The Ledes

Monday, March 30, 2015.

New York Times: "On Monday, the [U.S.] government charged that in the shadows of an undercover investigation of Silk Road, a notorious black-market site, two federal agents sought to enrich themselves by exploiting the very secrecy that made the site so difficult for law enforcement officials to penetrate. The agents, Carl Mark Force IV, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun W. Bridges, who worked for the Secret Service, had resigned amid growing scrutiny, and on Monday they were charged with money laundering and wire fraud. Mr. Force was also charged with theft of government property and conflict of interest."

Guardian: "The personal details of world leaders at the last G20 summit were accidentally disclosed by the Australian immigration department, which did not consider it necessary to inform those world leaders of the privacy breach.... An employee of the agency inadvertently sent the passport numbers, visa details and other personal identifiers of all world leaders attending the summit to the organisers of the Asian Cup football tournament."

Washington Post: "One person was killed and another was injured Monday morning when police with the National Security Agency opened fire on a vehicle whose driver refused commands to stop at a security gate, according to a statement from the agency. The vehicle slammed into a police cruiser after shots were fired." ...

... ABC News: "Sources say the two inside [the vehicle] were men dressed as women. Preliminary information indicated the two men were partying at an area hotel with a third individual when they took that individual's car without permission. However, it's still unclear how or why they ended up at the NSA gate."

New York Times: "Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister who was forced from office under a cloud of corruption, was convicted on Monday of fraud and breach of trust in a retrial of a case involving an American businessman, whose sensational testimony in a Jerusalem court in 2008 was instrumental in Mr. Olmert’s downfall. The American businessman, Morris Talansky, said at the time that he had provided Mr. Olmert with about $150,000 over 13 years, mostly in cash stuffed into envelopes, an assertion Mr. Olmert vehemently denied. Mr. Talansky, known as Moshe, had said that much of the money was earmarked for election campaigns but that some was for Mr. Olmert’s personal expenses."

The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, March 29, 2015.

New York Times: "Rescue workers recovered two bodies on Sunday in the wreckage of the explosion and fire that happened last week in the East Village, the police said. One of two bodies was identified by family members as Nicholas Figueroa, 23. The second body was not yet identified.... Officials said the fire was most likely set off by a gas explosion. The explosion blew off the facade of the building, before spreading to four neighboring ones. Three of the buildings — 119, 121 and 123 Second Avenue — were reduced to rubble."

AP: "Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen will continue until Shiite rebels there 'withdraw and surrender their weapons,' a summit of Arab leaders decided Sunday, as they also agreed in principle to forming a joint military force. The decision by the Arab League puts it on a path to potentially more aggressively challenge Shiite power Iran, which is backing the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis."

Baltimore Sun: Protesters show up outside Bill Cosby's Baltimore performance, and one interrupts his show.

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
March 30

9:00 am ET: President's Management Advisory Board meeting

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to


Andrew Sullivan says he quit his blog because blogging is difficult, time-consuming & dehumanizing. CW a/k/a the Blog Nazi: No kidding.

David Graham of the Atlantic: "Trevor Noah's ascent on The Daily Show has been steep — hired on as senior international correspondent four months ago, he'll take over the anchor's desk from Jon Stewart after just three appearances on the show, Comedy Central announced Monday."

If you thought a meerkat was something like a mongoose ... Global News: "Meet Meerkat, the live streaming video service that allows users to host a live broadcast from their smartphones. If you haven’t heard of this new app don’t feel too bad – it’s only been around for about two weeks. But that hasn’t stopped it from garnering an estimated 300,000 active users, US$12 million in funding and even a few controversies."

In Case You Were Wondering... Megan Garber of the Atlantic examines multiple theories on why "men’s dress shirts have their buttons on the right, while women’s have them on the left (to the wearer)."

Oliver Knox of Yahoo! News: "Inside the elaborate, surprisingly unglamorous world of presidential hotel stays." Or Why President Trump Would Resign Shortly after His Inauguration.

New York Times: "After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — 'Richard III, 1452-1485' — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times. With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers...." ...

... The Guardian has a full page of stories about Richard III.

Twenty percent more people trust Bill O'Reilly now than trusted O'Reilly before the press reported he was a serial liar:

East Wing Mystery. Washington Post: "There’s still no official comment on why [White House head florist Laura] Dowling is no longer at the White House, but according to a source with close ties to current residence staffers, she was escorted from the building on Friday Feb. 13." ...

     ... UPDATE. Thoroughly Modern Michelle. "Dowling ... left because her 'fussy style' was not in line with the first lady’s emerging modern and clean aesthetics, several sources said.... Recently the first lady has debuted a different aesthetic at the executive mansion. Last month, the White House revealed the newly refurbished and now decidedly modern Old Family dining room.... Mrs. Obama unveiled her 'thoroughly modernized' mark on the White House, featuring a custom-made 1950s-inspired rug and bold artwork, to surprised tourists on Feb. 10. Dowling is said to have been escorted from the White House three days later." ...

Reuters: "Whether it's the earnest Josiah Bartlet from 'The West Wing' or the manipulative Frank Underwood in 'House of Cards,' Americans prefer television presidents to their real-life POTUS, President Barack 'No Drama' Obama.'"

Washington Post: Scientists believe they've found the world's largest asteroid impact zone in Australia.

Washington Post: "King Richard III may have been buried quickly and without pomp the first time, but 530 years later, England is reveling in a final farewell to its long-lost monarch. On a sun-kissed Sunday afternoon on the battlefield where Richard III fell in 1485 — he was the last English king to die in battle — throngs of well-wishers, some dressed in medieval costume and blowing trumpets, gathered to honor England’s last Plantagenet king."

Out of the Parking Lot & into the Cathedral. Guardian: England is preparing to (re)inter a king today (Sunday, March 22). "... the coffin will be transferred to a horse-drawn hearse, to lead the way to a service of compline, with a sermon from a Roman Catholic archbishop, Vincent Nicholls. It will then lie in the cathedral, guarded night and day, until the reburial service on Thursday."

Politico: "The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has granted Amazon Logistics, a subsidiary of the Internet retail giant, approval for a drone design that the company plans to use for research, development and training."

David Rackoff: "Things people say that irritate Republicans." Click thru. CW: I'll have to try to remember these. So I can say them. To Republicans. I hope I drive them all Rumpelstiltskin. Then I will ask the Flying Spaghetti Monster to forgive me for being so mean.

Prince Charles & the Duchess of Cornwall are in Washington, D.C., & environs.

President Obama hosts a St. Patrick's Day reception:

... CW: Somebody explain to me why apparently-intelligent people don't actually participate in events they attend but instead spend their time taking crappy cellphone videos, even when they know said events will be recorded by professionals & posted online. I get why a person would want to record some side-conversation with, say, the President, but the main event? It baffles me.

Patrick LaForge of the New York Times: "Welcome to a parallel universe. It is a world of tired news language where the verb 'stir' is bound to be followed by 'debate,' where those debates are always 'heated' or 'bitter.' In this world, anything newsworthy is automatically 'controversial,' and a 'hike' involves taxes, not a trail up a mountain. It is often a 'hardscrabble' place, sometimes 'densely wooded,' sometimes graced with 'manicured' lawns and 'leafy' streets. 'Landmark' agreements are 'hammered out' there, while adversaries are 'lambasted' and 'assailed.'” Meet journalese: a strained and artificial voice more common to news reports than to natural conversation." LaForge cites numerous examples of NYT reporters' use of these cliches.

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Constant Comments

Anyone with a cheap computer can become a columnist or a pundit. -- Dennis Ryerson, Editor, Indianapolis Star

About Me: I have a cheap computer.
-- Constant Weader

Follow CONSTANTWEADER on Twitter... for breaking news. I update several times a day & tweet only the big deals.


The Commentariat -- Nov. 7, 2012

Presidential Race

Jeff Zeleny & Jim Rutenberger of the New York Times: "Barack Hussein Obama was re-elected president of the United States on Tuesday, overcoming powerful economic headwinds, a lock-step resistance to his agenda by Republicans in Congress and an unprecedented torrent of advertising as a divided nation voted to give him more time. In defeating Mitt Romney, the president carried Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin, a near sweep of the battleground states, and was holding a narrow advantage in Florida. The path to victory for Mr. Romney narrowed as the night wore along, with Mr. Obama winning at least 303 electoral votes."

David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "Barack Obama was elected to a second presidential term Tuesday, defeating Republican Mitt Romney by reassembling the political coalition that boosted him to victory four years ago, and by remaking himself from a hopeful uniter into a determined fighter for middle-class interests. Obama ... scored a decisive victory by stringing together a series of narrow ones. Of the election's seven major battlegrounds, he won at least six."

Art by Donkey Hotey.Miami Herald: "With the presidential race settled but Florida still too close to call, Miami-Dade was still waiting Wednesday morning for final results. At 7 a.m., an elections spokesman told reporters that about 20,000 absentee ballots still needed to be counted. The office of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Wednesday morning issued a news release insisting that the 'unprecedented length of the ballot'* represents 'over 100,000 pages that need to be reviewed and verified, one by one. This in no way is representative of any issues or delays, but a matter of unprecedented volume,' the release said...." CW: it sure is a good thing this race didn't hinge on Florida. What a pathetic state. ...

     ... Update: "With the presidential race settled but Florida still too close to call, Miami-Dade was still waiting Wednesday afternoon for final results."

* CW: Let's get one thing straight: "the unprecedented length of the ballot" was one of half-a-dozen Republican efforts to disenfranchise voters. As Brittany Davis & Toluse Olorunnipa of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times wrote today, "The outcome [of the vote on the ballot measures] is a sweeping rejection of the Republican-led Legislature's push to pile the ballot with long, complicated amendments, clogging precincts and causing voters to wait for hours in some cases. It was the worst outcome for constitutional amendments since 1978, when all nine of the state's proposed amendments failed." For a reminder on how many ways America's Worst Governor Rick Scott & his sidekicks in the Republican-led legislature tried to Screw the Vote, Adam Weinstein of Mother Jones wrote a nice primer last week.

CW: we're going to get a lot of these meaning-of-the-election pieces over the next few days, so let's start with a very good one -- by Tom Junod of Esquire.: "... tonight [President Obama ]celebrated the most sweeping political transformation in American political culture since the one Reagan cemented in his electoral victory of 1984: He had turned a center-right country into a center-left one." (See videos of Obama's & Romney's full speeches in the post below.)

** Ezra Klein: "President Obama's rousing victory speech left most everyone with the same question: Where's that guy been during the 2012 campaign? There's an answer to that question.... The Obama campaign found that their key voters were turned off by soaring rhetoric and big plans. They'd lowered their expectations, and they responded better when Obama appeared to have lowered his expectations, too. And so he did.... What you saw tonight, however, was that Obama didn't much like being that guy.... This has been the tension at the center of the Obama White House for four years now. Hope and change don't go together."

Michael Grunwald of Time: "President Obama started his term by passing a politically toxic stimulus bill. Next, he oversaw a politically toxic auto bailout. He then spent an agonizing year on a politically toxic health reform bill. His approval ratings dropped, the Tea Party erupted, and as he continued to do controversial things -- on gay rights, on immigration, on Iraq -- pundits continued to accuse him of political malpractice. Well, he won anyway. And there's a lesson there. The lesson is: DO STUFF!" (CW: note that we have the same old do-nothing, obstructionist House of Representatives we had before the election, so I'm not sure "Do Stuff" explains everything.)

New York Times Editors: "President Obama's dramatic re-election ... was a strong endorsement of economic policies that stress job growth, health care reform, tax increases and balanced deficit reduction -- and of moderate policies on immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage. It was a repudiation of Reagan-era bromides about tax-cutting and trickle-down economics, and of the politics of fear, intolerance and disinformation."

E. J. Dionne: "Many have argued that the president ran a 'small' and 'negative' campaign, and he was certainly not shy about going after Romney. But this misses the extent to which Obama made specific commitments and repeatedly cast the election as a choice between two different philosophical directions."

The Biggest Losers. Paul Krugman: "The limits of [Wall Street's] power have been cruelly exposed, and the reelected president now owes them nothing. Did I mention that Elizabeth Warren is going to the Senate -- a Senate that will be substantially more progressive and less Wall Street friendly than before? Bad move, guys."

The real winner tonight is Hillary Clinton, who Nate Silver is now projecting at a 68 percent chance of victory over Jeb Bush. That's up from 54 percent just a few hours ago! -- Wyatt Cynac, the "Daily Show"

Stephen Colbert announces the presidential election results:

Dan Amira of New York: Mitt Romney's concession speech was "as brief (at just under five minutes) as it was gracious. Romney thanked all of his supporters, congratulated Obama and his family, and called for his backers to 'earnestly pray' for Obama's success. He showed no bitterness, offered no excuses, and made no complaints."

This must be Egypt, 'cause this sure looks like De-Nile. New York magazine produced this great video of the Fox "news"-room's slow meltdown. Joe Coscarelli comments:

CW: I'm fairly certain there is no photoshopping going on here. Thanks to Ken W. for sending along the attractive snap.Dan Amira awards the Donald the Daily Intel's Election Night Most Unhinged Conservative Award for a series of tweets Trump sent screeching about the travesty of Obama's winning the presidency while losing the popular vote -- tweets sent before much of the vote was, um, counted. CW: apparently Trump is unaware there are Democrats on the West Coast. He is certainly unaware that Obama's plan was to win the election by Constitutional rules, not by Trump rules. P.S. Ask President Gore how much good it does to win the popular vote.

Congressional Races

Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: "Deep disapproval of Congress and dissatisfaction with partisan division appeared no match for Congressional incumbency on Tuesday, as Republicans seemed to have retained a firm hold on the House of Representatives, assuring the continuation of divided government for at least another two years.... In the first Congressional election since decennial redistricting, Republicans -- thanks to their control of many state legislatures -- managed to shore up many incumbents by fashioning districts that Democrats had little chance of capturing."

Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: "Democrats snatched Republican Senate seats in Indiana and Massachusetts on Tuesday, averted what was once considered a likely defeat in Missouri and held control of the Senate, handing Republicans a string of stinging defeats for the second campaign season in a row."

"The War Women Won." Margaret Talbot of the New Yorker: "It now appears that the number of women in the Senate could go from seventeen to twenty-three. If it hadn't been for those antediluvian attacks on contraception, we'd be calling this the Year of the Woman. If there was a war on women this year, it looks like the women are winning." CW: and, as I noted in the Congressional tallies, women were the winningest in New Hampshire, where the entire Congressional delegation -- House & Senate -- and the new governor are all women.

The Tortoise & the Orange. In case you had any foolish hopes to the contrary, be assured that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (here) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) (here) are still going to be dicks.

Other Issues

Elizabeth Dias of Time has an overview of the outcomes of some state ballot initiatives. If you live in Kentucky, you now have a constitutional right to go hunting.

Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "Voters in Maine and Maryland approved same-sex marriage on an election night that jubilant gay rights advocates called a historic turning point, the first time that marriage for gay men and lesbians has been approved at the ballot box."

News Ledes

New York Times: "A one-two punch of worries about the post-election picture in the United States and economic weakness in Europe sent stocks reeling Wednesday, with major indices falling more than 2 percent. Some industry sectors, like finance and managed care, fell substantially more than that over fears they would be hurt by tougher regulations and other adverse policies in President Obama's second term."

NBC News: "A nor'easter dubbed Athena moved Wednesday into areas battered by Superstorm Sandy, causing new power outages and threatening to dump up to 12 inches of snow, flood coastal areas again and even turn debris from Sandy into projectiles. Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed across the Northeast, while residents of a few areas hit hardest by Sandy were urged to evacuate. Gusts up to 60 mph were possible along the New Jersey coast and in the New York City area...." ...

... Here's the New York Times story.


Presidential Race


Associated Press and/or network calls as of 7:00 am ET:

CBS News Live Election Coverage. Click the start arrow to activate:

PBS is now livestreaming election coverage here.

Univision is livestreaming Spanish-language coverage of the election results here.

The Washington Post's updated election maps are here. (Link updated.)

The New York Times currently has its results on the front page.

Politico's election results maps are here.

Latest Associated Press election-related videos:


BTW, the New York Times is taking down its paywall for 24 hours beginning at 3 pm ET today.

News Ledes

President Obama's acceptance speech:

     ... Here's the full transcript.

So election officials in Miami-Dade County, Florida, have decided to quit counting votes tonight.

Colorado approves recreational marijuana. Massachusetts okays medical marijuana.

Maine apparently also okays marriage equality.

     ... Here's the text of Romney's concession speech.

CW: hmm, I was looking for video of Romney's concession speech, & this is what I found:

At 12:15 12:45 am ET, Mitt Romney still not conceding although all networks have called the election for President Obama. ...

     ... Update: Romney to speak at 12:55 am ET. Won't tell press what he'll say. ...

     ... Update 2: Romney has called the President to congratulate him; will concede.

Maryland voted yes on gay marriage, the first state to do so (gay marriage in other states has been decided by courts or by state legislatures).

AP: "President Barack Obama won re-election Tuesday night despite a fierce challenge from Republican Mitt Romney, prevailing in the face of a weak economy and high unemployment that encumbered his first term and crimped the middle class dreams of millions. 'This happened because of you. Thank you' Obama tweeted to supporters as he secured four more years in the White House."

NBC reports that Fox "News" has also called Ohio for the President, but Karl Rove is on-air trying to talk the network out of its decision. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is refusing to concede Ohio.


Hartford Courant: "President Obama was projected to win Connecticut's seven electoral votes, even as hundreds of people stood in line to vote after the polls closed in some of the state's major cities."

Chicago Tribune: "Thousands of people with tickets to President Barack Obama’s election result party will soon begin arriving at McCormick Place."


Congressional, Gubernatorial Races

Congressional Races

By State, in Alpha Order

NBC projects that Democrats retain control of the Senate. At noon Wednesday, Democrats now have 52 seats in the Senate. The North Dakota Senate seat, where Democrat Heidi Heitkamp is leading, is the only Senate contest that the networks or the AP haven't called.

     ... Update: the AP has called the North Dakota race for Heidi Heitkamp, bringing the total number of Democratic Senators to 53, with two Independents, one of whom is Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who causes with the Democrats; the other is Senator-Elect Angus King of Maine, who has been cagey about his plans.

NBC projects that Republicans will retain the House. As of noon Wednesday, Democrats have picked up 5 seats. Currently AP-confirmed totals are Republicans 232, Democrats 191.

Arizona Senate: Rep. Jeff Flake (R) defeats Democrat Dr. Richard Carmona to fill the seat vacated by Sen. John Kyl (R). Another shame.

California Senate: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) retains her seat.

Connecticut Senate: NBC calls the race for Rep. Chris Murphy (D) in what was expected to be a close race against the self-funded Wrestling Lady Linda McMahon (R).

Delaware Senate: Sen. Tom Carper (D) retains his seat.

Florida Senate: Miami Herald: "Democrat Bill Nelson strolled easily into reelection for a third term Tuesday, demolishing Republican challenger Connie Mack IV by a wide margin in a bitterly fought and expensive contest. Nelson, 70, will return to Washington as the only Democrat in statewide office in Florida...."

Read more here:

Florida House: Orlando Sentinel: "Look out, Congress. Alan Grayson is coming back. The fiery Orlando Democrat won a double-digit victory on Tuesday night, besting Republican Todd Long in Florida's newly created 9th Congressional District... His victory was all but assured once the Aug. 14 primary was over. The 9th Congressional District, which includes Osceola County and parts of Orange and Polk, is heavily Democratic, and Grayson raised $3.5 million in campaign funds to Long's $91,000.... Grayson also drew one of the weaker candidates in the Republican field — in part because he spent more than $110,000 in the GOP primary to help sink John Quiñones, the Hispanic chair of the Osceola County Commission."

Florida House: Newsweek: "One of Congress's top Islamophobes, Republican Rep. Allen West, lost his reelection bid to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy early this morning. With 100 percent of votes in from South Florida's 18th District, Murphy edged out the Tea Party freshman West by less than 2,500 votes, despite lopsided fundraising. West spent more than $17 million to Murphy's $3.6 million, and both candidates poured money into ads that made the race one of the country's nastiest." ...

     ... Dan Amira of New York: "With 100 percent of precincts reporting, but with some provisional and absentee ballots yet to be counted, West trails political newcomer Patrick Murphy by .74 percent, or 2,456 votes. Murphy's campaign has declared victory, while West has yet to concede and is demanding a recount in one county which he claims has shown 'hostility and demonstrated incompetence.' However, in Florida, recounts are triggered when the winning margin is .5 percent or less, not when a candidate wants one really bad." (CW Note: West ran in a nice, new GOP-friendly district. During redistricting, the Florida Republican legislature attempted to make West's district Republican-safe.)

Hawaii Senate: Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) defeats former Gov. Linda Lingle (R).

Illinois House: the wonderful Tammy Duckworth (D) defeats the hideous Joe Walsh (RTP).

Indiana Senate: Indianapolis Star: "Democrat Joe Donnelly used a message of bipartisanship to earn an unlikely victory amid a Republican tide Tuesday night -- a win also aided by campaign comments by his opponent, Richard Mourdock, that troubled some voters. Donnelly now must try to ... hold onto a seat that Republicans will be eager to take back in six years. His win helped Democrats retain their majority Tuesday might, and he received a congratulatory call from former President Bill Clinton."

Maine Senate: NBC calls it for Angus King, an independent who will probably caucus with the Democrats & favors ObamaCare.

Maryland Senate: the AP calls the race for Sen. Ben Cardin (D).

Massachusetts Senate: Boston Globe: "Elizabeth Ann Warren, a fierce consumer advocate who galvanized liberals across the nation, won a decisive victory over Senator Scott Brown Tuesday, avenging the Democratic Party’s bitter loss ­at the hands of Brown in 2010, an upset that jolted the national political landscape. Buoyed by a strong showing in urban strongholds and liberal suburbs, Warren made history: She will become the first woman to represent Massachusetts in the US Senate.... With 91 percent of the precincts reporting, Warren led Brown by 8 percentage points, 54 percent to 46 percent."

Michigan Senate: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) retains her seat.

Minnesota House: Bummer. Washington Post: "Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), founder of the Tea Party Caucus and an unsuccessful candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, hung on to her House seat by narrowly defeating challenger Jim Graves."

Minnesota Senate: Sen. Amy Kobuchar (D) retains her seat.

Mississippi Senate: Sen. Roger Wicker (R) retains his seat.

Missouri Senate: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) beats Rep. Todd Akin (RTP) & retains her seat.

NEW. Montana Senate: Sen. Jon Tester (D) retains his seat.

Nebraska Senate: Republican Deb Fischer bests former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey (D). This is a pick-up for Republicans; the seat is currently held by ConservaDem Ben Nelson.

New Hampshire: All of the leadership in New Hampshire -- Governor, U.S. Senators, Congressmembers -- are women. Gov.-Elect Hassan is the only female governor in the country now. I believe in 2008, the New Hampshire state senate became majority women. There's something great about New Hampshire.

New Jersey Senate: Sen. Bob Menendez (D) retains his seat.

New Mexico Senate: Rep. Martin Heirich (D) wins seat to replace Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingamin.

New York Senate: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) retains her seat.

NEW. North Dakota Senate: on Wednesday afternoon, the AP finally called North Dakota for Heidi Heitkamp, the Democrat.

Ohio Senate: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) retains his seat. Whew!

Oregon Senate: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) retains her seat.

Pennsylvania Senate: NBC projects Sen. Bob Casey (D) as the winner.

Rhode Island Senate: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) retains his seat.

Tennessee Senate: NBC calls the race for Sen. Bob Corker (R).

Texas Senate: Republican Tea Partier Ted Cruz is the projected winner.

Utah Senate: Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch retains his seat.

Vermont Senate: the AP has called the Vermont Senate race for Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. CW: I'm awfully happy Bernie is the first Senate call of the night.

Virginia Senate: Washington Post: "Timothy M. Kaine defeated George Allen in Virginia’s Senate race Tuesday night, the climax of an intensely watched matchup that cost more than $80 million."

West Virginia Senate: NBC has called the WVA Senate race for Sen. Joe Manchin, a so-called Democrat who often votes with Republicans.

Wisconsin Senate: Wisconsin State Journal: "U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, became the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate late Tuesday. Baldwin beat longtime former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson after a bruising campaign that included tens of millions of dollars in negative ads. Baldwin also is the first woman elected to the Senate from Wisconsin."

Wyoming Senate: Sen. John Barrasso (R) retains his seat.


Governors' Races

By State, in Alpha Order

Indiana: horrible Rep. Mike Pence (RTP) takes the governorship. Bad choice, Hoosiers.

New Hampshire: Concord Monitor: "Maggie Hassan will become the 81st governor of New Hampshire after defeating Republican Ovide Lamontagne yesterday, keeping the corner office in Democratic hands as Gov. John Lynch steps down after an unprecedented four terms."

North Carolina: Republican Pat McCrory wins an open seat, vacated by Democrat Beverly Purdue.

North Dakota: Gov. John Dalyrymple (R) retains his seat.

Vermont: Peter Shumlin (D) wins governorship.

Utah: Gov. Gary Herbert (R) retains his seat.


The Commentariat -- Nov. 6, 2012

Returns of the Day

Byron Wolf of ABC News: "The small hamlet of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire ... votes right at midnight.... This year ten voters ... split evenly -- five votes apiece -- for President Obama and ... Mitt Romney.... The other New Hampshire town with midnight voting -- the slightly more populous (32 voters) Hart's Location -- swung towards Obama tonight -- 23 Obama, 9 Romney."

Presidential Race

Nate Silver: "If President Obama wins re-election on Tuesday, the historical memory of the race might turn on the role played by Hurricane Sandy. But while the storm and the response to it may account for some of Mr. Obama's gains, they do not reflect the whole story.... Mr. Obama had already been rebounding in the polls, slowly but steadily, from his lows in early October -- in contrast to a common narrative in the news media that contended, without much evidence, that Mr. Romney still had the momentum in the race. Moreover, there are any number of alternatives to explain Mr. Obama's gains before and after the storm hit." Thanks to a reader for the graphic, which was posted on Daily Kos & elsewhere.... we are at the point where the polling averages in each state are pretty much locked in -- and it is mostly a question of whether the actual results will approximate them, in which case Mr. Obama should claim enough electoral votes between Ohio and other states to win another term." Silver gives Obama a 92 percent chance of winning, which leaves Rmoney with 8 percent odds. Thanks to a reader for the graphic, which appeared on Daily Kos & elsewhere. ...

     ... Update: the latest from Silver: it's Barack-o-Mentum.

... NEW. Nate Cohn of The New Republic: "Obama leads by at least 3 points with 49 percent of the vote in the states won twice by Kerry and Gore, plus New Mexico, Nevada, and Ohio. These states are worth 272 electoral votes [270 needed to win], and with the exception of a stray poll in Michigan, Romney doesn't lead in a single non-partisan survey in any of those states."

... Jon Cohen, et al., of the Washington Post: "Heading into Election Day, likely voters divide 50 percent for President Obama and 47 percent for ... Mitt Romney, according to the latest, final weekend release of the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll." ...

... NEW. David Atkins of Hullabaloo immortalizes the GOP predictions of the day, all of which have Romney winning in an Electoral College landslide.

President Obama's last campaign rally, or as Michelle Obama put it, the "final event of my husband's final campaign":

E. J. Dionne: "... Obama is fighting a Republican Party determined to bring the Gilded Age back and undo the achievements of a century. And so, beneath the attacks, the counterattacks, and the billions invested by small numbers of the very rich to sway the undecided, we face a choice on Tuesday that is worthy of a great democracy. My hunch is that the country will not go backward, because that's not what Americans do."

CW: I don't agree with some of the prognosticating in Jayne Mayer's post in the New Yorker on the relative rarity of second-term presidents, but there is some content worth reading, especially this: "Geraldine Ferraro, Walter Mondale's Vice-Presidential running mate in 1984, slugged Washington super lawyer Bob Barnett after her debate preparation."

For you football fans, BuzzFeed has videos of Obama & Romney talking sports (or in Romney's case, "sport") & football on last night's "Monday Night Football."

"Tell Mitt Romney Climate Change Isn't a Joke": This Web ad, produced by Forecast the Facts, has had 630,000+ hits. The group is not endorsing President Obama:

At least Montgomery Burns is totally behind Romney, even if Seamus imcaninators aren't:

Prof. Kevin Kruse in a New York Times op-ed: "... the Romney campaign's ... fundamental disdain for facts is something wholly new.... Win or lose, the Romney campaign has placed a big and historic bet on the proposition that facts can be ignored, more or less, with impunity." Kruse identifies four factors that have encouraged fact-abuse.

The Word According to Andy Borowitz

We're strongly opposed to FEMA and health care, but basically O.K. with rape. -- Official Republican Party Closing Argument ...

... Our argument couldn't be simpler: when God wants to create a hurricane or make a woman pregnant, big government should get out of the way. -- Reince Priebus, Republican party chair, elaborating

Zachary Roth of NBC News: aw, shucks. Chris Christie & Mitt Romney are having a little spat on election eve.

"A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow":

Now that the campaign is (mostly) over, I can reveal what Barack Obama really thinks:

Congressional Races

Eight Democratic Congressmen Who Are Class-A Jerks. A lovely slideshow by Katie McDounough of Salon. One of them, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, is running for Senate against Dick Moredick, the pregnancy-by-rape-&-divine-will guy. Their platforms, however, are pretty much the same.

Voting Problems

Chicago Tribune: "The Chicago elections website was non-functioning most of the day today, adding to the confusion among voters who didn't realize their polling sites had changed. The Chicago Board of Elections website, which voters could use to check where to vote, went down early Tuesday morning. It was functioning by about 4:00 this afternoon."

New Jersey. "In response to widespread reports that voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy haven't received their email and fax ballots on Election Day, the state has extended the deadline for voters to return those ballots to county clerks to 8 p.m. Friday."

Florida. No Electioneering or Engineering Here. Boca News Now: poll workers in Boca Raton blocked a woman wearing an M.I.T. tee-shirt from entering the polling place because they thought she was wearing a Romney campaign shirt. The college lady was eventually allowed to vote when some poll worker figured out how to spell "Mitt."

Illinois. CW: This is a photo of the ballot a poll worker gave a voter at a South Lake Shore Drive Chicago polling place this morning. The voter, Brittney Edwards, took the photos. I am liking the choices for Cultural Commissioner, even if they are dead. Read the Chicago Tribune story:

Pennsylvania. Charles Pierce has more on the Pennsylvania poll voter obstructionists. From a news report: "An Allegheny County judge issued an order to halt electioneering outside a polling location in Homestead. County officials received a complaint shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday that Republicans outside a polling location on Maple Street in Homestead were stopping people outside the polls and asking for identification." Pierce notes that these kinds of reports have sent Chuck Todd "to the fainting couch."

New York & New Jersey. David Halbfinger, et al., of the New York Times: "People whose lives were upended by Hurricane Sandy joined other voters on Tuesday to cast ballots after elected officials in New York and New Jersey scrambled to relocate scores of polling places that had become unusable because of power failures, flooding or evacuations."

Pennslyvania. Dan Froomkin reports that Pennsylvania poll workers are turning away voters without IDs even though a court has ruled that IDs are not required in Pennsylvania for this election.

Rhode Island. AP: "Rhode Islanders were facing long lines and, in at least two polling places, the wrong ballots as they began voting Tuesday in a hotly contested congressional race and on whether to allow the state's two slots parlors to turn into full-fledged casinos."

New Jersey. Ryan Reilly of TPM: "Superstorm Sandy is having a devastating effect on voting in New Jersey, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law executive director Barbara Arnwine told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday morning. Voters were being asked for I.D. even though the state has no law requiring it, voting locations opened late and some locations didn't have ballots, she said. 'In a word, there's just one word to describe the experience in New Jersey, and that is catastrophe,' Arnwine said."

     ... Ben Smith of BuzzFeed: "New Jersey's last-minute offer of email voting to displaced residents was greeted by concern by security experts, who warn that email offers a fast track to voter fraud. But the system may have another problem as well: County election administrators are, according to anecdotal reports, simply not responding to all requests for ballots. In two major counties, the email address advertised on the website of the county clerk is not even accepting email."

Voter Suppression
"A National Embarrassment"

Jason Sattler of the National Memo: "Democratic strategist Bob Shrum calls the several hours some voters are spending in line waiting for their right to vote a 'poll tax,' harkening to a Jim Crow-era restriction used to keep African-Americans from voting. Poll taxes were specifically banned by the 24th Amendment."

Jeff Toobin of the New Yorker on whether or not there is a Constitutional right to vote.

NEW. AP: an Ohio judge threw out a lawsuit claiming that "experimental" software recently placed on Ohio's vote-tabulating machines -- could alter vote counts. CW: Um, they will be using flash drives to transfer vote-count data. No room for data manipulation there. Holy shit! ...

... AND Mark Warren of Esquire: Ohio Gov. & former Fox "News" guy John Kasich (R) says Romney will win Ohio by 50,000 votes. CW: I wonder if Kasich is the guy holding the flash drive.

NEW. Joseph of Plunderbund: Tea Party-backed "election observers" of True the Vote, who planned to concentrate their "observations" on heavily-African American voting districts in Ohio, "will not be allowed in Franklin County, Ohio, polling locations because the local elections board discovered that True the Vote had forged some signatures on their qualifying forms. ...

     ... Update: The Columbus Dispatch has the story now.

Libertarian Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic: "Hours-long election lines stretching many city blocks are a national embarrassment. And those responsible should be condemned across ideological lines. In Florida and Ohio, state officials arranged things such that citizens had to stand in line for hours to cast their ballot. Asked to extend early voting so that casting a ballot might be a bit less burdensome, they refused. It's an outrage."

NEW. Tim Padgett of Time: Gov. Rick "Scott and the Florida GOP can hand us all the disingenuous reasons they want for reducing early-voting days, including their favorite canard: cracking down on voter fraud. But their real impetus was to reduce Democratic turnout, because Democrats tend to do more early voting than Republicans -- and because they gave Obama a 9-point lead among early in-person voters in 2008.... [Although Scott, et al., have succeeded in bringing early voting down from the 2008 level by almost 10 percent,] Democratic voters, who outnumbered Republicans 46% to 36% in early in-person voting this year, seem to have widened their 2008 lead."

NEW. SEIU: "After receiving information indicating that the Pennsylvania Republican Party and the Pittsburgh Tea Party may be systematically sending poll watchers to predominantly African American precincts in Pittsburgh, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Common Cause, The Advancement Project, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the ACLU, together with a number of local community groups, sent a letter to Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez, who is responsible for enforcing the Voting Rights Act, asking that the Justice Department 'make every effort to ensure that voters at these targeted locations are able to cast their ballots freely and fairly' and also to ask the Pennsylvania Republican Party about the source of its lists and the basis of its targeting."

Dan Froomkin has an overview of ongoing voter suppression efforts.

What a Difference a State Makes. David Halbfinger, et al., of the New York Times: "Elected officials in New York and New Jersey scrambled Monday to enable displaced citizens to vote in the election on Tuesday, relocating scores of coastal polling places that had become unusable because of power failures, flooding or evacuations. New Jersey and New York both said they would allow voters uprooted by Hurricane Sandy to cast provisional ballots anywhere in their states."

Laboratories of Democracy, Etc.

Abby Rapoport of American Prospect highlights a few if the low lights running for re-election in state legislatures.

Frank Bruni: same-sex marriage opponents trot out the same tired, discredited arguments -- the gays are recruiting your kids, and other fear-mongering oldies. ...

... Josh Voorhees of Slate has some polling on how the gay marriage ballot initiatives may fare.


The Home Front

Matt Glassman has some wise & foolish advice for how to spend today -- and tonight. Via Greg Sargent. Do feel free to contribute you own advice, voting experience, whatever.

News Lede

AP: "Gunmen shot and killed the brother of Syria's parliament speaker as he drove to work in the capital Damascus on Tuesday, the state-run news agency reported on Tuesday. Mohammed Osama Laham, brother of Parliament Speaker Jihad Laham, was killed in the Damascus neighborhood of Midan...." CW: excuse me, their names are Osama & Jihad??? I am thinking these are not the Pro-America Laham Brothers.