ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, November 24, 2008

Minnesota Recount

From the Politico:

Franken hopes turns on absentee issue
By: Daniel Libit
November 24, 2008 01:13 PM EST

One of the closest elections in U.S. Senate history is hurtling towards a critical juncture in its ongoing recount this week, as the campaign of Democratic challenger Al Franken opens a new legal front in its battle to break a virtual tie with Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board will hear arguments from Franken’s camp for why previously rejected absentee ballots should now be counted.

Coleman ended the initial count with an advantage of just 215 votes out of nearly 3 million cast, and has held a slim lead thus far in the recount.

“We’re 70 percent through [the recount] now,” Coleman Communications Director Mark Drake told Politico Sunday, “and a lot of the ballots that are looked at are in areas where Franken’s done well. We’re surprised he didn’t do better in terms of picking up more votes.”

Robert Hentges, a veteran Minnesota election law attorney not involved in this year’s recount, cautions that results rarely change in recounts of optical scan ballots, as are used in almost every county in the state, “Very few votes change,” he said, and “more often or not, for the winner on election night, the gap grows.”

While the conventional wisdom is that these recounted ballots should break the same way as the broader election results, Republicans fret that sloppy Democratic voters might mean Franken votes emerging as the recount continues.

“Democrats are [thought to be] more creative, free-spirited, so the idea is they’re more likely to make a mistake that the optical scan won’t pick up,” explains Hentges. “But when they recount the hard copy, those votes will be counted for Franken. If you talk to Republicans, they say it will be Franken’s advantage, because Democrats are stupid and will screw up ballots more often.”
Republicans are moderately confident that the canvassing board will reject the Franken line on absentees, based on the assessment encapsulated in a letter Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Ken Rashke wrote to Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. In it, he cited Minnesota statute 204C.35, which states: “Only the ballots cast in the election and the summary statements certified by the election judges may be considered in the recount process.”

In an opposing brief, Franken lawyers said that Raschke’s analysis “contains significant errors.”

“In fact,” the Franken team argued, “both state law and key decisions from other states require that improperly rejected absentee ballots be included in the recount in this election.”
Those absentee ballots that Franken is trying to count were "found" in the backseat of a Democratic election supervisor days after the election. The Immaculate Election!TM

Presuming that he doesn’t catch up, Franken could hypothetically take a recount fight all the way to the floor US Senate, which according to the Constitution can involve itself in election certification. Some Republicans think Franken’s legal machinations now are more about creating political momentum for a long-winded pursuit.

“For right now, that is really putting the cart before the horse,” says Franken campaign spokeswoman Colleen Murray. “Right now, we’re still just trying to make sure where the ballots are counted. It really is too early to speculate.”

For a state abounding with civic pride, stupid is not something that anyone wants to look as the recount battle continues.

“This is part of the Minnesota pride in our elections process,” says Janecek. “It is a collegial process, because everybody agrees that we don’t want to be the laughing stock of the nation.”

Ummmm, I hate to inform Ms. Janecek, but the fact that Al Franken - let me repeat - AL FRANKEN ran statewide as a candidate to be your Senator in the United States Senate and nearly prevailed already makes you the laughingstock of the nation.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Change You Can Believe In!

From the WSJ today:

The Sidwell Choice
The Obama family leads by example.

Michelle and Barack Obama have settled on a Washington, D.C., school for their daughters, and you will not be surprised to learn it is not a public institution. Malia, age 10, and seven-year-old Sasha will attend the Sidwell Friends School, the private academy that educates the children of much of Washington's elite.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden's grandchildren attend Sidwell -- as did Chelsea Clinton -- where tuition is close to $30,000 a year. The Obama girls have been students at the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where tuition runs above $21,000. "A number of great schools were considered," said Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Obama. "In the end, the Obamas selected the school that was the best fit for what their daughters need right now."

Note the word "selected," as in made a choice. The Obamas are fortunate to have the means to send their daughters to private school, and no one begrudges them that choice given that Washington's public schools are among the worst in America.

Most D.C. parents would also love to be able to choose a better school for their child, but they lack the financial means to do so. The Washington Opportunity Scholarship Program each year offers up to $7,500 to some 1,900 kids to attend private schools, but Democrats in Congress want to kill it. Average family income for kids in the voucher program is about $22,000.

Mr. Obama says he opposes such vouchers, because "although it might benefit some kids at the top, what you're going to do is leave a lot of kids at the bottom." The example of his own children refutes that: The current system offers plenty of choice to kids "at the top" while abandoning those at the bottom.

Change you can believe in - unless it's change to our wonderful education system. We'll keep that just the way it is because
  1. The Teachers Union is very powerful and can really turn out the vote
  2. Indoctrination centers are important for the future of our country
  3. Actual learning which provides children with the faculties to think for themselves is dangerous to the republic
  4. How could we get elected in the future if students actually had the skills to become productive, self-sufficient citizens instead of serfs of the state?
That is all...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Rachel Maddow: The New Center

This piece in Newsweak about Rachel Maddow is absolutely ridiculous.

Here's a snippet:

The times have suited her as well. Not only did her show launch in an electrifying election period, but it was also a moment when "the repressed political fervor" of the left had erupted, says Olbermann, who has also both benefited from and symbolized this mood. In this climate, MSNBC's commentary moved left, and now is often criticized for presenting a liberal alternative to the sharply partisan Fox. But Ariana Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post (and Maddow's fill-in host last week) says it is wrong to think of Maddow as a liberal riposte to Fox. "People were surprised by her success because they saw her as an anomaly, but she is the opposite. She has tapped into a zeitgeist where what was considered to be left wing is now mainstream." Like Obama, "she is representing the center." Or at least the center in Huffington's world view.
I have to point out that when Fox has a conservative on, they often balance that conservative with someone from the other side. With MSNBC, Olberman, Maddow, et al only interview leftist and occasionally Pat Buchanan (whose conservative bona fides expired when he left the GOP.
Maddow has her own fable. On Nov. 5, when the clock clicks 9 p.m. and "The Rachel Maddow Show" begins, her "tired and cranky staff" has either gone home or settled into their seats in the control room to monitor the broadcast. A calm and focused Maddow is made up and wearing one of her identical pantsuits (she refuses to say who the designer is for fear of "insulting them"). As an interview closes, she turns to a camera in the chilly, large, red-white-and-blue-splashed studio she broadcasts from and looks directly into the lens. This election, she says with a grin, has destroyed many archaic ideas. There is triumph in her voice: "The idea that America is too flawed, too scarred by racism to elect a black president? That idea is over. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said back in April that neither a woman nor a black man could ever get elected in a country like this? How satisfying is it to prove that guy wrong? The idea that liberals can't succeed on television? That's over. Yes, we can." It's a fable for a new age.
Would anything closely resembling this be written about that pinhead Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh?

I think not.

However, it is good to know that Rachel can shoot an AR-15 with the best of them.... I just wonder what her position on gun control is - is she for it (as long as it only restricts AR-15s from the "little people?"

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler