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Hypocrisy in the 17th

GERRYMANDERING is the deliberate manipulation of legislative district boundaries to advantage or benefit a particular party or group, or to cause disadvantage or harm to an opposing party or group. It distorts the electoral process, undermines democracy, and renders legislative elections a meaningless exercise. It’s a conflict of interest for the legislature to draw it’s own district lines.

Nevertheless, the measure has been approved by both chambers and sent to Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Certainly Reeves must understand the perception of hypocrisy when he votes in favor of reforming the process only to introduce legislation designed to circumvent it for his own political gain..

Libertarianism is for petulant children: Ayn Rand, Rand Paul and the movement’s sad “rebellion”

Libertarians fancy themselves radicals, and yet their rallying cry can be reduced to “You’re not the boss of me!”

Ayn Rand Paul

Libertarians believe themselves controversial and cool. They’re desperate to package themselves as dangerous rebels, but in reality they are champions of conformity. Their irreverence and their opposition to “political correctness” is little more than a fashion accessory, disguising their subservience to—for all their protests against the “political elite”—the real elite.

“As one digs deeper into the national character of Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: How much money will it bring in?” ~Alexis De Tocqueville

Ayn Rand is the rebel queen of their icy kingdom, villifying empathy and solidarity. Christopher Hitchens, in typical blunt force fashion, undressed Rand and her libertarian followers, exposing their obsequiousness toward the operational standards of a selfish society: “I have always found it quaint, and rather touching, that there is a movement in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.”

Libertarians believe they are real rebels, because they’ve politicized the protest of children who scream through tears, “You’re not the boss of me.” The rejection of all rules and regulations, and the belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want, is not rebellion or dissent. It is infantile naïveté.

 

Read the rest
Read the rest

Republicans are Taking America Back. To the 19th Century.

Senator Snowball

Is Sen. James Inhofe really the person we want chairing the Senate’s environment committee?

What’s all this talk about global hunger? I don’t know about you, but I just tucked into a burrito and there are plenty more where that one came from. But that doesn’t mean the nation’s soaring obesity rates are anything more than a rumor. Most of the people I work with look pretty darn good, so QED right?

Sen. Inhofe: If Global Warming Is Real, Where Did I Get This Snowball?
Sen. Inhofe: If Global Warming Is Real, Where Did I Get This Snowball?

Something similar is true of climate change—at least if you’re Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and a man tasked with knowing a thing or two about, um, the environment and public works. The Senator, who has made something of a cottage industry out of arguing that climate change is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” at last has drop-dead, case-closed proof that he’s been right all along. The evidence: a snowball. And not just any snowball, one right there in Washington, DC!

Yup, guess that settles it, and global warming is a hoax invented by MoveOn.org, Michael Moore, and George Soros after all. Well done, Sen. Inhofe, you win. Not.

Virginia Republicans Continue to Block Free and Fair Elections

In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts. The resulting district apportionment is known as a gerrymander; however, that word can also refer to the process. When used to allege that a given party is gaining disproportionate power, the term gerrymandering has negative connotations.

Original-1812-Gerrymander[1]Printed in March 1812, this political cartoon was drawn in reaction to the newly drawn state senate election district of South Essex created by the Massachusetts legislature to favor the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists. The caricature satirizes the bizarre shape of a district in Essex County, Massachusetts as a dragon-like “monster.” Federalist newspaper editors and others at the time likened the district shape to a salamander, and the word gerrymander was a blend of that word and Governor Gerry’s last name.

In addition to its use achieving desired electoral results for a particular party, gerrymandering may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, or class group, such as in U.S. federal voting district boundaries that produce a majority of constituents representative of African-American or other racial minorities, known as “majority-minority districts.”

The primary goals of gerrymandering are to maximize the effect of supporters’ votes and to minimize the effect of opponents’ votes. These can be accomplished through a number of ways:

  • “Cracking” involves spreading voters of a particular type among many districts in order to deny them a sufficiently large voting bloc in any particular district. An example would be to split the voters in an urban area among several districts wherein the majority of voters are suburban, on the presumption that the two groups would vote differently, and the suburban voters would be far more likely to get their way in the elections.
  • “Packing” is to concentrate as many voters of one type into a single electoral district to reduce their influence in other districts. In some cases, this may be done to obtain representation for a community of common interest (such as to create a majority-minority district), rather than to dilute that interest over several districts to a point of ineffectiveness (and, when minority groups are involved, to avoid possible racial discrimination). When the party controlling the districting process has a state-wide majority, packing is usually not necessary to attain partisan advantage; the minority party can generally be “cracked” everywhere. Packing is therefore more likely to be used for partisan advantage when the party controlling the districting process has a state-wide minority, because by forfeiting a few districts packed with the opposition, cracking can be used in forming the remaining districts.
  • “Hijacking” redraws two districts in such a way as to force two incumbents of the same political party to run against each other in one district, ensuring that one of them will be eliminated, while usually leaving the other district to be won by someone from a different political party.
  • “Kidnapping” aims to move areas where a certain elected official has significant support to another district, making it more difficult to win future elections with a new electorate. This is often employed against politicians who represent multiple urban areas, in which larger cities will be removed from the district in order to make the district more rural.

These tactics are typically combined in some form, creating a few “forfeit” seats for packed voters of one type in order to secure more seats and greater representation for voters of another type. This results in candidates of one party (the one responsible for the gerrymandering) winning by small majorities in most of the districts, and another party winning by a large majority in only a few of the districts.

Breaking: Senate Panel OKs Loretta Lynch Nomination As Attorney General

Senate Panel OKs Loretta Lynch Nomination As Attorney General

Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, cleared a major hurdle today to succeed Eric Holder as the country’s top law enforcement officer. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 to send the nomination to the full chamber, which is expected to confirm her nomination.

Three Republicans joined the panel’s Democrats to vote “yes.” Those opposed to her nomination cited President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

NPR’s Carrie Johnson tells our Newscast unit that the veteran prosecutor “waited more than 100 days and answered 897 written questions in her bid to become the country’s top law enforcement officer.

Full story