Odd and Ends 10/29/04
Posted on October 29, 2004 Posted by John Scalzi 13 Comments
Random thoughts on a Friday:
* Question for the other online egomaniacs out there: I may be coming late to this particular party, but have you noticed spam domains in your referrer logs? I’ve never had this before, but suddenly my site is being “visited” by “people” coming from domains like “your-illegal-viagra-pharmacy.com” and such. Really, how pathetic is that.
* Ohio’s Republican Party got smacked around yesterday when all of its peremptory challenges to voters got dismissed in Summit County (which is where the city of Akron is), on the basis that those bringing the challenges (four really old folks more or less dragooned as stooges by the local party) did not in fact have any personal reason to believe that those they challenged had, in fact, incorrectly registered to vote. It should be noted, incidentally, that the move to strike the challenges came from the Republican members of the Board of Elections, which I think is a very positive sign.
I am, like most non-corrupt people, against voter fraud, and I don’t think that either party historically has much to be proud about in the annals of vote suppression. But I do think the Ohio GOP’s attempt to carve into the ranks of newly-registered voters signifies something. Not that the Ohio GOP is corrupt — it’s not any more than Ohio’s Democratic party is, I imagine — but that the Ohio GOP realizes that Bush probably can’t win on the number of people who will actually vote for him in the state, compared to the people who will vote for Kerry. Therefore, best to make sure as few people as possible can vote for Kerry. People whose registrations are challenged still get to vote, but they’re given provisional ballots, and which, as I understand it, are counted only after election day. If you think either party is going to let a state get taken away from them on provisional ballots after election day, you’re sweetly naive.
The GOP remembers that Florida was won on 500-some-odd votes, which is why you’re seeing this unsightly scrum for 100 voter challenges in one county, and 70 voter challenges in another county. Every challenged vote counts. I strongly suspect that the large majority of newly-registered voters in Ohio actually exist, but that’s not the point — the point is that every vote shunted to a provisional ballot is a vote that’s not on the election night tally. These are not the tactics of a party confident of victory, or in their candidate.
* Happiness is getting an unexpected mix CD of very good music from a very good friend. Everyone should have such excellent pals (with such excellent musical taste).
* Speaking of music, for the month of November, during which I will be on a writing hiatus here at the Whatever in order to focus on my book, I’ve decided to go the musical route, in which I’ll be posting links to cool (mostly)independent music I find online, on a (week)daily or semi-daily basis, because don’t you deserve some cool music? Sure you do. As a positive statement of intent, here’s something to get you mood: “Moon Boots” by the band Motel Creeps, off their EP Pleasantries in the Parlor. Imagine what Echo and the Bunnymen would sound like if Ian McCullough was actually happy now and then, and you’ll be right on base. It’s excellent. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.
* On the subject of the hiatus, people have suggested that I won’t be able to resist commenting one way or another, come November 3rd. Ha! Just you wait.
Have you seen the other attempted vote suppression in Lake County, Ohio that was in the news today? ( http://lawgeek.typepad.com/lawgeek/2004/10/sample_rightwin.html )(This is the letter to new registrants who registered via the NAACP or several other Democratic-leaning groups, who were told their registrations were invalid and that they ought not to vote.)
Fortunately, the Lake County Board of Elections has stated that the letter is a fake, and told people to go vote.
I say, this time, let’s count ’em all! That’s the process, and it will work if we give it a chance.
Have you noticed how the GOP’s efforts have focused largely on Cleveland and Columbus? Have you noticed Cleveland and Columbus votes largely Democratic? This from the party that wants to nominate that crooked idiot Betty Montgomery for governor? And is Ken Blackwell trying to curry favor with Bush in exchange for a presidential boost to his own campaign for governor?
Suddenly, Jerry Springer looks like the Second Coming of FDR.
To quote a Republican I know: “I decided it was more important for me to be an honest man than to be a good Republican.”
I remember articles about delegates at the Republican convention admitting that they weren’t all that thrilled with Bush, but couldn’t absorb the idea of voting for a Democrat for president. Some of these may be more inclined to feel “Ethics and honor count, democracy matters” than “We must win, we MUST win, no matter what it takes.” After all, there are Republicans, and then there are koolaid drinkers.
I’ll ignore the disenfranchisement stuff, not because I disagree or am apathetic, but because I don’t have anything to add to it. And, in any case, you really don’t know what disenfranchisement is until you’ve lived in the District of Columbia (although we do get to cast our three electoral votes onto the waters, although we only gained that in 1969).
No, I need to comment on the egomania part, because my referrer lists, too, show all those wonderful spam domains. For some reason, I really don’t think rome-hilton-video.com actually has a link to my page. What I do think is that whatever spam bot that the owner of that site has for trying to place loads of comment spam on my site is registering itself this way in my referrer logs. Unfortunately, because it then reduces any usefulness of these same logs for identifying real links to my content.
FYI, I tried to use the TypeKey thing (as it reads above the comment box here, “If you have a TypeKey identity, you can sign in to use it here.”). That statement seems to be untrue, as TypeKey says you haven’t set it up properly for it to function.
My referrer logs are now essentially useless thanks to comments spambots and stuff. I get hundreds of 1 or 2 hit referrers that can’t be from actual links.
I am feeling so sorry for you fine American neighbours and all the election crap you are putting up with. Provisional ballots? Disqualified voters? Oh darling, are you sure that you live in a democracy?
Scalzi, you forgot one random comment:
* Happy birthday to Todd, who despite disagreeing with this site’s host on several fronts, returns to visit several times a week. And because of his loyal patronage, I shall allow him to plug his goofy little Website this one time — http://www.elwoodfiles.com.
Allow me to chime in confirming that I, too, get lots of spam referrers, in addition to comment spam, e-mail spam, electioneering telephone spam, and any other sort of spam you can think of, excepting, of course, pork-based SPAM.
Charlie Lowe, editor of a community blog I occasionally post to (Kairosnews), once told me that he estimated at least 50 percent of the hits the site receives are spam.
I forgot to mention that Charlie told me WHY:
Because some blogs automatically post their referrer lists, this “counts” as a link from Google’s perspective. If “you” link to v1ag4a.com via such an automated list, then v1ag4a.com gets a higher search rank on Google.
Spam works in mysterious ways.
Check out http://slumbering.lungfish.com/index.php?p=refads.1044341230. It’s where I first came across the concept of referrer-field advertising, but that’s not why I mention it; I mention it because the writer, Lore Sjöberg, is, by actual scientific measurement, the funniest person of the past 94 years.
Regarding provisional ballots:
Provisionally voted ballots are saved in a (deeply nested) series of envelopes and put aside. After the polls close, the provisional ballots are packed into a special, even larger envelope, and go along with the regular ballots to wherever the results are counted.
When the workers at the election authority have time, they look over the affidavits included with the provisional ballot, and check the information the county clerk has on record. If the voter’s registration is found to be in order, the ballot is counted. If no registration is found, the ballot is not counted.
The new provisional voting really only affects urban areas. In less populous areas, election judges call the county clerk when a voter says they registered but there’s no application in the binder. The county clerk will say if there is a registration on file, and clarify where the voter ought to be if he is in the wrong precinct. If a voter whose registration cannot be found insists on voting provisionally, that’s fine, but it’s unlikely that the clerk’s office is going to find anything new overnight.
However, in busy areas, calling the county clerk on election day only gets an unanswered ring or a busy signal. In those cases provisional voting is a wonderful solution.
Seeing as I really like the new album from the Finn Brothers that John’s forever talking about, I figure a month of him talking about other music will have to produce at least one thing I’ll like.
zzedar: I think it’s about more than hoping bloggers will check their referrer logs and buy the products solicited by the sites “referring” them. Though I suppose it’s possible. Otherwise, why does Puma.com have 134 separate referrals to my site? Hmmm… come to think of it, those pumas ARE pretty nice shoes….