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Thoughts from the polling place

This is about the American democratic process.  It isn't intended to be the latest volley in the bloodsport of post-2008 American politics.  If anyone wants to go there, you know what room it's in.

Some of you might know that I am an election inspector in Westchester County.  It's my way of being able to say that I participated in the process instead of just talking about it.  I certainly don't do it for the money -- my time is certainly worth more than the stipend we are paid for a grueling work day.  We have to be at the polling place at 5:00am on election day, and we don't get to go home until we have completely closed the polls.  This includes bringing in anyone who was still standing in line at the offical closing time of 9:00pm, then completing a lot of administrivia to properly close the machines and read off the totals while a bunch of poll watchers are breathing down our necks.  All told, it was an 18-hour workday this past Tuesday, when we were there for the primaries.

And that brings me to my first observation: there were A LOT of people who weren't aware that it was primary day for the two major American political parties.  As is usually the case, I blame the media for this.  There has been so much hype over voters rights, vote by mail, voter fraud, voting this, voting that, and of course we've all been inundated with the Perise Practical ad and others like it which shout from the rooftops "June 23 is Election Day!"    So what happened?  A lot of people dutifully got in line to vote, thinking it was a general election.  We turned away a lot of registered independents who were led to believe they needed to vote, but since they weren't registered to either of the parties holding a primary, they were not eligible to vote.  We had just as many who didn't know their party registration, or who received what they believed was the "wrong" ballot.  (We have a new computer system this year that replaces the poll books and looks up the voter in the Department of Elections database ... much easier.)

And I don't mean a few people either.  I'd say a large percentage of the people in line didn't know why they were voting.  We had Republicans asking why there was only one race on the ballot.  We had Democrats asking what "delegates" are and why they're on the ballot.  And we had people asking why Mr. Trump wasn't on the ballot (for those of you outside the US who don't know: he's running uncontested).

The next thing that I observed is the difference in opinion between politicians/pundits and actual voters with respect to the idea of requiring ID to vote.  The supposed argument against an ID requirement is that it suppresses the vote of low-income citizens who cannot afford an ID.  What I observed at the pool is this: no one cares.  I saw people lining up with their ID in hand.  In fact, these were people who were obviously not affluent, but they had their ID and had no qualms about showing it.  So from this perspective it's difficult to argue that any politicians or pundits who are anti-ID are actually pro-fraud.

So now let's cover another observation: how the rules about "electioneering" are handled.  We had a candidate who set up a table right in front of the polling place, but just outside of the 100 foot distance required by law.  These people were legally "not at the polls" but for all practical purposes they were -- you practically had to walk past their table to get in the door.  We were not permitted to ask them to move any further away.  Then later in the morning we had a hyper-mega-bitch wearing a shirt with a black power fist, a rainbow flag, and some moronic slogan about "intersectionality" standing in the room lecturing us for 20 minutes about voter suppression while demanding that she be allowed to vote a second time.  She didn't get kicked out, and stayed in the room harassing other voters until we gave her a provisional ballot.  But another voter who walked in peacefully and attempted to vote quietly while wearing a shirt with the name of a candidate on it -- the election chairperson got in his face and demanded that he leave the site.  WTF?

For all its flaws, it's still a good process, and I think it works.  Yes, I do believe we still have massive election fraud, but I don't see it happening at the polling place.  It happens later when fraudulent ballots find their way into the system.  The polls themselves are well-run.  I like how the machines provide totals for rapid tabulation, but the process still retains physical ballots which can be recounted later.  And I like the new computer based check-in system that eliminates the big books, but it's clearly a Version 1.0 product and it needs some refinement.

I'll be back in November, which is certain to be the biggest circus of all time.

Posted by IGnatius T Foobar on Fri Jun 26 2020 14:45:33 EDT
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I will NEVER respect authority.

This is a rant.  Hit (S)top now if you don't want to hang around while I vent my spleen.

I don't respect authority.  Authority does not, by itself, deserve respect.  Go take your position of authority and shove it.

Respect is EARNED.  I've said so on this blog before.  There are people with authority in my life who I respect, because they've shown themselves to be inspirational and competent leaders.  Show me that you know what you're doing, prove to me that you've earned your position of leadership, and I will be the greatest team player you have ever worked with.  That's because you have earned my respect, and among people wired like me, respect is the currency of the realm.  

On the other hand, if you pull rank for no reason, if you micromanage people who have more experience and knowledge than you, it doesn't matter if your rank says that you're the emperor of the galaxy; you've lost my respect and I don't respect your authority.  If you're lucky I will leave your team.

I've had the blessing of working with some truly wonderful leaders.  These are relationships that transcend any reporting structure because everyone gets on the same page.  And even when there's a disagreement, I find it acceptable to let the person in charge make the final decision on something, because they've demonstrated that they've earned the right to do that.   (Hint: it's always "because of X, Y, and Z" rather than "because I said so.")  Relationships like that can even turn into long term friendships if the conditions are favorable.

So no, I will never respect authority on its own.  Show me that you've earned the respect and you'll get it in spades.  If you don't agree with that, go find some other world to live in that doesn't have me in it.

Posted by IGnatius T Foobar on Mon Feb 03 2020 13:43:33 EST
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I'm looking through some of my old blog posts and realizing that I seem to use a different "voice" when I write in this blog than elsewhere.

So without further ado:

BLAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!   schmeep schmeep schmeep.    ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH ME IS HITLER!!!!!!!111111


It's called LINUX, not GNU/Linux.  And NEVER forget: CITADEL F**KING R00LZ!!!

Thank you.


Posted by IGnatius T Foobar on Tue Aug 13 2019 14:55:26 EDT
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I only want two simple things.

There are really only two simple things that I want in this life.

One of them is a tree that grows marshmallows.  No leaves, just marshmallows.  This would be the perfect tree for campfires.  The fallen limbs can be used as firewood, and the smaller branches will have marshmallows on the end of them for toasting.  No longer would we have to buy marshmallows, clean up the sticks to use as marshmallow sticks, and then toast them ... just reach for a stick-with-marshmallow already put together, and stick it in the fire.  How wonderful would that be?  I want to live in that kind of world.  I like campfires.

Speaking of fire ... the other thing that I want is a universal detonator.  I want to be able to blow up anything, anywhere, at any time, without having to plant explosives first.  When I push the button, anything I want to explode must explode.  Don't like the way that asshole in the Lexus is hogging the highway?  Click, BOOM.  Problem solved.  Building next door blocking my view of the sunset?  Click, BOOM.  Turn on the TV and find that The View is on?  Click, BOOM.  (Note: in that last case, the explosion occurs in the TV studio, not in my living room.  The universal detonator must work remotely.)

I don't ask for much.  I just want these two simple things.

Posted by IGnatius T Foobar on Fri Apr 13 2018 10:22:30 EDT
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It's time to retire Ronald McDonald.

Let's face it, folks: clowns are creepy.

No one likes clowns anymore.  They are an antiquity of the 20th century, when adults and children alike found them funny and entertaining.  That just isn't the case anymore.

(Image credit: Matthew Inman,

That being the case, why does McDonald's still have the creepy clown Ronald McDonald as its mascot?  

Doesn't everyone know that someone who looks like this is an obvious child molester?

It is obviously time for Ronald McDonald to retire.  Unfortunately, when I did a web search for "Retire Ronald McDonald," instead of seeing a bunch of people who agree with this sentiment, I instead found an obnoxious campaign by a bunch of nanny-state activists complaining that the McDonald's mascot is bad because they are marketing directly to children.  So what?  My kids don't decide when we eat at McDonald's.  That decision is always made by me, and/or their mother, and we feed our children a balanced diet.  Sometimes we go out, and sometimes we treat them to lunch at McDonald's.  It's nothing to be ashamed of!  They sell burgers and fries, which will make you fat if you eat there every day.  We don't eat there every day, or even every week.  I don't blame McDonald's for being who they are (some would disagree).  They are an American success story, they sell greasy food, and they should just "own it" instead of allowing themselves to get beat up by the Food Nazis.

(Now here's a girl who knows how to defend herself against creeps!  After this incident I rewarded her for her courage with a burger and fries.)

So let's collectively ignore the Food Nazis and let Ronald retire for the right reasons.  His garish colors are from the McDonald's decor of a bygone era, now that McDonald's restaurants have all been redecorated for the 21st century.  He's not entertaining anymore.  People think clowns are creepy.  People still love burgers and fries.  Now go out there and enjoy a clown-free lunch.

Posted by IGnatius T Foobar on Sun Aug 23 2015 14:14:35 EDT
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