Sunday, December 25, 2005

Yes Virginia, There is an Atheist Christmas...

Item: Now, what is an Atheist supposed to do on Christmas? I would imagine that I would get some work done. So, here's a xmas-y update at the Red Light District. In related news, I promised not to link to this story featuring nude women photo shopped in superhero clothes. I must show some restraint despite my cultural proclivities. Must. Not. Link. Yes, it combines comics and soft core erotica...but...Ack! I am not strong...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Around the Internets: Reason Beats Flying Spaghetti Monster! And: a fifth column?

Reason beats Flying Spaghetti Monster. Hooray. More mainstream coverage here. More from the Evolution Blog, where they are absolutely giddy with joy. Cocky even. Remember: The judge is a Republican who was nominated by President Bush, which makes it even sweeter. I'm waiting for Chris Mooney to gloat but he's on his way to New Orleans to see the ruins of his mother's flood ravaged home. But Chris got some good news: Morgan Spurlock (of Supersize Me fame) wants to turn "The Republican War Against Science" into a documentary.

More Around the Nets:

Two Interesting Porn Blogs Softr and Sexoteric. And from Sexoteric: This is hilarious. It reads like a funny SNL Skit. For the record, I agree with the girl. They probably were just peaceful farmers.

More gals I agree with. Once people find out Casey Jr. is pro life his numbers go down. Are pro war Jewish Dems selling out the party for Israel? You would do that by either backing a loser against the Republican guy who will fight the proxy war for Israel or by making sure you nominate a Democrat who will fight the proxy war for Israel...Please tell me I'm wrong about this.
List of online graphic novels.

Canadian Patricia Barber, out lesbian Jazz torch singer who's probably more interesting than her compatriot Diana krall, has a new jazz video out which sounds very very cool.

And I wrote a column for The Front but its not online yet. Actually, its an older column but very few people saw it and its still a good idea

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Art of Brendan McCarthy


More Minor News About Your Stolen Elections

First up, election round up:

The very minor story of how your election machines have been compromised has reached the corporate media. It’s mostly in Florida but it’s a start. Just to recap: if you’re a democrat or if you’re just interested in a functioning democracy this is the most important issue, ever. All policy debates about Iraq or the Patriot Act and or the latest criminal activity by our president and how to play these issues politically means nothing if the Republicans can add 100000 of their votes and take away 100000 of your votes at will. So, we have to fix the machines and to do that you have to start about talking about fixing the machines.

Nice Sum Up by Techdirt , which I think has the best analysis of tech issues that I’ve seen on the Internet. Here’s the money shot:

Of course, if you have even the slightest respect for the integrity of our voting system, the results of the test and Diebold's response should scare you silly. It raises serious questions about why we would ever trust any Diebold machine without also hand counting a paper trail. The fact that their touchscreen machines don't include a secondary paper trail means those machines should never be used at all.

Also, within the comments section there’s this comment by Ernest Partridge to Howard Dean which sums up things pretty well.

Every week I get dozens of solicitations from the Democratic National Committee, from the Democratic Senate and Congressional Campaign Committees, or from various Democratic candidates and office-holders, each of them asking for contributions. "You can help us achieve victory next November," I am told.

If by "victory" is meant a majority vote cast at the polls, then the Democrats achieved "victory" in 2000, 2002 and 2004. And yet, the Republicans remain in control of the Congress and the White House.

Small wonder! Republicans build the voting machines, Republicans write the secret software, Republicans count and compile the totals. The Republican machines allow no auditing of the vote totals they report. So Republicans have the ability to "win" elections, regardless of the will of the voters. There is compelling evidence that they have done just that.

And so, if nothing is done to end the privatization of our elections and to introduce reliable verification, the Republicans will "win" again in November 2006 and then in 2008. Today, eleven months before the mid-term election, the outcome is fore-ordained – as certain as Soviet elections under Stalin, and Iraqi elections under Saddam. For, as Stalin said, "Those who cast the votes decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything."

In the United States today, the GOP counts most of the votes, and there are no means to verify up to 80% of those votes.

In view of this dreadful situation, when the Democrats ask me for a contribution I must reply: "What's the point? It's already been settled! What remains is an empty charade." Admittedly, with total GOP control of the executive and congressional branches in Washington, federal investigation and legislation are, for the moment, out of the question. But elections are administered on the state and municipal levels where, in many cases, the Democrats are in control. So I ask again:

Where are the criminal investigations?

Where are the civil lawsuits, e.g., by Max Cleland in Georgia, Walter Mondale in Minnesota, Al Gore in Florida, John Kerry in Ohio?

Why is appropriate state-level legislation not proposed and enacted by Democratic majorities?

Why is the national Democratic Party not publicizing the GAO report?

I am told that some Democratic politicians are concerned that if the Party raises a ruckus about voting fraud, the Democratic base will be discouraged and will stay at home on election day.

Well, so what? If the fix is in on election day, what does it matter if the voters go to the polls? Why try to close the gate if the horse has been stolen?


Friday, December 16, 2005

Zero 7 Tune

There's a new site that allows you to post videos on your site. I'm trying to see if it works with Blogger. I picked a zero7 tune at random. Update: It doesn't seem to work. But the links are there and you're welcome to try it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Big News: Diebold Machines are Hackable and Yes Virginia, There Are Stolen Elections

Okay, now this is what we Roswell-like stolen election conspiracy theorists
have been looking for. This is the equal to filmed footage of an Alien Gray sitting down with the President and having a smoke. Did you know that there was a county in Florida that allowed Black Box Voting to test hack the Diebold machines? Did you know that Finnish Hacker Harri Hursti and BBV were able to change the results? Did you know that no current canvassing method would have detected these changes? Did you know that those machines were thrown out? Do you understand that Diebold is run by partisan Republicans and builds most of the machines that the nation uses? By the way, this doesn’t mean just shocking presidential or referendum results, this might mean the odd inability to gain house and senate seats when an opposing party holds the presidency, or, worse yet, making sure that the worst candidates get the nomination so that the Dems would be more likely to lose…We’re officially in an Oliver Stone film now. Donald Sutherland is asking you who had the most to gain from a stolen election? He’s rattling off a number of bullet points about how those Ohio referendums couldn’t have been reversed that dramatically, about how the exit polling in Ohio couldn’t have been that far off, about how clear it is that the executive branch and the oil lobby are one and the same…You ask yourself, as you run down winding infinite black and white Hitchcock era streets, would the most corrupt administration ever steal an American election—after clearly fixing the results in Iraq, Afghanistan and encouraging a coup in Venezuela—and you know the question answers itself.
Here’s a snippet of the Black Box story and here’s a quiz: isn’t it time for the DNC to make this a national issue?

FLORIDA TEST FINDS DIEBOLD VOTE MACHINE EASY TO HACK BLACK BOX VOTING - Due to contractual non-performance and security design issues, Leon County (Florida) supervisor of elections Ion Sancho told Black Box Voting that he will never again use Diebold in an election. He has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county. He will issue a formal announcement to this effect shortly. A test election was run in Leon County today with a total of eight ballots - six ballots voted "no" on a ballot question as to whether Diebold voting machines can be hacked or not.

Two ballots, cast by Dr. Herbert Thompson and by Harri Hursti voted "yes" indicating a belief that the Diebold machines could be hacked. At the beginning of the test election the memory card programmed by Harri Hursti was inserted into an Optical Scan Diebold voting machine. A "zero report" was run indicating zero votes on the memory card. In fact, however, Hursti had pre-loaded the memory card with plus and minus votes. The eight ballots were run through the optical scan machine. The standard Diebold-supplied "ender card" was run through as is normal procedure ending the election. A results tape was run from the voting machine. Correct results should have been: Yes:2 No:6

However, just as Hursti had planned, the results tape read:

Yes:7 No:1 The results were then uploaded from the optical scan voting machine into the GEMS central tabulator. The central tabulator is the "mother ship" that pulls in all votes from voting machines.

The results in the central tabulator read: Yes:7 No:1

This exploit, accomplished without being given any password and with the same level of access given thousands of poll workers across the USA, showed that the votes themselves were changed in a one-step process. This hack would not be detected in any normal canvassing procedure, and it required only a single a credit-card sized memory card.

One final note: it looks like California, and that state's GOP Sec. of State, is working to avoid this same test. Black Box Voting might be able to force this issue and I hope that they do.

More Pics of Nekkid Girls (And forbidden GIF animation)

Really. I'm not kidding.


Praise For Showtime's Transparently Anti-Bush Homecoming


How fitting that the most pungent artistic response to a regime famed for its crass fear-mongering would be a cheap horror movie. Jaw-dropping in its sheer directness, Homecoming is a righteous blast of liberal-left fury (it was greeted with a five-minute ovation in Turin, the most vocal appreciation seeming to come from the American filmmakers and writers in attendance).
--from Village Voice review

Showtime is apparently the new HBO. First, they blew me away with Weeds—which struck me as being much more interesting than Rome. And this Showtime episode of “Homecoming” is one of the most all encompassing attacks on the right that I’ve ever seen. I’m glad that Chuck Penn’s staff (Chuck’s doing great at fundraising by the way. Perhaps people have seen Bob Casey Jr. speak and it occurs to them that someone with the principles of Gray Davis yet none of the charisma wouldn’t pose the best challenge to lil Ricky but I digress…) agrees about the quality. The Ann Coulter clone sounded a lot like Ann Coulter. Those horrible things that Cleaver says are on a par with the horrible things Coulter says all of the time. I think Sam Hamm, interviewed here, compares it to “Atrios greatest hits”, but I would disagree with one thing. As far as I know, Atrios has never brought up the possible theft of the 2004 election or even more recently the incredible turnaround on the Ohio referendum issues. The last minutes where our hack right wing host notes the wonderful turnaround in Ohio and Florida despite exit polling and when our Karen Hughes clone notes that we “count the votes” is actually closer to the Brad Blog or Free Press…but it’s the thought that counts. Of course, the horrible thing is that this isn’t fiction. And there are no patriotic zombies coming to our aid. That's our real horror show.

Well, there were three things that have happened over the last week on the voting rights front. Two of them were quite disturbing and one of them offered just a tiny shard of hope and light—probably to be snuffed out by the appeals process. That’s because the Big Thinkers in the Democratic Party thought it was a good tactic not to fight over court appointments in the 90s. So, every time we want to fight without resorting to blood we’ll lose.
One, when it looked like we were winning in California, it looks like the Republican secretary of state (will the DNC ever detect a pattern?) has decided to put a Diebold purchase back into play. He’s proposing what looks like a mock approval process—which I suppose would be fitting for what looks like our increasing mockery of an election process.

Two, I thought we had definitely won in North Carolina, kind of a Republican state last time I looked. But the North Carolina folks simply ignored their own law—it’s a law that states that you have to open up your source code to make sure that its valid—and approved the Diebold machines anyway. Its being called the “immaculate certification”. Well, let’s see, there’s the 2000 election, the 2004 election, and now we have Republicans in a hurry to certify these machines—that always result in fantastic victories for Republicans and Republicans only I might add. Is there an American opposition party? I mean, really now. Of course, someone decent who understands the law should appeal the decision. And that will be decided by the Republican courts—remember the Clintons never thought that was worth fighting for—and we’ll lose yet again. Thanks DLC.

Three, it looks like we might have won one in Ohio. That’s where there are a number of groups suing the state over the 2004 election. The judge ruled that the suit can go on. However, that decision will probably be appealed and we’ll lose again because the DNC/DLC thought it was just a great idea to give up the courts. Thanks fellas, again. It’s a great feeling to know that I can’t do anything within the law to change the United States.

Notable Quotes From Around the Internets

First Up: Patricia Goldsmith from Dissident Voice:
When it comes to e-voting, the corporate media have put out a couple of narrative frames that have been successful in throwing even voting reform advocates off the track. The most obvious is the conspiracy frame. Stephen Pizzo, who ultimately advocates the abolition of e-voting in order to restore voter confidence, nevertheless believes “[t]he party caught fixing a major race would be out of power for a generation. Also, if I learned anything from a quarter century of unraveling real and alleged conspiracies it’s that getting caught is always in the cards.” In this, he finds himself in substantial agreement with conservative columnist and former Reagan administration official James Pinkerton. It seems to me their argument would be a lot stronger if the GOP hadn’t already been “caught” attempting to fix every single election since 2000. Hell, they do it out in the open, proudly. People like Katherine Harris, Glenda Hood, and Ken Blackwell have made whole careers out of purge lists, voter intimidation, and aggressive partisanship in the administration of elections.

That’s because what we are seeing in operation is not a conspiracy, but unchecked monopolies and corporate combinations, and there is nothing fanciful or farfetched about it. The concentration of wealth and power is the ultimate point toward which all capitalist systems tend. The last 70 years of (relatively) regulated corporations are the exception, not the rule. Privatized voting is a perfect example of how the undermining of government regulatory mechanisms leads to one-party rule and further deregulation, in a self-perpetuating cycle. We see the same thing with the highly-consolidated corporate media. Neither is a “conspiracy” required in order for the various corporate entities to act in concert. Combination is in their best interests, and successful corporations are all about finding and pursuing their own best interests, as single-mindedly as sharks. Which explains why the corporate media have virtually ignored a recent GAO report detailing serious e-voting failures in 2004.

Read the whole thing here.

Second up, my cousin Leonce (who now has permalinks for some of his links):

Open Letter to Colin Powell 01/11/05 13:14

Like you, my father was a career Army officer. Like you, he felt honored to serve in the US military. Like you, he entered the military when racism was overt. Like you, he rose to officer status (he retired a Colonel) despite the obstacles placed in his path. You receive the benefit of the doubt, General Powell. You receive it because black people admire the heights you attained in your career, and because you have never become a sock puppet for the right. You never acquiesced to the Faustian bargain that men like Clarence Thomas or Armstrong Williams seem to accept. You never agreed to forget you were black--in exchange for white handlers rewarding you as if you were white. You never felt you had to do as Thomas Sowell does and deny the existence of racism today or yesterday. You aligned yourself with causes you felt right, despite their lack of popularity in the Republican party to which you belonged. You have deserved the benefit of the doubt. However, to date, over 2000 Americans are dead, over ten thousand wounded; hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis are dead. The US standing in the world continues to plummet. Terrorist activity is on the rise. The Iraq war has caused these things, and you presented the evidence to the world that made that war happen. We now know that the evidence you presented was based on lies. You insist that you did not know that, and I, and most others, believe you. However, apologies are no longer enough. As this administration continues to damage US security, attempts to strip citizens of hard-won rights through packing the Supreme Court with extremists--as this occurs, you no longer have the luxury of remaining silent. Loyalty is valuable, but "just following orders" is a coward's excuse. When, General Powell, does the former morph into the latter? I think that time is now. It's when the blood runs so thick, that only the blind or the morally corrupt cannot see it, and only the ideologically crippled refuse to acknowledge it. That time is now.
(Scroll down and read the rest...)


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

5 PM Pgh Press Conference Against PA Voter ID Proposal

Wednesday 12/7/05 at 5pm in front of the Pittsburgh State Office Building, 300 Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh!

The State Senate of Pennsylvania is preparing to vote on House Bill 1318 next week!


It will also force Pennsylvanian's to bring a photo ID to the polls!

This bill will disproportionately hurt:

Senior voters

Young Voters

College Voters

Low-Income Voters

There will be a press conference in front of the Pittsburgh State Office Building Wednesday 12/7/05 at 5pm in front of the Pittsburgh State Office Building, 300 Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh!

Scheduled Speakers:

Laura Staniland: Freshman Student, Duquesne University

Taili Thompson: Community Coordinator, One Vision One Life

George Moses: Sothwestern PA Alliance of HUD Tenants/Housing Alliance of PA

Khari Mosley: Pittsburgh League of Young Voters

Tim Stevens: President, Black Political Empowerment Project

For more information contact the Pittsburgh League of Young Voters at

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Debate Between Mystery Pollster and Brad blog Plus Pandora

Nov. 24

Happy Holidays or Bah Humbug. I’m a latter kinda guy these days.

Coupla items:

The cavalier way in which Blumenthal seems to marginalize those of us "obsessing over the Dispatch poll," as he describes it, would seem to indicate that Blumenthal simply doesn't understand the problem here to even the smallest extent. Either that, or he just doesn't give much of a damn about the validity -- and/or the importance of confidence by the electorate -- in the most basic element of our American democracy: The right to vote and to have that voted counted accurately.

--from Brad Blog

Item: There’s an interesting debate between the Mystery Pollster (Champion finger wagger against us or “your elections are continuously stolen crowd”) and the Brad Blog. Read the whole thing and especially the long post by Brad. Short version: It’s not that we’re not capable of losing elections, it’s that we can’t check the results in time in order to make changes in the results. And, quite frankly, the word of the Republicans—especially at Corruption Central at either Ohio or Washington DC headquarters—telling me that everything is legit and there are wmds doesn’t carry a lot of water with me. Actually, the scary thing is that the Republicans really aren’t making that claim. They don’t give a fuck about Democracy, at least in this country.

Item: I just discovered a really interesting music site called Pandora, where you type in a particular artist and you get back similar results. Overall, it’s pretty decent. I typed in some real ringers of course. I got a pretty good response with Alan Holdsworth. I was introduced to a bass playing Hendrix called Brian Bromberg (he uses a piccolo bass to sound like an electric guitarist…oddly enough I was watching BET On Jazz’s Studio Jams today and Living Colour’s Doug Wimbush can do the same thing…it’s all in the pedals man, all in the pedals…)and this guy called Nels Cline. Both very interesting. I soon will try Kaki King. I’ll probably get a lot of Mike Hedges or Stanley Jordan back...However, my Portishead search got me back Bette Midler.Go figure.

Item: There is also a new and beautiful video featuring Cat Power and its crazy yet attractive lead singer Chan Marshall.) There is also a second Broadcast video, even though there are many songs that are better on the album—almost all of them in fact, such as America’s Boy, Corporeal and Black Cat.

Nov. 14th: Still More News About the Stolen Election

Nov. 14th


There were several big stories that "broke" over the last several days on the very minor story about how your vote is being stolen.

One, the folks at the Free Press are claiming that the initiatives to reform ohio now (whose website has seemingly gone into a catatonic shock and not commented on the bad results) were shot down because of manipulation. By the way, these arguments have left the realm of science fiction because of the recent GAO report which pointed out that these new electronic machines were and are easily compromised. Or as Bob phrases it:

But none of the on-the-ground glitches can begin to explain the impossible numbers surrounding the alleged defeat of Issues Two through Five. The Dispatch polling has long been a source of public pride for the powerful, conservative newspaper, which endorsed Bush in 2004.

The Dispatch was somehow dead accurate on Issue One, and then staggeringly wrong on Issues Two through Five. Sadly, this impossible inconsistency between Ohio's most prestigious polling operation and these final official referendum vote counts have drawn virtually no public scrutiny.

Though there were glitches, this year's voting lacked the massive irregularities and open manipulations that poisoned Ohio 2004. The only major difference would appear to be the new installation of touchscreen machines in those additional 41 counties.

And thus the possible explanations for the staggering defeats of Issues Two through Five boil down to two: either the Dispatch polling---dead accurate for Issue One---was wildly wrong beyond all possible statistical margin of error for Issues 2-5, or the electronic machines on which Ohio and much of the nation conduct their elections were hacked by someone wanting to change the vote count.

If the latter is true, it can and will be done again, and we can forget forever about the state that has been essential to the election of every Republican presidential candidate since Lincoln.

And we can also, for all intents and purposes, forget about the future of American democracy.

Now, there is a chance that the initiatives were badly written and that the Reform Now organizers blew it by flying toxic Arnold in to endorse the measure days before the vote, but, I mean, if you could hack the machines, these are the measures you would kill.

By the way, in case you're wondering what this all means, it means the Democrats will lose all the really important elections until these machines are fixed. Don't be too hopeful that you can win either the senate or the house back until we get the machines fixed. You'll lose by improbably large margins or frustratingly small ones but you'll still lose. Or until our side gets better hackers--I thought our side (libertarian/anarchist) had the best hackers in the world. I'm very disappointed by you 2600 people...

The second big story had to do with one of the lawsuits making its way through the courts. There's one in Ohio and there's another one in New Mexico. Now, if you were a real opposition party, what would you do if you had heard this:

Yesterday, sent out an email about some roadblocks that the plaintiffs are suddenly facing in the discovery phase of the trial. They were supposed to have been allowed to have experts inspect -- for the first time -- the Electronic Voting Machines that were used in the '04 Election, along with the actual results that they gave.

All of a sudden, Voter Action says, the county clerks have flat-out refused to permit the inspections by the plaintiffs' experts. That, after some interesting evidence has already been found by the experts during discovery, like tests where they were able to see votes for one candidate being registered for their opponent (as has been so widely reported as happening in so many elections of late!) and ballots being confirmed with NO choice for President at all, which wasn't supposed to have been possible on at least one of the machine types being looked at.

Well, if this happened to the Republicans they would force the Democrats to defend themselves and would probably take a decidedly correct obstructionist stance until (no judges for example. They wouldn't let judges be affirmed for life by a fraudulent government...) We can't even get the Democrats to admit that there's a problem.

Story three, by the way, is Democrat John Kerry, refusing to admit there was a problem. Even though he had the money to investigate and solve this problem. Incredible. He's like the guy who probably beat Hitler but he doesn't want to raise a "ruckus". Un fuckin' believable.