Inside the Recount

Kudos to Recounter

I was getting tired of the never-ending election until I read "Inside the Recount" [Jan. 5]. I figured I would just skim the article, but I read it to the end.

Thank you for publishing this fascinating and very well-written article. I think the author, Karyn Quinlan, deserves credit for speaking out in the midst of this very nasty holy war. That's exactly what it is. It takes courage to fight the extreme right of the Republican Party. Secular Republicans like myself should also speak out against those who have seized control of what was once the GOP.

A.G. Mendoza


Don't Fear Prayer

I was enjoying Karyn Quinlan's report of her experience with the hand recount of ballots in King County until she became hysterical over the Republican counters and observers praying during their breaks ["Inside the Recount," Jan. 5]. Would it have been better for them to play poker? Read porn? Political liberals (which I consider myself to be) have to get over this fear of faith. The government will not collapse just because someone refers to God or says a prayer.

Laura Wishik

Vashon Island

Washington Is Lucky

As one of those Democrats who answered the call to donate money for the recount, I found the article "Inside the Recount" [Jan. 5] enlightening. Also, since I live in Florida, I have to admit that I was jealous of Washington's ability to have a hand recount, because we were forced to use computers that did not provide any type of paper trail.

It is interesting that the Republican Party led by Bush appears to see everything in terms of black-and-white, without nuance, explanation, or meaningful distinction. However, Karyn Quinlan's article showed that rule does not apply to everything. With respect to votes, Republicans are (and always have been) willing to invent nuance where none exists and will use any reason to condemn a vote (for a Democrat) into the pile of "gray" where it won't count.

Lori Hultman

Sarasota, FL

GOP Plot

Kudos to Karyn Quinlan for her exhaustive testimony inside the manual recount process for the governorship of Washington ["Inside the Recount," Jan. 5]. It was extremely educational for the lay citizen who couldn't observe the recount in person to have the mystery stripped away, baring the raw democratic process without the pomp, banners, bunting, and rhetoric. I, for one, take to heart Quinlan's descriptions of an obstructionist Republican Party machine, attempting to disrupt, distract, and otherwise thwart the count at every turn. But what struck me, as it did Quinlan, was that Republican observers and counters were ducking into the private GOP Lounge (aka War Room)—in spite of rules explicitly stating that observers and counters could not talk—to pray! I tried hard to shake the image of a darkened hall with a long table adorned with candles, surrounded by chanting members cloaked in white robes. Then I saw it—the headline leaping from a newspaper box: "Dead Vote in Governor's Race." How creepy is that? I really had to fight this irrational feeling overtaking me that this was somehow connected to the rash of hurricanes that slammed Florida before the November elections. Perhaps the apocalypse is upon us—in the form of tsunamis and Shock-n-Awe blitzkriegs—and I've been "left behind" after all? Then Cheney really is the devil and Bush the Antichrist, and Republican politicians are the false prophets we were warned about!

Then my rational mind got hold of me, and I realized that we would be quite naive to believe that the Republicans were using that private planning room for prayer circles. They had another election to steal and more votes to suppress—which required intensive planning.

Matthew Smith


Calling Jimmy Carter!

So why not join the call for a clean revote for governor [Mossback, "Gov. Damaged Goods," Jan. 5]? It would spare us from the agony of a potentially bitter and lengthy legal dispute. It would lift the inevitable cloud of uncertain legitimacy from over the governor's head. And it would restore the primacy of citizens choosing our elected officials through the voting process (as opposed to the legal process or through one candidate's or political party's successful gaming of the system).

From studying the reports that have come out to date and conferring with the secretary of state's office, it seems clear to me that the margin of counting/tabulating/canvassing error in the Nov. 2 election—in King County alone—was greater than the vote differential between Christine Gregoire and Dino Rossi in the hand recount. Thus, the declared winner is the result not of the expressed will of the people but rather of the vagaries of the process.

Call in Jimmy Carter, if need be. But do it again, and do it right.

Chuck Nordhoff


Case Reviewed

I am a huge fan of your publication. I am simply writing as Knute Berger's description of the Janet Capps case, which I and others in my firm and the AG's office handled, was inaccurate in some respects [Mossback, "Gov. Damaged Goods," Jan. 5]. First, the case settled before any fines were imposed. We had motions pending which showed that there was no basis for fines nor for sanctions. Additionally, the case settled for approximately $300,000, even though the plaintiff had been seeking millions for years. The $2 million "settlement" that Berger cites was not an outright settlement figure. It was a projection of the $50,000 a year that Capps could earn in her new job, assuming she will keep that job for 40 years. The settlement was a good one and only came about when the plaintiff realized the judge was prepared to dismiss the majority of her claims.

I do believe that Chris Gregoire will be a great governor. Thanks for listening, and keep up the great work!

Anne Bremner


Cheap Tsunami Shot

Geov Parrish's article is yellow journalism in its purest form ["Unnatural Disasters," Jan. 5]. I was watching the tsunami news from day one, and if you recall, the early casualty figures were less than 5,000 "but certain to climb." Of course the U.S. commitment to disaster relief escalated as the full horror of that event came into view. It is a cheap shot and a disservice to readers to second-guess those who had responsibility to speak for our country at such a trying time for the whole world. If Parrish has a better way, he should run for office and put his ideas into practice. Otherwise, a little note of optimism might add some credibility to his post-event predictions.

Reg Audibert

Portland, OR

What's Below a Bottom-Feeder?

Great article [Small World, "Ode to Jolie," Jan. 5]. I agree with Steve Wiecking about the bottom-feeder (Ethan Hawke), and Colin Farrell, in my opinion, is to be included in the bottom-feeder award, but I feel he should have his own category: "what is expelled by a bottom-feeder after the feed is over."

When I hear Val Kilmer, I have more of a tendency to clutch my ears and hope my brain doesn't seep out. At the end of the day (or year), Angelina Jolie is the outright winner.

Tracey Strettles

Sydney, Australia

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