PRIORITIES

You will recall that, through their family foundation, the McCains gave $78,000 to charity last year. According to Vanity Fair, Cindy McCain wore $280,000 earrings to the Republican Convention.

Meanwhile, the RNC picked up a $150,000 tab for Sarah Palin’s eight-week wardrobe.

Per Bill Press‘s column this week, Michelle Obama wore a $148 dress on ‘The View.’

THE NUB OF THEIR ARGUMENT

The McCain campaign has two major themes:

  • First, that Senator Obama will raise taxes on small businesses, like the one Joe the Plumber hopes one day to buy. But this is simply untrue: Obama would raise taxes on only about 2% of small businesses, and lower them on most of the remaining 98% – and on Joe the Plumber.
  • Second, that Senator Obama “pals around with terrorists like Bill Ayers.” But by this standard, Reagan confidante and ambassador, the late Walter Annenberg – who appointed Ayers to the board Obama served on – would also have been suspect. Could Reagan himself have been a terrorist sympathizer if Annenberg was?

And as if all that weren’t a grand enough vision to win your vote, Senator McCain says he “knows how to get Bin Laden” – and he’ll do it if elected President. Leading one to recall President Bush’s similar vow to get him, dead or alive . . . and to wonder why, if McCain does know how to get Bin Laden, he hasn’t told someone.

TELEMARKETING

Gail Collins recounts the story of a McCain telemarketer who just couldn’t take it anymore.

BETTER TO VOTE IN PERSON

From Rolling Stone.com:

Suppressing the vote has long been a cornerstone of the GOP’s electoral strategy. Shortly before the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Paul Weyrich — a principal architect of today’s Republican Party — scolded evangelicals who believed in democracy. “Many of our Christians have what I call the ‘goo goo’ syndrome — good government,” said Weyrich, who co-founded Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell. “They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Today, Weyrich’s vision has become a national reality. Since 2003, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, at least 2.7 million new voters have had their applications to register rejected. In addition, at least 1.6 million votes were never counted in the 2004 election — and the commission’s own data suggests that the real number could be twice as high. To purge registration rolls and discard ballots, partisan election officials used a wide range of pretexts, from “unreadability” to changes in a voter’s signature. And this year, thanks to new provisions of the Help America Vote Act, the number of discounted votes could surge even higher. . . .

To justify this battery of new voting impediments, Republicans cite an alleged upsurge in voting fraud. Indeed, the U.S.-attorney scandal that resulted in the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales began when the White House fired federal prosecutors who resisted political pressure to drum up nonexistent cases of voting fraud against Democrats. “They wanted some splashy pre-election indictments that would scare these alleged hordes of illegal voters away,” says David Iglesias, a U.S. attorney for New Mexico who was fired in December 2006. “We took over 100 complaints and investigated for almost two years — but I didn’t find one prosecutable case of voter fraud in the entire state of New Mexico.. . .

☞ Vote early, if your state allows it, to avoid problems on Election Day. If challenged, do NOT accept a “provisional ballot” – just keep politely but resolutely going up the chain until you get to cast your real ballot like everyone else. The chances are good there will be a lawyer on hand or nearby to help protect your rights. Finally, though it’s a bit late to be telling you this, if you have secured an absentee ballot but find your plans have changed and you actually can vote in person, rip up the absentee ballot and get thee to your polling place. The authors of this piece say you run less risk of being disenfranchised if you do so. A great many absentee ballots are thrown out on technicalities, they say – and the voter never even gets to know it.

RON HOWARD IS BALD!

An unusual video. (Thanks, Roger.)

 

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