👓 A GoFundMe Campaign Is Not Health Insurance | The Nib

A GoFundMe Campaign Is Not Health Insurance by Ted Closson (The Nib)
My friend died $50 short. It doesn’t have to be that way.

This is just a heartbreaking cartoon. I hope everyone will read it in full.

This is one of the most subtly poigniant panels:

“We eulogize [the fact that Americans help each other] in literature and art instead of political theory.”
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👓 NRA support for restricting ‘bump stocks’ reflects impact of Las Vegas massacre | Washington Post

NRA support for restricting ‘bump stocks’ reflects impact of Las Vegas massacre by Elise Viebeck, Mike DeBonis and Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post)
Less clear is whether the move signals an opening for further action on gun control.
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📺 Food Waste: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Food Waste: Last Week Tonight by John Oliver from HBO
Producers, sellers, and consumers waste tons of food. John Oliver discusses the shocking amount of food we don’t eat.

This episode dispels a lot of common misconceptions about food and food donations in the United States.

Some of the potential legislation discussed here could be tremendously helpful not only to a lot of Americans, but to other countries as well. I find it difficult to believe that legislators work on a bunch of knucklehead things when “simple” things like this are left to fester away. Not only could it help out millions of people, but could create jobs, and drastically effect world efficiency as well as improve the economy.

If Jeremy Cherfas, hasn’t seen this, I highly recommend it. Perhaps a more in-dept episode of Eat This Podcast on the numbers, policy decisions and science?

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📺 Paris Agreement: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Paris Agreement: Last Week Tonight by John Oliver from HBO
Donald Trump plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement on climate change. That's bad news for anyone who happens to live on this planet.
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👓 Three Strategies to Defend GOP Health Bill: Euphemisms, False Statements and Deleted Comments | Pro Publica

Three Strategies to Defend GOP Health Bill: Euphemisms, False Statements and Deleted Comments by Charles Ornstein (Pro Publica)
Since the passage of the American Health Care Act, Republican members of Congress have tried to swing public opinion to their side. ProPublica has been tracking what they’re saying.

We really do need more transparency in government. A bit of truth wouldn’t hurt either.

Continue reading “👓 Three Strategies to Defend GOP Health Bill: Euphemisms, False Statements and Deleted Comments | Pro Publica”

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What a Failed Trump Administration Looks Like | New York Times

What a Failed Trump Administration Looks Like by David Brooks (New York Times)(1 hour 41 minutes 2 seconds)
Without grown-ups in charge, the government could stop working.

Continue reading “What a Failed Trump Administration Looks Like | New York Times”

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Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit | The Guardian

Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit by Carole Cadwalladr (The Guardian)
Robert Mercer, who bankrolled Donald Trump, played key role with ‘sinister’ advice on using Facebook data

Continue reading “Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit | The Guardian”

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📖 5.27% done with American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

📖 Read loc 1-682 of 12932 (5.27%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

This portends to be very interesting in that they plan to show what has changed over much of the 1900’s to indicate the drastic evolution in American politics, life, and philosophy over the recent decades. In light of the political battles between the left and the right over the past several years, this could provide some much needed help and guidance.

Their basic thesis seems to be that a shift away from a mixed economy has slowed American growth and general prosperity. While they do seem to have a pointed (political) view, so far it’s incredibly well documented and footnoted for those who would like to make the counter-argument. They’ve definitely got some serious evidence to indicate how drastic the situation is, but I’m curious if they can directly tie their proposed cause to the effect. If nothing else, they’ve created a laundry list of problems in America which need to be addressed by some serious leadership soon.

In some sense I’m torn about what to think of a broader issue this touches upon and which I mentioned briefly while reading At Home in the Universe. Should we continue on the general path we’ve struck out upon (the mixed economy with government regulation/oversight), or should we continue evolving away? While we can’t see the complexity effects seven levels further in, they may be more valuable than what we’ve got now. For example Cesar Hidalgo looks at the evolution along a continuum of personbyte to larger groups: firms (firmbyte), governments, and mega-corporations in Why Information Grows, so I can easily see larger governments and corporations like Google drastically changing the world in which we live (operating at a level above what most humans can imagine presently), but the complexity of why and how they operate above (and potentially against) the good of the individual should certainly be called into question and considered as we move forward.

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👓 Chris Aldrich is reading “How to Succeed in the Networked World”

How to Succeed in the Networked World by Anne-Marie Slaughter (Foreign Affairs)(2016 years 9 months 30 days 14 hours 42 minutes 6 seconds)
The world’s connections have become more important than its divisions. To reap the rewards and avoid the pitfalls of this new order, the United States needs to adopt a grand strategy based on three pillars: open societies, open governments, and an open international system.

This may be one of the most interesting things I’ve read in the past six months. I like the overarching philosophy of the policy direction the writer presents. It feels to me like a policy built from the basic principles from César Hidalgo‘s book Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies, which describes some of the underpinning science and physics for such an approach without getting too deep into the weeds of the underlying mathematics.

This article also definitely seems to take a broader historical approach to the general topics and is nearly close enough in philosophy that I might even begin considering it as a policy case with a Big History point of view.

Highly recommend.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Think of a standard map of the world, showing the borders and capitals of the world’s 190-odd countries. That is the chessboard view.Now think of a map of the world at night, with the lit-up bursts of cities and the dark swaths of wilderness. Those corridors of light mark roads, cars, houses, and offices; they mark the networks of human relationships, where families and workers and travelers come together. That is the web view. It is a map not of separation, marking off boundaries of sovereign power, but of connection.

…the Westphalian world order mandated the sovereign equality of states not as an end in itself but as a means to protect the subjects of those states—the people.

The people must come first. Where they do not, sooner or later, they will overthrow their governments.

Open societies, open governments, and an open international system are risky propositions. But they are humankind’s best hope for harnessing the power not only of states but also of businesses, universities, civic organizations, and citizens to address the planetary problems that now touch us all.

…when a state abrogated its responsibility to protect the basic rights of its people, other states had a responsibility to protect those citizens, if necessary through military intervention.

But human rights themselves became politically polarized during the Cold War, with the West championing civil and political rights; the East championing economic, social, and cultural rights; and both sides tending to ignore violations in their client states.

The institutions built after World War II remain important repositories of legitimacy and authority. But they need to become the hubs of a flatter, faster, more flexible system, one that operates at the level of citizens as well as states.

U.S. policymakers should think in terms of translating chessboard alliances into hubs of connectedness and capability.

According to systems theory, the level of organization in a closed system can only stay the same or decrease. In open systems, by contrast, the level of organization can increase in response to new inputs and disruptions. That means that such a system should be able to ride out the volatility caused by changing power relationships and incorporate new kinds of global networks.

Writing about “connexity” 20 years ago, the British author and political adviser Geoff Mulgan argued that in adapting to permanent interdependence, governments and societies would have to rethink their policies, organizational structures, and conceptions of morality. Constant connectedness, he wrote, would place a premium on “reciprocity, the idea of give and take,” and a spirit of openness, trust, and transparency would underpin a “different way of governing.” Governments would “provide a framework of predictability, but leave space for people to organise themselves in flatter, more reciprocal structures.”

Instead of governing themselves through those who represent them, citizens can partner directly with the government to solve public problems.

…an open international order of the twenty-first century should be anchored in secure and self-reliant societies, in which citizens can participate actively in their own protection and prosperity. The first building block is open societies; the second is open governments.

The self-reliance necessary for open security depends on the ability to self-organize and take action.

The government’s role is to “invest in creating a more resilient nation,” which includes briefing and empowering the public, but more as a partner than a protector.

…much of the civil rights work of this century will entail championing digital rights.

Hard gatekeeping is a strategy of connection, but it calls for division, replacing the physical barriers of the twentieth century with digital ones of the twenty-first.

In this order, states must be waves and particles at the same time.

Great and and appropriate physics analogy.

The legal order of the twenty-first century must be a double order, acknowledging the existence of domestic and international spheres of action and law but seeing the boundary between them as permeable.

Emphasis on “the boundary between them as permeable”!

In many countries, legislatures and government agencies have begun publishing draft legislation on open-source platforms such as GitHub, enabling their publics to contribute to the revision process.

The declaration’s three major principles are transparency, civic participation, and accountability.

As I read this, it makes me think in some sense that groups like IndieWeb.org are the modern-day equivalent of the Lions Club or Kiwinis, just internet based and with civic goals that go beyond a city’s borders.
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