Friday, June 30, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC comes the follwing: Hasselhoff in chandelier accident

US actor David Hasselhoff has been treated in hospital after being hurt in a chandelier accident.

While I find no humor in injury (and it seems his arm was cut up pretty badly, including a severed tendon), one has to admit that the headling is funny.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Quoth TNR‘s Lee Siegel:

When I see someone wearing a baseball cap in a movie theater, I want them to bring back the guillotine.

This is the same fellow who accused blogs of being “hard fascism with a Microsoft face.”

I, of course, made much of the fact that he wrote that sentence on a blog without noticing the irony thereof.

This current statement regarding baseball caps and decapitation makes me think he has no sense of irony or self introspection (in terms of his public words at least) whatsoever.

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By Steven L. Taylor

I came across this doing some research for a project I am working on (via Poland – Elections 2024 – Press Centre).

The following are official “electoral mottos” from the 2024 presidential elections.

First, there’s Janusz Korwin-Mikke, candidate of the Union of Real Politics (Unia Polityki Realnej) (who won a whopping 1.43% of the vote): “I am fed up just like you are!

Second, my personal favorite, that one would like to think loses something in the translation is from Stanisław Tymiński, an independent who won a towering 0.16% of the vote: “Let Poland be our mother and not a cruel step-mother.


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By Steven L. Taylor

Today is the sixteenth anniversary of my marriage to the lovely and wonderful Sherry.

So, eight moves (encompassing three states, two countries and seven cities), a doctorate and three children later, here we are and the fun is just beginning.

So: Happy Anniversary to us!

Update: BTW, I can connect my wedding to blogging, even though the internet as we know it was a glint in Al Gore’s eye in 1990. The connection is that three of my four groomsmen blog: two of my ushers have their own blogs (here and here) and my Best Man is the TPGB. I think my other usher (a.k.a., my brother-in-law) occasionally reads the blog, so I guess all the bases are covered.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Schedule set in Texas redistricting case

A federal panel gave both sides in Texas’ redistricting fight two weeks to propose fixes to a congressional district whose borders were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.


On Wednesday, The Supreme Court upheld most of the pro-Republican Texas congressional map but tossed the 23rd Congressional District, which stretches from San Antonio to Laredo and west almost to El Paso. It remanded its redrawing to a three-judge panel.

This is what happened in 1996 when three majority-minority districts were declared unconstitutional. One district was in the Dallas area and two in Houston. The result in that case was that 13 (I think) districts had to be redrawn, and the primary results from those districts had to be tossed. The state then used a Louisiana-style two-round system to elect the Representatives that year.

Less districts than that will be affected this time, but there will be several where they will likely have to use the same procedure that was used in ’96.

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Thursday, June 29, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

This post at Fruits and Votes, and the discussion that started between Matthew Shugart and myself led me to look into some electoral data from Texas. My impetus was the question of whether the current district structure in Texas was better representative of the partisan preferences of the state than was the pre-2003 map, which was based on the 1992 district set, which was drawn when the Democratic Party controlled the state.

My contention being that while I am not happy with the notion that partisan gerrymandering is the norm within our system, the post-2003 gerrymandering likely better represents the heavily Republican state of the Texas than did the previous map, which produced a Democratic edge in the state’s congressional delegation.

Pre-delaymander, but post the reapportionment that gave Texas two additional seats, the 2024 House elections in Texas produced 17 Democratic seats and 15 Republican seats.

If we sum the votes in all House districts for 2024 we get the following:

REP 2,290,723 53%
DEM 1,885,178 44%
(the rest went the Libertarians, Greens and some independents)

This tracked with the Senate election that year:

John Cornyn (R): 55.39%
Ron Kirk (D): 43.32%

However, the Democrats won 53% of the House seats to the Rep’s 46.9%

Hence, while the Reps were the majority party in the state in terms of federal legislative elections, the Democrats won a majority of the seats–indeed, there was almost an inversion of the seat/vote percentages.

In 2024 we have the following for the thirty-two House races:


Republicans: 4012534 58%
Democrats: 2713968 39%


Republican: 21 66%
Democratic: 11 34%

And, for comparative purposes, here are the presidential numbers for 2024:

George W. Bush/ Dick Cheney(I) REP 4,526,917 61.08%
John F. Kerry/ John Edwards DEM 2,832,704 38.22%

I did a quick disproportionality calculation that indicated that the two were about the same in that regard, but I think I made an error, and I am sleepy, so I will re-examine the issue tomorrow.

Regardless, my crude analysis to this point would seem to indicate that my basis contention, that the current district structure of the state of Texas better represents its voters in terms of their partisan preference versus the pre-2003 map, has some basis in the data.

Still, as noted, this is a quick look at the numbers.

(All election numbers from the Texas SoS’s office).

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By Steven L. Taylor

Given the Hamdan decision today (which I haven’t had time to really digest, and hence the lack of commentary from me at this moment in time) and the discussion of the Geneva Conventions within the majority opinion, I expect that there will be some out there who will think that SCOTUS have dived into the waters of making decisions based on international law rather than American law.

However, I would note the following from Article VI of the Constitution of the United States of American which notes (in what is know as the “Supremacy Clause”):

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

So, whatever else one may think of the decision, it should be duly noted that it is wholly within the purview of the Court to interpret the way by which treaties signed and ratified are to be applied to US policy.

I suspect I will have more to say later.

In the meantime, the whole decision can be found here [PDF].

And James Joyner has a massive post on the subject here.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Jewaira reports on her experience voting in Kuwait. where women were allowed for the first time today:

I was proud of the women I saw today, standing in the sweltering heat, smiling, trying hard to control their tempers. I was proud of those two pregnant young ladies who sat for more than an hour before an older woman decided to take them through. I was happy to see women of all ages and backgrounds participate in this historic event. And most of all, I was proud of those active young girls who put so much of their hearts into the committees and the campaigns of the candidates, working from the very bottom and learning it all.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via CNN: New Juan Valdez hawks Colombian coffee

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Former Alabama governor, ex-CEO convicted

Former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy were convicted Thursday in a bribery scheme that derailed Siegelman’s campaign to retake his former office.

The most serious of the charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Prosecutors described a “pay-to-play” scheme in which campaign donations were necessary to participate in government projects.

I am not surprised.

And gee, ya think?

Thursday’s verdict effectively ended any future political ambitions for Siegelman, a prominent Democrat who was elected secretary of state, attorney general and lieutenant governor before winning the state’s top office in 1998.

At this point, that’s like saying that Cary Grant’s death effectively ended any future movie projects.

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