No News from Minnesota
The weary vote recounters took the weekend off in Minnesota. The current state of the Senate
election is that Democrat Al Franken leads Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) by 252 votes, with hundreds of challenges yet to be
ruled on. In addition, challenges that were withdrawn are yet to be counted.
On top of that, there
are about 1600 absentee ballots that were improperly rejected and are yet to be counted. Last week the
the two candidates to agree on which ones to count.
It is unlikely they will be able to agree, so anything could still happen.
Democrats Will Not Be at Full Strength Jan. 20
Although Barack Obama wants to hit the ground running, he may be hampered by the fact that
some Senate seats will likely be open on inauguration day. There may be vacancies in New York
and Colorado due to the appointments of Sen Hillary Clinton and Sen. Ken Salazar to the cabinet,
respectively, although these seats probably will have been filled by then.
Obama's own seat in Illinois may still
be open, depending on whether Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is impeached and if so, what his
successor, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) does. Then there is the seat in Minnesota still hanging in the
balance. Finally, there is Joe Biden's seat, but a successor has already been named and is likely
to be seated Jan. 5. The most likely scenario is that the Delaware, Colorado, and New York
seats will be filled but the Illinois and Minnesota seats are still open. This would leave
the Democrats with 57 seats, two short of what would be needed to invoke cloture in a Senate with 98 seats filled.
On the other hand, if the Republicans start obstructing Obama on day 1, they may lose a
lot of support among independents who are (naively) expecting some sort of bipartisanship
to deal with the country's myriad problems.
Scrambling to Fill Solis' Seat Has Begun
The race to fill Hilda Solis' D+17 seat in Southern California has
State senator Gloria Romero, board of equalization chairwoman Judy Chu, assemblyman Ed
Hernandez, state senator Gil Cedillo, and others are already looking at the race in this
62% Latino district. The special election will take place 16-18 weeks after the vacancy
occurs and that won't happen until Solis resigns, which she won't do until she is confirmed
as secretary of labor. It is a foregone conclusion that Democrats will hold the seat.
Full Cabinet Named Quickly
President-elect Barack Obama
his full cabinet the fastest of any President in 32 years. It is a highly educated batch,
with 80% having graduate degrees. Here is the list.
| Attorney General
|| Eric Holder
|| Columbia Univ.
|| J.D. Columbia Law School
| Secretary of Agriculture
|| former Gov. Tom Vilsack
|| Hamilton Coll.
|| J.D. Albany Law School
| Secretary of Commerce Gov.
|| Bill Richardson
|| Tufts Univ.
|| M.A. Tufts Univ.
| Secretary of Defense
|| Robert Gates
|| Coll. of William & Mary
|| Ph.D. Georgetown
| Secretary of Education
|| Arne Duncan
|| Harvard Univ.
| Secretary of Energy
|| Steven Chu
|| Univ. of Rochester
|| Ph.D. Univ. of California at Berkeley
| Secretary of Health and Human Services
|| former Sen. Tom Daschle
|| South Dakota State Univ.
| Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
|| Shaun Donovan
|| Harvard Univ.
|| M.A. Harvard Univ.
| Secretary of Homeland Security
|| Gov. Janet Napolitano
|| Santa Clara Univ.
|| J.D. Univ. of Virginia Law School
| Secretary of the Interior
|| Sen. Ken Salazar
|| Colorado Coll.
|| J.D. Univ. of Michigan Law School
| Secretary of Labor
|| Hilda Solis
|| Cal State Polytechnic
|| M. Public Admin., USC
| Secretary of State Sen.
|| Sen. Hillary Clinton
|| Wellesley College
|| J.D. Yale Univ. Law School
| Secretary of Transportation
|| Rep. Ray LaHood
|| Bradley Univ.
| Secretary of the Treasury
|| Timothy Geithner
|| Dartmouth Coll.
|| M.A. Johns Hopkins Univ.
| Secretary of Veterans Affairs
|| Gen. Eric Shinseki
|| USMA West Point
|| M.A. Duke Univ.
During the campaign, some people were saying Obama would turn the country
over to black people. He certainly didn't do that with the cabinet. Here is the
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