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October 31, 2008


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Done already. My job may have kept me from being more physically involved, but we've made up for that with quite a few donations.

I don't have the money, but I do wear an Obama button out. I'm taking my legally-blind gimpy upstairs neighbor to absentee vote tomorrow (I'll vote, too, the registrar is sure there will be long lines even in the middle of the day on Tuesday.) I considered going on Tuesday because I'm pretty good at saying "I'll just sit over here until my turn," and I've never seen a line here, but I can't put that on Luke. (15 trick-or-treaters so far.)

Yeah, I've been wearing my Obama button wherever I go lately. It gets comments on the street (good ones). I'm hoping to leave work early Tuesday to vote.

Only two trick-or-treaters here so far. Fooey. Excess candy.

Every year I buy extra candy to make up for the previous year's shortage, it never fails. Almost nobody shows up. We probably had less than 20 kids, in a total of 7 or or 8 groups. Most of them were teenagers. When I saw that things would be quiet, I decided to be generous with my donations. That had one 4-year-old girl go away saying "Wheeee!"

I still have a lot left. I'll probably take it to the office.

I don't have an Obama button, but I've had the bumper sticker on the back of our minivan, plus the "Constitution Voter" one, and the one about sending the village idiot back to Texas. My wife voted yesterday. Me, I'm planning to vote on Election Day. No, I'm not a masochist, and certainly not a lover of long waiting lines. It's like Xmas and my refusal to have us exchange presents early.

Serge, I know, that's why I may drive by the precinct on Tuesday, at least. But it turned out much much better that we went to vote today, because on Tuesday, Luke's ballot would have been provisional.

His daughter had his mail forwarded to her and so when I filled out the application for absentee ballot with him at the rehab place (if I put the pen where he has to sign, he can usually sign there, but he can't read the paper) and mailed it in, we expected her to get the ballot, but she never did.

So we went today to the voter registration office and elections (which is the original small-house-size City Hall, next to the bigger one) and got two absentee ballot applications plus the assistant form. I filled his out first and gave it to one of the staff and that was when the registrar came to sit next to us and tell us that they had sent the ballot. I told her his daughter was sure it had never come, so I started filling out a Lost Ballot form for him and just as he was signing, another staff member came out from the back saying "I was sure I knew that name," and handing over an envelope that the USPS had marked Temporarily Away and returned to them. So it was all cleared up there -- somehow the USPS screwed up, and his voting (by telling me what he wanted) was clear. I voted, too, of course, and then we went and got ice cream. I came home and napped. I hadn't realized how much more effort it would be for me to need to guide his walking and sitting and getting in and out of the van all the time. The last time we went, he was still legally blind, but not this bad.

The news said there were 3.5 hour lines to absentee vote in Arlington, which is the VA county closest to DC. We got our forms in about a minute, and would have been out in five if not for the ballot problem.

I had 23 trick-or-treaters, six too old (no costumes, just pillowcases), and I have some candy left to give to my brother and his family tomorrow. They were mostly Hispanic kids and I had a teeny little girl whisper "mucho gusto" plus a set of four where one asked "Is that a real cat?" I was pretty sure it was, but I turned to look and Spirit was crouched outside the utility room, ready to hide. I told them yes it was, and she was scared of them, and they spent a bit of time marveling at a real cat.

Marilee... Glad that things worked out for you and for Luke. And I hope I didn't sound critical of people who vote early. I also hope I don't find myself waiting for 3 hours on the Day. Speaking of which... When I hear Copland's "Our Town", I find myself thinking back to 2004's Election. That's what had been playing on the radio as I drove to the polling station, and that's what went thru my mind as I waited for my turn to vote because I thought that, after the previous 4 years, America had to wake up. Hopefully, I'll be right this time.

Early votes are good; those are votes that cannot be prevented/stolen/challenged on Election Day if there's trouble at the polls. Votes in the bank.

I wonder why it's easier to cheat on the Day.

Not necessarily cheating, but with thousands of people showing up at polling places any problems are harder to deal with or resolve and will tend to get shunted to provisional ballots. The campaigns are deploying entire battalions of lawyers for Election Day challenges.

Of course. After what you, Marilee and my wife have said, I thought that maybe I shouldn't wait until Tuesday, but the early voting ended yesterday here. I do hope that America gets its soul back this week.

I've made political donations for the first time this election. None large, but small donations help, I agree.

To Barack Obama, whoever he is.
To Sean Tevis, a candidate running for state legislature in Kansas whose xkcd-like cartoon was his selling point.

To Al Franken, because Stuart saved his family (and because Paul Wellstone was a political scientist, and Norm Coleman is a jerk).

To Elwyn Tinklenbeg, because Michelle Bachmann pissed me off.

And to RaDene Hatfield, a candidate for state senate in Utah, of whom I knew nothing, but whose opponent treats delivery people like shit, something of which I strongly disapprove.

You know, on the rare occasions when I order pizza (and now I'm really tempted), I order online and pay with a card. Good job giving money to the opposition.

And I did sort of give money to Equality California through the livelongnmarry community on LJ. I made two custom necklaces in return for other people's donations to the cause, and I donated in order to get two pieces of art I liked. So only semi-donations.

Okay, I've just sent $8.34 for Sean Tevis for the reading pleasure I had from his cartoon. What a hoot! I'll have to follow his race tomorrow and find out if he wins. Thanks for the tip! There are so many worthy candidates and races this year that it's hard to pick and choose. It probably won't do him much good for advertising at this late date, but maybe he can use it to buy pizza for his volunteers tomorrow.

I rarely order out from home, but I order out frequently for meetings at work and try to tip generously. I keep worrying that someone is going to audit my work credit card and wonder about the amounts, but so far it's working all right.

Sean Tevis stands for some good things, I hope he gets elected, and that my (and your) little contributions help.

Anyone who behaves like a total jerk to a delivery person needs to find another line of work than state senator (and the thank-you email from Ms Hatfield was really nice too).

I have been trotting around my workplace, which is full of frighteningly well-paid doctors, delivering interview materials. It's amusing how many of them are semi-secretly Obama supporters (they see my button and confide in me). One of them was even shut up in his office studying a nice state-by-state electoral chart at Electoral-vote.com. I don't ever before remember seeing one of these guys cross the fingers on both hands for luck for tomorrow!

(I break into song)

One day to a new beginning
Raise the flag of freedom high...

There's a new world for the winning.
There's a new world to be won.
Do you hear the people sing?

Why are they semi-secretly Obama people? Is it that upper management is Republican, and one mustn't antagonize upper-management. (Or so I've been told. I still haven't gottent the hang of that.)

The department chair was Republican last time I checked, and I suspect a lot of the other faculty used to be. It often goes along with very high incomes. I haven't seen anyone but me wear a button around, but I'm in an unusual position with regards to office hierarchy.

I just went and got a flu shot and have balanced my Obama button with a similarly sized and colored sticker proclaiming this fact.

Susan... Obama is a flu? If so, I for one welcome our evil flu overlord.

The Kaiser folk aren't allowed to talk about political things, but in the last month or so, a few have appreciated my Obama button and then realized they shouldn't have done that.

Marilee... What does Kaiser Wilhelm have against Obama?

It might be a professionalism thing. I'll take off my button tomorrow while I am escorting candidates, because it would make me very uncomfortable at a job interview to have someone openly espouse a political position. It might be perceived as pressure on the candidates to agree. But as soon as the candidates are out the door, the button will go back on! (And I will head out the door to vote soon afterwards.)

I was the first person in line at the polling station, and my vote (an old-fashioned paper one) was the first cast in my precinct.

I was hoping to go vote at six, but I got sidetracked by the need to squish some idjit who was trying a little freelance voter suppression at Yahoo Answers, and that delayed me to the point where I had to go straight to work. I'm at least pleased that Obama shirts and buttons are sprouting all over the place here at work; in 2004 I was in such a hostile workplace during the election that I ended up in tears from the really nasty gloating I was subjected to the day after.

I should be able to leave by 3:00 today and have plenty of reading material for waiting in line at the polls. Then I go home and ceremonially chew off my one remaining fingernail before consuming my official voter loaf of bread and waiting for results.

After the last two elections I'm afraid to hope...

(My wife sent me this Walt Whitman excerpt)

Election Day, November, 1884

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show, 'Twould not be you, Niagara - nor you, ye limitless prairies - nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado, Nor you, Yosemite - nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyserloops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing, Nor Oregon's white cones - nor Huron's belt of mighty lakes - nor Mississippi's stream: This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, I'd name - the still small voice vibrating -America's choosing day...

I hope that, come tomorrow, I will be waking up, as in the movie Our Town that Aaron Copland had scored, from a very bad dream.

Okay, I'm finally leaving work and heading to the polls!

Susan... If we wake up tomorrow with a large enough Democratic majority in the Senate, do you think that Joe Lieberman's colleagues will politely tell him to go frak himself? I might consider calling his office and tell him myself.

Serge, you're being silly! Susan, right, the medical facility doesn't allow political signs, buttons, or discussion, so when a few people let something slip out, they all immediately covered their mouths and their eyes went big.

Susan, good job on the YA answer! We had flyers like that in VA and police are trying to find out where they came from.

The news is reporting that almost all precincts in the DC area had long lines at opening, but most were quieter during the day and are now expecting long lines again soon. The VA governor has said anybody in line at 7pm can vote.

(And one of the newsguys said something stupid, and I think he was reading it: "Most of the states' polls close at 7pm so we'll be getting you results in a few hours." Well, yes, but 7pm in their time zone.)

If they get to 60, I certainly hope so. Even if they don't, I hope so. But I have little confidence in Reid's spine. But sleep, what is this sleep? Alaska closes its polls at 1:00am my time, and I certainly plan to be waiting for that Senate race result!

I spent a bit over an hour in line at my polling place. Since my neighborhood is overwhelmingly African-American it was a pretty fun scene. Now I am home watching the very slow internet and considering baking a cake to distract myself while waiting for results.

Susan... I am home watching the very slow internet and considering baking a cake to distract myself

As for myself, I will instead finish Valente's In The Night Garden, I leave the rollercoaster of results coming in to my wife.

Marilee and Susan... Yes, I am being silly about horrible things being done to Joe. Democrats are way too civilized - the ones in politics anyway. Still, I fantasize about Susan paying a visit to Joe, dressed like Ma de Guardiola and accompanied by her Boys.

Susan... You can stop baking that cake. McCain has conceded.

President Obama!

(Haven't been on here much tonight since the net has been slow and I've been busy refreshing race trackers...)

President Obama.

Senator Hagan, Senator Shaheen, Senator Udall, Senator Udall, Senator Warner.

Four races left, of which Oregon looks possible but Georgia and Minnesota (!!) are slipping away. Alaska's just closing its polls.

Representative Himes sweeps the last Republican Rep out of Connecticut and in fact all of New England.

And we won on choice in South Dakota & Colorado.

Gregoire is pulling it out in WA, but Burner-Reichert still has a lot of votes left to count. It's not over yet.


We lost on marriage in Florida and Arizona; California is looking pretty bad on marriage and tossup on choice, though I still have some hope.

Loathesome Chambliss is probably going to make it to 50% and avoid a runoff.

Trauner lost. The Diaz-Balarts will be back. Tevis lost his state race in Kansas.

Susan... Yes, we lost on marriage in California, but I doubt that our side will just roll over. Meanwhile, we do have sanity, intelligence and competence back in charge in the White House. And there is the Supreme Court's potential new lineup. I rather like the idea of Hillary Clinton being in that august body, if only to know the wingnuts would be foaming at the mouth.

Manassas went Democratic for the first time in its history! 54% Obama, 45% McCain! On the way back from PT, I saw a sign that said YES WE DID!

Well, so far my score on the persons/causes I donated to is 3-6-1, with the "1" being the Georgia Senate race which is headed for a runoff in December. Darcy Burner has finally had to concede to Reichert in Washington.

Ah, well, we tried. I knew most of them were long shots. My winners were Obama, the South Dakota issue, and Jim Himes in CT.

Better to donate and see them lose than not to donate and know it might have been your donation that finished buying the right ad.

Marilee... It's like when people say their vote won't make a difference. It does make a difference. Unless you're a Republican living in California and voting for a Republican President.

I don't object to donating to people who are fighting for the cause, even if it's a losing battle. I'd hate to see them end up in debt as well. And I knew some of those were likely to be losing battles, though I'd hoped a couple more would make it.

In a lot of ways my vote in CT doesn't count for much; Obama won overwhelmingly and my Representative won even more overwhelmingly. I could have voted Republican and it wouldn't have made the slightest bit of difference.

New Mexico was a purple state in 2004, so things were not a certainty here for Obama. His campaign here (and presumably elsewhere) was very well organized. At least three times they had people show up to remind us to vote and, like I said to one of them, the only way I'd vote for a Republican is if someone put a gun to my head. Yes, I am one of those mean Democratic partisans that the GOP decries, probably because when they had the upper hand, they dismissed the very idea of bipartisanship.

One thing that pleasantly surprised me when I went to the polling station is that they had paper ballots. No electronic machines like they had had in past elections.

I wonder how well Lieberman will do next time around.

I miss the old lever machines. They made such satisfying noises. We have paper ballots and optical scanners now. It's just not the same.

I know, pulling the big lever and hearing the CLUNK! But they had problems, too.

The machines we had alas were not steampunk ones, but Diebold electronic things and you know how reliable those are. (My favorite memory about those was during the 2004 Election when some of the Diebolds never made it to the polling station because the guys transporting them decided to have a few drinks at Hooters then got into an accident. That's the Southwest for you.)

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