Join me to find out how I like my new job, the exciting plans I have for the upcoming year, and so I can give a personal thanks for your personal friendship!
Please note, the official start time is 20:00 because I want to make sure not to start it before I finish my first full day of work at the new job. If I finish sooner, I will open the room earlier. This is, after all, an exciting time for me. My first new job in 18 years, and the first of four steps on the route to make me a better man, and much, much happier!
This event is opened to everyone who claims to know me! All of my software colleagues, all of my fellow authors, fellow science readers, fellow Doctor Who fans, fellow cosplayers, fellow Electric Car drivers and enthusiasts, all of my Equal Rights Amendment sisters and brothers in arms, all of my National Popular Vote Interstate Compact supporters, all of my avid gaming friends, all of my friends abroad except those in Europe—have your kip, mates—all of my fellow Toastmasters, all of my fellow aviators, all of my fellow musicians, tous mes amis qui parle français oder Deutsch или по-русский o italiano, my acting friends and my friends who eschew meat!
The only thing I ask is you be respectful, kind, and know that I hope you all consider any friend of mine a potential friend of yours!
There is a password to this event. It’s not hard to guess if you know me but if you want to know, and you are reading this on from Twitter, message me, on Tumblr, message me, on LinkedIn, again, message me, or join me via the Facebook event. Or, just comment on this blog, with your email address, and I will mail it to you.
As my readers know, the ERA is very important to me and has been since the time of growing under the ridiculous rhetoric of Phyllis Schlafly. Schlafly was famous making up Straw Man Arguments against the ERA. None of her arguments phased me. I lived in Europe with coed toilets, and the military is already considering requiring girls register for the Selective Service. What’s more, twenty-five states already have a state-wide Equal Rights Amendment of some form, and none of the fallacious arguments Schlafly claimed to come to pass ever manifested.
Since I was brought into the ERA fight in Virginia in 2017, soon after it was passed in Nevada, I have been going down to Richmond to fight for its passage, as well as lobbying my friends in Illinois to pass it there. Having been in the trenches, I was avoiding seeing the new Mrs. America series because I didn’t want to relive the horrors of Schlafly’s insanity. But I recently decided it was best to know thine enemy. So, I have been watching.
The truth is, much of the history of the ERA is actually centered in Illinois. Steve Andersson got it passed in Illinois to make Illinois Thirty-Seven, right behind Virginia’s Thirty-Eight. Illinois was also the home of Phyllis Schlafly, who was instrumental in preventing Illinois from passing it until 2018. What makes that passage all the more ironic though is that Schlafly, a conservative who’s ideas on international politics weren’t so absurd became such a champion of the No ERA movement. Yet it took a Republican, Rep. Andersson, to put things right in the Land of Lincoln, the first, great Republican.
But, what astounds me is, since Schlafly became a lawyer, was she not familiar with Bradwell v. The State? In that 1867 case, contemporaneous with the Fourteenth Amendment. On the docket, Myra Bradwell sued the state of Illinois, yes, Illinois, for the right, under the Fourteenth Amendment, to practice law in the state. The US Supreme Court denied her this right, more or less implying she was not a citizen and therefore not qualified for equal protection under the law.
While this case seems archaic, it should be pointed out that since that time a number of cases have refined the Supreme Court’s position on women to bring it more in line with our modern interpretation of women as equal citizens. However, we need only look at 2007’s Ledbetter v. Goodyear. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that protection from pay discrimination against women was not protected by the Constitution and therefore Lilly Ledbetter was not entitled to sue for lost wages. Congress finally stepped in to pass a Statute to protect women, but women remain unprotected by the stronger Constitutional authority to this day. Which is to say, there are some weak protections for women but there are no strong, constitutional protections like there are for race.
The biggest issue is with Legal Constructionism. Under that doctrine, jurors try to intuit the intention of the author of a Constitutional element and apply it to the modern day. They eschew any more recent interpretation of the Constitution. Thus, one need only consider Bradwell v. The State to see the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment never intended to include women under it, and therefore, a Constructionist juror will likely derive precedent based on the 1867 ruling rather than any more modern ruling. The danger, therefore, is that most of the Supreme Court is made up of Constructionists, meaning we need the ERA now more than ever.
I hope you’re convinced now why we need the ERA, and please watch below to see the next steps to how we shall make it the Twenty-Eighth Amendment to our Constitution.
Jesse goes on to point out how Compacts only need Congressional Review when they violate Federal Supremacy. This is one of the major arguments we face when defending the NPVIC. Along with the misconception that in most states where are not battlegrounds, your vote doesn’t count now, so under the compact you aren’t decreasing the power of your state, you’re increasing the power of your state’s voters.
Another good point is how non-partisan this issue is. When you put all your eggs in one proverbial basket of battleground states, you end up with a system that more subject to the whim rather than reflecting the will of the nation as a whole. We know, for example, that voter turnout for President is up to 11% higher in battleground states than it is in non-battleground states.
Finally, we touched on the tangential issue of Ranked Choice Voting. The thing that folks don’t understand is any issue with the Spoiler Effect inherent in the NPVIC exists in the Electoral College as well. The NPIC isn’t trying to remedy that issue and that issue is much better approached by promoting Ranked Choice Voting as well as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact for the reasons Jesse so eloquently outlines.
I greatly admire Jesse for making the effort to write a wonderful book and to take the time to speak with Eileen. He and I may disagree on how best to end Gerrymandering in Virginia, but I’ll save that argument for another day. Right now, let’s work together to ensure One Person, One Vote where Every Vote is Equal. Ask your state governments to pass the NPVIC today.
Now, as you may remember, I was giving a demonstration of #CO2Fre on Saturday with Drive Electric RVA. Unfortunately, we didn’t even get a dozen folks to watch #CO2Fre go from 0–70 practically in the blink of an eye and show you all the cool features of my ride—sans Summon or my DashCam.
Happy Earth Day, y’all and hope someday soon you can cruise upon a cloud with me in person!
I’m excited to show off #CO2Fre to all of you today on Zoom. My friend Charles Gerena has organized an exciting event where I will be lecturing on the advantages of EV ownership and my love for cruising on a cloud.
I love showing off #CO2Fre for Drive Electric Week and I love working with Charles. Each year, Charles organizes an EV Event in Richmond during the main session of the General Assembly of Virginia and 2020 was no exception. I was down there on Tuesday, 14 January showing of #CO2Fre to everyone who cared to stop by.
I was very happy to give a ride to Delegate Joshua G. Cole that day. He is someone we’ve been following for years, hoping to see him in office. I was so happy when he was finally, fairly elected to represent Fredericksburg. VA. He’s also a great singer!
I was so happy to give Joshua a ride in #CO2Fre that day. That day was bright and sunny and although this day has started out with dreary rain, I’m hoping to have better weather when I show you around #CO2Fre and show you what #CO2Fre can do!
Join us on meetup and follow our Facebook event for updates and a video of our event, to be posted after we finish.
I look forward to cruising on a cloud with y’all, today.
As a software engineer, I pride myself in honesty. If I say to you, the \(3n+1\) problem has yet to be solved for any number not leading to \(1 \rightarrow 4 \rightarrow 2 \rightarrow 1\) in Lothar, it’s because I did my research, studied the Collatz Conjecture, and developed the game around the unsolved mathematical challenge to prove it wrong by entering an arbitrarily long positive integer and see where it leads. As yet, no-one has found a solution, but I welcome you to download my app and try.
So it drives me crazy to see adverts on Facebook which purport to give an interesting challenge, like what levers to pull to rescue your little guy, only to be delivered to some stupid knockoff game that has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you want to play a game just like this. Pull the levers and try to come up with a solution where the little elf is saved and the goblin is toasted by laval. Especially when you’re told it’s really hard to solve. I so want to play that game. So I click on it, and then I get this!
Farmville!? Are they bleeping kidding me!? I don’t want to spend time planting crops, reaping products, hammering stones, just to do it over and over again with constant Grain shortages and energy shortages. This is not my idea of fun. This is total balderdash and a complete waste of my time. I wanted to rescue elves, not visit some stupid plantation called Taonga! I want a challenge that takes at most a half-hour, like Sudoku, or rescue elves by pulling levers, … or by guessing numbers in Lothar.
The problem with false advertising on Facebook has become so pervasive that there’s actually a petition to ban it. Unfortunately, most false advertising suits hang on financial loss, like you paid money thinking you’d get one thing but in the end you got another. In this case, with Freemium games monetization, the cost to the victim isn’t so much money as it is time wasted trying to play the game in the hopes of getting to the elf-rescue level only to finally realize it’ll never come. If the player does spend money to enhance game play, then there may be a suit, but by that time it’s likely the user already accepted the alternate game play and was just falling into the Freemium trap.
So the next time you see an advert on social media that claims to allow you to rescue the elf, or the princess, or the adventurer by pulling some levers to redirect lava, or water, or slime, just scroll past. Just scroll past. And play some Lothar because I wrote it and I’m available for hire.
Today in my friend C.J.’s Author Meetup, the wonderful PR person, Ami Neiberger-Miller came and spoke about what goes in to promote your brand. As usual, C.J. held a wonderful event and I was able to get some great advice on how to increase my public presence to help sell my books, my speaking engagement, screenplays, acting performances, and my many advocacy issues.
The first question you must ask yourself: What are your personal goals? Who are you writing for? Personally, I am not sure. I think I write for folks who want to escape reality, who want to get away from their dreary lives and see what could be. Who want to see what science teaches us and what the future will bring. Who like fast cars and fuel efficient cars and cars based on domestic energy that drive themselves and help protect the Environment. Some have said no woman would ever willingly read my material. I would be sad if that were true and I don’t believe it to be so. I love it when women, men, young, old, African, Indian, Chinese, and European all love my work. But I know I need to focus.
Once you’ve decided your audience, it’s time to set goals. You need benchmarks to see where you stand and see where you need to improve. You should make sure you’re not overextending yourself either. Take some time to think about what you think is feasible and work towards that. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Once you have your goals, make a plan. What do you plan to post, tweet, share, or whatnot on which days. Make a schedule. Perhaps Mondays are Lasagna days, Wednesdays are Beach days, and Saturdays are days for green plants. Check off your progress as the month progresses. C.J. has some great books, in fact, to help you keep yourself on schedule.
At the end of the month, track your progress. Use things like Facebook and Twitter Insights. What worked for you? What was a total failure. Who are your fans? Which posts/tweets got the most likes? Where is there room to improve? Where should you cut your losses? All these questions will help you plan the next month and where to focus.
And then you repeat.
All in all, a great event. Thank you C.J. and can’t wait to see what you have planned for our next event.
Tis another somber day in Richmond today. But please know, hope is far but all lost. We fought, we spoke, and the esteemed Chariman Deeds was very kind to us all (he would have made a most excellent—and lawabiding—Governor!)
I met Eileen Reavey at the Senate Committee Meeting Room 3 as the Senate was still in Virginia Session. Pam, Nancy, and all my fellow NPVIC: Virginia advocates were there and we watched with anticipation for the Committee Meeting to begin.
I was shocked, though, to see a number of luddite Anti-Vaccine women who have clearly been watching porn-star videos and disbarred British researchers far too much to understand the basics concepts of Herd Immunity and Correlation does not mean Causation. They were apparently there to taunt us NPVIC folks but we would not be intimidated. We knew we had right and logic on our side.
Eventually, the Senate Floor session the Senators started assembling. My dear friend Sen. Jennifer Barton Boysko was one of the first to appear and of course we waved at each other. Finally, my good friend Delegate Mark Levine showed up, and we supporters all gathered around to take a photo together.
Senator Deeds moved the committee along and as promised HB177: the NPVIC, was second on the docket. Mark, the chief patron, spoke first, and then Senator Janet Howell (Reston) made a motion to pass the committee. Senator Deeds stopped the motion, though, as he knew members of the public wanted to speak. The order was somewhat random but I got to deliver my years speech, which Deeds already knew, then went into my comparison of Bristol VA, vs. Bristol TN, and how although at the state and legislative level these two communities were divided, at the national level, they are a common interest gerrymandered and the solution is the NPVIC.
Senator Deeds then asked me what happens in the case of a tie, and I explained to him that only those states which were close would be required to recount. Any state that wasn’t close would not recount. And in the case of an absolute tie, say 65,321,865 to 65,321,865, then what happens is the NPVIC is dissolved for that election and each state goes back to its old way of choosing electors—typically winner take all.
One of the speakers was from Falls Church and she and her husband came to troll the hearing. They both sat in seats reserved for delegates which demonstrated them clearly as having no sense of decorum or decency. Add to that, they had the temerity to take some of the things I have said, on the NPVIC Page on Facebook, as chief moderator, completely out of context.
For instance, when I call the NPVIC a Beta Test, I do not mean it is a questionable movement that is merely a joke or that it indicates some weakness. On the contrary, when I say that what I mean is, we are very certain of our goals and the expected results, but if we’re wrong, it’s easy to repeal, while repealing a Constitutional Amendment is hard.
I could not defend my statements but Eileen helpfully was able to clarify that neither her organization, nor the official organization, was associated with them. The Grassroots Page I run, as well as our Twitter feed, @NPVGrassroots are personal interest resources used to recruit, defend, and explain the NPVIC in a friendly, rapid-response way. I hone my skills there in being able to think quickly to defend against any argument to the NPVIC and have become quite adept at addressing every concern for it, having even amicably sparred with @TaraRoss, famous anti-NPVIC debater, herself.
In the end, Mark wanted a chance to address all the detractors, but Jennifer Boysko had a quiet word with him and in the end, though Senator Jill Vogel tried to get the bill tabled, Jennifer, realizing they didn’t have the votes, made a motion to pass by until the 2021 session. Jennifer was nice enough to message me on Facebook that she was doing that but Eileen and I had already discussed the possibility so it wasn’t a surprise. But it was very nice for Jennifer to come down and tell me herself in person.
Overall, the NPVIC in Virginia may be dead in 2020, but we have a better chance in 2021, after the election is over, and we still hold out hope for Florida!
Though Eileen, Pam, Nancy, and Mark left after the vote, I was in Richmond for two more bills. Namely, Delegate Cia Price‘s HB1255 (proper Gerrymandering protections which are tragically absent from the Virginia Constitutional Amendment) and HB1256 (sets up a commission similar to the Amendment). HB1255 was sent to the Finance Committee without Amendment.
Finally, it was HB1256’s turn. Unfortunately, Senator Jennifer McClellen had spoken with legal staff and raised the issue that, if the flawed Redistricting Amendment didn’t pass, HB1256 would be null and void. Cia didn’t like this but McClellen insisted the bill be amended to work with the Amendment before it went to Finance. Cia was not happy, and neither was I.
I spoke to Cia afterwards to try and assure her that as long as McClellen’s amendment addressed the Redistricting Amendment, should that pass, but preserved HB1256 in its entirety should it not pass, that we should still support it and keep fighting that troublesome Redistricting Amendment. Senator Howell is chair of Senate Finance and as many of my friend are her constituents, I will be asking all of them to insist she make sure McClellen’s Amendment leaves HB1256 unchanged with no Amendment and works with the Amendment if it does, unfortunately pass.
The good news is that none of these bills are dead. We will have a chance on Thursday to see if we can get as pure an HB1256 as possible and get HB1255 out of committee as well, and next year, we will be adding Virginia to the NPVIC!