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Proposal to Ban Classroom Political Discussions Will Only Hurt Students and Civil Discourse

Posted by John Gable on October 21, 2018

By John Gable and Joan Blades (with a contribution from Julie Mastrine), Reposted from AllSides for Schools

A Pennsylvania proposal to ban political discussion in the classroom aims to prevent political indoctrination — but it would only facilitate it.

Will Tallman’s (R) “Teacher Code of Ethics” bill would ban educators from endorsing or opposing political candidates or issues in the classroom and from discussing pending or enacted legislation, court cases or executive orders.

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Then what, Bezos?

Posted by Nick Penniman 🇺🇸 on October 15, 2018

By Nick Penniman, Issue One. Reposted from

The world’s richest man just made a significant foray into both political giving and philanthropy. In the span of a few weeks, Jeff Bezos has committed $10 million to a cross-partisan political action committee working to elect military veterans who have pledged to put “principles before politics,” and $2 billion to create his Day One Fund to combat homelessness and boost early-childhood education.  

These are noble moves. But there’s another piece of the puzzle I’d encourage him to consider: transforming the political system itself. Our political system is broken, and it is the source of much of the inequality and dysfunction he’s trying to cure.

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When the City Comes for Your Home-Based Business: Overzealous regulators are targeting yoga teachers, accountants and even YouTube video creators

Posted by Shoshana Weissmann on October 01, 2018

By C. Jarrett Dieterle & Shoshana Weissmann, R Street Institute. Reposted from the Wall Street Journal

Chandler, Ariz.—a city of some 250,000 southeast of Phoenix—describes itself as “built on entrepreneurial spirit.” You could forgive Kim O’Neil for not buying it.

Ms. O’Neil and her family are longtime residents of Chandler. Until recently she ran a medical-billing company in the town. For years she worked out of leased office space, but when Ms. O’Neil’s father became ill in 2013 she moved the business to her home. After her father died in 2015, she continued to run the business out of her house, because she could fulfill her work obligations while caring for her elderly mother.

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Ten Critiques (And Defenses) On Approval Voting

Posted by Aaron Hamlin on September 21, 2018

By Aaron Hamlin, The Center for Election Science. Reposted from

Getting Started

Dig into voting methods and it won’t be long before you find criticism on different approaches. Approval voting (choose one or more, the candidate with the most votes wins) is no different. Unfortunately, analyzing voting methods—even when the methods themselves are simple—can get complicated.

To further complicate matters, we know through Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem that ranking (ordinal) methods must all fail some basic criteria that we’d prefer they not. Another theorem, the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem, shows that no voting method (beyond dictatorship or lottery) is immune to tactical voting.

Where does that leave us when evaluating a voting method?

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New bipartisan poll confirms urgency to fix our democracy

Posted by Nick Penniman 🇺🇸 on September 13, 2018

By Nick Penniman, Issue One. Reposted from Issue One.

Poll after poll confirms: Americans think our democracy is broken. And they are right.

But this new, bipartisan poll, called the “Democracy Project Report,” should really turn heads because it shows just how broad that sentiment is — and why now is the time to support real solutions to the crisis facing our democracy.

The new poll is the joint effort of the George W. Bush CenterThe Penn Biden Centerand Freedom House that engaged both Republican and Democratic pollsters before reaching their conclusions.

What did they find? That this “crisis of confidence” in American democracy is shared by the right and left. Although Americans still want to live in a democracy, 55 percent see ours as weak, and 68 percent see it as getting weaker.

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The Politics of Friendship

Posted by Clarissa Unger on September 07, 2018

By Clarissa Unger, Young Invincibles.

This article was originally published on for Civic Nation's ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. 

There’s something happening in our country. Partisan politics seem to divide us more than ever. We see divisive rhetoric and actions around issues like immigration, health care, taxes, and almost everything in between. This divide paralyzes our elected officials, keeping them from passing legislation at every level of government. It even prevents many of us from forming friendships or meaningful relationships with people that hold political perspectives different than our own. A polarized populace unable to reach across the aisle or even across the fence is not the America that we have been raised to believe in, or what I believe any of us really want.

The promise of America, of our democracy, has never been a guarantee. It requires something of each of us. If we want a government that represents us, we have to participate. And we have to work together, despite differences in perspectives or political ideology.

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Protecting Our Democracy: The Obligation of Leadership

Posted by Thom Little on August 31, 2018

By Thom Little, Ph.D., State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF).

More than two centuries ago, fifty-five men from across thirteen American colonies established a government like none other before, a government where power was bestowed not by birth right or by armed might, but by consent. A democracy. The governed had, by the power of their voice and their vote, the right to determine who would govern them and accordingly, the right to remove them as necessary. Thus began what Alexis de Tocqueville described as “the great experiment” to see if man was truly capable of self government.

With a lot of hard work, good leadership and not a little bit of luck, this government has endured- it has survived some less than competent and noble leaders and irrational decisions made out of fear, racism, sexism, partisanship and just plain ignorance. It has survived wars internal and external. It has, although not without pain, hardship and some serious missteps, integrated peoples of different races, ethnicities, identities and philosophies. The nation has moved forward in fits and starts, but it has moved forward.

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Pipat's Letter

Posted by Jacqueline Salit on August 24, 2018

By Jacqueline Salit,

Note: This post was the day after the famous Tham Luang cave rescue in July 2018.

I had followed the story of the boys -- the Thai soccer team and their coach -- who were trapped in Tham Luang Cave in Thailand since June 23rd. When I passed a newsstand on Monday night and saw that four were rescued, I choked up for a second. There were still eight more and the coach to go. Scores of divers traveled to the cave from around the world to help with the effort and a Thai Navy Seal died trying to chart an escape route through the floodwaters that filled the mile and a half of treacherous cave pathways.

Yesterday morning all the boys—the Wild Boars –were rescued.  At the end of one of the detailed accounts of the rescue operations, I read some of the notes that the boys had sent to their families, transported by divers who became the link between them while they were still in the cave.  Pipat Poti, who is 15, wrote to his parents, “Mom, Dad, I love you guys, and little sister Toi.  If I get out please take me to a pork barbecue place.  I love you Dad, Mom.”  My heart skipped a beat.  Pipat, trapped in a harrowing maze with low levels of oxygen and facing a dangerous escape route, longed for his family and a small pleasure.  Pork barbecue.

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Amplifying the Awesome Power of Debate – IBM's Project Debater and

Posted by Kamy Akhavan on August 17, 2018

By Kamy Akhavan, Reposted from

French essayist Joseph Joubert wrote in 1896: "It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it."

For the last 15 years, I've led the nation's most popular debate organization, While our public charity has served more than 180 million people since 2004, our obsession with critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship has met a formidable and unexpected ally – one whose audience could reach into the billions. I'm talking about IBM and its Project Debater.

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Glimpsing a Silver-Lining in this Otherwise Gloomy American Moment

Posted by Jacob Hess on August 10, 2018

By Jacob Hess, Living Room Conversationsand Village Square

Amidst the tumult of this perilous moment in the United States, could something surprisingly beautiful arise? Could this be the moment when good-hearted people across the political spectrum are forced to decisively come together - in defense of something perhaps more fundamental than ideological commitments of their respective parties?  

If so, Jacob Hess (Living Room Conversations & Village Square) writes in a three-part series, it may start with recognizing the extent to which a profound disagreement has come to increasingly divide not only people identifying as "conservative" - but equally so among "progressives" too.

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