Trashcan: chaotic remnants

Siris has an interesting piece on the nature of the liberal arts. I loves me some 13th century, I does.

Bora objects to Obama's choices being characterised as "elites" and therefore bad. On the other hand, the term "groupthink" was coined to characterise the elite advisors of the first American Camelot. And an open letter to Obama here on the failures of the Healthcare Information Technology proposals in the US. IT won't solve problems that aren't informational in nature.

PM of Notes from the Floating World discusses the constitutionality and sense of the proroguing of the Canadian Parliament. I add only that the GG who dismissed a troubled government in Australia in 1975 is still remembered with disgust and disdain.

And Denim and Tweed has a nice little summary of speciation in progress in a land snail. It seems that preferred habitat and mating seem to go together.

More like this

On the snail trail paper, I read the abstract. I think the question is whether there are two morphs within a single species, or two species which have occassional localized breakdown of reproductive isolation. The evidence presented seems to me to support the later conclusion. However, the folks studying the situation should understand it much better than this casual reader.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 08 Dec 2008 #permalink

You mention the troubles that your Westminster brethren in Canada are having. I'm split on this one. On the one hand, our system pretty much demands that the regal or vice-regal figurehead do exactly what the government says, save perhaps for some hypothetically tyrannous act. On the other, having a minority government escape a confidence vote that it would inevitably lose by running to the GG doesn't exactly fill me with glee either.

According to my somewhat lacking memory of Westminster Parliamentary history, you're little crisis in 1975 and Canada's infamous King-Byng affair (when Lord Byng refused PM Mackenzie King the election he was looking for and instead asked the Conservatives to form a government) are the only times in the last century when a Governor General has essentially denied the democratically-elected government its wishes.

The real concern here in Canada is that this will set the aforementioned precedent of giving a minority government a pause button when they fear they are about to be toppled. It's not the intent of proroguing Parliament to save anyone's bacon from the fire.

The Governor General, of course, did what she had to. She took the advice of a sitting Prime Minister. The real question is what happens at the end of January when Parliament is recalled and the budget which the opposition coalition still stays it will not support, causes the government to topple. Legally, the GG could ask this coalition of Liberals, socialists and Quebec separatists to form a government, particularly as the last election was held at the end of October.

My hunch is that Canada will be going through another election in seven or eight weeks, the problem being that unless someone can gain and hold on to a lot of support, we're faced with essentially the same situation, and then what? At some point, the GG may be forced by the simple necessity of a stable government to refuse a sitting Prime Minister's request.

Ugly ugly times.

By Aaron Clausen (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Canada's infamous King-Byng affair

I had never heard of the King-Byng affair until now but your King-Byng (Lord Byng of Vimy) retired to and died in the village in Essex were I was born and grew up. I had to come to an Australian website on the philosophy of biology to discover something about the background of my childhood. Weird!