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Five Reads Monday

| September 24, 2012

In the latest Romney-Obama Florida poll, by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, Obama is ahead by 1 point, while Romney takes Flagler County.

How Republicans Plan to Steal the Election: “The Republicans’ plan is that if they can’t buy the 2012 election they will steal it. The plan, long in the making and now well into its execution, is to raise great gobs of money—in newly limitless amounts—so that they and their allies could outspend the president’s forces; and they would also place obstacles in the way of large swaths of citizens who traditionally support the Democrats and want to exercise their right to vote. The plan would disproportionately affect blacks, who were guaranteed the right to vote in 1870 by the Fifteenth Amendment; but then that right was negated by southern state legislatures; and after people marched, were beaten, and died in the civil rights movement, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Now various state legislatures are coming up with new ways to try once again to nullify that right.” Elizabeth Drew in the New York Review of Books.

Florida’s absentee voting, shrouded in secrecy: “If you vote early in an election in Florida, it’s there for the world to see: The Legislature requires an online listing of everyone who voted early and when and where they voted. But if you vote by mail and request an absentee ballot, it’s a closely held secret, available to a few. The Legislature mandated that, too. As more people vote by mail, including one of every three people who voted in the Aug. 14 primary, candidates must spend more time and money seeking to influence those voters before they fill out their ballots. […] Yet, as it grows in popularity in Florida, absentee voting is more prone to fraud and other problems as ballots pass through many pairs of hands.” From the Tampa Bay Times.

Inside the mind of Sheldon Adelson, Romney’s mega-donor: “Worth just over $21 billion and now in the cross hairs of the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Adelson has made history: He is the first person to spend $70 million to sway a presidential election, and he plans to spend more — perhaps as much as $100 million — by Election Day. An estimated $20 million to $30 million of the giving went to groups that do not disclose their donors and had not been reported before. […] Blunt and chatty during a two-hour interview in his owner’s suite at The Venetian resort on the Las Vegas strip, Adelson said he will continue to ante up — “whatever it takes” to defeat President Barack Obama, as he repeatedly put it. “I don’t believe one person should influence an election,” he said as he dined on salmon and mixed vegetables in his conference room, with a napkin tucked over his lavender tie. “So, I suppose you’ll ask me, ‘How come I’m doing it?’ Because other single people influence elections.” From Politico.

Salman Rushdie and the Satanic Video: “Rushdie acknowledges that there are characteristics of Islamic culture that make it tinder for the inciters: an emphasis on honor and shame, and in recent decades a paranoiac sense of the world conspiring against them. We can argue who is more culpable — the hostile West, the sponsors, the appeasers, the fanatics themselves — but Islam has been particularly susceptible to the rise of identity politics, Rushdie says. “You define yourself by what offends you. You define yourself by what outrages you.” But blaming Islamic culture dismisses the Muslim majorities who are not enraged, let alone violent, and it leads to a kind of surrender: Oh, it’s just the Muslims, nothing to be done. I detect a whiff of this cultural fatalism in Mitt Romney’s patronizing remarks about the superiority of Israeli culture and the backwardness of Palestinian culture. That would explain his assertion, on that other notorious video, that an accommodation with the Palestinians is “almost unthinkable.” That’s a strangely defeatist line of thought for a man who professes to be an optimist and a problem-solver.” Bill Keller in The Times.

A very dull Emmy awards show: “[Jon] Stewart, accepting the 10th consecutive Emmy for outstanding variety series for “The Daily Show,” acknowledged the exasperating ridiculousness of the exercise. “Years from now, when the Earth is just a burning husk and aliens visit, they will find a box of these,” Stewart said, holding his Emmy aloft, “and they will know just how predictable these [expletive shows] are.”

Flagler County Jail Bookings, Sept. 22-24, 2012

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