Our Democracy Is Still In Crisis

For The People Act, Evil "Citizen" App, and Shareholder Activism

This is a view from the Los Angeles River. Yes, the river that runs through Los Angeles. It’s a little peak at what I’m getting to see while filming my PBS show, America Outdoors.

Hi you.

We are still in a state of emergency with regard to our democracy in the United States. After armed insurgents attacked our Capitol and our democracy, the Republican Party refuses to investigate because at the bottom of that investigation, they would find a mirror. That party has lashed itself to Donald Trump out of fear or opportunism or both, and its members are playing along with the cosplayer president which gives credence to further political violence. It’s a dangerous game. We essentially live under minority rule in the U.S. Not satisfied to challenge the free and fair election of 2020, they are scheming to undermine the votes of the people in the future. They have introduced 380 bills in 48 states to make it harder vote because preserving power is now the explicit priority, not preserving democracy. In fact, they are willing to preserve power at the expense of democracy.

There is good news, however. There is something you can do. We have an alternate future available in the form of passing the For The People Act in the US Senate. It’s actually a damn good bill. It ends partisan gerrymandering, ensuring we the people pick our politicians, not the other way around. It creates easier options to register to vote and to vote early. It makes it harder for secret dark money donations to corrupt our democracy. It sets national standards which supercede the anti-democratic laws proposed and passed by one of our two major political parties. We can have all this. We deserve all this. Let’s demand all this.

If you live in the United States, please call your Senator and demand they pass this bill. It’s especially helpful to do this if you live in Arizona, West Virginia, Ohio, or South Carolina.

Kristen Clarke confirmed as first Black woman to lead DOJ civil rights (USA Today)

Good news! Kristen was president of the Black Students Association when I was at Harvard. She was right then, and she’s right now. Glad we got this nominee over the line and have restored a sense of justice to the department bearing that name.

‘FIND THIS FUCK:’ Inside Citizen’s Dangerous Effort to Cash In On Vigilantism (Vice)

Uninstall the Citizen app right now. It’s evil, run by people harming our society, and it undermines the true meaning of “citizen” in the process. This vigilante-driven tech is horrific. I want to become whatever kind of venture capitalist defunds garbage businesses like this.

Rock climbers of color face a host of obstacles. This group is trying to change that. (The Washington Post)

I really cannot wait for you to see my PBS series, America Outdoors. I’m filming right now and encountering these complicated experiences of people of color in the outdoors directly. Also my arms are sore from kayaking!

Exxon’s Shareholder Revolt Is a Warning for Boards Everywhere (Barron’s)

You may have heard the news last week about Biden’s $36 billion budget proposal to fight climate change, but change may already be happening from inside the biggest energy companies. Exxon’s board will now have two members endorsed by the activist fund Engine No. 1—thanks to shareholders’ votes. “Investors have lost patience with the basic business assumption that oil and gas will rule forever.”

An Arms Race in America: Gun Buying Spiked During the Pandemic. It’s Still Up. (The New York Times)

We are approaching 40 percent of Americans bearing arms and something like 400 million firearms total. We are a nation of guns, populated by just enough people to restock the ammunition. I see no way to unwind this, though I feel we must.

Doing the Work at Work (The Cut)

“What are companies desperate for diversity consultants actually buying?” Excellent long read about the business—and sometimes scam?—of diversity training.


This is an important story about the mega-drought facing the western United States.