Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Two Birds at Once: Exercise and Voting

It was 6:00 a.m. today when we hit the street, walking, at a brisk pace. The results of a four-mile walk that early was that two birds got hit with one stone this morning. There’s that needed daily dose of exercise in my quest to lose 20 pounds and that civic duty, which came at the mid-point of the walk, of voting in today’s primary election in North Carolina.

The idea of combining the two was hatched yesterday morning, soon after posting that bit about being on the high side of my desired weight and my desired golf handicap. With lots of work on my plate these days, the golf bit takes a back seat, sort of. Maybe I can find time to hit a few balls at lunch.

But walking to the polls to vote was an easy decision. Peace Presbyterian Church, the precinct voting location for my address, is just down the Cary Parkway a relatively short distance. On Google maps, depending on a turn here or there, it’s either 1.9 miles or 2.2 miles there and either/or the same back. (Side note: What’s the deal with separation of church and state except when it concerns casting a ballot in a state election? Go figure.)

Monday, I walked on the treadmill about 2.15 miles in 38 minutes while watching a little Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC and a DVR episode from last week of Regis and Kelly. David Letterman, the funniest late-night stand-up, was the guest, making a rare daytime (and extremely hilarious) appearance. Anyway the walk was good for my body and amusing for my brain.

I did a pretty good job of watching what I ate Monday: half a cup of oatmeal (cooked), coffee, cup of barbeque flavored Fritos, two leftover slices of a chicken style thin crust pizza from Papa Murphy’s, an apple, lots of water and a piece or two of chocolate. At dinner, a lean sirloin burger, a mixture of rice and peas, and a bowl of tomatoes and avocados. More water and a taste of red wine. Oops! One scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with two very thin ginger snaps. I’ll not bore you with this information so much. But check out the weight drop in the upper right-hand corner. Yes the scales are correct. Yes, my vision is just fine. I’m not sure why the sudden and large drop.

While on the subject of weight and handicap, I heard from one person after yesterday’s discussion: Karen Palacios-Jansen, Dan’s wife and an excellent golfer, who suggested, “Good luck, try my Cardiogolf program...www.kpjgolf.com.” I had the honor of playing 18 holes with her one day. She offer many terrific pointers for stretching before and after golf. Sorry, I digress. Now, back to walking and voting.

To combine the two, I wanted to make sure I was ready to vote upon arrival, not lingering as no one does in the voting booth anyway. Walk to the check in table. Give full name and address. Smile. Take ticket to next table. Get ballot. Walk to secret voting booth. Fill in ovals for candidates of choice. Simple task made simpler through education. No need to dally when voting. And, just as you’re leaving, always say ‘thank you” to the people who volunteer to man the polls. We couldn’t have this democracy without them.

I expected there to be some substantial voting to do, but Monday when, through The News & Observer website, I accessed the State Board of Elections website and downloaded a sample ballot, I was disappointed there were just four races and only one partisan race. As a life-long registered Democrat, my ballot (which was the same for non-life-long Democrats) included the primary race for United States Senate to see which hopeful would get to challenge probable Republican candidate and incumbent Richard Burr in the fall. (By the way, if you’re Republican, it’ll take longer to vote. There’s a primary for the US House of Representatives and, I believe, a Wake County Commissioner seat.)

In a Democracy where it takes 60 of 100 Senators (that’s 60% of the entire populace of the Senate) to move legislation along in that august body, it takes just 40% of those voting (which could be just 100 citizens) in a primary to nominate the candidate for November’s general election. That’s very strange, if you ask me. To win in either place, I think 50% plus one should be the right number. Or maybe 50% of all registered voters should be used to declare winners. That way, in most cases, no one would win. Wouldn’t that be great!

Anyway, after studying the list of six candidates, I eliminated three—Marcus Williams, Ann Worthy and Susan Harris—with whom I have no familiarity and concentrated my efforts on those I either know or have heard of: Elaine Marshall, Ken Lewis and Cal Cunningham. This may be strange, but the names are listed on the ballot in reverse alphabetical order. I wonder if someone lost an all-star game for that to happen.

After a few moments, I dropped Lewis from the list, but I’m not sure why. I remember reading something a few weeks ago that turned me away from him, though he seems like a likable person and who would be a good Senator. But my choice came down to Marshall and Cunningham. Again, two likable people; both probably qualified, though Marshall has a lot more governmental experience. Each has placed a lot of television ads recently; I like Marshall’s better. She shows a lot of zip and explains what she has done as Attorney General, a job she won by defeating NASCAR King Richard Petty.

Here’s what it came down to: Cunningham spends most of his time discussing issues that are long gone, especially trade overseas. He’s trying to make a case for returning to protectionism and does so by faulting Burr for unemployment troubles in North Carolina. He’s trying to tell us Democrats that he’s best suited to take on Burr, but as he tries, he’s also telling me he’s least suited to tackle the problems that confront us.

Marshall, on the other hand, explains her record and makes a damn good case for continuing in her leadership role as US Senator in Washington DC. The only part of her commercial I do not like is at the end when she says something like “the change we need in Washington is sending Richard Burr home.” She could have left that out and done very well. There’s a good chance she’ll get 40 percent of today’s Democratic turnout anyway. Better known candidate. Besides, she’s lived in Lillington a long time, and I’m from Sanford. Close enough. She also has a textiles degree.

Cunningham is the choice of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and I’m not going to let the inept Harry Reid, senate Majority Leader, tell me how to vote. He thinks a fresh, young face is what is needed to win here. He should apply that theory to Nevada elections. So, when I made my mark this morning, it was beside Marshall’s name.

Also on the ballot are three non-partisan judge contests: Two for the Court of Appeals and one for District 10 Court Judge. In one race, my vote went to Jane Gray against incumbent Ann Marie Calabria because a friend asked me to vote for Ms. Gray. In the other Court of Appeals race, I voted for the incumbent, Rick Elmore because he was once general counsel for the Greater Greensboro Open golf tournament, though I’m not sure what that entailed. To his credit, in that race, Al Bain’s called to ask for my vote, but once I realized it was just a recording, I scratched him off my list even though he now lives in Lillington.

The confusing non-partisan race was the District 10 judicial election where party affiliation is next to the candidate’s name (not on the ballot but on the NC Board of Elections website). I thought that was a no-no. Anyway, after at least a minute or two of pondering, my choice was Dan Nagle because he’s currently a Wake County assistant District Attorney.

So, with extensive research and legitimate decisions and with my sample ballot in hand, I walked to and from the voting booth this morning, leaving the house before sun-up. It seem up-hill in both directions, but it wasn’t so tough. 31 minutes to get there, seven minutes to vote (the lady in line in front of me was a little slow though I was the 3rd person to cast a ballot today at Peace Presbyterian Church), and 31 minutes to walk home. It was a nice way to kill two birds.

Tonight, I’ll anxiously await the results as I watch new episodes of NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles and The Good Wife. I’m begging WRAL-TV: just run the crawl at the bottom of the screen with the results. No breaking news break-ins, please!

1 comment:

  1. Personally I think NCIS and The Good Wife are good shows, but NCIS LA is a bad knock off.


Would you care to comment about today's blog. If so,here's the space and your chance: