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December 31, 2005

Ben Gets Really Angry at Sharkansky

'Why Politics Are Not Good For My Health' is the title of a post that my generally even-tempered friend, Ben, has put up on his tech-oriented blog. Jon and I are issuing him an invitation to post here directly in the future when he has political issues on his mind but in the meantime here is the post in it's entirety: 

Ok, if there’s one thing that gets me completely riled up, it’s Seattle’s very own unimaginably self-obsessed local jackass Stefan Sharkansky.

For those unfamiliar with him, he played the role of GOP media point man during the 2004-2005 Washington State Governor’s recount via his local conservative blog, Sound Politics.

Now, there’s plenty of tools on the Internet, right-wing and otherwise, so why, oh why, do I choose to get so riled up about this particular tool? Well, it has to do with his assertion that all of his conclusions are somehow based upon his skills as a “data guy”. Now, most people when faced with someone who claims to be a “data guy” are a bit put-off because they aren’t technical. So he seems to wield his meager technical skills as some sort of badge of honor because they give him a little bit of credibility.

His technical skills are not exactly something to brag about. As evidence of this, I give you exhibit A: Personal Fund.com, the sum total of his online technical resume before become Dino Rossi’s personal asskisser. It’s a really sad site, complete with a “News” section that has a mysterious 2-year gap between November 2003 and November 2005.

Another example of his dubious “data guy” experience is his pathetic “Voter Database” (found here). It’s about as simple as you can get and does absolutely nothing to reveal anything interesting about the data. What is this supposed to do? Allow enraged Republicans to check to see if their liberal neighbors aren’t supposed to vote? This is junior high school-level programming.

But the most glaring example of how he doesn’t deserve the term “data guy” is very simple: the GOP lost the election recount. For those of you who think that the recount was won because of fraud are simply wrong; it was won because a whole hell of a lot of smart Democrats worked their asses off to make sure that every single vote that could be counted was counted. This includes lawyers, canvassers and, yes, data guys like me. If the GOP had spent more time on how to actually win and less time on how to pump up their talk-radio ratings, they would have won. But they didn’t, and it’s because Sharkansky and his cadre of misinforming goons simply weren’t smart enough to win.

Sharkansky is not a data guy. He’s a third-rate programmer who likes living in the limelight of notoriety more than he likes putting technology to work for the causes he supports. And now, with the release of the first version of Washington’s Statewide Voter Database, he’ll no doubt write a series of misleading posts about how he, with his superior database-fu, has managed to uncover some kind of massive fraud perpetrated by Seattle liberals, only to have his claims shot down a few days later by grown-ups who know better.

I’ve put in a request for access to the new database as well, and I’ll be fact-checking every little thing he says.

Also, I’d like to add that I’m a very fair guy, with very little ego. There are pieces of my own technologies which could be picked apart and shown to be amateurish in the light of day. So, if anyone has anything to say in Sharkansky’s defense, I will read them with an open mind.

Posted by Lynn Allen on December 31, 2005 at 09:18 AM in Inside Baseball, Media | Permalink

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