Monday, January 31, 2005

The Insurgents Take Control

It was only a few short months ago that George Bush turned over the keys to an appointed Iraqi goverment. There wasn't much optimism expressed by anyone that the elections would be able to be held on schedual. Indeed the rebels esculated their attacks, and co-operative Iraqis were often the victims. As the elections drew closer the attacks grew more commonplace and the threats became more direct. "Vote and your life will be in danger" Still the Iraqi resolve was made clear as the polsters discovered. The people voted and they came out strong. American forces and Iraqi security rose to the seemingly impossible task of protecting the voters. People still died. Remarkably few, but the suicide bombers did kill some voters. The Iraqi's were undaunted, they went anyway. The ink stained fingers were displayed as badges of honor and pride. Women showed the whole word that their opinion counts, and is important.

Lets remember, they voted not apease American occupiers but to gain freedom for themselves. This is not just freedom from Bathist but freedom from the U.S. The Iraqis understand that that the path we have laid out for them isn't easy, but the results are well worth it.
The votors are the real insurgents, they have stepped up to take their destiny away from the extremist, away from the despots, and even us Americans. They acted with courage and have proven they are worth democracy.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Programming made Easy

Most people never really find the real power of their PCs. The most powerful aspect of a computer is the ability to make it do what you want it to do. We obtain software in an attempt to do this, and a lot of our software has programming abilities. Programs such as Mirc, Word, Excel and Access have full featured language support. Most people never use the programming capabilities in these programs, and few learn to program or write a script. Yet to use a computer to its fullest, a user should be able easily automate tasks.

While Windows made computing easier for most of us, programming became more complex. Making a program fit into the Standardised GUI usually more complex than the actual task itself. Microsoft responded with programming suites that attempt to make this easier. Visual Basic and the .NET suites are a noble attempt. Still the simplest of projects can take many hours.

I found a shortcut that I could use to quickly build applications to perform repetitive tasks, and perform automated functions. SoftWire is a graphical integration of Visual Studio 6.0 and now VS .NET. One can Graphically build applications in minutes, rather than weeks. Usually without typing a stitch of code. I originally bought this for $450.00 and it was well worth it it has saved me (my employer) hundreds of hours of programming. My beefs with it were that It was a pain in butt to transfer the licence from my work computer to my home computer, and The .NET version wouldn't support analog outputing to Computer Boards.

Softwire .NET is now free! Not only is it now free, it now supports analog measurement and outputing signals using Measurement Computing I/O cards. There are internal PC cards and a full line of USB cards. It becomes real easy to build controls for robotics, or home experimental control projects. Softwire also supports X10 Home Control and LEGO® MindStorms Robotics Command System.
Softwire is more than a toy, it allows one to build complex programs in a quickly, in a highly presentable format. The programs are still VB.NET (or C#) and can be modified and tweaked just like any other Visual studio program. I

From what I can tell there is very little user support, for Softwire. Documentation and there are some examples available on their web site. There is a real need for a repository of example programs and a forom for users to help one other. There might be something out there, but I sure can't find it. Perhaps the company blog I'm working on will be an apropriate place to provide support. In the meantime I will be loading the new version on this Computer in the next couple of days, and also insitall Visual Studio and Sofwire at work.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Old Quarter Acoustic Café in small Small Victory

Kuff, notes in the Galveston Daily News that the small watering hole, Old Quarter Acoustic Café, won in a hearing against the giant Starbucks.

A federal judge has denied a request by Starbucks Corp. to issue a ruling in its legal battle against a local bar owner, putting the case on track for a June 6 trial.

U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Kent issued his decision over the weekend and filed his response with the court Monday, denying all of the requests by the global coffee corporation.

Starbucks delivered a massive, 7-pound volume of legal paperwork to the judge on Dec. 23, citing myriad examples from other well-known trademark cases, and asking him to declare a partial summary judgment or summary adjudication.

This looks to be a major blow to Starbucks in this David vs Goliath case. The burden is now required to supply the burden of proof, for damages. We wonder though, even if Rex Bell wins, he loses, the suit is a heavy burden for a small business to carry.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Pulling it off

We get fed a stream of information about Iraq. and the Iraqi people. I have found myself wondering whether the Iraqi people even deserve democracy. After all, they didn't overthrow Saddam, and aome of the people are supporting the bombers and terrorist. Election day is aproaching quickly, Seems as though only 6 months ago the biggest of the Iraqi supportors were expressing doubt whether we and the Iraqis could pull this off. Powerlines posts this report:
72.4 % of all of those polled said they would participate in the elections. [Ed.: If so, Iraqi voting will vastly outstrip participation here in the U.S., where 56% of eligible voters contributed to a record turnout in 2004.]
97% of Iraqis in Kurdistan said they would participate in the elections.

96% of Iraqis in the southern provinces (mainly Shiite areas) said they would participate in the elections.

33% of Iraqis in the central provinces (Sunni Area) said they would participate in the elections.

10% of Iraqis in Central provinces (Sunni Area) said they have not yet made their mind if they were going to vote or not.

62.1% of those polled said that the elections will be neutral and free.

17.8% said elections will not be neutral and free.

66% said that the elections must take place under current circumstances.

53.3% said the security is good in their area..

21.7% said that security was average in their area.

25% said that security was bad in their area.


The figures are staggering. I have no doubt that people may die, in their attempts to vote. Iraqis know this. Voting will be a dangerous activity in Iraq. We are not talking about solders, idealist, or political zealots here. These are the people, ordinary people who proclaim extraordinary courage. The Iraqis are proving to be be worthy of democracy, worthy of our support. Perhaps even of our sacrifices.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Michael Powell to Resign.

It sure will be good to see this hypocrite, censor and sellout of the first ammendment go. Perhaps the next commitee will be more tolorant. Perhaps this time Bush won't look at the appointment as a means to reward a cabinet member and appoint someone who earned the position and not because he likes his daddy. Hope fully the Blogosphere, has a part in in his decision to leave. The Mainstream media has had very little to say about his abuse of power. We tend to believe he has a sort of nipplephobia.

Home Again

We had a wonderful week. Cruising on the Royal Caribean's Rhapsody of the Seas. It is a beautiful ship and a marvel of efficiency. One of the greatest pleasures is meeting people crew and passengers. One can get some wonderful insights through people that come from different places, and live different lives. One special young lady from Latvia, told of us of the changes in the world that she came from. A contractor gave us an insiders view on the hunt of Bin Laden, and life in Afghanistan. We experianced the explosive growth of Cancun since visiting there 3 years ago. And the birth of a news resort area in Costa Maya.

Still, there is nothing like comming back home. A vacation is supposed to be invigerating and refreshing. This was sure was. I'm ready to get back to work, and to resume blogging again.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Tough to Swallow Facts

Dr. Kevin notes a NYT Editorial piece:
Here's a wrenching fact: If the U.S. had an infant mortality rate as good as Cuba's, we would save an additional 2,212 American babies a year. Yes, Cuba's. babies are less likely to survive in America, with a health care system that we think is the best in the world, than in impoverished and autocratic Cuba. According to the latest C.I.A. World Factbook, Cuba is one of 41 countries that have better infant mortality rates than the U.S.

and its not getting any better.
In every year since 1958, America's infant mortality rate improved, or at least held steady. But in 2002, it got worse: 7 babies died for each thousand live births, while that rate was 6.8 deaths the year before.

Those numbers, buried in a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, didn't get much attention. But they are part of a pattern of recent statistics dribbling out of the federal government suggesting that for those on the bottom in America, life in our new Gilded Age is getting crueler.

"America's children are at greater risk than they've been in for at least a decade," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, associate dean at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and president of the Children's Health Fund. "The rising rate of infant mortality is an early warning that we're headed in the wrong direction, with no relief in sight."

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Cruising

I will be on vacation starting tommorrow, and blogging will be scarse or perhaps nonexisting for 7 days.
She sure is pretty isn't she?

Clueless

One would think that the editorial staff on a major newspaper would have a better understanding about blogs. Kuff suggests:
Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it beyond any doubt for the whole fricking world to see.

Indeed ...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

White Washing Rathergate

There CBS Rathergate report has two items of contention bias issue and the claim that the forgeries are proven. CBS and Dan Rathers bias should be obvious to any of observer, and is taken for granted by this occassional viewer. However, it seems odd that the commisioned investigation could concievably report that there could be any doubt that the doccuments in question could be anything else but forgerys and fakes.
Some critics said the documents were most probably forgeries prepared on a modern word processer. Other critics questioned whether Killian would have - or could have - written them.

Roger Simon also finds that this might be the crucial issue.
In the aftermath of the Rathergate Report, that is one of the things I am trying to figure out. To be clear, I am not talking about the bias issue. Although I assume CBS was biased (what news outlet isn't?), legally there has to be a true smoking gun for proof beyond a reasonable doubt and there may not have been one here. But in the real world, nobody takes the lack of bias claim seriously anyway. It's just silly. Sure, CBS is biased. So is Fox News and so am I. Onwards.

The lie that concerns me is the one that might actually have some public effect--that there was no proof that the National Guard documents were forgeries. It's amazing Thornburgh and Boccardi could assert this with a straight face, considering their own expert--the only one they cite in their own appendix--says the exact opposite, just as every other reputable typography expert does without any of them being contradicted except in the most inept manner. And even those few paltry contradictions have failed completely and vanished from view. That the Bush guard documents are authentic is about as likely as a Vermeer being painted by blind monkeys--no, less likely. It's beyond "reasonable doubt." It's no doubt (unless you believe some Vietnam era National Guard officer took a time machine forward to the days of Microsoft Word 7.0 to fill out the documents and then returned.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Rather Takes a Sick Day

Apparently the pressure was too much and Dan Rather stayed home from work yesterday.
CBSNEWS veteran Don Hewitt called Dan Rather's disappearance from Monday's Evening News "really stupid" during a damage control meeting on Monday, sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.One top source inside the CBS Broadcast Center claimed Rather was told to stay off the air on Monday, as a form of punishment, while the "Report of the Independent Review Panel" was being released!A Rather intimate strongly denies Rather was told to stay off the air. "He is jet-lagged
[from asia]," the source said late Monday. But the source quickly added, "It was not the worst day to sit out."

Unlike previously reported Dan's impending retirement seems to be tied to the scandel:
CBS staffers were shocked Monday when CBS president Les Moonves suddenly tied Rather's upcoming resignation to the phony document flap, a departure from CBS's official storyline.

Moonves explained in a memo: "Dan Rather has already apologized for the segment and taken responsibility for his part in the broadcast. He voluntarily moved to set a date to step down from the CBS EVENING NEWS in March of 2005... after examining the report and thinking about its implications, we believe any further action would not be appropriate."

In the emotional speech to the CBS newsroom first announcing his resignation last November, Rather was very clear to co-workers that his departure from the evening news was not because of the Bush story.

"No matter what you hear elsewhere, this was a mutual decision," Rather explained. "The timing has to do with wanting to separate the decision to leave the anchor chair from the 60 MINUTES report."


An intersting report on Dan Rather's accountability can be found here.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The CBS Report is in, Finally

CBS Fires 4 in response to the long awaited report.

Asked to resign were Senior Vice President Betsy West, who supervised CBS News primetime programs; 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard; and Howard’s deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy. The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was terminated.


The report is availalable in PDF form here. Although the report upon first examination places some responcibily on those who deserve it. They haven't outright canned Dan Rather, and there is a little bit of whitewashing within:

The piece was aired during a tight and hotly contested presidential race between Mr. Bush and Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry. The timing of the story prompted charges of political bias against CBS News.

While the panel found that some actions taken by CBS News encouraged such suspicions, “the Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing of the segment or its content.”

To claim that there wasn't outright bias in the motivation is totally silly.

The CBS article claims:

Some critics said the documents were most probably forgeries prepared on a modern word processer. Other critics questioned whether Killian would have - or could have - written them.


The documents are proven and definate fakes. To imply that there is any other possibility is pure whitewash.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

BP Bay Crossing Guide.

Galveston Daily News has gathered a list of articles about Bay Crossing, the LNG project to be built on Pelican Island. Unfortunatly, one needs to register to get the full artcles. BP's site to promote the project is a good place to get some background information.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Blogosphere Takes a Big Hit

Hindrocket at Powerlines notes that the target of a DoS attack on major Hosting provider, Hosting Matters is still unknown. Instapundit, and Little Green Footballs, also took the hit last night. Putting on my aluminum foil hat, one has to wonder if the fact that the 3 most influential conservative blogs using the same host was the motivation.

Mayor White Takes Charge

Mayor White takes charge in the $afe Clear program. Thanks Matt Forge!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Tech Hell the Saga Continues

I got my computer up and running. The more I thought about restoring drivers for antique peripherirals, active syc, and assorted data collections. The more I realized the potential disastor I had in the making. Fortunatly the problem was resolved to a troublesome CD burner. I will Ghost my drive to a new one and retire this old drive to a safe secure drawer.

I realize now that Gmail is real nice when faced with the potential disastor. My important mail was/is easily accessable. I still have invites for anyone that is intrested just email me a first and last name and a valid email address. My address book, the all important black ebook is on my PDA and backed up to Yahoo! Contacts, thanks too Yahoo's InteliSync.

Not only is my main phone down, my fax line is down also. Equality called SBC again this morning, and they still claim that they can't get to it until tommorrow. I can make phonecalls out, but it's bareley audible. I can't get any phonecalls in. I have been tempted to drop the phone company completely and use the digital service that Warner provides.

Tech Hell

Sometime yesterday we entered Tech Hell. My phone isn't working, we called the phone company yesterday morning and they told Equality it will take two days before they can get to us. I can make out going calls to some extant, but no incoming calls. Funny thing is DSL is just fine.
Sometime yesterday, my computer died, it won't boot the, screen just stares at me. My system isn't backed up and I'm just sorta screwed. Fortunatly blogging is all done on line. Still, its going to slow me down a little bit. Equality's computer is not as comfortable, and I know I'm gonna lose stuff off my computer that will take me time to recover.

CBS to Release Report, Finally!

Hindrocket claims that the CBS will release the report today. You know the report? The one they promised that will be out in a matter of weeks, not months. Oh, The one they promised 3 1/2 months ago. Yeah, that one.

More than three months after they were appointed to investigate the peddling of fake documents on President Bush's National Guard service by 60 Minutes, Dick Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi are expected to release their report tomorrow. I have no doubt there will be a report; I have no idea whether there was actually an investigation.
There is a story to be told here: a story about how CBS coordinated its attack on President Bush with the Democratic
National Committee; a story about how fake documents were put into the hands of a mentally ill, obsessively anti-Bush crank named Bill Burkett; a story about how Burkett (if he can be believed) not only got the documents into the hands of 60 Minutes, but also into the hands of the Kerry campaign, via Max Cleland; a story about how left-wing CBS producer Mary Mapes pursued the Bush National Guard "story" for five years, beginning when he was Governor of Texas, without finding anything worth reporting until the fake documents came along; a story about how 60 Minutes was warned that the documents appeared to be fakes, but published them anyway; a story about how CBS relied on interviews with people who had neither met President Bush nor seen the documents, like Robert Strong, but carefully avoided talking to the key witnesses who actually had knowledge of relevant events, like Gen. "Buck" Staudt. Whom, by the way, they carelessly slandered in their broadcast.
But I doubt whether Thornburgh and Boccardi will tell that story. To conduct this investigation, you needed an investigator.
An old-fashioned investigator who would go to Texas, track down Bill Burkett, and persuade him to talk. Who would immerse himself in the corrupt politics of Travis County, Texas, and pursue leads on who created the forgeries. Who would demand to see Mary Mapes' telephone records for the last two years, and track down every number she called. Who would make witnesses like Max Cleland either answer questions, or go on record as refusing to talk. Who would, in short, investigate.

The big issue as posed by Hindrocket is:
The fundamental question here is whether CBS was the victim of a hoax, or the perpetrator of a hoax. It has been our view for a long time that Rather and his colleagues were perpetrators, not victims, in part because the documents were such obvious fakes that it strains credulity to suppose that they were actually
fooled. When you read the Thornburgy/Boccardi report, keep that question constantly in mind: victim, or perpetrator?
There are lots of problems with CBS's effort to portray itself as the victim of a hoax, but perhaps the most intractable is Dan Rather's personal vouching for the documents. Trust me, he said to America. I know they're authentic. They came from an unimpeachable source. That takes CBS out of the category of victim, and into the category of perpetrator

Could Dan Rathers replacement also be anounced today as predicted?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Blogging in 2005

Perhaps it is late to be posting about New Years resolutions, but it can take a while to figure out what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong. What we are doing wrong is lots of typos, misspellings, and broken sentences. Mostly these are a result of posting and not proof-reading. I type these in html. I don't always view my pages after posting. I need to work on this.

It's great when I blog a story that gets lots of hits from Google, or that gets linked to one of the big guys. I don't and I won't write individual postings to attract hits, I want to develop a readership, not just lots of visitors.

My blogging has been done on the cheap, the web space is provided by my provider, Blogger provides the software and engine. The URL to get to the site is ridiculously long to type out. This will be a painful thing for me to do. Establishing links on other web sites is a slow process, begging webmasters and bloggers to modify the links is something I don't look forward to. Its going to cost me some hits, at least temporarily, but should increase readership.

I want to follow up more story's that are started, and be more responcible. We were promised a report by CBS they have renéged. CBS is getting away with lying again. There are articles I have posted that have just sort of gone away. I intend to post on more items of local interest, and less about the big story of the day. I don't believe anyone wants more storys, opinions, or reports on the tsunami. Perhaps in the scale of things, Houston's Mayor White's plan to screw over tire changers is more important. I will leave the tsunami blogging to others.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Dan Patrick takes weird Stance on Mayor White's SAFEclear program

Mayor White's SAFEclear program is a topic of lots of discussion on Houston talk radio these days.

With the New Year's festivities behind, Houston drivers took to the freeways today, and many of them were confronted with Mayor White's expensive and intrusive new SAFEclear program (which we've dubbed $AFEclear), by which an oligopoly of wrecker services patrol Houston's freeways at all times of the day, and are charged with the task of forcibly towing all disabled vehicles for a $75 fee (unless the car must be towed to a storage facility, at which point storage fees will begin to accrue). The Mayor's program makes it a Class C misdemeanor for any other wrecker service outside the $AFEclear oligopoly to tow vehicles within the $AFEclear zone. The program launched without any facility for those with insurance or auto club programs to be directly billed for this "service."

The unfortunate victim of a flat tire has 6 minutes to change the tire, or they must pay $75 to be towed. Anyone who doesn't have the $75 will have there automobile towed to a storage facility where they will be subjected to storage additional fees. The law doesn't take into consideration light traffic conditions, or pulling well into a safe area. Dan Patrick took the strange stance of supporting this ordinance. Perhaps he is hesitant not to support a mayor that isn't mayor Lee Brown.

Dan Patrick devoted his two hour show on KSEV-700 today to the topic.

Patrick likes to play up his station's independent status and the fact that he gives Houston-area citizens a voice (in the fight for property tax relief, as one example). So it came as a surprise today that Patrick endorsed every city talking point about the $AFEclear program. He interviewed David Saperstein, who is the chair of the mayor’s Office on Mobility (or traffic "czar"), and then a tow company owner who has secured one of the franchises. Safety, clear roads and rubbernecking seemed to be the big talking points, and Patrick was in full agreement with Saperstein on all of them. He told Czar Saperstein that he found the Safe Clear program "comforting," and seemed not to be troubled by such problems as someone finding it a financial hardship to have at least $75 on hand while driving Houston freeways. He commented that he carried a $100 bill on him at all times. In response to one caller who expressed concern about some people not being able to afford the minimum $75 price tag, Patrick said that perhaps people who couldn't afford a tow shouldn't be driving on the roads anyway.

Seriously!

Patrick even suggested to Czar Saperstein that the city should get AJ Foyt to narrate some Public Service Announcements for the Safe Clear program. Then Patrick helpfully offered to run those PSA's on KSEV. Czar Saperstein said he thought that was a great idea.

It is very disappointing that Patrick, who frequently claims to stand up for average folks on his radio station (and to suggest they donate to CLOUT), doesn't see a single problem with this program. He's happy, apparently, because the roads will be clear for him, and since he always carries a $100 bill, why be concerned about a measly $75 towing charge.

He definitely came across as an elite country club conservative.

On the other hand, the $AFEclear program drew considerable ire from Chris Baker on his highly rated KTRH-740 program. Baker's chief complaints about $AFEclear are that it's intrusive and expensive to motorists, it's designed as much to enhance municipal revenues as to improve mobility, and it's likely to have a disproportionate impact on poor people in the city. Various callers contended that bidding for the $AFEclear program netted the city nearly $1 million in new revenues (we have not confirmed that figure) and that the city's authority may conflict with DPS authority over the freeways (since they are not city but state property), among the more general complaints about the mayor's policy.

Trans Texas Corridor Boondogle

Kuff thinks that Democrats might have political leverage running against the Trans Texas Corridor in 2006.

The rural aspect of this shouldn't be overlooked, however. The Corridor Watch page is loaded with quotes from rural citizens and officials that run the gamut from concern over the impact of the TTC on rural communities to outright panic. Convincing these folks that the TTC is a clear indication of Governor Perry's lack of concern for their way of life would be a pretty good way to possibly peel some votes out of a Republican stronghold. We're not going to win in 2006 on cities and South Texas alone. We need some people to switch sides, and I think this is an issue that could be persuasive.

The TTC encapsulates just about everything that's wrong with the Perry administration: Whacked-out fiscal priorities, so-called solutions that don't actually solve real problems, Tammany Hall tendencies, and power as an end unto itself. The more noise we make about it now, the better.


I think he might have a point. the Trans Texas Corridor is a huge project to solve an problem that isn't that huge. Driving from San Antonio to Dallas isn't that difficult, most of the roads aren't that heavily traveled. Why not use a Texan or at least an American company. Its fine for private bussiness to outsource, but does our own Government really need to send billions to a European country that is hostile to us? Its our tax dollars lets spend them to help our taxpayers.

"We will look back on today as one of the most historic days in infrastructure certainly in the state of Texas," Governor Rick Perry said.

In winning the contract, Cintra promises to pay Texas $1.2 billion, fund $6 billion in projects and build more than 300 miles of road between Dallas and San Antonio.

"These guys are willing to build it for the taxpayers of the state so that we don't have to raise their taxes. Pay us additional cash so we can consider some thing we might no have considered. And for that they need to have an expectation they can generate a profit," Chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission Ric Williamson said.

That profit would come through tolls, but Cintra won't say what it expects to charge.

"The general assumptions have been made absolutely in line with the actual tolls existing in the state of Texas," Director of Cintra José Lopez said.


We are talking about Billions here! Such a fat juicy deal that is loaded with suspicion to a Spanish company is sure to create anger that will cross party lines.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The word "Blog" on banned list

In the spirit if 1984's Newspeak, Lake Superior State University has come up with their, 30th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness. I don't know if anyone takes the list seriously or not, but this list is interesting. I am somewhat puzzled about the inclusion of the word 'blog'

BLOG – and its variations, including blogger, blogged, blogging, blogosphere. Many who nominated it were unsure of the meaning. Sounds like something your mother would slap you for saying.
“Sounds like a Viking’s drink that’s better than grog, or a technique to kill a frog.” Teri Vaughn, Anaheim, Calif.


“Maybe it’s something that would be stuck in my toilet.” – Adrian Whittaker, Dundalk, Ontario.

“I think the words ‘journal’ and ‘diary’ need to come back.” – T. J. Allen, Shreveport, La.


I suppose this could be attributed to ignorance. A blog as most of us already know is is built from the contraction of Web Log, and is much more than a ‘journal’ or ‘diary’. As my friends in political marketing would put it "It's the linkages stupid!". The issue isn't the word 'blog' its that some folks might be getting tired of hearing about them. Get used to it, 2004 was the year of the blog, but its just the beggining.

Election Accuracy Is Important

Democracy depends on elections. Efficiency and accuracy are the backbone of democracy. When election results aren't trustworthy the sytem breaksdown and chaos is the result. The 2000 debacle in Florida provides an example. Even though GWB clearly one in every recount challenge and the votes were retalleyed many times with GWB winning every time. Yet the results did vary and weren't consistant. Bush could not get away from the cheap shot of being called the "selected president". The defective Ukranian elections halted goverment and resulted in complete chaos until the revote, even after the closely monitored revote Victor Yanukovich still refuses to admit defeat, but how can we expect cleancut elections in emerging democracys when we in the United states can't get it right. The Washington Governor race is very close and there are some discrepencies.

There is a new wrinkle in the Washington gubernatorial election, and it happens to bear directly on the question of how important bloggers are or can be. The Seattle Times reports that Democrat Christine Gregoire was officially certified the winner of the election yesterday. But the Times also reports that a serious problem has arisen in King County, the Democratic bastion that gave Gregoire her margin of "victory":

The latest questions about King County came after the elections office released on Wednesday a list of all registered voters in the county, broken down by those who voted and those who didn't. The Republican Party, among other groups, had requested the information as part of its investigation of voting irregularities.
Conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky pointed out the discrepancy Wednesday, and by yesterday it was Topic A among Rossi backers and Republican Party officials.

Party Chairman Chris Vance said it could be the "smoking gun" needed to overturn the election.

The number of King County ballots counted in the final tally was 899,199 — 3,539 more than the number of participating voters reported in the county's list.

County officials are trying to reconcile the discrepancy--yes, I'll bet they are!--and an updated voter list will be released late next week.

Elections need to be run so that even very close results are beyond doubt. Good elections need to be of the highest priority, at every level. Democracy depends on it, and we need to set the standards for the world.