Politics

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How about approval voting?

If you have followed the beginning of the US primaries – and hell, it’s been hard to avoid – you probably couldn’t help thinking whether this is really the best way to select a candidate. With so many candidates still in the race, votes quickly become tactical rather than reflecting people’s true affinities. People start reasoning, say, «I prefer Warren, but her chances are slim, so I go with Buttigieg to make sure Bloomberg doesn’t win.» And so, the results don’t necessarily reflect how much support each candidate has. Approval voting would fix this: You don’t pick one candidate, but as many as you like. Someone might not be most people’s top choice, but have the broadest support and thus be the ideal consensus candidate.

From Weekly Filet #289, in May 2020.

Why We’re Polarized

As the trial against Donald Trump enters its final stages, and as the selection of the Democrats’ contender is about to start, this new book offers a sharp lens for understanding the current state of the United States. Ezra Klein, founder of Vox.com, does an excellent job in compiling evidence and forming it into a narrative that is easy to read and easy to understand. His key argument: «America’s political system isn’t broken. The truth is scarier: it’s working exactly as designed.» And while the book focuses on the USA, since it is strongly based on findings from social science, it can be applied to other countries, too. Get it now (you can read and listen to an excerpt on Vox.com)

From Weekly Filet #287, in March 2020.

Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

Ethiopia is building one of the largest dams in the world, leaving Sudan and Egypt further downstream the Nile at serious risk of water shortages. If Ethiopia fills the dam within three years, Egypt would lose half of its annual water supply. Al Jazeera has produced a compehensive visual piece on the project and its ramifications. (Also, did you know that the Nile flows very slowly? 65 times slower than the Amazon).

From Weekly Filet #286, in March 2020.

Why Is Putin’s Latest Power Grab So Surprising?

Vladimir Putin is reshuffling the political system (once again) to secure his power beyond 2024, when term limits force him to step down as president. Julia Ioffe with a good short explanation of what exactly is happening here with Putins latest unsurprisingly surprising move.

From Weekly Filet #285, in March 2020.

Impeachment.fyi

The trial against Donald Trump is officially underway. The judge and the jury (all senators) have been sworn in, the actual trial will begin next week. Which makes today the perfect day for subscribing to Impeachment.fyi, the best way to follow the proceedings without getting overwhelmed. For months now, Dan Sinker, journalist and maker of all kinds of great things, has produced a concise daily summary of what one needs to know about the impeachment.

From Weekly Filet #285, in March 2020.

The Candidates: Elizabeth Warren

A profile of a politician like I’ve never heard it before. Michael Barbaro and the team at «The Daily» portray Elizabeth Warren in a wonderful, novel way and explain how she became the woman who is now running for president of the United States (and who would be, as she said yesterday, «the youngest woman ever inaugurated».

From Weekly Filet #281, in January 2020.

The British are going to miss Europe

Written before the election, no less applicable right after. An ode to Europe and an explanation why people struggle to feel European. «What makes Europe truly European are all those things that you don’t see when they’re all around and only notice when they’re not.»

From Weekly Filet #280, in January 2020.

Seniors Are More Conservative Because the Poor Don’t Survive to Become Seniors

«So it’s not just a matter of people naturally growing more conservative as they grow older. It’s also a matter of the wealthier — and more conservative — people surviving more often, and for longer.» – I have never thought of it from this perspective, but it makes an awful lot of sense. Would love to see a broader study that shows how (or not) this applies to other countries.

From Weekly Filet #276, in June 2018.

There Is Only One Trump Scandal

More than a year into his presidency, not a week goes by without a troubling revelation about Trump or without him doing something that has you shake your head in disbelief (often both, actually, and multiple times). Here’s a way to wrap your head around the madness: «There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates…»

From Weekly Filet #275, in May 2018.
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