The November 6th elections saw a lot of historic decisions made in the United States -- the first black president re-elected, marijuana legalized for the first time in two states, gay marriage affirmed by the voters in four, and even the first openly gay senator. But perhaps the most underreported result yesterday came from outside the country altogether: in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a solid majority voted to reject the island's current status and join America as the long-fabled 51st state. How the bid might fare in Congress is an open question, but both President Obama and Republican leaders have vowed support for the statehood movement if it proves successful at the ballot box (while D.C. officials ponder a two-fer gambit to grease the wheels). Though it would be the poorest state, joining the Union might bring economic benefits to both sides [PDF]. And politically, some argue the island might prove to be a reliably red state, despite the Hispanic population, although arch-conservative governor and Romney ally Luis Fortuño appears headed toward a narrow loss. But the most important question here, as always, is: how to redesign the flag? (Puerto Rican statehood discussed previously.)
President Barack Obama will today give the annual State of the Union address. There will be at least three rebuttals in addition to a prebuttal that occurred this morning. The address will be streamed online at Whitehouse.gov. [more inside]
The Federal Election Commission has given satirist Stephen Colbert the green light to form the "Colbert SuperPAC." Colbert, via his PAC, can now therefore accept unlimited contributions for whatever candidates and causes he wishes.
Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of The Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope and Focus of its National Factions is a new study that released today, just two weeks before the US midterm elections, by The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR). Sponsored by the NAACP, it reports that the Tea Party movement is “permeated with concerns about race” and has “given platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots.” [more inside]
As simple as a typo. Your vote in the 2008 U.S. election won't [2:00-9:00] count if voter caging parties can help it. Vote caging works basically like this - (1) Send do-not-forward mail to the address listed on your registration. (2) If it comes back return to sender, your registration is challenged and can be thrown out without notice. "A challenged voter will likely cast a provisional ballot....Nearly a third of all 1.6 million provisional ballots cast in 2004 were thrown out." Previously (somewhat). [more inside]
Humorist and candidate for the US Senate for Minnesota Al Franken draws a map of the United States from memory.
John Edwards: "No military draft if Democrats win" - which comes as a relief to me today as my own son turns eighteen. However, as it stands, the Selective Service System has been ramping up its ability to begin a draft as early as Spring 2005, especially a possibility should Congressional Bills S. 89 and H.R. 163, known as the "Universal National Service Act of 2003" pass in the House and Senate. Many people who have been in the military feel a draft would actually degrade the quality of our military forces. Nonetheless, this time around, a draft would include men and women. And the Selective Service is also looking for a few good people to become a Selective Service System Local Board Member, one of the tasks of which is to guarantee "that each CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR is properly CLASSIFIED, PLACED, and MONITORED."(emphasis added)
And now for something different... Or maybe not. Try voting for everybody. Who knows what will happen. Maybe Gore will win finally? (not sure if this was posted before, but found it funny.)
I know it's short notice but if you're in one of these cities, and agree that the popular vote of the people should be honored and upheld, there's gonna be a lot of spontaneous protests happening tomorrow afternoon.