Friday, April 8, 2011

Ex-Mexican President: End Bloody Drug War Through Legalization | KPBS.org

SAN DIEGO — Former Mexican President Vicente Fox believes the current strategies employed against Mexico's drug cartels are not working and he is advocating a different approach.

Fox said he's looking at other countries for possible solutions. One is Portugal, which decriminalized all drugs 10 years ago and has since seen a 25 percent decrease in drug consumption .

"We might have an answer there because we have to separate the health problem (caused) by consuming drugs, and the crime and violence associated with it to distribute in the black market," he said.

is losing young lives at an alarming rate as a result of the drug war. The fear and the violence is destroying Mexican society, Fox said. He adds that the U.S. has as much as Mexico at stake in the drug war.

criticizes US officials for disagreeing with his push to legalize drugs and stop the violence.

"If they don't support (legalization), why then they don't (reduce consumption) of it? It's their job, it's their responsibility, and it's not happening," Fox said. "What I read everywhere is growth, growth, growth of consumption - in both sides, in Mexico and in United States."

Ex-Mexican President: End Bloody Drug War Through Legalization | KPBS.org

Thousands in Mexico Take to Streets To Protest Drug War – We Need to Do the Same Here! | Drugs | AlterNet

 

More than 37,000 people have been killed since President Calderon launched his “surge” against cartels in December 2006.

The bloody, unwinnable war is leading more and more elected officials to speak out against drug prohibition. In 2009, the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Drug Policy – co-chaired by three former presidents (Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico) – issued a groundbreaking report declaring the drug war a failure. The report further advocated the decriminalization of marijuana and the need to "break the taboo" on open and honest discussion about international drug prohibition.

Click on the following for more details:  Thousands in Mexico Take to Streets To Protest Drug War – We Need to Do the Same Here! | Drugs | AlterNet

Frequently asked questions about a government shutdown - The Washington Post

 

Government shutdown: Frequently Asked Questions

How long do they have to settle this?

The current funding resolution expires at midnight on April 8….

Why does Congress wait so long to pass the budget?

Under a budget law passed in 1974, the House and Senate are supposed to approve the 12 appropriation bills funding the federal government by Sept. 30, the last day of the fiscal year. It almost never happens.

In the past 16 years — 10 of which were controlled by Republicans, four by Democrats and two with mixed leadership in the chambers — Congress did not meet its statutory deadline for approving the spending bills. ….

Years when the party in power is politically vulnerable and on the verge of ouster tend to be the most difficult times….

What’s the thinking on who’s going to get blamed?

Most Democrats believe the presidential bully-pulpit gives them the advantage if there is a shutdown. Former Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean said as much last week during a television interview.

This assumption is based largely on the shutdowns of 1995 and 1996, when GOP majorities on Capitol Hill earned the blame and then-President Bill Clinton benefited politically.

Are shutdowns common?

Not in recent years. Six shutdowns occurred between fiscal 1977 and fiscal 1980. An additional nine occurred between fiscal 1981 and fiscal 1996. The most recent shutdown stretched from mid-December 1995 until early January 1996.

How long do shutdowns normally last?

Shutdowns in the 1970s and 1980s ranged from three days to 17 days, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). A five-day shutdown occurred in November 1995, and a shutdown stretching from mid-December 1995 to early January 1996 lasted 21 days — the longest in modern history…..

If a shutdown occurs, what would stay open and who would have to work?

We won’t know for certain until it happens.

Federal agencies are drafting contingency plans ….agencies should continue any functions providing for national security, critical foreign relations and the safety of life and property.

With the growth of government contracting and the wider use of technology, however, an untold number of contractors providing information-technology support and other services might also be instructed to stay on the job.

How many federal workers would be impacted?

The first 1995 government shutdown led to furloughs for about 800,000 federal employees, according to CRS. The second 1995-1996 closure impacted only 284,000 federal employees, because several of the regular spending bills had been passed in the meantime.

Click on the following for more details:  Frequently asked questions about a government shutdown - The Washington Post

Your vote cost about $38 in Boone County - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

The cost of Tuesday’s election was $83,339 in Boone County, which means it cost about $38.10 per vote cast. It was roughly $10 for Rockford and Winnebago County.
As with Rockford and Winnebago County, the low turnout was the cause of the high cost. Voter turnout was about 6.5 percent in Boone County.

cost of Tuesday’s election was $83,339 in Boone County, which means it cost about $38.10 per vote cast

Election costs include judges’ pay, polling place rental, truck rental, equipment, publications, support service and other miscellaneous expenses that are necessary no matter the turnout.

Let’s compare Tuesday’s $38 election costs to one with high voter turnout, the 2008 presidential election. Boone County had 22,717 voters in that election and spent about $88,500, or roughly $3.90 per vote


Click on the following for more details:  Your vote cost about $38 in Boone County - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star and http://blogs.e-rockford.com/kevinhaas/2011/04/07/your-vote-in-boone-county-cost-3810/

Vote-counting error rocks Wisconsin court race - US news - msnbc.com

MSNBC’s take on Nickolaus’ past.

Nickolaus worked for 13 years for a Republican caucus that was controlled by Prosser when he was Assembly speaker in 1995 and 1996. She was given immunity from prosecution in a 2002 criminal investigation into illegal activity by members of the caucus where she worked as a data analyst and computer specialist.

The corruption probe took down five legislative leaders, all of whom reached plea deals. Nickolaus resigned from her state job in 2002 just before launching her county clerk campaign.

Nickolaus also has been criticized by the Waukesha County Board for her handling of past elections and lack of oversight in her operations.

An audit of Nickolaus' handling of the 2010 election found she needed to take steps to improve security and backup procedures, including by not sharing passwords. The audit was requested after the county's director of administration said Nickolaus had been uncooperative with attempts to have county experts review her systems and confirm backups were in place

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  Vote-counting error rocks Wisconsin court race - US news - msnbc.com

Daily Kos: Kathy Nicholaus: surprise, surprise? Maybe not.

Interesting comments and statements from the world of blogging.  All statements are from unknown sources.

Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 10:37 PM EDT

Kathy Nicholaus: surprise, surprise? Maybe not.

by MouseNoMore

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Unbeknownst to me until 10 minutes ago, my husband used to work with Kathy Nickolaus (Waukesha County Clerk) in the Wisconsin legislature's IT shop. (He worked there from 1993 to 1997.) Quote my DH, "She was not only incompetent, but also a fierce right-to-lifer and arch-conservative. If you said to her, 'I really like hot fudge sundaes', her reply would be, 'We really have to stop abortions.' Her testifying in the caucus scandal notwithstanding, this casts considerable doubt on her integrity. She knew damn well that what she was doing for the caucuses was against the law, (later)  immunity not withstanding."

He says he is very, very afraid now because the questions about her integrity are extremely frightening to him. "The fact the the entire county's election data is on a single PC with no backup demonstrates her incompetence." He remembers being in a meeting with the chief of their IT shop and hearing about the stuff she was doing, and he told the boss, "We could really get caught with our pants down. This is NOT an acceptable way of doing this stuff." And he was just speaking as a data processing professional. BTW my husband was an IT professional for 20+ years so I trust his opinion.

Now my opinion: FIRST THING IN THE MORNING someone needs to file a FOIA request and state open records request for the data on her computer. And impound the damn computer and do a complete forensic investigation. IMO it would be best if someone from Waukesha County made the request, but any Wisconsin voter could, really.

EDITED #1 22:08pm - I'm happy to see in the comments that Kloppenburg's campaign will be doing this

Daily Kos: Kathy Nicholaus: surprise, surprise? Maybe not.

CAFFEINATED POLITICS: Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus Needs To Resign Over Botched Election Results

The following is taken from a anti-Walker blog from Hancock, Wisconsin:

 

April 8, 2011

tags: David Prosser, State supreme court, Waukesha County Wisconsin, Wisconsin

by dekerivers

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus needs to resign because of the statewide mess she created concerning the election returns from the State Supreme Court race.

The reasons Kathy Nickolaus needs to resign as County Clerk are multi-fold.  

Kathy Nickolaus demonstrated a lack of professionalism that is expected of an official with her responsibilities.  She has also failed to be professional over time, and in so doing helped create the chaos that now engulfs Wisconsin. 

Kathy Nickolaus is also very suspect in this vote fiasco in light of the fact she was granted immunity after a caucus scandal when she worked as an Assembly Republican Caucus Employee while David Prosser was both Minority Leader and later as Speaker of the State Assembly.

Simply put, what took place in Waukesha County reeks to the heavens!  Kathy Nickolaus must own up to the massive problem, and resign.

Late Thursday the Waukesha County clerk announced that the vote total in Tuesday’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race had been mistaken, and that the corrected numbers changed the outcome of the entire election.

There were 3,456 missing votes for Democratic-backed challenger Kathleen Kloppenburg and 11,059 for incumbent GOP-backed Justice David Prosser. Kloppenburg has previously been beating Prosser by just 200 votes of the roughly 1.5 million cast statewide. The new total puts Prosser on a significant path to victory, about 7,500 votes ahead of Kloppenburg.

This error seems more than fishy given the past working relationship Kathy Nickolaus has had with David Prosser.  For thirteen years Nickolaus worked for the Wisconsin State Assembly Republican Caucus as a data analyst and computer specialist.  During that time Prosser served in powerful elected positions in the State Assembly.

Before Kathy Nicklous resigned in 2002 from her partisan job she  was granted immunity to testify about her role in the caucus.  The Republican Caucus was under investigation for using state resources (tax dollars) to secretly run campaigns.

There is no way that I buy into Kathy Nickolaus’ near-tearful explanation of how Brookfield was misplaced when counting and adding the numbers.  There is no degree of plausibility given all we know about her.  Kathy Nicklous’ partisan dealings that landed her in the legal arena makes this latest, and most unbelievable turn of events, not rising to the smell test.

Kathy Nickolaus’ lack of professionalism is underscored by the fact Waukesha County has what can only be described as an outdated and rickety means of keeping  tabs of votes cast.  She has insisted the county results be kept on an antiquated personal computer, rather than upgrade to a new data system being utilized statewide. 

When confronted about the problems in the past she smiled in face of the facts that were presented to her.

The Waukesha County Board also heavily criticized the clerk after she brushed aside their recommendations for improving election security. At one point during a hearing in January, board chairman Jim Dwyer grew exasperated with Nickolaus and said, “There really is nothing funny about this, Kathy. Don’t sit there and grin when I’m explaining what this is about.”

Again, what has occurred in Waukesha County regarding the court election does not meet the smell test.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Barca gave voice late Thursday for voters all over Wisconsin in a blunt statement. 

It is especially troubling that she waited more than 24 hours to report the startling discovery and then did so at a press conference and only after she verified the results. This makes it all the harder to challenge and audit the integrity of the vote. 

The partisan, political history of Ms. Nickolaus and the serious concerns about the quality of her performance found in an audit raises the question of whether an investigation is warranted. The public deserves to know that the votes were counted properly.

No one can relish the idea of making it clear to someone that they must step aside from a job.  But the damage that Kathy Nickolaus has done to our election process in Wisconsin is no small thing.  The people’s faith in casting a ballot has been damaged by the actions undertaken in the last 48 hours from the Waukesha County Clerk.

It is time that Kathy Nickolaus resign her office.

The people of Waukesha County and all of Wisconsin deserve no less

CAFFEINATED POLITICS