Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Thinking shit through

Maybe that's what I should have called my weblog because, well damnit, that's probably what's closest to my heart. And, well, damnit, the folks that get payed to do that just aren't.

Point the first: "If our commission invests in that as a solution, then we set ourselves up for the printer version of the hanging chad," [DeForest Soaries] said. This august figure is the Elections Assistance Commission Chairman. I do not believe this. First of all, printers are not terribly complicated technology at this point in human developement. At this very moment, I have beside me an HP LaserJet 1100, which I purchased in 1999, the second semester of my freshman year in college. As you can imagine, this little bugger has been called upon to spit out thousands of sheets of paper over the years, and in that time I have replaced the toner exactly once--not rocket surgery this processs, incidently. I have no doubt that my pal the HP LaserJet 1100, or perhaps one of his big brothers, could easily rise to the challenge of printing out several hundred ballots on a blustery autumn Tuesday. A printer server, moreover, is not so hard a thing to put together in an evening, and the world is equipped with envelopes, which can be used to provide a measure of secrecy. My point being, that printing shit out is extraordinarily well-tested technology--and tested in the real damn world--assuming that you don't have your heart set on cute little custom-made ballot printers. If you were already thinking "Voting+Computers," it's not a great leap to think about the fact that a great many computers in use in the world, in fact, have printers connected to them, maybe even the one you're using right now.

Point the second: Reagan? He dead. Also, I do not believe that he had any real intention of "winning" the Cold "War," so let's try not to wet ourselves about his profound legacy. Alternatively, if he did, I say, he was criminally negligent about dealing with the consequences. Again, try not to peepee. If I am wrong about the following, please tell me, because it would really interest me: I have never heard of any meaningful preparations made by the U.S. or NATO in the 1980s for dealing with post-Communist economies. There was no "Institute for the Prevention of Economic Chaos and Profiteering in Post-Soviet Bulgaria" for example, at least to my knowledge. Only five year's later, or so, did the IMF stormtroopers descend on these poor slouches. Nobody knew what kind of chaos would follow? Bullshit. I could figure that out, and I was 10 years old at the time. If the Reagan administration really thought they could "win" the Cold "War," where was the preparation for victory? Alternatively, if they really did know, wouldn't it have been a reasonable thing, and probably lucrative for American interests, to make Eastern Europe into a livable place and pronto, rather than letting things get to the point where we now have to wonder where the enriched uranium that the USSR once controlled has gotten to? But there are so many variables to consider, boo hoo hoo, whine whine whine... How many supercomputers does NSA have that rival EarthSimulator? Well... I bet economic models only have, like, half as many variables to worry about as the Earth. That last part might be nonsense.

Point the third: Can you imagine what happens to a person's body if a 500lb bomb falls on someone's house and he lives, say, three doors down? We seem to freak out when American bodies are "mutilated" by mobs of angry brown people. And we should freak out 'cause people shouldn't be mutilated ever ever ever. Do you suppose, though, that when Ahmed arrives at what used to be his cousin Mahmoud's house to gather up the limbs and giblets of his family that have been tossed about so playfully by said ordinance, that Ahmed sees the state of his family as something different from mutilation? If mutilation is going knot up our panties so much, maybe we should think a little harder before we start dropping bombs on people.

Okay, I'm done for now.