Progressive Programmer

Progressive Politics or idle geek banter. What's on my mind when I'm irked, intrigued, bored or up too late.

Location: Michigan, United States



I have had Brad Blog on Ye Olde Blogrolle almost since I started this thing (which wasn't that long ago--intertia and all that).

What frustrates me, and Brad, of course, is the public's willingness to allow the media (save Olbermann in the month or two immediately following the '04 election) to continue to ignore things that are so damned freaky.

Who did you vote for in '04? Are you sure? Because if you voted electronically, or your vote was tallied electronically, you'll never really know.

This is another post by Brad, who is now getting some facetime at Huffington Post.

The topic is of course voter fraud, with some more freaky numbers straight outta Ohio.

I wonder if there are programmers out there somewhere that have put together an Open Source Alternative to Diebold and their ilk? It's not as if Open Source code is inherently insecure due to its being open source. In fact the opposite may be true. It's the open nature of the code that makes it more trustworthy.

If our votes are not cast as intended, do we really have a democracy? If we can't be sure that are votes are cast as intended, will we ever really be sure?

BradBlog and cannonfire (where Joseph Cannon still touches on the topic occasionally, and did so fiercely after the election) are two good places to frequent if you're interested, which you should be.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention

Reality and News should be unrelated, or ELSE

Early in 2005, Eason Jordan was rushed into resignation after questioning whether the USA was actively targeting journalists? Here is his letter of resignation
After 23 years at CNN, I have decided to resign in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy over conflicting accounts of my recent remarks regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq.
and some commentary:
Eason Jordan resigned last night as CNN’s chief news executive in an effort to quell a bubbling controversy over his remarks about U.S. soldiers killing journalists in Iraq.
There was, and is, even a website,, that pushed for Eason's outting and is still congratulating itself today:
It's not a "right" story or a "left" story. It's a story about 150,000 young men and women who are black, white, hispanic, asian, republicans, democrats, independents, gay and straight and perhaps socialists who are sacrificing life and limb for the current Commander in Chief (doesn't matter if we agree or disagree with him -- they are there dying) -- and they have been accused of nothing short of murder....
Whatever Jordan said, perhaps he wasn't really talking about the individual soldiers... but the administration's policies? I don't know.

But what are we to make of word out of the UK that Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera in our crucial regional ally Qatar. Blair (the Luke Duke of the two) had to talk him out of it. Nice. Well, if Blair talked Bush out of bombing Al-Jazeera within the borders of an ally, would Bush hold back from bombing them elsewhere?

The Al-Jazeera station in Kabul was bombed.
The U.S. bombing of the Al Jazeera station in Kabul in 2001 was explained by U.S. officials as a result of detection of a satellite uplink indicating an interview with a Taliban member. U.S. officials have gone farther, stating publicly that any uplink from enemy territory if detected by U.S. planes could be the basis for an attack without differentiation between journalism and enemy communications (see Gopsill, “Target the Media”). This threat to bomb even “friendly” journalists and stations would be a strong deterrent to placing them in enemy territory. The threat helped induce CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox to pull out of Baghdad before the March 2003 invasion. Gopsill notes, “This exodus was pleasing to the Pentagon,” causing the U.S. public to be “ignorant of what their forces were doing to the city.” [emphasis progprog's]
Strong deterrent to placing them in enemy territory? Indeed.

The Kabul Bombing came up at the News World Conference in Barcelona, written about in the aptly titled How Smart Was This Bomb?.
Gowing's argument was that Al-Jazeera's only crime was that it was "bearing witness" to events that the US would rather it did not see. Indeed there is no clear evidence that Al-Jazeera directly supported the Taliban - simply that it enjoyed greater access than other stations. Certainly, Al-Jazeera reflects a certain cultural tradition: but only in the same way that CNN approaches stories from a western perspective.
Of course we can't have that, Mr. Gowing.

The Al-Jazeera station in Bagdad was bombed.
The al-Jazeera office is in a two-story house on a road along the Tigris River that links the Information Ministry with the old palace presidential compound. Al-Jazeera said the area is residential and isn't close to governmental or military installations. The station continued to broadcast live from the Palestine Hotel after the bombing.

Some Al-Jazeera employees felt the bombing might have been deliberate, for the station has been reporting extensively on the plight of Iraqi civilians and the number of casualties from U.S. bomb attacks. [emphasis progprog's]
Maybe these employees were right about it being deliberate?
Nabil Khoury, a U.S. State Department spokesman in Doha, said the strike on the Arab satellite TV network's office was a mistake, and he called upon al-Jazeera not to jump to conclusions. My personal view is that it is a mistake, a grave mistake. It is something we all regret, Khoury said. I personally cannot imagine that a country which respects general freedoms can target media establishments. [emphasis progprog's]
Nabil, I personally cannot imagine that you have ever met the President of these United States.

Thank Bush for being whacky enough--and evil enough--to drop foreign opinions of our great nation yet another notch or two over this insanity.

I doubt all this is any consolation to Eason Jordan.

If only the Bush Administration would just come out and say that any effort to report, purport, imply, suggest, hint, nod affirmation or blink morse code anything resembling truth or reality without first running it through their spin machine, perhaps we'd all be be much better off?

Eason Jordan link via Crooks and Liars

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Cheney has sucked for a loooooong time

There is an excellent Sidney Blumenthal post on Truthout today (originall from Salon), that discusses Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rummy, Libby. They've been humping each other's legs for a long time. Some interactions with Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush Sr, Reagan are highlited.

What's striking is how frequently the Cabal deliberately set up a second version of the truth. Ho often their ideas got rebuked or ignored by superiors as too risky or closed-minded. Thank goodness.

Unfortunately, Cheney was smart enough to know opportunity when he saw it. When Dubya let Cheney pick himself, he set himself up to be the window-dressing President for the Cheney Administration. Cheney brought his cabal back together knowing full well that he would no longer be vetoed. Dubya was too stupid to see it coming, and he's either too stupid or too weak to fight back ideas that better men were able to see through as paranoid, short-sighted, or risky.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


See no logic, Speak no logic, Hear no logic

Why do Democrats think we should start to withdraw from Iraq?
Why do American Generals have plans to start to withdraw from Iraq?
Why do Iraqi Leaders think want a timetable for when we will withdraw from Iraq?

Why do Bush and Cheney ignore them all, and why does the spineless Republican leadership continue to let them? Because any troop redeployment out of Iraq has to wait until election season. Otherwise these Republican weasels will literally have nothing to run on besides their lies, corruption, cronyism, failed war and failed programs.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


I'm rarely at home in the afternoons on a weekday (when I am, I'm in front of a laptop and logged into work), but I had today off for a long weekend.

I decided to flip on C-SPAN to see if there was any "action". And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an AEI logo. The American Enterprise Institute was having a conference on "Intelligent Design". And it was on C-SPAN.

Not to be outdone, I flipped to the other C-SPAN. Richard Perle of AEI was on. Talking about Iraq as though he agrees with the Cheney/Bush moronitudes.

My question, is what the hell is AEI doing on C-SPAN at all, much less on both at once?!?! These weren't press conferences. One was a conference, and one was some sort of talk show. Staged events, both. What. the. hell?

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Funniest. Animated GIF. Ever.

People type LOL all the time into the Internets, and it don't mean jack. I do that myself at work all the time. I say it to make people feel better, or just let on that what they said was funny. But I mean it when I say that this Poor Man Institute post literally made me LOL. Plus some links!

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Caption the formerly Smirking One

Caption this:

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Both here and here, Billmon makes me ashamed I even started blogging.

I'll spare you my rants about why I find it a daily must--many people already share the belief. But the above two posts are just a few excellent examples of always-excellent material, so do yourself a favor and read those and then go back every day.

I'm gonna go home and get my frickin' shinebox.

One comment, though, on the Secret Prison archipelago. Sy Hersh was saying this over a year ago. I was dumbfounded then that it didn't get more coverage. I'll be dumbfounded now--in a week or two, maybe--when the press stops reporting it again.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention

Santos v Vinick in the '05 Presidential Election

Anyone who hasn't been watching the West Wing wouldn't care, but kudos to John Zogby for putting a little reality into some make-believe.

It's Jimmy Smits' Santos at this point (though in the show he's been trailing in the polls).

One thing about the West Wing is how well men speak. Comparing Martin Sheen's Josiah Bartlet, or either Alda's Vinick or Smit's Santos to Shrub is a cruel joke. These men's lines are scripted for them and hashed and rehashed.

But so are stump speeches. Kerry and Bush both had handlers and speech writers and political advisors and every $$ under the sun to put their message out, and yet an almost-forgotten, once hugely-popular show (it took a huge hit after 9/11 made the machinations of make-believe Administrations a little less compelling to a politics-weary population) that has been pushed to Sunday nights can put together the message of each side in such succinct, compelling terms that an informed viewership can pass judgment on who they would vote for.

Santos' impromptu commentary on Intelligent Design is an excellent example. Campaigning in Pennsylvania, he was asked by a reporter about his thoughts on ID being taught in schools alongside evolution. He spoke 'off the cuff' in the world of the show. He laid out his belief in God, and a creator. But contrasted his belief with the realities of science and measurable, tracable, factual evidence in a way that would make anyone listening understand that keeping ID out of the classroom is not just science defending its turf, but an imperative dictated by the very foundations of our country's government.

Science is measurable, faith is not.

I nearly dropped my jaw at how plain, eloquent, and understandable the commentary was, without being accusatory or pejorative to any party. It was such a welcome contrast to Kerry (nuance requires many words) and Bush (ummm, errr, fool me twice...) that I almost felt ill about the state of our supposedly-polished political discourse. Hell, Bush took it upon himself to repeatedly, repeatedly impugn an entire state (Massachusetts) within the "United" States he was asking for permission to lead!

Vote Santos!

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Hapless in Washington

Nora Ephron goes ahead and asks some questions akin to those being asked back aroundabout the debates before the ought-4 election.


I was completely convinced he had something on his back then, and I still am now. I finally decided it must be medical. But since it was only visible on television, I guess only the good Dr. Frist is qualified to diagnose him.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Republicans v Democrats

A Republican changes the rulebook to gain the only power they do not yet have.

A Democrat uses the rulebook to maintain the only power they have left.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention