Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ohio hearing will it go on, will anyone mention it? I don't know

So I go to sleep, have some good dreams. (One, Leah of corrente and Jude of Iddybud were both guests on The Majority Report and Janeane announces they'll be on each week.) I get up an hour ago and expect that there will be some talk about Ohio. I'm going through the e-mails and seeing members expressing wonder and outrage that it's not being discussed elsewhere.

In terms of blogs, maybe they don't know about what's scheduled for Ohio. In terms of the mainstream, they couldn't do all Terry Schiavo, all the time and also cover Ohio apparently. (How much you want to bet this weekend's protests also get ignored?)

And maybe the rush to turn Congress over to the Schiavo non-issue will mean that the hearings get cancelled? Who knows?

But what we do know is that hearings were scheduled to discuss the vote. We know that.

We know that an Associated Press article ran Wednesday, March 16th in The Beacon Journal (possibly only there, I don't know, I know I didn't read it in the New York Times). It was called "Congressional committee to hold election hearing in Ohio."

We know that a United States Congressional committee, the Committee on House Administration, released a press release entitled "Committee to Continue Oversight on Election Reform with a Field Hearing in Ohio on Monday." (The committee is chaired by Rep. Bob Ney, Republican of Ohio.)

We know that the press release starts out:

The Committee on House Administration, led by Chairman Bob Ney (OH-18), will travel to Columbus, Ohio, this Monday, March 21st, to convene a field hearing on the 2004 election and the implementation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). This will be the second in a series of oversight hearings that the Committee is holding on this issue.
The hearing will convene at 10:00 AM on Monday, March 21st, in the Senate Finance Committee hearing room within the Ohio State Capitol Building, located on the corner of 3rd and State Street in Columbus, Ohio.

We know that, cited in an Associated Press story in this morning's New York Times ("Counting of 2004 Provisional Ballots Varied Widely, Study Finds"), carries this as it's second item on the home page (with a date on the home page itself of March 18th).

What's the Schiavo story drowning out? A lot. A lot of real stories. And again, there's a good chance it'll drown out the stories of this weekend's protests. Maybe it will lead to a cancellation of tomorrow's Congressional committee hearing in Ohio? I don't know.

I do know that e-mails flooded in to this site over Senator Barbara Boxer brave (and lonely) stand when she took a stand on January 6th of this year. We did an entire entry on members reactions and Boxer's brave stand that day entitled "Senator Barbara Boxer stood up for Democracy."

Here's one thing Senator Boxer said that day:

I think this is the first time in my life I ever voted alone in the United States Senate, and I have to tell you, I think it was the right thing to do.

How many of you felt it was important that day? Enough of you to send 397 e-mails. (The first sign that the e-mails would be more than I could handle in terms of responding personally to each one.)

On Friday January 7th, we did a post pulling from your e-mails (it should have been done Thursday the sixth, but I was still attempting to respond to each e-mail personally back then, my apologies) entitled "Your comments on how the Ohio vote played out in Congress Thursday."

The issue mattered. You were aware of who stood for democracy and who didn't.

You cited which shows (The Randi Rhodes Show and The Laura Flanders Show were especially popular) brought you information in the time between the election and Boxer's brave stand.

We gave money for the recounts. We were appalled by the neglect of the mainstream media on this issue.

And now, here we are, two months later, and according to your e-mails, there's another blackout on Ohio only this time, according to your e-mails, it also includes the online community.

Maybe they don't know.

I didn't.

I was on a break from helping The Third Estate Sunday Review with their protest coverage (link to which at the end of this post) when I was scanning through the morning's New York Times. I came across the AP article on provisional ballots and thought, "This is something the community will care about." I remembered Luke of wotisitgood4 and how he pointed out where a link in a Wilgoren story led. So when I saw "" in the article, I went to the site. I wrote about the AP story (that the Times carries this morning) while I waited for the story to pull up and then was shocked to see's link to another AP story (the one that The Beacon Journal ran on Wednesday).

To me it was news. And it was news I hadn't heard of it. I assumed that in participating in the rallies this weekend, I'd missed something that everyone else knew about. Then the protest story is done and Ava, Jess, Jim, Ty and Dona (The Third Estate Sunday Review) and Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) are pitching ideas for the editorial. I honestly expected when I brought up Ohio that everyone would say, "Oh, we already know about the hearing on Monday! Everyone's talked about that." Those six people hadn't heard of it.

Third Estate Sunday Review did an editorial on it (which Rebecca and I helped with). Rebecca did an entry on it this morning at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude.

So I want us to be clear that The Common Ills is not the only one addressing this today.

And though major news organizations have ignored it, the Associated Press is a major news organization and they've written a story on it (one that apparently wasn't carried in many papers other than The Beacon Journal).

But I agree, a lot of people cared and continue to care about this issue. I have no idea why it's not being discussed. I recommend you take your questions to whomever you feel should be discussing it but isn't.

And who knows if the hearing will even happen now that the entire business of the nation must come to a halt as Congress prepares to waste another day on this issue tomorrow?

But a hearing was scheduled. On a topic that goes to the heart of our voting rights, the heart of our democracy. Would it have uncovered anything big? Maybe not. Maybe. I don't know.

But a Congressional committee schedules a hearing in Ohio on the voting issue and, to me, that's news.

Here's another thing that's news, from The Third Estate Sunday Review, 'At the rallies, we ask, "Why Are You Here?"' That's the voices of eighty-one people who attended rallies this weekend explaining why they were there, why it mattered to them. (Disclosure, besides Ty, Ava, Dona, Jim and Jess of The Third Estate Sunday Review, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and Common Ills community member Betty, I also assisted on that entry. All of us listed interviewed on that question at the events we attended.) This is truly the voice of the people explaining why the issue matters to them. To me, it's news. But maybe that's just me.

[Note: I'm working my way through the e-mails. And the e-mail address is]

[Note: This post has been corrected. Five e-mails on a confusing paragraph led me to insert which AP story was which (the one that ran in today's Times or Wednesday's Beacon Journal). My apologies for the confusion and thanks to Elaine, Jimmy, Dallas, Martha and Rob for pointing that out. I'm still in the e-mails by the way but there will be other posts tonight.]