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Nate Silver, whose election predictions have bee uncannily accurate so far this year, is projecting an Al Franken win by 27 votes. The recount totals released so far don’t look so good with well over half the votes cast and and only a seventh of the first count deficit erased. But Silver argues that these figures probably don’t mean a whole lot as the challenged ballots are temporarily removed from the equation and deducted from the count. It’s already been demonstrated that some of those challenges are just silly, and Coleman clearly wants to go into the challenged vote count round ahead in order to play the refs who don’t necessarily want their decisions to decide the race.

Silver is speculating that the majority of challenged votes are coming from Franken’s stack, as Franken is most certainly going to challenge any initial decisions by local elections judges which would deprive him of votes previously counted. I’m inferring from everything I’ve read that the challenges will not be addressed until after all of the precinct recounts are completed. I don’t know what the rationale for that is, but if the state body, whatever it is, which decides on the challenges would address them as soon as they were made, it might prevent the type of gamesmaship Coleman is playing and save themselves some work. I have no idea whether the law even gives them that discretion.

Addendum: Inquiring right wing minds want to know, will Somalia steal the Minnesota Senate election?

Second addendum: This Kos blogger references an incident which reminds us of why elections must be transparent.

A small story catching on a bit in the MN blogs is from Dakota County (exurban sprawl, S of St. Paul). Procedure is to of course count the ballots and then stack them in groups of 25. (Since the ballots are 8×10, you then stack them in groups of 25 at right angles to each other.) At the end of the recounting you can visually tally totals by going 25-50-75 etc.

On Saturday a woman working at the recount was found putting 26 Franken ballots into a group (which of course later would be tallied at 25.) Franken observer caught it and called foul…twice. Attorneys from both sides went into a huddle with the election officials, who then recounted several Franken stacks—and caught 6 stacks of 26. No word on consequences for the woman in question.

Kudos to the Franken observer! And, ugly as something like this is, it was caught, dealt with and fixed. (I’ll bet the attorneys on both sides might feel pretty good about what they did actually serving justice.) Whew!

There are some other stories through the link, but this one concerns me the most. And the transparency should include a statement from the woman about what happened. 6 “oopses” favoring one candidate demands an explanation, and some punitive action if the explanation is wanting.

Third addendum: It gets even more interesting. Franken’s people have uncovered about 6400 absentee ballots which had been rejected. Moreover, it appears that some ballots which were counted initially have disappeared. Franken’s campaign has a photograph of one such ballot. What will the courts do with that if they don’t find them?

Take the test. You will probably do better than most elected officials (don’t worry, most of them were probably on school boards).

Addendum: Those of you who think the test has a conservative agenda are right.

So I was in the store the other evening and walking down the cookie isle when I saw some of the many varieties of Oreo Cookies of late (it seems the latest marketing annoyance is to have like 10 versions of everything from cookies to candy bars). One type was covered in fudge with mint flavoring. It all of the sudden occurred to me that the brownish the package was describing Mystic Mints, my childhood favorite store-bought cookie, sans the green package and name. I looked around and couldn’t find the familiar green box.

So tonight I sat down at the computer and sure enough, Mystic Mints were discontinued. This site even describes it as “food from the seventies,” but I bought a package right in Shop Smart in Redway just a few years ago. I think. Certainly not more than ten years ago.

And make no mistake, Mystic Mints were made with Oreos. I removed the chocolate on one occasion to verify the same. Do these new Oreos taste like the MMs?


Is mint actually a flavor? Or is it merely a sensation combined with flavor, like hot spice or MSG (referred to in China as “the fifth flavor”)?

And why do we associate mint with green? Sure the plant is green but there are hundreds of green plants with various flavors of which we don’t associate with green.


A few years ago Shop Smart also sold Mallomars, my wife’s favorite cookie from the east coast, but they appear to have discontinued that line as well. Apparently, for some reason, Mallomars are seasonal. But I haven’t seen them, or at least I haven’t noticed them, since before my son came home. That’s about seven years. And they’re supposed to be available by now. According to the Wikipedia entry, about 70 percent of Mallomars are sold in New York City.


The painting of the cookies come from this site where you can purchase this or other cookie paintings.



I can’t find Johanna’s. Maybe it hasn’t been published yet. I’ll link to it as soon as it becomes available.


November 2008
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