Brian Barrett at Wired reminds us that "America’s Electronic Voting Machines Are Scarily Easy Targets." Oftentimes these voting machines and/or their software are five or ten years old, in a world where computer technology moves much more quickly than that. And voting problems won't necessarily manifest as vote-switching -- they could manifest in slower-running voting machines, which could prompt good citizens to give up and go home (yes, you just heard Karl Rove's antennae going up). Some states conduct audits of their voting machines, but others don't, and for the worst of reasons -- "a lack of money and political will." (No, those really are bad reasons -- you better find the will if you're serving the public, and that includes finding the will to raise the tax revenues so you can serve the public well.)
Future Great and Glorious Real American Leader Donald Trump says Tim Kaine's tax hikes caused a lot of unemployment in Virginia, while Mike Pence's tax cuts caused a lot of job growth -- hoping, perhaps, that you'll ignore that Mr. Kaine was Governor of Virginia during the financial sector meltdown of 2008, when everyone's unemployment rate went way up, and Mr. Pence didn't take over in Indiana until well after the meltdown, by which time it was virtually impossible not to oversee a declining unemployment rate. Oh, and the punchline? The $4 billion in tax hikes proposed by Mr. Kaine didn't pass the state legislature. So they didn't even happen. They say Donald Trump is dumb, but he's no dumber than George W. Bush, who was not dumb -- and who promulgated statistical trickery like this all the time back when he was Our Personal Lord and Savior.
Surprise, surprise, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finds that the Department of Energy still harasses and intimidates whistleblowers. Though this smells very Bush Mobb, the "war on whistleblowers" is a uniquely Obama development, and I have never been able to fathom why -- I mean, sure Barack Obama never wanted to run an administration as loose-lipped as Bill Clinton's, but why does the hammer have to come down upon DOE employees who point out hazards at nuclear power plants? I mean, if one of those plants goes, there's no shutting the barn door.
Microsoft pitches facial expression recognition software at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions. It's not the sort of facial recognition software that's causing problems in our government's databases, but it might be even worse, since one could figure out who you are using other easily available data. And Microsoft's people are quite evasive when asked whether this could become a government spying tool. There's hope, though -- you'd need to give consent to have your expression scanned, and saying "you give consent merely by walking into this auditorium" might not cut it legally.
Richard Eskow notices all the right-leaning folk (Meg Whitman, Mark Cuban, Brent Scowcroft) endorsing Hillary Clinton, and wonders if Mrs. Clinton will be "Tempted to Tack Right." I mean, Democrats look for any excuse to tack right, but this is, sadly, a good analysis -- and suggests that Donald Trump isn't in this race to punk Republicans, but to punk us. (And don't be heartened by the CNN poll suggesting that a quarter of "self-identified conservatives" would vote for Mrs. Clinton. A lot of the farthest right folks in this country call themselves "independent" rather than conservative.)
Finally, Breitbart News publishes a photo that's supposedly of a well-attended Donald Trump rally that's actually of the Cleveland Cavaliers' victory parade after winning the NBA championship. They said it was a mistake. I can't prove it wasn't, I suppose, but I'd be a schmuck to believe them.