Sunday, February 22, 2009

If it's February, that must be a crocus.

Time for the annual posting commemorating the first crocus of spring. This year's winner showed up on February 1. Its friends showed up in bunches about a week later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Justice delayed.

It may take fifty years, but it's good to see that an organization can come to its senses and apologize for its idiotic behavior.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sign here. And here. And here. Aaannnnd here.

Saturday was a surprisingly nice day - the temperature touched 70 degrees - so I decided it was time to get out of the house to do something. After getting a much-needed haircut, I ended up in the middle of the afternoon at the Richmond Convention Center for a "Healthy LifeStyle Expo" or somesuch.

That LifeStyle Expo turned out to be worth about what I paid for it - it was free - and it had a wide range of exhibitors. Everything from hospitals and chiropractic clinics to the local grocery store to companies that will sell you a motorized wheelchair if you can get Medicare to pay for it. A mortgage company that specializes in reverse mortgages for seniors. Weird nutrition and fruit drinks. Mary Kay cosmetics. And the Marine Corps Marathon. And all of it sponsored by the local CBS-TV affiliate.

Not too surprisingly, this wasn't the only event going on at the Convention Center on Saturday. That evening was the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner for the state Democratic party, and all of the prospective candidates for this November's election were there. (Virginia has its state elections in odd years, so that every November has an election of at least state-level importance. It turns out to be good for county and precinct political organizations, as it keeps some continuing level of interest every year. This year's election includes the state-wide races of governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, each elected separately.)

Well, that early in the afternoon, only one of the candidates was around. But they all had tables set up for their organizations to hand out literature and, more importantly, to collect signatures to get their candidates onto the ballot for this spring's primary. Eight or nine tables lined up in a row.

I've been on the other side of this exercise - going out and trying to collect signatures for ballot access - and I know how difficult it can be. So I always sign ballot access petitions, regardless of the candidate. (Okay: once I balked. It was for Lyndon LaRouche, and you can't blame me. As a general proposition, though, I believe that anyone who wants to be on the ballot should be allowed onto it, and the public can decide whether or not to vote for the candidate.)

I even made it easy for them. I'd walk up to the table and tell them what county and Congressional district I live in (there are separate petitions for each county, and if a county is split into multiple Congressional districts, each of those is separate, too), and wait for them to fumble through their stack of forms to find the appropriate one. I'd sign, they'd give me a sticker and perhaps some campaign literature, and off I'd go to the next one.

A half-hour later, and I was done. I'd done my civic duty, and was free to enjoy the rest of the day.