A bunch of unions are trying to get a ballot initiative on the 2006 Massachsetts ballot that will implement fusion (aka cross-endorsement voting) in Massachusetts. The Working Families Party has used it in New York and is trying to export it to Massachusetts and other New England states.
The fusion ballot initiative is poorly thought out. A couple of problems:
- It is entirely possible for a candidate to win all ballot-status party primaries, and be placed on the ballot under a party designation.
If you think this is far fetched, just look at the 2004 Nantucket County Sheriff race where Richard M. Bretschneider ran as a write-in candidate in all four party primaries. While the Green-Rainbow and Libertarian Party primaries were uncontested, the Democratic and Republican primaries were very contested with five and four candidates respectively. Mr. Bretschneider won all four party primaries.
If Fusion had been in place, and there were no independents, then he could have run unopposed. If you don’t think this is a problem, then consider that in this situation a minority of voters would have chosen the only candidate to appear on the ballot in the general election. While other candidates could run as write-ins, write-in campaigns are very difficult, especially in the general election.
- Since there is no party oversight of who is on its primary ballot (except for the constitutional offices were it is pretty difficult just to get on the ballot), it is entirely possible for a monied, conservative Democrat to get on the Green-Rainbow party primary and if we don’t run a candidate, be our nominee
whether we like it or not. After all there isn’t a None of the Above option on the ballot. Party identify and self-determination go out the window.
- Fusion will not perform as expected for a "Working Families" type party. In a highly contested Democratic primary, mutiple Democratic candidates may decide to contest the "Working Families" primary. What happens if the two primaries pick different Democratic candidates? Does the "Working Families" candidate not run if there is a Republican in the general election. What if the conservative
Dem. wins the "Working Families" primary, the "progressive" Dem. wins the Democratic primary and the conservative Dem. decides to contest the general election?
Prior to the Working Families Party, fusion resulted in insider deals with "minor parties" that could bring votes to one of the major parties. Thanks, but we don’t need more corrupt politics.
The Dems control the Massachusetts legislature with over 80+% of the seats and the best we get on the Health Care front is a mandatory "low cost" health care. I doubt that fusion will change much in politics when most races are uncontested or practically uncontested.
NY is different from MA. The election laws aren’t the same and the politics aren’t the same.
True electoral reform would be Instant Runoff Voting and Proportional Representation, not some 19th century electoral system that is not used anywhere else in the world and makes minor parties dependent on the "major parties".
The New Scientist reports that:
The edges of the Antarctic ice sheets are slipping into the ocean at an
unprecedented rate, raising fears of a global surge in sea levels,
glaciologists warned on Monday.
The findings confound predictions made just four years ago, by the
UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that Antarctica
would not contribute significantly to sea level rise in the 21st century.
one area, around the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica, glaciers are
dumping more than 110 cubic kilometres of ice into the ocean each year,
Eric Rignot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, US, told
a meeting at the Royal Society in London, UK. This loss, which is
increasing each year, is many times faster than the ice can be replaced
by snowfall inland, he says.
Antarctic glaciers are much bigger than those in warmer climates.
They are up to a kilometre thick, tens of kilometres wide and hundreds
of kilometres long. Connected to inland ice tributaries, they drain the
continent’s ice caps, which are the largest stores of frozen water on
many places, the glaciologists reported that the recent acceleration in
glacier flows has been triggered by the break-up of a series of
floating ice shelves at the continent’s edge. These shelves acted like
a cork in a bottle, holding back the glaciers.
Got this article via the New Standard News news summary page. A great source of news.
The Guardian also reports on an article in Science (not available without a login) that scientists using new techniques for analyzing satellite images of the Amazon Rainforest have concluded that the rate of destruction of the Amazon is twice what we had estimated. They were able to identify the areas where single or several high value trees were pulled out resulting in increased drying in that area and the attendent destruction around the tree.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have an interesting article entitled Why Can’t the Left Face the Stolen Elections of 2004 & 2008? They talk about how various "left" pundits and magazines (The Nation and Mother Jones being the ones they mention) are trying to convince us that the Republicans did not steal the 2004 election (with the Democrats acquiescence).
Thankfully, the David Cobb, the Green Party presidential candidate, the Libertarian Party presidential candidate and hundreds of volunteers attempted to get to the truth. You can find what they found at the Vote Cobb website.
We were to have a table at Art Beat, but the mayor decided that he
needed to cover his ass after he banned the Somerville Divestment
Project from having a table. So as part of Art Beat we setup a virtual
table and encouraged people to make their own street art.
I posted these pictures awhile ago and emailed the link to the a local list. Now that I have this blog, here are the Art Beat Pictures I took. Not the best since I took them with my mobile phone, but that was what I have.
In the article, Has the Green dream wilted? , the BBC news site has an interesting article on the state of green parties and politics in Europe. My favorite quote:
For Prof Kleinert, being out of power gives greens a
chance to rethink their allegiances, including the possibility of
entering coalitions with centre-right parties like Germany’s CDU.
It could be a divisive debate, as "the feeling of the
Greens’ leaders is surely more to the middle, but the feeling of the
base is more left-wing".