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How to fix American democracy

Fascinating views and good reading.

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How to fix American democracy: 38 ideas that get beyond our day-to-day political upheaval

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As we approach the one-year anniversary of the election, writers and artists propose solutions that could repair the underlying problems bedeviling our system.
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Dan Rather Gets it Right

Count on long-time newsman Dan Rather to understand what is important.

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Dan Rather

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From Dan Rather’s Facebook page:

Excuse me, Mr. President but your tantrum tweet storm this morning attacking the mayor of San Juan, a fellow American citizen dealing with a real-time life and death struggle for hundreds of thousands of her constituents on an island of millions in crisis, is not only far below the dignity of the office you hold. It fails even the most basic test of humanity. Did she have harsh words for your Administration's response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria? Yes. It's called a reality check, and one that conforms to every firsthand account coming out of Puerto Rico no matter how much you try to deflect with your "Fake News" epithets. To take this personally is to put ego before country. And you also blame the Puerto Ricans themselves? That they want "everything done for them"? No. They just expect to be treated as any other American would.

I have seen more than my share of wretched desperation over the course of my career. I have reported from crisis zones where matters of life and death hang moment to moment in the balance between action and inaction, where communication is limited, and the sense of panic is building. I have seen the most steadfast of leaders feel the crushing weight of responsibility as they survey a landscape of almost incomprehensible need. It does not take a saintly amount of compassion or empathy to feel for those who are struggling to stay alive, who are worried for the fate of family and friends, and who have seen so much that they have known and loved blown and washed away.

You swore to "faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States" and that means a responsibility to look out for all Americans, even if they live on an island in the ocean, or look different or even speak a different language than what you think is America. I worry that whoever has your ear has not adequately impressed upon you the gravity of this situation, or even the political price you are likely to pay (although that can be no where near the top concern at the moment). Or perhaps you have been told and haven't listened. Regardless, what Puerto Rico needs now is not rhetoric but help, not a bumbling response, but the precision and competence we expect of our government. I do not believe "blame the victim" is what Americans expect of their president.
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Would Your Dog Eat You If You Died?

Yes Fido and Tabby will eat you if they are hungry and you happen to die.

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Would Your Dog Eat You If You Died? Get the Facts. (National Geographic)

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You might not look at your beloved Bella or Buddy the same way after reading this.
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About Memorial Day

"I hope you're having a meaningful day."

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Don't Say 'Thank You For Your Service' This Monday

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Memorial Day is specifically to honor those who died in military service. One vet says he'd prefer people say, "I hope you're having a meaningful day." The holiday's history dates to the Civil War.
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Ballmer Unveils USAFacts

Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft today unveiled a database and a website that he and a small army of economists, professors and other professionals have been assembling as part of a stealth start-up over the last three years called USAFacts. The database is perhaps the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments.

Want to know how many police officers are employed in various parts of the country and compare that against crime rates? Want to know how much revenue is brought in from parking tickets and the cost to collect? Want to know what percentage of Americans suffer from diagnosed depression and how much the government spends on it? That’s in there. You can slice the numbers in all sorts of ways.

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USAFacts

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We are currently building a first-of-its-kind platform to help interested citizens learn the facts about government in a comprehensive, nonpartisan way.
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Heroin Hellscape

Ignored for more than 2 tragic decades, just four miles from Center City Philadelphia is a hidden-in-plain-sight wasteland along railroad tracks where the most desperate of Philadelphia's addicts have handed over their lives to heroin.

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In Philadelphia, just four miles from where America declared its independence, is a hidden-in-plain-sight wasteland along railroad tracks where the most desperate of Philadelphia's addicts have handed over their lives and liberty to heroin.
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Donate to Planned Parenthood

Decided to put my $$ where my mouth is. I sent a donation to Planned Parenthood. I encourage you to do the same:

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Donate to Planned Parenthood

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We all deserve the right to make our own health care choices. That's why I just joined Planned Parenthood in the fight to make sure everyone can access the care they need, no matter where they live, no matter what. Stand with us.
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3 Small Actions Boost Your Mood

3 simple small actions you can do every day to help boost your mood.

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There are three small actions you can do every day to boost your mood

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Happiness tends to occur as the side-effect of other pursuits and activities—here are some actions that’ll help cultivate happiness “on the side.”
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The Benefits of Bilingualism

Of course (Por supuesto)

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The Benefits of Bilingualism

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Being bilingual makes you smarter and can have a profound effect on your brain.

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Defining Racism

Well said.

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What is Racism?

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Racism DESTROYED in one minute. The woman in the video is anti-racism educator Jane Elliot.




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Inside 9/11

15 years later the memories are still so tragically vivid.

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Inside 9/11: The day that never ends

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Video — raw, chaotic and nearly inconceivable — offers a rare look into a day that continues to haunt the nation 15 years later.
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Obama at Rutgers: Walls won't stop change

The address to more than 10,000 graduates was the first at Rutgers by a sitting president.

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Obama at Rutgers: Walls won't stop change.

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Delivering the commencement address at Rutgers University, President Obama told graduates "Your generation has everything it takes to lead this country toward a brighter future," then joked that his generation had better penmanship and spelling.

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91% Democratic

That's about right.

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According to this quiz I am 91% Democratic. Which political party do you side with?

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Your beliefs on Science, Healthcare, the Environment, Social, and Domestic Policy side you mostly with Democrats. You are most concerned about Medicaid, Global Warming, Military Spending, Gun Control, and SCOTUS.
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Obama to speak at Rutgers

Nice, I plan on possibly being there.

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President Obama to speak at Rutgers commencement

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Rutgers University is celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2016 and had invited the president to speak 2 years ago. There is no record of a sitting president speaking at a Rutgers graduation.
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