I voted in the Presidential primary

vote with your heart

This is for Jefferson County in upstate NYS, but the format is the same as what I saw.

On Tuesday, April 2, I voted in the Presidential primary. In New York State, we have a closed system. Democrats and Republicans can only participate in their respective party primaries. Those in other parties or not enrolled in a party, often called independents, cannot vote in either of those parties’ primaries.

In many other states, it’s advantageous to be independent, but in my state, one wants to be a Democrat or Republican because there are more chances to vote. And I ALWAYS vote, in large part because people have long denied the franchise. I feel an obligation to my ancestors.

I am a registered Democrat. My ballot had three choices: incumbent Joe Biden, Marianne Williamson, and Rep. Dean Phillips (MN). I voted for Phillips, whose “adoptive paternal grandmother Pauline Phillips was the author of the advice column ‘Dear Abby,’ under the pen name Abigail Van Buren.” After Super Tuesday, he dropped out of the race on March 6, though his site was still up as of April 3. Biden became the presumptive nominee by March 13..

Phillips’ fundamental pitch was that Biden was acceptable, but we needed a younger guy – Philips was born in 1969 – and he unsuccessfully urged others to get into the fray. I agreed with him about this. Neither Phillips nor Williamson had delegates to vote for; I voted for one of Bden’s.

Strategic voting

Much has been made of Democrats voting with blank ballots. In New York, it’s much the same as what happened in Michigan, Minnesota, and elsewhere over the administration’s policies in the Israel/Gaza war.

Is this a new thing?

For decades, I’ve believed you should vote with your heart in the primary and with your head in the general election. In the 1972 primary, the first time I could vote in the Presidential race, I cast a blank ballot because Shirley Chisholm was not on the roster in my Congressional district. Then, I voted for George McGovern in the general election.

In 2020, I voted for Elizabeth Warren, although Biden was the presumptive nominee by then. Then, I voted for Biden in the general election.


I don’t make political predictions; I’m not good at them. (I had Arthur attempt some back in December 2023.) The pundits muse about what the protest vote in the spring will mean in November. I have no idea.

Increasingly, I don’t think “they” know either. James Rosen, a former political reporter for McClatchy, wrote in the Boston Globe about why polling is so often wrong.

“The problems with political polls are multiple:

  • The dominance of cell phones and caller ID programs on landlines has made what statisticians call the “response rate” plummet.
  • There are too many political pollsters conducting too many polls.
  • The internet, with its voracious appetite and greatly expanded space for new information, no matter how incremental, has made some political journalists less discriminating and fueled more questionable polling.”
Pick and choose

Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the Catholic archbishop of Washington, D.C., said in an interview on CBS News’ Face The Nation that Biden is a “cafeteria Catholic” who “picks and chooses” which parts of Catholicism he will adhere to. Gregory was speaking specifically about abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, which Biden has championed.

I’ve read that for decades, the vast majority of U.S. Catholics believe using artificial birth control is moral, despite church teaching to the contrary. My old denomination, the United Methodist Church, has ruptured “over issues of sexuality and authority.” In my experience, many people of faith create their own theology, to quote an old Unitarian friend.

Meanwhile, the Great Trumpkin – a term used by the Boston Globe -claims that Election Day, Nov. 5, 2024, will be “Christian Visibility Day.” Apparently, he believes selling a $59.95 Bible is a qualifying event.

Or, as many Christians believe, “It is a bankrupt Christianity that sees a demagogue co-opting our faith and even our holy scriptures for the sake of his own pursuit of power and praise him for it rather than insist that we refuse to allow our sacred faith and scriptures to become a mouthpiece for an empire,” said Rev. Benjamin Cremer on X.

There’s a column in the Los Angeles Times, probably behind a paywall: I spent 24 hours on Trump’s Truth Social. No wonder it’s tanking. “The Truth Social feed I experienced was a mix of swaggering gun talk, typo-filled Bible scripture, violent Biden bashing, nonsensical conspiracy theories, and more misguided memes about Jan. 6 ‘hostages,’ trans satanists, and murderous migrants than anyone should be subjected to in one day. Or ever.”


Dec. rambling: Happiness Campaign

FFAPL book reviews now two hours later

Thoughts and prayers

A Viral Dance and ‘Happiness Campaign’ Frustrates Iran’s Clerics:

It all started when a 70-year-old fish market stall owner nicknamed “Booghy” was grooving in public in violation of Iranian law.

Elon Musk and Freight Trains: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Those University Presidents

 COVID isn’t over: “Globally, the number of new cases increased by 52% during the 28-day period of 20 November to 17 December 2023 as compared to the previous 28-day period.” In the US, “SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, has continued to mutate and spread. The latest strain to attract attention is called JN.1, and so far, it appears to be highly transmissible.” I’ve known several IRL people who’ve gotten COVID this fall. My sister in SoCal told of one of her choirs in which almost 50% had to bail from a concert because of various respiratory ailments. BTW, I got my most recent shot in October 2023.
Kindness Doesn’t Have a Billable Code— But it’s a key part of patient care.
My questions to Ask Arthur 2023: Get here from there; measuring and measured.

The loneliest miser

Just how rich were the McCallisters in ‘Home Alone’? Fans have been debating the family’s wealth for years. We asked the Federal Reserve for answers.

Mais non?

France did not always speak French.

8 Demonyms That’ll Leave You Shaking Your Head

Opinion: The simple explanation for the changes at ‘Jeopardy!’ and Ken Jennings on Mayim Bialik’s Exit and His Own ‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’ Host Approach

Tom Smothers, Half of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Duo, Dies at 86. I watched the Smothers Brothers show on CBS religiously.

Mbongeni Ngema, Renowned South African Playwright and Creator of ‘Sarafina!,’ Dies at 68

Lee Sun-Kyun, ‘Parasite’ Actor, Dies at 48

‘The Gilded Age’ Stars Christine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon on Their On- and Off-Screen Relationship. My wife is currently bingeing on Season 1 of this program. BTW, the building in the background of the photo is my church!

Now  I Know: The Smutty History of the Pixar Logo’s Older Cousin and The Town That Raged Against Rage Against the Machine and There Weren’t Skeletons In His Closet and The Silent, Stickless Award Show Protest

Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023. I’ve got five more since.
Voting in even years

On September 20, I complained in this blog about a bill passed by the New York State legislature that would mandate many local elections to be held in even years. There was bipartisan opposition from the Albany County Board Of Elections on the bill (Times Union, Nov 27): “Republicans and the New York State Association of Counties have generally mounted the main pushback against the legislation, raising concerns that traditional attention on local races will be drowned out by races for president, Congress or governor…”

The TU editorialized against it (Dec 3): “More people may cast a local vote as long as they’re in the voting booth, but those local races may just as likely get lost in the information overload of a considerably more crowded ballot. And the bread-and-butter local issues behind those races may get drowned out in the hyperpartisan, hot-button din of state or federal elections.”

To my great disappointment, Governor Kathy Hochul signed it (TU. Dec 23). “Hochul described the controversial measure as a ‘significant step towards expanding access to the ballot box and promoting a more inclusive democracy,’ but she also chose to sign it on a Friday evening, three days before Christmas. “

Friends and Foundation Book Talks move to Tuesdays at Two!

The FFAPL book talks at the Washington Avenue branch of the APL are moving from noon to 2 pm starting in 2024. The speakers in January:

January 2 | Book Review | The Democrat Party Hates America by Mark R. Levin.  Reviewer:  Frank S. Robinson, JD, philosopher, author, & blogger.

January 9 | Book Review | Prequel: An American Fight against Fascism by Rachel Maddow.  Reviewer:  Roger O. Green, MLS, retired librarian, NY Small Business Development Center, & current board member, FFAPL.

January 16 | Book Review | Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World by John Vaillant.  Reviewer:  Jonathan Skinner, PhD, retired statistician & amateur classicist.

January 23 | Author Talk | Paul T. Murray, professor emeritus at Siena College, discusses & reads from his book, Seeing Jesus in the Eyes of the Oppressed:  A History of Franciscans Working for Peace and Justice.

January 30 | Book Review | Best Remembered Poems by Martin Gardner.  Reviewers:  Joe Krausman, poet; Gene Damm, former journalist; & Jonathan Skinner, amateur classicist & retired statistician.

Newsmax writes: “Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is poised to declare “war” over proposed legislation in New York that would force some Chick-fil-A restaurants to open on Sundays, a move that would run afoul of the company’s policy since it opened in 1946.” Except that the story is grossly misleading. 

VerifyThis notes: No, a New York bill wouldn’t force current Chick-fil-A rest stop locations to open on Sunday.  “The bill requires all restaurants at certain rest stops to remain open seven days a week, including Chick-fil-A. But it only applies to future restaurant contracts.”

Frankly, I never understood why the Thruway authority offered contracts to an entity they knew would be closed on part of the weekend.


Kodachrome – Joshua Lee Turner

Coverville 1470 and 1471: The 2023 Coverville Countdown

THR’s The 10 Best Songs of 2023

J. Eric Smith’s Best Albums of 2023

Laura Lynch, Founding Member of The Dixie Chicks, Dies at 65

The eighth class of artists was announced for the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame.

News stories I’m not commenting on (much)

Disenfranchisement in Virginia

There are lots of news stories I’m following. But some I’m not commenting on (much) because I don’t know what to say that others haven’t said. Or that I haven’t said before.

ITEM: The shooting of three children and three adults at a Presbyterian church school in Nashville, TN. What can I say that I didn’t write about Sandy Hook or Parkland – undoubtedly more than once?

Friend Chuck noted regarding his weekly musical playlist, “This is an edited – and sadly, updated – broadcast from May 2022.” Because, as I saw in a Boston Globe headline, these repeated, repeated, repeated headlines – only the names and places change -risk making us numb to the madness.

I will note that “solving the mental health crisis” is an objectively good thing but a damn difficult thing to achieve.  When a Denver, CO, high school student was searched for weapons, he shot two administrators. He fled the scene and was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Interesting fact: “From 1980 to 2021, the US automobile fatality rate declined by 64%. From 2000 to 2021, American gun deaths increased by 56%.” We CAN do something. Bring back the 1994-2004 assault weapons ban. It’s not THE answer, but it is AN answer.

I won’t even get into the obviously bogus transphobia that spinners of the Nashville story have tried to insert.

Orange crush

ITEM: djt was indicted. I’m not jumping up and down for joy. For one thing, it’s merely an indictment. For another, I’m more interested in other possible indictments, which on the surface, appear to be more substantial cases about more significant wrongdoing, such as the attempt to manipulate the 2020 Presidential election in Georgia or fomenting insurrection on January 6.

SO many people pointed out that the government got mobster Al Capone for tax fraud.

Maybe I’ll do a happy dance if djt is CONVICTED of something. Still, I don’t mind if the New York Post calls him Bat Hit Crazy. 

ITEM: Virginia now has the harshest felony disenfranchisement voting regime in America. Thanks to Gov. Glenn Younkin, a Republican as though you couldn’t guess, Jim Crow is back! Depressing but unsurprising.

ITEM: “They banned Dolly Parton: Republicans want the dumbest parent at the school to control the curriculum.” The conventional wisdom is that people my age should become more conservative. But as the stories – some of which are linked in the story, such as banning a banning a movie about Ruby Bridges – get more inane…

ITEM: I LOVE how the Disney folks outmaneuvered the board that Governor Ron DeSatan, oops, I mean Desantis (R-FL) imposed on the company’s special district. “The agreement restricting the new board’s rights is ‘in effect until 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England living as of the date of this Declaration.'” And it is such an arcane maneuver that I laughed out loud when I read about it.

ITEM: Baseball season is here. As someone who still dislikes the designated hitter (instituted in 1973) and DESPISES the rule putting a runner on second base in extra-inning games(instituted in 2020), I find that I LIKE the pitcher/batter clock that was instituted in MLB spring training.

NY: released from prison? you can vote

Poll workers are needed

elon-voting-bars-buttonMy sister Leslie and I attended the service at Trinity AME Zion Church in Binghamton, NY, on October 9. During the announcements, it was noted that “if you are convicted of a felony and released from prison, you can vote. If you are convicted of a felony, and your sentence is suspended, you can vote. Visit the New York State Board of Elections website to register or re-register to vote.”

Read this information from nycourts.gov. “All other criminal convictions do not take away your right to vote. So, misdemeanor and violation convictions do not prevent you from voting even if you are serving time in jail.” The legislation that allowed this was passed in September 2021, yet I managed to miss it.

Moreover, “before being released from prison, you will be notified verbally and in writing by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (“DOCCS”) that your voting rights will be returned once you are released. You will also receive a form of application for voter registration and declination form, help filling out the form, and written information on voting. You can submit your forms to the state or county board where you live or have the DOCCS submit it for you.”

I’ve long been frustrated by states who decided that a felony conviction permanently disenfranchised someone. Once someone has “paid their dues,” they should be given the rights of any citizen, if only so they can feel ownership in the society they are returning to.


In New York State, early voting starts on Saturday, October 29, and runs through Sunday, November 6. One must request an absentee ballot online or by mail by October 24 or in person by November 7. One must return the absentee ballot by November 8.

Poll workers are being sought in NYS for early voting, as well as on Election Day, November 8. And one gets paid! I worked for the general election in 2021.

But does it matter?

My great concern is that there are so many election deniers running for office across the country that the very fabric of our democracy is likely in peril. Their general narrative is “if I win, I won fairly, but if I lose, it was rigged.” This is particularly problematic when these are candidates for governor and secretary of state, who have a hand in certifying the state’s election results.

Other threats to democracy, such as gerrymandering and disinformation, are also problematic. I’ve read stories with the same basic facts; one says the candidate or official is “rattled” or “confused,” whereas another will make no such characterization.

In the NY governor’s race, Alan Singer notes that “MAGA lunacy is not just rampant in the Red States. Republican Party candidate Lee Zeldin is bringing his version” to the Empire State. True enough.

He’s running against the current governor, Kathy Hochul. Frank Robinson calls her the “Worst Candidate I’ll Have Ever Voted For,” and he’s not wrong. He concludes, “At least Hochul’s corruption is merely business-as-usual for New York, not as far down on the vileness scale.”

One of my US Senators, Chuck Schumer (D), is up for reelection. I’ve seen a couple of his warm-and-fuzzy ads. But I have NO IDEA who his Republican opponent is. (Who the heck is Joe Pinion?) There is also a LaRouche party candidate named Diane Sare.

Still, I vote. I ALWAYS vote.

The complicated act of voting in NYS

two primaries this summer

Voting has become a complicated act in 2022. I’m not talking voter suppression, which I’ve mentioned before.

First, congratulations to Sarah Macinski, a member of my church, who was elected to the Board of the Albany Public Library Trustees on May 17 in a ten-person race. The five-year terms of the three candidates with the highest number of votes begin in July. But Sarah, as the fourth-highest vote-getter, starts her four-year term immediately.

On the same day, school boards across the state were elected. The issues are more urgent than ever. Sandi Sonnenfeld from the board of the Mid-Hudson Arts Education Alliance sounds the alarm. “Of the 1,145 novels and nonfiction books currently banned in one or more public schools in the United States, 74 percent of them feature protagonists of color or LGBTQ protagonists? Another 22 percent examine racism and other forms of social injustice.”

While only a handful of candidates won on anti-Critical Race Theory, and anti-LGBTQ platforms locally, two people won on Manhasset, Long Island, as  Alan Singer reports.

ALSO: Albany Public Library names new Executive Director, Andrea Nicolay 

VOTING-New York State

As Daily Kos noted, “a Republican judge in upstate New York ordered the implementation of a new court-drawn congressional map that radically redraws the state’s existing districts and has already sparked widespread political upheaval. 

“The final map is in most respects similar to the draft proposed earlier… by court-appointed expert Jonathan Cervas, who appears to have prized compactness and competitiveness above other considerations, such as preserving communities of interest.” I must admit that, as an old poli sci major, I too support “compactness and competitiveness.”

Moreover, the Democrats had chosen to approve “maps that were shameful in their egregious bias. They overreached, with hubris both obvious and ugly.” The gerrymandering of certain districts, especially in New York City, was terrible.

Thus, New York State will be having 2 primaries this summer, at double the cost. Well, unless a lawsuit consolidates them. The second primary on August 23 will just be “for Congress and the state Senate, which saw its map struck down on the same grounds. Candidates for the Assembly and statewide office, however, are continuing to run in the original June 28 primary.”

One of the candidates in NY-10 downstate may include Elizabeth Holtzman.  Should she succeed in her comeback attempt, her 42-year gap between periods of service in Congress would be the longest in history by far.

ALSO: Federal Elections results in Australia

SNL- PSA: Vote

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