Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 31st, 2007

Yes, Computerized Voting Machines Are Still Bad

Posted by MEC on July 31, 2007

Because promising to fix the security flaws is not the same as actually fixing them.

Posted in election theft, voting machines, voting rights | 1 Comment »

Many a Child Left Behind

Posted by MEC on July 31, 2007

Gosh, here’s a surprise:

Child neglect rises when one spouse goes to war, study finds

The most common form of mistreatment was neglect, which the researchers defined as failure to provide adequate care, supervision and, in some cases, abandonment.

Lower income, higher stress, loss of emotional support, and sole responsibility for children who are showing the effects of a parent’s absence have a negative effect on the ability to provide for children’s physical and emotional needs. Who’da thunk it?

The maltreatment could have long-term consequences because abused children were more likely to suffer from depression and other health problems well into adulthood, the North Carolina researchers said.

Oh, and by the way, the Pentagon has announced that 20,000 members of the Army and Marine Corps are scheduled to begin deploying in late 2007 and into 2008, while troops already in Iraq are having their tours of duty extended.

Posted in children, hypocrites, Iraq war | 2 Comments »

Amelioration of greenhouse gases by injection

Posted by Charles II on July 31, 2007

Rembrandt at the Oil Drum has two interesting posts here and here. Briefly, it’s possible to inject the CO2 generated by combustion into the earth. However, it is costly, and the technology is untested to see what adverse results might occur. For example, injection into brine might force the brine elsewhere, contaminating water tables. One of the most interesting and plausible ideas is injecting the CO2 into oil/gas fields to maintain pressure and recover more fuel. 

Posted in environment | 4 Comments »

Ted Stevens: The Plot Thickens

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 31, 2007

Because we knew when the FBI and IRS visited his house the other day, it wasn’t just because of the remodeling job:

It’s official: the FBI is looking into more than Sen. Ted Stevens’ Veco-overseen remodeling project. Roll Call reports that the FBI and the Department of Interior are also looking into a series of earmarks for one of Stevens’ pet projects.

The project, the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seaward, Alaska, has received some $50 million in federal money since 1998. One of Stevens’ former aides, Trevor McCabe, was paid $558,000 of that money for an adjacent piece of land. Federal investigators want to know more about the arrangement.

It wasn’t the only time that federal money found its way to McCabe’s pocket. McCabe is also tied to the federal investigation of Stevens’ son, former state Senate President Ben Stevens.

Geez Louise. The Stevens family could give Tom DeLay’s clan a run for their money in the naked-corruption department.

The sweet ironic cherry on this corruption sundae? As LetterMan points out, when Tubes Stevens finally resigns “for health reasons”, Alaska’s governor, Republican Sarah Palin, won’t be able to appoint another Republican to fill his seat: There’s going to have to be a special election instead. Why? Because the Murkowskis, Alaska’s other big corrupt greedy Republican family, queered that forever in December of 2002 when Frank Murkowski, who had just given up his Senate seat in a successful bid for governor, appointed his own darling daughter Lisa to the open seat. This ticked off so many people that a ballot measure was passed in June of 2004 requiring Senate seats to henceforth be filled by special elections, not by gubernatorial appointments.

Posted in abuse of power, corruption, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Silly Republicans, Ted Stevens | 5 Comments »

File under “I” for “Irony”: Kirkland&Ellis is big donor to Hillary

Posted by Charles II on July 31, 2007


Lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm that’s home to Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr and Bush administration official Jay Lefkowitz, have given more to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign than to all of the top Republican candidates combined.

And to add salt to the irony:

The donations of big firm lawyers mirror those of the largest Wall Street investment bankers who have also backed Democrats this year. Employees at the top 10 Wall Street investment banks gave more than $1.4 million to Democrats and a little more than $900,000 to Republicans, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Posted in Hillary Clinton, Republicans | 1 Comment »

John Roberts Suffers Seizure

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 31, 2007

This is the second one since 1993.

It’s called “a benign idiopathic seizure”, which is a fancy way of saying that they don’t know what caused it but that it doesn’t seem to have done him any harm.   But when a person suffers two seizure, doctors almost invariably put that person on anti-seizure medication as the likelihood of having another is 60%.

Posted in activist judges, Constitution, Supreme Court, theocrats | 2 Comments »

Another Test Shows Voting Machines Are Unsafe

Posted by MEC on July 31, 2007

The New York Times (via Truthout) reports:

Computer scientists from California universities have hacked into three electronic voting systems used in California and elsewhere in the nation and found several ways in which vote totals could potentially be altered, according to reports released yesterday by the state.


Matthew A. Bishop, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, who led the team that tried to compromise the machines, said his group was surprised by how easy it was not only to pick the physical locks on the machines, but also to break through the software defenses meant to block intruders.


The reports also said the investigators had found possible problems not only with computerized touch-screen machines, but also with optical scanning systems and broader election-management software.

The evidence is piling up that any computerized voting machine presents a serious risk of falsified results. Paper ballots, either sheets for optical-scan machines or audit copies for touchscreen machines, don’t provide much assurance that the machine’s programming isn’t rigged to produce false results. The calculated total will only be questioned if a race is very close or the outcome is significantly at odds with previous elections (e.g. a candidate of one party gets a decisive margin in a precinct where the other party has always won).

Why not count all votes by hand? It can be done if there are enough volunteers. Let’s have a federal law requiring employers to provide time off with pay for employees who sign up to be poll workers; federal funding to pay those poll workers enough to provide a strong incentive to sign up; and state or federal oversight to make certain the poll workers are adequately trained.

I’ve been a poll worker. It’s a long and tiring day, but it’s satisfying work. If enough people volunteer for the job, each precinct could have two shifts of workers, and plenty of people at the end of the day to divide up the ballots to be counted by hand, with at least two people reviewing each group of ballots to ensure accuracy.

Canada counts ballots by hand, and the Canadians get their election results reasonably soon after the election. So why do we have a system that destroys confidence in the results?

Posted in election theft, voting machines, voting rights | 3 Comments »

A powerful online short film about Iraq

Posted by Charles II on July 31, 2007

Sean Smith has a short film about his sojourn with the Marines in Anbar province. It’s depicts the difficult environment in which the Marines operate, the abandonment of towns by the population, the allegations of violence against civilians. and the difficulty in intercepting insurgent supplies.

And, above all, it shows that those soldiers are our kids.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

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