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29 Oct 16:03

The flower language of The Ancient Magus’ Bride Episode 1

by ajthefourth

The ink is still drying on Chise Hatori’s signature when the above line appears across the cityscape: April showers bring May flowers. Given Chise’s initial mental state in the opening moments of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, the proverb is obvious. Before reaching the point where she signs that contract, Chise has seen and lived through some horrifying things. This is her turning point.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride also uses flower language liberally throughout its first episode to set the mood, giving small hints and insight into Chise’s circumstances.

The first flowers that appear prominently in The Ancient Magus’ Bride are these poppies from the opening sequence. They come in red (the most commonly-shown color), yellow, and white. In the west, poppies are often used in remembrance or as funeral offerings.

However, in Japan, the red poppy is a symbol of someone who is fun-loving, light-hearted, or lively. Red poppies can also indicated a deep, lifelong love between two people. Yellow poppies symbolize success, and white poppies often mean rejoicing or delight. Poppies of all three colors are shown in a close-up, before a larger scene places them in a field outside of Elias Ainsworth’s house. Chise may be at her lowest point as the series opens, but these poppies offer an optimistic future.

As Chise signs the contract, she is surrounded by a variety of flower paintings. Behind her are what appear to be poinsettias along with a wreath of yellow flowers. To her right is a painting of white lilies and smaller pink/purple flowers. In front of her is a field of what looks like lavender.

Poinsettias are most well-known for being a Christmas holiday plant that’s poisonous for most household pets and small children. In the west, they’re after the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, who brought them north from their native Mexico. They come in red and white, and are a celebratory flower. The Aztecs used them as dyes in rituals, and the red poinsettia was a symbol of purity.

White lilies are a common funeral flower and also symbolize purity and chastity in Japan. They’ve come to mean a rebirth or renewal, which is why they appear so often at funerals. Finally, lavender means faithfulness and devotion. It is also associated with cleansing or spiritual healing and often used in aromatherapy as a calming scent.

Put together in this specific context, the flower language adds to our viewing unease, especially when the following scene shows Chise being sold at auction. This is effectively her death and rebirth. She signs away her life, without knowing her own future. This is somewhat celebrated — poinsettias, lilies — but since her future is unknown, it also appears as a death. The lavender showing up behind the man in front of her with the contract is a final hint that Chise is on the path to healing, despite the fact that we know very little of her past, and her immediate future is bleak.

While we’re learning of Chise’s powers, Elias tells her that she’s fortunate. Chise has flashbacks of misfortune brought on by her special abilities, including family that wouldn’t take her in, presumably because of her odd powers. In these memories, we see a small Chise with a fistful of daisy-like flowers that could be daisies or, more likely, aster flowers. Asters are used in remembrance, and when placed on a grave often carry a message of wishing that circumstances were different. This suits the tone of this scene very well, especially since they’re somewhat wilted in Chise’s hand while the hand of an undead spirit reaches up towards her. The fact that she’s at a funeral herself and surrounded by family, likely means that it was the funeral of a family member or friend.

Once at Elias’ home, we see the poppies again, along with gardens and fields of other flowers that are organized around his ivy-covered house. This begins with a rose garden, which includes arches of blue roses. The entire scene is oddly grounded by these surroundings, especially in contrast to how Elias used magic to transport himself and Chise to his home, but the blue roses stand out since they don’t occur naturally. Blue roses typically mean a interest in mystery and the unknown or supernatural — fitting considering the world that Chise is about to enter, and the powers that have followed her through childhood.

Anemone flowers come in a variety of colors, and resemble the vivid pink, purple, and magenta flowers that appear around a pair of robins in a cutaway scene-establishing shot. White anemones can symbolize sincerity or even death and ill will, but these purple and pink anemones have a different meaning of a connection with the fairies or the magical realm. Additionally, they can also symbolize protection against evil or anticipation of something that is about to happen, due to how they close up at night and unfurl in the morning.

Lastly, a pond with water lilies and irises is shown. In Japan, irises carry a message of good news or joy. White water lilies, much like their more grounded counterparts, symbolize a rebirth or renewal. Again, The Ancient Magus’ Bride is reiterating over and over through flower language that this is Chise’s rebirth into the magical world.


Filed under: First Impressions, The Ancient Magus' Bride
22 Oct 11:33

Stills from “Shooom’s Odyssey” trailer.French...





















Stills from “Shooom’s Odyssey” trailer.
French TV special (26min) directed by Julien Bisaro & Claire Paoletti (Bang Bang !) in their brand new Picolo Pictures studio.

22 Oct 11:23

I revisited & drew characters from Legends of the Guard...











I revisited & drew characters from Legends of the Guard tales by Eric Canete, C. P. Wilson III, Alex Sheikman, Jemma Salume, and Alex Kain & Sean Rubin:

https://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2017/10/legends-of-guard-characters-revisited.html

22 Oct 11:15

Affordable Sushi Flown Daily From Japan Touches Down in Murray Hill

by Stefanie Tuder

Wokuni is a Japan aquafarm company’s first U.S. restaurant

Now open in Murray Hill is Wokuni, a fish-focused restaurant straight from Japan. It’s the first U.S. restaurant from Tokyo Ichiban Foods, a Japanese restaurant group, food distributor, and aquafarm company, which means much of the fish is straight from a fish farm in Hirado City, Nagasaki.

At Tokyo Ichiban’s aquafarm, bluefin tuna and king yellowtail are raised in a gulf surrounded by mountains in conjunction with experts at aquafarm institutes in Japan who select their feed. Chef Kuniaki Yoshizawa says that being positioned there allows for minerals from the mountain to flow into the sea for the fish to swim.

Since the company raises the fish itself, it’s a more affordable product, resulting in platters with five pieces of sushi and 2 types of sashimi for an unusually low $25. Yoshizawa — whose nickname “Kuni” is inspiration for the restaurant’s name, along with “wo,” the Japanese word for fish — has created a menu that runs the gamut of Japanese food, from said sushi and sashimi to yakitori and tempura. The full menu is below.

Assorted sashimi
Assorted sashimi

“Our goal is to make fish and seafood a lot more accessible so people will want to come everyday,” Yoshizawa tells Eater through a translator. “We don’t want a Japanese seafood to be special-occasion or once-in-a lifetime restaurants.”

Wokuni is Tokyo Ichiban’s first attempt to break into the U.S. market — though the restaurant opened first, the ultimate goal is to export more of its farmed fish to the United States. By giving people the change to try the product here, the company hopes to grow its fish exports.

“We try to lower the price as much as possible so people will come more often and can try all types of fish and feel more familiar with the fish,” Yoshizawa says.

Wokuni
The restaurant, with its fish retail counter up front

To get the true taste of the tuna and yellowtail, which Yoshizawa says has enough fat without being greasy or oily, he recommends trying them in sashimi form without any soy sauce or salt. Beyond the farmed fish, other types will be sourced locally and from Japan.

The dark, large restaurant also has a fish retail counter up front for people to make their own food at home on Japanese tableware also sold alongside. Wokuni is now open daily from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Wokuni
Wokuni
Wokuni

The full restaurant, dining room, and bar

Wokuni chef Kuniaki Yoshizawa
Chef Kuniaki Yoshizawa
Assorted yakitori
Yellowtail carpaccio
Wokuni cocktails
Grilled lobster

Yakitori, yellowtail carpaccio, cocktails, and grilled lobster

Wokuni
The exterior

Wokuni Menu by Eater.com on Scribd

20 Oct 00:23

Yen Press to Simultaneously Publish Ryohgo Narita's Dead Mount Death Play Manga

Digital releases begin Friday
16 Oct 12:30

Walmart Wants Keys to Your House So It Can Put Groceries Directly in the Fridge

by Clint Rainey

And you thought Alexa eavesdropping on your conversations was unsettling: Walmart has unveiled a new plan to upstage Amazon delivery, and it involves giving them a key to your house and access to your fridge. The company says that in the future it hopes to “keep some customers’ homes...More »

15 Oct 16:31

More sucy!



More sucy!

15 Oct 16:18

Oreo Unveiled a New ‘Mystery’ Flavor — and It Isn’t Fooling Anyone

by Clint Rainey

Oreo’s classic chocolate wafer–vanilla creme combo has been getting one-upped since the day Nabisco and Mondelez discovered the power of viral marketing. Oreo’s “Wonder Vault” has trotted out all sorts of limited-edition spinoffs in recent years, from clever riffs like Red Velvet to, well, Swedish Fish and More »

15 Oct 16:16

David Lynch Finally Releases Twin Peaks Beers

by Chris Crowley

David Lynch: iconic director, onetime milkshake connoisseur, and, now, craft-brew collaborator. Beer-geek darling Mikkeller announced that it joined forces with Lynch to brew not one but three different Twin Peaks–inspired beers: Log Lady Lager, Red Room Ale, and the excellently named Damn Good Coffee Stout. The beers will...More »

15 Oct 16:15

Arby’s Will Rerelease Deer Sandwiches and Test Out an Elk One, Too

by Clint Rainey

Very soon, all 3,300 Arby’s locations in America will sell deer meat. The chain’s sleeper-hit Venison Sandwich is getting a one-day nationwide release on October 21, which strategically coincides with the start of deer-hunting season in several states. The sandwiches debuted last October at...More »

15 Oct 16:15

Carl’s Jr. Will Finally Open a New York City Location

by Clint Rainey

Carl’s Jr. turned over a new leaf earlier this year when it booted CEO, failed Labor secretary nominee, and noted cleavage-lover Andy Puzder in order to reinvent itself (and, who knows, maybe face fewer sexual-harassment and wage-theft lawsuits). Ads showed “Carl Sr.” schooling his...More »

15 Oct 16:14

Sietsema’s NYC Ramen Heatmap: 26 Bowls To Try Right Now

by Robert Sietsema

Eater's senior critic recommends more than two dozen bowls of ramen to seek out around NYC

Despite the availability of chilled noodles at some ramen parlors during the summer, ramen remains a cold-weather dish for most of us. At Eater NY, we generally won’t touch it until we see the first squirrel scamper up a tree with an acorn, or the first tippler enter a bar wearing a sleeveless down vest. Anyway, summer is gone both officially and figuratively, and it’s time to throw away your bowls of poké and start dreaming about ramen.

Added in October: Bassanova, Ichiran, E.A.K. Ramen, Jeju Noodle Bar, Jun-Men Ramen

Note: Restaurants are listed based on geography; south to north through Manhattan, then north to south through New Jersey, Queens, and Brooklyn.

15 Oct 11:58

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

by Jamie

Pumpkin bread pudding is a great fall dessert. Leftover bread combines with a pumpkin custard for a luscious way to end a meal!

Pumpkin bread pudding is a great fall dessert. Leftover bread combines with a pumpkin custard for a luscious way to end a meal!

This is a guest post from my friend Megan, from the blog Stetted. Be sure to check out her blog for more mouthwatering and inspiring recipes.

I’m excited to be sharing another pumpkin recipe with you! If you saw my pumpkin charlotte recipe you already know I’m a huge fan of pumpkin, and have been since before those PSLs came around.

I always keep some pumpkin on hand in the pantry, just in case I get a craving. (Pro tip: Target always has pumpkin on clearance after Thanksgiving, and it has a long shelf life!)

(more…)

The post Pumpkin Bread Pudding appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

15 Oct 11:47

Granblue Fantasy Smartphone Game Gets New TV Anime

1st 13-episode TV anime premiered on April 1, unaired episode ships on October 25
09 Oct 02:02

Inktober Day 2: English Cocker Spaniel I’m doing a doggo...



Inktober Day 2: English Cocker Spaniel
I’m doing a doggo series 🐶 What breed would you like to see next?

09 Oct 01:59

Enamel pins are finally here >...



Enamel pins are finally here > https://www.etsy.com/shop/hideawaymelon?section_id=21870597 … after many hurdles with our manufacturer * -* );;

09 Oct 01:57

Inktober Day 7: Shiba Inu I’m doing a doggo series 🐶...



Inktober Day 7: Shiba Inu
I’m doing a doggo series 🐶 What breed would you like to see next?

04 Oct 10:31

A perennial American question: why has gun control failed?

by Tom McCarthy

From one angle, the answer is complicated; from another, it’s devastatingly simple. Tom McCarthy on the key features of the American gun control debate

The gunman who killed 58 people and wounded 527 in Las Vegas on Sunday night qualified as a “super-owner” – one of the estimated 7.7 million Americans who own between eight and 140 guns.

Related: Las Vegas shooting latest: Trump calls gunman 'demented' on Puerto Rico visit

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03 Oct 10:26

The East Village’s Shake Shack Will Take Orders on Cashless Kiosks

by Clint Rainey

New Yorkers patiently awaiting a Shake Shack between midtown and Manhattan’s southern tip will get another surprise when the chain’s next location opens in the East Village. CNBC reports today that they’ll be ordering their inaugural Shack Burgers from the chain’s first-ever cashless kiosks. Instead of cashiers taking...More »

03 Oct 10:25

Wildscreen's Witness the Wild open-air exhibition – in pictures

Bristol’s open-air arts trail sees large-scale images of ocean life by some of the world’s leading wildlife photographers come to the city’s suburbs, to raise awareness of the species and their fight for survival



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03 Oct 10:15

Dale Earnhardt Jr: darling of rural white America ... and a vital progressive voice

by Andrew Lawrence

The most popular driver in Nascar, a sport wrapped up in conservative America, is also an eloquent commentator on injustice and racism

Dale Earnhardt Jr’s monopoly on Nascar’s most popular driver award has endured for 14 years, about as long as he has competed at the highest level. His winning streak owes less to voter fraud (and his legion of supporters cast their ballots early and often) than to his self-effacing southern charm and a freewheeling racing pedigree one degree removed from Nascar’s patron saint. That would be Dale Earnhardt Sr, the seven-time champion who died in the 2001 Daytona 500 while protecting his son’s position in the race. All of this means when Earnhardt Jr talks, Nascar and its fans listen.

The impact of his influence has been hard to miss over the past weeks, when Nascar wasn’t so much sucked into the national debate over anthem protests as shoved into the fray by a band of racing team executives — a debate ratcheted to intensity levels unforeseen after Donald Trump called NFL players protesting against racial injustice “sons of bitches”. Two days later, Richard Childress, the racing team owner who rose to prominence through his collaborations with Earnhardt Sr in the 80s and 90s, let it be known he agreed with the White House. Childress said that any employee from his company who knelt during the presentation of his nation’s colors would have to hitch “a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over.” Richard Petty — another seven-time champion who helms a racing team that, alas, is miles from approaching his competitiveness behind the wheel — went even further. “Anybody that don’t stand up for [the anthem],” he told reporters, “ought to be out of the country. Period.” Andrew Murstein, the majority owner of Petty Motorsports, offered a more diplomatic opinion. Nascar, meanwhile, didn’t say much of anything at all.

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01 Oct 18:57

ca-tsuka:Stills from “Shooom’s Odyssey” trailer.French TV...





















ca-tsuka:

Stills from “Shooom’s Odyssey” trailer.
French TV special (26min) directed by Julien Bisaro & Claire Paoletti (Bang Bang !) in their brand new Picolo Pictures studio.

Take a moment to watch the trailer. It is so lovely!

01 Oct 12:19

Social media companies must respond to the sinister reality behind fake news

by Philip Howard and Bence Kollanyi

Research highlights need for paid political content to come with clear disclosures, write Philip Howard and Bence Kollanyi

Social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter have begun to share evidence of how their platforms are used and abused during elections. They have developed interesting new initiatives to encourage civil debate on public policy issues and voter turnout on election day.

Computational propaganda flourished during the 2016 US presidential election. But what is most concerning is not so much the amount of fake news on social media, but where it might have been directed. False information didn’t flow evenly across social networks. There were six states where Donald Trump’s margin of victory was less than 2% – Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If there were any real-world consequences to fake news, that’s where they would appear – where public opinion was evenly split right up to election day.

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30 Sep 22:50

You Can Visit Laura Palmer's House From Twin Peaks — If You Can Be Cool

by Marni Epstein-Mervis

A starring turn on television, much like it does for actors, can also make a house famous — or infamous as the case may be. That was what happened to this picturesque Everett, Washington colonial home. The house took center stage on TV's cult hit Twin Peaks, during its original two-season run from 1990-1991, as the home of the fictional murdered teen Laura Palmer. Over two decades later, the home returned to stardom again this year on Showtime's reboot of the beloved series, "Twin Peaks: The Return."

READ MORE »

30 Sep 22:37

The week in wildlife – in pictures

by Compiled by Eric Hilaire

Bearded tits in Norfolk, rutting deer in Dublin, and a hungry polar bear in Alaska are among our pick of images from the natural world

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30 Sep 22:32

The Media Needs To Stop Rationalizing President Trump’s Behavior

by Nate Silver

Whenever President Trump lashes out against someone or something in a way that defies traditional expectations for presidential behavior — for instance, his decision to criticize the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Saturday morning after her city was devastated by Hurricane Maria — it yields a debate about what was behind it. After Trump’s series of attacks on the NFL and its players earlier this month, for example, there were two major theories about what motivated his conduct.

The first theory is that it was a deliberate political tactic — or as a New York Times headline put it, “a calculated attempt to shore up his base.” We often hear theories like this after Trump does or says something controversial or outrageous. His response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August was sometimes explained in this way, for example. “Mr. Trump has always appreciated the emotional pull of questioning bias and fairness, especially with his white working-class base,” the Times wrote, portraying Charlottesville as an issue that drove a wedge between the Trumpian and the Republican establishment.

It’s also often claimed that Trump leans into controversies such as the NFL protests as a way to distract the media from other, more serious issues, such as the repeated Republican failures to repeal Obamacare, or the various investigations into Trump’s dealings with Russia. These claims also assume that Trump’s actions are calculated and deliberate — that he’s a clever media manipulator, always staying one step ahead of editors in Washington and New York.

The second theory is that the response was impulsive and primarily emotional. Trump initially began criticizing the NFL and NFL players at a rally last Friday in Huntsville, Alabama, including referring (although not by name) to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a “son of a bitch” for protesting during the national anthem. Perhaps encouraged by the raucous response he received from the crowd, Trump went on a tweetstorm about the NFL, its owners and its players that stretched over several days of intermittent posting. Somewhere along the way, he also disinvited former NBA MVP Stephen Curry from attending the White House ceremony scheduled to honor the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. (Curry had already said that he didn’t like what Trump stood for and didn’t plan to attend.)

Not all of this — particularly not roping the popular Curry into the controversy — necessarily seemed all that “calculated” to me. Instead, it seemed to fit a different behavioral pattern: Trump is piqued by criticism and rarely backs down, especially when he’s challenged by women or minorities — such as Curry, the predominantly black NFL player pool, ESPN’s Jemele Hill, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Judge Gonzalo Curiel, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly or Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, to take some of many examples.

I know what you, as an analytically inclined FiveThirtyEight reader, are probably thinking: Are these theories necessarily mutually exclusive? Couldn’t these responses reflect fits of emotional pique on Trump’s behalf — and yet also have the effect of pleasing his base, or distracting the media from health care and Russia?

Sure, they could. Trump’s base support isn’t quite as immovable as some pundits seem to assume — but public opinion on many issues like Charlottesville quickly polarizes itself along partisan lines. And Trump’s tweets and insults often have the effect of upending the news cycle; covering Trump is in some sense covering one distraction after another.

But the theories are in conflict because they’re about the intent and motivation for Trump’s behavior and not necessarily its effects. The first theory says that Trump is calculating and rational; the second says that he’s impulsive and emotional. The first theory implies that Trump may be employing “racially charged” rhetoric and actions for political gain. The second implies that Trump himself may harbor degrees of racial resentment, and resentment toward women, and that it colors his response to news events. Either way, Trump’s actions could be politically effective or ineffective. (Trump’s approval rating declined slightly this week after his NFL comments, although it’s hard to know if they’re the reason why.) However, it seems important to know what motivates them. If Trump’s actions are driven by emotional outbursts more than calculated trollishness, that might predict a different response to how he deals with escalating tensions with North Korea, for example.

After Trump’s NFL remarks, you really could have argued either theory. In addition to the racial dynamics at play, Trump has some personal grievances with the NFL, including his failure to purchase an NFL franchise. But the protests from Kaepernick and others have been unpopular, and the response to them has been highly partisan. One can imagine Trump thinking it was effective politics to bring them up as a wedge issue, especially at a political rally in Alabama.

It’s much harder to describe some of Trump’s other outbursts — like those against the Khan family or Judge Curiel, for example — as representing a calculated political strategy. The same goes for Trump’s tweetstorm on Saturday morning about San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who had criticized the White House’s response to Hurricane Maria.

No matter how cynical one is, it’s hard to see what possible political benefit Trump could get from criticizing Cruz, whose city was devastated by Maria and remains largely without power and otherwise in crisis. Nor is the government’s response to Maria necessarily something that Trump wants to draw a lot of attention to. I’ve seen debates back and forth in the media over the past week about whether Trump’s response to Maria is analogous to the one former President George W. Bush had to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Trump’s dismissiveness toward Cruz almost certainly won’t help his side of the argument; instead, it will amplify growing criticism about how the government handled Puerto Rico and why Trump seemed to be more interested in the NFL protests than in his administration’s hurricane recovery plan.

I’m happy to acknowledge that Trump’s responses to the news are sometimes thought-out and deliberate. His criticisms of the media often seem to fall into this category, for example, since they’re sure to get widespread coverage and Republican voters have overwhelmingly lost faith in the media.

But at many other times, journalists come up with overly convoluted explanations for Trump’s behavior (“This seemingly self-destructive emotional outburst is actually a clever political strategy!”) when simpler ones will suffice (“This is a self-destructive emotional outburst.”). In doing so, they violate both Ockham’s razor25 and Hanlon’s razor — the latter of which can be stated as “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” One can understand why journalists who rely on having close access to Trump avoid explanations that portray Trump as being irrational, incompetent or bigoted. But sometimes they’re the only explanations that make sense.

CORRECTION (Oct. 2, 12:45): A previous version of this article gave the wrong middle initial for Judge Gonzalo Curiel. His middle initial is P, not B.

30 Sep 16:59

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun Staff Makes 2018 Original Romance TV Anime Tada-kun wa Koi o Shinai

Nozaki-kun's director, studio, head writer, character designer, composer reunite
30 Sep 16:40

Solanin Manga Gets Epilogue Chapter 11 Years Later

New chapter will be set in 2017 showing Meki, Kao, Billy, Ai
29 Sep 10:26

I'm a millionaire. I don't need another tax break, Mr Trump | Amelie Ratliff

by Amelie Ratliff

We are all in this together. There is no wall high enough or gate thick enough to buffer us from the downside of growing inequality

At a time of staggering inequality, I can’t believe that Congress and the Trump administration want to give me another tax break.

On Wednesday, the Republican party unveiled their tax reform plan, which included the elimination of the federal estate tax. But as one of a small segment of people in the top 1% with enough wealth to someday pay the estate tax, I believe a tax on inherited wealth is completely reasonable and fair.

Continue reading...
29 Sep 01:19

Gerrymandering Is On Trial

by Galen Druke

Is partisan gerrymandering constitutional? And if not, how is it to be measured? Those are the questions at the heart of one of the most consequential Supreme Court cases of the year, which the justices will hear next week. How the court answers those questions in the case, Gill v. Whitford, has the potential to fundamentally change how we build our representative democracy.

Later this fall, FiveThirtyEight is launching an audio documentary series about the challenges of reforming the redistricting process in America. Traditionally, state lawmakers redraw the maps that determine the races in which you vote after the census every 10 years. Reformers want to change who draws the maps and/or the criteria for drawing them. One of the episodes of our series focuses on the gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court. Rather than keep it in our pocket until after the case is heard, we wanted to share it with you ahead of oral arguments, which are on Oct. 3. So here it is! Listen here or subscribe to the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast feed.

By Galen Druke
 
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed
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The Case. After the 2010 midterm elections, the party in charge of Wisconsin’s government flipped. A democratically controlled State Assembly, Senate and governor’s office became controlled instead by the GOP. Soon after, it was time to redraw the district lines. Republicans came up with new maps that Democrats allege diluted their supporters’ voting power. The question for the court is whether the Republicans violated the Constitution by redrawing the district maps in their favor — a process known as partisan gerrymandering.

The Court. Conservative judges usually argue that it is not the court’s place to dictate the decision-making of a state legislature. Liberal judges maintain that the process has gotten out of hand to the point of violating the Constitution, and it is therefore the responsibility of the court to step in.

The decision is likely to come down to Justice Anthony Kennedy. He is a conservative judge, but his views on this matter don’t exactly align with either side of the aisle. In a 2004 opinion, he expressed alarm at the practice of extreme partisan gerrymandering but said the court should hold off on outlawing it. He also left the door open to ruling differently in the future, as long as lawyers provided a suitable way to measure when gerrymandering goes too far. He said that without that measurement, the court runs the risk of becoming too involved in a decision-making process that is legally mandated to state legislatures.

The Big Question. So, how exactly do you measure partisan gerrymandering? Reformers have scrambled to come up with an answer ever since Kennedy’s challenge. The solution presented in the current case proposes three questions to determine whether a map violates the Constitution:

  1. Was the intent of the new map to benefit one party over the other?
  1. Does the map significantly discriminate against one party over a sustained period of time? The plaintiffs’ lawyers point to multiple ways to measure this in their case, but their primary measure has been the efficiency gap. We explain in full, using vodka tonics, in the podcast.
  1. Is there any reason other than partisan gerrymandering that one party is continuously at a disadvantage? For example: Are voters of one party naturally concentrated in a small number of districts?

To hear the story of how the case came to be and the arguments both sides are making, click on the play button above. And we’ll be back with our full redistricting series in a couple of months.


You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast publishes Monday evenings, with occasional special episodes throughout the week. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.