The Note

Campaigning in Jackson, Mississippi yesterday Nader slammed new tort reforms and the two party system before 50 supporters dining on red beans and rice, fried chicken, and iced tea. The independent candidate only needs 850 more signatures by Sept. 3. to qualify for the ballot in the Magnolia State. Four years ago, Nader took less than 1 percent of the vote in as a Green Party candidate. LINK

Nader also criticized Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on a soon-to-be minted bill limiting tort reform that becomes law Sept. 1. LINK

AP reports on Nader's good deeds in Toledo, Ohio where he has joined owners of a mom and pop auto shop in the six year battle against a city takeover of their property that was part of a deal to give DaimlerChrysler AG land for a new Jeep assembly plant. Nader's staff is providing legal help LINK

Yesterday's announcement that the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle will be assembled in the Lima, Ohio Joint Systems Manufacturing Center came as very welcome news to the area: the plant had previously been in danger of shutting down, and will instead now add 210 jobs to its workforce. LINK

The conventions: The AP says a new report on contributions to the Republican National Convention prove Mayor Bloomberg's status as a fundraising powerhouse built across party lines. Watchdog groups want more information about the sizes of individual contributions and the 'anonymous' donor to be replaced with proper nouns. LINK

Maggie Haberman follows up on yesterday's Times reporting concerning the New York Host Committee's publication of a partial list of major donors to the convention effort and suggests the $64 million budget may now be upwards of $70 million. LINK

Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle sizes up the pros and cons of an Arnold Schwarzenegger prime time convention speech and seems a bit shocked to find Ken Mehlman paying "unusually close attention to the issue." LINK

Be sure to read Rick Klein on the Democrats' thematic preparation for their convention.LINK

Former Senator Max Cleland kicks off the thematic message hits in Boston today by talking up veterans. And The Note can exclusively report to you that Cleland will serve as Honorary Veterans Chair of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the first position of its kind in Convention history. You can expect veterans and Cleland specifically to be showcased like never before at this summer's convention.

The veterans caucus meetings will be called to order during the week of the convention. From the soon to be issued press release: "Two veterans' caucuses, which Cleland said will be referred to as "Basic Training," have been scheduled for the afternoons of Monday, July 26, and Wednesday, July 28. They will be held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, the headquarters hotel for the Convention."

ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting: The Washington Post 's ed board warns "each month, more studies raise serious questions about the risks in using paperless touch-screen voting machines, yet Maryland's state administration doesn't seem all that concerned." LINK

Florida Governor Jeb Bush boasted of a sharp reduction in the backlog of cases under review of "felons seeking to have their voting rights restored and that only 8,000 applications remained under review," reports the New York Times ' Abby Goodnough. LINK

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