As August turns to September, this will be the last of three plantings on my favorite topics–baseball, fruits, and votes.
As we reach September (how did that happen, anyway?), most of the stone fruits are done for the season. The 4-in-1 pluot has now completed its fruiting season.
It is pictured here on 10 August. Those are the Dapple Dandys (Dandies?) there on the left side of the tree–not yet dappled at the time of the photo. Over on the right side are the Flavor Queens, which remain yellow at ripening. The one lone Flavor King that we had this year is visible hanging low in a mesh basket near the trunk. The Flavor Supreme (at the back of the tree from this angle) had no fruit this year.
Pluots have such complex flavors. The Flavor Queen is better than any yellow plum–well, make that almost any (see below). The Flavor King is true royalty in its wine-like complexity.
The Golden Nectar plum is unusually large for a plum, and with a very distinctive shape. Viewed here through the bird/squirrel netting,1 this was our first crop. The Golden Nectar has flavors that I never knew a plum could have. Very rich and sweet. It gets my vote for best yellow plum–so far, anyway.
The Emerald Beaut has a really heavy crop this year, pictured here before I put the netting up. I suppose its name implies it is a green plum, but I suspect that it will turn at least somewhat yellowish as it ripens (as do the Green Gages). I have tasted these only dried, not counting the one under-ripe one that I had a few days ago. For an under-ripe plum, it was pretty good! Still better than store bought.2 But it will be intensely sweet once it is fully ripe. And you can’t find many plums that ripen this late–in this climate, anyway.
Then, just as the stone-fruit season approaches its end, we will be getting ready for the full swing of pome-fruit season. Apples, pears, and quinces. Some apples ripen almost year round, but all have good crops this year and most will ripen September to November. The pears, like this 4-in-1 Asian pear, have really heavy crops this year.
In addition to the 4-in1 (which includes the sumptuous butterscotch-like Yoinashi at the upper right), at the left of the photo is the heavily laden Hosui.
It has been a year of heavy crops–that freeze that was so bad for the (non-citrus) subtropicals meant great chill for the stone and pomme fruits.
If those leaves in the foreground look like apricot leaves, it is because they are. This is from the hedgerow, where the trees are crowded by design. Note that these are the leaves outside the netting–on the neighboring tree, one the very late-ripening apricots, which set only one fruit this year. And, unfortunately, it dropped just the other day. [↩]
And more ripe than most of what is sold in stores would have been at time of harvest. [↩]
As August turns to September, this is the second of three plantings on my favorite topics–baseball, fruits, and votes.
In 2005, the month of September was the first full month for this blog. And, for the votes side of things, what a month it was! Elections occurred that month in Japan, Germany, and New Zealand–the three major examples of mixed-member systems. There were also elections in Afghanistan, Poland, and Norway. Each of these had interesting and unusual outcomes. Some were cliffhangers, two were snap elections, one was an opportunity for warlords to earn political respectability, and another resulted in twins becoming president and prime minister. (All of these were themes of entries in this blog; find them by navigating the list of “orchard blocks” on the left sidebar.)
In the world of votes, September, 2007, won’t be anything like 2005. But then few months could be. A quick check of Maximiliano Herrera’s Electoral Calendar (always linked on the right sidebar under Germination >> Votes) shows only Ukraine, on the last day of the month, among those that I know I will be following (and indeed have been following here already). There are also elections in Morocco (on the 7th, and where an Islamist party could emerge as the largest in the weak parliament), Greece (16th, suddenly looming big with protesters in front of parliament over faulty response to the recent fires and allegations that the fires were set by developers wanting the land), Guatemala (9th, both president and assembly, in a campaign that has seen more people killed daily than in the latter phase of the civil war), Madagascar (23rd, for the parliament of a semi-presidential system, and what would happen if you held an election and no one ran?), and Jamaica (3rd, delayed a week by Hurricane Dean and with a wide-open race in a country where few elections have been close).
Ecuador is scheduled to have an election for a constituent assembly on the 30th. And, while not a popular election, the selection of the next president of Lebanon, due on the 25th, is going to be tense.
That’s actually a lot of votes. But it still doesn’t look as big as September, 2005. But I couldn’t keep up with a month like that very often!
I have used his fantastic guidebooks and other writings for years to explore great beers on my travels. I always considered it a real badge of personal honor when I found something world class that he hadn’t written about. That did not happen very often.
Mr Jackson taught us what a rich, complex, and varied drink the fermented malt beverage can be. And he got paid to drink the greatest beers in the world. I’d call that living a good life. But, at 65, it ended too soon.
As August turns to September, this will be one of three plantings on my favorite topics–baseball, fruits, and votes.
I don’t think there has been a better end to August around baseball in many years. We had several series to end the month with big implications for the races that are about to enter their final month.
Was that a statement the Angels made, or what? This is not over by any means, but when you interrupt a tough run of road games for three at home against the team ahead of you, could take the division lead with a sweep–and then get swept–it’s some setback. The Angels just out-classed the Mariners in every aspect of the game for three straight and now lead the division by five games.
Earlier today I tuned in just in time to see (ex-Phillie) Billy Wagner blow a chance for his first two-inning save of the millennium, capping off a wild 11-10 game. The Phillies completed a four-game sweep at home of the division-leading Mets, and are now only two games out.
Tonight the Padres go for a four-game sweep of Arizona, and if they pull it off, they will claim a one-game lead in their division.
The Brewers can’t reclaim their lead over the Cubs in tonight’s game, but they can win the series and thereby get back within 1/2 game–and move over .500. For the second year in a row, the NL Central “race” is pathetic.
Let’s see, did I leave anything out? Not really. Well, there was the Yankees completing a three-game sweep of the Red Sox. Yaaaaawwwwn. The Red Sox lead of five games still looks safe. However, with their sweep and the Mariners’ sinking, the Yankees did pass the Mariners for the wild card lead.
More great games among the contenders later in the day on 30 August!
The Diamondbacks escaped San Diego with their division lead intact, almost blowing an 8-0 lead in the seventh. Instead, it was just another one-run lead, keeping their Snake Highs season going. Look out, San Diego, here come the Dodgers and Boomer!
The Mariners slipped into second place in the AL Wild Card race with their sixth straight loss. This was one of their many would-be off days given up to making up that snow-out from the first week of the season. The Indians beat them on a walk-off walk. The Mariners are reeling, but they have an early September wild-card showdown with the now-leading Yankees starting Monday.
And the Brewers slipped back below .500, losing the final game of their series with the Cubs, who now have a 2.5 game lead for the race to be the least mediocre team in the NL Central.
Now, please raise your hand if you thought the Angels would go into the final game of August with the largest lead of any of the six divisions.1 And now please raise your hand if you thought the Indians would enter September leading their division.
September is going to be fun!
And only 1/2 game off the pace for league’s best record. [↩]
In the recent entry on India, I noted how the Left alliance is not really credible in its threats to bring down the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance government over the US-India nuclear deal. There, I made a general point about how small parties are usually not able to be the “tail that wags the dog”–that is, demand a price in terms of policy influence above their contribution to the majority coalition: unless the small parties are close to indifferent as to which major party leads the government, their bluff can usually be called by the bigger party.
Vasi1took exception to this statement with respect to the shift, in 2002, of then-Republican Senator Jim Jeffords to Democratic-supporting independent status. This is a good example, and given one Senator’s ability to swing the chamber, is it an exception to my generalization?
No. First, in the India discussion and other times I have made this point about small-party influence, I have been referring to coalition government, and whether a small party can effectively “blackmail” a bigger party, demanding a high price for its support. In the Jeffords case, his swing made a huge difference because he determined which party held sole control over the institution’s agenda, not which one led a multiparty coalition.
Second, notwithstanding the big impact of his decision, the other side of the equation is what the party or legislator making this shift is able to get in return. This is the crux of the matter for those who argue that small parties (or individual pivotal legislators) have inordinate influence. I am not aware of any evidence that Vermont or Jeffords’s own policy preferences were specifically catered to by Democrats, once he let them take power over the Senate. (In fact, I recall somewhere reading a claim that he had probably extracted more when he was in the Republican caucus, but I can’t say for sure.)
An individual legislator who switches parties–especially when he then never runs for reelection again–is not the same as a party that has to face its own voters again over the coalitions it has chosen to support. The Indian Left simply can’t face its electorate as the party that threw out the UPA in favor of the BJP-led NDA. Because of that, it is not able to exert influence out of proportion to its contribution to the governing majority, and perhaps not even commensurate with that contribution (though it would not be an easy thing to measure accurately). It is not free to swing.2
So, what about the case of Israel, one often cited in defense of the tail (small party) wagging dog (determining which big party can lead a coalition). Vasi also raised this example:
The various ethnic- or religious-constituency parties don’t really care who governs.
Indeed, these are the sorts of parties that can potentially demand an above-proportional share of influence. Some Israeli parties are indifferent between Labor and Likud (or Kadima in 2006) and thus potentially can swing coalitions, and as a result, demand concessions. Yet, as I have noted before, there is little evidence for the “tail wagging the dog” argument in Israel. And if we can’t find it there, with its big multiparty coalitions and frequent government changes, there aren’t many places we can find it!
The conditions under which small parties or individual legislators can exploit “pivotalness” and demand influence beyond their contribution to the majority are much stricter than often assumed.
Hope you can return to regular commenting, Vasi! [↩]
While Jeffords did not have to face his electorate again, it is likely he was reflecting its (changed) preferences when he made his swing to the Democrats. A similar example might be the German FDP, when it brought down the SPD-led government in 1982 and effectively put the Christian Democrats in power. The 1983 election appeared to confirm that it was following–or anticipating–the voters, not “dictating” who would govern. [↩]
Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman has rejected calls from within Likud for the two parties to run a joint list in the next general election, the JPost reports:
Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu … is willing to reserve slots on the Likud’s Knesset slate for Israel Beiteinu candidates as he did for those from Rafael Eitan’s Tzomet Party and David Levy’s Gesher Party when he won the 1996 election.
But Lieberman says he is not interested.
Lieberman said the obstacles between his party and the Likud were not personal but ideological. He denied having an interest in challenging Netanyahu for the Likud leadership.
“There is a gap in the outlooks of the parties,” Lieberman said. “We are a right-wing secular movement with a clear socioeconomic and civilian agenda. We want the Likud to adopt our approach on changing the government system, conversion and civil unions. I’m not playing games of ego. There are people in Israeli politics who behave differently, not just ambitions and personal pretensions.”
In the radio interview, Lieberman called upon the IDF to attack terrorist bases in the Gaza Strip. And he warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that Israel could act to remove his regime if there were security problems in the North.
The statements reveal starkly the multidimensionality of Israeli politics, even within the “right” of the spectrum, where both Israel Beiteinu and Likud are firmly located. On settlements and foreign policy, Israel Beiteinu is well to the “right” of Likud, whereas on religious affairs it is to Likud’s “left.” These differences would be difficult to accommodate under the banner of a single list.
No, “Dean’s remnants” is not a reference to the evident demise of the “democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” Rather, it is to the outflow from Hurricane Dean. As noted a few days ago, there was a chance of considerable rain here as a result of the hurricane’s moisture streaming northwest. Indeed, we got it. As the NWS noted this afternoon,1
WHAT A THUNDERSTORM DAY! IN SOME CASES IT WAS A HISTORICAL EVENT SUCH AS IN ESCONDIDO WHERE THE RECORD FOR HIGHEST DAILY AUGUST RAINFALL WAS LIKELY BROKEN.
Of course, it does not take much to break a record for rain for August around there parts. But the situation in Escondido (20 minutes or so driving time south/southeast of Ladera Frutal) was described this morning as “flooding rains.” And we were hearing thunder from 6:00 a.m. on into mid-morning hours.
A report of the day’s rain at the local NWS website2 says Escondido had 1.89 inches!
Alas, the finca received a mere .08.
Evidently their keyboards can’t produce lower-case letters [↩]
The US-India nuclear cooperation deal, signed last year, is causing some serious tensions within India’s governing alliance, according to the Hindustan Times. The deal is being staunchly opposed by the Left alliance, on whom the minority cabinet of the United Progressive Alliance (Congress Party and numerous pre-electoral allies among state-specific parties) depends to remain in office. The opposition National Democratic Alliance (BJP and its own pre-electoral state allies) is asking for a parliamentary committee to examine the deal.
“This is not a family affair of the UPA and Left. It’s an issue that concerns the entire nation and, therefore, the government should put in place some parliamentary mechanism, something like a committee comprising members of both Houses, to study the agreement,” senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra said after an NDA meeting chaired by Leader of Opposition LK Advani.
Despite the conflict, “The Opposition, however, has no immediate plans to bring a no-confidence motion against the government.” At least for now…
Whatever the conflicts between the Left and the UPA, it is not as if the Left wants a new election anytime soon.1 Nor does it want an alliance with the NDA. In a no-confidence vote, the Left and UPA would be likely either to vote with the UPA or to abstain. Nonetheless, one might expect at some point that the NDA would want to embarrass the Left by making it choose influence in the government over stated principle on the nuclear deal. An article on newindpress.com suggests that the NDA may do just that in September, but agrees that the Left is unlikely to vote to remove the cabinet in such a case.
Will the Left side with the BJP to bring down the government by voting with the BJP-sponsored no-confidence motion? Sources rule out such a possibility, saying that the Left cannot afford to go to polls, if they side with the communal forces.2 Instead, they would prefer to abstain.
The UPA strength will then be reduced to 237 MPs, (UPA 219+BSP 18), after the 59-strong Left withdraws its crucial outside support to the government, while the NDA will have 172 MPs on its side.
The status of the government will then be reduced to a minority government, as was the case with the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, when he formed the government in 1991.
In case, the Left decides to take the extreme step of voting with the BJP, even then the general election will be held only in the beginning of 2008, by February-March, given the fact that a lead time of about 45 days is required for preparations by the Election Commission.
While I am certainly no expert on Indian politics, I just don’t see the Left alliance being willing to provoke an election over this, no matter how much it would like to show its opposition to the nuclear deal. In fact, I would even be surprised if the Left abstained. We will have a better idea next week, when meetings are expected between the Left and the main governing party, Congress.
The Congress leadership is likely to initiate talks next week with the four Left parties, notably the CPM, on the modalities of the proposed mechanism to allay their concerns on the India-specific Hyde Act of the United States. [...]
In the back-channel discussions between the CPM and the Congress, it has been broadly agreed to have representatives from both sides on the proposed mechanism for talks. The advice of scientists and diplomats will be available to them while they go through various provisions of the Hyde Act and the bearing they have on India’s sovereignty and independent foreign policy.
There is going to be some serious diplomacy, and I am not talking about between India and the US government, or any other foreign power. I mean between the highest leaders of the government and its critical support parties, which need each other in parliament.
A regular election would not be due till 2009. [↩]
Republicans may throw their support behind a plan to change to the Maine and Nebraska model: one elector for the winner of the plurality in each congressional district, and two for the statewide plurality winner.
Democrats may back an initiative that would enter California into the proposed interstate compact by which the electoral college would be converted into a nationwide plurality direct vote.
The status quo method is awful and should be abolished forthwith. However, is the congressional-district plan favored by some Republicans an improvement? On strictly small-d democratic grounds, absolutely not. Most congressional districts are totally safe for one party–even more than the state itself–and so this plan makes a problem (non-sensitivity to the popular vote) worse, not better.
Of course, on large-D Democratic grounds, the congressional-district plan is a major threat. It would essentially compensate the GOP for its likely loss of Ohio’s 21 electoral votes in 2008. And the measure would be effective in the 2008 election were it to be on the ballot in February (presidential primary) or June (regular state primary), and were it to pass.
While a poll recently suggests 47% would favor the congressional-district measure and 35% oppose it, an actual vote is unlikely to result in 50% support, once statewide voters (most of whom have favored Democrats by wide margins in elections in which Arnold Schwarzenegger was not a candidate) catch wind of what is a pure partisan vote-grab.
The other measure would not take effect in 2008, but only after other states whose electoral votes sum to the 270 needed to elect a president had likewise signed on to the compact. At that point, states with enough to ensure victory in the electoral college to the popular-vote winning ticket would have bound themselves legally to give all their electoral votes to that ticket.
A bill to enter the state into the compact passed both houses of the legislature last year but was vetoed by the Governor.
If you click on the block title, “Electoral College & National Popular Vote” above, you will see several previous entries in which I have discussed this proposal. And, no, it is not a partisan vote-grab. In fact, I suspect that the Democratic Party nationally is marginally favored by the current use of statewide plurality in 48 states (and DC). But a direct vote is preferred democratically (small d).
If both measures in California qualify for the ballot and are approved, the one with the higher vote total would prevail. That’s a lousy way to choose from among three alternatives, of course. But for me, as a small-d democrat, it is easy. The status quo is preferable to the congressional district plan, and the national popular vote is vastly preferable to the status quo.
Two otherwise unrelated LA Times pieces this month show how dysfunctional the process of “representation” and policy-making are in this state and its largest city. One concerns the negotiations over the state budget–finally resolved this week–and the other concerns development policy in Los Angeles.
GOP holdouts on state budget cite principles. The sub-heading says “The senators, unswayed by the governor’s pleading, say they’re standing up for their constituents and the state’s fiscal integrity.” However, the underlying problem is institutional: the state’s absurd requirement of two-thirds votes in each house of the legislature to pass a budget (which then is subject to the governor’s item veto), coupled with the non-competitiveness of almost every one of the state’s single-seat districts.
The holdouts may say they are defending “principle” (what politician doesn’t say that?), but when they are representing their “constituents” it is not as though they are actually referring to ordinary citizens who happen to live within the politically drawn boundaries of their districts. The “constituents” in question are organized and moneyed interests such as agribusiness. And the article notes that their budget-cutting “principles” tend to come up short when it comes to–surprise!–pork-barrel projects for their districts.
For weeks, the budget remained one vote short of what it needs in the Senate, with fourteen GOP Senators having sworn not to provide that vote until a majority of them agree. One other member of the caucus defected some time ago and backed the budget negotiated by the Democrats who control both chambers and Governor Schwarzenegger. Why? He is the only one with a competitive district.
Sen. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria, who represents one of the state’s few tightly contested districts and is seeking reelection, defected and voted for the budget. “I got elected to represent the 15th senatorial district,” he said, “not to represent the Republican senatorial caucus.”
In other words, his district is one of the few–in the hands of either party–that comes close to representing the preferences of the state as a whole (at least as defined by the narrow range offered by the partisan duopoly).
The deadlock was finally broken when the caucus leader, Dick Ackerman, secured a (non-enforceable) pledge from Schwarzenegger to use his item veto against several of the provisions. But, as George Skelton notes in the LA Times (23 Aug), the standoff was less about the budget, per se, than it was about power struggles inside the state GOP. While Ackerman finally joined Maldonado in voting for the budget, no other members of his caucus did so.
Ackerman’s hold on his own position is tenuous, and the caucus had previously required any deals he negotiates to be approved by a majority of the caucus (talk about a short delegation leash on a party leader). Moreover, he was subject to a primary challenge from the right, as several other relatively moderate Republicans have been. With California’s single-seat legislative districts, almost all are safe for the party in the general election, meaning their representatives are pushed to the extremes of their respective party by a primary process in which a plurality of the party’s small turnout suffices to determine, effectively, who represents the entire district. What a broken system of “representation.”
The other item is about the developer-driven “Manhattanization” of downtown Los Angeles, and a major package of zoning changes approved unanimously by the City Council recently. The author, Joel Kotkin, notes that as recently as the 1990s LA city politics was “fractious game, with distinct voices representing different neighborhoods, ethnic groups, labor and business associations.”
All that has changed, according to Kotkin, and he places part of the blame on one of the supposed institutional “reforms” that swept California and other states in the 1990s:
Term limits also may encourage developer-driven politics. Before voters limited their time in office to two consecutive four-year terms in 1993, council members often represented their districts for decades without having to worry much about challengers. [Ernani] Bernardi, for instance, served 32 years on the City Council [from which he "was a constant foe of the city's redevelopment agency" and represented his San Fernando Valley constituents' opposition to development].
But in the era of term limits, ambitious council members facing the end of their terms have to begin fundraising for their next race for elected office almost immediately after election day. Given the high cost of modern campaigns, they have no incentive to alienate wealthy developers who could bankroll them.
While it is unfortunate that a previous era of incumbents not “having to worry much about challengers” is extolled as the good old days for city democracy, the posited effect of term limits is no surprise.
The unifying thread is, of course, the single-seat district plurality system that makes so few districts for either the legislature or city councils competitive in general elections. I am taking no stand on whether the LA development in question is good for the city or not; the previous opposition was based on the “NIMBY”1 attitudes of geographically defined constituencies. Similarly, the state’s urban Democratic Party-favored spending programs that the GOP Senators were holding out against are a product of the political logic of noncompetitive districts. The larger syndrome in both cases, then, is a political process that privileges “constituents” that are defined by geographical location–a problem only exacerbated by the state’s super-majority requirement.
Term limits attack the symptom–low turnover in office–but not the syndrome, which is poor representation of the median voter in the broader political jurisdiction. And they actually make the problem worse, by severing the link to the officeholder’s current geographically defined district.
At various levels in the state, there is talk of relaxing term limits, and there is sentiment (mainly within the Democratic party, of course) for amending the state constitution to remove the 2/3 requirement for the budget. These would be good reforms, but they are mere tinkering, compared with the need to address the broken process of single-seat districts themselves. And not just how they are drawn–also something perpetually being talked about by reformers–but their very existence.
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN DIEGO CA
230 AM PDT WED AUG 22 2007
[...] ON SUNDAY…IT CONTINUES TO LOOK POSSIBLE FOR THE REMNANT MOISTURE FROM X-HURRICANE DEAN TO COME UP INTO SCALIF VIA THE SEA OF CORTEZ. THE REMNANT OR SPIN UP 583 SUBTROPICAL LOW IS PROGGED TO BE OVER SCALIF SUN THROUGH MON BEFORE IT EJECTS NEWRD IN 585 SW FLOW. THIS LOW COULD SPREAD RAIN AND THUNDERSTORMS THROUGHOUT SCALIF. GFS PRECIP ADDS UP TO UP TO 1 INCH OF RAIN FOR THE TWO DAY TOTAL. … WILL BEEF UP POPS AS MODELS SEEM TO BE CONVERGING ON THE WETTER SOLUTION.
May it be so. Anywhere near an inch of rain around here this time of year sounds way too good to be true.
(Update 1: Too good to be true, indeed. The afternoon forecast–same link as above–now says nothing more than “some monsoon.” Oh well, just imaging some serious rain in August was fun. I guess.)
(Update 2: As of Thursday afternoon, things are looking good again:
THE WHOLE REGION WILL HAVE SOME CHANCE OF PRECIP…ON MON THE MOISTURE DECREASES RAPIDLY… BY TUE THE HIGH ACTUALLY STRENGTHENS …SO WE WILL LOSE SOME OF
THE HUMIDITY AND CHANCE OF PRECIP BUT POUR ON THE HEAT THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK.
Even if no rain, I do like that “pour on the heat” part.)
The constitutional revision process set up by the military government has reached its conclusion, as Thai voters approved the new constitution, which will replace the charter of 1997.
It was not exactly a ringing endorsement, however. Only 57.8% voted for the draft and the voter turnout was only 57.6%. Although I can’t say for sure, I believe the recent historical record of constitutions drafted by authoritarian governments claiming to be returning to democracy are passed overwhelmingly. (I can think of one outright defeat: Uruguay in 1980. Perhaps readers will know of others.)
RTE Ireland also offers a brief summary of some of the new provisions (with some details from the original edited out and commentary of mine added in footnotes):
MILITARY: [...] The constitution also gives a blanket amnesty to the military officers who launched the September 2006 coup against Mr Thaksin, and their appointed officials.
PRIME MINISTER: A prime minister cannot serve for more than eight consecutive years. The previous charter had no limits.1
Only 96, or one fifth, of MPs are required to launch a no-confidence motion against the prime minister. The 1997 ‘People’s Constitution’ required two fifths. [...]
SENATE (UPPER HOUSE): The 150-seat senate is divided into two groups. Seventy-six senators will be elected directly and 74 appointed by an unelected panel of judges and the heads of independent state watchdogs.
Under the previous constitution, all 200 senators were elected directly.2 [...]
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (LOWER HOUSE): The 1997 constitution’s principle of ‘one constituency, one MP’ makes way for a complicated population-weighted system under which more populous constituencies get more MPs.
The lower-house electoral system was actually MMM after 1997 (see previous entries here in the Thailand block for details). The new one restores a version of the old MNTV system (1 – 3 seats each), but from other sources, I understand that there will still be a list tier, as well: 400 seats in the nominal tier and 80 in the list tier (with no separate list vote and, I believe, a ban on dual candidacy). Unlike the 1997-2006 system, the list tier is itself regional, rather than a single national district.
The new constitution will not be quite a restoration of the pre-1997 system, but it contains many elements more in line with it than with the one overthrown by the military. It certainly is more favorable to the old pre-Thaksin regional elites than the 1997 charter was.
Along with Botswana and South Africa, Thailand will become one of the few parliamentary systems to impose term limits on the chief executive. [↩]
I have just installed WP AJAX Edit Comments. Like the real orchard, there are bound to be bugs. Let’s see how it works.
It should allow a user to see his or her own comment and make corrections1.
It will work for you only if your comment is not held in moderation. For some reason, my own comments are being held in moderation. You would think the Head Orchardist could propagate (and prune) his own comments. If the visitors have this same problem, then this function isn’t going to work.
within a time window currently set at 10 minutes–and here you see another cool new plug-in at work: WP-Foonotes! [↩]
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