It looks like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell won't have to make good on his threat to expel Ted Stevens from the Senate -- Alaska voters appear to be on the verge of doing it. After leading in the balloting since Election Day, Stevens has fallen behind Democrat Mark Begich in the count. Read the story here. Begich aides believe the lead will hold. One interesting note: Begich won the balloting on all four U.S. military installations in Alaska. Begich is the guest on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow tonight, 9 p.m. EST.
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, it'll be weeks before we know the outcome of the contest between U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken. The current margin is 206 votes, advantage Coleman. But state officials are about to begin a hand recount of all 2.9 million ballots cast. That'll take four weeks. Then there'll be the fighting over the result. Gail Collins over at The New York Times is amusing and informative this a.m.
WAR CRIMES? A former District of Columbia appeals court judge has added her weight to those suggesting that Bush administration officials should be charged with war crimes for the detention policies they imposed in the wake of 9/11. In a forward to a report released yesterday by human rights groups, Patricia Wald says the treatment described by former U.S. detainees reminds her of the treatment Bosnian Muslim received at the hands of their Serbian captors. You can read the full report here.
Wald notes in her forward:
"The officials and guards in charge of those prison camps and the civilian leaders who sanctioned their establishment were prosecuted—often by former U.S. government and military lawyers serving with the tribunal—for war crimes, crimes against humanity and, in extreme cases, genocide."
That's a pretty damning quote, but Wald, an appeals court judge before serving on the U.N.'s war crimes tribunal in the Hague and later on President Bush's commission that looked into the intelligence failures in Iraq, isn't the first notable to suggest that Bush officials are guilty of crimes others are thrown in jail for. She joins Army Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, the man assigned to investigate Abu Ghraib. Last summer, Taguba also chose the forward of a report on former detainees to denounce the administration for war crimes. Read the story from the time.
BEST PALIN DESCRIPTION: Republican strategist Mike Murphy, discussing on MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning the orgy of coverage of Sarah Palin since the election. "She's the hubcap spinning off the wreck."