Saturday, November 8, 2008

Parting Shot For Saturday Night

"No Blood For Oil" in Iraq is completely wrong. We didn't send our soldiers to die for oil at all and you should be ashamed of yourselves for thinking it.

We sent our soldiers to die, in fact, for natural gas.

There's a difference, you know.

A Little Too Close For Comfort

Democrat Al Franken is now within less than 250 votes of Republican Norm Coleman's Senate seat in Minnesota, and with a hand recount mandated by state law, Coleman is getting extremely nervous. So nervous in fact, that according to the always prescient Josh Marshall, it looks like he's getting ready to call voter fraud on Franken.

Apropos of my post below, I'm getting word that Coleman may be in the process of fielding the lawyers for a replay of President Bush's 2000 recount smackdown. And this from the Associated Press gives a clue to why he is getting worried ...

An Associated Press analysis of the nearly 25,000-vote difference in Minnesota presidential and U.S. Senate race tallies shows that most ballots lacking a recorded Senate vote were cast in counties won by Democrat Barack Obama.
So what does that mean? Minnesota voted are counted by optical scan machine. A hand recount of those 25,000 ballots would almost certainly give Franken the win, as they were ballots that had a legitimate vote scanned for President but NOT Senator. The odds of that many ballots being purposely left blank are extremely low, so a hand count determining if these ballots were marked lightly or mis-scanned could give Franken several thousand more additional votes than Coleman and give him the win.

Coleman will now do everything he can to stop any of those votes being counted: the same trick Bush pulled in Florida in 2000.
Three counties -- Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis -- account for 10,540 votes in the dropoff. Each saw Obama win with 63 percent or more.

Ballots that showed a presidential vote but no Senate vote are called the "undervote." Statewide, more than 18,000 of those ballots came from counties won by Obama with more than half the vote. About 6,100 were in counties won by Republican John McCain with at least 50 percent.

In 13 counties, the two ran about even; in all, those counties combined for 707 ballots without a Senate preference.

In other words, undervotes in counties where Obama won BIG massively exceed the undervotes in McCain country, specifically in the three largest urban counties of the state.

There's voter fraud going on here, alright. But it's not ACORN's doing. And Norm Coleman knows if those votes are counted by hand he will lose. So, naturally, he's going to sue to stop the hand recount and cite Bush v Gore as precedent.

I used to live in Hennepin County. The people there aren't stupid. Minnesotans take voting seriously. We'll see what happens, but I agree completely with Josh and can almost guarantee this one's going to court.

Prop 8 Hate

Yesterday I talked about the disturbing evidence that California's Prop 8 banning gay marriage passed due in no small part to African-Americans and Latinos who voted overwhelmingly for the ban. Today, the situation keeps getting worse as Pam Spaulding explains.
The backlash is upon us, and it's going to get uglier unless our organizations step forward and say something. The desire to scapegoat blacks for Prop 8's defeat has exposed the now not-so-latent racism in our movement.

I have already blogged a lot about why the lack of effective communication (and I'm not even talking about outreach on gay issues to socially conservative blacks) between white people in general and people of color. That dearth of understanding and mutual respect for difference, and lack of desire to seek common ground through personal relationships ultimately leads to what we are seeing here.

On the matter of the blame game, Alex Blaze has an excellent post over at Bilerico that tries to poke at the anger directed at the black community (as you read above, it didn't matter if you were black and gay -- it was hurled at him because he represented The Other regardless of his allegiance to the gay community).

But I'm wondering why these folks are so caught up in the black voters, who obviously can't ever be persuaded on this issue because... well, because. There are so many other groups in the exit polling that voted for Prop 8 overwhelmingly (as in, more than 60%):

* The elderly (65+)
* Republicans
* Conservatives
* People who decided for whom to vote in October (but not within the week before the election)
* People who were contacted by the McCain campaign
* Protestants
* Catholics
* White Protestants
* Those who attend church weekly
* Married people
* People with children under 18
* Gun owners
* Bush voters
* Offshore drilling supporters
* People who are afraid of a terrorist attack
* People who thought their family finances were better now than 4 years ago
* Supporters of the war against Iraq
* People who didn't care about the age of the candidates
* Anti-choicers
* People who are from the "Inland/Valley" region of California
* McCain voters

Some of these groups supported Prop 8 far more than African Americans did, which makes me wonder why we're focused so much on race instead of any of these factors. In terms of predictive value, religion, political ideology, and being married with children tell us much more about how someone voted on Prop 8 than race does.

From which we can infer three things. First, breaking the statistics just along racial lines is an overly simplistic way to look at the results. Black people, like white people, are not a monolithic group, and LGBT people can make inroads by reaching out to African Americans if we try. Flapping our mouths about how we're not PC, how all blacks are homophobic, and how there's no use in reaching out to African Americans doesn't endear people to us, and there is work to be done here that hasn't been done.

Second, religion is the overwhelming factor in Prop 8's win, in terms of organizing, funding, and voting. Since it's not going anywhere, we have to take a more serious approach to religious voters. And, yes, their leaders make bank off homophobia, but we're going to have to be more creative. No writing off fundies as idiots allowed - they get votes too.

It saddens me that there is so much work to do to heal these wounds on both sides. As I've said, being a triple minority is a challenge because we are often rendered invisible by each tribe we belong to when our existence becomes inconvenient or challenges their biases.

Amen to all of that. The Wingnuts are gleefully cheering and pointing, saying that this is proof that the Left is about to come apart thanks to Obama.

Let's remember who the real merchants of hatred and division are, folks. Alex Blaze's final line there: "No writing off fundies as idiots allowed - they get votes too" is the heart of this. Writing off the other side as idiots (and let's face it, I am the king of that) is not going to work here.

I do it out of sarcasm. But doing it out of hatred and division creates far more problems. As Alex says...they get votes too. And they count just as much as my vote individually.

There is certainly an opportunity here for Obama to show leadership on this issue. It would go a long way for people on both sides of this issue if he could step in and cool things down somewhat.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition

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