aka OMG, Please Vote Yes on Prop 15

Politics is weird.

If you read the news or scroll through the politics people on your social media feeds, you’d think that 99.9% of what happens in American government happens at the federal level. In just a 10-day period, we had the most disturbing presidential debate in history, a president diagnosed with Covid, a super-spreader event at the White House, and a fly that launched 1,000 memes.

Yet, of the things that directly affect your life — your housing costs, your health, your job prospects, the quality of your neighborhood’s schools, whether…

Californians are still feeling the pain of having been a red state for decades, but we can fix it.

If you’re a California voter only casually following the presidential primary this year, you may be surprised by a few things happening shortly:

  1. We still have a functioning democracy — at least in this blue state.
  2. You’re going to get a ballot in the mail THIS WEEK. (Feb. 3–7)
  3. Your Democratic presidential primary vote will actually really matter, unlike 2016 when Hillary Clinton already had the primary sewn up by the time California voted in June.
  4. There are a LOT more races to vote for than just who should be the next president.

Since the Republican Party has proven pretty…

Source: Wikimedia Commons

As candidates started to officially declare their runs to unseat Trump as president, there was some sentiment in liberal circles that we should be open-minded and not seek to promote a preferred candidate by tearing down others, lest we weaken the eventual Democratic nominee. …

A progressive’s guide to the midterm votes that matter most

Photo: Mirah CurzerUnsplash

California is the most important state in the country, by almost any metric you can think of: population (39.8 million, 11 million more than second-place Texas), gross domestic product ($2.7 trillion, more than the U.K., India, and France), economic influence (three of the top five most valuable companies in the world are headquartered here), or cultural influence (epicenter of the global film and television industry).

Yet, if you’re a typical person, you probably don’t hear much about California politics. Part of this is structural: We live in a federal system of government, so even though politics in California is incredibly…

Unlike states controlled by Republicans, California makes it as easy as possible to vote, and voter registration is at essentially an all-time high: 75% of eligible voters are registered. This is likely a result of reforms like automated voter registration when you get or renew a driver’s license and pre-registering 16- and 17-year-old drivers to vote. Compare this to North Carolina, where Republicans are doing their best to protect an electoral map intentionally gerrymandered to marginalize black voters. (Fuck North Carolina Republicans specifically, by the way.)

If you’re already a registered voter in California, you should have automatically had a…

By limiting the gun reform conversation to AR-15s, we’re missing a critical opportunity to save more lives

Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A few weeks ago, I was pretty angry about the Parkland shooting, and having spent a few years reading about guns and gun control, I decided to write up everything I’ve learned. I was very pleasantly surprised to see my piece gain a lot of traction, and while most feedback was quite positive, there was one contention that drew the most pushback:

“Because you have to pull the trigger each time you fire, there is no real difference between the lethality of a handgun containing a 10-bullet magazine and a fancy Call of Duty-looking ‘assault rifle’ containing a 10-bullet magazine.”

Or, “Holy shit, stop trying to ban assault weapons”

Photo: Getty

Like most people I know, I’ve been angry about guns in America for a while. I’ve long wanted to distill my thinking and summarize several years of what I’ve read about this issue. The latest mass murder in Parkland, Florida finally compelled me to action.

And the reason I’ve wanted to write about guns in America — despite the many professional commentaries and Facebook posts available — is that I think most liberals are thinking incorrectly about this issue. Republican politicians are not inclined to use preemptive government action to prevent gun deaths, and they internally justify that opposition by…

I read this 2007 piece from two senior Wireless Generation executives for a class this year and found it to be a phenomenal overview of the barriers to entry for education entrepreneurship. If you’ve wondered why schools and districts seem to be less-than-rational when it comes to their purchasing decisions, this lends a lot of insight as to why. 21 pages but very high impact per page read:

K-12 Entrepreneurship: Slow Entry, Distant Exit

Over the last few days, I’ve been listening to season 2 of the excellent podcast StartUp, which chronicles the founders of online matchmaking service Dating Ring as they launch their company. While participating in the famed startup incubator Y Combinator, the founders faced a classic Silicon Valley decision — pivot or persevere — and this conundrum has a lot of relevance to education, particularly “no excuses” charter networks.

Dating Ring was founded on the concept of group dates — that meeting people in a group is less pressure and more conducive to finding the right person for you. This idea…

Cognitive dissonance is a hell of a thing. All of us navigate the world with a rich set of prior knowledge, background experiences, and beliefs rattling around our heads, and if you’re anything like me, the older you get, the more sure you are that these things rattling around are true and good.

Indeed, research shows that deeply held beliefs are remarkably resistant to change, even if they are wrong and attacked with direct instructional interventions. For example, a 2007 study found that 94% of subjects in a sample of college students had misconceptions about why the seasons change, such…

Mike Dunham

Former 5th grade math teacher interested in how to make the Peninsula a more equitable place.

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