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