Review of “To Divide and Not Conquer: Preventing Partisan Gerrymandering with Independent Nonpartisan Commissions”

I was recently contacted by a fellow writer by the name of Victoria Stoklasa who had asked me to review her essay titled “To Divide and Not Conquer: Preventing Partisan Gerrymandering with Independent Nonpartisan Commissions.”  Once I read the essay, I quickly agreed since the issue of gerrymandering is rarely brought into the public spotlight.

The essay begins as to explain what gerrymandering is by defining it as “the process of one population—in the case of this paper, a political party—to gain an advantage over others by changing district lines.”  For years, politicians have had control over where district lines are drawn and have often come in favor of the incumbent.  The goal of the essay is to examine which options would best adhere to the National Conference of State Legislatures seven principles of fair legislation.

Stoklasa breaks down the options into partisan commissions, nonpartisan commissions, bipartisan commissions, and the courts.  She then looks to the work of Jonathan Winburn who studied which type of organization would best follow the NCSL’s principles.  His study examined partisan commissions, neutral commissions, divided legislatures, unified legislatures, and the court system.  She explained that his work concluded that nonpartisan commissions would closely follow NCSL principles, she then looked on to examine if a nonpartisan commission or a bi-partisan commission would be the better choice.

To determine whether a nonpartisan or bipartisan commission would better serve the public, she then turns to the work of Michael Lyons and Peter F. Galderisi.  Lyons and Galderisi came to the found that bipartisan commissions experienced a lower incumbent displacement rate possibly because they did not adhere to the NCSL principle of using incumbency data.  Stoklasa uses this finding and combines it with Winburn’s work to conclude that independent nonpartisan commissions would better adhere to the NCSL’s principles.

Overall, Stoklasa put together a very well-written essay and supported her argument throughout her entire piece.  Every question that may arise in your mind as you are reading the essay is quickly answered with credible evidence put together in great synchronicity by Stoklasa.  If you are looking to better inform yourself on an issue that is rarely talked about by mainstream news outlets then I encourage you to check out her essay here.

View Your Senator or Representative’s Voting Records

Finding how your state senator or Representative votes on particular bills can be difficult even in the age of the internet.  I was e-mailed by the administrator of a great website that allows users to see their senators voting record in a very user-friendly site.  Below is the link, don’t take your local politicians word on their voting history, find out yourself.

A Link To Hold You Over

A few days ago I thought I finished an article about the future of the Republican Party, but as I read it over and over, I realized that I really didn’t like it.  So now I have to start a new article from scratch and I plan to have it on the site within the next few days, so stay tuned.  Until then I have a link to an article from one of my favorite journalists, Matt Taibbi.  He’s a journalist for Rolling Stone and best known for his book outlining the reasons for the financial crisis named “Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America,” which is an excellent book that I urge everyone to read.  The link below is an article he posted after the election laying out the problems of the Republican Party.

A Word From Mark Cuban

Over the weekend I found myself scrolling through articles on my smartphone and came across a blog post written by Mark Cuban that caught my attention immediately.  Named “I Would Vote for Gov Romney if He Was a Democrat,” is a very entertaining, yet informative article.  Don’t take my word for it, go check it out and see for yourself if you agree with Cuban’s perspective.

Vote Smart and Stay Informed America

Featured article written by Zackary Richards of Ari Publishing called “How To Protect Yourself During the Coming Elections.”


“If we truly want a government that serves us we have to get up off our lazy asses and fight for it.

Here’s how it’s done.

First we refuse to believe ANYTHING told to us by the media. Every television station, internet site, newspaper and magazine has their own personal agenda. They hire spin doctors, media campaign specialists and psychologists whose only job is to turn you around to their way of thinking. None of them give a damn about you or this country. Almost all are owned by international businessmen whose only loyalties are to their pocketbook. For example Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch, an Australian who is presently under investigation for hacking into the peoples personal cell phones. His partner, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, is the nephew of the Saudi King.

On the other side, The New York Daily News is owned by Canadian born Mortimer Zuckerman, who has a long association with the Israeli lobby. My point is whether you are a conservative republican or liberal democrat, the media has no interest in providing you with accurate and verifiable information; their only goal is to convince you to support the candidates that can do the most for THEM.

How do we fix this? How do we achieve a government that supports the needs of its people? How do we get peace in our time? Simple.

We go to war.

To make a difference we need verify the accuracy of the information the media broadcasts. For example, during the last election a news story circulated that Sen. John McCain had said the U.S. should be in the Middle-East for a ‘hundred years’ if necessary.

That didn’t sound legit to me so I researched it. What he actually said was, “If necessary, the U.S. should have a military BASE in the Middle-East like we have in the countries of our other former enemies, Germany and Japan.

That’s quite a difference and purposefully skewed to turn voters against him.

Two recent examples: Romney’s “I like to fire people,” sound bite. Here’s what he actually said. “I like being able to fire people. Who provide services to me. If someone doesn’t give me a good service that I need, I want to say I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me.”

Isn’t quite what they were trying to get you to believe, is it? Same goes for President Obama’s recent “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” Again the words were taken out of context. In his speech the President said that successful business people got to where they are because somewhere along the road someone helped them.

And he’s absolutely right!

I own a small business and it never would have succeeded if not for my investors, my IT and graphic arts person, my editors, my marketing people and most importantly my customers.

The point is, we succeed when we work together. So here’s what we do.

Again, verify any claim the media makes that seems unrealistic to you. All easily researched on Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube etc.. And if you find they have left out an import section that intentionally misleads you. Post that information on your Facebook page and ask ‘Friends’ to share. Tweet to your followers. Then find out who that company’s advertisers are and post on their Facebook page or e-mail them that you will no longer purchase their product until they stop supporting an organization that intentionally misleads the American public.

Any company getting 20,000 of those posts will take their business elsewhere. By driving business away from any company that misleads the public, accountability will be restored and that’s the first step in acquiring peace and avoiding such fiascos as George W’s costly and unnecessary invasion of Iraq.

Curious as to what would happen if self serving factions were able to take control of the state and federal governments? Find out by reading my political thriller Noon: The Rise to Power. Have a look here.”


Check out Zackary Richards blog at

Attacking Romney’s Record at Bain Still Isn’t Gaining Traction for Obama

Through multiple television ads the Obama campaign is still trying to attack Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital but with little accuracy.  They are attempting to accuse him of sending jobs overseas, which there is no solid evidence of and even hinting at possible illegal SEC filings.  As of now there is no solid evidence that Romney was calling the shots at Bain Capital after his leave for Salt Lake City.  I recommend this article to explain in further detail about this issue.


A different side of the health care debate.

Human rights are often forgotten when it comes to the health care debate.  This article is questions America’s true view on human rights.  Although the author seems to forget that almost all countries at one point have had a human rights violation but when it comes to health care he does put forth an interesting argument.