October 23, 2006

The injustice of our greed

Jerry Burchfield, You Have Entered, 2005

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"6. Tan Nguyen

"Last week, a letter written in Spanish was sent to 14,000 Democratic voters in central Orange County, CA. The letter read in part, 'You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time.'

"Nice attempt to suppress the vote! In fact, immigrants who have become naturalized U.S citizens are most certainly eligible to vote. They can even run for high political office. What, you thought Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Inglewood?

"State and federal officials investigated the letter and managed to track down its source: the office of Tan D. Nguyen, Republican candidate for California's 47th Congressional District. Believe it or not, even Republicans are now asking him to step down:

County Republican Chairman Scott Baugh said that after speaking with state investigators and the company that distributed the mailer, he believes Nguyen had direct knowledge of the "obnoxious and reprehensible" letter. He told the AP that the party's executive committee voted unanimously to urge Nguyen to drop out of the race against Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

"'I learned information that allows me to draw the conclusion that not only was Mr. Nguyen's campaign involved in this, but that Mr. Nguyen was personally involved in expediting the mailer,' Baugh said in a telephone interview.

"Ironically, Nguyen is himself an immigrant to the United States - his family left Vietnam when he was eight years old. Yet somehow I get the feeling that he won't be following the letter's advice..."

* Voting machines could skew elections. excerpt:

"Diebold, the company that makes the voting machines, told ABC News, 'These discs do not alter the security of the Diebold touch-screen system in any way,' because election workers can set their own passwords.

"But ABC News has obtained an independent report commissioned by the state of Maryland and conducted by Science Applications International Corporation revealing that the original Diebold factory passwords are still being used on many voting machines.

"The SAIC study also shows myriad other security flaws, including administrative over-ride passwords that cannot be changed by local officials but can be used by hackers or those who have seen the discs.

"The report further states that one of the high risks to the system comes if operating code discs are lost, stolen or seen by unauthorized parties — precisely what seems to have occurred with the discs sent to Kagan, who worries that the incident indicates the secret source code is not that difficult to obtain."
"Many are concerned about how the confusing technical issues will be handled by poll workers, who tend to be senior citizens and who are not necessarily tech-savvy.

"Electronic voting machines were supposed to be the solution to the paper ballot problems from the 2000 presidential election. But to many critics, America's voting system has gone out of the frying pan and into the fire."

* "I risked my life to make this film because I felt that I had a certain skill set that could be brought to bear on understanding this war in terms of being able to tell the story of the war in images, through people. The news was never going to do it; the news would always be headlines about statistics and bombs going off, and I knew I could be patient and tell a story with the subtlety of things unfolding, which I believe has a greater impact in creating understanding. Hopefully, that’s one of the things the film accomplishes." - Laura Poitras on her film My Country, My Country, which airs this Wednesday on PBS.


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