Bad timing

This just wasn't a good day, blog-wise. It wasn't a loss, as I got word from Progress Florida that we're one of the featured blogs on their page right now--there's a link to them in my blogroll, and I highly recommend your checking them out--but Obama went 0-for-2 today as far as I'm concerned, and while I am ever the pragmatist, it's never a good feeling to see the person you're voting for do the "business as usual" dance.

Yesterday, it sounded like Obama was going to play it a little close on the FISA bill, but was going to work (as much as any Senator on the campign trail works) to strip the telecom immunity from it. But as John Cole put it today, Obama caved completely today, and pulled out the "national security is more important than telecom immunity" card. Of course, if that's your choice, then sure--national security is more important. But that's not the choice, and everyone who's been paying attention knows it.

Then, after the Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 verdict which simply said that people convicted of child rape couldn't be executed, Obama had to come out and crap all over that as well. In this case, it's not much of a surprise as Obama has never come out completely against the death penalty, but it was still disappointing.

On the upside, however, Palm Beach County tested their new optical scan machines today in a special election. The machines went off without a hitch, but some voters were underwhelmed:

After marking her ballot in a special, one-race West Palm Beach election, Sandy Rocco was unconvinced the cost of switching systems was justified. The electronic machines seemed more advanced, she said. Her husband agreed.

"It's pretty crazy, in the day and age where we trust electronics so much, not to do it here," Vic Rocco said.
Palm Beach is the home of the infamous butterfly ballot. More advanced is not what you folks need.

Sorry, that was mean, but I'm in that sort of mood tonight. When it comes elections, more complex is not generally better. Complexity or lack thereof is actually one of the less-important issues. What's important is to have a system that fails well, that has backups in case something goes wrong, because something always goes wrong somewhere. A system that fails well is one that has backups--in this case, if the machines can't or won't count the votes, humans can. Not so much with an electronic system--no way to count electrons.

So I've ended on a good note. I'll try to do better tomorrow.

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