Sylvania Reflections

Larry's Opinions and Items Of Interest From Penn's Woods

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Good News and Bad News

The bad news is:     Bush got re-elected.
The good news is:     The Steelers have won 9 in a row.

I followed the heartbreaking Browns off and on for many years when I lived in the Cleveland area. But I lost interest when Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore.

Then we moved to Pennsylvania in 1999, 50 miles north of Pittsburgh. That was the first year for the new Browns. Even though there are a lot of fans in the area (we're close to Youngstown), I never really rekindled my interest with the new Browns.

In 2002, I discovered that the Steelers are a pretty decent team with a great coach and an even greater owner. I've been following them ever since.

I've also been following an NCAA Division III team from Alliance, Ohio, a small town about 50 miles west of here. They are the Mount Union Purple Raiders.
  • They've won the Division III National Championship seven times
    ('93 - '96 - '97 - '98 - '00 - '01 - '02).
  • They hold the longest and second longest winning streaks in college football history of 55 and 54 games.
  • And they've won something like 119 of their last 121 games.
My kind of team.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Letter to Congresswoman Hart

Congresswoman Melissa Hart
1508 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Congresswoman Hart:

I am a registered Republican in Lawrence County and I voted for you in the last two House elections.

I was very disappointed to read that you voted on Wednesday November 10 to lower the ethics of the House Republicans. As you must know, I am referring to the vote in the Republican caucus to change the rule requiring Republican leadership to step down from their position if under indictment.

This rewriting of the rules to accommodate one person really sends out a bad signal to me about the Republican Party in general.

It also shocks me to know that there's a possibility that the House Republicans will be led by an individual under indictment for a felony offense. Actually, it more than shocks me, it appalls me.

I do have to ask you if the $15,000 campaign contribution you got from Tom DeLay's PAC clouded your judgement in this vote? I certainly hope not.

Friday, November 19, 2004

An interesting historical note.

As I stated in my last post, my county voted for Bush/Cheney in 2004. The last time a Republican Presidential candidate won here was the 1972 election, when the county also went for the incumbent.

The ticket they helped put back in office was Richard M. Nixon and Spiro T. Agnew.

Agnew resigned Oct. 10, 1973 and Nixon resigned August 9, 1974.

Hmmm.     J. Dennis Hastert is currently the Speaker of the House...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Why did Bush carry Lawrence County, PA?

Rural Lawrence County Pennsylvania, where I have been living for five years, is on the Ohio border next to Youngstown and fifty miles north of Pittsburgh. The county seat is New Castle.

There were a couple of eye-opening articles in the New Castle News yesterday, both dealing with why Bush carried the county. The first page article starts out with this:

"Four years ago, George W. Bush lost Lawrence County by about 2500 votes.

In last week's election, he carried the county by more than 400 votes, marking the first time since 1972 that a Republican presidential candidate has accomplished that feat.

So how did he do it in a county that has 10,000 more democrats?"

The article talks about Valerie Measel, the co-chair of the county Bush/Cheney campaign, who believes it was the efforts of the volunteers plus motivation on the "moral values". The "moral values" included pro-life, partial birth abortion and gay marriage. She also thinks a lot of veterans voted for George Bush.

The county Democratic chairman also thought it was the moral values, plus additionally the right of people to keep and bear arms.

That being the case, the Democrats REALLY need to get somebody new running their presidential elections. I find it simply amazing that the Republicans could win this election given Bush's history and the fact that on many of the above listed issues Bush has a similar stance to Kerry. Bush has never made an explicit statement on several of the issues. He has danced around them and has made general statements whose interpretation are in the ear of the listener.

It was also stated that there was a large telephone effort by volunteers supporting Bush. From the statements of the Republican co-chair, it appears that these volunteers did not know Bush's actual position on several of the issues and were espousing erroneous information in their campaign. That's really depressing. The electorate seems to have voted for the wrong candidate for the wrong reasons. As promoted by the Republicans.

I also find it amazing that I am a conservative registered Republican living in a county that has 10,000 more Democrats than Republicans. I voted for Kerry and Bush carried the county. Why am I always on the losing side in this county?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Why are we considering electronic voting?

We do need to get away from punched cards. That's obvious. But why not use scanned paper ballots everywhere?

It seems to me that optically scanned paper ballots are a very simple, cost effective way of running an election. Especially since they only get used twice a year. They're cheap and have a built in audit system. I don't know how much the current electronic voting machines cost, but I imagine it's plenty. How about four orders of magnitude more than a pencil? And from what I've heard, not all the machines used in 2004 have paper audit trails, and thus are not secure.

Yikes! What am I missing here?

Beside the cost, I think any of the electronic machines would be really easy for somebody at the manufacturer to manipulate. It would be rather simple for a programmer to insert code to switch a small percentage of the votes cast. And only on election day so it wouldn't be caught by testing.

Andrew Tanenbaum on notes:

If we go to computerized voting without a paper trail and the machines can be set up to cheat, that is the end of our democracy. Switching 5 votes per machine is probably all it would take to throw an election and nobody would ever see it unless someone compares the computer totals and exit polls. I am still very concerned about the remark of Walden O'Dell a Republican fund raiser and CEO of Diebold, which makes voting machines, saying he would deliver Ohio for President Bush.

Double yikes!

Andrew also wonders if anybody has looked into the exit poll discrepencies to see if there's a correlation with electronic voting machines. Just wondering. One's imagination could run wild here. If one were paranoid.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Thoughts on the election and the next four years.

Yesterday, John F Kerry conceded the 2004 election to Bush.

I'm amazed at how little people in general follow what's happening in the world today. Maybe I shouldn't be amazed...I was that way once myself. Hmmm.

I'm surprised that generally people categorize the media, especially newspapers, as having a liberal bias. And anti-Bush. As I see it, there's a good reason for that. As part of the media's job, they closely follow what's going on in the world. And they see the outrageous things the Bush Administration has done. The people complaining about the bias typically do not follow national and world events in great detail and are pretty much not aware of the actions of Bush & Co. They get their snippets of news from the TV and radio. If at all. I am firmly convinced that somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 of the people that voted for Bush fall into this category. They voted for Bush because they've always voted Republican or they voted for him because of a gut feeling about him. The pundits are calling this "values". For the most part they are unaware of the outrageous things the Administration has done. Else they wouldn't have voted that way. Unless they're complete morons. Or aligned with al Qaida.

So am I saying that we shouldn't blame them because they know not what they've done? No. No. No. I'm saying SHAME ON THEM! If they don't know what their candidate has been up to, they shouldn't vote. Like the 40% that stayed home. Or they should have skipped over the Presidential Election and voted only on the other issues.

Also, I don't think the Kerry campaign fully presented the true extent of what Bush hath wrought in his first four years. Actually, I myself don't know it's full extent, but I do know enough that I'm scared shit less of the next four years. And I'm a conservative Republican.

I probably won't do this, but I am actually seriously thinking of moving to either Canada or Mexico. Before the fiscal crisis hits. Problem is, when it hits, it's going to take a lot of other countries with it. Especially Canada and Mexico.

I'm thinking I'll probably stay right here an get more active in the political world. And try to better influence what's going on today and tomorrow. Stay tuned.