Archive for August 13th, 2007

Check The Kerning

Dan Rather is at it with the inconvenient truths again:

…[T]his week’s edition of ”Dan Rather Reports” explores… the very paper from which punch-card ballots were made, and glaring shortcuts in how certain touch-screen voting machines were produced.

”Our story is not that the election would have turned out differently in 2000 if certain things hadn’t happened. No one can know that,” Rather said Monday. But his eight-month investigation has ”dug down vertically as deep as we were capable of doing” to probe the brewing problems — including on-camera interviews with workers who had a front-row seat.

The hourlong news program premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. EDT on cable’s HDNet channel, with subsequent re-airings and streaming online video.

Rather’s report begins with the current congressional bid by Democrat Christine Jennings, who lost her 2006 race by 369 votes in Florida’s Sarasota County, where touch-screen machines showed 18,000 ballots with no candidate selected in that race.

How could that happen?

The broadcast hears from Gene Hinspeter, an electronic operations specialist in nearby Lee County, who speaks of a ”calibration issue” with the touch-screen devices: on a misaligned display, choosing one candidate’s name might actually trigger a vote for another candidate.

The touch-screen machines are hard to keep calibrated, says Hinspeter. He describes them as ”unreliable.”

While the touch-screens at issue were manufactured in the U.S., they are one of many components assembled in a factory in the Philippines.

Eddie Vibar, an electrical engineer who worked there between 1999 and 2002, describes the bare-bones performance testing (”They shook the machines”). He adds that conditions were oppressive at the factory, where the temperature sometimes rose above 90 degrees and only a few air conditioners were operative.

”It’s hard to do repairs while you’re also holding a fan or a piece of cardboard (to keep cool),” explains Vibar. He says he earned about $2.50 a day.

In a separate interview, Landen Tuggle, an American dispatched to overhaul factory operations, says that, despite his best efforts, 15,000 to 16,000 potentially defective voting machines were shipped to the U.S.

Rather’s report also takes a look back at the fiasco that spurred the widespread changeover to touch-screen machines: the 2000 election, notably in Florida, where ”hanging chads” and other irregularities caused havoc. In that state, more than 50,000 punch cards were discarded as invalid because voters appeared to have voted for more than one presidential candidate (or none).

Rather interviews seven former employees of the company that made punch cards used in Florida. They agree that after decades of maintaining high production standards, their company in 2000 began opting for cheap, even defective, paper.

”It’s the flour for the bread,” says one former worker. ”I mean, if you don’t have good paper, you won’t make good ballots.”

We’re screwed.

1 comment August 13th, 2007 at 07:06pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Media,Politics,Technology,TV

Still More Battery Photoblogging

Some more photos from Battery Park, down by the river:

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Anthropomorphic pilings.

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Ferry, sky, wee helicopter.

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Statue Of Liberty, nicely framed.

August 13th, 2007 at 11:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Monday Media Blogging

Insane Japanese Gameshow Edition:
The “Human Tetris” description is not strictly accurate, but I’m not really sure what else I could call it.
More Human Tetris. The five-man one at the end cracked me right up.
I think 90% of the world’s creative genius may very well be working in the Japanese gameshow industry…

Hat tips to ::matthew and Japan Probe (twice).

August 13th, 2007 at 07:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging


No way!

Karl Rove, the political adviser who masterminded President George W. Bush’s two winning presidential campaigns, is resigning.

In an interview published today in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Rove said, “I just think it’s time,” adding, “There’s always something that can keep you here, and as much as I’d like to be here, I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family.”

Mr. Rove said he had first considered leaving a year ago but stayed after his party lost the crucial midterm elections last fall, putting Congress in Democratic hands, and Mr. Bush’s problems mounted in Iraq and in his pursuit of a new immigration policy.

He said his hand was forced when the White House chief of staff, Joshua B. Bolten, recently told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day they would be expected to stay through the rest of Mr. Bush’s term.


“He’s been talking with the president for a long time – about a year, regarding when might be good to go,” said Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman. “But there’s always a big project to work on, and his strategic abilities – and our need for his support – kept him here.” Ms. Perino said Mr. Rove would leave at the end of August.

Wow. Just… wow. I wonder if it’s just burnout – God knows, I’m sure Karl has never had to deal with this kind of full-time damage control before – or if this is yet another instance of someone resigning before an investigation zeroes in on them.

It’ll be interesting to see what changes. I’m guessing it won’t have any effect on policy, since that’s still in the hand of ideological morons, but we’ll see if the White House’s spin capabilities diminish, like they did when Rove was distracted or sidelined by illness and the Libby investigation.

August 13th, 2007 at 07:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Republicans,Rove

Shorter Booman

Noam won’t name lame names in Ames. For shame!

I couldn’t help myself…

1 comment August 13th, 2007 at 12:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

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