Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Salit: The Battle Behind the Budget Battle, May 10th

Committee for a Unified Independent Party
The Battle Behind the Budget Battle...
What Independents Need to Know
Please Join a National Conference Call for Independents 
                    Led by Jacqueline Salit
Tuesday, May 10th

Time: 8:00 pm EST 
(7:00 pm CT, 6:00 pm MT, 5:00 pm PT)

To register for this call click:

Friday, April 29, 2011


oldest water tower in the US

Independents' Growth a Good Sign of Shift to More Open Political Environment


  • Independents' growth a good sign (LETTER Arizona Republic) As the balance of power shifts from a two-party system to a more open political environment, we will see politicians begin to listen to their constituents, knowing their tenure is at risk with another player on the field.
  • Arizona Secretary of State says voter registration climbs to 3.2 million (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, The Republic) Figures released Friday show that 48,023 new voters have registered as either independents or with no party affiliation since last year's election. The number of new Republican registered voters is 10,243. Democrats have added 4,187 voters.
  • Beware ‘Mission Accomplished’ on Budget Debate (By NATE SILVER, NY Times/FiveThirtyEight) As these debates evolve, and voters learn more about the proposals, opinion may detach from its partisan moorings, and independent voters may begin to take sides. (So far, a relatively high 17 percent of independents are undecided as to which approach they prefer.)
NOTE: Whatever Jonathan Chait and John Sides are talking about below, we hope you won't mistake it as having anything remotely to do with being about independents.
  • The Irrationality Of Independent Voters (Jonathan Chait, The New Republic) Indeed, it's pretty clear that independents don't rationalize their votes on the basis of what drives them. They say they're voting this way or that because John McCain is too mean, or because they think Al Gore wants to cut Medicare, or that Walter Mondale is a wimp. They may be trying to grope toward explanations for behavior that's determined by factors they don't consciously realize, but that's irrational.
  • Independents Are Not a "Confused Horde" (John Sides, The Monkey Cage - "Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage. - H.L. Mencken") But more importantly, independents actually vote in predictable ways. Much more than partisans, they vote for the party advantaged by two fundamental factors: the economy and war. Let's consider the relationship between economic growth and war and the presidential vote for only the 10% or so of the population that is truly independent. In particular, I rely on a measure from Doug Hibbs that combines income growth and military fatalities in war, and American National Election Studies data on presidential voting by party.

An Anti-War Candidate Announces for President (by: Robert Naiman, Truthout) Many states have open primaries: any voter can vote in any primary. In other states, you have to register with a given party in order to participate in that party's primary. New Hampshire - a critical, early state, where the Eugene McCarthy campaign showed the Lyndon Johnson administration the depth of anti-war sentiment - is in between: if you register as an "undeclared" voter, you can vote in any primary.

Has California's Reform Moment Arrived? (William Bradley, California-based Political Analyst,, Huffington Post) As a result, a cottage industry of political reformers has sprung up. But though they've gotten a large share of ink at times, they haven't gotten very far, politically speaking, besides the initiatives successfully championed by Schwarzenegger on redistricting and open primaries. Here is the paradox. The need for reform is spurred by gridlock. But reform can't be achieved until the gridlock is broken, or at least surmounted or circumvented. Or maybe just sideswiped.

FBI probes scope of Troy vote fraud case - Feds scrutinize allegations of selective prosecution in Troy ballot fraud scandal (By BRENDAN J. LYONS, Albany Times Union) The allegations stem from the September 2009 primary elections when Republican operatives unearthed evidence that dozens of absentee ballots for the Working Families Party line had been forged. The ballots were handled by Democratic campaign workers and elected officials.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Orange County California Decline-to-State Voter Numbers Skyrocket

The Independent Movement and Political Paralysis

It seems like there's a ton of new and noteworthy commentary and analysis coming over the third party and independent news wires today. At Technorati, Benjamin Kerensa declares his political independence from the Democratic Party... h/t to Poli-Tea for the following posts on independent voters:


  • ANATOMY OF AN ANTI-INDEPENDENT HIT PIECE (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) In The New Republic, Kazin concludes that Independents are wholly responsible for the apparent inconsistency in the study and the swing in the results… It is extremely revealing that, for Kazin, being persuaded by a specific line of argumentation in a lengthy survey is an indication of thoughtlessness, while reactively lining up behind whatever statements are put forward by one’s own “side” is a sign of deliberative political engagement.
  • Kicking the Two-Party Politics Addiction (Author: Benjamin Kerensa, Technorati) I actually feel quite relieved that I no longer have to subscribe to an almost molded political party that has no interest in representing the voters but instead only serves the special interest groups that donate the most money to their candidates election campaigns.
  • RED ALERT: DECLINE-TO-STATE VOTER REGISTRATION ON THE RISE IN REPUBLICAN-DOMINATED ORANGE COUNTY (by Christopher A. Guzman, CAIVN)  "Third party registration in Orange County has remained under four percent throughout the decade, but the number of decline to state voters has skyrocketed. In total, the number of decline to state and third party voters has gone from 18.6 percent to 24.5 percent of those registered. It is notable that all those losses are coming from the Republican share, while Democrats are able to hold their proportion constant," said the report.


  • Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Ron Paul headed to Tea Party debate (The State Column) Both Mr. Pawlenty and Mr. Paul will appear at the South Carolina Greenville Tea Party’s “Presidential Debate Freedom Rally” on May 5.
  • Guest Column: The Case for Ron Paul (by Debra Medina, The Texas Tribune) His un-Republican positions on foreign policy, drug legalization and returning the U.S. dollar to the gold standard have been anathema to the GOP rank and file, but the Tea Party has proven that Americans are as fed up with the Republicans as they are with Democrats; both parties were complicit in getting us where we are today. Many have noted that the Republican base has moved markedly to the right since the last presidential election and have seen the rise of activists far more receptive to Paul's gospel of limited government, individual freedom and an uninhibited free market.
  • Rep. Ron Paul: Bernanke, Federal Reserve didn’t impress me (The State Column) “Today’s staged press conference will not be enough to stop the growing demand for real Fed transparency, and I hope to build on that grassroots demand by passing legislation that will result in a true audit of the Fed’s activities,” Mr. Paul said in a statement.

Tribeca Film Fest street fair plans to rock the vote (BY John Bayles, Downtown Express) Menin stressed the bi-partisan aspect of the campaign. Groups such as the Working Families Party, the Metropolitan Republican Club, the Log Cabin Republicans of NYC, Manhattan Young Democrats, the Downtown Republican Club and the Downtown Independent Democrats are all co-sponsoring the event.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ron Paul Enters 2012 Presidential Race - First Debate May 5


Michael Kazin talks trash about INDEPENDENT VOTERS

The Trouble With Independents - What if these voters are just a clueless horde? (Michael Kazin, The New Republic) Since avowed Republicans and Democrats line up consistently behind whichever arguments come from their side, it is the independents who are responsible for the contradictory results: Almost 50 percent agreed first with the GOP positions, and then, with those of the other party. As the pollsters observed, “[I]ndependents … move in response to the messages and attacks tested in this survey.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Body Politic: Libya and Life and More by Ingrid Tarjan

by Ingrid Tarjan

As we learned last week about the deaths of two award-winning photojournalists (one, American photographer Chris Hondros, the other  British-American photojournalist Tim Hetherington), and of Britain's decision to send "advisors" to Libya, I am saddened two times over. I heard Tim talk at Barnes & Noble's this past November with Sebastian Junger, with whom he had co-directed the 2010 documentary film Restrepo) and spoke with him briefly as he signed his book which I had bought for my dad.

He was inspiring. And while many others have died and are severely injured, it's somehow different when you've been inspired and shaken the hand of someone who died there. The fact is we're all connected, and it's tragic that dictators hunker down in their delusion, I ask myself how will it end? Apparently it was his last week there. Very sad.

I'm also reminded of a piece last month by an American journalist David Brooks

Brooks' piece about Muammar Gaddafi being a "wacko" March 24, 2011 is right, but history doesn't let dictators survive for too long with new media being the way it is.  The days of Idi Amin are over. Twitter and FB weren't around during Rwanda or even during Iraq for that matter.  The cries of Tripolitan and other handles on Twitter for the NFZ (no-fly-zone) weren't an imposition from outside but from within, in the face of imminent and real violence.

Even Ivory Coast is being acknowledged as a hotspot that is crying for better democracy.  This is a tide similar to the humanistic-political tsunami we see going on in the Middle East, or the more geophysical-humanistic events in Japan.

And call me naive, but I don't think even with Scott Walker's autocratic mandates and actions in WI, such violence would ever fly here in the US.

By this time last election the GOP frontrunner had already emerged.  They seem to be scrambling now and in my view really have nothing substantial to offer. In their attempts to be 'balanced' the media gives so much attention to some of them, but never with long-view scrutiny under which their ideas wouldn't hold.  The foundations upon which the GOP builds are just soundbites (lower taxes) without the structural depth that can be sustainable in today's given environment. Short-sightedness has been the modus operandi for too long here now and under more long-view scrutiny, careful consideration of the implications of their platforms fall short.  (To illustrate with a body politic metaphor, if you take a teenager and tell them they might want to consider feeding themselves less junk food, they'll cry and declare their freedom and right to eat whatever they want and do whatever they want to their bodies.  But if they want to live a healthy long and disease free life, they might be better served heeding advice from people who made better more healthful choices.  The body is very forgiving, but why set yourself back for short-term empty calorie gratification?)

Unfortunately, it seems the independents don't really have much to offer either since their battle for the moment is leveling the playing field and getting open primaries, certainly a worthy cause, but their platform needs to be put forth as if they'll get the open primaries to bring even more into their fold. (Pls note: Independents are NOT to be confused with Tea Party.)

So the next couple of years will be rather interesting.  For the moment, post 2010 election, we seem to be fighting a cultural war rather than continuing to solve the very real problems we face going fwd.

Aspiring politicians are very adept at pointing out what's wrong, but they're not very good at offering viable solutions to very real problems.

Anyone running for election at the local, state or national level needs to ignore the banal stupidity out there and put forth a real workable platform that can create real jobs for this economy. (NOT just tax handouts b/c evidence shows that said job creation from that is a myth, and no more pork-belly stimulus, -with the exception of infrastructure.)

Thankfully our president put for a budget plan that responded to the fantasy so called “serious” budget put forth by Paul Ryan.  The seriousness of dealing with this budget is important no matter what party you’re from.

The role of Independents is to educate ourselves and not buy soundbites which given Wisconsin and Michigan have turned into “bait and switch” policies.

My personal view is that public private sector projects tied with educational institutions is the way to go.  This country needs to incentivize unleashing practical creative energy of people who are spending their time solving hypothetical problems, and get them involved in real ones.  My experience in corporate culture's "real world" as opposed to ivory tower academia is that it's just as much experimental, but the stakes are higher.  So called "professionals" have made a lot of mistakes, (Enron, banking crisis, bailouts for the auto industry that for too long insisted on Hummers and big gas guzzlers to name just a few.)

In principle, it could even be an experiment; the right can do it their way, and 'create jobs', and other thinkers can do it their way, and let's see who really create the best jobs out there.  It doesn't have to be a zero-sum game.) Inspired by TedTalks I've watched, there are countless good people with amazing ideas out there.  Galvanizing such energy, inspiring it in our educational institutions to create tangible working projects may just yield the results we need.

Hot Air

Ron Paul Set to Enter 2012 Presidential Race

NH GOP primary not just a Republican party (AP) Also, a University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll in February found about 40 percent of independents — or "undeclared" as they're called here — said they plan to vote in the Republican primary, about 30 percent said they plan to vote in the Democratic primary, even though it's not expected to be contested, and 30 percent weren't sure.


  • Ron Paul moves toward White House campaign (By ANDY BARR, Politico) The Texas congressman confirmed his plans Monday night on Fox News, after news reports of his plans for a late-afternoon announcement in Des Moines had circulated online hours earlier. A Paul source told POLITICO that he'll also roll out his campaign team for the first-in-the-nation caucus state Tuesday.
  • Don't laugh at Paul (Tom Jensen, Public Policy Polling) Do I think he has a serious chance at the Republican nomination? Not really. But I think he could play a much bigger role in the race than people might expect.

City Hall & The Capitol Hire Adam Lisberg As Editor-In-Chief (By City Hall) Lisberg previously was the City Hall bureau chief for the New York Daily News, where he worked for seven years. He will start at City Hall and The Capitol on May 9.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Independent Redistricting: Voters Keep Pressure on Lawmakers

New software lets Utahns propose redistricting plans (By Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News) An effort to establish an independent redistricting commission through an initiative petition drive failed last year to generate enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. But a new group, Represent Me Utah, that includes Republicans, Democrats and independent voters is attempting to keep the pressure on lawmakers, according to co-chairwoman Kelli Lundgren. Lundgren said user-friendly mapping software will be welcomed. "I'm excited they are doing that for the public," she said. "But what I would love to see is that they actually use input from it."

Editorial: Redistricting reforms could move us further from raw politics (Dallas Morning News) For example, are districts compact, so voters in a district aren’t spread out all over kingdom come? Do districts largely keep intact the boundary lines of cities and counties? And do districts keep intact communities of interest, including voters who share common geographic, racial, cultural or economic interests? Those are some of the principles state Sen. José Rodríguez is trying to write into Texas law so future redistricting battles are guided by something other than raw politics. The El Paso Democrat’s bill, SB 1556, would guide future map-drawers to focus on several principles.

Oregon's next political map (By The Oregonian Editorial Board) Lawmakers haven't delivered an acceptable redistricting plan in 60 years; either they get it done this year, or they get out of the process


Redistricting Roundup: Citizen activist organizations work to reform redistricting (By Geoff Pallay, Ballot News) Earlier this year, we discussed the push in some states to take redistricting power away from state legislatures and instead hand authority to independent commissions. Across the country, citizen activist organizations have formed to push for redistricting reform. At least 15 different organizations and coalitions have been created by concerned citizens looking to try and play a part in this year’s redistricting.

The Independent Streets of Philadelphia

Why is John Street thinking about an independent run for City Council in Philadelphia? Contact the grassroots voice for independent voters in Pennsylvania - Independent Voters in Pennsylvania


John Avlon: Trump has already burned his bridges with most independents

Why Trump can't run as an independent (By John P. Avlon, CNN Contributor) As an independent myself, I usually cheer the prospect of any independent campaign. It shakes up the arrogant assumption that our elections are wholly owned subsidiaries of the two major parties and their respective special interests. But Trump has already burned his bridges with most independent voters by choosing to go full "birther" and pander to the far-right wing of the GOP.

Independents Are 42% in New Hampshire

Unlike 4 years ago, heavy independent participation likely in GOP presidential primary (HOLLY RAMER  Associated Press, First Posted: The Republic - Columbus IN) Independent voters, who make up nearly 42 percent of registered voters in the state, can participate in either party's primary. And, given that President Barack Obama has no serious Democratic challenger, most independents are expected to cast ballots in the GOP race next February, unlike in the last presidential campaign.

Ron Paul Family Trumps the Repubs for Radical Politics

The state of third party politics with a mix of major party minor media wave...

Meet the libertarian Kennedys (By: Jonathan Martin, Politico) Four years after the family patriarch was mocked as a gadfly during his failed presidential bid—his second—the 75-year-old Paul is more recognizable than ever. And there are signs of a dynasty in the making, with his devoted following likely to be passed down to his children even if his White House hopes end with this election.

'Birther' claims force GOP leaders to take a stand (AP - Google) "There are high-profile people, including Donald Trump and many others in the conservative media, who advocate and validate this point of view each and every day," Garin said. The big question about the birthplace issue, he said, "is the extent to which it drives a wedge within the Republican Party" and turns off independents in November 2012.

Education Reform: we have to get better faster than we ever have in education

  • Solving the Education Crisis in America: Let's Pretend (Fred Newman PhD and Lenora Fulani PhD, East Side Institute) As referenced earlier, the more privileged of America’s youth, even by a very early age, have had a host of developmental cultural experiences, which leave them to varying degrees and in varying ways, open to learning. Our lower performing children have not, and moreover, have grown up within cultures which often relate negatively or conflictedly to learning. These children must be helped to grow (develop) if they are ever to begin the learning process and to function in the same classroom environment as the more developed children. The remedy cannot be “education” pure and simple. A system which presumes that classroom learning can substitute for, or override, a lack of development has failed to deliver. Does this have racial connotations? Of course. There is nothing in American life and culture that doesn’t. And a significant proportion of kids failing in the classroom are in inner-city areas and are Black and Latino. But that does not mean it cannot be remedied. However, the remedy cannot be remediation. It must be development.
  • Illinois Bill Exemplifies Groundbreaking Education Reform - State Shows How Collaboration Can Lead to Change (By Cynthia G. Brown, Theodora Chang, Center for American Progress) The bill, S.B. 7, ties tenure and dismissal to performance in the classroom, rather than experience, and makes it more difficult for teachers to strike.
  • Education Secretary Duncan: U.S. schools need to get 'better faster' (Princeton University) "If you look at (education) as a civil rights issue, as an economic imperative, as an issue of national security -- I look at it through all three of those lenses -- we have to get better faster than we ever have in education," Duncan said during a speech Wednesday, April 20, in Richardson Auditorium of Alexander Hall. "Somehow, we have a 19th-century model for a 21st-century economy."
  • Gov. Deval Patrick Opens Up About Educating Kids of Color for The Root (by Jamilah King, ColorLines News for Action) Patrick: "Yet for all the five years we’ve had these extraordinary achievement results, we have had at the same time a persistent achievement gap. Stuck in that gap are poor kids and kids who have special needs or speak English as a second language. A disproportionate number are kids of color. It’s an economic and educational issue to have an achievement gap at all, but to let it go for the years and years, decades or more that we had here [in Massachusetts], that’s a moral question. Now we have some tools to reach that part of our family as well."
  • Newark's Underperforming Schools Almost Have A New Leader (Joy Resmovits, Huffington Post) "With that investment, if things don't work out in Newark, ... it would have a chilling impact on other philanthropists and on those rising-star politicians who may want to latch onto the education issue," said Kevin Chavous, a former Washington, DC city councilman and current national chairman of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Zuckerberg's donation, however, represents only one tenth of the budget of a system that White Bradley says has a "base level of distress." And working with that high-profile money will put Newark's new superintendent under closer scrutiny.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Nite Hankster Chat in the Afternoon 4/22/11

Hi Hanksteristas!  It's Friday, it's afternoon, and because it's a holiday at my wonderful job, it's time for Friday Nite Hankster Chat in the Afternoon! Here's what's happening in Hankster World:

View out my window
8:35pm -- Here's the view out my window from Wednesday nite:

7:57pm -- Hey back, d. eris! Wow, I made some pasta and took a nap and now it's back to evening! What a nice Friday!!!

3:05pm -- Picked up some groceries, I savor the experience of going to the grocery store on a weekday daytime. My local grocery is 3 blocks away and has a nice stash of organic produce and a wonderful variety of Spanish and Asian staples. Now I wish I had taken a picture, however, I did take some pictures this week when I was out and about:
Empire State Building

12:15pm -- I slept in which I am truly grateful for, and now I'm up doing the youj, trolling Google for news by about and for independents, checking out my new RS online music notes... So here's something -- Rolling Stone Readers Pick the Best Music Videos of All Time 

Regular Hankster readers might know that The Hankster likes to start at the top (or the end in this case) and go down (or backwards in this case) rather than follow along on a big build-up to the crescendo moment at the top that is really exciting... Nothing wrong with the big build-up, but not my style...

So, I give you the Number One RS Reader Pick for a Music Video of All Time:

1. Michael Jackson, 'Thriller' (1983)
John Landis' 1983 short film for the title song fromMichael Jackson's record-setting album is so iconic and influential that it's not exactly a surprise that it won this poll by a landslide. So much more than a promo clip for a song, this mini-movie practically invented the notion of the music video as a major cultural event, and it opened up a world of possibilities for the medium that artists are still exploring today.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Independent Kentucky Michael Lewis' Fight for Open Primaries

Kentucky Republican Candidates for Secretary of State Disagree on Whether Independent Voters Should be Allowed to Vote in Republican Primary (Ballot Access News) Here is a four-minute you tube, in which Michael Lewis, calling in, asked each candidate whether independent voters should be allowed to vote in major party primaries. Johnson said “yes”; Legg said “no.”

Read Independent Kentucky

  • About That Speech - Mr. Obama's budget speech makes more sense when one realizes that his sinking poll numbers indicate an erosion in support with his liberal base. (By JOHN FUND, Wall Street Journal/John Fund On the Trail) The more that Mr. Obama feels he has to haul out class-warfare rhetoric and avoid offering serious proposals to stave off a fiscal crisis, the more he is endangering his standing with independent voters who remain unsettled by a sluggish recovery. The latest Gallup Poll pegs Mr. Obama's support among independents at just 35%. Right now, Mr. Obama is more concerned with shoring up his liberal base than with wooing independents. That's a sign of weakness.
  • Iowa called vital component of Obama re-election strategy (Written by JENNIFER JACOBS, Indianapolis Star) Des Moines lawyer Jerry Crawford, a longtime Democratic Party fundraiser and adviser, said it's crucial that Obama wins Iowa, a state with 696,061 active independent voters.
Redistricting commission to hold Southern California hearings (LA Times) The meetings will allow residents to provide input about their communities, information that will be used along with new census data as the commission draws political boundaries for the state's 53 members of Congress, 40 state senators and 80 Assembly members.

  • Here's why The Donald is not The Answer for The GOP (By: Cal Thomas, The Washington Examiner) In bridge, a trump card is held in reserve for winning a trick. In politics, Donald Trump is anything but reserved and appears to think he might trick enough voters to win the next presidential election.
  • Trump Candidacy for White House Gaining Ground (By NEIL KING JR., Wall Street Journal) Mr. Trump's near-daily barrage of TV interviews in recent weeks—he did at least three on Tuesday—has diverted attention from the rest of the potential GOP field and propelled him higher in national polls.
ANTIWAR MOVEMENT REVITALIZED BY INDEPENDENTS AND THIRD PARTY GROUPS (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) Numerous third party leaders spoke at the events in New York City.  Among them were Howie Hawkins, a former Green Party nominee for governor, Charles Barron, a local elected official and leader of the Freedom Party, and prominent antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, who waged an unsuccessful bid for Congress as an Independent against Nancy Pelosi in 2008, coming in second in the race with just over 16% of the vote.  Sheehan pulled no punches in her remarks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Political Reform Tops Indies' List

Member throws yellow flag on No Labels (Ken Bingenheimer, National Common Ground Examiner) David Gilmour, a full-time No Labels volunteer, replied that "John, those are great points and I applaud your keeping us focused on our essentials. I do want to reassure you that I think more and more as this movement grows we are very much doing practical things in three categories. Number one, in throwing yellow flags about the way legislation is getting done or not getting done in Washington. Number two, in the sort of big issues that relate to open primaries, redistricting, caucuses, rule changes--all the things that will ultimately control the amount of partisanship that will exist in our system. And finally, in the great hidden secret that in these primary contests it's very easy to have a great influence and encourage candidates that actually support bipartisan action and working across the aisles. Those are very, very practical things."


  • Obama To Meet With Bloomberg, Schwarzenegger On Immigration Tuesday (By Jared A. Favole, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES, Automated Trader) Bloomberg, an independent, last summer organized a coalition of mayors and business leaders to advocate for an overhaul of immigration. Others expected at the White House meeting include San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
  • Obama urges push for immigration reform (AFP Google) Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and Bloomberg -- a Republican who left the party ahead of the 2008 presidential election -- was joined by Texas Mayor Julian Castro and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey among others.


  • What Is Trump's Exit Strategy? (John Ellis, Business Insider/Politix) Such an exit would enable Trump to continue to flirt with an "independent" presidential candidacy, thus giving him the publicity he craves, while he assessed his next move.  Running for president as an independent candidate is a cash-intensive, labor intensive business.  It takes an enormous amount of preparatory work, as Michael Bloomberg can attest from his "run" in 2007.
  • Donald Trump To Raise Money For Hometown GOP (By Laura Nahmias, City Hall News) Donald Trump will deliver the keynote address at the New York Republican County Committee’s annual Lincoln Dinner on June 14 – another sign the real estate magnate and reality television star is mulling a serious run for president in 2012.


  • Data And Field Services Held In Contempt (BY CELESTE KATZ, Daily News/Daily Politics) The upshot is that DFS was required to do a number of things the court felt it didn't do. Instead, it changed its status from for-profit to non-profit, decided the costs of its own services rather than getting an estimate of fair market value, didn't make sure board members had the required degree of independence from the WFP and failed to get an independent evaluation of the software it uses for its clients.
  • Contemptible, and in contempt (NY Post) Alas, Judge Giacobbe only fined DFS $250 and court costs for repeated instances of "contumacious behavior" -- a slap on the wrist.
  • Harsher Penalties Could Stem From Court Ruling Against Data & Field Services (By Chris Bragg, City Hall News) A February 2010 settlement between DFS and Mastro’s clients compelled the firm to reshape its operations under the enforcement of State Supreme Court Justice Anthony Giacobbe. Mastro and his clients alleged that DFS massively undercharged Council Member Debi Rose, a Staten Island Democrat, and other WFP-backed campaigns for services, though DFS and the WFP acknowledged no wrongdoing in the settlement.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Old-Fashioned Gerrymandering Losing Favor in the Nation

  • Sarasota sees surge of independent voters (By Jeremy Wallace, Herald Tribune) Seven of 10 new voters in Sarasota County are rejecting both the Republican and Democratic parties and signing up as independents or with minor political parties. And the record surge of independents is not just happening here. Statewide, while the two major parties have lost more than 120,000 voters combined, independents and minor party registrations have grown by almost 120,000 since November 2008.
  • Wave Elections Might Be Washed Up for Now (National Journal/Charlie Cook's Off to the Races) We could have a fourth consecutive wave election in 2012, but the odds are against it. But here is another theory building on the premise that the "new norm" is volatility, particularly among independent voters.  After having vented at each of the two parties individually, what if voters decide to take out incumbents in a "pox on both your houses" election?
  • No good reform deed will go unpunished-Old-fashioned gerrymandering had its benefits in the back rooms. Gov. Brown could use the tool in budget bargaining. (By George Skelton, LA Times/Capitol Journal) Under the new open primary system next year, there no longer will be party nominations. There will be only one ballot, open to all candidates and voters. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, will advance to the general election. "Everything legislators think they know about running for office is getting tossed out the window," says former Republican legislative leader Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga, now a government relations strategist.
  • A more transparent future for area politics ( Written by Pacific Coast Business Times) The 14-member Independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission brought its public road show to San Luis Obispo on April 13, drawing a wide range of views about how to reconfigure the political landscape of the Tri-Counties.
  • Citizens seek public review of new maps (Tom Kacich, The News Gazette - Central Illinois) But a strong sentiment for public hearings after the maps are developed was voiced from independents, Democrats and Republicans. "The public should be allowed to see and comment on any new map that is drawn by the General Assembly at least two weeks before they are voted on by the House and the Senate in this session of the General Assembly," said Trisha Crowley, president of the League of Women Voters of Champaign County. "Additionally the General Assembly should give as much rationale as possible when describing the decisions that resulted in those maps that were drawn."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Women, Education and Peace in Afghanistan with Safida Begum

Women, Education and Peace in Afghanistan
with Safida Begum

Monday, May 2, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
All Stars Project, 543 West 43rd Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues)
Free to the public

The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for ten years.  Yet how many of us know anything about the day-to-day life of ordinary people in this far away country?

The next offering from the Global Outreach Department of UX provides a chance to learn directly from Safida Begum, a pioneer of women’s education in her own country, who traveled to Afghanistan to help train teachers in a country where there are very few schools for girls or, if schools do exist, where they lack such necessities as water, washrooms, blackboards and furniture.  “Women, Education and Peace in Afghanistan” will be an interactive workshop in which Begum will lead the group in an exploration of why women and education are one of the keys to development and peace in Afghanistan.

The evening will be hosted by Lois Holzman, chair, UX Global Outreach and director, East Side Institute.

To RSVP, email Mary Fridley at

Polling for 2012: Obama and the Republicans + Trump?

Nobody believes that poll results have anything to do with what the people will do on election day, but polling is all the rage...

  • Democrats can win the budget debate (By Joe Conason, The Oregonian) Ryan's angry response has opened up the possibility of a debate that the country desperately needs. Let us hope that Obama doesn't shrink from that challenge or delegate it to someone else. If his presidency is to become anything but the prelude to an era of decline, he must keep pushing forward just as aggressively as the Republicans push backward.
  • Obama Job Approval at 41%, Tying His Low Independents' approval rating down to 35% (by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup) Obama's approval rating in April 12-14 polling is down most among independents when compared with his 2011 average to date as well as his term average among this group. Currently, 35% of independents approve of the president, nine points off his average from independents this year.
  • Jonathan Alter: Republican horror movie sequel hits theaters (Capital Times - Madison) Obama was elected as a story-teller. Beginning with his famous speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2004, he weaved a personal narrative about Africa, Hawaii and community organizing in Chicago into a compelling message of “Change we can believe in.”
  • What's Donald Trump really after? (By: Maggie Haberman and Ben Smith, Politico) The widespread assumption that Trump’s flirtation with the presidency is a publicity stunt is no doubt at least partly true. But that’s merely the point of departure for a man whose almost every public move over the last 30 years has been a publicity stunt.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Useful. Honorable. Compassionate.

Bad News? The AP is reporting that author Jon Krakauer and 60 Minutes (Steve Kroft) is accusing Greg Mortenson founder of the Central Asia Institute and author of Three Cups of Tea of falsifying and embellishing his exploits in Pakistan. The piece will air on 60 minutes tonight.

Jon Krakauer seems to make a living discrediting the reputations of both living and dead persons. Krakauer has cast aspersions on the integrity of Pat Tillman, Major John Wesley Powell, Joseph Smith, Anatoli Boukreev, and others. There ought to be a category between fiction and non-fiction for authors like Krakauer, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and others for 'literary' works with unverified and questionable claims with an obvious propensity for bias and lacking the obvious and wise efforts to consult a variety of sources to establish the truth of a matter.

I have read good books by both Krakauer and Mortenson. Mortenson readily concedes that he isn't much of an author and received tremendous editorial support for his works. He is also conceding that substantial abridgement to his experiences on K2 and in Pakistan has taken place but that the account is still fundamentally sound and factual. Who knows, but his books are still on my favorite list.

The Good News "The purpose of life is not to be happy. … It is to be useful, to be honorable. It is to be compassionate. It is to matter, to have it make some difference that you lived.” i Useful. Honorable. Compassionate. These are not just lofty words—they are keys to living well. Put into action, they build character, shape a positive outlook, and bless the lives of others as well as our own. Consider the efforts of Don Schoendorfer, an engineer who, during a visit to Morocco saw a disabled beggar woman drag herself across the street, almost like a snake, because she had lost the use of her legs. He never forgot her plight and finally decided to do something about it. For the next several years, he spent his free time, usually early in the morning before work, in his garage tinkering on the design of a cost-efficient wheelchair. He presented his creation, made from a common plastic lawn chair and inexpensive bike tires, to an 11-year-old in India. The young boy’s mother said through a translator, "Bless you for this chariot.” Today, more than 500,000 wheelchairs have been delivered to those desperately in need in 77 developing nations. Don can speak from personal experience about being compassionate, about making a difference. ii As we make our plans for the future, may we choose to be useful, honorable, and compassionate. We will then find that our life has indeed mattered, that it has made some difference that we have lived.

(Good News from

i "The Myths by Which We Live,” The Rotarian, Sept. 1965, 55.

ii See Stephen R. Covey, Everyday Greatness (2006), 189–91; see also Abby Sewell, "A Moving Image Got This Wheelchair Maker Rolling,” Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2010,

Can Florida Get Open Primaries? Idaho Gov Signs Legislation Requiring Partisan Registration


  • Retaking state: Floridians need to get active now (Stephen Goldstein, Sun Sentinel FL) 7. The "Open Primaries" Amendment would keep extremist candidates and party loyalists from hijacking primaries by allowing voters to take part in the process, even if they are not registered with a given party. Currently, primaries favor candidates who take radical positions to appeal to a party's base. But then, unless they lie, they can't win the general election when they need a broader, more moderate, appeal. Open primaries favor centrist, more electable, candidates.
  • GOP panel nixes call for closed primaries, Sponsor: Proposal prevents Dems from swaying rivals' races (Written by ERIK SCHELZIG, Associated Press, The Leaf Chronicle) The executive committee of the state Republican Party on Saturday voted down a proposal to require party registration to vote in Tennessee primaries.  NOTE: This AP article ran widely in local papers nationally
  • Eye on Boise: Otter says closed primary an imperfect compromise (Betsy Z. Russell The Spokesman-Review) Gov. Butch Otter has signed into law historic changes in Idaho’s election system, requiring, for the first time, that all Idahoans declare their party affiliation to vote in the state’s primary election. [NOTE: Independents filed appeal to the court decision in favor of Repubs closing the primary before this legislation went through.]


  • Redraw N.C. districts for voters, not for politicians - Process would be much better with nonpartisan commission. (Charlotte Observer)
  • A line can take funny twists in redistricting (By Jeanette Krebs, Patriot News) If history is any indicator, there will be legislative and congressional maps that protect incumbents and make it easier for one party to stay in control, and in some cases, divide up minority voters so they don’t outnumber white voters. Some hopeful signs, however, do exist that things might be done differently this time in Pennsylvania.

Tea Party Reshapes New Hampshire Calculus - Movement Emerges as Wild Card for Republican Hopefuls In Presidential Primary Often Dominated by Independents (By JONATHAN WEISMAN, Wall Street Journal) A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll this month found tea-party support at a low ebb. Some 25% of respondents said they supported the tea party, down from 29% in February and 30% in November. The highest percentage on record, 67%, said they weren't supporters.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Late Nite Friday Nite Hankster Chat April 15, 2011: Lenora Fulani and Former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson

11:27pm -- Approximately 2 hours past my bedtime, but a last Good Night -- Tune in over the weekend to hear 2013 NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson talk about what he thinks about nonpartisan elections...

10:32pm -- So anyway, I attended Dr. Fulani's Interviews by a Black Independent tonight, which was I think a sort of a non-political or maybe extra-political kind of a gathering among some very political New Yorkers. Upon reflection, I thought this was an important dialogue between two important political leaders in New York City. Again, video -- or at least pix at 11!

10:20pm NY time:
Hey Hanksteristas! Buon Nuit... Goeienag / Nag(tiṣbaḥ 'ala kẖayr) تصبح على خير
response - (winta min ahla)وأنت من أهله , Buonanotteおやすみなさい (oyasumi nasai) おやすみ (oyasumi), 안녕히 주무십시요 (annyonghi jumushipsiyo) - frm
잘자 (jal jja) - inf,  
Спокойной ночи (Spokojnoj noči), Chúc ngủ ngon

Actually I think that's wrong -- I asked for an international lexicon for Late Nite and I got Good Night. But it is late, and this is Late Night Friday Nite Hankster Chat... So what the H...

Just got home from Dr. Lenora Fulani's Interviews by a Black Independent (monthly at the Harlem State Office Building) with 2013 NYC mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson. Video at 11...

Also watching Channel 13 PBS NY Grace Potter, an interesting musical artist, songwriter, performer, singer Grace Potter -- diggin' this!....

What am I - Rolling Stone??? 


  • The Right's Wrong Plan (Rep. Charles Rangel, HuffPost) Instead of promoting a plan to create jobs, Republicans marked their 100th day in control of the House with an agenda to end Medicare and cut the lifeline of millions of Americans. Introduced last week by Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP's "Road to Ruin" budget proposal does do two things: it hurts the poor and helps the rich. Viewed as an effort to reduce the debt, the Republican budget is both irresponsible and immoral.
  • Obama's Debt Reduction Plan Is a Political Step In the Right Direction (By Douglas E. Schoen, That being said, the president did make a strategic blunder by specifying that he wants to raise taxes on upper income Americans – having only four months ago agreed to the opposite in his budget deal with the Republicans. That budget deal is what got independents back to him at least temporarily following the midterm elections – an advantage that has been dissipating over time.
  • GOP Losing Battle, Winning War (John Zogby, Forbes/Data Place) A 55% majority disagreed, with 32% agreeing and 13% not sure. Among the all important independent voters, 57% did not agree with Ryan’s Medicare proposal. Among Republicans, 54% liked the proposal, which in our polling is a relatively low number for GOP voters on policy proposal identified with their party. Also, 17% of Republicans were not sure, which is again a high number from GOP voters and shows they have real doubts about such a significant change to delivery of health care to senior citizens. Two-thirds of those 65 and over, people who have been voting for Republicans, disagreed with Ryan’s Medicare plan.
  • House Democrats Win First-Quarter Money Battle (By MICHAEL D. SHEAR, NY Times/The Caucus) “Republicans’ radical agenda to end Medicare and play chicken with a government shutdown, while protecting taxpayer giveaways for Big Oil, is turning off independent voters and energizing our Democratic supporters,” said Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
  • Lack of primary competition gives Obama an edge - With no serious challenges for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2012, the president can target the independent voters crucial to victory, while his Republican rivals must move right to win their party's nomination. (By Mark Z. Barabak and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times and Washington Bureau)

States Could Reform Redistricting With Independent Nonpartisan Commissions


  • Honest redistricting - If Senate won't keep promise, Cuomo must be ready to veto (By News Editorial Board, Buffalo News) The clock is running out. An independent commission needs to be in place to develop draft lines by the start of next year in order to have an impact.
  • Republicans should keep pledge on redistricting effort - Republicans shouldn't back off election promise (EDITORIAL Democrat and Chronicle) Apparently Republicans, including Sens. Michael Nozzolio, Jim Alesi, Joe Robach and George Maziarz, are hoping that voters with short memories will forget the campaign pledges. Worse, they must think voters who bought their reform spiel are fools. But now is the time to depoliticize redistricting. New York only gets a chance to redraw district lines every 10 years based on the census. But Senate Republicans want to drag out the process, making it too late to be in place for next year's redistricting process.
  • North Carolina wants to be like Iowa (by Jason Clayworth, Des Moines Register) Iowa’s redistricting system, which was first used in 1981, is a method where the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency propose boundaries based strictly upon the latest U.S. Census Bureau population estimates without political considerations.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Parties Only 2.0

Thanks to Nancy Hanks and Alice Rydel for editorial and artistic input.

Drama at Legislative Hearing on Abolishing the Independent Party of Oregon

Drama at Legislative Hearing on Abolishing the Independent Party of Oregon
FOR RELEASE April 13, 2011

This afternoon the Committee on Rules of the Oregon House of Representatives conducted a hearing on HB 2442, the bill to abolish the Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) by making it illegal to use the word "independent" in the name of a political party in Oregon.  The bill declares an "emergency," stating that it is "necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety."

The Chair of the Committee, Dave Hunt (D), asked whether anyone wished to testify in favor of the bill.  Silence.  Some members of the Committee asked why the bill had been scheduled for hearing, if no one was willing to testify for it.  The bill itself states it was "Presession  filed (at the request of House Interim Committee on Rules)."  Committee Co-Chair Andy Olson (R) asked Rep. Vicki Berger (R) whether the bill had in fact been discussed in the House Interim Committee on Rules.  Rep. Berger replied that the Interim Committee did not have discussions along this line.  (A majority on the Interim Committee were Democrats.)

Testifying against the bill were Marvin Sannes (who won the 2010 IPO nomination for State Representative for the 21st District), IPO founder Linda Williams, IPO secretary Sal Peralta, and IPO member Dan Meek.  Written testimony against the bill was submitted by Norma Paulus and Phil Keisling, each a former Secretary of State of Oregon, who wrote:
"We are aware of no legal precedent in any jurisdiction in the United States that would allow a legislature to ban the use of a word in the name of a political party, and are highly skeptical that the Oregon Constitution, with its broad protections for free speech, would permit such an intrusion on the association and speech rights of a duly constituted political party. . . . This bill is cynical, political mischief of the worst, most juvenile kind -- worthy of being thrown on the legislative scrap heap, so this body can get down to the important business at hand."
Also submitting written testimony were former State Representative Tony Van Vliet and attorney Stephen Goldberg.  Also submitted was a petition against the bill signed by over 500 Oregon voters during the past 4 days, including additional comments from over 200 of them, along with an editorial by the respected editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald, Hasso Hering, entitled "What’s next, word police?"

For more information about the bill, see


Sal Peralta
Independent Party Secretary

Linda Williams
Independent Party Chair