Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot



Comments and general dismay about politics

July 15, 2003

Bree points to an unusual and deeply wrong article that actually opposes Internet voting. Frankly, I couldn't wade through the whole thing, but Bree summarizes it nicely. This has come up because Markham, Ontario is the first city in North America to approve Internet voting (for this fall's municipal election).

Anybody who opposes Internet voting has got to be on some special, evil kind of crack (Bree refutes this guy effectively, so I'm not going to bother). Voter turnout has been decreasing steadily since 1988. Though, in truth, this chart suggests that it's not at a worryingly low level yet. Ask me after the next federal election. This article says that, in three municipalities in Europe, Internet voting increased votes cast by 20%. Twenty percent, folks! That moves our meagre 63% turnout from the 2000 federal election to a level unheard of since 1917 (when I suspect mostly women were voting, or all the men at war were forced to vote). Of course, you're probably going to get a better increase on a municipal level than a federal one, but even 10% would be pretty meaningful.

As presidential hopeful Howard Dean notes, 'The Internet might soon be the last place where open dialogue occurs.' Kudos also to Liberal party leader hopeful Paul Martin, who has a blog of his own. Here's why he's got a blog. On that page, he says 'durm and strang'. Isn't it actually 'sturm and drang'? Error, spoonerism or homespun variation? It's certainly ain't common on Google.

10:43:17 AM      Trackback []    Canada Internet Politics

My American-but-lives-in-Ireland-after-several-years-in-Italy friend James sends me this universal truth from CNN: Italians are lousy drivers.

According to the poll by vehicle lease company LeasePlan, 22 percent of European drivers said Italians were the worst menace on the roads. The French came in a distant second, picked by 16 percent.

Apparently while much of continental Europe relies on verbal abuse while the driving, the UK leads Europe in rude hand signals. That's typically English, I'd say. They wouldn't want to roll down their window for fear of actually speaking with someone. In truth, given their rich gestural history, it's surprisingly that the Italians don't lead in this category as well.

Which reminds me of a hand gesture something I learned in Ireland. I was vaguely familiar with it from Irish and British films, but you never see it in North America. It's the two-finger salute, a sort of peace sign, except with the back of your hand facing the target. It's the British Isles equivalent of flipping the bird. British and Irish readers, is there a common term for this gesture?

I believe this is all-American Steve McQueen, but he's got the gesture correct:

There's an insightful history the gesture here.

10:11:28 AM      Trackback []    Mixed Bag Politics