An LAPD shooting makes a bid for the passive voice Hall of Fame

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The purpose of police Twitter accounts is to inform people about public safety. The purpose of passive voice is (often) to avoid responsibility. These don’t go together well. Today we examine how the Los Angeles Police used passives that twist the truth into bizarre shapes in describing police shootings. A correspondent brought to my attention … Continued

30 million three-mile walks

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Five or six days a week, I walk for an hour. I always start and end at my house. And I never do the same walk twice. How is this possible? An hour’s walk for me is about three miles. In my suburban neighborhood, I encounter an intersection about once every 200 yards. So I … Continued

How (not) to hire a speaker

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When you want to hire a speaker, your job is to provide the information that allows the speaker to make a decision — quickly and efficiently. That information ought to be obvious. If you waste the speaker’s time, you won’t close the deal. What information does the speaker need? It’s simple: Location (or virtual) Timing … Continued

Unity, compromise, and politics

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Joe Biden mentioned unity nine times in his inauguration speech yesterday. Then he signed 17 executive orders undoing actions of President Trump. Is this unity? Representative Liz Cheney doesn’t think so. “We face significant challenges that require bipartisan responses,” she wrote in a statement. “Today’s Executive Orders reverse important policies and impose significant economic cost … Continued

Optimism

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I was optimistic when President Trump won the election in 2016. I was hopeful that, as a nontraditional politician, he could accomplish things that conventional presidents never could. That was a mistake. There is nothing I’ve posted here in six years of blogging that I regret more than that post. It was naive and mostly … Continued

What won’t happen

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Riots on the National Mall. National Guard troops shooting protestors. Broken windows at the White House. An assassination attempt. Violence at state capitals around the country. Attacks on an American embassy in a foreign country, or an American airbase, or an oil tanker, that require some sort of presidential response. Attacks on health workers at … Continued

Jack Dorsey’s lame explanation for suspending Trump’s Twitter account

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Last week, Donald Trump’s Twitter feed disappeared. After seeing the violence in the Capitol, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey decided that Trump’s feed was inciting violence and removed it. But Dorsey’s tweets explaining the ban were meandering and confusing. Let’s take a look at what Dorsey tweeted . . . and what he could have said … Continued

Fight pernicious confirmation bias: 8 great ways to farm for dissent

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I’m struck by how one psychological tendency — confirmation bias — is at the root of all the trends undermining our society. There is a solution: it’s called “farming for dissent.” Confirmation bias is “a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.” And as humans, we are all … Continued