Sunday, September 28, 2008

Malalai Kakar and Dayton Ohio

Afghanistan's highest ranking female police officer, Malalai Kakar, was assassinated.

This was a woman who dedicated her life to making the lives of other women better.
As a female police officer, Malalai is able to speak directly to women who are victims of violence. Recently, she started investigating a spate of suspicious murders and cases of abuse involving women in Kandahar. "These are things that I do that men just won't," she says. "I remember this one case, when I knocked on the door but the children would not let me in. From under the cover of my burka, I told them I was their long-lost aunt. They opened the door." Malalai (who says she often wears a burka to disguise her identity) searched the house and found a woman and her son chained by their hands and feet. They'd survived for 10 months on crusts of bread and cups of water. The woman, a widow, was handed over by her in-laws to her brother-in-law after her husband passed away. The brother married her and divorced her, a major taboo that guaranteed she would be a social outcast for the rest of her life. When she went to pick up her belongings, the brother-in-law forced her and her son into a cage and held them captive.

"The Taliban may threaten me," Malalai says. "But because of stories like rescuing this woman, the women and children love me."
This was a woman who gave her life trying to make the lives of women and children in Afghanistan.

It is crucial to note that this act occurred during the holy month of Ramadan, a time of fasting and prayer and reflection, a time when Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance into the future, ask for help in refraining from everyday evils and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.

So it would seem the Taliban's interpretation of Islam is somewhat different from most practicing Muslims.

However, it seems that as desperate as the Taliban and other terrorist groups are to proclaim their interpretation of their religion as the only interpretation, there are so many people here in America who are equally eager to adopt this viewpoint. How else to explain the zeal with which certain political figures proclaim terrorism as synonymous with Islam? How else to explain the mass distribution of a Muslim bashing DVD in certain swing states last week? How else to explain attacks on American Muslims and mosques like the one which recently occurred in Dayton, Ohio?

If the Taliban had their way, no one would fight for the women and children of Afghanistan. But here in America, there are people who would target those same women and children on the basis of their religious beliefs.

At a certain point, one can no longer remain silent. Whatever you believe in your heart is irrelevant if you quietly sit back and allow others to stir up hatred and division in order to benefit. At a certain point, it isn't just about picking a side, it is about accepting responsibility for everyone else on your side as well.

Almost a year ago, I wrote about a novel I would not be writing and about my fears that it would not take much for Americans to allow their fellow Americans to be imprisoned for being the wrong color, worshiping the wrong god, and having the wrong political opinions. I forgot about these thoughts for awhile. However, for the past month, I have been thinking of them once again. It seems like the religious extremists are gaining ground everywhere and we are just quietly sitting back and allowing it to happen. It seems that as long as people feel that they are safe and secure and perceive that the government has their best interests at heart, they will ignore any and all manner of violations to the civil liberties of their fellow citizens. When we stop standing up for the rights of others, when we stop risking our necks in order to protect our neighbors, that is when the terrorists win.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stop Treating Sarah Palin Like She Is A Delicate Flower



"Sexism in this campaign must come to an end. Sarah Palin has just as much a right to be a real candidate in this race as the men do. So let her act like one."-Campbell Brown

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Magic Number Is Zero



Steve Goodman-A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request


As some of you may have noticed, I haven't said much about baseball this year. My reason for this has been simple: I didn't dare jinx anything by mentioning that the Cubs have been spectacular this year. I know how these things work, how the minute I blog about Carlos Zambrano pitching a no-hitter, the Cubs suddenly stop winning games and fail to make it into the post-season. Call me superstitious (or call me a baseball fan, it's the same thing really).

So I just want it to be clear that all I am doing with this blogpost is passing along the information that the Cubs clinched the Central Division Title this afternoon. That's it. Nothing more.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Plan For Change



Please watch this. And before you scoff and say that all politicians say they are going to help the economy or that politicians lie you may want to read this article entitled Politicians Lie, Numbers Don't by Michael Kinsley
What these numbers show almost beyond doubt is that Democrats are better at virtually every economic task that is important to Republicans.

In other words, there are no figures here about income inequality, or percentage of the population with health insurance, or anything like that. This exercise implicitly assumes that lower taxes are always good and higher government spending is always bad. There is nothing here about how clean the air is or how many children are growing up in poverty. The only point is that if you find the Republican mantra of lower taxes and smaller government appealing, and if you care only about how fast the economy is growing, not how that growth is shared, you should vote Democratic. Of course, if you do care about things like economic inequality and children's health, you should vote Democratic as well.

Now, I realize that John McCain is now saying he supports regulation, I guess because recent events have opened his eyes to the damage that unfettered deregulation can cause. Unfortunately, it is hard to take John McCain seriously in this regard considering this is not his first exposure to this sort of thing; one would have thought the 3 billion dollars the Lincoln Savings and Loan bankruptcy cost taxpayers might have taught him something about the dangers of deregulation. In fact, he has said repeatedly that he learned from his experience, that it was this experience which turned him into the reformer he claims to be today. Yet, up until yesterday, he was a firm believer in deregulation. Personally, I am not convinced. John McCain has been saying a lot of untrue things as of late, about stuff as important as distorting Barack Obama's record to stuff as mundane as the number of people turning out to hear him speak, so it is hard to accept he might actually be telling the truth on this one. Why should I believe he suddenly gets it now when he never managed to get it before?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This Is Getting Scary

Your perfect HP man is Remus Lupin.

Mrs. Lupin

You like a nice, kind guy with a bit of a fierce streak and you don't mind if he comes damaged. Sure, he may take some convincing since his self-esteem is so low, but once you win him over, you know he's yours for life. Unless of course he has an attack of "I'm not good enough" and runs away, but luckily he's also good at making friends who will push him back into line if necessary.

Go take this quiz here.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Help The Youth of America Save Themselves



"You can fight for democracy at home and not in some foreign land."-Billy Bragg

When I was sixteen, I had a job and paid taxes.
When I was sixteen, I had strong opinions about the economy, the environment, nuclear weapons, the right to privacy, income taxes, politics.
When I was sixteen, I was responsible and well-educated.
But I didn't have the right to vote.
Lowering the voting age may not be the magic bullet to improve the lives of youth, but by giving them a real stake in their futures and their present lives it will push them to become involved, active citizens of this great nation.
Go check out the top ten reasons to lower the voting age.

The future belongs to them, they should have a say.


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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Harry Potter Husband Quiz


I'm Mrs. Remus Lupin

In her comments on the tax post, Tracy mentioned the Harry Potter Husband Quiz. So, given my love for Harry Potter and internet quizes, I had to find this quiz and see how we ranked. This is actually pretty accurate, I think (though Fred is not a werewolf). Go ahead and try it for yourself.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

America Is Not Just A Blessing, It's A Responsibility



This will make you proud and it may even make you cry.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Day, New Life



This date will always be linked with The Pogues in my mind.

I still vividly remember waking up on this date seven years ago to Carl Kasell's voice reporting that planes had struck the World Trade Center. Except that now that I think about it, I am certain it was Ann Taylor's voice I heard that morning. I will never forget it, yet it is all a blur.

The phone woke me up this morning at 7 a.m. It was Julie, calling me to tell me she gave birth to Andrew John Henry at 12:30 a.m.

So for this new baby, I offer him one of Julian's favorite lullabies (another song which makes me cry), This Land Is Your Land.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back To School

CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE by Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with jealousy, he learns what envy is.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition, he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with sharing, he learns about generosity.
If a child lives with honesty and fairness, he learns what truth and justice are.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness, he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you live with serenity, your child will live with peace of mind.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I Dare Ya'

Check out the Obama Tax Cut Calculator. And then come back here and tell me in the comments what it tells you. Come on, I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours...What, are yous cared it will tell you something you don't want to hear? But really, why should you believe anything you see on the internet? Well, maybe because the numbers are from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. As you know, I don't really think this will change any people's minds, but I think it is interesting as I absolutely love online calculators (almost as much as I love taking tests...seriously).

Also, a number of people in my life have told me scary things about Barack Obama's policies and/or the Democratic Party Platform. When I have asked them where they heard this stuff, they tell me they "read it somewhere." So I beg you to ignore the spin and the interpretations of other people and go read for yourself. FYI, I think everyone should read the Republican Party Platform and John McCain's policies as well. Yes, it is many pages of dry, dull text. Yes, we all have better things to do with our time. However, wouldn't you rather get the information for yourself and draw your own conclusions as opposed to having other people tell you what to think?

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Who We Are

From a speech Barack Obama gave in Michigan on Monday
What I have also said is this: that when you suspend habeas corpus -- which has been a principle, dating before even our country, it’s the foundation of Anglo-American law -- which says, very simply, if the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, 'Why was I grabbed?' and say, 'Maybe you’ve got the wrong person.'

The reason you have that safeguard is because we don't always have the right person. We don’t always catch the right person. We may think this is Mohammed the terrorist, it might be Mohammed the cab driver. You may think it’s Barack the bomb thrower, but it might be Barack the guy running for president.

The reason that you have this principle is not to be soft on terrorism, it’s because that’s who we are. That’s what we’re protecting. Don’t mock the Constitution! Don’t make fun of it! Don’t suggest that it’s un-American to abide by what the founding fathers set up! It’s worked pretty well for over 200 years!

For months, people have said to me that Barack Obama never says anything substantial, that it is all just "hope" and "change" and there is no there there, that I am just some cultish follower for supporting him. NO. I am supporting him because I love this country and the principles on which it was founded.

Of course, the first step in knowing the Constitution is reading it. I suspect a lot of us haven't looked at it, beyond reading those amendments near and dear to our hearts in order to win arguments, since high school. So, if you have a chance, please give it a read.

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"The true patriot will repeal the Patriot Act!"-Ron Paul



Seriously, Ron Paul appeals to the Ayn Rand fan in me. If I didn't disagree with him on some key issues that are dear to my heart and this were a different year, he would probably have my vote. Except that I do disagree with him on those issues (I leave it up to you to determine which ones) and it is this year. But I do love watching him speak and I wish he were getting more attention this cycle.

Also, in a way, he reminds me of my Uncle Art. I know, Art would probably be horrified to hear that, but I mean it in a good way.

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Wherein Alison Admits She Was Wrong (Sortof)


I received an email disputing this post, pointing out that if I read the entire budget for Alaska, I would have seen that what really happened was that the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy was split off from the Special Education Services Agency and given it's own line item and when this is factored back into the equation funding for special education actually increased under Sarah Palin by 11.4%.

The question I have is what is the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy? According to the 2007 budget, "This instructional program is operated in Anchorage with student enrollees from across the state. Students work on challenging academic programs in a “boot camp” environment. Completing high school and building career goals and skills are the goals." It doesn't appear, when reading the budget, that the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy is a program for children with disabilities. I have been trying to find out more information about what this program is. From what I can glean from what is available on the internet (not much) the program takes students aged 16-18 years old who are dropping out or expelled from normal schooling and gives them a second chance in a military school environment. That doesn't sound like it is helping children with special needs. Until we know exactly what the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy is, we won't have a clear picture of the changes to funding.

However, for the sake of comparing apples to apples, I wanted to compare the 2007 budget allocation minus the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy with the 2008 and 2009 budgets (which do not include the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy in their budgets.) However, I couldn't determine how to go about doing this as I wasn't sure how the budget allocations for each individual program factored into the total component budget allocation (I thought it would be simple, but alas, it was not at least not for me, but perhaps my math was off). I have included links to the budgets so if someone would like to check my numbers and/or proceed with my original plan, you can (let me know what you find). As it stands, I will compare funding for each line item.

2007

Special Education Service Agency (SESA) - This agency is governed by the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education. It provides outreach services to school districts that serve low incidence severely disabled students. AS 14.30.600-660 $2,072.3

Providence Heights School - This program is operated by the Anchorage School District. Students enrolled in this program are patients of the Alaska Psychiatric Hospital (APH). The educational program is an important part of these students' treatment. 4 AAC 33.060 $145.0

Alaska School for the Deaf - The instructional program is currently operated by the Anchorage School District. The district receives foundation funds for the students enrolled; $319.0.
The Department of Education & Early Development provides funding for the residential program through a Reimbursable Services Agreement with the Department of Health and Social Services; $637.4. Students from outside Anchorage are housed in group and foster homes while they are
attending school. 4 AAC 33.070

2008

Special Education Service Agency (SESA) - This agency is governed by the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education. It provides outreach services to school districts that serve low incidence severely disabled students. AS 14.30.600-660 $2,054.6

Providence Heights School - This program is operated by the Anchorage School District. Students enrolled in this program are patients of the Alaska Psychiatric Hospital (APH). The educational program is an important part of these students' treatment. 4 AAC 33.060 $145.0

Alaska School for the Deaf - The instructional program is currently operated by the Anchorage School District. The district receives foundation funds for the students enrolled; $319.0. The Department of Education & Early Development provides funding for the residential program through a Reimbursable Services Agreement with the Department of Health and Social Services; $637.4. Students from outside Anchorage are housed in group and foster homes while they are
attending school. 4 AAC 33.070


2009

Special Education Service Agency (SESA) - This agency is governed by the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education. It provides outreach services to school districts that serve low incidence severely disabled students. AS 14.30.600-660 $2,054.6 - PLACE HOLDER

Providence Heights School - This program is operated by the Anchorage School District. Students enrolled in this program are patients of the Alaska Psychiatric Hospital (APH). The educational program is an important part of these students' treatment. 4 AAC 33.060 $145.0

Alaska School for the Deaf - The instructional program is currently operated by the Anchorage School District. The district receives foundation funds for the students enrolled; $319.0. The Department of Education & Early Development provides funding for the residential program through a Reimbursable Services Agreement with the Department of Health and Social Services; $637.4. Students from outside Anchorage are housed in group and foster homes while they are
attending school. 4 AAC 33.070

So, as you can see, funding for the Special Education Service Education went down slightly under Sarah Palin, but funding for all other special needs programs remained the same, with no increases for inflation. So I was wrong when I said that she slashed special needs programs by 60%--she didn't slash it, she just held it steady (though the rest of Alaska's budget did increase during that period as did inflation, and Alaska has benefited from oil profits, so we could argue that keeping the allocations identical over a three year period actually represents a decrease--I just don't have the energy or the math skills to tell you what this means in actual percentages). So, until someone can show me how the Alaska Youth Challenge Academy helps special needs children, I don't see how anyone can suggest Sarah Palin has increased the budget for special needs education. And, in my opinion, simply holding steady doesn't exactly look like friendship or advocacy.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Promises, Promises


As promised, a picture of Julian.

While we are on the subject of promises made to children and their parents, the other night, Sarah Palin promised the parents of special needs children that, if elected, they would have a "friend and advocate in the White House." She is, after all, the mother to one special needs child as well as the aunt to another and must understand the concerns that the parents of special needs children face. So I can't understand why, as governor of Alaska, she slashed funding for special needs education by 60% (CBS News provides links to the budgets for 2007, 2008, ands 2009).

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Hypocrisy Now!

I occasionally watch reality television. Bad reality television. I have watched many episodes of Joe Millionaire, Kept, and Rock of Love. Something which invariably happens on these shows is one of the people does something dirty and underhanded and these actions are, of course, recorded for posterity for all to see. What happens next is the other people in the house confront the wrongdoer for committing these acts of treachery and the wrongdoer always denies it. ALWAYS. What I don't understand is why the producers don't step in and show the footage that has been filmed of the person doing that very thing which they have just denied doing.

In my perfect world, there would be less reality television, but the reality television would have moments such as the following.
Girl 1: Hey, Girl 2, I just was told that people saw you kissing my boyfriend last night.
Girl 2: What? Why would they say that?
Girl 1: Is it true?
Girl 2: Of course it isn't true, why would you even ask me that?
Girl 1: Well, everyone else said they saw you.
Girl 2: And you believed them?
Girl 1: They seemed pretty sure of what they saw.
Girl 2: I can't believe this (starts to cry). I can't believe you would think that of me. I thought you were my friend. I trusted you.

(Girl 1's resolve is starting to waver and is almost about to accept that Girl 2's version of reality)

Producer: Excuse me ladies. Let's just roll the footage from last night back for you to see.

(Girl 1 and Girl 2, along with us, watch the footage of Girl 2 kissing Girl 1's boyfriend.)
In my opinion, there really are not enough SEE HOW YOU ARE moments in reality TV or in life. People just do not get called on their hypocrisy and lies enough, and when they do get called on in, they just lie some more and try to make themselves the victim in the situation. The most shocking thing is how people are allowed to get away with it. I mean, it would be one thing if there were no documentary evidence available to disprove their statements, but in this day and age, there is rarely anything which isn't available via Google, Wikipedia, or YouTube. What is stopping people from confronting others with the evidence of their lies and hypocrisy? Wouldn't we all be a lot more honest and consistent if we thought someone might shout SEE HOW YOU ARE when we weren't?

Which is why the following was so gratifying to have seen the other night.



and this today


So why do people think they can get away with lying? Maybe it is because too many people are too afraid to call others on the lies, fearing that they will be attacked for standing up and standing out or, worse, mocked for being so naive as to think that truth is actually important. Or, in some cases, maybe people are so desperate to believe the lies that they don't bother to do a simple check to find out the truth.

So here are a few numbers to consider when you hear the word zero:

820 is the number of laws Barack Obama sponsored in the Illinois State Senate.
427 is the current count of the number of bills Barack Obama has co-sponsored in the U.S. Senate.
152, is the most recent tally of the number of bills that Senator Obama has authored. You can see his current legislative record here. Three of them, including S. 3558 ("A bill to provide for enhanced food-borne illness surveillance and food safety capacity") were moved upon just last week.

See how they are.

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Who Are They Fighting For?

Regardless of your political position, please watch the following video. Come on, it's only a minute and 25 seconds of your life, it won't kill you.



A question many of us have been asking since Wednesday night: why are they busting on community organizing?

Of course, Barack Obama phrases it far more eloquently when he says, "Do they think that the lives of those folks struggling each and every day, that working to try and improve their lives is somehow not relevant to the presidency?"

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Who's Really Behind That Screen Name?


I have been hearing a lot this week about the various people on the internet who have been slinging attacks at the presidential candidates and how the campaigns are secretly behind the smears (well, to be fair, I am using the plural here, but really, the accusations of secret smearing are only going in one direction at present.) I wonder why no one has thought to suggest that some of those people may, in fact, be operatives and supporters of the campaign being smeared, that this is all just a way of trying to make themselves look like the victims of vicious lies. Because, honestly people, it isn't that hard to establish an anonymous internet presence and appear to be something you are not. We hear all the time about pedophiles posing as teenagers in order to ensnare kids and police officers pretending to be underage in order to capture predators. So why do people assume that someone who says something negative about a candidate is an operative of their opponent's campaign? I'm not suggesting that supporters didn't taken the ball and run with it, but how do we know that the first pieces of raw meat that were thrown out there didn't come from the very people now claiming to be the victims of vicious rumors? Why aren't any members of the media suggesting that this could have been started by trolls? Don't tell me that CNN hasn't heard of trolls. My mother knows about trolls.

And, since the accusations have only been going in one direction lately, how come the campaigns are not held to the same standards? Why is one campaign held responsible for everything said on the internet, whereas the other campaign has never had to answer for any of the various anonymous emails that keep floating around?

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Time To Act, Time To Organize

Here is Barack Obama's acceptance speech, in case you missed it (or refused to watch it):



Now, before we continue, I need to ask my Republican readers to leave this post. Seriously, I love you, but I don't love your political views and I know you feel the same way about mine, so go away for now and when you come back in a few days, I'll have a new picture of Julian up. I promise. Yes, there are things I think you should know (like, say, how reality measures up with what has been said in recent days), but I don't really think it necessary you read this. This post will probably just make you angry as I will be doing some community organizing (which I learned this evening will be the new derisive term, to replace "liberal" which we all have to admit was getting old).

If I had slick HTML skills, I could probably format this so that the people who wanted to continue reading would have to click through. As it is, I'll just have to assume they will listen to me.

Are they gone? Alright, here is what I have to say to my fellow Obama supporters:

GET THE HELL OFF THE INTERNET AND GET OUT THERE AND REGISTER VOTERS!

Sorry for shouting there, I just wanted to get your attention.

I briefly got really drawn into this Sarah Palin business and found myself sucked into discussing with my internet friends the constantly unfolding drama and what it all means re: gender bias in our society. I even wrote a somewhat paranoid diary on DailyKos suggesting that the choice of Sarah Palin was really a clever trap and had my ass handed back to me on a platter by the commenters. But after watching her speech tonight, I realize that we cannot focus on her. Yes, I find the absolute hypocrisy of the McCain campaign and conservative pundits to be infuriating (total digression: I guess it's only sexism when we ask questions of your candidate--hopefully, at least, all this BS puts an end to the Saint Barack comments certain people in my life feel compelled to make. If not, I will feel compelled to refer to Sarah Palin as the "delicate flower who will be forever bruised if we even look at her the wrong way." Consider yourself warned! Oh, wait, I told those people to stop reading awhile back, didn't I?). However, the time to gape at the GOP has passed. Now we need to work.

We need to go out and register voters. Now.

As some of you are aware, I volunteered for the Obama campaign during the primaries. I did some phone canvassing, but mostly, I worked the voter hotlines (answering calls from people in primary states re: poll locations, voting laws, voting problems they may have had, etc.) I learned a few things about voters. A lot of people do not know their state’s voting laws,. This is not entirely their fault as the voting laws differ from state to state. However, a lot of people don’t know much about voting because they never bothered to learn because they didn’t really care. Until now. Barack Obama is inspiring people who have never voted. I always just assumed that everyone knew what registering to vote entailed, but I was wrong. I found that a lot of people just assume they are registered because they are citizens or because they have a passport or a drivers license (in some states, they do allow you to register at the DMV when getting an ID, but not in all states and, sometimes, people check that box, but it doesn’t get processed by the Board of Elections). Or they don’t realize they need to re-register if they move and, even, that voter registration doesn’t transfer from state to state. Or they think they can just show up at any poll location and vote on election day. Or something comes up suddenly and they want an absentee ballot on the day of the election. Or they assume that if they didn’t vote in the primary that they can’t vote in the general or that they have to vote for the candidate they voted for in the primary. Or they assume they can just register at the polls on election day.

Honestly, for every primary this spring, I spoke to people who wanted to vote for Obama, but could not because they were not registered, or they had to travel out of town for business, or they were in the hospital, or they were working late and couldn’t make it to their polling place, or they were college students who were at school and had registered at home (sometimes home was in a different state that had had its primary months before), or had registered fifty years ago and were on the inactive voter rolls because they had never voted. If my experience was any indication, I would guess that there were thousands of people who wanted to vote for Barack Obama this past spring, but did not because they were either not registered to vote or couldn’t make it to their polling location.

This election is going to be close and there is no guarantee that Barack Obama will win. We need to do everything we can to insure that every single person who wants to vote for Barack on election day is able to vote.

I know that it still feels like summer, but election day is coming up soon. In many states, the deadline to register voters is the first week of October. That is only four weeks away. FOUR WEEKS (sorry, I am shouting again). Here is a list of the voter registration deadlines for each state.

So everyone, we have to get off our collective butts and off of this board. We need to educate ourselves about the voting laws of the state where we plan to register new voters (if it is your home state: great. If you will travel across state lines to register new voters in a swing state: you are my hero!) Some states have really comprehensive websites which allow one to look up a person’s voter registration information–this is an invaluable tool for anyone who has access to the internet while registering voters (i.e. someone tells you they think they are registered, you can look it up for them). You can go to the League of Women Voters website for more information about your state, or you can do a google search (state name + voter registration is often a good way to start) to find out what sort of resources your state has (every state is different–I absolutely loved some states for having the info available, whereas I really disliked some others which seemed to purposely make the process more difficult than necessary). We need to encourage people to vote early or via absentee ballot if they suspect that on election day they will be unable to get to their polling place.

And then, on election day, we need to get out there and get out the vote. We need to knock on doors to remind people and we need to drive people to polls if they can’t get there on their own. But first we have to make sure they can vote when they get to the polls.

For more information, you can visit the campaign Voter Registration action center.

I plan to be working the voter hotline in the days leading up to and on election day.. I expect on election day, I will be fielding calls from people who have experienced problems voting. What I do not want is to field calls from people who are all fired up to vote for Obama, but cannot because they are not registered to vote. We cannot afford to lose this election, but if we do, we don’t want it to be because votes for Obama were not cast.

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