Letter to my Two Sons on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

  My sons. You are 9 and 6, old enough to understand certain aspects of consent, but not quite old enough for me to tell you all the things I want to tell you about what’s going on right now with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. So I’m writing it here, for posterity, so you can read it and so I can later remember how I felt in this moment. As you grow, and as your dreams and desires bump up against the people and world around you, you will be faced … Continue reading Letter to my Two Sons on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

the electoral college should reject Trump

Look, it’s heartbreaking that Hillary Clinton lost the electoral college while winning the popular vote by almost 3M votes, with as many votes as Obama won in 2012, while Trump won only 0.35% more than Dukakis. That said, the Electoral College is the name of the game, and, until we change it, we should live by its rules. I don’t buy the Trumpian argument that, had the rules been popular vote, Trump would have campaigned in California and NY and won that, too. I don’t buy that for a second. But it doesn’t matter: rules are rules, democracies follow rules, … Continue reading the electoral college should reject Trump

We know what’s going on and we know what to do

Donald Trump is the President-Elect of the United States of America. What a catastrophe. I’ve been trying for days to write some thoughts. Every time, I am gobsmacked by yet another insane development. Bannon. The Muslim Registry. The “blind” trust. The business meetings interspersed with mild transition planning. We know what’s going on. We know who Trump is. He told us throughout the campaign, and he’s telling us again, every single day. He wants power and money. The truth doesn’t matter as long as he gets his way. He doesn’t believe in the Constitution unless it serves his purpose. Trump … Continue reading We know what’s going on and we know what to do

Voting Security Cheatsheet [2016 Edition]

It’s voting season! Which means everyone is asking questions like: wait, why can’t I vote online? how hard can voting really be? shouldn’t this all be open-source? isn’t it just as easy to hack paper voting as electronic voting? is Russia hacking our voting machines? why do we even need voting machines when other countries count by hand? maybe there’s enough time to fix things before November 8th? Hasn’t the blockchain solved voting already? For your convenience, I have compiled this handy election technology & security cheat-sheet. you can’t vote online for good reason. (a) We don’t know how to … Continue reading Voting Security Cheatsheet [2016 Edition]

What John McCain could say

[This is … hopeful fiction] My fellow Americans, When I ran for President in 2008, in the last stretch of the campaign, a woman at one of my rallies stood up and expressed fears about Obama because “he’s an Arab.” I could have stoked those fears, and many Republicans wanted me to. Instead, I chose to answer “no, Ma’am, he’s a decent family man, a citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.” I chose decency over easy political gain and demagoguery. (Ignore for a moment the implication that “Arab” and “decent family man” are opposites.) At some point … Continue reading What John McCain could say

On Apple and the FBI

If you pay attention to tech/policy stories, then surely you know about the Apple/FBI situation. Though this story has been broadly covered, I don’t think we’re having the right debate. And the right debate is, of course, very subtle. So here goes my attempt to nail that subtlety. What’s Going On? The FBI wants access to a particular criminal/terrorist’s iPhone. They have a warrant. The iPhone is locked, and if the FBI tries a few bad PIN codes, the phone will erase its data as a defense mechanism. Also, iPhones are programmed to slow down password attempts after a few … Continue reading On Apple and the FBI