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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I am not sure I am on your wavelength. What is "pitiful" about people in Ohio voting overwhelmingly for Bush? With all the *doom* that was supposed to happen and the relative smoothness of the whole process this time I don't see a bitching point. Except maybe you wanted Kerry to win.
    • TorgoX's point is straightforward. He doesn't trust the election result because he doesn't trust the election machines from Diebold that were used in the election. So he doesn't think that it is clear that Bush really won.

      Which is a fair point. The count in Ohio was fairly narrowly for Bush. The election machines are not trustworthy. Given the margins, it would not have taken a large fix to have stolen the election. Initial exit polls disagreed with the count. The head of Diebold publically promised to deliver Ohio to Bush. None of this inspires faith in the system.

      I happen to think that he is wrong. The exit polls have a known margin of error, and the tally was within that margin of error. Furthermore Ohio's polls had given Bush a reasonably consistent lead in Ohio at the end - about the same that he won by in the counting. However note that I believe the result there for reasons that are not because I trust the system (I don't). And I'd like to have a voting system that I have more faith in.

      But I'm more dubious about FL, which voted for Bush when Kerry was leading in polls. It was also tied or leading in early exit polls. I'm suspicious because the fallout from the 2000 election demonstrated clearly that ballots spoil there in highly suspicious ways depending on where they are cast. (Various causes were found for that, one of the key ones being that in some precincts a spoiled ballot was immediately rejected and you got to vote again, in others it was silently accepted and you had no idea that you hadn't voted. Blacks got the latter treatment.) The result in 2000 was that if spoilage had been more even, Gore would have had an estimated 200,000 vote margin. Exit polls in FL have trouble not just because of sample size issues, but because there are dirty tricks in play that the exit polls don't account for.

      And there were even more dirty tricks there this year. For instance absentee ballots that did not get mailed...

      Given the size of the "fix" in past elections, the narrowness of the exit polls, and the size of Bush's official win, Bush could well have won Florida in a fair vote. But there wasn't a fair vote there and I'll always wonder whether Bush could have fairly won the 2004 election.

      Looking to the future, I hope that in coming years the people who voted for Bush come to realize the magnitude of how badly he has screwed up. More realistically I hope that his ability to pursue the more radical parts of his agenda will alienate the American public, leading to a lasting backlash against religious extremism that is similar to the backlash against liberalism that was caused by their successes in the 60's and 70's (civil rights, etc).
      • I hope that in coming years the people who voted for Bush come to realize the magnitude of how badly he has screwed up

        Then we can "begin the healing", and then get bored with that and quickly move on to some other maniacal Nixon VIIIth. [perl.org] And IXth. And so on, with American politics swinging forever between the only two modes it knows: heavily armed backlash, and damage control.

        Good Cop Bad Cop is apparently the name of the game in this country -- and it's a jolly game, full of twists and turns and cloak a

        • Have you ever read Wealth and Democracy [amazon.com]? Based on the timing of the collapse of other world powers, Kevin Phillips projects our economic collapse at around 2015 or so.

          The various negative commentators on Amazon notwithstanding (I wonder how many of them actually read the book), Kevin Phillips clearly did a lot of research. He has a long track record of spotting political trends well before others do. (Both Nixon and Clinton credited him with the election strategy that brought them the presidency!)

          Who w
          • There are many depressing things about the idea of India and China having any reach beyond their own borders. And they have no pie.