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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sign Petition to Support Rep. Holt's Fair Elections Bill

There's alot of work going on within New Mexico and nationwide to try to ensure fair elections where our votes are counted accurately. If we can't feel confident about this, is our democracy actually working? We know the answer.

That's why HR 550 is important. There's a petition on Rep. Rush Holt's web site to support this election reform bill, which he sponsored. The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (HR 550) would:

  • *Mandate a voter verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election, nationwide; because the voter verified paper record is the only one verified by the voters themselves, rather than by the machines, it will serve as the vote of record in any case of inconsistency with electronic records;
  • Protect the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act for voters with disabilities;
  • Require random, unannounced, hand-count audits of actual election results in every state, and in each county, for every Federal election;
  • Prohibit the use of undisclosed software and wireless and concealed communications devices and internet connections in voting machines;
  • Provide Federal funding to pay for implementation of voter verified paper balloting; and
  • Require full implementation by 2006

Not unexpectedly, the bill is currently stalled in the House Administration Committee and needs a boost. Today, blogs around the nation are posting information on HR 550 and urging their readers to sign the petition and contact their Congressional reps to urge them to sign up as cosponsors of the bill. It's also a good idea to contact members of the House Administration Committee to light a fire under them about this issue. CapWiz provides an easy way to contact members of Congress. You know what to do.

November 30, 2005 at 10:55 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Iraq Vets to Speak Against Occupation Saturday

Veterans for Peace member Tina Garnanez, a 24-year-old  Dine (Navajo) Iraq occupation vet, will speak at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice this Saturday, December 3rd, from 2 to 4 PM. Tony Garcia, an Iraq war veteran and medic, will also speak. A press conference will precede their presentation.

These two Iraq war/occupation veterans will answer questions you might have about the occupation and why they are speaking out against this war. Please honor their courage in "going public." They will also be speaking to various high school classes in the Albuquerque area. The two vets will be guests on IndyMedia TV Community Cable Channel 27 this Friday night at 7:00 PM. For further information please call 304-3144.

November 30, 2005 at 10:03 AM in Events, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (0)

Join the Citizen Petition to Preserve our National Forests

From the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance:
Join millions of Americans who've shown their support for the Roadless Rule — sign the Roadless Petition today! Help stop federal plans favoring logging and mining in the last pristine areas of our national forests, including 1.6 million acres in New Mexico!

When you sign, you'll be telling the Bush Administration to reinstate the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which it repealed in May, 2005 in spite of an earlier pledge to uphold the rule.

Your voice will help ensure that areas like the Pecos and Gila National Forest in New Mexico stay roadless, and that other wild National Forests across America also stay protected for future generations to come. SIGN the Citizen's Petition TODAY here!

What's At Stake:

More than 58.5 million acres of roadless National Forests are on the chopping block, including 1.6 million acres right here in New Mexico!

To learn more about the Roadless Rule, please visit the website of the Heritage Forest Campaign: https://www.ourforests.org/roadless/about_roadless.html

November 30, 2005 at 10:00 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

ACTION ALERT: Last Election Reform Task Force Meeting 12/14

From Paul Stokes of United Voters of New Mexico:

The last meeting of the NM Legislature's Election Reform Task Force will be held in Room 307 of the Roundhouse at 9 AM, Wednesday, 14 December.  A good crowd in the gallery to show support for our key issues will be really important in getting our key concerns addressed.

Our top issue is likely to be paper ballots.  Another important issue that we are likely to raise is assuring that the paper ballots or paper audit trails are hand counted rather than machine counted.  A third issue that concerns us is that the Task Force is recommending that correcting problems in the audit provision can be put off until the 2007 legislative session because that would still leave time to be ready for the 2008 presidential elections.  We want to be sure that delay won't result in dropping the matter.

Click the link to download a paper prepared by New York Verified Voting that provides excellent background for the advantages of paper ballots over DREs (Direct Recording Electronic), which are the touchscreen or pushbutton electronic machines: Advantages of Paper Ballots (PDF)

In order to meet the new New Mexico law for "voter verifiable and auditable paper trails", the DREs would need to be retrofitted with printers.  These printers produce a paper tape similar to a grocery receipt, which is kept by the state as the record of the vote.

Personally, I think the key reasons to prefer paper ballots that can be counted with optical scan machines or by hand  over the DREs that count the ballots electronically and produce a paper trail are that with paper ballots:

  • The paper ballot is inherently verifiable by the voter as part of filling out the ballot,
  • There is considerable good experience in NM and across the country with paper ballots and optical scan machines,
  • Paper ballots and optical scan machines have demonstrated fewer errors than DREs,
  • Paper ballots are a much more intuitive, easily understood medium,
  • Paper ballots are much easier to recount by hand for audits and recounts,
  • Voting systems using paper ballots and optical scan machines cost much less than DRE voting systems.

See the PDF download above for additional reasons and rationale.

November 29, 2005 at 02:46 PM in Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Los Alamos Study Group to Launch New Disarmament Center

From the Los Alamos Study Group:
The Los Alamos Study Group is seeking volunteers for its NEW Los Alamos Disarmament Center in Los Alamos, opening December 10th. This is a bold action that will allow us to be a part of the Los Alamos Community and be a voice for those working for nuclear disarmament from a localized place. The Center will be a base for social action, studies of peace and justice issues, and spiritual formation. It will do this through a number of means:

  • The Center will be an educational resource and “counter-museum,” attracting visitors interested in an alternative perspective to what the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Bradbury Science Museum offers.
  • It will bring attention to the large number of businesses and organizations that have endorsed the Call for Nuclear Disarmament.
  • It will be a converging force to spread the Call for Nuclear Disarmament and to carry out other organizing initiatives.
  • It will be a place for small discussion groups and meetings.
  • It will offer a supportive base for LANL employees and others in the Los Alamos Community to oppose the design and manufacturing of nuclear weapons at the LANL.
  • It will attract visiting scholars, interns, and other activists from afar to work with us.
  • It will offer religious communities an arena to incorporate social action into their spiritual formation.

Join us in creating a Disarmament Center that will be a focal point for political, social justice, and spiritual action! Educational programs, organizations, and spiritual communities, and individuals are invited to create a formal program with us or make arrangements to volunteer at the Los Alamos Disarmament Center to stand up against militarism, nuclear weaponry and environmental hazards. This may be in the form of an internship, a spiritual social action program, or out of a social consciousness to work for non-violent change. We envision the Center to be a network of concerned citizens contributing to the common goal of nuclear disarmament.

Please email fportugal@lasg.org or call 505-265-1200 for more information.

November 29, 2005 at 09:49 AM in Local Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Today's Must Read

UP IN THE AIR: Where is the Iraq war headed next? by Seymour Hersch, in The New Yorker.

November 28, 2005 at 02:07 PM in Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (0)

Positive Reception for Veterans for Peace Float in Twinkle Light Parade


From Terry Riley:
I was on the Veterans for Peace pro-soldier, anti-war float in this Saturday's Albuquerque Twinkle Light Parade. The reception was FANTASTIC. Only three or four people along the route said anything negative. The rest were very supportive and many thanked us directly for the display. Whole families cheered us as we passed them. Just before the parade started somebody said he hoped that nobody took offense to our float.  He was so wrong on that count. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Here are a couple photos of the float. (Click images for larger versions.)


Editor's Note: If you'd like to support the troops or vets by making a contribution or sending them something special during this holiday season, here are some links that make it easy:

Treats for Troops

Any Soldier

Armed Forces Relief Fund

Help Our Troops Call Home

Operation Hero Miles

Fisher House

Books for Soldiers

November 28, 2005 at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Signs 'O The Times


It's likely you've received one of these church signs in your email recently. Okay, you've probably figured out by now that they're not real church signs. The good news is that you can make your own version at the Church Sign Generator website. (A nod to BG for the link.)


November 26, 2005 at 11:59 AM in Visuals | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, November 25, 2005


Once again, our house is observing Buy Nothing Day on this Friday after Thanksgiving when the entire consumer culture is out there fighting for "bargains." No fuss. No muss. No crowds. No stress. Less credit card debt.


Instead we're just hanging out with our parakeets, our lovebird and our new sun conure. Reading (me "The Kite Runner," Mary Ellen " Deception Point ").  Throwing a few chores into the mix. Planning on seeing a movie tonight -- maybe Walk the Line, Good Night, and Good Luck or North Country. Okay, buying movie tickets is technically buying something, but at least it doesn't entail visiting a Wal-Mart and the tickets aren't made in the Third World using slave labor. Ah, it feels so good! Are you with us?


November 25, 2005 at 01:00 PM in Visuals | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy T-Day

A Cheney Thanksgiving cartoon, stolen from FarrFeed, who stole it from Kos, who stole it from wherever, but what a GREAT political cartoon:


Here's another I found:


Personally, I'm thankful for New Mexico sights like these:



November 24, 2005 at 12:36 PM in Visuals | Permalink | Comments (0)