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Sunday, July 05, 2020

Around 30 years ago, a town in Oregon retrofitted an old van, staffed it with young medics and mental health counselors and sent them out to respond to the kinds of 911 calls that wouldn't necessarily require police intervention. read more


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

It's hard for Americans to imagine that a president who lost a bid for re-election would refuse to leave office. But in recent weeks some analysts have done more than imagine it: they've begun to explore what can be done if Donald Trump does just that. read more


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

(CNN)Since George Floyd's death three weeks ago, the role of America's criminal justice system has been catapulted to the forefront of national conversation with thousands calling for sweeping changes within the country's policing system. Protesters have called on their community leaders to hold officers accountable and defund police departments -- in hopes those funds could be redirected toward other programs. And many local leaders have responded, signing orders changing how departments operate, promising further reform and acting quickly on incidents of police brutality that have surfaced in recent weeks. But as anger bubbles in parts of the country, some US police departments are facing their own crises and some officers have now opted to walk away.


Thursday, June 04, 2020

Kirsten Powers: White people have to finally face up to our failure to eradicate the white supremacy that infects our society. America is amidst an overdue reckoning for the systemic racism that has been a fundamental feature of our culture for 400 years. read more


Wednesday, June 03, 2020

(MINNEAPOLIS) " The state of Minnesota filed a human rights complaint Tuesday against the Minneapolis Police Department in the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving. Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced the filing at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. The department enforces the state's human rights act, particularly as it applies to discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations and public services. Mediation is one of its first-choice tools, but the cases it files can lead to fuller investigations and sometimes end up in litigation. read more


Comments

This was a good SCOTUS decision. However, states need to make the penalty for being "faithless" severe enough to discourage electors from taking a bribe.

In a related issue, residents of small states are enamored with the idea of the electoral college because it protects them from the "tyranny" of the large states. Of course, residents of large states don't like it because it dilutes their votes. Much has been made about the need for a constitutional amendment to eliminate the electoral college and move to direct, popular vote to elect the president. However, a constitutional amendment is not needed!

As per the constitution, the number of electors a state receives is equal to the number of representatives they have in the HOR with each state getting a minimum of 1 rep in the HOR. With the number of representatives fixed at 435 in 1929, some states are over represented and others are under represented.

Based on the 2010 Census apportionment, the state with the largest average district size will be Montana (994,416), and the state with the smallest average district size will be Rhode Island (527,624).
www.census.gov

If the number of members of the HOR was more proportional to the population, the presidential election results would be more representative of the population. Not quite direct election of the president by popular vote but better than what we currently have.

What would it take to expand the number of members of the HOR? Legislation. Congress could pass and the president could sign a law setting the number of representatives equal to the number of people in a district divided by the population of the smallest state based on the most recent (2010) census. This would result in the number of representatives being increased to 546 (308,758,105/564,483).
https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST040219#PST040219
https://worldpopulationreview.com/states/

If the dems do win all levers of government this fall, some of the first legislation that they should enact should be to 1) Make DC a state and 2) Increase the number of representatives in the House.

Given the human condition, especially is a capitalistic society with such a large wealth inequality gap, looting should be expected during wide spread civil unrest. Therefore, to prevent looting, decrease the wealth gap and or stop the conditions that cause wide spread civil unrest.

The problem in America is that we want to "have our cake and eat it too". To many, because we live in a capitalistic society, wealth inequality is expected and desirable. The conditions that cause civil unrest are acceptable because those things happen to other people; people that don't look like us and, in any event, they probably did something to deserve their harsh treatment.

Killings of unarmed black men and women, especially George Floyd, has caused many whites to re-examine their feelings about police brutality towards black people. They saw an unarmed, helpless black man, handcuffed, face down on the pavement, calling out to his deceased mother, murdered by 4 police officers and all of a sudden the blinders came off; like a new star "turning on",they were "woke".

While it remains to be seen whether or not this widespread "wokeness" will bear fruit, it has certainly caused many in government to rethink policies that buttress police departments at the expense of minority communities. Perhaps a redirection of resources to address some of the long term, pressing issues in marginalized communities may help to reduce the conditions that cause civil unrest and any looting that results from it.

This isn't rocket science people. Looting isn't the problem. The conditions that cause civil unrest that results in looting is the problem. Address those conditions and looting can't happen. It resorts to what it really is: smash and grab.

People understand the devastating and unpredictable nature of fires and instinctively know that steps must be taken to prevent them. Civil unrest is like a fire where police are called out to extinguish it. But, in to many cases, police are adding fuel to the fire! Since we can't rely on the police to put out the fires of civil unrest or even to control it, we must take the necessary steps to prevent the fire from happening in the first place.

A very interesting read. I have included a bit more of the article below


How many times have you heard a white person take offense at the notion that they may need to examine their racial biases say, "Calling me a racist is the worst thing you could possibly say to me!"

Perhaps. But there are worst things in life than being accused of racism. Being asphyxiated by a police officer's knee on your neck is much worse. Having the police called on you for offending a white woman is much worse. Worrying that your child or husband might be murdered for the crime of jogging while black is much worse. Being discriminated against in the workplace is worse. Being discriminated against by the medical system is far worse.

But that's white supremacy. White people feel like what's happening to us is what's most important. We've been taught that we are the soul definers of the American experience. Watch all the videos of white people treating police as their personal security guards when a black person dares to disagree with them. Hello, white supremacy.

Yes, the Ku Klux Klan and the "alt-right" are also white supremacy. But it's a spectrum, and it stretches all the way from avowed racists to the most well-meaning white person who would never use the "N-word," who calls themselves liberal, who has black friends or black children or a black spouse.

After all, Amy Cooper " who had donated to Barack Obama, Pete Buttigieg and John Kerry, according to the Independent " nearly got the birder Christian Cooper killed when she called the police demanding protection from an "African American man" supposedly threatening her. The contempt and disregard for black bodies is not only the province of men in white hoods.

Here is a link to a NY Times article that implies what Trump's Executive Order may do.

www.nytimes.com

The article suggests that the EO will "curtail the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for what gets posted on their platforms" making it easier for federal regulators to argue that companies like Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter are suppressing free speech.

Other than significantly driving up the legal headaches for the companies, this layman doesn't see anything that can shut them down prior to an election. The EO will certainly be litigated and, I'm guessing, be reversed on appeal. Given the length of time it takes to resolve legal battles, it is highly unlikely that anything will shut them down prior to the election. In the interim, Twitter should become even more aggressive in fact checking and labelling Trump's tweets as lies.

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