Wednesday, October 05, 2016

First Paragraph

We spent the night at Salzburg, and in the morning we had time to visit the house where Mozart was born, and look at his little spinet, which has keys that are brown and white instead of white and black. There the boy sat, pleased by its prettiness and pleased by the sounds he drew from it, while there encircled him the rage of his father at this tiresome, weak, philandering son he had begotten, who would make no proper use of his gifts; and further back still the indifference of his contemporaries, which was to kill him; and further back still, so far away as to be of no use to him, our impotent love for him. That was something we human beings did not do very well. Then we went down to the railway station and waited some hours for the train to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. When it at last arrived, I found myself in the midst of what is to me the mystery of mysteries. For it had left Berlin the night before and was crammed with unhappy-looking German tourists, all taking advantage of the pact by which they could take a substantial sum out of the country provided they were going to Yugoslavia; and I cannot understand the proceedings of Germans. All Central Europe seems to me to be enacting a fantasy which I cannot interpret. 

- From Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West 


At 5:43 AM, Blogger John said...

Gerrymandering makes party politics more decisive than social or tribal identities.

"When our democratic institutions cease to be responsive to the ballot box, they cease to be democratic institutions. These district lines were drawn so as to suppress the general will of voters in these states. Look, we are 40 days out from a presidential election and there is zero chance that the Democrats can take back the House. That has everything to do with the way in which voters have been strategically packed into districts."

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Michael Wade said...


I suspect that you meant for this comment to be posted with the "Back to the Cave" post.

I disagree with the emphasis of the Vox quotation. Both parties gerrymander and other factors, such as the re-election power of incumbents, play major roles.


At 6:00 PM, Blogger John said...

Oops! You're right. Wrong post.
And you're also right about both parties doing the gerrymandering bit. In fact, the article opened with a reference to the origin of the tactic as early as 1788 with Patrick Henry carving up Virginia in order to fight James Madison.
And the final sentences are "But if they can have one seat at the table in some of these states, they will end up with a result that is at least a little less bad. And honestly, I think that's the best they can hope for.

"It is a long process. I don't think they can do all of it in 2020. And they're going to have to come back in 2030 for another piece of it, which would mean that the true cost of the 2010 election is a generation of Republican control of the House."

The point was more about the effect of the dynamic than an indictment of the GOP. We can be sure that when 2020 comes along Democrats will have both barrels loaded. Both parties have been doing it from the start of the Republic.

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Michael Wade said...


And both parties do their best to squelch third parties.




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