Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: November 2006

Is this where I put in key words such as sex, lesbians, vampires, Christopher Lloyd and others things to which this blog do not pertain, but by putting them here, I may get hits from all the Christoper Lloyd lesbian vampire fans (and you know who you are)? This is the primarily humorous and occasionally rambling writings of Leon Tchaikovsky, humor writer. Enjoy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Space is Your Casa

I have made the leap onto My Space. The site is at:

Just don't expect me to be your friend. It is people from Pittsburgh like Mr. Rogers who walk around saying "don't you want to be my neighbor?" That's because they can't get anyone to move to Pittsburgh. Me, I just want my neighbors to leave me alone and I want them to move to Pittsburgh.

Happy Thanksgiving. Remember that Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, so in his honor, enjoy a delicious bald eagle.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Review of "The Marketplace of Democracy"

This collection of essays, published in 2006 before the elections, is a valuable peek into elections, how those elected write the rules of the elections, and the electoral results of those rules. Several studies point to the resulting high rate of incumbency reelection, which since 1945 has usually been over 90% for most state and national offices. Still, this does not mean that elections are always secure. In 1980, 55% of incumbent Senators were reelected, a notable exception to the general reelection expectations. Plus, the book was written before the 2006 primaries and elections which experienced a higher rate of incumbent defeated than in the past.

While individual incumbents have become more secure in winning reelections, political parties have diminished. The research reported in this book indicates that the public’s affiliation with any political party has been lessening since the 1960s. Yet without strong political parties, incumbents are finding it easier to win reelections in part due to decreased competition. Redistricting decisions tend to make it more difficult for challenging parties to successfully defeat incumbents. Research also shows that challengers have tended to have less previous experience, indicating that fewer experienced, and thus weaker, political challengers have emerged.

The redistricting advantage is currently particularly effective for Republicans, according to research discussed in this book. It credits Republican leaders with successful gerrymanders in Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. Authors in this book conclude that the attempts of one political party to gerrymander have had unintended results of not achieving the best partisan result sought by the gerrymanders. When attempts are made to maximize the number a seats a political party could win, the result often turns out instead to increase in the number of competitive seats.

Electoral competition usually decreases in each successive election following redistricting. Incumbents are most vulnerable in their new districts and become better established and less vulnerable over time. Ironically, this failed to happen in 2002, the first election after the 2000 redistricting, leading some observations that incumbents had become better skilled at devising redistricting to protect themselves.

The per cent of voters participating in U.S. House elections has been declining over past decades, although the rate of decline has been erratic. It has reached a historic low. Apparently this reduced turnout has favored incumbents.

State legislative elections find incumbent reelection rates in several states as over 80% or 90%, with the highest rates found in some elections of 99% in Pennsylvania to 98% in New York, Michigan, and Massachusetts. The increased incumbency reelection rates produces stability of membership to legislatures. In the 1930s, each session saw half of its membership as new members. In the 1980s and 1990s, legislatures kept about three quarters of their members between sessions. Not running for reelection was a leading cause of not returning, rather than being defeated.

Legislatures have become more professional over the decades, and research shows the electoral competition decreases in states with more professional legislatures. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, and Wisconsin have the least competitive state legislative elections, and voter approval of their professional legislators along with the greater ability of professional legislators to serve and communicate with their constituents contributes to this reduced competition.

While campaign contributions have become a more important part of politics, researchers note that many candidates do not raise funds from local sources. Over half of all Democratic funds raised and about 40% of Republican funds nationwide are raised from contributors located in only 50 counties.

Term limits have increased competition for state legislative seats. From 1991 through 2002, 698 seats nationwide were created by term limits, and 82% of those open seats were contested by the two major parties. By comparison, there were 4,754 open seats that occurred in states without term limits, and 74% of those seats were contested between the two major parties. Despite the increased competition caused by term limits, greater political party turnover was found in the non-term limited open seats, where 19% switched parties, as opposed to the term-limited open seats were 12% switched parties.

In sum, this book discovers that elections have become less competitive. If democracy is truly a marketplace, then the market is purchasing more determinant elections and less electoral uncertainty.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Elect a Eunich Tax Collector

Why do you kill people in the name of God because their God doesn’t believe in the same type of peace as your God?

Eunuchs are being hired in India to collect taxes. That has to be very effective. They knock on your door and can show taxpayers what they do to people like them who didn’t pay their taxes.

It matters not if you live in a mansion. One can only live in one room at a time. Make the most of that room.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Talking Cat Divulges Secret Government Plan

Someone tried to set me up with someone. I forewarn men that there are often subtle clues about a woman that we can detect early on that should forewarn us that we should run from a woman as fast as she can. I call these "early run for your life warnings". This woman has one cat. One cat, not bad. As I said earlier, one cat is alright, two cats are borderline, and three or more cats, it is an obsession.

She claimed her cat can talk. Now, that statement is not an "early run warning". Lots of women like how their cat meows. Yet, when the woman then insists that her cat speaks words in the English language, that is a prime example of an "early run for your life warning".

Amazingly, I watched as, unfortunately, the cat was shy and would not speak. What a shame. I was so looking forward to discussing worlds events with the cat, although I am not certain how versed the cat is in American foreign policy. I fear cats don't read much and rely heavily on the news from only watching Fox News. Ironically, the cat didn't even "meow" once.

The woman claimed she works on a secret government project. I asked if she could divulge the secret government project. "Early run for your life warning" number two: if a professed secret agent discloses her plan, she is probably not a real secret agent. She stated she worked on a secret program to close a military base. I asked what became of her report. She answered that the base was then closed. Remind me someday to point out that if a secret report has been administered, it no longer is a secret report.

Later when she mentioned how her phone was tapped, I recall thinking to myself "of course you think your phone is tapped."

Now, and this is the point that many men fail to recall, when enough "early run for your life warnings" have been registered, the most advisable course of action is: run.

After I left, I could only imagine what happened. Somehow I can imagine her standing there asking, "do you think he'll call?", and her cat looking up at her and saying "if he doesn't, it's his loss."

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