Some Really Bad Election Ideas
Wednesday - August 13, 2008
I’ve been seeing horrible ideas for reforming our election process.
* A minimum one-year residency in the district before election. What if you’ve always lived just across the line? What if you temporarily moved to help a family member?
* Offer full-time pay. What happened to doing a year or two at token pay as a civic duty?
* A before-filing-day deadline for withdrawing as an incumbent. How about urgent medical and personal problems?
My sole suggestion: Avoid last-minute congestion by closing City Hall doors at 4:30 p.m. Allow anyone inside to file. Same if you’re in line outside the door of the state Office of Elections at that time, like at the polls.
Local, hard-core John McCain supporters must feel very frustrated. Hardly a week goes by that their guy isn’t ripped in the media for some boo-boo or at least a perceived one. Meanwhile, Barack Obama seems to get a pass.
He reneged on a promise to use only public financing, voted for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act he’d earlier decried and suddenly went from ban-all-handguns to cozy with citizens’ rights to have guns. Nothing much more than sighs from the columnists. He’s the Man of Steel, or at least Teflon.
Now, three university economic models that have correctly predicted the winner of all post-war presidential elections say recession fears will secure a victory with about 55 percent for Obama.
China is the No. 1 supplier of most products we consume. How good are those products?
I bought a made-in-China RCA shelf radio/CD player and it failed in 21 days. The retailer gave me a made-in-China replacement Sony model. It failed in 60 days; Sony repaired it. Is it China, or is it companies telling the Chinese to use the cheapest parts they can find?
Sony gave me a paper that said “save this invoice in the event the product needs further repairs.” On July 29, Sony reported a 47 percent drop in quarterly profit, mainly because of slow sales of its electronic products.
That “embedded journalist” thing for coverage of the Iraq War is a joke. “Embedded” means the accredited person lives with one military unit. It’s his family. He shouldn’t bad-mouth his family.
The Pentagon created that because during the Vietnam War, we journalists popped in and out of units, staying a day or two. Our frequent stories of failures and the images of dead Americans soured the public on the never-ending conflict.
We have a never-ending conflict in Iraq, and Americans seem soured on it, but not as viscer-ally as they were 40 years ago. That’s because they don’t see daily images of dying and dead Americans. The rules of access for a journalist give military commanders wide leeway to kick out those they don’t like.
So you never see the great photos that Larry Burroughs gave us from Vietnam. Never one of those John Laurence stories on GI rebellion. No Morley Safer on Marines burning villages with Zippos.
I took photos of many dying or dead Americans in Vietnam. It wasn’t against the rules. I wanted the reality of war to hit those going about their untouched lives back home. The military wasn’t always happy but couldn’t kick me out because I hadn’t broken any rules. The Halberstams, Brownes and Sheehans of the Vietnam War wouldn’t have lasted a week in Iraq. Me neither.
If we go to war with Iran, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pentagon says only a pool of six reporters will be allowed in - and no frontline coverage, just sanitized daily news handouts.
Journalists telling you what’s really going on scares the hell out of the people who run our wars.
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