By the time you read this, if all goes according to plan I'll be somewhere over the Atlantic, off to Bologna for what promises to be an unusually interesting workshop organized by Ian Kerr and the the other wonderful people at “On the Identity Trail”.
I've done something a bit scary for this conference: I've written a paper that showcases my ignorance about something that I care about in the hopes that the high-powered (and geographically diverse) participants will educate me.
The key question which motivates the paper is this: why are people in common law countries like the US and the UK so much more bothered about ID cards than the people in Western Europe? It's a puzzle — we fear them, they domesticated them. They had abuses (Nazi Germany and occupied Europe), we had far fewer. Why the difference? Attitudes to authority? Different conceptions of liberty, or citizenship? Counter-balancing aspects of the legal system? None of the above?
[Incidentally, one of the many flaws of the current draft paper is that it pretends Eastern Europe doesn't exist — mostly because I don't know enough about contemporary attitudes to ID cards in post-communist Europe.]
Unfortunately, the very useful archives (lots of info on disaster preparedness and on the ways in which citizen-based preparedness might be better than current centralized top-heavy models) have yet to emerge from what sounds like a painful transition from Userland to WordPress.
Fear of transitioning from my very customized MT 2.x to WordPress has kept me from making the move, although WP would I think be easier to use (and would standardize me with most of the other blogs I run).
Investigative reporter Greg Palast says 4.5 million votes will be shoplifted in 2008, thanks largely to the “Rove-bots” that have been placed in the Justice Department following the U.S. Attorney firings. Being the guy who uncovered the voter “purge lists” of 2000 that disenfranchised black voters, he’s worth listening to, even if the mainstream press chooses not to.
This time around, he claims to have the 500 emails that the House subpoenaed and Karl Rove claims were deleted forever. They prove definitively, says Palast, that the Justice Department is infested with operatives taking orders from Rove to steal upcoming elections for Republicans and permanently alter the Department.
[Palast says:] Caging works like this. Hundreds of thousands of Black and Hispanic voters were sent letters — do not forward. Letters returned as undeliverable (”caged”) were used as evidence the voter didn’t live at their registered address. The GOP goons challenged these voters’ right to cast ballots — and their votes were lost.
But whose letters were caged? Here’s where the game turns to deep evil. They targeted Black students on vacation, homeless men — and you’ll love this — Black soldiers sent overseas. They weren’t living at their home voting address because they were shivering under a Humvee in Falluja.
In other parts of the interview, they guy sounds, quite frankly, like he's bats. But the stuff about past voter suppression did sound plausible; which at least raises the possibility that some of the other stuff might be right too.
Old news to many, I suppose, but yesterday Presidential candidate John Edwards gave a remarkably good speech — I mean remarkably good — on military power, foreign affairs, Iraq, and the 'war on terror'.