Friday, July 16, 2004

Big News


Blackwell Halts Deployment Of Diebold Voting Machines For 2004
July 16, 2004

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell today halted deployment of Diebold Election Systems’ electronic voting devices in Ohio for the 2004 General Election. The decision is based on preliminary findings from the secretary of state's second round of security testing conducted by Compuware Corporation showing the existence of previously identified, but yet unresolved security issues. Hardin, Lorain and Trumbull counties had selected to use new Diebold equipment this November. Those counties will use their current voting devices in 2004.

“As I made clear last year, I will not place these voting devices before Ohio’s voters until identified risks are corrected,” Blackwell said. “Diebold Election Systems has successfully addressed many, but not all, of the problems that were identified in our first security review. The lack of comprehensive resolution prevents me from giving county boards of elections a green light for this November.

There is hope after all...
We've Got a Winner!

"Now the correct position of the thumb in the Dancing Butterfly position is here. Otherwise you are just giving your partner the inverted nightcrawler, which is fun but not as satisfying."

Congatulations to The Dunbar, and thanks to all 7 who played.
Friday Micky Blogging

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

It's getting better all the time

It has seemed like the media has quit covering troop casualties in Iraq, especially since the "handover" took place on 6/28. Is that because a sovereign Iraq has become safer for our troops? Apparently not. From the latest numbers I can find, 36 US have been killed in the 16 days following the "transfer of power". As a comparison, the first 27 days of June saw 38 US casualties.

I don't point this out because of how it reflects on Bush, or shows how pointless this war has become. These men were sent to their deaths on at best a blundered, but well meaning plan, and at worst, a blundered, deceitful plan. The least the media can do is honor these men's ultimate sacrifice by acknowledging their deaths.
No spin here... seriously

David Cole confirms what we all know, as he reports on his first and last visit to the No Spin Zone.

Bill O'Reilly is a major-league asshole. Big Time.
Spin this...
Wonkette's got a huge list of memos sent to journalists by the makers of "Outfoxed" to support their claim that Fox is the propoganda machine of the republican party. Some highlights:

"Let's not overdo the appearances by Kerry's swiftboat mate John O'Neil."

"The so-called 9/11 commission has already been meeting."

"today is likely to be the apex of the so-called 9/11 commission hearings."

"As is often the case, the real news is Iraq is being obscured by temporary tragedy."

"We'll have to devote some time to the tornadoes, simply out of respect to the magnitude of damage they did."

"It won't be long before some people start to decry the use of "excessive force." We won't be among that group."

The events in Iraq Tuesday are going to be the top story, unless and until something else (or worse) happens. Err on the side of doing too much Iraq rather than not enough. Do not fall into the easy trap of mourning the loss of US lives and asking out loud why are we there? The US is in Iraq to help a country brutalized for 30 years protect the gains made by Operation Iraqi Freedom and set it on the path to democracy. Some people in Iraq don't want that to happen. That is why American GIs are dying. And what we should remind our viewers.

"Also, let's refer to the US marines we see in the foreground as "sharpshooters" not snipers, which carries a negative connotation."

"Do not ignore the Oil for Food story, please."

Ashcroft's at it again... Can't let Oregon be Oregon. Kristof has a good piece today on the Death With Dignity law...
Choosing Death

John Ashcroft and other members of the Christian right have desperately tried to eviscerate Oregon's Death With Dignity law, on the ground that it undermines the sanctity of life...

My hunch is that the right to die will become a hotter issue over the next decade or two as baby boomers confront their own mortality. Boomers have transformed every stage of life they've passed through, and they will surely transform our way of death as well.

That's what Oregon is now pioneering. I'm an Oregonian myself, and like most people here I was ambivalent when the law was first proposed as a ballot measure in 1994. Opponents argued that the terminally ill would feel pressure to commit suicide so they wouldn't be a burden to family members.

That seemed a reasonable argument at the time, but such abuses do not appear to have occurred. Oregonians seem increasingly content with the experiment — partly because of its limited scale. The most recent figures, from February 2003, showed that at least 171 people had hastened their deaths since the law took effect in 1997 (although many with terminal illnesses start the process by getting a lethal prescription so they have the option if they want it).

All in all, the Oregon law has provided the world with a model for how to offer dying people a real choice about how they should bid farewell to the world...

Mr. Ashcroft and other critics have so far lost in their efforts, in the courts and in Congress, to block the Oregon law. But instead of moving on and letting Oregon proceed with its pathbreaking experiment, the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court on Monday for a new hearing.

The Oregon law deserves to be upheld. It forces us to examine the question of what is special about human life. The answer, I think, is the autonomy and dignity inherent in our individuality — in making hard decisions for ourselves and determining our own destinies. Oregon honors that vision of what is sacred about life.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Caption Contest

What is Pat Boone gesturing? What is Santorum thinking?
Best one gets the steamy Santorum on Boone photos taken prior to the press conference.

Oh, and I'll get the "Santorum's dick is this big" outta the way now. It's not anyway, according to my dog.
That's happened to me before...

apart from whether the Filipino withdrawal is a good thing, I found this line on kind of funny.
• Video: The premature Philippines' pullout

How To Free A Hostage
Interesting article in Time. Here's just a schnibit:
A bewildering variety of groups — some seeking money, some pushing a terrorist agenda — have kidnapped dozens of foreigners since the end of the war last year. The hostages then become commodities in a deadly human trade that links street gangs to local mafias to insurgents like Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda — linked jihadi thought to be behind many of the recent terrorist attacks in Iraq. Victims are sold up the chain, and each handler scores thousands of dollars, money used to finance gun running, drug smuggling and the insurgency...

The West generally is aware of only kidnappings that are politically motivated, like the abduction and subsequent beheading of American businessman Nick Berg. But the practice is far more common, and the kidnappers — the men who initially seize the innocents — are often petty criminals. "Those who take the hostages are not sophisticated," says Andrew White, director of the Iraqi Center for Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace. "They're thugs, gangsters."

The best hope for springing a hostage comes at the initial stage. Groups like White's contact mosques, tribal leaders, militias and even former intelligence agents in search of news about the victim. Because the low-level gangs are after cash, a quick payout might free the hostage before he is "sold up" to groups with less easily deciphered, deadlier agendas. Such deals can be lucrative: prices paid range from $10,000 to $100,000, according to White, with U.S. soldiers fetching the highest rate.

Daily Mislead

In 2000, Presidential candidate George W. Bush courageously chastised his own conservative colleagues saying "while some in my party have avoided the NAACP, and while some in the NAACP have avoided my party, I'm proud to be here...I believe we can find common ground." [SOURCE: Bush Speech, 7/10/2000] But after refusing to speak at yesterday's NAACP's annual convention, President Bush became the first President since Herbert Hoover not to attend an NAACP convention.[1]

According to NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, the NAACP "has reached out to Bush numerous times in hopes of meeting with him,"[2] but the President never responded to the NAACP. Instead, the President chose to mark key civil rights holidays with racially-insensitive announcements and behavior. For instance, last year, the President chose the Martin Luther King holiday to announce the Administration's stance against affirmative action.[3] This year, the President used the same holiday to unilaterally elevate Charles Pickering to the federal appellate bench[4] in the face of what Mfume noted was "Pickering's hostility to civil rights and leniency to cross burners."[5] This year he also used a visit to Martin Luther King's grave to force taxpayers to foot the travel costs for a $2,000-a-plate political fundraiser in Atlanta, Georgia.[6]

Big Fat Liar

Moore has provided even more facts and sources (6 pages) to back up F 9/11 here.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Calling all terrorists

American counterterrorism officials, citing what they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned.

The prospect that Al Qaeda might seek to disrupt the U.S. election was a major factor behind last week's terror warning by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Ridge and other counterterrorism officials concede they have no intel about any specific plots. But the success of March's Madrid railway bombings in influencing the Spanish elections—as well as intercepted "chatter" among Qaeda operatives—has led analysts to conclude "they want to interfere with the elections," says one official.

Did you get that, Osama? I know we've been ignoring you lately, but you could effect the elections. We're not trying to give you any ideas or anything, but if you want to attack, we might suspend the elections and declare martial law. You got that? Good.

The new documentary on the Fox News Channel was released in New York. Check out a trailer here.