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  1. #1
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    Al Franken close to victory in MN Senate race

    Franken leads as Minn. recount nears finish line

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Victory in Minnesota's drawn-out Senate race moved within Democrat Al Franken's grasp Saturday when he increased his lead over Republican Norm Coleman as the statewide recount drew to a close.

    The state Canvassing Board will reconvene Monday to declare which candidate received the most overall votes in the election. Barring court intervention, it will be Franken.

    Franken's lead now stands at 225 votes after gaining 176 votes more than Coleman in Saturday's review of the formerly sealed absentee ballots. Franken started the day with a 49-vote advantage.

    The 933 absentee ballots were among those rejected by poll workers but later found to be excluded in error. The campaigns eventually agreed they should be added to the recount.

    Unless Coleman wins a pending court petition that seeks to add hundreds more ballots to the recount, the counting is done and the Canvassing Board can sign off on the result on Monday or Tuesday. The result cannot be certified for at least one more week under state law.

    "We are confident since there are no ballots left to count the final margin will stand with Al Franken having won the election by 225 votes," said Franken attorney Marc Elias.

    The new total came on the day Coleman's term as senator officially expired.

    Senate Republican leaders have said the chamber shouldn't seat Franken until all legal matters are settled, even if that drags on for months.

    Coleman's campaign has a pending request before the high court to include an additional 650 ballots that it said were improperly rejected but not forwarded by local officials to St. Paul for counting. The state Supreme Court has not said when it would rule in that case.

    The Canvassing Board's declaration of the winner of the recount opens a seven-day window for the losing candidate to challenge the result in court. Such a lawsuit could take months to resolve and leave Minnesota with only one senator for the time being.

    Coleman hasn't ruled out filing a lawsuit challenging the election result, claiming irregulaties gave Franken an unfair advantage. Coleman's lead lawyer, Fritz Knaak, said the campaign was almost certain to sue.

    "Ultimately I believe it's going to be the senator's decision based on our recommendation," Knaak said. "At this point, my recommendation would be to move forward."

    Franken's campaign has refused to outline its potential next steps.

    Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said he doubted a lawsuit will get filed despite the tough talk.

    "This is so accurate and has been done so carefully that the person with the least votes is going to say, 'I'm disappointed, I'm sad, but I came in short this time,'" he said.
    I don't know much about Norm Coleman but I do know that Franken is a far-left ideologue who is not qualified for any public office.

    I know there is a ton of far left money behind Franken that aided his campaign but I find it incredibly hard to believe that a significant number of voters could actually believe that he would represent an improvement over the current status quo.

    Scary.

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    Hm. When the guy wasn't writing Stuart Saves His Family, he was writing reactionary commentary in books with hateful titles.

    The scarier question is this: Why do religious fundies get knocked for doing pretty much the same thing? It would be like putting Fred Phelps in the Senate.

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    Valid questions. Franken is clearly a hater. That was the premise of the failed Air America network.

    Mainstream Americans usually shun haters in politics (see Howard Dean circa 2004) but Franken has managed to hang in this election, most likely due to far left money from the likes of George Soros.

    I've been saying it and I will keep saying it. We need much better than what we have in the government representatives from both parties.

    Al Franken isn't even close.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elduardo View Post
    Valid questions. Franken is clearly a hater. That was the premise of the failed Air America network.

    Mainstream Americans usually shun haters in politics (see Howard Dean circa 2004) but Franken has managed to hang in this election, most likely due to far left money from the likes of George Soros.
    You must be joking. Any time I've ever listened to left leaning radio, like Thom Hartmann or Bill Press, they seem rather calm and reasonable, regardless of whether you agree with their politics or not. Lets compare that to Rush, Sean, and the other idiot Mark Levin. Ever listen tho those guys? Left leaning talk radio doesn't do as well because libs don't need a radio host to tell them what to think. Conservatives have so alienated themselves with bad ideas, and terrible history, that they need someone to pat them on the head and provide them comfort.

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    Last edited by Searcher; 01-05-2009 at 08:43 AM.
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    So have you listened to Franken's show or not? If you haven't, you really shouldn't comment.

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    Excellent analysis by the Wall Street Journal...


    Funny Business in Minnesota
    Strange things keep happening in Minnesota, where the disputed recount in the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken may be nearing a dubious outcome. Thanks to the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board, Mr. Franken may emerge as an illegitimate victor.

    Mr. Franken started the recount 215 votes behind Senator Coleman, but he now claims a 225-vote lead and suddenly the man who was insisting on "counting every vote" wants to shut the process down. He's getting help from Mr. Ritchie and his four fellow Canvassing Board members, who have delivered inconsistent rulings and are ignoring glaring problems with the tallies.

    Under Minnesota law, election officials are required to make a duplicate ballot if the original is damaged during Election Night counting. Officials are supposed to mark these as "duplicate" and segregate the original ballots. But it appears some officials may have failed to mark ballots as duplicates, which are now being counted in addition to the originals. This helps explain why more than 25 precincts now have more ballots than voters who signed in to vote. By some estimates this double counting has yielded Mr. Franken an additional 80 to 100 votes.

    This disenfranchises Minnesotans whose vote counted only once. And one Canvassing Board member, State Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson, has acknowledged that "very likely there was a double counting." Yet the board insists that it lacks the authority to question local officials and it is merely adding the inflated numbers to the totals.

    In other cases, the board has been flagrantly inconsistent. Last month, Mr. Franken's campaign charged that one Hennepin County (Minneapolis) precinct had "lost" 133 votes, since the hand recount showed fewer ballots than machine votes recorded on Election Night. Though there is no proof to this missing vote charge -- officials may have accidentally run the ballots through the machine twice on Election Night -- the Canvassing Board chose to go with the Election Night total, rather than the actual number of ballots in the recount. That decision gave Mr. Franken a gain of 46 votes.

    The Opinion Journal Widget
    Download Opinion Journal's widget and link to the most important editorials and op-eds of the day from your blog or Web page.
    Meanwhile, a Ramsey County precinct ended up with 177 more ballots than there were recorded votes on Election Night. In that case, the board decided to go with the extra ballots, rather than the Election Night total, even though the county is now showing more ballots than voters in the precinct. This gave Mr. Franken a net gain of 37 votes, which means he's benefited both ways from the board's inconsistency.

    And then there are the absentee ballots. The Franken campaign initially howled that some absentee votes had been erroneously rejected by local officials. Counties were supposed to review their absentees and create a list of those they believed were mistakenly rejected. Many Franken-leaning counties did so, submitting 1,350 ballots to include in the results. But many Coleman-leaning counties have yet to complete a re-examination. Despite this lack of uniformity, and though the state Supreme Court has yet to rule on a Coleman request to standardize this absentee review, Mr. Ritchie's office nonetheless plowed through the incomplete pile of 1,350 absentees this weekend, padding Mr. Franken's edge by a further 176 votes.

    Both campaigns have also suggested that Mr. Ritchie's office made mistakes in tabulating votes that had been challenged by either of the campaigns. And the Canvassing Board appears to have applied inconsistent standards in how it decided some of these challenged votes -- in ways that, again on net, have favored Mr. Franken.

    The question is how the board can certify a fair and accurate election result given these multiple recount problems. Yet that is precisely what the five members seem prepared to do when they meet today. Some members seem to have concluded that because one of the candidates will challenge the result in any event, why not get on with it and leave it to the courts? Mr. Coleman will certainly have grounds to contest the result in court, but he'll be at a disadvantage given that courts are understandably reluctant to overrule a certified outcome.

    Meanwhile, Minnesota's other Senator, Amy Klobuchar, is already saying her fellow Democrats should seat Mr. Franken when the 111th Congress begins this week if the Canvassing Board certifies him as the winner. This contradicts Minnesota law, which says the state cannot award a certificate of election if one party contests the results. Ms. Klobuchar is trying to create the public perception of a fait accompli, all the better to make Mr. Coleman look like a sore loser and build pressure on him to drop his legal challenge despite the funny recount business.

    Minnesotans like to think that their state isn't like New Jersey or Louisiana, and typically it isn't. But we can't recall a similar recount involving optical scanning machines that has changed so many votes, and in which nearly every crucial decision worked to the advantage of the same candidate. The Coleman campaign clearly misjudged the politics here, and the apparent willingness of a partisan like Mr. Ritchie to help his preferred candidate, Mr. Franken. If the Canvassing Board certifies Mr. Franken as the winner based on the current count, it will be anointing a tainted and undeserving Senator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elduardo View Post
    Valid questions. Franken is clearly a hater. That was the premise of the failed Air America network.

    Mainstream Americans usually shun haters in politics (see Howard Dean circa 2004) but Franken has managed to hang in this election, most likely due to far left money from the likes of George Soros.
    A "hater?"

    I'll be the first to admit he's not right for this position, but playground labels like that do little in the way of legitimate critique. Counter programming a given medium or outlet is precisely how the conservative radio pundits have spun things with their "liberal media" canard for years. Targeting a niche does not a hater make.

    As for Franken's ability to prevail here, it seems the backdrop of the last eight years has a good deal more to do with the traction a progressive candidate gets than the well-heeled backers who thoroughly populate both sides of the race.

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    Patriot, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to the interests of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerers. ---Ambrose Bierce

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    I clearly could have phrased it differently but the intent wasn't to engage in name-calling of Al Franken but to refer to his behavior both on the radio and in print of spewing vile, hateful rhetoric towards those with whom he disagrees.

    As for the MN election, the WSJ article above does a very good job of documenting the shenanigans going on in Minnesota.

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    I typed Al Franken into Amazon:

    Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, Paperback, 448 pages.

    Chapter 6 is entitle "I Bitch Slap Bernie Goldberg."

    Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, Paperback, 336 pages.

    This is flat out name calling. This is not peaceful, honest political debate. This is open mudslinging and assault. This is how Al Franken earns his living.

    Even this forum - the Current Events forum here at UHM - frowns on its own members speaking of other people this way. We're the armchair quarterbacks. This guy is trying to make a career of it.

    If it is unjustifiable in civil debate then it is appalling when spoken by our leaders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elduardo View Post
    So have you listened to Franken's show or not? If you haven't, you really shouldn't comment.
    I read one of his books, have seen him interviewed on tv, listened to air america, listened to EIB, I think I have enough information to keep up with anything you've got to say.

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    Then they came for me,
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    Luris put forth some good examples above. To say that Franken does not make hateful comments towards those with whom he disagrees is flat-out dishonest.

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    Except it wasn't spoken by our leaders, LB.

    It was spoken by a comedian trying to sell books, that was his career.

    Now he's attempting a new one.

    If people believe his past books, monologues, etc. disqualify him, that's what the election was for.

    Still keeping in mind that he only said publicly what--rest assured--90% of our "leaders" say (or worse) amongst themselves, privately, if he conducts himself that way in office, then that would, indeed, be appalling. He'll rightfully be held to a higher standard, now. I see no reason to at least see how he acquits himself in the job before assailing him as being categorically unfit on issues of character.

    EDIT: and to that final score, given Franken's unconventional entry to politics, I guarantee you his character balance sheet is by far cleaner than most, not having had to get by making all sorts of back-scratching, quid pro quo, under the table deals for appointments, contracts, etc. in order to climb the ladder.

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    Last edited by Grendel; 01-05-2009 at 06:48 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Grendel View Post
    Except it wasn't spoken by our leaders, LB.

    It was spoken by a comedian trying to sell books, that was his career.

    Now he's attempting a new one.

    If people believe his past books, monologues, etc. disqualify him, that's what the election was for.

    Still keeping in mind that he only said publicly what--rest assured--90% of our "leaders" say (or worse) amongst themselves, privately, if he conducts himself that way in office, then that would, indeed, be appalling. He'll rightfully be held to a higher standard, now. I see no reason to at least see how he acquits himself in the job before assailing him as being categorically unfit on issues of character.
    Let's be reasonable. We don't know how Franken would act as an elected official but his track record in his career so far indicates that he is a hateful person.

    Plenty of comedians out there who make a living in non-hateful ways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elduardo View Post
    Luris put forth some good examples above. To say that Franken does not make hateful comments towards those with whom he disagrees is flat-out dishonest.
    Nobody said he doesn't. He's a comedian. That's what he does for a living. But you tried to line up air america, all it's hosts, and it's lackluster popularity with AF. Which would insinuating that a non hateful network might fair better. Nobody spews more hateful bitterness than right wing talk radio.

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    Then they came for me,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Searcher View Post
    Nobody said he doesn't. He's a comedian. That's what he does for a living. But you tried to line up air america, all it's hosts, and it's lackluster popularity with AF. Which would insinuating that a non hateful network might fair better. Nobody spews more hateful bitterness than right wing talk radio.
    I haven't listened to much right wing radio so I really can't comment. It's my opinion that most Americans don't support hateful messages or angry, hateful politicians.

    Main point of the thread is that Franken is not qualified for any public office and there are some definite questionable things going on in the MN recount.

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    Okay, this "it's comedy" routine is pure shit.

    The guy could get away with any kind of smear he wanted citing "it was just a joke?" Good job.

    The Republican Party is trying to throw Chip Saltsman to the curb for sending out a Paul Shanklin cd with offensive "comedy" tones. The Democrats are trying to elect a leader for writing hundreds of pages under the same banner of comedy.

    But I'll dig this deeper.
    "After Delacorte asked me to write a book on politics, my very first creative act was coming up with the title, Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations. I thought the title, aside from the obvious advantage of being personally offensive to Limbaugh, would sell books. Let me explain why: It makes fun of Rush Limbaugh by pointing out that he is a big lardbutt.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0440508649 -- this is from page 1 in the Excerpt that can be found at Amazon.com

    These are his own words explaining that this is a book "about politics.' Not about comedy.

    These are still his ideas, his creations. Either he stole them from someone else, in which case he is incompetent to lead a free society, or there is a part of his mind that finds this acceptable. As a comedian, fine.

    He made his name in politics by demonizing another ideology. That puts him on the level of Fred Phelps, and makes him no less dangerous as a leader.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elduardo View Post
    Let's be reasonable. We don't know how Franken would act as an elected official but his track record in his career so far indicates that he is a hateful person.

    Plenty of comedians out there who make a living in non-hateful ways.
    I'm sorry, I just don't see an entertainment figure using strong opinions and coarse language against public figures making making that individual necessarily "hateful."

    In fact, after being treated to six years of average citizens' dissent being conflated with disloyalty within the public discourse, a comedian talking about "bitchslapping" a news commentator doesn't even approach "hateful."
    Quote Originally Posted by Luris Blear View Post
    He made his name in politics by demonizing another ideology. That puts him on the level of Fred Phelps, and makes him no less dangerous as a leader.
    "It makes fun of Rush Limbaugh by pointing out that he is a big lardbutt." is on par with "God hates fags?"

    You see no delineation between two (equally) puffed-up media figures trading PG-rated barbs and someone slurring millions of Americans while attempting to defile private funerals?

    Seriously?

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    Last edited by Grendel; 01-05-2009 at 09:59 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Phibes View Post
    To answer your question, although it wasn't directed towards me, no. In Franken's case, at least not on the surface. Franken, in seeking public office, has a lot more to lose and is smart enough to tone it all down. But I think Franken is as ideologically radical. I think I see your point, though. Phelps should really not be part of the discussion. His ideology and intent is not part of the political arena.
    It goes without saying I agree with the assessment that Phelps and his ilk is/are an outlier.

    To the seat at hand, though, I think ideology is often tempered by the realities of office. While Franken might lean progressive, I'll be shocked if he's really all that radical, in practice...

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    I don't feel like doing the research on it but Franken is a proven liar and defamer of character. But it's not the main point I am trying to make.

    Bottom line for me is that Franken is not qualified for any public office and that there are some documented concerns about the way that the recount in MN is being handled and that should concern all of us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elduardo View Post
    I don't feel like doing the research on it but Franken is a proven liar and defamer of character.
    Well, at least you're well informed.

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