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The Old-School Campaign to Unseat Joni Ernst

The Old-School Campaign to Unseat Joni ErnstTheresa Greenfield was 24 years old and four months pregnant with her second child when a priest rang her doorbell with terrible news: Her husband, Rod, a lineman at the local power company, had been killed in an accident at work. Greenfield, a Democrat who is challenging Senator Joni Ernst in Iowa this year, tells the story at every virtual campaign event she holds, but she generally leaves out the smaller details: how, just hours before, she’d packed a Snickers bar in Rod’s lunch box as a treat. How the clergyman sat with her on the sofa and held her hands as he explained that Rod had been electrocuted. The way that the panic, in those first few days, consumed her: As a single parent with no income, how would she survive?Greenfield’s answer came in the form of Social Security survivor’s benefits, a regular…


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Trump’s Really Bad Bet

Trump’s Really Bad BetDonald Trump is running for the presidency of an America that no longer exists.Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly reprised two of Richard Nixon’s most memorable rallying cries, promising to deliver “law and order” for the “silent majority.” But in almost every meaningful way, America today is a radically different country than it was when Nixon rode those arguments to win the presidency in 1968 amid widespread anti-war protests, massive civil unrest following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., white flight from major cities, and rising crime rates. Trump’s attempt to emulate that strategy may only prove how much the country has changed since it succeeded.Americans today are far more racially diverse, less Christian, better educated, more urbanized, and less likely to be married. In polls they are more tolerant of interracial and same-sex relationships, more likely to acknowledge the existence of racial discrimination, and less…


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Engineers are told ethics isn’t ‘career-advancing’ and we’re all l...

Engineers are told ethics isn’t ‘career-advancing’ and we’re all l…Universities tell students that they have the power to change the world. But they don’t teach them to stop and think about whether they should change it. The most vulnerable are left to live with the consequences. Last month I wrote about why Big Tech should end harmful contracts. Since then, many companies have taken steps towards this. But I can’t help thinking that if we’d put more emphasis on ‘don’t be evil’ from the very start, we might have been able to avoid some of this altogether.  Teaching engineers to be ethical is difficult. Even at some of the most highly accredited universities, the extent of many ‘ethics’ modules is a boring slideshow that most students don’t even bother turning up for, followed by a quick essay that would make anyone’s eyes glaze over. It’s a farcical box-ticking exercise that almost always just…


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She Wanted to Be a Republican President. She’s Voting for Biden.

She Wanted to Be a Republican President. She’s Voting for Biden.Republicans who say Donald Trump should lose in November but insist they won’t vote for Joe Biden aren’t being honest, Carly Fiorina argues.Fiorina was a Republican candidate for president just four years ago, and was briefly Ted Cruz’s prospective running mate. Trump needs to go, she says—and that means she’s voting for Biden.Fiorina is not going to keep quiet, write in another candidate, or vote third-party. “I’ve been very clear that I can’t support Donald Trump,” she told me, in an interview that can be heard in full on the latest episode of The Ticket. “And elections are binary choices.” She struggled with the decision, and whether to go public. But she said that this struggle is one Republicans need to have—including those who have rationalized supporting Trump despite their disagreements, because of some of his policies or judicial appointments.“As…


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Veterans’ Hospitals Have a Cleanliness Crisis

Veterans’ Hospitals Have a Cleanliness CrisisOn a warm November day in 2017, Representative Mark Takano, a California Democrat, met with a whistleblower who had serious concerns about the 270-bed Veterans Affairs facility in Loma Linda. Later that day, Takano took a tour of the hospital, and was shocked by what he saw. Grime encrusted the water fountains; the floors of the operating room were noticeably dirty. Takano called for the VA’s inspector general to launch an investigation, which found “inconsistent levels of cleanliness” in the main hospital building, and unwashed floors, dusty cabinets, and a sterile instrument resting on a dirty rack in the inpatient dental unit. The rate of infection among Loma Linda’s patients was higher than the agency average, and the housekeeping department was largely incapacitated by high turnover, poor pay, and shaky management. A separate investigation found the bacteria Legionella pneumophila, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, in the…


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The Voting Disaster Ahead

The Voting Disaster AheadOn June 9, primary day, hundreds of people surrounded Park Tavern, a sprawling brewery and restaurant in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. They queued in six-foot increments, and the line wrapped around the parking lot. Two nearby polling locations were closed, so this was where 16,000 Atlantans were slated to cast their ballots. Across the metro area, more than 80 voting locations had been closed or consolidated over concerns about the coronavirus. What’s worse: The new state-ordered voting machines had stopped working.Some people waited for more than three hours to vote; others left before casting their ballots. Georgia’s meltdown was not an anomaly. The 2020 primary began with a malfunctioning app in the Iowa caucus, rendering the first-in-the-nation contest moot. One month later, on Super Tuesday, voters met hours-long waits in Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, and Sacramento. Another month passed, Americans began dying of the coronavirus, and state officials…


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