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that *pop* was the sound of my head going all explodo

Senate Backpedals On Legislation Requiring Paper Trail For E-Voting Machines
Democratic senators on Wednesday made another push for banning electronic voting machines that lack paper trails, but they've backed away from doing so in time for next year's presidential election.

Are they trying to say, "that's ok, we didn't expect to win anyway?"

And in almost equally WTF news,

California Republicans are pushing a ballot measure to divvy up the state's electoral votes by Congressional district in 2008. That could put the equivalent of Ohio back in play for the GOP, just in case one Ohio debacle wasn't enough.

I think the Electoral College system is pretty much bullshit, but come on: you can't change this shit one state at a time. It has to be simultaneous.

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What does it take to turn ASHCROFT into a staunch defender of Civil Liberties?

Court Ruling that NSA Wiretapping is Illegal Drives Emergency Push for New Spy Powers

[...] Years later, a part of this secret surveillance is revealed by the New York Times. After a year of criticism and revelations, the Administration agrees to let a super-secret and very compliant court oversee the program using some very super secret, and legally dubious program warrants. A few months later, a judge from this court finds portions of the program illegal. The administration refuses to make this decision public. Instead, it goes on offense and says it needs the power to wiretap anyone overseas including Americans.

[...] Once again: a secret court judge found that the Bush Administration's formerly warrantless wiretapping program was illegal.

And that was the program AFTER it was scaled down in March 2004 after Justice Department officials revolted. I wonder what judges would have made of the earlier program -- the one so bad that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was ready to resign.

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