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Question: what do Suhas Rao and the recent Republican voter ID (read: voter suppression) laws in PA, FL and elsewhere have in common?

Answer: both involve cheating by the perpetrators in question.

With the brazen Republican attempts to suppress by legal means as many Democratically inclined voters as possible, the cheating aspect is obvious.  (You'll note that not a single Democratic governor has tried to push anything comparable.)  However, some of you may wonder who Suhas Rao is.  If you listen to NPR's All Things Considered 2 days back, you've actually heard about what he did recently, though in a story that didn't mention his name.  The SNLC title gives it away, namely that....

....Rao cheated at the National Scrabble Tournament this week, and was caught red-handed.  ATC talked about it here, with Stefan Fatsis in conversation with Melissa Block.  The nature of the cheating was that:

"What he's accused of, is squirreling away the blank tiles before the start of a game."
Just before that, Fatsis said:
"Well, I'm not going to name the player because he is a student. He's a youth."
Well, someone else took the trouble of naming the name, at this blog post.  Fatsis also noted what happened to Rao:
"....he was immediately ejected from the tournament. He'll be suspended from playing in tournament SCRABBLE for a long, long time."
Rao's Scrabble Association page is here.  He competed earlier this year in the National School Scrabble Championship, as noted at the Wake County (NC) Public School System page here.  Results from a recent School Scrabble Academy competition are here.

One sense of how players at the tournament were repulsed by this behavior is shown by Fatsis' further comment:

"The kids were very upset because it's one of their own, and it's hard for them to understand why someone would do something like this. The cheating episode occurred yesterday afternoon, and word spread throughout the room immediately. And the mood was one of disgust, that this kind of behavior would occur; and sadness that this poor kid is going to have to deal with this very, very hard lesson on ethics and integrity when competing.

To give you a sense of how players feel about cheating, the award ceremony concluded a short a while ago. The player who caught the kid cheating - who caught the kid setting aside the two blank tiles - received a standing ovation when his name was announced."

Compared to the Repuke voter suppression campaign, this cheating incident is trivial, of course.  But Rao's action is symptomatic of the "win by any means" mentality that is all too common in US society.  Hence Romney's continual stream of lies, too thick to keep track of, about President Obama and the Democrats, and the Republican-led voter ID/Democratic voter suppression measures brazenly designed to tamp down Democratic votes and deliver swing states to the Romney/Ryan Road to Ruin ticket.  Not that we're saints ourselves, but as I said, there is no comparable Democratic attempt at suppressing Republican votes.  Wouldn't it be nice if the lamestream media, not to mention honest Republicans (yes, such people do exist, but they don't get heard much above teabagger nastiness that's the current Repuke mainstream), had the integrity of the great majority of Scrabble players?  Yeah, dream on.....

With that, time for the usual SNLC protocol, namely your loser stories of the week.  Bonus points if they're Scrabble-related ;-P .....

Originally posted to chingchongchinaman on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 08:44 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  so, speaking of Scrabble and losing..... (16+ / 0-)

    .....got trounced by one guy who not only got a bingo (i.e. used all 7 letters in one shot), he got the Q & Z, not to mention more than his share of high value letters (K, W, V).  Self lost by 150+ points.  This is not fun.

    "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

    by chingchongchinaman on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 08:43:53 PM PDT

  •  In a rare defense of the Republicans. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shari, Youffraita, Chi

    They aren't cheating, not in the way Rao did, not by breaking any rules.  They followed the rules to change the rules to benefit themselves.  They didn't squirrel anything away under the table; they did it in full plain view.  Their opponents, the Democratic Party and its candidates, did very little to thwart it and has been strangely sanguine about it.  

    Yes, I know, you don't like it, I don't like it, and I'm sure the voters in the effected states might not like it.  But where has The Party been on this?  I've seen lots of complaints on MSNBC and on DailyKos.  I've heard hardly anything from the Democratic Leadership or the DNC about this.  In a way, I wish we voters weren't part of this so the Democratic politicians who should have been leading the charge against this could lose their jobs because of their laziness.

    So I find myself in the position of not blaming the Republicans for doing what they're doing.

    •  No way can I defend that behaviour. (8+ / 0-)

      That is the "if you did't stop me from doing it, it's your own fault" defense.

      I reject that. Now I am not about to cause a church roof to fall in when I walk through the door, but I do believe in the Ten Commandments. Specifically, Thou shall not steal and Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

      More and more we are finding that people just do not care and seem to be running under the "if you didn't stop me, it's your fault" defense.  

      We own a marina and RV park. The launch ramp has been on the honor system forever. This spring, we discovered an ever increasing problem with folks launching and not paying. Our sign says, if you launch early or late, just come into the marina store to pay when you come back. It became blatant. Horribly so when I witnessed a truck/boat worth about 60K, guys about my age 52, unlaunch their boat, screw around for about a half an hour, use our showerhouse bathroom and jump in and drive off at 1pm on a Friday
      afternoon! So, we started tagging vehicles with a carbonless receipt with the date, vehicle description, license plate and a simple note, please pay at marina office. A few of our regular launchers were pissed. I had to explain to them that some folks felt that paying was optional.

      Often, folks will come in to camp and arrive after we close. We tell them to get a space and come into the office the next morning to register and pay. We also tell that to folks who arrive right before we close, (oftentimes, they have been on the road for a long time). Just come on in, get settled and check in tomorrow morning. Most folks are very grateful for that, and do exactly that.

      This past week offered a story that really just made me question humanity. A guy called and said he had stayed with us before and had a number of RV's coming in for a job lasting 4+ months. Lets call him RV1. He said they would be there on Monday and another eight RV's would be
      coming in. RV1 shows up very late Monday night. RV2 and RV3 show up late Tuesday afternoon. RV3 comes down to the office and decides to go monthly and pays space rent & deposit. RV1 and RV2 have yet to check in. Not worried - we are closed on Wednesday. And take off to an event up in Sacramento that afternoon, get home about 10pm Wednesday night. Open up Thursday morning, RV1 and RV2 are GONE! WTF? The wife in RV3 calls the office mid morning about something unrelated, and states, RV1 and
      RV2 didn't get hired for the job. Since I do not want to put RV3 on the spot, I think to myself - sure hope the hell they will call with a credit card when they stop for the night.

      The day goes by, a long time extended stay customer gets home from work, comes down to the store and says - WHERE ARE MY GUYS?? Meaning RV1 and RV2. I told him I did not know. He asked, did they pay their space rent? I said no and repeated the story from RV3. Little did I know, that customer represents the company that hired RV1, RV2
      and RV3. He drove down to RV3 and told the guy, you tell RV1 and RV2 if they do not show up to pay the owners of this park for the days  they stayed by the time they close tonight, you will get a pink slip when you show up tomorrow. DH and I had no way of knowing this happened.

      When we went to close, here comes RV1 and RV2. Comes into the store loudly annoucing, - you LIED to us!!! DH and I were totally blindsided, we do not lie to our customers.

      Bottom line, RV1 and RV2 decided to stay at another park. Fine. They decided to take advantage of our generiosity in not making then check in immediately by leaving when we were closed and not there. RV3 tried to cover for them by stating they were not hired for the job. We told RV3 that if they did not want to stay, fine. OH NO, we are staying. So I hold onto this out of state check for a week. Finally
      on Tuesday, I take it to the bank. While I am at the bank, RV3 comes up and says they are leaving. sigh.

      I could go on. But this is my loser story of the week and my
      assertation that people are getting wierder and wieirder and
      will screw each other in a heartbeat. And that is a very bad
      thing for our society.

      So tonight, I had a late arrival camper, 1/2 hour before we closed. I drove down on the golf cart said Hi. Where I would have said, get settled in and come check in tomorrow, I said, instead of walking up the hill, hop on the golf cart and we will get you checked in.

      sigh. That sucks.

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 10:10:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, that is sucky behavior. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Youffraita, oculus, Chi

        I can't compare that to the REpublicans, though.  There's no sign there saying they can't do it that way.  You know, if you go to the supermarket, and there's a sign that says Express Lane 10 Items Or Less Only, and you go through with eleven, whether or not they stop you, that's cheating, at least to some degree.  Here, there's not even that.  There's just some vague expectation of civility.

        I really do think this is a problem with the Democratic Party, not them.  You know that if we tried to do something like this to them -- all of it by the rules, within the rules -- that they would raise hell to stop us.  

        What the hell is wrong with the people running this party?

        •  it's a problem on both sides, but more on the..... (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dumbo, Youffraita, oculus, Chi, ladybug53, mrsgoo

          ......Republicans' side for doing the wrong thing in the 1st place.  That's mrsgoo's point.  It's sort of an unspoken assumption that it's always up to the good guys to fight back, rather than bad guys not doing bad stuff in the 1st place.

          "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

          by chingchongchinaman on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 11:03:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's an adversarial process. (5+ / 0-)

            Like a civil court trial.  You have attorney for the plaintiff, attorney for the defendant, and the judge.  Both attorneys try to win.

            Both sides try to do things that they shouldn't in the process of doing what they think is best for their clients.  They both test the edges a little of what is acceptable in the knowledge that the judge will stop them when they go too far.  

            But what good is that whole system if the defense attorney doesn't raise an objection to the judge or if he doesn't batter the other guy's witnesses until the judge wakes up?

            I'm not trying to be an argumentative asshole.  There's a real point here.  There's something wrong with our side.  Every time we complain and seethe over them doing what a partisan faction does, but we don't do anything to stop them or fight back in kind, we're losers.  It's a big problem.

          •  yep. whatever happened to doing the right thing? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chingchongchinaman

            Seems to be out the window nowdays in every aspect of life.

            if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

            by mrsgoo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:05:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well, it's still around, in most everyday..... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mrsgoo

              .....activity, perhaps the more banal transactions of life, at least IMHO.

              "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

              by chingchongchinaman on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:43:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Heh, I did that... (7+ / 0-)

          with regard to the express line.  In my own defense, I had a basket NOT a cart, and it was fifteen items...I might have made it, if not for the cans of cat food.

          Anyway, there was no line & I asked the cashier if it was okay (they have a lot of self-check lanes but I wanted cash back & the other cashier lanes all had people with shopping carts piled full -- who shops on Wednesday morning?  geez) and he said sure.

          Didn't realize I had that much stuff...but a lot of it WAS cat food.

          To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

          by Youffraita on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 11:04:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Scrubbing voter roles may be legal (4+ / 0-)

      but is clearly cheating. I agree with your larger point. Why are we always playing catch-up on this issue?

      "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

      by Chi on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 04:10:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reading more Schoenberg Theory of Harmony. (6+ / 0-)

    Getting close to the point where I'll start skimming, because the long cosmic diatribes are getting annoying.  My personal impression of Schoenberg the man has declined since I started reading this.  The other book of his I read, Fundamentals of Composition, was an excellent easy to read text book. However, it was written later in his career after he'd been teaching for a while.  This book is like a drunken tirade, where every other paragraph is him railing against his inferiors.  

    I read most of Tchaikovsky's book on Harmony, the one he wrote and used at Moscow University.  It was easier, more vanilla, much better organized and straight forward, and doesn't waste any time, but it goes on and on to ridiculous lengths about avoiding parallel fifths.  I finally got fed up with that and skipped ahead.

    My computer has been dead since we had a power blackout Monday.  I'm really bumed out over it.  Using my brother's laptop, which doesn't have all my stuff on it or my bookmarks.  I've felt too wiped out by the heat to begin the process of stripping it down to find out what's wrong.  I opened it and pushed all the usual suspect cables and connections with no results.  I hope it's not the power supply again, which would make sense if it was somehow a result of the blackout.  I had a surge protector on it, but they don't really offer that much protection.

    •  how long is that Arnold S. book? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, Youffraita, oculus, ladybug53

      Haven't tried to find it, mind you.  Of course, I'm just past the middle of an 1100+ page novel, so who am I to talk.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:28:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  450 pages and I'm on page 45. (4+ / 0-)

        The beginning is very dense.  I'm hoping it will pick up after he finishes getting his grievances off his chest, but I'm losing faith in that.

        I have a few different harmony theory books here, and I don't find any of them that good.  Dim7 chords, for instance, usually aren't broached until about 200 pages in in most of these books, which is crazy bullshit.  From a certain working-your-way-up-from-the-basics POV I can see why they choose to do it that way, but I think that's a big waste of the reader's time.  Also, the discussions that I've read about how to modulate (one of the reasons I started reading these) are really crappy.  For instance, the emphasis on using pivot chords.

        What's a pivot chord?  Well, if you want to go from C major to E major, you might use a pivot chord to get there.  A pivot chord is built off three notes common to both scales.  Well, nice idea.  Not very useful in practice, and it's not how Mozart does it.  Mozart likes to set up a pattern.  (in first key) dada DUM dada DUM dada DUM (changes key) dada DUM (in new key) and it sounds very natural because the pattern sets up your expectation so it sounds very clever and natural, even though it makes an absurd chromatic leap.  

        What I would like would be a harmony cookbook with tricks from getting from one place to another.  I've discovered a few tricks on my own over the years, but I don't find anything like them in the books.

        For instance, half-dims love to go up a tritone.  A C halfdim7 chord just loves to go to F# major  (Dapnis et Chloe's intro is repetitions of that over and over again and that's what gives it its particular sound.  

        What would be nice is if there was a book that accumulated all the cool tricks and observations like that in a useful non-heirchical way without belaboring the pompous top-down educational model.

        •  there probably is such a book, but..... (0+ / 0-)

          ......it would also probably be really hard to find.  No doubt some obscure music prof has done it.

          "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

          by chingchongchinaman on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:19:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A couple of minor fails this week. (7+ / 0-)

    Sister wanted me to get rid of the most comfortable chair on the back deck. It failed catastrophically a couple of days ago dropping me on my butt. Right in the pride. I was not otherwise injured.

    I'm also experiencing tubes fail. It is obvious that my router is not long for my world. Five times today when a normally fast site refuses to load the corrective measure is to reboot the router without moving anything by even a tiny fraction of a millimeter. I'm trying to rule out cables and connections.

    Cheating at Scrabble counts as an epic fail.

  •  After Being Thrown Out of my Career of the 21st (8+ / 0-)

    century by our 2-party outsourcing, I resorted to turning my recreational hobby of dried grass art of the 7th century BCE into my new 21st century career.

    Unfortunately, dead grass is actually smarter than the average bear.

    I thought I might've figured out one of its deceptions this afternoon, so I spent my Saturday night losers' time setting up a test of Gooserock versus dead grass.

    Intrade says it's dead grass by 10 lengths.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:51:09 PM PDT

  •  Got home from work and (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, oculus, shari, chingchongchinaman

    Ellid's Books So Bad They're Good was at the top of the Rescue list.  This week's topic was (paraphrase) Would-Be Erotica of the Sixties & Seventies.

    I always read Ellid's BSBTG b/c she's such a funny writer.

    But, loser I, I couldn't think of anything to contribute except this:

    in reply to someone who mentioned the book Woody Allen is riffing on.

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 11:15:06 PM PDT

  •  Loser story: I had a ticket for (6+ / 0-)

    Igudesman & Joo  but, when I arrived at the concert venue, I realized my VISA card was missing from my purse, so I started making calls, put a hold on the card, and just decided to go home.  Apparently this duo is extremely funny.  Venue was sold out.  

  •  Kid is 13? Scrabble? Naming him was wrong. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chingchongchinaman
    •  I can see your point (0+ / 0-)

      Had I stuck with just the NPR feature, I wouldn't have known the kid's name.  However, in the comments section, someone posted it, so the cat was out of the bag.  It wasn't then hard to use 'teh Google' to dig up more about his past Scrabble performances.  Plus, from reading Fatsis' remarks, word about this incident got around at the tournament fast.  If nothing else, the people sitting around the kid would have immediately known, of course.  But it is a tricky situation, to be sure, what to do regarding disclosure, unless the organizers would somehow have gotten the word out to the other competitors not to say anything anywhere.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:31:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I had a long day (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chingchongchinaman

    at a niece's outdoor wedding so I went to bed early, again.

    It was perfect weather and a lovely day to remember this winter.

    Best wishes!

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:15:43 AM PDT

    •  congratulations to your niece (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cfk

      I would expect that the day was long :) .  Extensive driving back and forth was presumably part of it.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:25:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Question: how did he gain access to the tiles? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chingchongchinaman

    "I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong." Richard Feynman

    by leema on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 05:16:01 PM PDT

    •  must have been when the tiles first got..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leema

      .....distributed, or just in the course of the round(s).

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 07:45:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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