November 2012 Archives

Video Taping Bad Cops in Illinois OK

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Score one for the good guys

Republicans Are a Sneaky Lot

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Maddow fields a theory that the current quizzical hubbub over the Rice involvement in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi is really based on an attempt to get Sen. John Kerry's seat in Massachusetts filled by the Republican who recently lost to Elizabeth Warren.

Deadly Grapefruit and Drug Interactions

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Grapefruit may turn more drugs deadly, scientists find

By JoNel Aleccia

Grapefruit may turn more drugs deadly, scientists find

If you kick-start your day with a glass of grapefruit juice, be careful.

Canadian scientists say the number of common prescription drugs that can interact badly with the tart citrus is climbing, with the potential for dangerous, even deadly, results.

Twenty-six new drugs that can cause serious harm when mixed with grapefruit have been introduced in the past four years alone, bringing the total to 43, said Dr. David Bailey, a clinical pharmacologist at the Lawson Health Institute Research Center in London, Ontario. That's an average of more than six new drugs a year.

"What I've seen has been disturbing," said Bailey, lead author on a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. "It's hard to avoid putting a drug out on the market that is not affected by grapefruit juice."

The number of drugs that interact with grapefruit is climbing, with potentially serious results, scientists say.

grapefruit-juice.jpgMore than 85 drugs that interact with whole grapefruit, grapefruit concentrate or fresh grapefruit juice have been identified, though not all have serious consequences. Those that do, however, can cause problems that include acute kidney failure, respiratory failure, gastric bleeding -- and worse.

"When I say sudden death, I'm not being sensational," said Bailey, who said 13 drugs may be lethal when mixed with grapefruit.

The heart drug dronedarone, or Multaq, for instance, has a very high risk of interaction when taken with grapefruit, which may cause a rare form of ventricular tachycardia or rapid heart rhythm, the researchers found.

Mixing the prescription painkiller oxycodone with grapefruit can cause serious breathing problems, and adding the fruit to a dose of the popular statin simvastatin, or Zocor, can lead to rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle fibers that can lead to kidney damage.

To see a complete list of drugs that interact with grapefruit, click here.

The trouble with grapefruit has been known for two decades, ever since Bailey and his colleagues first discovered that ingestion of the fruit with certain prescription drugs can concentrate the medication in a patient's bloodstream.

Drinking less than a cup of grapefruit juice once a day for three days, for instance, can lead to a 330 percent concentration of simvastatin, the researchers reported.

"I've seen a 10-fold increase in some patients," Bailey said.

And it doesn't matter whether the grapefruit is consumed hours before the pills, the researchers found.

The Phantom of the Deficit Scold

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Every threat of impending doom issued by the deficit hawks has proved historically and empirically wrong. So why does Washington still tie itself up in knots and focus so intensely over it at the expense of other more important economic issues like job creation? I guess it's easier to argue about the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin than to argue about whose turn it is to take out the garbage. One line of argument requires an actual and measurable result.

Fighting Fiscal Phantoms

by Paul Krugman

These are difficult times for the deficit scolds who have dominated policy discussion for almost three years. One could almost feel sorry for them, if it weren't for their role in diverting attention from the ongoing problem of inadequate recovery, and thereby helping to perpetuate catastrophically high unemployment.

What has changed? For one thing, the crisis they predicted keeps not happening. Far from fleeing U.S. debt, investors have continued to pile in, driving interest rates to historical lows. Beyond that, suddenly the clear and present danger to the American economy isn't that we'll fail to reduce the deficit enough; it is, instead, that we'll reduce the deficit too much. For that's what the "fiscal cliff" -- better described as the austerity bomb -- is all about: the tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to kick in at the end of this year are precisely not what we want to see happen in a still-depressed economy.

Given these realities, the deficit-scold movement has lost some of its clout. That movement, by the way, is a hydra-headed beast, comprising many organizations that turn out, on inspection, to be financed and run by more or less the same people; dig down into many of these groups' back stories and you will, in particular, find Peter Peterson, the private-equity billionaire, playing a key role.

But the deficit scolds aren't giving up. Now yet another organization, Fix the Debt, is campaigning for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, even while making lower tax rates a "core principle." That last part makes no sense in terms of the group's ostensible mission, but makes perfect sense if you look at the array of big corporations, from Goldman Sachs to the UnitedHealth Group, that are involved in the effort and would benefit from tax cuts. Hey, sacrifice is for the little people.

So should we take this latest push seriously? No -- and not just because these people, aside from exhibiting a lot of hypocrisy, have been wrong about everything so far. The truth is that at a fundamental level the crisis story they're trying to sell doesn't make sense.

You've heard the story many times: Supposedly, any day now investors will lose faith in America's ability to come to grips with its budget failures. When they do, there will be a run on Treasury bonds, interest rates will spike, and the U.S. economy will plunge back into recession.

This sounds plausible to many people, because it's roughly speaking what happened to Greece. But we're not Greece, and it's almost impossible to see how this could actually happen to a country in our situation.

For we have our own currency -- and almost all of our debt, both private and public, is denominated in dollars. So our government, unlike the Greek government, literally can't run out of money. After all, it can print the stuff. So there's almost no risk that America will default on its debt -- I'd say no risk at all if it weren't for the possibility that Republicans would once again try to hold the nation hostage over the debt ceiling.

But if the U.S. government prints money to pay its bills, won't that lead to inflation? No, not if the economy is still depressed.

Power Grabs and Societal Paranoia

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The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In light of that, I cannot fathom how any court can possibly assert that search of the contents of a person's cell phone would not require a warrant based on probable cause.

I see this whole issue as a battle between expediency of the state and the integrity of the individual. The entire point of the 4th Amendment is to protect the individual from the overwhelming powers of the state by establishing limitations to the exercise of those powers.

Many people assert that there is no "right to privacy" specifically enumerated in the US Constitution. I say those people are missing the entire meaning of the 4th Amendment.
How does one read : "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures"....without the concept of privacy?

The "common good" of a society is not to be found in loss of protection of individual rights. In the final analysis, a police state provides the least security to its citizens, not the most. The people are not safer when the state itself, claiming to be providing security, acts in a criminal manner.

Courts Divided Over Searches of Cellphones

By Somini Sengupta

Judges and lawmakers across the country are wrangling over whether and when law enforcement authorities can peer into suspects' cellphones, and the cornucopia of evidence they provide.

A Rhode Island judge threw out cellphone evidence that led to a man being charged with the murder of a 6-year-old boy, saying the police needed a search warrant. A court in Washington compared text messages to voice mail messages that can be overheard by anyone in a room and are therefore not protected by state privacy laws.

In Louisiana, a federal appeals court is weighing whether location records stored in smartphones deserve privacy protection, or whether they are "business records" that belong to the phone companies.

"The courts are all over the place," said Hanni Fakhoury, a criminal lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group. "They can't even agree if there's a reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages that would trigger Fourth Amendment protection."

The issue will attract attention on Thursday when a Senate committee considers limited changes to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a 1986 law that regulates how the government can monitor digital communications. Courts have used it to permit warrantless surveillance of certain kinds of cellphone data.

A proposed amendment would require the police to obtain a warrant to search e-mail, no matter how old it was, updating a provision that currently allows warrantless searches of e-mails more than 180 days old.

Upping the Ante Expensively

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Move along, nothing insane here to see...

Hurricanes, Capitalism & Democracy

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Turducken

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Who knew... and more importantly, why?

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The first settlers may have stuffed themselves with a range of meats at the dinner table, but the turducken is a fairly recent invention. A chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey, the turducken has taken its place in the canon of over-the-top, calorie-laden Thanksgiving dishes.

The dish first appeared in central Louisiana meat shops sometime between the late 1970s and early 1980s and was popularized by Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme. But the tradition of stuffing birds inside of other birds like Russian dolls may have even older roots: French foodie Grimod de la Reynière first described the rôti sans pareil (roast without equal) in L'Almanac des Gourmands between 1803 and 1812.

bustard.man.jpgThe dish packs 17 birds inside one another, from a tiny warbler all the way up to a giant bird called a bustard.-- a bustard stuffed with a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an ortolan bunting and a garden warbler--although he states that, since similar roasts were produced by ancient Romans, the rôti sans pareil was not entirely novel.The final bird is very small but large enough to hold just an olive; it also suggests that, unlike modern multi-bird roasts, there was no stuffing or other packing placed in between the birds.

Twinkie Death Spiral

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New Auto Immune Treatment

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This is both novel and weird.

New approach could treat MS, other autoimmune diseases

By Maggie Fox, NBC News

Researchers trying to find a way to treat multiple sclerosis think they've come up with an approach that could not only help patients with MS, but those with a range of so-called autoimmune diseases, from type-1 diabetes to psoriasis, and perhaps even food allergies.

So far it's only worked in mice, but it has worked especially well. And while mice are different from humans in many ways, their immune systems are quite similar.

"If this works, it is going to be absolutely fantastic," said Bill Heetderks, who directs outside research at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, part of the National Institutes of Health, which helped pay for the research. "Even if it doesn't work, it's going to be another step down the road."

In autoimmune disease, the body's immune cells mistakenly attack and destroy healthy tissue. In MS, it's the fatty protective sheath around the nerves; in type-1 or juvenile diabetes it's cells in the pancreas that make insulin; in rheumatoid arthritis it's tissue in the joint.

Currently, the main treatment is to suppress the immune system, an approach that can leave patients vulnerable to infections and cancer. The new treatment re-educates the immune cells so they stop the attacks.

The approach uses tiny little balls called nanoparticles made of the same material used to make surgical sutures that dissolve harmlessly in the body. They're attached to little bits of the protein that the immune cells are attacking, the researchers report in Sunday's issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Stephen Miller of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago had been trying a slightly different approach to treating MS. When normal cells die naturally through a self-destruction process called apoptosis, immune cells called macrophages come in and eat up the mess.

The macrophages are carried to the spleen where they show these ground-up bits of cells to other immune cells called T-cells. It's a kind of introduction that familiarizes the T-cells with the body's normal cells. Then T-cells know not to attack healthy cells.

Miller's team had been trying to find ways to use this process to re-educate the T-cells. They have been attaching bits of the myelin that T-cells mistakenly attack to healthy cells from MS patients that were self-destructing, then infusing the concoction back into MS patients.

The idea would be to "introduce" the myelin to the T-cells at the same time they were "meeting" the healthy tissue, and educate them to leave the myelin alone.

So far the team has only shown the process is safe - a phase 1 clinical trial. But Miller says the experiment also seemed to show they were beginning to repair the patients' immune systems. However, it was hideously expensive. "It cost probably about a million dollars to treat 10 patients using live cells," he said.

Destroying the Debt System

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Coconut Crab

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The coconut crab is the largest land-living arthropod, and is probably at the upper size limit of terrestrial animals with exoskeletons in today's atmosphere. It is also known as the robber crab or palm thief, because some coconut crabs are rumored to steal shiny items such as pots and silverware from houses and tents. The species inhabits the coastal forest regions of many Indo-Pacific islands, although localized extinction has occurred where the species live close to humans. They are generally nocturnal and remain hidden during the day, emerging only on some nights to forage. It is a highly apomorphic hermit crab and is known for its ability to crack coconuts with its strong pincers to eat the contents.

The largest terrestrial arthropod in the world, a species of hermit crab in the same family (Coenobitidae) as the ones commonly sold in pet stores. It reaches a mass of up to 4.1 kg (9 lbs) and a legspan of up to a meter (3.3 feet). Young live as other Coenobitids do, using gastropod shells for protection, but this gradually stops as their abdomens soon gain the same armor plating as the rest of their bodies. They are completely adapted to live on land, having respiratory organs that favor air over water, an inability to swim, and antennae that are convergent with those of insects and give them an acute sense of smell. However, being crustaceans, they are still vulnerable to desiccation. Ergo, they remain in burrows most of the day and are most active when it is moist and/or raining. They also begin life as zooplankton, as all decapods do, and so must lay their eggs into the ocean tide.

The White Christian Grievance Show

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Love letters to strangers

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Little Liar Lindsay Graham

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Petraeus

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Political masturbation and no one's business other than him, his wife and the other couple directly involved in the affair.

That is all.

Is He Genuine?

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Listen to Obama extemporize to his campaign workers

Congrats Everyone

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...Or death by bubble.

4 More

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No matter what happens tomorrow, this has been an historically consequential presidency.

Wave or Particle

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Quantum mystery of light revealed

light-wave-particle.jpgIs light made of waves, or particles?

This fundamental question has dogged scientists for decades, because light seems to be both. However, until now, experiments have revealed light to act either like a particle, or a wave, but never the two at once.

Now, for the first time, a new type of experiment has shown light behaving like both a particle and a wave simultaneously, providing a new dimension to the quandary that could help reveal the true nature of light, and of the whole quantum world.

The debate goes back at least as far as Isaac Newton, who advocated that light was made of particles, and James Clerk Maxwell, whose successful theory of electromagnetism, unifying the forces of electricity and magnetism into one, relied on a model of light as a wave. Then in 1905, Albert Einstein explained a phenomenon called the photoelectric effect using the idea that light was made of particles called photons (this discovery won him the Nobel Prize in physics).

Ultimately, there's good reason to think that light is both a particle and a wave. In fact, the same seems to be true of all subatomic particles, including electrons and quarks and even the recently discovered Higgs boson-like particle. The idea is called wave-particle duality, and is a fundamental tenet of the theory of quantum mechanics.

Depending on which type of experiment is used, light, or any other type of particle, will behave like a particle or like a wave. So far, both aspects of light's nature haven't been observed at the same time.

But still, scientists have wondered, does light switch from being a particle to being a wave depending on the circumstance? Or is light always both a particle and a wave simultaneously?

Who the hell is Einhorn group or the Bradley Foundation? Check out right wing king maker Michael Grebe's web weaving and massive support of the right wing apparatus.



The True Vote Scam

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In an effort to learn more about groups that purport to protect against the "threat" of voter fraud, #nerdland South correspondent Sara Kugler decided to investigate exactly what these groups tell themselves. Here is her report.

Amongst claims of voter intimidation and suppression, True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht has stuck hard by her organization's line: True the Vote is a "nonpartisan" entity. As someone concerned with the integrity of our democratic process, I signed up as a volunteer with True the Vote to discern for myself whether its efforts seemed nonpartisan. Through my experience going through the organization's initial training process, it didn't take long to become disillusioned about its allegedly nonpartisan nature. But I also finished the training worried that voter suppression is not the organization's actual endgame.

There is one specific way in which an organization declares itself to be nonpartisan -- to file as a 501C3, making it a nonprofit corporation and legally barred from involvement in political campaigning. While True the Vote claims itself as a 501c3, that status is a point of controversy; especially since last year a Texas judge ruled the entity can not classify itself as a nonprofit. Yet True the Vote is still proudly advertising its "pending 501c3" status on its website, promoting itself as a nonpartisan entity.

It also promotes itself as a colorblind organization. In the face of accusations of racially motivated voter suppression and intimidation, Engelbrecht has responded, "The race card doesn't work anymore. It's not true." And if you watch the True the Vote training videos, you can understand her sentiment. The videos feature a happy multiracial cast of characters who are all working together to protect U.S. democracy.

The video depiction of efforts to combat election fraud features a black woman with natural hair and hoop earrings challenging the authenticity of a cross-dressing white male voter sporting bicep tattoos. It is a calculated presentation of how obvious voter fraud is, and also how unproblematic the group's methods are: by depicting a multiracial coalition of volunteers, True the Vote veils the criticisms levied against it of racial profiling.

Any carefully crafted pretense of a nonpartisan agenda stops short of True the Vote's "News" page. The news section is primarily sourced with articles from the blog "Election Law Center," whose tagline reads, "more red then the ivory tower." Besides "Election Law Center," the organization's other preferred news source is Fox News, which merits its own forum as "Important News."

Obama's Personal Ethics

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Brilliant.

Obama: Substance not Smears

by Michael Smerconish

This election has always been a referendum on Barack Obama. For some, not on matters of substance. They can't have it both ways. It's hypocritical to distribute a vicious, false narrative about him while fancying yourself a patriot and a great American. Vilify a sitting president of the United States with fiction and innuendo, and you are neither.

I objected when George W. Bush was the subject of undeserved hyperbolic criticism, but the baseless scorn heaped upon President Obama makes Bush's detractors look diplomatic. The president, the office, and our nation deserve better.

It's been unrelenting. The day after Obama took office, Rush Limbaugh told Sean Hannity he wanted him to "fail." Later, Glenn Beck called the president a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Donald Trump's birtherism took hold while words like socialist were uttered with increased frequency. And a prairie fire of falsehoods spread through the Internet suggesting, among other things, that Obama is a Muslim or refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, paving the way for Dinesh D'Souza's fictionalized "documentary" 2016, which characterized Obama as fulfilling the anticolonial agenda of his father - a man he literally knew for just one weekend!

Among the usual memes used to undermine the president is the threat of some apocalyptic cataclysm, usually in the form of an assertion of federal power, like the seizing of guns. These predictions demand unthinking acceptance of the notion that the president, like a bizarre Manchurian candidate, is saving his nefarious agenda for a second term that might never arrive. By my count, the website Snopes.com has evaluated and debunked 103 of 124 Internet assertions about Obama.


Just before Hurricane Sandy hit, Ann Coulter called our sitting president a "retard," Sarah Palin mocked his "shuck and jive shtick," and John Sununu openly questioned Gen. Colin Powell's weighty endorsement as being motivated by race. At least earlier in the campaign there was some effort at camouflage. Such as when Mitt Romney aired an anti-Obama welfare commercial that falsely suggested Obama supported handouts ("They just send you your welfare check") when, in fact, Obama was accommodating requests of several governors, two of them conservative Republicans, to try new ways to put people back to work. A similar sentiment was expressed by Romney when he maligned the 47 percent who don't pay federal income taxes, overlooking that 83 percent of that group are either working and paying payroll taxes or they're elderly.

And, almost daily, there have been dire warnings about Obama, often with sirens, from the Drudge Report. Example: the Sept. 18 edition featuring a hideous picture of Obama (eyes closed) emblazoned with the all-capped quote: "I ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN REDISTRIBUTION," a 14-year-old excerpt that conveniently excised the future president's explicit embrace of "competition" and "marketplace." No wonder I routinely field calls from radio listeners who, with no hint of embarrassment in their voices, say things such as "I call him 'comrade' " or "he's not my president."

Their best evidence? Obamacare - crafted by the same people who wrote Romneycare. Critics ignore that the Affordable Care Act is premised upon personal responsibility and was born in a right-wing think tank. Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning website of the Tampa Bay Times, called the idea that Obamacare represents a "takeover" of the health-care system the 2010 Lie of the Year. And while some have also labeled the president a "socialist" for signing the $831 billion stimulus, no one ever used such language when Bush acted similarly with the $700 billion TARP.

Sheepwalkers

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mr-fish-sheepwalkers-500.jpg

My Dad is paranoid that the underhanded Republicans will try to steal the election again. I said not to worry...but with this report I'm not so sure.

The Free Press confirms installation, secret justification of uncertified last minute election tabulation reporting software in Ohio

by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis

The Free Press has obtained internal memos from the senior staff of the Ohio Secretary of State's office confirming the installation of untested and uncertified election tabulation software. Yesterday, the Free Press reported that "experimental" software patches were installed on ES&S voting machines in 39 Ohio counties. (see Will "experimental" software patches affect the Ohio vote?).

Election Counsel Brandi Laser Seske circulated a memo dated November 1st renewing the already shaky justification for installing software made by Election Systems and Solutions on vote tabulation equipment used in 39 Ohio counties. The letter to Ohio Secretary of State personnel Matt Masterson, Danielle Sellars, Myra Hawkins, Betsy Schuster, and Ohio's Director of Elections Matthew Damschroder, clarified the dubious justification for not complying with the legal requirements for the examination of all election related equipment.

Seske begins by explaining what she purports to be the purpose of the software patch: "Its function is to aid in the reporting of results that are already uploaded into the county's system. The software formats results that have already been uploaded by the county into a format that can be read by the Secretary of State's election night reporting system."

According to the contract between the Ohio Secretary of State's office and ES&S, this last minute "experimental" software update will supposedly transmit custom election night reports to the Secretary of State's office from the county boards of elections, bypassing the normal election night reporting methods.

In order to justify this unusual parallel reporting method, Seske explains "It is not part of the certified Unity system, so it did not require federal testing." This attempt to skirt federal and state law from one of the most partisan Secretary of State offices in the nation ignores basic facts of how modern information systems function.

Seske continues "Because the software is not 1) involved in the tabulation or casting of ballots (or in communicating between systems involved in the tabulation or casting of ballots) or 2) a modification to a certified system, the BVME [Board of Voting Machine Examiners] was not required to review the software." These claims are factually unsound. The software, although not communicating actual ballot information, facilitates communication between systems upon which votes are tabulated and stored. Although the software purports to not modify the tabulation system software, it is itself a modification to the whole tabulation system. This is why certification and testing is required in all cases.

Just as in 2004, the Ohio Secretary of State's office has enabled the possibility of a "man in the middle" attack. This software, functioning on a network through which votes are transmitted could act to intercept, alter or destroy votes from counties where it is not even installed, hence the "man in the middle" nickname.

On September 19, the last minute contract between ES&S and the Ohio Secretary of State's office was inked. Within a week, Seske wrote "He [Matt Masterson] has reviewed and approved the changes." Masterson is the Deputy Director of Elections. After Masterson's approval, Seske acted to bypass the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners required review.

"Pursuant to the board's policy, each change will be approved unless three members of the BVME request a meeting to review a change within 15 days of today's date. Given the proximately of the upcoming election, please let me know as soon as possible whether you will be requesting a meeting to review the changes," wrote Seske.

Government reports such as Ohio's Everest study document that any single change to the system could corrupt the whole voting process.

An unelected, partisan group of attorneys appears to have conspired to install election software without testing and certification that they are professionally unqualified to pass judgment upon. These types of last minute installations of software patches on voting machines are considered suspect by knowledgeable and experienced election protection attorneys, in light of all the voting machine irregularities exposed during the 2004 election in Ohio.

-------------------

Gerry Bello is the chief researcher at the Columbus Free Press. He holds a degree in computer security from Antioch College. Bob Fitrakis is the Editor of the Free Press. He holds Ph.D. in Political Science and a J.D. from the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.

Last minute software patches may be deemed "experimental" because that designation does not require certification and testing. Uncertified and untested software for electronic voting systems are presumably illegal under Ohio law. All election systems hardware and software must be tested and certified by the state before being put into use, according to Ohio Revised Code 3506.05. By unilaterally deeming this new software "experimental," Secretary of State Husted was able to have the software installed without any review, inspection or certification by anyone. ES & S, for their part, knows that this software will not be subject to the minimal legally required testing as stated in the contract on page 21 (Section 6.1).

The contract specifically states that this software has not been and need not be reviewed by any testing authority at the state or federal level. Yet, it is installed on voting machines that will tabulate and report official election results, which Ohio law forbids. Based on the Free Press reading of the contract, this software is fully developed, being referred as versions 2.0.7.0 and 3.0.1.0. Thus the only thing making this software "experimental" is the fact that it has never been independently certified or tested.

In preparation for the upcoming general election in late April, the Free Press began requesting public records from all 88 counties in Ohio in order to build a broad database of every vendor and piece of equipment used in the state of Ohio. Aside from some minor delays, all 88 county jurisdictions have complied.

However, the office of the Ohio Secretary of State however, has not complied with any requests for lists of equipment, contracts with vendors, schedules of payment and even the identities of the vendors. The Free Press' public records requests, under ORC 149.43 (The Public Records Act) have been ignored by Chris Shea, presumably acting on behalf of Secretary of State Jon Husted. Now that the Free Press has obtained the contract, it seems clear that the secretary of state's office was hiding these last minute "experimental" uncertified software installations.

On page 19 of the contract, terms require the various county boards of elections to purchase additional software from ES & S if they are not compatible with this new "experimental" statewide tabulation and reporting system. This unfunded mandate clause illegally bypasses individual counties rights to make their own purchasing determinations.

The controversial software will create simple .csv files like those produced by spreadsheet programs for input into the statewide tabulation system. According to the terms of the contract, data security is the responsibility of each local board of elections: "...each county will be responsible for the implementation of any security protocols" (see page 21 of the contract).

Most county boards of elections do not have their own IT departments and are reliant on private partisan contractors to maintain and program the electronic voting systems. These piecemeal implementations of security protocols would also be untested and uncertified.

Voting rights activists believe this whole scheme may create a host of new avenues of attack on the integrity of the electronic vote counting system. The untested and uncertified "experimental" software itself may be malware. Public trust in the electronic vote counting system has emerged as the key issue in the Ohio presidential election.

The Free Press will be updating this breaking story as more information is obtained and analyzed, so stay tuned. The story for now is that the Secretary of State in the key swing state in the 2012 presidential has installed "experimental" uncertified and untested software to count a large portion of the Ohio vote.

GOP Wants Report to Disappear

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No one in their right mind thinks "trickle down" is a sane or rational economic theory, now a report proving it is being quashed by the Republicans.

GOP kills official report finding tax cuts for rich don't boost growth

Zachary Roth

After pressure from the GOP, a nonpartisan congressional agency withdrew a report that found tax cuts for the rich don't spur economic growth and instead worsen inequality. Staffers at the agency tell MSNBC.com they're up in arms over the move. And top Democrats, too, want answers.

"The Republicans have been pushing this argument that the top marginal tax rate has this huge effect on economic growth ... and there's just no evidence of that," said one agency analyst, adding that the decision to disavow the report "wasn't about substance, it was about politics."

At issue is a study released in September by the Congressional Research Service, which serves as Congress's in-house nonpartisan policy research arm.  "The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie," the study found. "However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution."

Those conclusions put a congressionally-backed dent in the centerpiece of modern-day GOP economics: that lowering taxes for the wealthiest Americans will lead to broad-based prosperity. Republicans, including their standard-bearer Mitt Romney, have been united in opposing an end to the Bush tax cuts for high earners on these grounds.

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