Gerrymandering: Jagged Lines of Partisan Power

June 20, 2017

Dr. Christina Greer of Fordham University explains “Gerrymandering.” Animation by Smart Bubble Society.

Related:

“Why the Supreme Court’s decision to review Wisconsin’s gerrymandering is such a big deal,” Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

“Gerrymandering Case Echoes in Inkblot-Like Districts Across the U.S.,” Michael Cooper, New York Times

“Where Gerrymandering Is Containing City Power,” Brentin Mock, CityLab

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Juneteenth

June 19, 2017

Juneteenth
(General Orders, Department of Texas, June 19, 1865)

On June 19, 1865 Union general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, which began: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” This ended the legal institution of chattel slavery in the United States, two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

More:

“Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day,” Kenneth C. Davis, Smithsonian.com

“Juneteenth,” Teresa Palomo Acosta, Handbook of Texas Online

“Juneteenth,” Stephanie Hall, Folklife Today

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Channel Hopping

June 19, 2017

Channel Hopping

“It seems our desire for instant gratification has conquered politics. Voters are channel-hopping, snacking on ideologies and political styles, moving on as soon as they’re bored. In that light, Donald Trump is a political genius: His slippery, shifting positions on just about everything command attention and perfectly reflect the restless mood of the times. People are eager for something—anything—different, and damn any concerns about consistency.”

— Jason Karaian, Quartz

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Different For Girls

June 18, 2017

“Different For Girls,” written by J.T. Harding and Shane McAnally, recorded by Dierks Bentley and Elle King. Music video directed by Wes Edwards.

Dierks Bentley website

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“Ain’t Love Good, Ain’t Love Proud”

June 18, 2017

“Ain’t Love Good, Ain’t Love Proud,” by The Remo Four, on Bremen TV’s “Beat Club,” 1967.

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Where The Streets Have No Name

June 17, 2017

Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser (2Cellos) perform their arrangement of U2‘s “Where The Streets Have No Name” at the arena in Pula, Croatia on July 3, 2013.

2Cellos website

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Show Me What You Got

June 17, 2017

“Show Me What You Got,” by Miami’s Frank Williams & The Rocketeers 1966.

Not sure who sings on this funky number, but the band lineup is probably Frank Williams (tenor sax) Louis Howard (organ) Robert Ferguson (drums) William “Little Beaver” Hale (guitar) and Abe Meeks, Art Wilson & Denvil Liptrop (horns).

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Waitin’ Around to Die

June 17, 2017

“Waiting Around to Die,” a cheerful tune written by Townes Van Zandt, as interpreted by The Be Good Tanyas.

The Be Good Tanyas website

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Special Counsel Investigating Trump for Obstruction of Justice

June 16, 2017

Special Counsel Investigating Trump for Obstruction of Justice

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating President Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice, reports the Washington Post. As in Watergate, investigation of the crime — in this case, Russian meddling  in the 2016 presidential campaign and possible coordination with the Trump campaign — has expanded to include the cover-up. Investigators are also looking for evidence of related money laundering by Trump associates.

By his own admission, Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey to obstruct the investigation into Russian links to the Trump campaign, and the president appears to have asked top intelligence officials to refute charges of Russian coordination with his 2016 campaign. On Thursday, an RNC statement and a tweet by the president confirmed the existence of the obstruction probe. The president’s personal legal team merely condemned the leak, not denying the obstruction probe itself. Mr. Trump conflated the issues of 2016 campaign coordination with the obstruction investigation, claiming it’s all a “witch hunt.”

More:

“Mueller Seeks to Talk to Intelligence Officials, Hinting at Inquiry of Trump,” Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo, New York Times

“Even Trump’s Aides Blame Him for Obstruction Probe: ‘President Did This to Himself,'” Lachan Markay, Asawin Suesaeng, Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast

“Trump thinks ‘they’ created his legal problems. He created his legal problems.” Ezra Klein, Vox

“Trump: ‘You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history,'” Rebecca Savransky, The Hill

“GOP Sen. Tells Trump: Investigation Is ‘Not A Witch Hunt, No,'” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

“What the law says about ‘obstruction of justice,'” Shannon Vavra, Axios

“Meet the all-star legal team who may take down Trump,” Rebecca Tan and Alex Ward, Vox

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Jeff Sessions Stonewalls the Senate

June 15, 2017

Jeff Sessions Stonewalls the Senate

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III appeared in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and defended his sacred honor by testifying to nothing. He did not exactly invoke executive privilege; he invoked the president’s right to invoke executive privilege at some unspecified later date. Mr. Sessions did this on the authority of the “historic policies of the Department of Justice” for which he could not cite written records, saying unnamed Justice Department career employees had told him there were such traditions. To be fair, during his long career Mr. Sessions has consistently championed historic policies, notably segregation.

For some reason, Democratic members of the Intelligence Committee were not keen on having a sworn witness in a congressional proceeding who refused to testify on unnamed grounds.

More:

“Sessions to Wyden in testy exchange: ‘I am not stonewalling,’” Devlin Barrett, Washington Post

“Sen. Kamala Harris leaves Sessions ‘nervous’ in interrogation over his refusal to disclose conversations with Trump,” Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times

“Dem Senator to Sessions: You’re ‘Impeding the Investigation,’” Daily Beast

“Explaining Executive Privilege and Sessions’s Refusal to Answer Questions,” Charlie Savage, New York Times

“Did Sessions and Trump conspire to obstruct justice?” Clark D. Cunningham, The Conversation

“Sessions could earn a ticket to the grand jury,” Mike Allen, Axios

 

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