Saturday, April 21, 2007

I'll Put A Bunch Of Rants Here

  • For a change, the Supreme Court got it right and upheld the ban against the ghastly -- and totally unnecessary -- partial-birth abortion procedure. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Now we can continue working to make abortion illegal once and for all. 50 million babies (and counting) will thank us.
  • So now Maryland will award its 10 electoral votes to whoever gets the most popular votes in the Presidential election. This is ridiculous; it completely negates the Electoral College. In case you need reminding, we don't live in a democracy; we live in a republic. The Electoral College was created in order to prevent the election being decided by, say, California, New York, and Texas. Now, the battleground states will be even more so, not less so. Want the Presidential candidates to come to Maryland? Work to make this a two-party state! (Which I admit is an awful lot to ask for in the bluest state in the U.S., and it doesn't help that the Maryland GOP has long been a well-intentioned, but disorganized, mess.)
  • Bravo to Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler for deciding to drop the "Wal-Mart bill" that tried to tell Wal-Mart -- and only Wal-Mart -- how much it had to spend on its employees for health care. The Washington Times editorial gets it right; this was solely a hissyfit thrown by (increasingly irrelevant) unions which hate, hate, hate Wal-Mart. If a union ever says things are going well, it's done, so union bosses are perpetual "nattering nabobs of negativism." If I were CEO of Wal-Mart, I'd close all my stores in Maryland immediately. Then what would the unions say? This state is so anti-business.
  • Lennie Thompson, our local wacko county commissioner who wants to bulldoze all housing from the Potomac to the Mason-Dixon line, has a solution to funding highway improvements: charge everyone who drives through the area. Welcome to the Garden State Parkway, Maryland-style. Look, if there's money for a Bridge to Nowhere for Ted Stevens, there's money to upgrade I-270. I'd just shrug Thompson's proposal off, but New York is planning to do something similar. We just got EZPass transponders to pay tolls, but I bet all sorts of politicians are licking their chops to make those mandatory and then run all sorts of charges for just driving through a particular area. Then Every Road A Toll. Grrrrrr.
Along with the rest of the country, I express my grief over the pointless shootings at Virginia Tech. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. My old roommate was a VT grad; I haven't seen him in years.

But that being said, I need to say a few other things:
  • The reason this sicko got away with it is because he KNEW no one had a gun to stop him. Just approve it. An armed society is a polite society. Even more disarmament is not the answer.
  • I agree with Steve Czaban that the university must bear responsibility for the fact that it had no plan. Two hours after the first shootings, they sent an e-mail (!) informing the community to look out. Then the rest of the carnage began. No matter what the organization, there have to be contingency communications plans for this sort of event.
  • Kudos to the family members who refused to talk to NBC after they had the gall to run that propaganda from the shooter (whom I will not give the pleasure of naming).
  • And now, here comes the proposed "assault weapons" (what on earth ARE those?) legislation. Since when is a 9mm handgun an "assault weapon"? Remember when the catchphrase was "assault rifle"? And in this article, Representative Jim "Captain Preppie" Moran gets it wrong again: not one gun has fired itself at anyone. Ever. I used to be on the side of gun control, but it's obvious that it doesn't work.
Okay, that's enough for now. It's too nice a weekend to rant any more.


joreko said...

While it is true, as Cygnus says “we don't live in a democracy; we live in a republic,” this has nothing to do with the question how presidential electors should be chosen in that republic. The Constitution is silent as to how states should award their electoral votes. The Founders left this question to the states. The present-day system in Maryland (and 48 of the 50 states) awards all of the state’s electoral votes to the presidential who got the most votes in Maryland. This winner-take-all approach is not in the Constitution. It was used by only 3 states in the nation’s first presidential election, indicating that it was not generally favored by the Founding Fathers. Maryland once elected presidential electors from the Eastern Shore and Western Shore. Later, Maryland elected electors from special elector districts. Maryland adopted (before the Civil War) the winner-take-all rule in the 1830’s after virtually every other state abandoned districts in favor of the statewide approach. As recently as 1992, Nebraska changed from winner-take-all to an allocation of electoral votes by congressional districts. In fact, this approach was offered in the Maryland legislature (by various Republicans) as an alternative to the national popular vote bill that Governor O’Malley ultimately signed. The point is that the decision of how to award electoral votes is a state decision and the Constitution and Founding Fathers shed no light on how that decision should be made.

Republicans in Maryland should especially favor the national popular vote approach because their votes not only doesn’t count, the votes are actually credited to the Democrat who usually carries the state. Democrats and Republicans in Maryland should favor the national popular vote approach because nobody’s vote matters in Maryland. candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of “battleground” states. Presidential candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the concerns of voters of states that they cannot possibly win or lose. 88% of the money is focused onto just 9 closely divided battleground states: Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and New Hampshire. Maryland and about three-quarters of the state don’t matter to candidates because they are not closely divided.

The issue isn’t democracy versus republic, but whether people’s vote in our republic should be politically relevant.

Cygnus said...


Thanks for your comment.

You are correct that the choice of awarding the votes is left to the states to determine, one of the few times it seems anyone cares about the 10th Amendment. But just because the legislature can do something like award all the electoral votes to the highest popular vote-getter doesn't mean it *should.* You of course realize that Maryland's 10 votes would have still gone to Al Gore in 2000. I prefer the "winner take all" approach because it counterbalances the larger states. A more honest approach would be to work to have the 12th Amendment repealed, which hasn't happened yet. Of course, the 12th Amendment was itself a tweaking of the original electoral method.

As to your argument about candidates bypassing Maryland, that's really what this bill was about, wasn't it? Getting Maryland back into the beauty contest? Well, guess what; they'll STILL bypass Maryland! The law of unintended consequences applies here; instead of visiting battleground states, there will now be battleground counties and cities. Remember that all a statewide candidate has to do to win Maryland is to win Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County. It doesn't matter what the 21 other counties do. And when they go to Pennsyltucky, it's just Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, baby. The rest of the state? Doesn't count. Power to the census.

So this is a bill about sour grapes and hoped-for exposure. The former isn't a very noble reason for a bill in the first place, and the latter is fatuous.

This has been the worst. Maryland. legislative. session. ever. And we've got three more years of this before the Democratic majority increases even more. One party rule . . . blech.