August 31, 2004
As I came into the middle of the discussion they were talking about the decisions surrounding the choice of Alan Keyes to run for Senate here. They went over various candidates whose names had come up for consideration after Jack Ryan had dropped out. When they got to Mike Ditka - former coach of the Chicago Bears football team - and extremely popular guy in Illinois, THIS is the explanation our esteemed Chairman gave for talking to Mr. Ditka.
Well, we had to talk to him because the press had advanced his name. We really didn't want him...
[Note - the wording is approximate - I was driving and I have no transcript]
All I could think of after that was - No wonder the Republican party is in such bad shape in Illinois!!!
What a completely moronic thing to say! Even if it's the truth - you certainly don't want to present yourself and your group to the public as so incredibly wishy-washy and mealymouthed that you MUST let the press decide how you run your party!!! Then there is the fact that they actually talked to Ditka - sat down and had meetings with him. If they didn't feel he could represent the party and the people of Illinois - WHY DID THEY EVEN BOTHER!!!
No matter how you slice it - that one statement alone - shows that there is a light on, but no one is home at the top levels of the Republican party here. Very sad.
On another note - I watched my first bit of any convention speeches I've ever seen. It so happened that I heard them announce on the radio that Arnold was about to speak. Since I've never ever watched a convention speech, I wasn't sure what to expect. CBS - which is what came up when I turned the television on - had LOUSY SOUND. Arnold's speech was really good - the Rah Rah rousing type you want at conventions. The Bush girls - I felt sorry for them - they were very nervous (why do we have to listen to the entire family now?) . Laura was good, but would've looked MUCH better if she had spoken before Arnold. He should've been the one to finish the night.
I adore Laura Bush, but she is not a rousing speaker - she's calm, dignified and quiet. So, I think whoever planned things was thinking more of proper precedence than of the flow of the evening.
It has brought me a steady stream of hits ever since then, peaking on the last day of the DNC. Surprisingly, the hits are rising again with beginning of the RNC. It will be amusing to watch and see how high the counter goes this time. Over at Stat Counter I had over 1000 hits on the last day of the DNC - as you may have noticed from the comments my regular posts have elicited - few if any have stuck around to continue reading. *grin*
Now I'm going to be really curious to see what happens after the election when interest drops off. I figure I have roughly 30 regular readers, maybe 50, although that might be pushing it. But this suits me just fine since I don't want to end up like Den Beste getting burned out by critics. No, I'll just continue to plug away and write what I want. NOT getting those emails works for me!
PS - for fans of SDB - yes I already know I couldn't even begin to be as good as he is... so don't get bent.
So, how bout it, head on over, read about the usual names and see if you can come up with something different!
August 30, 2004
Meet some of the people that Kerry has branded war criminals.
Peter - you should have your own blog! Thank you for your service.
General Mills Inc, the maker of Wheaties cereal, announced on Monday three U.S. Olympic champions will appear on millions of its iconic orange cereal boxes -- but Hamm was not among them.
So, let me get this straight. The judges can't add - they can't even score their sport properly (missing several errors by the South Korean gymnast). South Korea goes to the IOC several DAYS after the event to protest - well past the time limit. The IOC in all it's glory and being unable to follow its own rules (especially when the rules favor the bad ol' USA) puts it all off on Paul Hamm - telling him to "be a sportsman and give up his medal".
Now Wheaties - breakfast of chumps - is giving him the supreme snub and thus proclaiming they don't want to annoy France...
Now think of the headlines if it was the US going to the IOC to protest. Switch the roles. Hamm and the US would've been excoriated in every major newspaper around the world. The fact that Hamm has done nothing wrong and is still having to take the fall for the IOC is just ludicrous.
Yeah - boycott Wheaties... the wankers.
August 29, 2004
August 28, 2004
But Linda Lamone, Maryland's top elections official, has categorically stated that she sees no problems at all.
Linda H. Lamone testified in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court that some of the experts' recommendations are unworkable, unnecessary and illegal.
I must admit, that for a story such as this - about the election process, I would have liked the reporter to give us FAR more detail in the story itself. As it is, this turns out to be almost a "puff piece" with no substance and no way to make any kind of judgement about e-voting machines. Since we the voters need information in order to go to our legislators and ask for reform, this type of story is a tremendous disservice. It causes confusion, which means that most people will simply ignore it and go with the flow.
The biggest problem I have with these machines is the fact that there is NO PAPER TRAIL! There is no way to check that the votes being recorded electronically, are being recorded accurately. If a machine were to fail - all the votes on that machine would be lost - completely. I find this to be (here comes the understatement of the century) unacceptable!
Lamone said she learned of the first critical report, by Johns Hopkins University computer science professor Aviel Rubin, last summer, calling it "so-called research" and "not a valid report."
Why is it that this particular statement forcibly calls to mind the scene in Office Space where about 6 people walk up to the lead character and tell him that there is a new cover sheet for the TPS reports and he really needs to remember to use it... I wonder what she considers a "valid" report. Does it have to be on special paper? Have the correct cover sheet? Come from the correct department? What would she consider to be "real" research, as opposed to "so-called" research? The orginal report can be downloaded from here.
She recalled being "irritated" that Diebold had allowed its source code to be found on the Internet and as a result studied by Rubin and his colleagues. She said the report ruined her vacation because she was forced to spend time on the phone answering questions about it and had to return home early.
Ah the eternal question of open source software vs. proprietary software. One of the things about security in computers is that fact that, the more people you have looking for holes, the greater the likelihood that they will be found and dealt with in a timely manner. This is the big talking point of open source. Whereas with proprietary, you must be sure to guard the code closely (something Diebold did not do) and count on obscurity to keep you safe from attempted tampering with the system.
But the astounding thing is that Ms. Lamone chose to find this whole thing so irritating because it interfered with her vacation time. Did I miss something here? She's in a position of great responsibility, yet when confronted with possible problems her reaction is to be annoyed because it cuts into her leisure time? Perhaps she should get herself a job where she punches a time clock - then when she leaves at the end of the day, she doesn't have to take any work home with her.
Lamone also said she had implemented many recommendations outlined by consulting firms hired by the state, SAIC and RABA Technologies, but that some of their proposals were unworkable.
According to Ms. Lamone, some changes have already taken place, she thinks that should be enough to satisfy everyone that she's done all she could. What the changes are, is not related in the article (gee now there's some thorough reporting for you). What changes aren't possible and why, is also not reported. (guess they aren't important)
"I think we're going to have lines and confusion and complaints" if paper is included as an option, she testified.
But, I do agree that the use of 2 totally different systems at the same time - paper OR electronic - is not the way to solve the problem. This would cause no end of grief for election judges on an already incredibly long day for them.
In the meantime, after the original report was released by Aviel Rubin, he did a stint as an election judge. He relates his experience here. It's not too long, and is an interesting insight into a scholar looking at the real world and comparing it to his "lab" work. The most interesting part - and the most surprising - is his willingness to admit where his original thoughts of attacks were not truly a threat in the real world. Having known a number of people who do this sort of work (computer security) they seldom want to admit that an attack is a possibility, but highly highly improbable. It gives me even more respect for his work.
Now, I think we should send Jimmy Carter to Maryland to watch the voting machines - I'm sure he'll be able to read the numbers off of it just fine. That should reassure everyone.
August 27, 2004
I don't have an entry in this week. It's been a bit busy with work and I didn't get a chance to go digging around in my recipe box for something good. Next week... Yeah, next week.
August 26, 2004
If you've never read her stories - head on over to SSDB archives of Sgt Mom's work - and start browsing around!
Now if you will excuse me, I have to order a book!
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