A simple idea to change the House of Representatives via random selection

[Re-post of first blog article, anniversary, with Instapundit as inspiration to start blogging]

A Rassmussen poll found:

“Only half (49%) believe that the current Congress is better than individuals selected at random from the phone book. Thirty-three percent (33%) believe a randomly selected group of Americans could do a better job and 19% are not sure.”

With this in mind, and reference to the US states jury system. (A jury of your peers can judge your guilt or innocence and in some states decide your life or death.)  I propose:

To select state representatives to The People’s House via random drawing, from the said same jury pools.

Q.      “How do you keep the crazy and criminals from Congressional service?”

A.       Nothing has worked so far.  However, the same screening for felons and mentally incompetent used for jury duty will work for the House of Representatives.

Current eligibility, pay and benefits would be allowed.  One 2-year term only.

Six months prior to the beginning of the term each new member’s pay would begin and they would be required to report to Washington for ‘Congress School’ (because all us can’t remember how laws are made–high school civics).

Put this group together tell them to get to work.  Let natural selection in the group work.  Leaders will rise and the lame/lazy/crazy would be ostracized (or be the Party Leaders to talk to the press).  There are plenty in the group who will not be the leaders but will roll up there sleeves to complete the work and research.

Perhaps something other than earmarks, re-election worries, and odes to National Hot Dog Day might get accomplished.  If not, gridlock in Congress means they are not spending our money or reducing our liberty.  Not a bad thing either.

Half of the representatives would be replaced every other year.

To keep power from the Eunuchs (Professional Staffer):

A new Congressman can bring their own staffer.  If a staff member wants to stay working as staff in the House, they must agree to employment of:

  • After the term of their current Representative, move to serve on the staff of a different state (by lottery)
  •  Serve on the staff of the opposite political party each 2 year term.
  •  20 year service limit, retirement pay to match current percentage of the military retirement pay for 20 years service.
  • Pay to start at military officer equal (O-1 to increase through O-6 over the 20 years)
  • Is not part of the Civil Service; can be fired.
  • The Representative does not have to worry about raising money for reelection.  There is none.
  • There is no Federal retirement pay, pension, or life time health care.
  • There is no exemption for service save; death, terminal illness, Constitutional proscriptions (age, felon).
  • The military, federal and state civil service, private industry must release and rehire all selected for Congressional Service.
  • Anyone caught trying to or fixing the selection process faces automatic Federal sentence of 10 years and a $1,000,000.00 fine and any State added time and fines.
  • Corruption, graft, and lobbying (I may be redundant there) will still continue but the K Street crowd will only have 30 months (6+24) to try and weasel their way to privilege.

Bulletproof Ball Cap? GOOD: Stops .40 cal BAD: Does not stop traumatic concussions

Of course, the impact from a round is still going to do some damage, and comes well within the range of force that can cause a serious concussion. When compared to the damage caused by an unimpeded bullet, however, it could prove to be a worthwhile investment.
The hat starts with a base model in three different sizes. From there, the team modifies it to include a BulletSafe ballistic pad in the front two panels of the six-panel hat. The team expects that it can stop frontal impacts from handguns that use 9-mm, .40 and .38 caliber rounds.

Well, its a start of an idea.  Notice it is a Kickstarter proposal.

via BulletSafe Bulletproof Hat offers protection with a low-key design.

Charles Koch on Criminal Justice System and Reforms

“Over the next year, we are going to be pushing the issues key to this, which need a lot of work in this country,” Koch said. “And that would be freedom of speech, cronyism and how that relates to opportunities for the disadvantaged.”
The nation’s criminal justice system needs reform, “especially for the disadvantaged,” Koch said, “making it fair and making (criminal) sentences more appropriate to the crime that has been committed.”
Holden said legislators in recent decades drifted into a habit of adding more laws every year and taking stands to show themselves as “getting tough on crime.” It has gone too far, Holden said.

The Corpus Christi case led Charles Koch and his company to give money, starting about 10 years ago, to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The company and the association would not say how much Koch has given, but the amount totals in the seven figures, Holden said.
Campaigning against overcriminalization has prompted Koch to form unofficial alliances with people and organizations that usually champion liberal causes, including political activist George Soros and the American Civil Liberties Union, who are also campaigning for a reduction in prison populations.

“We’ve become addicted to severe sentences, to the point where we are mass-producing convictions in many courts, while not providing defense counsel on a timely basis.
“We’ve got to fix that, and there is now a growing consensus among people knowledgeable about justice and economics that we are wasting precious human resources in criminal justice.”

Good.  I hope they can help make the necessary changes.  The law are enforced and prosecuted, both, in arbitrary manors.

Click forth and read all:

via Charles Koch’s views on criminal justice system just may surprise you | The Wichita Eagle.

Union Thuggery (con’d) Police Edition

The law firm represented 120 police unions, including the Escondido Police Officers Association, but it disbanded amid a billing scandal. And it bragged about its “playbook,” which taught unions how to get their way during contract negotiations. The affidavit includes a section on the playbook, given that Costa Mesa and its union were indeed involved in negotiations at the time of the DUI call.

Under its heading, “Let the Games Begin,” the playbook offers police unions this advice: “Focus on an individual: Avoid spreading your energy. Focus on a city manager, councilperson, mayor or police chief and keep the pressure up until that person assures you his loyalty and then move on to the next victim.” Yes, “victim.”

Click forth, read all, and sigh:

via Affidavit Shows Cop Union Targeting Foes – Reason.com.

No, North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony

All the evidence leads me to believe that the great Sony Pictures hack of 2014 is far more likely to be the work of one disgruntled employee facing a pink slip.
I may be biased, but, as the director of security operations for DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference, and the principal security researcher for the world’s leading mobile security company, Cloudflare, I think I am worth hearing out.
The FBI was very clear in its press release about who it believed was responsible for the attack: “The FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions,” they said in their December 19 statement, before adding, “the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information”.

Click forth and read all:

via No, North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony – The Daily Beast.

Troops Increasingly Identify as Independent and Libertarian

Shifts in social attitudes, politics, and attitudes toward government are seeping from the civilian world into the U.S. military. The military is quickly adapting to increased tolerance toward gays and lesbians in American life, expanding roles for women, and growing distaste for the established political parties and the performance of the U.S. government. And, like many Americans, soldiers, sailors, and marines are drifting away from the major parties, increasingly identifying themselves as independents and libertarians.
So military personnel match civilians in their increasing social tolerance and embrace of expanding opportunities for everybody. Honestly, why wouldn’t they when they’re recruited from the same population?

via In a Military Embracing Social Change, Troops Increasingly Identify as Independent and Libertarian – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

NASA ‘emailed’ a wrench to space for the first time

But this is the first time it has printed a specially-designed tool on-demand, which is exactly the kind of work its designers hoped it would do.
“The socket wrench we just manufactured is the first object we designed on the ground and sent digitally to space, on the fly,” Made In Space founder Mike Chen wrote on Medium. “This is the first time we’ve ever “emailed” hardware to space.”


via NASA just ‘emailed’ a wrench to space for the first time – The Washington Post.

Facebook Joins Sony in Fortitude Against Self-Censorship – NOT

In 2011, Facebook was hailed by opposition movements during the Arab Spring and in Russia as a powerful new tool to spread information beyond the control of repressive governments. That may no longer be the case, at least not in Russia. Russian Internet regulators said Saturday that they had sent Facebook a “demand” that it block access to a page calling for a demonstration in support of Alexei Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

via Facebook blocks Russian page supporting Navalny, Putin’s biggest critic – The Washington Post.

FAA drone approvals bedeviled by warnings, conflict, internal e-mails show

What the FAA did not reveal, however, was that senior officials had overruled objections from some of its safety inspectors, who had warned after a formal review that the filmmakers’ plans were too risky and should be prohibited, according to documents and e-mails obtained by The Washington Post.

via FAA drone approvals bedeviled by warnings, conflict, internal e-mails show – The Washington Post.

Department of Duh: Chimpanzees have no human rights

Update: Captive orangutan has human right to freedom, Argentine 

An orangutan held in an Argentine zoo can be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after a court recognized the ape as a “non-human person” unlawfully deprived of its freedom, local media reported on Sunday.
“This opens the way not only for other Great Apes, but also for other sentient beings which are unfairly and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in zoos, circuses, water parks and scientific laboratories,” the daily La Nacion newspaper quoted AFADA lawyer Paul Buompadre as saying.


In the first case of its kind, a New York appeals court rejected on Thursday an animal rights advocate’s bid to extend “legal personhood” to chimpanzees, saying the primates are incapable of bearing the responsibilities that come with having legal rights.
A five-judge panel of the Albany court said attorney Steven Wise had shown that Tommy, a 26-year-old chimp who lives alone in a shed in upstate New York, was an autonomous creature, but that it was not possible for him to understand the social contract that binds humans together.

via Chimpanzees have no human rights: N.Y. court | Reuters.

Terrorists forced to face victims on Iraqi reality TV

Haider Ali Motar was convicted of terrorism charges about a month ago for helping to carry out a string of Baghdad car bombings on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group. Now, the 21-year old is a reluctant cast member in a popular reality TV show.
“In the Grip of the Law” brings convicted terrorists face-to-face with victims in surreal encounters, and celebrates the country’s beleaguered security forces. The show, produced by state-run Iraqiya TV, is among dozens of programs, cartoons and musical public service announcements aimed at shoring up support for the troops after their humiliating defeat last summer at the hands of ISIS, which now controls about a third of the country.
Not just in Iraq, but television networks across the Middle East have begun airing cartoons and comedy programs using satire to criticize the group and its claims of representing Islam. And while not directly confronting the group’s battlefield gains, the shows challenge the legitimacy of its claims and chip away at the fear some have that the Islamic militants are unstoppable.

Terrorists forced to face victims on Iraqi reality TV

Breaking News: May 11, 1965, Least Political President Orders More ________ to War Zone (con’d)

Update: 4,000 U.S. troops head to Kuwait

More than 4,000 U.S. soldiers are heading to Kuwait, opening up the possibility of an intervention in Iraq after President Barack Obama asked Congress to authorize military action against terrorists in the Middle East.
The Commander-in-chief has ruled out large-scale U.S. ground combat operations similar to those in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he asked for the option to use military force against Islamic State fighters for three years.

Update: Obama’s War Authorization Limits Ground Forces

If enacted, the president’s AUMF could effectively constrain the next president from waging a ground war against the Islamic State group until at least 2018. Aides warned that the White House may tweak the final details before releasing the document publicly.
In advance of the release, top White House and State Department officials have been briefing lawmakers and Congressional staffers about their proposed legislation. Two senior Congressional aides relayed the details to me.
The president’s AUMF for the fight against Islamic State would restrict the use of ground troops through a prohibition on “enduring offensive ground operations,” but provide several exemptions. First, all existing ground troops, including the 3,000 U.S. military personnel now on the ground in Iraq, would be explicitly excluded from the restrictions. After that, the president would be allowed to deploy new military personnel in several specific roles: advisers, special operations forces, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers to assist U.S. air strikes and Combat Search and Rescue personnel.

Update: 1,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne headed to Iraq

Approximately 1,000 paratroopers from the Army’s famed 82nd Airborne Division will deploy to Iraq early next year to help the Iraqi security forces take on the Islamic State, the Pentagon announced Friday.
The paratroopers are preparing for a nine-month deployment, according to a spokeswoman for the 82nd Airborne.
Approximately 300 troops from other Army, Air Force and Marine Corps units will also deploy to provide “enabler” support in areas such as counterintelligence, logistics, and signals, Kirby said.

Update: New US Command Signals Escalation in Iraq, Syria

The Pentagon has announced today the creation of a new military command, dubbed Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, which will oversee the war against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.

Update: U.S. Adds Planes to Bolster Drive to Wipe Out Daeshi ISIS

The United States is shifting more attack and surveillance aircraft from Afghanistan to the air war against the Islamic State, deepening American involvement in the conflict and presenting new challenges for the military planners who work here in central South Carolina, far from the targets they will pick for those aircraft.
A dozen A-10 ground-attack planes have recently moved from Afghanistan to Kuwait, where they are to start flying missions supporting Iraqi ground troops as early as this week, military officials said. About half a dozen missile-firing Reaper drones will also be redeployed from Afghanistan in the next several weeks.

Update:Dempsey: US troops could fight alongside Iraqi forces in war against Daeshi

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress on Thursday that he wouldn’t rule out sending a small number of American forces to fight alongside Iraqi troops during some of the more complex missions against the Islamic State.

“I’m not predicting at this point that I would recommend that those forces in Mosul and along the border would need to be accompanied by U.S. forces, but we’re certainly considering it,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee.


A senior military official says that American military advisory teams will now go to Iraq’s western Anbar province where Islamic State militants have been gaining ground and slaying men, women and children.
The teams are part of President Barack Obama’s new directive to expand the U.S. mission in Iraq by deploying another 1,500 U.S. troops to serve as advisers, trainers and security personnel.
The official said it is likely that the bulk of the additional troops will be in Iraq by the end of the year. This would bring the total U.S. forces in Iraq to about 3,100, and would mark their first return to Anbar since the war ended

I wonder why this announcement was made today.  I don’t suppose they knew they would be sending more troops to Iraq last week?  Nawh.  Why, he is, “…least political president in modern U.S. history..”

News from The Associated Press.

Quadriplegic successfully uses mind-controlled robotic arm

For this second study, the researchers sought to increase the hand’s functional utility while also maintaining a relatively low-complexity control space because more possible maneuvers means considerably more calibration. The 10-dimensional (10D) control (three dimensions of translation, three of orientation, four of hand shape) that they settled on had not been tested elsewhere, and they were unsure whether the brain would exhibit a preference for just one dimension or simultaneously handle all 10.
To calibrate the arm, Scheuermann watched animations of the movements and new hand shapes and imagined herself doing them while the team recorded the resultant signals in her brain. After identifying the brain activity patterns that correspond to each movement, these signals were then translated into instructions for the robotic arm.

We live in amazing times.

via Quadriplegic successfully uses mind-controlled robotic arm.

Fisking the Guardian again, this time for HP Lovecraft.

A 10.0 Fisking.

Monster Hunter Nation

Fisking the Guardian:

Somebody sent this to me on Twitter this morning and asked my opinion on it. My quick response was that it was more Social Justice Warrior nonsense and their never ending search for perpetual victimhood, but then I decided that because the ideas in it are so poisonous to the very people it is supposedly is trying to help, it deserves an actual fisking.

Basically I’m taking the time to write this because if you have to stamp out another artist’s existence in order to justify your own art, you are not helping art.

If you don’t feel like giving the Guardian any clicks, I’ve reproduced the entire article here. However in the interest of fairness, here is the original: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/dec/09/move-over-hp-lovecraft-black-fantasy-writers-are-coming-through?CMP=share_btn_tw

As usual the original article is in italics and my responding comments are in bold.

Move over HP Lovecraft, fantasy writers of colour are coming through.

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