The Null Device

Election digest

A good essay by Simon Schama on why America is now two nations: Godly America and Worldly America.
Worldly America is pragmatic, practical, rational and sceptical. In California it passed Proposition 71, funding embryonic stem cell research beyond the restrictions imposed by Bush's federal policy. Godly America is mythic, messianic, conversionary, given to acts of public witness, hence the need - in Utah and Montana and a handful of other states - to poll the voters on amendments to their state constitution defining marriage as a union between the opposite sexes. But then Worldly America is said to feed the carnal vanities; Godly America banishes and punishes them. From time to time Godly America will descend on the fleshpots of Worldly America, from Gotham (it had its citadel-like Convention there after all) to Californication, will shop for T-shirts, take a sniff at the local pagans and then return to base-camp more convinced than ever that a time of Redemption and Repentance must be at hand. But if the stiff-necked transgressors cannot be persuaded, they can be cowed and conquered.

And jwz makes a case for the US Presidential election having been rigged (though concedes that it is entirely possible that that didn't change the final outcome): has some graphs of the major discrepencies between exit polling and vote counts. They're pretty incredible! Now, maybe the exit polling methodology is just fundamentally broken, but isn't it funny when you see pictures like the one at the right, knowing that last year, Diebold's CEO swore that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to President Bush."
You don't steal an election with a landslide, you steal it with 3%. You stay within the margin of error across the board so that it's not obvious.

There are 4 comments on "Election digest":

Posted by: steff http:// Mon Nov 8 00:38:59 2004

Schama finds some canny adjectives to foreground the polarisation of American society. One is led to wonder, though, whether this is not also the doom & gloom pipe dream of a liberal left now suspended between reality and its apocalyptic visions. The new conservatism is at least 20 years old (Thatcher, Reagan, Kohl). Certainly, the end of culture & civilization it fears appears inscribed on the agenda of the Christian right, but this same agenda would see an end to the more powerful behemoth of economic rationalism. Now that is a fight worth watching from the margins.

BTw: I love the lay-out of your blog site, but reading the site as a .txt file does not really reveal much html coding. I would be intersted how it is done ? cheers s

Posted by: acb Mon Nov 8 01:11:28 2004

Using CSS (cascading style sheets) to position areas. Most recent books on HTML will explain how these work. Basically, if you can assume that none of your readers are using ancient versions of Netscape or such, CSS gives you a lot more power over layout.

Posted by: acb Mon Nov 8 01:17:14 2004

Would you consider Schama to be much of a dogmatic leftist? To me, he doesn't seem to be among the John Pilgers and Richard Nevilles of this world.

Posted by: steff http:// Tue Nov 9 04:59:35 2004

No, I can't say I know Schama's work beyond the TV stuff sufficiently to pidgeonhole him. Arguably, as an historian he would pursue the long historical view that at least wishes to supercede the more recent left/right distinction. Going by the documentaries I would in fact consider him a moderate conservative (in the same category of graduates that Oxbridge churns out every year, highly literate and deeply unresolved about class issues). Thanks also for the CSS hint, newbie to html here, will take quite some time to learn. Again, browsing this blog is a pleasure for its design alone (content notwithstanding); I love the links inserted in the text (& colour change) and the very clear and uncluttered lay-out of the blog.

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