Writer’s Lounge 11/7/2019
Considerable hay has been made about the capture by Democrats in Virginia of both state houses in the Virginia General Assembly for the first time since 1994 – and there is plenty of hay to be made of that. Then there is the more than likely win of Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear over incumbent Republican Matt Bevin, of whose re-election, Donald Trump, the night before the election, told supporters
“You got to get your friends, you got to vote. Because if you lose, it sends a really bad message. It just sends a bad, and they will build it up. Here’s the story. If you win, they’re going to make it like ho hum. And if you lose, they’re going to say, Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. This was the greatest. You can’t let that happen to me.”
They could and they did, let that happen to him. Now loser Bevin is petitioning the Kentucky election officials for a “re-canvassing”.
It’s not a re-count, which according to state law, is not allowed unless a court order is issued and the losing campaign can lay out specific, credible reasons why the re-count should be conducted. A re-canvass is basically just each county going back to all the polling stations, running a second confirmation print out, sending it to the state election officials who then set about double checking the vote tallies that were submitted on election night.
Interestingly enough, in 2015, the candidate who ran against Bevin in the GOP primary, James Comer, requested a re-canvass on the basis of a discrepancy of 83 votes statewide. The re-canvass was conducted and the 83 vote margin held.
University of Kentucky election law professor Joshua Douglas was skeptical that a re-canvass would make much difference for Bevin.
“Well, I think the 5,000-vote differential out of 1.4 million cast — yeah, although it sounds small — is actually a pretty large amount when it comes to the likelihood of the vote totals changing in any of these post-election disputes.”
Bevin now, with no evidence to support his claim, is now asserting vote fraud and is trying to persuade the Kentucky legislature (controlled by Republicans) to bail him out of his loss. The likelihood that Republicans in the statehouse would expose themselves to charges of an extremely corrupt hijacking of an election after the election has been certified by state election officials, is a long shot.
Sam Marcosson, a Constitutional law professor at the University of Louisville, told the Courier Journal that Republicans can’t contrive an arbitrary procedure to re-litigate the election, and warned it’s a “risky proposition to suggest that the General Assembly would take vague allegations of unspecified irregularities and call into question a gubernatorial election.”
Joshua Douglas, a professor at the University of Kentucky Law School, explained Bevin would have to call a special session of the General Assembly, then a panel of eight House members and three senators “would hear evidence and make a final determination. And that determination would be final.”
Voters change horses in Southeastern Pennsylvania
What has not quite caught up with the rest of the election coverage, is a situation that unfolded in Pennsylvania – a state that is crucial for the prospects of a Trump re-election. Associated Press reporter Steve Peoples relates what may be the most significant trend of Tuesday night’s election results:
Just outside Philadelphia, Democrats said they took control of the Delaware County’s five-member council for the first time since the Civil War. In nearby Chester County, Democrats beat two Republican incumbents on the board of commissioners to seize the majority for the first time ever.
In Chester County, it should be noted, Republicans outnumber Democrats in voter registration. The obvious interpretation is that for GOP voters in Chester County, the bloom is off the rose of a party that is standing with Trump and defending the indefensible.
And change was afoot elsewhere in the suburban and ex-urban counties surrounding Philly. In Bucks County, according to local reporting, for the first time in 40 years, Bucks County voters on Tuesday flipped control of county government to the Democrats.
Bucks Local News commented that after years of Republican control, Democrats swept to victory on Tuesday winning four open county row offices and majority control of the board of county commissioners. Democrats had not controlled a majority there since 1983.
No doubt the GOP counter-narrative to this seismic change in the Philadelphia suburbs will be that it is accountable to demographic changes. The hole in that bucket is that if voters of the standard Republican profile are retreating to the rural parts of the state such as Western Pennsylvania, they are simply going where GOP advantages, with a few minor exceptions, are already baked into the cake.
The GOP is generally on the skids in Pennsylvania since Trump’s election. In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania’s electoral vote slate of 20 electoral votes by just 46,765 votes. – or 0.7 percent of the vote. It’s a razor thin margin and it has Trump’s campaign losing sleep because Trump was a (negative) factor in Tuesday’s voting in the three counties they had previously dominated.
“A Reed shaken by the wind.”
And there’s a segue from spooked Republicans in Pennsylvania to spooky evangelical scaremongering.
Ralph Reed, of the notorious Christian Coalition – errrrr, pardon me, the infamous Jack Abramoff influence peddling scandals, is at it again, like the proverbial pooch with a predilection for lifting his leg on the living room couch. This time, speaking to some podcast host named Stephen Sprang, of whom it is uncertain from where he sprang:
“If the Christian community doesn’t rise up like it never has in modern political history and if we allow, through our inaction, the left to remove this man from the Oval Office, then we will deserve everything that we get. If they get the White House back, it will be open season on Christian ministries, on churches, the IRS will be able to persecute those faith-based organizations again.”
Reading this spurred an observation on my part. Early Christians, to a large extent, after they were made unwelcome in synagogues, met in one another’s homes, didn’t have head Pastors, didn’t have lecterns, tax exemptions, elaborate sound systems, convenience stores in a front lobby, Starbucks coffee, Krispy Kreme donuts, televangelists – or national fascist leaders, whose words they esteemed more than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How did this movement ever manage to exist without all of it, much less grow to such influence?
“They didn’t give ME any credit”
Trump is still carping about not having gotten the major props he feels entitled to for doing the obvious thing any president would be expected to do – authorizing the strike that took out IS leader Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi .
On Monday night, when any sensible, rational person was anywhere but Trump’s fluffer rally for Matt Bevin, Trump – at around 41and a half minutes into his rambling (whenever are they not?) over an hour long demagogic diatribe, told the ignorance is bliss crowd that:
“They can take what we did two weeks ago with the number one terrorist in the world, and they make it look as bad as possible. In fact, I love dogs, but they gave the dog full credit. They didn’t give me any credit. That’s okay. The dog got the credit, and the dog will be coming very shortly, by the way, to the White House.”
I guess all of Trump’s fanciful after the fact script embellishments – the silly, “He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way “, and the “he died in a vicious and violent way, as a coward, running and crying”, wasn’t impressive enough to score him as many (fake) tough guy points as he was pimping for. So sad. And they call Trump unbelievers “snowflakes”?
Trump and al-Baghdadi – pathetic cowards, both.
Oh and while I am on the subject of Monday night, I was one of the lucky many who witnessed on live television a spectacle that as far as anyone knows, has never been seen during any football telecast, professional or collegiate.
I refer to the galloping onto the field of play between the Dallas Cowboys and the home team, New York Giants, a husky, stout and handsome black cat. It was during a momentary lull just before the mid point of the second quarter that spectators at the game and TV viewers had this startling apparition.
The cat, (dubbed by one of the Monday Night Football announcing duo as “Felix”, despite that this cat was solid black), scampered and streaked across the field starting at around the 45 yard line of the Giants, (who themselves were on a march up field), and zig zagged all the way down to the Cowboys’ end zone, eventually high or low tailing it through the exit tunnel.
I mentioned at the time that I thought this was the most hilarious thing I had seen during a sports game or for that matter for quite some while in general. A family member whose request I will honor to not quote her in my writing, did not see the humor in it that I did. She felt sad for the cat, in accordance with her sentiment that a cat without a human companion has somehow gotten short changed in life. I sort of get that to a point, but it’s not always true.
Here’s a second chance to see it and then I will relate to you, what the immortal Paul Harvey would tell you is “the rest of the story”, because it is a good read.
I had planned next morning early, because of the time difference, to call the media contact line for Met Life stadium. One or another thing got in the way and by the time I cleared my schedule, I opted not to place the call, figuring, no doubt correctly, that their office probably had already been inundated with questions such as were running through my mind, including – was this as I suspected, a feral cat who was a resident of the stadium and were there likely scores of others like him, making Met Life their home?
My hunch was correct and someone did get to the story before me, doing the job of slacker your’s truly. The gentleman and lady to whom I tip my hat for obtaining the straight skinny on this, are Kevin Sheehan and Lia Eustachewich of the New York Post.
From them we learn that the black cat we all fell in love with, not only because he was good looking, but also because of his on the field exploits – is by far not the only member of the feline tribe at Met Life Stadium.
A stadium employee who is part of the custodial crew of the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority and declined to be identified for the story, told Sheehan and Eustachewich that when seeing our whiskered athlete appear, “I looked and said, ‘That looks like one of the cats I feed!’ ”.
The “Cat Man” as he is known to fellow workers, added, “There are over 300 feral cats in the complex right now. I go to seven or eight colonies at the [Meadowlands] racetrack, and there are people feeding them at MetLife.” Of the stocky little hard case who was the MVP of the game, he enthused, “That cat was unbelievable! He’s a big cat, a healthy cat, wasn’t he?”
I’ve seen bigger, but I’ve never seen tougher and never seen an angrier cat about all the fol de rol and nonsense going on in his home in what should ordinarily be a nice, quiet, uneventful Monday night.
According to the maintenance staff, the management include in their regular operating budget, weekly allotments for food – 11, 25 pound bags of dry food a week to be precise. But employees also supplement the dry with donations of canned as well.
The Bergen Record reports that the colony of cats are the generational progeny of so-called “barn cats” that were brought in decades ago to control the rodent population at the race track facilities adjacent to the football complex.
It was just as well I didn’t divert myself from other items on my schedule Tuesday morning, because the Met Life spokesperson, Helen Strus, was in full denial mode. “We most definitely do not have 300 feral cats living in the stadium. We are an outdoor facility and at times have seen 1 or 2 cats roaming around (most famously last night).”
Pardon me but I’m not buying it. This is an employee of an insurance company. Hello. What do you so often hear from insurance companies but denial? “The sun is shining right now? Our records don’t reflect that.” “We regret to inform you that the procedure you are requesting is not covered under your plan.” “I’m sorry sir, but we would be happy to cover the damage your vehicle sustained, but as you can see, you opted not to purchase the additional comprehensive coverage.”
Am I right? Of course I am. That’s how they roll. I believe “Cat Man”. I am a cat man. I always believe cat people. And now, you know, “the rest of the story”.
“Loves the military” … unless there is loose money lying around.
And just in this morning, one more in a seemingly unending series of court losses for Donald Trump, who never ceases reminding us of what a “winner” he always is.
Trump, ABC News reports, has been ordered by a New York State judge to pay $2 million to a group of nonprofit organizations as part of a settlement in a civil lawsuit stemming from persistent violations of state charities laws.
The payment is the final resolution to a case brought by the New York attorney general’s office after the Trump Foundation held a fundraiser for military veterans during the 2016 campaign and subsequently stiffed them. Think about that the next time you hear him boasting about how much he “loves” the military and veterans. Not only “it ain’t necessarily so” – it ain’t so to begin with.
The Flying Bird had its say and lived to fly another day
We’ll wrap things up with another notable development from the Blue Tsunami in Virginia. The Los Angeles Times reports that the woman who lost her job after famously displaying her middle finger at President Trump’s motorcade has won a seat on a county board of supervisors in Virginia.
With 99% of the vote reported by the Loudoun County Office of Elections on Tuesday night, unofficial returns showed Democrat Juli Briskman ahead of Republican incumbent Suzanne Volpe with 52% of the vote.
Among her goals, Briskman said she would increase transparency in local government.