Mr. Kromko's life's work stands on its own and needs no comment from me. What your piece ignores is the hard evidence surrounding the Regional Transportation Authority election of May 2006.
• The Diebold voting machines have been reviewed by the California Secretary of State's office. That review found extreme deficiencies at every level in the systems we use. They are an open invitation to fraud.
• In June 2005, Black Box Voting released a report on the security problems in the Diebold optical-scan systems. That test was the subject of the HBO documentary Hacking Democracy. In the Black Box Voting report, a memory card reader/writer device called a "Cropscanner" was used to alter the contents of the electronic ballot boxes. We know that the Pima County Elections Office (purchase order signed by Bryan Crane) bought a Cropscanner shortly after the BBV report was released, and this known "burglary tool for elections" floated around the office with no controls or checkout process.
• On the night of the election, Crane was seen referring to a book later revealed as an advanced programmer's manual for a product known as Microsoft Access, a database manager that has a documented history as being yet another burglary tool for Diebold elections. It's able to rewrite the central tabulator data without the system password, and without leaving any audit-log trace. As an uncertified program, Access has no business being anywhere near that certified central-tabulator station.
• Before the election, Crane printed reports showing who was winning and losing on a precinct-detail level. Printing these was wrong, and according to lower-level staff in the department (in sworn statements), these documents were frequently printed (as the audit logs show) and handed out to people outside the elections office--if true, a felony.
• During the election process, data containing an entire day's worth of scanning was overwritten by Crane. This eliminated the chain of custody for those ballots. The overwrite appears to be deliberate and was followed immediately by printing the "who's winning" report twice.
• According to yet more sworn statements by elections staff, Crane took home data files as part of the "off-site backup plan," despite the office owning a fireproof safe.
• Finally, a former county employee claims Crane admitted vote-hacking over beers at a bar. If taken alone, that wouldn't be credible. Taken with everything above, it's caused Attorney General Terry Goddard to write a letter expressing interest in digging deeper into the case, in a letter to Beth Ford also asking her to preserve the paper ballots.
John R. Brakey
Danehy's a Racist Who Gets Away With It Because There Are Few Blacks in Tucson Tom Danehy's I'm-down-cuz-I-play-ball-with-black-guys/It's-cool-I'm-a-coach shtick is officially dead (July 31). But wait: He's a provocateur! He's edgy! People respond indignantly to his column, which proves he's relevant! Bullshit. The only reason he can get away with calling "black" names "wack-ass" is that Tucson is 4 percent African American. Publish it in Atlanta, and there will be heat, guaranteed.
He forgot to suggest that Chicanos stop naming their sons Juan and settle for John, since it's the same name anyway. While we're at it, let's change all those scary Muslim/Middle Eastern-sounding names, lest those kids be prejudged as the terrorists they'll probably grow up to be anyway. Good thing we already stamped out most of those complicated Native American names. White names? Better! Whiteness equals success! That's what Danehy is saying. After all, research proves that white names are better in America. No, research proves that NON-white names are detrimental.
Thank God I have an über-white name, so no one will know I'm half-Mexican. And shame on me for giving my kid the "burden" of a "black" name. (I hope nobody finds out it's really Arabic!)
Danehy Needs to Learn the Difference Between Correlation, Causation Thanks for Tom Danehy's thought-provoking article on racism and name choices.
Problem is, he's conflating correlation with causation. When he told his pregnant friend that kids with "black names" are less likely to go to college and more likely to go to jail, wasn't he simply restating the obvious: that people of color are still being oppressed in America? Black kids, period, are more likely to be incarcerated and less likely to go to college than their "white" counterparts. In this country, your name is far less of a predictor of outcomes than skin color.
Danehy freely admits his own bias against black naming customs. That his ex-coachee invited him to be a godparent shows that her level of innate prejudice is way lower than his.
A Plea for Black-and-White Reviews in a Gray World Would you please stop printing reviews by James DiGiovanna? He is an arrogant smartass who doesn't review films as much as spend entire columns trying to convince us he is clever. EVERY TIME. Fine, James, you're clever. Maybe you're even smart. OK, maybe, just maybe, you're supposed to entertain us, too. Fine.
Please, if you're going to blast a film, just blast it. Say it sucks. Tell us how many times you got up to pee. Tell us if your jujubes were more interesting than the movie.
The last review I read, like every review of his, I couldn't tell if he liked the film or not ("Experiment in Horror," Cinema, July 24). He said a lot of horrible things about Mother of Tears, but in such a way that, if you like horrible films, you might like Mother of Tears. As specific as his criticisms were, I still ask myself: Did he like this movie?
He always does this, and I'm tired of reading it.
Letter Insulting Reel Was Underserved, Elitist When I read Nan Philipp's Letter ("Reel Is a Snob Who Doesn't See TSO Thriving," Mailbag, July 24), I was appalled. James Reel has done a great deal for the music scene in Tucson and hardly deserves being called names.
There are troubles at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra ("Not a Social Duty," Performing Arts, July 3). The symphony itself is excellent; that's not a problem. Not paying musicians' scale or settling a strike is a problem. Musicians leaving is a problem. Losing the woman's organization is a problem.
Ms. Philipp apparently doesn't understand or perhaps care about balcony attendees. You know, we are people, too. I dutifully paid my $85 per year for six concerts (the plan I've had for five years) and truly enjoyed myself. Last year, I got a letter saying that I had two choices: I could pay hundreds more for my seat, or pay the same amount and move downstairs to what is known as "the dead zone" to regular concertgoers. $20 or $30 more? Sure; times are tough. But hundreds more?
I stopped going to the symphony entirely. None of us "artists" like critics, but lashing out at folks who sit in the balcony is no way to improve your organization. Last time I looked, even poor folks and critics are allowed to speak out in America.