Saturday, September 25, 2010

"You fight yourself the hardest." The sad, familiar saga of Bishop Long...


Eddie Long is the Bishop of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, located outside of Atlanta, Georgia. It has 25,000 members, making it one of the largest mega-churches in the country. And it has served as a platform for Bishop Long to preach long and hard against the evils of homosexuality. In one such tirade, he called homosexuality "spiritual abortion," and even started a group in his church, "Out of the Wilderness," as a ministry to help gays live a straight life. On Dec 11, 2004, Long led a march of 25,000 people through Atlanta, calling on the black churches to stand united against same-sex marriage and supporting a national marriage amendment to the Constitution.

Why all this fascination with the evils of homosexuality?

I think we now all know. As of this morning, a fourth man has come forward accusing the Bishop of having sexual relations with him.

It is a pattern we have seen time and time again: the most outspoken homophobic characters in the churches and in politics finally being exposed as secretly having gay sexual liaisons on the side.

Pastor Ted Haggard, leader of the National Assoication of Evangelicals who taught that homosexuality was an abomination; Flordia representative Bob Allen, who supported Florida's ban on gay adoption, and sponsored a bill to penalize lewd conduct (and who himself was arrested soliciting a policeman for oral sex in a park); U.S. Senator Larry Craig; "Dr" George Rekers, darling of the American Family Association and self-proclaimed expert in gender 'disturbances' who went on trips with rent-a-boys; California State Senator and Proposition 8 proponent Roy Ashburn; Glenn Murphy Jr, 2007 Chair of the Young Republican National Federation, who advised the GOP to use gay marriage as a 'wedge issue' but who had a penchant for taking other Young [male] Republicans to bed.

The technical term for this is egodystonic homophobia: a conscious internal struggle that pits deeply held religious or social beliefs against strong sexual and emotional desires (Journal of Abnormal Psychology 105 (3): 440–5.)

Been there, done that. In younger days, I railed against the evils of homosexuality...all the while struggling with my own identity. A man on the internet who was in the middle of male-to-female gender reassignment surgery saw some of my rants, and commented on them privately to friends of his....who then anonymously forwarded them to me.

In essense, he said, "Thom is like a drowning man. He is flailing in all directions trying to keep his head above the water that is destined to overcome him. You fight yourself the hardest..."

Yup. And that's what all these hard-core anti-gay spokesmen are doing. Deep in their psyches, they hope that if they can say it often and loudly enough, they can convince themselves, against their own bodies, that they are not who they are.

Rather than simply criticize their hypocrisy, this is a wake-up call is for all of us:

For the most bitter of homophobes who are repressing their true nature: please, for your own sake, stop and deal with yourself.

For the straight conservative voters and church-goers who listen and parrot the comments of these obsessed individuals without challenging it: start challenging and questioning when you hear it. Why is this person so obsessed with sex?

For closeted gays everywhere: LEAVE THE CLOSET.

Harvey Milk was right on the money when, faced with a referendum in California to prohibit gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools, he called on gay men and women to come out and let their neighbors and coworkers and family members see that they were normal people from all walks of life.

The current ban on marriage equality in 45 states; the federal "Defense of Marriage Act;" and the Military's "Dont-Ask-Dont-Tell" policy all serve to push gay men and women into the closets where they can't be seen, and where they feel second-class and 'bad.' The inevitable results are the scandals like Bishop Eddie Long's, and the heartbreak that follows in their wake.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Libertarians say Republicans owe apology, not 'pledge,' to America:



Instead of a "Pledge to America," the Republicans should have written an "Apology to America." It should have gone something like this:

"We're sorry, America. Sorry we grew the federal government budget from $1.7 trillion to over $3 trillion. Sorry we added $5 trillion to the federal debt. Sorry we doubled the size of the Department of Education. Sorry we started two incredibly costly foreign wars. Sorry we supported the absurd and costly TARP bailouts. Sorry we created a huge and costly new Medicare entitlement. Sorry we did nothing to end the costly and destructive War on Drugs. Sorry we did nothing to reform the federal government's near-prohibition on immigration. But hey, at least we helped you by shifting a lot of your tax burden onto your children and grandchildren."

There are so many lies, distortions, hypocrisies, and idiocy in this document that it's hard to know where to start.

It is deeply insulting to see the Republicans refer to "America's founding values" on their cover. The Republican Party has no understanding whatsoever of America's founding values. They have proven and re-proven that for decades.

The document talks a lot about "tax cuts." Unfortunately, the Republican "tax cut" proposals would really do nothing to cut taxes. All their proposals achieve is to defer taxes, pushing the burden onto our children and grandchildren. The only real way to cut taxes is to cut government spending, and the Republican document does almost nothing in that regard.

The Republicans say they want to "roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels." In other words, to re-create the situation near the end of the Bush administration, after Republicans had massively increased federal spending on almost everything.

Republicans must love it when Democrats expand government, because it gives them the opportunity to propose small "cuts," while still ending up with huge government.

One shocking aspect of the document is that it actually includes subtle Republican proposals to increase government spending.

The Republicans offer no plan whatsoever to reduce military spending, America's foreign wars and nation building, or our military defense of rich foriegn nations. On the contrary, the Republicans apparently want to increase military spending, promising to "provide the resources, authority, and support our deployed military requires, fully fund missile defense, and enforce sanctions against Iran."

The Republicans also appear to want to increase government spending on border control. They say "We will ensure that the Border Patrol has the tools and authorities to establish operational control at the border," a costly proposition.

Furthermore, as expected, the document complains about "massive Medicare cuts," implying that Republicans want to make sure Medicare is kept gigantic.

The bulk of federal spending is in three places: Social Security, Medicare, and the military. The Republicans propose absolutely nothing to reduce spending on these three things, or even to slow down their growth.

There must be a typo in the document where it says "Undeterred by dismal results, Washington Democrats continue to double-down on their job-killing policies." That probably should read "Washington Democrats continue to double-down on *Republican* job-killing policies."

The best way to restore American prosperity would be to implement the straightforward 28 planks of the Libertarian Party platform, or even just follow the Constitution. I mean the actual Constitution, not the Republican re-write that allows for every federal government program imaginable.

I suppose the one positive aspect of the document is that it finally dispels any illusion that Republicans want to shrink government in any meaningful way.

Apparently the Republicans are hoping they can "fool some of the people all of the time." The Libertarian Party is ready to point out Republican lies and hypocrisy to American voters, and we hope that Americans who actually want small and constitutional government, not just hypocrisy and worthless rhetoric, will vote Libertarian this November.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11



A complete list of the Firefighters who died at the World Trade Center site.

A
Joseph Agnello, Lad.118 Lt. Brian Ahearn, Bat.13 Eric Allen, Sqd.18 (D) Richard Allen, Lad.15 Cpt. James Amato, Sqd.1 Calixto Anaya Jr., Eng.4 Joseph Agnello, Lad.118 Lt. Brian Ahearn, Bat.13 Eric Allen, Sqd.18 (D) Richard Allen, Lad.15 Cpt. James Amato, Sqd.1 Calixto Anaya Jr., Eng.4 Joseph Angelini, Res.1 (D) Joseph Angelini Jr., Lad.4 Faustino Apostol Jr., Bat.2 David Arce, Eng.33 Louis Arena, Lad.5 (D) Carl Asaro, Bat.9 Lt. Gregg Atlas, Eng.10 Gerald Atwood, Lad.21

B
Gerald Baptiste, Lad.9 A.C. Gerard Barbara, Cmd. Ctr. Matthew Barnes, Lad.25 Arthur Barry, Lad.15 Lt.Steven Bates, Eng.235 Carl Bedigian, Eng.214 Stephen Belson, Bat.7 John Bergin, Res.5 Paul Beyer, Eng.6 Peter Bielfeld, Lad.42 Brian Bilcher, Sqd.1 Carl Bini, Res.5 Christopher Blackwell, Res.3 Michael Bocchino, Bat.48 Frank Bonomo, Eng.230 Gary Box, Sqd.1 Michael Boyle, Eng.33 Kevin Bracken, Eng.40 Michael Brennan, Lad.4 Peter Brennan, Res.4 Cpt. Daniel Brethel, Lad.24 (D) Cpt. Patrick Brown, Lad.3 Andrew Brunn, Lad.5 (D) Cpt. Vincent Brunton, Lad.105 F.M. Ronald Bucca Greg Buck, Eng.201 Cpt. William Burke Jr., Eng.21 A.C. Donald Burns, Cmd. Ctr. John Burnside, Lad.20 Thomas Butler, Sqd.1 Patrick Byrne, Lad.101

C
George Cain, Lad.7 Salvatore Calabro, Lad.101 Cpt. Frank Callahan, Lad.35 Michael Cammarata, Lad.11 Brian Cannizzaro, Lad.101 Dennis Carey, Hmc.1 Michael Carlo, Eng.230 Michael Carroll, Lad.3 Peter Carroll, Sqd.1 (D) Thomas Casoria, Eng.22 Michael Cawley, Lad.136 Vernon Cherry, Lad.118 Nicholas Chiofalo, Eng.235 John Chipura, Eng.219 Michael Clarke, Lad.2 Steven Coakley, Eng.217 Tarel Coleman, Sqd.252 John Collins, Lad.25 Robert Cordice, Sqd.1 Ruben Correa, Eng.74 James Coyle, Lad.3 Robert Crawford, Safety Lt. John Crisci, H.M. B.C. Dennis Cross, Bat.57 (D) Thomas Cullen III, Sqd. 41 Robert Curatolo, Lad.16 (D)

D
Lt. Edward D'Atri, Sqd.1 Michael D'Auria, Eng.40 Scott Davidson, Lad.118 Edward Day, Lad.11 B.C. Thomas DeAngelis, Bat. 8 Manuel Delvalle, Eng.5 Martin DeMeo, H.M. 1 David DeRubbio, Eng.226 Lt. Andrew Desperito, Eng.1 (D) B.C. Dennis Devlin, Bat.9 Gerard Dewan, Lad.3 George DiPasquale, Lad.2 Lt. Kevin Donnelly, Lad.3 Lt. Kevin Dowdell, Res.4 B.C. Raymond Downey, Soc. Gerard Duffy, Lad.21

E
Cpt. Martin Egan, Jr., Div.15 (D) Michael Elferis, Eng.22 Francis Esposito, Eng.235 Lt. Michael Esposito, Sqd.1 Robert Evans, Eng.33

F
B.C. John Fanning, H.O. Cpt. Thomas Farino, Eng.26 Terrence Farrell, Res.4 Cpt. Joseph Farrelly, Div.1 Dep. Comm. William Feehan, (D) Lee Fehling, Eng.235 Alan Feinberg, Bat.9 Michael Fiore, Res.5 Lt. John Fischer, Lad.20 Andre Fletcher, Res.5 John Florio, Eng.214 Lt. Michael Fodor, Lad.21 Thomas Foley, Res.3 David Fontana, Sqd.1 Robert Foti, Lad.7 Andrew Fredericks, Sqd.18 Lt. Peter Freund, Eng.55

G
Thomas Gambino Jr., Res.3 Chief of Dept. Peter Ganci, Jr. (D) Lt. Charles Garbarini, Bat.9 Thomas Gardner, Hmc.1 Matthew Garvey, Sqd.1 Bruce Gary, Eng.40 Gary Geidel, Res.1 B.C. Edward Geraghty, Bat.9 Dennis Germain, Lad.2 Lt. Vincent Giammona, Lad.5 James Giberson, Lad.35 Ronnie Gies, Sqd.288 Paul Gill, Eng.54 Lt. John Ginley, Eng.40 Jeffrey Giordano, Lad.3 John Giordano, Hmc.1 Keith Glascoe, Lad.21 James Gray, Lad.20 B.C. Joseph Grzelak, Bat.48 Jose Guadalupe, Eng.54 Lt. Geoffrey Guja, Bat.43 Lt. Joseph Gullickson, Lad.101

H
David Halderman, Sqd.18 Lt. Vincent Halloran, Lad.8 Robert Hamilton, Sqd.41 Sean Hanley, Lad.20 (D) Thomas Hannafin, Lad.5 Dana Hannon, Eng.26 Daniel Harlin, Lad.2 Lt. Harvey Harrell, Res.5 Lt. Stephen Harrell, Bat.7 Cpt. Thomas Haskell, Jr., Div.15 Timothy Haskell, Sqd.18 (D) Cpt. Terence Hatton, Res.1 Michael Haub, Lad.4 Lt. Michael Healey, Sqd.41 John Hefferman, Lad.11 Ronnie Henderson, Eng.279 Joseph Henry, Lad.21 William Henry, Res.1 (D) Thomas Hetzel, Lad.13 Cpt. Brian Hickey, Res.4 Lt. Timothy Higgins, S.O.C. Jonathan Hohmann, Hmc.1 Thomas Holohan, Eng.6 Joseph Hunter, Sqd.288 Cpt. Walter Hynes, Lad.13 (D)

I
Jonathan Ielpi, Sqd.288 Cpt. Frederick Ill Jr., Lad.2

J
William Johnston, Eng.6 Andrew Jordan, Lad.132 Karl Joseph, Eng.207 Lt. Anthony Jovic, Bat.47 Angel Juarbe Jr., Lad.12 Mychal Judge, Chaplain (D)

K
Vincent Kane, Eng.22 B.C. Charles Kasper, S.O.C. Paul Keating, Lad.5 Richard Kelly Jr., Lad.11 Thomas R. Kelly, Lad.15 Thomas W. Kelly, Lad.105 Thomas Kennedy, Lad.101 Lt. Ronald Kerwin, Sqd.288 Michael Kiefer, Lad.132 Robert King Jr., Eng.33 Scott Kopytko, Lad.15 William Krukowski, Lad.21 Kenneth Kumpel, Lad.25 Thomas Kuveikis, Sqd.252

L
David LaForge, Lad.20 William Lake, Res.2 Robert Lane, Eng.55 Peter Langone, Sqd.252 Scott Larsen, Lad.15 Lt. Joseph Leavey, Lad.15 Neil Leavy, Eng.217 Daniel Libretti, Res.2 Carlos Lillo, Paramedic Robert Linnane, Lad.20 Michael Lynch, Eng.40 Michael Lynch, Lad.4 Michael Lyons, Sqd.41 Patrick Lyons, Sqd.252

M
Joseph Maffeo, Lad.101 William Mahoney, Res 4 Joseph Maloney, Lad.3 (D) B.C. Joseph Marchbanks Jr, Bat.12 Lt. Charles Margiotta, Bat.22 Kenneth Marino, Res.1 John Marshall, Eng.23 Lt. Peter Martin, Res.2 Lt. Paul Martini, Eng.23 Joseph Mascali, T.S.U. 2 Keithroy Maynard, Eng.33 Brian McAleese, Eng.226 John McAvoy, Lad.3 Thomas McCann, Bat.8 Lt. William McGinn, Sqd.18 B.C. William McGovern, Bat.2 (D) Dennis McHugh, Lad.13 Robert McMahon, Lad.20 Robert McPadden, Eng.23 Terence McShane, Lad.101 Timothy McSweeney, Lad.3 Martin McWilliams, Eng.22 (D) Raymond Meisenheimer, Res.3 Charles Mendez, Lad.7 Steve Mercado, Eng.40 Douglas Miller, Res.5 Henry Miller Jr, Lad.105 Robert Minara, Lad.25 Thomas Mingione, Lad.132 Lt. Paul Mitchell, Bat.1 Capt. Louis Modafferi, Res.5 Lt. Dennis Mojica, Res.1 (D) Manuel Mojica, Sqd.18 (D) Carl Molinaro, Lad.2 Michael Montesi, Res.1 Capt. Thomas Moody, Div.1 B.C. John Moran, Bat.49 Vincent Morello, Lad.35 Christopher Mozzillo, Eng.55 Richard Muldowney Jr, Lad.07 Michael Mullan, Lad.12 Dennis Mulligan, Lad.2 Lt. Raymond Murphy, Lad.16

N
Lt. Robert Nagel, Eng.58 John Napolitano, Res.2 Peter Nelson, Res.4 Gerard Nevins, Res.1

O
Dennis O'Berg, Lad.105 Lt. Daniel O'Callaghan, Lad.4 Douglas Oelschlager, Lad.15 Joseph Ogren, Lad.3 Lt. Thomas O'Hagan, Bat.4 Samuel Oitice, Lad.4 Patrick O'Keefe, Res.1 Capt. William O'Keefe, Div.15 (D) Eric Olsen, Lad.15 Jeffery Olsen, Eng.10 Steven Olson, Lad.3 Kevin O'Rourke, Res.2 Michael Otten, Lad.35

P
Jeffery Palazzo, Res.5 B.C. Orio Palmer, Bat.7 Frank Palombo, Lad.105 Paul Pansini, Eng.10 B.C. John Paolillo, Bat.11 James Pappageorge, Eng.23 Robert Parro, Eng.8 Durrell Pearsall, Res.4 Lt. Glenn Perry, Bat.12 Lt. Philip Petti, Bat.7 Lt. Kevin Pfeifer, Eng. 33 Lt. Kenneth Phelan, Bat.32 Christopher Pickford, Eng.201 Shawn Powell, Eng.207 Vincent Princiotta, Lad.7 Kevin Prior, Sqd.252 B.C. Richard Prunty, Bat.2 (D)

Q
Lincoln Quappe, Res.2 Lt. Michael Quilty, Lad.11 Ricardo Quinn, Paramedic

R
Leonard Ragaglia, Eng.54 Michael Ragusa, Eng.279 Edward Rall, Res.2 Adam Rand, Sqd.288 Donald Regan, Res.3 Lt. Robert Regan, Lad.118 Christian Regenhard, Lad.131 Kevin Reilly, Eng.207 Lt. Vernon Richard, Lad.7 James Riches, Eng.4 Joseph Rivelli, Lad.25 Michael Roberts, Eng.214 Michael E. Roberts, Lad.35 Anthony Rodriguez, Eng.279 Matthew Rogan, Lad.11 Nicholas Rossomando, Res.5 Paul Ruback, Lad.25 Stephen Russell, Eng.55 Lt. Michael Russo, S.O.C. B.C. Matthew Ryan, Bat.1

S
Thomas Sabella, Lad.13 Christopher Santora, Eng.54 John Santore, Lad.5 (D) Gregory Saucedo, Lad.5 Dennis Scauso, H.M. 1 John Schardt, Eng.201 B.C. Fred Scheffold, Bat.12 Thomas Schoales, Eng.4 Gerard Schrang, Res.3 (D) Gregory Sikorsky, Sqd.41 Stephen Siller, Sqd.1 Stanley Smagala Jr, Eng.226 Kevin Smith, H.M. 1 Leon Smith Jr, Lad 118 Robert Spear Jr, Eng.26 Joseph Spor, Res.3 B.C. Lawrence Stack, Bat.50 Cpt. Timothy Stackpole, Div.11 (D) Gregory Stajk, Lad.13 Jeffery Stark, Eng.230 Benjamin Suarez, Lad.21 Daniel Suhr, Eng.216 (D) Lt. Christopher Sullivan, Lad.111 Brian Sweeney, Res.1

T
Sean Tallon, Lad.10 Allan Tarasiewicz, Res.5 Paul Tegtmeier, Eng.4 John Tierney, Lad.9 John Tipping II, Lad.4 Hector Tirado Jr, Eng.23

V
Richard Vanhine, Sqd.41 Peter Vega, Lad.118 Lawrence Veling, Eng.235 John Vigiano II, Lad.132 Sergio Villanueva, Lad.132 Lawrence Virgilio, Sqd.18 (D)

W
Lt. Robert Wallace, Eng.205 Jeffery Walz, Lad. 9 Lt. Michael Warchola, Lad.5 (D) Capt. Patrick Waters, S.O.C. Kenneth Watson, Eng.214 Michael Weinberg, Eng.1 (D) David Weiss, Res.1 Timothy Welty, Sqd.288 Eugene Whelan, Eng.230 Edward White, Eng.230 Mark Whitford, Eng.23 Lt. Glenn Wilkinson, Eng.238 (D) B.C. John Williamson, Bat.6 (D) Capt. David Wooley, Lad.4

Y
Raymond York, Eng.285 (D)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Tackle Gerrymandering and Election Reform, not Term Limits



According to a report from today's Fox News:

"...Finally, an issue both Democrats and Republicans agree on: term limits. Nearly 8 in 10 American voters like the idea of imposing fixed time limits in office for all members of Congress -- including their own senators and representatives.

A Fox News poll released Friday found that 78 percent of voters favor establishing term limits for Congress. That’s nearly five times as many as oppose limiting the number of terms members can serve (16 percent).

Large majorities of Republicans (84 percent), Democrats (74 percent) and independents (74 percent) favor the idea..."

(source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/03/fox-news-poll-percent-favor-term-limits-congress/

Count me as one of the minority 16% who opposes Term Limits.

To be sure, there is a groundswell of dissatisfaction with Congress. Many Members of Congress are career politicians; conservatives and liberals alike are unhappy with the outcome of the health care legislation; bailouts of Wall Street and Detroit have energized Tea Partiers and new candidates alike; and Americans of all political stripes are frustrated. This frustration is expressing itself in the poll results above. But I am convinced that Congressional Term limits would make the average American's interaction with government worse, not better. Hear me out.

A typical citizen is far more likely to interact with a member of the federal bureaucracy than with an elected official. And it is far more likely that a citizen's life will be affected by the decision of an employee of a federal agency than by a Congressman's vote.

An IRS employee determines your payment plan for taxes owed. A U.S. Dept of Education employee decides whether to proceed with wage garnishment to collect on a defaulted student loan. An EPA official decides whether your company has violated emission standards. When there is an accident at your job, an OSHA employee investigates. The DOT inspects your tractor-trailer. A Social Security intake counsellor submits your disability claim. The TSA pats you down at the airport. The FDA approves or denies your potential medical treatments.

Your most common interactions with the government are with employees - employees who often have fairly secure jobs and who stay in those jobs even longer than most members of congress. And when frustrated with federal agency procedures, who do your call? Your elected officials.

Every Congressional staff member knows that constituents are more concerned with personal problem-solving than with a specific vote cast in Congress. When the 'bureaucracy' becomes intransigent and bogged down in its rules and processes, it is often an elected official who will make an effort to intervene and move things along. And those officials who have been in Congress the longest tend to be the most effective at navigating byzantine agencies whose inner workings are a mystery to most Americans.

One major problem, then, with term limits, is to lose some of the effectiveness that the elected officials have with the bureaucracies, as new officials need to master a learning curve of how those agencies operate. Term Limits will work to strengthen the role of agencies and bureaucracies in the government-citizen mix.

On the other hand, that does not mean that elected officials should be given life passes. Citizens have a ready avenue to 'throw the bum out:'

They can elect someone else.

Of course, that is easier said than done. Two parties have a stranglehold on the electoral process: in almost all 50 states, Republicans and Democrats merely need to be nominated by their party leaders, or pay a fee, to get themselves on the ballot. Independents and Third Parties, however, are effectively shut out from the process as they are required to collect thousands of signatures, meet tight filing deadlines, and then have their petitions challenged by major parties who would prefer to see them knocked out of the process (usually). Once on the ballot, money often drowns out the independent voice; and voter's fears of 'wasting their vote' drives them, even reluctantly, to the major party candidates (a phenomenon that could be reversed through instant run-off voting, and which is currently used to elect the President of Ireland and the national legislature of Australia)

But perhaps the single biggest frustration to voters exercising their choice to remove an incumbent is the gerrymandering of districts.

The "time-honored political process" (if otherwise dishonorable) of drawing district lines to effectively guarantee re-election is as old as our Republic. The problem is "built in" to the system: Legislators acting in their own self-interest vote on the new district lines that determine their odds of re-election. In spite of all the partisan bickering that characterizes national politics, Republicans and Democrats join hands in horse-trading "Safe" district lines with each other to preserve their incumbencies.

THIS is where the need for electoral reform is the greatest.

District seats should be compact geometric shapes to the greatest degree possible, given the population and geography of a state. In the early 1980s, I worked in the Cartography Department of the Nassau County (NY) Board of Elections. At that time, state legislative districts were being redrawn based on the 1980 Census. A number of individuals (myself included), using only calculators and census tract data, developed a number of redistricting scenarios that created a series of geographically rational State Assembly Districts - almost all of which were electorally "competitive," meaning that the winner was not a foregone conclusion.

All of these plans were rejected by the NY legislature which chose to draw districts that preserved incumbents and which guaranteed each party their incumbencies. One district joined non-adjacent neighborhoods by drawing district lines up one side of a highway and down the opposite side; another district connected non-contiguous communities by following the banks of a creek through a mudflat.

That picture at the top of this post? That's not pop-art. That's a map of actual Districts as adopted by the Georgia legislature after the 2000 census. Try to follow the boundaries of the 'yellow' district.

I am convinced that the process of Redistricting must be removed from the very people who have a vested interest in the outcome. Independent commissions or Judicial boards with no vested interests, operating with guidelines that prefer, where possible, districts with internal angles of less than 180 degrees and/or which follow legal/municipal lines, would be one of the most needed and significant changes to our electoral system.

Allowing political parties to design districts to preserve or enhance their power is a recipe for the creation of life-long incumbents. If we want voters to have a real say in electoral outcomes, then creating competitive, cohesive districts would be a far better option than term limits, which simply permits the party in power to anoint a successor candidate.