Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the wild-words dept

This week, when a State Senator made some chilling statements about banning first amendment activity in the name of protecting companies, there was plenty of backlash. Our most insightful comment of the week was a response from Roger Strong pointing out that bigger fish have made similar overtures:

I don't want to name names here, but a certain President-elect has called for everyone to boycott Apple until it gives in to the FBI over encryption. He's also called for boycotts of Starbucks, Macy’s, Univision, Mexico, Oreos, Fox News, and Glenfiddich scotch over things like supporting the wrong tennis player and changing a cup design.

All I'm saying is that given the stock market roller coaster ride after the election, perhaps Senator Ericksen is a visionary for calling him an "economic terrorist."

Meanwhile, in our conversation about the Burlington Police and the possible impostor abusing the DMCA on their behalf, one well-meaning commenter made the perplexing statement that they had been "waiting for" someone to abuse the DMCA in this fashion — and Norahc won second place for insightful by setting them straight on that front:

That actually started about 3 seconds after the law was signed and before the ink was dry.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we head to the ongoing debacle of e-voting machines and potential election hacking. This highly politicized nightmare is full of hyperbole on all sides, but we've got two level-headed comments that strip away the rhetoric and lay out the facts. First, it's TechnoMage, making the point that it's definitely possible for this kind of tampering to happen:

I hate to sound like a 'truther' conspiracy theorist... but I have my masters in CS focusing on Hybrid & Embedded systems...

And I can pretty much guarantee that if someone with enough money and motivation wanted to... they could steal an election on the state level. Several states (PA is one of them IIRC, I know TN is one too but it matters less for this election since it isn't a 'swing state' ) to this day have e-voting machines that have -0- paper trail, and so once you vote... you have no idea what bits are being flipped inside the machine...

XKCD got this right years and years ago... if your voting machine needs to run anti-virus... that is like your kindergarten teacher telling you he always wears a condom while teaching... "sure... its 'additional safety'... but he should NEVER EVER NEED IT"... https://xkcd.com/463/

2004 Ohio had voting 'irregularities' existed where the DEEPEST BLUE areas voted for the most liberal judge in living memory... and Bush on the same ballots... Hell, 2 voting officials went to jail in Cleveland for 'mishandling of voting material' or w/e the 'exact' charge was https://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/1/25/294599/-

But in ohio that year... none or almost none of the voting machines had paper trails.. (I know because I was the head elections official for my local precinct on election day)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_United_States_election_voting_controversies

Everyone (except those who are: 1) paid to think otherwise, 2) job requires them to not think so) 'knows' this is a possibility/threat to Democracy... but when one political party gains an advantage from anything that suppresses voter turnout, and screams all the time about "Voter Fraud" ... Any talk bringing up Voting machines and "Election Fraud"(completely different than voter fraud, and much more dangerous) becomes politically tainted...

Next, there's Thad further underlining the fact that even if it's unlikely to have happened this time, it needs to be addressed, and the politics need to be set aside:

I remember there were Trump supporters here a few weeks ago saying that the election was going to be rigged by hacking voting machines.

I ask those commenters: do you hold the same opinion now that you did then? Is your opinion of these allegations the same as it would be if the shoe were on the other foot, and the election had been called for Clinton but e-voting experts were raising red flags about the outcome?

Same question goes for Clinton supporters, of course.

Speaking for myself: my opinion is the same as it was a few weeks ago. Voting machines are certainly vulnerable. Attacking voting machines is not a reliable vector for influencing an election, and in cases where I've seen voting irregularities occur, they've likelier been caused by malfunctioning equipment than deliberate sabotage. And an election can't be influenced in this way unless it's already close.

I will have to see evidence before I believe that voting machines were compromised (or failed in some other way, eg due to malfunction or human error). It is possible; it is unproven. No matter your political persuasion, you shouldn't believe something just because it feels right to you; you should wait for evidence.

I'm with Mike here: I'm unconvinced that the election results were tampered with, but our voting machines are terrible either way, and need to be replaced. I'm increasingly of the opinion that good old-fashioned pen and paper is the only way to go.

Over on the funny side, in first place we have another response to State Senator Ericksen — this time from Anonmylous wondering who such an anti-protest law would hit the hardest:

This will be great news for a whole slew of businesses and peoples throughout the US! Its awesome to see Republicans finally opening up and protecting those they traditionally have tried to oppress! It'll be wonderful to see police able to arrest people protesting outside of abortion clinics at last! I can't wait to see those sad members of Westborough finally arrested for protesting at films and other public venues that support homosexuals and godless heathens like Kevin Smith! Oh and finally, FINALLY, no more protesters outside of Planned Parenthood locations.

Maybe this whole Trump presidency really is signalling the turning of a new leaf for the Republican party!

In second place, we've got a response to the woman who is suing Google over a mean blog post about her, with Chris ODonnell trying to find the right words:

If only there was a phrase to describe the folly of hiring an incompetent lawyer to draw attention to words on the Internet that you want removed.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out on one of our few posts about the crazy ongoing Theranos scandal, where Coyne Tibbets served up some satire so dry and on-point that not everyone was even sure it was satire:

Theranos is a shining example of the free market dream: enormously profitable. Too bad it's being ruined by regulation and a bunch of libel-mongers.

And finally, we head back once more to the comments from the State Senator, where an anonymous commenter pitched a new slogan for him:

Make America Shut Its Cakehole Again!

That's all for this week, folks!


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  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 28 Nov 2016 @ 2:15am

    But Trump Is Always Being Quoted “Out Of Context”, Don’t You Know ...

    ... where “context” seems to mean “I’ll say anything to get a headline”.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2016 @ 4:33am

    "I'm with Mike here: I'm unconvinced that the election results were tampered with, but our voting machines are terrible either way, and need to be replaced. I'm increasingly of the opinion that good old-fashioned pen and paper is the only way to go."

    I think that a stone tablet and a stylus would be more adequate, considering the technological level of the politicians.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 28 Nov 2016 @ 3:28pm

      Re:

      Quiet; you'll give them ideas.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 28 Nov 2016 @ 3:40pm

      Re:

      I'm a fan of the pen and paper ballots here in Canada.

      But we generally vote on one thing at a time. From what I've heard form election officials in the US, - where citizens are often voting on multiple issues at once - counting pen and paper ballots can become a nightmare.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thad, 28 Nov 2016 @ 4:19pm

        Re: Re:

        I have no objections to optical scanning (fill in the bubble/line, then a machine reads the answer), so long as the ballot is human-readable in case of a recount.

        I get that optical scanning machines can be temperamental, but, obviously, so can electronic voting machines.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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