The Electoral College

“The Electoral College: Direct election was rejected not because the Framers of the Constitution doubted public intelligence but rather because they feared that without sufficient information about candidates from outside their State, people would naturally vote for a “favorite son” from their own State or region. At worst, no president would emerge with a popular majority sufficient to
govern the whole country. At best, the choice of president would always be
decided by the largest, most populous States with little regard for the
smaller ones.”
more herein a comprehensive 20 page paper which is easy to read, offers historical context and background, and presents both sides fairly.
This is also good, and shorter! 

“It is precisely because of the Electoral College that the recounting of votes focused on one state instead of many. If the popular vote decided the winner, we would still be bogged down in questionable recounts in dozens, if not hundreds, of counties across the country. The potential for mistakes and abuse would have been enormously compounded, and the cloud over the eventual winner would have been all the more dark and ominous.

Some say that it is inherently unfair for a candidate to win in the Electoral College and become president if another candidate actually has more popular votes. It should be noted at the outset that it is extremely unlikely this could ever happen when the popular vote margin is wide. A narrow margin in the popular vote—narrow enough to be wiped out with a few vote-rigging recounts—cries out for a decisive conclusion, and that’s what the Electoral College offers.

But whether the losing candidate’s popular-vote victory is large or small, the fact that a win in the Electoral College is all that finally matters is not unfair. It’s not unfair that little Delaware gets just as many senators as big California. It’s not unfair that 34-year-olds can’t become president or that a simple majority in the Congress is insufficient to approve a treaty, convict an impeached president, or amend the Constitution. Nor is it unfair that the winner of the World Series is the team that wins four games, not necessarily the one that has the most runs. These are the rules of the game, and in the case of the Electoral College, the rules were written for some very good reasons.” (click above to read it all)

A WAPO picture from a couple elections back:
For those wondering, yes, I’ve been in favor of keeping the electoral college through many elections now, ever since I read up on the background and understood the purpose was so that the smaller states and rural populations had some protections against bullying by larger states and big cities with no idea what’s going on in the rest of the country. Winning the popular vote tells us something important, but it alone does not tell us who should be President.

Last, but by no means list: Schoolhouse Rock

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Toward a Philosophy of Handicraft


design-black-and-white-floral-patternFor further reading as you think through a philosophy of handicrafts worthy of your time and your children’s time:

What makes or mars a man is the use he makes of his leisure; not how he behaves at his work so much as how he behaves in his hours of recreation, when he is his own master and can choose for himself. Ruskin  (more here)

“The child is only truly educated who can use his hands as truly as his head, for to neglect one part of our being injures the whole, and the learned book-worm who is ignorant of the uses of a screwdriver, also lacks that readiness and resourcefulness, mental neatness and capability, and reverence for labour and its results, which a knowledge of practical matter gives.

We want the children to be neat in mind as in body, to have clean-cut ideas and be capable of producing good work of all sorts; so we set them to fold paper, while their fingers are still tiny, and they will soon find how much better one clean fold is than a crumple (and simplicity than duplicity).

Then we set them to model the familiar pear or apple in clay, and their conception of the fruit rises above mere “taste,” while the fingers learn how much one light touch can effect.

Then we would give them the joys of cardboard sloyd, employing the creative instinct which is in every man, craving to be given a means of expression.

Here truth and tidiness go hand in hand, for an error of a centimetre here or there will render a morning’s work useless. If you ever want to see how untruthful, lazy, and depraved and fallen human nature is, go yourselves and see how you fare over a first morning at Sloyd–it is a revelation of one’s own inner blackness and want of intellectual truthfulness; to the children, however, who are not yet fully cursed with our self-consciousness, it is a great treat and a great education.

Any work which employs the creative instinct to good purpose and produces a reputable and artistic result (not mere exercises which waste the children’s time and material for nothing) finds favour with us.

Basket work, wood carving, etc., all so adapted to the children’s age and capabilities that they may be able to attain a habit of perfect execution, and that sense of the mastery of our spirits over matter which is surely part of our divine heritage.” From a Parents’ Review article, volume 10

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Reason Never Begins It, said Charlotte. Science Confirms.

Charlotte Mason essentially tapped into this.  See her writings on reason.

From a review of The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haight (amazon purchase) :

To the question many people ask about politics — Why doesn’t the other side listen to reason? — Haidt replies: We were never designed to listen to reason. When you ask people moral questions, time their responses and scan their brains, their answers and brain activation patterns indicate that they reach conclusions quickly and produce reasons later only to justify what they’ve decided. The funniest and most painful illustrations are Haidt’s transcripts of interviews about bizarre scenarios. Is it wrong to have sex with a dead chicken? How about with your sister? Is it O.K. to defecate in a urinal? If your dog dies, why not eat it? Under interrogation, most subjects in psychology experiments agree these things are wrong. But none can explain why.

Continue reading the main story

The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others. Haidt shows, for example, how subjects relentlessly marshal arguments for the incest taboo, no matter how thoroughly an interrogator demolishes these arguments.

To explain this persistence, Haidt invokes an evolutionary hypothesis: We compete for social status, and the key advantage in this struggle is the ability to influence others. Reason, in this view, evolved to help us spin, not to help us learn. So if you want to change people’s minds, Haidt concludes, don’t appeal to their reason. Appeal to reason’s boss: the underlying moral intuitions whose conclusions reason defends.

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Election Hangovers

These photographs of various reactions to the election were pretty fun to look at.

Remember when ‘elections have consequences?’ Peter Beinart does not.  The dripping condescension is slimy.  The comments are the best part.  Ezra Klein doesn’t get it, either. Of course.  Eric Zorn at the Chicago trip calls it an electoral tantrum (we have heard this before). Garrison Keillor sniffs at the ego of the uneducated (dude. This is why.) and charmingly conflates learning disabilities with being an idiot.  He’s brilliantly talented.  He manages to do that in a single sentence. I think that raw ego he’s talking about might not be where he thinks it is.

Californians threatens to secede.  That’s okay.  They also approved the recreational use of marijuana.

Remember when it was the most terrible thing in the world not to accept the election results?

As I drove away from my polling place yesterday, I was kind of sad because I didn’t like either main party candidate, and I was depressed over what a win for either of them might mean for our country.  There was a magnificent sunset to see, and I was driving west so I got to see it for a while.  I thought to myself that it was silly to be so upset, and I was thankful that I lived in a country where elections happened without bloodshed, where both sides peacefully accepted the results, where we had major elections with extremely oppositional factions, and no riots.

So, I was wrong.  We had riots. In California they set things on fire, broke windows, and marched in peaceful protests screaming ‘not my president.’

Yale students are getting exams canceled because they are so emotionally distraught over the results.

Rachel Maddow likens the election to being in hell.

Illegal immigration groups call on Obama to stop all deportations, calling those who merely enforce the law racists.  Why is protecting national borders and having an immigration policy at all ‘racist?’  This is one of the reasons why the word has a rapidly decreasing impact.  When everything is racist, nothing is.

Thousands of high school kids and their teachers walk out of school in Seattle to protest, saying he’s not their president. I’m thinking that if they have a civics class in this school, it’s taught by a marxist.

Hillary Clinton refused to concede last night even when it was obvious she had lost. She didn’t even have the grace (or perhaps the physical stamina) to come down and speak to her supporters herself. She sent Podesta, and he told the crowd to go home, and go to bed because it was too close to call. Significantly, minutes later she actually made a private phone call to Trump and conceded the race.  She made her public concession speech today only after she’d confirmed that she won the popular vote by a hair. Personally, I think that’s what she was waiting for. She knew she’d lost. But she wanted to be able to claim the popular vote. Some of her aides are blaming the staff members who let her set up a private email server. Maybe you should blame the poor judgement of a candidate who not only wanted one, but dumped emails, ignored subpoenas, sent classified emails to her maid to print them out and lied to the public and Congress about it all.  Just a thought.

Speaking of poor judgment- that sexual assault of a minor lawsuit that followed Trump around and was finally dropped right before the election?  The abuse allegedly occurred on Epstein’s rape island.  The Epstein now in jail as a pedophile.  The victim says she had no idea who the perpetrator was until years later when she saw Trump on The Apprentice, and that she ‘came to believe’ it was him.  Apparently that belief only became firm enough to act on when he ran for President. She says she just couldn’t have a rapist in the White House.

Trump was, according to law enforcement, ‘inserted’ into her charges, and that’s why they were dropped.  They had no credibility.  This is heartbreaking, because chances are strong that she actually was assaulted by Epstein and others on his island of evil when she was a child.  But there’s no evidence Trump was there. You know who did visit that island?

Flight logs show Bill Clinton took at least 26 trips on the plane that featured a bed where guests had group sex with young and underage girls.

Epstein went to prison for 13 months and was placed under home detention for solicitation and procurement of minors for prostitution. He allegedly had girls as young as 12 years old on his 72-acre island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The island, Little St. James, was called “Orgy Island,” and the girls there serviced Epstein’s friends.


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Election Results

Will we ever be done with the political fall-out?

Will we ever be done with the political fall-out?

I wrote most of this in the wee hours and when I wrote it,  I still wasn’t sure who won. It had been called for Trump, but it looked awfully close in a few states. Clinton hadn’t conceded. Podesta was saying the votes weren’t all counted and they all needed to be.   I expected at best to wake up and that Hillary had demanded recounts.
I’m going to bed now, having heard a couple organizations call it for Trump, having seen the sweet tears of some liberal pundits, having heard that Clinton Campaign manager Podesta has sent everybody home saying it’s too close to call.  I could wake up tomorrow and discover the race is called for Hillary.

Many years ago a pair of sisters were being raised by their grandma, and they reached adolescence and began misbehaving.  Grandma told them they could either behave, or choose to go live with one or the other parent. She hoped they would behave.  She couldn’t believe it when they chose to go live with Mom a few hours away.

They had lived with Dad off and on when they were young and he came by from time to time.  They had not seen their mother in around six years.  They did not wish to behave.

And so, they chose their mom, leaving behind their grandmother, their baby brother, and all they’d known to move in with the relative stranger who had birthed them once up on a time.  This turned out to be not a great idea.  Years later, their little brother (who stayed with grandma because he was so much younger and not part of the ultimatum) asked one of the sisters why they had chosen Mom.

“Well,” said the older sister, “We remembered living with Dad, and we knew he was a flake.  We didn’t remember living with Mom and so we thought we’d take our chances.  We figured she couldn’t be any worse. That turned out to be a dumb assumption.”

That’s how I feel about this election.  I don’t like either candidate. I really dislike Hillary and all she stands for, and I know what her presidency would look like (I don’t trust the other branches of government to neuter a Clinton presidency as they should).

I have no idea what a President Trump is going to do.  None at all.  And I confess to a kind of wreckless, gleeful, curiosity which makes me lean toward preferring a Trump presidency just out of that morbid curiosity.

But morbid curiosity is not a sound basis for voting, which is why my vote was a write-in candidate.  And whenever I was tempted to vote Trump, I kept  thinking about my sisters-in-law and the decision they made and how that turned out.

A lot of people voted for the candidate they believed in of course, and some of them will be rejoicing in the morning, no matter who it is.  Let them rejoice.  They’ve earned it.  It was a hard-fought campaign. I hated it when Obama won, and I did not tell people not to rejoice.  I understood the excitement, even when I believed it was based on all kinds of mistaken ideas.  So go ahead and rejoice, if your person won, and if your person lost, don’t go around telling everybody else God is still in charge and Jesus is King.  It’s true, but it’s also priggish and a little pompous and a lot egotistical to presume you need to be telling others this. They know.

Nobody had to vote for the lesser of two evils in this election.  We could choose from a number of 3rd parties, or we could choose not to vote at all.  But we all have to live with the result, no matter how we voted, and for a lot of us, that means we will be living with the the greater of two evils.   Will it be the frying pan, the fire, or something worse?  Living with the lesser of two evils is still living with evil.  Or will we luck out and it turns out not to be so bad after all (whatever the result is)?

I don’t know, but I know somebody who does.  What’s done is done.  I will continue to point and laugh at the political circus because it is a circus and I have an irreverent sense of humour.  But I will also continue to love my family, serve God, crochet, read, write, think, sing, and live my life the way I think it should be lived as best as I am able.



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