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Some years ago, Johnny Carson was interviewing a NASA astronaut on The Tonight Show. Carson asked him what he thought of the bestselling book about alien visitations to Earth written by Erich von Daniken, titled “Chariots of the Gods.”
The NASA guy paused, took a breath and said, “Whenever Dr. von Daniken looks around the world and encounters something he doesn’t understand, he sees evidence of flying saucers. And since there is a lot in this world that Dr. von Daniken doesn’t understand, he sees evidence for them everywhere.”
Carson rolled his eyes for a laugh.
People who believe in widespread voter fraud are like that too, aren’t they? From the Washington Post, a study looks at a link between claims of voter fraud and alien abduction:
One of the findings of a new working paper by John Ahlquist, Kenneth R. Mayer and Simon Jackman is that “the lower bound on the population reporting voter impersonation is nearly identical with the proportion of the population reporting abduction by extraterrestrials.” Roughly 2.5 percent of the population effectively admit to one or the other.
The researchers use a clever set of survey questions in which subjects have only to admit to how many of the actions on a given list they have engaged in, without admitting to specific actions. The difference between the control and the subject groups is that the latter lists included the addition of vote fraud. But some people report to having engaged in all actions on the lists. To check for simple carelessness in reporting, another list adds being abducted by aliens. What they find again is people admitting to committing fraud and to being abducted in similar proportion.
The implication here is that if one accepts that 2.5% is a valid lower bound for the prevalence of voter impersonation in the 2012 election then one must also accept that about 2.5% of the adult U.S. population – about 6 million people – believe that they were abducted by extra-terrestrials in the last year. If this were true then voter impersonation would be the least of our worries.
Which is why photo identity cards are insufficient for preventing voter fraud. They might stop undocumented aliens, but not space aliens. GOP governors should be insisting on DNA testing for all voters.
Just where is Hans von Spakovsky from? I mean, really?
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
This Wednesday, Oct 30, from 4-8pm, at The French Broad Brewery The good folks of the 9th precinct invite you out to a meet and greet super happy fun time, with beer!
In addition to an opportunity to hob your knob with your favorite/least favorite City Council candidates, there will be raffling off a bunch of goodies (including a BBQ gift card, Brews Cruise tickets, and much much more!), polite conversation, burgers and dogs (the hot variety) will be available to satiate your appetite , and tasty tasty beer. Come meet your 9th precinct officers (That’s you Oakley). Beer, free stuff and political activism, what could go wrong? Nothing! Did I mention beer? Beer!
Proceeds from this event will go toward the establishment of 9er Notes, a local newsletter billed as an insurgency against powerlessness, and cynicism, and the infiltration of our bodily fluids.
More info: here
This shutdown situation sucks. There will be hardships everywhere. And recalling the 1995 shutdown, the hardships will come in places people least expect. The 1995 shutdown ended with Republicans having to buckle under the public outcry.
But when you think about it, plenty of government will remain operational during this shutdown. This CNN Travel article gives us a hint:
While essential air security and traffic control operations won’t be impeded, travelers visiting the country’s national parks and other government-run tourist attractions will find the gates shuttered and the doors locked.
Translation: In order to fly to that national park that you won’t be able to get into, some federal agencies need to remain open.
“Government shutdown” doesn’t mean what I think it means. Republicans would have a little less shutdown-geist if we really shut down the government.
- All US military operations stop.
- Veterans services and payments stop.
- All passenger jet travel stops.
- Social Security, Medicare payments stop.
- All federal food inspection stops.
- No National Weather Service.
- No US Mail Service.
- No CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland.
- Federal prisons un-staff, unlock.
Of course we will have some essential level of all these essential things. And there are things I’m leaving out. If only Republicans had to explain to the public why repealing Obamacare was more essential than all these essential things, the government might just still be open. Maybe.
More about the shutdown situation below the fold. Note: NSFW! Read More→
Big Love Festival today, Sunday, September 15th from 1pm-8pm at Roger McGuire Green and Pack Place.
E.J. Dionne this Labor Day morning examines creative ways in which labor is making a comeback — from Thursday’s one-day fast food strikes in cities across the country to filing complaints insisting that food franchises in federal buildings not flaunt wage and overtime laws. Federal contracts and subsidies should aim toward creating a higher-wage economy.
The genius of the labor movement has always been its insistence that if the law genuinely empowered workers to defend their own interests, the result would be a more just society requiring fewer direct interventions by government. This Labor Day could be remembered as the moment when that idea rose again.
Should “workers seeking to organize unions … be covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employers from firing or discriminating against workers for reasons of race, gender, age or disability”? Harold Meyerson thinks so.
Citing “Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right: Rebuilding a Middle-Class Democracy by Enhancing Worker Voice” by Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, and Moshe Z. Marvit, a labor and employment discrimination attorney, Meyerson argues in the L.A. Times that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has more teeth than the National Labor Relations Act. Union organizing may be activity protected under the NLRA, but “it’s just not protected very well,” Meyerson writes.
There is, of course, one problem with this proposal: Getting it through Congress might prove just as difficult as reforming the NLRA itself. But that doesn’t mean this proposal can’t be enacted — because many states have their own versions of Title VII written into their statutory codes. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act, for instance, prohibits discrimination or harassment against the same categories of workers that Title VII protects, and adds a few protected categories of its own, such as workers who report patient abuse in hospitals or nursing homes that receive public tax dollars through programs like Medicaid. As with Title VII, the penalties that can be imposed on employers under the California act are substantial.
Trends that start in California have a tendency to migrate east. Paging Jerry Brown.
The Guardian reports that in the fast-food sector, more and more workers are the breadwinners in their households, and women.
Women make up two-thirds of workers in the fast-food industry, and the median age of a female worker is 32, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A quarter of fast-food workers are raising children, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research
Because of the low wages, a disturbing number of those workers must rely on public assistance just to get by, Amanda Marcotte observes, meaning “the American taxpayer is bearing a huge chunk of the labor costs for wildly profitable companies like McDonald’s.” The Food Chain Workers Alliance last year reported that 13.8% of food industry workers depend on public assistance compared with the 8.3% of all American workers on SNAP (food stamps). Three in ten get their primary care at the emergency room.
When someone working a job (or two) needs to go on public assistance for food and health care, the worker is not the “taker.” That message is starting to gain traction.
Well, in case you missed it, our own Gordon Smith made it official and will stand for reelection on Asheville’s City Council. According to the internets he is also standing for “re-election” but hey, who you gonna trust Webster or the AP style book?
While a lot of politics comes down to issues as narrowly focused and weighty as hyphen usage, there are also questions and arguments that are very fundamental to our society, and extremely important to everyone. I’m glad that we have people around like Gordon who are willing to wade into those arguments, large and small, and work to make our town the best it can be.
I think it’s very appropriate then, at this juncture, for all of us to suggest to Mr. Smith some possible campaign theme songs for his consideration. And since I got here first, I’ll put up my suggestion. Read More→