Good Grief.

byronius, 2006/10/31 

Live Free Or Die Bold.


Problems with Diebold machines flipping Democratic votes to Republicans have been widely reported during early voting in TEN STATES, now.  



From engadget:

Florida Diebold machines help you pick the right candidate.

Posted Oct 30th 2006 7:41PM by Cyrus Farivar

Apparently Diebold's problems aren't limited to Maryland, Georgia or Alaska — what a shocker. Down in the Sunshine State, during a week of early voting before next week's nationwide midterm election, certain Diebold machines have been registering some votes for Democrats as selections for the Republican candidate. For instance, Gary Rudolf, a voter at a polling site near Ft. Lauderdale, tried to vote for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis (D); however, when the Diebold machine gave him the final review screen, it showed his vote was about to be cast for Charlie Crist (R). The problem took three tries to get resolved with the help of a local poll worker. Mary Cooney, a Broward County Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman, informed The Miami Herald that it's "not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly. Poll workers are trained to recalibrate them on the spot — essentially, to realign the video screen with the electronics inside. The 15-step process is outlined in the poll-workers manual." Huh? How exactly does a computer — one that is being used heavily for one day a year, and not a $100 PDA — "slip out of sync" ? Further, no one in Broward County is even sure how large of a problem this is "because there's no process for poll workers to quickly report minor issues, and no central database of machine problems." Is it any wonder that major candidates are urging voters to vote the analog old-fashioned way?

Voter Intimidation Schemes are one thing.  Institutionalized Election Fraud is another.  This is Treason against the United States Of America.  And it is just the tip of the iceberg.

GODDAMN THEM ALL TO HELL FOR THIS.  I do not support the death penalty — but I favor an exception in this case.  Diebold, ES & S and Sequoia need to be SHUT DOWN. 


Happy Hallowe’en


sick pumpkin

Did someone mention losing their lunch? 

This is New Worlds


Cool huh? I built it with a java applet at this page. There's zero info I can see about how to interpret the damn thing. I might have to spend some time studying it later.

Ça Ira update


As you may know if you've hung around here for a while, I am a huge fan of Roger Waters' recently completed opera based on the French Revolution "Ça Ira." See My mad dream for context. What it basically boils down to is I got an itch to try and get it staged in SF. I knew it was a long shot, and I'd heard nothing from SF Opera in the several weeks since I sent the CD to the General Director for review. It looks like hope still hangs by a thread, however. I just received the following email from someone on his staff:

Thank you for your email. We did receive the materials on Ça Ira and are currently reviewing them. We have many such submissions and it does take a while to get around to reviewing possible productions and new works. Thank you for bearing with us as we go through this process.
I do appreciate your checking in and look forward to being in touch in the future about Mr. Waters’ opera.
With best wishes,
Matthew Shilvock
General Director’s Associate
San Francisco Opera

I guess my dream of sharing bong hits with Roger in his private box at the opening is still (barely) operable for the moment.

Crazy Max.

Our goddess

Max, 2006/10/30 

I was listening to the Thom Hartmann show on SF's Air America station and he brought out one of his classic little history lessons I've come to love. He said that in the days of the founding fathers there was concern that our national concept of God was too masculine, so we invented a goddess. We called her Columbia because there was a strong interest in Columbus as the supposed discoverer of the Americas. For a while it was argued that our country should be named for her, rather than the unpoetic United States of America. Eventually a major river and the District of Columbia did get named for her. She has sister embodiments of nationalism in the United Kingdom's Brittania and France's Marianne. She, incidentally is featured in the last act of Roger Waters' Ça Ira.

Among many symbolic appearances of Columbia is on much of our coinage up until about 30 years ago and she's the basis of the Lady Liberty standing in New York Harbor.

More on Wikipedia

Halloween Festivities.


Crooks and Liars have this quite hilarious piece on this week's RNC ads.  Their bandwidth is being overwhelmed, so I've reposted the file. 


SNL: What We Can Expect

Thunderbolts and Lightning, Very Very Frightening.

Some Call Him Crazy.


Others call him 'Dangerous.'

I call him 'Patriot.'  Or 'Freaky'.  Sometimes 'Troubly'.

Occasionally 'MAN-MAN'.

If It’s Too Loud, You’re Too Old.


Blazestriker and The Murder Merchant took me to a Yo La Tengo show at Harlowe's.  I like this band;  they're intelligent, musically deep and beautiful, and cool.  I liked the opening band, 'Why?', and bought their CD, although I have now stopped listening to it, because of a particular line in a particular song, 'eyes like slits in bags of fat/eyes like pissholes in the snow', which, although derived from Beat-poet styles, has plagued me ever since.  Get Out Of My Head!   Why? was talented; BS and MM both liked the music, but hated the singer.  I liked the singer, because I could hear the Ohio in him;  but now, the lyrics are wearing on me — it is not a musical world in which to live, although a visit is warranted.

Yo La Tengo was excellent.  I'm not the dedicated fan that Blaze is;  but I recognized many of the songs, and was amazed by Georgia Hubley's killer-tight drumming.  Ira Kaplan's guitar served as an instrument I have never seen before — very, very strange sounds coming out of that beast.  Bassist James McNew and Georgia would set up steady, pounding, palettes over which Ira would unleash total strangeness, head whipping up and down; what a creative freak.  In a good way.

Near the end of the set, Ira cranked up the amp, and began pushing out Hyper-Feedback.  At first, I was entranced.  Then, it got really, really Loud.  I began to notice the older people in the crowd plugging their ears, so I felt comfortable doing so.  I looked over at the Murder Merchant and Blazestriker, but they were just listening, smiles on their faces. 

Ira then cranked it up even louder.  The feedback became an ear-splitting scream.  The bass started thrumming through my body, making my heart skip — I looked down to see my T-shirt actually vibrate — BS and MM still unconcerned — the screaming guitar ripped through the small club like the hand of a vengeful god.  Some people were in a state of bliss, swaying back and forth in the Rushing Sonic River;  others were beginning to panic, crouch, or hide behind the pillars, like me. 

Finally, I broke.  Blaze and Murder were smiling, swaying — how could this be possible? — I'M GOING TO DIE, said my cells — I ducked, and fled the club.

Outside, a third of the audience was standing around in total Shock and Awe.  We all felt a little wimpy — but how could — what's wrong with my ears — how could BS and MM survive the Sonic Death Wave?  I walked down to the AM/PM and got an ice-cream sandwich, returning just in time for two nice, quiet, Yo La Tengo encores.  The last song — a cover of 'Beautiful World' by DEVO — was excellent.  I still had an auditory nerve or two left, at least enough to appreciate the Lack Of Pain.  My body still hummed with the sonic power it had absorbed.  I was a little jumpy and nervous. I would never be the same again.

To their credit, Blaze and Murder did not mock me.  They admitted it had been Loud, and had seen some flee the Wave — but they were able to ride it, instead of fleeing from it like I had.  Blaze theorized that the sound levels had been set for the cancelled show at the much-larger Empire theater, and that Ira had no idea how loud it was in the smaller Harlowe's.

They say sound can kill. 

I believe it, now.

Hubble On The Chopping Block. Again.

byronius, 2006/10/28 

The Entire Crab Nebula

From the Washington Post, October 29th:

As NASA learned when it canceled a planned shuttle mission to keep alive the Hubble Space Telescope almost three years ago, its orbiting source of jaw-dropping intergalactic images and deep insights into the early days of the universe had become something of an astronomic rock star.

The scientific and public response was overwhelming: The then-14-year-old Hubble had to be saved before its batteries and gyroscopes failed, and NASA was seriously misguided for refusing to send a shuttle crew to keep it running. This view was strongly endorsed by an expert panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences in late 2004.

Soon after, Michael D. Griffin became NASA administrator and agreed to reconsider the Hubble mission. On Tuesday, he will announce whether the telescope will be repaired or will be allowed to gradually run out of steam.

NASA said Friday that a series of events and briefings will follow the announcement at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt — the kind of activity that often accompanies a decision to go ahead with a big mission. But agency officials said that no decision had been reached and that Griffin will study the pros and cons over the weekend.


   The Hubble has changed the way we view our universe.  I hope they make the right call here.

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