You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2011.
Heraldo has the details including a kudos to Mitch (who posts here frequently) for his contribution.
Addendum: Here’s the press release in its entirety.
Friday, May 20, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carolyn Crnich, Registrar of Voters, 707 445-7481
The United States Election Assistance Commission has awarded a grant to the Humboldt County Elections Department to further develop and document the processes and software used by the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project. The $25,000 grant was one of only twelve awards nationwide under the EAC’s Testing and Auditing Grant Program. Five of the awards went to state-level Secretaries of State and Boards of Elections, including California’s.
The Election Transparency Project was developed by Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich, community volunteers and election integrity advocates with the goal of allowing the voters to audit their elections by viewing digital images of the voted ballots. Open source software developed by project member Mitch Trachtenberg was instrumental in the discovery of a problem with the Premier/Diebold election tabulation system, which led to nearly 200 votes not being included in the Presidential Election report of November, 2008. On further investigation by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, additional serious problems were discovered with the Premier/Diebold system’s audit logs, resulting in that version’s decertification.
The award to Humboldt County will be used to develop better reporting capabilities for the software as well as producing a training manual to assist those conducting election audits in Humboldt and other counties interested in using the Humboldt approach.
“It’s encouraging to see the federal government recognizing the value in the work we’ve been doing. We’d love to see more jurisdictions publish ballots for independent counting. This increase in election transparency imparts greater accuracy and confidence in our election results,” said Tom Pinto, a founding member of the Transparency Project.
Crnich and the Transparency Project have previously been honored for their efforts by the Grace Institute for Democracy and Election Integrity whose mission is to improve public transparency in election processes by developing innovative ways for public citizens to oversee their own elections.
The US Election Assistance Commission grant program aims to develop and document processes and best practices for coordinating quality and cost effective logic and accuracy testing and post-election audits.
It’s still a few hours before midnight reaches the International Date Line.
Meanwhile, NPR covered a story about a unique entrepreneurial project. These people sold rapture insurance, promising to care for the pets of those who are called. Apparently almost 300 ponied up money for the coverage. It’s $135.00 for the first pet, and $20.00 for each additional pet.
The coverage is good for 10 years, so if you love your pets and you want coverage, give them a call.
Their FAQ page makes for some great reading.
Q: How do you ensure your representatives won’t be Raptured?
A: Actually, we don’t ensure it, they do. Each of our representatives has stated to us in writing that they are atheists, do not believe in God / Jesus, and that they have blasphemed in accordance with Mark 3:29, negating any chance of salvation.
Okay, now that makes some sense, but there is a problem with this one.
Q: How can we trust that you’ll honor your service agreement? After all, you ARE atheists.
A: Being an atheist does not mean we lack morals or ethics. It just means we don’t believe in God or gods. All of our representatives are normal folks who love and live for their family, are gainfully employed, and have friends of varying beliefs. Some of us are married to believers. Many of us volunteer our time at food banks, animal shelters, meals on wheels organizations, etc. We fully endorse the “Rule of Reciprocity”, also known as “The Golden Rule.” We just happen not to believe in God(s). Belief in God does not ensure righteousness, nor does non-belief imply immorality.
But what is the basis for your ethics that these believers can relate to? If you aren’t afraid of judgment, then you aren’t afraid of lying. They must have as much faith in your Rule of Reciprocity and your ability to adhere to it as in their God. Where is the guarantee?
The other problem is that the tribulations follow the rapture. How can you guarantee the pet safety in a world filled with earthquakes, tornadoes , locusts, blood red moons, and dragons coming out of the sea?
Serious question – am I wrong for mocking the belief? Should I be more tolerant?
Maybe the rapture has already happened, but nobody qualified. Or maybe they are so few we just didn’t notice.
My Danish ancestors were caught up in something similar during the 1900s. The grown-ups took their kids and took off their clothes and climbed up a mountain to await a rapture which never happened. The next morning, the adults all turned to booze, and the kids grew up to become communists. Or so I’m told. This a few generations after the Kirks fled Scotland to escape anti-Catholic persecution during the War of the Roses. And then they became millennialist Protestants? Go figure.
In any case, the rest of us have five months of Hell on Earth before we go to Hell in eternity.
If there’s anybody out there offended, I apologize. But I view all belief systems as equal and valid. Some are dead wrong. I guess I’ll know for certain when I wake up tomorrow. You too if you’re reading this.
Addendum: Damn! I’m still here.
Second addendum: Well, we’re supposed to have five months of Hell beginning today. It was sunny yesterday, but it’s cloudy today. Uh oh.
This morning my six-year-old daughter and I drove to Arcata. Somewhere around Redcrest my foot got a little heavy and when a CHP car came around a curve in the opposite direction I instinctively took my foot off the pedal. I glanced at my speedometer, and I’m pretty sure I had slightly exceeded 70 mph. I looked in the rear-view mirror but the officer appeared to continue to drive south around a corner. I thought I was safe.
Several minutes later he was behind me and slowly came up behind me. I slowed to 50 and in tell-tale fashion, instead of passing me he slowed with me. He was just waiting for a safe shoulder clearing to approach before he put on his lights. I told my daughter not to be scared, but that I was about to be pulled over for speeding. Her response, a sigh followed by “Oh Dad, why did you speed?!”
When the officer came to the window, he waved to my daughter, and informed that one of my front lamps was out. Immediately my daughter said, “It wasn’t because you were speeding Dad!”
The officer giggled the whole time he was writing up my fix-it ticket.
Parenting side note here. Lilith had a cello lesson and then we had some errands to run, after which we went to a movie. We gave African Cats a try, which is a Samuel Jackson narrated documentary following a pride of lions and cheetah family through Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve. I don’t know if there was interference from the film makers or other contrivances, but it was very compelling story and educational for kids. Not all happy endings – some important lessons about nature and survival. It’s at the Broadway, but there were no kids in the audience. There were some elderly folk from one of the homes, and a couple of elderly hippie women. All of the kids were in watching Rio or Thor. I don’t think they’ve marketed this well, or some of the attentive parents would have their kids in for some kid-appropriate substance.
And yet even many liberal Democrats are too terrified to take the issue on. Always the lag time, but it’s really time for this to become a national political issue. Actually, it’s been that time in moral and legal terms since the 14th Amendment was passed, but in political context now is the time.
As I’m getting older I tend to see issues in nuance terms, where there are points of view to be considered on all sides. Not this issue. It’s time to adapt Peter Seeger’s lyrics.
It”s the evil thing…
I’m wondering if younger audiences might miss the reference.
To discuss the emails between Rob Arkley and certain BOS members. 7:00 p.m. this evening on KMUD (91.1 in the southland, 88.3 up north).
Hank has posted a new batch of emails between Rob and Mark Lovelace. As Hank describes, it reads very much like a blog flame war, and in fact he sounds very much like a few of the anonymous posters here – complete with demands for Mark to waste his time to “prove” items of minutiae. Mark did make an overture at one point, which Rob received well.
Hopefully, by tonight, Hank will have posted the remainder of the County’s production in response to Hank’s public records request.
The other night I was watching the old German silent movie version of Faust. I was watching it for the fame film imagery and special effects – including a fascinating scene of Faust’s village in which all of the sudden Mephisto appears over it, enshrouding it with evil and despair – specifically by introducing the Black Death. The scene is six minutes into this clip.
A bit later in the film – can’t find the clip on youtube – the people are dying and Church officials are trying to generate even more fear for their own nefarious purposes. A group of the villagers respond in defiance of the fear and the plague itself:
“We shall live! We shall love. We shall die dancing in each others’ arms!”
I don’t know if those lines were drawn directly from Goethe, but even as the film itself moved into the dark, the chant continued to resonate with me – and I think they may well be the most beautiful lines in cinema, in context (I don’t think the lines would have worked in a “talkie” and I probably would have been one of those anachronistic people who would have lamented the loss of something vital in silent film as the medium made the switch). Nietzsche did once comment that Goethe had “a kind of almost joyous and trusting fatalism” that has “faith that only in the totality everything redeems itself and appears good and justified.” If these lines are Goethe’s, they certainly back Nietzsche’s comment up.
Goethe was actually a political conservative, more than skeptical of the Enlightenment’s claim that social change could be safely accomplished through reason. But as we all learned in high school, he introduced redemption to the preexisting Faust mythos, and the striving for better as virtue. I’ve never actually tried to read a translation of Faust, and I’m skeptical that it’s worthwhile based on my school learning that the verses were intricately designed for the German language. But if the dancing-to-the-end theme is consistent with his work, I can understand the Jewish character in the 1980s film Reunion who refused to believe the Nazis could take over, because “this is the land of Goethe and Schiller!”
Anyway, if the world comes to an end on May 21 as the billboards claim, I’ll see you all on the dance floor before most of us descend to Hell. If it comes to moments, I hope I can remember my favorite line translated in the old French film King of Hearts: “Three minutes is great!”
Not quite as lively as his tussle with Mark Lovelace, but I think Rob Arkley is, by now, sorry he started the sunshine law email request war. I try to remain objective about these exchanges, but I think unlike the exchange with Mark where there was a bit of anger on both sides (but more vitriol coming from Rob A.), Jimmy looks very reasonable in this exchange, and, I’m sorry, Rob A. looks a bit nutty. It reminds me of some posts and emails I’ve received from certain individuals around here, and I really think it’s incumbent of allies of these people to call them on it, and demand that they grow up; because these emails and the those which were directed at Mark are out of line for a public leader of Rob Arkley’s stature. I don’t agree with Rob on many issues, but he has contributed much to the community and is entitled to a certain amount of respect which I think he is denied in the blogs and elsewhere. But if he keeps up with the rants, he will lose the respect he has earned. He should not be treating elected officials with this amount of disrespect. If you can’t respect the office holder, at least respect the office.
We know Rob A. has temper issues. We learned this after Larry Glass was elected. But we thought these were impulsive aberrations. Now he’s starting to define himself accordingly. He needs to stop and stop it now. He owes Jimmy Smith, Mark Lovelace, and the public an apology. And Hank Sims as well. Plus, he hasn’t done Judy Hodgeson any favors. In light of recent events at the North Coast Journal, this really doesn’t look good. And this is only going to inflame an already very polarized community filled with “unholy alliances” and people “just asking questions.”
Thank you for the performing arts center Mr. Arkley. And the Bill the Chimp statue. And the $12,000 to oppose an undemocratic recall effort against Paul Gallegos. And numerous other gifts. But this latest round of tantrums is not cute, endearing, responsible, nor productive.
Addendum: Hank Sims has agreed to join me on All Things Reconsidered on Thursday night to discuss this matter and others of local interest. 7:00 p.m. on KMUD. It’s a call-in show.
Carlos Santana takes on Atlanta’s baseball fans to their faces, literally, and gets booed.