Ohio Postpones Destruction of 2004 Ballots

The New York Times reports that Ohio is going to delay destruction of the Presidential ballots. Critics of the Ohio election are suing to delay the destruction for several additional months alleging widespread irregularities:

“This is not about Mr. Kerry or Mr. Bush or who should be president,’’ said Bill Goodman, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York group that is part of the lawsuit. “This is about figuring out what is not working in our election system and ensuring that every cast vote counts.

“There is a gap between the numbers provided in the local level records, which until recently no one has been allowed to see, and the official final tallies that were publicly released after this election, and we want to figure out why that gap is there.”

Blackwell’s candidacy for Governor wil likely increase the attention given to the criticism of how he handled the 2004 election and will hopefully lead to an end of the system where partisan individuals are in charge of elections. This was a problem both in Ohio in 2004 and under Katherine Harris in Florida in 2000.

My bet is that a full review will show even more signs of shoddy handling of ballots, and possibly sporadic cases of outright fraud. The January 2005 report from the Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee found “massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies.” Most likely a full review will not change the conclusion that these irregularities “would not have erased Bush’s 118,000 vote margin in the state.” However it is preferable to determine this by evaluation of the data rather than by speculation. Even if the number of votes changed by such irregularities is not sufficient to change the result inn 2004 the system should be corrected before future elections.

Reviews subsequent to the 2000 election, which was officially much closer than in 2004, did show that Al Gore would have won Florida if there was either a recount of the entire state (as opposed to  the  specific counties requested by Gore) or if the overcount was considered in cases where the voter’s choice was clear. The overcount consisted of ballots where Gore’s name was  both punched and Gore’s name was also written in, leading to disqualification of the ballot for voting twice.

Carter Agrees to Speak to Former Iranian President; Right Wingers Outraged

Even if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadineja doesn’t get his chance to debate George Bush, there may still be some communication between Iran and the United States, even if limited to former Presidents. Former President Carter has agreed to speak with former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami. According to the Washington Post:

Khatami, a reformer who served as president from 1997 to 2005, is scheduled to speak at the Washington National Cathedral on Sept. 7. His schedule may include speeches at the University of Virginia and to an Islamic group in Chicago. He may also pay a private visit to Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello, according to sources familiar with his trip. He will begin his visit in New York at a U.N. conference on the dialogue of civilizations.

A conversation between Jimmy Carter and a former Iranian President is especially interesting considering that Carter lost his reelection bid largely as a consequence of the hostage crisis in Iran. Despite such potential tensions, Carter aide Phil Wise said Carter is willing to speak with him:

“President Carter, in his role since leaving the White House, has made his office and services and center available to basically anybody who wants to talk. He believes that it is much better to be talking to people who you have problems with than not to, and that’s the approach he takes now,” Wise said. “I can confirm that President Carter is open to a meeting if the former president of Iran would like to have one.”

The right wing blogoshere is not as happy about the prospect of speaking to those we have problems with. The Booman Tribune has a round up of the response. Little Green Footballs objects to Khatami even entering the country:

Giving Khatami a visa is a sheer outrage, at a time when Iran is issuing genocidal threats, sponsoring terrorism around the world, and rushing toward nuclear weapons. What the hell is wrong with our government?

I can think of a lot of things wrong with the government, but this would not top the list. Blue Crab Boulevard protests what they see as “back door diplomatic exchanges.” I wonder what they think of the alleged back door dealings between Reagan and Iran before Reagan took office, or the back door agreements which came out in the Iran Contra Scandal. Captain’s Quarters would like to see the White House “inform Carter of their intention to enforce the Logan Act.”

Yes, to them I guess it is far better to avoid communication. The Bush policy of labeling them part of the axis of evil, talking of a crusade, and starting a preemptive war next door has sure done wonders for our relations with Iran.

Bush Admits “Economy Went Into The Tank”

Brian Williams interviewed George Bush on the one year anniversary of Katrina. Crooks and Liars has the video. The 9/11 attack wound up being a major topic of discussion. Wilson asked Bush about sacrifice:

Williams: The folks who say you should have asked for some sort of sacrifice from all of us after 9/11, do they have a case looking back on it?

Bush: Americans are sacrificing. I mean, we are. You know, we pay a lot of taxes. America sacrificed when they, you know, when the economy went into the tank. Americans sacrificed when, you know, air travel was disrupted. American taxpayers have paid a lot to help this nation recover. I think Americans have sacrificed.

That’s something to consider when we see how Bush’s response to 9/11 has not only undermined our national security by strengthening al Qaeda and Iraq, but has also caused the economy to go “into the tank.” When talking about taxes, Bush failed to mention that much of the cost is being passed on to our children, and undermining our retirement accounts, due to the deficet Bush is running up.

Wilson also asked Bush about his reading. The transcript has Bush saying, “Well, I’m reading about the battle of New Orleans right now. I’ve got an eclectic reading list.” People who watched the interview are saying that it sounded like Bush said “I’ve got an epileptic reading list.” (Wonkette also heard it this way). The interview became almost incomprehensible by the end:

WILLIAMS: How have you been read wrong?

BUSH: I don’t know. I frankly don’t pay that much attention. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, but…

WILLIAMS: Still not watching television, huh?

BUSH: I watched a good baseball game.

During the interview Bush commented on how historians will be evaluating his Presidency in the future. Perhaps thay should remember that George Bush “watched a good baseball game” while “the economy went into the tank.”

Joe Lieberman vs. Elections

My Left Nutmeg has the video of this exchange:

Fox News: “Will Connecticut senator’s independent run help embattled GOP candidates?”

Joe Lieberman: “Well, they should have thought of that before they had the primary.”

I take it that he believes it is wrong for Democrats to go and try to vote him out. (More at MyDD)
In other news on Joe Lieberman, USA Today puts down the role of the blogoshere. Skippy refutes him. The Hartford Courant looks at Lieberman’s ads. David Sorota says the ads show Lieberman is out of touch.

Republicans Build A Very Tiny Tent

Republicans claim to have a big tent and are critical of Democrats for dumping Joe Lieberman, but if their moderates happen to stray we see how small their tent has really become. The authoritarian right interprets a bill signed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a sign that “the gates of hell are prevailing against the church.” WorldNet Daily reports:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has tossed out all sexual moral conduct codes at colleges, private and Christian schools, daycare centers and other facilities throughout his state, if the institutions have any students who get state assistance.The governor yesterday signed a bill that would require all businesses and groups receiving state funding — even if it’s a state grant for a student — to condone homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality.

Schwarzenegger isn’t the only moderate Republican to be attacked by the right wing today. Right Wing News presented The Conservative Case Against Rudy Giuliani In 2008 yesterday. They object to Giuliani’s views on abortion, providing this example:

“I’ve said that I’ll uphold a woman’s right of choice, that I will fund abortion so that a poor woman is not deprived of a right that others can exercise, and that I would oppose going back to a day in which abortions were illegal.

DONAHUE: Which would be to continue the pregnancy.GIULIANI: Which would be that I would help her with taking care of the baby. But if the ultimate choice of the woman – my daughter or any other woman – would be that in this particular circumstance [if she had] to have an abortion, I’d support that. I’d give my daughter the money for it.”

I do that in spite of my own personal reservations. I have a daughter now; if a close relative or a daughter were pregnant, I would give my personal advice, my religious and moral views …

They criticize him for supporting a ban on assault weapons making me surprised they didn’t take the opportunity to note that here he’s more liberal than Howard Dean. They find fault in him opposing a ban on gay marriage and the Republican’s use of gay marriage as a wedge issue: (more…)

Bush Bewildered

Maureen Dowd writes that George Bush is Begat, Bothered, Bewildered. She’s not impressed by either his visit to the Gulf or his the claims that his reading level has advanced beyond My Pet Goat:

W.’s anniversary contrition for the cameras was a more elaborate version of his famous Air Force One flyover a year ago, when he had to be shown a DVD of angry news coverage of apartheid suffering here before he belatedly and grudgingly broke off his five-week Crawford vacation.

In an interview on the Upper Ninth Ward’s desolate North Dorgenois Street, the president told NBC’s Brian Williams that, besides Camus, he had recently read a book on the Battle of New Orleans and “three Shakespeares.” A White House aide said one of them was “Hamlet.”

What could be more fitting? A prince who dithers instead of acting and then acts precipitously at the wrong moment, not paying attention when someone vulnerable drowns.

Asked by the anchor whether he was asking people in the country to sacrifice enough, he replied briskly, “Americans are sacrificing — we pay a lot of taxes.”