Housekeeping, and college

May 13, 2012

James is scheduled to graduate from Lawrence University in early June; we’ll make the drive up to pick up his stuff.  Lawrence is chiefly a residence campus, but even there are stories about sloppy roommates.

Roommates, hell.  All college kids are sloppy as hell (except Ben Davidian — exceptions and pathologies are what they are).  We’ll expect to have to do some cleaning to get the place up to the level that the cleaning crew from the University will touch it.

Now, James’s older brother, Kenny, DID have some legendarily messy apartments at the University of Texas – Dallas.  But it got to him, and he became quite civilized on the cleaning front.  Just this past week Kenny and I spoke of his search for living quarters, probably in Connecticut, though he would like, sometime, to live in New York City.  One of his work assignments in in the Bronx, so it’s not totally ridiculous.

On the way to finding something else, I ran across a blog I used to read a lot, but haven’t lately, and found this story of legendarily sloppy apartments, and in New York City (yeah, I know — Queens ain’t the Bronx, but the whole five boroughs would fit in the footprint of DFW Airport, nearly).

From the last post on Michale Bérubé‘s now-dormant blog, a tribute to his friend Tom Buckley:

Like all great souls, Tom loved a good joke even when the joke was on him.  We hadn’t known him very long before he told us the story of when his Bayside, Queens apartment was burglarized (by which I learned that Tom and I grew up within a two or three miles of each other, back in the day).  Tom and his roommate called the police to report the missing stereo, and when they arrived the officers were flabbergasted by the ransacked state of the apartment.  “Wow, these guys really destroyed the place,” they said.  “Do you have any enemies?  This looks like a vendetta.” Tom didn’t admit to them—but cheerily admitted to us—that “this” was in fact the apartment’s natural state.

Yeah, well they grow up.

On sort of another topic, I was also reminded why I liked that blog, and Bérubé‘s writing in general.  Go read the piece.  You’ll lament the passing of Tom Buckley, too.  The one story above is the least funny and least emotional of several told there.  You’ll wish you’d known Tom.  This piece meets the requirements for a good story posed by John Irving in The World According to Garp, as good a requirement as any I’ve ever seen.

Bérubé‘s stuff may occasionally be found at Crooked Timber.  Not often enough, for my money.

Texas: No voter identification required for May 29 primary

May 13, 2012

Early voting for the twice-delayed* Texas primary elections opens this week.  The election is set for May 29.

Happy to see the Texas Democratic Party sending out notices that voters won’t be turned away from the polls.  It’s a clear effort to deflate the voting discouragement campaign of State Attorney General Greg Abbott, Gov. Rick Perry, and the Republicans of the Texas Lege.

Letter from the Texas Democrats:

TDP Banner

Dear Ed,

On Monday, the polls will open for early voting for the May 29th Democratic Primary Election. We’ll be selecting the Democratic nominees who will lead the charge towards taking back our state in 2012.

Here’s how you can make your voice heard:

Confirm that you’re registered to vote.  You can verify your registration on the Secretary of State’s website.

Find your early voting location by contacting your county elections office.  Early voting for the Primary Election runs from Monday, May 14th through Friday, May 25th.

Request to have a ballot mailed to you.  Your application for a mail ballot must be received no later than Tuesday, May 22nd.

Use the same documents that you’ve used in the past to vote. No photo ID is required! The photo voter id legislation is not in effect for this election. All you need is:

  • Your voter registration card;
  • A driver’s license or personal identification card issued to you by Texas or another state (even if the license or card has expired);
  • A form of identification that contains your photograph and establishes your identity;
  • A birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes your identity;
  • Your United States citizenship papers;
  • Your United States passport;
  • Official mail addressed to you by a governmental entity; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Want to know who’s on the ballot? A list of the Democratic candidates is available on our website.

Want to know more about voting in Texas? Visit

Want to help elect Democrats in your county? Have questions about local races? Contact your Democratic County Chair.


Boyd L. Richie

Boyd L. Richie
Texas Democratic Party

I’d be interested to see that the Republican Party in Texas is doing something similar. They keep booting me off their lists. Anybody got a similar letter from them, especially one showing how the Texas Voter Identification law does not apply to this primary election?


*  The elections were delayed by federal court orders.  Texas is a place that historically discriminated against minority voters, and so under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, reapportionments by the legislature must be approved by the Justice Department or a federal court as complying with the nondiscrimination laws.  AG Abbott tried to do an end run around Justice, suing for approval as a first step.  As part of its War on Democracy, the Texas Lege wrote a spectacularly Gerrymandered reapportionment plan, depriving Texas Hispanics from new representation despite the dramatic increase in their populations.  Consequently the federal courts balked at quick approval.  Instead, they asked for more information.  In the delay, the Washington courts ordered the federal court in San Antonio to draw up a more fair plan, giving at least three new seats to districts where Hispanics hold broad sway.

Litigation against the Texas Jim Crow Voter Identification law is separate.

Infographics creation by students, as a tool of learning

May 13, 2012

Infographic-a-Day describes this TEDx video (I added the links):

Perhaps one of the bigest and most listened to advocates of using infographics and data vis in the classroom is Diana Laufinberg, from The Science Leadership Academy. Diana, a History teacher, is a long time user of geographic information systems (GIS). She has recently, however, started helping her students to create their own infographics from complex issues that are part of her course of study and/or part of current events.

Here is a video of Diana’s talk at a recent TEDx…

Tip of the old scrub brush to David Warlick at 2¢ Worth.

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