The Facebook Settlement: Is This Justice?

This piece first appeared on the Independent Institute blog. The Federal Trade Commission has agreed to a $5 billion settlement with Facebook as a penalty for the social media giant’s unauthorized sharing of user data with consulting form Cambridge Analytica in 2017. Presumably, the settlement is warranted because of the harm done to users when Facebook shared…

Yesterday, the Beatles, and the Value of Earned Success

This piece first appeared on The Beacon The movie Yesterday is a tribute to the enduring legacy of popular music and its ability to bring joy to the human heart. Indeed, the movie succeeds as entertaining summer diversion. But it succeeds on another level as well by exploring the meaning and the dignity of work.  The movie…

Why are There so Many Candidates for President?

While the number of candidates running for president in 2020 may be unprecedented, a crowded debate stage is unlikely to be a strange sight in the future. The divisions within parties and the availability of money and media coverage outside of the traditional party network mean that potential candidates will continue to see – and take – opportunities where previously they did not.

Misogyny, Politics, and Reddit: How “The Red Pill” Forum Helped Trump Win

In closing, it is important to consider how forums such as this are key in organizing support for extremist candidates across geographic boundaries. We are not suggesting that The Red Pill forum was the group that fully paved the way for Trump’s victory. Rather, we seek to illustrate generic processes of digital recruitment and radicalization in the digital age. In an age of networked politics and increasingly interconnected social movements, enclaves of Alt-Right extremism such as this will serve as rallying points for future candidates, and feminists must be ready to oppose such extremism with great force.

Trump’s Tweets: What Do They Mean for Civil Conversations?

Arguably, Trump will go down in history for his catch phrases and unconventional political use of Twitter. It is not clear, however, whether historians will be kind to him – or us – when they look back at our political discourse. The good news is that we can control how we engage in tough conversations, and that through this process of engagement we will learn more about ourselves.

Time to Call it a Wrap for Florida Film Incentives

The research surrounding Florida film incentives is incomplete and full of plot holes. To justify spending taxpayer dollars on investing in an industry, more conclusive research is needed about the benefits — if any — from these industry subsidies. Until then, Florida should call it a wrap for film incentives.

Presidential Power and Public Appeals

We set out to fill an important lacunae in the research on comparative presidentialism, to systematically consider how presidents’ direct public appeals serve as one resource among many that presidents may use to advance their policy agendas.

The Joe Biden Moment: How Social Movements Can Capitalize on the Problems of Political Parties

So far, the response has been mixed. Some Democrats have urged the party to come down “hard” on Biden, noting that this is the only way to get him to change his behavior. Others argue downplay Biden as “touchy-feely” and argue that Democrats should be careful and not take the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace “too far.” At the time of this writing, women’s rights groups have largely been silent on Biden’s behavior. However, it would not be surprising if some groups, particularly those lacking strong relationship with the Democratic Party machine, used Biden as a rally point to build their supporter base and fill their coffers in the near future.

“Stir, or Get Away from the Pot”: Uncertainty Over Future Municipal Broadband Ownership is a Bad Idea

If you like the idea of municipal broadband, you’re not getting it. But all of the talk of “we might change our mind in the future” has the potential effect of degrading the quality of existing non-municipal broadband services. As an alternative, the City could formally disclaim any interest in municipal broadband and examine, in consultation with private broadband providers, if there are current city policies that are barriers to broadband upgrades. “Stir, or get away from the pot” indeed.

Sex and Love in the Digital Age

The point here is that while America may be caught in a sex recession, there is reason to believe that digital technologies also deepen our connections – and we simply have not observed and named the phenomena yet. In a time where gender and gender relations are in flux, it is reasonable to expect that how we connect and relate to one another is shifting as well.