Saturday, January 03, 2009

Let Us Now Praise Useful Websites

One of my liberal blogs pointed me toward for the latest and best Minnesota senate recount news. Indeed, if the word "news" suggests something mediated, TheUptake is a little more than that. The site has been streaming live video of the Minnesota canvassing board as it has moved through the recount of the tightly contested content between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. I suppose you could say the website presented the actual event, from which viewers could conclude what The News was.

No, it did more than that. Lack of mediation or interpretation can be confounding, though give me the event first and the interpretation second. Over the last weeks, TheUptake's citizen journalists kept a running count of the changing vote -- plus live blogging and live commentary -- as the board allotted the ballots that had been challenged or ignored because of eccentric or incomplete bubble filling. Today it kept a running total as the 900+ ballots wrongly rejected absentee ballots were counted.

Were there more than 900 wrongly rejected ballots? Yeah, but last week the Minnesota Supreme Court in a quasi-Solomonic decision had given both campaigns veto rights concerning the acceptability of the 1,350 that a previous process had concluded were wrongly rejected.

Meanwhile looming -- or so Coleman hopes -- are some allegedly lost votes, some allegedly double counted votes, an addtional 600+ absentee votes the Coleman campaign cherry-picked from precincts he won and tried to throw on the table in recent days. (This recount is a Russian nesting doll.)

Anyway, anyone who watched TheUpTake stream TODAY saw Al Franken get a 175 vote boost as the count went down. Afterwards, one could watch the somewhat self-satisfied statement of the Minnesota Secretary of State very satisfied and very unsatisfied statements (respectively) by the lawyers for the Franken and Coleman campaigns. You could see and hear it all.

The technical quality of it all was just a little shakey, which made it seem just that much more authentic as black and white photos seem more authentic to persons of a certain age. invites viewers to contact the organization to find out how they can create their own net site for community news. I've known for a long time this was something you could do, but the coverage of the recount helped me understand why you would want to do it.

The site has a link to California-San Francisco news, though I don't see anything going on. I'll keep an eye on it.
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