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From:    Muke Tever <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: re Periphrases?  Re    Re Question about Latin.

> >  what's a periphrase?
>
> The singular of "periphrases" is "periphrasis".

Except for most English speakers, for whom the paradigm goes
"periphrase : periphrases".

From:    Paul Bennett <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: No Cross, but a little Crown (sorry) (was Re: Toki Pona survey)

> On Sun, 17 Oct 2004 19:46:32 -0400, Trebor Jung <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Support the fight against the lack of choice on November 2: spoil your
> > ballot!
>
> In most elections in America, spoiled ballots aren't even counted. They
> serve no protestorial purpose, because no-one ever sees that the ballot
> was spoiled. Fight the lack of choice by voting for one of the non-duopoly
> candidates (there are several on the ballot in most states, from the
> Constitutionalists to the Socialists). Fight the lack of choice by
> actively getting involved in voting-method reform organisations -- a
> fairer voting method breaks a duopoly in single digits of terms.

Far be it from me to defend the antics of the duopoly, but I feel
obliged to point out that the mere presence of a multiparty system
in no way automatically improves actual governance.  Just look at
Italy:  there, a proportional representation system guarantees the
extremist, antiimmigrant, quasifascist, secessionist, Northern League
a place in Parliament. Because such systems typically must form
governing coalitions from discrete parties, rather than factions
within parties as in the US, proportional representation systems
are typically much more unstable, and fights over bills become hostage
to a tiny percentage of the voting population. (The Northern League
left a coalition about a decade ago over some petty issue, and this
brought about the downfall of Berlusconi's government the last time
he was in power.)

In the US system, for all its faults, the US parties (which are really
more like permanent standing coalitions) seek to absorb extremist
elements, but can never stray too far from the center, lest the other
major party actually win more seats.  Thus, a major change in one
party's agenda tends more likely to reflect an actual change in the
voting population's opinions than in many European systems. Some
more modern European constitutional arrangements have realized this:
Russia's constitution (well, at least until Putin's new monarchizing
changes go through) has one chamber elected by proportional representation,
and one by Anglophone-style first-past-the-post system.

Also, as far as America is concerned, it's not clear how one would
introduce proportional representation and simultaneously not weaken
the balance of power between the states and regions and the federal
government.  We've already fought one civil war on the nature of
federalism, and I'm sure most of us would like to avoid a second...

 =========================================================================
Thomas Wier	       "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics    because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago   half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street     Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637