Patriots for Truth Hypocrisy Digest

Thursday, December 02, 2004

New Forwarding Address

Hypocrisy Digest has moved and changed its name. Actually is in the process of changing its name. The top contenders are "Through a Glass Darkly" "Light and Shadow", "Picture a new World", "The World, As I See it" or "As I See it". Suggestions and comments are welcome.

The new location is on my own server running under an open source blogging engine called WordPress. Please change your bookmarks to http://www.barakyedidia.com/blog. Follow the link to read more.
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Monday, November 22, 2004

There is Nothing Wrong in the Whole Wide World


Saturday, I went to Adobe books where many of the books had been rearranged by color. It is the work of Chris Cobb, a local artist with Library experience. Unfortunately, this bit of whimsy was only destined to last one week and all the books were put back early this morning. Fortunately, I took a few pictures.
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Friday, November 19, 2004

Bay Bridge in the Fog



Near mid-day Thursday.
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Avoid Compcard.com

Over a month ago, I did a portfolio session for a young aspiring model. He wanted 25 comp cards, zed card, compcards, whatever you choose to call them. 25 is a very small number of cards for offset printing. Nevertheless, I found one vendor who would print a short run for a reasonable price, compcard.com.

Let me tell you, it was excruciating. After a day to upload the initial card design, followed by another day after a discussion about the font they chose, they sent me a proof. A week later the proof arrived in my mailbox. The colors were terrible. I spoke with them about the colors, they didn't know how to correct them, so I worked up a curves set that seemed to correct for the color offset of their printer. A day later they agreed that my curves were probably the best way to go about it. I uploaded the design with the corrected colors. I told them not to bother with the second proof and just run the cards, as I was already two weeks into the process and I could see another two weeks going by before I had the cards in hand. Several days later they mailed me a new proof anyway and it arrived about 4 days after that. It was identical to the first proof. I immediately emailed them to complain. Two days later, after hearing nothing I emailed them again and left a message on their answering machine. A week later they sent me an email asking if I had gotten the second proof. This continued until yesterday, 6 weeks after I photographed poor Charlie, I finally have cards to give him, and the colors are still off.

I will never do business with compcard.com again and I recommend that all my colleagues in the photo business avoid them like the plague.
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Friday, November 12, 2004

Purple Cartogram


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Lust


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Wednesday, November 10, 2004



I have not been paying any attention to the Peterson case going on at the local courthouse, but juror dismissals always interest me. A little paragraph at the end of an article headlined Another Juror Is Ousted in Scott Peterson Trial made me furious.

But Mark Geragos, the lead defense lawyer, asked for a mistrial Monday, after jurors looked at the boat Mr. Peterson used to go fishing around the time his wife disappeared. One or two jurors apparently tried to rock the boat, and such experimentation is prohibited.
Heaven forbid we have informed jurors!
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Nation Classified

Do any of you read those little classified ads in the back of The Nation? I'm considering advertising Naked Truths there. As I see it, I need to come up with text of 15 or fewer words. I expect all of you tech writers to sharpen your pencils and help me come up with 15 words that draw Nation readers inexorably towards my website to buy the book.
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Friday, November 05, 2004



The view from across the pond.


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Morning Again

I did some research and thinking about the odd pattern that I pointed out in the last post about Florida's election result as a function of voting system.

While it's suspicious, I've come to the conclusion that it's primarily an anomaly based on history.

A few salient facts. Floridians have been overwhelmingly Democrats since the 50s. Many have not changed party affiliations either out of inertia or because most of the local races and positions are still 'big D' Democratic. The rural voters tend to vote Republican in national elections.

I spoke to the wife of a former county board member in Liberty County Florida, which voted 2 to 1 in favor of Bush, but has more than ten times as many registered Democrats as Republicans. She, herself a registered Democrat, explained that all the local seats and elections are Democratic, but all the yard signs say "Bush Cheney." She completely believes that the area is strong Bush country. "We love our President!" she said.

At the same time, it was the cities which have always been more split between Dems and GOP that first went to automated election counting - punch cards. The rural areas modernized later when optical scan was state of the art. As we know, the punch card systems in Florida were all replaced by touch screen in the last four years.

The result is that when the counties modernized is more salient than what they modernized to! Those counties that modernized to optical scan machines are rural counties where lots of Democrats vote for Republican. Those that modernized a second time in the last four years have more Democrats and voted for more Democrats, so there was no perceived shift.

What we're seeing is largely the result of the shift of the GOP from being the party of rich people to being the party of God that swept the south since the Reagan era.

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It should be illegal for the workings of voting machines to be secret.



I've been saying it for a long time and it should go without saying. The following is the text that accompanies the above picture in my Naked Truths book. (It makes a great gift!)

Warren O'Dell, CEO of Diebold Corporation, claimed he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." This is notable because Diebold is the manufacturer of electronic voting machines slated to replace many punch card systems in the coming years.

Diebold's system does not provide a hard copy of the ballot for the voter to verify the vote was recorded correctly and to create a paper trail in the case of a recount.

What is most frightening is that the workings of Diebold?s voting machines are considered proprietary. That is to say, no one not employed by Diebold is allowed to see the software that makes the machines appear to count votes. Presumably, this is because if someone outside the company saw how the machine worked, they could copy the software and make their own voting machines.

Now let's be clear. These machines record and count votes. The technology for doing that has been around for at least a few thousand years and is well known to the average fifth grader. I can think of no honest reason why the workings of Diebold's machines should not be presented to the public let alone the precincts in which they are employed.
It's interesting because there have been a bevy of people complaining quite loudly about the lack of paper trail on the touch screen systems. To my mind this is the secondary problem to the secrecy inherent in the machines.

Kathy Dopp is doing an interesting investigation of the Florida results. She wanted to see if more votes were recorded for Bush on machines with no paper trails than on their counterparts that involve a hard copy. She assumed that in a fairly run election, she could expect people to vote for their candidate roughly in proportion to the amount of registered voters for that candidate's party. (i.e. if 45% of the voters are registered Republicans and 45% are registered Democrats, then Bush should get 45% of the vote and Kerry should get 45%. Though both candidates would get a boost in a close election like this one from independent and third party voters, so the split would be closer to 50/50.) She gathered all the data from each of the counties in Florida and looked to see if the touchscreen systems showed a greater shift than the other systems in the state (they are all optical scan systems).

What she found was startling. The touch screen systems showed small randomly distributed shifts, but about half of counties using optical scan systems from three different vendors showed huge unexpected shifts towards Bush, a total of around 400,000 votes!

All these systems have paper trails, but those paper trails may never be recounted because the margin of victory was so large. Ironically, the way the system is now, if you're going to cheat, it pays to cheat big. The larger the margin of victory the less likely a recount is.

Open Source Voting Machines

The solution to the problem presented by the proprietary software voting machines is open source voting machines. There are two (that I know of) groups working towards creating open source voting machines in the US, the Open Voting Consortium and the Open Vote Foundation. I don't know if these groups overlap or collaborate or compete, but both are good groups and deserve your support. (Since the election is over, proceeds from the sale of Naked Truths will go to support these two groups, until a better cause comes along.) Also, neither group is well ranked in Google so a Google bomb is in order, if you can spare a line or two in your blog using words and phrases such as open voting, open source voting, voting without corporations, voting machines, fair voting machines, open fair voting machines, open elections, etc.

The notion behind Open Source Voting Machines is that the software is created by a group of people and anyone can read or modify the code. How can that be secure, you may ask. Well, anyone who doubts the validity of the voting machine can always check the code against the established code maintained on the consortia' websites. Linux, the most secure operating system on the planet, is completely open source. Australia has been using open source voting machines for several years with great success. American politicians have an aversion to using foreign voting machines, (despite using several foreign proprietary systems around the country including right here in San Mateo) so the two US consortia are trying to fill the gap.

In addition to using free software, the voting machines will run on very low end PCs, the type you might donate to a school. (In fact, they suggest donating the systems after an election to schools and getting newer ones at the next elections.) They would use touch screens or other data entry devices, and print out ballots on standard laser printers, which will then be read by a scanner attached to a counting computer and a lockbox to hold the ballot.

The machines would be nearly free and would always be up to date. The software would be as secure as the most secure software can be, and programmers will always be trying to break it to make it better.

Most importantly, there would never be a question as to whether Warren O'Dell or his compatriots are making good on their promises.
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Wednesday, November 03, 2004



Morning View

In the cold light of morning, I do not see any nefarious deeds in the apparent Bush Bonus over the exit polls in and of themselves. Though the numbers do remain a mystery.


-From the Economist

Of note, the amount of Bush Bonus does not seem to be correlated to use of e-voting or Diebold systems. This is not to say that Diebold and all the other companies that make voting machines do not collaborate to give Bush a 2% bonus. Notable is Utah, with the highest Bush Bonus vs. exit polls of 9% is overwhelmingly a punch card state with no electronic voting of any kind. Also #3 Vermont with 5.75% Bush Bonus used all paper trail methods with no e-voting.

Other states of note: NV 1%, KY 1.6%, GA 2.4%, NM 3.5%, CA 0.6%, FL 2.2%, OH 4.1%

The Bush Bonus may be the result of nefarious deeds, but it may also be the result that the sort of people that vote for George W. Bush are also the sort of people that will tell an exit pollster to fuck off, whereas a Kerry voter is more likely to smile and say "I voted for Kerry and I'm happy to tell the world about it."
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Tuesday, November 02, 2004



Stolen?

I just did a state by state analysis of exit polls vs. election results. There is a systematic 2% shift from the exit poll result to the election result. I have to do some further statistical analysis, but I believe that somehow, Bush's popular vote was augmented by around 2% in nearly every state.


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Friday, October 29, 2004



Quick

In and out of the courtroom in less than 50 minutes. They only needed 3 more alternates for an already seated jury of 12+1 alternate. There were 51 prospective jurors.

The case was a multiple kidnapping/sexual assault type thing. The defendant looked like a formidable guy to get in a physical tussel with, but he seemed like a nice guy. The Deputy DA made a stupid mistake in the little time that I was there. She got into a philosophical discussion with one of the prospective jurors about whether the testimony of one witness (the victim) is enough to convict a suspect who denies it. She was losing. She never should have even gone there given that the law is on her side. The judge called a brief recess. When we came back, he explained the law and moved on.

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John Kerry - Superhero

OK, I admit I'm not the strongest supporter of Kerry. He's not progressive enough for my tastes. But to criticize him as wimpy or effete is laughable. I give you: The Rude Pundit's Endorsement. He has stood up against powerful enemies often. Bush has always ducked and run when the going got tough. Go John, go!
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