The Crow Is Back In The Freezer

The first numbers are up from the Democratic recount in New Hampshire, and I did some fast calculations on it (you can download the Excel file here).

Basic results:

With 74.7% of the total vote counted (107,906 of 144,362), a total of 922 votes were changed (.85%). With 75.9% of Hillary’s vote recounted (45,912 of 60,503), a total of 305 votes changed for a net change of +25 votes. With 73.0% of Obama’s vote recounted (36,566 of 50,081), a total of 152 votes changed for a net change of +10 votes.

At this point, I don’t see a way – absent massive swings in very few districts – for this to change the result, and what isn’t apparent is the widespread shallow difference that would be suggested by the ‘Diebold Effect’ we talked about in the polls.

My email bulletin from Brad yesterday was headlined:

[BradBlogAlert] NH “Chain of Custody” Disaster;%7.5 Error Rate in Nashua; MUCH MORE…

Yes, one precinct in Nashua (Row 80) did show a 7.4% swing for Hillary. But like the NY Times, outside the context of all the numbers, the number is meaningless.Note that in one district in Manchester, there was a 10% increase in votes for Hillary (row 64) – matched by a 10% increase for Obama. At this point, it’s an academically interesting project to analyze the errors and look at the outlier districts. But we’re talking about 130 votes out of 144,000.

That won’t stop the hysterics from claiming that the election was illegitimate or stolen. But it does explain why I was angry enough to use invective, and why I remain angry at people who devalue the hard work to do to secure elections.

I’ll do a longer post on why calm certainty matters soon.

Note: If someone has time to cross-reference the precincts in the spreadsheet with this list of precincts that used Diebold machines, it’d be fun…

Update: Added link to SoS results…

Update 2: After running through the two counties above, Kucinich has pulled the plug and isn’t going to fund any more counting. If more data is posted, I’ll add it to the table.

Real Journalism

Power Line reports that the and came to this conclusion:

Data: Combat hasn’t caused murder spike

Combat stress has not created a spike in murders by soldiers in the Fayetteville area, according to a search of records by The Fayetteville Observer.

Tracking killings reported in the newspaper before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks showed that more soldiers were accused of murder in the six years before the attacks than in the six years since.

Twelve Fort Bragg soldiers have been accused of killing 13 people in the six-plus years since Sept. 11, 2001, according to Observer records. In the six years before the terrorist attacks, 16 Fort Bragg soldiers were accused of killing 18 people.

Those numbers came from a search of the Observer’s archives and may not be conclusive. Law enforcement agencies do not track killings by whether the accused was a soldier. The Observer examined its own records after a New York Times story published Jan. 13 indicated that homicides involving active-duty service members and new veterans rose 89 percent during the past six years.

Phil Carter’s supposition, that the article is based on Lexus/Nexus/Google research looks much more likely based on this. I may reach out to the paper in Columbia and ask if they’d consider doing the same thing.

Ouch ^ 2

Journalism 101.

Bob Owens, the blogger who keeps acting like a reporter (ought to) has been chasing Beauchamp documents through FOIA. (Note: the TNR crew, with lawyers and editors and everything, apparently thought this would be … who knows).

He’ll be streaming the documents up all day. Go check them out and give him a big atta-boy.

Foer, not so much.

MLK Day 2008

I worry sometimes that MLK Day will become a generic holiday, like “President’s Day” and we’ll forget what it is we’re supposed to be honoring today.

Last year, I reposted his ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’, and since bytes are cheap, I’ll gladly do it again.

I wish you had commended the Negro sit-inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face Jeering, and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer.

They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy-two-year-old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: “My fleets is tired, but my soul is at rest.” They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’ sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Never before have I written so long a letter. I’m afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he k alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,


We are blessed to live in one of the least racist countries in the world; and yet we have a sad road behind us and a long road ahead of us to make race truly irrelevant. Actually, that’s wrong. The goal isn’t necessarily to make race irrelevant, but to make racial contempt irrelevant, and to make sure that race is no obstacle to full participation in civic and economic life.

And today is a good day to contemplate that, and to also contemplate the role one human being – as flawed as any one of us – played in changing the world.

Culture (And Other) Wars

It’s been interesting to be at Ft. Benning for the last few days. Biggest Guy had two ceremonies – the ‘Turning Blue’ ceremony pictured below, and a final graduation at which he and his peers (all except six young men who failed post-Christmas drug tests and were shown the door) were officially accepted as infantry soldiers.

The cultural gap between our family home and his new home are wide – not just everyone in the movie theater standing for the national anthem played before the feature, but the fact that everyone obeys – seriously – the speed limits, the clerk at the videogame store who wouldn’t let Littlest Guy buy World of Warcraft without my OK, and that the level of courtesy and helpfulness from everyone from the checkout clerk at the PX/mall to the guard who noticed our expired vehicle pass and sent us back for a new one puts my courteous, helpful suburb of Los Angeles to shame.

I worry more than a little about the military being far too isolated from not only mainstream America, but from the cultural and political elites that run it. The feeling of being in a cocoon on base – in almost every way – got my attention in a not-good way.

But in a Blue America where veterans are objects of fear or pity, I guess it makes sense.

I had fantasies that the New York Times series that I dinged last week would be better than the lead article suggested. The second article is out, and it looks like it won’t be.

The article is a human-interest story about a badly damaged veteran, his crime, and the consequences of his crime.

Power Line does the best take on it, and asks the reader to compare the Time’s coverage of a murderous vet with a Medal of Honor winning one.

I’ll stand on my original comment:

Because it’s not part of the narrative of how our soldiers are either depraved or damaged.

It’s funny; I passed up all the Army swag at the PX as kind of tacky – you know, the bumper stickers and license plate frames that seem so cheesy.

After reading the article, I went and ordered one – “I [heart] my soldier”. Once we mount it, I can’t wait for the reactions our hybrid gets when we valet park it in West Los Angeles.


This just came from Biggest Guy’s relatives in France: documentary footage of his grandfather flying a bombing mission as a member of the Free French air force in WWII (he’s the guy in the goofy helmet).

Race And Democratic Politics

In light of the contremps between Obama and Hillary last week, I thought I’d unearth an old Armed Liberal post:


One of my best friends spent years as a community organizer for parks in New York City. She is a fountain of funny stories and ‘on-the-ground’ political wisdom, and one of her truisms is: dog doo ends all meetings.

That is to say, much like Godwin’s Law, as soon as dog waste is brought up, the meeting is effectively over. The room divides, the tempers get hot, and constructive discussion flies out the window.

I’ll suggest a corollary of this, which is: race ends all Democratic politics.

In the discussion of the ‘Veterans Day’ post below, the thread immediate turned into a race politics thread – who were the racists, and what political power did they have in which party. And constructive discussion sort of petered out.

Now, race is a real issue in American life today.

Yesterday, I had dinner with a friend. I was dropping off a character reference letter for him to give to the sentencing judge next week. He got talked into something stupid, got set up, and got arrested. Another casualty of the drug wars (to his credit, he blames no one but himself – one reason he’s the kind of guy I’d write judge letters for). There’s a chance – a narrow chance – that he will just get probation, which means he’ll get to keep the job he’s had for twelve years.

We were talking about it and he said something that rang my bells pretty hard.

“Now,” he said quietly, “when I get pulled over and they ask me if I’m on probation, I’ll have to say ‘yes’.” I looked at him.

“Damn,” I said, “they never ask me that” – and then the unspoken acknowledgment. He’s black, I’m not.

Now I’ve ridden along with cops a fair amount (I also have good cop friends). Without going into a lot of detail about my friend, there are things that would make me look at him twice (things I learned to look for from cops, and which I saw and remarked on when he and I first met – part of how we became friends).

But his matter of fact comment is no less heartbreaking to me because I know that if I was a cop, I’d be asking him the same question. And there, in a nutshell, is the American Tragedy of race.

But – it isn’t the only problem or the only tragedy we face. And the fact that it stops us in our tracks – that it stopped Janice Hahn – that it stops discussion – is a bigger problem. I won’t pretend to lecture anyone on this subject tonight.

But the lecture’s coming.

Start Sauteeing The Crow

As irritated as I was at Brad Friedman for coming out of the gate with what I saw as a conclusion unsupported by specific evidence, I fully share his discomfort with the current technology and processes used in voting in New Hampshire.

Now, the first rigorous study I’ve seen of the voter data has come out – and it supports him. Chris Chatham at ‘Developing Intelligence’ writes:

To my complete (and continuing) amazement, the “diebold effect” on Hillary’s votes remains after controlling for any and all of those demographic variables, with a p-value of <.001: that is, there are less than 1:1000 odds for this difference occurring through chance alone, and that's after adjusting for variability in Hillary's votes due to education, income, total population, and population density.

Go read the whole thing.

Kucinich is paying for a recount (the questionable machines were optical scanners, not DVR touchscreens – in which case no recount would be possible). If there were material discrepancies, the ‘Vince Foster was murdered’ crowd are going to have a field day, and the Democratic nominating process will be more fun than the first episode of the Sopranos.