Friday, April 28, 2006

How to Extinguish an Ancient Culture

Railway raises fears for Tibet's future
Since the Chinese seizure and occupation of Tibet in 1950, this once fiercely independent little nation has fought to hang onto its traditions.

Before the railway there were only two ways into Lhasa: an expensive plane ride, followed by a hair-raising touch down; or three days and nights on an overcrowded bus bouncing along back-breaking mountain roads.

Many a bus, and its passengers, has ended up crushed at the bottom of a lonely ravine.
This isolation allowed a rich and complex culture to flourish untouched and virtually unknown to the rest of the world since the Middle Ages, until a Brit came upon the city of Llasa one hundred years ago. Foreigners are unwelcome within Tibetan borders and natives are reluctant to adapt to the Chinese ways now imposed on them.
The arrival of the railway will bring tremendous change. China's communist rulers say it will open up Tibet, bringing greater prosperity for its entire people. Detractors say the opening of the railway is the death knell of an independent Tibetan culture.

A Death Knell indeed...
The religious traditions, the complex social caste structure, the barter economy, farming methods, staple diets, and old healing techniques are just a few of the things being phased out by the occupying regime. Well intentioned "assistance"? Progress? What is so wrong about being insular anyway? and What is to be the fate of this peaceloving people? With several thousand Tibetans in exile abroad, the ones left behind face a daily struggle not only to survive in this harsh climate in the shadow of an oppressive administration, but even to hang onto things like their language and faith. As the author of this article pointed out, it puts one strongly in mind of U.S. government treatment of Native American tribes.

Himalayan Ghetto and Shades of Reservations
Once a nation made up of nomadic herders and farmers, Tibet is headed towards urbanization. Nomadic families are now living on 'state designated properties' and find themselves herded into box-like government housing in the city outskirts.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A career with a catchy theme song!

MI6 lauches recruitment ad campaign
Shrouded in secrecy no more: Less than a year ago, SIS launched its website, and today "MI6" embraces its glossy Bond film image and hits the print media with splashy ads. Can't wait to get my next Economist and check it out.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Why TiVO?

Why pay for TiVO?

Let me preface this post by saying, I am not as tech savvy as I like to think I am. But I think even "I" can get this to work, if put to the task.

How To Turn Your Computer into a Free Tivo

Written by The Tech Guy, Apr 23, 11:00 AM
Howdy. I want to tell you about a friend I have, the tech guy. No, that’s not him on the left there. Compared to my tech friend the fellow in the black and white photo is the most sauve mo’ fo you know.

All mockery aside my friend, the tech guy, will put you to shame. He can program your VCR, your Digital Cable, or your in-car GPS for that matter. One day I woke up and realized that it was my civic duty to share some of this knowledge. What I want to do is take some of this crazy tech mumbo-jumbo and throw it into usable chunks of information that my fellow Hill staffers and friends can make use of. I will warn you though, some of these entries are going to get a little detailed. No matter what, however, I promise that I’ll try to be as clear as possible.

Today’s fun cash saving chunk o’ tech knowledge is how to turn your computer into a free tivo. That’s right, you can automatically record almost any of your favorite TV shows, whenever you want, right when they come out. It’s not a 100% Tivo copy (it’ll only grab recent shows, not movies) but it can be really nice for watching your favorite episode of Lost, 24, or Prison Break. But enough talk, here we go.

The program I’m going to cover is called Democracy and is the self-proclaimed “free and open-source TV platform”. Go ahead and grab a downloaded copy to your computer now.

So what the heck is this Democracy program? All it is, is a souped up video playing application which can also download your shows for you through the use of Bittorrent technology. Got the program installed? Great.

Now, head on over to the website TVRss and search for your favorite show.
Next, when the search results come up, right click the link at the top that says “Search-based RSS Feed” and select “Copy Link”.
Now, head over to the Feedburner website and past the link you just copied from TVRss into the big text field on the homepage. Go ahead and check the “I am a Podcaster!” box and click next. (Here you will be prompted to create an account, don’t worry it’s free. I know all those website accounts are a pain, but I promise this one will be worth it.)
Now, click “Next” to activate your feed and copy the URL Feed burner spits out. (It will look like
But wait, didn’t we download some Democracy program? Go ahead and fire up the Democracy player and click add channel. (Lower Left)
Paste the link from Feedburner
That’s it. Now go to work, get dinner, go to bed. Everytime that show plays it will be automatically downloaded to your computer for your viewing pleasure at your own convenience.
So now you have no excuse not to get caught up on all of those shows you’ve been missing. I’ll leave the reviews to TV Steve.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Taxing iTunes

The Tax Man Cometh for iTunes
Democrats more likely to favor iTunes taxes
Florida has not been taxing iTunes. The iTunes software by itself is free. The charge arises in the form of $0.99 per song or other dollar amounts for e-books and commercial free television programs. The articles discuss sales and use tax. ITunes downloads don't quite fit into taxable categories of FL-imposed sales and use tax. But take a look at Section 202.11(2),Florida Statutes and its rather inclusory definition of a communications service.

"Communications Services" means the transmission, conveyance, or routing of voice, data, audio, video, or any other information or signals, including cable services, to a point, or between or among points, by or through any electronic, radio, satellite, cable, optical, microwave, or other medium or method now in existence or hereafter devised, regardless of the protocol used for such transmission or conveyance. The term includes such transmission, conveyance, or routing in which computer processing applications are used to act on the form, code, or protocol of the content for purposes of transmission, conveyance, or routing without regard to whether such service is referred to as voice-over-Internet-protocol services or is classified by the Federal Communications Commission as enhanced or value-added.
If pay-per-view programming is taxed - and those are individual digital files provided by the cable company to the end user using the subscriber's cable service, aren't iTunes digital files provided by Apple using the iTunes service? Stay tuned. . .

Friday, April 07, 2006

All Your Mac are Belong to Us

How you like 'dem Apples?

You should. Enough to call your broker at least. A Japanese banking institution has taken the lead and others are sure to follow.

Mac's Moment?

Office Technology
Mac's Moment?

Apple has its best chance in years to make a dent in the business market
April 3, 2006; Page R6

Japan's Aozora Bank Ltd. is planning to do something once unheard of in the business world: switch nearly all of its 2,300 desktop personal computers to Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh computers.

Most companies use PCs that run on some version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system. But in a multi-year effort to replace its outdated mishmash of computers -- most running older versions of Windows -- Aozora is forsaking the standard PC. A third of the company's computers already are Macs -- including sleek iMac computers that combine a screen and hard drive in one unit with a camera perched atop that allows employees to videoconference. Within a few months, Aozora expects about 90% of its machines will be Macs.

What brought on the switch?

Bill Chute, Aozora's chief technology officer, says the company decided to go with Macs because of Apple's latest operating system, Mac OS X, which has made the machines more stable and functional for many business users. Before OS X, "it would have been impossible," he says, because Macs didn't have the reliability and the functions that Aozora needs.

Fast and Reliable

Apple has long been known for its loyal following among a certain class of design-conscious consumers, who swoon over the elegant contours and user-friendliness of Macs. But outside some pockets of strength -- in educational institutions, advertising agencies and desktop publishing, for instance -- Macs have been scarce within businesses.

Some companies like Aozora, though, are embracing the latest Macs, citing that they are much less susceptible to crashes, offer more functions that businesses need and are viewed as more secure in terms of viruses and spyware than PCs that run on Windows. What's more, Apple is in the process of moving its entire line of Macs to microprocessors, or the brains of PCs, made by Intel Corp. Those chips are allowing Apple to create Macs that could appeal to more businesses -- smaller, thinner machines that consume less power and perform functions faster. So with Mac OS X and the huge hardware transition under way, both Apple and analysts believe the company may have its best shot in years at expanding its tiny share of the business market.

Of course, even Apple knows it has little chance of seriously challenging Microsoft's dominance, especially at large companies. At a Wall Street Journal technology conference in June 2004, Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and CEO, said the company is "not so good at selling to the enterprise." Apple's strongest opportunity, Apple executives and analysts agree, is within small and midsize businesses, companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.

More Credibility

Already, there are signs Apple is gaining some ground: Some software developers are warming up to using Macs for programming.

For years, many software developers sniffed at Macs. About five years ago, though, Apple introduced a sweeping upgrade of its operating system called Mac OS X, derived from Unix, a high-performance, reliable operating system long used in scientific and other demanding computing environments.

While most Unix operating systems typically have bland interfaces and require knowledge of arcane commands to operate, Mac OS X preserved the user-friendly graphical environment of its predecessors. Apple has since updated Mac OS X several times with improvements, including the latest version, known as Tiger.

"The Mac is a totally different animal," says Chuck Goolsbee, vice president of technical operations at digital.forest Inc., a Seattle-based company that houses servers and other Web applications for small and midsize companies. "It's a Unix operating system now. That gave [the Mac] credibility it did not have in the past."

Among the techies the Mac is attracting these days are so-called open-source developers, who work on Web servers, databases and other forms of software that are typically worked on by a loose-knit community of programmers rather than rigidly controlled by a single company.

Byron Sebastian hadn't used a Mac as his primary PC since the late 1990s, when he switched to Windows. But when Mr. Sebastian co-founded SourceLabs Inc., an open-source startup in Seattle, in late 2004, he decided to outfit the entire company with Macs for a simple reason: "All of our developers wanted Macs," he says.

Mr. Sebastian says the company's developers favor the Mac because it's easier for them to do Unix programming. Plus, unlike most Unix systems, Macs run Microsoft's pervasive suite of email, spreadsheets and other productivity applications. "It's the best of both worlds," he says.

One irony to the company's Mac preference: Many of the 20 employees at SourceLabs are former Microsoft employees, including vice president of sales and marketing Cornelius Willis, once a marketing executive for Windows.

Even the best-known figure in the open-source world -- Linus Torvalds, who created Linux, an operating system based on Unix technology -- uses Macs in his programming work. However, Mr. Torvalds in an email adds that they are Macs in "looks only" since he runs the Linux operating system, not OS X.

Hardware Overhaul

A boost to Apple's market share could come from the shift to Intel chips.

So far, Apple has shifted about half of its line of Macs over to the Intel chips, promising to complete the transition this year. Apple says it's making the move to the new chips from PowerPC microprocessors produced by International Business Machines Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. because the Intel chips will allow Apple to make faster machines.

That could erase a perceived performance gap between Macs and Windows PCs, most of which are also based on Intel chips. "It's one major objection [from customers] checked off and out of the way," says Phil Schiller, senior vice president of world-wide marketing at Apple. He adds that Apple is seeing especially strong demand for Macs from Unix developers and life-sciences companies.

Apple's growth in Mac sales has far outpaced that of the PC industry recently. Last year, it sold 4.7 million Macs, up 35% from the 3.5 million it sold in 2004, and far better than the 16% growth for the industry as a whole.

Yet that growth, so far, has done little to halt the steady erosion of Apple's share of new PC shipments world-wide over the past decade. Shipments were at 2.3% of the overall market last year, up from 2% the prior two years, but down from 8.5% in 1994, according to market tracker International Data Corp. In the commercial market -- including education, public sector and business sales -- Apple's share dropped to 2.3%, from 9.6% in 1994.

But some surveys suggest a positive trend in the making. Early last year, JupiterResearch surveyed technology decision-makers at 258 medium and large businesses and projected that 33% would be running Macs within the next 12 months, even though only 21% were running them at the time. The survey, though, didn't reveal how many Macs these businesses were planning on rolling out.

Joe Wilcox, an analyst at JupiterResearch, says most of the growing business acceptance of the Mac seems to be coming from companies moving from other Unix systems. "We're not seeing much, or any, loss for Windows," he says.

Two in One?

With all of Apple's Macs soon using the same chips that power Windows PCs, there could be an intriguing twist to the Intel move.

That's the prospect that business users could more practically run Windows applications on their Macs, including the corporate programs that prevent them from switching off Windows. So users who wanted to run Mac and Windows software could have, say, a dual-boot computer. Such a machine would contain both the Mac and Windows operating systems and users could switch between the two.

While Apple executives have said they won't do anything with the company's technology to prevent users from doing this, running a dual-boot computer right now is only for the adventurous.

Apple's new Intel-based Macs use different firmware -- the low-level code that controls a computer when it's first turned on -- from that of current Windows PCs. Microsoft has said a future version of Windows, called Vista, will support the same firmware used by new Macs.

Meantime, Apple enthusiasts have come up with software that allows Windows XP to run on Intel-based Macs, posting the code free online at OnMac.net3.

An alternative way of getting Windows applications to run on Macs is so-called virtualization programs that use a layer of Mac software to, in effect, trick applications into thinking they're running on Windows. In the past, the main drawback to virtualization software has been that it's slow. Some analysts hope that the switch to Intel chips could make such virtualization programs work faster.

Even then, some Mac business users believe it will be hard for most companies to make a meaningful switch from Windows. "I don't think at the corporate level you're going to see a large-scale shift," says Mr. Goolsbee of digital.forest. "I think corporations have just so much invested in custom software, it's very difficult to change."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Overheard: An Expressio To Go, Please

I enjoyed Abstract Appeal's comments on Expressio unius est exclusio alterius. And I also agree that the proposed language does not address application to exisiting constitutional provisions. Nor should it. Constitutions are not ripe for editing. But that is a discussion for another day.

Being a product of private schools, part of my Evil Master Plan is to subject my as yet unborn offspring to similar tortures. So why do I care? Because, I am as disappointed in the FL Supreme Court decision as the next guy.

No way to avoid throwing in a cliche here. Two wrongs don't make a right. Let's fast forward into the future and let's say the statutory construct amendment is adopted. The free schools provision case is once again brought before the Florida high court. As Fla Blog pointed out, Stare Decisis won't apply. It passes. Or not. We still have a ticking bomb of an amendment on our now dirty hands.

This proposed amendement is politically motivated, but not on the issue of education, but rather as a means to check activist judges. Note the innocuous yet potentially lethal language:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following statement be placed on the ballot:


RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.--Proposing a revision to the rules of construction when interpreting the State Constitution. The revision prohibits the use of the maxim expressio unius est exclusion alterius when interpreting the extent of political power vested in the legislature by the people. This maxim stands for the proposition that the expression of one thing does not imply the exclusion of another.
Just for fun, check out this definition of maxim, from 'Lectric Law Library.
"MAXIM - An established principle or proposition. A principle of law universally admitted as being just and consonant with reason.

Maxims in law are somewhat like axioms in geometry. They are principles and authorities, and part of the general customs or common law of the land; and are of the same strength as acts of parliament, when the judges have determined what is a maxim; which belongs to the judges and not the jury. Maxims of the law are holden for law, and all other cases that may be applied to them shall be taken for granted.

The application of the maxim to the case before the court is generally the only difficulty. The true method of making the application is to ascertain how the maxim arose, and to consider whether the case to which it is applied is of the same character, or whether it is an exception to an apparently general rule.

The alterations of any of the maxims of the common law are dangerous."
Who interprets our Constitution? Judges do. Now why would anyone want to limit their power???

All together now, Children. "SLIP-PER-Y SLOPE."

Side Note:Cerabino's smarmy little comments irked me, more than a little. So much so that I actually went over and heaved my Black's off the shelf. In turning to the Appendix A: Legal Maxims, I discovered it was exactly 85 pages, with each page containing roughly 20-22 maxims. We are talking somewhere in the neighborhood of 1700 Latin phrases. And while I never formally studied Latin, I had the benefit of growing up in a multilingual household, so I can read and comprehend Latin slightly better than a person that speaks only English. Still.

Over One Thousand Seven Hundred legal maxims in 'the' authoritative lawyer's dictionary.

I was not familiar with "Expressio Unius" until I read the free schools decision. (Yes - I am THAT much of a nerd that in my spare time I read decisions that don't affect me.) This case didn't go through the OAG, if it HAD then his lack of familiarity would be inexcusable. People need to quit giving Crist such a rough time for not being a human reference library. Satis!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Where's Schoolhouse Rock when you need it?

Several years ago I had a "Where's Schoolhouse Rock when you need it?" moment. (I felt compelled to submit it to Bill McClurg 5 years ago so you can read it here if you are interested: : Scroll down to CIVICS DUTY)

It is shocking that a law student can't name the three branches, yes. I also feel it equally inexcusable that a Florida high school student may have never learned them to begin with. The Florida Bar has a speakers bureau that provides speakers on the subject of increasing civic education. (check out go to Public Information, then Speakers Bureau.

Remember that highly publicized survey a few months ago that showed that only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms in the First Amendment, but more than half can name at least two family members of "The Simpsons"? Well the Harris Poll results of Floridians is just as appalling.

Students in need of civics lessons

The study of American democracy is losing traction in schools, helping create a population disengaged from citizenship.
By DONNA WINCHESTER, Times Staff Writer
Published March 26, 2006
University of South Florida professor Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan thought she had devised the ideal icebreaker for her freshmen American government class.

A rousing game of "political bingo," she figured, would get everyone acquainted and primed for a spirited first-day discussion.

But 10 minutes into that first class three years ago, she realized her students, all recent local high school graduates, lacked the civic education background to answer even the simplest questions.

"I was surprised that so many of them didn't know what I thought was basic material," said the former White House staff member and consultant for the Democratic National Committee. "I guess I was naive."

Scourfield McLauchlan, 37, no longer plays the game on the first day of class because she has learned what some civic educators have feared for years: Many of today's young people are leaving high school with little understanding of how the American system of democracy works.

Civics class - as people of a certain generation understood it - is dead. Social studies is still taught, and civics might come up within it, but schools increasingly are focused on meeting reading and math goals set by the state and federal governments, which can leave little time for teaching civics and citizenship. And judging by voting rates and civic involvement, many citizens are increasingly disengaged.

"If we have people who know how to read but don't have the interest or the commitment to participate in the government, we as a country are going to have some very serious problems both economically and politically," said Tam Taylor, a spokeswoman for the California-based Center for Civic Education.

The Florida Bar recently joined the chorus of those calling for reform after reviewing the results of a Harris poll commissioned to test civic education knowledge among Florida adults. The poll, conducted in December, found that while 90 percent of those surveyed said the constitutional concept of separation of powers is important, only 59 percent actually knew what those separate powers are, choosing the correct answer to the question, "What are the three branches of government?"

Eighteen percent said "local, state and federal." A full 16 percent answered "Republican, Democrat and Independent."

(The correct answer: "Legislative, executive and judicial.")

Questions about the meaning of the terms "separation of powers" and "checks and balances" produced similar low percentages of correct answers - 46 percent and 61 percent respectively.

The results mirrored those of a national poll conducted by the American Bar Association last July. An informal poll of high school seniors administered last week by the St. Petersburg Times turned up similar findings.

In the Times poll, 29 percent of the students said separation of powers means that different federal departments have different authority. One in four said that one function of the judicial branch is to establish new courts.

Some local educators weren't surprised at the responses.

"It's embarrassing," said Randy Lightfoot, K-12 social studies supervisor for Pinellas County schools. "Other societies know more about our system than we do. That should not be."

Lightfoot, who taught social studies in the district for 30 years before becoming supervisor, said he has watched the gradual erosion of K-12 civic education in Florida public schools.

In Tallahassee, Democratic state Rep. Curtis Richardson tried to increase middle-school civics education by amending a major education bill Thursday. But Republicans rejected the amendment in floor debate.

"It's simply unnecessary," said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, the chairman of the House Education Council. Baxley said high school teachers can already teach civics, including the Declaration of Independence, three branches of government and flag education.

High school students presently are required to earn three social studies credits. Individual districts, and in fact individual schools, can determine the sequence, but most students take one year of world history and one year of American history.

They also take a one-semester course in economics. What used to be a yearlong civics class has been replaced with a one-semester American government course. That's simply not enough, Lightfoot says.

The Florida Bar agrees. Citing statistics gathered by the Florida Law Related Education Association, which show that fewer than 10 percent of Florida's 67 counties require the teaching of civics in middle school, the Bar is lobbying local school boards to introduce a mandatory yearlong civics class for middle schoolers similar to one taught in Miami-Dade public schools.

The Bar also is calling for inclusion of civics on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Bar president Alan Bookman concedes a social studies FCAT may not be a popular idea, but "what gets tested is what gets taught."

Still, not everyone agrees that civic education is in such dire straits. Catherine Fleeger, an assistant superintendent in charge of Pinellas high schools, said a lot depends on how one defines "civic education."

"We still have American government classes and we still have economics, which get to the core of what America is and what our democracy is based on," Fleeger said. "High school students who are college bound participate in service learning as part of their Bright Futures programs, and character education is infused into the curriculum in ways that didn't exist in the past."

Michael Grego, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Hillsborough County schools, said the district presently has more civic education than ever before.

"So much of this type of curriculum does not need to be above and beyond, but just needs to be infused into the existing curriculum," Grego said. "When it's done that way, it's not looked upon as an added burden, but as a way to teach history and responsible citizenship."

If a shortcoming in civic education exists at all, said David Mosrie, chief executive officer of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, it has to do with students' inability to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-life situations.

"Civics to me is more than just knowing the various branches of government," Mosrie said. "We want students who can practice good citizenship along with that knowledge."

That's where hands-on programs such as those sponsored by the Center for Civic Education and the Florida Law Related Education Association come into play. In many cases, they can supplement "textbook civics" with "practical civics," teachers say.

Linda Smith, social studies department chair at Clearwater High School, has taken advantage of many such programs since she began teaching 30 years ago. Smith sponsors the school's Youth in Government club and encourages students to get involved in a city of Clearwater program that teaches them about city government.

She also takes students to Washington as part of the "Close Up" program to expose them to the inner workings of the federal government.

"The bottom line is knowing the three branches of government and how they check and balance each other," Smith said. "But there's a lot more to it than that. Things arise every day that demand a working knowledge of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights."

R. Fred Lewis, chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, sees the results of an uninformed citizenry every day in the courtroom. Over the years, Lewis said, he has seen an increased disregard for the jury system and a general whittling away of fundamental liberties.

"If people don't understand the core values of this great nation, how will they know if those liberties are being threatened or placed at risk?" asked Lewis, who works regularly with students as a volunteer with the Florida Law Related Education Association.

With so much at stake, the need for civic education at both the student and adult levels is critical, said American Bar Association president Michael Greco. But because habits instilled early tend to continue over a lifetime, it is imperative that schools continue to teach children "the ABCs of American citizenship," Greco said.

"Make no mistake, our nation's founders counted on an informed and active citizenry to keep government honest," he said. "When people check out in the numbers we are seeing, it really is a crisis to the functioning of our democracy."

Times staff writer Steve Bousquet contributed to this report. [Last modified March 26, 2006, 07:45:04]

We Hear You, Ion
I am normally not big on passing along "Opinion" posts. But this is rather newsworthy IMHO.

Ion addressed the January meeting of the Florida Govt Bar Assn and shed some light on this very important subject,particularly why Leon Cty is not in compliance with HAVA. Knowing a little something about HAVA as I do, having worked an election in Fairfax last fall, I feel compelled to publish this issue. Ballot integrity is vital to the democratic process. . . and Bravo to our AG for the suit.

Miami Herald: Apr. 3, 2006: Protecting the ballot
Florida Secretary of State Sue Cobb should take a cue from Attorney General Charlie Crist. Instead of berating Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho for trying to improve ballot security, the state should question vendors who can't guarantee tamper-proof systems.

Mr. Crist is right to initiate anti-trust and civil-rights investigations of Diebold Inc., Election Systems & Software and Sequoia Voting Systems. The three companies refused to sell voting equipment to Leon County after Mr. Sancho conducted a test that showed Diebold machines were vulnerable to inside hackers.

The companies deny that they have colluded in their decisions. Mr. Crist's investigation seeks to determine if that is true.

Leon County still has to buy special machines to comply with a federal mandate to accommodate blind voters. Without those machines, the state could face a federal lawsuit.

A Diebold spokesperson said the company doesn't want to deal with Mr. Sancho because it believes the security test was unfair. Yet California election officials conducted similar tests and got the same results. Only then did Florida order tougher security measures to counter potential breaches that Mr. Sancho uncovered. Now Diebold is talking with Ms. Cobb's office about providing Leon County with the equipment it needs. Ms. Cobb should tell Diebold to deal with Mr. Sancho directly.

The state elections office should quickly move to certify equipment for disabled voters from a new vendor and delay the May 1 deadline for having the equipment in place. It should reinstate $560,000 in grant money to Leon County's election office. Leon County voters shouldn't be penalized for having an election supervisor who's serious about protecting the integrity of their votes.