Titanic

What really unites Americans; former Microsoft chief launches civic tech project; and more.


  • Trump watch: The President is set to order a review of the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers, Tony Romm reports for Recode. Tech executives including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos got a heads up that this was coming from Jared Kushner last week.

  • Related: Hack the Ban has a weekend hackathon in D.C. coming up, from May 5 – 7. Learn more and RSVP here.

  • Meanwhile, Trump also called to congratulate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on winning new powers in an election that took place, per international observers, in an environment in which “fundamental freedoms essential to a genuinely democratic process were curtailed,” as Lauren Gambino reports for The Guardian.

  • Trump’s warm overture clashed with the State Department’s statement, which noted “irregularities on voting day and an uneven playing field during the difficult campaign period,” but it makes more sense when one considers that there has been a Trump Tower Istanbul since 2012, as Evan McMullin pointed out on Twitter.

  • “If there’s one thing that brings Americans together, it’s our hatred of the giant companies that sell us high-speed data services,” Susan Crawford writes for The New York Times’ opinion pages. And yet, the F.C.C. chairman wants to give them even more power, and with President Trump’s blessing. “We have always relied on private providers to sell basic telecommunications services, but they have historically been subject to public obligations and the watchful eye of a regulator looking ahead for abuses of power,” Crawford argues. “No one could possibly think it is reasonable to leave a few companies operating in the centrally important, highly concentrated internet-access industry, free to do whatever they want. We dislike these companies for good reasons.”

  • Tech and politics: A new book about the Clinton campaign catastrophe, Shattered, is “the story of a wildly dysfunctional and “spirit-crushing” campaign that embraced a flawed strategy (based on flawed data) and that failed, repeatedly, to correct course,” Michiko Kakutani writes in her review for The New York Times, comparing the story that Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes tell to that of the Titanic.

  • The Democratic primary to run for the Governor of Maryland is a crowded field, Erin Cox and Michael Dresser report for The Baltimore Sun, including Ben Jealous, a partner at venture capital firm Kapor Capital, and Alec Ross, the former senior innovation advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

  • Former Microsoft chief executive Steven Ballmer has finally launched a “stealth start-up” to track what happens to our tax dollars at the local, state, and federal level, Andrew Ross Sorkin reports for The New York Times.

  • Resistance watch: Drawing on his own work and life experience, Loomio cofounder Richard Bartlett makes an argument for a movement made up of a network of small groups on Medium.

  • Civic Hall members: Micah Sifry and Richard Bartlett are going to hold a brown bag conversation in the cafe at noon today, if you’re around!

  • The organizers of the 2017 Peoples Climate March have relaunched a platform for distributed, networked organizing and are encouraging diverse coalitions at the local level to work together on climate and other issues, I report for Civicist.

  • Want to know more about What We Do Now? Register for Personal Democracy Forum 2017 today.

  • What sharing economy? New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission has proposed forcing ride apps to allow riders to tip with a credit card—which ride app behemoth Uber currently does not permit, Emma Fitzsimmons reports for The New York Times.

  • Margaret Heffernan considers the value of platform cooperativism in a recent piece for the Financial Times. [paywall]

  • Listen in: Stream a conference on the possibilities and perils of the Internet of Things this Friday. Learn more and livestream here.

  • Attend: Hear the man behind IBM’s Watson, David Kenny, in conversation with journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, on April 25. Learn more and RSVP here.

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