My First Flight Since March 2020

Legal tax evasion, how the Internet breaks us, and a statue for Tom Hanks?

This is what a day at the beach looks like in Mousehole, England, in the Cornwall region where President Biden is meeting with Prime Minister Johnson. I took this photo four years ago and it helped me understand why people living like this would build the world's greatest navy and subjugate others around the world just to escape.

I could rant against Joe Manchin and his misguided belief that a party willing to overthrow an election would sign up to expand voting rights. I could urge everyone in New York City not to rank Andrew Yang in the upcoming mayoral primary, but I don’t need more than one sentence to convey that obvious message. I could celebrate the failure to destroy indigenous land and set back the clock on climate progress through the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline

Instead, I’m just gonna share that this week I took my first flight since March 2020. Here’s the archived Instagram story of my journey. I was nervous, out of practice, and excited all at the same time.

  • I was quoted in the announcement of a new poll on U.S. attitudes toward policing from PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist

  • My SXSW 2021 keynote is now available as a podcast episode. 

  • We’ve released a very special 11th episode of Season 2, How To Citizen podcast. In it, I revisit the first 10 episodes and synthesize the biggest takeaways from our journey through the economy and democracy. It’s a podcast version of my conference wrap-up I’ve done for gatherings like TED.

The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax (ProPublica)

This is a long and essential investigation into the legal tax evasion employed by the wealthiest people in the United States who pay a tax rate in the single digits. This is the excessive inequality that revolutions are born from, the rank greed that destabilizes democracy. Thank you, ProPublica for this massive public service. As a short follow-up, several former Treasury Department secretaries shared a few ideas with the New York Times on how to improve tax collection

For a second year, most U.S. police departments decline to share information on their use of force (The Washington Post)

As an occasional user of government websites, I sympathize with police who find it a hassle to submit use of force data to the federal government. But you know what else is a hassle? Getting shot by the police. How about this: no armored personnel carriers for departments that fail to report their use of force data, and we take back the rocket launchers and tear gas from those who already have them. Maybe we could implement a zero-tolerance policy for departments that fail to comply with the data submission mandate? Three strikes?  

Why every statue should come down (The Guardian)

I have been a proponent of removing traitor-celebrating Confederate statues. I’ve celebrated the erection of new statues to a wider set of historical figures. It never occurred to me that we shouldn’t put up statues at all until I listened to this awesome podcast episode. 

Tom Hanks: The Tulsa Race Massacre Is Every American’s History (The New York Times)

And now to contradict my previous link, I hereby propose a statue to honor Tom Hanks, a great American.

How Facebook’s News Feed Changed the Internet (The New York Times)

This is one of the most important short films I’ve ever seen. It explains why our experiences on the internet can leave us feeling adrift, alone, and anxious. There was a moment when we went from being drivers of our online destiny to passengers on an ever-changing landscape. That day was September 5, 2006. 

Video Time!

I want to give a standing ovation to this four-minute excerpt from Bo Burnham’s Netflix show, Inside. To quote a comment from Daniel Romera on YouTube, “This is incredibly fantastic. My goodness.”

Thanks to Alex, Michelle, and Chris for helping with this week’s curation.