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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

And the election winner is….

Well, we went out and elected a minority government. Pending recounts and absentee ballots, the results are 43 Liberal, 41 NDP, 3 Green. The big winners look like the Green Party, who hold the balance of power with North America’s first green caucus. The results are also very regionally polarized, with the Liberals strongest in the Interior and Fraser Valley, and the NDP strongest in Metro Vancouver and The Island. The Greens won their seats on The Island.

As for what happens next, I think Christy Clark ought to be given a chance to continue governing. She won a plurality of votes and seats (one below a majority), and getting the support of the Greens, either by abstention or voting with them, provides more “breathing space” to avoid losing a vote of confidence. In particular, if the Greens abstain, then the vote is 43 – 1 (for the speaker who votes only if there is a tie) = 42 to 41. If the Greens vote with the Liberals, then it is 43 + 3 – 1 = 45 to 41. For the NDP to govern, they will require the support of the Greens. The votes would be 41 + 3 – 1 = 43 to 43. This is a tie, so the speaker votes. Clearly, it is much easier for the Liberals to command the confidence of the Legislative Assembly. In addition, there is also the convention that the incumbent premier stays in power if a minority government is elected or they resign. Hence, unless there is some concrete agreement between the NDP and Greens, and possession of Canada’s best whips, both the seat totals and established norms support Christy Clark remaining in office for the time being.

Also, see how close the election was? And how one seat was decided by nine votes? That’s why you should vote and why there should be compulsory voting. Turnout is too low. This election, you should have voted, because it could have mattered this time.

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BC Election day today

Make sure you vote.

Election Day Today

Election day is today.

Make sure you vote.

Polygamists charged

Polygamy charges have finally been laid against Mormon fundamentalists from Bountiful. And if you read the article you’ll see that these misogynist will be making the exact same arguments that socons elsewhere: that religion trumps everything. One example would be the contraception mandate cases in the US.

And yet these socons’ hypocrisy is revealed by the fact that they do not support polygamists. If they truly, truly, truly thought religion should trump everything else, they be supporting polygamists. The fact that they don’t shows that their “concerns” about religion is really just a pretext.

Additionally, that slippery slope actually isn’t. The polygamists explicitly argued that marriage equality meant they had to be allowed to marry multiple people. However, the court upheld the law against polygamy. It rejected the very argument bigots make against marriage.

As for myself, I think we give too many privileges to religion already. It ought to be illegal to oppress women, and that women’s rights ought to overrule religion every time. And therefore my opposition to polygamy follows, whether you’re a Mormon fundamentalist, radical Islamist, or any other theomisogynist.

Word of the year 2013 are chosen because reasons!

The American Dialect Society has chosen its words of the year for 2013. First the other categories:

  • Most Useful was “because” when used to introduce another word, like in the title of this post.
  • Most Creative was “catfish”, when you misrepresent yourself online in the pursuit of romance.
  • Most Unnecessary was “sharknado”, a tornado full of sharks that came out of a movie.
  • Most Outrageous was “underbutt”, the underside of people’s buttocks, made visible by certain clothings.
  • Most Euphemistic was “least untruthful”, the smallest amount of lying.
  • Most Likely to Succeed was “binge–watch”, which is to television shows what binge–eating is to food.
  • Least Likely to Succeed was “Thanksgivukkah”, having Hanukkah start on (US) Thanksgiving.
  • Most Productive was “–shaming”, a form of public humiliation.

As an aside, I am surprised there were no “economy words” like shutdown, sequester, debt ceiling, etc. If this is due to them being common than I really don’t like the implications of that.

And the Word of the Year? Because… because reasons! Because useful! Because everywhere!

In a companion vote, the ADS sibling organization, the American Name Society, chose Francis (after the pope) as its Name of the Year.

Another lesson from south of the border

As virtually everyone knows by now, there are significant threats of a government shutdown in the US. The basic guts around it is that the US government will run out of funds for daily operations as no appropriations bill has been passed (as of yet). The reason there is no appropriations bill passed is because the GOP wants to defund the Affordable Care Act, and therefore makes defunding it one of the strings it has attached to get what it wants. And there is also the debt ceiling on the way.

Do I agree that the above is irresponsible, petty, partisan, reckless, and obstructionist? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. But guess what, it is perfectly legal. Article 1, Section 5 of the United States Constitution says (in part) the following:

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.

In other words, filibusters, refusing to fund the government, and so on, are all allowed by the rules the two Houses of the United.

Therefore, this means that another takeaway from the (likely) US Government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis is that the rules of operation should be amended to prevent the above obstructionism and hostage-taking from being allowed to occur.

Link farm August edition

I know I’ve been inactive lately, but that is due to a full–time job that leaves less time for blogging. Still, I will try and keep posting.

In the meantime, here’s a link roundup:

  • The Texas Attorney General admits to deliberate gerrymandering. At least he’s honest.
  • The US might take steps to reduce the over–incarceration caused by the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs. This is a good idea. The vast majority of people imprisoned in the US to lengthy prison sentences are for non–violent crimes like drug possession. This is a huge drain on public resources, and a huge dump of corporate welfare for the prison industrial complex. Ending it would help public finances, and prevent many young people from becoming a permanent underclass. Treating drug addiction as a medical problem would also improve public health, while reducing drug use, and ending the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs would also reduce crime and gun violence in the US.
    • It does not follow from the above that I necessarily endorse the use of drugs. The primary reason tobacco use causes heart disease is because smoking produces carbon monoxide. Smoking marijuana would produce likewise. (There is still excellent evidence that marijuana has medical uses, however).
  • Noah Smith is right. Libertarianism really is just about protecting the liberty of “local bullies.”

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