Pathways

Spicer's campaign to ferret out White House leaker(s); the aisle hogs' quandary; and more.


  • Opposition watch: Veteran organizer Marshall Ganz offers praise for Indivisible in a wide-ranging interview with John Judis in TalkingPointsMemo: “They’ve scaffolded some 7,000 groups. They are in every congressional district except for one. What they have done is to scaffold a barebones structure enabling people to focus on a specific tactic. Now the question is how they can take it to the next step. But that’s a very helpful development because of its scale, its depth and its simplicity….I really want to underscore the significance of Indivisible. It’s the same experience we had with Obama in 2007 and 2008. You create a plausible pathway to action and all kinds of people come out of the woodwork. The problem is that there haven’t been many plausible pathways to action.”

  • Shannon Coulter, the co-founder of GrabYourWallet, an online consumer boycott platform that has convinced retailers like Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus and T.J. Maxx to drop their Trump products, gets profiled by Rachel Abrams in The New York Times.

  • An army of volunteers swarmed into a state Senate district in Delaware this past week for a special election Saturday, enabling Democrats to hold onto the chamber, as Paul Blumenthal reports for The Huffington Post.

  • “The White House and prominent Republicans have largely dismissed the noisy eruption of civic activism at town-hall meetings across the U.S. as the work of professional organizers and paid activists, partly because MoveOn and other liberal groups have offered help,” write Byron Tau and Natalia Andrews in the Wall Street Journal, but as they report, interviews at numerous town-halls around the country show the participants are “first-timers who echo in passion, though not in politics, the people who emerged early in the tea-party movement in 2009.”

  • ResistanceRecess.com got more than a million visits in the past week, according to MoveOn.org’s Victoria Kaplan.

  • Trump watch: A French scholar, Henry Rousso, whose work on the importance of historical memory and justice couldn’t be more timely, was detained for 14 hours in Houston on his way to a conference at Texas A & M University.

  • Last week in Olathe, Kansas, two engineers from India who are here on work visas were shot at a bar by an American citizen who had questioned their presence and hurled racial slurs at them; one died of his wounds. As Jamelle Bouie points out in Slate, the little Twitler has remained silent on this act of terror.

  • With the February 27, 1933 anniversary of the Reichstag fire today, historian Peter Schrag—himself a refugee from Nazi Germany—takes to the pages of the American Prospect to ponder whether a similar attack could spawn the end of democracy here. He’s optimistic that American institutions are more resilient and the conditions not as dire as Germany’s were, but adds, “I’m too much aware of the extent to which the Nazis were underestimated as low-class clowns and thugs until it was too late.

  • The father of William Owens, the Navy SEAL killed January 28 on a failed anti-terror raid in Yemen that killed as many as 29 civilians, wants an investigation into the decision-making that led the Trump administration to approve the mission, Julie Brown reports for the Miami Herald.

  • Hundreds of headstones were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia over the weekend.

  • Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents have no authority to compel passengers on a domestic flight to show identification, constitutional law professor Garrett Epps reports for The Atlantic. He is publicly vowing that he will refuse a demand for his papers if asked.

  • Trump administration insiders and resistant federal workers alike are turning to encrypted communications tools to cover their tracks, Andrew Restuccia and Nancy Cook report for Politico.

  • Related: White House press secretary Sean Spicer has been conducting random phone checks of his own staff, in pursuit of leakers, report Annie Karni and Alex Isenstadt for Politico.

  • Silicon Valley VC Peter Thiel has fingerprints all over the Trump administration, Eliana Johnson reports for Politico.

  • With President Trump addressing a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, Paul Kane reports for The Washington Post on Democratic Members of Congress known as the “aisle hogs” who always get to the chamber early to be seen on TV shaking hands with the commander in chief but don’t know what they will do this year.

  • This is civic tech: Julie Menter of New Media Ventures sees signs of hope in the current media moment, focused on “two main opportunities to make media more informative, delightful and inspiring of action: 1) change media’s ad-driven business model and 2) harness social media for 2-way conversations.”

  • Related: New Media Ventures is still taking applications for the next round of its Innovation Fund; the deadline is Friday March 3.

  • In Taiwan, a citizen science group collecting real-time pollution data on a petrochemical plant is pressuring the government to crack down on rampant pollution, Aaron Wytze Wilson reports for Civicist.

  • Media matters: While Facebook, Twitter and Reddit have all been forced to take remedial steps to address the “fake news” problem of late, so far YouTube—another platform for rampant conspiracy-mongering—has escaped scrutiny, as Joseph Bernstein reports for BuzzFeed. Many major brands, including Asana, Uber and Fox entertainment, have pre-roll ads running on conspiracy videos.

  • Your moment of zen: The Orange Beatles want to grow their hands. (h/t Ahmed Shihab-Eldin)

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