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Is this enough?

June 3, 2006 Leave a comment

Is Kennedy’s latest “investigative” piece in Rolling Stone enough to make people ignore him? Probably not. Still, with a factually challenged piece on autism and Thimerosal and an unconvincing piece on 2004 election fraud, it should be. The man is a dishonest hack. Maybe he hasn’t always been (I’m not old enough to have a good handle on his history), but it’s pretty clear that Rolling Stone should be embarrassed by his lame attempts at investigative journalism.

On the other hand, his latest piece did provoke a hilariously stupid comment from one of Montana’s right-wing bloggers. Maybe it isn’t all bad.

The GAO and e-voting

November 16, 2005 Leave a comment

Apparently, no one noticed that the GAO released a report on e-voting on October 21st. It looks like they confirmed most of the problems that have been noted in other reports by states such as Maryland. Verified Voting has a summary:

Voting System Vulnerabilities Identified by GAO:
•Cast ballots, ballot definition files, memory cards, and audit logs could be modified.
•Supervisor functions were protected with weak or easily guessed passwords, and memory cards that allowed individuals access to voting machines were inadequately protected.
•Systems had easily picked locks and power switches that were exposed and unprotected.
•Voting machine vendors had weak security practices, including the failure to conduct background checks on programmers and system developers, and the failure to establish clear chain of custody procedures for handling software.

That all sounds eerily familiar to someone who wrote a research paper on this issue last fall. They still haven’t fixed much, apparently. I don’t know if it’s in the GAO report, but my favorite low-tech flaw was the fact that some machines had wires that could be exposed by tilting the monitor back. Pulling on the wires disabled the monitor, requiring a system reboot. No data loss, but that’s a ridiculous thing to be able to do.

It’s hard to understate the problems e-voting faces. I’m generally in favor of e-voting, but we don’t seem to be even close to having systems that are secure and reliable enough.

It’s also hard to understate this point: This is not evidence that Bush stole the 2004 election. It’s evidence that we need to fix these problems now or drop e-voting completely. Far left rambling about stolen elections with no evidence makes that harder.

(via John Cole)

Categories: 2004 election cycle, Tech

How fitting…

December 16, 2004 3 comments

Miller to Honor Swift Boat Vets’ Group

WASHINGTON – For one night only, it’ll be spitballs and Swift Boats together on the same stage — a who’s who of Sen. John Kerry (news – web sites) bashing.

The American Conservative Union on Thursday announced it has tapped Sen. Zell Miller (news, bio, voting record), D-Ga., to present the “Courage Under Fire” award to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s Feb. 18 banquet.

“The swift boat veterans performed an invaluable service to America,” Miller said in a statement. “These veterans took a lot of undeserved criticism for daring to speak the truth.”

Well, Zell has set himself up nicely for a career as a speaker for conservative groups. You gotta have a source of income during retirement, I guess.

If you’ll excuse me, I must continue exploring the wonders of DC++.

UPDATE: Miller is joining Fox News. Lovely.

Categories: 2004 election cycle

Theocrats unite!

November 12, 2004 2 comments

Today is Friday, and that means Tamara Hall’s weekly humor current events column is in the paper. Today she is gloating about the election, on the basis of pretty much discredited liberal media conventional wisdom:

November 2, 2004, was a glorious day.

It was the day the moral majority found its voice.

In the end, it was not about politics. It was not about war. It was about values.

She goes on and on like that. Ok, her guy won, she’s entitled to some bragging. This remark struck me, though:

They shook their heads in disbelief as the immorality of Bill Clinton was championed:

“Politics is not religion and we should govern on the basis of evidence, not theology.”

Most people don’t come straight out and say they want a theocracy (well, it wouldn’t technically be a theocracy). At least she’s honest. Another example of what David Neiwert has been talking about at Orcinus, too.

Categories: 2004 election cycle

He's a "journalist?"

November 8, 2004 Leave a comment

I keep seeing this article cited, alleging voter fraud. It’s not impressive:

The State of Florida, for example, publishes a county-by-county record of votes cast and people registered to vote by party affiliation. Net denizen Kathy Dopp compiled the official state information into a table, available at http://ustogether.org/Florida_Election.htm, and noticed something startling.

While the heavily scrutinized touch-screen voting machines seemed to produce results in which the registered Democrat/Republican ratios largely matched the Kerry/Bush vote, in Florida’s counties using results from optically scanned paper ballots – fed into a central tabulator PC and thus vulnerable to hacking – the results seem to contain substantial anomalies.

In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry.

In Dixie County, with 9,676 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.

The pattern repeats over and over again – but only in the counties where optical scanners were used. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats, went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.

Wow, a lot of Democrats voting for Bush there. Now, considering this is a southern state, where it’s not exactly unknown for Democrats to vote Republican nationally, shouldn’t we look at past election results? This could be fairly normal, right?

Baker:
2004: Bush 7,738 Kerry 2,180; Party: Dem 69.3% Rep 24.3%
2000: Bush 5,610 Gore 2,392; Party: Dem 83% Rep 13.6%

Dixie:
2004: Bush 4,433 Kerry 1,959; Party: Dem 77.5% Rep 15%
2000: Bush 2,697 Gore 1,826; Party: Dem 85.6% Rep 10.4%

Franklin:
2004: Bush 3,472 Kerry 2,400; Party: Dem 77.3% Rep 15.9%
2000: Bush 2,454 Gore 2,046; Party: Dem 80.8% Rep 13.7%

Holmes:
2004: Bush 6,410 Kerry: 1,810; Party: Dem 72.7% Rep 21.3%
2000: Bush 5,011 Gore 2,177; Party: Dem 83.4% Rep 12.5%

So in every case, we have the same result as last time, but with increased Republican registration and turnout. I’m sorry, I don’t see how this proves anything. Looking at 1996, Clinton won a couple of the counties, Dole won a couple, and they had roughly the same affiliation numbers. Nothing odd there either, Clinton trounced Dole overall.

My biggest problem with this is they keep mixing in e-voting machines with the partisan fraud claims. Touch screen machines need a lot of work. However, if you use that as a partisan weapon, you give people a reason to dismiss the very real problems. It’s kind of annoying, considering those machines have very serious problems.

Categories: 2004 election cycle

Uh, about that values thing…

November 8, 2004 Leave a comment

So, maybe the conventional wisdom is wrong? Wouldn’t be the first time. Among the strange things he found:

Among those who think government should do more to solve problems, Bush’s support was up 10 points. I’m not really sure what to make of this, but I guess it means that Bush really is perceived as a big government conservative.

This is a bit strange. If you were for responsible bigger government, wouldn’t you vote for Kerry? Maybe Bush’s less taxes/more spending policies aren’t actually a problem for these people? Bizarre.

And that good old mainstay the economy was the most important of all. Compared to 2000, fewer people personally think they’re doing better but more people believe the economy is in good shape anyway. And Bush was overwhelmingly successful in convincing those people that his policies deserved the credit.

I’m conflicted on what to say about this. I like the idea that people look beyond their personal situation for an opinion on the rest of the country. Then again, it looks like Bush’s propaganda worked. In the end, Bush won, so I’m going to take the more cynical and condescending choice.

Categories: 2004 election cycle

The definition of a sore loser

November 4, 2004 6 comments

Alan Keyes, paragon of moral virtue:

“I’m supposed to make a call that represents the congratulations toward the triumph of that which I believe ultimately stands for and will stand for a culture evil enough to destroy the very soul and heart of my country,” Keyes said. “I can’t do this, and I will not make a false gesture.”

Wouldn’t really the end of the election without a final outburst from Mr.Keyes, would it?

Categories: 2004 election cycle

I'm in the minority

November 4, 2004 Leave a comment

After seeing NTodd list his city’s election results, I thought I’d put up my county’s results

Lincoln county, where I’m registered:

President:
Bush 69.70%
Kerry 27.48%

Governor:
Brown-R 56.10%
Schweitzer-D 39.71%

House:
Rehberg-R 71.66%
Velazquez-D 25.10%

Cyanide Mining:
Yes 55.31%
No 44.69%

Ban Gay Marriage:
Yes 75.83%
No 24.17%

Well then. I didn’t vote on the winning side of any of those races in my county.

Well, it was a good run

November 2, 2004 15 comments

Kerry’s going to lose. It’s hard to question that now; Ohio* is simply not trending towards Kerry. Without Ohio, Kerry can at best tie, which is a loss. It looks like we did poor in the Senate too; Daschle looks to be on the losing side.

Montana looks to be not so bad, though. We knew CI-96 was going to pass, so no surprise. The medical marijuana and tobacco initiatives both passed, which is good. I-147 failed, which is good. Schweitzer looks to be Montana’s first Democratic governor in a decade.

So, why? What happened? I’m inclined to believe that the economy was a wash. Kerry and Bush could both have won with it. Iraq and terrorism probably made the biggest difference. Kerry’s position on Iraq, while mostly consistent, was hard to lay out. He simply didn’t have a position that clearly showed a difference. I think a strong Iraq position could have pulled people that way, even if they were less sure. Kerry had nothing to pull people with. Next we have social issues, which probably gave Bush his apparent boost from turnout. Gay marriage was overwhelmingly opposed. Kerry didn’t support it, but you can definitely put that position on the Democrats and “smear” Kerry by association. That’s my explanation. I put the onus on our candidate and current social issues, which is a brighter outlook for the Democrats than other people may think. Social issues trend liberal, there’s really no stopping that. The problems with Kerry himself are not problems that apply to the Democratic party as a whole. We find better candidates (easier said than done, I suppose) and we eliminate things like Kerry’s very narrow position on Iraq.

The Senate is different. I don’t know enough to really say why that happened.

*Provisional ballots could make a difference. However, I really doubt it.

Categories: 2004 election cycle

Ugh, it's almost over

November 1, 2004 Leave a comment

This silly campaign is almost over. Factcheck.org has a sort of retrospective of lying in the campaign.

Ezra makes an odd case for Kerry over at Pandagon. It’s generally on the right track, though he doesn’t need to accept the silly charge that Kerry is actually a flip flopper, though it strengthens what he’s saying. I’d lay out a case, but I really don’t feel like talking any more about this campaign.

Hopefully we know who our next President is tomorrow. And hopefully it’s not Bush.

Hell, I just want to hear Bush’s concession. For some reason it’s hard to picture what he would say. TNR (subscription required) thinks Bush is slightly more likely to give a worse one.

Categories: 2004 election cycle
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