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https://web-gmazza.rhcloud.com/blog/date/20161116 Wednesday November 16, 2016

Benefits of Retaining the Electoral College

  1. It respects the Great Compromise between the states - The Great Compromise, meant to protect small states from getting overwhelmed by the larger ones, necessary to get them to agree to form the Union, extended not just to the legislative branch but the executive as well. By adding the equal number of senators to the number of congressmen to determine each state's electoral votes, small states were given additional weighting in the say they would have in choosing the President.

    For example, one state A with twice as much population as B might have 6 representatives to B's 3. However, the number of electoral votes is not 6 to 3 or twice as much say but 8 to 5 due to the addition of the senators, resulting in just 1.6 times as much say, honoring the compromise. Switching to a popular vote would eliminate that weighing benefit, as state A would have roughly twice as many voters as B and hence twice as much say.

    This benefit given to the small states has shrunk by about a third since the country was formed. In the First Congress there were 68 congressmen and 26 senators generating a total of 94 electoral votes, so that a state's population was only a 68/94 = 72.3% factor of its say. Since the number of congressmen was fixed at 435, population now provides 435 / 535 (leaving out D.C.'s 3 electoral votes which aren't based on representation) or 81.3% of the weighting.

  2. States are better protected from voter irregularities occurring in other states - With the Electoral College, any ballot-box stuffing done by one state does not limit the say of others. Take one state with say 10 electoral votes, for example, they could have three, five, ten million falsified ballots for a candidate, they can go to town, it wouldn't matter, only that state's 10 electoral votes would be corrupted. Pennsylvania (20 votes), Iowa (6), Arizona (11), etc., would still have their say and their respective weighting. If we switched to a popular vote, those invalid votes would count to the national total, harming the say of states that run their elections more cleanly. In general:

    • With a national vote election, states which do a better job ensuring valid voting (photo ID, checking to make sure voter registrants are US citizens, alive, etc.) would lose say over states that tend to look the other way in such matters.

    • Conversely, because we use an Electoral College, there is much less incentive for ballot-box stuffing as it doesn't buy one party-dominant states tempted to engage in such activities anything. It results in cleaner elections, and hence a cleaner society, nationwide.

    • A national vote would encourage a race to the bottom in granting suffrage ("State A is now allowing their green card holders to vote, so we should also lest we lose our say...", "State B is now allowing 16 year olds to vote...", etc.)

  3. Close elections are much easier to resolve - The 2000 election between Bush and Gore took about one month to resolve but the focus thankfully was just with Florida and its then-25 electoral votes. Because the Electoral College was all that mattered, the other 49 states could be ignored, 20 inaccurate votes in Idaho for example or 30 missed votes in California could be disregarded. However, if we had a tightly close popular vote election, then every precinct in every county in every state would be subject to re-examination, to grab 5 votes here and 10 votes there because they all count towards the national vote total, not a situation anyone would relish.

  4. With the Electoral College, people are more likely to vote for a candidate based on his/her policies rather than on whether or not he/she has visited their state. - Voters in places like California and Tennessee where the outcome of the vote is not in doubt are perfectly fine with their candidate of choice never visiting their home state during the campaign. More than that, they don't actually want their candidate wasting time in their home states, instead wanting him or her to be in battleground states trying to win them over so their candidate can win. This provides a lot of relief to presidential candidates as it allows them to focus on visiting just 10-15 battleground states, a grueling enough task as it is.

    With a national popular vote, however, it would still make sense to visit vote-rich states regardless of their leanings, causing many voters to get offended if their candidate does not visit them, and possibly switch votes as a result. So the Electoral College is more likely to result in voters casting votes based on the candidate's policies than whether they visited their state, good for the nation as a whole.

  5. The Electoral College makes election night a lot more exciting to watch - A silly argument, but still true. With the Electoral College, viewers see a scoreboard of states that slowly get lit up in red and blue during the evening, for which viewers can celebrate or mourn each time a candidate wins or loses a state. With a national vote you're just waiting for a vote total at the very end, rather dull for all concerned. It would be similar to watching a football game in which all touchdowns and field goals are irrelevant but just the total yards gained within the 60 minutes of play determining the victor.

Finally, it should always be noted that a candidate who wins the popular vote and loses the electoral votes on an election based on the latter wouldn't necessarily have won the popular vote if it were based on the former, as the campaigning done--states visited, TV advertising strategy, issues chosen, voter turnout generated, etc.--is different under the two styles. A skilled candidate who can win with one set of rules quite frequently has the ability to win under another.

https://web-gmazza.rhcloud.com/blog/date/20151115 Sunday November 15, 2015

Pink Slips at Disney. But First, Training Foreign Replacements.

Sold Out Book

Journalist Michelle Malkin and Center for Immigration Studies fellow John Miano have teamed together to offer a new book Sold Out. It offers a critique of the various foreign worker visas offered by the federal government and its consequences on American workers. I just got the book yesterday and am still in its early stages but would highly recommend it for American IT professionals wishing to learn more about the consequences of these programs or (for those already well aware) just wanting to thank and support the authors for raising publicity about this issue during an election year. Happy to note at the time of this writing that the book is #1 on Amazon's Government and Management bestseller list.

https://web-gmazza.rhcloud.com/blog/date/20151105 Thursday November 05, 2015

Letter to the Arlington County board via fitness membership fees (Update: With County Response)

My county has a website form residents can use to submit questions, comments and concerns, which I've used three times in the past five years. The county runs fitness centers of which I'm a member. This morning I submitted the below concern (slightly polished for grammar :) about the reduced cost passes for non-county residents 55 and over:

Hello, I'm [in my mid-40's] and a long-time taxpaying Arlington County resident as well as an Arlington County gym member. When I buy my annual County fitness center pass, I pay the $195 rate as a county resident, much less than the $558 charged to non-residents because residents pay Arlington County taxes and as much of Parks & Rec is supported by taxpayer dollars we should be discounted. No problems there, neighboring jurisdictions do the same thing.

The county, via its 55+ Gold Pass program, has recently dropped the qualification age from 62 to 55, any resident 55 or over needs to just pay $60. OK. But non-residents 55+ who aren't paying Arlington taxes have to pay just $90, a mere $30 more and less than half the $195 that I need to pay. That benefit seems too disproportionate to be giving to non-taxpaying non-county residents--should I really have to be paying $195 while a relatively youthful 55-year old Fairfax County resident just has to pay $90?

55 is hardly retirement age, many of those people are at the top of their financial situation at that time, and giving such a benefit to 55+ county residents must come at a significant price both to county taxpayers who have to subsidize the shortfall in fees and paying county members whose memberships would be cheaper if they didn't have to cover this subsidy. So be it, though, we take care of our senior residents. But asking taxpayers and gym members to pay more to be subsidizing *non-county* residents as young as 55 seems an unfair burden to ask. I'd like the county to raise the minimum age for non-county residents back to 62, and/or alternatively retain the same $195/$558 resident/non-resident ratio for the senior passes ($60 for residents, $172 for non-residents.) Gyms cost money to run, and non-residents should be expected to pay more to cover the difference that they're not paying in county taxes.

I've checked the Fairfax County Parks and Recreation website and they give no senior discount to people outside of their jurisdiction, they just take care of their own and then only when they reach 65. Alexandria does cover at age 55, but only a 20% discount and again only for city residents. Likewise, Arlington County reduced fee memberships correctly just cover Arlington residents, taxpayers don't have to support non-residents for that.

This rate is also bad for the County for another reason -- each of the fitness centers have a limited number of aerobic machines, the more you fill up those machines due to heavy subsidies of non-county residents, the $195 payers get upset because the machines are never available and instead go to private gyms that aren't that much more expensive for them. The percentage of those using the gym being full payers is going to drop as a result, with the lost gym revenue requiring more county subsidies in order to be supporting people who live outside the county's jurisdiction.

Update 12/31/2015, I got a response from the County today:

Dear Mr. Mazza,

I am writing to you on behalf of Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. Thank you for sharing your concerns about the 55+ Gold Pass fee for non-residents and the change in age eligibility for senior adult rates. The issues you mentioned are actually part of a number of adjustments made to senior adult programs during the last budget cycle.

Each year, the Arlington County Board approves the schedule of fees and charges for the Department of Parks and Recreation as part of the annual budget process. In Fiscal Year 2016, fees for senior adult programs were realigned for consistency across the County programs. Prior to this, all persons 55+ were eligible for programs offered through the Office of Senior Adults. However, various other programs applied an age discount to 62+. As a policy change, the age of eligibility for all senior programs and discounts offered through the Department of Parks and Recreation is now 55+.

It is Arlington County policy to allow non-residents to use County facilities and programs and to require non-residents to pay a surcharge on top of the base participation fee. This surcharge varies based on the type of program. In the case of the 55+ Pass, non-residents are charged 50% more than residents. Non-residents, however, never receive a fee reduction (which is only available to residents with financial need).

The County is committed to offering programs for seniors to remain healthy and to age in place. As part of this mission, we are always looking at ways to further this focus. As such, the base fee for this 55+ Gold Pass is set at only $60 for an individual pass and the surcharge added to that for non-residents is the additional 50%.

Formerly, we offered a 55+ pass with limited fitness pass options, along with a separate senior fitness-only membership. Research indicated that very few seniors purchased the senior fitness-only membership. The vast majority of seniors purchased the 55+ Pass that included a variety of senior program options, including limited access to some fitness centers. Research also indicated that many of the seniors with the 55+ Pass were interested in expanded fitness access and were willing to pay for it. As our goal is to develop programs that support the interests of our community, it was decided that we would have two senior passes and eliminate the senior fitness-only membership. We kept the same fee for the 55+ Pass ($20) and created the 55+ Gold Pass ($60), which provides the benefits of the 55+ Pass plus access to our fitness centers whenever they are open.

As with all of our programs, we will continue to review what Arlington County is providing and adjust as needed. As of December 29, an additional 2,136 Arlington County residents have purchased a pass. Only 146 (6% of the total) non-residents have signed up for the program; the percent of non-residents has not really changed since we adjusted the program. Since the new pass went into effect, we have been monitoring fitness room usage and have seen no spikes in attendance leading to overcrowding. We will continue to monitor.

Our annual budget review is coming up, and again, as always, fees will be reviewed and adjustments made as appropriate. I hope this background is helpful and allows you to see our strategy to encourage more Arlington seniors to be active and engaged.

Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Michael R. Peter, MPA
Director of Budget and Finance
Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation

https://web-gmazza.rhcloud.com/blog/date/20151031 Saturday October 31, 2015

"Monster Mash" Will Get You

From The Miami News, October 6, 1962:

Rock 'n' roll and the twist have finally come to grips with Horror and the result is a startling eruption in the record-buying field. Now it's spreading to the screen and television.

A little .45 disc titled "Monster Mash," rocketing within a few weeks into a spot among the top 10 sellers, seizes upon weird species from the Frankenstein laboratory, man-made creatures who shake off their electrodes and, to the tune of a shudder-packed production number, stomp around the graveyard in a wild new dance.

The "Monster Mash" has become an overnight hit in Los Angeles ballrooms, and two film studios and at least one TV network are angling for rights to its use for specialty insertions in movies and air shows.

Chief proponent of the new order is Bobby (Boris) Pickett who, like his recording sponsor, Gary Paxton, is bewildered by the smash reception the record has won. Hurriedly, they have marshaled a musical troupe for an invasion of eastern cities, with Boston scheduled as the first stop.

To a set of frightening Karloff-toned lyrics ("I was working in my lab late one night when my eyes beheld an eerie sight...my Monster from his slab began to rise...and suddenly to my surprise...he did the mash. He did the Monster Mash!") dancers the country over may soon be stomping and flailing their arms into a new epidemic--a slow-beat dance which Pickett feels will come as a welcome relief from the swift torturous movements of the twist.

How did Pickett happen on horror as the stepping stone to a new dance madness?

"The door was wide open," replied the young singer, who leads the song and dancers himself. "Horror pictures always have been popular and it seemed funny no one hit upon them for a dance until now. We just drove into a red-hot vacuum."

https://web-gmazza.rhcloud.com/blog/date/20130311 Monday March 11, 2013

Glen's Fitness Tips

Listing of diet and exercise ideas that have worked best for me.

[Read More]

https://web-gmazza.rhcloud.com/blog/date/20130101 Tuesday January 01, 2013

Blog Index

Here's a collection of blog and external links for easy reference by topic.

Apache CXF Web Services:

Other Topics:

https://web-gmazza.rhcloud.com/blog/date/20120526 Saturday May 26, 2012

Using HP LaserJet 1020 with Ubuntu 14.04

This blog entry I update periodically when I run into problems getting my printer to work with whatever version of Ubuntu I'm using (I've been using Ubuntu since its version 6.) For Ubuntu 14.04, these simple instructions from July 2008 allowed my printer to start working again, and what I might recommend first if you're having problems getting your printer to work with Ubuntu. It's hit or miss, however, and sometimes turning the printer on at the same time the printer detection is occurring helps Ubuntu find the printer.

Alternatively, what has worked for me in the past was going to HP's Linux Imaging and Printing site and doing a manual installation of their latest version. After entering various O/S and printer model information I was given Installer instructions to follow. During the installation process I chose the option to uninstall the hplip already on the machine and do a new installation, rather than just an overwrite.

https://web-gmazza.rhcloud.com/blog/date/20120218 Saturday February 18, 2012

The Singing Walrus

Twentieth-century American jazz band leader Cab Calloway collaborated in 1932 in the creation of a Betty Boop cartoon that featured his signature tune "Minnie the Moocher". In the cartoon, a walrus is drawn performing the song in Mr. Calloway's unique style.

Although of course not to be compared with today's computerized animation technology, the cartoon nonetheless featured a process called rotoscoping, which allowed the cartoonists to draw the movements of the cartoon walrus over still photographs of Mr. Calloway performing, in order to get the walrus' song-performing moves just right.

The song appears in the second half of this 7:45 cartoon, after a few minutes of the usual inanity found in Betty's cartoons.

https://web-gmazza.rhcloud.com/blog/date/20110704 Monday July 04, 2011

Detroit's 1826 Independence Day celebration

From the Detroit Gazette, July 11, 1826, page 2:

The manner in which the 50th anniversary of the Nation's Independence was celebrated in this city reflects the highest honor upon the patriotism of its citizens.

The dawn of the Jubilee was welcomed by the national salute of 24 guns. At about ten o'clock the citizens repaired to the Protestant Church, where proper religious exercises were perfomed and a sermon, replete with excellent and appropriate sentiments, was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Wells, from the 17th Psalm--"Praise ye the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great towards us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord."

After the exercises at the Church were terminated, the citizens repaired to the Council House, were a procession was formed, agreeably to the order of the day heretofore published. Many of the officers of the militia were in handsome uniforms--Capt. Cook's company of dragoons were also in their appropriate dress; and added much to the appearance of the procession. Among those who took their place in the procession, were the Hon. JOHN TRUMBULL, known throught the Union for his learning, and for his patriotic writings during our revolutionary struggle--and the Hon. JAMES WITHERELL, Maj. THOMPSON MAXWELL, and Col. STEPHEN MACK, all veteran "continentals." The appearance of the Detroit Mechanic Society, each member of which wore an appropriate badge upon his left breast, was creditable to the association.

The procession having been formed, it proceeded, accompanied with martial music, down Randolph Street to Woodbridge Street and down the latter to Woodward Avenue--it then proceeded to the Presbyterian Church, which was soon filled to overflowing. The exercises in the Church were conformable to the arrangements published last week. The Throne of Grace was first addressed by the Rev. Mr. Wells, who, though fatigued with the exertions of the morning, and in ill health, effectually directed the thoughts of his audience to that Great Source, from whence flows all our blessings and privileges as a nation. The Declaration of Independence was read by Col. H.J. Hunt, who introduced it by some brief and truly appropriate and patriotic remarks. It was not read for the purpose of exciting hatred, or keeping alive animosities, which were created by the most overbearing and despotic measures of a powerful government, against a weak yet brave people, who had endured almost every suffering in the catalogue of human misery, to obtain a comparative liberty--but it was annually referred to, as the best compendium of those wrongs which authorized and urged our fathers to hold the people of Great Britain as they held the rest of the world, "enemies in war, in peace friends."

The Oration was read by A.G. Whitney, Esq. It was from the pen of the venerable author of "M'Fingal", and was such as might be expected from a writer, who in "the times that tried men's souls," was held in as great dread by the Tories and enemies of our independence, as were Morgan's rifle-men, or the Virginia dragoons.

After the reading of the oration, the Rev. William Simmons addressed the Throne of Grace, and the exercises closed with an Anthem. Appropriate Psalms had been selected for the occasion, and they were sung, by the choir, under the direction of Mr. E. P. Hastings, with correctness and taste.

The committee of arrangements deserve praise for the elegant manner in which the church was decorated.

After leaving the church the procession was again formed, and proceeded to the Hotel of Capt. Woodworth, who had prepared a bountiful dinner, in the large new store-house of Mr. A. Berthelet. At three o'clock, those citizens who wished to partake of the dinner, together with the Mechanics' Society, the whole amounting to nearly two hundred, moved in procession to the store house and took their seats at the table--John P. Sheldon presiding, assisted by Col. H.J. Hunt, as vice-president.

https://web-gmazza.rhcloud.com/blog/date/20110319 Saturday March 19, 2011

Fifty Best Songs for Lindy Hop



Source: Me

Andrews Sisters - Bounce Me Brother With a Solid Four
Andrews Sisters - Civilization
Andrews Sisters & Bing Crosby - Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive
Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald - Frim Fram Sauce
Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald - Who Walks in When I Walk Out?
LaVern Baker - On Revival Day
Sidney Bechet - Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
Sidney Bechet - Sweet Patootie
Eva Cassidy - Wade In The Water
Sam Cooke - Another Saturday Night

Chris Conner - The Miser's Serenade
The Dominoes - Sixty Minute Man
Duke Ellington - Chocolate Shake
Duke Ellington - Perdido
Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra - When We Dance
Ella Fitzgerald - It's Only A Paper Moon
Ella Fitzgerald - Sing Me A Swing Song
Ruthie Foster - Death Came A Knockin' (Travelin' Shoes)
Slim Gaillard - Potato Chips
Benny Goodman - Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy)

Benny Goodman - Stompin' At The Savoy
Glen Gray - Woodchopper's Ball
Bill Haley and the Comets - See You Later Alligator
Lionel Hampton - Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop
Lionel Hampton - Lavender Coffin
Etta James - Good Rockin' Daddy
Louis Jordan - Blue Light Boogie
Kansas City Band - Moten Swing
Gene Krupa & Anita O'Day - Let Me Off Uptown
Julia Lee - The Spinach Song

Peggy Lee - Fever
Peggy Lee - Why Don't You Do Right (1942 Version)
Jimmie Lunceford - Four Or Five Times
Wynton Marsalis - New Orleans Bump
Lucky Millinder - Apollo Jump
Lucky Millinder & Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Shout Sister Shout
Roy Milton & His Solid Senders - 'Tain't Me
Jimmie Noone - It's Tight Like That
Anita O'Day - Watch The Birdie
Elvis Presley - All Shook Up

Louis Prima - The Music Goes 'Round And Around
Louis Prima - One Mint Julep
Artie Shaw - Begin The Beguine
Frank Sinatra - Five Minutes More
Lavay Smith - Oo Papa Do
Jo Stafford - Yes Indeed!
Maxine Sullivan - Massachusetts
Big Joe Turner - Flip Flop and Fly
Sarah Vaughan - Hey Naughty Papa
Dinah Washington - I Diddle


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