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Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Questions Over McCain's Health, Times Reports

UPDATE: The New York Times piece is now online. Reporter Lawrence Altman, a medical doctor himself, finds that "serious gaps remain in the public's knowledge about the health of the presidential and vice-presidential nominees," which is "a striking departure from recent campaigns, in which many candidates and their doctors were more forthcoming."

Of McCain, the Times reports:

If elected, Senator John McCain of Arizona, 72, the Republican nominee, would be the oldest man to be sworn in to a first term as president and the first cancer survivor to win the office. The scars on his puffy left cheek are cosmetic reminders of the extensive surgery he underwent in 2000 to remove a malignant melanoma.


Last May, his campaign and his doctors released nearly 1,200 pages of medical information, far more than the three other nominees. But the documents were released in a restricted way that leaves questions, even confusion, about his cancer.

A critical question concerns inconsistencies in medical opinions about the severity of his melanoma; if the classification of his melanoma is more severe, it would increase the statistical likelihood of death from a recurrence of the cancer. [...]

By not allowing reporters to interview him or his doctors extensively about his entire medical history, he has made it impossible to get a complete picture of his diagnoses and treatment.

Both Barack Obama and Joe Biden released recent medical records to the Times showing that they were healthy, though Altman notes that Biden's documents "did not indicate whether he had had a test in recent years to detect any new aneurysm," and Obama's most recent check-up was in January 2007.

Meanwhile, "Nothing is known publicly about Ms. Palin's medical history," Altman reports, "aside from the much-discussed circumstances surrounding the birth of her fifth child last April. Ms. Palin has said that her water broke while she was at a conference in Dallas and that she flew to Anchorage, where she gave birth to her son Trig hours after landing.

"Last week Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for Ms. Palin, said the governor declined to be interviewed or provide any health records."


ORIGINAL STORY:

The New York Times will break new ground on the health of the presidential candidates and their running mates in a major expose set to be published in Monday's print edition.

Lawrence Altman -- the veteran Times reporter, George Polk Award winner, and one of the few medical doctors working as a full-time journalist -- has spent weeks working with the campaigns and medical professionals on the piece, sources say.

Much of the speculation centers on new questions about the status of John McCain's cancer raised by the story. The Washington Post reported last week that a growing number of doctors believe that McCain's melanoma is "more advanced than his physicians concluded and that the chance of recurrence is consequently higher."

But another peculiar facet of the Times story involves the McCain campaign's refusal, as of this weekend, to turn over Sarah Palin's medical information.

Both Barack Obama and Joe Biden reportedly provided documentation to the Times.

The issues of John McCain's age and health have repeatedly been pushed, with much resistance, into the heart of the political discussion. Prompted in part by the selection of Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee, the topic crested with the release of a political advertisement by Brave New Films PAC calling attention to McCain's history of skin cancer and the need for more information about his medical records.

McCain's campaign says it has released all of the information needed to make a thorough assessment of his health, and then some. In late May, the Senator allowed the vetting of over 1,000 pages of his records that showed him in generally good condition despite having skin cancer eight years ago. But the process was far from transparent.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's medical correspondent who was one of only a handful of reporters allowed into the review, summarized the problems recently to the Huffington Post:

"We were given three hours to go over 1,200 pages of records. That is a lot to go through. It was very sort of cloak and dagger and I'm sure they had their reasons. Given that I had my medical training, I was able to hone in on what it thought was important more quickly. But the pages weren't numbered, so I had no way of knowing what was missing... As a reporter I can only comment on what I saw but I can't say by any means that this was complete... As far as the secretiveness of it, what they said to us is that you can't take anything out of the room, but you could make notes. So it was a lot to go through in a short period of time."

The Washington Post reported last week that McCain's campaign refused to turn over additional documents for its story.

Original here

Brzezinski: Powell Endorsement A "Comprehensive Indictment" Of McCain-Palin Ticket

Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski tells the Huffington Post that Gen. Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama represents a "comprehensive indictment" of the McCain-Palin ticket.

In his Sunday appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Powell laid out an expansive endorsement of Obama, saying he is convinced that the Illinois Democrat has "met the standard" of perhaps becoming "an exceptional president" and a "transformational figure."

Brzezinski said he thinks Powell's endorsement to play a major factor in the race. "I was impressed by the comprehensive indictment of the current Republican ticket that was implicit in Powell's statement. It was not just about foreign affairs, it was a comprehensive statement that conveys the message that the more traditionally centrist Republicans are coming to view the McCain-Palin ticket as some sort of deviation -- some sort of break -- with the genuine traditions of the Republican Party."

Brzezinski also rejected the notion, floated by some, that Powell's endorsement could be discounted by undecided white voters as mere "racial solidarity," saying: "Because of his military service, his role in the first Gulf War, his status as a past Secretary of State, it has put him above the racial divide. He's seen more as an elder statesman."

The aide to President Carter predicted a Powell endorsement for Obama previously in an interview with the Huffington Post. But while he noted on Sunday that Powell's endorsement also "breaks the phalanx" of support for McCain from members of President George H.W. Bush's inner circle, Brzezinski said he doesn't necessarily expect to see more Bush 41 figures backing Obama. "Some of the others have engaged in a kind of routine endorsement [of McCain]," he said. Brzezinski also revealed that he still has not heard any explicit words of support from Bush 41 National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, with whom he is close. "I'll be seeing him later today," Brzezinski said. "I'm sure he's going to be besieged."

As the Huffington Post reported previously, Gen. Scowcroft has settled on a policy of "neutrality" in the presidential contest between Obama and McCain.

Original here

Sarah Palin On SNL With Tina Fey, Weekend Update's Alaska Rap, Baldwin And Wahlberg (VIDEO)

Sarah Palin took a break from the campaign trail to appear on "Saturday Night Live" in two skits, where she watched Tina Fey (as Sarah Palin) in a skit about Palin's first press conference alongside SNL honcho Lorne Michaels. Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg also made appearances in the opening sketch.

Later in the show, she popped up during Weekend Update. Scroll down for Palin dancing in her seat to an Alaskan rap song.

WATCH:

Watch 5 other sketches from the show here, including Mark Wahlberg confronting Andy Samberg backstage more from Weekend Update, and Sarah Palin at backstage at SNL.

PREVIOUS FEY SKETCHES:
Tina Fey as Sarah Palin With Hillary Clinton

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin With Katie Couric

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin
in the VP debate

Tina Fey talks about Sarah Palin's voice to David Letterman

PLUS:
Mark Wahlberg says he didn't find Andy Samberg's impression funny

Mark Wahlberg threatens to beat up and track down Andy Samberg

Original here

Obama compared to mass murderer Charles Manson at Palin/Coleman rally in MN

Via the Minnesota Independent we learn that a McCain/Palin supporter compared Obama to mass murderer Charles Manson during a rally for First Dude Todd Palin and Republican Senator Norm Coleman (who is about to lose to Al Franken) in Minnesota. And, as usual, no one at the McCain/Palin rally did a thing about it. It's also interesting that the person even got into the rally with his own sign - these kind of things are often stopped at the door, since the campaign doesn't want errant messages - or worse, protesters, raising signs in front of the candidates. Yet a sign comparing Obama to a mass murderer miraculously slips through. Maybe the Secret Service was busy making sandwiches for Todd.

McCain/Palin: Hate we can believe in.

Original here

13 Million Voters Purged -- and Counting!

Guardian.co.uk
The Republican voter fraud hoax
Brad Friedman - October 13 2008

Despite the screaming wall-to-wall coverage of "Democratic voter fraud in 11 swing states" as seen on Fox News and even the once-respectable CNN, none of it's true. None of it.
...
That will be the November surprise, when thousands, if not millions show up to vote only to find they are no longer welcome to do so and are forced to vote on a "provisional ballot" which may or may not be counted.

These real concerns of election fraud, such as voting roll purges, electronic voting machines that don't work and so much more that actually matters, have been obscured by the smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand of the Republican party's phoney Acorn voter fraud charade.

(Emphasis Added)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

BradBlog
CBS Has Noticed, Why Hasn't Obama or the DNC?

The CBS story, posted below (appx 2 mins) starts with an elderly New Jersey voter who was suddenly removed from the voting rolls after thirty years, for apparently no reason whatsoever, before launching into findings from a new non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice study on "Voter Purges".

(Emphasis Added)
http://www.bradblog.com/...


[Note: "Voter Purging" simply means your State, for whatever reason, has crossed-off Names from the State's Registered Voters List.]

Here's the Video:
CBS NEWS ON NATIONWIDE VOTE PURGING

http://www.youtube.com/...

------

Saul M. of New Jersey received a Letter, after 30 years, he suddenly Vanished as a Voter ...

Question: What can a Voter do to Protect themselves?

Answer: 1) Don't take No for an Answer!

  1. Cast a Provisional Ballot and
  1. Call a Voter Hotline

Answer: Also you can usually (4) lookup ahead of time to see if you are still registered to Vote in your State.

Or for a one-stop shopping Voter Registration Check:
votepoke.com

Don't be like Saul, Don't become one of the 13 million "Vanished Voters" and counting! BE SURE!

Saul was lucky -- he was Notified he was dropped from the Registration List. Most Purged Voters are NOT SO Lucky -- they will find out the hard way, on Election Day!

Especially if you live in one of these 19 States:




Studies show that most "Purged Voters" are NOT so lucky to receive such Advanced Notification.

The Dirty Details of Voter Purges

Secretive, error-riddled methods for cleaning up the voter rolls and how the Help America Vote Act isn't helping.
David Rosenfeld - October 06, 2008

Both the Brennan Center for Justice and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group have independently called into question the methods states use to clean up their voter rolls and the integrity of the information those purges are based on. Roughly 13 million names were purged from the rolls in 2005 and 2006, and while most of the removals were legitimate, that still leaves thousands likely disenfranchised, they say.
...
One of the biggest problems in managing voter registration rolls, says Gary Kalman of the Public Interest Research Group, is the inconsistency from state to state, and county to county, in enforcing federal law.

Kalman's study, "Vanishing Votes," found 19 states had not outlawed purging within 90 days of the vote — a prohibition found in the National Voter Registration Act. Four states — Colorado, Ohio, Rhode Island and Connecticut — have laws with purging deadlines explicitly within the 90-day period.

"There is widespread unawareness of the law," Kalman said.
...
In most cases when voters are removed from lists, with the exception for the reason of an address change, election officials don't attempt to notify the voter, Perez wrote. Those who find themselves removed from the list may cast a provisional ballot while their voting status is reviewed.

Aside from common typos and other clerical errors, voter roll matching sometimes fails to account for the presence or lack of middle initials or non-standard surnames.

13 Million Purged in 39 States

Topping the list of states taking names off their registered-voter rolls in 2005 and 2006 were Colorado, with 16.9 percent of the roll removed; Washington, with 15.4 percent; New York, with 14.1 percent; Nevada, with 13.2 percent; and Missouri, with 10.4 percent.

(Emphasis Added)
http://www.miller-mccune.com/...



That's a lot of Voters -- in for a surprise, on Election Day!

Real Voters.

Disenfranchised Voters.

Millions of them!


Here are the "hard numbers" for just 5 States:




Links to those non-partisan "Voter Purge" Studies:

Vanishing Voters: Why Registered Voters Fall Off the Rolls, The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, September 2008 (pdf)

Brennan Center for Justice - Voter Purges - Appendices, 09/30/08
(pdf)
Brennan Center for Justice - Voter Purges Report (website)


So if you're worried about fictional characters like Mickey Mouse, Daffey Duck, or Bugs Bunny showing up to Vote (along with their Photo ID in tow) -- Maybe you should start worrying about REAL folks like Saul M. instead!

A LOT More Saul's will show up and be turned away, than those "Cartoon Characters" that Fox News, and Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity, and now John McCain are SO "Looney Tunes" about now!


CBS is worried about the REAL Voter Outrage, that of actual Voters being disqualified through No Fault of their own -- and WITH NO ADVANCED NOTICE!




Even the Associated Press has noted these Purges "might be illegal" happening so close to an Election:

Report: Voter purges in 6 states may violate law
Oct 8, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Times reports that tens of thousands of eligible voters have been removed from rolls or blocked from registering in at least six swing states, and the voters' exclusion appears to violate federal law.

The newspaper says it identified apparent problems in Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina. It says some states are improperly using Social Security data to verify new voters' registration applications, and others may have broken rules that govern removing voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election.

(Emphasis Added)
http://ap.google.com/...



When will the Corporate-owned Media start covering the Real Story?
(Kudos to CBS, for starting the investigation!)

ACORNs are for rascally rabbits!

Arbitrary hidden Voter Purges however, actually harm Real American Voters!

That's All Folks!

That's Enough!

Original here

Some early W.Va. voters angry over switched votes

At least three early voters in Jackson County had a hard time voting for candidates they want to win.

Virginia Matheney and Calvin Thomas said touch-screen machines in the county clerk's office in Ripley kept switching their votes from Democratic to Republican candidates.

"When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain," said Matheney, who lives in Kenna.

When she reported the problem, she said, the poll worker in charge "responded that everything was all right. It was just that the screen was sensitive and I was touching the screen too hard. She instructed me to use only my fingernail."

Even after she began using her fingernail, Matheney said, the problem persisted.

When she tried to vote for candidates running for two open seats on the Supreme Court, the electronic machine canceled her second vote twice.

On her third try, Matheney managed to cast votes for both Menis Ketchum and Margaret Workman, Democratic candidates for the two open seats.

Calvin Thomas, 81, who retired from Kaiser Aluminum in Ravenswood in 1983 and now lives in Ripley, experienced the same problem.

"When I pushed Obama, it jumped to McCain. When I went down to governor's office and punched [Gov. Joe] Manchin, it went to the other dude. When I went to Karen Facemyer [the incumbent Republican state senator], I pushed the Democrat, but it jumped again.

"The rest of them were OK, but the machine sent my votes for those top three offices from the Democrat to the Republican," Thomas said.

"When I hollered about that, the girl who worked there said, 'Push it again.' I pushed Obama again and it stayed there. Then, the machine did the same thing for other candidates.

"Why didn't she [the polling clerk] tell me before I even used the machine that might happen? And how many people, especially my age, didn't notice that?

"Jackson County is a Republican county. I am a registered Republican, but I have been voting Democrat since the 1990s."

Thomas, who brought his daughter with him to the polls, said she had the same problem.

"After I finished, my daughter voted. When she pushed Obama, it went to McCain. It happened to her the same way it happened to me. If the poll worker knew that, why didn't she tell me before I even pushed the button?"

Deputy Secretary of State Sarah Bailey said, "When we received a call about this, we immediately called the county and told them to recalibrate the machines to make sure the finger-touch [area] lines up with the ballot.

"Sometimes machines can become miscalibrated when they are moved from storage facilities to early voting areas," Bailey said Friday. "We get a couple of calls about this each election year."

Most voting machines in most counties do work properly, Bailey added.

Jackson County Clerk Jeff Waybright said, "After we got a call from the Secretary of State's Office, we recalibrated the machine. We had already voted over 400 people with no problems."

Voting problems occur when voters touch the screen, Waybright said, but do not put their fingers inside boxes for their candidates.

Waybright blamed the problem on voters.

"People make mistakes more than the machines," he said, "but I went in yesterday and recalibrated the machines. We are doing everything we can not to disenfranchise anybody."

Matheney remains concerned.

"Leaving the polling place," she said, "I wondered how many voters might not have noticed that their vote was switched on the machine."

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 348-5164.

Original here