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Editor, The Konformist
- The BRAD BLOG -
EXCLUSIVE: JOHN EDWARDS SAYS 'YES' TO NATIONWIDE BAN ON TOUCH-SCREEN
(DRE) VOTING MACHINES!
Presidential Candidate Becomes First to Join Growing Movement When
Queried About Issue at Campaign Event in California
Edwards Becomes Second Politician in a Week to Announce Support for
the Election Integrity Movement After Being Asked About it at Public
Posted By Brad Friedman On 3rd March 2007
In Election Reform, John Edwards, Election 2008, Rush Holt | 4
While it's unlikely to get as much attention as Ann Coulter calling
him a "faggot"  during her speech at the Conservative Political
Action Conference (CPAC) last night, The BRAD BLOG  has learned
that John Edwards is the first Presidential Candidate to announce
his support for a growing movement calling for a ban on the use of
all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting
systems in American elections.
The BRAD BLOG  was contacted late last night by Progressive
Democrats of America  (PDA) Board Chair Mimi Kennedy with the
news that during a campaign event in Los Angeles Edwards agreed to
join her organization in calling for an end to electronic ballots in
PDA has been one of many groups calling for the ban and other
important amendments  to Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) new Election
Reform bill (HR 811 ), recently introduced in the U.S. House of
Kennedy, an activist and actress well known for her role as Dharma's
mother on ABC's Dharma and Greg, told The BRAD BLOG  that during
a Q & A period following his address last night, she asked Edwards
whether he would join PDA in their campaign  calling for "the
complete removal of all Touch-Screen Direct Record Electronic voting
machines from U.S. elections, with or without a paper trail".
Drawing an "X" in the air as the question was being asked, Edwards --
- who was reportedly upset  at Sen. John Kerry's decision not to
contest the 2004 Presidential Election count, or lack thereof, in
Ohio --- answered with a definitive "Yes!"
"Yes!" echoed Kennedy in response as the audience reportedly cheered
Edwards' public support for a ban on DRE voting systems follows just
over a week after Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) was asked a
related question  by an Election Integrity advocate at a public
event at the University of California/Santa Cruz. Waters announced,
in response to the query, that she would be withdrawing her co-
sponsorship of the Holt bill in the wake of the growing concerns
about several troubling shortcomings in the proposed legislation.
Kennedy attended the event, sponsored by the Pacific Palisades
Democratic Club, with friend and former TAXI co-star Rhea Perlman,
who unsuccessfully tried to video tape the Q & A session on her cell
phone. The BRAD BLOG  is attempting to locate a complete video of
the event and we'll update this item if and when we do.
Before an audience estimated at 400, Kennedy rose and said to the
former Vice-Presidential candidate...
"I'm not going to ask a question about the war," referring to PDA's
anti-war campaign calling for withdrawal and diplomacy which Edwards
had previously stated support for, "I'm going to ask about election
"I'm going to try not to make people's eyes cross with the technical
stuff," she said in recounting her question to Edwards. "You, of all
people, know what has happened to our elections under some of this
new technology and after working two years on these issues,
Progressive Democrats of America and other groups have identified
the worst offender as the touch-screen Direct Record Electronic
As she spoke, Edwards reportedly nodded and drew a "large and
vigorous 'X'" in the air in front of him with his free hand.
"So I'm going to ask you now --- Do you support the complete removal
of all Touch-Screen Direct Record Electronic voting machines from
U.S. elections, with or without a paper trail?"
Edwards' answer was an unequivocal and well-received "Yes!"
according to Kennedy.
PDA has joined a growing list of Election Integrity advocates and
organizations (including The BRAD BLOG ) in calling for an end to
DRE voting systems and demanding amendments to Holt's Election
Reform bill as currently written.
The bill, while calling for a number of much-needed improvements to
the current electoral mess in America, stops short of calling for a
ban on DRE/touch-screen voting machines. Such systems have been
proven over the last several years to be inaccurate, extremely
accessible to tampering, and prone to failures and breakdowns which,
during the 2006 election cycle, denied thousands if not millions of
legally-registered voters from being able to cast a vote.
PDA's campaign calling on citizens to insist that Congress amend
Holt's bill to require a full ban on DRE voting systems is here...
An earlier campaign, launched by more than 40 non-partisan Election
Integrity organizations and endorsed by PDA, calling on Congress to
require a paper ballot --- not a "trail" or "record", and one that
is actually tabulated --- for every vote cast in America, is here...
The BRAD BLOG's  "Special Coverage" page documenting the debate
for a DRE voting ban and other needed amendments to Holt's
legislation is available at: www.BradBlog.com/Holt .
Marijuana - The Wonder Drug
The Boston Globe
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts -- A new study in the journal Neurology is
being hailed as unassailable proof that marijuana is a valuable
medicine. It is a sad commentary on the state of modern medicine
that we still need "proof" of something that medicine has known for
The study, from the University of California at San Francisco, found
that smoked marijuana was effective at relieving the extreme pain of
a debilitating condition known as peripheral neuropathy.
It was a study of HIV patients, but a similar type of pain caused by
damage to nerves afflicts people with many other illnesses including
diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Neuropathic pain is notoriously resistant to treatment with
conventional pain drugs. Even powerful and addictive narcotics like
morphine and OxyContin often provide little relief. This study
leaves no doubt that marijuana can safely ease this type of pain.
As all marijuana research in the United States must be, the new
study was conducted with government-supplied marijuana of
notoriously poor quality. So it probably underestimated the
This is all good news, but it should not be news at all. In the 40-
odd years I have been studying the medicinal uses of marijuana, I
have learned that the recorded history of this medicine goes back to
In the 19th century it became a well-established Western medicine
whose versatility and safety were unquestioned. From 1840 to 1900,
American and European medical journals published over 100 papers on
the therapeutic uses of marijuana, also known as cannabis.
Our knowledge has advanced greatly over the years. Scientists have
identified over 60 unique constituents in marijuana, called
cannabinoids, and we have learned much about how they work. We have
also learned that our own bodies produce similar chemicals, called
The mountain of accumulated anecdotal evidence that pointed the way
to the present and other clinical studies also strongly suggests
there are a number of other devastating disorders and symptoms for
which marijuana has been used for centuries.
They deserve the same careful, methodologically sound research.
While few such studies have so far been completed, all have lent
weight to what medicine already knew but had largely forgotten or
ignored: Marijuana is effective at relieving nausea and vomiting,
spasticity, appetite loss, certain types of pain and other
debilitating symptoms. And it is extraordinarily safe - safer than
most medicines prescribed every day.
If marijuana were a new discovery rather than a well-known substance
carrying cultural and political baggage, it would be hailed as a
The pharmaceutical industry is scrambling to isolate cannabinoids
and synthesize analogs and to package them in non-smokable forms. In
time, companies will almost certainly come up with products and
delivery systems that are more useful and less expensive than herbal
However, the analogs they have produced so far are more expensive
than herbal marijuana, and none has shown any improvement over the
plant nature gave us to take orally or to smoke.
We live in an antismoking environment. But as a method of delivering
certain medicinal compounds, smoking marijuana has some real
advantages: The effect is almost instantaneous, allowing the patient
to fine-tune his or her dose to get the needed relief without
Smoked marijuana has never been demonstrated to have serious
pulmonary consequences, but in any case the technology to inhale
these cannabinoids without smoking marijuana already exists as
vaporizers that allow for smoke-free inhalation.
Hopefully the UCSF study will add to the pressure on the U.S.
government to rethink its irrational ban on the medicinal use of
marijuana - and its destructive attacks on patients and caregivers
in states that have chosen to allow such use.
Rather than admit they have been mistaken all these years, federal
officials can cite "important new data" and start revamping outdated
and destructive policies.
Such legislation would bring much-needed relief to millions
suffering from cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and other
Lester Grinspoon, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Harvard
Medical School, is the coauthor of "Marijuana, the Forbidden
Medicine." This article first appeared in The Boston Globe.
Is it Blackbeard's ship? Archaeological booty says aye
Story Highlights 1718 shipwreck off N.C. coast could be fully
excavated in three years
Archaeologists, historians to review 10 years of research on the
Many researchers say it's Blackbeard's plundered ship, Queen
Treasures from deep are clues to era's naval technology, slave
trade, pirate life
March 3, 2007
RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) -- A shipwreck off the North Carolina
coast believed to be that of notorious pirate Blackbeard could be
fully excavated in three years, officials working on the project
"That's really our target," Steve Claggett, the state archaeologist,
said Friday while discussing 10 years of research that has been
conducted since the shipwreck was found just off Atlantic Beach.
Archaeologists and historians planned Friday to review 10 years of
research on the shipwreck. It is the oldest shipwreck discovered off
the North Carolina coast
The ship ran aground in 1718, and some researchers believe it was a
French slave ship Blackbeard captured in 1717 and renamed Queen
Several officials said historical data and coral-covered artifacts
recovered from the site -- including 25 cannons, which experts said
was an uncommonly large number to find on a ship in the region in
the early 18th century -- remove any doubt the wreckage belonged to
Three university professors, including two from East Carolina
University, have challenged the findings. But officials working on
the excavation said Friday that the more they find, the stronger
their case becomes.
"Historians have really looked at it thoroughly and don't feel that
there's any possibility anything else is in there that was not
recorded," said Mark Wilde-Ramsing, director of the Queen Anne's
Revenge Project. "And the artifacts continue to support it."
Wilde-Ramsing said a coin weight recovered last fall bearing a
likeness of Britain's Queen Anne and a King George cup, both dated
before the shipwreck, further bolster their position.
So far, only 15 percent of shipwreck recovered
So far, about 15 percent of the shipwreck has been recovered
including jewelry, dishes and thousands of other artifacts. The
items are being preserved and studied at a lab at East Carolina
University, and eventually more will become available for the public
to view, Claggett said.
Nearly 2 million people have viewed shipwreck artifacts since 1998,
including at a permanent exhibit at the North Carolina Maritime
Museum in Beaufort and at a maritime museum in Paris, project
Researchers shared some of their findings Friday at the North
Carolina Museum of History. They said studying the artifacts will
provide insight into the era's naval technology, slave trade and
Blackbeard, whose real name was widely believed to be Edward Teach
or Edward Thatch, settled in Bath and received a governor's pardon.
Some experts believe he grew bored with land life and returned to
He was killed by volunteers from the Royal Navy in November 1718 --
five months after the ship thought to be Queen Anne's Revenge sank.
Edwards Campaign Responds to Coulter Calling Him 'Faggot'
By E&P Staff
March 03, 2007
NEW YORK In recent years she has suggested that Bill Clinton,
Hillary Clinton and Al Gore have or may have homosexual tendencies.
Now columnist/author Ann Coulter has targeted former senator (and
current candidate for president) John Edwards.
Edwards responded on Saturday with a statement: "Ann Coulter's use
of an anti-gay slur yesterday was un-American and indefensible. In
America, we strive for equality and embrace diversity. The kind of
hateful language she used has no place in political debate or our
society at large. I believe it is our moral responsibility to speak
out against that kind of bigotry and prejudice every time we
The Edwards campaign also responded by trying to fundraise
some "Coulter Cash."
Speaking Friday at the annual Conservative Political Action
Conference CPAC) in Washington, D.C., Coulter closed her remarks
with: "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic
presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go
into rehab if you use the word `faggot,' so I -- so kind of an
impasse, can't really talk about Edwards."
Audience members appeared startled, then many clapped, and she
opened the floor to questions. The event was carried on C-SPAN. Many
newspapers, including The New York Times, covered the event but
failed to mention the Coulter slur at first.
But David Bonior, the former congressman and now Edwards campaign
manager, responded in an email to supporters, "This is just a taste
of the filth that the right-wing machine is gearing up to throw at
us. And now that it's begun, we have a choice: Do we sit back, or do
we fight back?
"I say we fight. Help us raise $100,000 in 'Coulter Cash' this week
to show every would-be Republican mouthpiece that their bigoted
attacks will not intimidate this campaign. I just threw in 100
bucks. Will you join me?
"Coulter's attack was no accident. It happened on national
television at one of the year's biggest conservative
conferences....If we can raise $100,000 in 'Coulter Cash' this week,
we can show that bigotry will only backfire on those who use it."
Democratic Party chief Howard Dean weighed in later: "There is no
place in political discourse for this kind of hate-filled and
bigoted comments. While Democrats and Republicans may disagree on
the issues, we should all be able to agree that this kind of vile
rhetoric is out of bounds. The American people want a serious,
thoughtful debate of the issues. Republicans -- including the
Republican presidential candidates who shared the podium with Ann
Coulter today -- should denounce her hateful remarks."
On Saturday, Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Romney said: "It was an
offensive remark. Governor Romney believes all people should be
treated with dignity and respect."
"The comments were wildly inappropriate," said Brian Jones, a
spokesman for McCain.
The remarks also drew disapproval from some popular conservative
commentators. Ed Morrissey on his Captain's Quarters blog
wrote: "Yeah, that's just what CPAC needs -- an association with
homophobia. Nice work, Ann."
Michelle Malkin expressed disapproval, and at her Hot Air site
regular contributor "Bryan" wrote: "I'm no fan of John Edwards, but
that's just a stupid joke. It's over the line. The laughter it
generated across the room was more than a little annoying. Last year
it was 'raghead.' This year it's calling John Edwards a 'faggot.'
Two years in a row, Coulter has finished up an otherwise sharp CPAC
routine with an obnoxious slur that liberals will fling at
conservatives for years to come. Thanks, Ann."
Vice President Cheney addressed the group on Thursday. Rudy Giuliani
and Mitt Romney appeared before her on Friday. Sen. John McCain
skipped the event.
The New York Times' Adam Nagourney failed to mention the crack about
Edwards, in observing Saturday in the paper: "The conference drew
thousands of attendees, many of whom waited in a long line out the
door for a late-afternoon appearance by Ann Coulter, the
conservative author and commentator."
Later Saturday he posted a blog item at www.nytimes.com that did
discuss the Coulter crack. For Sunday's paper he elicited this reply
from Coulter: "C'mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by
suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean."
The Washington Post covered the conference but did not mention
Coulter at all in its news report. Neither did the Associated Press,
which also attended. UPI did mention the "faggot" quote in its
The Los Angeles Times on Saturday quoted Coulter and even put the
controversy in a headline. It closed the article: "A Giuliani
spokeswoman said she had not heard the speech, and a Romney
spokesman did not return calls late Friday."
The Post's Dana Milbank, in a column for the Saturday paper,
observed: "Ann Coulter used an anti-gay slur to describe John
Edwards (the line drew applause) and asked: 'Did Al Gore actually
swallow Michael Moore?' When a questioner asked Coulter why she
praises marriage but broke off so many engagements, she responded by
calling the questioner ugly."
Coulter's column is distributed by Creators Syndicate.