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Monday, January 10, 2005

Michael Moore Accused Of Stuffing Ballots

Boy, how to deal with this story:

Michael Moore's controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" picked up the top honors at last night's People's Choice Awards — amid allegations of ballot stuffing [my emphasis] via the Internet.

In year's past, People's Choice winners had been determined by the Gallup Organization, a national pollster. This year, for the first time, "the people" voted online - and Moore used his popular Web site to tell the film's fans that a vote for "Fahrenheit 9/11" was a vote against President Bush.

"He may have been (barely) the people's choice on Nov. 2, but now the people get to vote again, this time for a movie," Moore wrote on his site.

Many left-wing groups — and even Barbra Streisand — linked to Moore's site. (link)

Michael Moore, who weighs about the same as (and resembles) a Volkswagon Beetle, is accused of stuffing the ballot box...

With what? Fried chicken? Leftover Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing? His fat ass?

Ah, this is too much fun. Life is good.

Fix The Ballot Process

There may be a problem with the manner in which we conduct our elections. Then again, there may not. My guess is not. But perception in this regard is what's important. We cannot have a significant number of voters believing - for the first time in our history - that political candidates vying for our most important elected positions can become victorious simply by having the right people counting the ballots. This is not, after all, Venezuela. But that belief is becoming more widespread. If you think it is simply the psychotic Democrats who are questioning the process, you would be wrong. Republicans, too, are going to court claiming systemic fraud and incompetence.

For Democrats, the latest scandal occurred in Ohio. William Raspberry analyzes, in the Washington Post this morning, the charges made by people like John Conyers and Jesse Jackson. He cites a report released by Conyers entitled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio," findings of which included:

"We have found numerous, serious election irregularities . . . which resulted in a significant disenfranchisement of voters. . . . "In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio." (link)

On the Republican side, John Fund (Wall Street Journal) provides us with the details of the problems that (may have) occurred (and are occurring) in the governor's race in Washington state.

In Washington state, the errors by election officials have been compared to the antics of Inspector Clouseau, only clumsier. At least 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle's King County than the number of individual voters who can be accounted for. Other counties saw similar, albeit smaller, excess vote totals. More than 300 military personnel who were sent their absentee ballots too late to return them have signed affidavits saying they intended to vote for Mr. Rossi. Some 1 out of 20 ballots in King County that officials felt were marked unclearly were "enhanced" with Wite-Out or pens so that some had their original markings obliterated.

Most disturbing is the revelation last week by King County officials that at least 348 unverified provisional ballots were fed directly into vote-counting machines. "Did it happen? Yes. Unfortunately, that's part of the process in King County," elections superintendent Bill Huennekens told the Seattle Times. "It's a very human process, and in some cases that did happen."

King County elections director Dean Logan, Mr. Huennekens' boss, also concedes the discrepancy between the number of ballots cast and the list of people who are recorded as voting. Even though the gap is 1,200 votes, he says, "that does not clearly indicate that the election would have turned out differently." Are voters supposed to trust an election merely because it can't "clearly" be shown to be hopelessly tainted? Mr. Logan is certainly singing a different tune now than he was on Nov. 18, when he responded to charges of voting irregularities in an e-mail to colleagues, which read in part:

"Unfortunately, I have come to expect this kind of unsubstantiated crap. It's all too convenient, if not now fashionable, to stoop to this level when there is a close race." (link)

Charges of fraud are not new to American politics. But they generally do not involve presidential races or even elections for governor. They usually revolve around those for school board members. Because the Democrats leveled charges of fraud in both 2000 and in 2004 - I expect they are planning similar "outrage" in 2008 - and because the Republicans have now joined in the squawking about fraud and abuse, the time has come to fix the problem.

Faith in our institutions is the glue that keeps our system functioning. If our two political parties get to the point where they feel the need to put armed guards at the entrances to all our voting booths, we are doomed.

Punish The Leper

I remember a segment of a movie about the Crucifixion (1960's? "King of Kings?" "Ben Hur?" "The Robe?") in which the main character (Charleton Heston?) visited two women who were afflicted with leprosy, a virulent communicable disease manifested by horrific open sores on the skin and a slow wasting away of the body. The two women were living (in shame) in a cave (in sordid squalor), having been banished to the "valley of the lepers" because of their affliction. They were openly shunned by the community from which they came; spurned by their neighbors and relatives; ostracized because they were diseased. Sent there to die.

The modern equivalent of the leper is the Marlboro man - and woman. May God have mercy on those who either choose to or are unable to avoid smoking cigarettes. And in 2005 the persecution goes well beyond forcing workers to smoke outdoors in sub-zero weather.

Now they are being hunted.
An Okemos [Michigan] company that has snuffed out smokers' jobs to curb health care costs has taken a radical step toward trying to reduce one of businesses' biggest expenditures. Unfortunately, it has gone too far.

Weyco Inc., a medical-benefits administration company, no longer will employ anyone who smokes -- including those who light up during their time off from work. Four employees resigned at the end of December because they refused to quit smoking.

Last week, the remaining 200 employees all were tested for tobacco use [my emphasis] and more could find their way to the unemployment line because they're addicted to nicotine. The company no longer will hire anyone who uses any form of tobacco. (

Banish them! Let them feel the sting of the lash! We want their blood to flow in the streets! Their children to be taken from them! Their cattle slaughtered! Their crops burned! Their cemeteries defiled! Kill them! Kill them all! Exile them to the caves!

When asked how much money his company would save by discriminating against smokers who seek a job and by firing current employees who test positive for tobacco, Howard Weyers, president, "refused to disclose" the amount. Which means he has no idea.

But that's beside the point. These people inhale tobacco smoke. And that is - as the nazis so eloquently put it - verboten. Not on his watch. Not in this life.

Off with their heads, the scum.

I have had the opportunity over the years of hiring hundreds of employees - hourly, management trainees, middle managers, specialists, etc. I learned, over the course of those years, (at least) two things. (1) I wanted the best employees that I could find, and I certainly did not want to limit my choices by creating arbitrary barriers that would cause me to have less than the best (read affirmative action initiatives). I owed it to the stockholders to produce results; not to go on crusades that would get me a favorable writeup in the New York Times. Weed-infested and crumbling abandoned buildings are a testament to foolish management decisions that were made with "the best of intentions." (2) I smoke one cigar a week (Honduran filler leaf, Nicaraguan wrapper). I would fail Howard Weyers' blood test. He would never hire me. His loss or mine?