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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, November 23, 2014
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Electronic Machines, Shown Vulnerable to Easy Tampering --- Yet Said by State Officials to Be Physically Protected Under New Guidelines --- Now Available for Easy Access to Temp Workers!
Rationalizations from Diebold Company Apologists Appearing Sillier by the Day...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2006 11:48am PT  


So much for those vaunted claims by California's Sec. of State Bruce McPherson and his partners at Diebold, Inc. about increased security surrounding the physical access to electronic voting machines in light of newly revealed vulnerabilities to easy tampering.

A tip received by The BRAD BLOG on Monday reveals that Temp Workers are currently being sought in San Francisco for California's upcoming primary election to "assist in dropping off election voting machines and picking these machines up when voting is complete," as the says.

A classified ad seeking the workers is currently posted on the Internet at Monster.com by Kelly Services. (A screenshot of the complete ad is posted at the end of this article.) The salary offered to temp workers hired for the job --- who will have private unsupervised access to the state's voting machines before and after election day --- is $11.99/hour according to the posting.

A litany of recent studies and independent scientific analyses of electronic voting machines, in California and elsewhere --- and reportedly widely in the mainstream media of late --- have warned that such systems and the data they contain are easily alterable via such physical access.

State and voting machine company officials have now admitted as much, but claim that stringent security procedures ensure that the danger posed by such access can be mitigated.

The ad, however, seeking temp workers for three weeks beginning on May 31, the week prior to California's June 6th primary election, would seem to belie official claims, while serving to underscore the extraordinarily precarious and dangerously vulnerable state of our current electoral system...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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More Disasters for Pennsylvania, This Time on ES&S Machines, Following Earlier Similar Disasters on Machines in Philly
ALSO: Rick Santorum Locked Out of Polling Place, Unable to Vote This Morning
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2006 7:55pm PT  

Following on our earlier report today, covering 100's of electronic voting machines in Philadelphia which failed to start up this morning for Pennsylvania's primary election, we now have a similar report from the other side of the state.

100's of machines in Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, also failed to work correctly today. If we're able to remember correctly (since the story doesn't name any voting machine company names), Allegheny County finally settled on voting machines made by ES&S, after they abandoned hopes of going with Diebold when their machines were found to be hackable, and then later found machines from Sequoia Voting Systems --- who they'd planned to use instead --- were discovered to be similarly hackable.

ES&S eventually won the prize, just weeks before today's primary --- we warned about going with a new system with so little time to prepare, but did they listen? --- yet appear to have lost the day for PA voters, according to this report from Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette...

The first Allegheny County election with electronic voting machines got off to a somewhat rocky start this morning, when more than 100 machines had problems. Surrounding counties reported almost identical problems.

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato today said 120 machines wouldn't produce "zero-count" printouts to start the day confirming there were no votes registered in the machines.

Mr. Onorato said the elections bureau got 400 calls to start the day. By 11 a.m., there were still more than 20 polling places with problems.

There are more than 2,600 of the new machines spread over 1,314 precincts.

Mr. Onorato also said nine machines had their screens cracked during transit to the polling places.
...
Surrounding counties also were reporting problems with the zero-count printouts.

Larry Spahr said 20 or 25 of Washington County's 185 precincts reported problems. Mr. Spahr is director of elections.

More details on the failures in the Post-Gazette's story. Amongst those details, apparently Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) was locked out of his polling place when an election worker failed to show up to open it this morning.

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Diebold Disasters Leading to Self-Destruction As ES&S Continues to Meltdown and Miss One Contractual Obligation After Another?
By John Gideon on 5/15/2006 6:53am PT  

By John Gideon, www.VotersUnite.Org and www.VoteTrustUSA.Org May 15, 2006

Yes, the wheels are wobbling on the locomotives. The vendors --- ES&S, Diebold, and the rest --- attempt to keep a stiff upper lip as they both fail to perform, yet continue collecting tax-payer dollars from the county election coffers. Meanwhile some elections officials have just turned a blind-eye to what is happening while they continue to make excuses for their vendors: The private corporate American Electronic Voting Machine behemoths that are being paid to take over America's Public Electoral system.

And the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) which was put in place by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), theoretically, to keep all of this from occurring? Well, all they do is raise their hands and shrug and tell anyone who asks, that they don't do voting systems certification so they just don't know anything. The Sergeant Schultz Defense, perhaps?

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2006 3:16pm PT  

From WISH-TV...

CORYDON, Ind. Harrison County election officials will manually count ballots from at least 15 of the county's 35 precincts after malfunctions by election equipment during the May Second primary.

The Indiana secretary of state's Election Division has notified the county that it has the authority to recheck votes cast in precincts where election equipment malfunctioned.

Programming errors in automatic tabulation equipment connected to voting machines were discovered by county officials during the primary. It's unclear whether the manual recount will change any race results.

Harrison is one of several Indiana counties that used voting equipment from Election Systems and Software Incorporated. The Nebraska company has come under investigation by state election officials for numerous software programming problems.

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By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2006 3:15pm PT  

From today's Tennessean...

Used voting machines lack approval by state
Vendor changed contract form language, memo alerts counties

State officials say a vendor of voting machines that more than a dozen counties have lined up to buy surprised them by changing the contract form to allow for used equipment for the Aug. 3 elections.

The state election office had never signed off on the change, according to an "alert" memo it sent out to affected counties.

The April 12 memo said that Election Systems & Software Inc. had added --- without permission --- "used equipment" language to a Tennessee Voting Equipment order form. Davidson, Williamson and Wilson are among the counties waiting for their ES&S machines.
...
Eddie Bryan, chairman of the Davidson County Election Commission, said he doesn't know why ES&S bid on Metro's business if it can't deliver the goods.

"These people have been playing games with us," he said. "I'm not for having any used equipment."

As usual, btw, the reporter gets the story wrong with the same misinformation concerning the Help America Vote Act (HAVA):

The law requires at least one handicapped-accessible machine at each precinct.

As if we haven't repeated this hundreds of times here: HAVA requires one disabled-accessible voting device (not machine!) in each polling place (not precinct, though that error is one we had made previously ourselves). Larger point being that there are other devices for voting that can be used which are not "machines" --- despite how much the vendors appreciate the mainstream media doing their misinformation for them.

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Sec. of State, Formerly an ES&S Supporter, 'More than Upset About Broken Promises' by Country's Largest E-Voting Company
By John Gideon on 5/10/2006 7:38pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Just hours ago Betty Ireland, the Secretary of State of West Virginia filed a formal complaint against ES&S with the federal Elections Assistance Commission. A story in the State Journal quotes Secretary Ireland:

"I am more than upset that or county clerks and their staffs and county commissions had to withstand stress and anxiety over the broken promises and delays ES&S put them through".

"And, Ireland says, now that the election is over, strategy talks about the problems with Election Systems and Software will begin...but, "We will not and cannot discuss publicly our legal strategy. As before, we continue to work with the Attorney General's Office to address our options"."

"The state's selection committee chose ES&S because of it's past service in the state and it's knowledge of West Virginia election deadlines and procedures. Ireland says, "Unfortunately, we now feel ES&S let West Virginia down"."

There have been failures all over the state. A small sampling of problems gives us:

  • Taylor County's votes could not be counted last night because the main computer would not read tabulators from individual voting machines.
  • Upshur County's counter was in such bad shape that as of midnight the county was trying to get a similar machine from a neighboring county
  • Mineral County's optical scan ballot counter was producing skewed results
  • Ohio County could not count about 800 absentee votes because it was not given the equipment to do so
  • - and ?

  • Clay, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Putnam, McDowell and Webster that all violated provisions of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 when they were not able provide any voting machines for their voters with disabilities.
  • The national media? Mums the word for them, it seems.

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    Is Anybody There? Does Anybody Care?
    By John Gideon on 5/7/2006 4:39pm PT  

    By John Gideon, Executive Director, VotersUnite.Org and Information Manager, VoteTrustUSA.Org --- May 8, 2006

    This has been another week of "Train Wrecks" across the country. Three states had major primaries with mixed success and failure, a few states had local elections with failures, and some states are preparing for May primaries and they are meeting the "oncoming locomotive" as they can't get machines or software for the machines and are having to revert to paper ballots or lever machines.

    Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) is now facing investigations, lawsuits, or just plain pissed-off elections officials in West Virginia, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, and other jurisdictions. And now we learn that Diebold has a huge security vulnerability that all voting systems experts who know the details are very concerned about.

    Next Tuesday, May 9, finds the train barreling down on primary elections in West Virginia and Nebraska. May 16 brings potentially hazardous primary election whistle-stops in Kentucky, Oregon and, the grand central station that is Pennsylvania.

    Let's take a look at some of the continuing derailments from the past week, about which prompted Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG to ask of D.C. politicians and, more notably, the National Mainstream Media: "Is anybody there? Does anybody care?"

    --- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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    5 Counties in Show Me State Say Show Us How the Hell to Vote Starting Monday, ES&S!
    By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2006 7:54pm PT  

    As Diebold implodes on the latest news that all of their touch-screen voting machines contain a perhaps-uncorrectable flaw being described as a "major national security threat," the largest of the country's Electronic Voting Machine Companies, ES&S continue to meltdown all across the nation.

    On the heels of similar failures in Indiana, Oregon, Texas, West Virginia, Arkansas and elsewhere, Missouri now joins the crowd as the latest state to report failures by ES&S to deliver ballots, machines and software programming in time for elections this year.

    Five counties in Missouri have announced they are going to "Plan B" (creating their own paper ballots, or returning to their old lever systems) in preparation for early voting which is to begin Monday in the Show Me state.

    Problems are being reported in Boone, Carroll, Marion, Newton and Searcy Counties. Here's a sample of refrains that are starting to sound incredibly familiar:

    "I'm just sick," longtime [Carroll County] Election Commission Chairman Levi Phillips said Tuesday. He said Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Neb., had not only failed to send the programmed parts for the touch-screen machines but it also failed to break down paper ballots so results could be reported by precinct. It also didn't put the candidates in the order drawn from a hat in a couple of races, he said.

    "We're in hell with that," he said. "That wasn't a step forward. That's a step back."

    The Election Commission voted unanimously Tuesday morning to order paper ballots for early voting.
    ...
    Searcy County plans to drag its old lever voting machines out for early voting and they will be used on Election Day May 23 if the fancy new touch-screen computer voting machines aren't ready.
    ...
    "Searcy County is very upset and let down with ES&S," Smith said this morning. He said he and four retired school teachers who "burned their own gas" took the new touch screen voting machines all around the county training poll workers and demonstrating for voters and "now they say you've got to do something else." He noted that the lever machine invented in the 1800s was proving more reliable than the state-of-the-art computer machines.

    Dear Washington D.C. and the National Mainstream Media: Is anybody there? Does anybody care?

    (Thanks to BRAD BLOG reader Mark M. for the tip from my home state!)

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    50 Temp Workers Hired to Count Absentee Ballots which Diebold Machines Fail to Scan Properly...
    Problems Also Reported with ES&S and in Several Other OH Counties...
    By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2006 12:01pm PT  

    Add this to our previous report on the Diebold Disaster in Cuyahoga County, Ohio during yesterday's Primary Election. The Cleveland Plain Dealer headlines their story: "First all-electronic election marred by problems".

    As expected the word "Glitch" makes it's way quickly into the headlines in Columbus Dispatch's coverage ("Glitches delay voting and reporting of results") as they cover problems across a number of counties, including counties that use ES&S machines which also failed in a number of locations. Inevitably, the poll workers are blamed by officials, of course.

    As to Cuyahoga, the Plain Dealer has set up a running blog on their website covering the ongoing problems. Here's the latest...

    Election workers continue to count votes

    12:07 p.m.

    Cuyahoga County election workers continued to count votes Wednesday, with about 85 percent of the votes cast on the touch-screen machines counted by 11:15 a.m. But 70 memory cards - with results from 200 precincts - were missing. Cuyahoga County board of elections officials are checking the voting machines to see if the cards were inadvertantly left inside.

    Meanwhile, a second team of 50 temporary agency employees continued the hand count of 17,000 paper ballots used by absentee voters. Election officials decided to hand count the paper ballots after tests on the optical scan machines showed innaccuracies. Vote totals for the absentee ballots are expected sometime this evening.

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    ES&S Failures Continue Across the Country...
    By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2006 1:00pm PT  

    From the Pine Bluff Commercial...

    Jefferson County's new touch-screen voting machines won't be making their debut until after the May 23 primary and June 13 runoff elections.

    The Jefferson County Election Commission voted unanimously Monday afternoon to instead use the county's old lever machines. The panel had previously voted to use the new Electrical Systems and Software (ES&S) iVotronic Touch Screen Voting System, but Commission Chairman Trey Ashcraft said several ES&S "failures" forced a change in plans.

    "With early voting beginning (Monday) May 8, ES&S hasn't provided us with many essential and critical tools necessary for us to conduct the election to the standards set by law and to our own high standards," Ashcraft said.

    ===
    CORRECTION:
    As you'll see below, in the flurry of today's breaking Primary Day news we had originally reported the above as having occurred in Jefferson County, Texas, as opposed to Jefferson County, Arkansas. The information following, concerning the problems in Jefferson County, TX, are still accurate, however, in regards to what happened in that Texas county, which also mirrors the problems as reported above in Jefferson County, Arkansas. Nonetheless, the original headline for the story, referring to Texas, was inaccurate. It should have said Arkansas, and we've now made that correction. The BRAD BLOG regrets the error.
    ===

    As regular readers know, The BRAD BLOG has been extensively covering the E-Voting meltdown issues, with a particular eye towards the failure of ES&S, America's largest E-Voting vendor.

    Texas, in particular, has been a mess of late. See our previous coverage of the ES&S meltdown in the state where the Secretary of State has instructed to create "emergency paper ballots", purchase storage containers for them, and extra staff to manually hand-count them.

    Jefferson County specifically had previously tried to withhold payment from their vendor, ES&S, after enormous failures by the company during the county's March 7th primary. Reportedly, however, they were strong-armed by ES&S and told they would not program machines and ballots at all for the upcoming runoffs if payment was withheld.

    We are hearing quite a few reports of similarly thuggish behavior, threats and tactics from ES&S and hope to have more details in a future report.

    Unfortunately, States and Counties have sold off their public responsibility to carry out accurate and transparent elections to private corporations to whom they are now entirely beholden. On one side, there are the failing private Voting Machine Vendors, and on the other side, the U.S. Dept. of Justice threatening to sue when states and counties don't comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which kicks in this year.

    Of course, as we've reported previously, it's the voters who are paying the real price for their democracy vanquished.

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    As the Voters Continue to Pay the Price
    And as We Continue to Connect the Dots the Mainstream Media Still Won't�
    By John Gideon on 4/30/2006 6:20pm PT  

    By John Gideon Executive Director VotersUnite.Org and Information Manager VoteTrustUSA.Org

    When asked by a reporter, "Which is harder to manage, your two children or ES&S?" Marion County, Indiana Clerk Doris Ann Sadler told the Indianapolis Star this week, "Oh, ES&S, definitely. My children are really very easy. In fact, at times I think my children would have done a better job with the voting machines. And they're (ages) 7 and 4."

    The Electronic Voting Machine Vendor locomotive is still running away down the track at an alarming speed. However, this week some states and county election officials seem to be beginning to notice and are now sending out signals that they intend to either stop the train or � barring that --- at least ensure that companies such as Election Systems and Software (ES&S) do not profit too much from their arrogance, ineptitude and now epidemic failures.

    Legal complaints against the company were filed this week in West Virginia and Indiana to add to the one previously under way in Oregon. Threats have been heard from Texas, Arkansas, Ohio and elsewhere. Election officials have been forced to change voting procedures in many states and counties to accommodate for ES&S' growing array of failures.

    Meanwhile no one seems to be talking about the people who will be most affected by this train wreck; the voters�

    --- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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    WV County Withholds $1.2 Million Payment to Electronic Voting Machine Company
    'They Are Hiding Out,' Says County Commissioner About Previous Company Promises to Service the County
    By John Gideon on 4/28/2006 11:20am PT  

    Guest Blogged by John Gideon

    The ES&S Meltdown around the country which The BRAD BLOG exclusively covered yesterday, as the Texas Sec. of State's office informed Election Officials to "create emergency paper ballots", now continues to widen to other states around the country.

    Legal action in two more states against Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), the largest Electronic Voting Machine Company in America, has now commenced.

    In Indiana, the a formal complaint has been filed today against ES&S by the Sec. of State for failures to provide working equipment and ballots in several counties in time for early primary voting in the Hoosier State.

    In West Virginia, the County Commissioners Association announced they will be filing legal action against the company with the help of the WV Sec. of State and Attorney General's office for similar problems, some of which we reported late last night here at The BRAD BLOG. As well, one county Manager has been told to withhold payment of a $1.2 million check made out to the company until the problems are corrected.

    The Associated Press covers the developing situation in Indiana where Sec. of State Todd Rokita has filed his formal complaint against ES&S for violating state law. The Louisville (Kentucky) Courier-Journal covers it this way...

    --- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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    Company Technician Uses Old Version of Software To Program Voting Machines
    By John Gideon on 4/27/2006 8:20pm PT  

    Guest Blogged by John Gideon

    On top of Brad's earlier report today on the ES&S meltdown in Texas, and loads of other states, we find out that still more problems with ES&S have been encountered in West Virginia.

    On Thursday the Associated Press reported that a software "glitch" has delayed testing in 11 counties. The reason?

    Though electronic ballots on the ES&S iVotronic Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines are programmed and seem to recorde votes accurately during testing, it's taking six hours or more to tabulate all the results. That is a huge problem for machines sold on the premise of accuracy and speed.

    But the larger concern? "Version control". Apparently an ES&S engineer programmed the machines using outdated software. The company seems to not bother to ensure the correct version of software is being used and installed on the machines. And counties are not watching to ensure ES&S is keeping their machines current.

    Ben Beakes, the chief of staff for WV Sec. of State Betty Ireland, explained:

    "All the votes on the paper trail are correct. All the votes inside the machines are correct. It will just not recognize them when it's time to tabulate the results," Beakes said.

    That said, was the software version used federally qualified with the hardware and firmware version being used by those 11 counties? Do the states or counties even care? Maybe not but they should because not all versions of software will work with all versions of firmware. That's why there are version numbers.

    And that's just one more reason why we're headed for an electoral train wreck.

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    Director of Elections Sends Letter Authorizing Measure in Light of Latest Failure by Electronic Voting Machine Vendor
    Says Company's Performance in Most Recent - of Many Similar Incidences Around the Country - is 'Completely Unacceptable and Disturbing'
    By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2006 11:46am PT  

    On Monday, Texas Director of Elections Ann McGeehan sent a letter to all state Election Officials authorizing them to create "emergency paper ballots" in light of statewide failures by Election System & Software, Inc. (ES&S) to provide ballots in time for the state's upcoming May 13 Runoff Elections, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

    Early voting begins on Monday for those elections and counties across the state do not yet have ballots and, in many cases, programming for their optical-scan and touch-screen voting machines. ES&S has contracts with more than 140 Texas counties.

    McGeehan has instructed officials to create and number their own paper ballots, secure boxes to store them in, and hire additional workers to manually hand count ballots as an emergency procedure to deal with the rapidly deteriorating situation.

    The letter from McGeehan (posted in full exclusively at the end of this article) --- which does not mention ES&S by name, but refers to the Omaha, Nebraska-based company only as "a certified voting systems vendor" --- was sent in response to complaints from officials around the state that "programming media or, in some cases, your ballots" had not been received yet by officials.

    In a statement to the San Antonio's Express-News this morning, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff says, "It sure is exasperating...We are looking at avenues to hold them responsible for this." Bexar County is just one of more than 140 in Texas with whom ES&S has contracts.

    "They made their priorities," Wolff says, "and I think Texas certainly wasn't one of them."

    The BRAD BLOG has also received statements from officials in other states who were still more direct in expressing their frustration with the company's business practices now being described by some as including "coercion" and "threats."

    This most recent embarrassment for ES&S, the country's largest Electronic Voting Machine Vendor, is just the latest in what has now become an epidemic string of failures to meet contractual obligations in scores of states and counties across the country. The BRAD BLOG has reported on many of these troubling problems in a long series of articles in hopes of connecting the dots of those failures to illustrate and warn of the rapidly approaching E-Voting train wreck.

    So far, both the mainstream corporate media, as well as many elections officials across the country have --- to the delight of ES&S --- failed to notice the remarkably clear pattern of delinquency and failure the company has demonstrated time and again across the nation in recent weeks and months.

    Texas was plagued, during their recent March 7th Primary Election, by a host of failures in voting equipment made by both ES&S and Hart InterCivic, another voting machine vendor certified to do business in the state. Those failures on Election Day led to a statewide Election Contest filed by a former Republican Supreme Court Justice after tabulators failed and electronic ballots were misprogrammed and miscounted.

    In Jefferson County, TX officials threatened to withhold payment after the debacle until their machines were fixed by ES&S. The company, however, answered by reportedly refusing to program the machines at all for the state's upcoming Runoff Elections unless payment was made in full. The county, in a bind, was forced to comply with the strong-arm tactics.

    And now, with new elections just weeks away, officials all over the state are finding themselves --- like many other states across the country --- without the promised ballots from ES&S and scrambling for alternative solutions. Election Director McGeehan describes the situation as "completely unacceptable." Writing in her letter to Election Officials, she says:

    We recognize that this kind of service from a certified voting systems vendors [sic] is completely unacceptable and disturbing. We will be pursuing all appropriate remedies from a state level that are available to us.

    In the letter, McGeehan goes on to explain that officials should crate "emergency paper ballots" by either creating their own, or using "PDF format to print copies of the ballot" in cases were "proofs" had been previously supplied by ES&S.

    Instructions are included for number and initializing thousands of ballots by hand:

    After you print a copy of the ballot, you will need to put a ballot number at the top of the ballot beginning with the next ballot number of the last number of your original ballot order. In other words, if you ordered 15,000 ballots numbered 1-15,000, any ballots you create would be numbered beginning with the number 15,001. You will need to put your initials on the back of the ballot so you can determine it was an official ballot provided by you.

    Further, officials are instructed that they may have to manually hand count ballots that would otherwise be counted by either optical-scan systems or recorded by touch-screen voting machines.

    They are also told to create boxes for the ballot storage and find people to count them. McGeehan writes...

    --- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

    ReddIt this story!



    By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2006 11:07am PT  

    They're melting down...


    Developing...More shortly...

    ReddIt this story!



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