Vote for James H. ‘Jim’

by NIRANJ ...

My son is taking a class on ‘Elements of Comedy’ at his school this quarter. Hearing him talk of distinctions between ‘ridiculous’ and ‘ludicrous’, ‘preposterous’ and ‘absurd’, all of which we had in our ignorance hitherto thought merely ‘funny’, our household has lately been awakened to a heightened appreciation of why, specifically, we had been laughing at various things all these years. A Moliere within a Moliere, as it were. Now that would be an irony, I should think. Or is it a case of circular logic? I give up. His headache, not mine.

But can any number of comedy studies classes prepare one for something like this:

Some Voting Machines Chop Off Candidates’ Names
Computer Glitch Affects Voters in 3 Jurisdictions; Error Cannot Be Fixed by Nov. 7

By Leef Smith
Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 24, 2006; B04

U.S. Senate candidate James Webb’s last name has been cut off on part of the electronic ballot used by voters in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville because of a computer glitch that also affects other candidates with long names, city officials said yesterday.

<stuff omitted…>

Thus, Democratic candidate Webb will appear with his first name and nickname only — or "James H. ‘Jim’ " — on summary pages in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville…

There, but for the grace of God … was my first thought as I read the report. If the machine deemed "James H. ‘Jim’ Webb" too long, I could only thank my stars that I had firmly turned down all requests to run for the Senate from Virginia this year.

I scanned the Post article to see if a similar fate had attended George Allen, Webb’s incumbent opponent in the race. A quick tally revealed that George Allen had more letters in his name than James Webb — even more if you added recently-acquired middle names like ‘Macaca’ and ‘Stock Option’.

Actually, Allen did pretty well in what might be termed The Great Virginia Ballot Massacre of 2006. The report goes on to say George Allen is one of the few whose names appear in full, although his party affiliation has been cut off. Fortune finally appears to be shining on Allen. What a godsend, in a time when according to every poll, the presence of the letter ‘R’ after the candidate’s name appears tantamount to electoral cyanide!

Diebold has really outdone itself this time, I said to myself as I read the story. Except the company in charge of messing up elections in Virginia is, it turns out, not Diebold but another called Hart InterCivic, whose name appears in full in the WP report. Was it Tolstoy who wrote that happy families are all alike, while each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way? One type of mess in Florida, another in Ohio, yet another in Virginia… Who says originality is dead in America?

Hart InterCivic and Virginia’s Secretary of Elections were both assuring the public, (per the Post report on Page B4) in rather chirpy terms, that Hart InterCivic intends to install the newer system version before the next election in 2007.

In an brilliant article The Evening of Empire) in Counterpunch recently, the analyst Werther set out a grim view of our situation, drawing parallels between the mendacity, authoritarianism and unrelieved bungling that will forever mark America in the Bush years, with identical trends which characterized the last years of the Roman Empire.

Ah, but was Rome ever this funny, er … burlesque? farcical? parodic?

Niranjan Ramakrishnan can be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com. His blog is at http://njn-blogogram.blogspot.com.


October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria
Jennifer Loewenstein
Heading Toward a Collision: Syria, Saudi Arabia and Regional Proxy Wars
John Pilger
Wikileaks vs. the Empire: the Revolutionary Act of Telling the Truth
Gary Leupp
A Useful Prep-Sheet on Syria for Media Propagandists
Jeffrey St. Clair
Pesticides, Neoliberalism and the Politics of Acceptable Death
Lawrence Ware – Paul Buhle
Insurrectional Black Power: CLR James on Race and Class
Joshua Frank
The Need to Oppose All Foreign Intervention in Syria
Oliver Tickell
Jeremy Corbyn’s Heroic Refusal to be a Nuclear Mass Murderer
Helen Yaffe
Che’s Economist: Remembering Jorge Risquet
Mark Hand
‘Rape Rooms’: How West Virginia Women Paid Off Coal Company Debts
Michael Welton
Junior Partner of Empire: Why Canada’s Foreign Policy Isn’t What You Think
Yves Engler
War Crimes in the Dark: Inside Canada’s Special Forces
Arno J. Mayer
Israel: the Wages of Hubris and Violence
W. T. Whitney
Cuban Government Describes Devastating Effects of U. S. Economic Blockade
Brian Cloughley
The US-NATO Alliance Destroyed Libya, Where Next?