Saturday, November 3, 2012

Twelve Candidates -- Not Two -- for President


The Florida general election ballot lists twelve candidates for president -- twelve presidential/vice-presidential tickets -- and, once again, most people have heard about only two...maybe three, given celebrity Roseanne Barr's candidacy. Mainstream media coverage leads most people to think presidential politics is about male, mostly White, candidates. The truth? Check out the candidates, all of whom are listed below.

What is to gain by running as a third party candidate? Remember the check-off box on your income tax form asking if you want to contribute $3 of your return to the Federal Election Campaign? If a party can get at least 5% of the popular vote, that party earns a piece of that money. It may not make a difference for the current campaign, but the money might affect future third-party candidates' chances. 

It also is important to know that more and more American citizens are registered as unaffiliated with any political party (http://justthewritetouch-info.blogspot.com/2010/02/major-parties-in-minority.html).

THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ON THE FLORIDA BALLOT

Want to know more than just a name? Wonder what some of those three-letter combinations indicating political affiliation mean? Want to find out who is contributing money to these candidates? The I.N.F.O. Finder is on the job!

First, let's look at why the candidates are listed in the order they are. Florida law says:

Florida Statutes, 101.151:
(2)(a) The ballot shall have the following office titles under which shall appear the names of the candidates for the respective offices in the following order:
1. The office titles of President and Vice President and thereunder the names of the candidates for President and Vice President of the United States nominated by the political party that received the highest vote for Governor in the last general election of the Governor in this state. Then shall appear the names of other candidates for President and Vice President of the United States who have been properly nominated.
A little further down, however, the same statute says:

(3)(a) The names of the candidates of the party that received the highest number of votes for Governor in the last election in which a Governor was elected shall be placed first for each office on the general election ballot, together with an appropriate abbreviation of the party name; the names of the candidates of the party that received the second highest vote for Governor shall be placed second for each office, together with an appropriate abbreviation of the party name.
(b) Minor political party candidates shall have their names appear on the general election ballot following the names of recognized political parties, in the same order as they were qualified, followed by the names of candidates with no party affiliation, in the order as they were qualified.

 Hmmm. This year, for instance, the Republican party candidates are listed first because the Republican candidate got the most votes in the 2010 election. We could discuss whether such an order perpetuates the status quo or unjustly favors some candidates over others, but we won't. It is worth noting, however, that some states -- Wisconsin is one -- draw lots to determine the order.

So, who are the twelve candidates? Listed below are the presidential/vice-presidential candidates, in reverse order from the ballot listing. I have linked the candidates to their official Web sites, but Wikipedia has entries for each candidate, including links (at the bottom of the entry) to outside news sources:

Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson / Luis J. Rodriguez -- JPF (Justice Party). As a Democrat, Anderson served two terms as mayor of Salt Lake City. In 2011, he switched party affiliation to the Justice Party. Rodriguez's bio page on the two Web sites, says he is "a leading Chicano writer, speaker, gang expert and interventionist, and activist for justice in urban peace, the arts, labor, and human rights,"

Tom Hoefling / Jonathan D. Ellis -- AIP (America's Party). Hoefling is an Iowa political activist, who was political director for 2008 presidential candidate Alan Keyes. No information about Ellis is given on either Web site, that I could see. One link offers what it says are Ellis' responses to various questions, but a cursory examination of the sites and a quick Google search found no other information about Ellis. The only official photo on the Web site (other than a very small one as part of the banner and other than a pencil drawing), is this one of Hoefling and his wife, Siena.

Roseanne Barr / Cindy Sheehan -- PFP (Peace and Freedom). Barr bills herself as "The only serious comedian running for president," a reference to her career as a stand-up comedian and actor. Sheehan is the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq; following her child's death, Sheehan's bio page says "her quest for answers . . . led her to Revolutionary Socialism as as the solution to the Imperialist/Capitalist two-party stranglehold on not only US politics, but, by extension, the world."




Peta Lindsay / Yari Osorio -- PSL (Party for Socialism and Liberation).  Lindsay is an international political activist and is a master's student in education at the University of Southern California. Osorio, born in Colombia, has a degree in forensic psychology, is a licensed EMT, and is part of social activist groups including the  Occupy Wall Street movement.
Stewart Alexander / Alex Mendoza -- SOC (Socialist Party USA). Alexander is "a working man from Los Angeles, CA." His biography says he has worked in a number of trades and positions, including brick mason, forklift driver, salesman, and consumer lobbyist. As a political activist, Alexander has run for mayor of Los Angeles in 1989, for Lieutenant governor in 2006, and for governor in 2010. Mendoza has been an international IT consultant, currently owns his own landscaping business and is a master's student in geology at the University of Texas in Dallas




Andre Barnett / Kenneth Cross -- REF (Reform Party). Barnett, from New York, owns an IT consulting business and is a male fitness model. Cross is a civil engineer and also was a presidential candidate in 2008, but did not qualify to be listed on Florida's ballot.




Jill Stein / Cheri Honkala -- GRE (Green Party). Stein is an internal medical physician and enviromental-health advocate from Massachusetts. She ran for governor in 2002, for Massachusetts State Representative in 2004, for Massachusetts Secretary of State in 2006, and has served on the town meeting in Lexington for two terms. Honkala is an international anti-poverty activist.






Virgil H. Goode, Jr.  / James N. Clymer -- CPF (Constitution Party). Goode is a Virginia lawyer who served in the Virginia State Senate from 1973 to 1997 and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 to 2009. Clymer is a lawyer from Pennsylvania who ran for Lieutenant governor in 1998, for Lancaster County Commisioner in 2003, and for U.S. Senate in 2004.





 Gary Johnson / James P. Gray -- LBT (Libertarian).  Johnson, a businessman, was Governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003. Gray served on the Orange County (California) Superior Court from 1989 to 2010 and has written books about judicial leadership and the nation's drug laws.






Thomas Robert Stevens / Alden Link -- OBJ (Objectivist Party). Stevens is a New York attorney, educator, and political activist who, for two-and-a-half years, produced his own television program, "In Focus." Link is a New Jersey real estate developer and businessman. No official photo was found on the official campaign Web site. The photo shown at right is from an independent political site; on this site, Stevens is listed as a Libertarian. Wikipedia suggests Stevens has been affiliated with the Boston Tea Party and the Personal Freedom Party.




Barak Obama / Joe Biden -- DEM (Democratic Party). Obama is an Illinois lawyer who, beginning in 1996, served as State Senator and, beginning in 2004, as U.S. Senator. He was elected President of the United States in 2008. Biden is a lawyer and was a U.S. Senator from Delaware from 1973 until sworn in as Vice-President of the United States in 2009. The photograph to the left is from the official government Web site, whitehouse.gov.






Mitt Romney / Paul Ryan -- REP (Republican National Committee). Romney holds degrees in both law and business, has been a businessman, and was Governor of Massachusetts from 2002 to 2010. Ryan holds degrees in economics and political science; he has been U.S. Representative from Wisconsin since 1999. The photograph to the right was taken by Gage Skidmore .

Cheers to all who keep this process of self-government alive!

Monday, May 9, 2011

CS/HJR 1471 -- A matter of perspective

This past Friday, the Florida Senate approved 26-10 adding to the 2012 Florida state election ballot, a proposed amendment which says, in part, that “. . . no individual or entity may be denied, on basis of religious identity or belief, governmental benefits, funding, or other support. . . ”. The bill was originally introduced on March 25 of this year into the Florida House by the Judiciary Committee and by Representatives Scott Plakon, R-District 37, and Stephen Precourt, R-District 41, with 17 other representatives signing on as co-sponsors.

The Florida Capitol News' article on Thursday, about Friday's scheduled vote, said in its lead sentence that the amendment would allow "state funds to be used by church-related groups for social services." Later in the article, however, the reporter cited Senator Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, as saying "the amendment is needed to end discrimination against church-affiliated agencies that help drug addicts, foster children, homeless people and others in need."

The bill, CS/HJR 1471, proposes changing the last sentence of Article I, Section 3, of the current Florida constitution as follows:
ARTICLE I
115
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
116     SECTION 3.  Religious freedom.-There shall be no law
117respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or
118penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall
119not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace, or
120safety. Except to the extent required by the First Amendment to
121the United States Constitution, neither the government nor any
122agent of the government may deny to any individual or entity the
123benefits of any program, funding, or other support on the basis
124of religious identity or belief. No revenue of the state or any
125political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from
126the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church,
127sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian
128institution.
129     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following statement be
130placed on the ballot:
131
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
132
ARTICLE I, SECTION 3
133     RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.-Proposing an amendment to the State
134Constitution to provide, consistent with the United States
135Constitution, that no individual or entity may be denied, on the
136basis of religious identity or belief, governmental benefits,
137funding, or other support and to delete the prohibition against
138using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly
139in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid
140of any sectarian institution.

The first sections of the bill explain that the original language was added to the Florida Constitution in 1885 as a so-called Blaine Amendment, a proposed amendment to the U. S. Constitution which would have added specific language regarding the separation of Church and State. The federal-level Blaine Amendment failed, but several states added the language in their state constitutions.

The bill also notes that "...in 2000, a plurality of the United States Supreme Court acknowledged that this "doctrine, born of bigotry, should be buried now...."

The bill needed 24 votes to pass the Senate. It passed the House on April 27 by a vote of 81-35.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Eight Candidates for Florida Governor; 17 for U. S. Senator from Florida

To listen to the TV ads, two candidates' names will appear on the Florida gubernatorial ballot and three candidates' names will be on the ballot for U. S. Senator from Florida.


Think again.


Eight candidates and their running mates have filed and qualified as gubernatorial candidates; 17 candidates have qualified to run for U. S. Senator. Not all the names will appear on the ballots because several are write-in candidates. But all the people listed below have taken the time to file the paperwork in order to be a legitimate candidate. Many of the people listed below have paid thousands of dollars in filing fees to the State of Florida.


Oughtn't we at least recognize their initiative and courage?


[Thank you to Pinellas County's Supervisor of Elections, Deborah Clark, who makes this information available -- with links to each candidate's filing information on the Florida Supervisor of Elections' site.]


In alphabetical order, then, which is the NOT same way they will appear on the ballot, the gubernatorial candidates are:
  • Peter Allen / John E. Zanni (The Independence Party of Florida / IDP), of Riverview, can be reached at  (813) 671-3122. Allen paid the state a filing fee of $7816.38.
  • Michael E. Arth / Al Krulick (NPA), from DeLand, can be reached at  (386) 738-2230. Arth paid the state a filing fee of $5,210.92.
  • Daniel Imperato / Karl C. C. Behm (NPA), from West Palm Beach can be reached at (561) 317-3210. Imperato paid the state a filing fee of $5,210.92.
  • Farid Khavari / Darcy G. Richardson (NPA), from Miami, can be reached at (786) 286-6697. Khavari paid the state a filing fee of $5,210.92.
  • Josue Larose / Valencia St. Louis (DEM / WRI), from Fort Lauderdale, does not list a phone number on the Florida Election Divisions' Candidate Tracking System page.  No fee.
  • C. C. Reed / Larry Waldo, Sr. (NPA), from Miami, can be reached at (786) 715-9338. Reed paid the state a filing fee of $5,210.92.
  • Rick Scott / Jennifer Carroll (REP), from Naples, does not list a phone number on the Florida Election Divisions' Candidate Tracking System page. Scott paid the state a filing fee of $7,816.38. 
  • Alex Sink / Rod Smith (DEM), from Tampa, does not list a phone number on the Florida Election Divisions' Candidate Tracking System page.  Sink paid the state a filing fee of $7, 816.38.


Write-in (WRI) candidates for U. S. Senate pay no filing fee. Candidates with No Party Affiliation (NPA) pay $6,960. Candidates with a party affiliation pay $10, 440 -- unless the candidate qualifies by collecting enough signatures on a petition. The 17 candidates for U. S. Senator and their email addresses are:
  • Lewis Jerome Armstrong (NPA), from Jacksonville, can be reached at (904) 771-0809. Armstrong paid the state a filing fee of $6,960. 
  • Sue Askeland (NPA), from Stuart,  can be reached at (772) 287-9178. Askeland paid the state a filing fee of $6,960.
  • Bobbie Bean (NPA), from Sebring, can be reached at (863) 385-2229. Bean paid the state a filing fee of $6,960.
  • Piotr Blass (WRI), from Boynton Beach, can be reached at (561) 523-170. No fee.
  • Charlie Crist (NPA), from Tallahassee/St. Petersburg, can be reached at (727) 498-5806. Crist paid the state a filing fee of $6,960.
  • Bernie DeCastro (Constitution Party of Florida/CPF), from Ocala, can be reached at (352) 867-8877. DeCastro paid the state a filing fee of $10,440.
  • George Drake (WRI), from Orlando, can be reached at  (407) 859-7191. No fee.
  • Howard Knepper (WRI), from North Miami Beach, can be reached at (305) 948-3525. No fee.
  • Carol Ann Joyce LaRosa (WRI), from Engelwood, can be reached at  (941) 473-3056. No fee.
  • Richard Lock (WRI), from Sarasota, can be reached at (727) 410-3305. No fee.
  • Kendrick B. Meek (Democratic Party/DEM), from Miami, can be reached at (305) 655-3213. No fee -- qualified by petition.
  • Robert Monroe (WRI), from Oviedo, can be reached at (407) 492-8189. No fee.
  • Belinda Gail Quarterman-Noah (WRI), from Tampa, can be reached at (813) 388-6755. No fee.
  • Bruce Ray Riggs (NPA), from Crystal River, can be reached at  (352) 364-1928. Riggs paid the state a filing fee of $6,960.
  • Marco Rubio (Republican Party/REP), from Coral Gables,  does not list a phone number on the Florida Election Divisions' Candidate Tracking System page. Rubio paid the state a filing fee of $10,440.
  • Alexander Andrew Snitker (Libertarian/LIB), of Spring Hill, can be reached at (727) 424-9530. Snitker paid the state a filing fee of $10,440.
  • Rick Tyler (NPA), of Pensacola, can be reached at (850) 417-488. Tyler paid the state a filing fee of $6,960.
 Puts a little different spin on things, doesn't it?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Major Parties in Minority?

Left: Almost one-fifth of Florida's registered voters claim no party affiliation. In Massachusetts, slightly more than half claim no party affiliation. Graph source: Florida Division of Elections

Today's so-called major political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican National Committee, might want to take a lesson from King George III, who discounted the American colonies with famous results. A few 18th century discontented colonists in Massachusetts changed world history. More than a few 21st century discontented voters in Massachusetts, and in other states, may be signaling the coming of an equally revolutionary change.

When Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown won last month's special election to fill what had been, for almost half a century, Democrat Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, many people viewed it as revolutionary a development as that which began 200-some years ago at Lexington and Concord. A Time magazine article, for instance, quoted some as calling it "the Scott heard round [sic] the world."

Not only did a Republican take a Democrat's seat, Brown's election tipped the power scales in the U.S. Senate. Yes, the Democrats still have a majority of seats -- 59 to 41. In a simple majority vote, assuming all senators of each party vote the same way and in opposition to the other party, the Republicans still don't have enough votes to defeat the Democrats.

But not all votes are simple majority votes. For instance, two-thirds, or 60, of the Senators must agree to stop a filibuster, a tactic that delays decisions from being made. That may not be so easy now that only 59 U. S. Senators are Democrats.

A January 16, 2010, Christian Science Monitor article hinted at an even bigger tipping of power: Among registered voters in Massachusetts, the article says, 51% are "unenrolled." That means more than half the registered voters in one of the founding states in the union -- technically, it's the Commonwealth of Masschusetts -- are not registered with any political party. 

Historically, large numbers of registered voters have not claimed either of the major parties.

According to Massachusetts Registered Voter Enrollment: 1948-2004, a report found on the Massachusetts' Secretary of the Commonwealth's Web site, there were 2.485 million registered voters in the Massachusetts in 1948. Democrats accounted for 25.46% of the registered voters, 25.30% of voters registered as Republicans, and 49.25% -- almost half -- were unenrolled.

In 1958, during the time when John F. Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Sentate (1953-1960), 31.03% of the state's 2.556 million voters were registered as Democrats, 26.16% were registered as Republicans, and 42.01% -- still more than in either of the so-called major parties -- were registered as unenrolled.

In 1968, six years after Ted Kennedy was elected to his first term as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Democrats claimed 43.13% of the state's registered voters. Republicans claimed 21.52% of the voters, but 35.34% of the voters still were unenrolled.

The percentage of unenrolled voters has steadily increased. In February 2000, 50.32% of registered voters in Massachusetts were unenrolled, and in January 2008 50.34% -- slightly more than in the two major parties combined -- were unenrolled. One Massachusetts county, Franklin, had 57.99% unenrolled voters in January 2008.

"Unenrolled" should not be confused with any of the officially registered "third" parties -- also a misnomer. In Florida, for instance, there are 33 officially registered political parties other than the two "major" parties (as of December, 2009). Thirteen of those parties had enough wherewithal to have a candidate on Florida's 2008 presidential election ballot.

Nor should the term "independent" be used, as several minor parties use the word "independent" in their name. America's Independent Party of Florida (AIP), the Independence Party of Florida (IDP), Independent Democrats of Florida (IDF), and the Independent Party of Florida (INT) have all officially registered in Florida. The National Independent American Party currently is "seeking to organize in Florida," according to its Web site.

The number of unaffiliated voters in Florida has also risen. A pie chart on the Florida Division of Elections' Web site, shows 19% of registered voters unaffiliated, 3% registered with minor parties, 36% registered as Republicans, and 42% registered as Democrats, as of November 2009.

In 1972, only 3.37% of Florida's registered voters did not affiliate with either the Republicans or Democrats.

In Pinellas County, whose Supervisor of Elections office updates the registration information daily on their Web site's home page, the December 2009 voter registration report showed 38.82% of the county's 599,720 voters registered as Democrats, 36.65% registered as Republicans, 19.24% with no party affiliation, and 5.27% registered with other parties.

According to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections' office, the minor parties with the largest number of registered voters were the Independent Party of Florida (INT) with just over 20,200 registrants, the Independence Party of Florida (IDP) with just over 3,000 registrants and the Libertarian Party of Florida (LIB) with just over 1,300 registrants.

Almost 5,000 registered voters in Pinellas County are designated as Unknown (UNK), usually because they didn't indicate an affiliation with any of the registered parties nor did they mark the "no party affiliation" option.

None of this, of course, takes into account the large number of adults who are eligible to vote, but haven't registered at all.

Still, while Scott Brown's election may have been "the Scott heard round the world," a new American revolution may have been quietly brewing for decades.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"A Cinderella Story" Sizzles, Swings, and Scat-a-tat-tats


The spoiled stepsisters learn to dance at an Arthur Murray studio, Handsome Hunk Charming swaggers ala The Fonz and the heroine is saved by her pet poodle? Wowza!

Forget Prokofiev's ballet, forget Disney's cartoon, and forget Rodgers and Hammerstein's made-for-television musical. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet's A Cinderella Story, presented recently at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Fla., is about as traditional a rendition of the fairytale as West Side Story is of Romeo and Juliet. Although the RWB cast performs pirouettes aplenty and arabesques with abandon, and although the music -- oh, the music! -- is indeed by Richard Rodgers, this version, which debuted in 2004, stands firmly on its own slippered merits.

(Also forget a 2004 movie by the same name. No relation whatsoever.)

For starters, the set -- designed, as were the costumes, by Sandra Woodall -- is decidedly not misty-past European. Think instead Frank Lloyd Wright-ish upscale 1950s, lines and circles everywhere, a cabinet television topped with rabbit-ear anntenna, a sunburst wall clock, and a touch of neon.

Plopped in front of the TV, a girl named Nancy (Serena Sandford), "whose life is like a Cinderella story," according to the program notes, and her dog (Yosuke Mino) have just tuned in to the 1957 premiere performance of the R&H Cinderella. When Nancy's father (RWB senior ballet master Johnny W. Chang) brings home a new witch -- er, wife (Tara Birtwhistle) -- and her two daughters (Emily Grizzell and Chelsey Lindsay), it's easy to see where the story, codified in 1697 by French writer Charles Perrault, is headed.

How it gets there is another matter altogether -- a marvelously inventive matter of the combined talents of artistic director Andre' Lewis, choreographer Val Caniparoli, and arranger Ron Paley. The three pay homage to the 1957 production, playing snippets of the original sound track, including a bit by Julie Andrews, then turn the story on edge and en pointe to a score that sizzles, swings, and scat-a-tat-tats.

Arranger Ron Paley took Richard Rodgers' tunes such as "This Can't Be Love," "The Lady is a Tramp" and "Blue Moon" -- most written between 1926 and 1947 when he partnered with lyricist Lorenz Hart -- and turned them into big band jazz arrangements. Paley and his nine-piece band pair with Caniparoli's jazzlet? bajazz? which blends moves with the carriage and precision of ballet with the looser-jointed moves of jazz into a smooth-as-cayenne-blossom-honey sensation.

It more than works.

Tuesday's opening number featured the Butler's (Alexander Gamayunov) effortless entrechats with a soft-shoe feel to an a cappella scat tune sung by a gravelly-voiced Paley. Hero Bob (Gael Lambiotte) made the girls swoon as he swaggered into the Starlight Ballroom, then guided Nancy through a pas de deux as reminiscent of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as of Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. Ensemble numbers combined catch steps and jazz walks with coupés and jetés.

All of which means the dancers have to be versatile, strong and quick. It can't be easy to slink one's way on stage and then step in to an en pointe attitude or to time fouettés en tournant to a funky jazz riff. But the RWB dancers made it look oh-so-easy. Even more, they looked like they were having a blast.

Wowza!

[Photos courtesy of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. For a more personal take on this performance, go to Just The Write Touch. Also check out the short video interviews with Val Caniparoli, Ron Paley, and some of the performers on YouTube or at the RWB Web site.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vocab Rehab: Due Diligence

"I did my due diligence," one blogster wrote about her hair cut disaster. She even showed up 10 minutes early. But still she got "the worst haircut known to mankind."

Google the phrase "I did my due diligence," and you'll find all sorts of entries by people who swear they did it and still got taken.

Maybe they wouldn't have if they had known what due diligence means.

As it is, a grammatically incorrect phrase has wormed its way into our language leaving holes in our thinking and slime trails over our assumptions of what other people mean.

The Wikipedia entry for due diligence says the term "first came into common use with the U. S. Securities Act of 1933." The same act that, for almost 75 years, prevented what's happening now in the stock market. Then some of the provisions were rescinded -- but that's another story.

A 1908 textbook, "The Law of Evidence in Civil Cases," by Burr W. Jones, cites Bartley v. Phillips as a case where the phrase due diligence was examined as to whether it was ambiguous (p. 574).

As a side note, other examples cited in the book of cases where language was scrutinized for specificity included:
  • Coit v. Commercial Ins. Co.: "that sarsaparilla was not a 'root' within the meaning of a policy of insurance,"
  • Astor v. Union Ins. Co.: "that by the understanding of the trade, 'furs' were not included in the term 'skins and hides,'" and
  • Com. v. Pope: "that the phrases 'satisfaction due from man to man' and authorizing a friend to make 'necessary arrangements' contained in a letter meant a challenge to a duel."
A pity Jones didn't enlighten us as to the ambiguity surrounding due diligence in the particular case cited.

Regardless, Rule 203a.2.iii.B of the U. S. Securities Act of 1933 uses the term as a specific legal defense, saying that a broker or dealer would not be liable in certain cases if "due diligence was used to ascertain that" specific circumstances existed in the process of making a sale. The opposite is true, as well. If something is a legal defense, it can also be grounds for charges being brought of failure to use due diligence in ascertaining that something was or was not so.

The question, of course, is what constitutes due (adj.:owed to, appropriate, sufficient) diligence (n.: persevering and painstaking investigative effort or care).

And that is the question we journalists too often fail to ask, mainly because we've allowed the phrase to become jargon, slang, shorthand.

Consider this St. Pete Times article from October, 2007, about the sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team from one entity to another.

Here's the reporter's lead (lede, if we really want to talk jargon) sentence:

"BOSTON - Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that the league has yet to begin its due diligence into Palace Sports & Entertainment's proposed sale of the Lightning to Absolute Hockey Enterprises."


Granted, the reporter was paraphrasing this direct quote, which appears later in the article:

Asked if the league has concerns about an ownership transfer, Bettman said, "We haven't evaluated it yet. It would be premature for me to speculate, but everything that I'm hearing is that it's on track and there shouldn't be any problems. That's what we're being told. But as I said, we're not yet at the stage where we would start doing our due diligence."

And the commissioner is not the only one using the phrase this way. Here's another quote from the same article, this from the bidder:

That is news to Absolute Hockey's Doug MacLean, who said in a text message, "They're well on their way on due diligence. We are on schedule."

As your mother would say, just because everyone else says it that way doesn't mean it's right. One does not do due diligence. One uses due diligence to do something else.

Here is what the NHL commissioner meant to say: "We're not yet at the stage where we would start following the specified procedures regarding such a sale."

At which point, the reporter would have asked the commissioner, and then told the reader, what those specified procedures were. Does it mean a full audit of the financial health of the bidder? Or does it just mean a cursory glance at bidder-prepared financial statements? Or does it mean something else entirely?

Due diligence is a subjective term, defined by policies, procedures, legislation pertaining to each particular company, case, situation. It is not something we can just assume is the same in every case and that everybody knows what is involved.

Let's strike the phrase due diligence from our own writing, and let's pin other people down as to exactly what they mean when they use the phrase.

Let's use due diligence in finding out what constitutes due diligence. Isn't that our job as journalists?

At the least, maybe people will stop thinking "doing their due diligence" means they'll never get a bad haircut.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All 13 Presidential Candidates on Florida's Ballot

Barack Obama isn't the only person with African heritage running for president, nor is Sarah Palin the only woman on a ticket. This year's candidates include an Arab-American, one who graduated from a U. S. military high school in Iran, an all-female ticket, and one who isn't a U.S. citizen.

But each has spent the time, invested the money, and gathered enough support to qualify for Florida's ballot.

Here they are, in alphabetical order by party, with a short blurb and links to other sources for each. Yes, I use Wikipedia for some of these sources. Additionally, Vote USA sent over 800 topics to each of the candidates -- not just the top two -- and has posted a side by side comparison of responses to its Web site. Our Campaigns is a "collaborative political Web site" with detailed info about each of the candidates. On The Issues is another site with comparative responses from each of the candidates.

America's Independent Party (AIP) -- Alan Keyes, P; Brian Rohrbough, VP

Here's what World Net Daily says about Keyes, one of WND's columnists (also where I found the most writing by Keyes): "A high-level Reagan era diplomat, a media personality and a conservative political activist, Alan Keyes is well-known as a staunch pro-life champion and a leader in the effort to restore the eroded sovereignty of the American people by securing our borders, abolishing the federal income tax and bringing the federal Judiciary back within proper constitutional bounds. He formally severed his Republican affiliation in April. He has since joined with other conservatives of conscience seeking to forge an Independent alternative in 2008 and has been nominated by the newly minted America's Independent Party as its choice for president. His name will appear as an alternative to Obama and McCain on many states' ballots, and will be available as a write-in on most others. More information and useful links can be found at www.alankeyes.com, www.americasrevival.com or at www.aipnc.com." And here's a link to Daylife's entry on Keyes -- Daylife is a news aggregator.
Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Keyes



Boston Tea Party (BTP) -- Charles Jay, P; John Wayne Smith, VP

The link above takes you to the party's platform; the link to BTP's voters' guide shows different VP candidates listed on the ballot in different states. When Jay ran as the Personal Choice Party candidate in 2004, he was listed only on Utah's ballots. BTP's Web site indicates the party endorses a number of Libertarian candidates throughout the nation. The bio on Jay's Web site -- which seems to be unchanged since his 2004 run -- says he is a "New Jersey native, . . . a graduate of the University of Miami (Florida) and currently resides in Elkhart, Indiana." The bio also says his business background is in the world of boxing as a promoter, commentator and active guardian against corruption in the business. Here is Daylife's entry for Charles Jay.

Photo: http://www.charlesjay.com/



Constitution Party of Florida (CPF) -- Chuck Baldwin, P; Darrell Castle, VP

According to its Web site, the Constitution Party was formerly the U.S. Taxpayers Party, "one of only five federally recognized national parties," according to a 1999 press release on the Constitution Party of Florida's Web site (different from the CP national site linked above). In fact, in Michigan Baldwin is still listed as a candidate for UTP. In many other states, he's an Independent Party candidate -- sometimes as a write-in candidate. Ron Paul has announced his support for Baldwin (at the very end of a long statement). Baldwin's Facebook page says he is pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL, and lists other links for more info about Baldwin. He is also a broadcaster and syndicated columnist. Here is Daylife's entry for Chuck Baldwin.

Photo: http://baldwin08.com/Chuck-Baldwin.cfm


The Democratic Party (DEM) -- Barack Obama, P; Joe Biden, VP

The Democratic Party dates back to 1792, according the DEM's Party History page. Then, however, it was called the Democratic-Republican party and its candidate was Thomas Jefferson. Interesting that the DEM site has FIVE pictures of McCain and only TWO of Obama on its front page. Reverse psychology?

Born in Hawaii to an American mother from Kansas and an African father from Kenya, Obama graduated from Columbia University in New York and currently lives in Chicago. He has taught constitutional law. Here's Daylife's entry on Obama.
Photo: http://obama.senate.gov/


Ecology Party of Florida -- Ralph Nader, P; Matt Gonzalez, VP

EPF's Web site is specific to Florida. Here's the national campaign site for Nader & Gonzalez. As with the DEM site, click on "Skip to the Web site" to get past the sign-up-to-receive-emails page. Ralph Nader has been running for president since 1992 when he agreed to be a write-in candidate for "none of the above" in two states. His first formal campaign was in 1996 and he has run every four years since then. This year, Nader is on the ballot in 45 states. Nader is largely responsible for the existence of such agencies as OHSA and EPA.
Wikipedia says he is the first Arab-American and first Lebanese-American candidate for President of the United States. Here is Daylife's entry on Nader.
Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Naderspeak.JPG


Green Party (GRE) -- Cynthia McKinney, P; Rosa Clemente, VP

McKinney and Clemente, "the first all-woman-of-color Presidential ticket in U.S. History," call themselves the Truth Squad, according to their Web site. McKinney was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1992, becoming the first African-American female to represent Georgia at the national level. Before that, McKinney served in the Georgia House and, according to her bio page, "gained national attention for her determined struggle for a fair and just reapportionment plan in Georgia." McKinney also played a highly visible role in challenging the 9/11 Commission Report. Here is Daylife's entry on Cynthia McKinney.

Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_mckinney



Libertarian Party (LBT) -- Bob Barr, P; Wayne A. Root, VP

The Libertarian Party's slogan is "Smaller Government. Lower Taxes. More Freedom." Barr, a former Republican U.S. Congressman from Georgia, now works as a lawyer and runs a consulting firm called Liberty Strategies, LLC. according to the bio on his Web page, Barr also "serves as a board member for Privacy International, an international watchdog group headquartered in London." According to Wikipedia, Barr was a federal prosecutor and a leader in the move to impeach former President Bill Clinton. Raised in a military family, Barr graduated from high school in Iran and originally was a Young Democrat activist. Here is Daylife's entry for Bob Barr.
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26574201@N07/page2/


Objectivist Party (OBJ) -- Thomas Robert Stevens, P; Alden Link, VP

One of the newest political parties, the Objectivist Party was formed by Stevens on February 2, 2008, and is now chartered in 18 states. February 2 is Ayn Rand's birthdate, and the party "seeks to promote Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism in the political realm," according to the party's Web site. Dr. Stevens, a former Libertarian who supported Ron Paul in the Republican primary earlier this year, is described as an "educator, attorney and political activist." Here is Daylife's entry for Thomas Robert Stevens.

Photo: http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom_Stevens/538957202



Prohibition Party (PRO) -- Gene Amondson, P; Leroy Pletten, VP

This is Alaskan Gene Amondson's second run for President as the Prohibition Party candidate. With a degree in zoology and a master's in divinity, Amondson works as an artist, writer/illustrator and presents an impersonation of preacher Billy Sunday. According to Amondson, the Prohibition Party is America's oldest third party and the 13 years of Prohibition cut crime, mental institutionalization and occurrences of cirrhosis of the liver. Wikipedia says, "Amondson's third place finish in four Louisiana parishes was the first time since 1960 that the Prohibition Party candidate for President outpolled all other minor party candidates for President in any county." Here is Daylife's entry on Gene Amondson.
Photo: http://www.geneamondson.com/


Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) -- Gloria LaRiva, P; Eugene Puryear, VP

The PSL's Web site says, "The Party for Socialism and Liberation is a newly formed working class party of leaders and activists from many different struggles, founded to promote the movement for revolutionary change." LaRiva is president of the Typographical Sector, Media Workers Union, Local 39521, CWA, and was the Peace and Freedom Party candidate for California governor in 1994 and 1998.
LaRiva has organized anti-Iraq demonstrations and immigrant rights. One part of her platform says, "As a labor activist, I know firsthand the deteriorating wages and benefits that millions of workers are facing today. My campaign calls for a $15/hour minimum wage, strengthening union rights, healthcare for all, free education through college, and a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions housing is a right!" Here is Daylife's entry for Gloria LaRiva.
Photo: http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/home/index.php/articles/partisan-number-25/121-gloria-la-riva


Republican National Committee (REP) -- John McCain, P; Sarah Palin, VP

According to the Party History page on the GOP (does anyone remember this stands for Gallant Old Party?) Web site, the Republican party provided a major third party upset in 1856 when their first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont, captured 30% of the popular vote, effectively ending the Whig party. Four years later, the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln, was elected president. Born in the Panama Canal Zone to military parents, McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, worked briefly in public relations after his career in the Navy, and lives in Arizona. Here is Daylife's entry on John McCain.

Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mc_Cain


Socialist Party of Florida (SPF) -- Brian Moore, P; Steward Alexander, VP

Here's the link to the national Socialist Party USA which says at the beginning of it's Statement of Principles: "THE SOCIALIST PARTY strives to establish a radical democracy that places people's lives under their own control - a non-racist, classless, feminist socialist society... where working people own and control the means of production and distribution through democratically-controlled public agencies . . . " According to Moore's Web site, he was raised in Oakland, Calif., earned an M.A. in public administration from Arizona State University, worked as a health care executive and an executive recruiter and currently lives in Florida. He appeared last night on The Colbert Report. Here is Daylife's entry on Brian Moore.
Photo: http://www.votebrianmoore.com/background.htm



Socialist Workers Party (SWP) -- James Harris, P; Alyson Kennedy, VP

I couldn't find an actual Web site for this party, so the link above is from Wikipedia. The Wiki article says the SWP is a communist political party that claims industrial workers and trade union members as the bulk of its members. The article also says that the official candidate is Roger Calero, a Nicaragua journalist. Because Calero isn't a natural-born citizen -- he's a permanent resident alien (green card), James Harris is a stand-in candidate on the ballot in many states. Here's an NPR link "Socialist Workers Party Candidate's Uphill Battle" explaining more about the party and the candidate. Daylife had no entries for Roger Calero, so here is Daylife's entry on the SWP. The photo is of Roger Calero NOT James Harris.

Photo: www.politics1.com/pix1/calero.jpg