Round 3

Another shameless plug for the mudflats live chat tonight that can be joined, here: at 5:45 PM PST. I’ll once again be one of the moderators, and it should be a lot of fun.

Sharp readers may notice, that it’s a different site, than what I’ve posted inthe past. While gets some bugs worked out, blogspot is the only place that can utilize the chat program. As always, I’ll be posting my thoughts on the debate here, once it’s over.

Signs, signs, signs

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for awhile now, but haven’t been able to get to it until now. About 3 weeks ago over on the website, one of the regulars talked about how not one but two Obama signs had been stolen from their yard. So her son, 16 year old Preston Fossback put a webcam in the window and created a sign watching site here: Little did anyone know know that sign watching would take the world by storm.

Yes, the world. Sign watchers come from all over the globe, from Europe, to China to Japan. We all gather to watch the sign and talk about, what else, Obama. On any given day, at any given time, hundreds of people log in to the UStream to watch the sign, chat and support one another. It’s gotten coverage in the Wall St Journal as well as a local news show. A link to the segment featuring Preston (affectionately known as signkid) can be viewed here.

With all the mudslinging and ugliness in this election, it’s nice to see, someone, a 16 year old in particular, bringing the world together.

Quick Reminder

Late Tuesday night, the amount of traffic at crashed the servers. That’s the bad news. The good news is, the site is directing traffic to the original wordpress blog and the live chat will take place tonight. I’ll be one of several moderating the live chat, and invite you all to stop by and say hello. I’ll be logging in about 5:30 PM Pacific time and will be there most of the night. 

I’m also planning on creating a podcast within the next few days, so stay tuned for that. is where the fun takes place.

Odds and Ends

I got an email from work today that had some interesting statistics. As some of you may know, I work for a national, non-profit credit counseling agency. Our goal is to assist people in consolidating their debt, and working with the creditors to lower interest rates, etc. We also provide foreclosure counseling, bankruptcy counseling and other services.

Did you know?
We have received almost 1,161,882 calls for 2008, through the close of yesterday!  Again, that’s over 1 million consumers in need of our help.
Of those calls, we have been able to answer 1,108,827 of those calls.  That is over 95.4% of the total calls received.  Great job!
Did you know?
We received 7,714 calls yesterday alone.  That is the most calls received in a single day for the entire year of 2008.
This also makes an increase in business of 183% from this time last year. So you’ll forgive me when I roll my eyes when some commentator says we’re not in a recession or verging on a depression. Those statistics are just my agency, never mind any of the others out there as well.
I’ll be moderating a live chat on Thrusday Oct. 2nd, during the vice presidential debate over at You can find me as raingods of course. And for those interested, I’m also now on skype, add me to your contact list under the name kharisi (my warcraft character name).

A message from Mudflats

AKMuckraker asked everyone to repost this on their blogs,  and I’m happy to do so.

Disturbing allegations of new “caging” techniques being implemented by the Republican party have surfaced in Michigan. The Republican Party Chairman in Macomb County, Michigan, (a swing county in a swing state) is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes as a resource to block voters in the upcoming election. Lose you home, lose your vote. And, yes, most of the foreclosed homes in Michigan affect African-American families. The use of these lists is an attempt to challenge that these voters are “true residents” of the state, a requirement to vote.

While this type of Republican tactic is far from surprising, what is surprising is that the Obama campaign is filing suit. They will seek an injunction to prevent the GOP from engaging in this type of voter suppression. Here’s the statement. The Obama campaign:

…seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to challenge the “lose your home, lose your vote” vote-suppression program adopted by the Macomb County Republican Party, in concert with the Michigan Republican Party and the Republican National Committee, as well as unnamed Defendants who will implement the scheme at polling places in Macomb County and throughout the state. This “lose your home, lose your vote” program is part of a broader scheme – misnamed an “election integrity” program – to harass voters and suppress the vote throughout the State of Michigan in the upcoming election on November 4.

Despite the fact that thousands of Michigan voters’ homes have been foreclosed, many residents are still living in them, but will nonetheless be disenfranchised, if the Republican party has its way. The good news here is that the Obama campaign is being proactive. Democrats (and the country) are still suffering from the fallout of the elections of 2000 and 2004. They’ve been burned once…twice… and are positively bristling with a “never again” attitude that will serve them well.

Seeing Obama taking a strong stand on these policies which he refers to as a “national and systematic program” is a good thing. They are taking it seriously. As much as we don’t want to imagine the scenario, Obama needs to be ready to legally challenge the vote in November if the signs of vote tampering/voter fraud rear their ugly heads. They can’t ‘blink’. (I humbly apologize for the use of that analogy)

Many of the same suspect voting machines that were in play in the last two elections still exist. There has been no significant vote reform and there’s nothing we can do about that at this point. What we can do is be the eyes and ears at the polling places.

The election watchdog group Black Box Voting, has sent out the following request. If you are not familiar with this group, you should be. The website is extensive, and there’s also a great documentary Hacking Democracy (available on Netflix) which tells the story of this organization and the amazing woman who started it all. This is possibly the single most important issue facing our country, because without preserving the integrity of the vote, we have nothing.

They also have a downloadable Tool Kit for the upcoming election on the website.

So do what you can. If you’re a blogger, post this. If you’re a tech, read below and get a job. Engaged citizen? Go to the website to learn more. Download a tool kit. Be prepared and know what to look for at your polling place.

It happens everywhere. In 2004 there were districts in Alaska that reported a voter turnout of more than 200%. I like to think we’re politically engaged, but not to the point that every registered voter makes it to the polls twice. These issues have still not been resolved. And who is heading up the division of Elections for the upcoming vote in 2008? Sarah Palin’s Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell.


Widest possible distribution needed. Please do spread this in blogs, etc:

This post will no doubt produce howls of objection for the vendors that read it. Black Box Voting is encouraging all individuals with a technical background to search and apply for temporary tech ELECTION SUPPORT jobs for the November 2008 election.

Hiring is underway for temporary technicians to help with voting machines this fall. Vendor dependence is undermining the structure of US elections, as described here in the new report by

We want to see You, the People, enter into the vendor mix directly.


In a presidential election year, voting machine vendors will hire and train thousands of technicians staffed around the country. For example, anywhere that Election Systems & Software has a machine, they are under contract to provide an on-site support tech. Hart Intercivic, Premier (Diebold), and Sequoia also use Election Day support technicians.

Temporary election tech support jobs have been spotted on,, and local tech temp firms like (in 2006) DecisionOne. The tech services firm may be a subcontractor for the big four voting machine companies. Sometimes you’ll find the positions advertised by your local county.

Sites like have you register in their E-tech database. They search for techs based on skill set and area. There isn’t much in the way of a skill set needed for the election projects.


Anyone with tech skills interested in safeguarding the November election is encouraged to register at technical recruiting sites and apply for any election-related projects.

CONSIDER ASKING FOR TIME OFF ON YOUR FULL TIME JOB TO DO THIS. This November, there may be no better way to watch the behind-the-scenes process than to be a stagehand, so to speak.

It is not the vendor, and not the government, that has the right to elections information, it is the PUBLIC. Citizens have inalienable rights to sovereignty over the government they created and pay for. These rights cannot be honored without mechanisms to see all information related to elections, and ultimately, to have control processes that honor citizen sovereignty.

That said, it ain’t gonna happen this November. Therefore it is entirely appropriate, patriotic, and important, for citizens to apply for temporary positions as voting machine technicians to provide inside public oversight for the process.

There will be nondisclosure agreements, which are not appropriate at all for public elections, but it’s a reality now that vendors are trespassing on citizen right to know. There may be issues that arise which the public clearly has a right to know. When that happens, a decision must be made.


We have already been in communications with other patriotic volunteers who have successfully obtained these positions in the past, and are doing this for November.

THERE ARE ALWAYS WAYS TO DEAL WITH IMPORTANT ISSUES IF THEY ENDANGER THE PUBLIC GOOD. You, the People, are needed on the inside of the elections industry this November.

This is a public service bulletin from Black Box Voting.

Black Box Voting Tool Kit 2008 – free download here:

Empower more election watchdog actions:
Black Box Voting
330 SW 43rd St Suite K
PMB 547
Renton WA 98057