Archive for October 19th, 2004

Another One Bites the Dust


India — Police have shot dead India’s most wanted bandit, Koose Muniswamy
Veerappan, accused of chopping up many of the more than 100
people he killed, officials said yesterday.

Every once in a while, there come along Very Bad Men with enough
verve and style that when they are eventually removed from the scene
by the forces of
order, as they invariably are, one feels a twinge of regret, if only
for the impoverishment of the news stream their passing represents.

We place in this category Idi
Amin Dada
, Haille
, John
r and
Papa Doc
Duvalier & Son
. It looks like we need to add this

The bandit, who was in his 50s, sported a long twirling moustache, wore
military camouflage, and had bloodshot eyes. He was dubbed the "Jungle
Cat" for his deep knowledge of the forests and his ability to
imitate wild animal sounds.

Hey, he sounds exactly like the Dowbrigade! We are
well-known for our mongoose and wombat imitations….

Indian media reports said he chopped rivals into pieces before throwing
them into rivers, killed policemen as they slept, and once beheaded
a senior forest official.

Well, maybe not EXACTLY like the Dowbrigade…

From the Boston
Globe (Reuters)

Phantom Voters Registered for Crack


Mary Poppins. Jeffrey Dahmer. Janet Jackson. Chad Staton.

Defiance County elections officials were confident the first three hadn’t
moved to their small community. But the fourth one lived there, and
– in exchange for crack cocaine – tried to falsely submit the first
three names and more than 100 others onto the county’s voter registration
rolls, police said.

Defiance County Sheriff David Westrick said that Mr. Staton was working
on behalf of a Toledo woman, Georgianne Pitts, to register new voters.
She, in turn, was working on behalf of the NAACP National Voter Fund,
which was formed by the NAACP in 2000 to register new voters.

From the Toledo Blade

Kerry’s Last Chance


Presidential election, incredibly, is looking more and more like a replay
of 2000.  The electorate is so deeply and evenly divided that the
decision may very well come down to a few electoral votes in one of the
swing states, which in turn may swing on a few thousand votes.

Campaign tactics and spending have shifted from the
frenetic search for the elusive and dwindling stock of undecided voters
to equally frenetic and even more crucial "get out the vote" efforts.  In
an election this close, the percentage of their partisans each party
can deliver on election day will determine the winner.

The "Get out the vote" ; effort is a massive and sophisticated
multi-front effort, including targeted telephone trees, institutional
transportation, grass-roots mobilizations, poll watching and mass emailings.  Plus,
inevitably, black ops designed to impede the efforts of the opposition
to do the same,

Although the race is too close to call, and each side
unquestionably has a few last minute dirty tricks and a "Halloween Surprise"
or two up their sleeves (we hope!), latest
internal polling gi
ve the
President a slight edge., especially in the key swing states. Two or
three points, within the margin of error, but enough that Kerry is going
to need a big last
to put
over the

In the opinion of this observer, there is only one possible
place that Kerry can get the juice to overcome whatever nasty surprise
the dastardly Karl Rove has cooked up for election eve – and it is the

The potential for on-line organizing and get-pit-the-vote
efforts was dramatically demonstrated in South Korea two years ago by
the dramatic, last minute, internet-fueled, come from behind victory
of Roh Moo-hyun, hailed as the World’s
First Internet President.

After a similarly hard fought, no-holds-barred campaign resulted in
an extremely tight race, Roh found himself on the business end of a classic
election eve dirty trick; the orchestrated defection of a key ally and
supporter, tipping the balance in favor of conservative candidate Lee
Hoi Chang. On the day of the voting a massive electronic get-out-the-vote
mobilization, via email, cell phones and Instant Messaging, advising
people of the opposition’s last-ditch move to steal the election, produced
of younger
which gave the victory to Roh.

We are willing to go on the record here
as predicting that only a similar last minute cyberspace effort by the
Kerry campaign will be enough to
put him over the top.  Unfortunately, we don’t think Kerry himself
is capable of making the commitment to cyberspace necessary to pull
it off.  John Kerry is no Roh Moo-hyun. Roh, a human rights organizer
before entering politics, is the first world leader who knows how to
code in HTML. We doubt John Kerry even knows what HTML is.

We are afraid America will have to wait for its own First Internet President.
It was shocking to hear in the final debate that Bush talked more about
Information Technology than Kerry! Bush wants to save America by wiring
health care!  Who knew? We may have to wait through four more years
of this sort of nonsense before an authentic Internet candidate emerges.

But we remain convinced it will happen.  Howard Dean was just the
tip of the iceberg, pointing the way towards what is possible, inevitable,
and essential – the technology enabled transformation of American Democracy.
Although of course it makes a tremendous difference in millions of lives
who wins this election, in the final analysis both Bush and Kerry are
conventional American alpha male politicians who don’t have a clue about
the changes around the corner in the electorate and the political landscape.
The stage is being set for The