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Hey, Georgia does have a Springfield...


A whole lot of money and political energy has gone into the big special election run-off between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel coming up next Tuesday. The race for the sixth congressional district seat formerly held by Tom Price, before he went off to help dismantle the nation's healthcare system, is probably the best chance for Democrats to take a seat in the House this year. Oh, there is one tiny problem: Georgia seems to have absolutely wretched security for its electronic voting machines. Not that anything will go wrong, because the state has taken careful measures to ignore people warning of potential problems. Say, did we mention Georgia's voting machines don't leave any paper trail, either?

The story of Georgia's sad sorry voting security is one of those things that will leave your face a little fatigued from all the times you raise your eyebrows and drop your jaw, starting with what cybersecurity researcher Logan Lamb discovered last August when stories of Russian hacking of state election systems became known. Logan heard there might be concerns about Georgia's election security, so he went to check out the website for the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University, which handles the job of making sure all the state's voting machines are in good working order. He got a bit of a surprise:

“I was just looking for PDFs or documents,” he recalls, hoping to find anything that might give him a little more sense of the center’s work. But his curiosity turned to alarm when he encountered a number of files, arranged by county, that looked like they could be used to hack an election. Lamb wrote an automated script to scrape the site and see what was there, then went off to lunch while the program did its work. When he returned, he discovered that the script had downloaded 15 gigabytes of data.

“I was like whoa, whoa. … I did not mean to do that. … I was absolutely stunned, just the sheer quantity of files I had acquired,”

Whoops! After state elections officials didn't seem terribly interested in the problems he uncovered, Lamb went public with what he found in hope that public pressure might move them to tighten things up. A government-accountability group sued the state last month, calling for the state to use only paper ballots in this month's election; the motion was denied last week under the state's doctrine of sovereign immunity -- you can't sue the government without its permission. Besides, early voting had already started for the runoff.

Now, Lamb and other security wonks haven't shown that the state actually has been hacked -- just that its election systems are outdated and could be vulnerable in a number of ways which we won't detail here, because Yr Wonkette is more in the business of making jokes about entirely different hardware and software, if you know what we mean and we think you do. Suffice it to say there are a lot of potential security holes (HA!) that could give hackers a backdoor (teehee) into Georgia's antiquated touch-screen voting machines, which all use that same software. It would be quite possible for hacks to be made without even leaving detectable traces of the tampering. Fun, huh?

It's also not known whether Georgia is among the 39 states whose election systems were hacked last year, as discovered by Bloomberg politics. It's also worth noting that, when Homeland Security offered last year to help states upgrade their election computer systems' security, Georgia was one of only two states to say "no thanks, we're fine":

“[B]ecause of the DNC getting hacked—they now think our whole system is on the verge of disaster because some Russian’s going to tap into the voting system,” Secretary of State Brian Kemp told Politico at the time. “And that’s just not—I mean, anything is possible, but it is not probable at all, the way our systems are set up.”

Reassuring! Also, if you read the Politico report, POSSIBLY completely untrue!

Also worrisome: When Logan Lamb went to the Center for Elections Systems with the problems he found, he got a polite thank you and a warning from executive director Merle King. King said he'd definitely get the server fixed, but also told Lamb to keep quiet about the problems, and especially not to talk to the media:

“He said, It would be best if you were to drop this now,” Lamb recalls. King also said that if Lamb did talk, “the people downtown, the politicians … would crush” Lamb.

And here's a huge surprise: The center neglected to notify the secretary of state's office about the security problems, either. Not only that, but in March, Chris Grayson, another security researcher, found that while some vulnerabilities on the website had been fixed, others hadn't. Oops. When Grayson told a friend at Kennesaw State, word went up through various offices until eventually it reached the secretary of state and the governor. Obviously, there was a problem, so swift action was taken: The FBI was sicced on Lamb and Grayson to see if they'd committed a crime (they hadn't). Lamb was told to delete the files he'd accidentally downloaded, and he did.

Not to worry, says Georgia: Since the voting machines and the software that runs them aren't connected to the internet, so there's no way to hack them. Which doesn't at all explain why Lamb found those voter files from the secure system on the center's website, but that one server has been shut down, so please stop making a big deal about all this, OK?

And wait, just one more thing, from last year: When DHS offered to help Georgia protect its systems, it got a BIG OL' HISSYFIT in response. First they accused DHS of hacking them and then:

Georgia was one of only two states in the country that refused assistance offered by DHS in the run-up to last month’s race, Cyberscoop reported, notwithstanding heightened concerns from coast to coast at the time over the possibility of the contest being sidelined by a cyberattack. [...]

“We basically said we don’t need DHS’s help,” [Kemp Chief of Staff David] Dove said, because the state had already obtained the assistance of a third-party cybersecurity firm.

The office of the Georgia Secretary of State declined to say who exactly the state has sought out for its cyber assistance, but that the the company “analyzes more than 180 billion events a day globally across a 5,000+ customer base which includes many Fortune 500 companies,” Cyberscoop reported.

We're just going to assume the third-party cybersecurity firm Georgia refuses to name is Kaspersky. Sound right to you?

Go read the full article; it may well leave you whomperjawed. And while you're at it, you might also enjoy this WaPo piece on how Karen Handel asked for a review of Georgia's election cybersecurity when she was secretary of state -- and then apparently did exactly nothing with the final report, which found -- you guessed it! -- vulnerabilities that could leave election systems open to hacking. Here's a nifty little excerpt!

Asked about the data breach, Handel’s campaign deferred questions to Rob Simms, who was deputy secretary of state for much of Handel’s term and is now working to elect her to Congress.

“You’re asking if we ever ‘responded’ to a report/study that was done more than 10 years ago?” Simms asked. “Doesn’t make sense to me.”

Pfft, you nerds and your worries about "hacking"! What are you, a bunch of wacky tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists? Now, let's get to the important stuff: When are Loretta Lynch and Hillary Clinton finally going to be indicted, huh?

[Politico / WaPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.


Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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