e + 1 = 0

November 14, 2000

Our presidential limbo continues, as both campaigns compete to show how low they can go. Thus far the Bush team is in the lead, with its decision to sue to prevent the hand-recounts going on in Florida. And if that isn’t questionable enough (if hand counts are less reliable, then why did Mr Bush sign a law in Texas stating that they were preferable to machine counts?), the Bush team, the champions of the states over Federal power, have chosen to bypass the Florida courts and go straight to the Federal courts.

Which is not to say I’m terribly thrilled by the way the Gore campaign is handling this, either. When the Republicans started to suggest that pursuing the recounts in Florida might lead them to request recounts in other closely-contested states, the Gore response should have been, “Bring it on! We welcome the chance to clear up any uncertainties!” only more diplomatic.

Ultimately, this is less important than it’s made out to be. We can survive a few weeks without knowing who won the election, and it’s worth some time to assure people that the system works even under these unusual circumstances. Because with the way candidates are marketed, this election may be a preview of things to come.

From JOHO’s special election issue: “First, elections are necessarily indeterminate, especially on a national scale. Second, ‘the outcome’ of an election is, like a map of a shoreline, determined by conventional rules for assaying the outcome. You don’t have to map every grain of sand, and you don’t have to count and re-count and re-count. But the rules also say that the outcome isn’t always what the first count says.” There’s also some history and humorous links. Check it out. #

From The jukebox manifesto: “Digital music evangelists talk a lot about a gadget they like to call the ‘celestial jukebox.’ In layman terms, this is a networked device that will allow you to download any song your heart desires, anytime.” Once music is recorded digitally and can be flung around as easily as web pages, what need is there for albums and singles? If we can get the music we want inexpensively and with good quality, what need is there for Napster? #