[linux-elitists] Handheld computer - as free as can be

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Wed May 14 08:58:12 PDT 2003

on Tue, May 13, 2003 at 10:32:42PM -0700, billy@damaged-world.net (billy@damaged-world.net) wrote:
> On Tue, May 13, 2003 at 08:06:42PM +0100, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> >     In November the U.S. media, lost in patriotic reverie, dressed up the
> >     Florida recount as a victory for President Bush. But however one reads
> 	They did? Shit, I must been on a differnet fucking planet. 
> >     the ballots, Bush's win would certainly have been jeopardized had not
> >     some Floridians been barred from casting ballots at all. Between May
> >     1999 and Election Day 2000, two Florida secretaries of state - Sandra
> >     Mortham and Katherine Harris, both protégées of Governor Jeb Bush-
> >     ordered 57,700 "ex-felons," who are prohibited from voting by state
> >     law, to be removed from voter rolls. (In the thirty-five states where
> >     former felons can vote, roughly 90 percent vote Democratic.) A portion
> >     of the list, which was compiled for Florida by DBT Online, can be seen
> >     for the first time here; DBT, a company now owned by ChoicePoint of
> >     Atlanta, was paid $4.3 million for its work, replacing a firm that
> >     charged $5,700 per year for the same service. If the hope was that DBT
> >     would enable Florida to exclude more voters, then the state appears to
> >     have spent its money wisely.
> > I can never remember, is it the truth, or work, that makes one free?
> 	So you're saying that it's a problem to prevent people who are
> 	constitutionally ineligible to vote from voting? 

They're not.  If you want the full story, it's in Palast's _The Best
Democracy Money Can Buy_, or if you don't care to reward excellent
investigative journalism, probably elsewhere via Google.

Felony conviction does not disenfranchise individuals in many cases.
Including many identified in the purge lists generated in Florida.

> 	Note that no where in the quoted material does it state or
> 	alledge (which is the crux of the matter) that there were people
> 	*WRONGLY* purged. If that was indeed the case (and it appears to
> 	have been) then there should have been avenues for redress...

Again, Palast's longer piece makes clear that this is in fact the case,
and provides specific examples.

> 	What? There *WERE*? Many counties simply refused to use the
> 	purge rosters because of their inaccuracy. Letters went out to
> 	the alleged felons telling them of their status change
> 	(assuredly not all got there).

Arguing from ignorance is bliss?

> 	Every state, with the possible exception of Illinois, purges
> 	it's voter rolls from time to tome. Most states either prohibit
> 	felons from voting, or require them to jump through one hoop or
> 	another to get their franchise back. In this case Florida (which
> 	implemented this because of massive voter fraud) hired a company
> 	that fucked up. 

Um.  The company was pretty convincingly specifically instructed to make
sure it "fucked up".  One of Palasts principle informants worked in the
Florida Governer's office, and provided specific examples, and
documentation, of how this was done.

If you're doubting Palast's veracity:  I was unaware of him until early
this year, though I've found he was interviewd on KQED FM's "Forum"
program, and WNYC's "On the Media" (the latter is an excellent media
watchdog program airing in the dead zone of 2pm Sunday afternoon here in

    Palast bit on FL & link to OTM audio:

    On The Media bit:

    KQED Forum (June 14, 2002):

    (Rant:  KQED's redesigned their website.  Forum search is by "page",
    not calendar date.  Show audio links are javascript, not URLs.  Both
    factors are major usability drags.  The page design company,
    Conxion.com, has been doing major underwriting spots on KQED; their 
    work frankly stinks).

Reading Palast is the first time I've felt, in the USofA, that I held in
my hands subversive literature.  It's a scary feeling.

For those who're wondering about the connection between all of this and
elitism -- my association with some of the parties involved with this
caper, and the general area of datamining and applied demographics is
closer than I'd care to admit.  Free software is also fundamentally
about intellectual freedom and honesty, it's tremendously subversive in
its own way (it's also tremendously pragmatic, which is one of the
reasons it's grown despite its other characteristics).  I don't believe
these attributes are seperable.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    "I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young."
    "Why, what did she tell you?"
    "I don't know, I didn't listen."
    -- HHGTG

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