The Key to Defeating Trump–and the Leaders Like Him Who Follow, Part 1

(Note: I started at the end of 2020.)

Trump lost the election, but assuming the threat he posed is over would be a mistake. Assuming everything goes well and Biden is sworn on January 20, the threat of Trump—or more specifically, Trumpism—still remains. In my view, we have only played the first half of the game, coming close to losing it, I might add. The game, or the battle for the soul of America, as President-elect Biden describes, continues; we’ve got the second half to play, and that’s because the factors that lead to Trump’s rise to power still exist in my opinion. Before I opine on these factors, let me acknowledge that this is a highly complex problem, way too difficult for me to fully understand, let alone provide the solution. My assessment and recommended solutions may be off base and ineffective, respectively. Yet, I can’t help but feel the current approach isn’t very effective, and sometimes it may be making matters worse. In thinking about this problem, I have sought the heart of Trump’s power, and then finding a way to effectively target and neutralize it. The following post, drawing heavily from the insights of Andrés Miguel Rondón, a Venezuelan who worked to politically defeat Hugo Chavez, will explain the conclusions I’ve reached about both. Continue reading “The Key to Defeating Trump–and the Leaders Like Him Who Follow, Part 1”

Conservatives Debate About Social Media and the Public Square

The participants: Tim Miller and Tom Nichols, on one side, and Rameesh Ponnuru and John McCormack (from National Review), on the other. (David French comes in at the end as a sort of peace-maker.) I don’t comment on Twitter anymore, but I really wanted to weigh on the points made in this debate, so I’m going to do that in this thread–just to get it off my chest.

Tim Miller starts the thread by criticizing a recent Peggy Noonan op-ed (which I haven’t read). Her article condemns Trump now, but Miller finds this annoying as she didn’t vote for Biden (and refused to endorse him over Trump?). He wonders why she should have a prominent platform–why people should trust her judgment–especially if she doesn’t recognize (and apologize) for this error in judgment.

Ponnuru calls Miller “insuferable” for this position, and Miller responds by saying, Continue reading “Conservatives Debate About Social Media and the Public Square”

Can the City Speed Up the Building Permitting Process?

One of Keith Amemiya’s stated goals is to speed up the building permitting process. Like others, Amemiya seems to believe that this is a crucial part of addressing the homeless and affordable housing issue. I’ve never heard him really delve deeper into the reasons for this, but the cost of housing and homelessness seems to stem largely from a supply problem. Currently, I believe we’re far from reaching the projected housing needs as well, and the slow permitting process for building is often cited as a big reason for this.

But the city make the permitting process more efficient, or has it reached a ceiling on efficiency? Based on your experience in government, do you think this is feasible? Consider processes in your own work place, particularly the processes that seem slow. Do you think there are viable solutions to make it faster?

Earlier in my career, I felt there were many services or processes that could have been made more efficient. For example, with regard to repairs, a process that would often be inefficient, I felt like if you could get each person in the chain to complete a repair to sit down in a room, you could identify where the process bogged down, and probably find ways to remove or reduce the problem. While I think this is still true, to some extent, I now wonder if the main issue is motivation, or lack thereof. That is. the main problem might be the desire make the process run efficiency. If one person in the process is not motivated to do this, that can slow the entire process down. For example, generally, I would say a request for a repair ends up the desk (or inbox) of someone in that chain. The person may not be motivated to act on the request and push it to the next step. (The person also might be extremely busy as well.)

If motivation is the issue, can the Mayor find a way to address this? I think it might be possible, but I’m less optimistic. I’ll try to share some possible ways of motivating workers, but I’d like to hear from you guys about this topic

Could Tower Records Resurrect Itself Today?

I’m sure exactly when the coining of “third places” occurred, but I do believe it’s real–the idea that people have a need for a cozy, appealing space where they can be next to people they don’t necessarily know or interact with. After college, Tower Records was definitely such a place for me, and watching this reminded me of this.

Based on what I gather from the film, Tower Records did not need to go out of business. For one thing, if they had made a transition to online music streaming, thinking they could still be here seems reasonable. On the other hand, I believe they filed bankruptcy in the mid-2000s, and this was before a lot of music streaming sites like itunes. Made going to a music streaming wasn’t viable at the time. But even if you put that aside, there are other, perhaps more critical reasons they went out of business…con’t.