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Leading Off (3/13/12)

Magazine Editor Takes Day Off Work: Either Tim is enjoying spring break with his family or this is happening. Either way, he’s not here today, and I owe some people some favors, so I’m in charge of Leading Off today. I could take this opportunity to repay some of the really wonderful compliments Tim has given me over the last couple months, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll tell you what I think Tim would think of the day’s news. (For example: Tim would be pretty skeptical about some of my choices in this first item. He would say he isn’t sure “this bit has legs” and he would find grammatical errors.)

Justice Department Blocks Texas Law on Photo ID for Voting: Even though the state’s own data showed that Hispanic voters were 46.5 percent to 120 percent more likely to lack such identification than were non-Hispanics,  Rick Perry argued that there was “no valid reason” for rejecting the law.  Either way, the new measure isn’t likely to have a big impact on the May elections. (Tim would probably think this is a good thing, since he thinks registered voters should be able to vote.)

Gingrich Might Ask Perry to Run as Vice President: There’s virtually no chance Newt Gingrich will get the Republican nomination, and both camps deny the rumors anyway, but for the possibility of Zac bringing back his Perry posts alone, I really hope this happens. (Tim would agree that more of the Perry comics would be good for web traffic, but then he would make a crack about Zac not being able to handle all the compliments those posts get him. Secretly, Tim just wishes Zac would ask him for input before the posts went up every now and again, because he (Tim) feels like he’s got some really good ideas for where to take the Perry thing, but he’s never had a good chance to mention those ideas to Zac, and he doesn’t want it to be awkward or anything. So, yeah…)

Pollution in the Air Is Killing People: On the other side of the paywall, the DMN has a story about how microscopic bits of soot, chemicals, and pulverized dust common in the air around North Texas lead to more strokes and heart attacks. (Tim might say something here about the folks at A.H. Belo expecting consumers to pay to read about how pollution is bad for our health, or about how this seems kind of obvious — too obvious for the amount of attention the paper gave it, perhaps. But then he’d admit that the research is kind of alarming.)

Police Report Describes AA Flight Attendant as “Combative”: There isn’t much we hadn’t heard already in the recently released police reports stemming from an incident on Friday in which an American Airlines flight attendant took to the public-address system with some alarming ramblings about the plane crashing. (Tim would point out that this is a sad, bizarre story of someone not taking proper medication. He would also point out that during the struggle to get the flight attendant off the plane, she apparently kicked one of the other flight attendants in the abdomen so hard that she (the woman kicked) had to go to the hospital for her injuries.)

46 comments on “Leading Off (3/13/12)

  1. Until you have an airtight system like a photo Voter ID, the best you really have is only an honor system. Everybody knows that, just as they know that – Duh! – by definition voter fraud under such an “honor” system never gets detected. That’s how it gets to be voter fraud, not just some crude bumbling attempts at voter fraud by imbeciles and stooges. And that in turn breeds such widespread cynicism and contempt that only a fraction of the population now votes. They know that, like any other important currency, the value placed on their vote is directly proportional to the safeguards taken to prevent it being counterfeited and printed at will, which is less than snot. They know the integrity of their vote is sneered at, that it’s treated as no more valuable than a pile of extra napkins at McDonald’s, cheap giveaways for the chumps, and that as a result their vote is so dismissively discounted that politicians no longer even have to bother reading the bills other people write for them to pass, or even have to do their jobs at all, like pass budgets. Why worry? Who’s going to vote them out? The morons out there waving their worthless McDonald’s napkins?

    No, the vote itself has long ago been discounted as no more valuable than so much toilet paper, which is why a much more reliable political currency has long ago taken its place – cash. And you nitwits wonder why a goofball who couldn’t even remember 3 cabinet posts has been governor for 10 years now.

  2. Perhaps a photo voter registration card? Might have a better chance winning an argument that getting transportation to an ID center wouldn’t be exclusionary to a certain class if those same class members can get transportation to a voting center. [cynicism redacted]

  3. No one’s mentioned this yet, so I will: since when does FrontBurner (specifically “Leading Off”) have sponsors? I’ve been out of town, but I see GE Appliance also funded yesterday’s post. It’s the first I’ve seen with sponsorship attached. What gives?

  4. Is every Leading Off going to be sponsored by GE Appliance from now on, or did Mike work out his own endorsement contract on the side?

  5. @ Brooks: We need the money. Money is good. We love GE. Go buy an appliance. Any appliance, but the bigger the better. @Dan: Even Mike needs the money, although he is unlikely to spend it on a haircut.

  6. @ Brooks: I’m rolling with this now. Did you know you could get one of those neat new, energy-saving, cost-reducing water heaters from GE for only $1199? See! Information! That’s what FrontBurner is all about.

  7. @Paul: You really believe that widespread cynicism and contempt for our political system is a result of voter fraud? And that this Rick Perry-supported law will fix all those problems?

  8. I want to play along, Wick! More information, GE related: GE didn’t pay any taxes in 2010. Like, none, not a penny. In fact, they received a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. Forgive me if I find this turns me off of their products, down to even their light bulbs.

  9. I’ve never had it explained to me how many cases of deliberate, systemic voter fraud occur in the US each year, and how many of those involved the lack of a requirement for a photo ID. I mean, I have a guess, but…

  10. That’s the way to grow democracy — make it harder and harder for people to vote so that only our kind of people vote. This business of enlarging the franchise to include the riff-raff — property non-owners, former slaves, women – has gone on long enough. We need to throw the engine into reverse gear so we can move forward again.

  11. @Wick: Do I mention D Magazine for a “friends and neighbors” discount? Or do I have to buy my new laundry arsenal lock, stock and barrel in order for GE to keep sponsoring FrontBurner?

  12. Mike, you guessed wrong on every count. Widespread cynicism and contempt for our political system goes inseparably hand in glove with glib and cavalier acceptance of a voting franchise less secure than the average boarding kennel, however, and I’m assuming Rick Perry took the lead in supporting this because he knew we couldn’t count on you to do so.

    In the end, though, what I actually believe will fix all those problems will be GE sponsorship, just as it will here, and for the same reasons.

  13. Other than Voting, is there any other major item of note that does not require an ID?

  14. Bill, we’re not trying to grow democracy – that’s what the “Like” button on Facebook and Google are for (have Tim or Mike explain to you what Facebook and Google are).

    We’re trying to grow a representative democratic republic with some fundamental integrity at the root level of citizens legally entitled to vote who care enough about the sacredness of that right to give it the same basic honor and safeguards they give an airplane ride.

  15. @Towski: You might ask officials in New Hampshire, where investigators using the names of dead people were given ballots. Or South Carolina, where the DMV says hundreds of deceased people “voted” there in recent elections.

  16. @Glenn Hunter Sometimes you make it too easy. Conservative (hack)tivist James O’Keefe sent “hidden operatives” to a polling location and they went up to a poll worker, and asked if the name of “deceased person” was on there. Obviously, the poll worker thinks that person is saying, I am this person. Especially since when handed a ballot, they said, I left my ID at home and leave. Therefore, representing themselves as dead people and committing voter fraud.. to show that voter fraud is possible. That’s like grabbing a woman off the street late at night and raping her to prove that rape is possible if women walk late at night. It’s stupid and pointless and only proves that you are a criminal with twisted logic.

    The point of fact is, the law says you can’t have practices that lead to discrimination. Especially if your state has a history of discriminating against people that don’t look like you. So, instead of actually trying to find a practice that isn’t discriminatory, groups just invent this boogeyman of voter fraud and play the victims. People register, they get a voter identification card, they vote. Just because they don’t vote how you want them to, doesn’t make it voter fraud. Otherwise, why would you make a gun license a valid form of ID, but not a college ID? Who exactly are you trying to get to vote?

  17. @Brooks Oh, I’m sorry my analogy hurt your feelings. How about, that’s like someone stealing a stick of gum from a gas station to show that gas stations are the easiest place to steal gum. You all better now? Since I didn’t use words and concepts that aren’t warm and fuzzy?

    The point still stands, no matter what analogy you use. But, way to try avoid the topic and completely avoid the ACTUAL logic in what I said. FWIW, I don’t feel any shame when it’s directed at me for something so lame.

  18. Liz just pointed out a perfect example of how easy it is to vote in place of a dead person.

  19. I think Liz is arguing that in order not to be perceived as discriminatory women need to log a statistically significant number of occasions of actually having been raped before they can feel morally comfortable thinking about taking perfectly common sensical preemptive measures against being raped even once.

    After all, just think how bad they would feel if they burdened some man whose intentions were only sweet, sweet love with some trivial procedural effort to get what he wanted before they had unquestionably proved to themselves several dozen times that rape really was going to be something they wanted less than that perfect love that might tragically never be realized if they let themselves become too discriminatory against the bogeyman of potential rapists.

  20. Um, Glenn? I don’t see any evidence of voter fraud in your article. Could you highlight it for me?

  21. @towski, I agree, Glenn was a little off, but I did find evidence of voter fraud in your article:
    “In the process, the DMV found what it said was evidence that some 37,000 deceased individuals were on the state’s voter registration list, and that of those, some 953 had ballots casts in their names.”

    Which is fine, we can go back and forth all day and week over articles and quotes pointing towards our views. I am still wondering though; other than Voting, is there any other major item of note in our lives that do not require ID?

  22. I am confused – who exactly does the voter ID law discriminate against and why is the assumption made that whoever they are they all would vote a straight democrat ticket if that rule didn’t exist?

  23. @Avid Reader…on answering your question, concerning if there are other major items of note, that don’t require ID….i’ll have to go with, there is. It’s called being a U.S. citizen! Believe it or not, you are not required to carry or even own an ID.

  24. @mynameisbill – Although it was never supposed to be an ID, a new born child cannot leave the hospital without a social security number today which is used as an ID throughout our lives.

  25. @mynameisbill, So the entire voting system should be on the honor system because being a citizen (the requirement to vote) does not require an ID? Sure, why not, it’s just the election that decides the leader of the free world and not one person from either side of the political spectrum would ever try and subvert that contest to their own benefit or ends. I hear even Mickey Mouse made an attempt to come out of the cartoons and try and help recall the Wisconsin governor. Seems legit.

  26. @Dubious Brother…according to the Social Security Administration website, you are wrong.

  27. @Avid Reader….my comment to yours was legit, because I answered your question, pertaining to “other major item of note in our lives that do not require ID”. Your weak appeal to my sentimentalities concerning the election process, produces nothing from me. Tell Mickey, I said what up!

  28. So without the second part; you believe the voting system should be on the honor system because being a citizen doesn’t require you to have and/or carry an ID?

  29. I’m actually fine with a voter ID requirement – a well thought out one, that takes time to implement it’s policies, makes provisions for helping some of our less responsible citizens maintain eligible voting status while such policies are implemented, and isn’t pushed through in a way that strips citizens of their right to vote in order to gain political advantage. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a state voter ID bill that lives up to any of those standards yet. Why not? Why does every voter ID bill and debate have to be framed in such a way that it appears to be mainly focused on disenfranchisement?

  30. What are the supporting points of voter ID laws being disenfranchising? Never hear the actual points, just the word disenfranchise alot.

  31. Who are the most likely citizens not to meet the requirements of having a valid photo ID? Those who are at the bottom tier of the socio-economic ladder. So creating a requirement that the lowest levels don’t meet in order to be an active participant in what happens to them is the very definition of disenfranchisement.

  32. @Avid From the Justice Department’s Letter

    “[Texas Director of Elections Keith Ingram has] informed us that the DPS-issued “free” election identification certificate, which is proposed to be implemented by Section 20 of S.B. 14, would protect voters who do not already have another acceptable form of identification. The application process for these certificates will mirror the manner in which a person obtains a driver’s license. First-time applicants will be required to furnish various supplemental documents and undergo an application process that includes fingerprinting and traveling to a driver’s license office.

    An applicant for an election identification certificate will be required to provide two pieces of secondary identification, or one piece of secondary identification and two supporting documents. If a voter does not possess any of these documents, the least expensive option will be to spend $22 on a copy of the voter’s birth certificate.”

    Also, the DOJ noted the Texas legislature failed to approve amendments that would have waived state fees for the supporting documents needed to obtain the “free” ID, writing: “The legislature tabled amendments that would have prohibited state agencies from charging for any underlying documents needed to obtain an acceptable form of photographic identification.”

  33. @Mynameisbill – Please be more explicit as to how I am wrong according to the SSA website.

  34. @dubious brother….you said a child can’t leave a hospital without an SSN, and that makes you wrong, because they can.

  35. @mynameisbill – I only speak from personal experience when my last child and more recently my two grandchildren were born – we forgot to check the SSA website before leaving the hospital.

  36. Also interesting how many people who are usually so opposed to “big government” now want to make sure every citizen is fingerprinted, entered into the database, and carrying a state-issued ID card.

  37. Is it a conflict to be opposed to “big government” but not want people who’s allegiance is to another country decide our elections?

  38. Michael, You are stretching so far in your comment. One can be against “big government” and still want to make the best effort possible to weed out election fraud.

  39. @towski – I was under the impression that the Hispanics were the ones that were being disenfranchised by having to prove who you are when you vote and the Hispanics seem to be the target of the Democrats in opposing voter ID. Of course, you can always see if there have been any voter fraud trials in the area lately and who was involved.