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Posts Tagged ‘Second Continental Congress

“That’s all we’re asking for: an end to the antidemocratic and un-American practice of gerrymandering congressional districts”*…

 

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Though a substantial majority disapprove of the practice, the Supreme Court recently refused to address the issue of partisan redistricting– gerrymandering…

The Supreme Court will not end extreme partisan gerrymandering. In a 5-4 decision along ideological lines, the court ruled Thursday that partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts cannot be limited by federal courts. Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority opinion, writing that “what the appellees and dissent seek is an unprecedented expansion of judicial power.”

Justice Elena Kagan’s dissent was scathing. “For the first time ever, this Court refuses to remedy a constitutional violation because it thinks the task beyond judicial capabilities,” she wrote in her opening sentence. She argued that imposing limits on gerrymandered districts is not beyond the scope of the court: “The partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people.”

The ruling almost certainly would have been different if Anthony Kennedy were still on the court. Before retiring last year, Kennedy had been the swing justice on previous gerrymandering cases. He had said that partisan gerrymandering was within the purview of the court but that the justices should hold off on ruling any particular gerrymander unconstitutional until a manageable standard for measuring gerrymandering emerged. Since he took that position in 2004, reformers had been attempting to find such a standard. Legal scholars and statisticians developed various measurements to try to win over the court, but without Kennedy, those efforts turned out to be futile…

FiveThirtyEight considers the possible impacts of the Court’s abnegation and explores other paths to a remedy: “Partisan Gerrymandering Isn’t The Supreme Court’s Problem Anymore.”

See also: “Electoral map bias may worsen as U.S. gerrymandering battle shifts to states” and “The Courts Won’t End Gerrymandering. Eric Holder Has a Plan to Fix It Without Them.”

* President Ronald Reagan (in 1988, illustrating on the one hand that this is an issue of long standing [see here for earlier history]; and on the other, that shoes have a way of moving from one foot to the other…)

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As we recall that the American Revolution was, in part, about the lack of fair representation, we might recall that it was on this date in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

Use it or lose it.

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The Annals of Symbology, Vol. 27: “Simple Substitution- Rowling Rampant” (Naughtiness Alert- NSFC)…

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Further to the “Plato Code” discovered by Manchester University professor Jay Kennedy to be hidden in the works of Plato (as described in “Special Edition: Too Weird…“), internet scholar “JonJonB” reports (on ICQ):

Purely in the interests of science, I have replaced the word “wand” with “wang” in the first Harry Potter Book…

Some of his results:

“Why aren’t you supposed to do magic?” asked Harry.
[Hagrid:] “Oh, well — I was at Hogwarts meself but I — er — got expelled, ter tell yeh the truth. In me third year. They snapped me wang in half an’ everything.

“Oh, move over,” Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry’s wang, tapped the lock, and whispered, “Alohomora!”

Harry took the wang. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wang above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls.

“Get – off – me!” Harry gasped. For a few seconds they struggled, Harry pulling at his uncles sausage-like fingers with his left hand, his right maintaining a firm grip on his raised wang.

Readers will find other compelling evidence– and indeed have the opportunity to search for long-suspected but as-yet-discovered references to Plato in Rowling’s text– at Quote Database.  And readers see/can hear The Pointer Sisters sing this post’s theme song, Willie Dixon’s “Wang Dang Doodle” here.

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As we remember that we promised ourselves to reread Ulysses, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that 20,000 people in Reno, Nevada saw Jack Johnson–  boxing’s first African-American heavyweight champ– successfully defend his title against James J. Jeffries.  Jeffries, a prior champ, had retired in 1904 undefeated (Johnson had won the title from Tommy Burns, who received it by default).

In 1910, Jeffries announced “I feel obligated to the sporting public at least to make an effort to reclaim the heavyweight championship for the white race. . . . I should step into the ring again and demonstrate that a white man is king of them all.”  In the event, Johnson proved stronger and more nimble than Jeffries. In the 15th round, after Jeffries had been knocked down twice for the first time in his career, his people called it quits to prevent Johnson from knocking him out.

Johnson’s victory over Jeffries had dashed white dreams of finding a “great white hope” to defeat him.  The result triggered race riots that evening — the Fourth of July — all across the United States, from Texas and Colorado  to New York and Washington, D.C.  Indeed, many “riots” were simply Blacks celebrating in the streets.  In some cities, like Chicago, the police didn’t disturb the celebrations.  But in others, the police and angry white citizens tried to subdue the revelers. In all, “riots” occurred in more than 25 states and 50 cities. About 23 Blacks and two Whites died in the riots, and hundreds more were injured.  Police interrupted several attempted lynchings.

The fight

It was, of course, also on this date– in 1776– that the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

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“Thou hast set all the borders of the earth…” but then humans marked them…

Fifty states, fifty welcome signs.

(“Thou hast set all the borders of the earth…”  Psalms 74:17)

As we gas up and hit the road to collect ’em all, we might recall that it was on this date in 1777 that the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution– and the Stars and Stripes was adopted as the flag of the United States of America for maritime purposes.  While Congress reserved the right to adopt a different design for the nation’s ensign, it never did; rather it just added stars to the original thirteen for each new state in the Union.

The resolution specified “that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation”– but it did not specify the layout of the stars.  Consequently there were several early versions, for instance:

The “Betsy Ross” flag

The Bennington flag

In 1795, the number of stars and stripes was increased to 15 (reflecting the entry of Kentucky and Vermont).  It was about this flag the Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”– and the dye was cast.

The “Anthem” flag

Happy Flag Day!

Imperial dreams…

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

– “Ozymandias”  Percy Bysshe Shelly (1818)

The Roman Empire encircled the Mediterranean:

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The Mongol Empire once stretched from the Pacific to the Danube:

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More recently, the Ottoman Empire was almost as large:

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While the British Empire was the most widely dispersed:

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As we remark with Shelley that empires come and empires go, we might recall that it was on this date in 1781 that the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were finally ratified, and the Second Continental Congress became the Congress of the Confederation of the United States of America.

The Articles of Confederation

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