GP USA & campaigns
24 Oct 2006 06:34 am
Green Party Candidate Surging!
Green Party Candidate for Illinois governor, Rich Whitney is surging in the polls. In the most recent Survey USA poll, conducted from 10/20/06 to 10/22/06, Whitney wins 14% of the vote. Democratic candidate Rod Blagojevich is ahead with 44%, and Republican Candidate Judy Baar Topinka has 34%.
Most impressive is Whitney’s breakout among independent voters. Topinka leads among independents with 31%. Whitney is second with 29% and Blagojevich has 27%.
Whitney also wins 11% of Democratic voters and 8% of Republican voters.
A month ago Whitney was at 7% in the polls.
Maryland Voting Machine Program Leaked to Press
There’s two kinds of fame in my world:
- The 15 minutes of fame that accompanies things like the Nobel Peace Prize (I just saw Wangari Maathai speak at Busboys and Poets this past Friday. Her remarks included the significance of a environment being recognized by the Nobel committee, and it’s role in contributing to peace.) and
- Being the lead story on Slashdot
Linda Schade and TruevoteMD achieved the second honor tonight. By the time you read this, they will have moved down the page, but the permanent link is at the end of my post. You will also find the characteristic Slashdot discussion of the issue dense with entries by computer savvy professionals on a topic they care about and have deep knowledge of.
“The Washington Post reports on the two Diebold source disks that were anonymously sent to a Maryland election official this past week. Further investigation has lead individuals involved to believe the disks came from a security check demanded by the Maryland legislature sometime in 2003.”
From the article:
“Critics of electronic voting said the most recent incident in Maryland casts doubt on Lamone’s claim that Maryland has the nation’s most secure voting system. “There now may be numerous copies of the Diebold software floating around in unauthorized hands,” said Linda Schade, co-founder of TrueVoteMD, which has pressed for a system that provides a verifiable paper record of each vote.
Read the rest of the Slashdot story here.
19 Oct 2006 09:56 am
November Montgomery County Green Party Meetings
The next two Montgomery County Local Meetings will be:
Thursday, November 9, 7-9 PM
Thursday, December 14, 7-9 PM
The meetings will be at Wheaton Regional Library on Georgia Ave. in the
meeting room on the ground floor.
Green Party candidates make gains among independents
A new Zogby poll of New York State shows Green Party candidates making impressive gains among independent voters.
In the governor’s race, Green candidate Malachy McCourt is picking up 14% of the independents against Democrat Eliot Spitzer’s 53% and Republican John Faso’s 20%.
But, more impressive is the Senate race where Democrat Hillary Clinton picks up only 38% of the independent vote, Republican John Spencer 28% and Green Party Candiddate Howie Hawins 21%
In the Attorney General’s race Democrat Andrew Cuomo scores 31% of the independent vote, Republican Jeanine Pirro 25% and Green candidate Rachel Treichler 17%.
These gains are not matched among Republican and Democratic voters where Green candidates only score in single digits which holds down their overall showing. However, since independents are the only segment of the voting population that is growing–especially among younger voters–this is an indication that the Green Party has the potential to become a much more significant force in electoral politics in the future.
In Maryland, Kevin Zeese has shown nearly as strong support in the one available poll that provides a breakdown of the vote; a Survey USA poll from mid September. In that poll Steele captured 45% of independent voters, Cardin 39% and Zeese 12%. As in New York, very low numbers among Democrats (2%) and Republicans (3%) kept Kevin’s overall numbers low. It would be interesting to see a breakdown on a more recent poll to see if Kevin is picking up any momentum among independents like the New York Greens.
Food production declines again in 2006
Thirty years ago people warned us against the dangers of overpopulation and the limits of growth. Now their predictions are coming true and it may be too late to avoid a catastrophe. Global warming, overpopulaton/overconsumption, and peak oil are all upon us–each one aggravating the other.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has issued it’s October resvision of estimates of world grain production for 2006/2007, and has revised its estimates downward. It now looks as if production will be about 2% lower than last year and that consumption will run about 50 million tons greater than production. This will be the fourth year out of the last five that production has been less than consumption. Grain stocks have now dropped 25% below their 2002 levels.
Stocks have fallen low enough that grain future prices have started to skyrocket. Corn futures are 80% higher than last year. Wheat futures are 50% higher.
Droughts in the US West, Western Europe, Australia, and China are depressing production. Overuse of fresh water supplies are depleting aquifers; and gobal warming is melting mountain glaciers–a major source of fresh water.
Thousands of small lakes and rivers have disappeared across Asia from overuse. The Colorado, Indus, and Yellow rivers no longer make it to the sea year round. The Ogallala Aquifer in the US West is being delpeted faster than it can be renewed.
The worst part is that many of the ecological problems that face us have not penetrated into the general consciousness. Global warming has become generally accepted. Peak oil is gaining ground. But the food and water problems that face us are still under the radar.
It may already be too late for political solutions. We may need to look to our own neighborhoods and towns to work for ways to survive the coming end of growth.
The Energy Mandate
Another Friedman for your consumption.
October 13, 2006
James Carville, the legendary Clinton campaign adviser who coined the slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid,” knows a gut issue when he sees one. So when Mr. Carville contacted me the other day to tell me about the newest gut issue his polling was turning up for candidates in the 2006 elections, I was all ears.
“Energy independence,” he said. “It’s now the No. 1 national security issue. … It’s become kind of a joke with us, because no matter how we ask the question, that’s what comes up.”
So, for instance, the Democracy Corps, a Democratic strategy group spearheaded by Mr. Carville and the former Clinton pollster Stan Greenberg, asked the following question in an Aug. 27 survey of likely voters: “Which of the following would you say should be the two most important national security priorities for the administration and Congress over the next few years?”
Coming in No. 1, with 42 percent, was “reducing dependence on foreign oil.” Coming in a distant second at 26 percent was “combating terrorism.” Coming in third at 25 percent was “the war in Iraq,” and tied at 21 percent were “securing our ports, nuclear plants and chemical factories” and “addressing dangerous countries like Iran and North Korea.” “Strengthening America’s military” drew 12 percent. Mr. Carville also noted that because their polls are of “likely voters,” they have a slight Republican bias — i.e., they aren’t just polling a bunch of liberal greens.
“When we lay out different plans for how to deal with Iraq, any plan that also includes energy independence tops any other plan that doesn’t,” said Mr. Greenberg, who added that people are not expressing this view because they are worried about price, but because they are starting to understand that our oil dependence is fueling a host of really bad national security problems. “There is frustration that leaders have not taken it up,” he added. “There is a sense that the public is ahead of the leaders, and there is actually a sense of relief when anyone talks about [energy independence] with any seriousness.”
Mr. Greenberg said he started noticing this during this year’s re-election campaign by Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania. When his Republican challenger, Lynn Swann, first jumped into the race, public polls showed the two candidates in a dead heat. Governor Rendell eventually pulled far ahead in the polls, though, and among the key issues that helped to separate him, said Mr. Greenberg, was the governor’s stressing of alternative energy, and his “PennSecurity Fuels Initiative” to lessen dependence on foreign oil and grow the state’s clean energy market.
What this means for Democratic Party candidates, argues Mr. Carville, is that it’s no longer enough to have “energy security” as part of a 12-step plan for American renewal. No, it needs to become a defining issue of what Democrats are all about.
It should “not be part of an expanding litany, but rather a contracting narrative,” explained Mr. Carville. “It can’t just be that we are for a woman’s right to choose, and education and energy independence. This is the thing we need to get done above and beyond everything else.” People should associate “energy security” with Democrats the way they associate “tax cuts” with Republicans, he argued. “This is not something to add to the stew — this is the stock.”
The best way for a party that is often viewed as weak on national security to overcome that deficit is to be for energy independence, he noted. Indeed, nothing would be more potent for Democrats now than to capture energy security and all the issues that surround it — from improving our trade deficit by not importing more oil to improving the climate to improving U.S. competitiveness by making us leaders in alternative fuels.
So does this mean the public would accept a gasoline or B.T.U. tax? No, said Mr. Greenberg. The public wants government to impose much higher auto mileage standards on Detroit and much more stringent energy codes on buildings and appliances. People want a tough regulatory response, à la California.
Remember, Mr. Carville and Mr. Greenberg are professional campaign advisers. They get paid to get people elected — not to offer feel-good nostrums. So when they tell you that their polling and focus groups around the country show that “reducing dependence on foreign oil” is voters’ top national security priority, you know that this issue has finally arrived. The party that captures it most credibly will be rewarded.
Hello? Anybody listening?
Using the Blog
10 Oct 2006 10:50 pm
Web site CMS software evaluation
Well, as we discussed, the list of free opensource content management systems (CMS) software is too extensive for anyone to evaluate in great detail.
I focussed my efforts on the five systems currently at the top of the running at packtpub’s competition.
- Drupal — (formerly Mambo) web reviews depict it as easy to use and considered good for community sites (what we are)
- e107 - seems less mature but promising
- Joomla! - looks good, web reviews consider it good, too.
- Plone - looks good, but can’t be installed with our current level of system access at igc, our current webhoster, so probably out. Bummer for me, because it’s based on Python, which I prefer.
- Xoops – looks good
There may be others worthy of greater consideration, and I am open to them.
Any of these CMS’s are worthy and probably would be ok. I am leaning towards Drupal right now. You can demo all of them for free at this free demo website.
You can google for things like xoops vs. drupal or e107 vs. joomla and spend the rest of your life evaluating these things.
Here’s what I see that makes me lean towards Drupal.
- There are a number of good reviews of it on the web by users who are happy and tried some of the others. You will find that everyone of these has its fans
- Like many of the others it has these features:
- mass email of users for email broadcasts, (in the optional advanced user module)
- blogs for every user,
- web page publishing via a web page interface,
- numerous color and layout themes that can be chosen or modified as one wishes, all of them offer a number out of the box, and have more that their developer community has developed.
- it is considered a good system for community websites
- it seems more simple to use with less training
- a Wordpress conversion module, which will allow us to preserve the current Mont. Co. blog stuff.
- There is also a book function that allows a group of people to put together a series of pages that are related, I imagine this could be used either for various committees or for different counties.
- Each of these has things like feed aggregators, and news headline systems and user membership capabilities
- These seem to be most mature systems with the most mature (large) user communities and developers creating addins and helping each other to make these things work, give each other support, etc.
I’m sure that any of these CMS’s will work, my other leaders were Joomla, and maybe xoops. Joomla seems less good for novice users (us). Drupal seems better for communities (us).
All of these systems have additional parts (modules) that other people can write and add to the overall system, for example
I strongly recommend you look at the free demo website above, and see for yourself what these things look like. They are all good enough. My vote goes to Drupal right now unless someone finds something that looks like a showstopper.
We will need to see what the best way to handle counties is, and subsidiary webpages. It seems like if we offered each county their section within the CMS, it would increase the overall coherence of the website, and would make it easier for each of the counties to maintain their stuff, plus they would be able to take advantage of the new features. The web server hardware will not really handle each county installing their own CMS, so it is best if we do this once in a shared fashion. Also, it means that the data will be shared and linked appropriately throughout the site.
Regardless of which CMS we choose, we should continue to discuss the overall structure and layout and goals of the website. Perhaps establish some thoughts on what homepages look like and how to structure the menus to bring people into the website. We can do it right here.
If the blog editing screen isn’t working for you, it is actually a function of your browser, not the blog…. You can flip back to the old style editor by unchecking the “Rich Visual Editor” checkbox in the user management screen. You have to do this yourself. You can flip it back if you want.
October 9: Eating the Earth Day
By October 9, worldwide economic activity had consumed all the resources that the earth could produce in a year. From then until the end of the year we are, in effect, eating the earth–depleting the ability of the planet to produce.
Two ecological think tanks, Global Footprint Network and the New Economics Foundation compiled the data for this conclusion. The ecological debt day has been occuring earlier and earlier each year. It was first calculated in 1987 as occuring on December 19. By 2000, it fell on November 1. Last year it was October 11.
We now use about 30% more in one year than nature can regenerate. This ecological overshoot of means that it takes one year and about three months for the Earth to regenerate what is being used by people in one year, creating an ecological deficit.
We are only able to maintain this level of consumption by liquidating the planet’s natural resources. The consequences of this ecological overshoot can be seen in our rapidly warming climate, in deforestation, the collapse of fisheries, species extinction, insecure energy supplies, water shortages and crop failure.
Here’s a Holocaust story that you’re not likely to read about…..
by Angry White Liberal
The Holocaust was an Arab story, too.
Yet when Arab leaders and their people deny the Holocaust, they deny their own history as well — the lost history of the Holocaust in Arab lands. It took me four years of research — scouring dozens of archives and conducting scores of interviews in 11 countries — to unearth this history, one that reveals complicity and indifference on the part of some Arabs during the Holocaust, but also heroism on the part of others who took great risks to save Jewish lives.
Neither Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to Holocaust victims, nor any other Holocaust memorial has ever recognized an Arab rescuer. It is time for that to change. It is also time for Arabs to recall and embrace these episodes in their history. That may not change the minds of the most radical Arab leaders or populations, but for some it could make the Holocaust a source of pride, worthy of remembrance — rather than avoidance or denial.
09 Oct 2006 06:03 pm
Zeese Wins First Three Way Senate Debate
The Greater Baltimore Urban League sponsored Maryland’s first three way debate including a third party candidate on Oct. 4. Senate candidates Ben Cardin (D), Michael Steele (R), and Kevin Zeese (G, L, P) spent two hours debating and fielding questions. By all accounts, Kevin Zeese won the debate.
Steele presented himself as an independent, asking people to judge him as a person. Cardin asked people to vote for him on the basis of “my record” although he played fast and loose with that record. Only Kevin ran on a vision for the future: getting off our oil addiction, taxing wealth instead of income, ensuring voting systems that we can trust.
All candidates had their share of raucus supporters, but Cardin’s supporteres became noticeably quieter as the night wore on. Kevin won over some of the undecided voters present. The Afro-American News. reported on one voter who commented that Zeese gave her pause for thought;
I liked what he talked about. I liked the values that he talked about. I liked the slate that he’s running on. So I haven’t made my mind up yet.
John Ford, a 39-year-old state employee, said although he came expecting to choose between Cardin and Steele, he also was impressed by Zeese’s performance.
The only real person that seemed genuine was Zeese. I was kind of split between Cardin and Steele, but Zeese was the better guy out of all three of them. I want somebody who’s going to care about people — genuine Americans,” he said. “Not somebody who’s already rich and once they get where they want to go, they forget about the people that put them there.
A video of the debate can be seen here.
A second three way debate is scheduled for October 25.