Category Archives: Sunday Deck Bass

>The Sunday Deck Bass: Gibbons’ Edition

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The Sunday Deck Bass, originally intended as a northern Nevada award for political flip flopping, can also be awarded to those who demonstrate little more intelligence than your average large mouth bass. This week is one of those occasions.

Fish don’t exercise elaborate decision making processes, the ‘item’ before them is either food or it isn’t. If ‘food’ it will be eaten (lures obviously included), if not it will be rejected. Governor Jim Gibbons appears to have been operating on this basis in at least two of his vetoes. SB 319, the “sentinel events” reporting bill had the support of both health care workers and the health care industry; the Governor vetoed it evidently without noticing that his concern about potential litigation had already been addressed. [LV Sun] The Governor vetoed the bill regulating the use of consultants ostensibly because the University System wasn’t included. The notion that the control of consulting contracts might start somewhere seems not to have entered his mind – the bill wasn’t just exactly absolutely certainly totally what the Governor wanted, so it wasn’t ‘food’ and he vetoed it. [LV Sun]

This “whole loaf or nothing” argument, and the misreading of SB 319, give lie to the Mountain Street Mansion’s claim that the Governor wouldn’t veto so many measures if the Legislature didn’t send him so many bad bills. [LV Sun] So does his distance from the process: “This governor has made few calls to the Legislature and is rarely, if ever, in the building. His relationship with the Legislature, including veteran Republicans, is distant at best.” [LV Sun] Contrast this behavior with that of former Republican governor Kenny Guinn, who frequently contacted legislators with suggestions concerning how vetoes could be avoided, and the difference between a one term governor and a two term governor becomes obvious.

Another difference between big fish, who nearly always get two terms, and little ones, who get netted or eaten by larger ones quickly, comes with the big fish’s understanding that condescension (no matter how well intended) is never a good survival strategy. The little fish don’t appreciate it and the bigger ones go into attack mode. The over-ride of Gibbons’ veto of SB 201 to implement the voter approved fuel tax to support road construction in Washoe County demonstrates how quickly and completely a big fish (State Senator Bill Raggio) can turn a minnow into Brunch. [RGJ]

Big fish also have a finely tuned sense of their own enviroment. While fish aren’t known for their intellectual capacity, they do have excellent instincts, and, for example, can discern the approaching fisherman by the vibrations from the bank. Governor Gibbons displayed no such capacity with his veto of SB 283, the domestic partnership bill. The Governor’s narrow perspective, aligned with the radical right Christianist wing of the GOP, didn’t allow him to perceive that (1) the environment around this question has changed; (2) that the bill before him applied to heterosexual couples who would benefit from not having to create elaborate contractual agreements of questionable enforceability to make their living arrangements practical and sustainable. So, he vetoed it – and the State Senate over-rode his veto. [RenoGJ] The Assembly is expected to follow suit.

The Governor, profoundly silent on major issues of governance during his campaign, apparently wanted very much to “BE” Governor, but didn’t want to actually Govern. Perhaps some among his friends should have reminded him that the Jeffersonian phrase, “a government that governs least, governs best,” doesn’t mean that the chief executive really doesn’t have to do anything. Ignoring the bigger fish in the reservoir doesn’t mean that they aren’t paying attention to you; ignoring the status of the reservoir does mean you won’t notice that you’re running out of water until it’s too late.

Our hands-down winner for the Desert Beacon Sunday Deck Bass is Governor Jim Gibbons, and this is his 11th Sunday Deck Bass Award. As always, please check for McCain Memorial Crappie at Random Musings, or simply for timely updates on the state of the ponds in Arizona politics.

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>The Sunday Deck Bass

>Sunday, and time once more for the announcement of northern Nevada’s least coveted, most definitely unwanted, Sunday Deck Bass Award for political flipping and flopping about like landed fish. Without further ado, our nominees for the week are:

Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe. Senator Inhofe earns his Deck Bass nomination for his 180 degree turn on the subject of filibustering judicial nominees. Back in 2003, when there was a member of the Republican party in the White House, Senator Inhofe was heard to say that any Senator who would dare filibuster a judicial nominee would necessarily be violating their oath to support and defend the Constitution, not only was he heard, but he put out a press release on the subject. But, that was then and this is now, and there’s a Democrat in the White House so Senator Inhofe hath flipped, currently saying that the Senate hasn’t had enough time to rake U.S. District Judge David Hamilton over the coals. Inhofe hasn’t provided much of an explanation for his filibuster, however one could speculate that he flopped so hard the deck might have knocked the wind out of him? [Think Progress]

Another one bites the dust. Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) told the KC Star that Boss Rush Limbaugh was “just an entertainer.” But wait, we all knew this was coming, it didn’t take long for Tiahrt spokesman Sam Sackett to advise the Wichita Eagle that Congressman Tiahrt was not “dissing” the radio talk show commentator. Sackett was careful to back pedal and kowtow at the same time, “Nothing the Congressman said diminished the role Rush has played and continues to play in the conservative movement.” [KCStar] Rep. Tiahrt joins a notable list including RNC Chair Michael Steele, Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Governor Mark Sanford (SC), Candidate for NY-20 Jim Tedisco, Congressman Eric Cantor, and Congressman Zach Wamp, who have bent over backwards or otherwise contorted themselves to return to the good graces of the Great Graceless One. [TPM]

Former Congressman Newt Gingrich gets a Deck Bass nomination for his pirouette on going green. After appearing in commercials last year for the Alliance for Climate Protection to encourage proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and sitting beside Speaker Nancy Pelosi to do so, Mr. Gingrich testified before Congress this round against the Green Energy Bill. Gingrich appears to have fallen off the couch, now saying the bill will put us on a “Path to Destruction.” Inconstancy seems to be a hallmark of Mr. Gingrich’s career, but a person doesn’t need to read a blog to know that – just ask one of his ex-wives? [Think Progress]

Senator Ben Nelson, erstwhile Democrat from Nebraska, is “very concerned” about the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, because of her pro-choice views. Interesting that these profound concerns didn’t emanate from Senator Nelson when pro-choice Senator Hillary R. Clinton was nominated to be our Secretary of State? Better still, Nelson opposed the use of a filibuster on the nomination of John “Blow’em Up” Bolton, or Bushian EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, his spokesperson saying, “Nelson generally opposes the filibuster on nominees, even if he doesn’t like the candidate.” [Think Progress] Time will tell if Nelson joins the GOP filibuster brigade on Johnsen’s nomination.

And our winner of the week is …. Congressman Todd Tiahrt! This is the Kansas Congressman’s very first Deck Bass.
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>The Sunday Deck Bass

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I’ve been remiss in the production of Sunday Deck Bass posts of late, not that there hasn’t been a plethora of suitable candidates for northern Nevada’s least coveted, most unwanted, and generally all around least desirable awards for political flippity-flopping.

Michelle Malkin receives her first Deck Bass nomination for her curious perspective on the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to advise local and state law enforcement officials of potential problems in their jurisdictions. When the Department of Defense was actively seeking information about a gathering of Quakers in Florida, the National Security Agency was overstepping its restraints to spy on American citizens, the Department of Energy was reporting on possible left wing attacks on nuclear facilities, and the Department of Homeland Security was admonishing local law enforcement about watching for left leaning organizations and eco-terrorists, Ms. Malkin was ever so supportive. However, when the DHS released its report on right wing groups who may pose threats to our security – that was a bed sheet of an entirely different color. Ms. Malkin squealed, loudly enough to get Andrew Sullivan’s attention. As one astute commenter tacked on a parody, “You’re so Vain, You probably think this report is about you.”

Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV2) earns his nomination for his performance in the wake of the passage of the economic stimulus legislation. Congressman Heller actually wrote some of the provisions in the ARRA, only to not once – but twice – vote against its final enactment. [LVSun] There’s more. From the LVRJ: On other subjects, Heller told legislators and reporters that he was disappointed with the stimulus bill recently approved by Congress. “The final product was a raw deal for Nevadans and for American taxpayers,” he said. Nevada, with its high unemployment and foreclosure rates, was “at the bottom of the list for assistance” under the stimulus package, he added.” Thus, by Heller’s tortured logic – the stimulus package was a bill so bad that he voted against it twice, because it was too expensive, but now it’s a bad bill because there wasn’t enough pork/bacon in it for Nevada? We’ll have to award Congressman Heller a Deck Bass nomination because DB doesn’t have a Pretzel Logic Award.

Texas Governor Rick Perry offered listeners his opinion that Texas might have to secede from the Union (I believe this was attempted once before on February 1, 1861, with rather tragic results) because the federal government has become ‘repressive.’ [TP] [NYT] Governor Perry promptly backtracked, telling reporters “there was absolutely no reason to dissolve the union.” [Mail] His crossing of his self created Rubicon may very well lead the average reader to agree with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: “While Republicans have generally declined to comment on Wednesday’s remarks, James Bernsen, a former press secretary to Ms. Hutchison, wrote Thursday in an online column, “He’s just staked his claim to the ‘mad-as-hell constituency,’ just the kind he needs for the primary to pull off a win.” Alliterative Note to Governor Perry: When posturing for the primaries it is advisable not to pose with one’s posterior positioned in full view?

Our own chief executive, Governor Jim Gibbons earns yet another Deck Bass nomination for initially trying to sound like his counterpart in South Carolina, but perceived the error of his ways with a 37% state budget deficit, and signed the statute to accept extended unemployment benefits. [NLTB] However, all this wasn’t half as interesting as the rest of the Governor’s headlines. “First Lady Names Two Women With Whom Gov. Gibbons Allegedly Had An Affair.” [RGJ] “Gibbons Denies He Called Wife ‘Enraged Ferret’” [FOX5] This would be the self-same Governor who has already announced that his job was merely to propose a budget, not to work with the Legislature to enact one; and who now tells that same Legislature that they aren’t working fast enough. [NVAppeal] Is he still trying to find something to do with the wooden Easter eggs as Representative Titus suggested? [LV Sun] This year’s version of the Gubernatorial Easter Egg did not include mention of the Enraged Ferret, and the Governor has 4,850 left over. [LVSun]

So many qualified candidates…but only one weekly award. So, this week’s Desert Beacon Sunday Deck Bass is awarded to Congressman Dean Heller. This is Congressman Heller’s fourth Deck Bass.

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>The Sunday Deck Bass

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Sunday, and time for northern Nevada’s least coveted, most utterly unwanted, and thoroughly disdained award – the Sunday Deck Bass bestowed upon politicians who flip and flop in a fashion similar to landed large and small mouth bass. Without further ado, our nominees for the week are:

Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), once a nominee as Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration, who now freed from any obligation to present opposition talking points in a civil manner, is positioning himself as the “aggressive and gratuitous” spokesperson for Senate Republicans. Without resorting to facts, Gregg continues to assert that Obama Administration policy will result in tax increases on small business. [WM] The Grand Obstructionist Party is either defining a “small business” so inclusively as to allow KBR, Halliburton, et. al. within the term, or it is flat out trying to repeat a falsehood often enough in the hope it becomes ‘common knowledge.’ “Sixty two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth.” (Brave New World)

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons earns a nomination for his stalwart, if periodic, opposition to accepting unemployment extension funds; and, then when faced with the very likely prospect the Legislature was going to accept the funds anyway, issued a March 25th press release said, “We have the responsibility to do everything we can to help our unemployed get through these difficult times, even if that means passing legislation that we would not necessarily approve during prosperous times.”

Senator Mitch “Old Faithful” McConnell (R-KY) gets his nomination for shifting his opinion of his former President. McConnell now tells the press that “President Bush had become extremely unpopular, and politically he was sort of a millstone around our necks in both ’06 and ’08” [TP] This would be the same Senator Mitch McConnell who said President Bush “exceeded expectations in the 2002 State of the Union message,” so “it’s clear why I love this guy.” Or, who said in 2005: “President Bush did an outstanding job articulating his domestic and foreign policy goals for the next four years. […] I look forward helping the President achieve these goals.” And, was moved to say of the 2006 State of the Union speech, “The President has led America through difficult time. Tonight he demonstrated he is still leading America.” [BGR]

Representative John Boehner (R-OH) achieves a Deck Bass nomination for his performance in the Amazing Invisible GOP Alternative Budget. House Republican leadership announced with the fan fare associated with the opening of a mid-budget movie that they would offer a “budget of their own” in contrast to the Obama Budget they spurn as overly filled with “spending.” [HuffPo] Then the GOP released its “Road to Recovery” document. The best they came up with in terms of actual numbers was a proposal for “a marginal tax rate of 10% for those earning $100,000, and 25% for any income thereafter.” Why might the GOP have believed that calling for a 10% tax cut for the uber-wealthy in the midst of the flap over executive bonus payments would be a good idea? [HuffPo] Perhaps all the spinning made them dizzy?

Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker, gets his nomination not for his pending conversion to Catholicism (after the third marriage) but for the reaction of none other than Deal Hudson, former political advisor to President George Bush and founder of a Catholic magazine, Crisis. According to Hudson, Gingrich’s sins “no longer exist.” [TDB] We might assume that this rather elastic interpretation of moral conduct applies to Hudson as well: “In 1994, after a night of drinking games at a West Village pub, during which he allegedly made out with two female students and took “body shots” with them, Hudson brought an extremely intoxicated 18-year-old student named Cara Poppas back to his office and compelled her to perform oral sex on him. When the student told school authorities about the incident, Hudson promptly resigned and moved to Washington to edit Crisis. Two years later, Hudson settled a sexual harassment lawsuit out of court with Poppas for $30,000. The incident remained unknown to everyone except Poppas and Hudson’s closest confidants.” [TDB] Also of interest is that Hudson is another convert who after receiving communion got an annulment from his first marriage, and then divorced his second wife four years later. Birds of a Feather….?

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) earns his Deck Bass nomination for pure spin on climate change. Now, the relatively unknown Illinois back bencher is claiming that we ought not enact legislation to curb CO2 emissions because “the plants won’t have enough food.” [TP] Aside from being silly, the argument is tantamount to asserting that we have to increase the production of do-nuts because the American public isn’t eating them fast enough, obesity issues notwithstanding. A reminder to the Congressman – the problem is that the plants aren’t capable of processing the CO2 as fast as we’re capable of producing it.

As tempting as it is to bestow the Sunday Deck Bass on the mercurial and perhaps theologically challenged Newt, or offer it to the equally jelly like consistency of Mitch McConnell’s thinking, this week’s Sunday Deck Bass goes to Representative John “We will announce our budget. Well, it’s actually an outline of a budget. Or, rather its really just the announcement of another plan to cut taxes on the top two percent” Boehner, House Minority Leader. This is Rep. John Boehner’s second Deck Bass.

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>The Sunday Deck Bass: Cold Dead Fish Edition – Gibbons grandstands on unemployment benefit extension

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This is one of those weekends when the Sunday Deck Bass, northern Nevada’s least coveted award for political and policy flippity flopping, can only be bestowed upon a single candidate. “Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, arguably the nation’s least popular and most scandal plagued governor, wants to join the club.” [WashMon] The club in question is that small circle of opportunistic Republican right wing governors pounding the air with their rejections of funds for extending unemployment benefits, or for economic stimulus projects in their home states.

According to the New York Times: “Mr. Gibbons, rather than being an early critic of the stimulus bill, wrote in December to his state’s Congressional delegation and President-elect Obama requesting the unemployment money, but then later denounced it as a threat to his state’s sovereignty. Like other opponents, he said he feared that the extension of unemployment benefits could saddle the state with extended obligations long after the federal money was gone.” We can remove the “flippity” part from this statement – it’s pure flop. This might be important were it not for the fact that no one is paying any attention to him.

Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley (D-LV) has introduced measures in the State Legislature that would expand the state’s share of economic stimulus funding, and “spoke confidently that Gibbons would not veto the legislation.” [LVSun] ACR 17 calls for the acceptance of unemployment compensation pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The measure unabashedly states, “…to the extent that these funds are not accepted for use by the Governor, and certifies that the State of Nevada will request and use these funds and that these funds will be used to create jobs and promote economic growth…” In short, the Governor is irrelevant. AB 469 would adopt an alternate base period for determining eligibility for unemployment benefits, and temporarily authorize the payment of unemployment benefits for an extended period, and section 4 authorizes the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation to “take such actions as are necessary to ensure that Nevada receives additional benefits provided under the ARRA…” The Governor is not just irrelevant, he’s not even particularly useful.

The Governor has apparently given up even on his own budget by refusing to suggest adjustments when given the opportunity by Assemblyman Morse Arberry, Chairman of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. Gibbons told Arberry he would only address changes related to the federal economic stimulus funding. [LVSun] After one has already announced the intention to eschew making suggestions or recommendations it’s usually pretty difficult to get people to take subsequent pronouncements seriously, especially after saying things like: “It’s not my budget anymore, it’s the legislature’s budget.” [INP]

The scandal-plagued one didn’t help himself by proposing pay increases for members of his staff that increased the legislative assistant’s pay from $50,196 (January 2007) to $99,994 (April 2008); or, as executive assistant to the chief of staff from $40,152 to $60,289 in two months. The pay for a press secretary increased from $72,287 to $109,906 in 18 months. [LVSun] This while proposing 6% pay reductions for state workers and public school teachers. Too much more of this and it isn’t going to be just “it’s not my budget anymore,” it’s going to be “it’s not my administration.”

Perhaps Steve Sebelius has summed up Gibbons’ situation best: “But before you start feeling too sorry for Gibbons, consider this: No matter how isolated you are, no matter how willfully ignorant you choose to be, no matter how much you hate the media, you’ve got to make a conscious choice to be this clueless. Gibbons, sadly for him, has made that choice, and he’s sure sticking to it.

And thus, Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons earns his 10th Sunday Deck Bass.

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>The Sunday Deck Bass

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Sunday, and time once again for northern Nevada’s least coveted, utterly unwanted, and undesirable award: The Sunday Deck Bass. The Deck Bass is awarded weekly to politicians and political figures who best exemplify the flippity flopping of a landed fish. Since Hugh Jackman isn’t available to sing and dance the introduction, without further ado, this week’s nominees are:

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) earns his nomination for loudly lamenting “wasteful spending” in Washington, D.C. while insisting that the congressional operations budget remain at $4.4 billion because Senate Republicans wanted to keep their staffing levels equal to the previous number of positions – despite losing 20% of their seats in the last general election. [TP]

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) achieves his nomination for grandly announcing that beleaguered Illinois Senator Roland Burris should resign after reports indicated Burris may have misled Illinois legislators about his connections to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Vitter, former client of the DC Madam, dismissed criticism that his stance during the Lewinsky matter might be at odds with his own actions, and rejected the notion that his call for Burris to step down might be perceived as hypocritical. [TP] Vitter might very well be in the most interesting primary race in decades because his opponents to date include Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) and porn star Stormy Daniels. [TPM]

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) has been flopping around like a hooked smallmouth bass since his response speech to President Obama’s address on the economy before Congress. Jindal claimed (1) he was standing stalwartly beside Sheriff Harry Lee demanding that red tape be cut so rescue boats could be deployed during Katrina; or (2) it was days after Katrina that Jindal valiantly stood beside Sheriff Harry Lee to cut the red tape; or, (3) he didn’t mean to imply that the story as Jindal recounted it took place during the fight to release the rescue boats. Jindal overhead an interview with Sheriff Harry Lee about the matter? Or, Jindal didn’t hear the interview but did overhear a phone call about releasing the boats? Or, Jindal didn’t hear anything? Whatever. [TPM] Oh, and then there’s that request from the Louisiana Department of Transportation for a $110 million upgrade for the New Orleans to Baton Rouge rail line. [NOLA] We get it. When the train runs from southern California to Las Vegas it’s pork, but when it goes from Baton Rouge to New Orleans it’s the Bring Home The Bacon Express. (b/b Dkos)

Former Senator Norm Coleman (R-His Imagination) earns yet another nomination for the continuing Soap Opera “All My Ballots” in Minnesota. At the point where a rational person might believe his recount litigation couldn’t become any more convoluted, Coleman’s legal team was forced to admit that they had hidden a witness, and “explicitly” stated their intention to keep her identity and the nature of her testimony secret. She was the sole witness available to Team Coleman to substantiate their “double counting” argument. [FDL]

And, the Winner is…(insert dramatic music)…Governor Bobby “Fishy Story” Jindal (R-LA) This is Governor Jindal’s first Deck Bass Award, and in terms of Governors, he has a ways to go before overtaking Governor Jim Gibbons (R-NV) who has secured nine bass in his creel. However, should Governor Jindal secure more speaking engagements as the head of the Grand Oxycontin Rush Limbaugh Party, then this award may be only the first of many.

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>The Sunday Deck Bass

>So many candidates, so little space, for the weekly Sunday Deck Bass, that utterly unwanted, thoroughly unsought, uncoveted and unappealing prize from northern Nevada for flippity flopping politicians and public figures.

First, an ensemble cast of characters from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate who railed against the passage of the Economic Stimulus Package (H.R. 1), voted against it, and then turned on the federal dimes, proudly boasting of what benefits it would bring to their districts. This small corner of the Hypocrisy Hall of Shame includes Rep. Frank Lukas (R-OK), Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Rep. John Mica (R-FL), Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL), Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) and Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT). [TP] [PL] [HuffPo]

Joining this ensemble from the halls of Congress is Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) who tried diligently during House Oversight Committee hearings in recent memory to downplay the Bush Administration’s decision to change from the Clinton era Lotus-Notes based e-mail archiving system to an unreliable ad hoc archiving system. However, now that there’s a Democrat in the White House Rep. Issa has “called on President Obama to put in place a system that ensures all White House e-mails be preserved even if official business was done through private e-mail accounts.” [FDL]

Because this story doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, we can add former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman to our list of Deck Bass nominees. The perpetual Coleman for Senate campaign has filed another motion in the election trial, changing its position for “the fourth or fifth time on whether to count rejected absentee ballots — and demanding that votes they’ve already stipulated as legal should be thrown out. [TPM] [TPM] The Coleman team also suggested that one absentee ballot for Franken, filled out by a family member with a power of attorney (legal in Minnesota), was from a “mentally disabled” voter although there was no proof of that condition being the case. [TPM]

Any more flipping, flopping, and twisting of his various versions of his epic “How I Didn’t Have Anything To Do With Toxic Rod” and Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) will be eligible for the Pretzel Prize. He didn’t have any contact with the ex-Gov, or he did have some but it wasn’t about anything important, or he wasn’t approached about fundraising, or he was approached but didn’t do it, or he was approached and tried to do it but failed…. It may take more than one weekend, as suggested by White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs, for the entangled Senator to get his story (stories?) straight. [HuffPo]

And the winner is…based on the total number of flips, flops, twists, turns, and reversals…former Senator Norm Coleman. This is former Senator Coleman’s first Deck Bass.

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