all posts tagged 'politics'

The Painful, Depressing Reality of Why Congress Is So Dysfunctional

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At the heart of today’s dysfunction in Congress — the serial ousting of speakers, the perpetual threat of government shutdowns, the inability to address pressing issues like immigration, runaway deficits or climate change — lie three political fantasies. These illusions warp the perceptions, cloud the judgment and misdirect the energies of House and Senate members of both parties. Letting go of them will be the necessary first step to restoring a functioning legislature to a country that desperately needs one.

This felt like a great summary of why we have such dysfunction within our legislative bodies.

What it doesn’t do, unfortunately, is give much of a path towards resolving this dysfunction.

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Lina Khan – FTC Chair on Amazon Antitrust Lawsuit & AI Oversight

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I heard nothing but good things about Lina Khan when she was announced as the chair of the FTC, and I think she did a tremendous job during this interview with Jon Stewart.

Jon and Lina break down the various lawsuits that the FTC is currently engaged in, not just with big tech companies, but also pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies.

I found it interesting when Jon mentioned that he tried to have Lina on his podcast when he was with Apple TV+, but Apple told him no.

I get it, but also, why would you have hired Jon Stewart in the first place? You’ve seen his show, right? Of course he’s gonna call a spade a spade, one of the few reputable media personalities1 who will not hesitate to bite the hand that feeds.

It’s also interesting that the FTC is often outgunned by the legal representation of the companies against which they pursue litigation, sometimes at a ratio of 10:1.

  1. I thought about using the word “journalist” here instead, but I’m not sure if one can consider The Daily Show journalism. I mean, Tucker Carlson can’t call himself a journalist… is TDS that far off? 

Politics, Friendship, and the Search for Meaning

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Imagine, by analogy, a virtuoso pianist at the peak of her career who looks out at the culture around her and realizes that appreciation for classical music is rapidly fading. She senses a crisis: if things continue, there will soon be no audiences, no careers in music, and no future great performances. She considers the situation so dire that she decides to step away from her instrument, if only for a time, in order to defend classical music nationwide. She gives speeches about composers in grade schools across the country, lobbies Congress for increased support for the arts, and solicits wealthy donors to sponsor classical-music instruction. Her work is noble, but it consumes her; and the crisis is so severe that her task is never done. Thus, she never fully returns to the life of music she enjoyed before. Now, when she has time to play, which is rare, she’s a shadow of her former self. Practice sessions find her distracted. Her music suffers as a result of her effort to save music.

The battle to save music is not itself the practice of music. The two activities are worlds apart. One is an instrumental good, the other intrinsic; one is never complete, the other complete in itself. This paradox occurs across domains: The battle to preserve a space for Christian worship in an increasingly secular society is not itself Christian worship. The defence of the liberal arts is not the liberal arts. And the war to save our political union from our enemies is not itself political union.

A pretty heavy article that makes a few great points about nihilism, politics, friendships, and meaning.

My only quibble is that the article makes an unnecessary leap about not being able to be complete without a relationship with God, but hey, maybe the longer I live and partake in intrinsic activities, those experiences will help change my opinion about why we’re here and what set this world into motion.

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The Left Has a Language Problem

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Style Guide Liberalism is only loosely connected to progressive politics. Really, it’s an expression of the worst kind of cynicism—the notion that we don’t really need to reform society or power structures but merely slap new labels on things. It’s a dodge, a pathetic sop to the left from corporations and other powerful institutions who at bottom don’t give a shit about any of this but assume that invoking on-trend progressive words and phrases will make up for all the injustice and misery they cause. As with any use of language, context is key.

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Politics isn’t a per se bad. It’s a process. Making politics more productive and substantial make society better. Having people “nope” out of society whenever they get uncomfortable doesn’t help with any of the hard work politics does for things like allocating scarce resources, justice, or equity.

Poignant. I love this web comic.

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The America I Love Needs to Do Better

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Arnold Schwarzenegger:

This, to me, is not a political issue. It is a patriotic issue. When Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal,” our country certainly didn’t live up to that promise. But generations since have pushed the boundaries, bringing equality closer and closer to reality. That is the American story, and we must remember that it’s a painful story for anyone left out of the promise.

Pretty pathetic that this can’t be the message shared by the leaders of our nation.

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The Joe Rogan Experience - Ted Nugent

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I consider myself to be a podcast enthusiast, but I will be the first to admit that I have not listened to many of the most popular podcasts.

I've been a fan of Joe Rogan ever since NewsRadio, and I've seen some clips here and there of The Joe Rogan Experience, but I've never sat down and listened to an entire episode of his podcast. I had a feeling that his political views were more libertarian, but beyond knowing that he's a proponent of weed, I didn't know much about him on a personal level.

With that in mind, I went through the most recent episodes of his podcast to see if there was an episode that would help me learn what he was all about.

I can't be the only one in the world who thinks the political scene in 2018 is incredibly draining and makes me feel ultimately powerless. As soon as I saw that Ted Nugent was on an episode, my initial reaction was, "ugh, why the hell would I listen to this crap and subject myself to more of that same feeling?"

Before listening to this episode, here was the sum total knowledge of facts that I knew about Ted Nugent:

  • He was a musician of some sort
  • He wasn't popular in my Twitter bubble
  • He tends to speak in brash, general, and oversimplified statements

In an effort to remove myself from my bubble, I thought, "you know what? A lot of folks seem to love Ted Nugent, so I'm gonna listen with an open mind and see what it's all about."

The episode was pretty long (over three hours), but if you've got the time, I highly encourage you to give it a listen. A few things I took away:

  • I didn't realize Ted was all about hunting, and I noticed myself nodding my head in agreement during the discussions around being responsible with nature and treating the circle of life with respect.
  • The discussion around the vegan lifestyle was also illuminating. I know a few folks who try to do the vegan thing, and it's interesting to look at it from the perspective of "look at the number of animals and plants you need to kill with pesticides in order to keep them off your land so your tofu can grow."
  • The first hour or so is mostly Ted and Joe talking about how misunderstood hunters are. Of primary note is a part where Ted says that people think hunters are all fat, sloppy rednecks who go out and hunt down hundreds of animals at a time. He says that if non-hunters would actually talk to a hunter and see the world from their perspective, it would really make things better. I thought this was a profound point, which was made completely ironic by the next observation:
  • No fewer than 50 times in this episode does Ted identify a group of people (liberals, politicians, the DNR, bureaucrats, anti-gun folks, illegal immigrants), caricaturize them, and berate them for their "ignorance."

Joe spent a lot of the episode silent, because Ted just would get on a rant and keep going. However, I think Joe did do a great job of holding Ted's feet to the fire a bit over some of his statements.

My favorite part of the episode was when Ted went to the bathroom, Joe monologued about how messed up the gun situation is in our country and that he doesn't have any answers for it. It was refreshing to hear that, since everyone seems to have an answer that wouldn't work in practice.

Like I said above, the episode was long, but I found it to be absolutely illuminating, and I will be seeking out more podcasts like this in order to make sure my perspective on life isn't being persuaded by only one type of voice.

If anything, the biggest takeaway from this episode for me was that what we need right now as a country is to find a way to come back to the table together. Social networks seem to thrive off of exploiting the worst in us as humans, and even though the first word in that phrase is "social", it has made us anything but.

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How well does music predict your politics?

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Where does Neutral Milk Hotel fit on this spectrum?

Artists whose fans are most correlated to Republican

  1. Kenny Chesney
  2. George Strait
  3. Reba McEntire
  4. Tim McGraw
  5. Jason Aldean
  6. Blake Shelton
  7. Shania Twain
  8. Kelly Clarkson
  9. Pink Floyd
  10. Elvis Presley

Artists whose fans are most correlated to Democrat

  1. Rihanna
  2. Jay-Z
  3. Madonna
  4. Lady Gaga
  5. Katy Perry
  6. Snoop Dogg
  7. Chris Brown
  8. Usher
  9. Eminem
  10. Bob Marley

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Awesome campaign ads

originally shared here on

It's almost election season, and I'm hoping that the ads this year will be up to the ... caliber ... of the following spots:

I think both of them needed more gunfire.

How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?

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Colbert’s super PAC is in a way an extended improvisation with no end in sight. It just keeps adding new layers. Why does he have a super PAC? Because he can and because it’s funny.

The entire article is a great biography of Stephen Colbert, but the part I loved the most was this bit about his super PAC. I'm glad somebody is doing something like that, both because it's good to have the inner workings of the political system exposed, and also because it's funny.

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