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Canvass, Day One: Clearly for Cleary!

Having killed an afternoon watching the somnambulant march of democracy, let me offer some general and non-numerical thoughts:

Put this face on a t-shirt!
Put this face on a t-shirt!

♦ I have a j-crush on Ed Cleary, perking up when every I hear those deadpan tones. He struck me as the canvassing judge with the most common sense, the guts to question groupthink, and a rock-solid grasp of statute. Jesse Ventura may have been a knothead, but he appointed some damn good jurists. My recount t-shirt: I’M CLEARLY WITH CLEARY.

♦ It was a hellaciously good day for our state. Those who suggest Minnesota=Florida were shown to be idiots, thanks to the deliberate, transparent, altogether decent tone of the discussion.

While Cleary was my fave, all the judges acquitted themselves well: I worried the colorful Kathy Gearin (to be played by Rosie O’Donnell in the movie) would waste time grandstanding; she didn’t. I despaired for sour-seeming G. Barry Anderson; he was a team player. And Eric Magnuson, despite being shown up a bit by Cleary, showed a little mirth and great tolerance for dissenting views.

As the day wore on, it did seem at times like Cleary-Gearin-Ritchie versus GOP justices Anderson and Magnuson, but not much.

(Did anyone chart the vote coalitions? Update: Colleague Eric Black took an excellent stab at it here; although we’re dealing with small numbers, he suggests Cleary is the most pro-Franken judge so far, and Anderson is the most pro-Coleman.)

I particularly enjoyed watching Mark Ritchie, who looked like he’d rather pass a kidney stone than break a 2-2 tie. I expect the GOP is prepping the attack video of every time Ritchie said “Senator Franken” — I counted a couple in a few hours watching.

♦ Stribstream: not awful! It’s easy to mock Our Biggest Newsroom for only now getting hip to the idea of live streaming video, but dammit, they’re trying. While Doug Tice and James Lileks are no match for The Uptake’s Recount Master, Noah Kunin, they did fine. I found them entertaining — not in a bad way — during the Canvassing Board’s smoke breaks.

Friendly though probably unwelcome advice:

1. For God’s sake, add a real liveblog to the video site; Bob von Sternberg’s not-quite-real-time updates on a separate page are user-unfriendly.

Somehow, a Twitter tweet I made on this during the day — “Cyber-faux pas. Strib is livestreaming on one page and blogging on another. FAIL.” — made the friggin’ Columbia Journalism Review. This is not how I expected to make the Columbia Journalism Review.

2. Speaking of Twitter: James, you’re a top-ranked guy there. If you won’t take my suggestion and MST3K the canvassing deliberations, then tweet them. Strib: Get James’ twitter feed up there. Teach von Sternberg to tweet, then get a few recount geeks to join the mix.

3. James; lose the suit — it does not confer authority. Be yourself; crisp but casual. On a possibly contradictory note: sit up straight, Doug. Slouchy is enervating, and we have enough of that in the canvass itself.

4. Liveblog links to know: The Uptake’s, natch. And Bob Collins’ at MPR.

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