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klook

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Hometown: GA
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 9,059

About Me

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Journal Archives

The real American deep state: the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate

The real American deep state, after all, which thwarts the ability of Americans to govern themselves by the principle of majority rule, is the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate.

This nugget comes from a brief but excellent piece by Harold Meyerson in The American Prospect dated yesterday:
Majority Rule? Not Yet, Fellow Americans.

The subject is the tyranny of the minority imposed by the arcane system that empowers low-population states with disproportionately large numbers of electoral college votes and U.S. Senators.

Is there a way around the Electoral College, a piece of 18th-century handiwork put into the Constitution at a time when that document’s authors thought that only a relative handful of elite Americans would actually know anything about the presidential candidates, and when the Constitution’s Southern authors feared straight-out popular presidential elections could favor Northern candidates not necessarily predisposed to slavery?

As the Electoral College favors small states (since each state gets two extra votes reflecting its Senate representation), repealing the Constitution’s Article II provision that requires its use would prove difficult. As three-quarters of the states must ratify any constitutional change, it would take just 13 smaller states to block the College’s abolition.

In 2018, though, writing in these pages, Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law scholar and dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, argued the Court’s one-person-one-vote ruling enforcing the Fifth Amendment’s establishment of equal justice under the law renders the Electoral College unconstitutional. No such case has yet come before the Court and it’s by no means clear that Chemerinsky’s argument would prevail. But it certainly should be tried.

Meyerson applies a famous Voltaire quote to the Electoral College: écrasez l’infâme, which translates as "crush the infamous (or loathesome) thing."

More at link:
https://prospect.org/blogs/tap/majority-rule-not-yet-fellow-americans-electoral-college/

LOCAL UPDATE: The Confederate monument in Decatur comes down

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After years of pressure and a recent court order, the Confederate monument in the downtown Decatur square has come down.

By 10:30 p.m. Thursday, a large, energetic crowd had gathered near the 30-foot obelisk, which a DeKalb County judge ordered last week should be removed and put into storage. Word had spread quickly as law enforcement and construction crews gathered in the area and a crane was brought in to pluck the monument from its perch outside the historic DeKalb County courthouse.

Police officers on the scene moved observers away from the gazebo near the monument, which was erected in 1908 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

By 11:30 p.m., the crowd had grown to a few hundred. And like that, the obelisk was pulled from its pedestal.

Read more: https://www.ajc.com/news/local/breaking-confederate-monument-decatur-appears-coming-down/1SfeR7g7YZdScfGI5NVfSJ/



Erected in 1908 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, this 30-foot monument to white supremacy stood for 112 years as a reminder of which lives matter. No more. Happy Juneteenth!



More coverage:

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/confederate-memorial-removed-decatur-square/2EONBLRIWNFK3J7IOD7HQBIUB4/

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/19/us/decatur-square-confederate-monument-removed/index.html?utm_content=2020-06-19T09%3A29%3A01&utm_source=twCNN&utm_term=link&utm_medium=social

Decatur white supremacist monument to be placed in storage, per DeKalb County judge order

BREAKING: DeKalb judge orders Confederate monument to be moved
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
(cross-posted from Late Breaking News)

In an order issued Friday afternoon, a DeKalb County judge said the “nuisance” Confederate monument in the Decatur square should be “immediately relocated.” Judge Clarence Seeliger issued the order in response to a complaint that Decatur’s city attorney filed against DeKalb County. The order said the 30-foot obelisk — which has fallen back in the spotlight during recent protests about racism and police violence toward black people — should be placed into storage until further notice.

“In short, the Confederate obelisk has become an increasingly frequent target of graffiti and vandalism, a figurative lightning rod for friction among citizens, and a potential catastrophe that could happen at any time if individuals attempt to forcibly remove or destroy it,” Seeliger wrote.

Georgia state law makes it extremely difficult for local governments to relocate or remove Confederate monuments, though the updated law adopted last year does include language that allows for “appropriate measures for the preservation, protection and interpretation” of monuments. Seeliger’s order references a more general section of state law that allows local judges to address public nuisances that are “manifestly injurious to the public health or safety.”

DeKalb County has been trying to get rid of the Lost Cause monument — which was installed nearly 50 years after the Civil War and suggests that Confederate soldiers were fighting solely for states’ rights — but has had little luck. Last September, the county added a contextualizing marker near the obelisk, which stands near the old county courthouse. The marker says that the monument was erected to “glorify the ‘lost cause’ of the Confederacy” and has “bolstered white supremacy and faulty history.”
- more at link: https://www.ajc.com/news/local/breaking-dekalb-judge-says-confederate-monument-should-removed/L6pwyzbEiLmEQ9w2mXnGmK/

This is a great day for the "blue dot" city of Decatur, for DeKalb County, and for anti-racists everywhere! Congratulations to Hate Free Decatur and the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, and thanks to city attorney Bryan Downs for keeping up the pressure to make this happen.

BREAKING: DeKalb judge orders Confederate monument to be moved

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In an order issued Friday afternoon, a DeKalb County judge said the “nuisance” Confederate monument in the Decatur square should be “immediately relocated.”

Judge Clarence Seeliger issued the order in response to a complaint that Decatur’s city attorney filed against DeKalb County. The order said the 30-foot obelisk — which has fallen back in the spotlight during recent protests about racism and police violence toward black people — should be placed into storage until further notice.

“In short, the Confederate obelisk has become an increasingly frequent target of graffiti and vandalism, a figurative lightning rod for friction among citizens, and a potential catastrophe that could happen at any time if individuals attempt to forcibly remove or destroy it,” Seeliger wrote.

Georgia state law makes it extremely difficult for local governments to relocate or remove Confederate monuments, though the updated law adopted last year does include language that allows for “appropriate measures for the preservation, protection and interpretation” of monuments.

Read more: https://www.ajc.com/news/local/breaking-dekalb-judge-says-confederate-monument-should-removed/L6pwyzbEiLmEQ9w2mXnGmK/



This is fantastic news! For the past few years, there has been a persistent movement to get rid of this thumb in our collective eye. Last year the DeKalb County Commission installed a historic marker making it clear that the monument was erected in 1908 as part of the southern Jim Crow backlash against black liberation (see DeKalb’s Confederate monument to receive contextualizing marker, March 2019).

Congratulations to Hate Free Decatur and the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights for their great work in bringing attention and shame to this disgusting monument! This is a great day!!

"Back at the Chicken Shack" - Jimmy Smith & Stanley Turrentine

with Kenny Burrell on guitar and Donald Bailey on drums. Get ready to groove:

Thanks for posting. Here are links to the forbidden(!) doc and the decision tree flowcharts

as given in the BI article.

Everyone should review these guidelines, which are thorough, well-thought-out, and quite reasonable. Obviously different communities will have differing abilities to implement them in toto. As the CDC states on its website:
When selecting mitigation strategies, states and communities should be guided by the local characteristics of disease transmission, demographics, and public health and healthcare system capacity. Mitigation strategies should be able to be scaled up or down depending on the evolving local situation.

The full 17-page document:
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6883734-CDC-Business-Plans.html

Seven pages of flowcharts showing decision trees for reopening youth programs & camps, childcare programs, faith communities, mass transit, restaurants & bars, schools, and workplaces:
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6883736-CDC-documents.html#document/p1

Additional information pages linked from within the Forbidden Documents:

Within the documents there are hyperlinks to additional information. Note: The lower-level links within the 17-page file and the flowchart document are not functional -- those files are just images of the pages in the CDC publications. The bulleted list above links to those supplemental pages.

There's a lot more useful information on the CDC website under Communities, Schools, Workplaces, and Events: Guidance for Where You Live, Work, Learn, Pray, and Play -- at least until the gremlins force it to be scrubbed.

More Than A Feeling -- 2020 vs. 2016 (Matt Lubchansky)


- More Lubchansky cartoons at The Nib

Scenes from Georgia's cautious reopening: Lines start early for haircuts

By Alexis Stevens, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
They needed a trim, and couldn’t wait any longer. For the the first time in weeks, some Metro Atlanta hair salons and barbershops reopened Friday. And the lines started early.

The first phase of Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to reopen Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic included haircut shops and gyms, though not all chose to open their doors.

Source: https://www.ajc.com/news/lines-start-early-for-haircuts-georgia-begins-open/jWJvWglc5N7RlQt1Z6oDTN/

I learned a lot about this pandemic (including how testing really works) from 2 podcast episodes:

The podcast Deep Background with Noah Feldman has recently featured especially good episodes with information about the COVID-19 pandemic. This twice-a-week podcast, hosted by the Harvard Constitutional Law professor who tested before the House Judiciary Committee during the hearings that led to Trump's impeachment, is in my regular rotation. As a layperson, I found these discussions both very informative and easy to follow. I hope you'll enjoy them as well.

You can listen to these podcast episodes on the show's home page, at the individual "Play in browser" links listed below, or in your favorite podcast app (for example Stitcher, IHeartRadio, or Apple Podcasts).
URL of show home page: https://pushkin.fm/deep-background

April 21, 2020 - The Roadblocks to Mass Testing
Omai Garner, the director of clinical microbiology testing at UCLA Health, explains why more Americans have not been tested for COVID-19.
Play in browser

April 22, 2020 - The Way out of the Pandemic? Generosity.
Pardis Sabeti, a computational biologist at Harvard and the Broad Institute, discusses when and how to re-open colleges and universities, why the US is behind other countries when it comes to containing the spread of coronavirus, and a plan to stop pandemics in the future.
Play in browser

Anybody using a mechanical keyboard?

I've been researching mechanical keyboards to use with my 2017 MacBook Pro. So far the Keychron K2 with Gateron Brown keyswitches is the top contender, for these reasons:
  • good reviews,

  • reportedly has a tactile "bump" without being excessively noisy,

  • affordably priced, and

  • has actual Mac symbols on the Control, Option, and Command keys.

Anybody using a K2? Or have any others to recommend?

I don't care about wireless vs. USB -- wired is fine. My preferred use is mainly for typing -- I'm not a gamer. I don't need RGB backlighting. White backlighting would be nice, but that's optional. Several reviewers mention that the K2 is unusually thick, so a wrist rest (such as the walnut one Keychron sells) is recommended. If I get this keyboard, I'll probably go that route.

I've finally had to admit that Lloyd Chambers was right when he wrote on Mac Performance Guide that the 2017 MacBook Pro "chiclet" keyboard sucks. It's very easy to make typos -- I'm constantly hitting multiple keys or the wrong key, much more than I ever have with any other keyboard.
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