Observations on the world today.

Friday, November 11, 2005

In the Interest of Fairplay 

If Condaleeza Rice ever runs for president, I want someone to remind the voters of this:

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

So Much For Issue 4 

Ohio had five issues on the ballot this election. The only one I gave a crap about was issue 4, and it lost soundly, and for no good reason.

I suspect that in part, the proposal failed because it was lumped in with three other proposals. All of the advertisements I heard were either "vote yes for issues 2, 3, 4, and 5," or "vote no for issues 2, 3, 4, and 5." None specifically addressed this well crafted initiative. I've read the official argument against the issue, and it just doesn't seem valid.For exampe:
Finally, the proposed amendment would remove from the Ohio Constitution the authority of Ohio’s courts to review the commission’s activities. Therefore, unlike all other Ohio public officials, political subdivisions, boards, commissions, and agencies, Ohio citizens would have virtually no ability to challenge the actions of this unelected commission in Ohio’s courts. The commission should not be uniquely unaccountable and placed above the law.
This in part is how the issue appeared on the ballot:
• Provide that the commission must adopt a qualifying plan with the highest “competitiveness number,” as defined in the proposed Amendment. The Amendment defines the “competitiveness number” of a plan by a mathematical formula, that is the product of the number of balanced districts multiplied by two, plus the total number of other remaining competitive districts, minus the total number of unbalanced uncompetitive districts multiplied by two. The competitiveness number for a general assembly plan is the sum of the competitiveness number for the house of representatives districts and the competitiveness number for the senate districts. Provide that the “measure of competition” of a legislative district be based on a calculation using the two average partisan indexes for the district, which are calculated on the basis of the percentage of votes received by each of the two partisan candidates who received the two highest vote totals statewide in each of the three closest general elections during the four previous even-numbered years prior to adopting a redistricting plan, keeping the index for one of the partisan affiliations always as the minuend and the index for the other partisan affiliation always as the subtrahend from district to district throughout a redistricting plan.
• Provide that the commission may consider whether to alter a plan to preserve communities of interest based on geography, economics, or race, so long as the reconfiguration does not result in a competitiveness number that is more than two points lower for a congressional plan and four points lower for a general assembly plan.
• Provide that the commission may design and adopt a redistricting plan if the plan meets the same criteria and has a competitive number equal to or greater than each submitted qualifying plan.
• Provide a method for the commission to assign state districts for senators whose terms do not expire at the end of the first even-numbered year following adoption of the plan.
• Provide that legislative district boundaries shall change in 2007 and, thereafter, every year ending in one following a federal decennial census.
• Provide that the supreme court of Ohio has exclusive original jurisdiction involving redistricting plans adopted under the amendment, but limits such jurisdiction to ordering the commission to perform duties required under the amendment and prohibit the court from revising or adopting a plan.
• Provide for open meetings, public hearings, and certain public record requirements regarding the activities of the commission.
Seems like there was both judicial AND public oversite to me. Another argument was that the commission had a blank check. Here's all the ballot version said:
• Provide that the general assembly must appropriate sufficient funds for the commission to perform its duties. The commission may expend funds as it, in its discretion, deems necessary
Given the nature of the commission, I can't see this being a huge expenditure problem, and a commission of this type shouldn't have to account for how it spends it's budgeted funds. It doesn't say that they have carte blanche to raid the coffers.

So the commission would have been required to create districts in accordance with a very specific formula and the only discretion they would have would allow them to manipulate districts based on very specific criteria - none of which was party related, and never more than a few points. They would have also had to answer to the courts and public, they would have been chosen for the most part by random lot, and they would take the absolute right to gerrymander away from both parties. Yet somehow the argument against them was that they woud have too much power?


Monday, November 07, 2005

The Monday Morning Idiot Who Spoke Too Soon 

On November 1, a Blogs for Bush simpleton went off on Harry Reid:
Reid Can Take His Apology And Shove It...
That's the headline. Classy, huh?
The other day, Harry Reid demanded that Rove be fired and Bush and Cheney to apologize over the Plame/leak case... The White House has rebuffed those demands...
The White House on Monday rebuffed calls for a staff shakeup, the firing of Karl Rove and an apology by President Bush for the role of senior administration officials in the unmasking of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
It has not been a good couple of days for Harry Reid...
Shortly thereafter, in a masterstroke, Reid singlehandedly shut down congress and sparked a week's long discussion of how the Bushies misused intelligence to trick the nation into an illegal and immoral and completely unnecessary war.

And to add icing to the cake, the same moron was forced to acknowledge it. And to downplay the significance, he cast aspersions on the MSM for the way they reported the story.
Reid's move shone a spotlight on the continuing controversy over intelligence that President Bush cited in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Despite prewar claims, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and some Democrats have accused the administration of manipulating the information that was in their possession.
We haven't found WMDs in Iraq?

What about the 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium, the 1,500 gallons of chemical weapons agents, 17 chemical warheads containing cyclosarin (a nerve agent five times more deadly than sarin gas), over 1,000 radioactive materials in powdered form (meant for dispersal over populated areas), and roadside bombs loaded with mustard and "conventional" sarin gas... just to name a few things...
Umm, moron, the M in WMD stands for "mass", hence in order to qualify as a WMD a weapon must be capable of "Mass Destruction." The uranium in Iraq was not weaponized and had no delivery system, the chemical agent was old and degraded, the roadside bombs were duds from the previous war, etc.

If these people weren't so stupid they might be dangerous. I mean, they are dangerous, but they might be really dangerous, as in dangerous to the "mass"es.

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