Dec. 10 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 365   McCain 173  
Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 256   GOP 178   Ties 1

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strong Dem Strong Dem (258)
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tied Exactly tied (0)
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PW logo Granholm Eyed for Energy Secretary Jindal Not Running in 2012
Quote of the Day Burr Vulnerable in North Carolina
Browner to be Obama's Energy Czar Jackson is Senate Candidate 5

News from the Votemaster

Possible Scenarios for Illinois

Now that the governor of Illinois has been arrested (and freed on bail) for trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat, the issue of how to fill it without tainting the new occupant has moved front and center. Two solutions have been proposed. First, the state legislature could impeach and convict Blagojevich. If that happened, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) would become governor and could make the appointment without tainting the candidate. Second, the president of the state senate, Emil Jones, has said that he will call the state senate back into session immediately for the purpose of changing state law to strip the governor of the power to appoint people to fill Senate vacancies. Jones' proposal is to have a special election within a few months so the person going to Washington would have to win an election to earn the job. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) supports this approach. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive. The legislature could impeach Blagojevich and also strip the new governor of the appointment power.

Minnesote Update

The recount is finished in Minnesota and nobody really knows who is ahead. The Star Tribune has Sen. Norm Coleman (R-M) ahead by 192 votes but that tally doesn't mean much due to about 6000 challenged ballots that have not been tallied. In addition, the Franken camp insists that many absentee ballots have been improperly rejected and wants them to be examined again. Finally, 133 ballots are missing in Hennepin County. The canvassing board will have to decide whether use the original count or the recount. Court fights and Senate battles are likely.

An initial inspection of the absentee ballots by county officials has turned up 171 ballots that were incorrectly rejected. This will strengthen Franken's case to have the canvassing board reexamine the absentee ballots. The board will meet Friday.

CQ Politics has more on the whole situation in Minnesota.

House Expands Ethics Probe of Rangel

For a while, it looked like Republicans had a lock on corruption, but Democrats are fighting hard to even the score. The House ethics committee voted yesterday to expand its probe of possible ethical violations by Rep. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the all-powerful House ways and means committee. Add in William Jefferson and Rod Blagojevich and the Democrats can certainly compete in the corruption sweepstakes. However, a lot of how the public reacts depends on what the Democrats do. If Blagojevich is impeached and convicted quickly and Rangel is dethroned, the message will be that Democrats don't tolerate corruption. If these guys get a slap on the wrist, it sends a different message. If Rangel is deposedd and replace with a younger member of the committee, it will increase Speaker Nancy Pelosi's power since Rangel is answerable to no one, certainly not to Pelosi.

The Ten Worst Predictions of 2008

Foreign Policy has compiled a list of the ten worst predictions of 2006-2008. Here they are, with #1 being the very worst. Thanks to Political Wire for the pointer.

  1. William Kristol (Dec. 2006) said Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee
  2. Jim Cramer (March 2008): "Bear Stearns is fine"
  3. Kenneth Blair & Kenneth Lieberthal (May/June 2007): "Tankers are much less vulnerable than conventional wisdom holds"
  4. Donald Luskin (Sept. 2008): "Anyone who says we're in a recession ... is making up his own private defintion of recession"
  5. The Economist (Dec. 2007): "For all its flaws, an example to others" (on Kenya's election where 800 were killed)
  6. BusinessWeek (Jan. 2008): "Mayor Michael Bloomberg will enter the presidential race in February"
  7. Walter Wagner argued that turning on CERN's large hadron collider would swallow up the earth (it didn't)
  8. Arjun Murti (May 2008): "The possibility of $150-$200 per barrel seems increasingly likely"
  9. Charles Krauthammer (Aug. 2008) said Russia would replace the government of Georgia
  10. Henry Paulson (Nov. 2008): "I believe the banking system has been stabilized"

Financial Crises for Dummies

If, like most people, you don't exactly understand how the financial crisis came about, this piece by Nobel-Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz explains a lot in detail. In a nutshell, Stiglitz sees five crucial errors that led to the crisis:

  1. Pres. Reagan replaced pro-regulation Fed chairman Paul Volcker with anti-regulation Alan Greenspan
  2. The Glass-Steagall act was repealed, eliminating banking safeguards
  3. Tax cuts and low interest rates masked all the warning signs
  4. The rating agencies gave good grades to companies in deep trouble
  5. The administration's "cash for trash" bailout plan was a disaster

Supreme Court Will Not Review Obama's Eligibility as President

A New Jersey man filed suit with the Supreme Court claiming that Barack Obama is not a "natural born citizen" and thus is not eligible to be President. The court dismissed the suit without comment.

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-- The Votemaster