High-speed rail in California and the Green New Deal: It could work in America, but we’re screwing i t up.

High speed rail is an alternative to air travel in China and Europe, even between cities hundreds of miles apart. slate.com

High speed rail seems to be like single-payer healthcare — American conservatives point their fingers and laugh at anyone who proposes an idea that in fact has proven workable multiple times around the world. This kind of skepticism is no better than flat-Eartherism.

Google Cloud Chief’s Plan to Catch Amazon and Microsoft: Sales Reps

“Mr. Kurian is emulating a piece of his former employer’s strategy. Oracle built a massive sales staff over decades that holds specific expertise in various industries. At Google, Mr. Kurian said he plans to boost market specialization as well, so sales reps who talk to financial institutions “can talk the language of banking,” he said…. Google’s success has largely come from serving “digital-native” companies—businesses that were born in the internet era and never built their own data centers. Mr. Kurian said he wants to improve Google’s ability to address the needs of companies with legacy systems.” www.ws

The left’s quest for purity could destroy potentially worthy leaders

www.washingtonpost.com

Northam is a strange outlier in all of this. The author of this article asserts — rightly — that there needs to be room for redemption, and notes that Northam has been an enthusiastic advocate of civil rights during his political career.

Indeed, he’d simply left things as they were in the first day, if he’d stuck with his original apology, I’d argue we should leave him in place.

But instead he issued this weird denial which indicated that he didn’t see anything wrong with blackface.

Ultimately I say throw the bum out out. The author of this article is arguing with a straw man. Democrats aren’t saying that their leaders need to be perfect. Democrats are just saying their leaders should not be racists or sexual creepers. As Obama said in another context: This is not a difficult hurdle to clear.

Insurance Giant Allstate Buys Independent Phone Repair Company, Joins Right to Repair Movement

Allstate now has a big financial state in securing legislation giving you the right to repair your own property — smartphones, farm equipment, anything. It’s ridiculous that if my iPhone screen cracks, I can’t by law just bring it anywhere I want to be repaired. Similarly for farm equipment, says John Deere. motherboard.vice.com

Related: It should be legal to jailbreak or mod your iPhone. And you should be able to pay someone to do it too. It’s your property, do what you want with it.

The “Surprise” of Authoritarian Resilience in China

Authoritarianism has proven resilient in China because the Chinese population is generally happy with it, according to numerous surveys.

And, yeah, the surveys corrected for the possibility that the respondents might simply be lying because they’re afraid of the government. Even accounting for that possibility, Chinese people are STILL satisfied with their government.

americanaffairsjournal.org

Democracy and its discontents

Science fiction is often cynical about democracy. But it also re-imagines democracy, offering a hopeful look at a more egalitarian world. www.ouropinionsarecorrect.com

It’s even more pronounced in fantasy; there are about a million stories about deposing the Evil Usurper and replacing him with the Good King, but I can’t think of a single example of replacing the king with a democratic republic.

Antiheroes

We loved “Tin Star.” I seldom watch shows or movies or read novels where the protagonist is an antihero, but when I do I can see the appeal, particularly in action-adventure.

The hero is constrained in his choices, because he must do good. The antihero can do whatever he needs to do, and as long as he’s sympathetic and we agree with his cause, we’ll go with it.