You are currently browsing the daily archive for August 7, 2007.

Just had a chance to read Hank’s column of last week. I have lots of comments, but no time right now. Just priming the pump.

Addendum: Meanwhile Secretary of State Debra Bowen has decertified the the voting machines in 39 counties.

Second addendum: Okay. The first of the scandals discusses VP Cheney’s involvement in the Klamath fish kill. The third reports on HCOAG’s vote to pursue the impossible dream of local rail at the expense of the trail. The fourth is an update of the PALCO bankruptcy proceedings, noting that apparently PALCO will allow the Gallego appeal to proceed (undermining my conspiracy theory of the timing of the bankruptcy – the stay having been imposed earlier this year like a day or two before PALCO’s responsive brief was due). There’s no indication of such on the appellate court docket however.

I wanted to comment on the second scandal pertaining to a Secretary of State study which indicates that Diebold voting machines can be easily hacked and/or tampered with. Carolyn Crnich says that the studies don’t take into account the safeguards which have been implemented. Then what exactly was the point of the study?

Hank says that a hand-count would only take a few days, but that certainly wasn’t the case last fall when we went weeks before learning the results in just Eureka.

I’m all for the original lever machines. Instantaneous count and impossible to hack.

Third addendum: Apparently Humboldt County’s system fared quite well in Bowen’s review.

Reportedly said with a straight face. I’m talking of course about the latest law which allows warrentless surveillance of telephone conversations with anyone outside the US. From the Chronicle:

Today, most international telephone conversations to and from the United States are conducted over fiber-optic cables, and the most efficient way for the government to eavesdrop on them is to latch on to giant telecommunications switches located in the United States. By changing the legal definition of what is considered “electronic surveillance,” the new law allows the government to eavesdrop on those conversations without warrants – latching on to those giant switches – as long as the target of the government’s surveillance is a person who is “reasonably believed” to be overseas.

For example, if a person in Indianapolis calls someone in London, the National Security Agency can eavesdrop on that conversation without a warrant, as long as the NSA’s target is the person in London.


“It’s foreign, that’s the point,” Fratto said. “What you want to make sure is that you are getting the foreign target.”

I’ll try to dig up a list of those who voted for it. Apparently none of them is running for president.

The law is supposed to be reviewed in six months.

Once again, the Democrats, the majority of them anyway, fall gutless on any issue framed as “national security.” If you can’t stand up to a president whose popularity is in the 20 percentile range, who can you stand up to?


August 2007