By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2007, 6:19pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis...

Last night's event out here in Kirkwood, sponsored by Missourians for Honest Elections, was terrific. A packed house, and a bunch of fired up folks --- hopefully ready to go out and fight for their democracy --- by the time we were done, I do believe. Speaking of "fired up," I was particularly honored to have ace bloggers, reporters, muckrakers Thomas Charles and Howard Beale from the Fired Up! Missouri blog in the house.

As well, between my remarks and the Q&A period, I was informed that a full contingent of officials from the City of St. Louis Board of Elections had come out as well. Though I offered them the opportunity to respond at the top of the Q&A to any of my comments, e.g., "tell me where I was full of it," they all declined, saying instead they had "just come to listen." After encouraging them to bring a lawsuit against Diebold (the voting machine vendor foolishly relied upon in the city of St. Louis) for fraud, we moved on to some great questions from the very enthusiastic group of folks who turned out on another sweltering St. Louis evening. Afterwards, one of the Republican members of the St. Louis City BoE bothered to come up, introduce himself, and swap business cards. Which is very much appreciated.

I'm told that the Democrats on the board are also appointed by Republican Governor Matt Blunt (former SoS and ACVR founder/scammer Thor Hearne's partner in crime), so it's said that they may or may not be actual Democrats. I'll stay agnostic, since I don't know either way, and just appreciative that they bothered to come and at least one came by afterwards to make contact.

On the other hand, Thor Hearne, Paul DiGregorio (former St. Louis County Election Director, turned EAC Chair, turned Voting Company chief), and John Diehl (current St. Louis County Election Director) declined to show despite the invitation sent to them to speak at the event along with me. Oh, well.

The biggest honor of the week for me here in St. Louis, no doubt, was an invitation I received by phone on Tuesday afternoon to come in and meet with the Editorial Board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the once-great paper founded by Joseph Pulitzer in 1878. It's now the city's only major daily.

The hour and a half chat on Wednesday, with some six or so folks, including commentary editor Eric Mink, editorial writer Jim Gallagher, letters editor Jamie Riley, editorial cartoonist R.J. Matson, and reporter Jo Mannies (the last remaining reporter to whom vote-suppressor Thor Hearne will speak, apparently), was a good one. They had tough questions for me, which I'd like to think I handled well-enough and, as you may have guessed, I had some tough questions and/or challenges for them in return. Specifically, in reference to their dearth of coverage on these most important issues, particularly here in Missouri, where Thor (whose first name they all sang out in chorus when I mentioned "one of the nation's top 'voter fraud' guys lives right here in St. Louis") lives, and in the state regarded aptly by Greg Gordon of McClatchy as "Ground Zero" for the GOP in the 2006 Election.

By the way, everyone here seems to know Thor in some way and has a strong opinion about him. Most not necessarily kind.

Little time for more details right now, other than I was struck by the words, plastered on the wall across from the elevator doors, in the lobby of the old Post building downtown where we met. The words greet everyone as they leave the elevator, just above the promotion for the Post's "Millionaire Money" promotion (see photo below.)

Given some who have charged me with being less than polite from time to time in my reporting, the 1904 quote from Joseph Pulitzer was notable for its bluntness and lack of "diplomacy." If I'm "coarse" enough to follow in his tradition, I will wear that label proudly. Here's the photo of the quote, but if it's difficult to read, so the text of Pulitzer's comments are reprinted below it:

"Our republic and its press will rise or fall together. An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it, can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself. The power to mould the future of the republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations."
-- From North American Review, Written by Joseph Pulitzer in 1904

I've got absolutely nothing to add to that.