BOREF

Borealis’s mining partner, Advanced Explorations, announces two new board members. Its ability to attract such people (one is a former Cabinet Minister) suggests – who knows? – we just might have something valuable in Roche Bay, which seems to be AXI‘s main focus. The season’s drilling has commenced.

Meanwhile, two of the four partners WheelTug needs to make the Delta Airlines project happen have been signed. It all remains highly speculative, of course, and maddeningly slow. But inch by inch, perhaps . . .

(Or perhaps not: so only with money you can truly afford to lose.)

GLDD

The company’s latest investor presentation. I don’t see competitors springing up to get into this stodgy old field . . . and when we get back to our traditional, pre-Iraq level of dredging (as we must, no? don’t we need navigable waterways?), both the volume of work and the price that can be charged for that work are likely to rise (supply and demand), which is a powerful combination. Even with a bad economy, I like to think this one could double in a year or two.

HEDGING

Peter Baum: ‘I’m going to argue for the hedge you mentioned today. As a reasonable investor, I have an asset allocation range for equities. Sometimes I like moving up or down in my range even when none of my stocks cries out to be bought or sold. Joe’s hedge, RSW allows me to tinker in this way. (Actually, because I am tech-stock-heavy, I use QID). Furthermore, if you like your stocks but don’t like the market, it allows you to move your asset allocation but not exit any positions. Now, I’m doing this in a fairly narrow range (I’m always 50-70% in equities), but I’ve found this a very useful tool that also gives me some psychological solace.’

AN ALTERNATIVE TO QUICKBROWSE

Zach Rosen: ‘For the purposes of sitting down in the morning and seeing all the sites there are to see, I just found ‘My Morning Coffee,’ a Firefox extension that I am enjoying.’

☞ Outstanding. But note that Quickbrowse now has a free Firefox extension, too. Unlike My Morning Coffee – which opens Web sites in tabs – Quickbrowse opens them as a single page . . . and lets you ‘collect links’ from the first set of pages on a second Quickbrowse page. (So your first page might be HuffingtonPost and Drudge and the Wall Street Journal and a few others, which you’d quickly skim, clicking the headlines for stories you want collected on a second page.)

OPERA (BUT FUN)

Jeff: Opera has navigation features far superior to any other browser. You can use the keyboard, mouse gestures, or mouse clicks (or any combo of them) to do anything you can do using the mouse. It’s much faster than searching for the forward and back buttons with your pointer for common tasks. On the other hand, it slows down if you open many tabs (more than, say, 30) and it comes to a dead stop and sometimes crashes on maps.google.com. A few sites do not work right in Opera (yours shows an ‘F’ where you have that little pointing hand wingding).’

☞ My little pointing hand shows up as an F in Safari and Firefox, too. When are browsers going to comply with my standard?! Is that really asking so much?

REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR VETOES INSTANT RUN-OFF VOTING

Boo! Hiss! Click here.

MAKING SURE AT LEAST ONE VOTE COUNTS

Even if it will be some time before we routinely get to specify our first and second choices in Instant Runoff elections, an even more important concern is that every eligible voter who wants to vote gets to do so, and that every vote counts. The Nation reports that the DNC has been doing good work toward that end:

. . . The Democratic National Committee isn’t waiting until November to address these problems . . . As part of its Voting Rights Institute and 50-State Strategy, its field staff has conducted approximately 1200 interviews with local elections officials in order to investigate exactly how elections will be administered come November.

“While there are state and federal laws governing elections, local election officials have a lot of discretion,” Anna Martínez, DNC Deputy Political Director for Voter Protection, told me. “So we’ve used local field staff to conduct these interviews, looking state-by-state and county-by-county. Even within a single state there are a lot of discrepancies as to how elections are run and how local election officials are interpreting the law.”

Martínez came to the DNC after working as a senior analyst in the Voting Rights section of the Department of Justice from 2000-2004 . . .

“The people in charge there, the political appointees over in the front office, not only lacked commitment to civil rights but actively worked against voting rights enforcement and over time created a demoralizing work environment for career professionals,” Martínez said. “I went to the DNC before the 2004 election, so I could take my experience and apply it to actually working to promote and protect the right to vote.”

Many troubling issues have already been uncovered by the DNC during its interview process, including: election officials saying they won’t allow college students to vote in their hometowns even though that’s not within their discretion; improper purging of voters from registration lists; lack of training for election officials; 25% of jurisdictions surveyed have no formula for allocation of voting machines; 34.7% have no written policy for removal of voters from voter registration lists; 16% have no written chain of custody procedure for equipment and election results; 66 jurisdictions have polling places that are inaccessible to people with disabilities (and those are just the ones that admit it); there is also much confusion over who has jurisdiction – state or county – over various aspects of election administration.

“When you start listing these things you realize how much there is that we need to be on top of,” Martínez said.

The problems are now being addressed by the state parties and the DNC’s National Lawyers Council (NLC), made up of thousands of Democratic volunteer lawyers and law students. Leadership in the state and county NLC chapters are working with a whole cadre of lawyers at the local level to help get that job done. Martínez said that many of these lawyers have relationships with local election officials, and for those that don’t, establishing them now is critical.

“This project is allowing our local lawyers to meet with the local election officials now, so that we can work together addressing issues we identify,” Martínez said. “Normally these issues don’t get the attention they deserve until really late – like the last 6 weeks before an election – and then it’s chaotic. But decisions about administering elections are being made year round, so we’re trying to be vigilant in seeing what these decisions are, who’s making them, and we’re trying to flag issues and resolve problems well in advance of the election.”

[. . .]

“There’s been some resistance,” Martínez said. “But for the most part election officials want to do their jobs well and are happy to participate. Where there is resistance I’m concerned. It should be a transparent process.”

Indeed it should be. But as we learned in 2000 and 2004, transparency isn’t always the way things pan out. Between now and Election Day the DNC will track problems, state parties and lawyers will work to address them, and how and when they are resolved will be monitored. When Election Day rolls around the DNC hopes to use its own voter hotline to quickly respond to problems, and lawyers and field workers will utilize new technology to locate trouble spots in real time and respond.

 

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