Archive for September, 2005

T.D. 19

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Tropical Depression 19 has formed off the coast of Africa. It’s expected to become Tropical Storm Stan in the next 24 hours or so, but it should stay out to sea.

Meanwhile, the NHC is still continuing to watch the disorganized blob (I initially typed “blog” by accident, heh) of clouds over the western Caribbean. No organization there yet.

A different kind of moratorium

Friday, September 30th, 2005

In the past, when I need to cut down on my Internet procrastination time and focus on schoolwork for a few days, I have sometimes declared “blog moratoriums,” wherein I pledge not to post — with certain very limited exceptions, such as “breaking news” and “very brief ‘quote of the day’ type posts” — for a certain specified period of time. With a few exceptions, these moratoriums have usually been spectacularly unsuccessful, as my blog addiction rebels against the chains that bind it and — like a good lawyer — I find the loopholes in my self-imposed rules and exploit them for all they’re worth. :)

So this weekend, I’m going to try something a bit less ambitious, in hopes it will therefore be more successful. I’m not going to swear off blogging for the next 60 hours. (That would be crazy, with USC and Notre Dame football and a Red Sox-Yankees pennant race to blog about, not to mention Tropical Drepression 19.) Instead, I’m simply going to swear off commenting and reading the comments on my blog. That, after all, is what has been taking up a great deal of my time (and in some cases, emotional energy) in recent days.

If something really egregious happens in the comment section that requires webmaster action, please bring it to my attention via e-mail. Otherwise, I would ask everyone to please be civil, remember the bar analogy, and if anyone starts exhibiting trollish behavior, for heaven’s sake don’t feed them.

Ray Nagin election watch ~ Part I :)

Friday, September 30th, 2005

OK, OK, so guestblogger & retired CT state Elections Officer Joe Loy’s crafty headline Lured yez in by deceitfully implying Politics when it’s really about the much more important matter of Election Procedures. :) So Sue me. (Nono, not you, Phoenix Hotshot LawBoy; against You I have Sovereign Immunity. :)

LA state law sets the NOLA (and also Orleans Parish) municipal Primary elections for Feb. 4, 2006, with the General elections to follow on March 4. City offices up include Mayor and City Council.

As paraphrased in the 2nd article linked below, a spokewoman for Alliteratively-named LASOS Al Ater says that ‘There are 299,298 registered voters in [sic] the city of New Orleans’. / Well. 299,298 Names of same on its Voting List, she means, I’m sure. :) [Always assuming said list, in whatever Digital and/or Hardcopy form, has survived the Floods.] Where the actual warmbody Voters are At ~ and more to the point, where they Will be & in what Numbers on Primary day little more than 4 months from now ~ is another matter entirely.

Which brings us to the current Kerfuffle. :)

On Monday rather breathlessly reported that NOLA Chief Information Officer [I presume that’s what “CIO” means; I know it ain’t the Congress of Industrial Organizations :] Greg Meffert had the situation Singlehandedly well in Hand, gearing up ~ All by Himself, apparently ~ for the breakthrough revolutionary historymaking Internet Primary Election on February 4.

By Ellen O’Brien and Charlie Russo, News Writers

09.26.2005 |

The city of New Orleans is preparing for a February mayoral election with an ambitious plan to provide Internet-based voting to its residents, now displaced and dispersed throughout the U.S., according to the city’s chief technology officer.

Greg Meffert, the New Orleans CIO recognized in recent years for designing an award-winning, interactive Web site and a citywide surveillance system rivaled only outside the U.S., said today that one of his priorities is to provide a secure Internet voting system. Meffert said the IT plan calls for kiosks similar to those used by e-ticketed passengers at airports.

“If I told you, ‘Hey, we’re going to do Internet voting for real, in a real election, and you’re going to vote and use kiosks,’ you’d think I was smoking something,” said Meffert in a telephone interview with today. “But I have to do that now“…

Just as Hurricane Katrina will necessitate rebuilding the historic city, it has forced the New Orleans technology team to rewrite their technology timetable and remake themselves as providers of essential city services

…There is an opportunity in New Orleans now, Meffert said, to do “true government reorganization initiatives” through IT projects.

Meffert plans to model the New Orleans Internet voting system on the controversial model the Department of Defense had proposed using for overseas military. The Pentagon scrapped the idea in February of last year after critics questioned the ability of the system to detect fraud and protect against malicious computer attacks.

It’s not traditional hackers that worry people like Bruce Schneier, CTO of Counterpane Internet Security Inc…”It’s not the kids who write viruses,” Schneier said. “I’m worried about people who want to steal elections. It’s not hackers. It’s actual criminals. I think it would be a huge mistake,” for New Orleans to attempt Internet voting now, Schneier said.

Meffert said the Internet voting proposal has already been approved by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and the city’s registrar of voters

Asked whether the project was already under way, Meffert said: “Yeah, because it’s necessary. It’s not a gee-whiz plaything… It’s a real issue of how we get democracy to continue here.”

Well. :) Surely nobody really thinks Greg is Smoking Something but it now develops that LASOS thinks Better he should cool his Pipe before he goes One toke over the line, here… :)


09.29.2005 |

…With one set of elections already postponed and the next vote scheduled for Feb. 4, including the mayoral election, New Orleans CIO Greg Meffert earlier this week proposed online kiosk voting as a way to make ballots available to city residents dispersed by Katrina.

Jennifer Marusak, spokeswoman for the office of Louisiana Secretary of State Al Ater, said the task force being formed by her office will consider all options for conducting the February elections. But she said the office remains skeptical of any form of online voting, including Internet kiosks.

“Orleans can’t go on their own and decide they want to do Internet voting,” Marusak said yesterday. “The mayor and the parish have no say-so in how, when and where this election is conducted. We are asking for their input on the task force for reaching these displaced voters.”

The questionable security of such a system and the short period of time in which to plan for it mean online voting kiosks are unlikely, Marusak said.

“The technology is just not proven, not secure enough yet to stop you from voting in Houston and turning around and voting in Dallas and then voting in Lake Charles,” Marusak said…

Whatever the merits of Meffert’s plan, New Orleans officials cannot decide whether to move forward with it on their own. New Orleans’ voting procedures are governed by Louisiana state law, Marusak said, which means changes to New Orleans voting laws require approval by the Louisiana Legislature and the federal Department of Justice…

Louisiana state law requires elections to be held if at all physically possible, she said. In other words, an election must take place unless a mandatory evacuation is in effect.

Strategies being considered to proceed with February’s elections include reaching out to voters to encourage mail-in absentee ballots and setting up voting booths in places where large numbers of evacuated New Orleans residents are now living, such as the Houston Astrodome…

The February ballot will include precinct-specific races, so each person’s ballot must be precinct-specific, Marusak said…

I don’t wanna Say anything :> but I think maybe Somebody grabbed the Ball and Ran with it before it had been Hiked. :) Read the Whole Things.

Democratic success = Notre Dame glory

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Apparently Notre Dame’s recent fall from grace is Karl Rove’s fault. Heh. (Hat tip: Coach Leahy.)

No SCOTUS pick today

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Chief Justice Roberts is already at work at the Supreme Court.

As for the next nomination, Scott McClellan says there will be no announcement today. Who will it be? Rumors are flying, but it’s impossible to say at this point. Stay tuned.

David Ortiz strikes again!

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

David “MVP” Ortiz, who I elevated to deity status after he almost single-handedly put the Red Sox in the World Series last October, struck again earlier tonight, lifting Boston to a crucial comeback win over Toronto that keeps them within one game of New York in the AL East standings and makes it possible for them to potentially win the division without sweeping the Yankees this weekend. If they take 2 out of 3 at Fenway, they’ll tie New York for the division crown and force a one-game playoff in New York on Monday. (If that happens and the Indians take two of three from the White Sox, the loser of the Sox-Yanks playoff would then play the Indians in a second one-game playoff on Tuesday to determine who gets the wild card!)

That said, a sweep would obviously be better, as it would put everything to rest and allow Boston to win the division outright.

Judith Miller released; source was Libby

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

From the AP:

After nearly three months in jail, New York Times reporter Judith Miller was released Thursday after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the disclosure of the identity of a covert CIA officer, people familiar with the case said.

Miller left the federal detention center in Alexandria, Va., at 4 p.m. after reaching an agreement with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Legal sources said she would appear before the grand jury investigating the case Friday morning. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings.

The sources said Miller agreed to testify after securing an unconditional release from Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, to testify about any discussions they had involving CIA officer Valerie Plame.

On the other hand…

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Bush May Wait to Nominate Next Justice

Down to the wire

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

The White Sox clinched the AL Central today, so it’s down to three teams competing for two spots (the AL East crown and the wild card).

I’m not sure who to root for now in the White Sox-Indians series. On the one hand, the Indians might need to lose in order for the Red Sox to get the wild card if it goes ill against the Yanks. On the other hand, I want to believe the Red Sox will beat the Yankees head-to-head and earn the division title… in which case I want the Indians to beat out the Yanks for the wild card, so that there will be no Yankees in the playoffs. :)

First, though, it’s Boston vs. Toronto, New York vs. Baltimore and Cleveland vs. Tampa Bay, all tonight.

UPDATE, 8:10 PM: Not looking good. Red Sox trail 4-1 and Yankees lead 6-0, both in the sixth inning. If those scores hold, Boston will need to sweep the Yankees in order to win the AL East. To make matters worse, the Indians are leading 6-0 in the eighth… and ready to start a series against a White Sox team that now has no motivation to play its best players or really try very hard at all.

Breaking news from my life

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

I got an offer! Woohoo!

That’s all you’re getting for now. :) When I decide whether to accept it (I’m waiting to hear back from other firms as well), I’ll post more. But I’m happy. I really liked the firm that made me an offer, so no matter what happens from this point forward, it’s all good.

Those interested in more details, you know where to find me.

No USC for you

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Here in South Bend, for the second straight weekend, Saturday’s USC game won’t be on TV. We’ll get the Minnesota-Penn State game instead. Coverage map here (PDF).


Chief Justice Roberts thanks Professor Kelley

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

After being sworn in today, Chief Justice Roberts had this to say:

Thank you, Mr. President, for nominating me. There is no way to repay the confidence you have shown in me other than to do the best job I possibly can do. And I will try to do that every day.

And thank you for the remarkable team that you assembled to assist me throughout this process. I benefited greatly from the wisdom, judgment and plain hard work of Ed Gillespie, Senator Thompson, Harriet Miers, Bill Kelley and everyone on the team. I am very grateful to each and every one of them.

Roberts then proceeded to sing the Notre Dame Victory March at the top of his lungs, before leading the assembled dignitaries in a call-and-answer chant of “GOOOO IRISH! BEEEEAT BOILERS!”

Okay, I made that last part up… :)

UPDATE: Here’s a photo:

In other news, I don’t mean to get carried away with this whole Gay Day thing, but man, Chief Justice Roberts has nice legs!


Oh, and somebody really should have told Mrs. Roberts not to wear a dress that’s the exact same color as the rug:

The Chief Justice is married to a floating head!! ;)

P.S. Memo to the L.A. Times: it’s Chief Justice of the United States, not of the Supreme Court.

P.P.S. Uh-oh, looks like obstructionism’s ugly head is having a bad day:

Tough luck, Chuck.

Coliseum to fill up for Bulldog beat-down

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

The USC-Fresno State game in November, which I’ll be attending with Becky, Andrew, Bea, and Adrienne, is sold out. Nice.

Wildfires out west

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

There’s a pretty bad wildfire in L.A., apparently. More here.

On my flight home yesterday, I saw a bitchin’ fire off to the north (I think) of Phoenix:

More pics of the miles-long plume of smoke here and here. Full photo gallery from my trip to Phoenix here.

More on Miers

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Well, for Bush’s SCOTUS picks, it’s now officially one down, one to go. Will the next pick be Professor Kelley‘s boss? The New York Times reports:

President Bush is close to naming a successor to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and could announce his choice this week, Republicans close to the White House said Wednesday.

One name that was the source of enormous speculation in Washington legal and political circles was Harriet E. Miers, the White House counsel, who is a leader in the search for Justice O’Connor’s successor. [Ah yes, the Cheney Effect. -ed.]

Republicans cautioned that Ms. Miers was just one in a swirling mix of perhaps 12 possibilities and that she could be the subject of the same kind of assumptions that led much of Washington to conclude in July that Judge Edith Brown Clement of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was Mr. Bush’s choice for the court only hours before he named Judge Roberts.

Read the whole thing.