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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
           Monday, May 5 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterChecks and balances

I don't know what Central Cambria High School was teaching about the electoral college in the 1950s. But if I correctly understand my esteemed colleague in these spaces each week, David Caldwell, who graduated from CCHS in that decade, their civics teachers may have considered it an "aberration in the election laws." At least that's what David called it in yesterday's piece.

Click map for more details.

Bush won the 2000 popular vote in all the states shown in red.

At Blacklick Township High School in the same era we were taught that rather than an aberration, the electoral college is an ingenious invention of our founding fathers to ensure that the states, not the most populous cities, and not a straight plurality of the voters, elect the President of the United States. It's one of the many checks and balances built into our democratic republican system of governance. Another similar balance is that even the smallest states, Rhode Island and Delaware, have as much of a voice in the upper chamber of the Congress, the Senate, as the most populous one, California, and the largest, Alaska. The lower chamber is based on the population of each state, but another check is that no law passes without the approval of both chambers.

Click map for more details.

Bush won the 2000 popular vote in all the counties shown in red.

It is true that Al Gore won three-tenths of one percent more votes in the nationwide popular voting, but George W. Bush won the popular vote in 60 percent of the states, and 80 percent of the nation's 3,111 counties. As the maps shown here show, and the web page that gives the details about them (click either of them to go to the source), the mega-cities in the nation almost won the election for Al Gore by giving him 71 percent of their votes, though the vast majority of the rest of the nation preferred Bush. As a resident of one of the nation's largest and most liberal mega-cities (the nine-county San Francisco metropolis), I'm grateful that the wiser majority of the rest of the country prevailed in Y2k.

Our original topic was whether Iraq may end up with a democracy that protects all segments of its population, and all its individuals, not just an imbalanced majority. Though David said the violence of the Saddam era doesn't bode well for that prospect, the most democratic Islamic nation, Turkey, also has a history of violence, but has been making notable progress into the 21st Century in recent years. Not to mention that American independence from England was also violent and prolonged, as was that of the Republic of Ireland, though it and England are both happy member states of the European Union now, and both depend on their trade with the other and generally share good relations, as we Americans also have with our Mother Country. Let's not lose hope for Iraq, then, either.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 Don't you hate when that happens?

A woman was shopping at her local supermarket where she selected a quart of two percent milk, a carton of eggs, a quart of orange juice, a head of romaine lettuce, a 2-pound can of coffee, and a 1-pound package of bacon. As she was unloading her items on the conveyor belt to check out, a drunk standing behind her watched as she placed the items in front of the cashier. He said, "You must be single."

The woman, a bit startled but intrigued by the derelict's intuition, looked at her six items on the belt. Seeing nothing particularly unusual about her selections she said, "Well, you know what, you're absolutely correct. But how on earth did you know that?"

The drunk replied, "'Cause you're ugly." "

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Thought for today

Smile...it's an easy thing to do to brighten someone's day!

— Sent by Zan

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