From: (Johann Opitz)

Your tax dollars at play ---

MI: RAMSEY COUNTY: Welfare worker allegedly schemed for dates

A Ramsey County welfare worker was charged Friday with issuing thousands of dollars in phony emergency-assistance payments to women he wanted to date, according to a criminal complaint. One of the women - another county welfare employee - also was charged. Thomas J. Valera Jr., 58, of St. Paul was charged with felony theft by swindle after a supervisor discovered suspicious payments to five women, including one in prison, the complaint states. Sandra P. Madsen, 36, of New Brighton also was charged with theft by swindle. She is accused of accepting hundreds of dollars in public aid intended for poor women who face a short-term financial emergency, according to the complaint.

Networks vow to get it right

Among reforms, TV won't report winners until all polls close.

[Will they report 3rd party results? Don't hold your breath in anticipation.]

CA: State's candidates 'more issue-based'?

Say what you will about California politicians, but at least they respond to questionnaires. Project Vote Smart, a national nonprofit group, has found that California candidates are better than those elsewhere at disclosing their views. In findings released last week, the group reported that 51 percent of California state legislative candidates responded to a Project Vote Smart survey, compared with 31 percent elsewhere. In the gubernatorial race, five of six responded, with incumbent Gray Davis the lone holdout.

P.C. timidity in sniper case may have cost lives

So police came across the sniper suspects at least 11 times during the long manhunt, but let them go every time. The D.C. police chief acknowledged that race was a factor in this amazing failure. "Everybody was looking for a white car with white people," he told The Washington Post. Writing on his Web site, Andrew Sullivan said this was racial profiling. If a white killer had been let go 11 times because cops were looking for a black man, he asked, "Wouldn't this be the basis for uproar? Wouldn't the cops involved be fired? Wouldn't there be a massive investigation ...?" Yes, and the press would have erupted in high dudgeon.

Third Parties Hope to Raise Profile

Libertarians, Greens and other third party candidates are on ballots across the nation this week as the parties strive to raise their national profile. In the state legislatures, third party and independent candidates are seeking about a fifth of the seats up for election - the largest number since the 1930s, according to Ballot Access News, which tracks third party candidates. The push to break away from the two major parties shouldn't surprise anyone, said Ballot Access News publisher Richard Winger. "It's absurd to think that all the people in the United States are going to support the policies of the Republicans or the Democrats," he said. Among the 34 U.S. Senate races this year there are 27 minor party candidates, up slightly from 2000, Winger said.

Ballot Access News:

UT: Mayor Charges $25 For Free Speech

The mayor of this tiny southern Utah town doesn't think $25 is too much to pay for free speech. But some residents of Virgin certainly do, saying they resent coughing up cash every time they want to give city leaders a piece of their minds. Sometimes, even money's not enough to take on City Hall. As Mayor Jay Lee explains it, he's trying to keep Town Council meetings civil and brisk when he forbids all public comment. "I want the meetings to be positive, not a gripe session," Lee said. "They were taking up a lot of time and it wasn't something positive. We were hearing the same thing over and over again."


Johann Opitz <> RKBA!

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