- The Washington Times - Monday, November 4, 2002

Flocking to Florida
We told you last week that an international democratic delegation that usually monitors political elections in Third World countries has arrived to observe the ballot-challenged masses in sunny Florida.
Now Rep. Mark Foley, Florida Republican, has handed us a letter from House Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney, Ohio Republican, outlining his committee's efforts to observe "certain problematic precincts" in Florida on Election Day tomorrow.
Two months ago, as this column reported, Mr. Foley requested that Mr. Ney dispatch a bipartisan team to the Sunshine State. The chairman promised his support, and details were finalized last week.
"On primary day, there were an alarming number of poll workers who either didn't show up for work or didn't perform their paid duties properly," observes Mr. Foley, who requested legal and nonlegal experts be sent to Broward and Miami-Dade counties to be the "eyes and ears" of Congress.
"I refuse to sit on my hands while the same counties continually botch election after election," the congressman adds.
In his letter, Mr. Foley said staff from the House Administration Committee would be in place in both Miami/Dade and Broward counties, from Friday until the final vote is tabulated, whenever and wherever that might be.
Let's hope they packed plenty of underwear.

Read a newspaper
Americans who prefer getting their news from local television stations ought to be grateful for political advertising, or else they might not know it was Election Day tomorrow.
"Many station managers feel that putting political news on their airwaves would be ratings poison for their news broadcasts," explains Martin Kaplan, associate dean of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and director of the Norman Lear Center Local News Archive. "It looks like that fear doesn't apply to airing paid political ads during those same shows."
In fact, TV stations in this country's top 50 markets air more than four times as many political ads as campaign stories, devoting almost twice as much time to the one-sided advertising as to balanced, nonpartisan election news stories.
Nationally, of the 4,850 half-hour local news broadcasts analyzed in a Lear Center study, just over one in three carried any campaign coverage. In contrast, almost three out of four of the same broadcasts aired at least one paid political ad, and over half aired at least two ads.
On average, four campaign ads were aired for every one election-related story during local news broadcasts.

Future Democrats
Elementary school students in some of the nation's lowest voter turnout precincts from Los Angeles to nearby Prince George's County have been out in force canvassing their neighborhoods and reminding their neighbors to vote tomorrow.
If their efforts increase turnout on Election Day, their schools will receive up to $5,000 to pay for "environmental" field trips.
The national canvass is the climax of Vote for Children, a new project sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Education and Support Fund and the Sierra Club.

Tinder intentions
Does anybody else find it mildly amusing that tomorrow's midterm elections happen to fall on "November the Fifth," the day upon which the British traditionally celebrate the discovery and foiling of a plot led by Guy Fawkes to burn down the Parliament?
"In towns and villages across the country for centuries, bonfires are erected to burn in effigy of the guy," educates Inside the Beltway reader John McCaughey of Alexandria. "Children prance around singing an ancient 17th-century ditty:
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'Please to remember the fifth of November
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'Gunpowder, treason and plot.
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'We know no reason why gunpowder treason,
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'Should ever be forgot.'"
Our reader recalls that political columnist Auberon Waugh, who himself had scant respect for the members of Parliament, perhaps put it better in one of his Nov. 5 diary entries when he recorded a vast celebration at his Somerset estate to the memory of "Saint Guy Fawkes," a Catholic whom the columnist proposed be canonized.
As Waugh opined: "We celebrate St. Guy Fawkes: the only man in history ever to have entered Parliament with honourable intentions."

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