April 13, 2006
Great moments in commenting
I have never closed comments on my old posts, and while that can be a pain from a spam perspective, the occasional random comment from a Google surfer has been known to make up for it. Back in 2002, I participated in a blogburst to celebrate the season premier of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wrote a fluffy little piece that drew a silly comparison between Buffy and The Sopranos, riffing on the lyrics in the latter show's theme song. Mostly, I couldn't think of anything better to write, and I had a deadline looming, so that's what I came up with.
This afternoon, some random person left this comment on that post:
This website is completely ridiculous. Any dumbass that would actually watch Buffy would never understand the art and intricate details of The Sopranos. And you're comparing hairstyles? How old are you?
I'm 40. And before you ask, the answer is no, I do not live in my mom's garage
. Does it help that I understand the art and intricate details of the Austin Lounge Lizards?
It's moments like this that remind me why I blog.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 13, 2006 to General snarkiness
"Any dumbass that would actually watch Buffy..."
Isn't that rather redundant?
Ohhhh wait, just remembered ... Alyson Hannigan. Reason enough right there. Truth be told, I could care less what her hair style was sporting, so long as the degree of hotness she exuded remained a constant. To this day, I blame her for making me take an active interest in the American Pie series of movies.
Does this guy really derive a sense of superiority from what TV shows he watches?
Andrea wrote that comment. Andrea is an editor for the Houston Chronicle. You're in trouble now.
so paint you on velvet, and do not disguise
the bright silver teardrops that you've brought to these eyes
hang me out by the roadside, and there we'll all be
Jesus and Elvis, the dogs playing poker and Willie and me
signed, Greenwich Village hippie chick with sicilian relatives in south Jersey.
Don't you feel ashamed now?
Uh...so when did you move out of your mom's garage?? ;p)
Here's something important...
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
JFK's assassination solved!
Tonight (Tuesday, 4/4), at 7:00 p.m., Lamar Waldron will be speaking at the MacNally-Robinson Bookstore, on Prince St. (at Mulberry) in New York City. He will be discussing his superb new book, Ultimate Sacrifice, which he wrote with my good friend Thom Hartmann.
Ultimate Sacrifice is a brilliant, liberating book about the Kennedy assassination. Based on 17 years of meticulous research, it finally tells the startling truth about that epoch-making crime.
Here's the blurb I posted on my blog:
Here's some good news: there is no longer any mystery as to JFK's assassination. In their new book, Ultimate Sacrifice, Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann make it wholly clear that Kennedy was murdered by the Mafia, whose chieftains had infiltrated Jack's and Bobby's covert plan to spark a coup in Cuba and have Castro killed. The mafiosi--specifically, Carlo Marcello, Johnny Roselli and Santo Trafficante--knew that that operation was so sensitive that any news about it could have touched off World War III; and, therefore, that Bobby would do anything to keep the whole thing secret. In the two weeks prior to Nov. 22, 1963, those hoodlums had already tried to have JFK killed in Chicago and in Tampa. Both efforts were logistically identical to the assassination that occurred in Dallas.
This is not supposition or speculation, but a solid case, based on copious documentary evidence and numerous firsthand accounts by close participants in the Kennedys' top-secret venture (code-named AMWORLD).
In other words, the book explodes two antithetical mythologies: the preposterous cover story floated by the Warren Commission, and the paranoid master-theory that has launched a thousand books, and made Warner Bros. wealthy through the movie JFK. Thus this extraordinary book not only sheds abundant new light on the central trauma in our modern history, but in so doing it also sets us free.
I'll be there to introduce Lamar, who will speak, take questions, and sign copies of his book.
posted by MCM at 8:26 AM Permalink
Al Gore's dedication to try to reverse Global Warming may yet save us by mitigating some of the worst effects of Global Warming which has tipped at 425 ppm, if he is able to influence enough people to demand leadership action. His documentary comes out in May 2006.
Senators who don't believe in climate change - or at least not in doing anything about it
Mon Jun 27th, 2005 at 15:32:03 PDT
Here are the Senators who voted to table a "Sense of the Senate" resolution stating that global warming exists and the Senate should take some kind of action about it:
Craig (R-ID) Crapo (R-ID)
Hagel (R-NE) Hatch (R-UT)
Any Senator on this list who indeed does believe in global warming would be wise to clarify that at this point.
I think we should name the upcoming 2006 Hurricanes after the list above.
Also, very interesting article by CBS on Gores' disappeared 16,000 votes by E-Voting machine in 2000.
What do we do with this information? Hurricane season with Bush's greater-extinction-level job performance is very scary.
Black Box Voting » Document Archive » Reports and Studies »
CBS Report: 2000 Pres. Election mis-called due to voting machine
Posted on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 05:53 pm:
This report, quietly released by CBS after an internal investigation into how the election was erroneously called in 2000, gives a minute by minute description. Most chilling was the response to Dan Rather's concerns as to why the network had not pulled back its call for Bush, even after they knew that it was called erroneously, due to minus 16,022 votes uploaded in Volusia County, Florida.
When asked when they will pull the bad call for Bush, the president of CBS News, Andrew Heyward, wants to know what Gore is going to do. Gore had been misled into conceding the election to Bush based on the minus 16,022 Volusia County votes, and was in a car just two blocks away from conceding to the nation when he learned that the projected results were bogus.
This report shows that there is no question the election was wrongfully called due to Volusia County. It attributes them to some sort of glitch. It now appears more likely that a Volusia County memory card was tampered with to produce the number of votes needed to call the election for Bush, in hopes that Gore could be induced to concede prematurely.
In fall 2003, we revealed for the first time on this Web site that the real reason for the minus 16,022 votes was a replacement memory card. An internal memo from Diebold's master programmer, Talbot Iredale, points to the uncomfortable fact that there were three memory cards. The first results, the correct results, were uploaded from card #0. The minus 16,022 were uploaded from card #3. No one seems to be able to account for where memory card #3 came from or where it went after the fateful upload.
Note: The machines are now called Diebold, but were then called Global Election Systems. This is the AccuVote optical scan machine, the version that Harri Hursti hacked in Leon County, Florida on May 26 and Dec. 13, 2005.
application/pdfCBS report: How the 2000 election was mis-called
CBSreport.pdf (410.4 k)
So now what? Anyone?
Dear Ronnie Earle,
Many Green, Yellow, Blue and now Purple Dogs
-- Why Rush Holt's H.R.550 is a bad idea (It doesn't count All Paper Ballots)
-- The Inside Game and The Outside Game (Each Needs the Other)
Why the Rush Holt bill (H.B. 550) is dangerous
Posted on Saturday, April 08, 2006 - 07:54 am:
There is a major push right now to pass H.B. 550, a bill put forth by Rep. Rush Holt to mandate a paper trail (along with a flimsy audit that no accountant would agree is adequate).
Election reform groups are split on whether they support H.B. 550. Black Box Voting normally does not weigh in on legislation, this time we will.
Like an antibiotic that's too weak, we believe that H.B. 550 will create a more resistant strain of election infection.
Like a placebo, people may think the election system is getting well when in fact, the medicine is only a sugar pill that makes everyone think it's better. For a minute.
Paul Lehto, an attorney who is a leader in the election reform movement and the plaintiff in a groundbreaking lawsuit related to electronic voting, has a unique clarity in public policy issues. Lehto says:
"[the] paper record requirement, combined with a worse than anemic audit feature, is so darn dangerous in terms of its ability to create false confidence...
"Putting into the Holt bill a provision specifying the method of EAC audit (2% or more precinct sampling) simply telegraphs to cheaters how to cheat and not get caught..."
Any major political movement has the inside game and the outside game
The inside game involves writing letters, lobbying, working with legislators, and in the case of a privatization issue like voting machines, meeting with vendors and working with regulatory groups.
The outside game involves investigative work, communications on subjects even when they are considered impolite, exposés, agitation, occasional civil disobedience, and an overwhelming push to give citizens power over those who govern them.
The inside game resists the outside game
Those who play the inside game tend to believe that the outside game is undisciplined, a bunch of mavericks, endangers the goal. The inside game is polite, conciliatory, respects authority and likes to tell others what to do.
"Support H.B. 550 it's good push this button send this email now."
Those who question and probe are painted as irresponsible.
There is no doubt that Black Box Voting usually plays the outside game. We know we'll be attacked from within the movement -- from the establishment-oriented inside game - for taking the position that H.B. 550 will do more damage than good.
But here it is: Black Box Voting believes that H.B. 550 is unwise. It will not be effective to improve citizen oversight or election integrity. It is dangerous, because the weakness of the antibiotic will create a more resistant strain of election manipulation.
The likelihood is that, if H.B. 550 is passed, it will simply "prove" that electronic voting works "fine."
It was a "fine" election...
As another blogger noted, notice the frequency with which elected officials are now using that word. I suppose it's an improvement over a couple years ago, when they called us "terrorists", but I still scratch my head when I hear the new talking point: "We had a fine election." Not "we had an accurate election." Not "we had a fair election." We had a fine election. What do they mean by that?
Well, rest assured that electronic voting will look just "fine" under the Holt bill because, as Paul Lehto notes, the way the audits are set up they won't catch anything to make the election look "not fine." To solve the inadequate auditing provisions in the Holt bill will require drafting a whole new bill.
So if H.B. 550 is passed, everyone will pat themselves on the back and go home and not a damn thing will actually change, except that more taxpayer money will be expended for retrofitted machines.
The inside game people want the current kinds of technology to work
And -- note the players involved, like those involved in testing and setting standards -- many of them will have no role in this if they don't make the current kinds of technology work. Note the recent Calif. Senate/ITAs transcript, where Systest Labs refers to the meeting in Nov. 2005 -- you know, the one where all the industry perps showed up but the public, and even the chair of the California Senate Elections Committee were excluded. Systest reports that the academics seem to be heading toward creating an IV&V effort, another layer of testing and certifying.
More taxpayer money, more scientists, more paychecks, more layers of complexity, more people to point the finger at when elections turn out to be secret unsubstantiated messes.
The inside game has tolerance for a much longer timeline
You don't need to hurry if you don't think any crimes will be committed.
The inside game is addressing the problem by adding a "vvpat" and quibbling over just how to do a 2 percent audit, or layering test labs into the process, or ponderously altering standards in response to critical security failures, while grandfathering old systems in for years.
No major reform movement will survive without the outside game
The civil rights movement would not have gotten very far without the outside game. Rosa Parks was outside game. The Selma-to-Montgomery March was outside game. The civil rights workers -- some of whom were killed -- were outside game.
The anti-Viet Nam movement would have failed without the outside game. Viet Nam Vets Against the War were outside game. Burning draft cards was outside game.
The outside game knows it needs the inside game, because when the message is sufficiently focused and the goals are sufficiently clear and the people themselves are beginning to drive the train, it gets pitched to the inside game and changes are made to legislation.
But it isn't just legislation that is pushed down the tracks by the outside game. Media tends to gravitate towards coverage of the outside game. The message of the outside game sticks in the public's consciousness better then legislative bill numbers. After the outside game succeeds in pushing the message into the mainstream, embedding it in the public psyche, change becomes more durable.
The inside game doesn't necessarily think the outside game is necessary. Because the outside game pushes the envelope, opening up new frontiers, it pushes concepts into the mainstream that are -- by definition -- not really accepted yet. When you focus on the establishment to achieve your goals, it helps to distance yourself from the outside game. The smartest of the inside game strategizers recognize how the ecosystem works, though, and often provide discreet support and/or intelligence to the outside game.
Less savvy inside game strategists allow themselves to be persuaded that the outside game puts the agenda at risk, endangers the country.
This can be helped along by disruptors (posing as part of the movement) who are actually working for the opposition. In the civil rights movement, and in the anti-Viet Nam War movement, there were paid infiltrators who posed as activists, but those individuals persuaded many real activists over to a more controlled, less "dangerous" point of view. They also helped pit them against the outside game.
It's all part of the play book.
You don't catch criminals by passing a rule against it.
The outside game defines the problem a bit differently. Let me give you an analogy to show how the current inside game fails when one assumes there just might -- possibly -- be a criminal enterprise at work in certain election situations.
Let's say it's small, localized, and simply mercenary. For $40,000 a guy with inside access will make sure a developer-friendly commissioner gets in. To get the guy in, he arranges to exploit a known hole in voting machine security.
Now, the Rush Holt bill will have you wait a couple years before it even gets to the rules committee, where the lobbyists step in and gut the bill. So it won't protect 2006, because it won’t be in effect by then, and it probably won't protect 2008 because even if it makes it to the rules committee, it will be weakened when it gets behind closed doors.
So the guy pockets his $40,000 and the commissioner gets into office. It will almost certainly never be discovered, because there are no audit provisions anywhere for electronic voting machines likely to catch this stuff, but let's say it does get caught.
If you're playing the inside game, you take this example of the $40,000 cheat and spend nine months discussing it into new standards, then a couple years to grandfather the old voting systems, and finally, around 2009, you address what the guy did for $40,000 back in 2006.
By this time, another guy is selling elections using a different back door. He builds a better hack, having learned from the NIST discussion what they ARE looking at. All he has to do is go where they are not looking.
If you're worried about national politics, listen up:
In a time-critical situation, the inside game runs out the clock.
Let's not call this dirty tricks or Rovian spin or pretend it is just the way hardball politics work. If we can't substantiate the data in our elections systems (both voter registration and votes) these weaknesses will attract people who want to manipulate elections. Subverting election-related data is a criminal act. If it involves more than one person, it is a criminal enterprise.
If criminal enterprises want to manipulate a national election by attacking the data, that criminal entity will be thrilled to see activists derailed into sincere actions that actually just run out the clock.
Efforts to steer everyone to the inside game is a bit insidious. Think for yourself.
The idea that you can solve election fraud by making standards, putting machines into testing labs, and doing poorly defined, weak, and statutorily limited audits came about because the inside game thought it was impolite to define the problem accurately.
It's not about a paper trail -- It's about banning SECRECY
If we want a trustworthy system, we need to be unafraid to entertain the idea that if you make any facet of elections secret (other than who a person votes for), it will attract criminals. Such a temptation may take place inside a voter registration database or voting machine vendor's operation. In the case of a rogue programmer, management need not even know (if the programmer is positioned correctly). It may exist inside an elections office, or with a pollworker, or through a political operative.
You won't stop it by passing a rule against it. We need to be lobbying to end secrecy and re-enable citizen oversight. Lobbying for anything else may give us "fine" elections but we'll never really know whether our vote was counted as we cast it.
Save your lobbying for something that eliminates secrecy. And if only a computer scientist can understand it or only an elections official can monitor it, it's still secret. H.B. 550 doesn't do much of anything to get at the core problem, which is secrecy.
PERMISSION TO REPRINT OR EXCERPT GRANTED. MUST LINK TO http://www.blackboxvoting.org.
Posted on Sunday, April 09, 2006 - 02:43 pm:
from Siva Vaidhyanathan, always so good:
Siva recommends buying the following book.
Posted by Siva at 06:43 AM
The Wealth of Networks : How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom by Yochai Benkler
Siva Vaidhyanathan :
"A lucid, powerful, and optimistic account of a revolution in the making."-Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of The Anarchist in the Library
Jack M. Balkin :
"A magnificent achievement. Yochai Benkler shows us how the Internet enables new commons-based methods for producing goods, remaking culture, and participating in public life. The Wealth of Networks is an indispensable guide to the political economy of our digitally networked world."-Jack M. Balkin, Professor of Law and Director of the Information Society Project, Yale University
Bruce Ackerman :
"At last a book that confronts the politics and economics of the Internet in a fundamental way, moving beyond the surface of policy debate to reveal the basic structure of the challenges we confront."-Bruce Ackerman, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University
William W. Fisher III :
"This deeply researched book documents the fundamental changes in the ways in which we produce and share ideas, information, and entertainment. Then, drawing widely on the literatures of philosophy, economics, and political theory, it shows why these changes should be welcomed, not resisted. The trends examined, if allowed to continue, will radically alter our lives-and no other scholar describes them so clearly or champions them more effectively than Benkler."-William W. Fisher III, Hale and Dorr Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Harvard University, Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Lawrence Lessig :
"In this book, Benkler establishes himself as the leading intellectual of the information age. Profoundly rich in its insight and truth, this work will be the central text for understanding how networks have changed how we understand the world. No work to date has more carefully or convincingly made the case for a fundamental change in how we understand the economy of society."-Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
April 14, 2006
On Baseball and America
Posted by Siva at 05:51 PM |
I posted this on Altercation today:
From: Siva Vaidhyanathan
Hometown: "Say Hey" City
I had some trepidation about making a joke about airport security on 9/11/01. But I never thought it would be Bill Buckner fans who got offended! For the record, I loved Buckner when he played. I always started him on my baseball card All-Siva teams. He and Bill Madlock made the Cubs fun for a lot of years.
I have been walking around New York City all week with a New York Giants cap on. If the Giants had stayed in Manhattan they would be my favorite team. Alas, on more than one occasion some young whippersnapper sought solidarity with me for being a Mets fan. Why couldn't the Mets develop their own logo? Someone should work on that.
This week I also started staying home with my three-month-old daughter three days a week. We got to watch opening day games together. Because I have agreed to raise her as a Red Sox fan (the compromises we make for love and family harmony), we watched the right-winger/hander Curt Schilling win his first game of the season while switching over occasionally to a half-empty Shea Stadium.
My daughter and I watched two teams I loathe, yet we loved every minute of it. Every time Coco Crisp came up to bat I made her giggle by saying "COCOCRISPCOCOCRISPCOCOCRISP" really fast with a funny face.
I can't quite describe the joy of sharing a baseball game with my daughter. So far, it's all about my self-indulgence. She could be just has entertained by the Simpsons (which hypnotizes her). It's really just me wishing for the day that she can sit next to me and keep score at a game and ask me about the first time I saw Barry Bonds jack two homers in a game.
Yeah. I can even get excited about seeing Barry Bonds hit, even though we know what we know. I can't help being willfully naive and embarrassingly sappy about baseball every opening day. I hope I never lose that. I don't ever want to be that smart and cynical.
Loving baseball and loving America are deeply intertwined for me. They are both troubled and unjust right now. But there is always hope and goodness in the details, the small things, the margins.
See, even though our government is corrupt, our air polluted, our ice caps melting, and our security and credibility eroded, I still believe that there is something powerful and beautiful about seeing the American flag wave over a center-field wall.
I still get the chills when we stand for the Star Spangled Banner before a game.
I still smile when I see a parent share a game and a bag of $5 popcorn with her child.
I still listen in awe as two people from completely different places and standards of living -- a Wall Street broker and a Bronx public school custodian, for instance -- engage in a high-level debate about whether the hit-and-run really creates runs efficiently.
These are among the things that first made me fall in love with this great nation. Along with Texas barbecue, Los Lobos, and Stevie Wonder, these things keep my love for America alive and strong.
I hope my daughter loves America as much as I do. She can even hate the Yankees as my wife does. I don't care. Plenty of good Americans do. They are just a lot less happy than those of us who support the Bombers. That's their choice -- freedom of choice is what we are all about -- as David Brent of The Office would say.
But I know it's going to be harder for my daughter to feel as passionate about these little things. Loving America will not come as easy for her. My father and his eight brothers and sisters immigrated here. They chose this place for all the right reasons. Most of my relatives who did not immigrate were military. They modestly risked their lives for the rest of us. My entire life has been framed by these choices and sacrifices. My daughter, on the other hand, will be distant from all that. She won't know the risks my father took to establish a life here. She won't understand what it meant that my grandfather volunteered for his third war at the end of his naval career to captain a small plastic craft in the Mekong Delta so that rich Republicans like young George W. Bush could get smashed every weekend in peace.
The America she is growing up into has already spent all her money on tax cuts for those same rich draft dodgers and on a futile war that has no good resolution. The America she will get to know will be more economically stratified, more debt-ridden, more atomized, and more hated than even my own post-Vietnam, post-Watergate America. How can I teach her about the beautiful things? How can I inspire her to let America inspire her?
At a baseball game, we can rise above all that political pettiness (except when fans boo the great Carlos Delgado). We can all be Americans. We can all pay attention to the beautiful little things like a clean pick-off move or a perfect bunt. We can all giggle when homophobes sing along with "YMCA" and "We Will Rock You," and those who would never be caught dead listening to a "Bonzo goes to Bitburg" chant "Hey, Ho. Let's Go." It's the great unifier.
Sure, I wish baseball players were clean. I wish tickets were affordable. I wish the drunks would leave the stands and let the kids enjoy the game without having to hear "show us your tits" in the seventh inning. I wish George W. Bush would resign from office to become baseball commissioner so he could clean up the game. I wish the Giants had never left Manhattan and the Dodgers had never left Brooklyn. I have a lot of wishes that will never come true. That's part of being American as well. At least we have dreams and wishes. We can imagine a better life. Around the world, billions of people can't.
As Paul Simon reminds us, "We come in the age's most uncertain hours, and sing an American tune." It's all right. It's all right.
I sing my daughter to sleep with that song. And it makes me cry.
TIAA-CREF and the Republicans
Posted by Siva at 05:28 PM |
From Benj Hellie:
Hey professor, do you know what your retirement savings are up to?
I bet you didn't know that TIAA-CREF donates 86% of its political cash to the GOP!
I'm sorry, but this is unacceptable. Why is the pension home for scholars in bed with the f***ing anti-science party, which is constantly trying to undermine our autonomy using assholes like David Horowitz?
Furious? Call and complain: 1 800 842 2776.
If you have money with TIAA-CREF, please call immediately!
Oh, and as far as Buffy goes, in fiction as in real life, Bravery Is Beautiful.
for more informaiton about Hart Intercivic
Hart Intercivic manuals as pdf files, lots of them, a heaping helping of them.
Bev Harris BBV
Here it comes now, not in the future--greater heat--because we have people who took charge with their Greater Extinction Level Job Performance.
A book that may help with what is coming:
Eric Klinenberg says that the great heat in 1995 in Chicago was not the only reason for the high number of deaths, but the added problem was the social disaster playing out amid the heat.
Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago
Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 0-226-44321-3
Paper $15.00 ISBN: 0-226-44322-1
For Description and Table of Contents: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/14801.ctl
For interview: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/443213in.html
Good Steward Evangelicals, Please ask Bush to Step Down before Hurricane Season, and before he takes us all down with him.