To the handful of you that actually visit the site on Thursdays, I offer my apologies. I’m a bit swamped between preparing for my MS defense and getting my ducks in a row for the upcoming field season, so I won’t be contributing much to the blog over the next week or two. But rest assured, Evan, Kat, and Gordon will continue generating fantastic stuff on the other days of the week.
I leave you with this turtle.
It’s been my ambition for some time now to dedicate a series to explaining American politics to our substantial audience of non-Americans. While this blog is comprised 50% of Canadians (our frosty neighbors north of the wall), the simple fact of the matter is that the land-the-free has long been the front line of culture war. What happens here affects the rest of the globe.
With the already hotly contested primaries underway and prospects for the 2016 election being widely debated, what better time could there be than now to explain just why it is that we the people are fundamentally screwed.
Let me break it down here.
I. The Person Who Wins Isn’t Always The Person Who Gets Elected
In spite of our praise for democracy, the American republic does not have a one-man-one-vote policy. Every four years, there’s a decent chance that the candidate with the most votes will still lose to his opponent.
See, we have something called the “electoral college”- a staggeringly complex system that not even this succinct TED video can completely cover. At its simplest, the system boils down to states having “points” assigned to them on the basis of their populations and number of congressmen and senators.
This system means that a political candidate doesn’t necessarily have to get a massive number of people to vote for him- just a majority. So long as he or she gets that majority, no matter how slim, they still takes away as many “points” as if they had won a landslide.
What that means is that a person can get elected president in spite of his or her opponent getting more actual votes. Just look at this image below:
While the majority of votes cast in this example are blue, red still wins by virtue of this system. While supposedly protecting states with smaller populations (preventing them from being drowned out by heavily populated states), the result is that a person’s vote can very well be rendered utterly pointless. Plenty of folks simply don’t even bother voting, especially in states dominated by one party. Alternatively, states with greater electoral power (more points, that is) and a habit of swinging between parties (Ohio and Florida, most famously) get disproportionate amounts of attention.
In spite of being viciously despised by folks on both sides of the political spectrum, there’s really very little hope for any reform on this point. While part of that can be blamed on tradition, plenty of it also boils down to a little thing called- Continue reading
Posted in advertising, America, bizarreness, business, Culture War Report, government, history, money, news, politics
Tagged 4th congressional district, America, American, Ben Carson, Canada, Canadian, citizens united, democrat, elections, electoral college, explained, foreign, gerrymandering, house of cards season 2, Illinois, international, Nebraska, non-americans, pac, politics, popular vote, primary, redistricting, regulation, superpac, system, vote, voting
Asian Superheroes. The perfect intersection of two of my passions: racial diversity, in particular the representation of those who look like me, and the stars of my favourite medium, ie. comic books. It was just earlier today that I picked up the second issue of Silk, which [as briefly mentioned in another post] features Marvel’s newest hero, a Korean-American who received her powers from the same spider that bit Peter Parker.
Similar to Spider-Man she has enhanced speed, strength, reflexes, and a danger detection system [aka. her self-coined “Silk-Sense”] as well as her very own ability to create biological webs from her fingertips. Other favourites from the same publisher include Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Fu, an Avenger at the time of this writing. He primarily relies on his master of martial arts, an ability which didn’t keep him from participating in an intergalatic war to save the universe. Another is Amadeus Cho, a teenager who attained the title of “7th Smartest Man in the World” and frequently took down superhuman assailants with only his intelligence and whatever else was available. Yes, at one point one of those superhuman assailants was the Hulk. The Hulk.
Each of these heroes is wildly different from the next, but share a few key similarities [besides their belonging to Marvel and being of East Asian descent]. The first is the quality that makes them heroes, the self-sacrificial desire to protect the innocent and defeat those who would do them harm. The second is that I would love to see any and all of them make it to the big screen one day, to fight alongside the White, square-jawed Chrises of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The third is that every one of them is a work of fiction.
Bradley Katsuyama is a real-life currently existing person. He is an Asian-Canadian and has been a doer of objectively heroic actions surrounding the investigation and consequent combating of algorithms that preyed on unwitting investors. While not the intellectual property of a company creating and producing recent years’ largest blockbusters he is the focus of the novel Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, a film adaptation of which Aaron Sorkin is set to write the screenplay for. Yet at this point Katsuyama is no closer to having his story told than Shang-Chi or any of the rest of them.
Posted in bizarreness, film, money, race, writing
Tagged #TheSorkinChallenge, A Wall Street Revolt, aaron sorkin, actors, asian, Asian-American, casting, emails, Flash Boys, hack, heroes, Hollywood, leak, Marvel, movie stars, plot, precedent, race, representation, screenwriter, Sony Pictures, talent
Sounds like the title of a really good or really awful thriller, doesn’t it?
Let me bring you up to speed on what happened.
With a hotly contested election still raging in Israel, embattled prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to make an impromptu visit to US Congress, in a desperate bid to show his voters that he can dictate US foreign policy better than his rivals can.
Which, in his defense, is probably true.
After (yet another) fear-mongering speech on the dangers of a nuclear Iran, Netanyahu received the kind of tearful, thunderous applause that’d normally be reserved by preteen girls for their favorite boy band.
Like this, but so much more so…
Posted in America, bizarreness, government, Islam, news, politics
Tagged 47 traitors, administration, alternet, applause, Benjamin Netanyahu, childish, Congress, democrats, dome of the rock, executive branch, foreign affairs, international law, Iran, Islam, Islamic, israel, Javad Zarif, law, letter, nuclear, Obama, palestine, Palestinians, power, program, reception, republicans, speech, treason, war