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Saturday, March 3rd, 2007
2:56 pm - Your papers, Citizen?

Yesterday The Department of Homeland Security issued the REAL ID Act -- supposedly for the standardization of state identification documents. It actually creates a national identity card, to be used as an internal passport within the US.

States must start issuing the new internal passports by May 2008, or else their citizens will not be able to board planes or enter federal courthouses.

No, I'm not kidding.

The full document (in PDF form).

Some choice quotes from the 162-page document:

"Federal agencies would not accept state-issued driver’s licenses or identification cards unless they were REAL IDs for the purposes of boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, entering nuclear power plants and accessing Federal facilities." (page 111)

"The primary benefit of REAL ID is to improve the security and lessen the vulnerability of federal buildings, nuclear facilities, and aircraft to terrorist attack. The rule would give states, local governments, or private sector entities an option to choose to require the use of REAL IDs for activities beyond the official purposes defined in this regulation." (page 108)

Your papers, Citizen?

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Wednesday, November 5th, 2003
3:12 pm - Election report from Virginia

Reposted by permission, here is a personal report on the balloting in the 411th Precinct in yesterday's election in Virginia.

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2003
3:38 pm - Vote-splitting

One of the problems in a democratic election is the phenomenon of vote-splitting. As an example, suppose we ask 25 people what ice cream they wanted, chocolate or vanilla, and we receive 14 votes for chocolate. Thus, by a vote of 14-11, chocolate wins, and everyone gets chocolate.

But suppose we prepare a ballot for this group with the following choices on it:
  • chocolate ice cream, in a cone
  • chocolate ice cream, in a cup
  • vanilla ice cream

Assume that five chocolate ice cream lovers prefer to eat it out of a cup instead of a cone. Suddenly, it's 11 votes for vanilla, 9 for chocolate-on-a-cone, and 5 for chocolate-in-a-cup...and despite the fact that the majority prefer chocolate to vanilla, the group is eating vanilla.

I've done some research on the subject and read some mathematical models and such; I've talked about some options in this community at one point...but I'm interested in hearing from others on what they feel the best way would be to avoid this problem. After all, the average voter doesn't read dry math texts to figure out what to do in this situation...what do you think? Should it be corrected, and if so, how?

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Thursday, September 11th, 2003
1:37 pm - discussion on democracy


this probably would have been a better topic for democracy than politicsforum, but hey! any discussion about democracy is a good thing, right?

(it's been officially cross-posted!)

(1 comment | comment on this)

Wednesday, September 10th, 2003
10:39 am - democracy and voting

(excerpted from my own journal critique of the entire democratic debate last night)

what i found extremely funny today was the blurb from a republican respondent to last night's debate who said they were "appalled" at how much the democrats came down on the president. obviously what's good for the repubs shouldn't be good for the democrats? at least they stuck to policies and politics last night and did not focus on bedroom habits, his wife, his kids, or his own personality failings that are none of the country's business.

it was nice to see that the criticism isn't all democrats ganging against the republicans as they called each other on some important issues as well. i think only one of them actually said that democrats should band together to take down bush. no one else echoed the sentiment.

let me go on record to say that democracy is not about democrat vs. republican.

it's about democracy and everyone from all sides having a voice. it's about having a CHOICE. i'm not staunch anti-republican. i have voted republican before, and will do so again if i feel the republican candidate is more qualified. i AM however, anti-bush. that's the difference. i LIKED what some of the republican candidates had to say that were in the running last presidential election. i may actually have voted for one if he had been given a fair chance to debate his points because he personally impressed me with his candor and strength in his beliefs.

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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2003
10:08 am - More on the California recall

Apparently, there will be a forum tonight for "the front-runners" in the race for California governor. The leading Republican, Arnold Schwartzenegger, will not participate...

I learned an interesting perspective from a friend on the recall this weekend. "Why is this such a problem?" he wondered. "I mean, this is a democracy. You have freedom of choice. Boom - here are your choices! And more choices is always better than less, right?"

I recalled a quote by Sigmund Freud in relation to this: "Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility."

current mood: thoughtful

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Friday, August 8th, 2003
5:26 pm - This mess in California

Talk about democracy gone berserk...unfortunately befitting for a process pushed by - if you'll pardon - some profoundly undemocratic interests.

And before the charge of hypocrisy arises - yes, more choices is better, but there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". As for Maryland's ballot access laws being changed, it really has nothing to do with how many names would be on the ballot - just whether or not everyone is doing the same thing in order to get there.

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Friday, August 1st, 2003
10:31 pm - Victory in Maryland (United States)

The Appeals Court of Maryland rules in favor of the Maryland Green Party, overturning a portion of the state's ballot access laws.

Is democracy better served the more choices you have?
Does the Democrat quoted have a point concerning "ballot confusion"?

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Thursday, June 26th, 2003
11:05 am - Voting

Greetings, all. First time here, and I hope this will get some livelihood back into the community. Democracy is one of those things that you know isn't working if it's silent.

I wondered if anyone has done any research (besides me) into alternative voting methods. Do you think that our present method in the U.S. (and U.K. and Canada), plurality voting, is democratic enough? Should there be a different way, such as IRV, which activists are working to implement in San Francisco? Would people accept it?

current mood: hopeful

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Monday, March 31st, 2003
4:12 pm - boo. no one but me is posting

can anyone tell me where i can find a good debate-style community?

what i'm looking for is people with opposing viewpoints who can still remain intelligent and forthright with their opinions while not getting belligerent or stupid about opposing viewpoints.

and people who post more often than this ;) (c'mon people! post post!!) *grin*

current mood: hopeful

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Friday, March 28th, 2003
10:27 am - Resolution for prayer and fasting

Friday, March 28th, 2003

10:24 am - Resolution for prayer and fasting
sorry people... this is no joke. the resolution for a national day of prayer and fasting has been passed through congress.


is that democracy? it is instructing the people "to seek guidance from God to achieve a greater understanding of our own failings and to learn how we can do better in our everyday activities, and to gain resolve in meeting the challenges that confront our nation."

what's next? i'm scared to guess...

current mood: angry

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Wednesday, March 19th, 2003
1:15 pm - when democracy failed

(for your perusal. i'm actually looking for both sides' opinions on this article. i'm curious what you all think.)

Published on Sunday, March 16, 2003 by CommonDreams.org
When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History
by Thom Hartmann

long article followsCollapse )

current mood: curious

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Tuesday, March 18th, 2003
2:54 pm - Democracy

in a brief letter of introduction, i'd like to say i'm having a hard time understanding both sides of the war issue. i pride myself on always being able to see both sides of any given situation.

being in a democratic nation, it's always helpful to be able to understand both sides of the issues, while not necessarily agreeing with them. i'm really trying to search out sites that are pro AND con, so that i'm not just reinforcing my own beliefs and/or stereotypes. i'm hoping in the end i can understand where people are coming from and why they believe the way they do.

so, maybe this question is best put to you guys, who seem to have members on and around all sides of the fence on the war debate.

in a democratic society, and as part of a democratic nation hoping to spread democracy to the rest of the nations that do not have it, isn't it a pretty poor example to say "democracy is best unless the vote is against you, then you just do what you want."

isn't that how democracies are toppled?

current mood: contemplative

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Monday, March 17th, 2003
12:36 pm - A true man of principle

UK Minister Cook Quits Over Blair's Iraq Policy
51 minutes ago Add World - Reuters to My Yahoo!

LONDON (Reuters) - Robin Cook, the British government's highly respected leader in parliament and a former foreign secretary, resigned on Monday in protest at Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites)'s hawkish stance on Iraq (news - web sites).

"Robin Cook met the prime minister before cabinet and has resigned from the government," a Downing Street spokesman said.

He is expected to make a personal statement to the House of Commons later on Monday, the spokesman added.

Cook was the first Cabinet casualty of Blair's unpopular Iraq policy, which has set the centrist Labour leader against his party in the biggest crisis of his premiership.

Cook, who has said he would not support war without United Nations (news - web sites) backing, resigned ahead of an emergency cabinet meeting and as the United States declared that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) must leave the country or face war.

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Tuesday, March 11th, 2003
8:03 pm - public school plans to erect statue of President Bush

On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind bill at Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. Now, two local philanthropists want to spend nearly $400,000 to erect a series of statues, including one of President Bush, on the grounds of this public school.

To add insult to the injury of erecting a statue of a president about to lead us into an unpopular, unnecessary war, Ohio Governor Bob Taft has recently announced state-wide school budget cuts that will take away nearly half a million dollars from the school district!

In the past, Donna and Ralph Carruthers have donated to the fine arts programs in the district. Now, instead of giving money to a needy program or worthy, non-political cause, they have decided to force their political beliefs on the students and residents of Hamilton without allowing public debate or hearing alternatives. A student petition to stop the political sculpture was halted by the high school administration, denying their freedom of speech.

The sculpture is planned to be completed by April 2004, but it can be stopped! Please consider taking a moment and contacting one or more of the following people to urge them not to place a politically-motivated statue of a war-mongering president on public school property!

Janet Baker - Hamilton Schools Superintendent, (513)887-5000, fax (513)887-5014, 533 Dayton Street, P.O. Box 627, Hamilton, Ohio 45012
Joni Copas - Hamilton Schools representative, (513)887-5000, fax (513)887-5014, 533 Dayton Street, P.O. Box 627, Hamilton, Ohio 45012, joni_copas@fc.hamilton-city.k12.oh.us
Tracey Miller - Hamilton High School Principal, (513)868-7700, 1165 Eaton Avenue, Hamilton, Ohio 45013
Ralph Carruthers, (513)863-3138, 601 Glenway Dr, Hamilton, Ohio 45013
Gerry Hammond, President, City of Sculpture, One Riverfront Plaza, Hamilton, Ohio 45011, (513)844-8080 or (800)311-5353, debbie@hamilton-cvb.com

A sample letter, email or statement:Collapse )

For more information, visit these sites:

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Tuesday, March 4th, 2003
1:23 am

Anyone have an ETA for when the United States of America, the harbinger of democracy, will finally cave and convert itself to a real democracy? :)

(Okay, fine, I have no political background whatsoever. I'm just trying to stir up an argument - take it with a grain of salt, please :)

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2:01 am - Democracy's birth.


Good morning.

No stranger to politics, I'm creating this community to be a podium for those who believe in democracy. A place for debate, fun, and discussion of democracy.

I could not believe this community wasn't already in existence, when I went looking for it. One of those things that just makes the mind and heart ache.

I think one of the central themes/debates of this community should be that of discussing means of protecting and advancing democracy.

What will the rules be? I don't know. The last time I made a political community it wasn't one with this broad a charter, so I'm going to let the community decide on the rules (in the true sense of the community's name).

Let's grow this together. We can start this fresh and build it into something awesome.

current mood: curious

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2:49 am - First poster!

I had to do something, killer69!

Anyway, it's a pleasure to be part of this democratic community! Let's get some rules down, shall we? Suggestions? (seeing as how this IS a democratic community...)

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