22 January 2021

Post-National-Dumpster-Fire Link Sausage Roast

I make no representations concerning whether any of these sausages were roasted in the dumpster fire of the last four years.

  • As is usual during the early months of the year, pathetic reviews of problems in the arts are happening (but will no doubt be ignored). Forbes Magazine (one of Hans Grüber's favorites) has joined the conversation, even the article is stuck in "product" over "process." Which is slightly better than either music-industry executives or art galleries and museums… but not really very much.

    The unstated common assumption in all of these pieces is that policy regarding the arts is the domain of those with adequate wealth to participate extensively and intentionally in the marketplace of art products. There's also an undercurrent of "fungibility of taste" in there, but that's too much pontification even for me. But it's still market-based — which necessarily assumes adequate and equal information is available to all. Umm, not so much for anything regarding the arts…

  • Then there are the more-subtle, longer-term questions about how and what is taught in schools. This is one of the underrated battles for power not now, but in a quarter of a century; it's not just about the "morality" of sex education, but about what that very question implies about the mind control the 35–54 demographic would impose.
  • The Blues have introduced a bandaid in Congress: An election-reform bill that, while better than a sharp stick in the eye, goes not nearly far enough to be minimally satisfactory, because it relies too much on the "tradition" of state governments managing not just their own elections, but federal elections within their borders. A true electoral reform bill — and none of these requirements have Constitutional infirmities, not even under a broad reading of the Eleventh Amendment — would include as a minimum:

    • A uniform federal definition of voter eligibility, which explicitly allows felons who have completed the custodial portion of their sentence to regain voting rights (except if their conviction is for misuse of public office, bribery of an elected official, or election fraud involving "votes" other than their own), without regard to "unpaid court fees" or "fines" or "restitution"
    • A uniform federal definition of voting requirements (such as "what ID need be presented to vote in person" and "what verification need be done for a not-in-person ballot")
    • A requirement for an entirely nonpartisan (not "equal representation of the major parties") system for any "redistricting" that need be done
    • A specific requirement for federal offices to be selected by ranked-choice voting
    • At least an additional $163.2 million annually for voter outreach, registration, and assistance — that is, the NEA's budget last year — to be drawn, if not directly appropriated, from the Department of the Interior's budget
    • Elimination of all residency requirements in excess of ten days, with specific allowance for transients and the homeless
    • Federal standards for ballot access, to avoid entrenched party-leadership control over the choices available to us poor voters (in hopes of undermining elite "governing classes" like that I grew up with and that we've seen too much of in the last forty years)
    • Voter registration as part of high-school graduation (at least for those 18 on that date); your diploma comes with your voter registration card
    • Absolute right to vote by mail, or as technology and security advances electronically or otherwise remotely, for any federal office, without any petition or "absentee ballot" process
    • A federal criminal offense for hindering the registration, right, or ability of an eligible voter to cast a vote in any election (federal or otherwise) — without having to prove discriminatory intent
    • A private cause of action, with exclusive federal jurisdiction, concerning any violation of the above — even in "purely state or local" contests, because the judges in far too many "purely state and local" systems are elected and therefore have a conflict of interest

    And a whole bunch of other stuff, but these are issues not even close to being addressed.

    I'd also prefer to either move Election Day to November 11th and the three weekdays preceding it, or move Veteran's Day to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (with the actual polls open on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday). But that's a pipe dream, I suspect: It would encourage too many of the wrong kind of people to vote by making it possible for them to arrange childcare, by not requiring them to take time off from work, and by discouraging exit polls by making the exit pollsters stand around for four days (for those who don't use mail-in or other remote voting).

  • As an extension of the shut up and dribble controversy — that particular host should be told to shut up her drivel, but that's for another time — consider how things are going across the Pond. The foremost black political figure right now Over There is a millionaire… footballer. But more to the point — while we're still arguing about exactly what kneeling for the national anthem means Over Here (while ignoring whether playing it for professional-league-franchise sporting events cheapens it) — in the Premier League, all players kneel in support of antiracist efforts before every game. The referee blows a whistle, they remain down for a few seconds, the referee blows his whistle again, they stand, and the match starts on the next whistle. And it's all shown on the highlight shows, for every match (not just once per show).