January 2009

Coleman experiencing technical difficulties

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

As the of the trial over Norm Coleman’s lawsuit challenging the U.S. Senate recount drags on, Coleman’s campaign has opened a new front in its public-relations war with Al Franken.

The campaign has added a database to its website that allows Minnesota voters to find out if theiir absentee ballot was among the 12,000 that were improperly rejected and sent out a press release first thing Wednesday morning that touted this new web wrinkle.

One problem, the campaign reported a few hours later that so many people had tried to check the database that they had crashed the website. The crash occured shortly after the Drudge Report linked to the site, said campaign spokesman Luke Friedrich. “The site was flooded,” he said. “The tech folks said many thousands of people tried to go there. We think that’s pretty telling.”

Once the website is up and running again, it’s located at http://colemanforsenate.com

On, Minnsconsin!

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Today, amid some obligatory Vikings/Packers jokes, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, first photo below, and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, second photo, announced plans to combine some state operations, as each state faces projected deficits around $5 billion.

pawlenty.jpgIn the spirit of reform, we offer some suggestions that the bureaucrats may not think about:

Super Bowl rings: 1½ apiece

Senators: 1½ apiece

Merging Norske Nook and Betty’s Pies. It is, after all not about the borders, it’s about the pie.

DOYLE.jpgEconomy of scale in purchasing blood alcohol field testing devices.

Six months out of the year, Paul Bunyan and Babe vacation at the Dells.

Blaze orange as one state color (savings in flags)

Using combined resources of esteemed bio-sciences institutions to come up with one DNA-constructed state mascot: Bopher or Gadger, you pick.

Governors share a barber.

D.C. will be a Franken destination

Friday, January 9th, 2009

He’s not yet a member of the U.S. Senate, but Democrat Al Franken will go to Washington this month for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.

Franken spokeswoman Jess McIntosh was unable to say whether Franken had secured seats between Roland Burris and Caroline Kennedy, two other Senate wannabes who have run into stumbling blocks of their own on the way to Capitol Hill.

Franken has cut a low profile during the Senate recount in Minnesota, popping up recently only to declare victory after the state Canvassing Board certified election results giving him a 225-vote lead over Norm Coleman.

But for those needing a Franken fix, MSNBC is nicely filling the bill this week by airing a fuzzy clip (circa 1980, archivists have determined) of Young Al energetically channeling Mick Jagger for the TV show “Solid Gold.” At least he’s not wearing a feather boa.

‘How hard is it to count to 3 million?’

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

When the U.S. Senate convened Tuesday with only 98 of its 100 seats filled, ‘Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart took note of the situation, speaking against the backdrop of a faux-dramatic news logo: “Crisis in the Senate: Deliberative Disorder.”

Asked Stewart: “Do we even have enough senators to not get stuff done?”

One of the two vacancies, of course, was the result of Minnesota’s overtime Senate election.

Stewart flashed some tongue-in-cheek incredulity that things aren’t settled yet.

“It’s January. How hard is it to count to 3 million? You’re supposed to be one of the smart states.”

Blogging the recount: Contest coming

Monday, January 5th, 2009

In a press conference, Coleman recount lawyer Tony Trimble vowed: “We will contest the results of the canvassing board” — apparently within 24 hours.

The challenge will be focused on alleged double votes; the 654 rejected absentee ballots the Coleman camp had sought unsuccessfully to include, and and so-called “excess votes.”

Blogging the recount: Short and sweet

Monday, January 5th, 2009

The meeting is over, in 19 minutes, with loud applause for canvassing board.

Board member and district judge Edward Cleary summed up the board members’ speeches when he said: “To the Minnesota voters out there, we did our best. That includes the absentee voters out there.”

Blogging the recount: Business done, speeches begun

Monday, January 5th, 2009

The canvassing board has done its work in short order, certifying a final result — Franken by 225.

Now the board members are making speeches, congratulating one another and the Secretary’s staff.

Blogging the recount: The Canvassing Board meets

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie began today’s meeting by announcing this is “final meeting” of board on U.S. Senate recount.

He went on to emphasize a point the local media has had a hard time getting straight:

“We’re not doing anything today that declares winners (or) losers,” Ritchie said.

The board merely certifies a final result. A winner is declared when a certificate of election is issued — seven days from now or at the end of a legal challenge.

A big day in the recount

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Lots of days have been called significant during Minnesota’s long U.S. Senate recount, but today rates the billing.

This afternoon, the state Canvassing Board will sit down with only one major task on their agenda: certifying the results, which now show Al Franken 225 votes ahead of Norm Coleman.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Franken gets to claim the crown, although it’s certain he’s mightily tempted and a lot of Democrats in D.C. would like to see him fly out and join them when Congress convenes tomorrow.

He crossed one hurdle just now. The state Supreme Court this morning rejected Coleman’s petition to count not just the 933 wrongly rejected absentee ballots that were tallied Saturday, but the 650 absentee ballots that the campaign said also were wrongly rejected and therefore should have been included.

That leaves Coleman with the option provided by state law that nearly everyone expects him to exercise if and when the results are certified: file a suit contesting the election.

If Coleman goes to court, the final certification of the election by the governor and secretary of state — which would officially make Franken the winner — would be delayed until the matter is settled.

Voices are being raised suggesting that the election has been stolen right under our eyes. In a scathing editorial today, the Wall Street Journal says that Franken may be the “illegitimate victor” of a contest steered by “the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board.”

Having watched the board work for a few weeks, I doubt that Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and other members of the board would agree with that characterization.

Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer and John Cornyn are already jawing in Washington over the possibility of Franken’s moving into the Senate. Schumer says that Franken won, while Cornyn is threatening a filibuster until the legal process is over. The election that won’t end, it seems, just won’t end.

Blogging the recount: Franken looks safe

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

There are only unofficial, on-the-fly counts to go on, but it appears that Franken’s lead is now larger than the number of ballots left to be counted.

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