Two-party systems

i just figured out why voting systems tend to devolve into two parties or blocks.  It’s because of simple majority wins: if a group has to have more than fifty percent of the vote to win, it has to be big enough to limit the other guys to less than fifty percent.  If all parties concerned think like that, they’re going to have to coalesce into one of at most two groups.


NYTimes: George Soros Bet Big on Liberal Democracy. Now He Fears He Is Losing.

George Soros Bet Big on Liberal Democracy. Now He Fears He Is Losing.

I found the last paragraph really moving, where Mr Soros admits to being distressed at how many enemies he seems to have made, and how he wished he had more friends.

I, for one, think he’s a hero. I think Western governments let him down in the 90s, just when their support would have made the difference in Eastern Europe, and he ended up going it alone. I’d be honored to have him as a friend.

Processing asylum claims

Dave Winer says that there’s a “small” justification for the separation of children from their parents when processing asylum claims from illegal immigrants (here)

From what I’ve read and listened to, prior administrations had imperfect, but morally better solutions that were, in addition, more efficient. Migrants would be processed through the civil courts for what is a misdemeanor under the law, tracked electronically and required to check in with the court. 99.8% checked in as required, and made their court appearances.

Treating the misdemeanor as a federal offense and handing migrant families to US Marshals to deal with creates the problem. There are not the resources for the Marshal service, nor the necessary number of immigration judges, to make it work. The Kaiser has stated he has no interest in rectifying this lack of resources.

Given that the prior systems worked better, what reason can there be to discard them? Only that given before the country voiced its opposition: to act as a deterrent to asylum seekers. Sounds a lot like a mobster leaning over and saying “it’d be a shame if something happened to your kids …”

So, I’m sitting at my computer diligently earning money on a Friday when the sun is out, and there’s a heavy “thump” on the roof.  Shelley looks at me with alarm, and goes outside to see what’s up.  Nothing obvious; we go back to what we were doing. Then Shelley fires up the mower and goes to mow the lawn.  Disturbs a few frogs, finds a birds nest, clears twigs and … she finds a dead fish.  On the lawn.


Theory is: one of our resident raptors was fishing the lake, and dropped it from a great height onto our roof, where it bounced off into the grass.

Irony and synergy

Two stories back to back on the news tonight: a piece about public caning in Indonesia, ending with a note that the UN Commission on Human Rights regards public caning as torture and calls for it to be banned.

Followed with unintended irony (maybe) by a piece on an octogenarian put to death by some state here in the US. No mention of the UN calling for banning capital punishment as inhumane, which of course they do.

Good thing we are so much more enlightened than those theocratic third world states.