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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True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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