Thursday, December 11, 2003

Neither sheep nor fools

An internal memo from Diebold, the creepy voting machine company, suggests making it “prohibitively expensive” for states to require printed receipts. The memo was obtained by a hacker, which tells you everything you need to know about the security of any ballot operated by these clowns.

The US authorizes the creation of a new secret police in Iraq, at least partly staffed by members of the old secret police, to be run by a former exile who no doubt has his own get-even list.

Just received the first campaign mailer of the 2004 elections. Evidently there will be a county initiative to ban Wal-Mart. Guess who the mailer was from. Did you know that “Not everyone can afford to shop at fancy department stores”? I weep for those people, forever shut out from the Sears’s and Targets of this world.

A must-read about gerrymandering. If that doesn’t sound like a must-read, just trust me and read it anyway. It explains why Congressional elections barely matter any more.

I wasn’t going to mention the last D debate, especially since I didn’t see it, but I’ve seen excerpts and transcripts now, and Ted Koppel should be horse-whipped. He kept talking about process stuff that no voter cares about (and no voter SHOULD care about), tried to humiliate the lesser candidates into bursting into tears and resigning their candidacies on the spot, accusing Carol Moseley Braun of being a vanity candidate (which she is, but 1) she was a United States Senator, 2) I don’t think he’d have used the term to a male candidate, 3) it’s not his job to say so, 4) and certainly not in that forum). Koppel has been quoted by the Post as wanting a smaller field to make the debates better, or better drama anyway. And the day after the debate, ABC withdrew coverage from the 3 candidates Koppel attacked. Forget Al Gore’s alleged arrogance for daring to express his opinion, what about ABC’s arrogance? Also, aren’t Kucinich, Braun and Sharpton the 3 candidates who are furthest to the left? What gets left out when they’re gone?

Of course the day after Kucinich berated Koppel for not treating him as a serious candidate, he went on a date selected for him by a political website, with the tv cameras rolling.

In Britain, a Labour MP has also been using the internet to trawl for dates. Chris Bryant MP appeared in underwear on the site and declared that he enjoys “a good long fuck.” The site is...wait for it...gaydar.co.uk.

Italy bans fertility treatment and egg and sperm donation for gays, single people and older women, and makes several other decisions about fertility treatments that are none of the state’s business. Italy lacked virtually any regulation of such matters precisely because it is a Catholic country, and the Church fought any law that didn’t follow its orders precisely.

40% of the Iraqis the US was training for the new Iraqi army have quit, because they weren’t paid enough. I wonder who they’ll be selling that training to?

In his dissent to the decision upholding McCain-Feingold campaign finance rules, Scalia wrote, “The premise of the First Amendment is that the American people are neither sheep nor fools, and hence fully capable of considering both the substance of the speech presented to them and its proximate and ultimate source.” Is that what the premise of the 1st Amendment is? Boy, that is SO off-base.

The majority of the Supes took the position that issue ads and soft money constituted corruption, rather than speech.

Speaking of corruption, Bush responded to questions about the illegality in international law of his attempts to use contracts in Iraq to reward his supporters with what he evidently thought was a joke: “International law? I'd better call my lawyer.” He explained carefully, like someone explaining to idiots something so obvious it didn’t need explanation, that only companies whose home countries had sacrificed some 18-year olds (“friendly coalition folks risk their lives”) deserved to charge $2.64 to import a gallon of gas, even though none of the executives of those companies were related to those 18-year olds.

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