My candidacy for the Libertarian Party’s Rules & Bylaws Committee

The Libertarian National Committee is currently taking applications for a variety of committees relating to the 2020 national convention. The Platform Committee, the Credentials Committee, and the one I’m applying for, the Rules & Bylaws committee.

The LNC will be choosing 10 party members to serve on the committee, and no more than 5 can be LNC members, so at least 5 members must come from LP members outside of the LNC. I hope to be one of them.

For many of the recent national conventions I’ve spend lots of pre-convention time on reviewing and commenting on the proposed changes that this committee generates. I’ve also crafted many bylaws proposals for the Libertarian Party of Maine’s bylaws over the years.

How much of a chance do I have of getting on the committee? I’m not sure. There seem to be quite a few usual members that keep showing up on the committee year after year, so there may already be plenty of qualified candidates to fill out the committee.

But in addition to my experiences above, I’ve been through the process of Bylaws approval as a convention delegate at nine prior conventions, and I’ve been a dues paying member of the national Libertarian Party for over 27 years now. I stand a better chance that the average LP member would.

My application will be publicly available on the national party’s website at some point, but I’ll reproduce it here after the jump:

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Biden’s VP Dilemma

Over at Knappster, Thomas Knapp and his brother muse on the prospects of who Joe Biden would pick as his Vice-Presidential running mate (presuming that he is the nominee for the democrats.

There’s been some chatter about her running for president, but that seems unlikely. We’ve already seen what happens to former first ladies who get the top slot, and she doesn’t have a resume full of political or CEO qualifications.

On the other hand, in the VP slot, she would very much be helpful in getting two important Democratic demographics (African-American voters and female voters) off their asses and to the polls, and probably especially so in Wisconsin and Michigan, two swing states where a few thousand votes would have made the difference last time.

Then there’s the dynasty/Cinderalla story angle: Obama-Biden 2009-2017; Biden-Obama 2021-2029; Obama-? 2037-2045? Heads would be exploding on all sides in both good and bad ways on that.

Read more at http://knappster.blogspot.com/2019/09/michelle-obama-for-vice-president.html

Tweets of the Week – Tech

I HATE crap like that. The only CLOSE to valid reason for something like that, is video codecs that aren’t supported on other browsers; but even then…


Tweets of the week – Politics & News


Matt Welch tweets on NYC’s public education system:

Supreme Court term limits?

I forget how I came across it, about a year ago I was engrossed in this article about term limits for the Supreme Court, “A Better System for Appointing Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court” by Andrew Johnson.

Now, most such pleas for this change usually are rooted in some thought that the court is too much of an activist court in a liberal or conservative direction.

This article is focused more on the fairness on how the opportunities for Presidents and Senates to nominate and approve Justices occur randomly. Nixon appointed five Justices in five years. Carter in his four years, none.

In the article Andrew proposes expanding the court to eleven members with terms of 22 years each, staggered so that one term will expire every two years.

He then wrestles with thoughts on how to go about handling vacancies that occur mid-term by death, resignation, or impeachment. Here he’s trying too hard to limit a president to two appointments per term.

Just allow the President one such appointment to fill one such vacancy per term. Any more, and the seat will remain vacant until a President reelected to another term, a new President is elected, or that Justice’s term expires naturally.

At first blush, I was confused why he’d expand the size of the Court. He gives no reason that I could find. Presumably, so that he could make the terms 22 years long. I prefer the idea of the longer term, as the shorter terms of other Supreme Court term limit proposals of 10 or 12 years to be too short to preserve the independence of the court.

Twenty-two years is longer than the historical average span of the lifetime terms of the past Supreme Court Justices, and longer than three of the currently serving Justices have served.

My proposal to have replacement appointments to complete a Justice’s term, limited to one per Presidential term would mean that the court would often be at less than full membership. To my thinking, this then justifies the expansion of the Court to eleven, as it won’t always be full.

I’d even suggest that vacancies that occur with less than four years remaining in that Justice’s term remain vacant until their natural expiration date. Such vacancies would be only two members, at most.

It could happen that by some tragedy, or other circumstances, the Supreme Court is substantially depleted. There then should be a provision for a President to be allowed a second vacancy appointment per term if the court membership drops below a certain level (say, six).

If enacted, these proposals would mean that in any term, a President would appoint no less than two, potentially three (or four in unusual circumstances) Justices. Even at that only two of them would be for a full term.

Presuming any constitutional amendment authorizing this codifies the maximum number of Justices, this would prevent any court packing plans, or it’s opposite number, the contracting of the size of the court to block a President from appointing any Justices (which has happened in our history).

I think there should be a proviso that the change would take effect only after an intervening Presidential election and inauguration. That should make passage a more practical matter.

With all that in mind, here’s the amendment I crafted to fit all those ideas:

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Student IDs and security

Recently, Dave Mark at The Loop commented on the news that many colleges would be enabling digital student IDs on Apple Wallet on iPhones and Apple Watches:

As recently as a few years ago, a large number of colleges used a student’s social security number as their student ID and, even worse, printed those numbers on the physical cards students had to carry.

I commented on the site:

Still!!! Good god, I thought this was a bad Idea when I was in college in the late 1980’s. Having the full SS# on display with name photo and birthdate was an invitation to have your credit ruined.

A very patient criminal could have gotten a food service job at the college, harvested information while handling the ID’s (which were used to get meals) wait a 5-10 years for the students to build up credit after graduation and employment (maybe do a little research to find the more well off grads) and then go to town with identiy theft.

On a lesser scale the SS# was also used for our computer accounts and e-mail addresses, but only the last 4 digits. Though if one could learn where one first got their SS# they could deduce the first three digits, leaving only two to guess.

Hopefully projects like this will help improve student ID security. God knows it couldn’t get much worse.

Tweets of the Week – Politics & News

Okay, for a first time out, this goes a bit more than a week, so it’s a bit long.

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Tweets of the week – Comics & Culture