The coup is still going to fail and 2021 starts in 13 days

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Image source: Getty

I was very excited about the email I’d planned to send yesterday celebrating the triumph of organizing (and some signs of rejection of Trumpism) in Georgia on Tuesday, what the wins might portend for governing this year and elections next cycle, and the very real evidence that the deep south isn’t made up of red states but of voter suppression states. …

A Consolidated List

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Photo by Valentin Antonini on Unsplash

Back in January, in the Before Times, I posted a challenge to myself:

This year, I’m committing to writing more about what I read. It’ll help me remember the books better, and I think it’ll be an important part of living up to another commitment I’ve made for 2020: intentionally expand the set of people I learn from, grow, and build with.

I said I’d post a monthly reading list of five-ish books for us to chat about.

And here we are. In December. The After is in sight but we’re still very much in the During. And I mostly did it — not always monthly, and not always five books, but I did keep up a year long list of reflections on books I read and an open invitation to give me a holler to talk about them. …

How we got here and where it’s taking us

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Three related pieces of information:

  1. There has been a dramatic increase in people giving money directly to help other people through cash transfer apps, rather than through nonprofit organizations.

“The coronavirus pandemic has mainstreamed a once-radical form of charity — or solidarity, depending on your politics and vantage point — in which strangers use peer-to-peer payment apps to give money directly, and instantly, to each other.”
The Giving Apps: How Venmo and Cash App Upended a Century-Old Charity Model | Caitlin Dewey | OneZero|

2. 19 million Americans are facing eviction in January if the federal government doesn’t make immediate policy changes extending aid and/or eviction moratoriums. …

Observations on Activist CEOs, and the Politics of Privacy, and Surveillance

Salesforce is purchasing Slack, and there are slew of things that are interesting about it.

One is the seemingly unstoppable march of consolidation. Bigger tech companies controlling more of the platforms that drive our work, home, and social lives as the behemoths buy up the upstarts has extraordinary political implications. It makes it more likely that the answers to the big socio-polticial questions tied up in questions around privacy, advertising, hate speech, and more will be those that continue to favor growing big tech.

Another is the disparate fortunes of companies servicing the 25% or so of people who are working from home now, and maybe forever. Why couldn’t Slack compete with Teams or whatever well enough to stay independent, but Zoom doesn’t appear to be headed into the Microsoft vortex? …

How a political campaign is hiding in a startup

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image source:

Anything related to healthcare is a thicket of politics. It’s regulated at essentially every level of government, it accounts for something approaching 20% of the U.S. economy with relevance for essentially every market sector, from education to real estate, and it is literally about life and death. There is nothing about healthcare that isn’t political.

The fundamentally political questions at the core of everything healthcare:

  • Is all healthcare or any healthcare a human right or is healthcare a consumer product — you get what you can pay for? …

It’s refreshing when it’s transparent.

On October 22, 2020, millions of people got a long email from Expensify CEO David Barrett with the subject line, “Protect democracy, vote for Biden.”

The message begins with some bold statements:

I know you don’t want to hear this from me. And I guarantee I don’t want to say it. But we are facing an unprecedented attack on the foundations of democracy itself. If you are a US citizen, anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy.

That’s right, I’m saying a vote for Trump, a vote for a third-party candidate, or simply not voting at all — they’re all the same, and they all…

Where we’re at, and what to do for the next few weeks

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First things first: yes, what we’re watching unfold from the Trump White House is an attempted coup. The basic definition of a coup is “an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power,” and a President who refuses to leave or participate in the basics of transition after losing an election is in fact an illegal and unconstitutional seizure of power.

It’s a coup attempt even if some of the people perpetrating it tell reporters off the record that it’s all just so much posturing.

It’s a coup attempt even if it turns out mostly to have been for the purpose of bilking yet more money from people who believe what they read on unhinged Twitter feeds and in conspiracy-friendly Facebook groups. …

Exceptional stories for an exceptionally complicated October.

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Recommendations for when neither doomscrolling nor making your ripples in the pond are keeping the dysthymia at bay.

Won’t Lose This Dream: How an Upstart Urban University Rewrote the Rules of a Broken System, by Andrew Gumbel

This book is non-fiction about policy and politics in recent history and it will make you hopeful. No, I’m not shitting you and no, I haven’t even had even one glass of wine yet. Won’t Lose This Dream is the story of Georgia State and how it was transformed from a backwater, racist, second-tier night school that was a place of learning mostly in name only into a major educational institution that managed to close achievement and graduation gaps of every kind while expanding its footprint and impact in a once-declining downtown in a majority Black city. In it you’ll meet administrators and teachers and counselors and advisors with vision and relentless commitment to create change — and politicians with the wherewithal to support them! …

Because neither doomscrolling nor schadensurfing will help win, but voter protection might

[Oct 13 update] 21 days till the last day to vote, and still plenty of ways to make a difference.

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Megan Rapinoe: “Well, we have a little saying on the national team that we like to say … LFG. So let’s do this. Okay. LFG.” Elizabeth Warren: “Let’s do this. Alright Megan, you and me, LFG.”

But first: if you know me you know that way back in October 2016, I was one of the bedwetters who thought Donald Trump would win, and that I’ve been convinced this country would repeat that travesty again this year. …

Beach reads with a twist for the summer of our discontent.

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Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

I bring you a mix of escapism and realism to lose yourself in over the next month of what could have been a summer break.

I read more than a dozen books every month. I read for work and for fun and to have something to talk about with someone I’d like to know better. I read as research for the book I’m writing. But mostly, these days, I read to do something other than doomscrolling, and to feel tethered to the world outside my house and my quaranteam.

I think you should consider these five page-turners, and I hope they’ll help you feel as informed, creative, curious, connected, and optimistic (perhaps ironically, in some cases) as they did for me. …


Shayna Englin

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