Feelings

How Code for Asheville engages with civic groups; Code for South Africa becomes Open Up South Africa; and more.


  • President Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney argued yesterday that cutting the funding for Meals on Wheels was “one of the most compassionate things we can do” because “we’re trying to focus on both the recipients of the money and the folks who give us the money in the first place,” as Eric Levitz points out for New York magazine. “Meals on Wheels sounds great,” Mulvaney argued, but these programs have “failed to meet their objectives.”

  • In case you have a hard time understanding Mulvaney’s concept of compassion, recall that Trump frequently invokes America’s “forgotten men and women,” meaning not the downtrodden, but people oppressed by paying taxes. As in William Graham Sumner’s original usage, “the man who never is thought of…. I call him the forgotten man… He works, he votes, generally he prays—but he always pays…”

  • As Arthur Delaney reports for The Huffington Post, recent studies show that providing meals at home to seniors not only improves their health, it helps keep them in their homes and out of much more expensive nursing homes.

  • And daily Meals on Wheels deliveries reduce loneliness.

  • Under Trump’s proposed budget, virtually all federal funding to the New York Police Department would be “eradicated,” the commissioner of the NYPD James O’Neill tweeted yesterday. The “entire counterterrorism apparatus in nation’s top terror target [would be] hobbled,” he wrote.

  • Also targeted: scientific research, unless it is for nuclear weapons, as Sarah Zhang reports for The Atlantic.

  • The Republican and Democratic chairs of the Senate Intelligence committee, Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner, released a joint statement saying they saw “no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” Lissandra Willa reports for BuzzFeed.

  • Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, and H.R. McMaster, the national security advisor, have formally apologized to England for the White House’s falsely accusing its spy agency, GCHQ, of spying on Trump Tower, Steven Swinford reports for The Telegraph.

  • If you really can’t get enough Trump news in real-time, you can follow the advice of New York Times reporter Michael Shear on how he uses SlingTV so he never misses a Trump administration TV hit.

  • This is civic tech: Code for South Africa has chosen a new name for itself, and no, it’s not “CodyMcCodeface” even though that was a popular suggestion. As its director Adi Eval explains, “Code for South Africa” has served us well, but it does not do justice to what we do: use data and technology to promote more informed decision making that drives social change. We need something that is less code and more us.” The result: Open Up South Africa.

  • Code for Asheville’s volunteers learned from experience that hackathons don’t tend to produce anything that sticks, so now, as Adam Stone reports for GovTech, they “engage with civic groups on their own turf, attending meetings and listening to the kinds of problems community leaders actually were facing.” Then they work to build solutions around what they hear. One result, a simple information hub aimed at helping ex-cons find all the services available to help them re-enter society. The site, BuncombeReentryHub.org, is now being adapted for statewide use.

  • Code for Philly’s Civic Engagement Launchpad is coming up March 24-25.

  • Here’s our friend Andrew Slack speaking on “The Orphan, the Empire and the New American Revolution” at the “frank 2017” conference. If you’ve been reading his Civicist pieces on this theme, don’t miss this talk—there’s a bunch of great new material in it, especially around the concept of America as an orphanage.

  • Your moment of zen: Why you should never wear a green tie on TV.