Archive for the ‘democracy’ tag

#  Voters as Moderates →

July 29th, 2008 at 21:24 // In Worth Seeing 

These graphs — plotting ideology of Senators against Congressmen against voters — don’t surprise me, but it’s a very useful way to quickly understand how politics works.

(via kottke)

#  Tsvangirai Detained →

June 4th, 2008 at 8:57 // In Worth Knowing 

It sometimes feels like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is following my program a tad too well.

A convoy carrying the Movement for Democratic Change leader was stopped at a police roadblock at 1000 GMT, party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

The MDC leader and his entourage were taken to a police station in the far west of the country, said Mr Chamisa.

“It appears they want to disrupt our campaign programme,” he said.

UPDATE (06/04/2008): He has been freed.

#  Do Dead Voters Count? →

May 15th, 2008 at 9:54 // In Worth Knowing 

Specifically, does it count if you cast an absentee ballot but die before the actual day of the election? In South Dakota you wouldn’t count, but in other states you would.

In 2004, USA Today reported that California, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, and West Virginia all allow for the counting of absentee ballots of deceased voters while many other states technically do not. Many states that prohibit these so-called “ghost votes,” however, lack the reporting system to quickly update voter rolls with recent deaths. That means it’s very unlikely that a recently deceased voter would have his or her absentee ballot nullified.

#  The Precedings of Old Bailey →

May 7th, 2008 at 17:22 // In Worth Distraction 

The records of the central criminal court of London from 1674 to 1913 are now online. It’s not exactly the most user-friendly interface, but you can find some interesting tidbits. The Economist’s story has some interesting bits, like this:

Henry Williams, who in 1886 was sentenced to four months’ hard labour for “attempting an abominable crime with a mare”.

Another interesting — and sometimes ghastly — thing to do is see what crimes merited what punishment. Some truly gruesome punishments are on display, like John Morgan who was drawn and quatered in 1679 for “having received Orders from the See of Rome.”

#  Reinstituing the Poll Tax →

May 5th, 2008 at 9:44 // In Worth Considering 

Bruce Ackerman and Jennifer Nou offer the most interesting argument I’ve seen regarding the Supreme Court’s recent voter ID ruling:

Indiana’s law insists on a photo ID to vote, which in turn requires documents, like a birth certificate or passport, that verify identity. Getting these papers costs voters money as well as time and effort. This leads to the question the court failed to ask: Does the extra expense violate the absolute ban on all “taxes” imposed by the 24th Amendment?

#  A Runoff in Zimbabwe →

May 2nd, 2008 at 9:30 // In Worth Knowing 

Count me among those opposed to this.

JOHANNESBURG — After more than a month’s delay, Zimbabwe officially announced the results of the March 29 presidential elections on Friday, saying that the opposition candidate had won but by not enough to avoid a runoff against President Robert Mugabe.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, won 47.9 percent of the vote, compared with Mr. Mugabe’s 43.2 percent, the electoral commission’s chief elections officer, Lovemore Sekeramayi, told reporters.

Ministers in Mr. Mugabe’s government had maintained for weeks that a runoff would be necessary against Mr. Tsvangirai.

#  An Opposition Win in Paraguay →

April 21st, 2008 at 8:49 // In Worth Knowing 

Among the long list of countries I know next-to-nothing about, South America’s land-locked Paraguay has always been one of the most interesting to me. It doesn’t seem that the BBC knows much more about the country than I do — maybe that’s just their style — but this is probably good news:

Former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo has won Paraguay’s presidential election, ending more than six decades of rule by the Colorado Party.

With results declared in most polling stations, Mr Lugo has 41% of the vote.

His main rival, Blanca Ovelar of the Colorado Party, has 31% and former army chief Lino Oviedo 22%.

#  Nepal’s Perilous Ascent →

April 10th, 2008 at 16:23 // In Worth Reading 

Manjushree Thapa shares some thoughts on Nepal’s twice-delayed elections. They’re a visceral reminder of all that we take for granted here.

Democracy may be imperfect, but unlike absolute systems like Maoism and monarchism, it incorporates mechanisms to correct its own flaws.

So, yes: I am planning to risk my life to vote today.

Not that the election will resolve much. Most Nepalis recognize that it will, in fact, send our country into an era of heightened instability.

Also, coverage of recent events there from The Economist.

#  America’s Election in the Middle East →

April 5th, 2008 at 10:14 // In Worth Knowing 

Nothing in this piece is terribly surprising, but still I like to know how events in the United States are understood in other parts of the world. It would happen that though Hillary Clinton and John McCain are preferred by most Israelis, Mr. Obama is generally the favorite of Arabs. With one caveat:

Some Arabs are less smitten. Anti-Syrian politicians and activists in Lebanon may worry about Mr Obama’s willingness to start talks with Iran, fearing that they could result in America “selling out” Lebanon in exchange for a deal elsewhere in the region. But, for now, he seems to be the candidate of choice among Arabs.

#  This is Bhutan →

April 3rd, 2008 at 12:42 // In Worth Seeing 

Current has a pretty interesting video about Bhutan. Though it focuses on the problems that the country faces in the wake of the recent transition from a (generally benign) monarchy into a democracy, there are some interesting tidbits, like the prevalence of penises painted on walls — which are surprisingly not graffiti.

(via Passport)