This morning, I was driving home from carpool while listening to the morning radio host on 640AM. He was polling listeners about today's court date for Cobb County's evolution disclaimer (and the constitutionality thereof) for school textbooks. The disclaimer inspiring debate reads as follows:
I live in Cobb County. I think the courts and the schools could be doing more meaningful things. But that's not really the point. What stunned me was the nutjobs who showed up in force on on the radio to defend the disclaimer. That they wish to defend the disclaimer doesn't bother me. Heck, the disclaimer itself doesn't even bother me. It's the symantics of righteousness and hatred I heard that made me sick.
One caller from a neighboring county said this: "On election day, the citizens of this country DECLARED that the United States is a Christian country. I'm so sick of these liberals and their attitudes, I think it's time we start putting liberals in prison."
HELLO, CHRIST CALLING?
The radio host feigned dismay--"Well, that's a bit Draconian I think," and yet, the screener knew excactly what this caller was going to say. Bet on it. It's not just another isolated incident.
Which brings me to zealots.
Which brings me to wondering, what does a zealot stop at in his quest to advance his noble cause?
Which brings me to mounting evidence that they did it again, referenced by Tom.
Dick Morris, the infamous political consultant to the first Clinton campaign who became a Republican consultant and Fox News regular, wrote an article for The Hill, the publication read by every political junkie in Washington, DC, in which he made a couple of brilliant points.
"Exit Polls are almost never wrong," Morris wrote. "They eliminate the two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots but never do and by substituting actual observation for guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state."
He added: "So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls, for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points."
Yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a clear Kerry sweep, as the computerized vote numbers began to come in from the various states the election was called for Bush.
How could this happen?
On the CNBC TV show "Topic A With Tina Brown," several months ago, Howard Dean had filled in for Tina Brown as guest host. His guest was Bev Harris, the Seattle grandmother who started www.blackboxvoting.org from her living room. Bev pointed out that regardless of how votes were tabulated (other than hand counts, only done in odd places like small towns in Vermont), the real "counting" is done by computers. Be they Diebold Opti-Scan machines, which read paper ballots filled in by pencil or ink in the voter's hand, or the scanners that read punch cards, or the machines that simply record a touch of the screen, in all cases the final tally is sent to a "central tabulator" machine.
That central tabulator computer is a Windows-based PC.
"In a voting system," Harris explained to Dean on national television, "you have all the different voting machines at all the different polling places, sometimes, as in a county like mine, there's a thousand polling places in a single county. All those machines feed into the one machine so it can add up all the votes. So, of course, if you were going to do something you shouldn't to a voting machine, would it be more convenient to do it to each of the 4000 machines, or just come in here and deal with all of them at once?"
Dean nodded in rhetorical agreement, and Harris continued. "What surprises people is that the central tabulator is just a PC, like what you and I use. It's just a regular computer."
"So," Dean said, "anybody who can hack into a PC can hack into a central tabulator?"
Harris nodded affirmation, and pointed out how Diebold uses a program called GEMS, which fills the screen of the PC and effectively turns it into the central tabulator system. "This is the official program that the County Supervisor sees," she said, pointing to a PC that was sitting between them loaded with Diebold's software.