Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Nathan Sproul, it seems, is also a regional president of Voyager Expanded Learning Company, a company chock-full of Bush cronies currently supping at the No Child Left Behind act gravy-train. Also at Voyager is Jim Nelson, President Bush's education commissioner during his tenure in Texas. That was before the president appointed him as deputy education czar in Baghdad for a brief stint in 2003. This thread at Kos seems to provide a complete Sproularama.

Fascinating. Employees of Voters Outreach of America, a GOP-funded voter registration outfit operating in Nevada, say they personally witnessed company employees shredding hundreds or even thousands of Democratic registrations. Now the same company (VOA) is being accused of destroying Democratic registration forms in Oregon.

The head of VOA is Nathan Sproul, a Republican political consultant who used to be the executive director of the Arizona state Republican party.

In gaining access to venues to register voters, he has apparently been claiming that his group is part of America Votes, a voter education and registration groups put together by a consortium of Democrat-leaning groups like the AFL-CIO, Emily's List, the Sierra Club and others.

A quick scan of Nexis shows Sproul's outfit is also operating in West Virginia (see Charleston Gazette, August 20th), where they've already raised some controversy for misleading tactics if not destroying legally valid registrations.

The guy who's got the best handle on the Bush campaign's strategy in the final stretch is the author of the NewDonkey website. It's back to the future, straight outta the 1980s, 'liberal, liberal, liberal!'

Before the afternoon slips away, I'm hoping to do a few posts about tonight's debate. But given that new strategy, the Kerry camp would do well to mine this end-of-August piece from the National Journal. You'll remember that the Bush campaign has been endlessly harping on the claim that the Journal judged Kerry the most liberal member of the Senate.

In this piece the Journal itself says in so many words that the stat is bogus and that the Republicans' use of it has been "sometimes misleading -- or just plain wrong."

As the Bush campaign's reputation for lying goes, it's not all that bad. But it's still worth noting.

I've already gotten a number <$Ad$>of emails, as I expected, about the Newsmax ad for Ann Coulter's new book down there to the left. It's not a mistake. The site hasn't been hacked. A year ago, when I started accepting ads I gave much thought to the policy I would maintain for them. And I decided, for many reasons, that I would not reject ads based on political content. (I restated the policy a few days ago in this post and discussed limits of taste and appropriateness that I do apply.) Distinguishing issues of taste and appropriateness from mere political disagreement is not always easy, especially when the opinions expressed are as hateful, ugly and -- more than either of those two -- just ridiculous as Coulter's are. But this is my policy. It is consistent with my understanding of what this site is and why it accepts paid advertising. And I'm sticking with it. Your comments are of course welcome.

Their own private Florida. News from the CBS affiliate in Las <$NoAd$>Vegas ...

Employees of a private voter registration company allege that hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters who may think they are registered will be rudely surprised on election day. The company claims hundreds of registration forms were thrown in the trash.

Anyone who has recently registered or re-registered to vote outside a mall or grocery store or even government building may be affected.

The I-Team has obtained information about an alleged widespread pattern of potential registration fraud aimed at democrats. Thee focus of the story is a private registration company called Voters Outreach of America, AKA America Votes.

The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the past few months, registering voters. It employed up to 300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former employees of the company say that Voters Outreach of America only wanted Republican registrations.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

And here's a careerbuilder.com listing for the same company looking for door-to-door canvassers. Paid for by the GOP. And here it seems that the same outfit was doing work for Nader in Arizona.

Do you live in a Sinclair media market? (Check here to find out.)

If so, watch tonight's evening newscast and write down a list of the advertisers (especially the local ones) who have commercials running during the broadcast.

Write up a list, as brief, clear and concise as possible, including the names of the advertisers and the time and date of the program you watched them on. Of course, include the name of the affiliate and the city too. Then send them in to us. Make the Subject heading "ADVERTS."

In the last few hours many readers have written in to say that they've called various Sinclair affiliates either to be referred to Sinclair corporate headquarters, shunted into voicemail, or hung up on.

Some affiliates have refused to identify the given station's sales manager.

Now, this site might be of help for identifying who's who at various stations. But let's be very clear: contacting a given affiliate's sales manager and telling them of your displeasure is very much of secondary importance.

Local Sinclair reps are suggesting that callers call their corporate HQ. But, believe me, don't waste your time.

The key is to identify their local advertisers and contact them. You can find information out here or, if you're in a Sinclair market, just watch the evening news show and mark down who the advertisers are. Then contact them directly -- and if possible, place a call. Or better yet, send an old-fashioned paper letter. Actually, scratch that, do both.

For good measure, it's great to tell the sales manager what you're doing. But if your message to the advertiser is successful they'll be taking the matter up with the sales manager directly. And he or she will definitely be taking their call.

A reader from <$NoAd$>the WSTR media market sends in the following ...

Just talked to Eric Lazar, sales manager at WSTR, who said he'd heard from only one or two other people regarding Sinclair's decision to broadcast the program. He was very courteous, but suggested I contact the corporate office before I began calling advertisers culled from tonight's 10 p.m. news broadcast. He suggested I start with William Butler, vice president of programming and promotions.

I just put in a second call to Lazar. The reader is correct: Lazar was quite courteous. I asked if he would confirm that LaRosa's and King's Automall were WSTR advertisers. He politely declined to discuss who their advertisers are and referred me on to corporate headquarters. But with respect to Mr. Lazar, calling corporate headquarters is exactly what Sinclair would like you to do. And calling their local advertisers -- where most of their revenue comes from -- is the last thing they want you doing.