Primary Day

Registered NYC Democrats: did you vote today? It’s your civic duty. Really. But, an altogether odd primary election, I will say. Haven’t been entirely impressed by the candidates. But, I liked this article in the NY Times about the NYC electorate – Sam Roberts reports that NYC white population may very well be a voting minority (as well as population-wise minority) in today’s primary.

Today’s Democratic primary is the prelude to a potentially revolutionary turning point in New York City’s traditional tribal politics: In November, for the first time, non-Hispanic whites are projected to constitute a minority of the voters in a mayoral general election.

The impact of the shift, coupled with changes wrought by term limits and public campaign financing, is already apparent in the choices voters face today. Polls say the front-runner for the Democratic nomination is Fernando Ferrer, a Puerto Rican raised in the South Bronx. Among his three challengers is C. Virginia Fields, a black woman who grew up in the South. William C. Thompson Jr., who is seeking a second term as comptroller, is black. And dozens of black, Hispanic and Asian candidates are competing for borough presidencies and City Council seats.

But rather than guaranteeing minority domination of New York government, the demographic changes have just made the city’s politics more complex. A surge of new immigrants – many of them not bound, like their predecessors, to the Democratic Party – has so diversified black, Hispanic and Asian voters that some of the monolithic blocs and natural coalitions once taken for granted among those minority groups no longer apply.

Non-Hispanic whites became a minority of the city’s overall population in the 1980’s, but still made up a majority of voting-age citizens, registered voters and, according to exit polls and other surveys, New Yorkers who actually turned out on Election Day. It is estimated that non-Hispanic whites were 52 percent of the electorate in the 2001 mayoral race and 51 percent of the city’s voters in last year’s presidential election.

“This is the first election in New York City history where the majority is minority,” Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant, said. [….]

One sign of Hispanic ascendancy is that Rodriguez has now become the most common surname on New York’s voter registration rolls, according to an accounting by John H. Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research at the City University of New York Graduate Center [….]

Interesting stuff.

Just finished watching most of the series premiere of the FOX series, “Bones” (I say “most” because I got back from voting). The series brings Kathy Reichs‘ medical examiner Dr. Temperance Brennan to life. Brennan does autopsies for both the jurisdictions of North Carolina and Quebec, Canada, like the author Kathy Reichs herself.

I was a bit wary of this tv show. While I found the idea attractive, since American TV do not bring literary character to life too often, at least, not for tv series. But, the Brits do it much better, even if it means fiddling the tv character slightly – but no less interesting, since the character would still resemble his original book version – ex., Inspector Morse on tv is a whole lot like his book version, except with the sister and suicidal niece (which I don’t think were in the books). But, it’s not like the tv Morse can be shown cleverly doing crossword puzzles like his book version; some things just don’t translate as well on tv.

Another reason why I was wary about “Bones” – David Boreanaz (the former “Angel”). Hmm, I hoped he showed enough range. Not that he didn’t have range on “Angel,” but the character kind of had reason for range (umm, cursed to never have true happiness; doomed to be the Champion of the Good; losing everyone he loves; etc.).

“Bones” as a tv series seemed interesting – Dr. Brennan (played by Emily Deschanel) is assigned to the FBI in Washington, D.C. (not her North Carolina/Quebec jurisdictions) and writes mystery novels based on her work (like Kathy Reiches – talk about metatextual presentation!). She works with Seeley Boothe (played by Boreanaz), FBI agent/ex-army sniper. With obvious Mulder/Scully overtones (much too obvious), they solve a murder. Brennan, whom Boothe nicknames “Bones,” is overly rational and detached and yet solidly determined to shoot or kick someone in her way (hmm, Scully like, without the religious faith elements), whereas Boothe is the intuitive detective, who appreciates human nature (umm, sort of like Mulder, without the paranormal paranoia). Both are young and attractive and smart. Oh, and Brennan gets a young and bright team of forensic scientists, out of the NBC “Crossing Jordan” realm. Brennan lacks a bedside manner (like a female Dr. House). She just dumped a boyfriend, who accuses her of poor intimacy skills, but great in the area of sex.

Other than the forensic stuff, it doesn’t feel like the same Dr. Brennan of the books (okay, so I only read one or two, and it was awhile ago, but I always meant to read more later; I thought the Quebec stuff was interesting, but the North Carolina stuff not as interesting). Brennan there is older (middle-age-ish), having got over a previous marriage; has a college-age daughter; is called “Tempe” not “Bones” (the nickname “Bones” reminds me of “Bones” McCoy of “Star Trek”). Book Brennan also falls for a Montreal detective (who could pass for tv’s Boothe, barring the lack of age similarity). Just not the same thing. Oh, and they gave TV Brennan the obligatory Really Sad Past (her parents disappeared when she was 15, which is why she became this detached lunatic medical examiner).

The end of the episode (I’m not giving away the plot itself) was amusing. Apparently, Brennan had been trying to get Boothe open up to her about his army sniper past, but he’s a little pissed that she won’t reveal more of herself to him first. Finally, she discloses her pain of losing her parents, and he revealed that he, as an army sniper, killed a lot of people, so he’s trying to make up for that by catching killers. “Trying to even out the karmic balance sheet?” Brennan says (I’m paraphrasing – she did use the balance sheet term); Boothe smiles and concedes so. Umm, that whole I’m-trying-to-redeem-myself-for-the-guilt-of-my-past – that’s so Angel! 😉 For a guy who wants to move away from his vampire hero past, Boreanaz is still playing a certain kind of character. (well, I don’t expect his new character to start singing “Mandy” like Angel did).

“Bones” hit all the correct tv cues. Boothe’s FBI boss is played by the actor who played the “JAG” boss – is this actor forever typecasted as a Stern Authority Figure? (well, he has the look, so it happens, I guess). Boothe is missing more range (sorry, Boreanaz), but it’s only a series premiere, so more may come. Is it a must-see tv show yet? Well. I’ll reserve judgment.

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