An open letter to the Libertarian National Committee

There’s an ongoing crisis in the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire. I will not explain it here. If you know, you know. If you don’t and you care to know, it’s not that hard to find the details.

As I’m from Maine, the LPNH’s business is theirs, although I do have friends who I believe have been wronged, and have opinions on the matter, ultimately it’s their problem, as I do not want it interfering with the relatively better situation we have in the Maine Libertarian Party. Still there are tangential issues involving the Libertarian National Committee that I felt the need to address.

For posterity’s sake, I’m posting this letter after the jump:

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My “Trek Across Maine” for Lung Health

The challenge: 120 miles cycling, $500 raised, and 50 blog posts in two months.

This weekend, I signed up for the American Lung Association’s “Trek Across Maine”, one of their many cycling rides collectively known as “Cycle for Air”

But with COVID-19, this is not a normal event, but a virtual ride from now until June 30th, where riders set a milage goal to meet over the course of that time of either 60, 120, or 180 miles cycling. Given the timespan, and a desire to get more regular exercise in, I’m going for the middle goal.

More importantly, is my goal to raise $500 for the American Lung Association. I have several personal reasons to raise money for this, each of my parents died due to a variety of lung conditions, a long time family friend recently had to undergo a lung transplant (successfully, knock on wood), and I myself am a fat wheezing tub of goo who really needs to get in shape to improve to where taking a single flight of stairs isn’t an act that leaves me breathing heavily for five minutes afterwards.

And finally, I’m adding my own personal added twist to all of this, blogging about it all to kick start a writing habit.

I’ll be writing about my progress towards the cycling and fundraising goals, tales about how I came to this challenge, why and how I chose a recumbent tricycle as my preferred exercise equipment, and other related topics.

To help me reach my fundraising goal for the American Lung Association, go to my fundraising page at http://action.lung.org/goto/ShawnLevasseur.

@ComicsPundit: DC vs Marvel = Hillary vs Obama?

[Reposting from March 2008]

A discussion in the comments at the Absorbascon:

Does the kind of comic books one likes correspond with one’s political leanings or how one chooses a candidate?

The highlight of which is the comparison between the inspirational vs the aspirational.


[Monday, November 30, 2020 further thoughts]

I’m a little more utilitarian in my view of politicians. Do they communicate their plans for governing well? How well do they persuade? How well do they work with others of differing ideologies?

I guess it puts me more into the “aspirational” category, where I prefer to see them as humans with a job to do. I look at the founding fathers of the U.S. not as idols to look up to but as flawed humans who fought and bickered amongst one another.

Though oddly, it is inspirational too. That we, as simple, flawed humans, are also capable of being part of the process of government, and not just be citizens subject to other’s rule.

That seeps into my preferences for superhero stories. I prefer them to not be paragons for whom the only conflict is that of determining if their abilities are up to the challenges put before them; but people for whom the challenges of ethics, interpersonal relationships, questions about their ideals, and other struggles make their story.

This is why Superman’s backstory and how his adoptive parents raised him are critical parts of the story. I refuse to accept the view of Clark Kent as a disguise for Superman but prefer the view that Superman is an alias taken on by Clark to maintain an ability to hold on to a part of a normal life.

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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