Senator Stevens Slips Further Behind In Alaska Vote Count

Democratic candidate Mark Begich gains more votes as the count continues.  And there is every reason to believethat margin will only grow.  Senator Stevens will pay with his political career for the mis-deeds he committed while on office.  A Begich win means that Sarah Palin will be wearing long-johns for quite a while.

Mark Begich has extended his lead over Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens to 1,022 votes with the latest count of absentee and questioned ballots. The Elections Division counted 14,508 ballots today. The count of absentee and questioned ballots will pick up Tuesday. The state has an estimated 24,000 more ballots left to count in the race.

Most of the ballots counted so far today are mixed between the Mat-Su area, Fairbanks and northern and Western Alaska. The state Elections Division has counted a few hundred questioned ballots from Southeast Alaska as well.

The fact that the Democratic Begich’s lead over the Republican Stevens is increasing even as ballots are counted from the Stevens stronghold of the Mat-Su is not a good sign for the 40-year incumbent’s chances to retain his seat.

The Elections Division on Tuesday will count absentee ballots from Anchorage, which has generally been split between Begich and Stevens, as well as Southeast Alaska, which is heavily pro-Begich.

Pictures Of Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Tour Bus

The free exhibit, as mentioned here, continues in Verona, Wisconsin on Saturday, November 15, from 9-4.  I was pleased to see so many people and kids on Friday afternoon visiting the semi that expands into a most remarkable, and very well presented exhibit on the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.

A few pictures from the outside, and inside.

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Below is an exact replica of a music box, with the same music being played, as was found in the Lincoln’s Springfield, Illinois home.

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A funny brief story on a plaque summed up the humor of Lincoln during his days as a lawyer.

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Actual campaign banners (buttons) from 1860.

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“Team Of Rivals” Helping Hillary Clinton Become Secretary Of State?

This is the stuff of politics that fascinates me.

A possible clue to Obama’s willingness to consider Clinton for chief diplomat can be found in a January interview he gave to Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News.” As part of her “Primary Questions” series, she asked him what books besides the Bible he would consider essential if he were elected president.

“Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book ‘Team of Rivals,’” Obama replied. “It was a biography of Lincoln. And she talks about Lincoln’s capacity to bring opponents of his and people who have run against him in his Cabinet. And he was confident enough to be willing to have these dissenting voices and confident enough to listen to the American people and push them outside of their comfort zone. And I think that part of what I want to do as president is push Americans a little bit outside of their comfort zone. It’s a remarkable study in leadership.”

The once-laughable idea is plausible now in part because Obama is exceedingly confident now, in a way that only a president of the United States can be. “He doesn’t need ANYBODY right now — he’s on the cusp of becoming a world historic figure,” one adviser said. “This is a much different calculation [than picking a running mate]. He is completely and totally in the driver’s seat.” And during the general election, she campaigned tirelessly on his behalf throughout the country.

Even officials who like the idea threw up strong “caution” flags. Fresh off his electoral triumph, Obama does not feel he needs the Clintons. The president-elect has never liked the idea of former President Bill Clinton as a back-seat driver. The former president has had many tangled foreign business dealings that could complicate his wife’s entry into an administration that is promising transparency. And at most a few people, none of whom are talking, know what Obama really thinks about all this.

But some Obama advisers argue that Clinton would be an ideal fit if Obama concludes that he will have to focus his early days in office on the domestic economy, and will have to essentially outsource heavy-duty foreign travel to his secretary of State. Her celebrity and credibility would be a huge asset in his goal of reengaging the United States with allies. “You can send out John Kerry or Chuck Hagel,” said one adviser, mentioning some other candidates for secretary of State. “Sending Hillary Clinton out is better.”

The officials said Clinton becomes even more attractive if Obama retains President Bush’s last secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. Some Obama advisers are advocated that course because he would provide cover for drawing down troops in Iraq: Gates has said he believes that is possible, and it would keep Obama out of a fight he can’t afford with the Army Gen. David Petraeus, now the head of the U.S. Central Command.

An Obama adviser threw out one final rationale: It’s better to have the Clintons inside the tent than outside, causing trouble.

Legal Point: Was CA Prop 8 So Sweeping That It Should Never Have Been On Ballot?

The movement of the legal community in California has been swift and sure since the outrageous passage on Election Day of Prop 8.  The very idea that voters should be able to cast a ballot over the question of whether to deny someone else their civil rights is laughable, if not for the fact it produces such monstrous results.  The rights of a minority shouldn’t be taken away by a popular vote.  Image Alabama citizens having the right to vote for integrated schools in 1954………………

The fact that the California Supreme Court is looking for an avenue to address this matter is news that we can at least look to as some sunshine over this matter.

The California Supreme Court has asked state Attorney General Jerry Brown to reply by Monday to lawsuits challenging the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage – a sign that the justices are taking the cases seriously and will not dispose of them quickly.

Two groups of gay and lesbian couples and local governments led by the city of San Francisco filed the suits a day after the Nov. 4 election, when Proposition 8 passed with a 52 percent majority.

They argue that the initiative, a state constitutional amendment, violates other provisions of the California Constitution by taking rights away from a historically persecuted minority group and stripping judges of their power to protect that group. The couples’ suits contend that Prop. 8 makes such fundamental changes that it amounts to a constitutional revision, which can be placed on the ballot only by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

Brown has said he will defend Prop. 8 in court while also supporting the legality of an estimated 18,000 weddings performed under the court’s May 15 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

That ruling declared that state law defining marriage as being between a man and a woman violated the state Constitution. Sponsors of Prop. 8 contend that the initiative – which declared that only marriage between a man and a woman is “valid or recognized in California” – would invalidate all existing same-sex marriages.

The filing the court requested from Brown’s office will not address the ballot measure’s validity, but will focus instead on the initial questions of whether the justices should accept the suits for review – and, if so, whether they should suspend Prop. 8 while they decide the case, said the state’s lawyer, Christopher Krueger, a senior assistant attorney general. Suspending Prop. 8 would allow same-sex marriages to resume.