Friday, July 18, 2008

The Pope, Al Gore and George Bush

No, this isn't one of those parachute out of the airplane jokes. The Pope and Al Gore's photos appeared on the front page of many newspapers today because both men spoke yesterday about saving the world from environmental disaster. The Pope is to make climate change one of his key concerns during his trip to Australia for World Youth Day. The pontiff has said that politicians and scientists must respond to what he calls the "great ecological challenge" of global warming. The Sydney Morning Hearld's headline was, Help to save the world, Pope tells Australia.

Here in America, Al Gore gave a fiery speech yesterday that called for a "man on the moon" effort to switch all of the United States' electricity production to wind, solar and other carbon-free sources within 10 years. He said this goal would solve global warming as well as economic and natural security crises caused by dependence on fossil fuels. The AP story carried this headline: Gore urges drive for carbon-free energy.

My mind wandered throughout the Gore speech to quite a few 'what ifs' as he went on. What if he had been elected back in 2000: where would our energy policy be today? Would we be paying $4 for gas? And then the question: would we have been in Iraq fighting a preemptive war in its 6th year? Would we be in a recession had the Supreme Court decided otherwise?

Then there was George Bush, gray hair, wrinkled and tired face, bogged down and nearly a prisoner in the White House, just waiting for January when he can get back to the ranch in Texas. Does he wonder about all of this, too? What will he be thinking about the rest of his life?

The stark difference between the three men could not have been more clear: two with a clear conscience, working for the common good; the other, beset by gross misjudgments all along the way. Fortunately for us and the world, the nightmare will end soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Board of Elections Resignations Threaten Ohio Obama Win

The Toledo Blade reported today:

Lucas County deputy chief on sick leave indefinitely

Jill Kelly, the deputy director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, was on an indefinite sick leave yesterday, leaving the agency with no director or deputy director in charge and an important election only a few months away. Ms. Kelly, who was left in control following the June 30 resignation of former Director Daniel Pilrose for medical reasons, called in sick Friday and yesterday.


Lucas County is one of the keys to an Obama victory in Ohio and this set of resignations puts that hope in jeopardy. This Board of Elections has in the past operated in a less than efficient way. Lucas County was the last county to post results in the '06 election and was quite the boob in the 2004 election.

Just a few days ago we learned that "Daniel Pilrose, Jr., submitted his resignation as director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, setting up a possible fight between the newly elected Republican Party chairman, Jon Stainbrook, and the Republican appointees on the board. Mr. Pilrose, 59, said he resigned at his doctor's advice, effective June 30, citing health reasons."

Wow! What a mess. In March of this year, 1,570 absentee ballots were invalidated because of poor handling [do not bend] instructions. At least 921 absentee ballots were disqualified because voters failed to seal them in ballot envelopes that were too small. Not only that but elections officials found more than a dozen computerized voting machine memory cards in the back of a sheriff's van.

In mid February, two weeks before the primary, the Lucas County Board of Elections had to reprint and re-mail about 6,500 absentee voter ballots that had an error that could have allowed Democrats to vote for both candidates for president.

If this incompetent and error-prone Board of Elections cannot get a primary right, how in the hell will they be able to get one of the most heavy turn-out general election right? The Secretary of State of Ohio needs to take over the Lucas County Board of Election right now.

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