Saturday, December 11, 2004

REASON V. RELIGION- Snobs Frame the Debate

REASON V. RELIGION

we can be RIGHT but it does us no good if we don't WIN. we need PRAGMATIC LEADERSHIP.


We’ve allowed them to expose the weakness of our leadership- true snobbery. The hierarchy of the democratic leadership truly believes that they are smarter than the American people, that they ‘know’ what is best- paternalism at its most nauseating. The democratic leadership acts like the oldest kid in the family- the one that the other kids wish they could catch doing something, ANYTHING, wrong. We’ve become despicable, the annoying smart-ass group of folks who ignore their base (because they are ignorant), who ignore the majority of Americans on the issue of religion (because they are ignorant), who ignore the proven political wisdom of the African-american community (because they are ignorant), who ignore the patriotic pride and nationalism of a nation that is still young (because they are ignorant),….. in short- a party that says ‘I know better than you what is good for you.’ I submit to you that any political movement that ignores those whom it purports to represent IS IGNORANT BY DEFINITION.

This ain’t brain science! We don’t have to prove that Christ is dead, that evolution is true, that gays are all good parents, that blacks are noble, that women are men,’ that children are better off being raised ‘by a villiage…’

We only have to show that we are on the side of the people we purport to represent.

It IS democracy, RIGHT? This means that we must convince a majority of the represented that we UNDERSTAND THEIR NEEDS. As long as we think they are too stupid to know what is best for them, we are not really proponents of DEMOCRACY.

people see through phoney baloney. they might not be able to articulate why, but they really just didn't like john kerry. they knew that bush is a bumbling idiot, but they also knew john kerry thinks he's better than them. it came through loud and clear. and nobody like somebody who thinks they are stupid. nobody likes someone who makes them feel inferior. nobody likes a SNOB.

It is truly sad when the group of folks who think we best represent their beliefs are CANADIANS (not that there’s anything wrong with being Canadian EXCEPT THEY CAN’T VOTE). Could we just TRY to be a bit more pragmatic?

As long as we allow a few greedy republicans to steal Jesus for political reasons, we will never win another election. This is about REALITY- about the heart and soul of America- the heart and soul of MANKIND- about what people think, how they feel, and what they [i]want[/i] to believe.

we could change what they believe, but it is impossible to change what they WANT to believe.

For 10,000 years of recorded history, for some reason mankind has CHOSEN to believe in a higher power. Most people choose to believe that there’ a “higher” purpose to this thing called life. As long as we demand that they accept that their life is pointless and futile, that nothing matters in the long run, that when they die they rot and it all ends there- we will lose. it runs contrary to the human spirit.

it is fools gold.

so we are smarter. lots of good it does us and the rest of the world when we allow republicans to exploit our snobbery, to make themselves appear more passionate.

Friday, December 10, 2004

'Same as it Ever Was'


Armor Holdings Could Boost Humvee Armor Output 22%

Sole Supplier of Armor to Humvees in Iraq says it could increase the output by 22% without investment. Of course, they're still waiting for Rumsfeld's request.


Armor Holdings Inc., the sole supplier of protective plates for the Humvee military vehicles used in Iraq, said it could increase output by as much as 22 percent per month with no investment and is awaiting an order from the Army.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday the Army was working as fast as it can and supply is dictated by ``a matter of physics, not a matter of money.''

Jacksonville, Florida-based Armor Holdings last month told the Army it could add armor to as many as 550 of the trucks a month, up from 450 vehicles now, Robert Mecredy, president of the company's aerospace and defense group said in a telephone interview today.

``We're prepared to build 50 to 100 vehicles more per month,'' Mecredy said in the interview. ``I've told the customer that and I stand ready to do that.''

Insurgent attacks on the vehicles with homemade bombs and rocket-propelled grenades are accounting for as much as half of the more than 1,000 U.S. deaths and 9,000 U.S. wounded in Iraq, according to Congressional estimates.

President George W. Bush said concerns raised by soldiers in questions to Rumsfeld yesterday in Kuwait are being addressed,'' Bush said in response to a reporter's question. ``We expect our troops to have the best possible equipment. If I were a soldier overseas wanting to defend my country I'd want to ask the Secretary of Defense the same question, and that is are we getting the best'' equipment, he said. ``They deserve the best.''

`Hillbilly Armor'

U.S. troops preparing for deployment to Iraq told Rumsfeld yesterday they are salvaging armor from landfills to install ``hillbilly armor'' on their Humvees. Rumsfeld replied that ``you have to go to war with the Army you have.''

Armor Holdings has already boosted output from 60 vehicles a month a year ago, said Mecredy, 58. As a result of the increased output, Armor Holdings has cut the price for the armor its supplies for the trucks to $58,000 per vehicle, from $72,000 per vehicle a year ago, Mecredy said.

Shares of Armor Holdings rose 66 cents, or 1.6 percent in New York Stock Exchange composite trading at 11:34 a.m.

When he was asked about current production yesterday, Rumsfeld wasn't sure of the exact figure saying ``it's something like 400 a month are being done.''

``It's a matter of production and capability of doing it,'' Rumsfeld, 72, said.

Tesia William, a spokeswoman for the Army Materiel Command, which handles the armored Humvee program, had no immediate comment on the status of orders.

Production of the armor needs to be coordinated with output of the actual trucks by AM General LLC of South Bend, Indiana, Mecredy said. AM General spokesman Lee Woodward also said that truck output could also be increased.

``If they ordered more trucks, we'd build more trucks,'' Woodward said. ``We're not close to capacity. It might take some time to ramp up but we can do it.''

Woodward declined to provide exact details on production capacity.

The main reason there isn't enough armor is because the military has underestimated its own needs, said Meghan Keck, spokeswoman for Senator Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat. Bayh wrote a letter to Rumsfeld in October calling for a more accurate estimate of Humvee needs.

``If the Army would be up front about the number of Humvees needed, the companies would be able to set their production accordingly to meet the need,'' Keck said in a phone interview.



Wednesday, December 08, 2004

VOTE NOW!!!

People's Choice Awards Nominates "Fahrenheit 9/11" as "Favorite Film of the Year"

by Michael Moore

Dear Friends,

May I take a break from our post-election despair to share with you a little piece of happy/silly/cool news?

"Fahrenheit 9/11" has been nominated by the People's Choice Awards as the American public's "Favorite Film of the Year." The five nominees were chosen from a poll of thousands of Americans in mid-to-late November. The other nominees for best film are "Spiderman 2," "The Incredibles," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (with Jim Carrey), and "Shrek 2." It is the first time ever a documentary has been nominated for best film by the People's Choice Awards.

The People's Choice Awards are considered, among all the awards shows, to be the one which most accurately reflects the "mainstream" public opinion in the United States.

OK, now, here's the best part: YOU get to vote! Online. Now. Just go to http://www.pcavote.com/voting/film/f01.shtml, click on the little circle next to "Fahrenheit 9/11" in the "Favorite Movie" category and press the "vote" button. Voting is going on now and continues only through this coming Monday, December 13, at 3:00pm ET, so send an e-mail to your friends and let them know they can vote, too. Winners will accept their awards live on CBS on January 9.

Now, normally I wouldn't make a very big deal out of something like this. It's nice and I'm honored, but it's not exactly the number one priority on any of our minds these days. In fact, when we found out we were nominated over a week ago, I didn't even think to tell you about it or put it up on our website.

But then a group of top Republicans took out a full page ad in USA Today (and placed a similar one in the Hollywood trade magazine, Variety) proclaiming that "An election is over, but a war of ideas continues." The point of the ad was to say that while they, as right wing conservatives, were proud of getting rid of Kerry, there was still one more nuisance running around loose they had to deal with -- me! They also issued a not-so-subtle threat to the Academy Awards voters that, in essence, said don't even THINK about nominating "Fahrenheit 9/11" for Best Picture. And Bill O'Reilly recently bellowed that if the Oscars recognize my work this year, Middle America will boycott Hollywood.

Oops. I guess he spoke too soon. Because now along comes Middle America's favorite awards show, the People's Choice, and the People's Choice this year, along with a Spiderman superhero and a lovable green ogre, is a film that apparently continues to resonate throughout the country. The truth about Iraq, Bush, terror and fear. The election has not altered or made irrelevant, unfortunately, a single one of these issues. That they (and the film that dealt with these issues) are still at the forefront of the majority of the public's minds should give serious pause to Mr. Bush as he brags about a nonexistent "mandate" and begins to spend his "political capital."

He may have been (barely) the people's choice on November 2 (Ohio recount excluded), but now the people get to vote again, this time for a movie. It's about the best we can do right now, and, trust me, it won't be long before we start the real work we need to do to get our country back.

Again, go to http://www.pcavote.com/voting/film/f01.shtml if you want to vote for our film. I promise, if we win, to give a nice and polite speech.

Yours,

Michael Moore
www.michaelmoore.com
MMFlint@aol.com

P.S. Please feel free to post or forward this to your friends...
P.P.S. Yes, it's true, I'm on the Barbara Walters people of the year special tonight. Did I cry? You'll have to watch to find out! :-)


Shocking(not really) new story

Programmers weigh in on vote-rigging idea, some details confirmed

By John Byrne| RAW STORY EDITOR

As the dust settles after the first day of a bold claim by Florida programmer Clinton Curtis of alleged vote-rigging software, skeptics and believers alike have flooded Internet sites in earnest analyzing the claims.

In short, technical analysts – though not all in agreement – have found the concept of a rigging program plausible. Most note that without the original source code, such a program would be undetectable.

“From a technical standpoint, it is perfectly plausible,” said a middleware programmer for IBM in North Carolina, Kim Winz. “Whether or not this turns out to be true, it’s a very good reason why we need the source code available for all of these voting machines.”

Some point to the fact that Diebold already employs hidden buttons in their software as an example of how such a program could work.

On other fronts, Curtis’ claims check out. Raymond Camillo Lemme, who was an inspector for the Florida Department of Transportation looking into another of Curtis’ claims was found dead in a Valdosta, Georgia Knights Inn of apparent suicide on July 1, 2003, according to Valdosta police.

Hai Lin Nee, a Chinese national, was arrested for passing sensitive information on U.S. weapons to China. Curtis claims that Nee worked as a Quality Control Inspector for his former employer, Yang Enterprises; RAW STORY has to date only been able to confirm that Nee had worked for a research institute designing software, according to the Georgia Office of Homeland Security. Yang Enterprises is a Florida state contractor which does, among other things, software research for NASA.

Yang Executive Secretary Cohen, who Curtis alleges was present at meetings with Feeney, rebuffed a call from RAW STORY Tuesday morning.

“I will not speak to you,” he said, and took down the site’s number for the third time. The company has not responded to requests for comment.

The man accused of commissioning the software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), who was a Florida state legislator at the time, has remained silent. Three calls placed over the last two days have not been returned.

Nearly all programmers are in agreement that such a program would be hard to detect as it existed on the voting machines. Alan Schlingenbaum, who has an MBA from Harvard and works in the computer industry, says a distinction Curtis made is correct.

“There is a very important distinction between source code and compiled code,” Schlingenbaum said. “It is very hard (virtually impossible, for most practical purposes) to look at compiled code and completely understand every aspect of how it works.”

Winz, who has spent the last 14 years in software programming, notes that the programming language Curtis says he used is often used for prototyping, and that it could be easily adapted for Windows and Unix machines.

“Visual basic is a program that is used to do prototyping,” she said, noting that the language is designed to give a client the “basic functionality and user experience that you intend” from a final product.

Others are more skeptical. Jeff House, a former Microsoft programmer who works for a prominent dot-com, said he believed the prototype was probably written but wouldn’t go far.

“Without more detail, and based on what I know so far, it's hard to imagine that this could have really been used to change votes,” he said. “It's still embarrassing, to be sure, but it's like he built a nuke out of a cardboard box and some wires...unless there's some plutonium hiding in there somewhere, it might look good, but it isn't going to blow up.”

Winz says that such a program might create a log file that could be detected, but in any case the only way to determine anything conclusively would to have access to the machines.

“If those hard drives could be subpoenaed or examined, they could give [info] on whether or not they’re doing what you’d expect,” she said.

“Legal power (power of Congress, power of subpoena, whatever) must be used to compel Diebold, ESS et al to divulge, to a proper panel of experts, any and all source code and compiled code that was in use on Nov. 2,” Schlingenbaum asserts. “There is no compelling reason for Diebold to object to such an order.

“It's an outrage that independent experts did not examine the code before the election,” he adds. “It must be examined now.”

“You can’t say this has not been used unless and until corporate control is willing to open this code to evaluation,” adds Roxann Jerkot, who taught programming at Georgia’s Lanier Technical Institute, and who has been in private consulting business since 1985. “We don’t have any way to prove or disprove what this man is saying.

Winz, while skeptical, still believes an legal investigation is paramount.

“I think there’s enough there that it really demands an investigation,” she said. “When police investigated a crime, they’re not saying that it absolutely happened, they’re just saying its suspicious and we need to investigate.”

Corrections: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of a programmer as Kim Minz. Her last name is Winz. Also, a previous version used "Virtual Basic;" the correct name for the language is Visual Basic.


Click here to see the affidavit