Friday, February 04, 2005

A disturbing report from a middle-school wrestling match, by blogger Woody Cavenaugh. "As a coach I am in a rage over this and I demand heads on pikes."

I have not verified the facts in his post, but have read his blog for some time and found his story credible enough for a link. People are asking him to post video. Certainly other accounts of the events would be useful.

12:49:37 PM    comment []

Gilbert's flawed argument on electronic voting: Guilford County elections director George Gilbert opines in this morning's N&R (unposted) against using paper backup ballots.

Gilbert acknowledges the major problems caused in the last election by machine failure in Carteret County (Steve Troxler only today was certified as NC Agriculture Commissioner) and makes appropriate noises of concern. By all accounts a talented pro and a trailblazer in electronic voting, Gilbert says he's working with a national task force that is seeking verifiable voting methods without adding paper.

Fine -- but until we get those methods in place, what else do we do besides using paper ballots? Hope and pray? The weakest part of Gilbert's argument is a false analogy: "We would not replace the automobile with a horse and buggy because someone had a wreck." Right. But we do require seatbelts as supplemental safety gear in automobiles. This isn't about abandoning new technology, it's about using familiar technology to improve it.

Money is the elephant in the corner. Gilbert mentions the cost of paper ballots, and that's a real issue -- the Feds push localities to buy electronic voting machines, and provide some funding to do so, but provide no money for paper, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per election.

Yet the AgCom race shows how easily voting-machine problems might lead to big costs of their own -- in dollars for re-running races, and in confidence in the process itself.

"No paper" is no answer to the problem at hand.

12:42:03 PM    comment []

Headline from ACC Hoops on the UNC-NCSU game: "Sick 95, Tired 71."

9:30:03 AM    comment []

A conversation about Social Security in the blog comments to a letter to the N&R.

9:28:36 AM    comment []

Gate City reports that the NC legislature is considering a gay-marriage ban. His commenters are less enthusiastic about it than he is. Go, commenters.

7:56:52 AM    comment []

At least she's honest -- The Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady is bragging about Bush's plan to end Social Security as we know it: "George Bush's plan to create personal retirement accounts is not simply an actuarial adjustment designed to boost old-age financial security. It is a lunge for the jugular vein of the welfare state."  (emphasis added) (subscription only)

7:52:54 AM    comment []