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JoanofArgh's Journal
JoanofArgh's Journal
October 31, 2020

NC AG Josh Stein said that voting wasn't impacted in Alamance County


... and all is calm now. I reached out to the State Board of Elections and was informed that the events appear not to have impacted voting at the early voting location. The site there was calm, and the voters got in line and voted.

I have also reached out to the Alamance County Sheriff but have not yet connected. I will update when I learn more. 3/3



October 28, 2020

Trump to strip protections from 16.7 million acres of Alaska's Tongass National Forest

Juliet Eilperin
Oct. 28, 2020 at 10:48 a.m. EDT

President Trump will open up all 16.7 million acres of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and other forms of development, according to a notice posted Wednesday, stripping protections that had safeguarded one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests for nearly two decades.

As of Thursday, it will be legal for logging companies to build roads and cut and remove timber throughout more than 9.3 million acres of forest — featuring old-growth stands of red and yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and Western hemlock. The relatively-pristine expanse is also home to plentiful salmon runs and imposing fjords. The decision, which will be published in the Federal Register, reverses protections President Bill Clinton put in place in 2001 and is one of the most sweeping public lands rollbacks Trump has enacted.

For years, federal and academic scientists have identified Tongass as an ecological oasis that serves as a massive carbon sink while providing key habitat for wild Pacific salmon and trout, Sitka black-tailed deer and myriad other species. It boasts the highest density of brown bears in North America, and its trees — some of which are between 300 and 1,000 years old — absorb at least 8 percent of all the carbon stored in the entire Lower 48′s forests combined.

While Trump has repeatedly touted his commitment to planting trees through the One Trillion Tree initiative, invoking it as recently as last week, his administration has sought to expand logging in Alaska and in the Pacific Northwest throughout his presidency. Federal judges have blocked several of these plans as illegal: Last week, the administration abandoned its appeal of a ruling that struck down a 1.8 million-acre timber sale on the Tongass’s Prince of Wales Island. Alaska Republicans — including Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Sen. Dan Sullivan, who is locked in a tight reelection race — lobbied the president to exempt the state from the roadless rule on the grounds that it could help the economy in Alaska’s southeast. Fishing and tourism account for 26 percent of regional employment, according to the Southeast Conference, a regional business group, compared with timber’s 1 percent.


October 28, 2020

Jack Dorsey of Twitter is testifying before the Commerce Committee on 230


He's tweeting his opening statement:


§230 gave internet services two important tools. The first provides immunity from liability for user’s content. The second provides “Good Samaritan” protections for content moderation and removal, even of constitutionally protected speech, as long as it’s done “in good faith.”

That concept of “good faith” is what’s being challenged by many of you today. Some of you don’t trust we’re acting in good faith. That’s the problem I want to focus on solving. How do services like Twitter earn your trust? How do we ensure more choice in the market if we don’t?

There are three solutions we’d like to propose to address the concerns raised, all focused on services that decide to moderate or remove content. They could be expansions to §230, new legislative frameworks, or a commitment to industry wide self-regulation best practices.

The first is requiring a service’s moderation process to be published. How are cases reported and reviewed? How are decisions made? What tools are used to enforce? Publishing answers to questions like these will make our process more robust and accountable to the people we serve.

The second is requiring a straightforward process to appeal decisions made by humans or algorithms. This ensures people can let us know when we don't get it right, so that we can fix any mistakes and make our processes better in the future.

And finally, much of the content people see today is determined by algorithms, with very little visibility into how they choose what they show. We took a first step in making this more transparent by building a button to turn off our home timeline algorithms. It’s a good start.

We’re inspired by the market approach suggested by Dr. Stephen Wolfram before this committee in June 2019. Enabling people to choose algorithms created by third parties to rank and filter their content is an incredibly energizing idea that’s in reach. https://writings.stephenwolfram.com/2019/06/testif

Requiring 1) moderation process and practices to be published, 2) a straightforward process to appeal decisions, and 3) best efforts around algorithmic choice, are suggestions to address the concerns we all have going forward. And they’re all achievable in short order.

It’s critical as we consider these solutions, we optimize for new startups and independent developers. Doing so ensures a level playing field that increases the probability of competing ideas to help solve problems. We mustn’t entrench the largest companies any further.

This is a personal preference but I'm not a fan of the beard. Or David Letterman's , for that matter.

October 28, 2020

If you like podcasts, this is a good one: Battleground w/ David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt

Guests are James Carville and Stuart Stevens.

This week on Battleground, David and Steve are joined by former Republican strategist and media wizard Stuart Stevens and the Ragin’ Cajun himself, James Carville. They take a bird's-eye view of the election which includes but is not limited to: trying to fix the Democrats' attitude problem, evaluating Trump’s electorate woes, and sussing out Southern senate races. Finally, what do you get when two Democrats and two ex-Republicans try to figure out the future of the Republican Party? Listen to find out!

October 27, 2020

The size of the Supreme Court has been legally changed 7 times


It underwent five full legal implementations:

1789-1807: six seats
1807-1837: seven seats
1837-1866: ten seats
1866-1867: nine seats
1867-1869: eight seats
1869-present: nine seats

And twice, legislation changed its size but was never implemented for various reasons, notably the Judiciary Act of 1801 (or Midnight Judges Act), which would have reduced its size to five upon the next vacancy but was repealed by the Judiciary Act of 1802.

Another attempt that was never (fully) implemented was the Judicial Circuits Act of 1866, which would have provided the next three justices not be replaced when they retire; however, only two seats were eliminated before the Circuit Judges Act altered the size to nine seats.

But why all the fluctuation?

Well, the way our judiciary system is set up is having three levels of federal courts.

At the district level, the lowest, there are 673 federal judges.

They're overseen by 179 appeals judges (circuit courts).

At the top: 9 SCOTUS justices.

Over time, the expansion of the United States in both land and population required a greater workload, which meant more district judges, more appeals judges, etc.

For example, the Seventh Circuit was added in 1807, along with a SCOTUS justice to match in labor.

That's how we eventually got to nine justices, to correspond with nine circuit courts. There's a lot of political maneuvering between parties here, tho, which is why we went from 7 to 10 to 9 to 8 to 9.

(Are you getting the feeling the court has always been political? Correct.)

It's also fair to note that the practice of SCOTUS justices "riding circuit", as in literally taking a tour of courts in their corresponding region, fell out of practice with time.

What didn't change is that we STILL altered the federal judiciary LONG after 1869. Like recently.

For example, in 1978, Congress authorized 117 additional district judges and 35 circuit court judges (the appeals judges) to be appointed by the President.

In 1984, there were 24 additional circuit court judges authorized.

Fast-forward to Obama's presidency, when despite Democrats winning two presidential elections in a row, McConnell and GOP Senators blocked over 100 judicial nominations by Obama.

There was "no will of the people" nonsense. He just blocked them. Didn't even consider them.

There are 870 federal judgeships that are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, authorized under Article III fo the Constitution.

Through this egregious process, Trump and McConnell have slammed through 220 confirmations at those three levels. In 4 years.

For comparison, Obama put through 329 over EIGHT years through a good faith process.

For those doing the math, Trump has confirmed about 25% more federal judges annually. That's a lot. And it was done so through an intentional rigging of the process at stunning speed.

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Current location: Charlotte, NC
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