A Sense of the Infinite
'There is no such thing as an older woman. Any woman of any age, if she loves, if she is good, gives a man a sense of the infinite.'
--French historian Jules Michelet
A weblog devoted to spurring a conversation among those who use words to varying degrees in their daily work. Hosted by John Ettorre, a Cleveland-based writer and editor. Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. "There comes a time when you realize that everything is a dream, and only those things preserved in writing have any possibility of being real." --James Salter
A Sense of the Infinite
Citizen Journalism At Its Finest
Washington's Lobbying Culture, Part VI:
We Regret To Inform You That We Were Mistaken
'I Have Always Trusted This Voice':
Timing Never Ideal to Pursue One's Calling,
Writing's Long Tail
Gloating Over Books
Sherrod Brown Hits the Cover of The Nation
'If Brown, an antiwar economic populist who supports abortion rights and gay rights, can defeat a Republican incumbent with a special-interest-laden bankroll and Karl Rove-inspired attack ads, then the lesson for Democrats is a dramatic one. Instead of pulling punches, they can throw them. 'What Sherrod's doing is what every Democrat should be doing,' says Roger Tauss, legislative director of the Transport Workers Union. 'The Democrats have had trouble figuring out how to talk about economics. They don't know how to reach people who are hurting but still vote Republican. Sherrod refuses to believe those voters can't be won over.'
Brown is described as having "Kennedyesque looks and Clintonesque memory for facts and figures." Not a bad combination in politics, I'd say. If he eventually wins the seat, as it looks likely he will, we'll just have to wait to see if his spouse reminds people more of Jackie or Hillary.
Leveraging the Internet for Your Writing
Poetry, Thy Name
We're All Over the Place Today
It turns out that Hillary has done a tremendous job—of getting New York Democrats to assume that because right-wing Republicans hate her she must oppose the war. Most New York Democratic voters also don’t realize that she co-sponsored an amendment to ban flag-burning, is against marriage equality for gays and lesbians, supports the death penalty, votes consistently for Star Wars appropriations and has served on the board of Wal-Mart for six years. Yet, she is consistently touted as the 'liberal Democrat from New York.'
Question for the 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists:
Meaning is in the Eye of the Beholder
The Role of Metaphors in Creativity
Writer's Block is Just a Con Game
More Black Eyes for Cuyahoga County
It’s hard to believe that nearly six years after the disasters of Florida in 2000, states still haven’t mastered the art of counting votes accurately. Yet there are growing signs that the country is moving into another presidential election cycle in disarray. The most troubling evidence comes from Ohio, a key swing state, whose electoral votes decided the 2004 presidential election. A recent government report details enormous flaws in the election system in Ohio’s biggest county, problems that may not be fixable before the 2008 election. Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, hired a consulting firm to review its election system. The county recently adopted Diebold electronic voting machines that produce a voter-verified paper record of every vote cast. The investigators compared the vote totals recorded on the machines after this year’s primary with the paper records produced by the machines. The numbers should have been the same, but often there were large and unexplained discrepancies. The report also found that nearly 10 percent of the paper records were destroyed, blank, illegible, or otherwise compromised. This is seriously bad news even if, as Diebold insists, the report overstates the problem. Under Ohio law, the voter-verified paper record, not the voting machine total, is the official ballot for purposes of a recount. The error rates the report identified are an invitation to a meltdown in a close election. The report also found an array of other problems. The county does not have a standardized method for conducting a manual recount. That is an invitation, as Florida 2000 showed, to chaos and litigation. And there is a serious need for better training of poll workers, and for more uniform voter ID policies. Disturbingly, the report found that 31 percent of blacks were asked for ID, while just 18 percent of others were. Some of these problems may be explored further in a federal lawsuit challenging Ohio’s administration of its 2004 election. Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who has been criticized for many decisions he made on election matters that year, recently agreed to help preserve the 2004 paper ballots for review in the lawsuit. Ohio is not the only state that may be headed for trouble in 2008. New York’s Legislature was shamefully slow in passing the law needed to start adopting new voting machines statewide. Now localities are just starting to evaluate voting machine companies as they scramble to put machines in place in time for the 2007 election. (Because of a federal lawsuit, New York has to make the switch a year early.) Much can go wrong when new voting machines are used. There has to be extensive testing, and education of poll workers and voters. New York’s timetable needlessly risks an Election Day disaster. Cuyahoga County deserves credit for commissioning an investigation that raised uncomfortable but important questions. Its report should be a wake-up call to states and counties nationwide. Every jurisdiction in the country that runs elections should question itself just as rigorously, and start fixing any problems without delay.Meanwhile, a major roundup piece in Mother Jones Magazine also lambastes Cuyahoga voting officials. It ranks the county as #4 on a list of the 11 worst places in the country to cast a ballot. Just read it and weep:
Dominated by the city of Cleveland and its Democratic machine, Cuyahoga County has a stunning history of poll-worker incompetence and technology failures, resulting in de facto disenfranchisement on a massive scale. In primary elections this spring, so many poll workers failed to show up for work that numerous polling places opened more than an hour late, some because they didn't have extension cords or three-prong adapters. Once voting began, it was promptly undermined by a shortage of voting machines, confusion over precinct voter lists, and paper jams that poll workers did not know how to fix (some asked random voters to repair the machines). Though only 20 percent of registered voters turned out for the primary, it took more than a week to count their votes. Around the nation, says Brenda Wright, managing attorney at the Boston-based National Voting Rights Institute, election administration is massively underfunded, with poll workers paid mere pittances, trained only marginally, and overseen bystate officials who don't provide "any meaningful check on recurrent problems at the local level."
Latest Media Column
A Sign of the Times?
Memories of Vanished
Assorted Stuff on the Eve of Labor Day
Encountering Writers Block
Some New Perspective on CWRU Departures