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Peter B. Collins
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March 15, 2006
Voter systems that are easier to use shouldn't be harder to trust. That's why we've put together a new flash movie about the importance of paper ballots. Watch the movie and sign the petition to help protect your vote today:
In an age where technology has become a staple of our day-to-day activities, we all know the power and convenience it holds. Yet, we've also all experienced that dreaded "blue screen" at least oncewhen our computer crashes, everything is lost and data corrupted.
Without paper ballots this loss is exactly what can happen to our vote our fundamental right, our voice. Think of paper ballots as the "back-up" for our elections.
Join the fight to protect every vote today, watch the movie and sign the petition:
Once you've watched the movie, help spread the word. Forward it on to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers and explain why paper ballots are an essential part of a healthy democracy.
All Americans deserve to have their voices heard and paper ballots are the best voting system to ensure a secure, honest and accurate election process. The more people we can reach with this movie, the more people we can educate on this issueand the closer we come to making sure that every vote that is cast is counted accurately.
It's pure, simple common sense. Horse sense.
March 14, 2006
GenerationDFA leaders are busy people. Organizing for students is often difficult due to students' heavy course loads, jobs, internships, and other activities. Trying to balance all of this with a social life and (occasionally) rest is sometimes out of the question! However, being over-involved has its benefits. Students take with them the experiences they gain in college forever. New York University student and GenerationDFA leader Daniel Ferris recalls the shaping experience of spending the semester working one-on-one with a Legal Aid attorney:Before signing on, we had to face the severity and reality of the upcoming semester. No matter what, we represent our clients and fight like hell to have their cases thrown out and to convince juries of "not guilty." There are no exceptions.
I was quickly placed with a lawyer and mentor, for whom it is not uncommon to have a workload of more than 150 cases at a time. The large case load results partially from agreeing to represent a large number of defendants during arraignments, and partially because we do not take many plea bargains from the District Attorney.
When the Supreme Court extended the right to counsel in Gideon v Wainwright (1963) to include the indigent, New York City decided to pay an established private organization, the Legal Aid Society, to provide counsel in criminal cases to all who could not afford it. While political support for the organization has fluctuated since the landmark decision, Legal Aid's role has not changed.
For my first trial, the evidence looked damaging against our clientsa mother and daughter accused of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. I thought the defendants should take a plea bargain of felony probation with no accompanying jail time. They insisted on their innocence, however, and we began to work on finding holes in the prosecution's case. While executing a search warrant, the NYPD found forty-four glassines of heroin in a crack above the basement door in a hallway leading into the defendant's apartment. In a closet on the top shelf behind a ledge, the NYPD found four small boxes filled with glassines similar to the ones above the door.
We reviewed the case file repeatedly. We now had grand jury testimony and could visit the two-family house with an investigator. In addition, we could speak to the landlord with a better idea of the direction of the case. The defense was a flexible work in progress throughout the entire trial. We selected our jury and started hammering away at the prosecution. We argued that the door where the NYPD found the drugs was not part of the defendant's domain. We questioned why the police, after taking multiple photographs at the apartment of the defendants, did not take any photographs of the recovered evidence.
The landlord argued that between the time the previous tenant had moved out and the defendant had moved in, he inspected the top shelf of the closet. We tore his testimony apart by asking how he could check behind an obscure ledged shelf in a small closet yet not even keep accurate billing information about the defendant. The fact remained, however, that the NYPD found drugs and glassines in the defendant's apartment while executing a search warrant. After closing statements, we returned to the office to catch up on backed up cases and to wait for a verdict.
After two false alarms, the jury arrived at a decision. As some jurors walked in, they looked directly at the defendants and seemed to give a sympathetic smile. They were the same jurors who listened to our closing statement attentively and seemed to nod in agreement. However, just as many jurors who seemed more enthused during the prosecution's summation seemed to enter looking straight ahead.
By Jonathan Tasini If you are one of those Democrats like me who is completely fed up with the inside-the-Beltway party hacks who continue to lose elections because they have no spine and no vision, listen closely to a little something you can do this week to rap the knuckles of the Democratic Party machine. Two years [...]
Source: Prog. Dems of America
Bush defends Medicare's prescription drug benefit program
President Bush defended Medicare's new prescription drug benefit program today as a good deal for seniors and taxpayers, but acknowledged that the program has been plagued by problems. "Anytime Washington passes a new law," Bush said, "sometimes the transition period can be interesting." Since older Americans account for a large share of the electorate, especially in midterm elections, the the political stakes are high in the debate over prescription drug benefits.
Bush approval rating at record low
Good news for Democrats is that the public's growing dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq has driven Bush's approval rating to a new low of 36%, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll that was released yesterday. Nearly half of those polled said they believe Democrats would do a better job of managing the war.
US newspapers moving mad cow story off front pages
News of the first case of mad cow disease in the US doesn't seem to be front page news, as leading newspapers around the country placed stories on the inside of today's editions. The move from the front pages appears to support the US beef industry's claims that, as consumers learn more about the disease, they gain confidence in the safety measures taken by the industry, and that they are not as concerned as they had been that the disease is a threat to the food supply.
Dear Senator Feingold, Please know you are our hero, and don’t ever let them get you down or shut you up. I hear tell the spineless people who surround you are leaving you hanging in the wind. Don’t mind them. You were right the first time about the Patriot Act and you are right today. You [...]
Source: Prog. Dems of America
This past weekend, New Jersey for Democracy held a candidates' forum in which the state organization formally endorsed Assemblywoman Linda Stender to challenge Rep. Mike Ferguson for the 7th CD. Linda was introduced by Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-6) and was also endorsed by former primary challenger Matt Linfante, clearing the field for the nomination. Linda is the best chance we've had yet to unseat a strong ally of Bush and DeLay, giving us one of those 15 seats we need.
You can see what one of our live bloggers from Blue Jersey posted from the room:[Congressman from 6th district, Frank] Pallone is introducing Linda Stender. Linda receives a loud, warm welcome from the crowd and takes the stage.
"We're going to change the direction of this nation. The stakes are just too high. It's time to Bush back against the Bush agenda."
"We desperately need a change in Washington. This administration took us to war based on a lie. It is an outrage that the Bush administration has dishonored our soldiers who with their service are giving of themselves for all of us." She says that they've been sent into battle without the body armor, and there are groups that are raising money through bake sales for body armor.
Linda says that the GOP's Medicare D, stands for "disaster". She says it's laughable that Bush is all of a sudden worried about our relationships with countries in the Middle East. "Where has he been all these years?" *crowd laughs*
"As the only woman running for Congress in the state of NJ, I am unequivocally pro-choice. We are going to fight like hell to make sure that our freedom of choice is protected."
You can read more from the event, as well as the question and answer session on the Blue Jersey site.
Check out yesterday's article in the Boston Globe highlighting the DNC's accomplishments since Howard Dean took over the Party:As Dean's mini-army of more than 150 DNC-paid operatives have fanned out across the country, many rural and conservative-leaning Democrats are nodding with approval. "I've never really been a Dean guy," said John Wertheim, chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Party. "But I've really bought into his program. Is it risky? Sure. But I think it's a darn good investment."
In Albuquerque, four energetic young staff memberstrained by and drawing paychecks from the DNChave divvied up the map of New Mexico, a state that was more closely divided than Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.
The article discusses Dean's efforts to strengthen the party for elections to come by building at the local level, a strategy which has won over its skeptics.
March 13, 2006
Help Needy Monterey Families and Children
Children's Services International is a unique and wonderful local non-profit that serves homeless and low-income families and children throughout Monterey County.
Call to participate 3-6pm PT:
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