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Medical and research groups such as the National Physicians Center for Family Resources, Catholic Medical Association, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Polycarp Research Institute, Breast Cancer Prevention Institute all recognize the abortion-breast cancer link.

A sixth group, the Christian Medical and Dental Association, has also issued a statement recognizing a link as has a seventh, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Sixteen out of 17 statistically significant studies conducted worldwide on abortion and breast cancer show an elevated risk and 13 out of 16 American studies report increased risks of contracting breast cancer as a result of an abortion.

Related web sites:

Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer -
States have different rules for when prisoners can vote.

Every state save for Maine and Vermont, for instance, prohibits imprisoned felons from voting. California is among a majority of states that permit ex-felons to vote after they have completed their sentence and parole.

Inmate Matthew B. Cramer promotes a slightly different cause, involving those who retain the technical right to vote but who cannot readily exercise their franchise because they are in jail awaiting trial.

The latest Census of Jails found 690,000 inmates nationwide as of June. Of these, about 414,000 were awaiting trial. California had more than 77,000 jail inmates and, if the national average held, more than half had not been convicted.

Moreover, even those jail inmates who only have been convicted of a misdemeanor can retain their right to vote.

So in a self-penned lawsuit he's trying to file in federal court, replete with misspellings and odd capitalization, Cramer makes a case very similar to one raised in other courts by real lawyers.

"ALL california Detainee's who have yet to be convicted, let alone charged … have been denied a basic fundamental right of due process in voting in a free election, solely because they are unable to physically attend a Voter's booth in absentee," Cramer wrote.

Cramer is seeking to make his case a class-action lawsuit.

As a lawsuit, Cramer's move epitomizes the term "long shot." The 37-year-old Sacramento native has been having trouble finding the right court, he's self-taught as a lawyer and he's asking for some extraordinarily strong measures — including a judicial order blocking the results of the Nov. 2 election.

But as an argument, Cramer's point is far from trivial, and others have been making it, too.

"This is really the hidden population, when it comes to voting rights," said Marc Mauer, assistant director of the Washington-based Sentencing Project. "When we look at people in local jails, the vast majority of them are eligible to vote … (but) all our anecdotal evidence is that it's only an extremely small percentage who do."

Jailers: Little interest

Not everyone agrees about who is at fault. The inmates often have checked out of politics.

"There is very little interest (in voting)," said Sgt. Jerry King of the Madera County Sheriff's Department. "I don't remember seeing any request forms from those in pretrial detention."

Out of roughly 370 Madera County jail inmates, King said, the only request to vote this year came from a man who is serving a felony sentence and is ineligible to vote. Tulare County sheriff's Capt. Kevin Mizner, likewise, said that "we don't get a lot of requests" for voting materials. Of 1,250 Tulare inmates, Mizner said, only one filed a grievance about not having a ballot.

"I've been here since 1984, and I can't recall anyone ever asking for voting materials," said Cmdr. John Burk, who oversees the 175 inmates in the main Merced County jail. "They just don't care."

In Stanislaus County, Deputy Sheriff Tom Letras said he knew of only one inmate out of about 1,200 who tried to obtain voting materials this year. The request came too late, Letras said.

"We don't go out and rock the boat," Letras said, "but the voting material is there if they ask for it."

Voting right advocates maintain that jailers could do a better job in promoting civic participation. Some places, including Santa Clara County, have instituted programs to boost inmate voting, while outside prisoner rights groups have been trying to do the same in cities including Cleveland and Philadelphia.

Two years ago, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit in Hawaii on behalf of an alleged drunken driver and other pretrial detainees. The inmates were eligible to vote, and had signed up, but the jailers didn't provide ballots.

Earlier this summer, the state and the ACLU agreed to an out-of-court settlement in which the frustrated former inmates received up to $1,000 each, and the state agreed to ensure that people awaiting trial can vote.

Cramer, while acknowledging his incarceration casts doubt on his judgment, stressed that his overall points merit consideration. Not just for inmates, he said, but for hospital patients and others without access to a ballot.

"Think about this," Cramer pleaded. "You see it goes on."

Bee Washington Bureau reporter Michael Doyle can be reached at 202-383-0006 or

I like this format in thr “About Us” section

About The Modesto Bee
The Modesto Bee began over 100 years ago as a pair of local newspapers - The Daily Evening News and The Modesto Herald. The Evening News began daily publication in 1884 and in 1925 merged with the Modesto Herald. McClatchy Newspapers bought the News-Herald in 1926 and was renamed 'The Modesto Bee' in 1933. If you look at the top of Page A2, you will see 'The Modesto Bee and News Herald' in the company directory.

In 1943, The Bee welcomed a new member to it's family - Scoopy. Scoopy is the mascot for The Modesto Bee, as well as The Sacramento Bee and Fresno Bee. Read Scoopy's biography.

Today The Bee employs over 650 people from all over our community and is delivered to homes from Ripon to Merced, Patterson to Sonora. All of those people do very important jobs, in departments such as:

The Publisher. Lynn Dickerson, publisher and president of The Bee, oversees all of the daily operations and long-range planning of The Bee. You can write to her at

The Newsroom. Reporters, photographers, editors and page designers work through the day and night to report on news from our neighborhoods, our state and our world.

Advertising. Every day Modesto Bee salespeople hit the streets working with local businesses to get their word out to our readers through advertising.

Subscriber Services. You may take it for granted, but hundreds of people work every morning to make sure the Modesto Bee arrives on your doorstep each and every day.

Operations. Operations staff keeps the building running, build and print our pages, run the press and maintain the grounds.

Human Resources. If you want to work at The Bee, or if you already do, the Human Resources staff will work with you to make your experience at The Bee as productive and enjoyable as possible.

Marketing. All of the work we do isn't properly appreciated if you don't hear about it. Marketing staff makes sure that all of the great things The Bee does are known to the public.

Finance. Every dollar that comes in or goes out of The Bee has to be accounted for, and the finance staff make sure that they are.

Online Services. We are the coolest cats in the galaxy, and we produce

November 2 is just around the corner, meaning that the political circus that is our presidential election campaign is about to come to a close. Luckily for those of us that are hopelessly addicted political junkies, the good folks at Stardock have designed a game to help wean us from our addictions to stump speeches and spin doctors.

The Political Machine has a fairly simplistic interface that will remind you of a board game. The screen is filled with a map of the United States and, in your role as campaign manager for a candidate seeking the presidency, you move your candidate (and eventually his running-mate) around the map, making speeches, launching ad campaigns and raising funds. Play proceeds on a turn-by-turn basis with each turn representing one of the 41 weeks leading up to Election Day. The number of actions that your candidate can take in any given turn is dictated by his stamina (characters are rated on 13 different characteristics ranging from charisma to fundraising ability) and the amount of money in his war chest. Each turn a number of random opportunities will arise, from invitations to appear on television talk shows to offers of help from Hollywood stars or deep-pocketed money men. How you handle them will have a large effect on how your candidate's campaign will progress.

Another factor that has a huge effect on your eventual success or failure is how you decide to spend your political capital. Political capital can be raised each turn by spending stamina points and can be redeemed to buy political operatives like the spin doctor and the smear merchant or to buy the endorsements of national organizations like the National Gun Owners Association or the Environmentalists Club. Spend too little stamina-raising political capital and your opponent will bury you with a key endorsement or two; spend too much and your opponent will run away with the election by directly appealing to the people as you spend all your time with the political movers and shakers.

Of course, how much you need to worry about this delicate balancing act depends on what candidate you are campaigning against. In the game's campaign mode, you pick a candidate and try to help him defeat a series of 10 opponents, some of them unlockable characters like Ulysses S. Grant or Howard Taft). In the early match-ups where you might face Condoleeza Rice or Arnold Schwarzenegger (if you're managing a Democrat), the going will be pretty easy, with your opponent running a fairly sloppy campaign, but as you progress, you better have your shit together, because George W. Bush ain't fooling around.

Perhaps the best part of the game, however, is the ability to create your own candidate and see if you can get him or her elected against flip-flopping John Kerry or baby-eating Dick Cheney. When you tire of getting a character modeled after yourself elected to the highest office of the land, try getting a porn star elected - give her a ton of charisma and comeliness and little or no credibility and religious devotion, and see what happens.

two Pioneer Press reporters, Chuck Laszewski and Rick Linsk, had been suspended by newspaper management for attending the October 5 Vote for Change concert during non-work hours. editor Vickie Gowler thought of the paper's ethics code the same way many newsrooms have policies regarding the political activities of their staffs, governing things like lawn signs, rallies, donations, and the like. "It's not liberal or conservative," she continued. "It's simply the choice we make when we become journalists."

In the United States, citizens (that includes reporters, I believe) are not required to surrender their civil liberties to their employer. Unless they are working and being paid ("on the clock"), their time is their own.

I agree that reporters should exercise professional ethics in keeping personal bias out of objective reporting. That does not mean they have no personal preferences, passions, or opinions. Any thinking, feeling human being does. They should enjoy the freedom to act on them. Otherwise, to quote Kris Kristofferson from his Janis Joplin song, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

It's wrong for the Pioneer Press to suppress the constitutional rights that millions of Americans have fought so hard to defend, and for which so many even made the ultimate sacrifice.

where Knight Ridder has been sending its corporate donations--and from how high in the corporation the wording of this memo came. do all your employees have to submit a daily itinerary? I also wonder who the Pioneer Press is going to endorse for president. For an entity like yourself that operates under the aegis of the First Amendment, your behavior in this matter is disappointing and very unsettling. I would have expected more from a newspaper in a state with a proud history of populism and civil rights. true that attending this Vote for Change concert could be interpreted as a political act, but darn near everything we do in our lives is a political act, from which TV station we watch to what kind of gasoline we buy. journalistic neutrality: If that were the case, the Pioneer Press would also ask their staff not to attend services at a Catholic church, as the Catholic hierarchy has announced its members could not vote for Sen. John Kerry and still receive Holy Communion. Certainly showing up, let alone putting money in a collection box, at a religious institution that favors one candidate over another is also a compromise of neutrality then.

What about journalists who patronize businesses whose advertisements support Sinclair Broadcasting, which intends to air an anti-Kerry film on scores of TV stations across the country? What if they and their editors own stock in Sinclair?

Most people expect reporters to be neutral in their reporting; we expect editors to check the facts. We hope that the paper's news is truthful.

We understand that everything we do is political in one way or another but we do not believe that people's lives should be censored. At least not while the U. S. remains a democracy, which won't be for long if actions such as these suspensions continue. speaks badly of your respect for not only the rights of your employees, but for the very fabric of our democracy.

I understand that the two reporters were not assigned to political reporting, which, in effect, makes their politics largely irrelevant. One might ask if the same policies apply to your executives and editorial employees. Is everyone barred from attending any political functions? And how about making donations to the candidates of one's choice?

My guess is that executives and editorial writers are allowed to practice their political beliefs without restriction. Did the Pioneer Press suspend any of its staff if they did attend NASCAR events? All 2004 NASCAR events have been nothing but Bush rallies. The Daytona 500 showed Bush for 30 minutes. The Republican Party has sponsored cars to run in NASCAR events. NASCAR has had the Republican Party register voters at all of their events. If a journalist is taking money from a political organization, that is an unethical conflict of interest. If a journalist wants to give money to a political candidate, because through their research they have independently decided they support that candidate's goals and views, that is civic responsibility. It is still the journalist's job to present both sides of every issue, and to look into statements made even by groups or people they support. But to say a journalist cannot have opinions is not only ridiculous, but dishonest on an Orwellian scale. What next--will you say people who report the news can't vote?

Bush attracted 3.3 million more votes than Senator Kerry,

in a country where 30 per cent of the votes were cast using touch-screen electronic voting machines that leave no verifiable paper trail, there are bound to be suspicions.

"Were playing Russian roulette with electronic voting machines and the gun is still loaded," says David Dill, a professor of computer science at Stanford University and founder of, an organization dedicated to reforming the electronic voting system.

"Electronic voting is a technology that has no safety net," Mr. Dill says. "There's no independent way to check the machines. There's no way to recover [results] if votes are lost. We're basically assuming that these electronic voting machines are flawless. We have to admit that we don't know what's going on inside them."

Verified Voting and a group of other interest groups that were part of the Election Verification Project say there is no evidence that the election was stolen, but that doesn't stop them from being concerned about how it was conducted.

"The absence of a meltdown must not be a measure of success," says Kim Alexander of the California Voter Federation. "The machinery of the world's foremost democracy must meet the same standards of transparency, auditability and public verifiability to which emerging democracies are held."

Some examples of voting irregularities that cropped up across the United States:

In Carteret County, N.C., more than 4,500 paperless ballots were never counted. A machine that would normally have the capacity to count 10,000 votes was set to take a maximum of 3,500 votes, so when 7,000 votes were actually cast, the remaining votes disappeared. Because of Mr. Bush's huge victory in North Carolina, there will be no impact on the presidential race, but it could force the rerunning of some local races.

In Broward County, Fla., some machines were set to a limit of 32,000 votes for each precinct. After that number of votes was reached, the machine began subtracting from the total. The error did not affect the presidential race, but it puts in question the margin in a referendum-style proposition on casinos put to voters.

In Columbus, Ohio, a machine malfunctioned and gave 4,000 extra votes to Mr. Bush for a still-unexplained reason. But the error was discovered and corrected. "We had a lot of reports of misrecording of votes, where people would press on Kerry and the vote would shift to Bush on the machine, but we did get reports the other way around," said Will Doherty of Verified Voting, blaming the problem on the same kind of touch-screen calibration errors that sometimes occur with automated teller machines.

Conspiracy theorists were initially encouraged by the statistics that appeared Nov. 3 on a website run by Utah-based mathematician Kathy Dopp, who pointed to what she saw as anomalies in the Florida election count.

According to her analysis, counties using optical-scanning systems -- where voters fill in multiple-question-style paper ballots, which are then scanned by an electronic reader -- showed bigger majorities for Mr. Bush than counties using newer touch-screen systems.

Walter Mebane Jr., a political scientist at Cornell University, said he studied the data and found that there was a heavier vote for Mr. Bush in counties with optical-scanning devices because the machines were favoured in conservative parts of the state (the Panhandle and central Florida), which also preferred the President.

While Prof. Mebane believes that the 2000 election in Florida, where the 537-vote victory for Mr. Bush was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, was a "disaster" because of all the irregularities, he does not think the 2004 election was stolen. "I've seen nothing about the voting that looks like fraud."

Critics say the conspiracy theorists are simply poor losers. "You can always tell a losing party by the number of people in the fever swamps who come up with elaborate conspiracy theories to explain the fact that the real problem is that they lost the election," said John Fund, a Wall Street Journal columnist and author of a book on voter fraud.

Nevertheless, concerns about the voting system remain real, particularly electronic voting. Many groups are calling for printers to be attached to the touch-screen systems that would leave a paper trail the voter would verify and could be reviewed in case of a recount. This is done already in Nevada.

Trust in the system was not helped by the fact that Walden W. O'Dell, chief executive officer of Diebold Inc., one of the leading makers of electronic voting machines, also was a major fundraiser for the Bush campaign. In a 2003 invitation to a Bush fundraising dinner, he famously vowed to help "Ohio deliver is electoral votes to the president next year."

Touch-screen voting does have its fans. Results come quickly with none of the problems associated with the chads of the old punch-card systems.

One of the advantages of touch-screens is that the voter can select the language of voting, important in a country with an increasing Spanish-speaking population and sometimes-complex referendum questions. But that can leads to glitches as well.

"We've had cases where the machines switched languages in the middle of the voting process," Mr. Doherty said. Then there were the total failures of voting machines in the midst of voting, which he calls "the black screen of death."

Yet, Mr. Doherty sees more evidence of incompetence than of conspiracy. "We haven't seen any signs with the electronic voting machines of cheating. We haven't found that. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, but we haven't found any evidence."

Even so, he adds, there is no guarantee that massive fraud could not happen. Because of the decentralized nature of voting in the United States, where systems vary from county to county and state to state, much of the process is actually in the hands of the companies that supply the voting machines.

The main problem is that the three major voting-machine makers all use proprietary software, making it impossible for outsiders to verify what is going on.

Both Mr. Doherty and Mr. Dill believe that it would not be that hard to steal an election. How? Mr. Doherty says he would become a trusted programmer at one of the voting company and write some "malicious code" that could be used to deliver votes on election day.

And Mr. Dill says that, "if I wanted to manufacture a voting machine that only cheated during elections and avoided all the known methods of testing a machine, I think I could do that."

In fact, he adds: "If I had decided to forgo my academic career and started a voting company instead 17 years ago, I probably could have done it several times already."

Alan Freeman is a correspondent in The Globe and Mail's Washington bureau.

the website, which alleges that only massive fraud delivered victory to Mr. Bush.

In Ohio, a non-profit group called Justice Through Music has gone so far as to offer a $200,000 (U.S.) reward to anybody who can provide "conclusive and verifiable evidence that the results of the 2004 presidential election were not correctly tabulated."

Additional links and resources:

Count Every Vote

Howard Dean’s Get Out The Vote For Kerry Drive

Citizens For Legitimate Government


Voter March

The Iraqi videos are part of a genre of propaganda tools developed over decades. This is simply the moment that the terrorist film-makers have started to reach a mass audience. In the longer term, the videos are rooted in the essence of the militants' project, which is the project of all terrorists - dramatic spectacle.

The intense competition between groups for airtime and attention goes some way to explaining the savagery of the acts committed to film by insurgent groups in Iraq in recent months.

From the mid-Nineties, death began to feature more prominently in the videos. A few years before the 2001 strikes, bin Laden copied Lebanese groups and had militants record a last will and testament before a suicide mission. The format of one young man speaking directly to camera was extremely intimate - the equivalent of a soliloquy. His words, almost always formulaic and banal, did not matter. The power of the videos lay in the fact that the audience were thrilled and fascinated by the knowledge that they were watching a man who knew he was going to die and who was probably dead at the time of broadcast. Death was not shown but was present all the same. Such videos continue to be made and are frequently posted on the internet. Some of the 11 September hijackers' wills are available. So are those of men responsible for attacking Western-run installations in Saudi Arabia last year.

At the beginning of 2002 I picked up another video produced by an Algerian militant group in London and circulating, secretly, at the Finsbury Park mosque. This one was professionally produced and showed, in graphic detail, wounded Algerian soldiers having their throats cut after an ambush. When I watched it for the first time on a television in the Observer newsroom, a small crowd gathered. At around the same time, a video was released in Pakistan of the death of Daniel Pearl, an American journalist abducted by a militant group. Pearl was already dead when, in the video, his throat was cut with a kitchen knife.

The execution videos in Iraq combine all the tried-and-tested elements of the genre. They are dramatic productions. There is the main subject centre stage, there is a carefully designed set and backdrop and there are carefully chosen props, such as the cage that Kenneth Bigley appeared in, that send particular messages to particular audiences. In recent videos, there is even a script, carefully drafted statements that have to be read out by victims, often in a hideous duet with their killer.

Many of the recent videos have been hastily produced - presumably because the hostage takers are under massive military pressure - and lack the slick production of other propaganda films. But they still wield considerable emotional power. One of the more sophisticated recent films I have seen depicted the killing of an alleged spy and featured cutting-edge editing techniques that allowed footage from the cockpit of an American jet showing a missile being fired into a crowd of Iraqis to be spliced with pictures of the man's supposed confession and his eventual beheading.

The aim of modern Islamic militancy is not to achieve specific goals, such as the release of a prisoner or the repeal of a law, but to radicalise and mobilise those who have hitherto shunned the militants' extremist message. Bin Laden et al are focused not on tangible political gain but on a cosmic, millennia-long struggle between good and evil. This was what underpinned the attacks of 11 September. The primary aim was not to kill infidels or damage the economy, though both were welcome effects of the strategy, but to mobilise the masses. As Jean Baudrillard, the French critical theorist, commented of 11 September: 'We are far beyond politics or ideology now... the aim is to radicalise the world by sacrifice.' Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's partner in crime, has warned against 'volunteers getting killed in silence'. There's no point in the theatre if no one goes to see it.

This is not new. In 1880, a German anarchist called Johannes Most wrote a pamphlet called Philosophy of the Bomb. 'Outrageous violence,' he said, 'will seize the imagination of the public and awaken its audience to political issues.' In the same period, Polish socialists coined the phrase 'propaganda by deed'. The German terrorists of the 1970s spoke of shocking the masses out of their consumerist apolitical apathy - by blowing up supermarkets.

Terrorism - and this includes spectacularly publicised events such as 11 September as well as videoed executions - has always needed an audience. Bomb blasts on symbolic targets and killings on camera are dramatic productions designed to elicit an emotional response - just like theatre.

Karl Heinz Stockhausen, the composer, and Damien Hirst, the artist, both recognised this when they controversially described the demolition of the Twin Towers as 'a work of art'. It has even been recognised in the dry, hard-nosed world of counter-terrorism where agents continually talk of their fears of a 'spectacular', meaning something so big it becomes a mass spectacle.

The killers are of course aware that what they are doing is deeply controversial - as the overwhelmingly negative reaction from most Muslims has shown - and so include a series of visual signs, such as the orange jumpsuit and references to Islamic religious history and tradition. The very act of throat-cutting will, they hope, legitimise their actions.

The message is also directed at other militant groups and potential donors. The high-profile militant leader wins recruits, more money and thus more capability in the future.

The message for the West is different. The execution videos invade our consciousness. They are shocking and distressing. Even if we don't watch them, their very existence is upsetting. This is crucial. We watch human beings begging for their lives and we feel complicit.

Militants believe they are engaged in a last-ditch defence against an aggressive, belligerent West that has never abandoned the project of the Crusades and is committed to the invasion of Islamic lands. That invasion is both physical - as in Iraq - and cultural.

The spearhead of that invasion, in the last decade, has been the image.

The risk is that we will become desensitised. Over the period that jihadi videos have been developed as a genre by the terrorists, hardcore porn sites and major release films and video games depicting graphic, if fictional, scenes of mayhem have also become far more common. There is a parallel in the proliferation in the pornography of violence and that of sex. Have a look at any number of American websites where 'rape videos' and clips of road and train accidents are available alongside dozens of the hostage and execution videos released by the insurgents over this year. When you subscribe you get access to both. Once, you may remember, images of life-taking were very rare.

Propaganda, indeed any communication or creative work, only functions in a language that is comprehensible to its target audiences. The harsh truth is that the style of al-Qaeda's attacks and the executions in Iraq - and the whole theatre of modern terrorism - is familiar to us. The question is whether the content soon will be too.

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