👓 Peaceful Transfer of Power Update | Kevin Drum

Read Peaceful Transfer of Power Update by Kevin Drum

This morning I mentioned how excited Republican legislatures have become about stripping state officials of power just before those state officials happen to become Democrats. But I missed one. It turns out that many years ago Florida handed authority over concealed-carry permits to the state’s agriculture commissioner. Why? Because sometimes law enforcement playfully tries to actually enforce the law, and the NRA would prefer that not happen. Instead, they want concealed-carry permits rubber stamped by an elected official. But then this happened:

The agriculture commissioner’s office attracted unwanted attention in early 2018 after it was found that for 13 months, the department’s Division of Licensing stopped using results from an FBI crime database that ensures those who apply do not have a disqualifying history in other states.

This was fine with the NRA, of course, but even in Florida it turns out that voters were unamused. As a result, they elected a Democrat as agriculture commissioner. A Democrat! This is the NRA’s worst nightmare, no now they’ve proposed that concealed-carry permits be transferred to…

…the state’s CFO.

The what?

Yeah, Florida has a CFO. It’s an odd office that was created just a few years ago, and the CFO doesn’t really seem to do all that much. But he is a Republican, so he’ll do. Democrats have counterproposed that concealed-carry permits be handled by law enforcement, which actually makes sense, but so far Republicans are having none of it. They’re dedicated to stripping the ag commissioner of authority and giving it once again to a Republican.

There’s no telling how hard they’ll kowtow to the NRA on this, but for now it looks like we have four GOP states that are desperately trying to strip elected officials of power in lame duck sessions before Democrats take over. Naturally, I have an updated map:

🎧 Episode 44: White Affirmative Action (Seeing White, Part 13) | Scene on Radio

Listened to Episode 44: White Affirmative Action (Seeing White, Part 13) by John Biewen from Scene on Radio

When it comes to U.S. government programs and support earmarked for the benefit of particular racial groups, history is clear. White folks have received most of the goodies. By John Biewen, with Deena Hayes-Greene of the Racial Equity Institute and recurring series partner Chenjerai Kumanyika.

Affirmative action is really best framed as White affirmative action…

After listening to most of this series and really appreciating the work that has gone into it, I wish there were an online lecture series version of Deena Hayes-Greene’s work for the Racial Equity Institute. I’d love to hear a longer version of what they’ve done without needing to travel. Ideally it could be done as a paid series of lectures along the lines of what The Great Courses does (perhaps as history/sociology lectures?) or some other similar group that could produce it well with accompanying learning materials, but also done in a way to help underwrite and spread their work. I’d definitely pay for it.

👓 South Carolina Is Lobbying to Allow Discrimination Against Jewish Parents | The Intercept

Read South Carolina Is Lobbying to Allow Discrimination Against Jewish Parents (The Intercept)
One Protestant group wants the federal government to sponsor discrimination.

👓 An inside look at how Trump’s infamous jobs day tweet roiled some government economists | Quartz

Read An inside look at how Trump’s infamous jobs day tweet roiled some government economists (Quartz)
The email subject lines run the gamut: "Interesting," "In case you didn't see this," "Holy moley," "Breach by POTUS," "Is it OK for us now too?"

👓 Strategy and Solidarity | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Read Strategy and Solidarity by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)
As I noted in my last post, I recently read Miranda Joseph’s Against the Romance of Community as a means of thinking a bit more deeply about the ways that Generous Thinking deploys the notion of community.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Calls to work on behalf of the community or to the community’s values wind up not only, as I noted in my last post, ignoring community’s supplementary role with respect to capital but also essentializing a highly complex and intersectional set of social relations.  

This reminds me of some studies in psychology about why people vote and for whom they vote. It’s not always who they would vote for individually, but who would a group of people like them vote? This makes the “community” portion far more complex than it would appear.

I should track down the original references, but I think I remember reading about them via either George Lakoff or possibly Malcolm Gladwell.

Under late capital, the non-profit has been asked to take over the space of providing for community needs or supporting community interests that had formerly been occupied by the state as the entity responsible for the public welfare.  

I know the book American Amnesia talks about the value built up by a strong government working in conjunction with a capitalist machine over the past century or so. I wonder if the later half of the book gets into how to shift things back in this manner?

👓 China has the world’s most centralised internet system – The ultimate walled garden | The Economist

Read China has the world’s most centralised internet system (The Economist)
A perfect example of a Hamiltonian internet for maximum control

Leading thinkers in China argue that putting government in charge of technology has one big advantage: the state can distribute the fruits of AI, which would otherwise go to the owners of algorithms.  

Such thinking has also been gaining some traction in the West, although so far only at the political fringes. The underlying idea is that some types of services, including social networks and online search, are essential facilities akin to roads and other kinds of infrastructure and should be regulated as utilities, which in essence means capping their profits. Alternatively, important data services, such as digital identity, could be offered by governments. Evgeny Morozov, a researcher and internet activist, goes one step further, calling for the creation of public data utilities, which would pool vital digital information and ensure equal access to it.  

When it comes to democracy and human rights, a Jeffersonian internet is clearly a safer choice. With Web 3.0 still in its infancy, the West at least will need to find other ways to rein in the online giants. The obvious alternative is regulation.  

👓 Republican Lawmakers Buy Health Insurance Stocks as Repeal Effort Moves Forward | The Intercept

Read Republican Lawmakers Buy Health Insurance Stocks as Repeal Effort Moves Forward by Lee Fang (The Intercept)
JUST AS THE HOUSE Republican bill to slash much of the Affordable Care Act moved forward, Rep. Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican and member of Speaker Paul Ryan’s leadership team, added a health insurance company to his portfolio.

Aren’t there ethics rules to cover nonsense like this?

👓 Chris Aldrich is reading “South Korea’s Shamanic Panic”

Read South Korea's Shamanic Panic (Foreign Affairs)
For over a month now, South Koreans have been asking a rather unusual question for citizens of a modern democracy: whether their president, Park Geun-hye, could have been under the influence of the supernatural while in office.