What’s a Little Voter Fraud Among Friends

Recent­ly, Indi­ana’s Repub­li­can Sec­re­tary of State, Char­lie White, was found guilty of vot­er fraud. Seems he was still vot­ing in his for­mer dis­trict where his ex-wife lived even after he had moved into anoth­er district.

Upon being con­vict­ed, he imme­di­ate­ly accused Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Daniels of vot­er fraud for vot­ing in the dis­trict con­tain­ing the gov­er­nor’s man­sion even though he nev­er moved into the man­sion and con­tin­ues to live in his own home (pos­si­bly because it is a nicer man­i­son? I have no idea) which is in anoth­er dis­trict. Whether there is any­thing to this, I do not know.

With the Indi­ana pri­ma­ry com­ing up in May, the bat­tle for Sen­a­tor Lugar to get through to the gen­er­al elec­tion is heat­ing up.  It is a bit of a “scan­dal” that Lugar sold his Indi­ana home back in 1977 and has lived in Wash­ing­ton ever since but he has con­tin­ued to vote in his old dis­trict! He has been reelect­ed five times. This has, to my knowl­edge, nev­er been an issue before.

Lugar’s spokesper­son said

It’s just like the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary. If you’re mil­i­tary per­son­nel and in defense of this coun­try, in ser­vice to this coun­try and you’re over­seas you keep your last place of residence.

TPM states that is “an accu­rate legal com­par­i­son based on the Indi­ana Con­sti­tu­tion. ” But they had to ask

is it fair to com­pare a politician’s time in Wash­ing­ton area to that of active-duty mil­i­tary personnel?

which strikes me as a dumb ques­tion. Although it did give the spokesman an oppor­tu­ni­ty to explain that no one was claim­ing Lugar’s time in Wash­ing­ton com­pared with the time a ser­vice­man or woman spends all over the globe.

Two years ago Dan Coats ran for the oth­er Indi­ana sen­ate seat. When the peti­tion to get his name on the bal­lot was being cir­cu­lat­ed, Coats was not eli­gi­ble to sign it, not being a res­i­dent of the state. He had pre­vi­ous­ly been one of Indi­ana’s sen­a­tors from 1990 to 1998 (and in the house of rep­re­sen­ta­tives pri­or to that). When Coats retired from the sen­ate in 1998, he nev­er moved back to Indi­ana. When he announced he was going to run in 2010 he was liv­ing in Mary­land. Vot­ers did not seem to care.

So the Indi­ana Sec­re­tary of State is con­vict­ed of vot­er fraud. The gov­er­nor of Indi­ana may or may not be guilty of vot­er fraud (and my bet is he is nev­er charged). Sen­a­tor Lugar is not guilty of vot­er fraud and has, at least so far, suc­cess­ful­ly made Hoosiers feel like he is rep­re­sent­ing them.

To my mind, Sen­a­tor Coats is guilty of the biggest scan­dal here. Sure, much of the time between his times on the Sen­ate he was still serv­ing the gov­ern­ment as ambas­sador to Ger­many. But then

In 2007, Coats served as co-chair­man of a team of lob­by­ists for Coop­er Indus­tries, a Texas cor­po­ra­tion that moved its prin­ci­pal place of busi­ness to Bermu­da, where it would not be liable for U.S. tax­es. He suc­cess­ful­ly blocked Sen­ate leg­is­la­tion that would have pre­vent­ed a tax loop­hole, worth hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to Coop­er Indus­tries.[16]

The NYT also report­ed that Coats was co-chair­man of the Wash­ing­ton gov­ern­ment rela­tions office of King & Spald­ing, with a salary of $603,609

I believe he was still lob­by­ing when he decid­ed to run for the sen­ate again. Hence the Mary­land address. Coats has man­aged to be a car­pet bag­ger in his home state.

Since Coats had no res­i­dence in Indi­ana to move away from, I won­der if he is eli­gi­ble to vote in Indi­ana. And if so, how is it decid­ed which dis­trict he votes in?

Hey, CBS! Way to Pay Attention!

I just had to make a cou­ple of com­ments about this CBS News report five days ago.

At the three minute mark, Scott Pel­ley says “One thing we noticed today is how stub­born unem­ploy­ment has been.” Nice of you to notice, Scott.

They then put up a chart show­ing the last ten reces­sions and Scott says:

All you need to notice here is how they are most­ly V shaped.”

Here is the chart.

All you need to notice is that they are indeed most­ly V shaped, which means that they are not all V shaped. Odd­ly, the two that are decid­ed­ly not V shaped are the two pre­vi­ous to the most recent. Note that the up slope of the recent down­turn is very sim­i­lar to the up slope of the pre­vi­ous two. It is just that the recent reces­sion was so much deep­er than the oth­ers it is a longer way up.

Giv­en that CBS News “just noticed” the stub­born unem­ploy­ment, I guess it may take some time for them to notice the trend of the past three recessions.

Bill McBride at Cal­cu­lat­ed Risk (where I got the graph) attrib­ut­es the slow job recov­ery “to the lin­ger­ing effects of the hous­ing bust and finan­cial crisis.”

I am not aware of McBride’s expla­na­tion (if any) for the pre­vi­ous two slow job recoveries.

Don’t Remind Us. We’re Trying to Forget!”

I would seem some con­ser­v­a­tives are all up in arms* over the com­mer­cial Chrysler aired dur­ing the Super Bowl halftime.

Karl Rove does not like it.

Rush Lim­baugh does not like it.

Why? One reason.

Oba­ma saved Detroit. If not for Oba­ma, there would be no Chrysler to air that ad. There would be no GM. And there is a good chance there would be no Ford.**

Oba­ma took con­trol and saved the domes­tic auto indus­try. At lit­tle or no cost to the tax­pay­er (or maybe a profit…final tal­ly is not yet in), Oba­ma saved the domes­tic auto indus­try. The Chrysler ad sub­tly ref­er­ences that fact.

While I watched the ad, I half won­dered if it would turn out to be a polit­i­cal ad, clear­ly pro Oba­ma (though I was expect­ing it to be a Chrysler ad since it is so in keep­ing with many of their ads of late).

Rom­ney says he would have allowed GM and Chrysler to fail. Oba­ma saved them.

This is not just bad news for con­ser­v­a­tives polit­i­cal­ly, it is bad news ide­o­log­i­cal­ly. Oba­ma accom­plished the “impos­si­ble.” Many con­ser­v­a­tives said it would be a dis­as­ter. “Social­ism!” was the cry. Gov­ern­ment can­not inter­vene and expect a good outcome.

But gov­ern­ment did inter­vene. Things did improve. Detroit was saved!

This com­mer­cial reminds us of that fact. Con­ser­v­a­tives want us to for­get it. Maybe more impor­tant­ly, con­ser­v­a­tives want to for­get it them­selves. Facts that con­tra­dict their world­view are intolerable.

Do you think Chrysler is enjoy­ing the noto­ri­ety of the ad? I’m sure they planned on it.

** If GM and Chrysler went under, many of their sup­pli­ers would have gone under, too. Many of those sup­pli­ers also made parts for Ford. Ford would have been in a world of hurt with no source for parts with which to build cars.

Hat tips to Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has a nice quick take on the ad, and Ann Alt­house.

Discussion of Extremes Sheds Little Light

This CNN video clip of Piers Mor­gan ask­ing Ron Paul about abor­tion would almost work ver­ba­tim as a Sat­ur­day Night Live skit.

Piers asks about what Paul’s reac­tion would be if one of his grand­daugh­ters got preg­nant from a rape. Paul (appro­pri­ate­ly ignor­ing the ref­er­ence to his grand­daugh­ters) responds by say­ing that if it is an hon­est rape*, the girl should imme­di­ate­ly go to an emer­gency room and he would give them a shot of estrogen.

When Piers asks if this means Paul does not believe life begins at con­cep­tion, Paul says that at that point, no ones if there has been con­cep­tion. It would seem that Paul is say­ing the fer­til­ized egg is a human life, but if one does not know whether the life exists or not, it is ok to end it.

Then Paul admits that the hypo­thet­i­cal of a rape vic­tim at the hos­pi­tal imme­di­ate­ly after the rape is not use­ful, but it was Paul that intro­duced the hypothetical.

Piers then says that although it is a hypo­thet­i­cal, it does in fact hap­pen “Peo­ple do get raped, and they do get impreg­nat­ed and some­times they are so ashamed by what’s hap­pened that weeks go by before they even dis­cov­er they’re preg­nant.” So he says the hypo­thet­i­cal hap­pens, but then imme­di­ate­ly asks about a dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion as if that is the hypothetical.

Paul responds with the hypo­thet­i­cal from the oppo­site extreme, ask­ing if a wom­an’s right to con­trol her body means “one minute before birth you can kill the baby?”

Paul men­tions respons­es he has received in the past about that hypo­thet­i­cal. Women have said “that’s not what we’re talk­ing about” and his response is “That’s exact­ly what we’re talk­ing about.”

Unless we don’t know if there is a life or not.

*hon­est rape? This is beyond by abil­i­ty to char­ac­ter­ize. Even Angry Black Lady does not try to describe how despi­ca­ble this com­ment is.** I guess it is just more com­pas­sion from the Repub­li­can candidates.

** Yes, I know. There have been times in the his­to­ry of human­i­ty when a woman has cried rape where there was none. But in the con­text of the inter­view, Paul’s inser­tion of that phrase is absurd. The ques­tion was about rape, not about false claims of rape.

He’s Seen the Movie Too Many Times

The movie being Cat Peo­ple.

I don’t know how else to explain a judge announc­ing from the bench that

The cat is a liv­ing human ani­mal and does­n’t deserve to be basi­cal­ly mur­dered, which is what hap­pened in this case.

The judge was sen­tenc­ing a man for bru­tal­ly killing a stray cat that had dam­aged the man’s rental unit. The man should not have killed the cat. I think six months in jail might be a bit exces­sive, but pre­sum­ably he will not serve all of that.

It seems noth­ing will hap­pen to the judge for mak­ing his ridicu­lous “cat is a liv­ing human ani­mal” state­ment. This stands as anoth­er exam­ple of our inabil­i­ty to prop­er­ly dis­tin­guish peo­ple from animals.

As I have said before, under­stand­ing the phe­nom­e­non of con­scious­ness will go a long way to clar­i­fy­ing the difference.

Hat tip: Ann Alt­house

Well, Yes. That IS a Problem.

For many years now (I’m guess­ing twen­ty or so), Indi­ana has had spe­cial­ty license plates for auto­mo­biles. Pur­chase of a spe­cial­ty plate costs extra (I think $35?) with $25 going to the cause/​organization. As the link shows, each spe­cial­ty plate has it’s own design. There are 66 spe­cial­ty plate designs (104 dif­fer­ent plate designs altogether).

I remem­ber read­ing a few years ago of com­plaints from law enforce­ment that the pletho­ra of plates made it dif­fi­cult to iden­ti­fy a giv­en plate. I did not grasp the prob­lem because I fig­ured that as long as they had a num­ber they did not need to know which spe­cial­ty plate the num­ber came off.

Sun­day I came across anoth­er arti­cle about law enforce­ment issues with the spe­cial­ty plates in the Fort Wayne Jour­nal Gazette.

bureau offi­cials con­sult­ed with law enforce­ment offi­cials sev­er­al years ago about how to make spe­cial­ty plates eas­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able. The plates were giv­en a basic white back­ground with black let­ter­ing, with the sponsor’s logo on the left side.

What wasn’t done back then was ensure that no two license plates would have the same sequence of numbers.

Read that last para­graph again:

What wasn’t done back then was ensure that no two license plates would have the same sequence of numbers.

For years, it has been pos­si­ble for as many cars as there were spe­cial­ty plates to have the same license plate number.

I’m sor­ry, but who came up with this idea? And why has it tak­en a cou­ple of decades to cor­rect it?

Where Do I Live?

Kevin Drum at Moth­er Jones has a blog post up about the “vot­er fraud” that South Car­oli­na is try­ing to fight with I.D. require­ments. It turns out that there is no evi­dence of the claimed fraud. Dis­crep­an­cies are invari­ably the result of sim­ple cler­i­cal error (although one dead per­son did man­age to vote by cast­ing his or her bal­lot ear­ly and then sneak­i­ly dying before elec­tion day.)

This leads Kevin to:

Despite Newt Gin­grich’s infat­u­a­tion with hav­ing Mas­ter­Card run our coun­try’s immi­gra­tion pro­gram, any­one who’s ever worked in the pri­vate sec­tor knows that keep­ing cus­tomer and prospect mail­ing lists clean is a huge pain in the ass. If you man­age to stay even 95% accu­rate, you’re a genius. That’s dou­bly true for vot­er reg­is­tra­tion rolls, which are a night­mare of peo­ple mov­ing, dying, get­ting mar­ried, reg­is­ter­ing twice by mis­take, pro­vid­ing incor­rect address­es, and so forth. After any elec­tion, you can always find thou­sands of dis­crep­an­cies if you look hard enough.

Twen­ty years ago I met my wife and moved in with her. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, we nev­er stopped get­ting mail for her ex. But it was weird when my ex start­ed get­ting mail there! Two years ago we moved to anoth­er city an hour away. I do not believe that we have received any mail from my ex here, but we have received mail for my wife’s ex.

The White Pages Neigh­bors site (a cool or fright­en­ing site depend­ing on one’s per­spec­tive) lists as res­i­dents in our home my wife, her son and her ex. I’m not list­ed. This is despite the fact that the phone num­ber is in my name.

Neverland, Sandbox, Tomato, Tomäto

This after­noon I lis­tened to a fair­ly good chunk of NPR’s Fresh Air. I heard the inter­view with the musi­cian, song­writer, singer Stew. I par­tic­u­lar­ly not­ed Stew’s com­ments about what hap­pens when one gets to do what one loves.

Stew explained that when you only do what you love, you nev­er have to grow up. You can just keep on play­ing in the sand­box. The corol­lary (in my mind) being that hav­ing to do some­thing you do not love caus­es matu­ri­ty. This made sense to me and I made a men­tal note of it.

Lat­er in the day I was talk­ing to Jay at the lum­ber­yard and he brought up Joe Paterno…wondering if they would have fired him if they had under­stood how bad his health was. This led to a brief dis­cus­sion of Pater­no’s lega­cy which led to a brief dis­cus­sion of Bob Knight’s legacy.

I com­ment­ed that I kept wait­ing for Knight to mature, to grow up.

Now I am a bit sur­er of the truth of Stew’s comment.

Back When Houses Had Front Porches

Once upon a time, most­ly in the late 19th cen­tu­ry, a suc­cess­ful cam­paign strat­e­gy was a front porch cam­paign where the can­di­date most­ly stayed home and accept­ed vis­i­tors and gave speech­es to groups who showed up.

Giv­en how things are going for Mitt Rom­ney, maybe he needs to adopt a front porch strat­e­gy. My mon­ey says that Rom­ney has a front porch.

Solo Wall Piece

Yoko Ono’s 1964 book Grape­fruit: A Book of Instruc­tions and Draw­ings has been reis­sued. I’m not a big Yoko fan, myself. I remem­ber her chiefly for her half of the Dou­ble Fan­ta­sy album by her and John. John’s half was excel­lent. Yoko’s half unlistenable.

But to the book! A Matthew Slaugh­ter has post­ed a review of the book on Ama­zon. His review includes this:

Grape­fruit” is filled, for the most part, with short, koan-like “pieces” such as “Wall Piece for Orches­tra.” Yoko directs the piece as fol­lows: “Hit a wall with your head.”

This imme­di­ate­ly brought to my mind a class I had in high school. I sus­pect it was the only class I had in four years in which I sat in the very last row. The back of the chair was up against the paint­ed con­crete block wall. I dis­cov­ered that if I moved my head away from the wall just an inch or so and then quick­ly moved it against the wall I was reward­ed with a very low tone that emanat­ed from the entire wall. And, most impor­tant­ly, it did not hurt (I guess I have a hard head.) Through the year I per­formed occa­sion­al­ly, suc­cess­ful­ly not doing it so often that I would be discovered.

Some­times my Solo Wall Piece seemed to go com­plete­ly unno­ticed, but there were times when I could tell that the teacher heard it and was look­ing around try­ing to see where the sound was com­ing from (fun­ny that I have no idea who the teacher in this class was, or which class it was!).

I always won­dered what kind of reac­tions, if any, where tak­ing place in the next room.

I had no idea I was fol­low­ing the instruc­tions of Yoko Ono!

Hat tip: Ann Alt­house