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Resilient Constructs

Why Republicans Can't Change

As information about the Republican Party’s 2016 platform trickles out, people on the other side of aisle express dismay: the GOP is as hateful and oppressive as ever. Why haven’t they learned anything? When Republican candidate Mitt Romney lost the Presidential election 2012, party brass did, in fact, do some soul-searching, as detailed in their 2012 Growth and Opportunity Project book. They recognized that they have a difficult time reaching minority voters:

The "Real" American Left

Yesterday, an open letter on identity politics, to and from the Left was put up on Medium. From there, the #WeAreTheLeft hashtag was spawned. But none of this is as simple as it seems. The format of the letter is straightforward enough. A struggle is framed in terms of women–some trans, some queer, some of color–who have spoken up and faced vicious harassment and verbal abuse. The anecdotes are troubling and depressing.

New Orleans: America's City

I just spent some time in New Orleans. I want to talk about it. By no means have I seen all of America’s great cities. I’ve seen but a handful. One thing I have noticed about them, though, is that they all have some iconic section for which they are famous–where the action is. New York City has Times Square. Baltimore has the Inner Harbor. New Orleans is famous for its French Quarter.

Police Can't Do Everything

Policing in the US–specifically, police abuses and a resulting lack of accountability–has been a frequent topic of discussion over the past few years, with the Black Lives Matter movement at the forefront. The problems endemic to our policing institutions are myriad and will likely be difficult to correct. Start with the basics: what are police for? Most people would say the purpose of police is law enforcement–that is, to take the laws duly enacted by legislative bodies and carry out their execution.

Are We Too Specialized?

Today’s economy is based on ever narrower specialization–people who know their specific domains inside and out, even if they don’t know much else. But this might be leading to greater problems in the future. Specialization only became possible as technology advanced, requiring workers with special knowledge in order to do their jobs. In the past, certain trades were also specialized, and such knowledge was kept within that profession. Apprentices learned from experienced tradesmen, and so it was in many kinds of work for hundreds of years.

In New Orleans

Surprise: I’ve been in New Orleans since Friday. Through the magic of technology, I’m writing this on Thursday before I’ve even left home. What will New Orleans be like? Will I enjoy it? I suspect I will! The main reason I mention it is because I’m not sure if I’ll do any weekday posts about it. I might, depending on what comes to mind while I’m there and after. I wouldn’t do so until after Monday, though, because I get back late that night.

Link Roundup: July 9, 2016

I’m out of state (again), and yet somehow these links keep materializing. Someone should look into that. Politics * [How Donald Trump bankrupted his Atlantic City casinos, but still earned millions](http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html) -- Great businessman! * [Liberals need to stop writing off non-college educated workers -- before the white working class writes off liberals](http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/06/dems-need-better-answers-for-the-working-class.html?mid=twitter_nymag) -- I will note that, for the most part, this has already happened, and it has happened most starkly in the South, where racism guides the voting preferences of the white working class to an alarming degree.

The Problem with Batteries

Unlike other electronics-related technologies, batteries don’t seem to advance that quickly. What gives? First off, it helps to know what a battery is and how it works. How Stuff Works has a great article on this, but I can also give you the short version. All batteries consist of positive and negative terminals, which are attached to cathodes and anodes (collectively known as electrodes), respectively, within the battery. Some medium must exist between the two to transmit energy, and this is the electrolyte.

Endless Black Killing

Another day, another black man gunned down by police for no good reason. This isn’t right. This shouldn’t be normal. 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot to death yesterday during a traffic stop over a broken taillight. Castile had a gun, which he was licensed to carry, and informed the officer of this fact before reaching for his wallet to provide his identification, as we are all expected to do during traffic stops.

Private Prisons, Organization, and Accountability

Mother Jones recently featureda lengthy investigative story into a private prison administered by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). It was almost surprising in how dramatically _un_surprising it was. I fully recommend reading the entire piece. It’s quite long–over 30,000 words–but well worth your time. There’s a lot of information packed within. I’m not here to rehash or summarize, but rather to draw attention to aspects I found particularly salient. One is that Winn Correctional Center, which is the prison the author investigated by working there for four months, comes across as an unusually poorly run prison.