After the recent election, there are a lot of Democrats and other left-leaning folks are making noise about abolishing the electoral college in favor of a nationwide popular vote. And while I tend to identify more with the Democrats, on this issue I favor keeping the electoral college.
Historically this system was put into place so that less populated states would still have influence over representation compared to the more populated ones. In the current system, every state—no matter how small—gets at least 3 electors. Given that there are 538 total electors, that means each state has at least ½% say in the outcome of any election. Switching to a popular vote would mean there is no lower limit to the influence a particular state would have. In a popular vote system—given the current population estimates for the USA and the states—a state would need to have 1.7 million or more residents to have that level of influence. There are currently 12 states (plus DC) that fall below that threshold. I can guarantee that they will not be giving up that extra influence willingly.
Since the electoral college system is part of the Constitution, it would require a Constitutional Amendment to change it. Go take a look at the requirements for that (e.g. requires ¾ of state legislatures to independently approve), and you will understand why this is unlikely to ever happen.
Nor should it. I argue that conditions still exist where the the living situations and issues of people in the less populous states are sufficiently different from those who live in the more populous states. It would be all too easy to ignore or minimize their viewpoints without some base level of electoral influence. This system forces politicians to care about those states and the issues they face. HRC's campaign essentially ignored the Midwest/Rust Belt states and that cost her the election.
One way to look at it is, rather than having a pure Democracy where one person gets one vote, and each vote is equally influential, we have a system where each geographic region (e.g. state) has a base level of influence, and then additional influence proportional to it's population. The founders built a non-linear system where influence tapers as population grows. And I think that contributes to the strength and resiliency of our nation. Otherwise, it'd be all to easy to ignore the issues in the "flyover states", disenfranchising them, and potentially leading to another Civil War. After the presidential election of 2016, I think it's safe to say it will be a lot harder to ignore the issues of those states.
So, if you want to have more influence in elections, there is an easy solution: move to Wyoming (or any of the 12 least-populated states).
Photoshop has such mindshare in the work world. Any time people think professional photo editing, they think Photoshop. And it is a great tool. But it is way overkill for what most marcom folks need.
I used the awesome web site AlternativeTo to find Mac alternatives to Photoshop. Pixelmator was high on the list, and for good reason. It has some amazing and easy-to-use photo editing features. Check out the 2-minute video on this page for a pretty fantastic overview of what it can do. The repair tool (a.k.a. healing brush) alone is worth the cost of the app.
I cannot recommend this app highly enough. I am standardizing our who marcom team on it.
There are 2 people running for Tammy Logan's recently-vacated seat on the Los Altos School District Board. Of them, Bryan Johnson is by far the better candidate. I encourage you all to not only vote for him, but also please tell all your local friends and family to do the same. Tammy endorses his, as do other community member whom I respect, such as Joe Seither and Michelle Sturiale.
His opponent is Tanya Raschke. While you wouldn't know it from her campaign site or materials, Tanya is a Bullis Charter School parent and charter school proponent. She is following in the footsteps of Amanda Burke Aaronson in 2012 and Martha McClatchie in 2014 trying to trick uninformed voters to vote for her by talking only of her time and involvement in LASD, which ended nearly a decade ago when she pulled her kids out of LASD schools to put them into the charter. There is a very conspicuous omission of BCS activities and endorsements on her page, and for good reason: she knows that would turn off a significant number of swing voters.
Tanya was public relations manager for the Bullis Booster Club Executive Board. In that capacity she publicly complained about splitting BCS' middle school program from the elementary school program. There are legitimate reasons the district could not offer a single site, primary among them is the district has no single facility that supports the needs of all grade levels, and has no legal obligation to outfit one for the charter school.
“Although that’s different than the configuration of the LASD district schools, that’s kind of the point. We do it differently. The choice is a good thing," said Tanya Raschke, who handles communications for the Bullis Booster Club Executive Board. "Splitting out seventh and eighth grades kills our middle school program. Period.”
Tanya also publicly complained about the lock out back when BCS was refusing to sign an essential Facilities Use Agreement document. Funny how she wasn't imploring the BCS board to sign the requisite paperwork in order to get access to their facilities.
“Locking our teachers out is absolutely outrageous,” said parent Tanya Raschke. “We cannot stand by and watch LASD bully our teachers and students in order to push their own political agenda. The facilities belong to the taxpayers, not the district. They have no right to change the locks and refuse to give our teachers the keys.”
Tanya was also a member of the BCS Master Plan Advisory Committee. Yet there is no mention of any of this on her campaign web site. What an odd omission, don't you agree?
Is this someone you honestly think would represent the best interests of ALL students in the district? I don't. I think she wants to be on the board to represent the minority special interest viewpoint of the charter school, to the detriment of all other district students.
BCS refuses to have a non-BCS community member on their board. So I think it is hypocritical for them to try to place a one of their own on the LASD board. Please do not let our amazing school district become encumbered by the skewed views of the small yet vocal minority of LIENs (litigious, indignant, entitled narcissists) in our amazing community. They already have their school and they can (and do) operate it however they wish with no effective oversight from the Santa Clara County Board of Education. Please do not let their taint spread across the whole district.
It looks like Amazon is blowing out their stock of the original MagSafe 1 power adapters. New ones retail for $80, but these open box ones are listed at ~$10 (plus an additional 15% discount for some reason) for one in "very good" condition. I've ordered a dozen of them for work and home. If you have a laptop that takes a lower wattage adapter, you can still safely use these. Also if you have a more recent MacBook with the MagSafe 2 port (and let's face it you probably do as it is now 4 years old), then you can pick up a converter for $10, and optionally a converter keeper (2 for $10) to prevent it from getting lost. Total cost of a spare power adapter: $25.
I recently upgraded my internet to Sonic's FTTN service, which is really just a white-labeled version of AT&T Uverse. Since AT&T has not been very trustworthy with the data flowing through their network, Sonic has provided a VPN service that customers can use to protect their privacy from AT&T's prying eyes.
To ensure all of the devices on my network use the VPN, I set up the connection on my router. I bought a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 and installed the latest version of Tomato by Shibby on it (the one that supports VPN). Another Sonic customer who goes by the moniker ashes posted an amazingly detailed walkthrough on how to configure it. One great thing about his configuration is that it stops all internet traffic should whenever the VPN is not connected.
Even if you don't have Sonic, you can still use the same technique to set up a VPN for your AT&T Uverse (or any other brand of) internet connection. Just sign up for a third-party VPN service and follow the same steps. It will cost a lot less than the "privacy" feature that AT&T wants to charge you $44/month for. And I trust the VPN setup a lot more than I would AT&T.
All this celebration around Hillary being the "presumptive" nominee is premature. There's a story here and I'm surprised no news source has covered it. [update: I just found this Feb 24 article from Glenn Greenwald discussing exactly this point. Nothing but respect for him and The Intercept, and Pierre Omidyarfor funding this valuable journalism resource]. The problem is Hillary Clinton's popularity is on a long, slow steady decline starting 3 years ago. It seems the more exposure the public gets of Hillary, the more they dislike her.
If Clinton is the Democratic nominee, she has at best a coin flip's chance of beating Trump in November:
Now if I were a DNC superdelegate—even one who had already pledged for Clinton—I would have a long look at these numbers, and a hard conversation with my colleagues. See, this is EXACTLY the situation that superdelegates were created for: To sway the nomination toward the candidate who has the best possible chance of actually winning the presidency. To simply give it to Hillary—even if she has a slight edge over Sanders in the primaries—and then have her lose to Trump in November is a risk I wouldn't take. And if the DNC is approaching this rationally, they won't either.
There are a lot of reasons to vote no, but the primary one is that the plan makes no accommodation for the new school that needs to be built in our school district. The city council has thus far shown only the weakest of lip service to helping LASD. Rejecting their inadequate plan will send a strong message to them that their next proposal must help our schools in addition to the rest of the community.
Last year I finally got fed up with my bulky bi-fold wallet: the same design I'd been using my entire adult life. I read this article about all the wallets on KickStarter and used it as a the basis for some extensive research into different wallets.
I narrowed it down to a few that I thought were most promising and ordered them all. After trying them out, I settled on the Crabby Gear as my wallet of choice. It's inexpensive, very thin and light, and has reasonably good access to the contents. One minor downside is that in order to fit cash in it, I had to learn how to fold bills into thirds.