→ Last Weekend at Disney: the Florida Democratic Party Convention
→ Sink for Congress —- Alex Sink announced on Wednesday that she is running for Congress in Representative C.W. Bill Young’s old seat in Pinellas County. She lives about 45 minutes away in Hillsborough County, but plans to move to Pinellas soon. [Source: Tampa Tribune]. Democrat Jessica Ehrlich was already in the race and does not appear to be stepping aside for Sink, so there will be a primary election in January.
→ Marco Rubio’s failure of leadership —- the Senator has backed out of his past initiatives, making him look like a political weathervane tuned to the Tea Party.
→ Nelson supports ENDA —- Senator Bill Nelson came out in support of ENDA, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, this week. Way to go Senator Nelson! He was soon followed by Senators Joe Manchin and Mark Pryor. [Source: Miami Herald]
This is a hard problem for government because it’s not really a technology problem. It’s a self-image problem. Government constructs its self-image in terms of size. It thinks of itself as huge and big. I’ve been in D.C. and seen your buildings. They’re very big! The harsh truth for governments all over the world is that many digital public services could be developed at a fraction of the size of nondigital services, and they can be created by very small teams of people in an open way. —
—Mike Bracken, technologist who overhauled gov.uk for the British government
This article is the best analysis I’ve read about the problems with healthcare.gov. Without getting partisan, Ezra Klein looks at the challenges of bringing our government into the 21st century.
During my AmeriCorps service I built a website from within a state government bureaucracy, and it was a nightmare! The only reason I completed the project is because I found some loopholes to sneak around the IT department. The most frustrating part was a total lack of opportunities for collaboration: I couldn’t get feedback from the tech people, because then they would get upset and force me to jump through 10 hoops to accomplish anything. I also couldn’t talk with coworkers in the office, because they didn’t know anything about website design. I completely agree that small teams of people can be insanely productive.
From The Washington Post:
As millennials have flocked to the city in record numbers over the past decade, the physical and demographic landscape of the District has palpably changed. The city can’t help but ask itself what it all means. There are crucially important questions wrapped up in this soul-searching. Can we finally settle on a better model for affordable housing? Can more of the schools improve, faster? But as we look at the increase in restaurants, bike lanes, night-life options and other hallmarks of modern urban cool, there is also that admittedly less important, more ethereal question: Is it possible, after all this time, that D.C. is getting — whisper it with me now — awfully hip?
Trouble is, to ask that question is to miss the truth about the wave of young people who have arrived here over the past decade, and the decade before that. Which is this: They don’t care about being “hip,” at least not in the way “hip” seems to be defined in Brooklyn or San Francisco or Portland.
“D.C. is a city of smart people,” said Derek Brown, whose mini-empire of craft cocktail bars started on Seventh Street NW with The Passenger and Columbia Room and has since expanded to Mockingbird Hill and Eat the Rich. “What’s making D.C. cool is the fact that smart people doing things they’re passionate about is cool,” he said.
— "Keep Your Cool, New York and L.A.: The millennials flocking to D.C. redefine hip," by Sommer Mathis
FoodBlog: Sweet Potato and Bell Pepper Soup
Fall is arriving in DC, which mostly means windy, rainy, chilly days. I love soup all the time, but this weather was calling for something especially hearty.
I modified Smitten Kitchen’s sweet potato and sausage soup recipe to be vegetarian. On the side I’ve been munching on crackers with Jarslberg, one of my favorites for a smooth, mild cheese.
My adjusted version of the recipe is below.
Recipe: Sweet Potato and Bell Pepper Soup
Makes 8 servings
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes; toss in the bell pepper after a minute or two as well. Add all potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using potato masher, mash some of potatoes in pot. Season with salt, pepper, little bit of chili pepper and Tabasco. Toss fresh spinach into the bottom of each bowl, and serve hot soup on top of the spinach.
White voters, in short, can elect white candidates against black opposition, but black voters cannot elect black candidates against white opposition, with insignificant exceptions. We hope the day will come when this is no longer true, when voters of both races will vote for the person and not for the color of his or her skin. —
— from the majority opinion in Jeffers v. Clinton, 730 F. Supp. 196, 209 (E.D. Ark. 1989)
I’m working on a research project about Section 2 Voting Rights Act violations. After hours of reading a lot of technical and legal content, this stood out as so poignant in the court’s opinion.
"The justices’ decision "means that EPA’s legal and scientific findings that greenhouse gases harm health and the climate remains the law of the land," said Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney John Walke."
Amanda Murphy just won the special election for Florida House District 36 in Pasco County!
The seat turns blue as Murphy replaces outgoing Republican Mike Fasano, who was appointed Pasco County Tax Collector over the summer. Late in the race, Fasano came out in support of Murphy and most likely put her over the edge. (As of this evening, she leads by 297 votes.)
Amanda Murphy will bring us up to 45 Democrats in the Florida House. We’re getting further out of the superminority and closer to (someday) the majority!
[Tampa Bay Times story.]