Thursday, July 29, 2010

An endorsement for fusion voting

...from Bruce Bartlett in Forbes:
One option I have long favored for giving third parties more influence without the necessity of changing the Constitution or abandoning the two-party system would be fusion voting. Under such a system, third parties could cross-endorse major party candidates and have their votes aggregated. Such a system has long operated in New York, which has a Conservative Party, Liberal Party and many others. Oregon has recently adopted this system as well.

The main benefit of fusion voting is that it would force major party candidates to seek the additional nomination of third parties and work to accommodate their interests. In New York, for example, the failure of a Republican candidate to also secure the Conservative Party nomination virtually guarantees defeat.

Fusion voting also allows for interesting alliances and provides useful information to voters. A Republican with cross endorsement from the Liberal Party might be viable in a heavily Democratic area. Those who would never vote for a Republican might be willing to do so by pulling the Liberal lever.

Fusion voting thus makes third parties an important part of the political system. Without it, people mostly feel that their votes are wasted on a third party candidate because the odds are so heavily stacked against them. Fusion voting also encourages fringe voters to participate in the political system, rather than being alienated from it.

I made the case here; some history here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I write like horror

A few moments ago I idly succumbed to the "I Write Like" meme going around on Facebook. I plugged the text of this old blog post into their analyzer and got this result:

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Horrors! I have never read Dan Brown. Because Geoffrey K. Pullum's hilarious review at Language Log has convinced me that he is a contemporary Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

I write like Dan Brown? This aggression will not stand, man! So I try again with the text of this blog post. The result?

I write like
David Foster Wallace

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

An improvement, I suppose. Although it seems my writing remains likely to irritate the guys at LanguageLog, even if I don't share DFW's absurd prescriptivism.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cycling ban in Colorado

Black Hawk is a tiny town in Colorado, just west of Denver and north of Idaho Springs. They have banned bicycles in town. Of course, it's an illegal bike ban that violates cyclists right to travel and contradicts state law. Repeal doesn't seem likely because the town is so tiny and city government is all for it, but litigation is scheduled for August. The mayor of Black Hawk seems to have some ethical problems as well.

Today in stupid driving tricks

This morning I was cycling up 4th St., and as I approached a stop light, a driver tried to zoom around me with a lazy pass. He didn't have enough distance to complete the pass before the stop light, so as we waited at the red light, his car was stopped taking up most of the oncoming lane. His only comment, of course, was "GTF out of the road."

A few weeks ago, I came up to a red light on 4th St. in Old Louisville. I stopped and signaled a left turn, and a car came up and stopped behind me. I signaled again and started into the left turn when the light turned green. But as soon as the light turned green, the driver started forward and tried to pass me in the oncoming traffic lane in the middle of the intersection, right through my path of travel. Fortunately, the dude stopped this boneheaded maneuver before he hit me. He waited in the oncoming traffic lane in the middle of the intersection for me to complete my turn before continuing on his way.

It's been a long time since stuff like this has happened. People on 4th St. are usually pretty good about sharing the road.