Notes from around the Human Experience…
ELECTION DAY…VOTE EARLY, VOTE OFTEN: We live in a small town. It has a pretty good diner, a bar, a small grocery store and no stop lights. Usual small town stuff.
And we also have a deadlocked election from this past Tuesday with Referendum 3A tied at 427. It’s a tax increase to pay for bonds that would provide matching funds for a potential state grant so the local school district can build new middle and high schools, though there didn’t appear to be any guarantee the local school district would receive the grant.
After the ballots had been counted there were nine ballots whose signatures could not be validated, a total later increased to eleven. I dispatched myself to the courthouse the following day to make sure there wasn’t a problem with mine.
Dry, Technical Matter: There was reason for this. One, a couple of years ago there was a discrepancy with my wife’s signature on her ballot. I had, thoughtfully though perhaps illegally, signed it for her because she had neglected to. I did this figuring they didn’t check. I was wrong.
Two, I have a couple of different signatures and I’ve long forgotten which one I used when I registered to vote. As it turned out, there wasn’t a problem with my ballot.
Screw The Kids: What’s funny is this measure was one of two tax measures on the ballot and the other one wasn’t even close. Referendum 2A, a tax increase to fund road and sewer plant improvements, passed 325-232. Those of you keeping score at home might note that the numbers show 297 more people voted for 3A than voted for 2A.
Never Again: What’s funny is my wife and I disagreed on the measures and my wife forgot to vote! You mail in your ballots here – though you can vote in a booth at the county courthouse down the road a spell if you want – and she forgot to drop her ballot off.
For The Record: I dropped off my ballot at the town hall when I paid the water bill. Then I went to the post office and then to the store, a set of errands that took well less than ten minutes. In a big city it would’ve taken the entire morning.
Please Pass The Dry, Technical Matter: The results won’t be known for a few days. The wizards who can’t sign their name properly have been sent letters and have a few days to hitch up the wagon and go to the courthouse to take of the matter. Supporters of the referendum have said, only half-jokingly, they’d be willing to drive these folks to the courthouse if needed. This was funny because ballots have already been filled out and can’t be changed, so it is entirely possible they’re providing chauffeur services to someone who voted no.
The Bottom Line: Regardless of the race, your vote matters. So vote every single election.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: The bodies of English explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his men, returning from their expedition to the South Pole, are found on the Ross Ice Shelf on this date in 1912.
Scott and four others had reached the South Pole in January only to find that an expedition led by Roald Amundsen had beaten them there. The return journey was not kind and the explorers were forced to spend over a week in their final camp because blizzards made progress impossible.
“I Am Just Going Outside And May Be Some Time.”: Their supplies eventually ran out and their final camp became their graves, except for one explorer who chose to walk outside to his death. A cross marks the site, which is now estimated to have moved about 30 miles from where they actually died.
USA! USA! The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal between the United States and Japan begins in the South Pacific on this date in 1942. It would end three days later in an American victory.
Someone’s Falling On The Sword, Dammit: The loss was devastating to the Japanese. Unable to retake the airfield of provision their troops, many of whom ended up starving, they completed withdrawal from the island the following February.
Great Moments In Freedom Of The Press: The story of the Mai Lai Massacre, a mass killing of unarmed Vietnamese citizens by American troops, becomes public on this date in 1969, in a story by journalist Seymour Hersh. The story was run by the Dispatch News Service (DNS) and appeared in 33 newspapers nationwide. It earned Hersh and DNS the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.
The massacre was committed by elements of the US Army’s 23rd Infantry Division on March 16th, 1968. 26 soldiers were charged with criminal offenses, though only one, platoon leader William Calley, was convicted. Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment, though a judge ordered him released after three-and-a-half years of house arrest.
Quotebook: We took risks…Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. – Robert Falcon Scott
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: John Young and Gene Cernan are the other humans besides James Lovell to fly to the moon twice. Young landed as part of Apollo 16 and Cernan, the last human to set foot on the moon, commanded Apollo 17.
Today’s Stumper: Two US Navy admirals died in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Who were they? – Answer next time!