Government Class

So I'm in a government class this semester called Contemporary Conservatism in America taught by Professor Carey. It's a fascinating class to say the least. I'm torn, though, because we're assigned a theoretical 400 page novel plus a three to four page paper on the novel pretty much each week. This class alone dominates my Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. In addition to that pain in the neck, the other twelve kids in the class must be government majors, because the knowledge and comments that they bring up in class make my head spin. Professor Carey is a character for sure, though. At first glance you'd think he's a few years past retirement and a slow, dry lecturer. However, once he gets into the readings and especially their application to the debacle of modern politics, he spruces right up and gets really excited. It's kind of funny to watch. He's one of those older people who likes to throw 'hell' and 'damned' into his claims and arguments. "Whatever the hell those damn politicians..."

Anyways, today we began discussing Bertrand de Jouvenel's "On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth". It was the first time that I have really had the opportunity to sat back and marvel at just how much power, of both man and government, has grown over time. Jouvenel claims that the almost-dictator Henry XIV would have been jealous at the power that today's U.S. President holds. That's a pretty crazy thought. I thought democracy was supposed to be the power of the people? He argues this through the frame of ever-increasing taxation, conscription, and the decline of natural law. We're just starting the discussion, but so far it's been very entertaining. Maybe all that reading and writing will be worth it...
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Post Florida Tuesday Results

Well, I wasn't that far off. Though I now realize 8% for Fred Thomspon was a bit ridiculous. I overestimated the power of the 1,000,000+ absentee ballots that may have been sent before he left the race.

Actual results:

McCain 36%
Romney 31%
Giuliani: 15%
Huckabee: 13%
Paul: 3%
Other: 2%
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Florida Predictions

Predictions:

McCain 29%
Romney 26%
Giuliani 18%
Huckabee 15%
Paul 4%
Thompson 8%
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FL Debate

All I have to say about tonight's debate is "See ya later Giuliani" and "Congrats Mitt on one of your best performances thus far"...
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Cell Phones

I didn't think it was going to happen, but it has. Today, the Massachusetts House of Reps passed a bill that would ban text messaging and talking on your cell phone while driving. CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR AND LET HIM/HER KNOW THAT YOU DON'T WANT THIS BILL PASSED. This is one of the most blatant examples of Uncle Sam butting into your private lives to attempt to control you. Statistically, the number of accidents caused by cell phone distraction is miniscule. This bill exists solely for the purpose of ticketing drivers for revenue and, as usual, punishing teen drivers.

Boston Globe Article
Everyone should check out this website to find the email addresses of your legislators and then email them asap:

http://www.mass.gov/legis/citytown.htm#S_bookmark
Anyone from Scituate, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Cohasset, Norwell, and Weymouth should email Senator Hedlund at Robert.Hedlund@state.ma.us
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Reflections on the March for Life

So this year was my second March for Life. It was just as powerful as the first one, just a few degrees warmer thankfully. It's hard to describe the feeling one gets when hearing such a large group of people remain silent and then utter "amen" during the final prayer before the walk. It's hard to explain the feel of so many people solemnly singing God Bless America. Overall, it's pretty hard to explain the walk unless you've been there. And, trust me, a lot of people have been there. The news reports all claim "tens of thousands", while Wikipedia says 100,000-300,000 people were in attendance. 20,000 students fully-packed the Verizon Center hours before the walk for one last mass. All these people, a majority of whom were students, give me hope for the future of the American genocide that claimed 1.2 million lives last year.
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On a Second Note...

January 21, 2008 Read More: Miscellany
Catholic schools to be honored. This reporter is not happy

Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) has offered a resolution that will be taken up the by the House this week (H.Res. 916) honoring Catholic schools.
The resolution, which is co-sponsored by 43 other lawmakers, congratulates America's Catholic schools for producing "students strongly dedicated to their faith, values, families, and communities by providing an intellectually stimulating environment rich in spiritual, character, and moral development."
But for many survivors of a Catholic-school upbringing, the memories are not so great. Sure, we can read, write and do 'rthmetic (Note: I did 11 years in Catholic schools), but we also suffered under power-mad nuns hellbent on beating an education into us.
Sister Marion of Resurrection Grammar School in Rye, N.Y., was once such unindicted criminal, as was Sister Theodosia (who smelled really bad) and Sister Luke (btw, does anyone else but mean know why nuns change their names once in the convent? They needed aliases, that's why!). These were horrible, horrible women who should have never been let anywhere near young, impressionable innocents. One nun told me that as soon as you thought of a sin, it was as bad as if you had committed it. I still think that I murdered a lot of people, which never happened. Or at least you can't prove it.
High school wasn't much better. I had Irish Christian Brothers as teachers. I saw one brother literally pick a kid up by his nose once. That had to hurt.
But worst of all were the lay teachers at Catholic schools. They had a license to whup ass (I think they got a special dispensation from the pope or something), and they used it. Mrs. Fitzpatrick, you are lucky the statute of limitations has expired or you would be in the Big House.
So I think the House should reject this resolution and launch an immediate probe into Catholic schools nationwide. I will volunteer my testimony as a starting place.
Of course, I was a terrible little s*** as a child, so the nuns probably kept me out of prison. And now I am journalist, doing all sorts of crimes against the truth, country and those nice elected officials, as some of my readers claim.
One quick anecdote - I ran into Sister Marion years later. Upon saying hello to my former principal, all she had to say was this: "Your poor mother, God bless her." And that perfectly sums up my memory of Catholic school as a child.
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OCC

The 2008 Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life was a success. The conference ended today with a variety of speakers and activities. We were happy to have over 500 students attend this yaer- a big accomplishment given the chaos surrounding the planning and the fact that the March for Life is on a Tuesday this year. I'm glad it's over as well! One less thing to worry about and one less meeting to attend each week.

Meet at the front gates tomorrow at 11:40 AM to head over to the national mall to protest 35 years of Roe v. Wade at the March for Life.
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The South

Reasons why I like the South:

-There's good country music playing at every restaurant.
-Unabashed faith and values.
-Funky accents.
-I saw a guy with a mullet tonight.

thats all for now...
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Legal Sea Foods

I'm currently sitting in Reagan National Airport waiting for my delayed flight. It's gonna be a while, so I might as well kill some time here.

I just left an hour-plus long dinner conversation at Legal Sea Foods in the airport with four random people. I took the hostess up on her offer to sit at the high-table to avoid waiting a half hour for a private table. I sat down right in the middle of a pretty intense political discussion with clearly smart, powerful people all wearing suits and playing with their BlackBerrys. I was a little nervous to jump in the conversation, sitting there in jeans and a Red Sox hat with my two year old Razr, but couldn't resist (of course).

From what I gathered from the conversation, all four of them were fiscally conservative, socially liberal independents. We talked a lot about taxes and spending, abortion, and political candidates in general. It was interesting hearing the opinions of people who didn't always agree with me (socially or fiscally) and see their thought process in choosing a candidate.

One "former Republican" was a Giuliani fan. But she said she'd probably jump ship to Hillary if he didn't get the nomination (there goes a Republican vote- Rudy's not winning).

Another lady was clearly a Republican fiscally, as she decried the ridiculous spending and debt of the Bush administration and hated the thought of higher taxes. She claimed she was personally pro-life, but didn't want to legislate it. From what I could gather, though, she was voting Democrat (though she said she could live with Romney).

Another guy was a former military man who had worked his way out of poverty. He was adamently against the idea that the poor can't pull themselves up by their bootstraps and hated the fact that his tax money was being spent to aid some people relying solely on the government. He was an ardent supporter of Mike Huckabee's FairTax. He took issue with the fact that men have been deciding abortion laws throughout time. He didn't direclty state his opinion on the matter, but he was clearly pro-abortion. I couldn't decide who he was voting for.

The final guy was an American from somewhere in Europe who graduated from Georgetown but hadn't been in the U.S. for a while so he was a little bit out of the loop. But, he was an extremely educated economist who talked a lot about general tax policies. He hated the idea of the FairTax because it isn't progressive enough for him. And he claimed that the poor are incapable of saving, a point that the other man took offense to. (Though, statistically, America does have a savings rate of -6%).

It was a good conversation. All these people had good reasons for their views. It was nice to see such politically-informed and politically-interested regular people. But its sad to see people jumping ship from the Republican party because of some of the damage this administration has done to the Republican name.
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Pre-game chit chat

Well, before going out last night, the issue of abortion came up somehow. And no, it wasn't me who started it. Great talk for a Friday night, right?

Here are four of the main arguments a few people put up in favor of abortion, followed by my answers of why they're wrong.

1) Just put yourself in her shoes. Your life would be ruined. 9 months of hell on your body. You'd have to quit school. You, as a guy, can leave, but the mother can't.

2) Think of the cost? How could you afford it?

3) What about rape victims?

4) To convince me that abortion is legal, you'd first have to convince people like me that a first-trimester fetus is a person.

1a) No one every said life is fair. It's not. And an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy wouldn't entirely ruin one's life. It would definitely be a painful, stressful, and costly nine months. But that nine months shouldn't determine whether or not the life of a human being is taken. In the case where a mother couldn't afford the child or simply didn't want it, the child should be put up for adoption. There are thousands of couples waiting for newborn children to adopt. I know one such couple continually advertises in the Georgetown Hoya newspaper and at mass on Sundays. I'm sure any adopted child, no matter his or her circumstances, would later in life agree that they're happy to be alive rather than having never been given the chance to live.

Before even discussing the problems with the pregnancy, it should be understood that when two people have sex, they should be implicitly agreeing that they are willing to take care of the potential consequences of that action, whether it be disease, distress, or pregnancy. The careless sex that goes on today with the help and support of the mass media has had disastrous effects on relationships, families, and children (those born and never given the chance). No matter how many steps a couple takes to prevent a pregnancy, these preventions can and often do fail. That's where the importance of personal responsibility, which has been so horribly lost in today's culture, lies. If you don't want to deal with the consequences, don't deal with the action.

Next, there have been countless teenage mothers (and fathers) who have been able to either continue their education or postpone it with completion at a later time. With the help of family, friends, and the countless crisis, support, and help programs that exist today thanks to the Catholic Church and other charities, it is possible. Bet you didn't know this: Georgetown has a whole program set up to aid pregnant students. There is a whole townhouse set aside for student-parents, free baby sitting for these parents, free baby supplies, and a whole laundry list of support services set up. Other schools have similar programs. But of course that's not publicized by either liberal, ashamed-to-be-Catholic Georgetown or H*oyas for Choice, because that would mean taking responsibility for ones own actions, acting in the interests of family and children, etc.

Finally, I, as a guy, take some offense to the notion that all guys simply pack up and leave their children, or even worse that I somehow have some less of a right to have an opinion (well, a pro-life one at least) on unwanted pregnancies. "You'll never have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, how can you tell me that I have to keep my child?" is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Yes, you're right. I'll never be pregnancy. But that's not my decision. You can take your beef up with God on that one. But I certainly have the right to stand up for the voice-less, unprotected child growing inside a mother. If we're playing the gender-game, that child is just as likely to be male and therefore someone I can apparently rightly and appropriately stand up for as it is to be female. Or how about we put this ludicrous argument in the face of civil rights (as the crowd that generally claims that I have no place voicing my opinion on abortion is very concerned about the state of civil rights in America)? Are you telling me that whites have no business standing up for blacks simply because they have different skin colors? Whites shouldn't play a role in civil rights? Thats just how ridiculous that argument is. Just because someone isn't of the same "type" (whether it be gender, race, or anything else) doesn't mean that that person can't play a role or have an opinion on an event or decision regarding that group's rights or very existence.

2a) Since when did we determine the value of one's life by his or her economic viability. You're damn right having a kid is expensive. That's why you should act responsibly and avoid it. But, if you do end up with an unwanted pregnancy, it's crazy to think that someone's life should be determined by the fact that it will cost a lot of money. What about old people? As Professor Brown so often reminded us in microeconomics, old people cost a hell of a lot of money. Between never-ended surgeries, doctor's visits, Social Security, etc. billions of dollars are spent. Would it be easier to just kill all the old people? Of course not. We somehow think that we can apply this reasoning to unborn children just because they don't exactly look at us (depending on when you look) and because they can't speak for themselves like most of the elderly can (after all, older Americans are the most consistent, powerful voices at the voting booths on election day. If unborn children had that same right I bet they'd be pretty quick to cast a vote for a Human Life Amendment). If a child doesn't fit one's expenses, it should be put up for adoption, where a financially stable family can and will take care of him/her.

3a) Rape victims currently represent less than one percent of all abortions (the million+) performed in the U.S. each year. So, to begin with, we're not talking huge numbers (relatively). But more importantly, a life is a life, no matter the circumstances of its conception. As I said earlier, an unplanned pregnancy stinks. There's no other way to put it. In fact, it especially stinks in the case of a rape victim. But why should the unborn child of a rape victim be punished for the crimes of another person? That's not fair. Again, I guarantee you if you ask any children born to rape victims, who acted so courageously and strongly, whether or not they agree with the decision of his or her mother regarding the pregnancy, I bet you can guess the answer you'll get.

4a) This is the hardest one to answer, especially for someone who's not a biologist or medical-type person by any means. But first, I'll have to start out with the conscience. Personally, my conscience convinces me foremost that a first-trimester fetus is a human being covered by all our natural and constitutional rights and laws. But next, there is a wealth of scientific evidence that points to that fact as well. Personally, I was never just a sperm or just an egg. I was myself, genetically and scientifically, at the moment of conception. That's when my traits and features were determined to make the unique me. Think about it this way. If you continually ask yourself, "what was I yesterday, a year ago, two years ago..." and so on, you will ultimately get back to the point that you were the union of sperm and egg at conception. You can't get any earlier than that and you can't definitively get any later than that. From the minute a child is conceived, he or she contains the genetic make up and so many other traits that you and I share today. They are simply existing in an earlier, much smaller form. They exist in a form without a voice- a fact very inconvenient for that unborn child and potential abortion victim.

Next, if you don't want to define humanity at conception, then when do you define it? Do you say that we're only human at birth? Can anyone honestly call a fully developed unborn child still in the womb not a human? You're deceiving yourself if so. Is a second trimester fetus a child? Third? Only at viability? It's impossible to pull apart the characteristics at these points that could distinguish whether or not a certain fetus was "human enough" to be protected by law. The only sound, unmoving point where life can be defined is at conception.

Finally, the answer "I don't know if its human, you don't know if its human, so we can't draft a law" is a perfectly fine argument. However, it falls apart. I saw a renowned ethicist speak on the ethics of abortion last year and he had a really good answer for this argument, which I will try my best to put forth here. But, I definitely can't do it as well as he did. US law covers the "I don't knows" of life. We read newspaper headlines and watch the news every day regarding these situations. Someone who commits murder but "didn't know" gets charged with a lighter version of murder, or manslaughter of some sort. US law states over and over that "I didn't know" or "I didn't mean to" doesn't hold water here. Take the example of a hunter. If a hunter is hunting in the woods and sees some sort of movement off in the distance, he's tempted to shoot even though it's not a clear shot. It could be that deer he's been dreaming of. So, he shoots. What happens if it was actually a human? Well, he would be charged with involuntary manslaughter for acting so recklessly and treating human life so carelessly. The law states that he should not have pulled that trigger if he wasn't 100% positive that it wasn't a human. The same goes for abortion. If you want to argue that you aren't certain whether or not it is a child, the law states that the "I don't know" answer isn't good enough.
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Debate Part Two

Tonight's debate was much easier to watch. There were less barbs thrown around and more substantive issues discussed. Romney won tonight's debate. He was much less on the defense and was able to force McCain and Huckabee to deal with issues they couldn't deny. Huckabee couldn't deny the fact that taxes were raised over $500 million while he was governor. Instead, he shuffled around the question and didn't answer it. The same goes for McCain. He walked around the fact that he twice voted against the Bush tax cuts and instead focused on the fact that he has worked to cut spending. Well, Romney certainly worked to cut spending while he was governor in his accomplishment of ending the budget deficit and creating a rainy day fund, on top of fighting for tax cuts. These moments looked good for Romney.

I also think he took advantage of the opportunity to explain that his recent ads in Iowa and New Hampshire weren't exactly the attack ads that they have been made out to be. Instead, as I stated last time, they were simply opportunities to point out differences on records and positions from his main competitors.

Apart from Romney, I thought Thompson did okay. He had some funny bits like always and did manage to show his knowledge of the social security issue, which, sadly for him, is an issue that has sort of sunk in meaning to most voters given the state of national security issues and the questionable future of the economy. It was also interesting to see him go up against Huckabee during the debate, as they will likely have a tough battle for some of the Southern states, most importantly South Carolina.

Giuliani did worst tonight, though he didn't do terribly. Instead, he did poorly because of his lack of participation in the event. He was awkwardly in the corner and didn't really say much. The debate moderator focused most of the questions on Huckabee, Romney, and McCain as they are leading the polls in New Hampshire. But, that focus didn't stop Thompson from putting his two cents into the debate. Giuliani should have done the same.

Next stop: New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday, January 8th!
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Debate

AHHH! Thats what I felt like screaming after tonight's Republican debate. It was incredibly frustrating to watch Huckabee, McCain, Giuliani, and Thompson personally attack Romney all night, effectively blocking his chance to talk about his ideas, opinions, and successes as a family man, businessman, and governor. Understandably, Romney seemed to get heated and fed up with all the wisecracks, which didn't exactly cause him to look very presidential. Overall, I'd have to say that those four 'won' this debate by all ganging up on someone that they would clearly rather not compete with. The easiest way to look most impressive, electable, and presidential tonight was to simply sit back and smile while those around you circled around the boxing ring. Unfortunately, that wasn't an option for Mitt, who was forced to constantly be on the defense. The moderator of the debate even caught a few of the candidates a number of times, dragging Mike Huckabee into the debate saying something like "Now Mike I know you're happy to be sitting back there smiling while everyone else dukes it out here, but lets actually hear what you think..."

I must say that I think tonight will hurt Mitt's chances in New Hampshire on Tuesday, and therefore in the larger general nomination process, as he based his whole campaign on success in both Iowa (where he came in a rather-distant second place) and New Hampshire (where polls before tonight's debate showed him trailing McCain by 6 points I believe). I'm disappointed that his fall could be attributed to personal attacks instead of serious policy debates and differences between the candidates. I don't know how many of you have seen Mitt's "attack" ads against Mike Huckabee and John McCain, but I certainly wouldn't characterize them as personal attacks such as the ones that went on tonight at St. A's. Mitt's ads don't attack their character at all. Instead, they focus on clear policy differences- differences that should make a difference to any Republican primary voter. Huckabee did support in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, Mitt didn't. How is that a personal attack? John McCain did support what some would call amnesty for all 12 million illegal immigrants in the US. Mitt didn't. Attack? I don't think so. What I do call a personal attack, though, is McCains quip, "Mitt, we don't agree on much, but I do agree with you that you ARE the candidate of change". That's just a low blow. No policy there.

The only thing that tonight's slug-fest proved was that the other candidates can be immature and have colluded to get a serious threat to their campaigns whom they are united against out of the race. I'm hoping for something different tomorrow night with Fox New's debate at 8 PM. And I do indeed with Ron Paul was in that debate. He brings some interesting points to the table, especially about the economy.

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I watched all of the Republican debate, but only caught the last half hour of the Democratic debate. As one might guess, I agreed with almost none of what they were saying, although I admire Bill Richardson (who I've seen speak twice at school) and his plans for improving the US economy through investment in education instead of just rolling back tax cuts and increasing spending. But one of the most infuriating moments of the debate for me came from my pal Hillary Clinton at the end. On the subject of the effectiveness and favorite/changeable moments of the debate, she stated how important it was for the American people to see how starkly different the debate contents were between the Republicans and Democrats. She went on to say how horrible it was that the evil Republicans don't talk enough about global warming (increased, I'm sure, by the four Chevy Suburbans that all four candidates surely took to the debate in snowy New Hampshire), don't talk about arts and education, don't talk about health care, and don't talk about the supposed recession. Well Hill, what about all the vitally important stuff that you and your fellow Democrats don't talk about- issues that I assure you the American people care deeply about? What about terrorism and the desire of radical Muslims for both America and Israel to be demolished? What about border protection and enforcement? What about the 12 million illegal immigrants in the US now, posing a risk to national security and costing American taxpayers (those ones that you claim to be so worried about) hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars (I read recently that California hospitals footed a bill of over $100 million in unpaid medical fees run up by illegal aliens there last year. Guess who's paying for that? Vincente Fox certainly isn't)? What about tax cuts and cuts in spending (you sure won't see any of that under a Democratic White House)? I think Hillary should worry about her own party and their attention (or lack thereof) to certain issues before complaining about the Republican issues. After all, we Americans certainly won't have to worry about global warming if Osama bin Laden has his way.

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Side note- Does John Edwards disgust anyone as much as he does me? I think he's a huge slime ball. Who does he think he is to attack all the "evil rich" people in the US, the corporations that provide jobs for millions of Americans, and the environment hogs much like himself? I can't think of a more hypocritical person! John Edwards, who lives in a house that is 28,200 square feet and probably emits more CO2 and uses more energy that the whole Midwest! John Edwards, the man of the poor, who gets $400 hair cuts! John Edwards, who has been rumored to have been cheating on his dying wife! John Edwards, who cares about the rising costs of medical insurance for the poor. The same John Edwards who made his MILLIONS suing the pants off American companies and doctors, thus raising the costs of medical insurance and doctor's insurance! John Edwards, Yuck!
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Primaries

Just got back from New Hampshire, where you can actually tell it's primary season! It was fun to see all the different candidate's signs in people's and business's yards (well, at least it was fun for me). Guess who had more signs than anyone? Ron Paul. Not so surprising in such a libertarian state, I guess. I've heard some talk radio hosts claim that he'll take a surprise third place in NH. But, his run will probably end there. Also, we saw a few Paul supporters just randomly putting signs up on state highways to get the name out, so I guess signs don't always equal supporters.

It looks like Mitt has NH all set, which is good news. He's also coming back in Iowa, where Huckabee was leading by over 10% a few weeks ago. Now Huck's only up a few percentage points. Mitt taking 2nd in Iowa wouldn't be all that bad. After all, I read somewhere that most candidates who win both Iowa and New Hampshire have always lost in the general election. That's the case with Kerry and Gore (well, they were losers before they lost the general election anyways). Certainly wouldn't want Mitt following that path.

I will say that Giuliani's campaign has sort of been a mystery lately. He's completely ignoring Iowa and New Hampshire, where's he's sure to lose, and probably lose big. Instead, he's focusing on the bigger delegate-rich states like NY, FL, MI, etc., hoping he can score a ton of delegate votes on "super-duper Tuesday", February 5th. That's kind of scary if it works. Some people are saying that the 23 states that vote on that day will vote based on the earlier Iowa and NH votes, so Giuliani is toast. But others say that these states will ignore the earlier contests and vote on their own beliefs, which tend to be more liberal and would benefit Giuliani. I think it would be a shame to see him lose big in all the early elections and then grab all the votes from California, Florida, etc. Hopefully that won't happen.

Massachusetts votes on Tuesday, February 5th. Go get your absentee ballots or go register. You have to register by January 16th to vote in the primary. Get on that!
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