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November 22, 2004
Open thread 32
Posted by Teresa at 04:01 PM *

A kamikaze sea urchin sails over his head, squeaking.

The Holy Spirit gets around
Posted by Teresa at 08:00 AM *

From the wonderful Hitherby Dragons comes Night of the Antinomian, which is kind of like those cheesy old movies about giant radioactive rabbits or ants or spiders, only different:

“It was, perhaps, a mistake,” Dr. Oboli admits.

“Pardon?” asks General McCoy.

“It might have been a mistake. To harvest the genetic material of Johannes Agricola, and bring him back to life—fifty times his normal size!”

“Yes,” General McCoy says flatly. “Yes, it might have been.”

“I honestly didn’t think he’d ever escape the lab,” Dr. Oboli protests.

“Spilled milk, Dr. Oboli. Spilled milk. Tell us what we’re up against.”

“It’s probably the greatest threat ever to face humanity,” Dr. Oboli frets. “Historically, antinomians and humans have been able to coexist only because we were just as big as the antinomians and could kill them if we had to. But Johannes Agricola is already dead, and he’s also very large.”

“Large enough,” General McCoy asks, “to physically fling the saved into Heaven?”

“Exactly,” says Dr. Oboli. “No one is safe.”

“What about the sinners?” asks General McCoy, practically. “I mean, aren’t they safe? What if we buy some kind of golden calf from a military supplier and everyone worships it until the problem is resolved?”

“It won’t work,” Dr. Oboli moans. “Antinomians aren’t like ordinary Christians. They don’t care about sin any more than they care about good works. To Johannes Agricola, you’re either saved or damned from the moment that you’re born. It’s a doctrine of arbitrary judgment!”
I’ve always thought horror writers underestimated the potential usefulness of the doctrine of Election.

Elsewhere in the news:

You know from otherkin? People who believe that they are, in some spiritual or genetic or reincarnational sense, members of a nonhuman species, possibly more than one of them? It’s sort of like people with transgender issues feeling that they were (f.i.) born into a male body, but are somehow really female; only otherkin variously feel that they’re really elves, fairies, pixies, furries, selkies, angels, dragons, vamp[i][y]res, shapeshifters, phoenixes, Greys, or one of a wide variety of were-animals.

They’re not without a sense of humor about their condition. As one website says, in the course of discussing the various models otherkin have come up with to explain their felt condition:
There is also, of course, the possibility that we are all quietly insane. This has naturally been pointed out by a significant number of people, on the bizarre assumption that this could not possibly have occurred to anyone claiming the label. Of course it has. We’re insane, not stupid.
A charmingly inevitable event has occurred in the otherkin community, at a site called Molatar’s Castle:

This site is dedicated to spreading the Gospel in the werewolf and furry communities. It is my hope that many trans-species people will accept Jesus as their Savior through this ministry. …

You cannot make yourself righteous and holy on your own. Only Jesus can do that for you. If you are dissatisfied with attempting to be good through your own deeds and find yourself still enslaved to sin, then its time to choose Jesus as your Savior. If you are interested in becoming a Christian, please click on the salvation link to the left. Dear visitor, if you are trans-species, I can sympathize with you.

I too know the shame and anger about being trapped in a powerless and ugly human body. If you desire a shape-shift, please click on the P-shift essay link to your left and I will guide you. If you desire clarification of God’s Word, please click on the salvation, essay, and bibliography links provided at left.

This is Version 2.1 of Molatar’s Castle. I’ve re-written parts of my essay on vampires. I’ve removed some links to sites I no longer approve of. Much of the changes are invisible; I’ve been cleaning up the code to make this site faster. This dragon’s been working hard. …

I hope that by visiting my website that you will have learned something valuable. If you get Born Again because of this site, that would be even better.
It was bound to happen.

One of the reasons I’ve never believed satanic ritual abuse narratives—the ones where the supposed victims are always being “groomed” (they always use that word) to become the high priest or priestess of the group—is that their stories are devoid of normal human complications. Nobody ever develops chest pains, and has to be gotten out of their ceremonial robes and rushed to an ER. Nothing funny ever happens. Nobody ever fluffs a complex ritual. The air conditioning never breaks down. There are no theological or procedural disputes, no arguments about bookkeeping, no rebellious music committees. Satanic covens are never incapacitated because the potato salad sat out too long before the pre-ceremony setup session potluck. But most tellingly of all, no satanic group is ever riven by dissension because a couple of its members have started selling Amway and they won’t shut up about it.

Real people aren’t one-dimensional, and vice-versa. If you form a community around some shared interest, sooner or later someone in it is going to get Born Again and start preaching Jesus—unless it’s a born-again group to start with, in which case someone will begin selling Amway, or get into BDSM. It’s one of those things human beings do.

(Both links via Patrick.)

November 19, 2004
Har har
Posted by Teresa at 04:24 PM *

If we weren’t running Movable Type 3.121 plus MT Blacklist, right now you’d be seeing the havoc caused by 300-odd comment spams hitting our weblogs. They’re not getting through.

Inseparable, my nose and thumb.

November 16, 2004
Die, spammers, die
Posted by Teresa at 07:58 AM *

Sore Eyes has shut down its comment threads in the face of an increasingly uncontrollable problem with comment spam:

Observant readers will note that entries at this weblog no longer accept comments. Since moving to Movable Type 3.11 I’ve found that MT-Blacklist no longer works on my system. [Technical discussion deleted.] …[F]or the last month or so I’ve found that when I check my site after any significant interval—such as in the morning or when I get in after work—I’ve spent anywhere from five to fifteen minutes deleting comment spam and (where appropriate) banning the IP addresses associated with particularly bad attacks.

An hour or so ago I got back home from a 36-hour work trip during which I didn’t have internet access. I logged in to MT and found that there were some 1,600 comment spams. Better yet, after I’d filtered the list on what looked to be the most frequently used IP address in the first screenful of entries and told MT to delete the comment spams, it responded with an error because the URL it built passing the numbers of the comments to be deleted was too long for MT to process.

At that point, I decided that, sad to say, the fuckwit spamming bastards have won.
It might technically be possible to block those spams; but as the blocking process becomes more demanding, or more frequently needs reconfiguration, some webloggers are going to decide that it’s simply not worth the trouble. I’m in no position to point the finger at them. Patrick has a zest for this kind of problem, much as I have for moderating discussions; so he keeps the software in trim for both of us.

Any politician who wants to curry favor with me should feel encouraged to address the issue of spam.

November 15, 2004
Real emergency preparedness
Posted by Teresa at 03:19 PM * 125 comments

A “jump bag” or “go bag” is a pre-stocked fanny pack, backpack, etc., which you keep next to your front door, or in a desk drawer at the office, or in the back of your car. It’s for moments when the world has just gone to hell around you, and you need to grab what you can and get out fast.

One of the regulars here, Jim Macdonald, has put together a page of sample inventory lists for urban, wilderness, and first aid jump bags, accompanied by terse comments. It would do you no harm at all to put together jump bags for work and home. Here’s part of how Jim explains it:

There is no perfect kit.

What you have in your head is the most important survival/first aid equipment of all.

It’s better to carry general-purpose items than specialized equipment.

Modify the contents of kits for your personal situation. Inventory and repack each kit quarterly. Make seasonal adjustments. …

In a survival situation, you live as long as your feet do.

In an ambush, the killing zone is narrow. Get out of it.

You can live to be ninety without a Rambo knife, but hypothermia or dehydration will kill you deader’n dirt by this time tomorrow.

A terrorist attack is just a badly-placarded HAZMAT incident.

Brush your teeth, wear your seatbelt, wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet, and look both ways before crossing the street.

It’s good advice. The only thing I’d add is that in the summer you should have a little tube of that zinc-and-petroleum-jelly ointment they use to keep babies from getting diaper rash. It’s very effective protection against the kind of chafing that’ll peel your skin so raw that you can’t bear to walk.

Jim’s advice is very much in line with that contained in the esteemed Words of Wisdom About Gas, Germs and Nukes by SFC Red Thomas, Armor Master Gunner, U.S. Army (ret), quoted here from The Senior Engineer. It’s about keeping chemical, biological or nuclear warfare in perspective. SFC Thomas wrote the piece during the terrorism/WMD/anthrax/eeeeek!/etc. thrash period that followed 9/11. It spread like wildfire. This seems like the right moment to bring it up again:

Since the media have decided to scare everyone with predictions of chemical, biological, or nuclear warfare on our turf, I decided to write a paper and keep things in their proper perspective. I am a retired military weapons, munitions, and training expert.

Lesson number one: In the mid-1990s there was a series of nerve gas attacks on crowded Japanese subway stations. Given perfect conditions for an attack, less than 10% of the people there were injured (the injured were better in a few hours) and only one percent of the injured died. CBS-Television’s 60 Minutes once had a fellow telling us that one drop of nerve gas could kill a thousand people. He didn’t tell you the thousand dead people per drop was theoretical. Drill Sergeants exaggerate how terrible this stuff is to keep the recruits awake in class (I know this because I was a Drill Sergeant too).

Forget everything you’ve ever seen on TV, in the movies, or read in a novel about this stuff, it was all a lie (Read this sentence again out loud!).

Alas, all too often true. Some writers get this stuff right, but far too many don’t. (This is one of the big reasons I do things like go out to firing ranges and learn what it’s like to fire Tommy guns, .45 pistols, and assault rifles.) Books and movies and TV succeed if they tell lively, engaging stories. There’s no penalty assessed for giving bad emergency response advice.
These weapons are about terror; If you remain calm, you will probably not die.

This is far less scary than the media and their ‘experts’ make it sound. Chemical weapons are categorized as Nerve, Blood, Blister, and Incapacitating agents. Contrary to the hype of reporters and politicians, they are not weapons of mass destruction. They are means of ‘Area Denial,’ effective to keep an enemy out of a particular zone for a limited period of time: terror weapons that don’t destroy anything. When you leave the area you almost always leave the risk. That’s the difference; You can leave the area and the risk. Soldiers may have to stay put and sit through it, and that’s why they need all that spiffy gear. …

(He discusses the characteristic hazards, and responses to those hazards, of chemical, nuclear, and biological warfare.)

… Overall preparations for any terrorist attack are the same as you’d take for a big storm. If you want a gas mask, fine, go get one. I know this stuff and I’m not getting one, and I told my mom not to bother with one either (how’s that for confidence?). We have a week’s worth of cash, several days worth of canned goods and plenty of soap and water. We don’t leave stuff out to attract bugs or rodents so we don’t have them.

These terrorist people can’t conceive of a nation this big with as much resources as it has. These weapons are made to cause panic, terror, and to demoralize. If we don’t run around like sheep, they won’t use this stuff after they find out it’s no fun and does them little good. … This is how we the people of the United States can rob these people of their most desired goal, your terror.

Which is absolutely true, no matter who these wicked people are. Common sense and a fast, alert reponse to a changing situation are what will get you through.

Leave the overelaborate fantasies about terrorism, and responses to same, to the people living in areas where they aren’t in any particular danger. They can afford to be unrealistic. It’ll help keep ‘em busy and amused. We, on the other hand, just want to increase our chances of a positive outcome next time everything goes to hell.

A few more words from me on the subject of emergency communications. First and most obviously, get out and get safe first. Your loved ones would rather hear days later that you’re alive and well. Don’t go phoning them from any collapsing buildings unless you can’t get out anyway.

It may well happen that you and yours will be in different places when the bad stuff starts happening, and you won’t be able to get in touch for some time. It’s a good idea to agree on a specific location outside your immediate urban center where you’re going to meet. If you get to your rendezvous, find no one waiting for you, and the local situation isn’t good for a long-term wait, leave a note and move on.

Another thing to decide on in advance is a third party living some distance away who can act as your message box. You and your household may not be able to phone each other directly, but if you both know to phone Great-Aunt Genevieve when you can, she can relay messages between you. If you can get a call out to anyone, give them Great-Aunt Genevieve’s phone number and ask them to relay your message. People can be remarkably kind and helpful when there’s bad stuff going down.

A useful thing I learned in fandom during the Loma Prieta earthquake and other disasters is to keep lists of the names and whereabouts of people you’ve heard from. Whenever you run into someone new, swap lists with them. This is best handled by person-or-persons outside the affected area, in which case it becomes like having many people phoning to leave messages with many Great-Aunt Genevieves and Matildas and Adelaides, and the great-aunts copying each other on the info in the meantime.

The best version of this I ever saw done was by Bill Shunn. On the morning of 9/11 I gave him the same suggestion I’ve just made here, but what he did was put together a web page where people could check in, say they were alive, and leave a brief message. It was a simple thing, but a huge amount of interpersonal communication ran through it that day until the message traffic forced him to shut it down so his ISP wouldn’t crash.

One of my other favorite stories from that day was the shoe store owner who stood in his doorway, handing out free running shoes to Wall Street women who’d otherwise have had to walk out of the zone in heels. I’ve been through my share of NYC disasters, and it’s true: you really do last as long as your feet.

Really, NYC disasters are a good model for the kind of thing we’re talking about. You have the people caught in the middle of the attack. There’s not much you can do for them, except help carry out the wounded survivors. For everyone else, it’s a matter of getting safely away from whatever it is that’s gone bad, and avoiding becoming a problem yourself until order is reestablished.

Calling cards
Posted by Teresa at 02:54 PM * 35 comments

I got this from Julia of Sisyphus Shrugged, who says she got it from Steve Gilliard’s News Blog, who says he got it from Democratic Underground:

The number ONE request at Walter Reed hospital is phone cards. Because the priority of our government is to continue tax cuts for the likes of Paris Hilton, the government doesn’t pay LD phone charges and these guys, many of them amputees, are rationing their calls home.

Many will be there throughout the holidays.

Remember that most are from poor families. It is disgusting that they cannot keep in touch with family after what they have been asked to sacrifice for BushCo; especially this time of year.

Support the troops—cuz BushCo doesn’t. Send phone cards of any amount to:
Medical Family Assistance Center Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001
They say they need an “endless” supply of these—any amount even $5 is greatly appreciated.
IMO, “I made a donation in your name” makes a better gift than most of the mathoms and kipple that get handed round at this time of year.

November 11, 2004
Ghosts of the Great War, 2004
Posted by Teresa at 11:59 PM * 42 comments

“We’re not making a sacrifice. Jesus, you’ve seen this war.
We are the sacrifice.” Ulster regiment, marching toward the Somme
Eleven eleven has come round again, when we remember what used to optimistically be referred to as the last great imperialist war. Many of my links are repeated (with adjustments for link rot) from last year. What the hell; they’re still relevant. Maybe more so.

World War I was what got me started reading history. I was at home with pneumonia, and somehow picked up a copy of a Penguin illustrated history of World War I. I was horrified: They did what? Then amazed and horrified: And then they did it again? And finally plunged into a profound mystery: And they kept doing it, again and again, for years? In some ways, all my reading of history thereafter has been an attempt to understand the information in that one small book.

In memory of the men who fought, a jolly contemporary folksong: Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire.

Have a look at Tony Novosel’s two pages of spooky, evocative photos of Great War memorials:

Painting: Menin Gate: The Ghosts of Ypres

The actual Menin Gate, on which are carved the names of the 54,000 Missing from the Battle of Ypres.

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. There are 73,350 names on its panels.

Kathe Kollwitz’ Grieving Parents, near the site where her son and his comrades are buried.

The Silent Sentinels, Langemarck German cemetery in Belgium.

The Sentinels again.

Watching over the German graves at Langemarck.

Le Mort Homme (The Dead Man), Verdun.

Another view. “ILS N’ONT PAS PASSÉ” means “They did not pass”.

The Guardians of Verdun.

Views of the war: John Singer Sargent does one of each.

Wilfred Owen’s grave.

Not pictures: A pertinent selection of Wilfred Owen’s poems. And a bit of Philip Larkin.

The Lost Poets of the Great War website, with its calculation of total casualties.

One of whom was young Umberto Boccioni, Italian Futurist artist. This is his “States of Mind” series: The Farewells. Those Who Go. Those Who Stay. There aren’t many paintings by Boccioni. This is a piece called Unique form of continuity in space. There is even less sculpture by him.

If there are universes with multiple branching timelines, there are thousands of them very much like ours, except that in them no one’s ever heard of J. R. R. Tolkien. The destruction, the toll of the dead, is as difficult to comprehend as the Black Death.

At one point I looked up the history of Tolkien’s unit, the Lancashire Fusiliers. First they significantly distinguished themselves at Gallipoli. Then they significantly distinguished themselves at the Somme. Here they are, about to be killed. No wonder Tolkien came back from the war saying, “Everyone I know is dead.”

An account of the Newfoundlanders.

Bad place to make a landing, Gallipoli. A few words from the last surviving ANZAC. And the other last surviving ANZAC.

There is great generosity in the monument to the dead of both sides at Kabatepe Ariburun Beach, inscribed with the speech Ataturk made in 1934 to the first ANZACs and Brits who came back to visit:
Those heroes that shed their blood And lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons front far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land
They have become our sons as well
An affecting, low-key page about New Zealand public memorials: Lest We Forget: War Memorials of the First World War.
The New Zealand war memorials of the First World War have become part of the common fabric of our lives, like stop signs or lamp-posts. Virtually every township in the country has one, usually in the main street. Excluding the many honours boards and plaques in schools and churches throughout the country, there are well over five hundred public memorials to the soldiers of the Great War. Despite their numbers, the memorials are not boring or stereotypical. This was because New Zealanders showed much inventiveness in remembering the dead of the Great War. By the time the war ended, over 100,000 young New Zealanders had served overseas and some 18,000 had lost their lives. Sacrifice of this magnitude engendered enormous emotions.
One of my two favorites is the Kaitaia memorial, in Maori and English. The other is the annual ceremony at Piha. Every year there, at low tide on Anzac Day, they process out across the sand to lay their wreaths on Lion Rock ; and then the tide comes in and carries the wreaths away.

Addenda, 2004

The Gardener, a short story by Rudyard Kipling.

Gassed, John Singer Sargent.

Art from the First World War: 100 paintings from international collections, loaned to mark the 80th anniversary of the Armistice.

Aftermath: When the Boys Came Home, dedicated to the aftermath(s) of the war. A blunt, bitter, cocky site that just keeps accreting material.

The Heritage of the Great War, a broad and deep site that, like Aftermath, just keeps accreting great material. Its photo essays are especially good. Some segments:
Five Souls.

Origins and causes of the war.

99 Quotes from the Great War.

The war in color photography.

Bloody picnic: forbidden photos of the war.

German war photos.

Panoramic photos, 1919.

Another calculation of the casualties.

Children who fought in the war.

Shot at Dawn: Executions of deserters.

An Unforeseen Epidemic of Shell Shock.

Belgium’s inadvertent stockpiles of poison gas.

The Americans Are Coming!

Why America Should Have Stayed Out: a 1936 interview with Winston Churchill.

Tolkien: Frodo in the marshes of the Great War.

Hemingway’s natural history of the dead.

Conquering Baghdad: the real problems always come afterward.

11/11/11/11
Posted by Teresa at 11:11 AM * 24 comments

I find myself unwilling or unable to do my annual post about the Great War. I’m sure I’d know why if I thought about it. I don’t want to think about it.

Professional catalogue
Posted by Teresa at 10:00 AM * 6 comments

Security expert Bruce Schneier has weighed in on The Problem with Electronic Voting Machines.

November 09, 2004
Proposition
Posted by Teresa at 10:13 PM *

Like the Internet itself, eBay and Craig’s List are transfer protocols, open channels for commerce and communication. We can no more predict what’ll eventually be flowing through those channels than the inventors of the Arpanet could have known what infinite diversity and strangeness would blossom on Usenet. Life is the thing that automatically routes around the blockage.

Salwar kameez
Posted by Teresa at 11:01 AM *

I’ve successfully tested a proposition: You can commission traditional garments from tailor shops in India and Pakistan, via eBay.

Doing this makes use of a polite fiction. You start by going to eBay and typing in a search string like women clothing salwar sari. This puts you in the land of Indian-subcontinent clothing makers. Now, the conceit of eBay is that it sells existing concrete objects; but if these guys sell you a salwar kameez (that is, the traditional Indo-Pakistani pantsuit plus matching dupatta or stole), and you send them the list of measurements they request, out of the kindness of their hearts they’ll throw in all the cutting, sewing, embroidery, etc., required for a complete outfit made to your measure.

I’m all for this. It means you can buy semi-directly from Third World suppliers, instead of having several rounds of importers and wholesalers taking their percentage along the way. The range of products on offer is wider, because you’re not limited to whatever some importer guessed would sell in the United States this season. And if these small manufacturers make good money by selling us good stuff, we’ll not only be happier with each other, but we’ll be real to each other in a way we weren’t before.

How to find these vendors:

There are three signs to look for. First, if the listing says any size, it usually means they’re making clothing to order, but might mean they’re selling the same model in multiple sizes. Second, the accompanying photo shows, not finished garments, but two or three pieces of color-coordinated fabric wrapped around a dressmaker’s form. Not all bespoke-tailoring vendors do this, but all the vendors who do it are selling bespoke tailoring. The third and infallible sign is that they ask you for your measurements.

The base price for a made-to-order three-piece salwar kameez starts around $30 for something simple in a cotton or synthetic fabric, and goes up to the lower-middle three digits for wedding garments so dense with gold embroidery that they mess up flash photography. Shipping runs around $12-$25, so check before you bid.

Report on the experiment:

Using the proceeds of my CafePress t-shirt sales, I ordered three salwar kameez (kameezi? kameezes?) from three different vendors. Only one auction was contested. The average purchase price was $39.00.

All three purchases arrived within two weeks. All three fit. All three vendors misunderstood or ignored my request for elbow-length sleeves, but they all got the trousers right (nipped in at the ankle, with a small cuff).

Specifics, good and bad: Indianartcart were were the first to deliver, but the edges of the dupatta were raw fabric, unevenly trimmed, so I had to roll handkerchief hems on both sides to finish it.

Bollywoodfashion produced comfortable and undeniably flashy garments (some of the decorative beads and sequins turned out to be fluorescent), but the beading and embroidery are not of durable execution, and the kameez needed to be lined but wasn’t.

Indiashop1 is my favorite so far. They made the red-and-blue outfit I wore to the Hugos and the WFC banquet. The kameez is fully lined; the lightweight silky trousers survived unscathed a bad fall I took over a brick coping; and someone named Alka at the home office kept me apprised of each new development, and fretted intensely throughout a shipping snafu that temporarily sent my salwar kameez to a warehouse in New Jersey.

Overall experience: I’d do it again. I’d deal with any of those vendors again. And I’d recommend it to a friend.

International reply coupons
Posted by Teresa at 11:00 AM *

Tor is reshuffling its offices in the Flatiron Building. We’re about to be moved from the 14th to the 19th floor for some weeks, after which we’ll be moved to the 14th and part of the 13th floor. Marketing, Promotion, and Publicity will be getting the new territory.

The process is enough to give you nightmares about drowning in oceans of paper. In the meantime, if I may ask Making Light’s readers a hypothetical question:

Suppose that in a drawer of the desk used by the slush-opening-and-logging interns, one were to come upon a sheaf of International Reply Coupons more than two inches thick. The coupons are in two sizes, one about half the size of the other, and hail from everywhere from Brampton to Botswana.

What would happen if one were to present such a very large sheaf of coupons at one’s local post office? Would they deny all knowledge of them? Tell the bearer to bring them back on Annual Coupon Redemption Day? Demand that they be sorted by date or size or country, or at least counted? Declare that some of them have expired? Unflinchingly offer to swap the lot of them for U.S. postage stamps?

Inquiring minds need to know.

November 08, 2004
From correspondence
Posted by Teresa at 07:34 AM * 160 comments

John M. Ford writes:

…I refuse to use the word “fundamentalist,” or any of its variations, for their usual shorthand meaning these interesting times. The first reason is that it is an inaccurate term; these positions do not reflect the fundaments of either Christianity or Islam. They are old emergent strains within each, but the premise that these are the root principles, and everything else, like, oh, tolerance and compassion, are poisonings of the spring, is a lie and a slander.

Indeed, where exactly is the Christianity or Islam in either of these two debased ideologies? Apart from a handful of symbols and catch phrases (along with pastiches, like “The Rapture,” that baldly pretend to be authentic principles), there’s nothing of Jesus or Mohammed, or the long discussions of how we should then live that followed them.

To put it in very direct terms, what we are talking about here are psychotic death cults, of the sort we associate with horn-hatted fictional Norsemen and the Uruk-Hai, people for whom the entire material universe is a sort of sand-table exercise by the Creator, who tossed it together on a weekend to play Red Army and Blue Army for the merest blink in the eye of eternity, before putting the good pieces back in the box and tossing the bad pieces in the fireplace for not winning a rigged game. We are talking, further, about thermonuclear war as not a threat but a shining promise of victory. There are people out there who believe (that isn’t really the word I want, but it’ll have to do for now) that an entirely literal atomic conflict on the plains of Megiddo is a necessary precondition to the return of the Christ, who will come as a thief in the night with a bag of Molotov cocktails.

We know, as much as we can know any of this sort of thing, how Jesus responded to the loss of a single beloved one. John didn’t need many words to describe it.

November 07, 2004
Grieving process
Posted by Teresa at 09:01 PM *

My sorrow and sense of failure is for all the people not in the United States for whom we’ve been a beacon of democracy and the hope for something better. We’ve failed them.

Here’s where I’m angry enough to spit at the Naderites, and anyone else who practiced ineffectual politics on the bone-stupid grounds that ‘things have to get worse before they can get better’: Did it ever once cross your minds that the things that get worse include the lives of people around the globe? We were a constant referendum on and demonstration of the idea that liberty, equality, and government by the consent of the governed are not only possible, but work better than elitist kleptocracies.

Those weren’t just empty words. America really was a beacon of hope, and a constant encouragement to good guys everywhere.

If you were one of those Naderites who were out yapping about how they wanted to “vote as though it made a difference,” congratulations: You made a difference. I hope you feel all warm and fuzzy and self-actualized now, because in the reality-based world you’ve done grievous harm to the helpless, the oppressed, and every ideal you profess to stand for.

Don’t tell me I can’t blame you, because I can, and I do.

It’s not just you, either. I’m entirely out of patience with Americans whose whimpering plaint is that we Democrats brought this on ourselves because it hurt their feelings when we acted like we think they’re stupid.

To this I say: Oh, malarkey.

First response: Grow up. If they’re that big on self-esteem issues, let them go volunteer as helpers at their local elementary school, where it’ll do some good. It’s faintly nauseating to hear so many supposed adults whine.

Second: Bullshit. For the last ten or fifteen years, I’ve listened as Democrats, liberals, the French, and other groups have been treated to sneers, calumny, loutish bullying, and unashamed lies by the right. It’s been a terrible burden to the spirit, and has brought public discourse in America to hitherto unheard-of lows of infamy. Where was all this sensitivity, when that was going on? If they could bear years and years of hearing that thrown at others, with never a protest or reproof at its callous ugliness, they can surely bear up under a breath of implication that they’ve made a singularly disastrous decision.

Third, I say bullshit and malarkey again. They weren’t upset about the Democrats acting like we thought they were stupid before the election took place. It wasn’t an issue back then.

You know what’s really happening? They’re seeing our reactions, and they’re scared. It’s like that moment where someone tells you what they’ve done, and it’s disastrously wrong, a complete catastrophe; only they haven’t understood that until now, when they see you stagger and turn pale at the news. And as you’re standing there steadying yourself, feeling your heart pounding and a terrible weight descending on your shoulders … you realize that the other person is preemptively yelling at you. They still don’t quite know what’s happened, but they can tell they’ve screwed up big time, so they’re screaming that they certainly hope you aren’t going to pretend that this could somehow have been their fault, because …

They can tell we’re not just acting like we’ve lost an election. They know that politically, they haven’t been acting like responsible grownups. So now, their reaction is to raise and sharpen their voices, and say they certainly hope we aren’t going to pretend that this could somehow have been their fault …

Well, yes. It is. They’ve been stupid and self-indulgent and irresponsible. Not having to pay attention to what’s happening around you is the most expensive luxury there is; and they just went to the ballot box and wrote a blank check to cover it.

Now Bush has announced that he plans to privatize Social Security. They ought to be out standing in the middle of the street, screaming at the top of their lungs, because if that goes through a lot of them are suddenly going to be looking forward to an impoverished old age.

Beyond that, if Bush puts through more tax cuts and commits to more indiscriminate spending, the deficit’s going to go so high that it’ll break the bond market. Do they know what that’ll mean? Bonds help pay for their schools and streets, their water and power and sewage systems. An awful lot of them have bonds as a major component of their retirement savings. We’re looking at the possibility of truly ugly hard times.

But are they out in the street screaming? They are not. They’re hunkered down, nervously hoping that the destroying angel has passed them by, and this will be as bad as it gets. They won’t have to do anything. They won’t have to think about scary stuff. They can go back to dollhouse politics where you pretend that cloning, flag burning, and evolution are serious issues.

It can get much, much worse. It may well get so much worse that words like “inconvenient” will be retired in favor of words like “tragic” and “life-threatening.” Wake up now. Act now.

And for those of you who feel horribly let down by us: We’re sorry. Some of us know it and others don’t know it yet, but we messed up big time, and we’re terribly, terribly sorry.

Don’t stop believing in the ideals. Nothing about them made this outcome inevitable. They’re as good now as they ever were. When you have freedom, you have the freedom to screw up. It didn’t have to happen, but it did anyway. This is just a country. Freedom, democracy, equality under the law, and respect for the common man will go on, whether we go with them or not.

November 06, 2004
Update bits
Posted by Teresa at 06:37 PM * 58 comments

1. The Movable Type upgrade has been accomplished. Comment spam search-and-destroy capability is much enhanced, and MT Blacklist is now built into the system. MT Blacklist has retained my favorite feature: the button you click on to demolish comment spam is still labeled “Go forth and do my bidding.”

2. The post about Death Masks just grew to about twice its former length. The reason I listed and linked to so many masks the first time around is that the sites thumbnails arent labeled and its site index doesnt work, which makes it unduly difficult to browse the images. Even with the addition I just posted, my own list is still less than half the total images.

If anyone’s curious, I left out the Shakespeare image because it’s disputed; Julius Caesar because I can’t find anything on its provenance; and Martin Luther because it looks slightly too awful for easy belief in its validity.

3. If any of you remember Collecting bug, my long post about animal hoarding, Scott Lynch has spotted yet another story in that vein. This one’s bad:
450 cats cleared from home
3 likely to face charges; most animals were diseased or dead

ST. CROIX FALLS, Wis. Shielded by hazardous materials suits against the toxic combination of feces, ammonia from urine and decaying flesh, crews removed about 450 cats Friday from a home along the St. Croix River.

A gut-wrenching stench, something akin to raw sewage combined with rotting meat, carried by a westerly breeze, attracted a bald eagle and turkey vulture for closer looks.

Inside the two-story white clapboard home, the crews equipped with oxygen tanks and air filters made their way through a catacomb of debris, including garbage bags and barrels filled with dead cats, all of which were covered by several inches of cat feces.

St. Croix Falls Fire Capt. Jeff Gutzmer called his trips into the home “like going into hell.” Like most on the scene, he had been to a number of homes and farms where from a few animals to maybe a couple dozen were found dead or dying.

“The numbers. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s beyond words, beyond description,” Gutzmer said of the dead and dying cats, and the waste they produced. “It’s almost impossible to believe anyone could live. It’s toxic.”

The home’s resident—an 86-year-old retired county health care nurse, her 47-year-old daughter and 52-year-old son-in-law—are expected to face felony charges, including animal abuse. The Polk County district attorney, working with investigators, could file charges as early as Monday. Meantime, the residents were staying at a local motel.

Authorities could not explain why the three were living with so many cats or for how long. Cats living on the main floor of the house on South River Street appeared to be more domesticated than the ones on the second floor. Many of the hundreds of cats were believed to be diseased.

After three firefighters were bitten trying to round up some of the cats, the crew decided the safest, healthiest and most humane option would be to asphyxiate the remaining animals by pumping carbon monoxide into the house.

“The cats on the second floor were wild, feral cats, and we decided it was too risky,” said Police Chief Paul Lindholm.

Firefighters attached large hoses from the exhaust of the fire trucks to pump the carbon monoxide into the house one of only six on the street. Any cats found still alive were euthanized by injection. After the last of three truckloads of cats was taken to a Clear Lake crematory by Friday evening, the house was completely sealed and cordoned off with yellow police tape.

Clearing out the cats took two days of work by the Polk County sheriff’s and health departments, and St. Croix police and fire departments, along with several neighboring fire and ambulance crews, who were called in to assist. Work began Thursday morning and was completed Friday.
The house has been condemned, which is par for the course in cases like this.

If the St. Croix story seems incomprehensibly horrible, read the animal hoarding post. Note: all the links in it to Tufts University’s animal hoarding research site are broken. The Tufts site can now be found here. Many of my links were to the Tufts photo gallery, which is here. The site is admirably clear and well-informed throughout: a worthwhile if distressing read.

Addendum: I sometimes wonder whether the animal hoarding thing is a dysfunctional variant of the pleasure we take in the company our fellow critters. I don’t mean spiritual pleasure; I mean the measurable neurochemical hit we get off having someone pay attention to us. You can always have friends, minions, or sycophants (depending on your tastes), as long as you aren’t picky about what you get. Being able to command resources gets you a better class of minion; but not everyone has that option.

Animal hoarding has a strong overlap with general hoarding behavior. It’s been observed that in many cases, the difference between a mentally ill hoarder and an acceptably sane collector is the quality of collected objects and the amount of house space and hired help they can afford.

This connects with one of the weirder aspects of high-end fashionable dress. There’s a long history of wealthy people who’re heavily into fashion developing acquisitive behavior that can’t be called anything but compulsive. Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection wasn’t a singular aberration.

During the Regency, the Prince of Wales (later George IV) accumulated insane amounts of top-quality bespoke clothing in gradually increasing sizes, and in his later years gradually wore less and less of it. Pathological obesity didn’t keep him from ordering military uniforms and riding habits. He was perpetually broke, but after his death, hundreds of pocketbooks were found amongst his possessions, each with forgotten money in it.

One of the characteristic behaviors you see in people who’ve caught a case of the fashion thing is indiscriminate acquisition. Empress Eugenie of France had to have her servants maintain an elaborate filing system just to keep track of her wardrobe, and held annual public sales to clear it out so she’d have room for more. This acquisitiveness often takes the form of compulsively buying one of everything. If Jacqueline Kennedy (sometimes Onassis) liked a particular item, she’d buy one of it in every available color. The Duchess of Windsor would buy one of every item offered that season by her favorite designer, even in her bedridden final years.

Every so often, I see newspaper or magazine stories about this-or-that public figure who owns hundreds of bespoke suits kept hanging on a motorized system that parades them past him when he wants to dress. Or there’ll be some woman explaining that it’s simply impossible to dress herself adequately on less than improbably many tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. That’s not sane. It’s just rich. And there’s nothing easier than spending money.

Does this mean I think these people are sad and lonely and looking for whatever happiness they can find? Not particularly. I do think they like the hit, though.

I think maybe the poor and the dowdy would like the hit too, but the things they can afford themselves are far more limited. We all know aging women tend to have pets, but they also buy a lot of greeting cards, and collectible tchotchkes, and other quick hits. It’s consoling clutter. A little old lady with a clean, uncluttered house is a little old lady who has some other absorbing interest to keep her happy.

But for people who stray off the straight and narrow of sane behavior, there are few consolations more potent and more convenient than companion animals. They’re always there. You’ve always got the drop on them. They can’t transfer their attention to some stranger they’ve met at work. And there are always more of them than the market requires. They’re every bit as unwanted as their owners, but they’re even more powerless.

Here goes
Posted by Patrick at 11:09 AM * 26 comments

I’m about to try upgrading nielsenhayden.com to Movable Type 3.121. Don’t be surprised if weird things happen. (—Patrick)

UPDATE, 2:37 PM: So far so good, but not finished. Hold off trying to comment for now, please. (Avram, we’re sending your pants back via FTP.)

UPDATE, 3:20 PM: Commenting seems to work now.

November 05, 2004
Open thread 31
Posted by Teresa at 07:25 PM *

Gunpowder, treason, and plot …

Mathematically impossible
Posted by Teresa at 03:08 PM * 29 comments

Lenny Bailes points out this bit in The Daily Kos:

Franklin County, OH: Gahanna 1-B Precinct
638 TOTAL BALLOTS CAST

US Senator: Fingerhut [D] - 167 votes
Voinovich ® - 300 votes US President:
Kerry [D] - 260 votes
Bush ® - 4,258 votes

Why are my civil authorities not looking into this, backed up by my law enforcement officials, and if necessary my military forces? How many of them have taken vows to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution? They should be doin it.

The futility of grammar checkers
Posted by Teresa at 01:42 PM * 79 comments

I love English, a language in which the following three sentences use three different verbs:

She was going to put Up With People on as the opening act.
The seckel pears were put up with spiced crab apples in a heavy syrup.
She could no longer put up with his nonsense.
I’ve been explaining for years that while I can imagine that there might be languages for which an automatic grammar checker might be useful, English is not one of them.

This morning a further demonstration of the point occurred to me: in English, to have done with—a construction which might have been designed to trip up simple-minded grammar checkers—is a phrasal verb meaning to have no further concern with; while to have to do with means to be concerned with or to deal with. The latter is frequently used in combination with what, as in what has [foo] to do with [bar]; but if what is used immediately before it, the phrasal verb dissolves and to do reverts to being a bog-standard verb, as in he doesn’t know what to do with himself.

The day a computer can sort that out, I’ll ask it to parse the subjunctive.

New times call for new t-shirts
Posted by Teresa at 12:17 PM * 75 comments

Greg Rapawy writes in with a great suggestion (okay, a suggestion I like a lot):

On October 19, 2004, you wrote in a comment to the “Motivation and doubt” post that you’ve “long had ‘Hige sceal e heardra, heorte e cenre, mod sceal e mare e ure maegen lytla’ buried in the template code for [your] weblog.” Any interest in making a CafePress shirt, or maybe a mug, with this phrase? It seems particularly appropriate to the next two to four years, and I suspect people would buy it. I know I want one.
I’m now taking suggestions: archaic-looking type and background? Something more modern? If modern, yes or no, stars & stripes background? Other?

Please advise.

Marching orders
Posted by Teresa at 10:00 AM * 47 comments

Atrios has helpfully identified Really Bad Ideas That the Media Loves and Democrats Must Resist. These include privatizing Social Security (“this will just be the Treasury Looting Act of 2005”), medical savings accounts, tort reform, bankruptcy reform, and further tax cuts (“the bond market’ll snap like a twig at some point”). Read the piece. Take the points. Spread the word. Write to your elected representatives. Because Atrios is right—and a miserably impoverished old age is nothing to look forward to.

Death masks
Posted by Teresa at 06:00 AM *

Death masks—plaster casts of a person’s face, taken shortly after death—are an old technology. The Thanatos Death Mask Gallery collects images of them, providing what are at times startlingly immediate pictures of long-dead faces. For instance: Benjamin Franklin, Frederick the Great of Prussia, Joseph Smith, John C. Calhoun, Dante Alighieri, Oliver Cromwell, Sir Isaac Newton, Ludwig van Beethoven, Napoleon, Robespierre, Nicolo Machiavelli, Jonathan Swift, John Wesley, Lorenzo di Medici, and Henry VII of England; also Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and William Tecumseh Sherman.

Addendum: One of the reasons I listed and linked to so many masks is that the site’s thumbnails aren’t labeled, and its site index doesn’t work. Since I’m already doing it, might as well go on:

Composers: Johannes Brahms, Frederic Chopin (1) (2), Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler (1) (2), Franz Schubert, and Richard Wagner.

Writers and Philosophers: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Gustave Flaubert (1) (2), Johann Goethe (1) (2), Nikolaj Gogol, Heinrich Heine, Victor Hugo, John Keats (1) (2), Friedrich Nietzsche, Alexander Pushkin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Schiller, Sir Walter Scott, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Leo Tolstoy, and Voltaire (possibly touched up?).

Scientists: Thomas Alva Edison, Sir Isaac Newton (same mask, different photo), Blaise Pascal, and Nikola Tesla.

Artists: Paul Gaugin and Theodore Gericault.

Other Notables: Phineas Gage (railroad worker), Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Mary, Queen of Scots (repainted by what has to be a modern hand), Pope Pius IX, Chief Seattle, Sir Charles Edward Stuart, and Pancho Villa. (via)

If anyone’s interested, the Thanatos gallery has them in order alphabetically by first name.



[Update: The links above are broken; the site is now here: http://libweb.princeton.edu/libraries/firestone/rbsc/aids/C0770/

November 04, 2004
Glad to hear it
Posted by Teresa at 05:49 PM * 171 comments

If “constructive” is a euphemism for “makes me feel better,” Adam Felber’s concession speech is constructive as all get-out:

There are some who would say that I sound bitter, that now is the time for healing, to bring the nation together. Let me tell you a little story. Last night, I watched the returns come in with some friends here in Los Angeles. As the night progressed, people began to talk half-seriously about secession, a red state / blue state split. The reasoning was this: We in blue states produce the vast majority of the wealth in this country and pay the most taxes, and you in the red states receive the majority of the money from those taxes while complaining about ‘em. We in the blue states are the only ones who’ve been attacked by foreign terrorists, yet you in the red states are gung ho to fight a war in our name. We in the blue states produce the entertainment that you consume so greedily each day, while you in the red states show open disdain for us and our values. Blue state civilians are the actual victims and targets of the war on terror, while red state civilians are the ones standing behind us and yelling “Oh, yeah!? Bring it on!” More than 40% of you Bush voters still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. I’m impressed by that, truly I am. Your sons and daughters who might die in this war know it’s not true, the people in the urban centers where al Qaeda wants to attack know it’s not true, but those of you who are at practically no risk believe this easy lie because you can. As part of my concession speech, let me say that I really envy that luxury.
I’ve been waiting a long time to hear someone say that.

How long? Probably since the day my brother the dittohead told me that when it comes to national security, I “just don’t get it”—when he lives in a cushy suburb in the Midwest, and I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan. (via)

Why, yes, that is odd
Posted by Teresa at 01:33 PM * 39 comments

From a thoroughly disingenuous article in the Seattle Times:

Larry Harris, a pollster with Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, said the early exit polls overstated the turnout of young voters people 18 to 29 and failed to note that Bush received a 4-percentage-point gain in the people older than 60 who voted for him from the 2000 election.

That said, Harris believes that the media and the campaigns misuse exit polls.

“Exit polls are a wonderful advantage in providing context and texture,” he said. “But for trying to make a call, we’ve learned in two elections in a row that they lead to confusion.”

Karyn Barker, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, agreed that exit polls are getting a bad rap. It’s not the polls, she says, it’s how the people use them.

“Anyone who follows exit polls should not use them as a prediction of the turnout of certain groups,” she said. “To assume that these numbers were spot-on was foolish. It seems some people, including me, wildly misinterpreted what they meant.”

Some say users of exit-poll information never used to have to worry about error margins and statistical sampling.

“If we go back in history to prior presidential elections, those exit polls were dead on,” said Dennis Simon, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Something has changed to make them less dead on.” (Emphasis mine.)
Isn’t it remarkable that all these people (except Dennis Simon) stand ready with explanations for why the exit polls no longer match the voting results?

It’s the of course, everybody knows tone that gets me. I haven’t heard anything quite like it since the day four years ago when James Baker stepped up to the mike and said that of course, everybody knows that machine counts are more accurate than hand counts—which was and is completely untrue. In fact, the reverse is true: everyone knows that hand counts are more accurate.

If this were a movie you were watching, by now you’d be exasperated by characters who took this long to spot the implications. (via)

Furthermore: Jim Macdonald tells me that as he was driving down from New Hampshire on Election Day, he went through a long patch where the only radio station he could pick up had Rush Limbaugh on, so he listened to the show. Jim says Rush was explaining that it’s really not a very good idea to let everybody vote, and that you do much better when the only people who can vote are ones who have “a stake in the system.”

See also, “property qualification.”

As Lydy Nickerson said when I told her about that, “How can anyone not have a stake in the system?”

Addendum: I found this quoted in Red Onion. I don’t know how reliable it is, but it’s certainly interesting:
SoCalDemocrat (xxx posts) Tue Nov-02-04 11:54 PM Original message
Kerry winning Exit Polls - FRAUD LOOKS PROBABLEEdited on Wed Nov-03-04 12:42 AM by SoCalDemocrat
EDIT:
Analysis of the polling data vs actual data and voting systems supports the hypothesis that evoting may be to blame in the discrepancies. Nevada has evoting but with verified receipts. In that state the Exit Polling matches the actual results within .1% accuracy. However for other swing states Bush has unexplainable leads.
I’m still compiling data. Please help me determine what voting methods are being used in swing states and which are evoting without audit trails. Post your data under the individual state responses below. …
When we’re supervising elections overseas to make sure they’re fair and honest, the main mechanism we use is exit polls. On election nights stretching back as far as I can remember, I’ve heard newscasters cite exit polls. Now, all of a sudden, I’m hearing from multiple sources about how wildly unreliable exit polls are.

I’m not buying it.

Also: More links on this subject.

November 03, 2004
Bad morning
Posted by Teresa at 11:29 AM * 252 comments

225 years is a pretty good run for a republic, historically speaking.

I keep thinking about an interview I saw last week with a young woman who was working for Nader, and how self-importantly she said, “We’re voting the movement, not the candidate.” The stupid chit had somehow failed to notice that what we elect are candidates.

By the way, I don’t accept these results. I never will. And if you have any sense, you won’t either. I don’t care what your politics are. That’s not the issue. People who mess with the vote are not your friends. If they don’t believe in government by the consent of the governed, they sure as hell don’t believe in government by the consent of you.

November 02, 2004
East Coker
Posted by Teresa at 05:30 PM * 16 comments

National Review is sounding depressed. The only real energy on their site is being generated by their multiple denunciations of exit polls.

O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark, The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark …

… As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away …

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Good evening, Mr. Buckley.

An interesting phonecall
Posted by Teresa at 04:56 PM * 72 comments

I was in the basement when the phone rang in the upstairs living room, so I was already a tad irritable when I took the call. My temper wasn’t improved by dead air on the line; but then a man came on, identified himself as Sylvester, and asked to speak to Patrick. I asked what the call was about.

He said he was calling from the National Grants Association, and wanted to advise Patrick that he was eligible for a $5,000 grant from the government. “What for?” I asked him. For anything, he explained; Patrick had paid lots of taxes, and now the government was offering to give some of it back to stimulate the economy.

“My goodness,” I said; “what number are you calling from? And what’s the name of your supervisor?” Sylvester tried to explain that the supervisor was busy, and that if I had questions he might be able to answer them himself; but he was hampered by having me talk over the top of him as I explained that I’m legally entitled to ask.

A few moments later another man came on the line, and identified himself as Reeve Lawson, Verification Officer of the National Grants Association. Maybe he really was named Reeve, and the first guy really was named Sylvester, but I’m under the impression that those are uncommon names on the Indian subcontinent, which was where both men’s accents hailed from.

Because I insisted, he gave me their phone number: 1-800-474-6185. So far, I haven’t been able to get it to work.

Reeve Lawson explained to me that we’d be receiving our grant paperwork in seven to ten days. All we had to do was sign the paperwork and return it along with a one-time filing fee of $249.95, and we’d get our non-repayable $5,000 grant.

“That’s very interesting,” I said cheerfully. “That grant doesn’t exist, anyone who pays you $250 will never see their money again, you are running a scam, and I’m going to report you to the Attorney General of the State of New York.”

Mr. Lawson rang off.

Is there any point in trying to report this? If so, to whom?

IF YOU’RE VOTING IN OHIO:
Posted by Teresa at 03:10 PM * 13 comments

You may be challenged.

Don’t let them spook you!

Here’s from The Daily Kos:
According to Ohio Law ( 3505.18):
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE without presenting any identification after the election officials have verified your signature. If you are unable to sign the register, you may still vote after you present proper identification to verify your identity.
As a non-lawyer reading that, I take that to mean that only those with a permanent handicap (or a temporary one, like a cast on your writing hand) that prevents them from physically signing the registry need to show ID.

Look, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, has already predicted a 73 percent turnout in Ohio this year, up from 63 percent four years ago. So you know they need to challenge, because this kind of rise in voter turnout does not bode well for the GOP in the Buckeye State.

Here is the national voter fraud hotline webpage, with a toll-free number as well as a link at the bottom (in English and Spanish) with more information on your voting rights in Ohio than what I’ve posted above. Sadly, the OH secretary of state’s Board of Elections’ webpage does not provide much information on how to file a complaint, other than to instruct you to notify the poll worker at your voting location.

Related note: If you are planning to vote after work today, or late in the day, they MUST let you vote so long as you ARE IN LINE by 7:30 p.m. when the polls close. Do NOT let them turn you away if you are there but still in line, whether inside or outside the polling location. Pass the word.

UPDATE: More information on Ohio from DKos incomparable readers.* Go here and here.
Pass it on. Who do you know in Ohio?

November 02, 2004
Posted by Teresa at 08:33 AM * 139 comments

The Day of the Dead.
The Feast of All Souls.
Election Day.

Just do it.

Addendum, 4:00 p.m.: How is everyone? I feel delinquent for not being able to pass around popcorn and chips.

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