Thursday, September 25, 2008

BREVITAS

OUTLYING PRECINCTS

Chicago Sun Times -
A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent. The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood. Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business. Attorney General Lisa Madigan -- a Democrat who is supporting Obama's presidential bid -- is investigating "whether this charitable organization properly used its charitable assets, including the state funds it received," Cara Smith, Madigan's deputy chief of staff, said.

Political Wire -
Though Sen. John McCain says the nation's current financial crisis requires "all hands on deck" because "the whole future of the American economy is in danger," he admitted in an interview in Cleveland that he hadn't even read the Bush administration's proposed rescue plan that was unveiled over the weekend.

Political Wire -
A majority of Americans say the debate should be held. Just 10% say the debate should be postponed.

Daily Kos -
Some fun facts about John McCain: Of all Senators, John McCain has been the most absent. There have been 643 votes taken in the current Senate session: McCain has missed 412 of them. McCain has not voted in the Senate since April 8th. Since March, he has missed 109 of the last 110 votes. He missed votes on the GI Bill, energy policy, and in 2007 he missed "all 15 critical environmental votes in the Senate" -- giving him a 2007 rating of 0% from the League of Conservation Voters.

Given its fine record so far this year,
we owe at least a link to this story in the National Enquirer

Drudge Report -
David Letterman tells audience that McCain called him today to tell him he had to rush back to DC to deal with the economy. Then in the middle of the taping Dave got word that McCain was, in fact just down the street being interviewed by Katie Couric. Dave even cut over to the live video of the interview, and said, "Hey Senator, can I give you a ride home?" Earlier in the show, Dave kept saying, "You don't suspend your campaign. This doesn't smell right. This isn't the way a tested hero behaves." And he joked: "I think someone's putting something in his metamucil."

FREEDOM & JUSTICE

CNET
- A federal judge threw out the verdict against Jammie Thomas, the peer-to-peer network user ordered to pay the recording industry $222,000 for allegedly sharing music online. u.S. District Judge Michael Davis of Duluth, Minn., declared a mistrial in the case against Thomas, who was charged in October with violating copyright law by making 24 songs available for others to download on the Kazaa network. Davis set aside the verdict on the grounds that he misguided the jury, telling jurors that simply the act of making a copyrighted song available for sharing amounts to infringement. The judge first indicated in May that he was considering granting a new trial. In June, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other consumer and industry groups weighed in, also claiming the jury instructions were erroneous. . .

THE MIX

Washington Blade
- Two years after local gay activist Frank Kameny moved his archives to the Library of Congress, those papers are now available to researchers. Charles Francis, organizer of the Kameny Papers Project, said the 50,000 items were "organized to perfection" by library staff and would be an invaluable resource to people reviewing the earliest days of the gay civil rights movement. "The Kameny Papers, documenting the evolution of the gay rights movement in the United States, are now available to study for many years to come," he said. Kameny is credited with playing a lead role in launching the modern U.S. gay civil rights movement in the early 1960s after government officials discovered he was gay and fired him from his job as an astronomer with the Army Map Service.

WATCHING THE COUNT

Fair Vote - The Virginia Board of Elections has claimed that if a college student registers on a Virginia campus the state has the right to "remove the student as dependents on their parent's tax returns" or even lose financial aid and scholarships. . . South Carolina has also made it a requirement for a student to show that they have an intention on keeping their residency for several years before they are permitted on registering to vote on a college campus. . .

McClatchy Newspapers - Colorado Democrats accused a Republican county clerk Wednesday of falsely informing Colorado College that students from outside the state could not register to vote if their parents claimed them as a dependent on their tax returns. . . Balink's actions are the latest of several instances in which local election officials, including some in Virginia and South Carolina, have discouraged college students from voting in a year in which legions of students have thrown their energy behind Obama. Discovery of these restrictions comes as Democrats have increasingly accused Republicans of using an array of tactics to suppress the Democratic voter turnout in the November election.

FURTHERMORE . . .

CBS, Philadelphia - The discovery of several hot dogs in packages outside Citizens Bank Park brought the bomb squad out and forced the temporary evacuation of the stadium Wednesday evening. . . Fans inside the stadium were evacuated, but players remained on the field during the incident. Bomb squad members further investigated the packages and determined they were simply several hot dogs in foil wrappers. Sadly, the wieners were detonated as a precaution.


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