“The tweets on April 1, 2019, from the think tank people (TTP), are unlikely to be taking advantage, but I’ll leave that for you to judge. Many of the observation are through to the end of the month. The tweet rate is another algorithm worthy of use, some are hourly, others one or two per day or week. Others are once a month suggesting a grounded fear of jibber-jabber.”Rex L. Curry
Acton’s reaction to the world is “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” with a combination of secular and religious overlays. Acton offers a set of videos on the role of the Federal Reserve (before and after the Great Recession) on aggregate demand and the reserves of cash required. It is produced by the Marginal Revolution University. Acton evaluation of socialism as a moral argument with economic flaws is a refreshing appraisal of the political din. A series of podcasts can take you to new insights in calm rational terms.
The American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) bold tweets found Medicare quite popular in a recent poll. The count was 71% are in favor of a health insurance “guarantee” for all Americans, but 60% opposed when if they had to pay for it. An attack on a GAO report based on the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, found “52 percent of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings in a “DC plan or IRA” however Factcheck.org described the tendency to leave the DC and IRA qualifier out. (source) Efforts to correct were also reported yet remained a whisper in comparison to the AEI attack on the GAO. What happens when a nation’s institutions face subtle accusations of lying and time is spent baiting those who argue that some sections of the economy (health, education, transport) should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole?
The Aspen Institute opens with the idea that online activism is useful but insufficient if “Building America’s Next Great Awakening” is to be successful. Eric Liu clearly defines the push back against the dull odors of monopolized, institutional power willing to concentrate ineffectively on radical inequality. Aspen recommends a review of his discussion of power (TED). Aspen is also about balance in its promotion of ways to sharpen our vision in a series of Business & Society podcasts launched this month (here). Swing over to the business integrity people (BIP) to see if the folks there will pick up on it after the official launch on the 18 April 2019. If you need think-tank people (TTP) that have an interest in pushing the limits of every boundary to assure that your fear is not of change, but of loss.
Anyone who has taken a glimpse at the enormity of American Defense Industry will find the Atlantic Council’s defense of democracy well validated in their celebration of NATO and its newest members hitting the ten-year mark (#Albania and #Croatia) while seeking to include Cyprus. It is without surprise that NATO’s weighted connections and conference in D.C. this first week of April is entitled #NATOEngages to assure the alliance. The general pressure to increase spending as a percentage of GDP is having a destabilizing and disturbing effect on domestic affairs as expected. Following NATO, a strong interest in cyber security, engagement and sanctions is described.
The Belfer Center is looking straight at Russia and China through the lens of the Pacific Rim. The growing complexity of “safety-critical technologies” in this vast region of the earth is an opening for a change in policy. First, question the importance of the Middle East in comparison to threats to power caused by climate change on Pacific Rim nations. The center also enjoys its privileges and offers a wide range of important players in world affairs to sit and talk for the benefit of their students and faculty. A link to Foreign Affairs offers one free article a week. If you are interested in foreign affairs, Belfer is a TTP stop.
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) reaction to political pressures affecting “speech” within the university is in its fabric. In response to President Trump’s Executive Order that pulled out the government’s big research funding stick they ask one question, “What is the litmus test?” Universities cannot model the current behavior in national politics; the idea of a government agency intervention to monitor compliance for funding is insidious. BPC mentions a leadership guide from Sanford Ungar (Free Speech Project) at Georgetown University. His report “Informed and Engaged” describes the launch of the Free Speech Tracker. The message at the Executive Order level has an uneven quality, while the search for instances and causes of incivility on university campuses is where our thinking caps belong. Solving students in debt children in poverty, the people on opioids should be on the bipartisan-do list, but it feels doubtful.
I found the Brookings Institution (BI) focused on the “divided politics” situation as tribalism and turning to a description of Brexit as if it was a warning. Brookings also brought to our attention a survey of 93 leaders from government, NGOs, and others to share their view of global development. The title is Disrupted and points to fragile governments and climate change as principal sources for many policies going “tribal.” The underlying premise is small groups can make significant changes, and that forces questions about the responsibility to make them good ones. A set of tweets that lead to improved understanding of what middle class means. April is a good month to spend some time with the TTP because of the focus on income, credit and taxes at their Center on Regulation and Markets.
The Carnegie Council (CCEIA) serves as a judge of fact and includes an interest in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain technology, and cybersecurity. The possibility of a revolution in network collaboration will require the vision of people such as Eric Liu and Sanford Ungar. There is a way to avoid the negatives in “tribalism” that forces the decline of democracy. Eric offers a stinging left jab, and Sanford follows with a hard right- cross. The stimulated anger and the provoked loss of faith in long-standing public institutions can be proven. Fund them just enough to fail on safety net issues in marginalized communities.
The Carnegie Endowment (CEIP) direct emphasis on the voice of women in world affairs is having an impact. Bill Burns article “The Lost Art of American Diplomacy” (here) describes the current disdain for its powers as a stimulus for rebuilding its “first resort” capacity. Redefining diplomatic problems breaks the easy dependence on muscular military instruments with facts instead of political assertions used “to mask a pattern of retreat” designed to inflame aggression.
The CATO Institute focuses on ways Medicare can control drug prices without a negative impact on the system overall. A reasonable disruption for a “patients first” approach follows a long list of price hikes that are the product of monopolistic behaviors. Turning to a related point getting low congressional interest toward a high concern in patent reform suggests that CATO would pull out Bernie Sanders’s 2005 idea for the Medical Innovation Prize and break up big drug pharma with concessions on generics.
The task to turning down the rhetorical din into something the TTP can stomach was promoted in a tweet by CATO when Alex Nowrasteh’s Washington Post article on “patriotic correctness” vs. political correctness. It yields hope that we haven’t been driven quite mad by the “silly-stupidness” as a dear friend calls a lot of that right/left speak.
The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) interest in disproportionality has a top example the demand by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to fire its Chair, Adam Schiff is an “eye off the ball” problem and exhibits the shallowness of acceptable political behavior. Perhaps a name change is in order. I suggest the Center for Snarky Security. Beware of angry, but hungry TTP people.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) honed the potential of emoluments violations because the House has the power to compel the IRS to release of Trump’s Tax returns. The Center shares an agenda item with the BPC in work needed to improve women’s labor force participation. Two problems require a solution to the quality of paid family leave and access to affordable childcare. The lack of both is part of the “war on workers.” Brookings is on the same page under the heading of the pay gap.
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) sees expanded resettlement programs as a refugee issue to take the pressure off the perversely facilitated asylum backlog. The Department of Homeland Security is in disarray with southern border troubles. Is the wall-threat and lack of reform causing the crisis? Policies in favor of diversity have been evident since the 1960s; however, the lack of a powerful north/south relationship has weakened instead of strengthened since NAFTA was established.
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) exhibits the need for adaptable technologies in military hardware and brings up the historical “renewed great power competition” problem about the United States, China and Russia claim of sovereignty and believe other countries that are not great powers are not sovereign. All kinds of cyberweaponry operated by new technologies re-opens the debate on the billions spent on “star-wars.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CNPP) recognizes chipping away of safety net program funding in the Federal budget. Early in the month protecting SNAP (nutritional assistance) for vulnerable people is top on their list. The Center’s focus on state and local budgeting reports reduced the health care costs through caring society investments in education, income, food, housing, transit, and recreational support services are provided and encouraged.
The Claremont Institute (CI) claims to restore American principles as “originalists” as if the founders of the U.S. Constitution remain the preeminent experts over our national life. Historical desires hold tightly to the past as a measure of our time centuries later. It is difficult to read these arguments based on values by institutions that have not or refuse to read and confirm the truth of Richard Rothstein’s book, “The Color of Law,” B&N and who remain satisfied with jabs around the edges at the whiteness of that law. Law made racism impossible to understand if you are white. It is impossible to recognize if you have never read or ever encouraged to read anything in the enormous body of work by Derrick Bell or the writer’s who stand on his shoulders such as Ta-Nehisi Coates. For centuries, cultural power is the only available tool, and because of that it is far too easily altered and appropriated without a clear set of goals. Thanks to Avik Roy’s retort to Bill Voegeli, on CI’s website those goals might find a scrap of common ground with the right.
The Commonwealth Fund (CF) takes us to the daily battle for a healthy America. Their tweets are regular attacks on the role of health professionals who care for patients of modest income or those who are one crisis of poor care or one “surprise bill” away from full-blown poverty. Just what America needs, a little more depression and anxiety on a bet-hedging that it won’t be too many of them or too weak to build guillotines.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) sends tweets on how globalization counts the ways to make the American worker more competitive by researching ways to get rid of unions and attacking the Kigali Amendment as a “job destroyer.” There is an unusual combination of politically conceived demands with crony-appeal and others that stand on more rational grounds. They need to choose.
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) are impractical with the global map. It leaps to review every crisis affecting American hegemony. The Council also pointed out the top ten countries for women’s workforce equality and the United States is not on the list. You will find a comparison of other nations top-tier tax rates for comparison to those proposed by the 2020 Democrats. A detailed analysis of foreign aid for 2016 will be useful if it leads to 2020 comparisons. The UK’s only land border (after Brexit) is with Northern Ireland. Is irony is back? CFR point to an oddly similar border with Mexico as related security discussion that can put you in a world where Japan gets its groove back with some severe armament. Bottom line, a run through CFRs tweets can tease you into thinking that this institution is in total control. Oh!
The Discovery Institute’s (DI) first tweet to my gaze talks about “pathological altruism” as one of the big awful things to discover. They think they do good, but they know not. DI is a wonderful break into the world of thought about problems instead of the ones “all of the above” seem to find. Every new second with DI is worth an hour everywhere else. Columbia’s Earth Institute (EI) is next on the list in the current alphabetical order (that may require another form of organizing). The EI tweets focus specifically on the next generation, also known as students and life-long learners for a welcome sense of hope. One promotion with the “New School” asks a simple question: How do we know what cannot be known?” Where else but for the next generation would you be presented with butterflies tasting the salty tears of rainforest turtles to discover the importance of the complexity that beats the heart of diversity.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) added to the idea that we should have a more rational “thinking about important stuff days.” I pick up something new about EPI’s constitutional questions in their tweets. The demand a “more perfect union” during February is one of them. February is a month of American history that has many important days related to the African-America experience. April gets the ‘thinking day” attention of EPI on women rights regarding equal pay. A Native-American gets .58, African-American and Latinas get 0.53, Asian 0.61 and White 0.77 of the $1.00 of white men. Overall, the “many” vs. the “one” debate requires the patriarchy to change in all these groups. In the name of perfecting our union, a routine injection of steps of fairness with the proof of balance defines equity, wages, skillsets and safety nets.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Democracy and Technology, TechFreedom, Human Rights Watch and 34 others are demanding the reauthorization or Section 215 to end NSA’s phone data collection.
The Brennan Center has the best summary of selected government surveillance programs (here). Getting into this subject by looking at all the trees (felled, standing, old or sapling) will miss the new way the forest gets your attention. The digital forest, but like the old growth forest, it too can take something from you forcefully like a hungry bandit and offer you something you need or want at the same time. Trade began as a neighborhood/tribe thing, that became a village or city thing, then regional, national and global. Instead of looking into the old forest, there is a new digital forest that wants to look at you, your tribe, and place on the planet. The moral authority function of human judgment is why humans build cities and turn forests into parks. The time is now to look deeply into ourselves in cities, and to leave the old wood alone, revered as the place from which we came.
The work of the Freedom House think tank looks at the demand for human rights in places under threat of violence and works to protect these rights when won, yet far too easily lost. The FH sees an erosion of democratic political environments and points to more than 2.5 billion people FH designates as “Not Free,” and more than a third of the earth’s population. The number of “not free” is growing due to a decline in political rights and civil liberties. The Annual “Freedom in the World” report each year is getting more frightening. In April, the concerns focus on Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia’s disconnect from the Internet. The growing interest in ranking internet and digital rights exposes an inability to clarify how user information is secured and encapsulated or closed and contained in authoritarian regimes. Expanding the Global Magnitsky Act as an accountability tool is appreciated by FH.
The Guttmacher Institute examination of global population issues and ideologically-driven political interference disrupts the professional connection between doctor and patient, lawyer and client. These disruptions reduce the safety and dignity of these critical relationships and adversely affects a woman’s quality of life. The growth of blatantly unconstitutional and radical state-level laws aimed at a SCOTUS trial is a blatant money grab on settled law. At the current federal level rules governing the national use of funds are coercive in intent and practices that assault on women’s access to reproductive health services especially if they are of low and moderate income.
Heartland Institute looks to free-market solutions to the social and economic problems in the United States. When over 90% of human issues, need and concerns are met by free-market solutions, it seems odd that attempts at getting into the 10% where it fails is threatening. Most of the tweets are clear political shots when any entity does not see profit first and all other consequence second. The twitter-sphere tempts childishness, so it prompts you straight to their websites. For example, a letter to POTUS45 seeks funding for a climate security commission as a voluntary offer to debunk science reports on climate change. Their interest in demonizing people with interest in Democratic Socialism is an equally deliberate attack on any attempt to reduce excesses in the free-market system. It leaves one deaf to any other point as valid. Heartland needs a transplant, and a heart may not be enough. Facebook canceled their adds.
I suppose it is appropriate that the Heritage Foundation (HF) is next up in this alphabetical Tweet O-Rama of think tanks. Here you will find the narrative tones exalting the glory of capital markets. The wonders capital has brought to the world. What would we do without money to sustain whole new classes in newly enriching ways? Most of the tweets are useless jibes and retweets of the favored. Go to their website to get the strategy. Under “Heritage’s Perspective” you will find a series of “read/listen more” teasers. I will summarize my first impression using the following, well-crafted, run-on sentence:
Of course, the transgender ban is logical, and if you have a hovercraft, gerrymandering would be much more fun along with the ability to take shots at Theresa May’s failure as a conservative within the confines of a robust pro-life agenda, and finally, college admissions are rigged, haven’t they always been so?
The Hoover Institution (HI) is pleased to give me ten reasons by progressives shouldn’t hate POTUS45 and get this; they quote CNN. Here goes: 1) The economy, 2) not appalled by lies because 3) he’ll stop the socialists, 4) they believe his caring, empathic rhetoric, 5) he is the same at every rally, suit, tie hair and all, and 6) keeps trying to keep promises and goes against his party, 7) people see moves against a sitting president is all political BS and 8) media bias is clear. The last three are reasonable ways to understand his loyal base, 8) it is the east and west coast vs. the hollowed-out interior that has grown to include battleground states, 9) despite everything “the family” is holding together and 10) he is a performer and entertains. Even looking at conservative sites will produce cross-over insights.
Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) attention is on the reconciliation efforts in Rwanda as a lens focused across the globe from Libya to Venezuela and on to specific concerns such as the 500th day since Azory Gwanda he “went missing” in Tanzania (#WhereIsAzory?”), and the secret Khashoggi murder trial and beatings in Nigeria and so on. Malaysia decided to leave the ICC very quickly. HRW is livid with the cancelation of an ICC prosecutor’s visa. NGOs mag get a break from the Egyptian government. The triple bottom line utilizing “truth commission” practices yields a sliver of hope.
Common Ground Alert!
The Independent Institute has David J. Theroux’s magazine the Independent Review. Its messages have a unique California vantage point that puts the facts on the table and tries to make you think. As an example, in response to the recent POTUS45 request to make more room for a conservative speech on campus has this quote in its article.
“The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education found that in 2017, 39.6 percent of the 449 colleges it analyzed “maintain[ed] policies that seriously infringe[d] upon the free speech rights of students” (source).
A Republican, Ronald L. Trobridge wrote the article, noting it would be inappropriate and probably illegal to ask applicants applying for a teaching job if they were a conservative or liberal. The applicants want to be professors exploring ideas, not politicians.
I find more progressives teaching because they have something to say. Trobridge ends the article by saying it is OK if you fail and get a “D” in a class if “principles” are involved. I wrote a paper that successfully delivered my views under the heading “democratic socialism” in a classroom (applause, request for more information, and so on). I was pulled into the faculty office and given that “D” myself. I should preface that this was just after the assignation of John Kennedy. I remember how frightened, McCarthy-like frightened, the teacher seemed. Knowing pain has the potential for being self-inflicted, yet knowable and understandable is good. The alternative is to have that pain secretly imposed with malice and intent.
The Inter-American Dialogue has a laser focus on Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, and Haiti. One of those lasers looks at “remittances” as a significant largest source of financial assistance ($85B) moving from north to south Read IAD’s report #Remittances2018 here. The overall energy company impression is best in the first few minutes from Lisa Viscidi (here) via Bloomberg and sharp on China in the region.
The James Baker III Institute for Public Policy is all over Venezuela in the “let freedom ring” mode with VP Pence as the loudspeaker and for balance includes protests of Pence at Rice University. The rapid turnover in Trump’s high security positions became a central concern in mid-April.
The Kaiser Family Foundation aims at a healthier America and pushes to see the health problems of our lower income population as central to the reform effort of a national policy to eliminate bias. One example of this is 90% of uninsured poor adults reside in the South. The high cost of indigent care is very carefully tracked by going to the detail such as the 212% increase in deductibles woven into health care policy. Overall “health” remains a thread in the tweets of several of the tweeters in tanks. The focus on health is seen as an attack aimed at the drug cartel responsible for 1.9 million opioid addicted nonelderly adults is a “give” in the ongoing attack on the ACA. The general call for Medicare for All in the number of bills introduced can be examined (here). April is a cruel month.
The Lexington Institute points to a major health problem, AKA war and in April – the need to defend against “hypersonic weapons.” Fentanyl from China is not being well tracked or seized and like cyber – put in the context of an invasion. Pounding the table for continuous improvements in defense postures belongs to Lexington, from micro-tracking devices on everything to brand new B-21 Bombers circling the planet military reform is consistently cloaked in terms of modernization. I believe in defense with a bid “D,” but try to find an economist looking at what happens when too much money chases too many goods? The rich country answer is you get the acceleration of products fashioned, more than the military needs and then send it to police jurisdictions just in case of what – an invasion?
The Ludwig von Mises Institute (LMI) After calling out a civil war battle anniversary, the LMI attacks @AOC for her interest in “socializing the economy” by advancing arguments for a climate change strategy and a rapid reduction of fossil fuels because it makes no economic sense without a clear and largely unregulated role for private capital and property. Western economists promote fungibility and discount the negative role of entrepreneurs as minimal no matter the amount owned or how much or what we consume. The flaw in this argument cannot be proven until it is too late for the mystery of “market correction” capital implements repairs. Nevertheless, there are some useful arguments for their critique of the GND“ debunked. Nevertheless, Tomas Piketty (summary) has a refined approach to the problem of vast patrimonial capitalism and the threat of an oligarchy. One example is how the “estate tax” was renamed “death tax,” another is simple math CEO’s were paid 400 times more than the average paid to the American worker or average annual incomes of $12M to the CEO vs. $36,000 to the ordinary worker.
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MIPR) work on post-industrial cities sees opportunity in a report by Aaron Renn through new ground planning while awaiting private market corrections. There is a long list of a post-industrial urban center with under one million in a population that has lost 20% or more of its people from a previous peak. (DOWNLOAD PDF). The mysteries of fungible capital became unavailable to these cities for putting a fix into municipal finances, reform or restructure dysfunctional institutions and rebuild public services. The MIPR has NYC recovery from a similar abandonment of capital as one of those “the bank is in trouble” solutions that provided for growth with fiscal discipline. Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Saginaw, Danville, Johnstown and so on were not so lucky, and MIPR gets into the why and how. There are no snipping in their tweets, just honest statements leading you to real thinkers and solid proposals.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has a broad approach. They are attracted to the economics of the housing crisis, immigration reform, the revival/survival of manufacturing, and the promotion of a book on “the corporation.” Challenges to the federal debt level, the rise of right-wing terrorism,
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has the last word on the economic forces shaping the future of the world. The use of their twitter feed is to announce working papers fed by the wealth of U.S. Census data on every aspect of American life from micro-marketing strategies and consumer response to mandated protection disclosures. An interesting analysis of “patent trolls” by them and them in order to license them vs. use links to health and drug policies that hide the demand for larger generic markets. NBER produces papers like a factory would include cars. There is something for everyone without a hint of political purpose. The facts, just the facts.
The New America Foundation is similar in their “life is complex” approach to science and the art of political change. The New American Weekly (Edition 243) produces the work of their “fellows” resident in NYC or LA. They have a functional analysis of why the right wing got control of a swath of state capitals.
On 18 April the New Democrat Network (NDN) asks its participants to do some background reading to gain an understanding of Trump and to have a discussion of their findings. The series of papers are swept under the heading of “patriotism and optimism.” Their criticism of trade policy points out the general decline of manufacturing fear of change
The Open Society Foundation (OSF) lays it out as clearly as possible; the world needs care, hope, democratic climate action and continuous revelation on the meaning and purpose of equality. In all of these areas, the OSF works to lead by example and with others who do so with a healthy set of retweets from publishers such as The Guardian
The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) would be wise not to repeat presidential threats unless until there is an actual implementation, then call it was it is. Trade talk/war/talk and all of it on Mexico’s critical relationship to its northern border with very little attention paid to the south. Economic nationalism in Chinese is like the German role in the EU State-owned companies in China, and sector-specific American interventions are hypocritical behaviors. Central Bank control systems are in little trouble given “hyperinflation” flags fluttering in the breeze of a credit crunch.
The Public Policy Institute of California is a way, cool dude. They have a thing in April for retweeting the Maddy Institute reports on the 2020 Census and how immigration policy might get framed through the election. Next, the next great drought will have less remote sensing data available due to USGS and NOAA cuts even though the water grid crisis continues to loom.
As a nonprofit, nonpartisan, organization the Rand Corporation is committed to the public interest and considered a trusted source for policy ideas and analysis. They would also admit a rise in the threat to communities all over the world likely to become less safe, secure, and healthy amidst the prosperous. Rand opened April up with a century-long review of the “political objectives of U.S. Military interventions and puts reduced success on “ambitiousness.” Calling out Iran as a terrorist nation fits that bill. The next message somewhat ironically promotes SEL for social and emotional learning as a “measures” issue. They are delighted with the student achievement success of Principle Pipelines project. Military complex interests are in cyber currency and terrorism. Billions needed to cover the cost of meeting California’s new 2030 Seismic standard in the contract.
The Reason Foundation libertarian ideals separate themselves from the wing flapping left or right with a value system that remains adaptable to changing times if they lead to a limited federal government. The logic of it is the states of the republic remain the leading laboratory for building a democracy. The surprise is they find Pete Buttigieg, the “most interesting” Democrat. The challenge to the “qualified immunity” doctrine governing police behavior as “notorious,” and disagree over labeling in immigration policy.
The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is one of many doing the thinking needed most by the thoughtful over the next decade. Goals for the earth and energy for humans are becoming more critical and where else would you be able to discover “Rs 10.000-crore FAME-II scheme?” Just in case you are an advocate for less jargon in the world – this is about India’s move to incentivize vehicle electrification. I ran a national community design center conference for several years. The Pittsburgh Design center incentivized bicycling with a Pedal Pittsburgh Campaign. RMI recently organized the screening of National Geographic’s documentary, Paris to Pittsburgh. RMI knows solutions to climate change will be implemented in cities, not the mountains.
The Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) work in social science research on inequality, the working-poor, immigration and economic behavior of the actors involved. Themes in education tie it together from the impact of information technologies on the contributions of individuals such as Brian Powell and James Rosenbaum. Timothy Bartik was asked to respond to a new report from the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) regarding the decline in the working-age population expected through the 2020 Census. The report suggests a “heartland visa” immigration policy to replace losses in the area of the country where the reduction of working-age people is most pressing.
The thinking of people in the Third Way tank is ambitious center-left organization aiming its resources clean energy, education, health care, national security and the social policy and politics it will take for high-quality results in these areas. Their @TWPolitical feed is especially interesting as it examines challenges to the democratic party and examinations of the way the republic is collapsing and what can be done to save it in an author/speaker series. April is about Michael Tomasky’s book on both subjects. Next on their priority list asks for the “fastest path to zero” and no one has to request the meaning of zero so that a good thing.
The Urban Institute (UI) continues to pound the table to get people to see cities as the answer. The failure of political discourse in urban policy has required all institutions to seek a humanitarian response in the fight to sustain and establish the quality urban life of a diverse nation. This experience led UI to compile two extensive case studies by the Center on Nonprofits Philanthropy (CNP) the depth of the nonprofit housing and community-based development organizations in large cities have established a long list of innovations in social service programs by breaking glass ceilings and building capacity with proof. In turning fifty, UI is taking the definition of knowledge as experience plus reflection by examining the bias built into the demand for transformations since 1965 Voting Right Act, the Higher Education Act 1968 and the Fair Housing Act comprising the core of the Great Society. If the next fifty years of America’s community development future from suburban to core centers is a concern, the answers about the courage required will be found in that history.
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars tips the balance of American hegemony in the sheer number of people attracted to this subject where a great deal is said, but results are elusive. The initial Wilson vision became focused in his honor – 1968. They stand with Jefferson’s notion that an informed and active citizen can be trusted with their own government and this organization believes it is building tools for that citizenry to join the national conversation. The tweets generally promote local events, but for a fascinating archive of public policy history, the center’s “Sources and Methods” blog is an insightful look at today with each visit.
It seems appropriate for the Worldwatch Institute to conclude this lengthy effort at a summary of America’s think tanks just for April. In contrast to the incessant attempt at understanding the complex communications of human, their institutions and nations, April opening tween asks us to think seriously about the ecological impact and minimal psychological benefits of pets, the number of shipping containers and other sources filling the global ocean with everything from vintage Garfield phones to the micro-bead plastic you now consume with every bite from the sea. The Institute handed the world its most significant economic challenge – come up with a way to assure human well-being and minimize consumption. The knowledge that an institution like “Black Friday/Cyber Monday” can devastate America’s climate future does not seem to help. WI tweets carefully – one interesting lesson is the ability to quickly scroll down to their 2018 interest in altering the circular economy with the idea of “degrowth.” Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
On the Delivery of Quotidian Jeremiads
Loving the English language is not easy, but it is fun. The think tanks can lead you down some interesting new paths covered in rabbit-holes and a few Kool-Aid stands. With or without the consent of the Congress, the President of the United States can threaten many kinds of civilizational catastrophe. The election of the American President is not a routine political occurrence; it is the release of a specific set of prejudices plus immense power. The short history of the United States also exhibits the distribution of this power by wealth and its penchant for significant error inherent to inherited wealth.
Here is another think-tank thought stimulation. De facto segregation is a myth, racism is a created thing, and the proof of this is daily and routine. It is a quieter thing now, an experience like watching the minute hand on a classroom clock; the movement is subtle because patience for an exact moment of freedom grows thin and in the sweep of a second hand it comes and goes. The depth of America’s diversity challenge should not be unfathomable for the joy of its existence. Yet, there are times when the quality of human discourse is pressed for improvement so hard, we barely notice (here) or here.
On T.S. Eliot
The lesson in sharing Eliot’s literary genius is that it does not excuse his anti-Semitism. It complicates the reading of “The Wasteland” with feelings of unwanted complicity. We should be able to read and reread his best poems, see the beauty and wisdom without fear of his bigotry. The message includes caution and resistance to all those who would use hatred as a source of power in all political speech.
April is the cruelest month breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
These four lines capture a bit of the human soul, the reader wants to assign Eliot’s soul to a permanent place “beneath the rats” because his “icy dismissiveness” was assigned to an entire people. The reader’s judgment of his character is critical but not one I would assign to his tribe without the proof pulled from the heart of each member.