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Kick Assiest Blog
Sunday, July 31, 2005
For years, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Betty B. Fletcher has been ILLEGALLY REGISTERED to vote in Seattle
Mood:  surprised
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Check Out This Illegal Voter

The past Governors election in Washington State pointed out several flaws in the state's system, one of which is the amount of illegal voters on the rolls. Well it seems that legal action has been taken against one of those illegal voters. It just so happens that this illegal voter has a day job on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

EFF files challenge to federal judge’s voter registration

(Olympia) – For years, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Betty B. Fletcher has been illegally registered to vote in Seattle. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation (EFF) yesterday filed a challenge to her registration and that of her husband, Robert L. Fletcher. Under the law, King County elections officials must send notices of the registration challenge, calling for a hearing in ten days. The Fletchers have until three days before the hearing to reregister in person at the elections office.

The Fletchers claim their residence is the King County Administration Building and that their mailing address is 1010 5th Ave. in Seattle, which is an United States Courthouse Building. Providing false registration application information is a Class C felony.

"This is not a trivial matter," said Bob Edelman, election reform project manager at EFF who filed the complaints. "Apparently she registered with a false address for privacy reasons, but that is no excuse for breaking the law. She could have applied for address confidentiality, but she chose to ignore the law instead.

"What this also means is that the Fletchers have been casting illegal votes because their true residence is in a different legislative district," he said.

Judge Fletcher was appointed to the 9th Circuit by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

"State law makes it clear that no registration application is complete unless it contains a valid residential address, and King County officials, as well as some other auditors, refuse to do their jobs by checking out the validity of applications," Edelman said. "This shows once again why we have to have a complete voter registration update here in Washington to correct the rolls after years of official neglect."

Evergreen Freedom Foundation ** EFF files challenge to federal judge’s voter registration

RELATED WASHINGTON STATE DEMOCRAP CORRUPTION...

A Washington State Supreme Court Justice ram a car while drunk in 2003. She tried to escape but her car was trapped and wouldn't move. But when caught she was real sorry. Did I mention she was a vocal Democrat prior to getting on the court? WA State has the market cornered in criminal judges and guess what, they're Democrats.

'I Know My Behavior Was Inexcusable'

SEATTLE - Washington Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge was cited for drunken driving and hit and run after she reportedly ran her car into a parked vehicle Friday night.

Bridge allegedly ran into another vehicle around 9:15 p.m. Friday in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood, then tried to drive away, police said.

Blood tests reportedly showed Bridge's blood alcohol level to be 0.21 percent, nearly three times the state intoxication threshold of 0.08.

Bridge was elected to the state's high court in November after running unopposed.

On Sunday, Bridge released a statement through her attorney. It reads as follows:

On Friday evening I made an extremely poor decision and drove my car after having too much to drink. As a result I was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to stop immediately after striking an unoccupied vehicle. I know my behavior was inexcusable. I apologize to the people of the State of Washington, to my fellow members of the State Supreme Court and to my family and friends. There are not words to describe how deeply remorseful I am. I thank God no one was hurt.

This incident has caused me to take a serious look at my use of alcohol. It is not an issue to be taken lightly, and I pledge to take every step necessary to address it. I am going to seek a professional alcohol evaluation and will diligently pursue any recommended treatment. The people of this State have a right to expect that their public officials will admit their errors and deal with the consequences with integrity and honesty. The events of Friday evening were my fault, and I accept full responsibility. No one is more disappointed in me than I am.

I have devoted my professional career and much of my personal life as well to serving the public. It has been a privilege to do so and I hope to continue to serve the people of our State on the Supreme Court for many years to come. I have always dealt with challenges in my life in a direct and forthright way. I will deal with this too as honestly and openly as I can. Again, I offer my deepest apology.

Thank you.

KOMO 4 News ~ ABC Seattle WA ** 'I Know My Behavior Was Inexcusable'

Posted by uhyw at 3:32 PM EDT
al-Qaeda websites are wiped out ~ Finger points to British intelligence
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: News

Finger points to British intelligence as al-Qaeda websites are wiped out

Over the past fortnight Israeli intelligence agents have noticed something distinctly odd happening on the internet. One by one, Al-Qaeda's affiliated websites have vanished until only a handful remain, write Uzi Mahnaimi and Alex Pell.

Someone has cut the line of communication between the spiritual leaders of international terrorism and their supporters. Since 9/11 the websites have been the main links to disseminate propaganda and information.

The Israelis detect the hand of British intelligence, determined to torpedo the websites after the London attacks of July 7.

The web has become the new battleground of terrorism, permitting a freedom of communication denied to such organisations as the IRA a couple of decades ago.

One global jihad site terminated recently was an inflammatory Pakistani site, www.mojihedun.com, in which a section entitled How to Strike a European City gave full technical instructions. Tens of similar sites, some offering detailed information on how to build and use biological weapons, have also been shut down. However, Islamic sites believed to be "moderate", remain.

One belongs to the London-based Syrian cleric Abu Basir al-Tartusi, whose www.abubaseer.bizland.com remained operative after he condemned the London bombings.

However, the scales remain weighted in favour of global jihad, the first virtual terror organisation. For all the vaunted spying advances such as tracking mobile phones and isolating key phrases in telephone conversations, experts believe current technologies actually play into the hands of those who would harm us.

"Modern technology puts most of the advantages in the hands of the terrorists. That is the bottom line," says Professor Michael Clarke, of King's College London, who is director of the International Policy Institute.

Government-sponsored monitoring systems, such as Echelon, can track vast amounts of data but have so far proved of minimal benefit in preventing, or even warning, of attacks. And such systems are vulnerable to manipulation: low-ranking volunteers in terrorist organisations can create background chatter that ties up resources and maintains a threshold of anxiety. There are many tricks of the trade that give terrorists secure digital communication and leave no trace on the host computer.

Ironically, the most readily available sources of accurate online information on bomb-making are the websites of the radical American militia. "I have not seen any Al-Qaeda manuals that look like genuine terrorist training," claims Clarke.

However, the sobering message of many security experts is that the terrorists are unlikely ever to lose a war waged with technology.

The Sunday Times - Britain ** Finger points to British intelligence as al-Qaeda websites are wiped out

Posted by uhyw at 12:50 PM EDT
Family gives special goodbye dinner to Marine off to Iraq, Stranger picks up the tab
Mood:  cool
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

An Incredibly Touching Story of real Americanism

Family gives special farewell to Marine headed to Iraq

Morrison, Colorado - Mark Hickethier knew he was going to have to dig deep for this celebration dinner. "We were out to kill the fatted calf," he said, talking about his big plans.

His chosen destination -- The Fort -- a funky, fancy restaurant in Morrison that serves "fine food and drink from the early West." It's a special occasion place, and it comes with a price tag.

But no expense was too much for his only son, who's about to ship off to Iraq for his first tour of duty. Matt Hickethier has almost completed training, and has this week to say farewell to his family for about a year.

The young Marine decided to wear his dress blues to the fancy restaurant. His mother and sister wore their finest dresses.

"We were treated like kings and queens," says Lora Hickethier, Matt's mother.

They ordered champagne, and watched from the deck as a server took a tomahawk to the bottle to open it in ceremonial fashion. They loaded up on quirky appetizers, like rattlesnake, quail eggs, and buffalo tongue.

"We didn't hold back, we ordered dessert even though we were stuffed," said Lora Hickethier.

Perhaps it was the dress blues; maybe it was the general revelry and good vibes emanating from the Hickethier table. The truth may never be revealed, but the Hickethiers had certainly drawn attention. A couple at a neighboring table summoned Jason Barba, their server, and made a most unusual request.

"He gave me his credit card and requested I keep the tab open," said Barba. "'Anything that they order is on me.'"

Stephanie Amador, who was waiting on the Hickethier table, said the gentleman who picked up the tab insisted on doing it and also insisted on anonymity. The gesture was not even to be announced until he had finished and departed.

"It was just really, really neat," said Amador. "That doesn't happen -- ever," she added.

Amador speculated the benefactor's motivation might have been his gratitude to the young man in uniform. While the restaurant knows the man's name, they have said only that he's a businessman from Texas who was in town for a few days.

While the servers were impressed by this generous move, the Hickethiers were floored.

"I don't know the motivation, but I do know that it was mind-blowing," said Mark.

While Mark fully supports his son's decision to join the Marines and support the war effort in Iraq, he admits to being disturbed by those who say the fight isn't worth it. The gesture at The Fort reminded him of the many Americans that support young men like his son.

"It helped us feel more convinced of what our son is doing, Matt's doing the right thing and people do appreciate it," he said.

While they understand and respect the benefactor's desire for anonymity, they'd like the opportunity to thank him.

KUSA-TV / NBC Channel 9 News - Denver, CO ~ Andrew Resnik ** Family gives special farewell to Marine headed to Iraq

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin who linked source from Peenie Wallie.

Posted by uhyw at 12:34 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2005 12:58 PM EDT
Abortions to British girls aged under 14 soar as careers come first
Mood:  down
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

First off... this is the most libtard biased bullshit I've read in a while (it's from the UK Times Online). Note the word "abortion" has been replaced with the word "termination" all throughout the story... just like the BBC replaced the word "terrorists" with the word "bombers".

At some point during this story, I was expecting to see a quote like, "See? Abstinence doesn't work. It doesn't prevent semen from impregnating young girls who have sex."

But I will comment on one geniune quote...
"We should stop seeing abortion as a problem and start seeing it as a legitimate and sensible solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancy."

...And while we are at it, we should completely eschew responsibility for our actions for all eternity. Well, there it is in black and white. The pro-abortionists have long contended that abortion is NOT BEING USED AS A METHOD OF BIRTH CONTROL, though we always knew otherwise.

Abortions soar as careers come first

Rising rate among under-14s disappoints health officials

The abortion rate hit a record high last year, according to government figures published yesterday that also show a sharp rise in terminations to girls aged under 14.

In 2004 the abortion rate rose by 2.1 per cent to 17.8 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, the highest recorded, according to the Department of Health. This resulted in 185,415 women resident in England and Wales having an abortion, compared with 181,600 in 2003.

The overall abortion rate among girls aged under 16 fell from 3.9 to 3.7 per 1,000, but the number of girls aged under 14 who had an abortion rose by 6 per cent last year to 157.

The findings provoked mixed reactions yesterday from people working in the family planning field. Some predicted that the rate would continue to rise as women increasingly regarded having a termination as a lifestyle choice.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Britain's leading abortion provider, noted that the rate was highest for those aged 18 to 24, at 31.9 terminations per 1,000 women.

This is part of a growing trend for women in this age bracket opting to end unwanted pregnancies, she said. Most women are at least 29 before they have a child and the increase in abortion rates of women aged 20 to 24 reflects that.

"Women today want to plan their families and, when contraception fails, they are prepared to use abortion to get back in control of their lives," Ms Furedi said.

"Motherhood is just one among many options open to women and it is not surprising that younger women want to prioritise other things. We should stop seeing abortion as a problem and start seeing it as a legitimate and sensible solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancy." She added that nowadays women who do want children want fewer of them later in life. Marriage was decreasing in popularity and unmarried couples were more likely than married couples to end an unplanned pregnancy, even if they were living together.

Ms Furedi said that women, particularly those in the professional classes, were increasingly reluctant to take breaks that could hinder their careers.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said that it was disappointed with the overall rise in abortions. She said: "We are working hard to reduce the demand for abortions by improving access to contraception and have committed an extra ?40 million to improve access to contraceptive services." She said that the department would soon start a public information campaign to educate young people on the importance of safer sex as part of the Government's strategy to decrease teenage pregnancies.

Anne Weyman, chief executive of the Family Planning Association, agreed that the figures highlighted the urgent need to improve NHS contraceptive services.

She also noted that the figures showed encouraging improvements to abortion services, which meant that more abortions (82 per cent in 2004, compared with 80 per cent in 2003) were being funded by the NHS.

This also enabled more women to have early abortions. In 2004, some 56 per cent of NHS abortions were carried out before ten weeks of gestation, up from 52 per cent in 2003.

Commentators were divided, however, about the significance of changes to the under-16 abortion rate, noting that as the numbers involved are so low, small increases or decreases in cases can produce big percentage swings.

The rate of abortions carried out because of the risk that a child would be born with a disability remained at 1 per cent. The figure was 1,900 in 2004, compared with 1,950 in 2003.

The figures also show that 42 women had terminations at 28 weeks or more gestation last year, compared with 49 women the year before. There were 18 cases that involved pregnancies of 32 weeks or more, compared with 22 in 2003.

UK Times Online ~ Alexandra Frean ** Abortions soar as careers come first

Posted by uhyw at 12:12 PM EDT
ACLU sues for Court swearing-in: 'So help me Allah'
Mood:  silly
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

The ACLU (American Commie Libtard Union) is so full of shit... you do not have to swear on the Bible anyway, you can "affirm" the oath. same results.
What to do in various swearing-in situations at The Straight Dope. Anyway, here's the bullshit libtard story...

Court swearing-in: 'So help me Allah'?

ACLU sues to allow other texts such as Quran in legal-oathtaking

In an effort to end the Bible's monopoly on the swearing-in procedure in the courtroom, the American Civil Liberties Union is now suing the state of North Carolina.

A lawsuit has been filed in Superior Court in Wake County, N.C., on behalf of the organization's statewide membership of approximately 8,000 individuals of many different faiths, including Islam and Judaism.

"The government cannot favor one set of religious values over another and must allow all individuals of faith to be sworn in on the holy text that is in accordance with their faith," said Jennifer Rudinger, Executive Director of the ACLU-NC. "By allowing only the Christian Bible to be used in the administration of religious oaths in the courtroom, the state is discriminating against people of non-Christian faiths."

Current law mentions laying one's hand on the "Holy Scriptures," which officials heretofore have interpreted as meaning the Bible.

The ACLU seeks a court order clarifying that the existing rule is broad enough to allow the use of multiple religious texts.

"In the alternative, if the Court does not agree that the phrase 'Holy Scriptures' in North Carolina state statute must be read to permit texts such as the Quran, the Old Testament and the Bhagavad-Gita in addition to the Christian Bible, then the ACLU-NC asks the Court to strike down the practice of allowing the use of any religious texts in the administration of religious oaths," said a written statement from the civil-liberties group.

The swearing-in issue began last month after Muslims from the Al-Ummil Ummat Islamic Center in Greensboro sought to donate copies of the Quran to courtrooms in Guilford County.

The gift was rejected by the county's top two judges, noting an oath based on the Quran was not legally binding.

World Net Daily.com ** Court swearing-in: 'So help me Allah'?

Posted by uhyw at 11:36 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2005 11:40 AM EDT
Economist Blames Aid for Africa Famine
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

Eighteen tons of food stuff arriving from France is offloaded at the airport in the town of Maradi, Niger on Saturday, July 30, 2005. Hunger is perennially a problem in Niger. But a locust invasion last year followed by drought have made the problem worse. Almost a third of Niger's population of 11.3 million is in crisis, with it's children the most vulnerable. Some 800,000 children under 5 are suffering from hunger, including 150,000 faced with severe malnutrition.

Economist Blames Aid for Africa Famine

DAKAR, Senegal - In Niger, a desert country twice the size of Texas, most of the 11 million people live on a dollar a day. Forty percent of children are underfed, and one out of four dies before turning 5. And that's when things are normal. Throw in a plague of locusts, and a familiar spectacle emerges: skeletal babies, distended bellies, people too famished to brush the flies from their faces.

To the aid workers charged with saving the dying, the immediate challenge is to raise relief money and get supplies to the stricken areas. They leave it to the economists and politicians to come up with a lasting remedy. One such economist is James Shikwati. He blames foreign aid.

"When aid money keeps coming, all our policy-makers do is strategize on how to get more," said the Kenya-based director of the Inter Region Economic Network, an African think tank.

"They forget about getting their own people working to solve these very basic problems. In Africa, we look to outsiders to solve our problems, making the victim not take responsibility to change."

Moving the aid can be nightmare in itself. Africa's good roads are few, and often pass through the front lines of civil wars. But Shikwati notes an additional problem: Even African countries that have food to spare can't easily share it because tariffs on agricultural products within sub-Saharan Africa average as high as 33 percent, compared with 12 percent on similar products imported from Europe.

"It doesn't make sense when they can't even allow their neighbors to feed them. They have to wait for others in Europe or Asia to help," he said. "We don't have any excuses in Africa. We can't blame nature. We have to tell our leadership to open up and get people producing food."

Nature, of course, does bear some of the blame. Recurring drought is a part of life in Africa. Farmers have learned to cope, but exploding population growth sucks up water, pasture and livestock.

Many food crises result from bad government and civil wars. For 30 years after winning independence from France, Niger was ruled by coup and military dictatorship. Now it's a peaceful multiparty democracy, but its desert is getting bigger and drought is unrelenting.

All it took was the locust swarms of a year ago, the worst in 15 years, to start tipping Niger over the edge. The crop-devouring insects ravaged some 7,000 square miles of Niger farmland. The combined drought-locust onslaught cut cereal production by 15 percent last year, according to the United Nations.

At first, few noticed. Places like Niger "were never on anybody's radar screen. They're not considered important, geopolitically or resource-wise," said Cathy Skoula, executive director of U.S.-based Action Against Hunger. "It comes down to a question of priorities. But any human life is important."

Aid groups say Niger's catastrophe could have been averted — that early warning systems were in place, and the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies warned of imminent food shortages late last year.

In November, Niger's government issued an emergency appeal for 78,000 tons of food. Donors, busy with higher-profile crises, barely responded.

The following month came the Indian Ocean tsunami that entirely eclipsed Africa's misery on the world's TV screens.

Aid workers say heading off famine needs long-term, steady funding.

"Prevention doesn't sell that much," said Stefanie Savariaud, spokeswoman for the U.N. World Food Program in Niger's capital, Niamey. "The world has to wait for images of dying children to react. The question is, how to mobilize the international community when it's still preventable?"

Ironically, only three weeks ago the world's attention was fixed on Africa again, when the G-8 summit pledged to double African aid to $50 billion and granted 18 of its countries debt forgiveness, including Niger. At the same time, rock concerts televised worldwide made sure Africa's troubles stayed high on the global agenda.

A week later, TV pictures of hungry people began beaming out of Niger, and donors reached for their wallets. But the World Food Program has only raised $9 million of the $16 million it appealed for, Savariaud said.

At a feeding center in Mada Roufa, in eastern Niger, Mai Sali, a local employee of the international relief organization Doctors Without Borders, praised those efforts, but agreed crisis aid was not the answer.

"We need to find other long-term solutions. We can't just address emergencies," he said.

Associated Press writer Nafi Diouf in Niamey, Niger, contributed to this report.
Yahoo News ~ Associated Press - Todd Pitman ** Economist Blames Aid for Africa Famine

Posted by uhyw at 11:07 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2005 11:23 AM EDT
Senate okays gun maker protection bill, despite Ted Kennedy-type libtard opposition
Mood:  chatty
Topic: News

When I was reading this story, I could'nt help laughing that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) opposed shielding gun manufactures from lawsuits that should go towards the actual criminals anyway.

What makes it funny to me, is that I grew up in Massachusetts... about 5 miles from THE SMITH & WESSON GUN FACTORY!!!

Senate Okays Gun Maker Protection Bill

In a vote of 65-31, the Senate Friday passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (S.397), a measure designed to shield gun makers, dealers, and importers from lawsuits filed by crime victims.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) [right], said the bill "says go after the criminal, don't go after the law-abiding gun manufacturer or the law-abiding gun seller."

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Critics, like Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) [left] accused the GOP and the Bush administration of using the bill as a "payback" to the National Rifle Association.

\/

The NRA applauded the Senate's passage of the measure, calling it "an historic vote in Second Amendment history."

"When it comes to something as fundamental as the Second Amendment, the American people are determined to protect this freedom. That's what happened in the United States Senate today," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre (right) and chief lobbyist Chris Cox in a statement.

The NRA said the bill will "put an end to politically motivated predatory lawsuits." The group called the measure's passage "a groundbreaking step forward for law-abiding firearm manufacturers, retailers and owners in this country."

"The 'Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act' is a vital bill that will save the centuries old, law-abiding, and highly regulated American industry that has persevered under the burden of these predatory lawsuits," said LaPierre and Cox (right).

"The success of this bill was so critical to national security interests that it prompted the Department of Defense to issue a strong letter unequivocally urging passage," they added.

Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) also praised the Senate for acting "responsibly in an effort to stop frivolous legal actions that have been mounted over the past few years by anti-gun rights politicians to deliberately bankrupt legitimate firearms manufacturers."

"These legal actions, backed by extremists in the gun control lobby, have no other purpose than to financially devastate the gun industry, and opponents of this legislation know it," said CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb in a statement.

Democrats failed to attach amendments that would give police and children the right to sue or let individuals sue, but not municipalities.

"Should those whose actions lead to the death or injury of a child get a free pass?" asked Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) [left], sponsor of one amendment.

Gun control advocates blast bill as 'terrible public policy'

Gun control groups, like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, condemned the Senate's action.

"This is a day in America when the little guy lost out to powerful special interests. The Senate has passed legislation that, if passed by the House and signed by the President, will lock the courthouse doors to gun violence victims," said Brady Campaign President Michael Barnes in a statement.

"The legislation, if allowed to become law, will give the most irresponsible gun sellers in America a license to act more recklessly than ever before. It removes the one threat facing those gun sellers that look the other way and help supply the criminal market -- that they will be taken to court and held accountable," said Barnes.

"One irresponsible gun dealer says it 'lost' over 200 guns, some of which ended up killing people. That dealer gets immunity. One dealer sells 12 guns to a customer paying cash, police officers are shot with one of the guns, and that dealer gets immunity. This is nothing short of insanity," added Barnes.

Barnes pledged that gun control activists would "continue to fight to prevent this bill from becoming law, and we will fight even harder if it becomes law." He called the measure "terrible public policy."

Cybercast News Service ~ Melanie Hunter ** Senate Okays Gun Maker Protection Bill

Posted by uhyw at 10:29 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2005 10:44 AM EDT
Justice Deptartment accuses Boston of voting rights violations, cited denying Hispanics, Asians language translation services
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

In the summer of 2004, Mayor Menino brought the Democratic National Convention to Boston. The convention put a national spotlight on Boston, as one of the Northeast bastions of liberal "compassion", "tolerance", and "understanding".

So let me guess... considering it's Boston, they probably wanted to vote Republican and the poll workers abused them and made it difficult? Nah, couldn't be!

Justice Dept. accuses city of voting rights violations

Language cited as issue for Hispanics, Asians

The US Department of Justice accused Mayor Thomas M. Menino (right) and the City of Boston yesterday of denying the rights of Hispanic and Asian-American voters with limited English skills, and said it would seek federal oversight of city elections until 2007.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday, the Justice Department alleges that the city and its poll workers interfered with voters' rights by "improperly influencing, coercing, or ignoring the ballot choices of limited English proficient Hispanic and Asian-American voters" and of generally "abridging" their voting rights by treating Hispanic and Asian voters disrespectfully at the polls and by failing to provide adequate translation services for them.

The lawsuit says the Justice Department has been urging the city to comply with the Voting Rights Act since 1992, spanning a period when the city's Hispanic and Asian populations have swelled, making the groups a potentially formidable political force. Justice Department lawyers contend that the city has failed to respond to repeated requests to improve the city's treatment of Hispanic and Asian voters with limited English skills. It does not provide specific instances of violations of voters' rights.

"The violations of the Voting Rights Act that we discovered in Boston are deeply disturbing, and there is no place for such misconduct in 2005," Bradley J. Schlozman, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a prepared statement released yesterday. "Furthermore, despite having had an unequivocal obligation -- for 13 years -- to provide Spanish language information to voters who need it . . . the City of Boston has consistently fallen well short of the mark."

Under the Voting Rights Act, if more than 10,000 of a city's voting-age citizens are members of a single-language minority with limited English skills, all elections materials must be available in their first language. The city is required to offer all ballots and instructions in Spanish for the 34,000 Hispanic citizens of voting age in Boston. The federal law also forbids officials from imposing any requirement or procedure that denies or abridges the rights of minority citizens to vote.

To remedy the alleged violations, the suit asks the US District Court in Massachusetts to order the city to "devise and implement a remedial program" to assist Hispanic and Asian-American voters and to appoint federal examiners to watch all elections held in Boston until Dec. 31, 2007. In addition, the suit asks that the city be ordered to pay the costs of the lawsuit and that the court "award such other equitable and further relief."

City and state officials were angered by the suit yesterday, and vowed to challenge it.

Menino, who is running for reelection this year, declined to comment. His top aide disputed the accusations.

"There is not one substantiated allegation in this complaint," said Merita Hopkins, the mayor's chief of staff and corporation counsel. "What they conclude in this complaint is completely contrary to the Menino administration. The mayor would never tolerate any disrespect for voters, and the Elections Department constantly emphasizes diversity in its training sessions with poll workers."

Hopkins stressed that the lawsuit cites no specific instances of polling-place misconduct to back its allegations and that the city would challenge the suit on that basis. She said the city has made enormous progress recently in guaranteeing that voters with limited English skills have full voting rights.

Community advocates were pleased by news of the lawsuit yesterday and saw it as a means of ensuring that the rights of all of the city's voters are protected.

"Voting is a right for all citizens, English speakers and non-English speakers alike," said Pamela Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts. "It has come to our awareness that non-English speakers have had problems with inadequate translations. Those things just can't happen. That is something that needs to be addressed."

"My hope is that the suit will lead to changes in the way elections are run," said Juan Martinez, executive director of the voter advocacy group MassVOTE.

The lawsuit follows allegations by community advocates that some minority voters have been disenfranchised at polling places in Boston. In 2002, rival campaigns in a legislative race in Brighton accused the other's translators of coercing voters into casting ballots for their candidates. In 2003, an inquiry by Secretary of State William F. Galvin detailed violations of voting regulations in Chinatown during a municipal election, including understaffed polling places, a shortage of polling booths, and inadequate privacy for voters casting ballots.

In March, observers from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division were stationed at polling places in special elections in the city's 12th Suffolk and 18th Suffolk districts, home to large numbers of Russian, Chinese, and Haitian-Creole-speaking voters.

Lawyers from the Justice Department built their case using complaints from witnesses and community groups and from the violations witnessed by their observers, said department spokesman Eric W. Holland.

Holland said that lawyers from the department have been in contact with the city on its their obligations under the Voting Rights Act since 1992, most recently in March.

"We talked and met with them a number of times and monitored their special state legislative election in March 2005," Holland said. "We brought specific problems to their attention on election day, to little effect."

He did not respond to a request from the Globe to provide details of the allegations.

City officials said Justice Department lawyers have rushed into a lawsuit to force compliance with requirements they have not made clear.

"They've given us no opportunity to be advised of what their facts are, no opportunity to investigate it ourselves," Hopkins said. "They've given us no opportunity to work with the Department of Justice like we do all the time with the Secretary of State's office to correct anything that needs to be corrected. They should be concerned with compliance, not with suing."

The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has filed 26 suits to correct mistreatment of voters with limited English skills at the polls since 1975. Very few defendants fight the suits, Holland said. "Almost all cases have been settled by consent decrees."

The city had been making great efforts to address concerns over voters with limited English skills recently, Hopkins and others said.

The suit "is without merit, at least in the present situation," Galvin said. "There is no factual basis for what they've alleged. This is not to say 20 years ago there might have not been issues, but whatever issues have arisen in recent years, there has been a good-faith effort to remedy them."

For the preliminary city election on Sept. 27, the city will have all materials translated into Spanish and many materials available in Chinese, Vietnamese, Haitian-Creole, and Cape Verdean, officials said. The city has made provision for more Spanish bilingual poll workers, tapping community organizations and academic and business communities to provide personnel. It will also retain a pool of Spanish-speaking poll workers to be dispatched to places where they are needed and a translation bank for speakers of other languages. The Elections Department website was recently translated into Spanish, but Menino spokesman Seth Gitell declined to say how recently that happened.

Martinez said MassVOTE had been working much more closely with the city's Election Department recently, particularly since the new commissioner, Geraldine Cuddyer, was appointed last November. But Martinez said that, whether or not the city challenges the Justice Department lawsuit, there is no way to know if its electoral policies have improved without seeing them in action.

"Till you see people at the polls where they're supposed to be providing translation services in a nonpartisan, noncoercive way, that's the only telling sign," said Martinez. "We can answer that only on Election Day."

Donovan Slack of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.
(Origional story requires registration)
The Boston Globe ~ Yvonne Abraham ** Justice Dept. accuses city of voting rights violations

Posted by uhyw at 9:14 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2005 9:29 AM EDT
Dem Southern Christian Leadership Conference trying for comeback
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference tries to rebuild from scandal, backbiting and near bankruptcy. It is amazing to see how many Dem organizations; PACs, AFL-CIO, NAACP, Florida Democratic Party, etc are plagued by internal discord or economic ruin.

Turmoil behind, civil rights group meets in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Broke and in turmoil last year, the civil rights group founded by Martin Luther King Jr. opens its annual meeting this weekend looking overseas in hope of long-term stability.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which begins its five-day convention in Birmingham on Saturday, is on solid footing for the first time in years, President Charles Steele Jr. said in an interview.

He attributed the improvements in part to the group's plan to open more conflict resolution centers overseas based on King's philosophy of nonviolent social change, President Charles Steele Jr. said in an interview.

The idea has resulted in corporate pledges and donations of more than $650,000, allowing the Atlanta-based organization to get current on all expenses and payroll just six months after the lights were turned off for nonpayment, Steele said.

"We were on life support, but it didn't die," said Steele, a former Alabama state senator from Tuscaloosa.

Steele said centers already have opened in Dayton, Ohio, and Israel, and others are planned in China, Cuba, India and Italy.

Steele took over the presidency in November at the board's request after infighting and questionable management left the SCLC near bankruptcy and its leadership in despair. The full convention is expected to ratify his leadership at the annual gathering.

"Things have settled down," said Tyrone L. Brooks Sr., a Georgia state legislator and former SCLC staff member. "The SCLC family has been able to get refocused and remember why we were founded: To be a long-term activist organization."

Steele said as many as 7,000 people are expected to attend the convention, which will include addresses by former King aide Jesse Jackson and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

The organization doesn't release membership figures, but its Internet site lists 75 chapters and affiliated organizations.

Founded by King and two associates in 1957 to fight legalized segregation in the Jim Crow South, the SCLC helped organize some of the defining moments of the civil rights era, including the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march two years later.

But the SCLC seemed to lose its way as the decades passed.

Then-SCLC President Martin Luther King III quit in 2003 after feuding with board members including chairman Claud Young. The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who led protests in Birmingham in the 1950s and '60s, took over as interim president, and the 2004 convention degenerated into a shouting match and police had to be called to keep the peace.

Young and Shuttlesworth are out, and the King family is again warming to the SCLC, according to former president and co-founder Joseph Lowery. Martin Luther King III is scheduled to appear in Birmingham, along with his sister Bernice King.

"If they hadn't changed directions they were headed for disaster," said Lowery, who was sued by the former board in a lawsuit that has since been dropped.

While U.S. blacks still face problems including poverty and racial injustice, Lowery said Steele's idea of working abroad to help resolve conflicts dovetails perfectly with the work and vision of King, who won the Nobel Peace Price.

"The SCLC has been involved in foreign policy for a long time," said Lowery, who will be honored with an award during the meeting. "We've always recognized the intricate relationship between domestic and foreign policy."

San Diego Union-Tribune ~ Associated Press - Jay Reeves ** Turmoil behind, civil rights group meets in Birmingham

Posted by uhyw at 8:44 AM EDT
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Sharpton blasts black support of Dems
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Al Sharpton blasted what he sees as "blind" support of the Democratic Party. What he really means is blind support of white Democrats. He is banking on blind support for himself. The second half of the article is frightening. Sharpton blasts 'black' movies and music as celebrating problems in the black community. Whenever Al Sharpton starts to make sense I know that I am in trouble.

Sharpton: Stop Blind Support of Dems

Former Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton blasted blacks Thursday for what he described as their blind support of the Democratic Party without demanding anything in return.

Sharpton, during his remarks at the National Urban League's annual conference in Washington, noted that his fellow Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, have taken African-American voters for granted and failed to act in the best interests of the black community.

"The whole network of incarceration (of African-American men) happened under this president and the last president. So it wasn't just George Bush. Bill Clinton - I wish Hillary had hung around - Bill Clinton built a lot of jails and passed the omnibus crime bill," Sharpton said shortly after Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, had addressed the same panel discussion, entitled "The Black Male: Endangered Species or Hope for the Future?"

Sharpton noted that African-American men make up 6 percent of the U.S. population but 44 percent of the nation's prison population.

"And just because Bill can sing "Amazing Grace" well doesn't mean the omnibus crime bill was not a bill that hurt our people," Sharpton told the several hundred people gathered at the Washington Convention Center.

Clinton enjoyed significant African-American support and was affectionately referred to by many in the black community as America's "first black president."

"We must stop allowing people to gain politically from us if they're not reciprocating when dealing and being held accountable," said Sharpton, referring to the allegiance that African-American voters maintain to the Democratic Party.

Sharpton said many politicians who court the black vote "come by and get our votes 'cause they wave at us on Sunday morning while the choir's singing. And we act like that is reaching out."

The problem is these same politicians "never addressed why they sit here in Washington with an epidemic proportion of HIV AIDS in our (black) community, unemployment in our community and they do nothing to deal with eliminating those problems," Sharpton explained.

"Imagine me going to a convention of whites who half of them were unemployed and I smiled, waved, sing a hymn and leave. They would whip me in the parking lot before [I left]," he said to laughter and applause.

"As long as we allow people to get elected off of us and deliver nothing to us, then part of our problem is that we have such low political self esteem," he said. "Every time we give them support for no support, we add to the marginalization of black men."

Sharpton said the situation has "gotten so bad that we hold black leaders accountable and give white leaders a pass."

'People emulate what they see'

Sharpton also took aim at black popular culture. Noting that in some U.S. cities, black male unemployment exceeds 50 percent, Sharpton said black music and movies only aggravate the situation.

"We come out in response to that with movies like (the 2005) "Hustle and Flow" and tell our kids that the personification of black men is a black pimp of a white prostitute that wants to be a rapper who shoots the rapper and at the end of the movie, [a] black woman he had as his prostitute has his baby and the white prostitute becomes the head of the record company and makes the money while he's in jail. That don't make sense," Sharpton said to applause.

"People emulate what they see ...We cannot succumb to a generation that acts like it's all right to celebrate being down. It's one thing to be down, it's another thing to celebrate being down," he explained.

Referring to gangster rappers, Sharpton said, "We've gone from 'black and proud' to groups now calling themselves "Niggers with an attitude."

Sharpton told the panel discussion of how he has confronted rappers about their lyrics only to be told that the rappers simply "reflect the times." Sharpton said black art and culture used to project its "hopes for the future."

"In slavery we wasn't singing, 'you a low down cotton pickin ho.' That would've reflected the times," he said to more laughter and applause.

"In the civil rights era, we sang "We shall overcome" we didn't sing 'You in the back of the bus, got gum on your show, no good MF.' I mean we've been down before. We never romanticized it and put melody to it and acted like it was all right," he added.

Sharpton concluded his discussion with a call for the black community to help itself and return churches to "the center of our community."

"Even if we [are] not responsible for being down, we [are] responsible for getting up," he said. "And if we wait on those who knocked us down to lift us up we'll never get up 'cause if they wanted us up we would have never been down," he said.

Copyright Cybercast News Service

News Max.com ~ Carl Limbacher ** Sharpton: Stop Blind Support of Dems

Posted by uhyw at 1:57 AM EDT

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