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At pollster.com, Charles Franklin has a spectacular plot of MA-Sen town-by-town voting data.  Town-by-town he compares the McCain absolute vote to the Obama absolute vote.

The turnout in Massachusetts was 55% of eligible voters.  Typical special elections get  half as much;  this turnout was as larger or larger than the last statewide governor's election and at the very upper end of what was considered plausible.  The turnout was not quite Presidential level, but it wasn't far off.  My stark conclusion from the plots: McCain's voters showed up--every single one of them.  And Obama's didn't.

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George Bush is famously rumored to have said that the Constitution is nothing but "a g*ddamned piece of paper".  With the FISA legislation brought to the floor of the House today, I think it's useful to reflect on the value of rights guaranteed by a Constitution to its citizens.

As described by  (GG), our Congress wishes to enact a law that if the President says it was legal, nobody has any recourse.  What Congress said was legal--is of no matter.  What the courts determine to be legal--again, of no matter.  What the Constitution itself says is legal--again of no matter.  The suit is dismissed; and immunity is forever.  

So will our Constitution protect us from an executive that takes such a wide-sweeping view of its powers?  The experience with the Soviet Constitution makes very clear that the answer is: not by itself.  Without a legislature, a judiciary, and a people ready to put its words into action, a constitution certainly can degenerate into nothing more than the fabled "piece of paper".

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The McCain campaign is going to have no interest in releasing his birth certificate.

It's not because it will once again reinforce his age--the certificate would not change the significance, or obviousness, of that issue.

It's because one of the candidates running for President actually wasn't born in the United States.  Though it's not exactly a secret, John McCain has done a good job keeping the public at large from catching on that he was born in Panama.

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Tue Jul 03, 2007 at 09:16 PM PDT

Roll the Dice, Madame Speaker

by andyfoland

Two hundred and twenty one years ago in the morning, fifty seven Americans came together to resist the monarchical tyranny of King George:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

There are many ways for tyranny to creep over the land.  It may do so in the fits and bursts of an insane ruler; or it may do so slowly and methodically as the limits of tolerance are tested.  In the latter case--which (Republican-appointed) Justice Sandra Day O'Conner has warned us about in our own time--the people and their representatives may still resist, may still demonstrate the limits, without risking their lives, their fortunes, or their sacred honor.

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