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NFTs and the Future, Media Narratives, and the Ability to Travel
Plus, why are so many leaders awful?
Recently at The Bulwark:
From today’s Triad:
Here is the bottom line: If you are a well-informed consumer of news in 2021, do you know more about the world than a similarly well-informed consumer of news in 1980? Or any other era?
I think the answer is yes and I don’t think it’s close.
To me, that’s ultimately the test to get around our lived-experience bias: Does the media available today make you smarter about the world than you would have been 10 or 20 or 50 years ago?
If so, then I find it hard to get too worked up about woke MSM narratives. This isn’t to say that we don’t have media problems. Here are the Big Two in my view:
The death of local news.
The increasing ability of tech aggregators to siphon off the economic value of reporting.
But these problems aren’t sexy. You can’t make bank on Substack or fund a pretend university by talking about local news and the impact of aggregator theory.
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DANIEL MCGRAW writes how we used to call the cautious approach to fixing long-term problems “governing.” And how the infrastructure bill will make progress on the racist legacy of “bulldozing and bisecting.”
Let’s hope that Ted Cruz doesn’t succeed in turning the issue into another front in the culture war. Because Biden’s infrastructure plan seems to be doing what most people want:
Identifying a real problem and making a cautious initial overture to eventually undo it. It’s not a grand, revolutionary plan. It’s a start.
The practice of bulldozing and bisecting neighborhoods was bad policy seventy years ago. We should rectify it, if we can do so smartly and cost-effectively. The infrastructure bill won’t fix too many ditches this time around.
But it is a beginning, if clearer heads take charge. It’s the kind of cautious, prudent action that we used to call “governing.”
Tyrants are good at obtaining power, but bad at wielding it. And no, Mussolini didn't make the trains run on time. Author and Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas joins Charlie Sykes on today's podcast.
KIMBERLY WEHLE writes that lawsuits over the former president’s executive privilege claims feed into the far-right narrative that he is the rightful president.
As I explained here last week, Trump rests his lawsuit to enjoin the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) from transmitting official White House records regarding the January 6 insurrection to Congress on “executive privilege.” But the actual president, Joe Biden, has determined not to exert executive privilege over the very same documents. The Constitution establishes a single-person presidency: “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” “A” president—as in only one. The rationale at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was partly that the alternative—some sort of executive committee comprising multiple people—could not act nimbly to make crucial decisions in real time, and would not be as readily accountable to the people.
Biden is the president. Trump is not. By suing NARA and securing an injunction that temporarily binds Biden’s hands, Trump is shoring up the perception among his devotees that he is a sort of shadow president or president-in-waiting—or worse, for his most conspiracy-minded fans, that if there’s only one president, it is Trump who has the real power. Whether or not Trump prevails on his executive privilege claim under the Presidential Records Act (he should lose under the law), the fact that he has gotten this far in the lawsuit is a win in terms of the public perception, certainly among his followers, that he is strong and that Biden—and thus the Constitution itself—is relatively weak.
Cleveland Guardians it is! The dispute with the MLB team formerly known as the Indians and a roller derby team both agreed to use the name.
The ability to travel… is one Americans often take for granted (and sometimes abuse.) I was struck by this video from Yes Theory, about how one of its members, Ammar, an Egyptian national, had to use their YouTube money to buy citizenship in St. Kitts to get a passport that will allow him to go back to Egypt. Where they have compulsory military service that inhibits his ability to travel until he turns 30. It’s just a shame Ammar couldn’t more easily become an American, but I’m happy he’ll be able to visit his family again.
Reminds me of Shin Soo-Choo, having to win a gold medal in baseball to remain an MLB player.
But… There are bad actors and state actors. Consider this story from Canada, which is more liberal with its legal immigration than we are.
Is this real life?
That’s it for me. We’ll see you tomorrow. Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this email.
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