February, 2004 Archives

To vote in the RI Democratic Presidential Preference Primary this Tuesday, you must be registered in Rhode Island as a Democrat or “unaffiliated” (the voter registration and the party disaffiliation deadlines have passed to be eligible for Tuesday’s vote). If you are unaffiliated you will be automatically registered as a Democrat when you vote, though you can sign a form to disaffiliate again as you leave the polling place.

Polls open between 7am and 9am (Noon on Block Island!) depending on location (find your polling place here) and close at 9pm. If you are in line at a polling place at 9pm you will be allowed to vote.

When you get into the voting booth you have to draw a line to connect the partial arrow next to the candidate of your choice. IN ADDITION to selecting the candidate, you can choose up to 7 delegates from the delegate list under your candidate’s name. (see a sample ballot here [pdf]) The delegates are the people who will go to the National Convention in Boston and cast a vote for the candidate they appear under during the nominating process.

Rhode Island will send 32 delegates to the National Convention, 21 of which will be determined by the March 2nd election. Delegates are allocated proportionally to all candidates who receive 15% of the popular vote or more, by district (RI has two Congressional Districts.)

That sounds kinda convoluted, so here’s a hypothetical example:

After the returns are in, John Kerry wins 55% of the vote, Edwards has 20% and Dean gets 15%. Everyone else receives less than 10%. Taking those who finished with 15% or more of the vote, you get 90% of the vote, and RI allocates 21 delegates, so Kerry gets (55/90)*21= 12.83, Edwards (20/90)*21= 4.67 and Dean gets 15/90)*21= 3.5, so the final allocation would be Kerry 13 delegates, Edwards 5 and Dean 3, for a total of 21. The delegates are chosen by you when you vote.

The top 13 Kerry delegate vote-getters will get a ticket to the convention, and so on. Interestingly, Kerry only has 10 delegates on the ballot (including former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino), and Edwards only has 5 (actually, he had to fight to get on the ballot after initially coming up a few signatures short of qualifying). Dean has 25 candidates for delegate, so in my example the top 3 vote getters among those delegates would go to the convention (if you’re planning on voting for Dean in CD 2, I’d like to recommend selecting Jordan Jacobs for delegate).

Notable names on the delegate slate include former Congressman Bob Weygand (for Edwards), Democrat Gubenatorial adversaries Myrth York and Sheldon Whitehouse (both Dean). former Lt Governor Richard Licht (Kerry) and Frank Caprio, State Senator and son of RI’s most famous cable access Judge (wow, no links for Caught in Providence on Google?!)

The Providence Journal is of course the place to get your news on the RI primary, and there’s an excellent collection of stories and links at their election page.

That should be all you need to know. Go vote!

RI Primary Info

I was playing around with the styling of this page, as I do every other day or so, and I was stumped as to a certain rendering problem. Since I use Opera for my internet browser, I thought maybe if I load up the page in Internet Explorer, which most of you guys use, then it would be ok.

Well, it wasn’t, but that wasn’t my main problem. Recently I’ve added a couple of tags into the HTML code to help me style the page how I wanted it. Using Opera, these tags are read and styled, no problem (for instance, at the end of the last post I made up a tag <subliminal> to make a very light version of text show up). Well, IE just ignore tags that it doesn’t know, so you never get to see my clever little subliminal message. Well, actually you see it loud and clear, rather than how I meant it.

Here’s the difference:
IE:

Opera:

See what you are missing?!

Now I’m going to have to write in some font tags, which are a big no-no, but IE can understand them.

Last July I began eagerly anticipating March 2, 2004. That was the day I would get to cast my vote for Howard Dean for President. Eight months later, as the day finally approches, I never could have imagined the way this primary season panned out. And as it turns out, I won’t even get to vote.

In 2000 I applied for my absentee ballot in the summer, before I returned to New Orleans for school. I just barely received the ballot, for President only, on the Saturday before election day (which is always on a Tuesday). This being the first vote I would ever cast in a national election, I marked my choice and paid $18 to overnight my ballot so it would be counted. This time around, the RI board of canvassers couldn’t even give me that option, as my absentee ballot is AWOL.

Does this matter? In reality, no. The man I supported whole-heartedly is no longer in the race, and polling of Rhode Islanders shows John Kerry winning by a landslide (70% to John Edwards’s 9%). Still, I’m pretty upset about not being able to cast my vote. How can I tell you guys to make sure you get out to a polling place this Tuesday if I didn’t even get my choice counted? Voting is literally the least you can do as a good citizen of the best country in the world. Gah, I’m not happy.

For those of you not subject to the whims of your local boards of canvassers, please go out on Tuesday. You can still vote for Wes Clark, Howard Dean, John Kerry, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Lieberman or Lyndon Larouche. You can even vote “uncommitted,” signaling that you have no preference among the candidates. A vote for Dean could still be meaningful, if he breaks 15% statewide he will be assigned at least 1 delegate to the National Convention in Boston, and by sending a delegate you say that Dean’s message is still important, despite his ceding the race. Or, if you just don’t like Senator Melty Face, vote for John Edwards, he supposedly still has an outside chance. Either way, I hope you guys vote. for Howard Dean

No Vote for Me

The OC has contracted whatever killed the LBC, probably a disease called “Marine Velvet.” Luckily, she survived the night, after I gave her some food soaked in fresh crushed garlic and a dip in pure fresh water (ah, osmosis). Today I have to get out to buy a hospital tank (just a small tank with an airstone, really) so I can treat her with low salt water and copper (which I can’t add to the tank as it will kill my crabs and corals). Wish her well!

I ordered DSL from BellSouth this week, and I was promised I would receive my (apparently mandatory) software by the 28th at the latest. Well, it didn’t come, and there’s no mail today, so I am being tortured further by dial-up hell. I can’t believe how much I’ve come to psychologically rely on an always-on connection. Also, being away from home for the first time since ’99 without high-speed internet is mildly traumatic, as I’ve come to use the net as my major means of communication. Tomorrow… tomorrow…

Yet another reason to love Trot Nixon, the Red Sox right fieldah: “Money’s great, but it’s not what makes the world turn. I think a lot of people really believe that it does, but it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful, the comfort, the stability I’ll have for the next three years. The biggest thing is, I want to win a championship here. If other guys aren’t looking for that in this clubhouse, then it’s time to move on and go elsewhere.”

I emailed Jack Reed (RI’s Democrat senior Senator) this week, asking for his position on the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would change the constitution to ban same-sex marriage. No response yet, but I’m glad to hear that Linc Chafee, our Republican Senator, won’t support it. According to some counts, there’s no way the FMA would pass the Senate anyway. That’s good news, but I’d like to see it put to a vote so we can shut up about the amendment.

Last week the Secretary of Education (that’s a cabinet position, folks) referred to the NEA (a teachers union) as terrorists. I swear to god. Islamic fundamentalists are flying jetliners into tall buildings and our public school teachers are terrorists. This is from the Dept of Ed, mind you. Terrorists. Then yesterday paragon of integrity Mike Barnicle referred to two Academy Award nominated actors as terrorists, because, well, you know, their names sounded towel-head-y. I don’t know why he did this, but I’m having trouble coming up with a plausible explanation. Nice.

Ah, feels good to get all that out.

Things

Man, the ProJo’s headline writers hit a homerun on that one, so I stole it for this post’s title.

Since I’m on the subject of local Survivor star Richard Hatch, and everyone and their moms are talking about same-sex marriage lately, let’s tie them together, shall we?

Over in New Paltz, NY (near Poughkeepsie) Mayor Jason West has started issuing marriage certificates to gay couples. Rich Hatch and his partner are planning on making the trip get married there soon. Interestingly, the ProJo article I read this in used the term “live-in lover,” which I found kind of bizarre. Make what you will of that.

More intereting is how Jason West came to become the mayor of New Paltz (via bopnews.com via Calpundit). “Here” in Providence we have a Green Party City Councilman, David Segal, who was elected with the help of Brown students and apathetic residents (who got awfully indignant when he won! That’s what you get for not voting, jerks!).

And another thing:

Massachusetts, San Francisco, parts of New Mexico, now New Paltz, NY… you’d think the largest American city with a gay mayor would be in on this, but nooo… what gives?

Rhode Island’s most famous obnoxious, often naked, gay Machiavellian mastermind, Rich Hatch, got the boot this week on Survivor All-Stars, thus ending my interest in this season. Rich said it best when, on the reading of the decisive vote, he proclaimed “I was bamboozled!”

Oh well, you can’t win ’em all. Let’s just hope Colby, who masterminded Hatch’s ouster, gets what’s coming to him.

FURTHERMORE:

I love Rich, but I hope he’s the only obnoxious, often naked, gay Machiavellian mastermind in RI…

Em said maybe I was a good luck charm in all things marine related, and boy was she wrong! You know how I introduced you guys to the new fish yesterday? Well, last night we lost the LBC.

I was talking to Em when I noticed the little brown clownfish was covered in spots (click here for the picture, but it’s a little traumatic if you are fish lover). Em came up with a diagnosis, and I was going to go to the fish store today to get something to treat him. However, when I woke up this morning, the LBC was lying on the sand, dead as a doornail. Poor OC was hovering nearby, not knowing what to do with herself.

I found out later that the entire batch of black clownfish the store received ended up getting sick from parasites, so there was nothing I could have done. Now I am watching the OC very closely, hoping she won’t get infected too (so far, she’s looking pretty good).

Godspeed, LBC.

Well, we took a week off to mourn, but all the while down here in the Big Easy I was setting up a 5 gallon salt water tank. New sand, new live rocks, new hermit crabs… the works! And last weekend I finally got two clownfish, an orange one and a black one (which looks brown, but he’ll darken as he grows). We call them the OC and the LBC (little brown clownfish), both of which are also southern Californian locales.

Amazingly, one of the rocks I bought ended up sprouting something I’d never seen on our rocks. Turns out they were corals!! That’s pretty sweet, since they sell these same corals for about $30.

Unfortunately the other rock also brought with it a nuisance anemone, which are extremely difficult to eradicate. Here’s a picture of the LBC:

Click here for a good shot of the OC. I’m really excited to have fish again! And Fish Stuff Friday!

Fish Stuff Friday – Now in N.O.

It seems like everyone is talking about gay marriage this week, since President Bush declared his support for amending the US Constitution. I think that’s great, because from my (liberally skewed, I’m sure) vantage point, not many people are being swayed from supporting equal rights for gay couples to opposing (but the opposite may be happening). This is a debate worth having. Although some would like to declare that we should just let people do what they want and be done with it, I think the country has to have this dialogue.

Anyway, since a lot is being said about the issue, I wanted to round up the local bloggers’ reactions, if anyone was interested in opinions other than mine (though I can’t imagine that would be true…)

If you want to know what I was saying about this last May, I dug this out of the archives: Civil Unions for Everyone! I’ve actually changed my view in the past few months, as I said in a post that was eaten.

  • RI Blogger David Grenier has an amazing post on the issue. If you only read one of these links, make sure it’s this one.

  • RI Blogger Justin Katz is THE local blogger for the social conservative angle on the issue. He’s been piling up a comprehensive library of posts on the subject, well worth a perusal at least.
  • Almost-RI Blogger James, whose 12 reasons against gay marriage that I linked last week has garnered (at the moment) 74 (!) comments, has some really good posts lately, here and here and here.
  • RI Blogger Jim has a good discussion going at his site. He takes a non-idealogue position, which I think is refreshing in political debate. Pertinent posts are here and here. If you didn’t come to this debate with a solid position, I think you’ll like these.
  • RI Blogger Marc has a good post, also. Plus he introduced me to the phrase “marriage revolutionaries,” which I like a lot. Here’s another one from his site. (UPDATE: those links don’t work. Go to his home page instead…)

OK, I think that’s enough for now. Like I said, I’m glad we (as a society) are having this debate, and it’s great to see the local blogging community putting out some really good advocacy for both sides. Viva America!

from GWB

Seriously. I get the feeling Bush would use that black marker to make a few more changes to that old piece of paper if he could.

Just Too Good

Joe Trippi, formerly Howard Dean’s Jedi Master Campaign Manager, took a couple days off after he left Dean for America, went home, and started a blog. This was the guy widely seen as the force behind the unprecedented use of the internet at DFA. Now, without a candidate but still itching for real change in America, Trippi and some of his friends (including former Dean campaign staffers) have started ChangeForAmerica.com, a blog to head up the “movement” started by the DFA web team. If you were interested in what Dean was doing with the web, but not so interested in Dean himself, this might be a site for you. It’s already on my daily read list, despite its current state as a few weeks of getting their feet wet.

I am really fascinated by the juncture of the internet and political grassroots. Especially in a small state like RI, I can see a bright future for organization via the web, which would create a group and a message that would spread into the wider community.

I’ve been thinking about this lately, in relation to the now defunct Cool Moose Party (RI). When I first registered to vote, that was the group I registered with. The platform, as I understood it, was that the Republicans and Democrats were so caught up in idealogy and special interest whoredom that neither party could get any common sense, good for the people, legislation passed. Cool Moose candidates could be consensus builders and/or swing voters in various offices, and we’d all be better off. The party only had one real star, Robert Healey, who ran for Governor twice and Lt Gov in 2002 (his platform: abolish the office!), garnering 9% in 1994. The party languished and after the 2002 election I got a letter saying the party was no longer “official”, and I’m now an Independent.

Anyway, I think it may be time for a resurgence of the party. With the lessons of the Dean Campaign and the scandals coming from the corrupt Democrats in the RI legislature, I think RI’ers would be receptive to real change. I’d run as a Cool Moose, but the party is in shambles, I guess. There is no web presence at all that I can find, which I could certainly help with. I can’t even find Bob Healey’s email address (assuming he has one), and his website is nothing but a snarky frontpage. I’m hoping someone googles Cool Moose and contacts me. It’s worked before…

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Sadly, NOT Related: CoolMoose.org

The Dean Campaign, v2.0

I haven’t been around in a while, but Bil figured this subject warrants posting.

Grey Day is a protest against big record companies(EMi) that are trying to stop independant artists like DangerMouse from creating their own projects with copyrighted music. Danger Mouse mixed Jay Z’s “Black Album” (not one of my favorite artists) with the Beatle’s “White Album” and came up with the “Grey Album” The project was shared online between a couple friends and now thanks to the power of the Aol, it has spread everywhere. EMi ain’t to happy about all this poop. They have been sending out cease and desist letters all over the place. LAME – kinda understand/not really.

Many sites are supporting the independent artist by posting the free mp3s, chaning their graphics to a grey, or linking to greytuesday.org.

My take on the whole thing: Free music = :thumbup: :thumbup” and it sounds pretty cool, but on the other hand I am confused, I thought stealing commercial music through P2P was the only real prob – sharing is such a convoluted word. I hate all this shit, I just want my 13 bucks, for price fixing on CDs in the 90s so I can buy the new Chappelle Show DVD.

Either way it’s something different & cool to check out. Fight the Power!
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Grey Day /// Tuesday Feb24th