Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Women as second-class citizens

For the first time since 1918, life expectancy is falling for a significant number of American women, according to this Washington Post report.

In nearly 1,000 counties that together are home to about 12 percent of the nation's women, life expectancy is now shorter than it was in the early 1980s, according to a study published today.

The downward trend is evident in places in the Deep South, Appalachia, the lower Midwest and in one county in Maine. It is not limited to one race or ethnicity but it is more common in rural and low-income areas. ...

The phenomenon appears to be not only new but distinctly American.

"If you look in Western Europe, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, we don't see this," Murray said.
I think all those countries have government-guaranteed health care.

(Flickr photo by plagueoftruth)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Accurate vote counts shouldn't be so hard

People have voted on slips of paper -- or rocks or some other tangible, countable resource -- since the beginning of civilization.

So, in 2008, why is it so daunting for public officials who can't get their acts together on electronic machines to print up some ballots and have us all vote by putting our hand to pen to paper? Have you ever seen anyone other than for-profit newspapers and broadcast stations say they care whether the results are announced an hour after the polls close or a day afterward?

Today's Asbury Park Press has this must-read editorial: "Will the winner be the winner?"

Who is this Nina Mitchell Wells and how did she become the all-powerful N.J. secretary of state that gets to pull the levers behind the curtain in Oz?

Down the rabbit hole

If you thought American "elections" couldn't get more surreal than that absurd flag-pin interrogation last week that ABC called a Democratic "debate," get a load of this Hillary Clinton ad running today in Pennsy.

Earth Day is tomorrow

Plant a tree. Pick up some litter. Carpool, if just for one day.

But do something, please.

Enjoy Jay Leno's Earth Day clips. I like the kids' letters about global warming:

Friday, April 18, 2008

My kind of guy

Father Mike Pfleger makes me want to turn Catholic, were they all so straight talking:

"It doesn't make it right just because that's what you (Bill O'Reilly's Fox Snooze ambush "reporter")say about him." Exactly.

Why doesn't the media ask whether candidates and clergy think it's moral that more children in the U.S. live in poverty than children in any other country in the industrialized world.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Now we're talking

Superior Court of New Jersey issued subpoenas a few hours ago for Sequoia's voting machine testing records, including in our own Ocean County.

Election officials in Bergen, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Ocean and Union counties were instructed to turn over the machines by April 15. Activists trying to persuade Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg that electronic voting machines should be discarded succeeded in convincing her that examining these counties' machines is critical to their case.

"In order to succeed in our case and show Sequoia machines are insecure and can be hacked into, we need to look at these machines," Venetis argued. Clerks in the six counties uncovered discrepancies in 60 machines when they doubled check the vote tallies after the Feb. 5 presidential primary.
The Star-Ledger is planning a full story in the morning, so we'll keep you posted.

Ed Felton on Friday posted on his blog that the discrepancies were worse than originally thought.
This week we obtained six new summary tapes, from machines in Bergen and Gloucester counties. Two of these new tapes contradict Sequoia’s explanation and show more serious discrepancies that we saw before.