After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama plays the infrastructure card; Perry jumps in; Huntsman refers to EPA as 'terrorists', while all of the GOP candidates positions on science and global warming are difficult to swallow; the Summer of Records continues; PLUS: Arctic ice melting 4 times faster than predicted ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): DoE panel calls for more study on natural gas fracking; After North Sea oil spill, Shell to drill in Arctic; New GMO corn for gas, not food; Battle over new coal depot in WA; China to double solar capacity by year end; Coast Guard: Arctic oil spill response capability lacking; Record-breaking electric car gets 1000 miles on one charge; CNN FAIL on Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining; Coping With Change: can humans adapt again?; "The (Polar) Bear Facts," checked; Massive protest shuts down Chinese chemical plant; Federal judge throws out Obama drilling rules ... PLUS: Monsanto's Roundup herbicide research shows plant, soil problems ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Tempers boil over as town runs out of water while drought deepens in TX; Devastating famine spreads in East Africa; New rules for heavy trucks; Japanese officials withheld radiation information from residents; PLUS: Al Gore calls 'BULLSH**T!' --- literally --- on the Climate Change Denial industry ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Fracking: groundwater contamination documented by EPA in 1987; Koch's ALEC Conf touts 'The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment'; Australia's new carbon tax will boost jobs, revenues: study; China shuts down 583 lead-acid battery plants; U.S. invests in more solar power; TN nuke plant shut down due to hot river; Japan withheld radiation data, leaving evacuees in peril; 'Brave' Fukushima workers expect to 'die within weeks'; Israel to build $423m desalination plant; Consumers get a break on gas prices; St. Louis to pay $5B to repair sewers; Last of the Lobstermen: Chasing a vanishing treasure... PLUS: BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ FAKES test in order to criticize electric cars...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Summer of Floods, Summer of Fires: today's unlucky town is Minot, ND; Bad news for US nukes; Sea level rise accelerating; PLUS: Al Gore slams Obama on climate change, Fox "News" gets all confused ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Can nuclear waste storage co-exist with nearby oil & gas drilling?; Drilling co. sells kids on fracking with new coloring book; Google hits $780M in total clean energy investing; Seafood processors accused of violations; Conservative group sues NASA for climate scientist's records; How livable streets make us happier humans; Answers from the E. coli outbreak in Germany; Are architects the change agents for the new Green Economy?; GOP House votes to weaken Clean Air permits for oil-drillers; Transocean blames BP for Gulf Oil Spill Disaster; Canada opposes labeling Asbestos as hazardous; DoD plans large-scale integration of electric vehicles; Civil Disobedience in DC this summer to stop the Keystone XL tar sands p pipeline; Congress: Let's just rename it the "Dirty Water Act" ... PLUS: Which cities can best adapt to climate change? (Congrats, Cleveland!) ...
Please see RAW STORY for the whole story, but Bush's former White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer pulled a slick, if sleazy maneuver on CNN's Larry King Live last night while undermining the wingnut "birthers" who believe that Obama is not a U.S. citizen:
I want to point out something that is a terrible hypocrisy about all of this. When George Bush was elected, there were many people who called him illegitimate and said that he lost Florida despite there being no evidence of that being the case.
Actually, there is "evidence of that being the case," Ari. Plenty of it. Beginning (but not ending) with this years-old independent study [PDF] by a media/academic consortium posted at the "conservative" American Enterprise Institute showing that when all the ballots in the state of Florida were counted --- by any standard (hanging chads, swing chads, pregnant chads, etc.) --- Bush lost and Gore won. By. Every. Conceivable. Counting. Standard. Period.
Other than that, yeah, "for everyone...who's a little lulu on the right, there's about 1.8 who's lulu on the left," as Fleischer misled.
Dishonest Moral Equivalence Accomplished.
The video from the 10/6/09 Larry King Live, also featuring whacky Rep. Michele Bachmann's evasion of whether the "birthers" are crazy or not, is posted below...
I don't mind admitting it. For an Election Integrity journalist, HBO's Recount is pure pornography. Anticipation for Sunday's Memorial Day premiere showing was at the top of last weekend's holiday agenda. And the excitement grew still more late Friday when the good folks of PDA Florida made my week (my month? my year? my last four eight years?) by sending me an actual Palm Beach County "CES Votomatic III" voting booth, one which they tell me was among the 24 used in HBO's film itself.
Since I have a very difficult time paying the bills around here --- contrary to popular opinion, election integrity blogging isn't the windfall it might otherwise appear --- perhaps I'll consider the kind gift a reward for my too-many years on this beat. Though perhaps my consolation prize would be a better way to look at it.
When I first opened it, actual chads (HBO's film advises the plural of "chad" is actually "chad") from the 2000 election spilled out of the machine all over the office floor. The gods of democracy and the goddess of the Butterfly Ballot were taunting me. I rather enjoyed it. I learned long ago that I'd have little choice.
So it was with great anticipation that I sat down on Sunday night to watch the film as it premiered, along with the "Diebold Document Whistleblower" (and my new colleague at VelvetRevolution.us) Steven Heller and his wife, and Robert Carillo Cohen, one of the filmmakers of HBO's landmark documentary, the Emmy-nominated Hacking Democracy which enjoyed a re-airing earlier in the day, as the cable net set the stage for its newest democracy thriller/heart-breaker, Recount.
None of us, including Heller, who anticipated hating the fictionalized re-telling of America's crushing democratic abortion of 2000, would be disappointed...
Not really. But it's a damned funny headline. And it's probably accurate "enough" for the New York Times, where accuracy doesn't much matter anymore, apparently.
We'll have some of our own thoughts very soon on Recount, which we much enjoyed over the holiday weekend. Until then, our preview of the new HBO film, filed before we finally got to see it when in premiered Sunday night, is posted here.
But it's worth noting, for the moment, that the New York Times, the disgraced "Paper of Record," even today persists in misreporting the story of the 2000 Florida Election debacle. As Larry Beinhart documents today at Smirking Chimp:
"In 2001 painstaking postmortems of the Florida count, one by The New York Times and another by a consortium of newspapers, concluded that Mr. Bush would have come out slightly ahead, even if all the votes counted throughout the state had been retallied."
-- Alessandra Stanley, New York Times, May 23, 2008 in a review of the HBO television movie, Recount
That's not true.
The New York Times did not do its own recount. It did participate in a consortium. Here's what they actually said:
"If all the ballots had been reviewed under any of seven single standards, and combined with the results of an examination of overvotes, Mr. Gore would have won, by a very narrow margin."
-- Ford Fessenden And John M. Broder, New York Times, November 12, 2001
Why did Ms. Stanley make such an important and fundamental error?
It is not a trivial matter. It is a common piece of misinformation. Many, many people believe it. Now a few more do, as a result of Ms. Stanley's review.
It is not a trivial matter. Because that misinformation was created by one of the most bizarre, and still completely unexplained, journalistic events in modern times.
Here's what happened.
Read Beinhart's piece for the remarkable details in what really is one of the "most bizarre, and still completely unexplained, journalist events in modern times." Unfortunately, he doesn't include links in his coverage (please add them if you can, Larry!), but for the doubters, here's the report [PDF] showing that Al Gore did, in fact, receive more votes in Florida in 2000 than George W. Bush. That, despite the stunningly contrary headlines, as Beinhart shows, from almost every paper that reported on that complete state count. Even the papers who bothered to report --- if you read them closely enough --- that Gore received more votes than Bush, still used inexplicably misleading headlines for the story.
Given the wholly inaccurate claim, as includied in their review of Recount, it would appear that NYTimes is intent on simply ensuring the matter is inaccurately reported forever. We'll remember to keep that, and their year-long front page pre-Iraq War-mongering, in mind next time we're inevitably told by some wingnut on the radio, just how "liberal" the NYTimes is.
Pollack had been slated to direct Recount originally, but was forced to bow out due to being diagnosed with cancer last August. He lived, at least, long enough to see Recount premiered on Sunday night on HBO. He had stayed on with the production as Executive Producer.
Given his great sense of humor, we'd like to believe he would well have appreciated the satirical headline above.
"The recount never really happened," notes Kevin Spacey, correctly, about the 2000 Florida election debacle in his interview Wednesday night on Countdown, in advance of Recount, HBO's theatrical retelling of the nightmare. The film premieres this Sunday.
Some weeks ago, we ran an item which included the theatrical trailer for the film and noted that we've neither seen it, nor been contacted by anybody from the production (they didn't purchase an ad here either, boo hoo) but that they did manage to use our "Stuck in the Middle With You" theme song for the film, curiously enough, as you'll see in the trailer. We'll take it as a compliment, as if we have a choice.
We also noted, with evidence, that Al Gore received more votes than George W. Bush in the state of Florida in 2000, and that seven whistleblowers from the company, Sequoia Voting Systems, who produced the paper ballots for Florida, have come forward to reveal that they were forced by someone to use bad paper on those ballots (only in Florida) against their objections, and to misalign the chads on them (only in Palm Beach County). To this day, other than Dan Rather at HDNet, who originally ran the report, nobody in the corporate media has found that story worthy of following up, or even merely reporting.
But for the third in our countdown of productions with the word "count" in its title, we turn to our friend Mary Mancini, who smartly blogs at the website of the documentary film Uncounted (We're in it, so see FULL DISCLOSURE at end of this article). Mancini notes that Olbermann, during his interview with Spacey (at left, including clip from film), joined so many other journalists who have taken the opportunity of the premiere of HBO's film to miss more than a few good journalistic opportunities...
With all the publicity surrounding this movie, now would be the perfect time for journalists to take the national conversation to the next level and ask the most logical follow up questions:
1) Why wasn’t our electoral process equipped, as Kevin Spacey says in the interview, “to handle margins of victory so small and margins of error so big” in 2000?
2) Are we equipped to do so now?
Another great opportunity was lost last night when during the interview Spacey explains the punch-card recount process:
That when you have a margin of victory so small, you have to go to what is called an automatic machine recount and yet, 18 counties, over 1,500,00 votes, didn’t bother to put their ballots back through the machine. They just re-tabulated the memory card, and you always get a different count when you do a machine recount. So, when you kind of realize that, well, that’s ’cause people just couldn’t bother to do it, um, it’s pretty stunning that…that…so..when Baker and Bush kept coming out and saying, “The votes have been counted, and they’ve been counted again, and Gore wants to count them a third time,” they were actually never counted.
No, they weren't. And the Supreme Court demanded that they remain uncounted, so Bush could be named "President."
Only the media and academic consortium who actually did bother to count all of those ballots [PDF] afterwards in Florida would know that Gore received more votes than Bush. Period. Even if they've done a superb job of keeping that little fact to themselves ever since. Whether HBO's Recount tells that truth, we'll have to wait until Sunday to find out.
Following below, for your convenience, are both the HBO trailer for Recount and, once again, the breathtaking Dan Rather report on the gaming of the paper ballots in Florida's 2000 election...
We've never been contacted by the makers of HBO's upcoming Recount film, which promises to be a theatrical re-telling of the 2000 Presidential Election Debacle in Florida. Yet, we'll chalk it up to one helluva/swelluva coincidence, that the preview for the film, as seen below, happens to use The BRAD BLOG's own personal "theme song," Stuck in the Middle With You. Go figure...
HBO's film begins airing May 25, and while we hate to give away the ending, Al Gore won [PDF].
Of course, that's only if one bothers to count all of the ballots actually successfully cast (if not counted) in the state of Florida, as a media and academic consortium did, as seen at the link above, revealing that by every possible chad-counting standard (hanging, pregnant, swinging, etc.) Al Gore received more votes than George W. Bush. Period.
That might help to explain why Bush had to go to his friends on the Supreme Court to get them not to allow the ballots to be counted, in one of the most remarkably liberal acts of judicial activism, undercutting states' rights, in the history of this nation.
But we're guessing the film has that other, less accurate ending, implying that Bush actual "won" Florida (which he didn't).
In either case, since the myths of the FL 2000 election are likely to be re-debated afresh with the release of HBO's film, we wanted to a) Offer the link above (showing that Gore received more votes in FL than Bush) and b) Remind you, and the entirety of the corporate mainstream media, which ignored it when the following report first aired, that the chads on those ballots in Florida hung for a reason. As 7 former employees of Sequoia Voting Systems, the company which produced FL's paper ballots in 2000, attest on-camera, they were forced by company superiors to use inferior paper for those ballots, only the ones going to Florida, and were further ordered to misalign the chads on those paper ballots, but only for those going to Dem stronghold Palm Beach County.
That, after decades of producing ballots which never featured a hanging chad.
If you've yet to see it, here's the mind-blowing section of Dan Rather's remarkable HDNet report which aired last summer, but was picked up by absolutely nobody in the CMSM thereafter. If you can't watch the following, the transcript is posted here. But if you've not seen this one yet, please prepare to be amazed, and appalled...
From an article in Fortune out today, on Al Gore's work with venture capitalists and the environment. He refuses to close the door on a White House run, even now...
Is there a chance he'll jump into the race? "It's a luxury to be able to focus on what you are most passionate about all the time," he says. When asked to elaborate he adds, "Casting about for words to describe this with precision is less productive than just saying that what I'm doing feels like the right thing to do." So the answer is probably not, though like any good politician, he's left the door open.
Last week we reported that a CBS poll finds Al Gore trailing Hilary Clinton by just 5% in the Presidential Primary race and is ahead of all of the others, even though he's not officially on the ballot.
Last month we reported that a Zogby "blind bio" poll of Republicans found that some unknown guy --- Ward Casscells --- who's not even running, led the Republican candidate field among GOP voters when no names, just summarized resumes, were given for each candidate polled.
Yesterday, Zogby released the results of their Democratic "blind bio" poll, showing that Al Gore is, hands down, in front of the pack with 35% support. His closest rival was Hillary Clinton at 24%.
Also in the poll, 60% of Dem voters would consider voting for someone other than the current slate of candidates, based on dissatisfaction with the positions on the Iraq War by the current official crop. 65% said they'd be open to supporting a new candidate based on the current candidates' global climate change positions...
Zogby Poll: Al Gore Leads Top Tier Dems in 'Blind Bio' Poll
Survey finds most Democratic likely voters would consider a new candidate given the current field’s views on Iraq and global climate change
A Zogby International “blind bio” telephone poll shows that former Vice President Al Gore is favored over the current Democratic frontrunners by likely Democratic Party voters nationwide – particularly among liberal Democrats.
When Democratic likely voters were given brief biographical descriptions of the top three Democratic candidates – New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards – along with the biography of Gore, the former Vice President won 35% support, while Clinton won 24%, Obama won 22%, and Edwards trailed with 10% support. Gore’s bio was the top choice of both men (39%) and women (31%), and also most favored by younger voters. Self-described liberal Democrats strongly favored Gore’s bio (43%) over Clinton (21%), Edwards (17%) and Obama (12%). The bio selections of moderate Democrats closely mirror the choices of likely Democratic voters overall, with 36% giving the greatest preference to Gore’s bio.
(CBS/WBEN) - Hillary Clinton continues to be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president, and many voters say they’ll consider supporting her in November 2008 if she becomes the Democratic nominee.
Still, there are obstacles. Many voters think a Hillary Clinton presidency will divide the country rather than unite it. And when Al Gore is added to the list of Democratic candidates, he trails by only five points.
Although he has not declared his candidacy, this poll indicates that were he to enter the race, Al Gore could be a serious contender. Near the end of this questionnaire, his name was added to a short list of candidates vying for the nomination. He came in second among Democratic primary voters at 32% – just five points behind Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama trailed behind them in third place with 16% percent.
We note that his favorable/unfavorable rating among registered Democrats in this poll is currently at 46/29. That's better than than any of the others in the race (Clinton: 26/63 *43/41, Obama: 38/24, Edwards: 30/30)
* UPDATE/ED NOTE 10/27/07: WBEN's favorable/unfavorable numbers for Clinton were incorrect, according to CBS's original numbers [PDF]. Gore still has the best favorable/unfavorable rating of all the Democratic candidates among all registered voters. However, WBEN's contention that Clinton's fave/unfave is at 26/63 is entirely wrong. It's 43/41, as we've now noted above. Their incorrect numbers on her, for that question, seem to be taken from an entirely different question in the poll. At least that's our best guess. Details on all of that now follow below...
Hapless Democratic strategist Bob Shrum's comments on this morning's Meet The Press are fascinating in their own right but have added resonance considering U.S. House candidate John Russell's Guest Post early today, concerning last November's Florida elections. Shrum believes (and allegedly Gore too) that Gore won Florida and the 2000 election. He also tells an interesting story about Gore joking about Bush getting caught cheating the day before the election. Cheating, elections, Florida, seems like an epidemic.
Takin' it easy today (at least as far as you know) after a brutally exhausting and often dispiriting week. Whether or not that led to a different mood today during my weekly guest appearance on the Peter B. Collins Show I can't tell you.
Either way, as Guest Hosted today by our friend Tony Trupiano, we covered a few things I haven't gotten to speak much about lately, and also received an important good news update from caller "Chris in Salinas." Turns out action taken by Chris over the past week, after finding something troubling in a recent special election in Monterey County, CA, has led to a happy conclusion that will effect all voters in Monterey, and perhaps across this entire state.
That story --- and much else of what we chatted about on the show --- again, underscores the need for citizens to take control of their democracy because it will not be either the media or the government who restores our country. It will be you.
UPDATE: "Chris from Salinas" writes in to comments below with more details on precisely what happened in Monterey County, the action he took, and the changes that were made because of. Useful if you haven't been able to listen to the audio above (which I still recommend, in any case).
While it served, for me at least, as a reminder of his very good humor --- which I always found him to have, even when he was, in my opinion, tarred by opponents/media as being stiff, wooden, and humorless --- it also served to remind that he's still Al Gore. Meaning, he still describes everything as if he's speaking to first-graders, which, although also opportunistically used against him by opponents, is still an issue available to them should he decide to run again. As are most things such folks used against him in the past. Just to keep that in mind.
But with Democrats sure to take a well-deserved pummeling for their ill-considered capitulation to Bush over Iraq War funding, the choices currently available to Democrats for 2008 remain grim indeed, even if some consolation can be taken from a John Edwards statement yesterday in which he said, "After tonight, one thing is now perfectly clear: No one else is going to end this war for us. Bush will not listen. Congress will not fight. There's no one left to lead the country now but we the people."
Then again, those are just words in an email to supporters. So with that said, here's today's question: