commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

DSD on the Elections in Belgium…..

I don’t think Ireland will soon hold elections to match the UK’s, but the Czech elections were followed by Slovak ones this weekend, and the Dutch ones by Belgian ones.

In Belgium, the big gains were by a new Flemish (Dutch-speaking) party. Most of Belgium’s parties (Socialists, Liberals, Christian Democrats, etc.) are split into a Flemish and Walloon (French-speaking) wing, so coalitions take a long time to build and are vulnerable (like the most recent one) to all kinds of pressures.

Here’s the English-language report, by Iain MacIntyre, from Radio Netherlands Worldwide:

http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/triumphant-flemish-separatists-call-united-front” The Flemish separatist NVA has emerged as the largest party in the general election in Belgium. The New Flemish Alliance took 17.4 percent of the vote, good for 27 of the 150 seats in the Belgian parliament – an increase of 19 seats.

In second place was the Francophone Socialist Party (PS) which won 26 seats. Pretty much all the other parties lost ground, particularly the Christian Democrat and Liberal parties which formed the previous coalition government.

United front

NVA leader Bart De Wever is calling for all the Flemish parties to work together. “If I have to do it alone, I’m doomed to fail” he said. Flemish political analyst Carl Devos says De Wever wants to develop a joint standpoint before approaching the Francophone parties.

Despite its ties with the PS, the Flemish socialist party (sp.a) with 13 seats says it will be “a constructive partner”. The Christian Democrat CD&V expressed doubts that a united front would help.

Although the NVA seeks an independent Flemish state in the long term, this does not mean the end of Belgium or even the start of devolution in anything like the near future. The complications of Belgium’s electoral system, with separate voting in the Flemish, Dutch-speaking region and in the Walloon, French-speaking region plus bilingual Brussels, means that at least four parties (two from each region) are normally needed to form a coalition….

More at: http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/triumphant-flemish-separatists-call-united-front

Here’s the slightly more-interpretive BBC report:


June 14, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Government, Media, Politics, Updates | , | Leave a comment

DSD…..The World Cup and ABE….(Anybody But England)…….

USA squad - England v USA: USA ready to crush England's 'little boys'

What’s behind Anyone But England?
By Jon Kelly
BBC News Magazine

As the World Cup kicks off, many football fans from the UK’s celtic nations say they will support ABE – Anyone But England. Why does this inflame so much passion on both sides?

When Fabio Capello’s men run out to begin their World Cup campaign in Rustenburg, their shirts gleaming in the South African evening sun, an unknown number of their fellow British citizens will be cheering. For the USA.

On June 18, the same group will support Algeria. Five days later, it will be Slovenia whom they get behind.
And if Rooney, Lampard, Terry and company make it past the group stages, these UK passport holders have a handy phrase to remind them with whom their loyalties will lie: Anyone But England.

Few subjects on football message boards generate more ire, head-shaking and mutual antipathy between the constituent nations of the union than that of ABE.

To plenty of England supporters, the phenomenon is an unseemly grudge-fuelled display of bitterness by those with an inferior international record.

Meanwhile, to a certain breed of Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish fans, it is either a natural expression of friendly rivalry with one’s near-neighbours or a necessary corrective to the perceived arrogance of an English-dominated media, which appears not to be able to discuss a soccer tournament without copious references to Bobby Moore and 1966.

As the historian Eric Hobsbawm observed, a nation of millions “seems more real as a team of 11 named people”. Consequently, football has become emblematic of ongoing trends such as devolution; Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalism; and English resentment over the West Lothian question…..

….continued, at length, with a great many comments, at:


June 12, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, DSD @PoliticalDog101, Entertainment, Media, Men, Projections, Sports, Updates | , , , , | 1 Comment

DSD on the Rhode Island Governors race debate…..

Rhode Island Gubernatorial Debate
(7 – 8:30 p.m. EDT, Thursday 10 June 2010)

on WPRI-TV, Channel 12, Providence, and

[ The candidates for governor await the start of their first TV debate, at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown on Thursday. From left, John Robitaille, Victor Moffitt, Lincoln Chafee, Ken Block, Frank Caprio and Patrick Lynch. ]

The video stream was awful if you didn’t have high capacity memory and connections; it was overloaded by “Connect It” giving the questions as they were asked; I’ve seen this done far more efficiently by less sophisticated and less power-hungry apps. The TV broadcast also had some engineering glitches, especially sound from URI in southern RI.

I apologize to the former state legislator Victor Moffit (R) for my throwaway comparison in an earlier thread about experience: both Moffit’s Republican opponent, John Robitaille, and the Moderate Party candidate Ken Block made big points about their LACK of experience in elective public office.

Atty-Gen. Patrick Lynch (D) made a few good points but reinforced my dislike of him.

Gen. Treas. Frank Caprio (D) still makes a good impression to me, and is certainly a Democrat, but there are fiscal points where he seems too conservative.

Lincoln Chafee (Ind.), a former Republican Mayor of Warwick and U.S. Senator, still looks like the best of the bunch at this point, although I disagree with him on several policy proposals, such as imposing a 1% sales tax on currently-exempt items such as drugs and newspapers.

As I’ve said before, I wish there were a true left-wing candidate, such as State Rep. David Segal (D, Providence & E. Prov.; formerly Green Party member of Prov. City Council), who’s instead running for the Democratic nomination for Patrick Kennedy’s 1st District Congressional seat. An unambiguous left-winger would make this race less lopsided.

June 10, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, DSD @PoliticalDog101, Government, Media, Men, Politics, Updates | , | 2 Comments

DSD…..Dutch Elections…Part #2

Page Two”

Projected State of the Dutch Parties after the ruling Christian Democrats fall to fourth place behind the Liberals, Labour and the far right (anti-Islamic) Freedom Party.

150 is the number of seats in the Dutch Parliament

76 would form a majority.

31 VVD (centre-right liberals)
30 PvdA (Dutch Labour Party)
24 PVV (Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party)
21 CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal)

15 SP (Socialist Party)
10 GroenLinks (GreenLeft)
10 D66 (Democrats 66)

5 ChristenUnie (Christian Union)
2 SGP (Protestant party)
2 Partij voor de Dieren (Party for the Animals)

0 Trots op Nederland (Proud of the Netherlands)

See: http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/liberal-vvd-party-wins-historic-dutch-election

[Published on : 9 June 2010 – 10:01pm | By John Tyler]

with interesting party symbols and a pie chart as well as a layman’s summary of the parties and possible coalitions.

June 10, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, DSD @PoliticalDog101, Government, Politics, Polls, Updates | , | Leave a comment

DSD…..The Dutch Elections…..

From Radio Netherlands Worldwide’s web site:

http://www.rnw.nl/english/bulletin/station-voting-a-success-says-dutch-railways” Station voting a success, says Dutch Railways

Published on 9 June 2010 – 10:23pm

Thousands of Dutch voters used Wednesday’s opportunity to vote in the country’s parliamentary elections at a railway station. According to a representative for Dutch Railways, at least 40,000 people cast their votes at polling booths located in 45 of the country’s railway stations.

At Utrecht’s Central Station, such long lines formed that organisers not only had to set up an extra table to handle all the voters, but also employ a private security guard to ensure that everything remained orderly. At Amsterdam’s Central Station, there was still a long queue as late as 20:00.

Voting at railway stations has taken place before, but only on a small scale. Dutch Railways called the action a success and said it would offer voters the chance to vote at stations in all future elections.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Continue reading

June 10, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, DSD @PoliticalDog101, Government, Media, Politics, Projections, Updates | , | 2 Comments

DSD…..On the California vote…..

Orly Taitz, a relentless pursuer of the Not Born Here theory, won only a quarter of the California GOP primary vote for Sec. of State. But that’s still over a third of a million of California’s more politically-conscious citizens. GOP candidates and managers must be breathing deeps sighs of relief.


California voters approved the cockamamie open primary (which could send two Democrats or two Republicans to face each other in November 2012) at the same time they kept the ban on public financing of elections. I put down at least part of this madness to a Republican 2010 primary that was more significant than the Democratic one, in the relative absence of high-profile vote-catching ballot measures.


By 7 to 1, voters did approve a non-controversial measure that exempts the added value of seismic retrofitting (quake-proofing) of an existing building from property tax revaluations until it’s sold.

June 9, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Ecology, Government, Media, Other Things, Politics, Updates | , | Leave a comment

DSD……Nick Clegg goes before Parliament in the UK…..

As the first-ever Deputy Prime Minister from the UK’s Liberal Democratic Party (founded around 1988), Nick Clegg presented Parliament on Monday with some far-reaching, although not novel, proposals for political reform, regional devolution and constitutional change. Some of these ideas had originated during previous governments without reaching full fruitiion.

From the Lib Dem Voice blog:

Nick Clegg makes “impressive” debut at despatch box as Deputy PM, sets out radical political reform plans

By Stephen Tall | Published 7th June 2010 – 9:25 pm

Nick Clegg debuted in front of the House of Commons today in his new role (yes, it is still new: it’s only a month since the election) as deputy prime minister. And he used the occasion to set out how the new coalition government will make good the political reforms radical political reform plans that languished neglected during Labour’s 13 years in government. The government’s plans include:

* A referendum on the Alternative Vote
* The right to recall MPs who break the rules
* Fewer, more equal-sized constituencies
* Making the House of Lords wholly or largely elected
* Fixed five-year parliaments
* Devolving greater powers to the Scottish Parliament by implementing the recommendations of the Calman Commission
* A referendum on devolving more powers to the Welsh Assembly

Nick Clegg’s website excerpts parts of his speech, reproduced below. But if that’s not enough for you then you can read the full debate exchange courtesy of Hansard here.

continued here

June 8, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, DSD @PoliticalDog101, Government, Law, Media, Men, Politics, Travel, Updates | , , , | Leave a comment

DSD……Coal Miners Union song from back in the Day…..

Oh, brothers, can you stand it?
Oh, tell me how you can.
Will you be a lousy scab,
Or will you be a man?

Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

— Old miner’s union song. (See Harlan County, USA )

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, DSD @PoliticalDog101, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, Updates | , | 1 Comment

DSD on The Baseball Perfect Game Call……Ooops!

Jim Joyce's blown call Wednesday night costs Armando Galarraga (r.) a perfect game, and Bud Selig (b.) fails to use the power of his office to reverse the botched call at first base.

[ Jim Joyce’s blown call Wednesday night costs Armando Galarraga (r.) a perfect game, and Bud Selig (b.) fails to use the power of his office to reverse the botched call at first base. ]

No word here yet on the No. 2 Topic of everyday discussion and debate after the oil spill: Armando Galarraga’s thwarted perfect game?

Both The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal agree that what should have been the game’s last call should be overturned.

See, e.g.,

Baseball Won’t Overturn Umpire’s Blown Call (AP via Wall St J; 13 pictures, 11 comments)

Bud, Make It Perfect
The commissioner of baseball has a tin ear.
Wall St J editorial page (88 comments)

Peggy Noonan: Nobody’s Perfect, but They Were Good As often with her columns, a great beginning with a rather soggy ending (89 comments)

Galarraga brings lineup to a tearful Joyce by Jason Beck/MLB.com

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, DSD @PoliticalDog101, Entertainment, Fiction, Media, Men, Sports, Updates | , , , , | 1 Comment

DSD…….Words of Wisdom……

The old but unkind saw is that

Those who can, do;
Those who can’t, teach; and
Those who can’t teach, teach teachers.

June 2, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, DSD @PoliticalDog101, Education, Media, Other Things, Updates | , | Leave a comment