Wednesday, January 30, 2008


In my last post, I said unaffiliated voters in Utah have missed the deadline for affiliating with a party before the primary. I was wrong. I went back and reread the rules and realized that I misread. If you are registered as a Democrat (or with another party), it's too late to change your registration to Republican in order to vote in the Republican primary. But if you are registered with no party affiliation, you can still vote in Tuesday's Republican primary, as long as you change your registration to Republican at the polling place.

In the Democratic primary, it is likewise too late to change your registration from Republican to Democratic in order to vote Tuesday. If you are unaffiliated, you will be able to vote in the Democratic primary, and unlike the Republican party, you are not required to affiliate at the polling place.

My mistake. I'm sorry. But my point still stands: If you are unaffiliated and want to stay that way, or if you have no interest in voting in the Republican primary (because you think Mitt Romney is a shoe-in, or because you don't like any of the candidates, or for whatever other reason), I still suggest considering voting in the Democratic primary. That was the point of the original post: I don't know a lot of people in Utah who consider themselves Democrats or even Democrat-friendly, so I wanted to point out that they may nonetheless have an interest in voting against Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, so they may want to do the unthinkable and vote in the Democratic primary.

I promise. I have not deliberately misled you. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Updated: Utah's primary day is Feb. 5, not Feb. 12. Corrected below.

Update 2: It's been brought to my attention that Obama has now opened a third Utah office. He now has offices in Salt Lake, St. George, and Park City! Also, his planned second visit to Utah on Saturday has been canceled, out of deference to President Hinckley's memorial service. (He called President Monson to offer his condolences.) That shows a lot of respect, if you ask me! (And now his wife, Michelle, who is just as awesome as he is, will be coming to Utah on Monday!!)

I'm sorry. I know a lot of people are bored by blogs like this, but this is my blog, and it's what I really, really care about, so indulge me a little.

I want to use this blog right now to encourage you all to do something you don't usually think to do in January/February: vote. I'm sure you've heard; we're in the middle of a presidential primary campaign, and while most everyone I know makes the effort to vote during general elections - especially presidential elections - people are often indifferent to voting in primaries. I'm here to tell you that that's sort of backward.

In a country whose politics are dominated by the two parties, partisan primaries are a very important part of the process. Out of the 16 candidates currently running in the two primaries, one will be president; but first, that field will be narrowed to two. Because primaries typically have smaller turnouts, the people who do vote have a larger influence on the outcome than they would in a general election. Also, unlike a general presidential election, there is no Electoral College, so your vote counts much more directly. Also, people often complain during elections that they're not happy with the two choices they have; those people should be in a big hurry to vote in an election where they essentially have 16 people to choose from.

To find out details about your primary election, just hit Google. I would suggest searching for the name of your city/county/state and the word election. (i.e., "Salt Lake County election." Elections in Utah are typically run by the counties.) The top result should be your local clerk's office, board of elections, or whoever runs your elections. Go there and navigate. You should be able to find out whether you're registered to vote, what party you're registered with, where you vote (usually it will be your normal polling place), when your primary is, etc.

The rest of this blog is targeted specifically at my readers in Utah, but the rest of you should keep reading, too. :) I am writing to Utahns for a couple of reasons. First, I know the way the system there works, so it's easier for me to explain. Second, my hometown pride makes me really want to see a big turnout in Utah. This year's primaries have seen much, much higher turnout than previous primaries, and I would hate for Utah not to match that level of interest. And I could see it happening, because so many people assume that Mitt Romney has Utah in the bag so they won't bother voting. So go vote. Utahns vote Feb. 5 - the first time in my life (and, as far as I know, the first time ever) that Utah has been part of Super Tuesday - a big deal in a historic election year that you shouldn't miss out on!

Now, if you are a voter in Utah, statistically speaking, chances are pretty good that you are an unaffiliated voter. That means you are not officially registered as a Democrat, a Republican, or a member of the Constitution Party. Something like two-thirds of Utah voters are unaffiliated. If you are one of those people, let me suggest something that you may have never considered doing in your life: Vote in the Democratic primary.

Bear with me. I have a few good reasons.

First, it's your only option. Because of party rules, Utah's Republican primary is a closed primary, while the Democratic primary is open. That means that to vote in the Republican primary, you must be registered as a Republican, but to vote in the Democratic primary, you can be registered as a Democrat or you can be unaffiliated. And it's too late to change your affiliation for the primary, so if you don't vote in the Democratic primary, you can't vote at all (until November).

Now I know that many of you have rarely or never voted for a Democrat before, and you don't really want to start now. That's OK! You can vote in the Democratic primary now and then vote for the Republican candidate in the fall. You shouldn't pass up on your chance to have your voice heard in determining the candidates seeking the most important job in the world.

But there's another important reason for you to vote in the Democratic primary: Hillary Clinton. Come on, do you really want Hillary to be the next president? Do you really want Bill Clinton to have what essentially amounts to a third term? I don't even want that, and I'm a Democrat!

More important than that, do you want to spend the next nine months mired in a campaign that involves the Clintons? Do you want to continue the divisive, red-state-vs.-blue-state hatefulness that has filled politics recently? That kind of politics has been the fault of both sides, and having a Clinton in the race is only going to make both sides gear up for a really ugly fight. The kind of fight that our country really, really doesn't need.

I would really encourage you to consider voting for Barack Obama. You may or may not have been paying attention to this primary season, but if you have been, I'm sure you've noticed the dramatically different campaign style between Obama and the Clintons. Obama really, truly knows how to disagree with someone respectfully. He has the ability to inspire all Americans, to rally us behind our common values and the common purpose we all share. He has adamant support of prominent Democrats, Republicans and independents, liberals, moderates and conservatives. Honestly. I have read op-eds, blogs, news pieces, etc. from some of the most conservative people out there who say that in the most important ways - temperament, attitude, decision-making style - he is the first true conservative in presidential politics in a long time. (Yes, in terms of policy, he is fairly liberal, but he's a Democrat, so he's supposed to be.)

Barack has two campaign offices in Utah. Hillary has none. Barack has been to Utah once to campaign and will be back again this week. Hillary has not come. She is sending Chelsea! This kind of attention to Utah, and to all the "little" states that have few delegates and little national prominence, may not be the most effective strategy politically, but it illustrates a candidacy that views America as a whole, where every state deserves attention.

Anyway, this has run a lot longer than I intended it to. But please consider what I have said. I have never been so passionate about an election in my life - and I am pretty passionate about politics. Even if you don't plan to vote for Obama, please vote anyway. Make sure that this year, when our country is so divided and so many people feel frustrated, you take your right to vote seriously, and you vote for the candidate that you really believe will lead this country - all of us - with integrity.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Adventures in eating

Inspired by Joe and Marie's new food bloggery, I thought I'd share with you all my most recent culinary triumph. OK, that makes it sound like I often have culinary triumphs, and of course I don't. But hopefully I will be having more in the future, because I have realized that cooking for yourself is actually easier than trying to sustain oneself on macaroni and cheese and the like.

So I present to you, West African peanut soup. I guess it's derived from Ghanaian traditions, but it tastes to me a lot like something Thai. Either way, very yummy. You can eat it as a side dish, or do what I did and make a whole meal of it. I boiled some chicken and threw it in (during the last phase, when the peanut butter has been added and it is simmering) to give it a little more substance, but you don't have to. It's delicious with a salad, some crusty bread for dipping, and apples. It goes really well with apples, which you can also dip in the soup. (And this from someone who typically hates apples!)

Note: I probably don't have to remind you of this, but if you have small children, this is probably not a good recipe to try on them because eating peanuts too early in life can lead to severe allergies. And another thing: Don't feed this to anyone who already has peanut allergies, either. A'ight?

In other news, as I type this, there are men in my living room installing a new heater! It's finally happening! :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Really not asking for that much...

...Just a little heat in my apartment.

Hi everyone. Yeah, it's been more than a month since my last post. Sorry. When I realized that, I decided I ought to post, and so I am posting about the thing that's on my mind right now.

Heat. Or its absence.

You may remember from a long-ago post that I was on the verge of getting the broken heater in my apartment fixed. What with a month or so of deepest winter having gone by since then, and me still being alive, you might have assumed that said heat was fixed. Well, you're wrong. I still have no heat! And it's not for lack of trying. The nice guy who's been working with me on behalf of my landlord (who has been on vacation in Indonesia) has really done a lot of work toward getting my heat fixed. (The landlord, too, did a lot before he left, but unfortunately, he was working with a very unreliable contractor.) After two visits to my apartment by a new contractor, it was determined that my heating unit was obsolete, broken and unfixable. So the plan was to get a new one, a better one, a more efficient one, meaning that not only would I have heat again, but better air conditioning come summer!

So it took a little back-and-forth across the 12-hour-time-zone-differential between here and Southeast Asia to determine just which heating unit would be the best to buy, but finally, one was ordered, and it was on its way. And as these things often do, the delivery took longer than expected. But we had an installation appointment scheduled for Sunday morning ... until that was canceled because the installation guy was on call for something else and had to go do that something else. We rescheduled for this afternoon at 3:30 p.m., so I left work early to be here for the installation. And then, at 4 p.m., a phone call: Um, the wrong unit was delivered, so we have to try to find one we can get locally, and we won't have any idea whether that's possible until tomorrow midday.

And space heaters really don't do much, by the way.

On a related note, does anyone know an easy way to clean - really clean, not Febreeze - a couch? Mine just smells sort of doggy. Part of that is because I have had a dog for two years, and he has spent half of those two years sitting on the couch (and the other half of those two years, the couch sat in a dank, dingy storage shed). But it's become especially bad the last week or so because I have been waiting to give the dog a bath until I have heat (see - I told you it was a related note). I can't have the little guy running around damp in this cold, cold living room! So he spends his stinky days sitting stinkily on this ever-stinkier couch, stinking it up, waiting for me to come home from work. And I want to be rid of the stink. Rid of it in a real, legitimate way - not just by covering it up with some fabric-spray. But is that really possible without renting a shampooer or something?

There. Now aren't you glad you waited a month for that post?