Minority Rule

Last night sentators representing substantially less than half the country confirmed a Supreme Court justice appointed by a guy who lost the popular vote. Again.

So now 5 of 9 minority justices control the Court, which joins the Senate and Presidency as minority controlled.

I don’t think that’s out of spec for the Senate. We know that one of the founding ideals of the country was the protection of the minority from out-of-control majority rule (also the protection of the elite from the masses, but that’s a topic for another day). Both problems were solved by the Senate’s design.

But things have to change, our government hasn’t kept pace with the changing country.

Today the talk is about ‘court-packing’ and I’m sure that’s going to happen given the current climate and undemocratic methods used lately to appoint Justices.

Without a constitutional amendment we’ll end up with a court-sizing arms race. There’s no alternative anymore, but a change of that magnitude is going to bring some hard times for the republic.

As I see it the main problem, and one that doesn’t fit into 140 characters (and therefore our political discourse), is the House. So rather than respond to every person online that suggests short term solutions to the problem I’m just going to rant about it here.

We know the framers didn’t mean for a static House. Article the First would have been adopted and fixed this but for administrative snafus. We could have had a whole different set of problems with 6,000 representatives (or more likely an amendment to fix the size somewhere between where we are and where we would have been). Instead we’re left with a popular body that doesn’t represent the population. Madison would say (again) that’s by design, but he also said:

Whilst all authority in [the government] will be derived from and dependent on the society, the society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests, and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority.

Federalist 52

Our country is more than a collection of fifty states. It’s a partnership of 330 million people, not all of whom are represented equally.

Fix that, and you fix the even-more-out-of-whack elector system. We should fix our republic by making it more democratic.

Posted in Politics at October 27th, 2020. Comments Off on Minority Rule.

Freezer

On March 24th, two days after I turned 47, I loaded our apartment-sized freezer into the back of our Subaru. It was a tight squeeze, but everything fit.

It was a big step. It meant we were leaving Brooklyn for a long time. It meant we weren’t planning on coming back until things settled down.

Even now I have a hard time remembering what those days were like. We didn’t know what was happening and we didn’t know what would happen.

No one was wearing masks yet, we didn’t know.

We suspected that things would be better in New Jersey. That we could go outside and take a walk, build a swing set, a playhouse. Plant a garden. Even though it meant two weeks self-quarantine it was worth it, we said.

We were right. We missed a lot in Brooklyn, but we had a better time. The kid had a better time.

That freezer lives in NJ now, but the new one – identical in every way – was just delivered to us in Brooklyn this morning.

One day shy of six months – it feels like we’re back, but we still don’t know what will happen.

Posted in Brooklyn, Parenting, Politics at September 23rd, 2020. Comments Off on Freezer.

Quarantine

That’s all I got. It’s been a very exhausting few months…

Posted in New York, Parenting, Politics at July 31st, 2020. Comments Off on Quarantine.

End of Days v2

11 1/2 years, that’s how long it took.

May you live in interesting times.

Posted in Economy at March 3rd, 2020. Comments Off on End of Days v2.

Sunset

Posted in Parenting, Travel at February 25th, 2020. Comments Off on Sunset.

Democracy

Today was a dark day for a republic that’s had a lot of dark days lately…

Alan Dershowitz, one of President Trump’s impeachment lawyers, pushed an extraordinarily expansive view of executive power during his trial on Wednesday, arguing that any action taken by the president to help his own re-election is, by definition, in the public interest.

“If the president does something that he thinks will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,” said Mr. Dershowitz, a celebrity lawyer and constitutional law professor.

The New York Time, 01/29/20

Posted in Politics at January 29th, 2020. Comments Off on Democracy.

2019

OK, one more – until I remember better (or don’t), the album of the year was Better Oblivion Community Center…

Posted in Music at January 13th, 2020. Comments Off on 2019.

Year End

I used to do year end lists in another lifetime.

The only thing I have to say this year is this is the best song of the year:

And yes, I know this is a song for old people about being old. But my daughter also loves it…

Posted in Brooklyn, Music at November 19th, 2019. Comments Off on Year End.

I hated that theme…

I think it made me use this site less, although probably not.

We’ll see I guess.

Posted in Meta at October 15th, 2019. Comments Off on I hated that theme….

Gallery2 Ffmpeg module

I’m probably the only one still running Gallery2, but the latest version of ffmpeg broke video sizing.

Output went from:

Stream #0.0: Video: mjpeg, yuvj422p, 320x240, 15.00 fps(r)

To:

Stream #0:1(eng): Video: h264 (High) (avc1 / 0x31637661), yuvj420p(pc, bt470bg/bt470bg/smpte170m), 1920x1080, 21959 kb/s, SAR 1:1 DAR 16:9, 27.15 fps, 30 tbr, 90k tbn, 180k tbc (default)

Fix is a pretty easy one, but here it is in case anyone needs it (Line 300):

- if (preg_match("/Stream.?Video:.?(\d+)x(\d+).\ +([0-9.]+) (fps|tb)./",

+ if (preg_match("/Stream.?Video:.?, (\d+)x(\d+).\ +([0-9.]+) (fps|tb)./",

Posted in Uncategorized at January 2nd, 2019. Comments Off on Gallery2 Ffmpeg module.