Thirsty Thursdays – March 12, 2015

This may or may not become a weekly feature here at the Liberator, but get ready for a linkstorm.

International

The next Israeli election looks to be fascinating, with the ruling Likud party down to the Zionist Union (an alliance of the Labour Party and Hatunah, a breakaway of the old Kadima party). Israel has a proportional representation system, which means people vote for parties, and then each party receives a share of seats in the Knesset close to the proportion of votes nationwide they win as long as they win a certain percentage of the vote. An attempt to oust the Arab parties by raising that threshold appears to have backfired. Since people vote for parties, rather than individual candidates (which are drawn from party lists), parties can form alliances that boost their chances; there are three alliances currently. While it looks like the right-wing parties do not have enough to form a government, it’s possible they could bring on a centrist party and then get a vote of confidence to create a minority government. The Zionist Union would have to do the same with both centrist parties and get the Arab parties to vote for their government to also form a minority government.

© Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons

© Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons


Also in foreign election news, the UK general election is also approaching, and the decline of their two-party system is evident. One of the more fascinating things is that Labour seems to have blown its lead against what was an unpopular Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition (and despite the fact that eurosceptic, anti-immigrant UKIP has risen to pull votes from the Conservative Party’s right). Unfortunately for the Liberal Democrats, they look ready to lose half their seats in Parliament. It looks like the UK’s governments will have to be formed from much broader coalitions, and still be shakily close to collapse; a withdrawal of a single party could cost them power.

Also from the UK, Terry Pratchett has died.

National

The news out of Alaska is pretty alarming when it comes to global warming. While we’ve been hammered with snow and arctic blasts, Alaska is experiencing record highs, with significant impact on the environment. Also worrisome are increasing hybridizations of species like polar bears, right whales and narwhals; this could reduce biodiversity in the region.

Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig’s response to a David Brooks’ column is worth the read. If you want to improve people “morals” give them the resources to be more moral.

I’ll say this for Rhode Island politicians, they didn’t allegedly threaten to  to a state department so they could adopt a family of girls with reactive attachment disorder, then when those girls proved difficult to take care of, allegedly perform an exorcism on them and isolate one, and ultimately pawn them off on a former coworker who then allegedly raped one of those girls.

State

Here in Rhode Island, Rep. Keable did (unsuccessfully?) bust his tenant’s door in, so there’s that. However, I’d say that’s more exemplary of the failure of many landlords to abide by state law on renting. People will put up with a lot of abuse to keep a roof over their heads, and most tenants (and many landlords as well) aren’t aware that there are laws protecting them or their rights. And apparently that can apply to well-educated state lawmakers.

CoffeeBlack’s parsing of the issues surround the use of the I-195 land is a fascinating complication of the usual talk surrounding the land, though like much of the blog’s writing, somewhat obtuse in its delivery. Despite the somewhat problematic nature of the author’s anonymity, it’s still a blog well worth your time.

Just from a pure communications standpoint, it was a very bad week to make the argument we need to spend less on fire departments.

Drink of the Week

Sierra Nevada’s Vienna-style lager. I found it in a sampler pack, and it was a standout among its fellows.

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