The data scientist who didn't have time to stop all the coups

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Zhang discovered inauthentic activity — a Facebook term for engagement from bot accounts and coordinated manual accounts— in Bolivia and Ecuador but chose “not to prioritize it,” due to her workload. The amount of power she had as a mid-level employee to make decisions about a country’s political outcomes took a toll on her health. — “I Have Blood On My Hands”: A Whistleblower Says Facebook Ignored Global Political Manipulation, Craig Silverman, Ryan Mac, and Pranav Dixit in BuzzFeed News

Boys State

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We watched Boys State this week. It’s a documentary that follows a cohort of Texan teenage boys going through an intense one-week political bootcamp at the Texas state capitol. They’re divided randomly into two parties*, given lessons in the state constitution, and then they run a compressed set of elections for party chairmen, gubernatorial candidates, and ultimately for state governor. I really enjoyed it, though I felt myself predictably enamoured with the charismatic and thoughtful liberals Steven and René.

How the Pandemic Revealed Britain’s National Illness

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Britain, I was told, has found a way to be simultaneously overcentralized and weak at its center. The pandemic revealed the British state’s inability to manage the nation’s health: to create a funding model that does not solely promote efficiency, to rise above short-term problems and tackle the problem of old-age care, and to mend the broken system of accountability that runs through so much of British public life. Throughout the NHS’s existence, British governments, both Conservative and Labour, have found the political will to tinker with it, but rarely to tackle its long-term challenges, fearful of losing votes.

Minneapolis Will Dismantle Its Police Force

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Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council a veto-proof majority pledged on Sunday to dismantle the Police Department, promising to create a new system of public safety in a city where law enforcement has long been accused of racism. — Minneapolis Will Dismantle Its Police Force, Council Members Pledge, Dionne Searcey and John Eligon in The New York Times

No More Money For The Police

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Municipalities can begin by changing policies or statutes so police officers never respond to certain kinds of emergencies, including ones that involve substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness or mental health. Instead, health care workers or emergency response teams would handle these incidents. So if someone calls 911 to report a drug overdose, health care teams rush to the scene; the police wouldn’t get involved. If a person calls 911 to complain about people who are homeless, rapid response social workers would provide them with housing support and other resources.

What a World Without Cops Would Look Like

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For those folks, the picture changes because hopefully they won’t have so many problematic things to deal with. The reality is a lot of people just don’t call the police as it is because they feel like it’s just going to make their lives worse. That is a deep truth. And so what we want to do is not just to leave them on their own, we want to try and start fixing their problems.

Is It Safe to Keep Employing a Cleaner? Wrong Question, Lady



You are asking the wrong questions, which is callous at best. You should be asking if it is safe for Maria to be around you. Do you keep your home properly sanitized so she won’t contract Covid-19 when she is working? Do you wear a mask when speaking to her so you don’t infect her? Do you provide her with personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and disinfectant wipes to ensure her safety as she works on your behalf and imperils herself and her young children?

American Police Departments

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The officers have since been placed on administrative leave but have not been charged with a crime. Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, told investigators he did not hear police announce themselves and was terrified when the door was knocked down. In a 911 call just after the shooting, Mr. Walker told the dispatcher that somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend, according to a recording released on Thursday.

Neofeudalism: The End of Capitalism?

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A third feature of neofeudalism is the spatiality associated with feudalism, one of protected, often lively centers surrounded by agricultural and desolate hinterlands. We might also characterize this as a split between town and country, municipal and rural areas, urban communes and the surrounding countryside, or, more abstractly between an inside walled off from an outside, a division between what is secure and what is at risk, who is prosperous and who is desperate.