Thursday, May 10, 2012

Worst Attacks in Syria Since Uprising Began

Thursday saw the worst attacks in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011.

At least fifty-five people were killed, and over 400 injured in dual suicide bombings in Damascus. Aleppo also saw a deadly explosion.

The Syrian government was quick to blame international agents for backing the bombings. Russia also suggested that foreign powers had a hand in it.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar responded by demanding that the rebels be armed. And the rebels blamed the Assad regime for planning the bombings to make the opposition look bad.

Some opposition groups have accused the government of planting bodies at the scene of the explosions.

Illegal Immigrants Found on Florida's Voting Rolls

Florida may remove as many as 2,600 (and counting) illegal immigrants from their voter rolls. It’s a slightly different situation here than what’s being fought by the U.S. Justice Department, who is trying to fight a bill being pushed by the GOP to require state issued ID’s in order to vote. GOP legislators said they pushed some of the changes in order to crack down on potential voter fraud.

Somehow, here in Florida, illegal immigrants are legally obtaining drivers licenses. The Division of Elections spokesman Chris Cate said:
“We're not talking about illegal immigrants who are getting on to the voter rolls. In this case, we're talking about people who have legally gone through the process with Highway Safety to obtain a driver's license, which is absolutely okay for a non-citizen to do, but they can't register to vote”.

I’m not sure if he’s referring to DMV employees handing out licenses to illegal’s against the current state’s laws, as we’ve seen in the past, or if Florida has a policy of allowing illegal immigrants to obtain a license. Either way, it’s ridiculous. Florida law requires voters to be a US citizen residing in the state.

The Duval County Supervisor of Elections, Jerry Holland, said they’ve seen indications where people who’re ineligible to vote but have voted, have been on the voting rolls for at least eight years. A spokesperson for the Department of State said a list was handed out of people with driver’s licenses that appear to be illegal aliens. If these voters are confirmed as illegals, their names will be dropped off the voter rolls. One person from Hillsborough County registered to vote in 1959.

The probing into whom is eligible to vote has been a daunting task for Florida in the past. In 2004, an attempt to remove felons from voter rolls was stopped after some saw that the state's list had problems. The database is supposed to check the names of registered voters against other databases; including people who've died, sent to prison, etc.

A spokesperson for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said that prior to last year there has been no safety-net checking if registered voters had a driver's license, let alone citizenship. Legally-visiting non-citizens are allowed to obtain a driver's license, however those who've entered here illegally or whom have allowed their visa's to expire, are not.

Almost four years ago, Barack Obama took the state of Florida with over 200,000 votes, and won 28 of 50 states (57 states, if you're an Obama '08 voter). How many other states have similar issues? As most of you who follow politics remember, the 2000 election was decided by 537 votes. This list from Florida is only a portion of a list that contains as many as 140,000 names, if not more. The investigation is still ongoing.

There needs to be a requirement for voters to have an updated ID, as the GOP suggests, but we also need to make sure we aren't handing out ID's or driver's licenses as quick and blindly as this administration hands out food stamps.

Russian Troops to Train in Colorado

In a historical first, Russian troops have been invited to the United States to hold joint anti terror drills.

Between May 24 and 31, a unit of Russian paratroopers will be at Ft. Carson, near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Russian soldiers will be trained on US weaponry, equipment, and in American tactics.

On the 27th they'll get a day off to be tourists in and around Colorado Springs, including a Sky Sox, AAA baseball, game.

Remembering: The Transcontinental Railroad

April 10, 1869 at Promontory, Utah Governor Leland Stanford of California takes a golden spike, and pounds it into the rail line, uniting a rail line from sea to shining sea.

In the 1840s the United States Congress began looking into how to support the creation of an intercontinental railroad. Agreements on location always hung it up. Northern and Southern politicians argued over where it should be located

Then in 1861, the debate ended as the Civil War began. The North was quick to approve a route from Omaha, Nebraska to Sacramento, California. And to help it further, Congress passed acts that rewarded companies for building the rails.

In response the Central Pacific railway began building east from Sacramento, and the Union Pacific started west out of Omaha. The Union Pacific had the easier job, with most of their route across the plains, they were able to do up to a mile a day. Building rails through the Sierra Nevada Mountains proved a much tougher job for the Central Pacific.

Strive and succeed both sides did, and in March 1869 the two sides were almost linked. They slowed down to give time for politicians to arrive, and when all was set on April 10 they were officially linked. A journey that had used to take three months, could now take a week.

Westward expansion only grew, as now millions poured across the country. America had survived the Civil War, and now was linked by easy travel. Only politics could ever divide her again.