September 28th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Flip-flop idiocy

Remember those Republicans who waved flip-flops at Senator Kerry because (gasp, horror) he had changed his mind on various things after learning more about them? 

Consider Senator Craig.  First he pled guilty to soliciting sex in the men's room at an airport.   Then he said he wasn't guilty, but had pled guilty to avoid publicity (huh?  And how was that supposed to work, exactly?)   Then he said that even though he hadn't actually done anything, and wasn't gay, he was going to resign his Senate seat at the end of September because...well, because.  Embarrassment to his party or something like that.

And now he wants to change his guilty plea to not-guilty.   And--despite promising that he would resign his Senate seat, now he's not going to.  Or not right away.   It depends.

Apparently it depends on his fickle attention span and  wavering sense of direction.   I can't imagine why the people of Idaho would want to be represented in the Senate by someone who is dumb enough to think that there's any way to spin being caught in a sex-solicitation sting that won't generate negative publicity and harm reputations, including his own and his party's....or someone with so little ability to "stay the course" that he flipflops about how to plead and whether to resign.  How can they trust anything he says?  How can they trust his judgment?  

Where are the flip-flops now?  

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Truth in hiding

I had too bad a headache with the cold last night to watch all the Republican presidential hopefuls strutting their stuff last night, but a few things stuck out while  I tried off and on.

One was the contempt expressed for people who need ID and have trouble getting it (in relation to requiring various kinds of ID to vote)  and the belief that there is, in fact, widespread voter fraud resulting from failure to use photo-IDs at the voting booth.  (A belief not backed up by fact....though US Attorneys have been fired for *not* finding the fraud this Administration wanted them to find.)  

Several candidates insisted it was quick, cheap and easy to get the required ID.  I wonder if they've looked at their own states' requirements lately, and compared them to the reality in which many citizens live. 

For instance:  to get a state-issued photo ID in this state, you need a birth certificate.  To get a birth certificate, you need a government-issued photo ID.  (Anyone see the circular reasoning here?)    Now, if you're a kid, like our adult son, you can use a family member's photo ID to supplement your own.  The family member has to be within a certain degree of relationship.  And reside at the same address.   Then, for $22, you can apply to get your Texas birth certificate (if you were born in Texas--the fees and rules vary from state to state.)  You have to know both parents' full names, the date of birth, the county and city (if not rural) in which you were born.   If you can get to the state's central facility in Austin, you may be able to get a birth certificate in a day...but if you can't, it may be weeks.   So "quick" isn't that quick, necessarily.

After you have your birth certificate, you can apply for the state photo-ID card.  It costs a minimum of $15.  You have to appear in person (of course, to get the picture taken), you have to have a fixed street address,  and it is only good for five years.  Like the driver's license, you don't get it right away--it will be mailed to you.  Which means you'd better have a stable mailing address.  

Cash out of pocket, at least $37.   Cheap?  That's "nothing" to those who have plenty of money.   To those at the bottom of the economic tree,  it's food and rent money, and they have none to spare.  Time, for those not living in the Austin area, can be more than a month.   Easy?  Take a look at the applications. 

If you're born in another state--a state different from where you reside now--you have to get your birth certificate from that state, following its rules for identification.  For instance, if you were born in Wisconsin, the birth certificate only costs $12...but proving you are even entitled to ask for a birth certificate is trickier (same circular reasoning: you need a photo-ID to get a birth certificate, but you  need a birth certificate to get a photo ID.   There are alternative forms of identification--useful only if you have a street address at which you have received utility bills, have a checking account, etc.

The argument that requiring government-issued IDs for everything including voting will prevent terrorist attacks and voter fraud is...simply not tenable.  Terrorists have high-quality government-issued IDs.   Those who fund terrorists have no problem affording such IDs.  Some are fakes, some are stolen legitimate IDs, some are obtained by the terrorists in the usual way anyone gets them.  The 9/11 terrorists all had IDs.   As for widespread voter fraud--it hasn't been found to exist except in the minds of those who believe poor people and people of color are inherently dishonest and don't deserve to vote (notice where they look for voter fraud--not in gated communities of white people...)  Millions of illegal aliens aren't voting.  Millions of the poor, elderly, and people of color are not driving from one polling place to another using different voter registration certificates at each.  It's not happening.   Much more often, people can't vote in a given election because they moved--changed their residence within a state, or changed states-- too close to it (and thus the new voter registration didn't have time to go through.)  Or they just don't vote--we have a shamefully low rate of voter participation.

There have always been those--were those in the beginning of this country--who thought voting should be restricted to a privileged class.  Over the years, suffrage was extended to other races than white, other sexes than male, and to other economic levels than rich.  We should keep it that way: one vote per person, no matter what.  It should not cost a citizen anything more than the desire to vote, to be able to vote.