Friday, 15 April 2005

You love me, but you don't know who I am

Ok, somebody riddle me this: why would you go to the trouble of producing campaign signs that call yourself by two different names? And, yes, Ward 7 city councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon, I’m asking you:

Campaign sign for Margaret Barrett-Simon Campaign sign for Margaret Barrett

I’m at a loss…

Bizarre disclaimer of the day

I can appreciate the value of this Debian package to the fairer sex, but I have to admit the disclaimer is pretty amusing:

NOTE: This program is not a reliable contraceptive method. It does neither help to prevent sexual transmision diseases like AIDS. It is just an electronic means of keeping track of some of your medical data and extract some statistical conclusions from them. You cannot consider this program as a substitute for your gynecologist in any way. [emphasis mine]

I think if you’re the sort of person who would confuse a computer program with the Pill, a condom, or a gynecologist, the disclaimer really isn’t going to help you very much.

Berlusconi on the ropes

Saturday’s New York Times reports on the withdrawal of the Christian Democratic Union from Italy’s center-right coalition government under Silvio Berluconi. The withdrawal may lead to either a new government or fresh elections, the latter of which would probably favor a center-left coalition under former prime minister Romano Prodi. The CDU, however, is sending mixed signals about its withdrawal, so it’s possible Berlusconi will be able to maintain the coalition if he makes some policy changes.

As James Joyner points out, Italy hasn’t exactly been known for stable post-war governments, so if Berlusconi’s coalition collapses, it would hardly be unprecedented. (Italy manages to muddle through the instability largely because it has a remarkably strong civil service.)

Yay plagiarism

I really love it when my students give me extra work to do—in this case, an hour of fighting with OCR software and Word’s “compare documents” feature so I have evidence to take to the dean on Monday. To coin a phrase, I plan to shoot ‘em all and let the Honor Council sort ‘em out.

Late Notice

Well, if you happen to live around Starkville and want some good music, try the University Union, 3rd floor, Small auditorium at 7:30pm. I have it on good authority that these guys are great. I know with our MILLIONS of readers and such short notice, the turnout will be overwhelming.

Preferential voting

John Quiggin asks, “Why hasn’t Labour introduced preferential (single transferable) voting in Britain?” It’s actually a fairly good question, although I think Quiggin answers it later in his post:

Sooner or later, there will be a hung Parliament, and the price of LDP support will be full-scale proportional representation. If Labour introduced preferential voting without being forced to, it would not only cement LDP support but would greatly weaken the case for PR.

Labour, however, doesn’t need to make a deal yet—and, judging from the past 100 years of British electoral history, a hung parliament where Labour needs the LDP either to form a coalition or to sustain a minority government isn’t likely to come about anytime soon. So why help the LibDems today if you can put off an accomodation until later, perhaps much later?

What a boob

Jacqueline has two completely NSFW quizzes for her readers. I’m not entirely sure what my scores (which you will pry from my cold, dead fingers) said about me.