May 7, 2015 archive

So you want a Parliamentary System?

We’re still waiting for the final results but certain trends are clear.  Voters are rejecting the Tories (Conservatives) and their austerity policies in droves and it’s highly unlikely that they will gain more than 35% of the popular vote.  Now the tricky bit is that voters are also rejecting Labour and their neo-Liberal austerity programme (Yes, we are slightly less evil) and they also look like they will have less than 35%.  The Liberal Democrats are going to take a pasting from their slavish, Quisling-like coalition with the Tories and will hardly be a party at all.  The Scottish National Party, despite their failure to achieve independence in last year’s referendum is probably going to win every single Scots seat (there are about 49) because of their populist economic platform (far to the left of Labor).  The neo-Facist, anti-immigrant UK Independence Party will take some seats where people don’t think the Tories are conservative enough.

Because of the physical layout of the Constituencies (which is what those silly British call Districts), and you could call it gerrymandering except that most of the divisions are hundreds and hundreds of years old, it is a distinct possibility that Labour could win the popular vote and end up with less seats in Parliament.

How this differs from Florida in 2000 is that there are minor parties and no Electoral College.  What happens when the main parties don’t have a flat majority is that they do deals with the minor parties until they have a coalition with a majority and then they go to the Queen and say ta-da, we have a government.

Except it’s not even that simple.

You see, the Queen has some discretion in who she chooses to form a government.  She selects a (putative) Prime Minister and his party writes what is called The Queen’s Speech which lays out the broad agenda for the next 5 years (presuming there’s not a crisis in confidence and a new election).  Parliament then votes to approve, or disapprove The Queen’s speech.  Disapproval usually results in shameful (in the sense that the leadership of the party feels shame for putting forth a proposal that does not have majority support) resignation(s) and a change in government as the leader of the largest party in opposition is invited to form a government.

The inside skivvy is that if the election is as close as it appears to be David Cameron, the leader of the Tories, will proclaim victory and squat in Downing Street until he’s escorted out by the Bobbies.  He will draft a Queen’s Speech and submit it.

It is already being bandied about that instead of reading the speech herself the Queen will simply submit a written copy to be read by someone else as was customary until modern times.  Not exactly a vote of confidence.

So regardless of today’s results there will be two or three weeks of fierce political maneuvering in Britain.

Save some popcorn for me.


The Breakfast Club (Nothing Could Be Finer)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

The Lusitania sunk in World War I; Nazi Germany signs surrender in World War II; Vietnam’s Battle of Dien Bien Phu; Composer Peter Illych Tchaikovsky born; Glenn Miller records ‘Chattanooga Choo-Choo.’

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.

Robert Louis Stevenson

On This Day In History May 7

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

May 7 is the 127th day of the year (128th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 238 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1824, the world premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Vienna, Austria. The performance is conducted by Michael Umlauf under the deaf composer’s supervision. It was Beethoven’s first appearance on stage in 12 years. Over the years the symphony has been performed for both political and non-political from the eve of Hitler’s birthday, to the celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, to the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. The Ode to Joy was used as the anthem by Kosovo when it declared it’s independence in 2008.

The Daily/Nightly Show (Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?)

You stop being racist and I’ll stop talking about it.


Tonightly- Can Carly Fiorina beat Hillary?  I dunno.  Does Amy Schumer look like Marylin Monroe?  Remember- Marylin was a size 8 and Amy is size 6.  Or is the United States ready for a failed CEO with no government experience and who has never won an election.  Perhaps they all merge into a blonde blur as you masturbate while drinking yourself to sleep with your glasses off.

Susie Essman, Nicolle Wallace, and Holly Walker will be the panel.


Your Clown Car

This week’s guests-

Ernest Moniz is the U.S. Secretary of Energy and a Nuclear Physicist.  There are many interesting things he could talk about such as the Universe being a two dimensional field of Space/Time mediated to appear by our perception 3 dimensional.  In short, a hologram.  I prefer 26 dimensional bosonic string theory on the basis that more is better.

What I can almost guarantee he will not be talking about is the recent leaks from the contaminated water tanks at Fukushima.

Interesting factoid- He was the designated survivor during Obama’s 2014 SOTU.

The real news below.

Lindsey, You Can Come Out Now

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

More Americans feel comfortable with a presidential candidate who identifies as gay or lesbian than with one who identifies as an evangelical Christian, according to a new poll.

Really??? Seriously, it is

The latest WSJ/NBC poll listed a series of qualities in a potential presidential candidate and asked respondents whether they’d “be enthusiastic,” “be comfortable with,” “have some reservations about” or “be very uncomfortable with” a candidate with each of those qualities.

The results revealed that Americans are actually quite open to having a gay presidential candidate. Sixty-one percent said they would be either enthusiastic about or comfortable with a gay or lesbian candidate, while only 37 percent said they would have reservations or be uncomfortable.

By comparison, respondents were a little less comfortable with the prospect of a candidate who is an evangelical Christian. Fifty-two percent said they’d be enthusiastic about or comfortable with an evangelical Christian running for president, while 44 percent expressed some degree of hesitancy about the idea. (Two percent of respondents said they were not sure about a gay or lesbian candidate, while four percent were not sure about an evangelical.)

So, throw your hat in the ring, Huckleberry, you might actually have a good chance, but you have to stop saying nonsense like this:

“Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula… Everything that starts with ‘Al’ in the Middle East is bad news” – these were Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina words at an AIPAC New England Leadership Dinner in Boston’s Convention Center last night.

Senator Graham, who strongly hinted about his intentions on running for presidency, should have probably checked the dictionary before making such a comment. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Al in Arabic is simply meaning “the.” “It often prefixes Arabic proper nouns, especially place-names; an example is Al-Jazīrah (Arabic: “The Island”), the name of an interfluvial region in Sudan. The article is often used in lowercase form, hence al-Jazīrah.”, Britannica explains.

Lindsey, dear, we know you were just being “funny” but the Islamaphobia won’t win you the nomination or the White House.