Welcome to Left Out, reality-based independent radio on WRCT 88.3FM, and on the worldwide web at leftout.info. Left Out is co-hosted by Bob Harper and Danny Sleator. Today's program is produced by Matt Hornyak. Listeners are invited to call the program at (412) 268-WRCT (9728), or to send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to Democracy Now every weekday morning at 8am on WRCT.
You can listen to all previous editions of Left Out, as well as subscribe to a podcast of the show on our website: leftout.info. If you missed last week's show, I urge you to try to listen to it, because it was a good one. The guests were Norman Solomon and Bernard Chazelle.
Listen to the broadcast (requires MP3 player). (Streaming, Download, Podcast)
We'll talk with Richard King and Pamela Smith about election issues. King is a local activist working in support of voter verifiable paper balots. He developed the PA-verifiedvoting.org web site which contains updates about pending legislation or public discussions, and suggest how to get involved.
Pamela Smith is Nationwide Coordinator for VerifiedVoting.org and the Verified Voting Foundation. She's testified before California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's Voting Systems & Procedures panel and to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors regarding the voting issue and San Diego's use of Diebold electronic voting equipment.
Some topics to talk about:
Summarize what it is that these organizations are proposing.
Explain the logic behind why we need voter verifiable paper balots.
There are many detractors to these proposals. What are their objections? What's wrong with them? What's motivating these people?
Are there interesting anecdotes/stories about recent elections that illustrate the problems we're trying to avoid?
What's happening nationally and locally on these initiatives? What can the listeners do?
It might be worhtwhile to reiterate some of the problems of the 2004 election in Ohio and elsewhere. (Recall Left Out of December 7, 2004 with guest Bob Fitrakis on voting problems in Ohio.)
A wealth of resources are available here:
Verified Voting was involved in developing the the Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS). The incident reports in Pennsylvania were 2nd highest in nation. To see this go to voteprotect.org and click on Research/Maps, then click on Pennsylvania for details. Total number of reports: 4835. (Allegheny county alone had 1053 incidents!) Machine related reports: 309 (exceeded only by Florida w/366).
www.VerifiedVoting.org (front page) shows a map of the country showing states that have taken action to require voter-verified paper records. Pennsylvania is the newest state to join the ranks of those considering legislation.
Details about the federal bills on voter-verified paper records as well as more info about state bills can be found on our legislative page: www.verifiedvoting.org/legis
There are links to some groups in Pennsylvania taking action on this issue at VerifiedVoting.org's PA state page, as well as info about and links to HB 2000, Rep. Frankel's new bill. See this.
In the spring semester of 2005, three "controversial" speakers were invited to CMU in short succession. They were Malik Zulu Shabazz, Ali Abunimah, and Norman Finkelstein. Local jewish groups including the Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh organized protests of Abunimah speech. Among other things, they filled the hall with protestors, effectively blocking others who wanted to see the speaker. They also successfully convinced the university to postpone Finkelstein's speech. When Finkelstein did arrive, protestors again attempted to pack the hall to prevent others from hearing the talk. This was unsuccessful because the hall was large enough to accommodate everybody. However, the University decided to allow time at the end of his talk to for his detractors to "rebut" his message.
As a result of all this commotion, and the unfolding attacks against Professor Joseph Massad of Columbia University, a number of faculty members wrote an open letter to the Tartan calling on the Faculty Senate to clarify the controversial speakers policy.
So this fall a committee was formed by President Cohon to do this, as was reported in the Tartan.
The Tartan article stated that these speakers were "alleged" to have included anti-Semitic material. The article also quoted Aaron Weil of the Hillel at length, and included his statement that the speakers "brought messages of hate". It did not allow Abunimah or any of his supporters to correct this, and point out the fact that his talk had nothing at all to do with anti-semitism or hate. In response to this, and to the drafting of a new Controversial Speakers Policy, Abunimah wrote this letter to the committee and President Cohon.
We have seen a draft of the new policy, and we're proud to say that it forcefully states that student groups have a right to bring speakers of their choice, and that it's wrong for anybody to impede a potential audience from hearing them.
A second serious terrorist attack in Bali this past weekend, this time by a trio of suicide bombers, makes clear that Bush's Global War on Terrorism is a complete failure. Indonesian authorities suspect that the attack was perpetrated by Jemaah Islamiyah, a terrorist network related to al Qaeda. The silence from the administration about the horrific bombing underlines its significance as proof that Bush's policies are a complete failure.
Former exterminator (and House Majority Leader) Tom Delay was indicted a second time for money laundering and conspiracy to launder money, a charge for which, if convicted, Delay could face a sentence of life in prison. The indictment alleges that Delay used his Texans for a Republican Majority PAC to launder money through the RNC to funnel corporate money to local political campaigns. Delay continues to attempt to swift boat Ronnie Earle by alleging that Earle is on a political witchhunt. Trouble is, Earle has a 12-4 record of indictments against politicians: 12 Democrats to 4 Republicans. Worse, the grand jury foreman in the original indictment insists that the jury indicted Delay, not Earle, and that the evidence is compelling. Delay was invited to testify, but refused, then denied having been requested to appear, then admitted that he had. The very model of a modern Republican politician.
As we predicted here on Left Out, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, President Cheney's chief of staff and right-hand man was Judy Miller's source for the outing of Valerie Plame. On Sunday George Snuffleupagus reported that he has well-placed sources who say that the decision to out Plame to retaliate for Joseph Wilson's outing of administration lies about Iraq was taken with the explicit involvement of President Cheney and his mannequin, George W Bush. Can Fitzgerald finger the President and his Charlie McCarthy?