What Democrats and Republicans believe. Plus, the best of the web.

A comparison of the party platforms. A rant against organic food. A quiz to tell you what kind of Pepperidge Farm cookie you are. A look at today's Nerf guns (this ain't the Super Soaker of your youth). And more. Enjoy!


Politics and World Affairs

How The Party Platforms Differ / Michael Cooper / The New York Times

The beliefs and policy proposals of each party, in their own words, side by side.




Are Entitlements Corrupting Us? Yes, American Character Is At Stake / Nicholas Eberstadt / The Wall Street Journal

"A half-century of unfettered expansion of entitlement outlays has completely inverted the priorities, structure and functions of federal administration as these were understood by all previous administrations." (via Maurice)




Are Entitlements Corrupting Us? No, Entitlements Are Part Of The Civic Compact / William Galston / The Wall Street Journal

"Since the Ford administration, both political parties have usually agreed on the proposition that people who work full-time, year-round, should not live in poverty, and neither should their families." (via Maurice)




Why I Had No Choice But To Spurn Tony Blair / Desmond Tutu / The Guardian

The Archbishop pens a letter. Scheduled to sit on a panel about leadership with Blair, he withdraws because of Blair's conduct on Iraq, writing, "leadership and morality are indivisible."




If You Think Obama's First Term Was Bad, Imagine A Second / Ramesh Ponnuru / Bloomberg

Argues that, contrary to President Obama's stated belief, Republican obstruction will be even greater and lead to even more gridlock should he win another term.




Arts and Culture

The Serious Eats Guide To Sandwiches / Jed Portman / Serious Eats

An amazing glossary of sandwiches. From the U.S.: the Dagwood, the Elvis, the Mother-in-Law. Abroad: the Arepa, the Banh Mi, the Chip Butty. Yum.

U.S. Guide

International Guide




I Ate Every Variety Of Pepperidge Farms Cookie / Leon Neyfakh / Slate

A very fun read. Includes a witty slideshow, and even a quiz to determine what kind of cookie you are...which correctly determined that I was a Chessmen kind of guy.




The Organic Fable / Roger Cohen / The New York Times

"Organic has long since become ... the romantic back-to-nature obsession of an upper middle class able to afford it and oblivious, in their affluent narcissism... to the challenge of feeding a planet whose population will surge to 9 billion before the middle of the century."




Beyond The Matrix / Aleksandar Hemon / The New Yorker

The team behind "The Matrix" takes on "Cloud Atlas," one of my favorite novels, and one that seems unfilmable. The author's pleased, though, and so are the directors. Fingers crossed.





Business and Economics

How Nerf Became The World's Best Purveyor Of Big Guns For Kids / Jason Fagone / Wired

Forget the Super Soaker of your youth. Today's Nerf "blasters" (the company's term for guns) come with fully automatic firing, ammo drums, and more. Fascinating read.





Facebook Handled Their IPO Exactly Right / Mark Cuban / Blog Maverick

Cuban at his best, bluntly destroying the commentators who have criticized Facebook's CFO for botching its initial public offering.




The Economics Of Magazines And Diversity / Ta-Nehisi Coates / The Atlantic

Excellent context on why so few minorities make it onto the mastheads of major American publications.





The US Economy May Surprise Us All / Roger Altman / Financial Times

Five glimmers of hope — housing, energy, banking, competitiveness, and politics — that could bode well for our struggling economy.




Science and Technology

How Google Builds Its Maps — And What It Means For The Future Of Everything / Alexis Madrigal / The Atlantic

Great post: "The secret to this success isn't, as you might expect, Google's facility with data, but rather its willingness to commit humans to recombining and cleaning data about the physical world."




My Way / Christoph Niemann / The New York Times

Speaking of maps, these cartoons using maps to deliver jokes are witty and worth a quick scroll.




Lunch With The FT: Tim Berners-Lee / Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson / Financial Times

The low-key inventor of the World Wide Web takes the author to a food truck at MIT, then discusses why he kept the Web open, and why he won't say what he was typing during the Olympics opening ceremony.




How Children Succeed / Paul Tough / Slate

What several studies tell us about the relative importance of intelligence versus motivation in success. (via Bo)




Exactly How Screwed Is Paypal? (Hint: Very) / Sarah Lacy / PandoDaily

Its customer service is terrible, its main source of strength—its partnership with eBay—is becoming less relevant, and its founders are investing in new competitors.




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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.