First, let's highlight two things in the New York Times before the new paper arrives.
Alberto Salvato's "Ohio Recount Gives a Smaller Margin to Bush" (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/29/politics/29ohio.html):
A recount of the presidential election in Ohio that was finished on Tuesday showed that President Bush won the election here by about 300 fewer votes than initially recorded.
The recount of Ohio's 88 counties showed that Senator John Kerry gained 734 votes, with Mr. Bush picking up 449 after elections officials allowed more than 1,100 previously disqualified ballots to be counted in the second tally.
. . .
The state has become an emblem of continuing ailments in the nation's electoral process, because of Election Day events like seven-hour lines that drove voters away from the polls, malfunctioning machines, poorly trained poll workers who directed people to the wrong polling places and uneven policies about the use of provisional ballots, which were given to voters whose registration was contested. The Green and Libertarian Parties asked for the recount and raised $113,600 to help pay for it as required under state law.
. . .
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also challenged the initial tally, has said the State Supreme Court should have thrown out the initial results and ordered a new election because people in some urban areas were never able to cast their ballots and many voters saw their ballots unfairly discarded.
Daniel Trevas, a spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party, said Democrats supported the recount but found that county elections officials sometimes ignored requests by recount observers to see rejected absentee and provisional ballots, and were not informed about procedures used to recount and reject ballots.
Is the story perfect even if you overlook the fact that it's not delivering the results so many of us (including myself) wanted? I'd argue it's the best reporting the Times has done on the subject.
Outside of the editorial board and the op-ed writers, only Salvato has delivered anything like this to Times' readers. When the story was deemed only worthy of only a paragraph in an occasional National Briefing, the Times was happy to rely on Salvato.
When they finally began half-heartedly covering the story, they relied too little on him. Which is strange when you consider that of the writers sharing billing on any Ohio story in the Times, Ohio was Salvato's beat. But what made it into print too often appeared to be written by people phoning it in or having just landed in Ohio. [See http://thecommonills.blogspot.com/2004/12/new-york-times-assigns-three-wise-men.html.]
Salvato probably knows the issues better than anyone at the Times. And that comes across in the story. (One wishes it had been given more space.) No, it's not going to please anyone who just wants to read "Bush Stole Ohio," but it's the best thing the Times printed on Ohio so I wanted to take a moment to note it. Whether he got his (solo) byline today because the "stars" (Dona's term) are all on vacation or for another reason, he's written the strongest news article the Times has done on the Ohio voting issue.
The second thing I wanted to draw attention was regarding Yukos. Krista, your "hottie" has written a letter that results in an Associated Press story in today's New York Times:
Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky (founder of Yukos who has been jailed since October 2003) wrote:
"Using selective justice, introducing new legal norms and applying them retroactively," he continued, the state has undermined trust in the legal system. "Such methods," he added, "damage the nation's reputation and hurt the economy, but those who initiated that don't care."
Mr. Putin has cast the 18-month crackdown on Mr. Khodorkovsky and Yukos as an effort to fight corruption and shady bookkeeping. But most analysts and commentators see it as a vendetta for Mr. Khodorkovsky's perceived political ambitions, including his financing of opposition parties.
. . .
In his letter, Mr. Khodorkovsky warned that Mr. Putin's bid to strengthen government controls would set off the nation's collapse. Mr. Putin has replaced the popular election of governors in Russia's 89 regions with Kremlin appointees.
I'm finally listening to The Mike Malloy Show. My non-comments on Malloy and his show weren't intended to say that the show wasn't worthy of attention. But when Malloy's show is on, I'm usually cleaning or making a last minute trip to the grocery store or returning calls. (No, Tracee, I'm not watching Law & Order. Tracee's convinced that I must be watching TV during Malloy's show since he's only been mentioned twice. That's Tracee's calculation of two mentions, not mine.)
Mike Malloy is addressing the tsunami and the Bully Boy's four days of inaction:
"Why did it take George W. Bush four days, four days to respond. Because he doesn't have the language. He must wait to be told what to say. . . . When it comes to compassion or help or standing up like a man, he cannot do it."
Tony says part of what makes Malloy's show so worth listening to is "his excellent choices in bumper music." I'll agree that the songs have been outstanding (and that they are new to me).
Oregon e-mailed the story that Yahoo had posted regarding Sontag that neither Marcia nor I could find. Here's the link to the story http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041228/ap_on_en_ot/obit_sontag. Here's the sentence:
In 1999, she wrote an essay for "Women," a compilation of portraits by her longtime companion, photographer Annie Leibovitz.
The article's by Hillel Italie ("AP National Writer") and entitled "Author and Activist Susan Sontag Dies."
"We will stand with him he says? How are doing that exactly? How are we doing that? I know that you, gentle listener, your heart is breaking. . . . The row upon row of corpses. . . About 35,000 of these are children. And George Bush says 'We Will stand with them.' How are we going to do that? . . . You don't call a press conference in a helicopter hanger and say we will prevail over this de-de-destruction. . . . "Mr. Bush were you offended?" Somebody asking if Bush was offended . . . by the suggestion that rich nations have been stingy in the aid for the tsunami. [Plays Bush clip] Do you hear the sneer? . . . 'The next tronch of relief" He doesn't speak like that. That's not a Bush word! . . . And he reads these statistics as though he's talking about a P&L statement about last year's business. . . . Don't you want to throw up blood, don't you? Can't you hear the desecration and the destruction going on in this monster's head? . . .
the next tronch will be spent wisely? Like what, they're going to be blow it on beer and cigarettes? . . . This can't be happening. Event after event, no matter what it is, war, disaster, destruction . . . Everything this monster touches is destroyed and Americans to the tune of 56 million voted for him. . . . This man stands out there and for the rest of the world he speaks for you, for you. I don't care if you live in Wisconsin, I don't care if your a New York liberal . . . this man speaks for you and he is defining you and me."
[Consider the Malloy quotes more paraphrased than exact quotes. I'm tired and my typing speed is way off. If you're able to check out his show and haven't yet, you should also know that printed words, even when word for word, will never accurately the capture the passion Malloy speaks with.]
Trina e-mails that today via Buzzflash (www.buzzflash.com) she learns something that "with all the ink NYT and other have devoted to the topic of the Urkaine, I can't believe I'm only now learning it. [The story she's referring to can be found at http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-ukewife28.html.] Little Kateryna Chumachenko grew up in Chicago, worked for the state department and the White House apparently under Reagan or H.W. Bush and then went on to marry Yushchenko in the nineties. Suddenly, I have to wonder why this story was pushed as hard as it was by the media and why details like this didn't emerge then."
My understanding is that the woman worked under both Reagan and Poppy. This was not the simple story that the media glommed on and kept repeating. If you followed it on Democracy Now! or in The Nation, you had a better picture of it. And as The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel said on The Majority Report (Air America radio program), the actions of the average citizens are to be applauded but there's another part of the story (U.S. involvement) that's not being covered in the mainstream media.
Marc saw the same story on Buzzflash and weighed in: "So the Ukraine wasn't just a way of distracting people from the stolen vote in this country, it was also a way to push off yet another Republican backed media story. If that seems like conspiracy talk, well gee, [Tom] Zeller [Jr., a writer for the Times] I'm just having a hard time grasping on why this never got mentioned until now. Seems to me that the mainstream press has a hard time covering anything in the rest of the world without a 'local angle.' Isn't it interesting how everyone took a pass on the 'local angle' to this story?"