The best way to fight gerrymandering is to prove to courts that electoral districts have been unfairly formed, a tactic that's been used successfully in places like North Carolina; but for this to work, you need good demographic data to show that the district is unfair, and for that, you need an accurate census.
The next census is planned for 2020, and Republicans have turned it into a "train wreck" by gutting its budget and fearmongering about risks to immigrants who give data to government officials.
Cathy O'Neil (previously) draws the line clearly between the ongoing sabotage of the census and the ongoing disenfranchisement project.
Problem is, the census appears to be going through a crisis. The bureau's director recently announced his resignation amid concerns about inadequate funding. This is troubling, because statisticians won’t have good data to make their corrections unless there's sufficient money to do enough house-to-house sampling. Moreover, the quality of the census depends crucially on following norms and having respect for expertise, none of which seems guaranteed under President Trump.
It’s possible that Republican self-interest will prevail. Although the party might benefit from undercounting minorities on a local level, it also has a big incentive to ensure that certain states with rapidly growing minority populations -- such as Texas -- are fully represented in Congress. Still, given what's at stake, it's a process that needs watching.
Unreliable Data Can Threaten Democracy
At a recent press conference, a wasp flew into the mouth of Costa Rica’s President Luis Guillermo Solís. “I ate it,” he said in Spanish with a smile. “I ate the wasp.” As Weird Universe points out, it’s similar to this memorable and unscripted moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark:
Randy Bryce wants to challenge Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan for the First District of Wisconsin, where Ryan beat his most recent Democratic challenger by 35 points.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, first held an off-camera briefing that had one reporter describe him as “just kind of useless”, then was ridiculed by colleague and top Trump crony Steve Bannon as getting fatter, thereby explaining his unwillingness to be seen, and is now reported to be “searching for his own replacement.” […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]