Hobby-Horse Update

I'm trying to avoid sounding like an old man sitting on the porch telling the young'uns how easy they have it nowadays, so I've combined all my hobby horse issues into one post.  Here comes voting technology and the D&C, with an Iraq chaser:

I haven't posted much about voting technology since New York wisely decided to delay their decision and stick with our lever machines for the near future.  But I can't help pointing and laughing at the recent Maryland decision to scrap their Diebold system and start over with paper ballots and scanners.  Money quote:

By 2010, four years before its $65 million touch-screen machines will be paid off, Maryland expects to be back on the paper trail, following states such as Florida and California, which have also decided that all-electronic systems make it too easy to compromise elections.
So it turns out that quitting the D&C isn't as simple as it sounds.  I canceled my subscription on New Year's Day, yet three weeks later  I'm still getting the paper delivered every day to my door.  I've called the D&C's customer service office in Louisville, KY and been assured that my subscription is canceled.   I can only imagine that this little bit of administrative incompetence is a tiny window into the irrational "rationalization" of customer service into a few mega-centers.

Finally I want to recommend last week's Fresh Air series on Iraq.  Host Terry Gross interviewed 10 different guests, each of whom had long experience and a different perspective on the war.  It's well worth listening to both shows, the first here, and the second here.  Fresh Air is also available as a podcast here -- pick the January 16 and 17 shows.  One of the most interesting guests, Lt. Col. John Nagl, who was a major player in writing the Army counterinsurgency manual, announced his retirement on the day the show was aired.


Imagine how much worse it would be if Louisville weren't a Center of Excellence for the company.