I could hardly believe what I found at Holiday Wine Cellar (an incredible beer/wine/liquor shop in Escondido, barely more than 15 minutes from Ladera Frutal).
3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze!!!
On our trip to Brussels in 2003, we wanted to experience some of the Senne Valley, the only place in the world that has the naturally ocurring mico-organinisms known as Bretanomyces that are needed to create true lambic, an open-fermented traditional country brew of Belgium. The town of Beersel is not far out of Brussels, but it is not an easy place to get to on a weekend, so we splurged for a cab to get us down there and back. We were gald we did. Gorgeous town, beautiful brewery cafe, and great lambic served with sumptuous traditional Belgian beer cuisine. Few, if any, other foreigners present–a great travel experience!
Very little genuine lambic is exported to the USA. But now I have a couple of bottles with which to relive one of our best beer/travel experiences.
At the 3 Fonteinen website, you can read about the process of lambic brewing and geuze blending. Geuze is produced by mixing one-year old, two- and three-year old lambic, then bottling it and letting a secondary fermentation take place in the bottle. On another page, you can see a (very) short video about the brewery.
The Polysigh post contains an extended excerpt from the famous interview of Richard Nixon conducted in 1977 by David Frost, and notes the echoes we are hearing today.
I will pull out just a few shorter excerpts.
Nixon, responding to Frost’s questions about domestic wiretaps:
Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.
Nixon expresses his opinion that this ipso facto legality of presidential actions is nonetheless checked:
we have to have in mind that a president has to come up before the electorate. We also have to have in mind, that a president has to get appropriations from the Congress.
Ah, yes, the quaint old days of divided government, but what if the Congress isn’t acting as an independent check on such matters? What is the congressional majorities–assuming they are even informed–accept, at least implicitly, the president’s assertion that, in “national security” the president by definition acts legally. And, as for the reelection check, it is not much good in a second term. It is arguably of limited utility even at the end of a first term, given that it is a blunt instrument and, more importantly, that the very essence of limited government is that just because something is popular does not mean it is good government. What if the actions of an imperial president enjoy transient popularity, but in the meantime are undermining the liberties that a limited government was meant to secure? Then the president’s inherently legal actions in national security may fail to be checked by congress or the electorate. That still does not make them consistent with liberal democratic principles.
As for the ACLU, it would proudly accept that “enemy of the state” mantle that a shirt being advertised on some allegedly ‘conservative’ blogs gives it. Enemy of the state indeed, when the head of state is violating liberties that the constitution is supposed to protect.
Repeat after me: A government of laws, not men.
Related previous posts, starting with the first one after the revelations (which, I noted, were really not all that new) about the warrantless surveiilance:
Continuing a theme from earlier in the week, and continuing to rely on Jonathan Edelstein for the details, it is interesting to see how Fatah has rearranged its nominations in the local multi-seat districts and the national party list for the upcoming elections. (Recall that Fatah factions registered separate slates of candidates, and then a last-minute court order extending the registration period permitted them to re-join in a unified slate.)
Jonathan, at The Head Heeb, reports that several of the Future faction’s candidates were granted winnable list positions, and also that some popular Future candidates replace old-guard Fatah candidates in the mutli-seat plurality (nominal tier) districts, where their presence could help Fatah prevent what otherwise could be a Hamas sweep of the district.
As Jonathan notes, “lackluster names can be buried much more easily on the national ticket where most of the attention will be on the people at the top.” As I have discussed in one of the most-commented threads (or most-propagated plantings) in the illustrious history of F&V, the opportunity that mixed-member systems (whether proportional/compensatory, or–as in Palestine–parallel) provide parties for ensuring victory via a closed list of candiadtes who are unelectable in the nominal tier is often a source of controversy in such systems.
Relatedly, my own (ongoing) research into the extent of a “personal vote” in closed-list PR systems seems to be pointing in the same direction as Jonathan’s evidence from Palestine. Briefly, the personal vote is that portion of a candidate’s own vote that the candidate obtains based on who he or she is, rather than what party he or she was nominated by. In electoral systems where voters are more likely to notice who the candidates are–especially those where they have to give a vote for one or more candidates–the personal vote is theoretically expected to play a greater role in elections. Parties operating in systems with a higher personal vote can be expected to leverage the personal vote by nominating visible candidates whose appeal may be greater than the party itself, and by doing so they may obtain more votes than would be the case if their slates were full of (hypothetical) undifferentiated party “hacks” (or candidates who appeal only to internal party organizations, but not to the broader public).
So, in closed-list systems, party reputation is expected to matter much more than the personal vote, but that does not mean that the theory of the personal vote expects such votes to be zero when lists are closed. What it suggests is that candidates with notable personal reputations would be expected to be nominated high on lists, where voters woud be inclined to notice them as the “face” of the party. Lower on the list, parties can get away with nominating the more “hackish” party regulars who lack personal followings, because in a list that voters must accept or reject as a whole, there is little incentive for voters to pay attention to the full slate of candidates.
Jonathan notes that, on the new Fatah list, some reformists known for service outside party politics (e.g. a university chemist and a refugee services coordinator) have now been promoted to higher and thus more visible (and election-ensuring) list ranks from the more “marginal” ranks they had initially.
Jonathan’s information about how Fatah is making use of the nominal districts (where personal reputation is most important to the party’s chances), high ranks on the closed list (where it is somewhat important), and low ranks (where personal reputation–even a negative one–is not expected to matter much, because few voters notice) is totally consistent with the theory of the intra-party dimension of representation.
And, as Jonathan notes, Hamas had already submitted nominatons that reflected a similar strategy with respect to leveraging the personal vote: “featuring prominent local candidates to anchor the territorial slates and a national list with big names at the top and something for everyone underneath.”
It’s always great to see theory get real-world validation!
Courtesy of Wilfred Day, commenting on a previous post here on minority governments in Canada, comes the following quote from a noted Canadian political scientist, Peter Russell:
Though I very much favour some form of proportional representation, the purpose of this essay is not to make the case for electoral reform but to show why minority government or coalition government is to be preferred to the alternative you are most likely to get under the existing system â€” false majority government. . . So sit back and enjoy â€” another minority government (we should hope) is coming to Ottawa.
Indeed. The last four times a single party has had a majority of seats in parliament, the “majority” party’s vote shares were:
43, 41.3, 38.5, 40.8
The first was the Conservative party (1988), the others have been Liberal. In 2004, the Liberals won 36.7% of the votes, and 43.8% of the seats, resulting in the first minority government since 1979.
There’s nothing about fruit-growing, but if one of the reasons eating fruit is “mentally taxing” is that “fruiting trees are patchily distributed in both space and time,” then clearly having an orchard is a sign of higher intelligence. Right?
As Jonathan Edelstein noted a few days ago at The Head Heeb, two factions of Fatah managed to avoid running separately in the Palestinian elections scheduled for January 25, thanks to a late, creative, ruling by the electoral court to delay the registration deadline.
Younger Fatah activists had split off and formed a party called “Future” (an interesting, if presumably unintentional parallel to the not-so-young Ariel Sharon’s splinter of Likud: “Forward”).
The delay in the registration deadline permitted the two groups to reconcile and submit a joint list of candidates. Had they failed to do so, as Jonathan notes, an already weak party system would have been made even weaker. On the other hand, the fact that they will not be running separately denies voters a chance to choose clearly between the old guard and the new blood. Still more to the point, the Palestinian electoral system effectively gave the two Fatah wings no other choice (even if they almost blew it).
The Palestinian legislative elections will be held under a variation of a mixed-member system: Half the 132 seats will be elected by plurality in multi-seat districts* and the other half by closed party list PR in a single Palestinian territorywide district (Ste.-LaguÃ« divisors, 2% threshold). The nominal tier of regional multi-seat plurality constituencies has an average magnitude of around four seats, and the voter may vote for as many candidates as there are seats in the district.
The system is thus mixed-member majoritarian (MMM, also known as parallel). That is, unlike in MMP systems, the share of votes won by each party will not determine the overall make-up of the parliament. Instead, each party’s share of votes determines only the share of seats it wins in the party-list tier, and then these seats are simply added to the totals won by each party’s candidates in the separate nominal-tier races.**
What that means is that a party that wins many nominal-tier seats will retain much of its seat-winning bonus–unlike in MMP. And given multi-seat plurality, the votes-to-seats disproportionality of this tier could be very large (unless many voters vote less-than-straight tickets, that is mixing and matching across parties).
While I do not know the regional breakdown of Fatah factional and Hamas support, with a recent territorywide polling breakdown that Jonathan gives, it is clear that two separate Fatah lists, also running separate full slates of candidates in the nominal tier, could lose badly to Hamas (especially given that Hamas voters are probably likely to be more disciplined, i.e. likely to vote the full slate of Hamas-nominated candidates in their districts). A unified Fatah list, on the other hand, should beat Hamas.
According to the poll, Hamas is at 31.4%, Future 26.8, and “official” Fatah at 17.7. If that breakdown held, the MMM system could give Hamas, running against separate Fatah factional slates, a seat share much greater than its vote share. But by rejoining forces, Fatah, if it can hold the combined 44.5% that the poll shows for its two wings, almost surely would win a majority of seats under MMM. It is worth noting, however, that this is a rather big “if” because, given the Fatah divisions, many voters may refuse to vote for the full Fatah slate in their nominal-tier district. That is, some voters may vote only for the candidates they recognize as “Future” or “official” Fatah members, and not for the candidates of both factions. To the extent that happens, and Hamas voters are more unified, the result could still favor Hamas relative to Fatah in the votes-to-seats conversion. The two Fatah factions are still better off running together–and trying to encourage full-slate voting–than they would be running separately.
The electoral system really gave them no other choice than to come back together, or else forfeit the leading position in parliament to Hamas. In that sense, then, the recent brinksmanship was sort of an unofficial “primary” by which the Future faction sought to get better nominations than the official Fatah had previously offered it. Apparently, it has worked, albeit only after armed skirmishes between the factions.
If Israel votes first, it is likely that a stable center-left government will be established, and the new government will be able to facilitate the Palestinian election process without worrying about its standing in the polls. This, in turn, will increase the odds of a more moderate Palestinian parliament being elected. If the Palestinians vote first, the situation will be precisely the opposite: election-year politics will prevent Israel from making the concessions that might boost Fatah’s electoral chances, and a strong Hamas performance in January will give the right-wing parties a campaign issue for March.
*With one proviso: There are guarantees that a fixed number of seats must be won by Christians, so in districts where Christian seats are set aside, some non-Christian candidates might be skipped in favor of one or more Christians with fewer votes. (This mechanism is similar to the women’s-representation provision in Afghanistan’s SNTV system.)
**To my knowledge, MMP has never been used with a nominal tier of multi-seat districts. It could be done, in principle, but doing so would make it all the more important that the list-PR tier be really large (not less than 50%) in order to achieve proportionality.
A striking fact about his list is that, of the 47 political scientists he identified who have blogs, only five are in comparative politics (using his classification). American politics (17) and international relations (13) dominate. We need more comparativists to jump into the fray!
(Note that his census is of 47 persons, not 47 blogs, as many blogs have multiple contributors.)
[NOTE: An error below, regarding which state senate district Tom Morrow represents, has been corrected. Thanks to the anonymous commenter at San Diego Politics for noting the error. See also the epilogue below.]
The various election races in Orange and San Diego Counties will command the attention of both major national parties. I have created a new block to organize postings about these counties’ elections (SD & OC politics). I have also created one for US elections 2006.
“Both national parties are going to be reading the tea leaves over what happens here” in California [said Republican political consultant Jeff Flint of Anaheim], particularly with the looming 2008 presidential election. Among the things that will be watched, he said, is the extent to which illegal immigration becomes an effective campaign issue.
The potential impact of immigration as an issue was highlighted by the special congressional election race in late 2005 in which Jum Gilchrist of the Minuteman border vigilante organization won 25% of the vote, almost certainly cutting deeply into the district’s Republican electorate.
Orange County will have a special election in April (with a likely runoff coinciding with the June statewide primary) to fill the state senate seat vacated by John Campbell, the winner of the congressional special election. And, of course, San Diego County will have the special election, also in April, for the 50th US House district.
The combination of special elections and many incumbents being termed out of their current jobs is creating quite a scramble. For instance, a termed-out Assemblyman is among those running in the state Senate special election. The State Senator for Ladera Frutal* is another example. Tom Morrow is termed out, and is already running in the April special election for CA-50. If one compares the maps of his current senate district (38th) and the 50th House district, one can see that they overlap significantly. The other two (former) officeholders who are running, also have represented only portions of the current CA-50.
Just in case, Morrow is hedging. If The Viper runs for the US Senate seat currently held by Dianne Feinstein, Morrow will run for that (assuming, of course, that he has not won the most votes among the 5+ Republican candidates in CA-50 in April’s first round). That district is House seat no. 49, of which Ladera Frutal is a part. Morrow already tried for that seat once before, having lost to The Viper in the March, 2000, primary. (He lost 33.3-23.6 in what was at that time a blanket primary**, but 53.1-35.5 among votes cast for Republicans.)
I am unsure why The Viper would want to take on Feinstein, but here is one district resident who hopes he does–just to get him out of the House.
*Barely; Moosa Creek, which forms the bottom of the canyon from which Ladera Frutal rises, is the district boundary line. So much for single-seat districts forming communities of interest. Both sides of the canyon are part of the same (and very small) “community” in any sense of the term.
**In the blanket primary, all candidates ran on one ballot, allowing voters to cross freely from party to party across different offices. With all the candidates from different parties running in a common election, it is just like the rules for special elections, except that in the blanket primary, the top vote-getter in each party advanced to a general election even if one candidate had a majority of all votes in the primary, whereas in the special election, a majority ends it right there. The blanket primary system was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, which leads me to wonder why the similar system for special elections remains acceptable.
[UPDATE: San Diego Politics reports on the money factor in the 50th district, noting that Morrow may be cut off from DC money for not being far enough to the right. Not surprising, as I recall from the 2000 primary in the 48th district--now The Viper's 49th--that some local Democrats were quietly backing Morrow as the more moderate alternative.]
EPILOGUE (1/09): As to the error–whether Morrow is in the 36th or 38th, the odd thing is that I made the error because I went to the State Senate’s “your senator” page to confirm that Morrow really was my senator. It says he is, but it does not tell you the district number. (I did not go to Morrow’s own site.) So then I went to the district maps, also at the senate website. The map clearly shows the border between the 36th and 38th in Bonsall being Moosa Creek. I am north of the creek. So, according to the map, I am not in Morrow’s district, even though the “your senator” function says I am.
Scott Turner, former NFL defensive back and punter, who played for the San Diego Chargers, has thrown his helmet into the race for the House seat vacated by the Crooked Duke. He has no political experience, unless one counts an unpaid internship in the summer of 2004 for Representative Duncan Hunter. He joins a very crowded field of fellow Republicans that already includes one incumbent (and termed-out) state Senator, a former state Assemblyman, a former Congressman (from a different district that included part of the current CA-50 before it was redistricted to make it safer for the Democrat who defeated him), and two wealthy businessmen with no political experience.
I was just checking, via Sitemeter, on recent referral pages to this site. (Hey, this is important!) Your humble blog came up as the third result on a Google search page for “chile anaheim propagation.”
There is a variety of chile pepper called ‘Anaheim’ and I suspect the searcher wanted to know how to grow them. But up came F&V, with the following:
… Propagation: Seeds & scions (4) Chile: Center-left majority in senate … Several of the games will be in either Anaheim or San Diego (see the tournament structure). Tickets go …
Well, I hope that person found something interesting over here.
Topping the list of worst: The Georgia state legislature’s voter-ID bill, followed by the Carter-Baker Commission, and the Delaymander. Among the best: An injunction against the Georgia bill, and the US Spreme Court agreeing to review the Delaymander.
He won majorities in five of nine departments. Podemos won pluralities–but not majorities–in the other four. The only department where the top two candidates were not those of MAS (Morales) or Podemos was Beni, where the MNR came in second (23.9%, to Podemos 47.6 and MAS with 15.3). Other than Beni, in the departments where Morales did not win the majority, he won a quarter to a third of the votes. This is impressive national coverage for a candidate who was, going into the election, widely seen as mostly a regional phenomenon. (Detailed departmental breakdowns are at the CNE site.)
This result would give MAS 12 senators, Podemos 13, and the MNR and FUN 1 each*. I have not yet seen any deputies results. The votes for the list tier of the Chamber of Deputies necessarily are the same as for president and senate (the voter selects a single party list for all three offices); however, the result in the lower house also depends on the results in the nominal tier (i.e. the single-seat districts). Even though the deputies are assigned via MMP (i.e. the list seats are allocated in compensatory fashion), it is not a simple translation of list votes into a share of the department’s total seat allocation, because with some departments having relatively few seats and compensation being carried out department-by-department (with no national adjustment, as in Germany) it is possible for a party to out-do its proportional share in the single-seat districts. In that case, the result will be somewhat disproportional in a way that can’t be determined without knowing the nominal-tier breakdown.
*This is corrected from an earlier version of this post.
If by my laws you walk, and my commands you keep, and observe them,
then I will give-forth your rains in their set-time,
so that the earth gives-forth its yield
and the trees of the field give-forth their fruit.
--Vayikra 26: 3-4