Pages tagged "Featured Blog"


The War on Empathy

Reposted from Better-Angels.org

Take a look at the meaning of the word empathy. Ruminate on its definition—“the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” It is the light by which we may call forth the best qualities of our fellow Americans, and in so doing, call forth the best in ourselves. One would not think this could be controversial. But it is.

There is something subversive in empathy that makes it threatening to certain social status-quos. Most political coalitions are based, to some degree, on the dehumanization of their opponents. Some find empathy to be antithetical to the pursuit of justice. To others, empathy is the virtue of the morally irresolute. In a time when some politicians relentlessly insult their opponents on Twitter while others encourage their supporters to harass opponents in public places, empathy may not always strike everyone as a self-evident good.

It is good to understand why empathy seems to frustrate, disappoint, or even offend its critics, precisely because it is a virtue worth defending.


The poverty of partisan identity

Reposted from TheFulcrum.us (Disclosure: The Bridge Alliance Education Fund is a funder of The Fulcrum.)

Pritchard is the director of strategic communications for Essential Partners, which fosters constructive dialogue where differences are driven by values, views and identities.

"Unless democratic habits of thought and action are part of the fiber of a people," the American philosopher John Dewey wrote on the eve of World War II, "political democracy is insecure. It can not stand in isolation. It must be buttressed by the presence of democratic methods in all social relationships."

Today, many of our social relationships have been stripped of those methods. Democratic habits are imperiled, if not lost. And many advocates, pundits and politicians point to "identity politics" as the cause.


I Am Probably a Felon, and So Are You

Reposted from FreethePeople.org. Originally posted on ConnerDrigotas.com.

I have never been in jail. I have never been arrested. But I am probably a felon, and so are you. There are so many laws, too many for even the government to count, and the punishment for being a felon is crushing.

Some felonies might sound scarily familiar: taking a sick day when you aren’t sick, telling your friends about a bad company, or getting lost in the woods.

Some of these crimes on the books are simply bizarre. One law makes it a crime to sell “Turkey Ham” as “Ham Turkey” or with the words “Turkey” and “Ham” in different fonts (21 USC §461 & 9 CFR §381.171(d)); another makes it a federal crime to handle a crate full of imported primates without wearing waterproof shoes (42 USC §271 & 42 CFR §71.53(i)(6)(iii)(C)).


Social Media Wasn't Built for Balanced News

By Henry Brechter. Reposted from AllSides.com.

Let’s say you live right across the street from a takeout restaurant. Their prices are a bit higher than local competitors, and there are constant rumors of health code violations and mystery meat. But for the sake of speed and convenience, you usually eat there anyway. After all, you’ve got places to be, right?

This routine may seem ignorant or lazy to some. The second-nearest eatery can’t be too far away, and you'd probably be better off if you rolled up your sleeves and made a healthy meal. But just as people opt for sketchy neighborhood takeout over the healthier, less convenient alternative, they quickly fill up on political news and information through social media feeds rather than traditional mediums — even if they know it could be bad for them.


A business leader’s perspective: Why should organizations adopt second-chance hiring?

By Emily Mooney. Reposted from RStreet.org.

Jeffrey Korzenik is not your average banker. As the chief investment strategist and senior vice president at Fifth Third Bank, he is in charge of supervising the allocation of over $30 billion in investment assets on behalf of the bank’s clients. In addition to this not-so-meager task, he serves as the bank’s de facto economist.

But what makes Korzenik truly unique is his passion for promoting second-chance hiring—the hiring of individuals with criminal records. “You can’t manage investments well without understanding the economy, and you can’t understand the economy without understanding workforce dynamics.” According to Korzenik, the integration of marginalized workers, including those with criminal records, into the modern labor force is essential for continued economic growth and prosperity.


What Music Can Teach Us About Dismantling Organizational Silos

By Oliver Cenedella. Reposted from CongressFoundation.org.

Silos spell trouble, notably for advocates and policy professionals. These teams often get the short end of the stick when it comes to funding and other vital resources, making them especially reliant on other work channels for help and thus especially vulnerable to the operational inefficiencies silos create. In late June, advocates met at the Advocacy Leaders Network to discuss their experience with silos within their own organizations. 

Having spent thousands of hours at the keyboard as a musician, I've found that some lessons learned from performing music can also apply to overcoming silos.


Outsiders and Communities: Comparing Immigration and Gentrification

By Michael D. Purzycki. Reposted from Better-Angels.org.

Change is a constant in the United States, including changes in population demographics. Whether it is immigrants arriving on our shores, or Americans moving from one part of the country to another, our history is full of people who are unsatisfied with their conditions, and who decide to settle somewhere else. As common as such change has been for centuries, though, when it happens rapidly, in ways that appear to upend longstanding social and cultural norms, it can easily produce a backlash. We are certainly seeing that today.

In our time, the issues of immigration and gentrification lead to fierce arguments, with both touching on sensitive subjects like race, class, community, jobs and money. Both trends are sadly effective at conjuring up stereotypes, whether of shiftless Hispanics stealing jobs from natives and making no effort to learn English, or callous white yuppies invading low-income black neighborhoods, jacking up prices with their expensive tastes, and forcing longtime residents to move. On some level, we know that these stereotypes are unfair, and that when we take a deep breath and step back for a more objective look, we will find these issues are a lot more complicated. But in the heat of an impassioned debate, it is all too easy to fall back on our presumptions, especially about people not like us and about whom we don’t really know all that much.


Blocking Critics on Twitter: What Congress Should Know

By Anthony Marcum. Reposted from RStreet.Org.

Good news, D.C.: August recess is around the corner. For many, it is a time to escape the Beltway for some much sought-after R&R. For members of Congress, it is a time to return home and meet with constituents in their districts’ many town halls, festivals and county fairs.

In politically charged times, these events can sometimes turn combative. Questions concerning immigration policy or the president’s rhetoric may overshadow the talking points that members of Congress have in mind. During these events, protesters may need to be removed. To limit coverage, press may even be barred from attending.


Playtesting: A New Cast Your Vote is On The Way

Reposted from iCivics.org.

Before any of our games and digital tools are released as final products, we let real students in real classrooms experience them through playtesting. As soon as we get a playable build, we have the first playtest. The feedback from this exercise is critical in helping the game development team tweak and improve the final product. 

Our Director of Digital Learning, Carrie Ray-Hill, most recently experienced a playtest for our game, Cast Your Vote, which is getting a redesign that will be released in October. In the upgrade, Cast Your Vote has been completely re-imagined and challenges players to be informed voters in new ways. Using the tools at their disposal, players will be able to research candidates and propositions for an upcoming municipal elections — to uncover where they stand on the issues. Through a series of town halls and voting apps, players develop a sense of civic duty to prepare to vote as they watch Election Day come into view. 


How a Hijab-Wearing Muslim and a MAGA Hat-Wearing Conservative Formed a Friendship

Reposted from AllSides.com.

Amina Amdeen is a Muslim who wears a hijab. She’s been in situations where people have tried to remove her hijab from her head. So when she saw a group of protestors trying to light conservative Joseph Weidknecht on fire and snatch a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat from his head, she took swift action to defend him.

The event took place at a march protesting the election of Donald Trump in Austin, Texas, in 2016. The two somewhat unlikely friends tell their tale on StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization that records conversations between two participants, often with the theme of bridging political divides.

“I don’t think we could be any further apart as people, and yet it was just kinda like this common, 'That’s not okay,’ moment,” Weidknecht said.


1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  Next →