Monthly Archives: April 2010

Time for A Prisoner Exchange?


A new video of Pfc Bowe Bergdahl has been released by the Taliban.

There’s been some talk of a prisoner exchange to bring Pfc Bergdahl home. Let’s hope that happens soon:

Members of Idaho’s congressional delegation are weighing in on the newest video of Bowe Bergdahl, an Idaho soldier captured in Afghanistan.  Earlier this week, militants posted the video on the Internet that calls for an exchange of prisoners.

The lawmakers are voicing their opinion of a possible prisoner swap in the effort to bring Bergdahl home.

All four of Idaho’s congressional leaders say that the military is working and evaluating every option to bring home Bergdahl.

Those options range from a rescue mission to prisoner swapping.

Thursday, Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick was quoted as saying the U.S. government should work out a prisoner trade with the terrorist group holding Bergdahl.

Let’s also stop with the right wing claims that Pfc Bergdahl is a deserter, too.

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Ballots In a Foreign Language?


Over at The Muche, lilMike has (once again) started a discussion regarding the voting rights of Hispanics in general, and Puerto Ricans in particular. Specifically, the right of said citizens to be able to read ballots in Spanish in order to better understand political issues facing them. Mike’s referencing a federal court case here in Volusia County, Florida, in which a settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed two years ago by Crimilda Perez-Santiago. From the Orlando Sentinel:

DeLAND – On the eve of a federal trial, Volusia County and a group of Puerto Rican-born west Volusia residents have reached a tentative settlement of a lawsuit over bilingual ballots.

Five residents and the Volusia County Hispanic Association filed suit against Volusia County for not providing a Spanish-language ballot during the 2008 election.

Details of the settlement are still being negotiated but to end the lawsuit, the county could pay $99,995 to LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the legal defense organization representing the plaintiffs, said Volusia County Elections Supervisor Ann McFall.

The county would also agree to provide interpreters and bilingual poll workers at certain precincts, and to provide bilingual ballots in 2012, McFall said.

The agreement would have to be approved by the Volusia County Council, which is scheduled to discuss the settlement on April 15.

McFall said that if the case had gone to trial and if the county had lost, it would have cost Volusia County half a million dollars.

John Garcia, spokesman for LatinoJustice PRLDEF, said the organization would not comment on the pending settlement. PRLDEF is an acronym for the group’s original name Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed that under the Voting Rights Act, they were entitled to a ballot in Spanish because they were raised in schools in Puerto Rico where Spanish is the dominant language.

Although Volusia County already provides some assistance to Spanish-language residents, it didn’t provide bilingual ballots.

Volusia County has about 18,000 registered voters who are self-described as Hispanic, McFall said.

Entwined in the stereotypical protestations that “English is the national language!” and “I think that anyone who wishes to become a citizen of the US needs to be able to speak English well enough to function among English speaking people!” one sees an obvious lack of knowledge – an ignorance, if you will – of our laws. In stating his disapproval of the court case, Mike states:

I think it’s simply a community activist organization shopped for an aggrieved “victim” to push their particular political agenda.”

Now…that statement may or may not be true. However, it certainly shouldn’t marginalize the fact that Americans of Hispanic heritage in this nation are provided the necessary protections based upon population to be able to view ballots and election material in a language other than English:

The law covers those localities where there are more than 10,000 or over 5 percent of the total voting age citizens in a single political subdivision (usually a county, but a township or municipality in some states) who are members of a single minority language group, have depressed literacy rates, and do not speak English very well.

It’s fairly obvious that following the 2010 Census, Volusia County (and most likely, every county in the State) will need to follow these requirements. Unfortunately, lilMike didn’t verify this fact until he had riled the populace:

Although it does seem pointless.  It sounds like the census from 2010 will probably have every county in Central Florida with bilingual ballots.  So that will happen regardless.

As is often the case, I wonder just who, exactly, is pushing disinformation* in an attempt to “push their particular political agenda“!

*Merriam-Webster: Disinformation:  false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth.

Nobody Said They Were Smart!


We all know people who worship Glenn Beck probably aren’t the smartest around. When I read this story I just had to giggle…

From the WFTV-Ch 9:

Dozens of people who parked at the University of Central Florida for an event say they were set up after their cars were towed. They said event parking signs directed them to a lot, but more than 50 cars in that lot were towed. People said those signs and their cars were gone when they got back. A viewer contacted WFTV after his car was towed Saturday, along with 52 others. All of them were in line to recover their cars at an impound lot and all of them attended the Glenn Beck show at UCF. The people parked in a Kappa Sigma lot. Mike Vedder thinks they were set up. He doesn’t know if it was a dislike of the conservative commentator or money. “Maybe the have a deal with the tow truck company or maybe they got kickbacks under the table,” Vedder said. They all said an event parking sign clearly directed them into the lot. Students at the fraternity wouldn’t comment, but WFTV caught up with the owner of Orange County Towing and Recovery, Ronald Hulbert. “I have a lot at stake, a lot invested. I’m not going to lose it over a $125 tow, times 53, times 53, it was a good day,” Ronald Hulbert said. Hulbert admits he’s never towed that many cars in one day before; he said it took him at least eight hours to tow all the cars. Each driver had to pay cash, netting him more than $6,600. Dozens of people who parked at the University of Central Florida for an event say they were set up after their cars were towed. They said event parking signs directed them to a lot, but more than 50 cars in that lot were towed. People said those signs and their cars were gone when they got back. A viewer contacted WFTV after his car was towed Saturday, along with 52 others. All of them were in line to recover their cars at an impound lot and all of them attended the Glenn Beck show at UCF. The people parked in a Kappa Sigma lot. Mike Vedder thinks they were set up. He doesn’t know if it was a dislike of the conservative commentator or money. “Maybe the have a deal with the tow truck company or maybe they got kickbacks under the table,” Vedder said. They all said an event parking sign clearly directed them into the lot. Students at the fraternity wouldn’t comment, but WFTV caught up with the owner of Orange County Towing and Recovery, Ronald Hulbert. “I have a lot at stake, a lot invested. I’m not going to lose it over a $125 tow, times 53, times 53, it was a good day,” Ronald Hulbert said. Hulbert admits he’s never towed that many cars in one day before; he said it took him at least eight hours to tow all the cars. Each driver had to pay cash, netting him more than $6,600.

I wonder if the tow company accepted GOLD as payment?