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“ain’t no excuse for having taste that bad”

February 6, 2008

It’s been exciting around here; yesterday was really the day to be living in the South.

Of course, it was Fat Tuesday. While Mardi Gras is not exclusive to the south (because who would pass up an opportunity to party like that?), it is, i gather, a rather bigger deal here – i think it kind of radiates from New Orleans. Interesting side-note: there was no Mardi Gras in 06 – at least not here, but i think it held all over. New Orleans was still pretty much destroyed, so they didn’t have a Mardi Gras celebration there, and out of respect for that no one did Mardi Gras that year. Mind, we still partied, but everything was “Fat Tuesday” – i thought that was pretty cool.

And it was Super Tuesday. Mike Huckabee won five states in yesterday’s primaries. All southern states (West Virginia debatably so, but it was part of the Confederacy). And he only lost Missouri (another southern “border state”) by 1%. We all knew he was going to take Arkansas – ain’t nobody can resist a native son – but i though he was pretty much finished. Score one for bigotry and evangelism. And this, more than anything, means he might really get picked up as a Veep candidate, because they always like to throw in someone who can pick up those “regional” votes.

Aside: I put regional in quotes because of an article in the most recent Oxford American, Carrying America’s Shadow: Does bias still inform the Northern view of Southern literature? It begins by examining why writers from the south are called “Southern” or “regional,” while writers from elsewhere (but particularly the Northeast) are considered national, or simply “American” authors. It is an excellent piece of (southern) writing, i highly recommend it.

Last but not least, the South was leveled by crazy-ass storms last night. Places being leveled by tornadoes and wild wind- and thunder-storms isn’t all that uncommon, but a 5-state swath getting hit all at once is pretty damn spectacular. It does make me a bad person, but i couldn’t help but notice that three of these states were among the ones that Huckabee won. Where i am, the storm came sweeping in almost exactly as the polls were closing.

More random association – the above-mentioned Oxford American is so named because it originated in, and used to publish from, Oxford, Mississippi, one of the places hit badly enough by the storms to make it in the newspaper.

Due to the crazy-ass storm, i didn’t get out to watch the numbers roll in or to celebrate Mardi Gras. The storm actually only lasted about 5 (amazing, destructive) minutes here, but they were precisely the minutes that my friend called to see if i wanted to go out. And then i didn’t really want to walk anywhere in case it resurged. But i don’t guess i missed much – i got a glimpse of Huck’s numbers coming in over the phone from a friend – because the Dem field looks almost the same as it did before. (According to the AP, Clinton won 584 delegates (845 total) and Obama 569 (765 total).)

I also got to experience my first voting foul-up. I left work a little early so as to miss the 5-o-clock rush, but when i got to my polling place they were all out of Democratic paper ballots. So all the Democrats had to vote on the one electronic voting machine that they have for people with “special needs” (the blind, perhaps?). Needless to say, there was a bit of a line when i got there (and a hell of a line when i left). It was like a lesson in bad electoral practice. Quite a few people (such as myself) do not trust electronic voting, and currently my state gives you the option, weighted towards paper ballots. “Yeah, we’ll know something’s up when the results say no Democrats voted in our precinct,” my line-neighbor joked. And, of course, you could tell what primary people were voting in, because the Republicans had to break through the big queue of Democrats in order to go fill out their ballots. Then, with two people in line in from of me, it stopped, to lots of nervous laughter about all of the votes being lost. Well, probably not, but after a few minutes of futzing with it, we were told that the machine was turned off (no explanation as to why), and, as some sort of anti-fraud measure, once off the machine can’t be turned back on (or something). Fortunately, for the sake of the poor election official, another stack of paper ballots was delivered about then. Because they had to process us all twice, but prove that we hadn’t really voted twice, they were writing down the ballot numbers. So much for the secret ballot. But i got mine, voted and got the hell out – about 40 minutes in all – but they were only brought that one pack of ballots, so i’m not sure if it didn’t happen all over again later. I’m going to chalk it up as a test-run, and hope this means they won’t foul it up on election day.

Lady Brett
“My Kind of Music” – Ray Scott

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