Some Billionaires are Better Than Others

An article in the New York Times entitled Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove describes the pet project of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. This billionaire is spending his retirement using government data to follow the money spent by federal, state, and local governments, and put all his findings in a database. It’s called USA Factsand it’s got plenty of terrifying figures. Our graduation rate is only 59%. There are 427,910 children in foster care. We have no figures on how many guns are in this country, thanks to the NRA. We’re spending more money than we have to spend. It’s not a pretty picture.

Ugly and terrifying as that picture might be, Steve Ballmer wants all American’s to have access to the same set of data about the issues that matter most to them. He has created this database as a means for our increasingly polarized population to work from a common ground of numbers that are “apolitical”, so that we may each draw out own conclusions rather than preach our chosen party line. Ballmer provides a stark contrast to another billionaire- Trump. Not only is he worth almost 10 times what Trump is in dollars, he’s worth 100 times more in sense. His approach to the current division in the United States isn’t to pick a side and fan the flames, but rather to give Americans the tools needed to work through our differences. The only way we get through this is together. Now that we have USA Facts, we can’t hide behind MSNBC vs. Fox News, or Koch vs. Soros. We have the information we need straight from the US government that has been sorted out into understandable segments of truth about where our money goes. Now it’s time to take it to the table and work toward a better future for all of us.

For Inspiration and a Laugh

via GIPHY

This is Bernard Marks, a Holocaust survivor, addressing his sheriff and an ICE official at a town hall event. Marks brought up allegations made by the local paper that ICE was detaining people who were trying to access the courthouse. His remarks were brief, but very powerful. Take the time to watch here, or just enjoy the endless loop of Bernard sticking it to the man.

The only way we’re all going to get through the terrifying reality that is currently our Executive Branch is to laugh at the sheer absurdity of having an unqualified overcomb occupying the oval office. Monstrous and authoritarian as he may seem, he is only a man who should really learn his place in the pecking order. Remember that eagle Trump tried to use as a prop? I do. And I laugh every time I see it. Spread the joy.

 

The Fight for Net Neutrality is Heating Up Again.

Net Neutrality Town Hall

Net Neutrality is under threat again, according to the New York Times article “Net Neutrality is Trump’s Next Target, Administration Says” . New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was one of the dissenting voices when Net Neutrality was originally enacted back in 2015, and with his new powers as Chairman, the Open Internet Rules are more vulnerable than ever.

This timeline shows the history of net neutrality, and the events that led to the protections we enjoy for now. For more information about protecting the future of net neutrality, look into the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Center for Digital Democracy.

Image from Teddy Wilson, License