Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Terrror* (for Terrorist, etc.)

The typographical error Terrror* appears five times in OhioLINK, thus registering as a "low probability" threat to bibliographic access. Far more egregiously, the Rensselaer County Board of Elections in New York managed to contribute, if inadvertantly, to the swarm of dirty tricks aiming to undermine the Obama campaign by mailing out hundreds of absentee ballots last week with the name "Barack Osama" printed on them. It wasn't deliberate, they said, regretting the way it would have to have been the S key and not "a semicolon or exclamation point or something" that got past three proofreaders. In any case, the Rensselaer balloteers were good enough to leave Hussein out of the equation. After all, it's easier to explain away a "typo" than an entire middle name, suggestive though it may be, given that no one else was using them. (Even Biden is called, simply, "Joe." And in case you're wondering, McCain's middle name is Sidney.) It was further noted that the spell checker in Microsoft Word, lacking an entry for "Obama," suggests "Osama" as a substitute for the unwitting keyboard operator. It seems there's no substitute for plausible deniability except deniable plausibility.

(Barack Obama and the Bad Ballot.)

Carol Reid

Addendum: The mistake was apparently made by a Democratic worker, not a Republican one, according to this recent follow-up in the Albany Times Union.

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