I voted in Lee County, Florida this morning - being in Southwest Florida, its a Republican stronghold in the state. The poll worker who opened the door for me advised "Just show your driver's license to the desk and you can vote." Only problem is that this is patently untrue, Florida providing for casting of provisional ballots and all. When I told the nice lady at the registration desk that I had lost my wallet and was going to cast a provisional ballot, she gave me the perplexed look of the uninformed. Fortunately, there was a gentleman at the "special services" desk who knew what to do and he got me on my way to voting. Then he told me that I had to "contact the supervisor of elections and provide proof of my right to vote or they will not count my ballot." Sigh. This also is not true in Florida - no proof is required if the only basis for casting the provisional was the lack of proper identification. The supervisor is suppose to run the driver's license number provided (which I gave them) against the state database and when they match the vote is counted.
I am fortunate enough to be both interested in the political process and fairly well educated. I can, however, imagine the very real possibility that such statements will lead a less informed voter to turn away thinking that her or she is not able to vote. There is, of course, nothing my experience to suggest anything but ignorance was the root cause of the misinformed statements of these poll workers. But when the general comes around next fall and we have these well-meaning yahoos speaking out of their asses like this it can become a real problem. Whether by design or by indifference, the result will be the same.
Kathleen Sibelius, the governor of Kansas, has endorsed Barack Obama.
Andrew Sullivan watched the SOTU against his better judgment:
I tried not to watch it and failed. It felt phoned in. The contrast between the banal cheeriness of the president's demeanor and the grave threats he faces was unsettling. It's good for a president to have some emotional resilience in that job. But Bush seems almost pathologically detached from any real understanding of the effects of what he says and does. If you're him, that's probably a good thing. If you're anybody else, it's horrifying.
King George the 43rd signed the FY 2008 defense authorization bill today, and then immediately declared four provisions in that new law to be nonbinding:
Bush’s signature yesterday came with a little-noticed signing statement, claiming that provisions in the law “could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations.” CQ reports on the provisions Bush plans to disregard:
President Bush yesterday signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act after initially rejecting Congress’s first version because it would have allegedly opened the Iraqi government to “expensive lawsuits.”
Even though he forced Congress to change its original bill, Bush’s signature yesterday came with a little-noticed signing statement, claiming that provisions in the law “could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations.” CQ reports on the provisions Bush plans to disregard:
One such provision sets up a commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another expands protections for whistleblowers who work for government contractors. A third requires that U.S. intelligence agencies promptly respond to congressional requests for documents. And a fourth bars funding for permanent bases in Iraq and for any action that exercises U.S. control over Iraq’s oil money.
In his “Memorandum of Justification” for the waiver, Bush cited his Nov. 26 “Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship” between Iraq and the United States. This agreement has been aggressively opposed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress as not only unprecedented, but also potentially unconstitutional because it was enacted without the agreement of the legislation branch.
Last but not least, here is a heartwarming story about supporting the troops.