Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Monday, February 19, 2018
"It's so neat and clean here," Brett said, sweeping through Mia's front room almost on tiptoe. "Does it always look like this?"I think Sterling is underestimating the imaginative capacities of a lot of nineteen-year-olds here, and I would personally hesitate to describe such a change in terms of a developmental narrative of natural maturation toward an obviously superior way of life -- via the image of a shed child's tooth -- when the freedom and spontaneity messiness presumably delivered at an earlier phase of life is not exactly to be sneezed at, after all. But I do like the way he captured the profundity of quotidian abiding life-changes like this one. And I can attest to exactly this own shift in my own life, in my own fifties not seventies, and occasioned by a life-threatening illness and attendant anxieties which made business and tidiness assume a vast importance I had not hitherto lived with or expected, but, yes, here I am, tidy as hell now who was always an untidy mess before. All my long-suffering past boyfriends and room-mates are shaking their heads in disbelief, but Eric is certainly thrilled.
Mia was busying herself in her kitchen. She had never been a tidy person by nature, but during her seventies, the habit of untidiness had left her. She'd simply grown out of messiness, the way a child might shed a tooth. After that, Mia always washed the dishes, always made her bed, always picked up loose objects and filed them away. Living that way was quicker and simpler and made every kind of sense to her. Litter and disorder no longer gave her any sense of relaxation or freedom or spontaneity. It had taken her seventy years to learn how to clean up after herself, but once she had learned the trick of it, it was impossible to go back.
She had no simple way to tell Brett about this. The profundity of this change in her personality would never seem natural to a nineteen-year-old.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Emma Gonzalez. A student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) February 17, 2018
An American Hero.
All of it.
The young people will set us free. https://t.co/yftQ2OeZfO
Let the high school students organize on their own. If they need your advice, they'll let you know.— #GeniusTweeter (@prisonculture) February 17, 2018
Thursday, February 15, 2018
When it comes to guns, we’re a nation of addicts. Like addicts, we have two voices in our heads. One sees the problem and considers it as urgent that something change. The other voice will go to any length to rationalize the status quo so it can continue its self-destructive behavior. The addict voice is winning. The way forward isn’t clear, but the wrong attitudes to take can be. First, we have to maintain a belief that this can be solved, even if we acknowledge that we can’t solve it all by ourselves. We need a support group. We need allies who will pick us up when we lose resolve. We can have coping mechanisms, but we can’t become synonymous with them. Individually, we may be helpless, but together we are a Higher Power. So, as tempting as it might be to throw up your hands or make plans to move to Canada, we need to stick together and keep going. We can’t ever look at our schools getting shot up and just say, “So it goes.” We don’t have to accept what conservatives are doing to our country.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Monday, February 12, 2018
The weather bureau will tell you what next Tuesday will be like, and the Rand Corporation will tell you what the twenty-first century will be like. I don't recommend that you turn to the writers of fiction for such information. It's none of their business. All they're trying to do is tell you what they're like, and what you're like -- what's going on -- what the weather is now, today, this moment, the rain, the sunlight, look! Open your eyes; listen, listen. That is what the novelists say. But they don't tell you what you will see and hear. All they can tell you is what they have seen and heard, in their time in this world, a third of it spent in sleep and dreaming, another third of it spent telling lies.Of course, as our satellites wink out from neglect and trust in science is torn out by the deceptive and the promotional and the unscrupulous, we cannot long count on the weather bureau to tell us what next Tuesday's weather will be like, and no doubt Le Guin would agree that perhaps we should never have counted on the military-industrial apologists of the Rand Corporation to tell us what the twenty-first century would be like either. Perhaps if we hadn't counted on them to be correct they would have been less so to the benefit of us all. Novelists like Le Guin do contribute to the foresight that would inform the defense of scientific discovery and public investment to distribute the impacts of technoscientific change in equitable, sustainable, and hence progressive ways. But it is because they glean the open futurity in the present ("open your eyes; listen, listen"), not because they project parochial presents onto the future the better to foreclose that futurity to amplify the terms and reassure and the beneficiaries of the status quo that "The Future" is already theirs.
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Steve Bannon is quoted in a new edition of the book Devil’s Bargain as sharply criticizing what he terms the “anti-patriarchy movement” -- that is, the movement against sexual harassment and assault -- saying he believes it will “undo ten thousand years of recorded history,” CNN reports... “It’s a Cromwell moment! It’s even more powerful than populism. It’s deeper. It’s primal. It’s elemental... It’s anti-patriarchy.” He added: “You watch. The time has come. Women are gonna take charge of society. And they couldn’t juxtapose a better villain than Trump.”
Thursday, February 08, 2018
The Supreme Court handed down a fairly routine scheduling order on Tuesday... that... contains a big hint about what may be the most important case of the current Supreme Court term. It suggests that partisan gerrymandering is about to be declared unconstitutional. The case in question, Rucho v. Common Cause, centers on congressional maps in North Carolina. Last January, a panel of three federal judges struck down North Carolina’s maps as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. Republican leaders in North Carolina requested a stay of this decision from the Supreme Court... Shortly after the Court granted this stay, the plaintiffs in the case filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to place Rucho on its argument calendar and “establish an expedited schedule for merits briefing and oral argument.” Had the Court granted this motion, it would have potentially allowed the justices to decide Rucho quickly enough that, if the Court ultimately decided that North Carolina’s maps are unconstitutional, new maps could be drawn in time for this November’s election. Unfortunately for opponents of gerrymandering, the order handed down by the Supreme Court on Tuesday denied this request... What’s especially interesting about Tuesday’s order, however, is that Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor both dissented. They would have granted the request to hold an expedited hearing in Rucho... The most likely explanation is that, despite this temporary setback in Rucho, the Court is about to hand down very good news to opponents of partisan gerrymandering. Last October, the Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a challenge to Wisconsin’s gerrymandered state assembly maps. At that argument, a majority of the Court appeared ready to declare — for the first time — that a partisan gerrymander violates the Constitution. Four months later, it is likely that drafts of the majority opinion and the dissent in Whitford have already circulated among the justices... Ginsburg and Sotomayor know how this case will turn out. If Ginsburg and Sotomayor know that the Court is about to uphold the Wisconsin gerrymander, it is very unlikely they would want to place another partisan gerrymandering case on the Court’s docket... But if Ginsburg and Sotomayor know that the Wisconsin gerrymander is going down — and that the Court is about to usher in a legal revolution that will sweep away many unconstitutional gerrymanders — then they most likely will want that revolution to move swiftly. The most likely reason why they would want the North Carolina case to be heard on an expedited basis is because they know that they won Whitford, and they want to win Rucho fast enough for it to matter in 2018.This may be wishful thinking, but there it is. I could use some wishful thinking right about now -- it makes a nice change from the dismal thinking I indulge more or less constantly these days oherwise. I think it was William Burroughs who pointed out that all thinking, even the most quotidian, is wishful, after all.
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Tuesday, February 06, 2018
This.— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) February 6, 2018
The last month has made clear no Democratic maneuver will force Trump to protect Dreamers.
He will veto any deal. And he’s fine with the government shutting down as long as he can deport them.
The ONLY solution is a Democratic Congress. With that, we can make demands. https://t.co/fVDCdCSprb
Monday, February 05, 2018
Democrats lead in generic ballots for the midterm election, but that advantage comes entirely from our own districts. We're running 6 points behind in Republican-held districts. We must keep fighting if we want to flip the House.https://t.co/2GwtqFzQxr pic.twitter.com/medy1QD1fo— Swing Left (@swingleft) February 5, 2018
Sunday, February 04, 2018
Moments ago, @PRyan deleted this tweet after we told him just how out of touch he was. Show Paul Ryan what you think of his tax bill. Chip in $1.50 now to help us repeal and replace Ryan permanently this November.https://t.co/c3Fii4Q0Jn— Randy Bryce (@IronStache) February 3, 2018
Saturday, February 03, 2018
The flu is the worst ever and people are dying.— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) February 3, 2018
I hope low-income people in Indiana and Kentucky who need flu shots can prove they have jobs since that’s the new law.
We have to stop pretending this isn't political: Republicans have refused to fund community health centers and gutted Medicaid, decreasing access to vaccines. They've also been fighting to cut spending on medical research, imperiling lives. https://t.co/5hQwCGhi6U— Abolish ICE. Abolish ICE. (@SeanMcElwee) February 3, 2018
This is an “actual” scandal President Trump/Devin Nunes. Do something about it. https://t.co/Jh3p38oPGi— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) February 3, 2018
Thursday, February 01, 2018
Trump was always criminal in his business practices. In failing to address his criminality the country collaborated in making him "presidential" long before his run for the White House. America's celebration of profitable fraud made something like a Trump presidency inevitable.
America will always be vulnerable to Trumpublican authoritarianism until we treat the profitable deceptions of false advertising, self-promotional hyperbole, and the gaming or exploitation of systemic vulnerabilities as crime, fraud, criminal negligence, and reckless endangerment.