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America Is Living James Madison’s Nightmare

America Is Living James Madison’s Nightmare

The Founders designed a government that would resist mob rule. They didn’t anticipate how strong the mob could become.

…To prevent factions from distorting public policy and threatening liberty, Madison resolved to exclude the people from a direct role in government. “A pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction,” Madison wrote in “Federalist ?10.” The Framers designed the American constitutional system not as a direct democracy but as a representative republic, where enlightened delegates of the people would serve the public good. They also built into the Constitution a series of cooling mechanisms intended to inhibit the formulation of passionate factions, to ensure that reasonable majorities would prevail.

…The people would directly elect the members of the House of Representatives, but the popular passions of the House would cool in the “Senatorial saucer,” as George Washington purportedly called it: The Senate would comprise natural aristocrats chosen by state legislators rather than elected by the people. And rather than directly electing the chief executive, the people would vote for wise electors — that is, propertied white men — who would ultimately choose a president of the highest character and most discerning judgment. The separation of powers, meanwhile, would prevent any one branch of government from acquiring too much authority. The further division of power between the federal and state governments would ensure that none of the three branches of government could claim that it alone represented the people.

…Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms have accelerated public discourse to warp speed, creating virtual versions of the mob. Inflammatory posts based on passion travel farther and faster than arguments based on reason. Rather than encouraging deliberation, mass media undermine it by creating bubbles and echo chambers in which citizens see only those opinions they already embrace.

…More recently, geographical and political self-sorting has produced voters and representatives who are willing to support the party line at all costs. After the Republicans took both chambers of Congress in 1994, the House of Representatives, under Speaker Newt Gingrich, adjusted its rules to enforce party discipline, taking power away from committee chairs and making it easier for leadership to push bills into law with little debate or support from across the aisle. The defining congressional achievements of Barack Obama’s presidency and, thus far, Donald Trump’s presidency — the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, respectively — were passed with no votes from members of the minority party.

…Madison feared that Congress would be the most dangerous branch of the federal government, sucking power into its “impetuous vortex.” But today he would shudder at the power of the executive branch. The rise of what the presidential historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. called the “imperial presidency” has unbalanced the equilibrium among the three branches. Modern presidents rule by executive order rather than consulting with Congress. They direct a massive administrative state, with jurisdiction over everything from environmental policy to the regulation of the airwaves. Trump’s populist promise — “I alone can fix it” — is only the most dramatic in a long history of hyperbolic promises, made by presidents from Wilson to Obama, in order to mobilize their most ideologically extreme voters.

…During the 20th century, the Supreme Court also became both more powerful and more divided. The Court struck down federal laws two times in the first 70 years of American history, just over 50 times in the next 75 years, and more than 125 times since 1934. Beginning with the appointment of Anthony Kennedy, in 1987, the Court became increasingly polarized between justices appointed by Republican presidents and justices appointed by Democratic presidents. Kennedy’s retirement raises the likelihood of more constitutional rulings split between five Republican appointees and four Democratic ones.

For the full article go HERE (PDF)

Trying to Reboot Baseball

Trying to Reboot Baseball

Kristen Pitching 12u

Devin Gordon posted an article on Medium titled The Off-the-Radar Baseball League That’s Trying to Reboot the Game. It describes how too many home runs and strikeouts (“true outcomes,” in baseball vernacular) is taking the fun out of the game. Major League Baseball, is in a three-year partnership with the independent Atlantic League to test out numerous experimental rules designed to enliven the game.

Baseball was my primary sport growing up, and of course I enjoyed immensely coaching David and Kristen in youth baseball. When it comes to watching, however, it’s one of my least favorite sports to watch for all the reasons stated in the article.

Here is my radicle idea: Any ball hit over the fence is an out. It’s not original. I played in a coed softball team that had that rule in place.

PDF

Moto G6

Moto G6

I was set to get a new Google Pixel 3 phone $150 off $800 during Thanksgiving.  Then I came across the G6 I could get for $189 at Costco ($50 off).  You can get it on Amazon for $200.   I decided to give it a try and so far, I’m pretty happy with it.  My Google Nexus 6 phone was starting to have issues and no longer allowed Android Auto to work in my car.

The phone is slightly thinner but taller with a 18:9 ratio rather than the standard 16:9. It has tons of features which I’m still discovering.  This is the first phone I’ve owned with a fingerprint scanner and I really like how convenient and quick it is to unlock the phone.  I can define motion actions as shortcuts to various functions. For example shaking it twice will turn on the flashlight!

It has a 12m front facing dual-camera.  Judging from the 1st photo I shot on our back porch, it is plenty nice!

I could buy a phone like this EVERY year at this price and in 4 years I would have spent as much as an iPhone!

CNET Review

TechRadar Review

Solid State External Drive

Solid State External Drive

I want to move all my external storage to solid state drives.  I get nervous that my disk-based external drives will eventually stop working.

This Samsung  T5 SSD 500GB USB 3.1/USB-C  is my first SSD purchase.
It’s tiny and fast!  Love it.  Bought it back in May for $160.  Amazon now has it for $124.
When I fill it up, hopefully prices of the 1TB model will fall and I’ll buy my second.

 

 

Let’s get rid of “Lady” moniker

Let’s get rid of “Lady” moniker

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Haven’t we moved beyond the use of “lady” in front of mascots? – Michael Adams, Lake Travis View

When I took over as sports editor for the Westlake Picayune and Lake Travis View, I decided that in our print and online editions, my policy would be to never refer to the girls teams as “Lady Chaps” or “Lady Cavs.”

‘Lady’ team nicknames can be harmful, experts say

“I think we have to get away from these labels that inadvertently marginalize different people who participate in sports because of their sexuality or gender,” Armstrong said. “I think it has created this binary: the norm and what’s out of the norm, the good and what’s not so good, this is the real sport and this is the other sport.”

MASCOTS ARE MASCOTS, NO ‘LADY’ ABOUT IT

“Lady” has always felt like an antiquated qualifier in sports. I see the argument that it differentiates the girls and boys side of a sport, but it gives the boys the rights to the actual school name and gives the girls’ teams a feeling of being somehow lesser. They are the “ladies.” But boys do not have to be “gentlemen.” Or any other type of descriptor, for that matter.

Schools Move To Drop ‘Lady’ From Women’s Team Names, Drawing Mixed Reactions

“The men’s teams are somehow solely entitled to the general term Hens, without a gender specific qualifier,”

“referring to our women’s sports teams as the Lady Hens while we refer to our men’s teams as the Hens suggests that men’s teams lay claim to true Henship and to the true embodiment of athleticism.”

 

XBOX One S Costco Bundle

XBOX One S Costco Bundle

xboxones

Time for a new XBOX.  Best deal I found that suited us was at Costco.

XBOX One S 500GB with 3-month Game Pass and Extra Controller $269.99

With order I got $8 off a 1-year XBOX Live 12-Month Gold Membership

With order got $51 off ANY game (got COD WWII)

Shipping was $1.99 !

 

How do we avert the apocalypse?

How do we avert the apocalypse?

apocalypse

When we can’t even agree on the basic issues in society (Gun Control, Health Care), there is no way we will ever agree that we need to stop  GNP growth!  Bring on the Apocalypse!

Read how Costa Rica may have the solution

Our chances of keeping global warming below the 2C danger threshold are very, very small: only about 5%. The reason, according to the paper’s authors, is that the cuts we’re making to greenhouse gas emissions are being cancelled out by economic growth.

This is what ecologists call “de-growth”. This calls for redistributing existing resources and investing in social goods in order to render growth unnecessary.

After all, once we have excellent healthcare, education, and affordable housing, what will endlessly more income growth gain us? Maybe bigger TVs, flashier cars, and expensive holidays. But not more happiness, or stronger communities, or more time with our families and friends. Not more peace or more stability, fresher air or cleaner rivers. Past a certain point, GDP gains us nothing when it comes to what really matters. In an age of climate change, where the pursuit of ever more GDP is actively dangerous, we need a different approach.