Counts, recounts.

My old pal Mark the Shark — a lawyer, a Great White — once worked on a recount case. It’s pretty simple, he explained; basically, you recount the easy ones (submitted by machine) and then fight over the absentees one by one. It’s tedious, but it’s like moving a pile of rocks from one place to another. Keep at it, and it’ll get done.

I’m hoping, however, that the Alaska vote-counting takes a good long while. And it likely will, what with ballots arriving via snowshoe-wearing carrier pigeons from above the Brooks Range and all, and the little problem of Joe Miller and his own tea party sharks. Here’s a post from the Anchorage Daily News’ Alaska Politics blog. Scroll down to the bottom, where they’ve posted photographs of a few of the write-in ballots already being challenged by Miller’s sharks. They clearly say “Lisa Murkowski,” every one of them correctly spelled. The only possible problem I could see is perhaps a certain roundness to the lettering that makes a few letters rub up against one another. Also, Miller has imported one Floyd Brown to help him out, Brown being the warlock who conjured the Willie Horton ad for George Bush. Sayeth Brown:

“The stories of manipulation are just almost mind boggling,” Brown said at a press conference called this afternoon by the Miller campaign.

The only evidence that the Miller campaign would provide was an affidavit from a poll watcher in Fairbanks, Rocky MacDonald, who complained that the ballot box at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds “was unsecured in that the electoral judges had access to the inside of the ballot box with a key.”

“The electoral judges opened the ballot box several times to clear jammed ballots and rearrange by hand the ballots in the box to make space for new ballots,” MacDonald wrote.

Mind-boggling, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The entire process will be tied up in the courts for a good long time, I’m sure. Slate has a pretty good outline of Miller’s arguments. Irony alert: This tea partyin’, states-rightsin’ renegade is relying pretty heavily on federal precedent, particularly Bush v. Gore:

Miller wants election officials to count only those ballots for Murkowski in which the oval is properly filled in and her name is properly spelled. How strong are his arguments? Whether the statute requires proper spelling is a difficult question of statutory interpretation. The reason that Alaska election officials said it did not, and instead adopted the looser standard of “voter intent,” which allows for misspellings, is the Alaska Supreme Court’s long-standing use of a rule of interpretation which reads ambiguous statutes in favor of the voters. (I’ve dubbed this rule the Democracy Canon.) In this case, throwing out minor misspellings would disenfranchise voters for a technicality. I’ve traced use of the voter intent standard in state courts back to 1885, and Alaska has a particularly strong version of it. The state’s courts say that election statutes must be read in favor of allowing votes to be counted unless the legislature has made it unmistakably clear not to read a law this way.

Yes, it’s clear Alaska wouldn’t want a man’s vote negated because he lacks letterin’ skills. But we’ll see what we can do.

So, anything else hopping this morning? Not much. We have pea-soup fog out there, and I’m headed out in a bit, driving closer to the lake. I’m hoping to hear some foghorns coming from the water. When conditions are right you can hear them all the way up to my unfashionable neighborhood, but they’re loud enough further east to awaken light sleepers. We’ll see.

Short shrift, I know, but I still feel like crap. So here’s something:

Not to keep coming back to Slate, but, well, Jack Shafer likes the Wall Street Journal’s series on internet privacy as much as I do:

And you thought the Web was “free.” You’re paying with your privacy.

If you don’t have the time, or the subscription, to wade through the WSJ series, he provides a nice summation.

A poem for fall, via Sweet Juniper.

And now I have to run. Have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 9:15 am in Current events, Media |

47 responses to “Counts, recounts.”

  1. coozledad said on November 12, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Every time I hear some douche start to spew about “real America”, I’m taken back to this. Having worked out of both large and small post offices, I’m tempted to go on at length why Shirley Jackson was 100% on the fucking money about what grows and washes up in scabby backwaters. This woman is the rule out there. She’s at virtually every other mailbox. Someone has pissed on her little corner of the void and she’s going to go commando on your ass for it.
    If she/he doesn’t meet you at the mailbox with a stream of invective, she’ll get on the horn to your super or postmaster that the small town typically hires in grateful recognition of his gutlessness, his furtiveness, and devote his/her shell of a life to getting you fired.
    This is typical of someone about to be turned out onto the street themselves for some kind of pathetic aberrant behavior.
    All the fucked up households get buried under sacks of accountable mail before they belly up and empty. Then, before the shit has dried on the walls, another set of sociopaths moves in to camp out for a few months.
    Do I sound bitter? Angry?
    I am. Mostly because they invented the flip phone camera a couple of decades too late.

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  2. Deborah said on November 12, 2010 at 10:16 am

    OT (sorry to start off topic)What do you Journo types think about Tina Brown heading up Newsweek in a merger deal with The Daily Beast? I thought she hurt the New Yorker when she was there.

    Also, how do you make things italicized in comments? I’ve seen you guys do it, so I know it can be done. The only way I can think is to type my comment in Word (or something), then copy and paste it in the Submit Comment box??

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  3. Jolene said on November 12, 2010 at 10:27 am

    You need to use html codes to indicate which part of the text you want to italicize, Deborah. It looks like this: text here.

    Edit: Well, that wasn’t very smart. My example “used” the coding I put in rather than illustrating it. Jeff has it right. More generally, you can google “html codes” for examples. HTML, by the way, stands for hypertext markup language, which is what you use to tell the computer what to do w/ your text.

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  4. brian stouder said on November 12, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Well, I liked Sweet Juniper’s old poem that he found again, about raking leaves. My haiku response would be

    The thing about a blowie/you must play the wind/even as it always shifts

    As for italics or bold face (the only two tricks I know), you use the marks < and >, and put the letter i in between them to being italics, and then a backslash and the letter /i (like that) between those marks at the end.

    If you use the letter b within those marks, you can boldface the selected text

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  5. Julie Robinson said on November 12, 2010 at 10:36 am

    like this?

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  6. Dorothy said on November 12, 2010 at 10:50 am

    You use the V shaped bracket keys, Deborah, above the period and comma keys. Inside the brackets you use the letter “i” to begin the italics. Then you type a bracket, use a backslash character before the letter “i” and close bracket key. Or it could be you type the i first and then use the back slash character. I always get them confused!

    I learned how to do this because of hanging out here with my fellow commenters (thanks guys and gals!). I am still having trouble inserting a hyperlink though. Usually I just give up and paste the url instead of embedding it within a word or words. But I’d prefer to do it like the cool kids do, if only I would practice more…

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  7. Jolene said on November 12, 2010 at 11:09 am

    It’s not hard, Dorothy, but it is a bit clumsy. The basic idea is that you need to tell the computer two things–the URL for the page you want to link and the text that you want to use as the link. Look here for an example.

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  8. nancy said on November 12, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Another thing you can try, which I think would work for you, is to post and then hit “edit,” where you can italicize, bold, et al via buttons.

    The most important thing is to remember to put in the close tag, which Brian finally learned after he peed italics all over the comments a few dozen times.

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  9. Bruce Fields said on November 12, 2010 at 11:11 am

    <i>italics</i> gets you italics.
    <a href="">link</a> gets you a link.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on November 12, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I too am enjoying the catfight up in ‘Laska, particularly because it shows how much the citizens of the Last Frontier have soured on SheWho. If only the rest of the country would wise up.

    Miller is a whiny little twerp and a 24-carat hypocrite. He’s all “get the guvmint off my back” these days, but he pocketed plenty of farm subsidies when he owned land in Kansas and his wife has enjoyed the fruits of unemployment insurance, after she left his campaign, I believe.

    If you’re going to talk the talk, asshole, try walking the walk.

    The only reason I’d ever want to see a loopy shit like Miller in the Senate would be if Alaska stopped getting more than $7 for every $1 it pays in federal taxes. Frontiersmen my ass. It’s a big welfare state.

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  11. Deborah said on November 12, 2010 at 11:20 am


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  12. coozledad said on November 12, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Jeff Borden: If you want to see how much your Republican neighbors are living off government largesse, go out to

    Thanks Bruce!

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  13. John said on November 12, 2010 at 11:35 am


    Your school is in the nation news this morning. Can we have a first hand report?


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  14. Jolene said on November 12, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Jeff, the most recent data I could find showing return on tax dollars by state was for 2005. At that time, Alaska was receiving $1.84 federal dollars for every dollar paid in taxes. They were third in the nation, with Mississippi and New Mexico leading the way.

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  15. Jolene said on November 12, 2010 at 11:57 am

    James Fallows has a nice short piece on “big shots abroad,” in which he comments on the Hillary video that we looked at a couple of days ago and on Obama’s speech in Indonesia. Re the latter, he draws attention to Obama using the local language and the favorable reactions that doing so brought him.

    He also links to a blog post by a linguist who analyzes Obama’s success as a speaker and comments on the audience reaction. The whole speech is good, but the fun part is in the first five minutes when he is warming up the audience by talking about his childhood. Check it out. It’s a great display of both intellect and charm, along with the patented Obama smile.

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  16. prospero said on November 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    There may be a foghorn or two on this one. Maybe not, but they are easy to imagine amidst the pure genius.

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  17. nancy said on November 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Jolene, thanks for that. I just posted it on Facebook, because I wasn’t two minutes into it before I started thinking that if Obama is indeed a one-term president, just what will replace it. His oratory is so easy, smart and sophisticated I’ve nearly forgotten the Bush years, which for me boiled down to eight years of lunging at remotes to silence TVs and radios. I never listened to a Bush speech if I could read it somewhere, and I nearly always could.

    If, heaven forbid, our next president is a particular female, I might willingly deafen myself. Nails on chalkboard, only less musical.

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  18. prospero said on November 12, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Keep the government’s hands off mySocial Security. And my Medicare. I’m 59 and I’ve paid as much into all of this as the Koch Brothers. I imagine they cash those checks. Life imitates art. I mean, they are Randolph and Mortimer Duke, right? Fix Social Security? If you don’t need it, man up, be a patriotic Amurcan and just don’t take the cash. Oh, and apply a Social Security levy to the excessive and obscene non-taxed bucks of those small business heroes of the Republican Party. That’s right. The hedge fund managers.

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  19. Dorothy said on November 12, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    John I’m getting my news like everyone else – via the web. I did hear (via a co-worker’s wife who heard it on the news at noon) that the two kids (ages 11 and 13) were found safe; they were staying with friends. Here’s a link to Channel 4’s story about it:

    I took some Tylenol PM last night to sleep and did not hear my cell phone go off with text messages and voice mails from the campus safety department at 10:13 PM and after 1 AM today about the campus lock down. Everything is normal here today – sunny and no clouds in the sky, everyone going about their business.

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  20. Rana said on November 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    nancy, I too spent those years hastily pressing radio and tv buttons, and do not want more of them. One good thing did come out of that; I’ve learned that many videos and such that get posted on the ‘net are perfectly clear with the sound off. This is particularly the case for tv news clips – you can see the event without having to hear the drivel that passes for “insightful analysis,” then go elsewhere for an actual analysis.

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  21. prospero said on November 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    If you are such an idiot you buy all of that Fematastic evil dictator shit about Iraq and Saddam (seriously Shrub, women’s rights?), why wasn’t it the first priority to take out Burmese dictators? These guys are more heinous crooks, reprehensible autocrats, and serial human rights offenders than Bibi Netanyahu. Well, maybe they don’t have that sort of US-funded budget for behaving badly, but I mean, they are some serious assholes that might have occurred to W on his 160third O’Douls, right before Barney pissed on his pointy little head. Twelve Non-alcoholic beers equals one actual brewski. Must have been hella stain to clean up.

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  22. beb said on November 12, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Bits and pieces of that Matt Lauer interview Bush did gets posted on the news shows. It reminds me all over again how much of a slack-jawed yokel Bush is.

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  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    [a href=””]Embed a link[/a]

    …but use the angle brackets above “,” and “.” as Dorothy said in place of the square brackets in the example (if I’d used the angle brackets, all you’d see was Embed a link)

    Prayers for the Kenyon peace of mind, Dorothy, and for the missing. This looks like too familiar a script, but I don’t want to type up the ending.

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  24. Sue said on November 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    uh-oh, did you hear about Cindy McCain? Someone just pissed off her husband.

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  25. coozledad said on November 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Sue: I suspect there’s been a conversation at the McCain house over finances, which ended with “Now, tell me, who’s the c-nt?!”

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  26. Dorothy said on November 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Okay another update and take this with a grain of salt. My boss had her hair cut at lunch time in town. And one of the hairdressers is cousin to one of the missing women. And the house that we’re hearing about that was a scene of a crime (they’re only saying it was in an “unusual condition”) – this cousin said there was blood through the house. And I have not seen one story at the Dispatch, the Mount Vernon News, or any of the t.v. channels about the kids having been found safe, so I’m not sure that is accurate yet either. Rumors are flying as you can imagine.

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  27. alex said on November 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Can you say Goeglein?

    Hot damn! I said it in HTML! Thanks Jttmo.

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  28. moe99 said on November 12, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    alex, you need to give your audience more background. I am shocked, shocked, I tell you that Bush plagiarized from his subordinates’ books!!!

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  29. Sue said on November 12, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    moe and alex:
    Very soon (possibly within the hour), the old ‘Ayers wrote Obama’s book’ accusation will resurface and it will dominate the discussion for several days. That should provide cover until this dies down.

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  30. mark said on November 12, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    That’s a pretty unconvincing criticism of the Bush book. Bush quotes himself as saying the same thing that others quote him as saying? At a National Security Council meeting? Where, gee, maybe detailed records are kept or even a transcript prepared?

    I have no interest in reading the book, and no affection for Bush, but the consensus seems to be that many portions of his book are brilliantly written. Examples? No, I don’t think I’ll provide any. Just trust me.

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  31. MaryRC said on November 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    As if anything could make Joe Miller look worse, the judge who was originally assigned to his latest lawsuit recused himself because he used to be Joe Miller’s boss and had a “negative opinion” of him. He seems to have alienated colleagues everywhere he worked.

    It seems more and more astonishing that no-one vetted this guy. If you’re going to look into the background of someone in whose candidacy you’re planning to invest time, money and your own credibility, wouldn’t you talk to the people he used to work with?

    Dorothy, I’m guessing that the ex-boyfriend was the number-one suspect, but apparently he has an alibi?

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  32. Jeff Borden said on November 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm


    Miller is certainly one of the weirder teabagger candidates, but it’s probably the black conservative from Florida who takes the cake. He is affiliated in some way with a motorcycle gang –they roughed up some protesters at one of his rallies– and he had named as his chief of staff a wacky hate radio woman who has called for armed insurrection. He’s since backed off that choice, but promises to be a real laugh riot in Congress.

    Vetting isn’t a big deal to the teabaggers. I cannot think of anyone less qualified to be a U.S. senator that that dimwit in Delaware, but there she was on the ballot thanks to the teabaggers, who spurned a highly regarded Republican who would have walked into the Senate. Some of these newcomers may indeed bring a breath of fresh air to Congress, but I imagine many will prove to be “not ready for prime time.”

    I’m with Nancy on the voice of SheWho. It is ear-curdling, if there is such a thing. She was a broadcast journalism major at the five colleges she attended, which means she should have learned how to speak properly. Then again, that would require work and we all know the snowbilly always takes the easiest path.

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  33. coozledad said on November 12, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    From “Decision Points: The Galley Proofs.”
    Poppy was on the phone again telling me I had to hop a bus or steal a car and get up to the Bunk and keep an eye on Bar. She was starting to get wind of the whole Joey Heatherton thing, and had taken to bringing her gallstone collection to the dinner table. I told him my relationship with ma was about as close as I wanted it, and if I was going to go AWOL, I might as well save a few bucks and head down to Cancun. And why Joey Heatherton? I thought she was doing Joe Namath.
    “Well why the fuck not?” said the old man. He always cracked me up.
    People say I’m like the old lady. That’s bullshit. I haven’t got a single body part locked in a display case. Not that I’d show any children anyway. I told him for thirty grand and cab fare I’d sit in the den and keep her from knocking shit over while she watched Jack Lalanne, but he had to get some of his spooks to scrub my record again. I was still in the shitheap over the chandelier…

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  34. Deborah said on November 12, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Sitting at my desk at work laughing out loud. People glaring at me.

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  35. brian stouder said on November 12, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    …finally learned after he peed ital­ics all over the com­ments a few dozen times.

    I’m still snickering about that remark.

    There’s probably a ‘yellow journalism’ joke here, somewhere; or else a “paper-trained” one (I do recall getting my snout smacked more than a few times, back in the day!)

    Here’s a potty follow-on, for ya; when I visited the powder room at work today, there was an issue of Imprimus* near the john. This is a little mailer that Hillsdale College sends out for free, and it offers essays from a range of people from moderate-right to extremely hard right. This month’s installment is an essay from Mike Pence titled “The Presidency and the Constitution”.

    It is actually beyond ridiculous, and into the range of laughably bad. When he runs for governor of Indiana, this sort of tripe won’t hurt him a bit; but if he runs for the presidency, this will be fodder for all his opponents.

    Pull my finger, and I’ll copy a choice sentence or two

    *actually, right where such excrement belongs, come to think of it

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  36. prospero said on November 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Um, you mean Mrs. Lance Rentzel. Lance did that down and out before Favre ever thought about sexting. I’m pretty sure HW was busy with Arbusto business when junior drove Bar and the jar to the hospital.

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  37. brian stouder said on November 12, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Say – just went looking, and you can see Pence’s ponderous and fantastically flabbergasting mound of fecal matter, for your own self!

    here’s a little sample of his deeply principled, deeply deranged thinking:

    The president is not our teacher, our tutor, our guide or ruler. He does not command us; we command him. We serve neither him nor his vision. It is not his job or his prerogative to redefine custom, law, and beliefs; to appropriate industries; to seize the country, as it were, by the shoulders or by the throat so as to impose by force of theatrical charisma his justice upon 300 million others. It is neither his job nor his prerogative to shift the power of decision away from them, and to him and the acolytes of his choosing.

    etc etc – ad nauseum

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  38. nancy said on November 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Once again, Cooze FTW.

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  39. Jeff Borden said on November 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    God, Mike Pence is an asshole. I wonder where he was a few years ago when a president named W. forced an unnecessary war upon us. . .not to mention torture, enemy combatants, Guantanamo, suspension of habeas corpus, etc.

    I assume he’ll change his tune when SheWho and Tahd issue a decree from the Oval Office that all Americans must purchase a snow machine.

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  40. Linda said on November 12, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Jeff Borden:
    The wannabe chief of staff of the congressman elect voluntarily left because she said she didn’t want to be part of an “electronic lynching,” which translates from oppressed right-wing American into the English, “don’t want to be pointed and laughed at due to my own stupidity.”

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  41. Kirk said on November 12, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I’ll take all the galley proofs you got.

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  42. Dexter said on November 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Cooz: I thought Imus had ruined Joey by then. She really must have been a Perfect Sleeper, then. God, was she hot in those mattress commercials…
    yes, I did indeed insist on a Perfect Sleeper when the time came to buy new.
    I was crazy for two actresses during those years, the first part of the 1970s: Joey Heatherton and Valerie Perrine.

    MichaelG’s neighborhood happens every year:

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  43. Dorothy said on November 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Cooz I’d like to place my order for your first book just about now if you don’t mind. I’ll buy three copies.

    MaryRC I have no idea about alibis for boyfriends or ex-boyfriends. It’s the lead story on Channel 4 and Channel 10 but there have been no new developments of any sort most of the day. I should mention that the place where they found the one woman’s truck on campus? – just two weekends ago tonight I was participating in a “Legends of Halloween Lantern walk” with about a half dozen of my acting buddies. We were positioned throughout roughly 8 acres to do little scenes for the paying public. The truck was found just about 50 yards from where I did my scene. Eeesh.

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  44. Kirk said on November 12, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    First, thanks for your faith (well-placed) in the credibility of The Dispatch re: the false report about the kids being found safe. Apparently, some cop had said that last night and it obviously turned out to be untrue.

    At the other end of the media credibility scale, some dimwit reporter from Channel 6 (the lamest TV news in Columbus) asked the sheriff, on the air, “Is it true that the women were lesbian lovers?” “That’s the first we’ve heard of it,” the sheriff said.

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  45. brian stouder said on November 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

    In amongst all the scarey news from Dennison, I got a kick out of the deer-in-the-student-union story (“breaking news” in the truest sense)

    Forgive me for one last dip into Pence’s cow pie. He plumbs the depths of his faux intellectual examination of the presidency here, presumeably using those endless chain-emails as his source material (emphasis added):

    Whereas the president must be cautious, dutiful, and deferential at home, his character must change abroad. Were he to ask for a primer on how to act in relation to other states, which no holder of the office has needed to this point, and were that primer to be written by the American people, whether of 1776 or 2010, you can be confident that it would contain the following instructions:

    You do not bow to kings. Outside our shores, the President of the United States of America bows to no man. When in foreign lands, you do not criticize your own country. You do not argue the case against the United States, but the case for it. You do not apologize to the enemies of the United States. Should you be confused, a country, people, or region that harbors, shelters, supports, encourages, or cheers attacks upon our country or the slaughter of our friends and families are enemies of the United States. And, to repeat, you do not apologize to them. Closely related to this, and perhaps the least ambiguous of the president’s complex responsibilities, is his duty as commander-in-chief of the military. In this regard there is a very simple rule, unknown to some presidents regardless of party: If, after careful determination, intense stress of soul, and the deepest prayer, you go to war, then, having gone to war, you go to war to win. You do not cast away American lives, or those of the innocent noncombatant enemy, upon a theory, a gambit, or a notion.

    I mean, I ask you. What planet did this guy live on for the past decade? “Casting away American lives” was President Bush’s specialty, whether actively in foreign wars, or passively in American cities like New Orleans (remember the chorus of “Why rebuild it?” from the right, regarding New Orleans? They were all but saying “good ridance”, about a major American city – and the simple truth that Kanye West uttered STILL irritates our last president to distraction).

    And did you catch the essential incoherence in Pence’s nonsensical “primer on how to act in relation to other states”?

    To wit – if it is all as simple as

    a country, people, or region that harbors, shelters, supports, encourages, or cheers attacks upon our country or the slaughter of our friends and families are enemies of the United States.

    then why on earth would the president, or any American commander in the field waste time and effort trying to avoid or minimize “casting away…lives of the innocent noncombatant enemy”.

    Afterall, if they are a “people” or people living in “a region” that “supports” or even “cheers” attacks on us, then they’re collectively guilty, and deserve to be carpet bombed, right?

    PS – forget the rhetorical question about what planet Pence lived on for the past decade. Apparently Indiana politics really is a world unto itself

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  46. Jeff Borden said on November 13, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Using Pence’s logic, we should declare war on Saudi Arabia immediately.

    Was Pence, at least, a combat veteran? I’m positively nauseous over all the creeps who avoided service one way or the other in Korea or Vietnam or wherever, but happily send other men and women off to die. Dick Cheney remains the shining star of the chickenhawk brigade, a cowardly piece of offal who somehow received five separate deferments during the Vietnam War, but is considered a patriot supreme for his rhetoric.

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  47. MichaelG said on November 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Coozledad, you can do a collection of your stuff, call it “Cruize’n with the Cooze”.

    Auburn is where my Ex, with whom I lunched yesterday, lives. I live in Sacto, in the hood.

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