Category Archives: Election 2006

What's Going On: Evening News Roundup

Here’s the Thursday evening news roundup:

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average roller coaster continues. The Dow gained 410 points today. The Federal Reserve and other major banks offered almost $200 billion for the markets. This will allow banks to borrow more money. It should ease some of the credit crunch.
  • Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, invited a couple of economics professors to explain what is going on with Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac along with AIG. It is a relatively long and detailed discussion, though somewhat enlightening.
  • Putnam investments has closed a $12.3 billion fund in order to limit losses to its investors. This can’t be good.
  • Republican presidential nominee John McCain seems to be somewhat confused about Spain and Latin America. His answer to an interviewer’s question simply didn’t make sense.
  • John McCain continues to flounder on the economy. Today he said if he were president, he would fire the SEC Chairman. It turns out, although the SEC chairman position is independent, although nominated by the president and confirmed by Congress. Therefore, the president cannot fire him or her. Oops! One would figure that McCain would know this since he has been in Congress for over 26 years and has been a part of the selection process at least two or three times.
  • Governor Sarah Palin seems to be digging herself a large hole called Trooper-gate. Neither her or her husband will testify. I guess if you are a Republican, then answering a subpoena is not in your DNA. For a party that swears they do not like lawyers, they sure seem to use a lot of lawyers in their efforts to delay and to stall.
  • Brother, can you spare a dime? Or how about a couple of trillion dollars?. Bailouts may cost about that. Now, where is that going to come from?
  • The featured speaker at a GOP rally designed to reach out to minorities is none other than former Senator George Allen. Allen lost his re-election bid to Jim Webb partly due to his racial comments — “Macaca.” Seriously.

Can't test the Electronic Machines

From NYT:

A laboratory that has tested most of the nation’s electronic voting systems has been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federal officials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests.

The company, Ciber Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colo., has also come under fire from analysts hired by New York State over its plans to test new voting machines for the state. New York could eventually spend $200 million to replace its aging lever devices.

Experts on voting systems say the Ciber problems underscore longstanding worries about lax inspections in the secretive world of voting-machine testing. The action by the federal Election Assistance Commission seems certain to fan growing concerns about the reliability and security of the devices.

The commission acted last summer, but the problem was not disclosed then. Officials at the commission and Ciber confirmed the action in recent interviews. (more…)

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I’m thinking we need to go back to the paper ballot.

Salon's person of the year

Shekar Ramanuja Sidarth is the campaign worker for Jim Webb.  This is a great choice.

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From Salon.com:

Dec. 16, 2006 | Sometimes, for just a moment, nothing makes sense. The senator who would be president stands on the dais. It is a bright summer day. The branches of trees, still green, sway gently in the breeze. Republican George Allen is feeling good, and the crowd likes him. Almost everyone thinks he will win reelection. Then he says something. “Let’s give a welcome to macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.” No one knows what has happened.

But the confusion does not last long. Over the next week, people consult dictionaries in several languages. They find that the word “macaca” is a term for monkey, used in some places around the world as a racial epithet. At first, the senator recoils from the claims of insensitivity, refusing to apologize. Then he apologizes hesitantly, then profusely. At first, the senator’s advisors say the word was a nickname for a mohawk haircut. Then they say the word meant nothing at all.

As days stretch into weeks, a video of that moment, with the senator onstage, spreads over the Internet like a sickness, entering popular culture and political history. Months later in the fall, when the votes are counted, it becomes clear that a successful politician has stumbled badly over a 20-year-old with a camcorder. The career of George Allen, the former front-runner for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, is in shambles. And when he finally concedes defeat two days after the 2006 election, he has not only lost a seat that was considered safe but also handed Democrats control of the Senate, completing their takeover of both houses of Congress.

It must be said that the young man, Shekar Ramanuja Sidarth, is not much of a cameraman. In the macaca footage, his hand shakes, though he manages to hold Allen in the frame as the senator points him out, an Indian-American in a crowd of whites. But in the weeks that follow, Sidarth does not shy from the spotlight that surrounds him. He undergoes a transformation of sorts, appearing on CNN and the network news, giving long interviews to the pen-and-paper press. He becomes a symbol of politics in the 21st century, a brave new world in which any video clip can be broadcast instantly everywhere and any 20-year-old with a camera can change the world. He builds a legacy out of happenstance. Continue reading