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October 27, 2003

Party of Lincoln update. Joshua Micah Marshall is all over the story, mentioned on Electrolite here, of Republican black-voter-suppression efforts in the current Kentucky gubernatorial race.

Here’s the flyer used this past summer to recruit Republican “challengers” to work at the polls, in order to counter the wicked “NAACP and their efforts to marshal the Get Out To Vote efforts targeted toward the black, poor voters in selected communities and selected targeted races of national impact.” [03:01 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Party of Lincoln update.:

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 03:23 PM:

What is Marshall thinking? Why the fuck is that a PDF file? He's making it less accessible for no gain.

Janet Miles ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 04:11 PM:

I'm guessing, but of course could be wrong, that the document is a PDF because it's a scan of an existing memo produced by someone else, and he wants to minimize charges that he manipulated the text or format.

I agree that the document is less accessible (both in terms of requiring additional software and in terms of being handled by screen readers or other adaptive technology), but I think there is at least one valid reason to have made that choice.

Debbie Notkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 04:42 PM:

Great dead phrases of our culture, RIP:

"They should be ashamed of themselves."

Buzz ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 04:45 PM:

Acrobat Reader is free software, easily obtainable and practically ubiquitous. If you are implying that a jpeg is a better format, that's not the case. It has the unfortunate inconvenience of not automatically printing to a page width from a web browser. My gripe is over the poor scan, which is unreadible in many parts of the document.

Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 05:26 PM:

No, Josh has done the same damn thing with his interviews, dammit.

Buzz, straight HTML is a whole lot better than a .pdf.

Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 05:34 PM:

Straight HTML doesn't seem to be an easy option in this case -- as already noted, this is a scan of a preexisting document, and low enough in quality that OCR would probably miss large chunks of it. The only way to get the text into HTML would be to retype the whole thing manually -- and then try to duplicate the formatting.

PDF is more of annoyance when the document in question is some kind of court filing -- also commonly made available as scanned PDF, and sometimes of poor quality -- but it's common in that context for pretty much the same reasons.

Josh ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 05:37 PM:

Adobe had a PDF push a while back, and some offices tend to use it more than they should. Converting text to PDF is a waste of time and bandwidth. In this case, however, it makes sense to scan the original poster.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 05:54 PM:

Buzz, I'm implying that GIF is a better format, which it is. It took me all of ten seconds in Photoshop to turn that 120+k PDF into a 50k GIF file. (Seriously, launching Photoshop took longer than the actual file conversion.) And it'd show up in my browser window, not require me to launch another app.

Better still if he'd done a better scan of the flyer. Parts of that one are illegible.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 07:22 PM:

I didn't notice a problem. I'm using Safari with the freeware PDF Browser Plugin, which I pretty much unreservedly recommend to users of OS X and Safari.

I hate PDFs on the web, too, but this seriously reduces their annoyance factor.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 10:38 PM:

Oooh, that plugin kicks ass. I installed the ghostscript thing too.

Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2003, 01:27 PM:

Is there a deadline for certifying challengers in Kentucky, or would there still be time for the Democrats--or some other organization--to send challengers to every Republican district in the state? Is it possible to challenge the challengers--make them prove their citizenship, their residency, and every other thing one could think of?