The WeekEnder: July 13-15, 2007

Bonjour! Happy Bastille Day, and welcome to the third installment of The WeekEnder! The WeekEnder is a weekly series that will provide a hodgepodge of information to fill your soul, make you laugh, make you cry, and inspire you.

  • Victory for election integrity!
  • Poor bear brunt of housing crunch
  • Can't we all just get along?
  • What national security really means
  • Keeping yourself organized
  • Call him LonelyBoy08
  • Ask George
  • Thoughts from a dearly departed Lady Bird
  • Convent
  • Something magical

Good news: Judge orders revote in 2004 county race

Three cheers for voting integrity!

Late news this afternoon, sent to The BRAD BLOG moments ago, reveals that a judge in an Alameda County, California election contest is set to rule that a contested ballot measure election from 2004 must now be reheld since the county destroyed data from the election when they sent the Diebold DRE voting systems back to the company in Plano, Texas.

All but 4% of election data, records and audit logs was overwritten in subsequent contests, according to the following release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation which has supported the plaintiffs in the contest.

The unprecedented decision to re-hold an election after plaintiffs were denied the right for a proper recount could have reverberations around the country.
May this signal the demise of unverifiable electronic voting.

Bad news: Nation's poor hit by housing crunch

Once again, Michigan is NOT in a "single-state recession."

Growing numbers of the nation's poorest households are using more than half their earnings for rent while waiting years for federal housing assistance that may never come.

The phenomenon is largely playing out in urban and suburban locales, but has exploded recently in rural areas as coveted rental assistance becomes harder to get due to high demand and scant funding from Congress.

The lack of affordable homes for poor families is the nation's No. 1 housing problem and undermines the stability and security of families and communities nationwide.

A new report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development describes the startling growth of the problem since 2003. It found that 6 million impoverished households used most of their monthly earnings for housing or lived in substandard conditions in 2005. That’s an increase of 16 percent, or 817,000 families, since 2003.
Attempted robbery ends in bear hug
Aww, how lovely.

"Give me your money, or I'll start shooting," he said, according to D.C. police and witnesses.

Everyone froze, including the girl's parents. Then one guest spoke.

"We were just finishing dinner," Cristina Cha Cha Rowan, 43, told the man. Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?

The intruder had a sip of their Chateau Malescot St-Exupery and said, "Damn, that's good wine."

Blog highlight of the week: The Party of National Security
Nail, meet head. Turkana at Daily Kos concludes a diary on national security as such:

We are not fear-mongers. We are speaking calmly about real threats. The risk of terrorism should not be misconstrued as excuses for militancy, Constitutional abuses or the undermining of individual liberty. That was Bush's way. It didn't work. It was, in fact, counter-productive. That's what we need to talk about. That simple fact creates one of the greatest political opportunities Democrats have had in decades. This is a political paradigm shift. The Republicans have long been the party people turned to, when they were afraid. We can tell them to stop being afraid. Because we have a better way.

Strength does not mean staggering around like a drunken frat boy with a sledgehammer. It means being smart. On national security issues, it means being surgeons with scalpels. Having the world's greatest weapons arsenal means nothing if we are inept at diplomacy and intelligence. The facts speak for themselves. The Bush Administration is an utter failure and a continuing danger. The Democratic Party is now the party of national security.
Link of the week: Google Docs and Spreadsheets
Ever wish you could save your documents easily and access the from any computer with Internet access? Whether analyzing the results of last November's election or writing a paper, Google Docs and Spreadsheets has been an important tool for me. Anyone with a Google account can use it, so give it a try! ;-)

Photo of the Week: All alone
With a hat tip to Jeffrey Feldman, I am pleased to introduce you to:

Tom Tancredo. Tancredo was the only Republican to attend the presidential candidates forum held by the NAACP in Detroit this week. That's right - the same Tancredo who is considered the most anti-immigrant of the 2008 candidates.

Video of the Week: Ask George
Rep. Geeorge Miller (D-CA) is seeking your questions regarding Iraq policy:

Quote of the week: Lady Bird Johnson, 1912-2007
"I'm optimistic that the world of native plants will not only survive, but will thrive for environmental and economic reasons, and for reasons of the heart. Beauty in nature nourishes us and brings joy to the human spirit."

Joke of the Week: Leaving the convent
In the convent a young nun went to see the mother superior.
"Mother, I want to quit the veil."
"But why, my child?"
"To become a prostitute."
"What? What are you saying?"
"I said I want to become a prostitute, Mother."
"Oh. You had me worried for a moment. I thought you said Protestant!"

Final thought
As of tonight, the Detroit Tigers' magic number for winning the American League Central pennant is 74. In other words, if the Tigers won 74 more games this season, they would win the division. If your favorite team is in first place, it's easy to determine its magic number. Simply add your team's number of wins with the second-place team's number of losses, and subtract that from 163 (the total number of games played plus one).

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