Tuesday, 10 May 2005

Not that you asked, but

Fun with morality

Tyler Cowen links a quiz that seeks to determine your position on three dimensions of morality. Here’s how I scored:

Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.27.
Your Interference Factor is: 0.00.
Your Universalising Factor is: 0.50.

Mildly amusing and not particularly surprising. You can play here. Jacqueline Mackie Massey Passey had similar scores to me, while Stephen Bainbridge’s scores reminded me why I often find his politics annoyingly meddlesome.

Three and a half men

Funny and probably true relationship advice for women:

1. It is important that a man helps you around the house and has a job.
2. It is important that a man makes you laugh.
3. It is important to find a man you can count on and doesn’t lie to you.
4. It is important that a man loves you (and tells you so!) and spoils you.
5. It is important that these four men don’t know each other.

I think I might pull off 3½ of these on a good day… I’m afraid I’m useless at housework, although the last person I had over was under the delusion that my apartment was clean.

Confidence tricksters

When is a vote of no confidence not a vote of no confidence? When it takes place in Canada, apparently. As Mustafa Hirji of Points of Information explains, Westminster parliamentary rules don’t obligate the executive to resign when they lose a confidence vote, but nonetheless the traditional response of resignation is key to parliamentary sovereignty:

[R]esponsible government’s preservation requires that the Executive honour votes of no confidence. Otherwise, the Executive ceases to be responsible to the legislature and is, instead, responsible only to the unelected monarch or representative thereof.

Responsibility to Parliament is absolutely key in our system of government. Unlike the United States, we lack checks and blances to constrain the power of the Executive. Parliament is the only meaningful constraint on the Executive and their widespread powers. When this constraint ceases to exist, the Governor-General, effectively chosen by the Prime Minister and likely therefore beholden to him/her, becomes the only check on the Prime Minister. That check is neither realistic nor desireable, let alone democratic or accountable.

Of course, if the role of the governor-general (or, in the case of Britain, the monarch) was taken by an official responsible to the electorate or parliament—most other parliamentary regimes use the largely ceremonial president in this role—the conflict of interest would be greatly diminished. Either way, it seems to me that if parliament does vote in favor of a no confidence motion, and the executive refuses to resign, the governor-general has an obligation to dismiss the executive.

Update: More via InstaPundit: perspectives from Ed Morrissey and “ferret” of Conservative Life, as well as liveblogging from Stephen Taylor (not the PoliBlog guy). Kate also has a post at Outside the Beltway, with a link to another news story on today’s events.

All for the nookie

Somehow I missed Orgasm Day yesterday (þ: Glenn Reynolds). Amber Taylor claims that this event would be the “polar opposite” of International Kissing Day; I tend to think these events are rather orthogonal, myself.

However, it’s still Masturbation Month, so everyone’s got that to, er, celebrate at least.

Firefox 1.0.4 release candidates out

If you run Mozilla Firefox, you probably want to upgrade to a 1.0.4 candidate build to fix the arbitrary code execution vulnerability discussed at OTB and elsewhere.

UnReal ID

There are a few things around the web of interest on the “Real ID” Act today:

Orin Kerr thinks Bruce Schneier is overstating his case against the Real ID provisions,although Kerr is unconvinced of the merits of the proposal (þ: Glenn Reynolds).

Lamar! is among the senators opposed to the Real ID provisions… but they’re going to be law anyway, thanks to a 100–0 Senate vote on the supplemental appropriations bill they were contained in.

“Hannibal” of Ars Technica says there’s more to be concerned about in the bill, although I have to say I’m somewhat less upset than he that Congress suspended part of NEPA for the purpose of improving border security.

Shack up and go to jail

John “Don’t Call Me Juan” Cole notes that the ACLU is challenging a 1805 North Carolina statute forbidding cohabitation by unmarried couples in court. For those considering living in sin elsewhere, the Tar Heel State is not alone in its opprobrium toward cohabitors:

North Carolina is one of seven states that still have laws on the books prohibiting cohabitation of unmarried couples. The others are Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi and North Dakota.

As a longtime opponent of such “uncommonly silly” laws, I offer the ACLU my unqualified support in this matter.