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War Is Peace. Really!

Friday, Feb. 08, 2008 4:02 AM

In an excerpt of a speech he is slated to deliver later today, President Bush attests that nothing less than 'prosperity and peace are in the balance' in November's presidential election.

Um ... okay. I don't really consider an economy in need of a stimulus package as being prosperous, nor is a mismanaged war-and-a-half with close to 4,000 casualties eliciting images of pastoral harmony.

And that's not even counting the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina, or the irony of waxing poetic about prosperity when we've just had hundreds of families displaced by the tornadoes sweeping through the Midwest and Southern states.

Chinese tradition holds that how you spend the first day of the new year sets the tone for your year as a whole. That being the case, I certainly wouldn't choose to announce the suspension of my presidential bid (setting the tone as one of losing), as Mitt Romney did yesterday. Nor would I choose to announce a fundraising drive (and therefore a lack of money) as Hillary Clinton did.

The latter is doubly surprising since Hillary is supposedly polling well among Asian Americans.

An American businesswoman was arrested in Saudi Arabia for the crime of sitting with a male colleague at a Starbucks in Riyadh. She was interrogated, made to sign a false confession, and chastised by a judge before being released.

But remember, the Saudis are our friends.

While it's unlikely to change the results of Tuesday's California Primary, there's still some confusion over poorly-designed ballots in Southern California.

Because several parties (Democratic, Independent, Green) opened their primaries to 'Decline to State' voters, these voters - after being confirmed on the rolls as DTS and requesting (for example) a Democratic ballot - were given ballots which required them to fill in an additional bubble to confirm that they were DTS voters casting their votes in the Democratic Primary.

That's like telling someone to stand in line, then asking them if they understand they're standing in line.

The design needs to be made to insure votes are properly counted, not to save paper (or to sell the myth that our votes are safer in magic boxes that don't have paper trail auditing). There needs to be positive labelling ("DTS - Democratic") of a ballot, without leaving a loophole through which a voter could invalidate their ballot, or even a simple sign to advise voters to double-check that they've filled out the necessary spaces.

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