Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Lots of Things

Tonight I saw a documentary put on by the Civic Media Center here in Gainesville. It was entitled:

Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election.
Da Documentary
It basically summed up entire goings on in Florida during and after the ill-fated election of 2000. I can say that I left the movie quite perturbed. Aside from the counting mishap, what really got me was the way that Kathleen Harris (then the State Attorney General) had enforced Florida's law banning felons from voting.

Florida has a law on the books (actually it was added to the state Constitution) that prohibits convicted felons from being able to vote. It was conceived in the period following the Civil War as a way to keep blacks from being able to vote. Over the years, it has been half-heartedly enforced, but this all changed as the millennium drew nearer. In the period before the 2000 presidential election, the Florida Legislature passed a resolution calling for updating the voting records as to comply with the law. An outside company was hired to complete this and used a database of felons to crosscheck with the voting rosters. The company was specifically ordered to not worry about exact matches and as long as the first four letters in the first name, and the last name matched to expunge the names from the roster. The company warned that this method would create a large number of "false positives" and the state answered that is was of no concern and their goals was to cast as wide a net as possible. One supervisor of elections in a county actually went through their list of expunged names one by one and out of nearly 300, only 35 were confirmed to be felons. The others were near matches or strangely had been convicted of felonies at some time in the future (some going as far as the year 2007!).

In my opinion, the state was intentionally trying to disenfranchise black voters (who vote 97% Democratic) and not truly trying to enforce the spirit of the law. When one of the aides to Harris was confronted on the issue, he stopped the interview and promptly left. I definitely smell something fishy.


On a sort-of-related note, the much renowned/maligned linguist/political activist Professor Noam Chomsky is coming to the University of Florida.

He will be speaking at the O'Conell Center - October 21 @ 8:00pm. You definitely should try to make it out, he will be doing a talk entitled "Dilemmas of Dominance" in which he will provide a historical look at U.S. foreign policy.

Also the answer to my little trivia question that I posted in my away message yesterday provided many technically correct answers in the fact that they were true but not what I was looking for. The original question was: Where does the quote "KHANNNNNNNNNNN!" come from? I got The Jungle Book, GI Joe, and King of the Hill.

The real answer:
Of course! Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

This is one of William Shatner's most famous quotes, and it is also the movie in which Spock dies:
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.
Yes, I am a nerd.


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