December 19th, 2005

Monday Must-Read Sentence(s)

by Philip Baruth

As regular readers will know, each week VDB saves you the drudgery of combing through the weekend newspapers and transcripts — our News-Obsessed Ectomorphs do the work for you by selecting Monday’s Must-Read Sentence (MMRS).

This week, however, the NOE’s were SOL on the MMRS: turns out there were two must-read sentences, of equal jaw-dropping bogosity. And the two dovetail nicely when it comes to describing the increasingly spooky America in which we live:

MMRS 1: The Miami Herald reported on Thursday that Ion Sancho, election supervisor of Leon County, Florida, scrapped his county’s use of Diebold voting machines after computer experts managed to change vote results and the number of ballots cast on Diebold’s optical-scan machines.

This feat the hackers pulled off without leaving a trail of any sort. You will remember, I’m sure, that Ohio — the Florida of the 2004 elections — is the home of Diebold, and relies heavily on their technology.

When confronted with the test results — and the possibility that previous elections might theoretically have been altered — Diebold Inc. issued a letter containing the weekend’s first MMRS: the Leon County test itself was a “very foolish and irresponsible act.”

Got that? It’s testing the machines that’s irresponsible, not using machines without a paper component in the first place. Up-Is-Downism at its most breathtaking.

bushOr so one might have assumed, until Saturday.

MMRS 2: At the end of an eight-minute radio address explaining to the American people why he authorized the NSA to electronically eavesdrop on American citizens without warrants of any sort, and in contravention of pretty much all existing law and practice post-1978, George W. Bush delivered MMRS the second: “The American people expect me to do everything in my power under our laws and Constitution to protect them and their civil liberties.”

Would that the Iraqi people could experience the bracing rush of liberty I feel at this moment, Monday morning, coming down.

Late Update: Monday, 11:40 am

The Rutland Herald — which won a Pulitzer for its editorials on Vermont Civil Unions — isn’t a paper to rest on its laurels: they have an absolutely blistering piece up today called “George Bush’s Secret Police.” It takes the NSA spying revelations as its takeoff point, and lands finally on the words “Saddam Hussein.”

Worth a long look today.