Representative Democracy

I was just browsing around the CIA Factbook and came up with some interesting numbers. lets see how this comes out:

Representative Democracy
Country Population Xcameral #of Rep in commons K Pop/Rep
Ireland 4,015,676 Bi 166 24
Isreal 6,276,883 Uni 120 52
Italy 58,103,033 Bi 630 92
UK 60,441,457 Bi 646 94
France 60,656,178 Bi 577 105
Canada 32,805,041 Bi 308 107
South Africa 44,344,136 Bi 400 111
Australia 20,090,437 Bi 150 134
Germany 82,431,390 Bi 613 134
Mexico 106,202,903 Bi 500 212
Japan 127,417,244 Bi 480 265
Russia 143,420,309 Bi 450 319
Brazil 186,112,794 Bi 513 363
Euro Union 456,953,258 Bi 732 624
United States 295,734,134 Bi 435 680
India 1,080,264,388 Bi 545 1982

The Population Numbers are July 2005 estimates. X Cameral refers to how many legislative bodies there are. And I used the number of seats in the lower house for the overall representative number. and the final column notes how many citizens each representative represents, in thousands.

Interesting to note that Russia, that hotbed of democracy, has fewer citizens per representive than the US. Indeed, all but India have a more representative democracy than the US. And with India pushing 2 million citizens per representative, I don’t know if they will last much longer, as a democracy.

I threw the European Union in just to see what their numbers look like. The CIA reports that the Euro Parliament doesn’t make the major decisions; that’s for the Council and it is something different.

Once again, I call to make the US a more representative democracy, and bring us the the point where we have at least 1 representative for every 100,000 citizens.

Blog Attack on Steele Decried

Blog Attack on Steele Decried

A part of this article grabbed my attention:

Other liberal bloggers defended Gilliard and took after Kaine for pulling his ad. Markos Moulitsas, editor of the blog Daily Kos, said that advertisers should expect edgy content and that Kaine’s actions could threaten their editorial independence.

“I don’t want bloggers to be afraid to say things because they don’t want to offend an advertisers,” Moulitsas said.

If bloggers accept advertisers then their content should always be suspect. Not only for what they don’t say to avoid offending their financial base but, also, for what they do say to impress their financial base.

Will the fierce, independent blogger moderate their comments to keep their audience sending them money? who knows? Who cares? It is just appearances.

Wait before looking

DO NOT start watching a series until all the episodes are on DVD. It will drive you crazy.

I have gotten to the 2nd and 3rd disks of the Madlax series and I am getting more into it as it goes along. There are two or three background mysteries going on as well as the foreground story. The series is still weaving its web and the viewer is getting entangled.

All in all it is a 7 disk series (26 Episodes) and Volume 3 is the last one out. Volume 4 should be available Real Soon Now, but the rest of the series is going to grind out very slowly and that will be very frustrating.

I am upping my rating from 7 out of 10 to 8 out of 10, for the entire series that I have seen so far.

In the extras, there is a bit called “Conversations with SSS” where the American voice actors are doing a completely different dialog over scenes from the show. Some of them are very funny.

The Colorado Trail

A co-worker gave a slide show yesterday of her 50-day hike along the Colorado Trail. It was part of our “Wellness” benefit. It was an inspiring slide show.

Lucy basically walked 10 miles a day and arranged for her support team to meet her on weekends to replenish supplies. Sometimes, some of the support folks would join her on the trail for a week and then head back with the following support team.

The trail covers a lot of territory between Denver and Durango. From the pictures, and from what I’ve seen of the land, it is beautiful scenery. It passes through a number of National Forests and Wilderness Areas as well.

I am so inspired that I may try hiking the Santa Fe trail. But I think I’d rather bike it.

But, it does remind me that Elaine and I need to get out next summer and spend some time camping in the mountains, to get rid of the rust and dust on our camping gear so we will be ready to use it when needed.

An open letter to my Senator. (one of them)

Dear Senator Allard,

I understand that you were one of nine senators that voted against an amendment to a Defense Appropriation bill (HR2863). This amendment (1977) was submitted by Senator McCain and called for the humane treatment of prisoners by our Defense Forces.

Frankly, Senator, I am ashamed that you would vote against the humane treatment of prisoners.

It is the duty of Congress to provide guidelines on the “Rules of War” to our military. It is not only the duty of Congress to declare war, but it is the duty of Congress to provide oversight on how the executive branch is managing our defense forces, especially in times of hostility. Since Congress has not declared war recently, I am hesitant to call the activities in Iraq and Afghanistan ‘war’, although it sure looks like it from here.

I understand that some of the President’s staff have opposed this amendment because it might restrict the President’s pursuit of war. The President’s pursuit of war should be restricted, especially if that pursuit leads to the inhumane treatment of prisoners. Congress should take the Executive Branch to task for their continuing mistreatment of prisoners during our current overseas military adventures.

You represent the State of Colorado in the US Senate, and, by extension, me, as a citizen of the State of Colorado. I believe you have failed in your duties. I have not run into a fellow Colorado citizen that supports the inhumane treatment of prisoners by our military. Most have been thoroughly disgusted by the pictures and reports that have come out of Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities.

This is not a Republican issue nor a Democrat issue. This is an American Issue and you have not only failed your state but your country.


The Season’s Over

It was a long hard season for some. My team performed about as expected and ended up in 2nd place. They ended up with 71.5 points out of a possible 100. My target all along was to average about 7 points in each category, and I did well in that regard with 6, 8, 7, 9, 6.5, 9, 4, 9, 8, 5. Unfortunately, the Bud Chuggers averaged 8 points per category and took the trophy.

Hard to believe that after 26 weeks, I actually tied someone for Stolen Bases, with 123. 36.5 hitting, 35 pitching points, a good balance.


I saw Serenity this past weekend. I enjoyed it.

Joss Whedon kept the characters from Firefly and continued to develop them, using the movie medium to give some more depth than they got from TV.

The story picks up from the show and continues the Alliance’s pursuit of River. I don’t think you need to have seen the show to become engaged with the movie. The TV show provides back story on the characters but the movie defines the characters within its own view. It is hard for me to say, since I did see the entire series, that if someone walked in without Firefly, that they would appreciate the movie, but I think they would.

The movie quickly establishes the overall conflict between the Tams and the Alliance, and even provides the reason that the Alliance fears River Tam. Within Serenity, the crew continues to deal with a ship that is continually breaking down and with the tensions of living with a group of people they might not otherwise want to live with.

Especially when the goals of some are the pursuit of individual wealth and glory and for others is the pursuit of individual liberty over the commune of the Alliance with its select few who desire mastery and control over the human race. It is this pursuit of the mastery and control that leads to the main crisis of the movie and its tactically satisfying conclusion.

There is no strategically satisfying conclusion that can be reached, a la “throw the ring into Mount Doom”, in a two hour movie. And maybe there never will be. The suppression of one’s humanity in support of an ideal society goes back throughout human history. I doubt it will change much in the future. And there will always be people to take advantage of that blind faith for their own ends.

Whedon blends comedic elements so easily throughout the script. Even in the middle of a tense scene, a spot of homor highlights the moment and heightens the tension. People act as people throughout the script. Even stereotypes and exemplars of virtue have dings around the edges to make them more real.

I will give this an 9 out of 10 and expect to get the DVD when it becomes available.