Thursday, September 12, 2002

Will Bush Invade Florida?

Today's newspaper carries an article that says America wants to bring democracy to Iraq. It also contains an article that suggests America is having enough problems bringing democracy to Florida. Two years after the 2000 election debacle, several Florida counties are again having problems counting ballots. There's a picture of two officials apparently hypnotized by the chads they're staring at-and it's déjà vu all over again.

But two years has also allowed Judge Mark Wagstaff of Florida's Fredonia County Superior Court to refine his instructions on how to intepret the ballots. Though his instructions are specifically about the 2000 presidential election, they can be applied to primary races through a second document not available at press time, but which reportedly involves a manual, a spreadsheet and a pair of dice.

The Judge's instructions read in part:

1.Hanging or dangling chads: If the chad appears to have a noose around its neck, assume it is a black voter. Count for Gore.

2. Swinging chad: if the swinging chad appears to be holding a martini, count for Bush.

3. Pregnant chads: If the chad became pregnant in wedlock, count for Buchanan. If the chad is now married but became pregnant out of wedlock, Bush. If the chad is unmarried, Gore. If it is a false pregnancy, Nader.

4. Dimpled chads: Is it a Shirley Temple type dimple? Bush. Is it a Cary Grant type dimple? Gore.

If a chad detaches itself while you are examining it:

Ask one of the TV camera operators to rewind the tape to the appropriate moment, and review in slo mo. Note that the evidence must be convincing to change a previous ruling at the table.

If after detaching, the chad begins dancing on the table, take an immediate one hour break.

If you are still not sure, call anyone in the county named Chad and ask how he voted. In alternate cases, do the opposite of what he says. However, Chad's response is disqualified entirely if:

1. His response begins with "Gosh"

2. He says he must first confer with current or former fraternity brothers.

If a ballot appears completely unmarked, open the door and throw it on the floor in front of the ladies and gentlemen in the brown shirts being led in screaming and pounding by a genial p.r. person. After 30 seconds, retrieve the ballot and begin interpreting the tears, holes and smudges. See the John Cage Method for Decision-Making for further instructions.

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