Gore has always been a strong supporter of science and technology.
I could expound on two other devastating misrepresentations: John Kerry did not equivocate on votes concerning the war in Iraq (he opposed the proposal that lacked funding), and Bill Clinton was technically innocent of perjury in his denial of “sex” (defined narrowly by the trial judge to be coitus) with Monica Lewinsky. But my point is simply this: Koon can be forgiven his mistake, because our understanding of “truth” can be sullied by the Law of Mass Action. Just as an inefficient chemical reaction can be forced by a disproportionate glut of reagent over product, b.s. can become “fact” if the alchemist spreads enough o’ the crap.
In defense of freedom
Sometimes, if not most of the time, we Americans take our freedoms for granted. I am a member of the 9/11 Truth movement and also the anti-war movement. My dissent is vocal and strident. I believe that many of our leaders are criminals, guilty of much worse crimes than Randy “Duke” Cunningham. I feel that the 9/11 Commission purposely lied to and misled the American people and that our government and military were, to some extent, involved in what happened that day and helped to cause it to happen so that they could use it as an excuse to go to war in the Middle East to further the grotesque ambitions of certain major corporations and wealthy individuals and families.
In the U.S.A., I am not only allowed to feel this way, but also to express my views openly without much fear of governmental reprisal. In many nations of the world I would be incarcerated or worse for expressing my opinions on these matters.
Though I am not proud of what America is doing abroad or much of what she is doing here at home, I am proud to be an American. My goal as a patriotic American is not to burn the flag, though I feel that this should be a legal act as the flag is in reality but a piece of cloth. My goal is to wash Old Glory and protect what she stands for, which is, to my way of thinking, personal freedom and human rights.
It is this fundamental and almost inherent and for the most part unconscious acceptance of the rights of others to hold differing views and beliefs, that is truly what makes our nation great and what makes us a shining beacon on the hill to other nations.
Dr. Tom Tvedten