politics

W(h)ither the electoral college?

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All this is available elsewhere, but as a trusted source, I'll oblige an election night party request for a math-with-murph explaining the electoral college, the short form is that the EC exists because the Constitution says so--Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Michigan's popular Proposal 4s

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One of my most google-popular posts (ever) seems to be my comments opposing Michigan's Proposal 4 in 2006 - 5,600 visits so far, and about 200 search hits last month. (I'm google's second hit on some searches, right after the State of Michigan.) Are people really that hungry for a two-year old post on meaningless feel-good eminent domain "reform"? Or are there other Prop 4s they're looking for?

It looks like Michigan has only had 2 statewide Proposal 4s:

  • 2006 - Proposal 4 - A proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit government from taking private property by eminent domain for certain private purposes - approved 2,914,214 / 724,573

  • 2002 - Proposal 4 - A proposal to amend the state constitution to reallocate the "tobacco settlement revenue"
    received by the state from cigarette manufacturers. - failed 1,018,644 / 2,011,105

Earlier than about 2000, Michigan Proposals had letters, not numbers. So - why all the attention? I have a hard time believing that 200 people a month care that much about eminent domain reform that had almost no effect. Maybe the 2002 item is the popular one, dedicating tobacco settlement money to health care? (With the Big 3 doing what they're doing right now, I could understand an interest in ideas for health care.)

Alternately, maybe people are looking for local proposals, and just not specifying where? Seems like inefficient searching behavior.

"President-Elect Barack Obama." Squee!

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It's been four days since The Election, and we haven't woken up, had martial law declared, gotten mired in recall battles and court cases, or otherwise had the results taken away from us. So it's good and safe to say that Barack Obama will be our next President. Some scattered thoughts:

It's so nice to have a President we can be proud of, and not have to flinch whenever he speaks. (I was truly dreading hearing four years of McCain's "My friends" on NPR.) President Obama clearly has the Presidential persona down, yet also has a human side. (And for that link, I don't even have to use the moments that made me tear up, like his grandmother's dying two days shy of seeing him elected, his acceptance speech promise of a puppy, or his comment on "shelter dogs being mutts, like me.")

lazywebs: The labor record of Ohio's James M. Cox?

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In 1920, my third-great uncle James M. Cox, was the Democratic candidate for President, with FDR as his running mate. I've just found that his campaign's equivalent of Dreams From My Father is available through Project Gutenberg - The Progressive Democracy of James M. Cox, written by his secretary, Charles E. Morris. It includes some rather glowing bits on Cox's actions as Governor of Ohio from 1913-1920 with regards to labor:

An even less meaningful vote than usual?

Michigan's got its Presidential primaries tomorrow, and, on the Democratic side, there really aren't many choices to vote for. Michigan hopped the line to third, citing the desire for a state of meaningful size and demographics to actually matter (Michigan would have more delegates than the appointed four first-primary states put together), though the cynical explanation is that prominent Michigan politicians thought they could help out Romney and Clinton with an early primary.

As a result, the DNC stated that Michigan delegates would not be seated at the national convention, and issued a boycott order of our primary; as a result, the only candidates on the Dem ballot are Clinton, Kucinich, and Gravel (and Dodd, who has already dropped out of the race); the others withdrew from the ballot (in order to minimize the meaningfulness of a Clinton victory), and none of the Dem candidates, save Kucinich, have appeared or campaigned in the state.

Think Global: Act, Dingell!

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Southeast Michigan is blessed with a political powerhouse in Congressman John Dingell (D-15th), the longest serving member of the House, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Dingell's therefore pretty well placed to Make A Difference when it comes to addressing climate change.

However, as the Congressman from Southeast Michigan, Dingell is also strongly wedded to the auto industry (literally - his wife Debbie is President of the General Motors Foundation). With the Big 3, and their unions - Dingell's largest funders and voter bloc - digging in their heels every step of the way on anything that smells like a fuel efficiency mandate, Dingell is notably hesitant to embrace positive energy legislation. In response to calls for increased CAFE standards, he put forth what was at first a stunt - a proposal for an intentionally unrealistic plan meant to kill debate on the issue by being too sweeping. While the political chessgame aspect of this has received its share of criticism, I think Dingell has also been surprised to see people taking it seriously, and he's now starting to get behind the proposal as a serious attempt to address climate change.

And that's where we come in. Whether you're a Dingell constituent or not, you can show him that you support strong action on climate change. A group of Ypsilanti residents have set up a petition to urge Dingell on, and state their support for action. I've signed the petition, and you can too.

This just in!

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Ann Arbor's City Council has been accused in the past of holding secret deliberations, with decisions made the day before the meeting or in smoke-filled bars after the meetings. Well, now we've got proof - we know what goes on in these secret backroom discussions.

I've just received evidence from an anonymous source, smuggled out of Ann Arbor and across the Carpenter DMZ no doubt at great personal risk. The attached note gives the sense that the source was perhaps tortured to the point of madness in recovering this footage:

on this disk is what you need to post because you are the very good blogger and the world whole of it must see...for everyone who are read the blog of common monk flower so it is important you complete the mission as you are the choice out of many others like mark mayfred and arbor dates did not receive it, so you must do it the only one.

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