Friday, February 27, 2009

More Zombies!

Yesterday's post about zombie politicians has put me in mind of zombies. Though, to be honest, pretty much everything puts me in mind of zombies.

So here's a zombie-centric video featuring one of the catchiest bands in the world.

On a side note, I've seen Redneck Zombies, clips of which were used in this video. It was enjoyable, if you enjoy really bad zombie movies. Which I do.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Return of the Living Dead

Hey, guess who's running for City Council!

It's former mayor Dan Mylott! Though you may know him better as "the guy who got us into this mess."

Truth be told, I actually like Dan Mylott. As a person, that is. He's a friendly, pleasant guy. I wouldn't mind having lunch with him or something.

But he shouldn't have been mayor, and he shouldn't be on the City Council.

Neither should other old-guard member Rosemary Reynolds, who's also running.

Look, old people, you already had your chance and you fucked everything up. Now is the time to fade away as gracefully as possible, not to return as flesh-eating political demons, determined to scrape the last few morsels of protein from the bones of the city of Fitchburg.

Fitchburg currently has a very intelligent mayor. We have a city council that, while certainly imperfect, doesn't include anyone suffering from any major mental disorders (though I'm a little concerned about Tran).

These people are working on cleaning up the mess that was made by the old guard (which includes a few of the councilors). It's a huge job, because it was a huge fucking mess. It'll take time to fix.

That job will become vastly more difficult if the people who are responsible for the mess in the first place get involved. Especially if they seem unable to admit they're actually responsible for anything in the first place...
Mylott, who served 14 years as a city councilor and two years as a School Committee member before a six-year term as mayor that ended in 2007, said he wants to "continue the legacy" and said he misses city politics.
Oh yeah, that's a fucking great legacy you've got there, Dan. What part of it should actually be continued?

All of it, I guess:
Mylott said he thinks he did a "great job" as mayor and on the council.

Rather than have my head explode, let's just move on...

Here's a really weird quote from Reynolds in the Sentinel article:
Former City Councilor Rosemary Reynolds has already filed nomination papers to run for an at-large seat.

"I hope to be a steady captain of the ship through these difficult morale [Sic] and economic times," Reynolds said.
I'm assuming that the "morale" in that quote is just the typical S&E illiteracy acting up, and the word she actually used was "moral."

But what a weird thing to say. Difficult economic times, sure, but what's so difficult morality-wise about these times?

The answer becomes obvious when you realize that Reynolds is an antiabortion loon and anti-gay bigot, who "can't separate prayer from [her] life". Hell, she was (is?) President of the Massachusetts chapter of "Democrats for Life" (which does not mean "lifelong Democrat").

Oh boy! Religious zealotry and an obsessive focus on trying to outlaw abortion (not to mention euthanasia, cloning, and embryonic stem cell research) is just what I want in an elected official!

Could we please get a few new candidates who aren't deeply delusional and/or outright crazy, please?

Seriously, I'll take almost anyone. Just don't be crazy, a failed politician from the past, subject to massive delusions about your own competence, or any combination of the above and you're virtually a shoo in. Or maybe somebody out there has a particularly clever pet they'd be willing to run?



Monday, February 23, 2009

A compendium of stupid newspaper articles, rewritten

Holy cow!

There has been so much horror in the S&E over the last few days that I don't even have one article I can take and pull out and say "Look at the dumb newspaper people ha ha ha."

So here's a whole bunch of articles, condensed for your enjoyment. I even read some of them!

Woman held for throwing knives at boyfriend

Generally when you see a knife-throwing act, it is a man throwing knives at a scantily-clad woman on a giant spinning wheel. A Leominster couple decided to reverse these gender roles (sexy!), with the woman throwing knives at the man, who was probably scantily-clad. There is no mention of the giant wheel, because of shoddy reporting.

Sadly, the secret to successful knife-throwing is to not hit the target. This secret was neglected, and now the knife lady is being held. Possibly by clowns, though we dearly hope not.

Does this signal a crackdown on people performing circus acts in their own homes? Let's hope so! Clown sex is gross.

Decision on SUV shows Patrick, state officials out of touch with constituents

This editorial makes the iron-clad argument that state officials should not be allowed to purchase vehicles.

The argument in a nutshell:
  1. The State Police bought a new hybrid SUV.
  2. This SUV is for security for Deval Patrick, and maybe some visiting dignitaries.
  3. Deval Patrick is a Democrat.
  4. Democrats are a bunch of jerks!
  5. Therefore, Deval Patrick getting to ride in this SUV proves that he's a jerk!
QED, bitches!

Pop's decree tests officials

Still reeling from bad press over un-excommunicating (recommunicating?) some Holcaust-denying bishop, Pope Benedict XVI has decided to adopt a truth-in-advertising approach to public relations.

As such, he now decrees that he be referred to not as Pope Benedict XVI, but as simply "Pop." He feels that this will better convey the Catholic church's deeply patriarchal vision of the world.

In this article, we also learn the views of local politicians on this quote from John F. Kennedy:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote, where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
The local politicians disagree. They think what Pop tells them to think. Especially Claire Freda, who left the Democratic party rather than go against the decrees of Pop.

Sorry, JFK!

Time for Unitil to leave, according to local resident

This letter to the editor takes the controversial stance that Unitil is not an awesome utility company.

Teenage deaths should send message

The Sentinel's well-documented obsession with things "sending messages" has finally reached its inevitable outcome: the murder of all that is good.

At least that's what I assume. The idea that this newspaper would use the tragic deaths of some kids to promote their strictly-defined rule system for how to be a good little conservative is too ghoulish and repugnant for me to actually read this article.

Fuck you, Sentinel. Just fuck you.

Westminster to hold facial hair competition

Surprisingly, Westminster turns out to be awesome.

The End

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The truth about Massachusetts' universal health program

So, every couple of months I decide I'm going to do a big, well-researched post on the Massachusetts "universal" health care system and its many failings.

This desire is typically brought on by hearing some politician or public figure praise the Massachusetts system as being "proven to work," or suggesting it should be used nationally. At this point steam starts coming out of my ears in a comical fashion and I decide to write a post that will show everyone just how misled they've been.

Then I get distracted playing video games or something.

Lucky for me, Physicians for a National Health Program have done the dirty work for me, and prepared an extensive report citing the many reasons why Massachusetts would be a crummy model. It is absolutely worth a read.

Of if you're lazy, at least have a look over their press release.

If you're too lazy to even do that, here's part of the executive summary:
The reform has been more expensive than expected, costing $1.1 billion in fiscal 2008 and $1.3 billion in fiscal 2009. In the face of a state budget crisis in fall 2008, Gov. Deval Patrick announced that he will keep the reform afloat by draining money from safety-net providers such as public hospitals and community clinics.

While the number of people lacking health insurance in Massachusetts has been reduced, several recent surveys demonstrate that substantial problems in access to care remain in the state. While the new health insurance improved access to care for some residents, many low-income patients who previously received completely free care under the state’s old free care program now face co-payments, premiums and deductibles that stop them from getting needed care.

In addition, cuts to safety-net providers have reduced health resources available to the state’s remaining uninsured, as well as to others who rely on safety-net providers for services in short supply in the private sector. These safety-net services include emergency room care, chronic mental health care, and primary care. The net effect of this expensive reform on access to care is at best modest, and for some patients, negative.

By mandating that uninsured residents purchase private health insurance, the law reinforced the economic and political power of health insurance firms. Thus, the reform augments the already high administrative costs of health care. Moreover, the agency that administers the new law (the “Connector”) adds an extra 4 to 5 percentage points to the already high overhead of private health insurance policies.

The reform failed to reduce overreliance on expensive, high-technology services. Indeed, some of its provisions such as changes in Medicaid rates and cuts to safety-net providers (who do more primary care) have further tilted health spending toward expensive, high-technology are.
A solution is also offered, though you're going to have to go at least read the report to find out what it is (hint: it rhymes with "Pringle slayer").

Now I'm off to go play video games. Later, chumps!

Friday, February 20, 2009

More mayoral madness!

Sadly, it's time for another post about mayoral candidate Rachel Rosenfeld (aka "Really Rachel", aka "Patricia A. Collins", aka "Patty Anne Collins", aka "Angry Anteater").

Personally, I'm already sick of talking about her. But I will soldier on. For the people!

Or, more accurately, Jason at Save Fitchburg soldiers on and I'll just direct you to this post of his, which is quite good.

Or, more accurately, the second half of it is good. The first half is an interview with Rachel, and is a bit tedious. Read it if you're feeling masochistic, or if you're unfamiliar with Rachel's unique brand of condescending inanity.

The second (good) half is Jason's assessment of the situation, and is actually interesting. I'll quote a bit of it here and throw in my own take.
[L]et's try to probe the thoughts of Rachel here. Does she really want to be mayor, or does she want a larger soapbox to hammer Wong, her archenemy? While the S&E pointed to her blog today as her launching pad, I'm arrogant enough to guess old SF does much better business, and that this is really where she made her bones. While I love old SF, let's be honest here, it's a limited audience. What's really her goal? Is she in it to win it, or hammer at Wong for the next eight to 10 months?
Yeah, this occurred to me as well.

This doesn't strike me as a serious campaign to become mayor, but rather as an exercise in self-promotion. A rather bizarre one at that.

Jason's quite right that it's not Rachel's blog that is the launching pad for her campaign. She hasn't even mentioned the campaign there at the time of writing. Even though both the S&E and the Telegram have made a big deal of her being a "blogger," she's mostly a commenter.

Which means that the launching pad for her "campaign" is actually the comments section of Save Fitchburg. I'm not sure if that's really sad or really funny. Both?

I'm sure people who actually read all the comments at SF (which is what, maybe a couple dozen people? I rarely venture into SF-comment-land.) have an opinion of Rachel, but most of the city doesn't know her and couldn't care less about some "blogger" with no money, no political experience, and no platform except "Lisa sucks."

In other words, there are very few people who give a shit about local political blogs. There are even fewer who give a shit about the comments sections. Rachel would be better off basing her campaign around comments on popular YouTube videos.

Anyway, moving on.

Jason writes:
Similarly, is she a stalking horse for someone? She clearly makes the rounds, talking to councilors and other city movers-and-shakers. Is she going to throw bombs and clear the path for another candidate? If I didn't know any better, I'd bet on Tran considering his remarks in the paper today. But that's too cynical, I think. But weirder things have happened in politics.
Well, I am that cynical. Here's what Tran said in the S&E story yesterday:
Tran, however, called Rosenfeld "more than qualified to sit in the corner office."

"I've never met anyone with more knowledge of politics and government than she has," Tran said Wednesday.
Once upon a time I thought Dean Tran was actually fairly intelligent. That time is over.

Dean, if Rachel Rosenfeld is the most knowledgeable person you know when it comes to politics, you really need to meet some new people. Maybe you should see if you can audit a couple of Civics classes at the high school? Or better yet, I'm sure FSC has some very smart poli-sci students.

One more quote from Jason:
Rachel at some point is going to have answer to a lot of things she has said on her blog and in other spaces in the last two or three years. Some of it would cause people to take pause. I'd love to say I'm going to do it, but the thought of rolling through thousands of comments makes me want to cry. It's a long campaign, I guess I have time.
Don't cry, Jason! Use Google!

For instance, here are 176 results showing comments she made on SF. Put a space in her name and you get 84 more.

Hell, I've got 74 results myself, and she swore off reading my "idiotic rants" quite awhile ago!

Sure, those are comment pages with multiple comments on each page, but you can always add more search terms to narrow things down. Considering Rachel's logorrhea, it shouldn't be too difficult to find some examples of crazy. Just add "trash" as a search term and you're halfway there.

Enough of that. Now, here's a prediction for you.

At some point before the primary (assuming there is one) Rachel will drop out. It might be because Tran enters the race, and of course Rachel isn't going to run against her special buddy. Or it could be because she's gotten enough ego-stroking out of her little crusade and doesn't want to suffer the humiliating defeat she's bound for. Or it could be because everyone's treating her campaign as a total joke and she discovers she needs to drop out due to "health problems."

Whatever the case, I don't think I'll be doing much more writing about her unless she actually becomes a more credible candidate than Ron Dionne was in 2007.

And she has a long way to go before she even reaches his level.

PS Oh, I also added a couple of new links over on the right, to Fitchburg Tension and the Rabbit Hole Blog. Check them out, won't you?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meet the new Ted DeSalvatore!

Sometimes, when I get bored, I reminisce about the mayoral election of two years ago. It was fun, what with Ted DeSalvatore being a candidate. He was always good for a chuckle, or failing that, a few hours spent tearing out your hair.

"Unicow," I would say to myself, "what you need is another crazy person running for mayor to lift your spirits."

Well, that's what we have now. The new, not-very-improved Ted DeSalvatore comes to us in the form of one of the original DeSalvatore's harshest critics, Rachel Rosenfeld.

Here's an article from the Sentinel: Fitchburg blogger "Really Rachel" running for mayor.

Those of you who were paying attention to such things back in 2007 may remember that I was loosely allied with Rachel, in the sense that we both thought DeSalvatore was scary dangerous. Because he was.

I'll go into the whole story at some point, but let's just say that we're not allied anymore.

Rachel was pretty nutty even when we were on the same side, but since that time she's gone way over the deep end. I suspect she's probably been reading the WingNutDaily too much or something.

Anyway, it's still morning and I'm tired and haven't sharpened my teeth just yet, so I'll just mention a couple of things.

First, Rachel doesn't have a chance in hell of winning. She at least seems to recognize this on some level. Fitchburg may have its flaws, but DeSalvatore's stunning defeat proved that voting for certifiable lunatics isn't one of them.

Anybody who actually reads Rachel's blog can see pretty much instantly that she's just an old crank with a personal grudge against Wong. That's not a platform.

Second, there was one hilarious little quote in the S&E article:
Rosenfeld, an independent voter who said she plans to register as a Republican, said she would like to set up debates with Wong during the campaigns. She said she does not believe partisanship will play a large role in the race, but expressed her belief that Wong is too extreme in her liberal approach.

"There's a group of progressives in this city that are really, really nasty because they don't believe in free speech, and Lisa Wong is in that group," she said.
What's awesome about this is that you can replace "Rosenfeld" with "DeSalvatore" and discover that the two are almost identical in their thinking.

Here's an old quote from DeSalvatore, for comparison:
DeSalvatore said "information terrorists" called his supporters and spread negative information about him.

"As long as that ultra-liberal sense continues we don't have a chance," he said. "Without a prevailing common sense, the city is done."
And here's another from Rachel:
"(Wong) is a bright young girl, but she's got no common sense," Rosenfeld said.
So we have the focus on meaningless "common sense," the demonization of liberals, the paranoid fantasies about some shadowy cabal that's either out to stifle free speech or spread lies, and even the "independent" who spouts nothing but Republican talking points most of the time.

I can only conclude that Rachel Rosenfeld is actually Ted DeSalvatore 2.0 1.5.

This should be entertaining.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How not to do a survey about evolution.

In my little Darwin Day post last week, I used a chart of acceptance of evolution in various countries.

The data on that chart came from a fairly well-known 2006 study, as reported in Science (pdf). The chart itself has been extensively reproduced since then.

In the comments to that post, commenter "ryan" mentioned seeing something in the Guardian about 50% of Britons rejecting evolution (probably this article). But the chart from the Science article only shows about 20% of Britons rejecting evolution. That's a big change for two years' time!

So what's going on?

The Science study presented a simple statement: "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals", and asked people whether the statement is true or false, or if they didn't know.

They didn't use the word "evolution," which is politically loaded (albeit for idiotic reasons), they just presented a very fundamental aspect of human evolution and asked people what they thought of it.

Asking about human evolution specifically is fine, since people generally have more difficulty accepting that humans evolved from earlier species than accepting that a flatworm did. People who think that the botfly evolved but that humans were made "in God's image" will correctly be included in the anti-evolution or undecided sides.

This is a pretty sensible way to do things. If you want to know if people agree with an idea, ask them about the idea itself. Don't ask them if they agree with the label that the idea has been given, because there's a good chance they don't actually understand what that label means.

Not surprisingly, Science publishes well-done research!

So what about this thing in the Guardian? Well, we're suffering from two problems here. First, the study was badly done. To make matters worse, the reporting on it is misleading (I'll focus on the Guardian piece, but they're far from the only offenders).

The study in question here was part of the "Rescuing Darwin" report. That name should immediately set off alarms. It suggests that they have an agenda beyond just finding out the truth. And while we don't know what that agenda is (yet), such things can skew studies pretty badly.

They can skew studies. But did they?

Hell yes!

In the original study (found here) we have five questions. The first is simply asking what the respondent's age is. The other four are about various theories.

Here are the the theories of evolution religion people were asked about, and the definitions assigned to them by the survey monkeys:
  1. Young Earth Creationism is the idea that God created the world sometime in the last 10,000 years.
  2. Theistic evolution is the idea that evolution is the means that God used for the creation of all living things on earth.
  3. Atheistic evolution is the idea that evolution makes belief in God unnecessary and absurd.
  4. Intelligent Design is the idea that evolution alone is not enough to explain the complex structures of some living things, so the intervention of a designer is needed at key stages.
Each of these ridiculously oversimplified and misleading statements was followed by "In your opinion [this theory is] ______" and people were expected to fill in the blank with "definitely true," "probably true," "probably untrue," "definitely untrue," or "don't know."

So, these folks have decided against the sensible method of telling people the idea and having them state whether they agree with it or not in favor of giving definitions for various theories and then asking if people agree with these theories. Oddly, none of these questions even asked people about the actual theory of evolution. They don't even bother to define what the theory of evolution itself is. It's all about religion, and not a bit about science.

The question about "atheistic evolution" is particularly terrible. The other three questions at least refer to real terms, but the only people who use the term "atheistic evolution" are generally wingnuts who then equate it with Stalinism in the next sentence.

Worse yet, if you're an atheist who totally accepts the theory of evolution but doesn't believe it "makes belief in God unnecessary and absurd" (which it arguably doesn't, since it has nothing to say about the supernatural), then you could honestly answer no even to the question about "atheistic evolution"!

Congratulations, you evolution-accepting atheists who think religion and evolutionary theory don't have anything to do with each other, you will now be accused of rejecting evolution thanks to an incredibly poor survey question!

A hint for the survey question-writers: If you're going to do a survey about acceptance of evolution, don't phrase your questions in such a way that someone who accepts evolution gets lumped in with those who don't. Also, maybe ask a question about the actual theory of evolution and not just people's religious beliefs.

It doesn't look like the people behind the survey really cared about getting to the truth, though. They have an agenda, and here it is:
Rescuing Darwin argues that Darwin and his theory have become caught in the crossfire of a philosophical and theological battle in which he himself had little personal interest. On the one side stands a handful of modern Darwinians who insist that evolution has killed God and ideas of design, purpose, morality and humanity. On the other side are their mainly, but not exclusively, religious opponents who, unwilling to adopt such a bleak vision, cite Genesis and Intelligent Design as evidence of evolution's deficiency.
Oh no! A "bleak vision" of life without the Christian God! The book of Genesis and ID as "evidence of evolution's deficiency"! The horrors!

Yeah, this piece of shit was written by Theos, "the public theology think tank." Here's a little about them from "Rescuing Darwin" itself (available as a pdf here).
what Theos stands for
Society is embarking on a process of de-secularisation. Interest in spirituality is increasing across Western culture. Faith is on the agenda of both government and the media. In the arts, humanities and social sciences there are important intellectual developments currently taking place around questions of values and identity. Theos speaks into this new context. Our perspective is that faith is not just important for human flourishing and the renewal of society, but that society can only truly flourish if faith is given the space to do so. We reject notions of a sacred-secular divide.
Well, there's the explanation for why this "study" was about religion instead of science, and also for why it was so poorly done. They don't want people to believe in evolution because they see it as a threat to their little god club. A study showing that people reject evolution supports their agenda, one that shows most people accept it hurts them.

I could spend quite a bit of time tearing apart this shitty "Rescuing Darwin" paper, but it's not worth it. A quick perusal is all you really need to know that this "theological think tank" is exactly what you'd expect from an organization with that title. It's a bunch of morons in fancy robes pontificating on things they know very little about and trying to pass it off as deep thought. Reading it might actually leave you dumber than when you began.

Still, people are allowed to commission surveys if they want. And they can ask really lousy questions to try to lead people to the responses they most desire. Hell, they can even present the "results" of their meaningless survey to the public!

Unfortunately, it takes a gullible and lazy press to move those "results" from their rightful realm of crackpot non-science into the public consciousness. And the Guardian is playing the role of enabler here.

Does the Guardian's story on this all-but-meaningless survey mention the flaws? Does it identify the source as a theological think tank? Does it tell you anything useful about how the study was conducted or what questions were actually asked?

Of course not. Instead it naively reports as fact that:
Half of British adults do not believe in evolution, with at least 22% preferring the theories of creationism or intelligent design to explain how the world came about, according to a survey.
Huh? What about the other 28%? The ones who apparently reject evolution but don't believe in the other bullshit either? Or maybe they don't reject evolution but just got tripped up by the poorly-worded study...

I don't know where that 22% number came from, either. The YEC question got 11% "definitely true" and 21% "probably true", while the ID one got 14% definite and 37% probable. How any of that works out to 22% is beyond me.

I'm going to assume the Guardian's religious affairs correspondent who wrote the story pulled these numbers out of her ass.*

Now, it's entirely possible that a significant percentage of the British people reject evolution. But you can't draw that conclusion from this study, which is, to put it politely, a giant pile of shit.

*Ha ha, the reporter's last name is "Butt"!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Darwin Day!

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin! Let's celebrate together! But how?

Well, you could go to the Darwin Day website and see if there are any local events. Its search form seems to work terribly for me, though.

You could also read the complete works of Darwin online here, in his own handwriting! Darwin had messy handwriting though, so maybe you'd prefer just to read The Origin of Species online in a font of your choosing.

If you're already well-versed in evolutionary theory, you could go pick a fight with some creationist morons. If you choose to do so, the archive should provide you will all the information you need to refute their bullshit.

You could also look at this nice graph showing public acceptance of evolution in various countries. Then you can celebrate that America isn't quite as stupid as Turkey!

Or you could just watch this very pretty video with Sir David Attenborough. I think I even spotted my friend the archaeopteryx in it!

If audio is more your style, you could also check out a bunch of Nature podcasts about Darwin & evolution. Despite using the terrible term "podcast," they're still pretty cool.

Whatever you do, enjoy!

ps It's also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. So... ummm... read Hello Fitchburg or watch "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" or something? Darwin's vastly more important in the grand scheme anyway.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My week's blog output in comic form!

(click to embiggen)

Sadly, this Overcompensating strip was not actually made for me, and even slightly predates most of my posts.

But I only just caught up to it today, and it nicely ties together the themes of not-at-all-menacing bombs and creative swearing.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The S&E's hilarously inept forum censorship

As everyone should know, newspapers are dying a death they richly deserve. There are only a few people who are actually bothered by this; most of them are either over the age of 70 or in possession of worthless journalism degrees.

The rest of us get our news on the internet and only buy a newspaper when we have a new puppy we need to house train.

Incidentally, I don't recommend actually subscribing to a newspaper in that situation, because they'll keep calling you with increasingly desperate pleas to come back well after the puppy is trained and you've canceled the paper. Even telling them that you only subscribed so your dog could piss on their paper doesn't deter them! It's pretty sad.

Anyway, as printed papers die, the internet replaces them. The smart papers work very hard to transition to a good online format. There are very few smart papers. Most papers just throw together some half-assed online presence.

Obviously, the Sentinel & Enterprise is one of these soon-to-disappear half-assers.

But it's not their terrible site that I'm going to talk about. It's their terrible forum, which is hosted on a third-party provider.

Said forum is a repository of the most idiotic people on the planet arguing with each other about just how badly Hispanics have ruined America. It's a depressing mix of stupid Republicans, stupid Libertarians, stupid non-affiliated racists, tax dodgers, and people who think every single topic has something to do with abortion.

Also, there are a few smart people who occasionally post things there. They usually move on quickly because they actually have jobs and lives and can't just spend all day arguing with some dolt who thinks Obama's birth certificate is fake. Or if they can, they realize the futility of arguing with these idiots fairly quickly.

Of course, like everything on the internet, the S&E's forums (which are linked at the bottom of every article on their website) are full of people being jerks to each other. Name calling and personal attacks are what the internet was made for (masturbation too), so it's no surprise that the forums are full of such things.

What's funny is the way the S&E tries to handle it.

See, (the third party hosting the forums) has some rudimentary censorship in place. You can't say "fuck," for instance. You get a little warning message telling you to cut it out. There are undoubtedly several other swears that you're not allowed. Basically the ones you can't say on tv.

This is expected behavior for a forum that's trying to maintain some degree of decorum.

Where it turns funny/sad is that there are a lot of words you're not allowed to say on the Sentinel's little corner of the forums. Words like "sex," "moron," and "bang." Without warning, they all get replaced with "****".

The forum-dwellers noticed this and blamed Topix, but I figured a company that actually runs forums for a living wouldn't be that stupid and it had to be some sort of local S&E filter.

So I filed this bug report (because if you want the truth, talk to the developers):

I'm not sure if this is a bug, but I've noticed that perfectly normal words in this forum are being replaced by asterisks (as though they were swears).

For instance, the words "sex," "bang," "rape," and "moron" have all been replaced with ****.

While these words can clearly be misused, they do have perfectly non-offensive uses as well. I have not seen this behavior on other parts of the site (even the URL for the topix sexuality forum was filtered!), and am wondering if this is a bug or if an overenthusiastic local administrator has just gone a bit crazy with a blocklist.

Any feedback you can provide would be appreciated.
I got the following response, which was basically what I expected:
Hi there,

Each news source has its own set of filters. You will want to contact the sentinal-and-enterprise directly about this.

The admin is making a funny joke here. Contacting the S&E would be about the most futile thing anyone could do. Publicly shaming them, on the other hand, might be worthwhile (and fun!).

Mind you this isn't a first amendment issue like some misinformed people in that forum thread seemed to think. The S&E has every right to censor whatever they want in their forum. And we have every right to bring their idiocy to light.

So, let's see what words are okay with the S&E! I've started a thread just for testing (located here, but I expect it will be deleted soon) what the censor will and will not allow. What words are dirty, according to our local paper? What words are A-OK? Let's find out!

Note that I'm not even going to bother with most of the "big" swears. They'll be filtered by Topix anyway. What I'm interested in are the words that the S&E has added to the filters, because they're ****.

So, here's the list I tried to post. The crossed-out words are ones that the S&E has banned (they became asterisks). The rest are A-OK with the paper!
-procreation/fun related-

-body parts-
Miss Nancy

-bum/poo related-




-misc unpleasantness-
Jeff McMenemy
Holy mudbutt! That's a poorly-thought-out list of censored words!

To collect them into a shorter list, here are the ones that are bad:
sex, sexy, bang, dick, cock, balls, tits, vagina, ass, crap, shit, moron, retard, douchebag, fucktard, whore, chink, rape
Now, some of those make sense to censor. Usually people mentioning a "cock" aren't talking about a male chicken. Shit, fucktard, douchebag, and tits are also not unexpected.

Still, bad news for you if your name is Dick, your sex is male, and you just bought some really awesome golf balls, but then lost one in a chink in your wall. The Sentinel thinks you're a dirty pervert and will censor you extensively.

Also, bad news for you if you have something interesting to say about rape. You're not even allowed to mention the word!

On the other hand, if your name is Jeff McMenemy and you want to blame all of society's ills on the spics and the gooks, after which you'd like a sloppy blowjob from Allah, you're just fine!

In conclusion, the Sentinel's censor list is really bad, and I am entertained by childish things!

Monday, February 09, 2009

The problem with bipartisanship

Bipartisanship is a great thing, right?

I mean, everyone talks about it like it's something to be strived for. President Obama, who is a very smart man (and a good deal more politically savvy than me) seems to value it. The word is bandied about on the news all the time, and everyone seems to agree that it's pretty awesome to be bipartisan.

It's not even a confusing word. It means "Of, consisting of, or supported by members of two parties, especially two major political parties." That's pretty straight-forward!

Now allow me to tell you why bipartisanship, as the word is used in this country, at this time, actually really sucks.

The biggest problem is that "bipartisanship" brings to mind a laudable ideal, but the word itself is mostly used as a cudgel to attack whomever you disagree with.

There are a number of words like this in common use today ("civility" springs to mind immediately), and they're typically used as thought-terminating cliches. Don't like someone's ideas but have a hard time finding any actual flaws with them? Just call them "partisan" and your opposition is instantly justified.

If we just go by the definition up there, we can see plenty of bipartisanship in our government. The illegality of murder enjoys wide bipartisan support. So does the free market. So do most things, actually. There's a lot that's already settled, but the legislating mostly takes place where things are less clear (the easy-to-settle stuff is already done) so we get a lot of arguments.

I suppose the ideal that makes "bipartisanship" seem like a good thing is the belief that a bipartisan solution/bill/law/etc enjoys support from everybody because it takes the best from both sides and wraps it up in a pretty bow so that everyone can enjoy it.

Which is not how anything in government works. Ever.

What does it take to make bipartisanship into a good thing and not just a nice idea? There are a few things I can think of, none of which should be terribly controversial:
  1. Both parties need to be willing to cooperate in order to come to a mutually acceptable outcome.
  2. Both parties need to have reasonable ideas that are worth incorporating.
  3. The ideas of both parties can't be mutually exclusive.
Number 1 is pretty self-explanatory, and is where our current problems start.

You can't come to an outcome everyone supports if either of the parties aren't willing to cooperate. It can't be one or the other, it has to be both.

Obama can do everything in his power to reach out to the Republicans. It doesn't matter, because the Republicans are just going to be oppositional dickwads to try to make themselves feel better about sucking so badly. Worse yet, after they reject every attempt Obama makes to reach out to them, they'll accuse him of not being "bipartisan enough."

The most irritating part of that is that Obama's praise of the nice-idea/politically-untenable-reality of "bipartisanship" has given them that power.

The Republicans can (and probably will) refuse everything Democrats put in front of them unless it's so twisted from its original intent that it might as well have come off the desk of Dick Cheney. It's partisan to not give them everything they want! You'll be hearing this until at least 2010.

Number 2 is also pretty important. If you have one party of people with good ideas and one party of idiots, there is absolutely no value in coming to a bipartisan outcome. Let the guys with the good ideas have their way, and don't let the idiots get involved and start screwing everything up.

The point of something like an economic stimulus plan, for instance, should ostensibly be to do those things that stimulate the economy. Not those things that don't. There are plenty of well-known, non-controversial things that stimulate the economy. Basically, things like spending stimulate the economy while things like tax cuts have less of an effect.

So if one party says "hey let's do these things that have been shown to stimulate the economy" and the other party says "no let's keep doing the same dumb shit that fucked up the economy in the first place," coming up with a bipartisan solution is considerably worse than just telling the dumb party to go piss up a rope.

There's a reason parents don't strive for "bipartisan" solutions with their children. It's because children are stupid. Same deal here.

There are some issues where getting input from Republicans might be valuable. I can't actually think of any right now, but if they actually exist, then would be the time for bipartisanship. For now, let's allow the grown-ups to do things.

On to number 3... Bipartisanship doesn't work if the two parties have mutually exclusive ideas.

If I say "abortions should be legal for everyone" and you say "abortions should be outlawed for everyone" there is really no possibility of the two of us ever coming up with a "bipartisan" solution that pleases us both.

"But Unicow," you may say, "isn't that only because you've positioned yourself and your opposition at extremes? Perhaps a more moderate individual would have no trouble with a bipartisan approach to abortion rights!"

Fuck you, buddy. The world is full of "extremes," and a milquetoastey middle-ground is not something that will please anyone. Nor is it something we should aspire to.

Also, mysterious voice in my head, there's a false equivalency in that abortion debate. Outlawing abortions entirely is far more extreme than having abortion be legal, but regulated.

This is a common theme in our two major political parties, by the way. The Democrats are just ever-so-slightly left of center, while the Republicans are extremely right-wing. The Overton window has been shifted way off-center. So don't worry about accusations of "extremism," they're just as bad as "partisan," and "uncivil."

But I've gone a little off-topic.

The point is that there are a lot of things where common ground simply doesn't exist, and there's no way the two sides are going to come together. Nor should they.

So here's an idea for the President (who obviously reads this blog): Forget about the bipartisan fancy-talk. Do what's right, and do what will fix what's wrong. The other party will do everything to stand in your way, and you're better off just going around them than you are if you try to make them happy. You may lose if you try to go around, but you lose worse if you please them.

Oh, and about the Commerce guy from New Hampshire... Why the fuck would you not replace him with a Democrat? You don't have to prove yourself bipartisan, you're already making the guy a cabinet member!


Friday, February 06, 2009

Let's justify our ridiculous overreaction with additional fearmongering!

Oh man...

I though the Sentinel's reaction to the goofy "bomb" incident in yesterday's paper was an improvement over their ridiculously overblown reaction to something similar in 2007. At least mostly.

But the police reaction to our new "bomb" was considerably stupider than the police reaction back then, so they need to cover their asses. So we get an ass-covering article today entitled Questions remain about homemade bombs found in Fitchburg. In it, everyone turns the stupidity up to 11.

Before I get down to business, I guess I'll start off with a disclaimer. I haven't examined these "bombs" and am really just relying on the reports for information about them.

So I'm using Occam's Razor here and going with the most parsimonious explanation, which is that they're drano and aluminum foil in a soda bottle, probably made by kids who wanted to create something that makes a loud noise. Because it's fun.

But I could be wrong! These bombs could be full of C4 and thermite! They're almost certainly not, but if something comes to light with further investigation that suggests these things are actually dangerous, I'll take this all back.

I don't expect that to happen.

Now, on to the stupid article. First a recap:
Police called in the State Police Bomb Squad, assigned to the office of the state Fire Marshal, when a homemade explosive device detonated shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to Fitchburg Police Sgt. Glenn Fossa. Fossa said the bomb squad used a robot to deactivate a second, similar device. Both devices were placed in plastic bottles before exploding, Fossa noted.
Scary! Look at those terms: "homemade explosive device," "detonated," "deactivate." Sure sounds like this thing was some sort of horrible bomb!

What bullshit. It's like calling a shaken-up bottle of soda an explosive device. Don't worry, though, you can "deactivate" that bottle just by waiting awhile. Also, please be careful not to detonate any balloons the next time you're at a birthday party.

Please also note that the devices were not "placed in plastic bottles before exploding." That sounds like there was something exploding inside the bottle and the bottle was just incidental. On the contrary, without a sealed bottle around the aluminum foil and drano, there would be nothing but some bubbles. The bottle is the most important part of the whole thing.

The Fire Marshal representative lady is more than willing to justify her department's budget by making things sound scary and using a lot of weasel words:
Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the state Fire Marshal's office, said devices like the ones found Wednesday can cause significant injury.

"If one goes off in your hand, you can lose some fingers," Mieth said. "They can burn you, they can affect your eyesight, and they also have the potential to cause property damage."
That's actually pretty hilarious.

While I wouldn't recommend holding one of these while it goes off, it's not the kind of thing that's going to make you lose fingers. Flimsy plastic bottles just don't have enough mass and this sort of weaksauce "explosion" doesn't create enough acceleration to hit you with the kind of force (F=ma) it would take to sever a finger. You could probably draw blood if you're unlucky, but no way are you going to "lose some fingers."

And yeah, you definitely don't want drano in your eyes, but that's true of pretty much everything. You don't want soda from your shaken-up "explosive device" in your eyes either. That's why you don't put your face near the thing.

As for property damage, yeah I can see how that would happen. It would only really work with paper-based property, though. If you have an early printing of the Gutenberg bible, please don't set off any drano bombs on top of it. Same goes for your extensive collection of erotic origami.

Look, here is a university science class's TERROR WEBSITE'S explanation of the reaction you're dealing with.

Basically you're dealing with scrubbing bubbles. They bubble inside a sealed plastic soda bottle, so the gas has nowhere to go. So it exerts pressure on the bottle. And with enough pressure, the bottle gives way and you get a loud noise. This is basically the same thing as overinflating a balloon.

Not exactly life-threatening stuff. But we have to make it seem scary!

Here's fearmonger Mieth again:
"Unfortunately, the information about how to make these devices is very common and easily attainable on the Internet, but what's not as attainable are the risks associated with making them," she said.
Oh my god, she's totally right!

I just found this incredibly detailed and specific set of instructions on this exact sort of thing for a high school chemistry class TERRORISTS!

But fret not, citizens, Sgt. Glenn Fossa will make certain that they spend lots of the city's money on trying to track down these mischevious teenagers VIOLENT CRIMINALS!
Fossa said such devices "are not particularly common for our area."

"Occasionally, someone will find an old grenade or a shell left in an old house, but something like this is less common," Fossa said.

Fossa said investigators will first analyze forensic evidence regarding the materials and methods used to construct the device, then move on to "sifting through more detailed and more specific evidence found at the scene."

"The first thing to look at is whether the devices were intended for police officers, and if not, what they were intended for," Fossa said.
Okay, first off "an old grenade or a shell" is absolutely nothing like what you're dealing with here. They're made of metal and have gunpowder in them. You know, actual explosives. They're potentially deadly. This thing isn't.

But Jesus, it sure sounds like they're keen on finding these evil but surprisingly inept terrorists. Probably because they think they're being targeted. Maybe they've seen too much nonsense on the internet about blowing up cars with drano bombs. It doesn't happen, guys.

Here, let me assist the FPD with their investigation. I'll provide the motive!


Loud noises are fun. Explosions are fun. Science is fun. These things were set off for the same reason people set off fireworks: It's fun. That's what it was "intended for."

Now maybe you could spend your time and effort on things that don't involve trying to cover your asses after one of your officers got scared by a loud noise. Please?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The world is slightly less crazy/awesome today

(I couldn't pick)

Lux Interior dead at 60.

History repeats itself, is even stupider the second time.

Back in 2007 I would sometimes write posts for Hello Fitchburg. Then one day I stopped because I am lazy, and Mr. Lincoln over there does just fine without me scuzzing the place up.

Anyway, one of those posts was entitled Scary Loud Pop Terrorizes Fitchburg.

I recommend you read it before continuing with this post, but the gist of it was that the Sentinel reported on a "tinfoil bomb" that made a loud noise and scared some people.

There's also a video over there where you can see how similar "bombs" work, and see for yourself that they're considerably less dangerous than say, dropping a glass in your kitchen.

Of course, 2007 was a simpler time. We were all scared of scary terrorists scaring us. Surely some overreaction was to be expected!

Now it's 2009, and what do we find in today's Sentinel?

Fitchburg Police: Bottle explodes near cruiser!!!!!!!!

Well, at least they're not calling it a "bomb" anymore. That's progress. Let's see what the article has to say:
A small explosion caused the State Police Bomb Squad to respond to a Myrtle Avenue incident Wednesday night, according to Deputy Fire Chief Robert Haley.
Holy fuck they called out the bomb squad! That totally negates the "not calling it a bomb" progress, plus some! This must have been bad!
Haley said police responded to a call of a disturbance on Myrtle Avenue shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday night. He said when police arrived on scene, a small explosion occurred near a police cruiser.

"The officer on scene said the noise and percussion was quite great," he said.
Okay, that headline was sort of misleading. It doesn't sound like someone was trying to blow up a police cruiser with soda-bottle-based terror, the cruiser just parked near someone's toy at a bad time and the cop had apparently had too much coffee or something.

It gets worse:
Haley said police and fire on scene found another similar looking bottle in the street. He said they were filled with some sort of liquid and aluminum foil, which reacts, builds up pressure in a two-liter soda bottle and eventually explodes.

Fitchburg officials called in the State Police Bomb Squad from Devens to handle the second bottle they found.

"We didn't know what's in it, so, as a precaution, we call in the experts," Haley said.
Umm... you just said what was in it...

The liquid was probably Drano, by the way. Which is icky, but hardly a substance that requires the bomb squad. It probably would have been cheaper and quicker to call a plumber.

Two-liter soda bottles are also not known for causing particularly bad shrapnel. Unless you're handling the thing naked when it goes off, you're probably pretty safe.

This part makes me giggle:
State Police officials arrived around 8 p.m. and used a computerized robot to maneuver around the street. The robot traveled over to a green bottle sitting near some trash barrels to examine it. State Police controlled the robot from the back of a pickup truck using cameras mounted on the robot.
Yes, they used a bomb disposal robot (base cost: about $25,000, more with addons like cameras) to handle an old soda bottle with a piece of aluminum foil in it. Your tax dollars are well-spent!

Onward, dumb article!
The bottle did not immediately explode upon being agitated by the robot. Haley said State Police troopers and an officer from the State Fire Marshal's office eventually deactivated the second bottle to keep it from exploding by releasing pressure built up in the bottle.
Yes, they "deactivated" the second bottle. In other words, they unscrewed the cap.

Not that they actually needed to even do that. If the thing didn't explode during the whole arrive on scene, call bomb squad, wait for bomb squad to arrive, play with funny robot sequence, there was no way it was ever going to build up enough pressure to blow. Especially on such a cold night.

But, umm... TERROR!

Oh, here's a video of a similar device. Totally terrifying!

Man, did you see what that bottle-bomb did to that pile of leaves? It slightly messed them up! Also, I think those guys were foreigners due to their crazy pronunciation of "aluminum." Al Qaeda? Perhaps!

One last bit of the article:
He said Fitchburg Police and the State Fire Marshal are investigating the incident and where the bottles came from.
Thank god! Someone needs to protect us from these terrorists!

I want to see bomb squads at every science fair (vinegar & baking soda volcano = terror!)! I want robots picking up my recycling just in case one of the bottles is a secret IED! I want Pop Rocks outlawed! If someone overinflates his bicycle tire so it explodes, he should be sent to prison!

Now is the time, people! We must be vigilant against teenagers making loud noises that couldn't possibly hurt anybody! Otherwise Al Qaeda wins!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

There are punks in Fitchburg?

As a guy with a blog with the word "Fitchburg" in the title, I feel it's my duty to point out all things Fitchburg that deserve your attention. Often, that's in order to make fun of them, but not always.

Anyway, on one of my little forays into "what crazy shit can I find on the web about Fitchburg" I came across a MySpace page for a band called "Fitchburg Punx".

So I made them my MySpace "friend" (yes, I have a MySpace page, produced for a post I never finished about how to make really ugly MySpace pages), and will now proceed to promote them here because I hold a special place in my heart for punk bands and have nothing better to do at the moment.

So, what to say about the Fitchburg Punx?

Umm... they're from Fitchburg. They even have a song called "Fitchburg"! Here it is!

So yeah, that's okay.

In addition to being from Fitchburg, they're also "Punx," which I gather means they're dyslexic punks. Or maybe it's more punk to use an "x" than a "ks" these days. Or maybe it's a tribute to the band X, which I would fully support, especially since they're one of the few punk bands I can still go see and not feel like the oldest person there.

In addition to that Fitchburg song up there, their MySpace page also has a song about wanting to be a Dropkick Murphy (why?), and a couple of covers.

They do a pretty decent cover of the Misfits' "Saturday Night." I suppose that's one of the better post-Danzig era Misfits songs, but it's still a post-Danzig era Misfits song, which means it's sort of inherently blah. The cover of Operation Ivy's "Unity" is better, mostly because it's just a better song.

So anyway, punk band in Fitchburg. Yay!

Oh, and they appear to be playing at the Lucky Dog in Worcester next week. I won't be attending, due to my advanced age and the way that being around teenagers having fun just makes me want to start kicking people in the throat. But you could go if you want.

Hooray for culture!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

So, what's religion good for?

Gallup recently released a pretty interesting poll on the importance of religion to people in different states around the country.

Over the course of last year, 350,000 people were asked "Is religion a part of your daily life?" Here you can see those states that were most and least likely to say "yes." As you can see, Massachusetts is near the very bottom of the list religiosity-wise.

Be careful not to read too much into these numbers. While they had a wonderfully large sample size, their question was really sort of weird. Religion can be part of your daily life whether or not you actually believe what that religion says, and you can believe in a religion without obsessing over it every day.

This certainly shouldn't be interpreted to mean mean that 52% of people in Massachusetts are atheists (or that 85% of Mississippians are theists, for that matter).

On top of that, there's undoubtedly more social pressure to say that religion is a big part of your life if you live in an overtly religious area, and people have a tendency to overreport their own degree of religiosity in the first place.

It's still interesting, though. For all its flaws, it does give us an idea of which states value religion more than which other states. There's even a fancy map!

Very pretty.

Anyway, this made me wonder a few things. Like how could mostly-nonreligious Alaska have elected such a Bible-thumping lunatic for governor? I don't know the answer to that one.

I also wondered how these states stack up against each other in other metrics. Does heathen New England have more Satanic orgies than pious Mississippi? Sadly, I couldn't find reliable figures on the number of Satanic orgies per state (please send them to me if you can find them, readers!), so that one will have to go unanswered. But there are others!

How about divorce? The Bible frowns on that shit.

Hmm, looking at the 2004 statistics (the most current year available), it appears that godless gay-marrying Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate of any state! Washington DC is slightly lower, but it's not a state, it's just a weird anomaly-warehouse (it also comes out at 61% in the religious listing).

Divorces per 1,000 people (2004):
    Vermont: 3.9
    New Hampshire: 3.9
    Maine: 4.3
    Massachusetts: 2.2 (the lowest in the country)
    Alaska: 4.3
    Washington: 4.3

    Mississippi: 4.5
    Alabama: 4.9
    S. Carolina: 3.2
    Tennessee: 4.9
    Louisiana: no stats
    Arkansas: 6.1 (the highest in the country)

Hmm, it sure doesn't look like those religious states are very good at avoiding divorce. Except South Carolina, which is oddly good. The rest all come in significantly higher than the heathens.

How about teen pregnancy? The Bible's pretty much in favor of knocking up young girls, but religious folks like to claim that religion helps prevent teen pregnancy anyway. Does it?

Here's the source (pdf).

Pregnancy rate of women aged 15-19 (2000):
    Vermont: 44
    New Hampshire: 47
    Maine: 52
    Massachusetts: 60
    Alaska: 73
    Washington: 75

    Mississippi: 103
    Alabama: 90
    S. Carolina: 89
    Tennessee: 89
    Louisiana: 87
    Arkansas: 93

Well damn! It looks like religion doesn't do a very good job of preventing teen pregnancy either! Not that sensible people ever thought it did, but hey, that's the stupid claim. Oddly, DC has the highest teen pregnancy and North Dakota has the lowest (probably because there's nobody around to fuck).

What else does religion supposedly prevent? Crime! Hell, it's even in their commandments! Surely the religious states will have lower crime rates, right?

Violent crime rate per 100,000 (2005):
    Vermont: 126
    New Hampshire: 135
    Maine: 113
    Massachusetts: 461
    Alaska: 632
    Washington: 346

    Mississippi: 280
    Alabama: 433
    S. Carolina: 767
    Tennessee: 757
    Louisiana: 497
    Arkansas: 529

Well, the godless states aren't totally cool (WTF Alaska?), but they're still better off on average than the religious ones. Being non-religious is no guarantee that you'll be crime-free, but religion also seems to do a pretty shitty job of keeping people from committing crime.

Okay, just one more. I searched for "what religion is good for" because I was running out of ideas, and it led me to this stupid story that claims "you are 29 percent more likely to live longer if you are involved in religion than if you are not."

Holy crap! Besides being an essentially meaningless statement, that's exciting news!

Surely we'll see something similar in our statistics, and then we'll all move to Mississippi where we will become snake-handlers, because it will increase our life expectancy.

Life expectancy in years (2006):
    Vermont: 78.2
    New Hampshire: 78.3
    Maine: 77.6
    Massachusetts: 78.4
    Alaska: 77.1
    Washington: 78.2

    Mississippi: 73.6 (lowest of any state, though stupid DC sucks worse)
    Alabama: 74.4
    S. Carolina: 74.8
    Tennessee: 75.1
    Louisiana: 74.2
    Arkansas: 75.2

Yikes! Maybe staying in Massachusetts is a good idea.

Finally, please don't confuse correlation and causation in this post. Being religious probably won't turn you into a divorced and pregnant criminal who dies young. But it certainly won't do a damn thing to prevent it.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The greatest fraud in voter history!

Hey, remember that stupid presidential debate? The one I blogged about here? Back when Joe the Douchesack and ACORN were all the rage?

In that post, I mocked McCain for saying this:
[ACORN] is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history ... maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.
Prophetic words indeed!

Of course, McCain wasn't the only jackass pushing the fear of voter fraud. It was all over the place. Crazy idiots everywhere were up in arms about ACORN. Because they just couldn't idly sit by and let voter registration destroy our country!

They were extra-upset in Ohio, where McCain's state campaign chairman subpoenaed people who did the unthinkable act of registering to vote on the same day that they actually voted! Here's what he had to say:
“If the secretary of state is listening and she has no evidence of voter fraud in Hamilton County, I'm telling you there is,” Deters said during a Monday press conference.

Deters said about 40 percent of those registration forms either lacked a proper address or could not be verified in the state’s database.

“During that five-day window, it was a free-for-all,” Deters said.
This Deters dude subpoenaed information on about 700 people. No doubt all guilty of horrible ACORN fraud!

So, how'd that all turn out?
A report Tuesday by a special prosecutor appointed to the investigation found that only one voter committed fraud.

A Connecticut man in town visiting his sister cast a ballot on Oct. 4 but later told officials what he had done.

He pleaded guilty Dec. 29 to attempted false voter registration and was sentenced to one year of probation, a $1,000 fine and 250 hours of community service.
Can the fabric of democracy survive? I sincerely doubt it!