Daily Resource Highlight - 8/23/2021

Posted by on August 23, 2021 at 3:24 PM

Below are the highlights and featured resources of this past week’s Daily* Resource.

August 17, 2021 - You’re Wrong! But That’s OK...I Am, Too

I am certain I am wrong about some deeply held belief, and I try to bring that mentality into every conversation I have. That doesn’t mean I change my mind regularly, but I try to let myself be challenged. It’s difficult, though. Jack Byrd, Jr. of Interactivity Foundation recently wrote about seeing several forms of bias get in the way of honest conversation during a classroom discussion, and I’m sure I bring some of these biases into my own conversations.

Furthermore, these types of biases are often reinforced and encouraged outside of the classroom setting, including by media sources. Indeed, it seems nearly impossible to get the latest news without a narrative or agenda attached. To guard against this, AllSides wrote the article “Persuasion Tactics the Media Uses to Sway You.” It isn’t always easy to know when a publication is trying to manipulate you, but by reading that article, you’ll at least know what to look out for.

If on the other hand, you want a source that works hard to not manipulate you, check out Network for Responsible Public Policy. NFRPP’s approach is to bring on experts on various subjects and let them do the talking (as they did with the For The People Act). These experts bring their own perspectives and biases, of course, but NFRPP is committed to creating room for nuance. The Bridge Alliance family is proud to support NFRPP as one of several members that wants to help you and your fellow Americans think for yourselves.


August 19, 2021 - Getting Nerdy with Ballotpedia & POGO 

This newsletter is for my fellow nerds. In the coming months, all 50 states (Ballotpedia) will redraw their legislative and congressional districts for the next decade based on 2020 Census data. In some states, an “independent” redistricting commission with equal representation from both parties will draw the lines (see Arizona). In other states, either the Democratic or Republican Party dominates the process (see Arkansas).

There will be countless partisan and non-partisan considerations that will figure into every map and, for now at least, the possibilities are endless. If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in every state, Ballotpedia should be your go to source. I can almost guarantee you won’t find a resource that is simultaneously as comprehensive and user-friendly as Ballotpedia’s redistricting page.

Now let’s turn to the federal budget, which is a whole different beast. While organizations like the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget do their best to make issues surrounding the budget accessible for the general public, it is still incredibly difficult (and sometimes impossible) to determine how our taxpayer dollars are being used.

The Project on Government Oversight wants to bring some transparency and accountability to the process with its “Blueprint to Fix Reporting of Federal Spending.” The plan focuses on:

  1. Fixing Current Reporting
  2. Filling Reporting Gaps
  3. Tracking New Data Points

As with Ballotpedia’s redistricting page, POGO’s blueprint gets into the weeds. If you’re a fellow nerd, though, I suspect you’ll enjoy this accessible breakdown of the flaws in budget reporting and POGO’s proposed solutions.