Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Part of the current rage against Bush is the conviction that he actually lost the election. Some people believe that, since Gore won the popular vote then he should be in the White House no matter what the constitution says. Others are convinced that Gore won Florida. One reason they think so is Palm Beach County.

Even before the polls closed, there were reports of people voting for the wrong candidate. In a county with a high Jewish population, Pat Buchanan got more votes than anywhere in the country. Gore operatives charged that the unusual ballot design was the cause and that most of the Buchanan votes were really votes for Gore.

Palm Beach is mainly rich whites who retired to Florida or have a second (or third) home in Florida. Since many of these voters have poor eyesight, the ballots were printed with the candidates' names extra large. To make room for this, the names alternated with the top name on the left being assigned to the first punch, the top name on the right getting the second punch, the second name on the left getting the third punch, and so on. This assigned Gore the third punch and Buchanan the second one.

If a voter knew that Florida election law determined the order of the presidential candidates according to how the parties placed in the governor's race, remembered that the Democrats came in second, and counted down to the second box without looking at the ballot then Buchanan could have gotten votes that belonged to Gore.

This whole scenario only works for the president. What about the senator, house member, state, and local candidates? Did this hypothetical voter count holes for all of them? And assuming that he did count holes, was he so confident of his math that he didn't check any of the candidates names against the holes?

Does anyone vote that way? Not a chance. None of the Buchanan votes were Gore votes. The whole thing falls apart and the Democrats must have known this. They just wanted to convince people that Gore actually won when he didn't.

So where did the Buchanan votes come from? After all, he was a Nazi and no Jew would vote for a Nazi, right?

Two things here. First, Christians outnumber the Jews in Palm Beach County so there were lots of potential Buchanan voters separate from the Jews.

Second, Buchanan was not a Nazi by any stretch of the imagination. He was running on a strict isolationism platform. He is against immigrants and foreign wars.

Journalists love interviewing people like that. It's so easy to trip them up. You just ask, "You are against involvement in foreign wars but what about Hitler? Wasn't that war justified?"

From here the candidate has to walk a tightrope. If he agrees that WWII was justified then he has to explain why stopping genocide elsewhere is not. The candidate can point out that Hitler had already conquered most of Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa when we got involved and that not even the Soviet Union conquered so much land so fast. He can point out that even when faced with the real Hitler, we waited until he declared war on us. He can point out that Stalin's body count was as high as Hitler's but we didn't go after him in a shooting war, even when we had the nuclear advantage.

What Buchanan said was a lame, "Hitler wasn't so bad." He later tried to spin it but no matter what he said, it was reported that he was a Nazi sympathizer.

Who voted for him anyway? Let's see... Palm Beach is just north of Miami which has been taken over by Hispanics. With only three draw bridges connecting it to the mainland, Palm Beach is the world's largest gated community. If your bushes are overgrown, the county tickets your (Hispanic) gardener. Given all of that and a candidate running on an anti-immigrant platform, it is no wonder that Buchanan got a lot of votes.

So here's what happened. A voter decided to send the immigrants a message by voting for Buchanan. A second voter, let's say one who is Jewish, old and easily confused, comes in and votes for Gore. Hours, maybe days later, he hears on the radio that people were voting for the wrong candidate. Did our second voter look at the name or count punch holes? He can't remember and if he got it wrong he might have voted for a Nazi! In tears he goes to the radio station or the Democratic headquarters and they hook him up with the national press.

Record Industry Wants Still More

"Can you explain what planet the record labels are on?" asked Walt Mossberg, tech columnist for The Wall Street Journal and moderator of a one-on-one interview with Glaser at the conference.

Glaser smirked. "I guess I'd call it Planet Spreadsheet," he said. "The problem is that they don't look at it holistically."

One way of preventing illegal copies is to produce a copy-protected CD with a second copy of the tracks in a DRM-protected format. There is some movement to charge double royalties for these. Since each copy is locked down to specific types of players (one for the CD player, one for your PC) this seems greedy.

But according to this, DRM will never work anyway

Super Size Me a Super Sized Distortion of the Facts?

All foods can be part of a healthy diet just as over-consumption of any food can lead to extreme outcomes. While the film is satirical in nature, it's also important to note -- doubling calories, fat and cholesterol can lead to some extreme outcomes

Disney Blocks Distribution of Anti-Bush Documentary


I suppose I should feel bad about censorship but Moore lies a lot and I'm not sure how much protection the First Amendment should give to deliberate fabrication.

Moore insists that Disney is worried about tax breaks in Florida. I would guess it was more worried about pro-Bush backlash. Considering Disney's current problems, can they afford to release a feature-length campaign ad?

Speaking of censorship. My ABC affiliate is a Sinclair-owned station. I saw the program that they inserted instead of the Nightline listing of the dead. I also saw the spot they did the following Monday where they explained themselves.

The show that they did was good. They presented both sides of the war fairly.

Their list of concerns was also interesting. They pointed out that:

Nightline was inspired by an issue of Life which is credited with changing America's perception of Viet Nam.

Ted Koppel and his producer claimed to be surprised that the show aired on the first day of sweeps month (ratings were up but don't count because the show ran without advertising).

Koppel and his producer included every American soldier who died in Iraq including accidental and natural deaths.

Koppel and his producer did not include any deaths from Afghanistan.

Koppel and his producer brushed off the idea of using Memorial Day for the show saying that Memorial Day is for keggers (drinking).

Nightline is definitely biased. Is Sinclair afraid of the Bush administration as many critics claimed or are they just fed up with overt bias in a news show?

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