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March 13th, 2006:

Casteel officially seeks recount

First reported by QR, it’s now in the papers: State Rep. Carter Casteel has officially requested a recount in her close loss to Leininger-bot Nathan Macias.

While she doubts the recount will find her the winner, Casteel said she decided to ask for one after hearing from many supporters, constituents and state leaders.

She said she believes the recount will prove the election was conducted in “a very proper way.”

“I think because everybody is in such an uproar, I think it’s fair to everybody that we just do it and put that to rest,” she said.

Here’s her full statement:

“I am going to request a recount and I have retained Buck Wood as the attorney to represent me in that effort. I have thought about it a long time. I have come to grips with Election Day. However, my supporters and many of my constituents in House District 73 have encouraged me to ask for a recount. Forty-four, 45 votes is a pretty good stretch, but stranger things have happened.”

According to Matt:

She will have two days from when the Republican Party of Texas canvasses its primary results to petition for a recount. According to the party’s Web site, canvassing will happen March 22. After receiving the petition, the party will have two days to decide on whether to grant the recount.

It’s a longshot, but any time you have a race this close, you pretty much have to doublecheck the result. You just never know.

Vince spoke to Rep. Casteel and got some more information from her about this. Casteel also mentioned support Macias had from anti-toll road forces as a factor in her loss, something which the Statesman more or less dismissed last week.

Finally, if Macias does hold on to the win, he’ll have some fences to mend back home.

Death before broccoli!

I’m feeling a little apolitical today, so let’s talk about food for a minute.

I’m one of those people who simply will not eat certain foods. The reason for that is simple: I can’t stand the way they taste. Sometimes this is a texture thing – for example, I have no objections to celery per se, but I don’t usually care for detectably large pieces of it in most cooked foods. Most of the time, it’s taste.

I was a very picky eater as a kid, but as I grew up, I eventually tried a lot of the foods I would not have eaten, and found that I did in fact like quite a few of them. Maybe it was a maturing of my taste buds, maybe it was discovering a similar food that I liked first and then branching out, or maybe I was just a weenie as a kid, I couldn’t say. For some of these foods, it’s understandable why I’d always refused them before; for example, the first time I ate beans was while staying with a college friend in Midland. My first day there, her mom served barbecue. I didn’t want to be rude, so I tried the borracho beans, and loved them. Since my main exposure before then had been baked beans from school cafeterias, I think I could be excused for my prior distaste. You wouldn’t have liked the hot lunch beans, either.

Not all such experiences ended with me adding a new item to my personal menu. Some years back, a friend who was staying with my then-roommate Matt and me insisted on making dinner for us, which was eggplant parmesan. I tried it, even wound up eating a full serving, but didn’t much care for it, and have never eaten it since then. Tiffany (who eats just about everything and sometimes gets exasperated with my fickleness) has made me sample asparagus and artichoke, without success. I had a stronger sense of dislike for them than I did for the eggplant, but if I’d been in a position where I had no choice but to consume a portion of them – say, dinner at a consulate – I could have made myself do it.

And then there’s the stuff I really hate. Broccoli is at the top of this list – given a choice between broccoli and starvation, I’d have to think about it really hard. (Go ahead, make the Poppy Bush jokes. I’ve heard them all.) The last time I accidentally ingested a piece of broccoli was in college, when I swallowed what I thought was some celery in a bowl of chicken soup from the dining hall, and nearly gagged. The smell of broccoli is enough to get me to run screaming from the room. If I live to be 100, I will never voluntarily eat broccoli.

As I said, Tiffany is sometimes unsympathetic on such matters, as are some other friends and family who don’t have anything on their personal food-hate lists (Matt, I’m looking at you). It’s my belief that while most people can learn to like most foods, some of us are just hardwired against certain items. The sense of taste has a genetic component to it, so my response is that I did not get the broccoli-acceptance gene. That’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it.

So. What foods will you not eat under any circumstance? How much guff do you get for it? Leave a comment and let me know.

Let’s get ready to runoff

I’m feeling a little better today about the runoff in the Senate primary than I did on Thursday. Runoffs generally come down to who can turn out their supporters better, and on that score only Barbara Radnofsky will even be trying to do that, so that ought to give her the leg up. And it’s not like Darrell Reece Hunter is going to throw his support behind Gene Kelly (and who’d notice if he did?), either. So hopefully this will mean a little more news for the campaign before all the coverage goes into summer hibernation.

Of course, as this Express News piece notes, Kelly did win a Senate runoff in 2000, against the better qualified Charles Gandy. For what it’s worth, I couldn’t have told you that prior to reading that article if my life had been on the line. Gandy may have run a campaign, but it was invisible to me. I believe – I sure as hell hope – Radnofsky will have sufficient visibility this time around.

As I said before, I’m going to pester you mercilessly remind you regularly between now and April 11 of the importance of casting a ballot for BAR in the runoff. I’ve got an email to the Radnofsky campaign to get a statement from BAR, which I plan to run around the time early voting starts. (I also hope to get some statements from candidates in other runoffs – if anyone associated with Ben Grant is reading this, please drop me an email.) In the meantime, Radnofsky has a guest post at Capitol Annex for your perusal. The runoff is four weeks from tomorrow. Don’t let it sneak up on you.

On property taxes

Tory has a piece by Otis White on property taxes and appraisal caps that’s quite interesting and not something I’d heard of before. Check it out.

What to do with Barry

I don’t say this very often, but I agree with George Will in his assessment of Barry Bonds.

It is still unclear if there will be judicially imposed punishment in this matter. But condign punishment for a man as proud as Bonds would be administered by the court of public opinion, and exclusion from the Hall of Fame.

In any case, Bonds’ records must remain part of baseball’s history. His hits happened. Erase them and there will be discrepancies in baseball’s bookkeeping about the records of the pitchers who gave them up. George Orwell said that in totalitarian societies, yesterday’s weather could be changed by decree. Baseball, indeed America, is not like that.

Besides, the people who care about the record book — serious fans — will know how to read it. That may be Bonds’ biggest worry.

Well, okay, I mostly agree. As Will noted earlier in the piece, Bonds was an easy Hall of Famer based on his career through 1999, before he started juicing. As far as I’m concerned, what he’s done since then should not negate what he did before than. He’d still get my vote for the Hall if I had one. To anyone who’d indignantly shout “But he cheated!”, I have to ask: Where was the outrage when spitballer Gaylord Perry was enshrined? Or when Whitey Ford published a confessional about his throwing cutballs and mudballs? Outrage is always selective.

You may also ask “What about Pete Rose?” The difference here is that Rose broke a rule that was already in place and whose consequences – banishment from the game – were known. Someday, someone may get banned from the game for using steroids, and when that happens, that player will be ineligble for the Hall. Until then, it’s not a sufficient criterion for barring the door.

This is not to say that an individual voter can’t, or shouldn’t, use the latest revelations about Bonds as a factor when making his own decision. Barring anything further on the topic, I would not agree with bypassing Bonds based on doping, but I expect a nontrivial number of voters will do just that, perhaps enough to keep him out. That’ll be a debate for another day.

Where I will definitely and vociferously draw a line is against the notion that Bonds’ numbers should be expunged from the record books. Denying what happened is not baseball’s way. Pete Rose is still the all-time hit king, and Barry Bonds is still the single-season standard bearer for home runs, walks, and slugging percentage. History can and will judge the context of those numbers, just as we judge accomplishments in the deadball are and in extreme hitting locations.

Link via Greg, who sees things similarly.