We begin the episode by discussing whether we should discuss follow up first. John Siracusa © 1922.
We decide to not do any follow up and go directly to the main topic.
Gill v. Whitford
We actually discussed this case in Episode 11, Everything We Know about Voting Rights.
- Law makers were required to pledge secrecy over redistricting.
- Oral Argument Transcript of Gill v. Whitford
Justice Sotomayor was on point with her questions:
- JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR
- But they kept going back to fix the map to make it more gerrymandered. That’s undisputed. The people involved in the process had traditional maps that complied with traditional criteria and then went back and threw out those maps and created more -- some that were more partisan. . . . So why didn’t they take one of the earlier maps?
- JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR
- Could you tell me what the value is to democracy from political gerrymandering? How -- how does that help our system of government?
The best demonstration of the efficency gap:
- Washington Post, How does the efficiency gap measure partisan gerrymandering?
- Radiolab’s Robert Krulwich explains the Efficiency Gap.
- Chief Justice Roberts on sociological gobbledygook and Justice Alito on the science of polls.
The appellees lay out their test for determining partisen gerrymandering:
First, it must find that the map was designed with discriminatory intent: “to place a severe impediment on the effectiveness of the votes of individual citizens on the basis of their political affiliation.” Second, it must determine that the map causes a “large and durable” discriminatory effect: one that is “sizeable” and likely to “persist throughout the decennial period.” And third, it must conclude that there is no valid justification for this effect: no way to explain it the legitimate state prerogatives and neutral factors that are implicated in the districting process.”
The problem with false positives:
- Ms. MURPHY
- Sure. So I think some of the problems with the criteria that have been suggested, in particular with the tests that focus on these symmetry metrics, is that so far the metrics that we have, I mean, they identify false positives roughly 50 percent of the time.
- Mr. TSEYTLIN
- This is plain -- Plaintiff’s expert studied maps from 30 years, and he identified the 17 worst of the worst maps. What is so striking about that list of 17 is that 10 were neutral draws.
- The meta-margin
- Wang’s three tests for partisan assymetry
- Professor Wang explains on video
Ken Paxton files an amicus brief
Ruchit: 5-4 Whitford, but no standard. Four justices will sign on to Breyer’s test. Kennedy will write his own opinion, which five justices will agree with, but he won’t actually articulate a test.
TJ: 5-4 Whitford, but affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Court will likely find that these partisan-gerrymandering claims are justifiable, but will refine how to bring such a claim.
AJ: 5-4 Whitford
AJ: Big Mouth on Netflix
Ruchit: Google Pixel Buds
We start this episode starts by defining the American Heartland, with guest Laura Braunsberg.
People tweeted at us and we spend a segment of the episode reading tweets:
- Calamity Jan tweets about Jean Paul-Sartre.
- Greg Sargent on shared reality.
- Mitch McConnell exaggerates Supreme Court appointment “tradition.”
- Tim Faust tweeted us. He does heavyxmedical and PWR that we talked in our last episode. We discussed him in our last episode, Everything We Know about Graham-Cassidy.
- Checkout his article Jacobin.
Is Twitter a common carrier?
And will they ever ban him for violating their terms of service?
- Twitter’s policy account discusses banning trump.
- What is a common carrier?
- FCC classified ISPs as common carriers in 2015.
- Facebook suspends black activist’s account.
- Smart Meters.
- NPR story on North Korea declaring war via Twitter.
- Jared and Ivanka use private emails.
- Mar-a-Lago admission price doubles.
Where we go through a few follow up topics fairly quickly.
Crazy stories about North Korean hijinks.
New Travel Ban
Constitutional or no?
- Why is Chad on the travel ban?
- Rafi Schwartz on the travel ban
- Trumps statements used in court opinions.
French Frog Emmanuel Macron
Macron’s patriot act. Seems like Macron is not liberal. 🤷🏾♂️
- Macron’s time as finance minister
- Jim Webb’s ’06 campaign
- Rick Perry stands by in-state tuition for undocumented students in Texas.
- Rex Tillerson is running the State Department into the ground.
- Elaine Chao used government planes seven times, but when cheaper flights would not work.
- Jay Chandrasekhar‘s IMDB.
Ruchit and AJ promise to block walk for Tom as long as there are only two or three blocks to walk.
Uber has been banned by the City of London.
- Fit & Proper standard
- The Fit & Proper Handbook.
- TFL press release.
- The grayball software that got Uber banned.
We talk about healthcare again
We take a break for a week, and the GOP tries to pass a new healthcare law. Trigger warning: AJ and Ruchit take a deep dive into the technical details of healthcare policy.
- Kaiser Family Foundation on medicaid expansion enrollment.
- The misleading numbers of Graham-Cassidy:
Avalere estimates that it would cause a $215 billion cut between 2026, while the CBPP pegs it at $239 billion. Broadly, the two analyses agree: Graham-Cassidy means less money put toward health care programs.
Both show pretty clearly the trade-off Graham-Cassidy makes: it sends money from states that have high Obamacare enrollment (largely through Medicaid expansion) to those with less robust sign-ups. According to Avalere’s analysis, California loses $78 billion while Alabama gains $5 billion between 2020 and 2026.
- Vox asks GOP politicians what they know about Graham-Cassidy.
- How Cassidy-Graham brings back preexisting conditions.
- Twenty-one million fewer Americans would be covered under Graham-Cassidy.
- Abdominal migraines.
- Heavyxmedical, the Podcast about healthcare and heavy metal.
- Who on the GOP opposes Graham-Cassidy?
- Feds cut advertising to the ACA enrollment.
- Healthcare.gov will be shutdown during open enrollment periods. 
- Trump puts party above country.
RS: BioLite Fire Pit
Ruchit’s computer might have been hacked by the same hackers who hacked Equifax.
Trump declares war on North Korea
But first, Trump threatens to totally destroy North Korea.
Equifax Breach & Arbitration
[The breach may have] compromised data from 143 million Americans including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers. About 209,000 credit card numbers were exposed as well as “dispute documents with personal identifying information” for 182,000 Americans, the company said in a news release.
- In the beginning of August, three Equifax executives sell off millions of dollars worth of Equifax shares, claiming they knew nothing of the breach.
- Bloomberg reports that Equifax learned about this breach months before it told the public
- DOJ investigating the executives who sold off the shares.
- Equifax had a chief security officer who was a music major
- CIO, CSO “retire” in the wake of the security breaches
- In response, Equifax offered free credit monitoring as long as you were willing to sign on to an arbitration clause. See also CNBC.
- Equifax graciously responds that it won’t hold that arbitration clause against consumers
- Chatbot let’s you sue Equifax in small claims court.
- Equifax sells identity theft and credit monitoring.
- Wells Fargo opens fraudulent accounts in customers names, yet those customers cannot sue.
- AT&T v. Concepcion holds that arbitration clauses can force individuals out of class actions.
- How does the 7th Amendment right to trial by jury square with arbitration clauses?
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
- Almost all states, other than LA and CO, have a similar clause in their state constitution. Most other countries have eliminated jury trials.
- Carnival Cruise Lines v. Schute.
- Juries are enshrined in three different amendments: the Fifth Amendment (grand jury), the Sixth Amendment (criminal jury) and the Seventh Amendment (civil jury)
Game: Who said this about Arbitration.
Do I believe in arbitration? I do. But not in arbitration between the lion and the lamb, in which the lamb is in the morning found inside the lion.
Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor for almost forty years, between 1886 and 1924, and the nation’s leading trade unionist and labor spokesman. Not United States v. Cruikshank.
Never arbitrate. Arbitration allows a third party to determine your destiny. It is a resort of the weak.
Predispute arbitration agreements are problematic in a number of ways, one of which is the fact that such contracts are signed well before any dispute arises between the parties. These predispute agreements are often vague and give little notice to the signing parties of the kinds of conflicts that will subject them to arbitration proceedings and the specific rights they are surrendering. Because predispute agreements are entered into before the grounds on which the waiver of rights is based can be known, there is no real “meeting of the minds,” as contract law requires between two parties who commit to a binding agreement.
Ex parte Allen, 798 So.2d 668, 776–77 (Ala. 2001). (Roy Moore, concurring). Roy Moore was the Alabama Supreme Court Justice who refused to follow the Supreme Court precedent in Obergefell, among other scandals and ethics problems.
AJ: Was this headline a Breitbart headline or a KKK headline?
- Shriley cards, pictures of white women, were used to color balance in the 1940-1970s. Things did not change re: brown people until the furniture makers and chocolate makers complained that their furnitures and chocolate not looking good on camera.
- How historically, color film was tailored towards white people.
A tip for taking better selfies:
[S]he has a tip dark-skinned folks can use to improve their club selfies using just their phones. “Stand close to a soft light source and turn three quarters to the light, so that it’s not filling in everything the same way. Kind of like a Rembrandt painting.”
RS: $33 dress shoes from Amazon.
In the after show, we discuss the Apple keynote and all the new Apple things AJ is getting.
This week, we invite Lara to talk about North Korea because she had objections about our last episode on NK. AJ worries he is socially inappropriate.
- Lara is friends with Tom’s cat.
North Korea Redux
The Washington Post published an article, North Korea could cross ICBM threshold next year:
The new assessment by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which shaves a full two years off the consensus forecast for North Korea’s ICBM program, was prompted by recent missile tests showing surprising technical advances by the country’s weapons scientists, at a pace beyond what many analysts believed was possible for the isolated communist regime.
- Korean Juche philosophy
- Kim Il-sung.
- Kim Jong-Il.
- Vox, The growing North Korean nuclear threat
- Fox News, U.S. missile defense about 50-60% reliable
- NYT, Difficulty of stopping an ICBM
- Heritage Foundation, What a North Korean Ballistic Missile Threat Means for the U.S. Missile Defense System
- HomeKitty, the link AJ sent over the Slack.
- Francis Fukuyama and The End of History and the Last Man.
Lara: Alaska Dispatch News, Eagles 1, Drones 0.
- Our national mammal is the American Bison
AJ: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
TJ: Budget Bytes