Lately a memory has been haunting me a little bit. It was a television image that I noticed during the frantic, wall to wall TV coverage of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. While firefighters were scrambling through the dust and smoke of New York City, the anchor tossed to a reporter on the Beltway in Washington D.C.. The freeway was packed with federal employees. Some had provisions strapped to the top of their Range Rovers while other were furiously peddling their mountain bikes, as back packs full of canned goods swayed from their perspiration stained torsos, towards Maryland. All were abandoning the city. Lesson: These folks will cut and run.
None of them were even remotely interested in talking with reporters. Think about that for a second. The Washington elite, the people we entrust to fight for our interests, no matter how we define those interests; leaving their posts and fleeing the capitol...and refusing an opportunity to talk with the press! Read more
My AP English teacher once told me that I would get beaten up at least once in college for telling people I was a Republican. She made the comment in the middle of class, laughing as she said it. I don’t think it was necessarily meant as an insult, but the memory has stuck with me ever since.
It’s a bit funny to think about now. Not only have I never gotten into a brawl surrounding politics (that would be a low point in anyone’s life I think), but a majority of my good friends at Duke University are of the opposite political persuasion.
In fact, I haven’t just peacefully coexisted and debated the other side—I’ve actually experienced it. This past summer I worked for two organizations simultaneously. The first organization was the Romney campaign, where I acted as the student overseeing all of the Young Americans for Romney campus groups in North Carolina. The second organization, Friends of the Earth, I interned with for a short period of time in London. It’s as liberal as the name might lead you to believe. It was quite a dichotomous pairing. Read more
If one paid attention to MSNBC, Think Progress, or the Daily Kos, and according to the numbers, approximately one does; one would believe that a hurricane of white supremacy is ripping this country to pieces. A vast army of over-weight, red-neck, white men, in Confederate Flag adorned 4-wheel drive trucks are racing around the country side raping, lynching and generally tormenting innocent and terrified minorities.
Dedicated liberals spend their days scouring the internet for video of some poor white slob who is running for city council and happens to be caught on camera giving a poorly worded speech. Hand that video to some leftist jerk at Think Progress and you have recipe for “twisted overt racism”.
What these dedicated liberals don’t want to notice is that day after day, Americans from all races, backgrounds, religions, and creeds work together and get along astonishingly well. People go to restaurants, concerts, sporting events and school functions without a racist incident. Read more
My first memory of any recognition of race was the day I brought my new friend home for lunch. My grandma must have been watching us come up the steps because she met us at the door and said it wasn't convenient to have guests for lunch. She sent my new friend packing and then set me down and told me to never do that again. She said we don't mix with Blacks. That's all she would say.
Later, I asked my mom what she meant. Mom said that grandma had moved to the city from the farm and she had no experience with people of other races. She said Grandma was prejudiced. I asked what that meant. Mom said prejudice was fear of others because they are different from us. She said there were lots of ways to be prejudiced but race was the most common. I went to public school and in the 50's there wasn't much integration so I didn't have many interactions with other races. Read more
Busy #opengov week here in NYC. I’m pleased to be attending the following events on behalf of PPF: Read more
We grieve for those lost in Oklahoma's tragedy, as we did for victims of recent hurricanes and tornadoes, but denial of science keeps us from addressing climate change's role in these unnatural disasters.
We commit to helping Oklahoma rebuild but politicians play games with disaster relief, allow a sequester that weakens our infrastructure & try to starve our ability to rebuild at all.
We mourn loss of life, families, opportunities while we permit drone killings of Americans, let Head Start wither & with it hope for so many & threaten immigrant families of same-sex parents.
We know a tornado is a destructive force. There's no reason that our policies and politics should be destructive as well.
Send relief to Oklahoma and find your own relief in like-minded company & left-leaning conversation at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY. Find - or start - a chapter near you.
This weekend in D.C. – it’s the “un-conference” of the year for #opengov heads & civic engagement developers. That would be Transparency Camp, organized by the Sunlight Foundation. By “un-conference”, it’s a straightforward-yet-refreshing take on usual conference get-togethers – panels are generally organized bottom-up, so actual tech developers can get-together in the same room and look at actual code & actual features & actual data & actual UIs & actual needs & actual opportunities. Well maybe not as much as would be ideal, but it’s still rather refreshing if you’ve spent months looking at a project management system like Pivotal Tracker or whatever & writing grant proposals in Google Docs.
David from OC & PPF will be there to demo our new major project: Read more
We demand answers to Monday's horror, but aside from consoling the injured & showing support to the city of Boston, there isn't a quick way to assign blame, exact revenge or salve our grief.
We seek just action in response to Newtown but foolish Senate "traditions" halt progress, allowing the conservative mindset of a minority to prevent a majority from passing gun laws.
For many immigrants, it's been a long road, sometimes painful, frightening, exhausting, yet it seems that there may be a finish line if we all have the stamina to continue.
A Marathon is a democratic event: the terrain is equal, it's free to watch, the public is there every step of the way. And it's long. Painful. Yet achievable.
In American democracy, right now we're running a marathon, not a sprint. Let's hope we have the training, focus, courage, will-power & endurance of those Marathon runners we all admire.
Our hearts are in Boston, Newton & with all our fellow Americans. Come share your thoughts with friends as we share a drink & share the night at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Gun rights purists can’t believe their luck. One lunatic on a Texas college campus has proven their point: it’s not the guns that kill people. If someone wants to wage deadly mayhem, he’ll find a means to do it. Gun control liberals can finally STFU now.
Except, a lunatic with a knife differs pretty distinctly from a lunatic with a semi-automatic assault rifle. Where Newtown saw thirty children shot multiple times, funerals spanning a month, and a nation in perpetual mourning, in Houston, Texas every single victim lives. Two are in critical condition, the rest are stable. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, as is any human who has suffered the trauma of a physical attack.
Every attack on multiple people is different. Every one is isolated and born from unique reasons – the failure of the mental health structure here being the basis of some. To lump them together as an anecdotal instance to prove a political point is to compound that failure. No one wins here. Read more
Writing from the plane headed to the National Conference on Media Reform in Denver, CO, organized by the terrific folks at PPF’s longtime friends at Free Press. My first time in Denver, look forward to seeing the mountains. Read more
The New York Times front page on 7 March 1930, the day following the march for Unemployment Insurance.
Does it boggle your mind to see working class people using their time to demonstrate for less government involvement, while living off of unemployment or social security checks? What exactly are these people thinking? How can people work so directly against their own best interests?
It's an insanity that Thomas Frank noted in his book "Whatﾒs the matter with Kansas?":
"the country we have inhabited for the last three decades seems more like a panorama of madness and delusion worthy of Hieronymous Bosch: of sturdy patriots reciting the Pledge while they resolutely strangle their own life chances; of small farmers proudly voting themselves off the land; of devoted family men carefully seeing to it that their children will never be able to afford college or proper health care; of hardened blue-collar workers in mid-western burgs cheering as they deliver up a landslide for a candidate whose policies will end their way of life, will transform their region into a "rust belt," will strike people like them blows from which they will never recover." Read more
Update, Friday March 29th: This “feedback” phase of the Knight NewsChallenge ends at 5pm ET today, so please help now. Let’s bring We The People style petitions to every U.S. city government for accountability and engagement.
The OpenCongress team has submitted a proposal to the Knight Foundation NewsChallenge for open-government projects:
OpenGovernment.org – a version of “We The People” for state, city, and local governments
… thanks to mentions from friends-of-PPF like Chris Hayes, Zephyr Teachout, Reihan Salam, and others, as of this writing we’ve risen in the ranks to the bottom of the first page of most-viewed projects overall. Currently ranked 20th (Monday 3/25/13 update: 16th!) most-viewed of 825 proposals, not too shabby – and we’re sixth most-applauded overall, which is awesome popular support. Lots of great #opengov submissions, more on that below. (Right: a sample of our new, clean design for Q&A on OG.) Read more
Its March 18th, do you know where your podcast is? On this date in history back in1937, 298 school children experienced the worst gas of their lives, and not the kind that would provide their schoolmates with smirks, giggles, and sour smells. Their school, Consolidated School of New London Texas, had been built in 1930 and was in the middle of massive oil and gas fields and many of the nearly 1,200 students were sons and daughters of energy workers. The gas that troubled the school on that day was natural gas, there was an explosion, and those 298 students were killed, many of them instantly. This astonishing disaster was investigated thoroughly; findings revealed that raw gas escaping from leaking lines had accumulated in the dead space between the foundation and basement floor. The gas expanded due to a drop in barometric pressure and an electric spark from a switch in the manual training shop had triggered the explosion. It has been reported by history.com (caveat emptor) and others, that a cryptic message was found on a blackboard in the rubble, “Oil and Natural gas are East Texas’ greatest natural gifts. Read more