The redistricting process is one of the most important -- yet least understood -- aspects of the US political system. It's full of smoke-filled back room dealmaking by political insiders with little public input. The result? Districts are often drawn by the policial parties themselves -- usually the majority party -- AKA gerrymandering. Because of this, district lines are altered by lawyers and politicians in ways that don't accurately reflect the citizens. It's a rigged process and the public has the power to get involved and keep government in check, but we need to first learn more about how it works.
The Public Mapping Project is an open-sourced software tool created to help the public better understand the redistricting process. It also enables users to make their own congressional maps which can be submitted to local government. Users as young as 10 have been drawing maps that are widely recognized to be better than proposals from the state. The tool was designed by Michael McDonald of George Mason University and Micah Altman of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at, Harvard.
Colleges and universities throughout the country are now using this software to launch student mapping competitions. For example, next month Fordham University will host a New York state redistricting competition where teams of students throughout the state will design their own congressional and state legislative districts. These maps will then be judged by a panel of experts, the winning ones sent to Albany for consideration.
NZ Prime Minister John Key is a racist blowhard who has smeared the opposition parties of “backing the rapists” for their support of NZ citizens with minor criminal convictions (not sexual assault, incidentally) being deported from Australia, where they have been imprisoned.
Last May, Jackie Burns, the deputy leader of the Labour Council in South Lanarkshire in Scotland, voted to close all public toilets as part of the Scottish government’s £22 million cost-cutting programme; early last Saturday morning, police issued him a £40 ticket for pissing in public. (via Reddit)
In a decision that environmental activists see as a hard-won victory, President Obama today announced he is rejecting the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The news ends a seven-year review process that was a focal point in the debate over the Obama administration’s climate policies.
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