Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Register to Vote in Texas Primary Elections by Feb. 4

The Texas Democratic and Republican Primary elections are March 4, 2008. To vote you must be registered at least 30 days before that date or by February 4. (As mentioned in Monday's blog, a list indicating primary election dates for each state is available from the United States Election Assistance Commission.)

On the Rice campus, the Rice Vote Coalition has voter registration tables set up in the RMC during lunch this Thursday and Friday (January 31- February 1, 2008). You may also pick up a mail-in form in Fondren Library's Kelley Center for Government Information and Microforms (Fondren basement) or go to the Harris County Tax Office Voter Registration Web site and download an application form. Remember, however, that the application must be postmarked by February 4. Another choice for those in Harris County is to register in person at the following locations:
  • Any of the 16 area Tax Offices
  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
  • Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
  • Texas Department of State Health Services
  • Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Each public library
  • Each marriage license office of the county clerk

For absentee voting, click on the state or territory of your legal voting residence from the table made available by the Federal Voting Assistance Program . You can download a document with deadlines, forms, and instructions. Texans may also check the Secretary of State's Early Voting page for mail and in-person deadlines.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Challenger 22nd Anniversary

On January 28, 1986 after many successful missions, the Challenger Space Shuttle disintegrated 1 minute 13 seconds after launch leaving the nation mourning for astronauts Ellison Onizuka, Greg Jarvia, Judy Resnik, Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair, and teacher-in-space (Sharon) Christa McAuliffe. For more information about the Challenger, see NASA Web pages including the Challenger Background and the Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (commonly called the Rogers Commission Report). The address to the nation that President Reagan gave instead of his intended State of the Union Address is also available as part of the American Presidency Project .

2008 Primary Dates

Are you unsure when your state's Democratic and Republican primary elections will be held? (Texas primaries are on March 4.) The Elections Assistance Commission has created a 2008 State Primary Dates Web page to keep you informed. The site also contains links for overseas citizens and military voters, for registering to vote online, for becoming a poll worker, and for research, resources, and reports. Spanish, Japanese, and Korean translations are available.

To help you make an informed decision, the League of Women Voters has made available online their Primary Election 2008 Voters Guide. For more election information and links, consult Fondren Library's elections page.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Texas Cooking

Did you know some Texas agencies release recipe books?

Check your local Texas State Depository Library for these titles:
  • Selected recipes from the Sebastolpol kitchen: Sebastopol House State Historic Site
  • Cooking with fruits and vegetables: recipes for every kitchen (also available in Spanish)
  • The Go-Go Texan recipe and idea book

Plus, the Texas Parks and Wildlife website features wild game cooking tips and recipes, from Venison Stew to Texas Bandera Smoked Quail Egg Rolls.

Also, the Lone Star Dutch Oven Society demonstrates cooking with dutch ovens (the Official Cookware of Texas) at state parks on Feburary 2:
  • Mission Tejas State Park: "Dutch Oven Cooking," 9 a.m.-noon
  • Tyler State Park: "Dutch Oven Cooking Demonstration, " 10 a.m-11 a.m.
For more information, see the Texas Parks and Wildlife calendar.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr. Events

On November 3, 1983 President Reagan signed a bill that established the 3rd Monday of every January as the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday (starting with 1986). Today there are many options for celebrating this holiday.

Two parades mark the celebration in Houston. At 10 a.m. the Black Heritage Society's 30th anniversary parade begins at Capitol and Jackson near Minute Maid Park. Call 713-236-1700 for more information. At 2 p.m. the 14th annual MLK Grande Parade will start on Allen Parkway just east of Taft. Call 713-953-1633 for more information.

On the Rice University campus, the Black Student Association is hosting an annual Martin Luther King Jr. candlelight vigil at 5:30 p.m. in Ray's Courtyard at the Rice Memorial Center. The keynote speaker will be Judson Robinson II, the new president and CEO of the Houston Area Urban League. At 5:45 the vigil will move to the chapel and proceed from there to a reception at approximately 6:15. The event is free and open to the public.

Those who do not want to brave the cold rainy weather still have options for commemorating the holiday. The Martin Luther King Jr., Research and Education Institute Web site contains audio excerpts of his sermons and speeches, a biography, an encyclopedia, a document inventory, and information about purchasing compilations of his papers. This year the institute also held a screening of a documentary film clip in Beijing about Passages of Martin Luther King and presented Call to Conscience awards to the National Theater of China and to Teachers 4 Social Justice.

The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, established by his wife, Coretta Scott King, also offers books, audio and video cassettes, film, television, CDs and web pages to educate people about Dr. King’s life and nonviolent methods aimed at achieving social change.

Dr. King's biography, speeches, and pictures of the places associated with his life are available too through the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress. (Use the search box to retrieve a comprehensive listing of links related to Dr. King.)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Going Green

Do you have a desire to be more environmentally friendly, but don't know where to start? The EPA has an online pamphlet, GreenScaping: the Easy Way to a Greener, Healthier Yard. The pamphlet explains five steps for creating a healthier, more beautiful, and environmentally-friendly lawn and garden:

  1. Build and maintain a healthy soil
  2. Plant right for your site
  3. Practice smart watering
  4. Adopt a holistic approach to pest management
  5. Practice natural lawn care

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Exclusively Digital

Now that the countdown to a new year has passed, another countdown looms. If you have not bought a new television set lately and are enjoying your old analog set(s), be prepared to go digital by Feb. 19, 2009. That is the target date set by the U.S. Government to begin “digital only” broadcasting.

In order to help with the transition from analog to digital, the Federal Communications Commission has established a Web site, The site includes a FAQ (no, you do not have to buy a High Definition DTV) and a glossary to help you understand digital technology.

The best news, however, is that consumers will still be able to use their old analog televisions with the help of a converter box. The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is making available to every U.S. household two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used at the time of purchase for eligible digital-to-analog converter boxes that will sell for an estimated $50 to $70 each. More information about the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program is available from or by calling 1-888-388-2009 (voice) or 1-877-530-2634 (TTY). Consumers may request the coupons starting January 1, 2008.

The National Association of Broadcasters has also established a Web site, DTV Answers, to ensure that consumers are informed and prepared for the federally mandated transition from analog to digital broadcasting on Feb. 19, 2009.