September 12 is primary voting day in New York State

Ginnie Farrell, my candidate for the Albany common council

Primary voting day in the state of New York is usually on the second Tuesday of September. That is unless it lands on September 11, in which case it is moved to Thursday, September 13, the theory being that 9/11 is a time to be set aside.

But what should be more appropriate than to exercise the franchise? 11 September 2001 was primary day, ultimately postponed. I think we ought to take it back, not “let the terrorists win,” as it it were.

Once again I get to kvetch about the dual standard of voting in New York State. In New York City, Long Island, some other downstate counties and in Erie County (Buffalo) the polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., the longest period in the country. But in the rest of the state, the polls are only open from noon to 9 p.m., the shortest time in the country, as of 2016, when I last paid attention to such things nationally.

This year is less problematic than next year, when the statewide races, such as governor, attorney general and comptroller are on the ballot, giving voters downstate a significant advantage. But I hate it EVERY year. In November, I always vote before 6:15 a.m. When the school/library polls open at 7 a.m. each May, I’m one of the first in line.

When the polls don’t open until midday, I have to wait until after work to cast my ballot. And with very competitive races on the Democratic side – the only side that matters, unfortunately, in a one-party city – there may be long lines. I get to vote for county coroner, and citywide races for mayor, judge and president of the common council, plus a race for my common council member.

Or so I hope there are lines. I see on Facebook a lot of comments each primary day about the turnout, and some voter response HAS been historically low. In the recent race of the Dans for county executive, the Democratic turnout was well under 25%. I theorized at the time that it was because no one knew what the county executive actually did.

I told my friend Dan (different Dan) that I would use his article about the mayoral election to justify my lawn sign for the incumbent.

This November, I will vote for Ben Sturges for coroner. He’s on the ballot tomorrow on the Democratic line. But even if he loses that party designation, he’ll still be on the ballot as the Working Families Party designee. And if you didn’t find that too complicated, you must be from New York.

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August Rambling: Deep dark secrets

WD40
The Hook-Up Culture Is Getting 20-Somethings Nowhere. On the other hand, Casual Love.

How we get through life every day.
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Strange day – August 5: loss of power, THEN the flood

Hackett Blvd, Albany, 5 Aug 2014

Hackett Blvd, Albany, 5 Aug 2014

Monday night, sometime around 9:45 p.m., I’m watching recorded television when the power goes out, just for a fraction of a second, but enough to make the sound of the air conditioner go off, then surge back on. A couple minutes later, the power flickers again, less noticeably.

I go to bed, but it’s nocturus interruptus – see the upcoming 8/11 post. Go to work, tired. The Wife calls me on her cellphone to tell me the power’s out at the house – as it turns out for somewhere between three and five hours – because of some electrical cable problem in the area.

After work, I was going to go to the barbershop, but I hear rumbles of thunder, so I attach the bike first to one bus, then another, and hightail it home. And a good thing, too.

I’ve lived in Albany for 35 years. Continue reading

A is for Albany, again

Albany_Skyline (1)This is less an essay, and more a series of links to bits about Albany, New York’s past and present.

I just realized, though, that I’ve now lived in Albany, capital of the Empire State, for 35 years now. At least thirteen addresses, staying at the current one for the past 14 years.

The area’s airport has a great set of letters, ALB.
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Home Repair Workcamp coming to Albany in June

Picture purloined from nationalservice.gov

Picture purloined from nationalservice.gov

There will be an Albany Home Repair Group Workcamp, June 29th to July 5th, 2014. This week-long junior and senior high workcamp is co-sponsored by the City of Albany and the First Presbyterian Church of Albany, in conjunction with Group Cares Mission Trips. The participants will be housed at Myers Middle School. Participants gather together for large group meetings, eat in the cafeteria, and sleep on classroom floors.

The average camp size is 300-400 students from around the country, along with adult chaperones and Group staff members. Student volunteers work under the supervision of an adult with construction experience. These adults are supported by others with additional knowledge and construction skills.

There will be approxinmately 65 individual projects worked on this week Continue reading

I blame Joe Biden

joebidenThe Wife was driving me to work last Tuesday afternoon when we were rear-ended by a car. We all were a little sore, and I, more than a little irritable about it.

My spouse blamed the other driver, very rational since that person, in fact, did drive into us, fortunately, not going very fast.

My daughter blames the superintendent of the Albany school district, for she had canceled school on a day no other district in the area had done so, though there had been delays elsewhere. If the Albany district were open, The Wife wouldn’t have been driving me at that hour.

However, I blame Vice-President Joe Biden, in Albany that day to meet with Governor Andrew Cuomo about disaster preparedness in the wake of climate change.

Just before we turned northbound on Everett Road, we see a low-flying helicopter, a tipoff that the VP was on the move. One could not actually travel across the Everett Road I-90 overpass, so the eastbound cars exiting I-90 at Everett could only turn right towards Albany, or go straight, right back onto I-90. We were stuck waiting for cars to reenter I-90 when we felt that familiar sound, and moreover, feeling of the vehicle you’re in being hit from behind.

This was The Daughter’s first car accident, and while a relatively minor event, I know *I* felt achy in my head and lower back for hours. The Wife was likewise affected, and the Daughter was mostly complaining about pain in her shoulders.

Ironically, by the time phone numbers had been exchanged, the Biden contingent had passed and Everett Road was clear again.

It’s interesting to me that a lot of people I know did not know that Biden was even coming to town. I was reminded by Megan Cruz of Channel 9 YNN Time Warner Cable News that morning, who was out doing a stand-up in the bitter cold, for no newsworthy reason, and one could tell she was freezing; it was about zero Fahrenheit, or below. She needed a hat.

The buses were rerouted several times that morning, apparently. The police had blocked I-787 for a time, by plows and when my colleague tried to come back to work after lunch, ended up taking city streets instead.

There’s lots of speculation that Biden and Cuomo are vying for the 2016 Democratic nomination for President, but its WAY too early for me to care.

U is for University at Albany

The University at Albany, my library school alma mater, has undergone tremendous changes in its nearly 170 years. It started as a Normal Schoolcharter member of the State University of New York (SUNY) when the system began in 1948, and the school expanded its mission beyond teacher education to a broader liberal arts university in the 1960s.

The campus on the border of city of Albany proper has an ever-expanding uptown facility, built, I’ve discovered, on the former site of the Albany Country Club. When I went to graduate school in the School of Public Administration back in 1979, my classes were all in the uptown campus, a large and sprawling locale with bad signage. That campus was a location for the 1981 movie Rollover, a truly terrible film with Kris Kristofferson and Jane Fonda, because of its “resemblance to modern Middle Eastern architecture.”

When I went to library school in 1990, however Continue reading

Election Day (tomorrow)

I was at my allergist’s office last month for my every-28-day injection, and she asked if I wanted a reminder card. “Nah, just tell me the date.” “November 5.” “Oh, that’s Election Day, easy to remember.”

This led to me mentioing that Election Day is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, so it will fall on November 2 through 8, but NOT on the 1st. When asked WHY, I admitted that I didn’t know, but that it was probably tied to the fact that it was All Saints Day, and/or it’s easy to forget that a new month has started.

So what IS the real story why Congress (in 1845) select the first Tuesday in November as Election Day?
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Malala, the government shutdown, and other things

I was quite moved watching Malala Yousafzai on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this past week. Malala is the teenager shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan, but survived, and has since set up a fund to support girls’ education. Here’s Part 1, the section that aired, but see Part 2 and Part 3 as well. If those links don’t work, try this one.

When you listen, you’ll note that what she’s advocating for is essentially a liberal arts education, wanting girls to think for themselves, radical in the environment from which she came. The group that shot her were pleased she didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize this week Jon Stewart may want to adopt her but she is reviled in her own hometown as not being Muslim enough or being a CIA plant.
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My job is funded by state and federal monies. Which is to say I’m still working, but if this partial government shutdown continues for a while Continue reading