If you live in a “swing state” like North Carolina or Texas, or have more than a passing interest in democracy, you are probably aware of how severely Republicans have gerrymandered state and federal electoral districts. Rather than voters being able to pick our representatives, they have drawn lines to pick the voters they want, and packed the rest of us into as few districts as possible. It’s been remarkably effective and has led to passing legislation like HB2 with total impunity since the GOP leaders know their majority can’t be threatened with the current districts, even though our state actually has way more registered Democrats than Republicans.
Don’t believe it? I just looked up the latest stats from the state board of elections, and as of 7/29/17 we had 39% Democrats, 30% Republicans, 30% unaffiliated, and less than 1% Libertarian. (Unaffiliated has been growing rapidly, for good reason. Don’t make the mistake of assuming these are centrist voters.) Meanwhile our NC senate is 68% Republican and our house representatives are 62% Republican.
You might also know that The Supreme Court found that NC’s districts are racially gerrymandered and told the state legislature to redraw them and hold a special election ASAP. I was skeptical that Republicans wouldn’t just redraw them in a way that ensured their majorities but didn’t follow racial lines as closely. But in fact, they haven’t even done that. They have been filing appeals and dragging their feet, as explained in the timeline in this very helpful article by NC Policy Watch, “Republicans silent in wake of court order to draw new maps in one month”.
So the NC house and senate redistricting committees are now taking comments online, and they are meeting tomorrow so it’s a great time to let them know that you value representative democracy.
Continue reading "Speak up now to restore democracy in North Carolina"
It’s been two months since I posted here, although I have new things to rant about every single day. While current events might seem unpredictable, and the bizarre machinations of the Bannon/Trump administration may surprise us, there is really nothing that we couldn’t have generally expected with basic knowledge of how authoritarian kleptocrats work, and by listening to what Trump and Bannon have said themselves.
I keep coming back to the feeling of being Cassandra – cursed to know the future and never be believed. Of course she went insane. I am trying not to follow that path by doing what I can: take care of my physical and mental health, take care of my child, teach him about the real world but also help him grow up to be a happy, healthy, and responsible person, stock up on emergency supplies, and build solidarity with friends and family that we are going to need when The Crisis hits.
Continue reading "It’s time for SOLIDARITY, not SURPRISE"
I see a lot of people celebrating already because they think impeachment is imminent. It’s really not. More importantly, I don’t want people to think impeachment would (will?) save us. It’s a continuation of people who keep thinking this can’t happen here or that somehow the Democrats or courts are going to stop it. They’re …
Continue reading "Don’t count on impeachment"
Last month, a wedge was driven into our community when a long-time contributor was asked to step down from his leadership position, and it is shining a harsh spotlight into problems that have been lingering unaddressed for years. (And we landed on the radar of alt-right trolls including Breitbart!) I hope that one good thing that can come out of this mess is that we are able to look at what didn’t work here and figure out structures that serve both the software and community better. If we have to shut down a few entitled bros along the way, so be it.
Continue reading "This beautiful mess we’ve made – the Drupal situation"
I don’t know about you, but the past year has been a real wake up call for me about the importance of digital security. I used to think of hackers as bored teenagers showing off for their friends, or scammers sending viruses and spam to people by the millions. But today’s online outlaws are much more sophisticated.
Not content to just blast misleading links at us, elite hackers have started spear phishing. This is a tactic that sends an e-mail to an individual with unique, personalized information making it look very real, and convincing the user to click through to a website where they will enter their login credentials. Some hackers also use social engineering (not technology) to trick people into giving away critical information that can then be leveraged to compromise accounts.
Unfortunately, we need to worry not only about obviously sensitive information like bank accounts and work e-mails, even seemingly inconsequential accounts can be exploited to provide an opening. Once a hacker gains access to any of your accounts, be it iTunes, Etsy, or Pinterest, they can use that information to gain access to other services.
The threat to our privacy is real, and we have seen that there are people who may target us and access our data not just for commercial purposes but for political use. People and organizations that are working for social change have every reason to be concerned about how our personal information, organizational data, and private communications might be used.
Good security is a pain to implement, but every inconvenience for us is an even bigger hassle for a would-be hacker. Start now from wherever you are, and make incremental changes to improve your personal and organizational security.
Continue reading "If you’re not concerned about your privacy, you’re not paying attention"
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with …
Continue reading "How Republicans have criminalized political opponents for decades"
‘Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, has said Trump will lead a “deconstruction of the administrative state.”’ – Washington Post: Trump budget expected to seek historic contraction of federal workforce, 3/12/17 Tearing down civil society, safety nets, schools, environmental protection, while adding to the world’s largest military force. They want us tired, hungry, lonely, and …
Continue reading "We have always been at war with Eurasia"
You yourself with the steady brown hands by Kriti Sharma, February 13th, 2017 Imagine for a moment having hands on the levers of this world. Imagine not having to go through extraordinary and psychically costly effort to lovingly and very very carefully persuade someone to put down the gun. Imagine, in a swift and compassionate …
Continue reading "“Imagine for a moment having hands on the levers of this world.”"