"America's inmate population grew by 2.9 percent last year, to almost 2.1 million people, with one of every 75 men living in prison or jail."

"The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the Corrections Officer says, 'I love to make a grown man piss on himself.'"

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more election fun

Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election.

A few days ago I watched this documentary; it made me angry all over again. (It's showing on Sundance.) It went into a lot more detail about the egregious abuses than I remember having heard at the time. From the news coverage I remembered, it sounded like the main issue was poorly-designed voting machine interfaces (which, you would assume, would affect both parties equally.) But the most amazing things was how they deleted "former felons" from the voting roles: the database company they hired to do this was instructed that when matching names, they should:

  • match the last name;
  • only match the first five letters of the first name;
  • not match middle initials, "jr.", etc.;
  • match date-of-birth "approximately".

When they balked about how many false positives that would cause, the gov't told them "we want to cast as wide a net as possible." Apparently the few hand-checks that were done showed that the purges were around 5% accurate!

The claim goes that because they were matching last names only, they excluded a disproportionate number of black voters (who generally vote something like 90% democratic in Florida.)

Election Boards Use Intimidation and Outright Lying to Stop Students from Voting

Federal and state courts have clearly established that students have the right to vote where they go to school, even if they live in a dorm. But interviews with college students, civil-rights attorneys, political strategists and legal experts reveal that election officials all over the country are erecting illegal barriers to keep young voters from casting ballots.

Bush defends dropping absentee-ballot witnesses
(just make up anything for the registration, they don't confirm email)

On Tuesday, Gov. Jeb Bush signed into a law a measure that will forever drop the witness requirement from absentee ballots. Starting this July, absentee ballots will only need the signature of the voter in order to be considered valid. With the witness requirement dropped, Florida will essentially be offering voting by mail.

And there are signs of another Florida election scandal brewing involving absentee ballots: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement this week has opened an investigation into a March city election in Orlando. FDLE agents have seized absentee ballots in the case and are looking at whether or not election fraud was committed.

When asked about the investigation, Gov. Bush on Wednesday continued to defend the new law, noting that election supervisors have told him they didn't verify the names of witnesses anyway, only the names of the voters.

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exterminate all rational garfield

Auto-generated Garfield strips: needless to say, much funnier than the original...

his milkshake brings all the dada to the yard



Richard Wrangham: The Evolution of Cooking:

"We always tend to think that humans have just had a continuous surge in brain size over the last two million years, but actually over the last thirty thousand years brain size has decreased by 10 to 15 percent. [...] This gracility is exactly the same pattern we see in the evolution of dogs from wolves, or bonobos from chimpanzees, or domesticated foxes from wild foxes. In all these cases an increasing gracility of the bone is an incidental effect.

I think that we have to start thinking about the idea that humans in the last 30, 40, or 50 thousand years have been domesticating ourselves. If we're following the bonobo or dog pattern, we're moving toward a form of ourselves with more and more juvenile behavior. [...] I think that current evidence is that we're in the middle of an evolutionary event in which tooth size is falling, jaw size is falling, brain size is falling, and it's quite reasonable to imagine that we're continuing to tame ourselves."

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