Electoral college reform = 50 equal states


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The electoral college is a time-honored, logical system for picking the chief executive of the United States. However, the American body politic has also grown accustomed to paying close attention to the popular vote. This is only rarely a problem, since the electoral college and the popular vote have only disagreed three times in 200 years. However, it’s obvious that reforms are needed.

The fundamental problem of the electoral college is that the states of the United States are too disparate in size and influence. The largest state is 66 times as populous as the smallest and has 18 times as many electoral votes. This increases the chance for Electoral College results that don’t match the popular vote. To remedy this issue, the Electoral Reform Map redivides the fifty United States into 50 states of equal population. The 2010 Census records a population of 308,745,538 for the United States, which this map divides into 50 states, each with a population of about 6,175,000

Do I agree? Uh, nope. Just decide elections on the basis of one person = one vote. Get rid of archaic crap.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Kansas Republicans so happy about their War on Women they decided to add a War on Children

lying creep

Many states mandate that schools must be funded at constitutionally required levels, but like many Republicans, Kansas GOP leaders disregarded the Kansas Constitution and deliberately underfunded the state’s public schools to both provide tax cuts for the wealthy and keep their population ignorant. Fortunately for Kansas residents and students, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Friday that the state must increase funding for public K-12 schools. The Court’s ruling gutting Brownback’s education plan was a victory for parents, school districts, and students who sued Brownback who has spent the past four years significantly cutting per student funding while cutting taxes for the rich and corporations…

Brownback and his group padded education costs by illegally including teacher retirement benefits and pensions as part of the “per student” spending and made them “part of the whole” of state education costs. In the state budget, pension funds and school finance formula are separate line items, but Brownback decided they were one in the same to give credence to his claim that Kansas spends more on education now than it did in 2000…The Court’s ruling disabused Brownback of the argument he and Republicans were above reproach and immune from a judicial review of an unconstitutional practice.

…For example, electricity and insurance costs are significantly higher today than in 2000, and diesel fuel to bus students to and from school today is approximately $3.44 per gallon when in 2000 is was only $1.03 that all impacted school districts’ operational expenses. Adding in the state’s responsibility to fund pensions as per child spending “is absurd” according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs who said it was ridiculous to think school districts are responsible for keeping the state pension system solvent. He also said that tax cuts Brownback enacted in 2012 drastically reduced how much money the state had remaining to spend on constitutionally required education spending. He reiterated that “The state pension plan and the schools are both state responsibilities and both are underfunded” because Republicans squandered education money on tax cuts…

Sam Brownback may be the first Republican governor to cut school spending by requiring school districts to include the state’s responsibility to fund pensions in their budgets, but he is one of many, many Republican governors cutting education spending to fund tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Other Republican governors are shifting taxpayer money for public education to fund private Christian schools that is another ploy to keep their populations ignorant by teaching the bible as science…

I hope enough parents realize that failure to use tax dollars to provide a real education to their children cuts the likelihood of their kids growing up capable of getting a decent job.

It’s obvious to many which side thugs like Brownback are on when it comes to choosing who to aid, working families or wealthy political donors. If throw the bums out ever meant anything, Kansas voters, American voters, need to stand up and throw creeps out of office who are committed to limiting the future of American states, American workers, the whole nation.

Pic of the Day

archtrails_brady_2000
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What’s happened to the sky? A time warp, of sorts, and a digital space warp too.

The time warp occurs because this image captured in a single frame a two and a half hour exposure of the night sky. As a result, prominent star trails are visible. The space warp occurs because the picture is actually a full 360 degree panorama, horizontally compressed to fit your browser. As the Earth rotated, stars appeared to circle both the North Celestial Pole, on the left, and the South Celestial Pole, just below the horizon on the right.

The above panorama over Arches National Park in Utah, USA, was captured two weeks ago during early morning hours. While the eye-catching texture of ancient layered sandstone covers the image foreground, twenty-meter tall Delicate Arch is visible on the far right, and the distant arch of our Milky Way Galaxy is visible near the image center.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

DNA can provide your mugshot — Huh? Wha?

Leaving a hair at a crime scene could one day be as damning as leaving a photograph of your face. Researchers have developed a computer program that can create a crude three-dimensional model of a face from a DNA sample.

Using genes to predict eye and hair colour is relatively easy. But the complex structure of the face makes it more valuable as a forensic tool — and more difficult to connect to genetic variation, says anthropologist Mark Shriver of Pennsylvania State University…who led the work…

Shriver and his colleagues took high-resolution images of the faces of 592 people of mixed European and West African ancestry living in the United States, Brazil and Cape Verde. They used these images to create 3D models, laying a grid of more than 7,000 data points on the surface of the digital face and determining by how much particular points on a given face varied from the average: whether the nose was flatter, for instance, or the cheekbones wider. They had volunteers rate the faces on a scale of masculinity and femininity, as well as on perceived ethnicity.

Next, the authors compared the volunteers’ genomes to identify points at which the DNA differed by a single base, called a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). To narrow down the search, they focused on genes thought to be involved in facial development, such as those that shape the head in early embryonic development, and those that are mutated in disorders associated with features such as cleft palate. Then, taking into account the person’s sex and ancestry, they calculated the statistical likelihood that a given SNP was involved in determining a particular facial feature.

This pinpointed 24 SNPs across 20 genes that were significantly associated with facial shape. A computer program the team developed using the data can turn a DNA sequence from an unknown individual into a predictive 3D facial model…Shriver says that the group is now trying to integrate more people and genes, and look at additional traits, such as hair texture and sex-specific differences…

At the moment, such genetic analyses are limited, imprecise. If you think scientists will leave it alone you don’t understand curiosity. If you think someone like the FBI or any other Alphabetoid snoop will leave it alone you don’t understand paranoia.