Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Mashup (10/27/10) (update to #1)

  • The following story appeared from the banner headline of the Bucks County Courier Times yesterday (here)…

    Bucks County election officials rejected more than 600 applications for absentee ballots as of Monday and local Republican Party officials are reviewing those that had been granted for defects.

    Voter Registration Director Deena Dean said the number of ballot applications rejected for mismatching signatures, incorrect birthdates and other problems is substantially higher than in recent elections.

    While the number of absentee ballot applications issued so far this year - 11,331 - is only slightly higher than in the last mid-term election four years ago, the number of defective applications is significantly larger. Dean said she hasn't kept count in years past, but the file drawer where her workers usually store the rejects is overflowing.
    And by the way, I would ask that you keep in mind that we’re talking about applications for absentee ballots, as opposed to the actual ballots themselves.


    While the reason for the surge of bad applications is unclear, Bucks County Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Pat Poprik said she believes it is the result of a Democratic effort to steal the election using Chicago-style tactics.
    And leave it to the Courier Times to fail to note the absurdity of that remark.

    Well, a follow-up story in the Courier Times tells us the following (here)…

    A trio of Bucks County residents backed by the county Republican committee say they have evidence linking Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy's campaign to a scheme to flood the county voter registration office with fraudulent applications for absentee ballots.

    In a petition filed Tuesday, county Republicans say the name of Murphy's campaign manager appeared on a Bristol post office box where voters were urged in a series of letters paid for by the state Democratic Committee to send absentee ballot applications.

    The county Republicans submitted with the petition a photograph of a note inside the mailbox that said, "Tim Percico and Paul Hampel only pick up mail." Tim Persico is Murphy's campaign manager, although his name is misspelled in the note. Hampel is a volunteer for the Democratic state committee who said he collects mail from the box.

    While county and state Democratic officials denied involvement in the letter campaign or refused to discuss it, Persico said Tuesday that the "PA Vote 2010" project that paid for the letters is a partnership between Murphy's campaign and the state Democrats.

    Persico said the goal of the project is to help eligible Democratic voters obtain and cast absentee ballots.

    He dismissed assertions by Republican critics that the letters were misleadingly worded and noted that the Democratic state committee clearly takes credit for the mailings, which comply with all election laws.

    "The only reason the Republican Party is mad is working parents and college kids are sending in an application because they want to vote," Persico said.
    And in today’s story, the Poprik line about “Chicago-style politics” is repeated for good measure.

    So let’s count down the wingnut umbrage on this, OK? Five, four, three (here)…

    At issue is whether Rep. Patrick Murphy was directly involved with the absentee ballot scheme, which is being investigated by the local district attorney’s office and has so far resulted in the rejection of at least 600 absentee ballots for “defects.”

    The number of reject ballots, which is “significantly higher” than in previous years, has been reportedly fueled by errors including mismatching signatures and incorrect birth dates, indicators of potential fraud.

    This comes on the heels of the county Board of Elections recording (an) unusual spike in Democratic absentee ballot application last week. Within a six day period from Oct. 14 to 19, Democrat (sic) absentee ballot applications to the county increased by 67 percent as compared to Republican applications, a spike that occurred nowhere else in the state.
    Gee, that’s interesting, seeing that Deena Dean said above that “the number of absentee ballot applications issued so far this year - 11,331 - is only slightly higher than in the last mid-term election four years ago.”

    So basically, either Irrational Spew or Deena Dean is lying (and I would put my money on Irrational Spew). Also, leave it to I.S. to get the “fictitious voter office” part wrong in the post headline also; as noted here, there is such an office, though it isn’t an independent state agency, but based with the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee.

    Update 10/28/10: I edited the above paragraph to allow for the possibility that the Pennsylvania Voter Assistance Office may be fictitious - I don't think that has been completely established yet one way or the other, and I don't think that's really even the issue here...also, here is a link to the mailing.

    I honestly think what is going on here is that the Murphy campaign and the PA Democratic Party are trying to close the Repug edge in voter absentee ballots (noted in this post, by the way, "Democrat" reference and all) by trying to obtain as many absentee ballots for registered Democrats as they can. The only other explanation would be a voter caging scheme, whereby (as noted here) a political party would send “direct mail to addressees on the voter rolls, compiling a list of addressees from which the mail is returned undelivered, and using that list to purge or challenge voters’ registrations on the grounds that the voters do not legally reside at registered addresses.”

    And if the Murphy campaign is targeting Dem voters, what sense does it make to “cage” and disqualify them (and I give the Murphy campaign more credit than to try something like this with registered Republicans – someone is going to have to present rock-solid proof to get me to believe that).

    Also, as long as I’m mentioning the Courier Times, I should note that the paper has run advertisements for the Mikey Fitzpatrick campaign in its front-page banner every day for the last two weeks, along with full-page ads inside. I realize that the paper has the right to accept advertising of this kind, but I honestly cannot recall another person, place or product receiving this kind of preferential treatment, and I’ve been reading that paper for longer than I care to admit.

  • Update: Yep, this sounds about right, unfortunately.

  • Next, I give you the following from Tucker Carlson’s Crayon Scribble Page (here)…

    You’ve probably read about ObamaCare’s harm to Snooki and more traditional interest groups like seniors and doctors. But what has gone unnoticed is ObamaCare’s harm to our troops.

    In a time of war, when medical devices like prosthetic legs are critical to the care of injured service members, ObamaCare slaps a destructive 2.3% tax on medical devices. The majority of companies who make these devices are small businesses for whom this tax will consume a significant portion or all of their profit margins, leaving them with two options — both harmful for our troops.

    The first option for these devices makers is to pass on the cost of the tax to consumers, thereby burdening the Veterans Affairs Department (VA). Given the VA’s limited budget, this will either lead to higher premiums for veterans enrolled in their insurance plan known as TriCare, or the Department will have to scale back other benefits it presently provides to veterans.

    The second option for device makers is to reduce the funds they dedicate to research and development, leading to less innovation and fewer advances that enable a better quality of life for our injured service members.

    Do we really want to send the message to our military service members that we want to increase their premiums, reduce their benefits, and cut back on the innovation that allows them to have a high quality of life? Of course not.
    Ugh – as noted from here…

    The health care debate featured no shortage of rumors designed to misinform the American people about the Affordable Care Act. And while the debate has ended and implementation of the new law has begun, the rumor mill hasn’t slowed down. The latest rumor is the unfounded charge that “America's wounded warriors face a new tax on prosthetic limbs and other vital medical devices.” Nothing could be further from the truth. While the new law includes a tax on big medical device manufacturers, the tax won’t be passed on to veterans and wounded active duty military personnel and veterans will continue to receive prosthetic devices at no cost from the VA and TRICARE.

    Here’s the truth behind the latest unfounded claim:

    • Today, wounded veterans and active duty military receive prosthetic devices from the VA or TRICARE at no cost. That won’t change under the Affordable Care Act.

    • We know medical device manufacturers will prosper under the new law -- the Affordable Care Act expands health insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans and these newly insured individuals will use products made by the medical device industry. This is already a large and profitable business; sales in the medical device industry even before the Act takes effect are estimated to be $138 billion for 2010. The new tax applies to this industry and will help ensure we provide more Americans with affordable coverage choices.

    • This is not a tax on consumers and claims that the tax will result in higher prices for prosthetics or other medical devices are wrong. Prices and reimbursements for medical devices will continue to be negotiated between the device industry and insurance companies, retail establishments, and the federal government, in the case of veterans and active duty service members. And the full cost of prosthetics for veterans will continue to be borne by the government.
    Also, it takes a particular kind of gall for someone to blame a Democrat for trying to improve the lives of our veterans when at least two Republican politicians, Sharron Angle (here) and Ken Buck (here), both running for the U.S. Senate, support privatizing the VA.

    And on top of that, a certain former Bushco Defense Secretary and his pals were linked to a privatization scheme at a VA hospital (here). Oh, and that doesn’t even take into account former Bushco VA head Jim Nicholson, under whose watch it took 145-150 days to process disability payments; he was also accused of denying wounded veterans disability pay and mental health treatment, as well as accidentally exposing millions of vets’ social security numbers to possible fraud and identity theft (all noted (here).

    As an aside, I should note that one of the authors of the DC post, Alex Cortes, represents a group trying to abolish HCR (of course), and the other is Michael Grimm, a U.S. congressional candidate who, as noted here, only has three campaign contributors from his district, so it's safe to assume where the rest of the money came from (OK, the post was in March - hopefully he's broken into double digits at least by now).

    The Citizens United legacy lives on.

  • In addition, former Bushco flak Dana Perino confided “5 Ways To Avoid Blowing It” to Repug candidates in the final days of the campaign here (with #1 being “Don't give any big interviews to the mainstream media -- this can only lead to a self-inflicted wound.”).

    Based on this, though, I think Perino should tell Repug candidates not to give an interview to anybody, based on her misadventure on the Sean Inanity program (and yes, I’m being tongue-in-cheek here).

  • Finally (speaking of our prior ruling cabal), today marks the fifth anniversary of the withdrawal of Harriet Miers (once referred to as "Hazel The Cleaning Lady" by Bill Maher) from consideration for the Supreme Court vacancy that would ultimately go to “Strip-Search Sammy” Alito.

    I don’t have anything particularly brilliant to add about that, but I only mention it to get in a plug for this blog on the subject, which provided more than a few funny moments when the episode with Miers played out and is still worth a chuckle or two every now and then.
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    If one reads the comment section for the story about the ballot applications one will realize the rampant ignorance and stupidity as this story plays out.

    Most people cant tell the difference between an application or a ballot and that blame goes to Madame Poprik.

    The complaints in the letter to the court is signed by 3 voters, known to be republicans. When they are under oath will they be told the consequences for perjury or will they be permitted to explain their complaints as a misunderstanding?

    So now the ballots are going to be confiscated to determine if they are legitimate. How? How can they do that without compromising the secrecy of the ballot?