Tag Archives: Congress

Packing & Cracking ~gerrymander~ a repost and reminder


Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman
Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The information below is a historic  timeline regarding the Census and Gerrymandering or Packing & Cracking rules

In December 1975, the Congress passed Public Law (P.L.) 94-171. This law requires the Census Bureau to make special preparations to provide redistricting data to the 50 states no later than April 1 of the year following a census (so April 1, 2011, for the 2010 Census). P.L. 94-171 specifies that within 1 year of Census Day, the Census Bureau must send each state the small-area data the state will need to redraw districts for the state legislature.

P.L. 94-171 sets up a voluntary program between the Census Bureau and those states that wish to receive population tabulations for voting districts and other state-specified geographic areas.

Under this program, those responsible for the legislative apportionment or redistricting of each state may devise a plan identifying the voting districts for which they want the specific tabulations and submit it to the Census Bureau.

Beginning in 2005, the Redistricting Data Office of the Census Bureau met with state officials in 46 states. These meetings explained the timeline and programs available for the 2010 Census, providing states the time to prepare and allocate resources in advance of the census. The states also provided the Census Bureau with valuable feedback on census program planning.

The 2010 Census Redistricting Data Program is a five-phase program. During Phase 1 (2005–2006), the Census Bureau collected state legislative district boundaries and associated updates to tabulate legislative districts. This phase also included an aggressive 2010 Census communications plan, with visits to state capitals, to make sure the states were informed and prepared for the upcoming census.

Phase 2 (2008–2010) consisted of the Voting District/Block Boundary Suggestion Project (VTD/BBSP) in which states received TIGER/Line® shapefiles and the MAF/TIGER Partnership Software (MTPS) to electronically collect voting district boundaries, feature updates, suggested block boundaries, and corrected state legislative district boundaries. Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 are voluntary programs that include a step where the state verifies the submitted data.

Phase 3 constitutes the delivery of the data for the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau will deliver the geographic and data products to the majority and minority leadership in the state legislatures, the governors, and any designated P.L. 94-171 liaisons. Once bipartisan receipt of the data is confirmed, the data will be made available online to the public within 24 hours through the American FactFinder. For this census, the P.L. 94-171 data will include population counts for small areas within each state, as well as housing occupied/vacancy counts.

After the Census Bureau provides the data, the states will begin their redistricting. States are responsible for delineating their own congressional and legislative boundaries and their legislatures. Legislatures, secretaries of state, governors, and/or redistricting commissions carry out the process.  

Go to www.census.gov for the complete article …

For your information, wiki states, “Gerrymandering is effective because of the wasted vote effect.

The Etymology

First printed in March 1812, the political cartoon above was drawn in reaction to the state senate electoral districts drawn by the Massachusetts legislature to favour 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 newspapers 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.

Resources: www.Census.gov
 and Wiki
 

Women and our Rights : past present future …challenged everyday


oh yeah, it’s a rant … tweaked many many times

keepabortionlegal

So,  here we are in the 21st Century, Women have a constitutional right to have an abortion yet secret bills are being passed as if they(republicans) know what is best for all Women, just think about that and ask yourself … why is a healthcare panel made up of men considering women’s health who keep making strange comments about our lady parts while throwing ALL Women into one basket then under a bus?

Remember when trump said,  women should have some sort of punishment for exercising their rights while conservative lawmakers, governors, and mayors continue to puke on the Constitution by passing lawless bills that restrict the right to have an abortion. The idea the reducing the number of clinics will change the mind of any Woman wanting an abortion is going to make them stop… What does this say about those politicians who need some sericous vetting and maybe censured removed as they continue to put constituents at risk.

The fact is Women lead very different lives, make individual decisions every minute of the day ~just like men … an abortion, like any other procedure is just one of several health care issues Women may have to encounter.  The best solutions: Birth Control in all its forms as well as a safe affordable legal constitutional right to an abortion. I find it beyond offensive to hear Republicans infer that abortion is chosen carelessly and for those who seem to think birth control in all its forms is a federal or states right issue actually use it as a Republican political football.  The fact is that Republicans with Women in their lives forget that their position pushes up against 98% of those who use birth control and they need to stop forcing their “family values” on women, focus on Jobs, Immigration, ending any idea of income inequality and Climate Change among just a few issues at the moment. I say,  honestly, it doesn’t look at all possible for republicans to come to their senses, so vote for the Democratic Party that supports upward mobility as well as the middle-lower classes and the poor = equality for all…

Call on your favourite republicans and ask why they assume Women are ill-equipped, silly, naïve, or would put up with abortion bans without a fight? least we talk about how hard a decision like abortion is: It is NOT easy or done willy nilly! and while they seem to forget it conveniently …women DID use coat hangers, went to folks who were NOT in the medical field but took their money,  performed abortions, and some women, this ended up being a fatal choice

Hey, whatever happened to ” liberty” under the Bill of Rights and “freedom” under Civil Liberties seriously -or does this only apply to certain men?

While we were deep in the era of trump, never forget that on Sunday, January 22, 2012, President Obama released a statement letting Women know that he would reaffirming his promise to protect a woman’s right to choose.    Announcing that  “After evaluating comments, we have decided to add an additional element to the final rule  Nonprofit employers who, based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan, will be provided an additional year, until August 1, 2013, to comply with the new law. Employers wishing to take advantage of the additional year must certify that they qualify for the delayed implementation. This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule. We intend to require employers that do not offer coverage of contraceptive services to provide notice to employees, which will also state that contraceptive services are available at sites such as community health centers, public clinics, and hospitals with income-based support. We will continue to work closely with religious groups during this transitional period to discuss their concerns.”

There were changes to the announcement above as well as big changes to health care for women … It was a time for hope and audacity because of the new health care law women looked forward to less discrimination.  We know some in the insurance field, doctors and or hospitals will try to beat the system, but the law is there to refer to now and covers All Americans not just some. It is hard for me to believe pro-lifers do not understand that every part of a woman’s health is subject to being penalized and that includes our reproductive health care, which includes a wide range of health care issues.  Isn’t bad enough that lawmakers actually would subject women to demeaning practices like a transvaginal scope; make them wait for 72hrs, but to make doctors liable and or do jail time too.  I have to say that among other ridiculous laws that need a vote in Congress, such as The Hyde Amendment requires a vote every year.

…   the Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision barring the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions with exceptions for incest and rape.[1] It is not a permanent law, rather it is a “rider” that, in various forms, has been routinely attached to annual appropriations bills since 1976. The Hyde Amendment applies only to funds allocated by the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services. It primarily affects Medicaid.     wiki

I also admit that it pisses me off that the latest group of people in congress are still getting away with saying one thing in front of a camera yet voting another way on the floor of congress, which includes spewing and or forcing their “family values” platform/ideology on what I thought were free Americans. What year is it again?  If the Republican Tea Party now the Nationalist party truly wants smaller government, they should stop trying to control women, their bodies and or change laws for the sake of that “family values” platform or whatever the claim it is now, and whatever it is now, it is definitely the epitome of big government and an invasion of privacy.

The right seems to be aligning their demands for stricter abortion laws one state at a time. I cannot be the only one tired of the “Do as we say Not as we do Political Party of NO. It has my blood boiling. Now, Tea publicans running for President and some media folks are saying it is time to move on from nasty politics. I say if you want to become President of the US of A give Americans full disclosure. Women need to know if you support unnecessary procedures like a transvaginal scope  … Yet; the same people accuse President Obama of withholding information from the public or being un-American get offended when asked to provide personal information.  We are their constituents; we all deserve to know how these people will vote on issues of religion, race, gender, and or abortion. The beliefs of members of Congress dictate to how the vote will affect our constitutional rights. If you were listening, for three years conservative politicians, some conservadems ramping up of vitriolic “family values” rhetoric pushing the discussion of women’s rights, religion, race, and gender preference up to the surface to rile their base. It is obvious now that Republican Governors had a plan to take the rhetoric a step further by passing anti-abortion legislation all over the country in fact as stated by NWLC – “Ninety-two. That’s the number of anti-abortion measures passed into law across the U.S. in 2011. In addition, in case you are wondering, yes, that is a record — in fact; it is over 2.5 times the previous record. “

Bad enough that Women must continue to fight for our rights for equal pay, daycare, medical leave let alone for safe affordable access to reproductive health care.

Now, as we move toward the end of 2017 with the trifecta that is trump and both chambers of Congress, controlled by Republicans who decided to vote on a right to reproductive rights on the anniversary of Roe V Wade in 2015.  This move by men in Congress was and is always incredible since there are more female members of Congress now and yes, a lot of right of center members who say they are fiscally conservative, want less government in their (our) lives.

Yet, topics like abortion, stem cell research/experiments and religious freedom get them flustered, put their undies in a bunch about abortion funding and seem to prefer that abortion be outlawed altogether if possible. I could not vote for a woman who feels I am not qualified, mature enough or have a “right to choose” no matter what side of the political aisle they sit. The fact is, women who choose to have an abortion, do so with great trepidation not because they are heartless but based on options given by qualified medical teams or if the fetus is not viable or at risk or both mom and fetus are at risk. FYI! the decision is discussed with a counselor and a doctor before any procedure happens. The choice to have an abortion is not an easy one and offering a safe place, an affordable procedure is better than having a woman or women desperate enough to take actions that could put their lives at risk like they did prior to roeVwade should always be in the back of congress…  it is the right thing to do. The idea that any member of Congress would want to control a woman’s body is ludicrous at best and again, the epitome of BIG Government; they should make something like the Hyde only better a law. The conservative ideology, clearly barbaric; spews old school dogma and not only crosses the line on numerous occasions, but it has also solidified a need, a call for an unprecedented effort for a grassroots movement to keep our Democracy safe

If you live under a Republican-controlled State and need or know someone in need of safe affordable healthcare with limited funds, your life has got to be beyond difficult.    Now, imagine the impact that repealing, replacing, and eliminating access would have on ALL our families, friend’s or co-workers. Let alone the idea that some Republicans want to go back to a time when women and people of colour had no rights; seen but not heard and yes it sounds silly but before you laugh, take some time and listen to congressional members led by republicans and those running for office closely.

Just when I thought we were all moving into the 21st century … sigh

Resource: the internet

Nativegrl77

… the issue of choice is important and taken for granted in this era of trump …. Don’t let this guy turn the clock back on women because…  for women who lack resources things could go bad quickly … folks in restricted states need to help each other out

Lawrence Guyot : a Civil Rights Leader, in memory of


WASHINGTON November 25, 2012 (AP)

Guyot was born in Pass Christian, Miss., on July 17, 1939. He became active in civil rights while attending Tougaloo College in Mississippi, and graduated in 1963. Guyot received a law degree in 1971 from Rutgers University, and then moved to Washington, where he worked to elect fellow Mississippian and civil rights activist Marion Barry as mayor in 1978.

“When he came to Washington, he continued his revolutionary zeal,” Barry told The Washington Post on Friday. “He was always busy working for the people.”

Image result for lawrence guyot

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton told The Post in 2007 that she first met Guyot within days of his beating at a jail in Winona, Miss. “Because of Larry Guyot, I understood what it meant to live with terror and to walk straight into it,” she told the newspaper. On Friday, she called Guyot “an unsung hero” of the civil rights movement.

“Very few Mississippians were willing to risk their lives at that time,” she said. “But Guyot did.”

In recent months, his daughter said he was concerned about what he said were Republican efforts to limit access to the polls. As his health was failing, he voted early because he wanted to make sure his vote was counted, he told the AFRO newspaper.

in the Library ~ The New Jim Crow – by michelle alexander… Best Seller


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, 10th Anniversary Edition

so, i read this review of a book that took me back to information given to us in class at the UW  …stunning, sad and eye opening information yet this book review revealed much more …

By Leonard Pitts Jr. / Syndicated columnist

Michelle Alexander’s ‘The New Jim Crow,’ a troubling and necessary book

Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. suggests reading “The New Jim Crow,” by Michelle Alexander, who contends that the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug offenses, combined with sentencing disparities and laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting, constitute nothing less than a new racial caste system.

Syndicated columnist

Related

“You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while not appearing to.”

— Richard Nixon as quoted by H.R. Haldeman, supporting a get-tough-on drugs strategy

“They give black people time like it’s lunch down there. You go down there looking for justice, that’s what you find: just us.”— Richard Pryor

Michelle Alexander was an ACLU attorney in Oakland, preparing a racial-profiling lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol. The ACLU had put out a request for anyone who had been profiled to get in touch. One day, in walked this black man.

He was maybe 19 and toted a thick sheaf of papers, what Alexander calls an “incredibly detailed” accounting of at least a dozen police stops over a nine-month period, with dates, places and officers’ names. This was, she thought, a “dream plaintiff.”

But it turned out he had a record, a drug felony — and she told him she couldn’t use him; the state’s attorney would eat him alive. He insisted he was innocent, said police had planted drugs and beaten him. But she was no longer listening. Finally, enraged, he snatched the papers back and started shredding them.

“You’re no better than the police,” he cried. “You’re doing what they did to me!” The conviction meant he couldn’t work or go to school, had to live with his grandmother. Did Alexander know how that felt? And she wanted a dream plaintiff? “Just go to my neighborhood,” he said. “See if you can find one black man my age they haven’t gotten to already.”

She saw him again a couple of months later. He gave her a potted plant from his grandmother’s porch — he couldn’t afford flowers — and apologized. A few months after that, a scandal broke: Oakland police officers accused of planting drugs and beating up innocent victims. One of the officers involved was the one named by that young man.

“It was,” says Alexander now, more than 10 years later, “the beginning of me asking some hard questions of myself as a civil-rights lawyer. … What is actually going on in his neighborhood? How is it that they’ve already gotten to all the young African-American men in his neighborhood? I began questioning my own assumptions about how the criminal-justice system works.”

The result is a compelling new book. Others have written of the racial bias of the criminal-injustice system. In “The New Jim Crow,” Alexander goes a provocative step further. She contends that the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug offenses, combined with sentencing disparities and laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting, constitute nothing less than a new racial caste system. A new segregation.

She has a point. Yes, the War on Drugs is officially race-neutral. So were the grandfather clause and other Jim Crow laws whose intention and effect was nevertheless to restrict black freedom.

The War on Drugs is a war on African-American people and we countenance it because we implicitly accept certain assumptions sold to us by news and entertainment media, chief among them that drug use is rampant in the black community. But. The. Assumption. Is. WRONG.

According to federal figures, blacks and whites use drugs at a roughly equal rate in percentage terms. In terms of raw numbers, whites are far and away the biggest users — and dealers — of illegal drugs.

So why aren’t cops kicking their doors in? Why aren’t their sons pulled over a dozen times in nine months? Why are black men 12 times likelier to be jailed for drugs than white ones? Why aren’t white communities robbed of their fathers, brothers, sons?

With inexorable logic, “The New Jim Crow” propounds an answer many will resist and most have not even considered. It is a troubling and profoundly necessary book.

Please read it.

Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr.’s column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. His e-mail address is: lpitts@miamiherald.com

Things You May Not know about the Declaration of Independence


By Elizabeth Harrison
Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, celebrates the adoption by the Continental Congress of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. On the 236th birthday of the United States, explore nine surprising facts about one of America’s most important founding documents.


1. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, 1776.
On July 1, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, and on the following day 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s motion for independence. The delegates then spent the next two days debating and revising the language of a statement drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

On July 4, Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, and as a result the date is celebrated as Independence Day. Nearly a month would go by, however, before the actual signing of the document took place.

First, New York’s delegates didn’t officially give their support until July 9 because their home assembly hadn’t yet authorized them to vote in favor of independence. Next, it took two weeks for the Declaration to be “engrossed”—written on parchment in a clear hand.

Most of the delegates signed on August 2, but several—Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean and Matthew Thornton—signed on a later date. (Two others, John Dickinson and Robert R. Livingston, never signed at all.) The signed parchment copy now resides at the National Archives in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, alongside the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

2. More than one copy exists.
After the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the “Committee of Five”—Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston—was charged with overseeing the reproduction of the approved text. This was completed at the shop of Philadelphia printer John Dunlap. On July 5, Dunlap’s copies were dispatched across the 13 colonies to newspapers, local officials and the commanders of the Continental troops. These rare documents, known as “Dunlap broadsides,” predate the engrossed version signed by the delegates. Of the hundreds thought to have been printed on the night of July 4, only 26 copies survive. Most are held in museum and library collections, but three are privately owned.

3. When news of the Declaration of Independence reached New York City, it started a riot.
By July 9, 1776, a copy of the Declaration of Independence had reached New York City. With hundreds of British naval ships occupying New York Harbor, revolutionary spirit and military tensions were running high. George Washington, commander of the Continental forces in New York, read the document aloud in front of City Hall. A raucous crowd cheered the inspiring words, and later that day tore down a nearby statue of George III. The statue was subsequently melted down and shaped into more than 42,000 musket balls for the fledgling American army.

4. Eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Britain.
While the majority of the members of the Second Continental Congress were native-born Americans, eight of the men voting for independence from Britain were born there. Gwinnett Button and Robert Morris were born in England, Francis Lewis was born in Wales, James Wilson and John Witherspoon were born in Scotland, George Taylor and Matthew Thornton were born in Ireland and James Smith hailed from Northern Ireland.

5. One signer later recanted.
Richard Stockton, a lawyer from Princeton, New Jersey, became the only signer of the Declaration of Independence to recant his support of the revolution. On November 30, 1776, the hapless delegate was captured by the British and thrown in jail. After months of harsh treatment and meager rations, Stockton repudiated his signature on the Declaration of Independence and swore his allegiance to King George III. A broken man when he regained his freedom, he took a new oath of loyalty to the state of New Jersey in December 1777.

6. There was a 44-year age difference between the youngest and oldest signers.
The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin, 70 years old when he scrawled his name on the parchment. The youngest was Edward Rutledge, a lawyer from South Carolina who was only 26 at the time. Rutledge narrowly beat out fellow South Carolinian Thomas Lynch Jr., just four months his senior, for the title.

7. Two additional copies have been found in the last 25 years.
In 1989, a Philadelphia man found an original Dunlap Broadside hidden in the back of a picture frame he bought at a flea market for $4. One of the few surviving copies from the official first printing of the Declaration, it was in excellent condition and sold for $8.1 million in 2000. A 26th known Dunlap broadside emerged at the British National Archives in 2009, hidden for centuries in a box of papers captured from American colonists during the Revolutionary War. One of three Dunlap broadsides at the National Archives, the copy remains there to this day.

8. The Declaration of Independence spent World War II in Fort Knox.
On December 23, 1941, just over two weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the signed Declaration, together with the Constitution, was removed from public display and prepared for evacuation out of Washington, D.C. Under the supervision of armed guards, the founding document was packed in a specially designed container, latched with padlocks, sealed with lead and placed in a larger box. All told, 150 pounds of protective gear surrounded the parchment. On December 26 and 27, accompanied by Secret Service agents, it traveled by train to Louisville, Kentucky, where a cavalry troop of the 13th Armored Division escorted it to Fort Knox. The Declaration was returned to Washington, D.C., in 1944.

9. There is something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
In the movie “National Treasure,” Nicholas Cage’s character claims that the back of the Declaration contains a treasure map with encrypted instructions from the founding fathers, written in invisible ink. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is, however, a simpler message, written upside-down across the bottom of the signed document: “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” No one knows who exactly wrote this or when, but during the Revolutionary War years the parchment was frequently rolled up for transport. It’s thought that the text was added as a label.