» Power to
some people! It’s congressional redistricting time in California, which can play as big a role in the outcomes of elections as the candidates themselves. By way of a 2008 ballot initiative against gerrymandering, that power has put in the hands of fourteen citizens. Criticism has come quickly — Latino advocacy groups are saying that the influence of their voters will be diminished by the first drafts of the new map, and retiring congresswoman Lynn Woolsey complains that her once compact Marin County district would stretch more than 350 miles up the west coast. Principally, we object to gerrymandering; it’s an unpleasant underbelly of American politics. That said, subjective judgments that will tilt the balance of power are a necessity of the system, as there isn’t really such a thing as an objectively honest state district map. So, can you really avoid this problem just by bringing in ostensibly less political people? We’re not so sure.
General Petraeus is giving us the Charlie Sheen counter-insurgency strategy, which is to give exclusive interviews to every major network, and to keep saying ‘we’re winning’ and hope the public actually agrees with you.Rep. Lynn Woolsy (D-CA) • Quoting Rolling Stone editor Michael Hastings, who made the comparison at a Congressional Progressive Caucus meeting, on the House Floor. Woolsey wants US troops out of Afghanistan, pronto, and hasn’t taken kindly to the optimism in Petraeus’ recent media blitz. This isn’t the first time she’s come down on Petraeus, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan; in 2010, she accused the general of using “weasel words” to dodge a question about the troops’ withdrawal date. source (via • follow)