Monday, November 21, 2005

Apologies

1stly, for going 11 days without a post. Actually I've written several excellent posts, but they are stuck in my head or in draft mode and if you ever see them, they surely won't be as excellent as they are right now. 2ndly, for the double post of the Trumbull painting. I was experimenting with Hello and trying to set a profile image, and the filename I used on the first post was too long. Blogger enforces a 68-character URL limit for the profile image. Now back to blogger's block...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

2005 Elections: Local Conservatives Clobbered

In Watertown (Excel Spreadsheet), Republican Steve Aylward finished sixth in a field of six. Aylward finished within the top four spots in three precincts, but placed last in all District A and B precincts, perhaps indicating poor organization in District A and in Precinct 6 of District B, which were not particularly strong for leftist candidates and issues.

In Cambridge, Republican candidate Andre Green finished 14th out of 18 candidates, receiving only 181 (1.1%) out of 16,070 first-place votes in Cambridge's Plan E proportional representation electoral system. Libertarian candidate Bill Hees did only slightly better than Green, receiving 198 first-place votes. Green picked up only 18 additional votes from the first four rounds of reapportionment (that is, Galluccio's surplus voters plus Condit, Hall and LeTremouille's seconds). After Green was eliminated, only 55 of his 199 votes rolled up to Hees, illustrating the sharp divisions between these two wings of what is supposed to be one "conservative movement". Green's seconds were enough to boost Hees from 13th to 12th and give him 278 votes at the end of the seventh round.

Cambridge's PR system (yet another futile attempt to circumvent Arrow's Impossibility Theorem) makes it difficult for voters to select a balanced slate of councilors. A liberally inclined voter agreeing with The Alewife that Andre Green could "speak the truth to the well-born Democrats, who dominate the city" would have had to have selected Green as her first choice in order for Green to certainly benefit at all from her vote. Strategically, it might make sense for voters to habitually choose the weakest candidates first, in order to maximize their ballot's chances of affecting the outcome, but it is difficult to vote strategically without good polling data.

In Boston, Ed Flynn increased his preliminary round vote totals by over 95%, but remained in 8th and last place and did not win election.

Our former Downeast Counties by a modest margin adopted a radical provision normalizing transsexual behavior. The difference between Tuesday's vote totals and the votes on a similar question five years ago are too great to be attributed to the passage of time. But that is cold comfort to Mainers. The consequences of the new law are mostly unknown. What is known is that in the absence of a similar provision in Massachusetts law, the government here nevertheless encourages some children who suffer from gender identity disorder (or merely have been misdiagnosed) to consider mutilating themselves and other misbehavior. It goes without saying that Massachusetts parents are not notified of this sort of counseling.

The worst hurt of the night came from California, where the parental notification law was narrowly defeated. Besides helping to save the lives of babies and the health and well-being of young women, the law would have made it more difficult to cover up the rape of vulnerable young women, including the mentally impaired and the children of illegal aliens.

The one bright spot was the resounding defeat of the CPA in Watertown, a successful defense of property led by the intrepid John DiMascio.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

TAB Endorses Tax Increase: "A little gas on the boom"

The Watertown TAB & Press has endorsed a massive tax increase for its readers. In an editorial published Friday, the editors of the progressive weekly urged Watertown taxpayers to vote themselves a substantial cut in their after-tax earnings. The tax increase would be used to fund unspecified government programs. However, some of the money might be used to fund specified government programs.

According to the TAB, if the tax increases are "used wisely", landlords will let these costs "trickle down" to tenants, presumably in the form of rent increases. "Will it make a huge difference?", the TAB asked rhetorically. Unfortunately, the TAB did not provide any information in its editorial that would help its readers answer that question, offering instead a modest haiku-like koan:

"Some residents will pay $57 a year; some will pay more, some less."

The editorial did not state whether renters unable to afford to live in Watertown after the inevitable rent increases might qualify for any "affordable housing" that the government might build with the new money it will collect from the tax.

The TAB's rationale for increasing the amount of our money we give to local politicians to spend as they desire is that the state government will also give some small amount of our money to the same local politicians as a reward for our vote. In fairness, I should note that the TAB also included an additional nonsensical jibberish reason for supporting the tax, which is impossible to paraphrase:

"Looking towards the future, that is what the Community Preservation Act does. During the last couple of months leading up to the Nov. 8 election, most candidates and Watertown residents have issued concerns that our town government has not looked towards the future. Now is the time to look towards our future. The CPA helps us do that, which is why the TAB is urging residents to vote yes..."

Regardless of whether this increase is approved, TAB editor David Ertischek will not have to worry. Ertischek is a Jamaica Plain resident, and his office is located in Needham.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Watertown TAB Admits "Progressive" Agenda

I must say one good thing about David Ertischek--he is bold about disclosing his own political leanings. The recently-appointed Watertown TAB & Press editor, in his first election cycle endorsements as editor of any newspaper anywhere, threw away all pretense of political neutrality and non-partisanship by writing of one candidate:
"We like that she leads our town in becoming a more progressive community."
According to WordNet 2.1, a synonym of progressive is liberal, and an antonym is conservative. A tip of the tricorne to H2otown.