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I'm Loyal to Nothing Except the Dream

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There is much I take for granted in my life, and the normal functioning of American government is one of those things. In my 46 years, I've lived under nine different presidents. The first I remember is Carter. I've voted in every presidential election since 1992, but I do not consider myself a Democrat, or a Republican. I vote based on leadership – above all, leadership – and issues.

In my 14 years of blogging, I've never written a political blog post. I haven't needed to.

Until now.

It is quite clear something has become deeply unglued in the state of American politics.

As of 2017, the United States, through a sequence of highly improbable events, managed to elect an extremely controversial president.

A president with historically low approval ratings, elected on a platform many considered too extreme to even be taken literally:

Asked about Trump’s statements proposing the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border and a ban on all Muslims entering the country, Thiel suggested that Trump supporters do not actually endorse those policies.

“I don’t support a religious test. I certainly don’t support the specific language that Trump has used in every instance,” he said. “But I think one thing that should be distinguished here is that the media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally.”

The billionaire went on to define how he believes the average Trump supporter interprets the candidate’s statements. “I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally, so when they hear things like the Muslim comment or the wall comment their question is not, ‘Are you going to build a wall like the Great Wall of China?’ or, you know, ‘How exactly are you going to enforce these tests?’ What they hear is we’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy.”

A little over a week into the new presidency, it is obvious that Trump meant every word of what he said. He will build a US-Mexico wall. And he signed an executive order that literally, not figuratively, banned Muslims from entering the US — even if they held valid green cards.

As I said, I vote on policies, and as an American, I reject these two policies. Our Mexican neighbors are not an evil to be kept out with a wall, but an ally to be cherished. One of my favorite people is a Mexican immigrant. Mexican culture is ingrained deeply into America and we are all better for it. The history of America is the history of immigrants seeking religious freedom from persecution, finding a new life in the land of opportunity. Imagine the bravery it takes to leave everything behind, your relatives, your home, your whole life as you know it, to take your entire family on a five thousand mile journey to another country on nothing more than the promise of a dream. I've never done that, though my great-great grandparents did. Muslim immigrants are more American than I will ever be, and I am incredibly proud to have them here, as fellow Americans.

Help Keep Your School All American!

Trump is the first president in 40 years to refuse to release his tax returns in office. He has also refused to divest himself from his dizzying array of businesses across the globe, which present financial conflicts of interest. All of this, plus the hasty way he is ramrodding his campaign plans through on executive orders, with little or no forethought to how it would work – or if it would work at all – speaks to how negligent and dangerous Trump is as the leader of the free world. I want to reiterate that I don't care about party; I'd be absolutely over the moon with President Romney or President McCain, or any other rational form of leadership at this point.

It is unclear to me how we got where we are today. But echoes of this appeal to nationalism in Poland, and in Venezula, offer clues. We brought fact checkers to a culture war … and we lost. During the election campaign, I was strongly reminded of Frank Miller's 1986 Nuke story arc, which I read in Daredevil as a teenager — the seductive appeal of unbridled nationalism bleeding across the page in stark primary colors.

Daredevil issue 233, page excerpt

Nuke is a self-destructive form of America First nationalism that, for whatever reasons, won the presidency through dark subvocalized whispers, and is now playing out in horrifying policy form. But we are not now a different country; we remain the very same country that elected Reagan and Obama. We lead the free world. And we do it by taking the higher moral ground, choosing to do what is right before doing what is expedient.

I exercised my rights as a American citizen and I voted, yes. But I mostly ignored government beyond voting. I assumed that the wheels of American government would turn, and reasonable decisions would be made by reasonable people. Some I would agree with, others I would not agree with, but I could generally trust that the arc of American history inexorably bends toward justice, towards freedom, toward equality. Towards the things that make up the underlying American dream that this country is based on.

This is no longer the case.

I truly believe we are at an unprecedented time in American history, in uncharted territory. I have benefited from democracy passively, without trying at all, for 46 years. I now understand that the next four years is perhaps the most important time to be an activist in the United States since the civil rights movement. I am ready to do the work.

  • I have never once in my life called my representatives in congress. That will change. I will be calling and writing my representatives regularly, using tools like 5 Calls to do so.

  • I will strongly support, advocate for, and advertise any technical tools on web or smartphone that help Americans have their voices heard by their representatives, even if it takes faxing to do so. Build these tools. Make them amazing.

  • I am subscribing to support essential investigative journalism such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post.

  • I have set up large monthly donations to the ACLU which is doing critical work in fighting governmental abuse under the current regime.

  • I have set up monthly donations to independent journalism such as ProPublica and NPR.

  • I have set up monthly donations to agencies that fight for vulnerable groups, such as Planned Parenthood, Center for Reproductive Rights, Refugee Rights, NAACP, MALDEF, the Trevor Project, and so on.

  • I wish to see the formation of a third political party in the United States, led by those who are willing to speak truth to power like Evan McMullin. It is shameful how many elected representatives will not speak out. Those who do: trust me, we're watching and taking notes. And we will be bringing all our friends and audiences to bear to help you win.

  • I will be watching closely to see which representatives rubber-stamp harmful policies and appointees, and I will vote against them across the ticket, on every single ticket I can vote on.

  • I will actively support all efforts to make the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact happen, to reform the electoral college.

  • To the extent that my schedule allows, I will participate in protests to combat policies that I believe are harmful to Americans.

  • I am not quite at a place in my life where I'd consider running for office, but I will be, eventually. To the extent that any Stack Overflow user can be elected a moderator, I could be elected into office, locally, in the house, even the senate. Has anyone asked Joel Spolsky if he'd be willing to run for office? Because I'd be hard pressed to come up with someone I trust more than my old business partner Joel to do the right thing. I would vote for him so hard I'd break the damn voting machine.

I want to pay back this great country for everything it has done for me in my life, and carry the dream forward, not just selfishly for myself and my children, but for everyone's children, and our children's children. I do not mean the hollow promises of American nationalism

We would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism—that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder—one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

These ways of thinking—cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on— have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

… but the enduring values of freedom, justice, and equality that this nation was founded on. I pledge my allegiance to the American dream, and the American people – not to the nation, never to the nation.

Daredevil issue 233, page excerpt

I apologize that it's taken me 46 years to wake up and realize that some things, like the American dream, aren't guaranteed. There will come a time where you have to stand up and fight for them, for democracy to work. I will.

Will you?

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samuel
7 days ago
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This is incredible and considering the source, it's going to be read by a lot of people.
The Haight in San Francisco
ChrisDL
7 days ago
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New York
acdha
21 days ago
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Washington, DC
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StunGod
4 days ago
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Sharing, in case it causes one more person to read and be moved to do more than complain on the internet. Really a powerful essay.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth
moschlar
18 days ago
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… but the enduring values of freedom, justice, and equality that this nation was founded on. I pledge my allegiance to the American dream, and the American people – not to the nation, never to the nation.
Mainz, Deutschland
wmorrell
21 days ago
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And the nerds start to get a little more woke.
pmac
22 days ago
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Powerfully well said.
Atlanta, GA

Turn Touch: A Smart, Flexible Remote Control

1 Comment and 5 Shares

Samuel Clay, the founder of NewsBlur, is seeking funding on Kickstarter for an interesting new project: Turn Touch.

Turn Touch is a four button remote control carved out of solid wood. Get instant control of your devices and your home. With only four buttons, your Turn Touch connects you to apps, lights, speakers, and more.

While most smart devices found in the home today are designed to be controlled via a smartphone or a voice-controlled device like Amazon Echo, Turn Touch is a more tactile option. It's designed to look less like a standard remote control and more like a piece of decor in the home.

Turn Touch was made to be compact and attractive.

Turn Touch was made to be compact and attractive.

The power of Turn Touch is found in its versatility. Though it only has four buttons, it is fully customizable using the Turn Touch app for iOS or macOS. The app allows you to program your remote to work with different devices, such as Hue Lights, Sonos speakers, or a Nest thermostat. You can also integrate Turn Touch with various apps on iOS or macOS, such as Apple Music or Spotify. Additionally, there are built-in Turn Touch apps to do things like set a timer or alarm clock. The Kickstarter page shows a list of integrations that are currently promised, and states that more are in the works. Lastly, Turn Touch can also be configured to trigger a URL on the web, opening up its possible benefits immensely.

The iOS app for Turn Touch.

The iOS app for Turn Touch.

The ability to activate several different integrations wouldn't be as useful if only one action could be assigned to each of the Turn Touch buttons. Fortunately, the device's interface provides clever ways to make the most of its four buttons. Actions can be assigned to activate through either a single tap of a button or a double tap, making eight actions available at once. And holding a button down for half a second will switch the app you're interacting with, meaning a new set of actions will be activated.

Turn Touch is available in three different styles.

Turn Touch is available in three different styles.

The Kickstarter campaign for Turn Touch ends on March 9th, and units are projected to ship this November. If you'd like to make a pledge, there are varying backer levels depending on the style of Turn Touch you'd like.


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samuel
13 days ago
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This is what I like to see!
The Haight in San Francisco
popular
12 days ago
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Introducing Turn Touch, a beautiful wooden remote for lights, devices, apps, and NewsBlur

1 Comment and 8 Shares

Turn Touch is a solid wood remote… and it’s about to change the way you use NewsBlur.

Change how?

Here’s how. Turn Touch connects to apps and devices in your home. Think Hue lights and Sonos speakers. Your Mac, your phone, etc.

It also connects to NewsBlur.

This is big. It means you can wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and cycle through news from across the room. Or, hook your Mac up to a display (maybe your living room TV) and skip through photo blogs, headlines, and the day’s best writing.

It’s kind of like getting a new set of speakers. Where before, you’d be chained to your computer with headphones; now, you can listen to music from anywhere you’d like. With Turn Touch, you can leave your computer and read the news no matter what you’re doing— laundry, the dishes, or enjoying a lazy Sunday on your couch.

Get one. Or all three.

Turn Touch is on Kickstarter. Back the project to get your very own. Or—and this is my sincere recommendation—get the complete set, save some money, and give one away to a friend.

I’ve been working on Turn Touch for years and I hope it shows.

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samuel
14 days ago
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This is the big one. Please back Turn Touch and help support NewsBlur!
The Haight in San Francisco
duerig
14 days ago
Already backed. Congrats on your launch!
genseng
14 days ago
I guess I'll be that guy; is there Android support? Not mentioned in the campaign so I assume no.
duerig
14 days ago
It is a bluetooth device so in principle is device-agnostic. I don't know how it will work in practice, though. I'm going to be trying to get it running with a Raspberry Pi.
chrisrosa
14 days ago
i'm not sure how much I'll use it, but I'll back Newsblur just the same.
samuel
14 days ago
In terms of support for non-Apple devices, not yet but it is planned. Android will be a stretch goal. I wish I could have launched out of the gate with it, but I just cannot afford to unless I hit certain numbers. But keep spreading the word about Turn Touch and if it gets popular then Android will be the first platform I expand to.
genseng
14 days ago
Thanks Samuel, I was hoping you might respond with something along those lines.
spiffytech
14 days ago
What's the developer story? How easily can I connect a button to a webhook?
samuel
14 days ago
Easy, there's a Custom URL app that can hit websites on single taps and double taps.
spiffytech
13 days ago
Glad to hear it! Maybe mention that on the page. It's the biggest thing I'm interested in, but the Kickstarter page doesn't include "developer", "webhook", or "Custom URL".
samuel
13 days ago
It does now. Thanks!
digdoug
13 days ago
Backed. And I'll echo others here. I'm not sure how I'll use it, but you've more than earned my trust over the last few years. I'm happy to back it based on that alone. The fact that it might be super cool is just a bonus!
TheRomit
11 days ago
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santa clara, CA
popular
12 days ago
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Could a textile bike lock make the cut?

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The tex-lock is made from five types of textile

Steel cable-style bike locks may be lighter than U-locks, but they're also notoriously easy to cut through, plus their coiled design can make them difficult to use. Chains are one alternative, although they're quite heavy. So, what's lighter than a chain, and more cut-resistant than steel cable? According to an all-female group of German designers, their textile-based lock is.

.. Continue Reading Could a textile bike lock make the cut?

Category: Bicycles

Tags: Related Articles:
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samuel
15 days ago
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I hope the inverse, when true, gets said as well:

"According to an all-male group of German designers..."
The Haight in San Francisco
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https://youtu.be/OiiKbOLWEMwRick and Morty animation for Adult...

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https://youtu.be/OiiKbOLWEMw

Rick and Morty animation for Adult Swim

Had to compress it a bit to fit on tumblr, so here’s a good quality version

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samuel
17 days ago
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Everything he touches is gold
The Haight in San Francisco
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wreichard
17 days ago
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Well, wow.
Earth
StunGod
17 days ago
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That makes me so happy. Huge Rick and Morty fan here...
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth

Preview NewsBlur's upcoming hardware device, Turn Touch

4 Comments and 11 Shares

I have something very exciting to share with you today. I’ve been working on a secret project called Turn Touch and I’m just about ready to show it to you. Signup on turntouch.com to find out.

It’s a new kind of device and it’s machined out of solid wood. I built it to last, much like my other projects (for instance the news reader you’re likely reading this in). Turn Touch is built for NewsBlur, among many other things.

Turn Touch will be launching on Kickstarter next week and I want to ask for your help. When I launch my campaign I’m going to need people like you to share it with people who look to you for recomendations on what’s good. You already use NewsBlur, so you’re already known for having good taste.

Now, you probably want to know what Turn Touch is and actually looks like, yeah? Then signup on turntouch.com.

You’ll get to preview the Kickstarter campaign and offer me any feedback you have. You’ll get to see Turn Touch and find out what it offers you.

I’ve been working on this as a side project for that past few years. And by signing up you’ll have the first access to it.

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samuel
19 days ago
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It's a remote for NewsBlur (among other things).
The Haight in San Francisco
Splike
19 days ago
Can't wait to find out what this wooden thing actually does! Maybe it's like the Pokémon Go plus device. It will blink when good stories are nearby!
christophersw
19 days ago
I'm hoping for a magic "good news" button that filters everything not fit for /r/aww out of my feeds. :-) ... also it should make popcorn...
theprawn
18 days ago
I love this! I wish you success, but I cannot, however, support Kickstarter as a company. Hope this goes to market!
llucax
18 days ago
I hate this "sign-up to see what is it". I hope somebody posts an image or something on a public web that doesn't require sign-up or login
samuel
18 days ago
It's launching Tuesday. If you don't care to signup you can wait until then. I need people to signup so that I can send out an email on the day of the launch and have a nice start to the campaign.
sirshannon
17 days ago
Email newsletters and announcements are cool but I think the audience here on NewsBlur tends to skew towards RSS ;)
popular
19 days ago
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torrentprime
18 days ago
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I'd back that kickstarter if it could somehow make Trump go away
San Jose, CA
samuel
18 days ago
If only.
tingham
19 days ago
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Signed up months ago, no emails. Weird.
Cary, NC
samuel
19 days ago
You should have received at least three emails by now. I suggest signing up again, it will automatically email you the "Sneak peak" email.
GreenChange
19 days ago
I've also put my Gmail address in, and not received anything.
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