When the U.S. is a tech laggard | FCW


Most Americans would probably not be surprised to hear this. We tend to think that, with our startups, our entrepreneurial culture and our venture capital, we “of course” dominate tech.

.. we need to understand we’re not always as good as we imagine ourselves to be. That in fact may be the hardest message to accept.

Source: When the U.S. is a tech laggard — FCW

Trump’s Syria-Russia tweets reveal his incoherent foreign policy | Vox


Trump says he wants to buddy up to Russia and then expels 60 Russian diplomats; he swings from publicly dismissing the idea of negotiations with North Korea to agreeing to sit down with its supreme leader; he slaps huge new tariffs on China and then talks about how friendly he is with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

On issue after issue, the president’s statements contradict his aides’ comments, his administration’s actual policy, and even his own past statements. Contradiction itself feels less like an error and more like the only real Trump doctrine.

This is not a good thing for US foreign policy — or the world.

Source: Trump’s Syria-Russia tweets reveal his incoherent foreign policy – Vox

The race to replace Paul Ryan is on | POLITICO


Two top members of Paul Ryan’s leadership team, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, have begun angling for his job in the event the speaker calls it quits after the election.

They’re closely monitoring the moves of the other and quietly courting Republicans who could help either of them clinch the top post, according to 20 GOP lawmakers and aides interviewed for this report.

“It’s McCarthy’s to lose,” said another GOP lawmaker close with McCarthy. “I think he’s in a lot stronger place than last time because he’s got a close relationship with Trump.”

Source: The race to replace Paul Ryan is on – POLITICO

Why Paul Ryan is not running for reelection | Vox


Underlying the chatter among Republicans is an understanding that the speakership has always been a thankless job, and has become all the more fraught under the Trump presidency.

When Ryan took over the post, his ascendency was meant to usher in a new era in GOP politics, unified behind Obamacare repeal, tax cuts, and dismantling the welfare state. Instead, Ryan has placated a president who has no interest in his agenda, and who in many cases — like on immigration, trade, and entitlement reform — breaks with the party altogether.

Ryan’s conservatism is no longer seen as a uniting force in a fractured Republican House. Instead, Ryan has become an avatar for the Republican civil war. These tensions explain why he wants out.

Source: Why Paul Ryan is not running for reelection – Vox

Paul Ryan Sees His Wild Washington Journey Coming to An End | POLITICO Magazine


Ryan was the man of the hour. Having spent a quarter-century in Washington—as an intern, waiter, junior think-tanker, Hill staffer and, since 1999, as a member of Congress—he had never wavered in his obsession with fixing what he viewed as the nation’s two fundamental weaknesses: its Byzantine tax system and ballooning entitlement state.

Now, with House Republicans celebrating the once-in-a-generation achievement of a tax overhaul, Ryan was feeling both jubilant and relieved—and a little bit greedy.

Tinkering with the social safety net is a bold undertaking, particularly in an election year. But Ryan has good reason for throwing caution to the wind: His time in Congress is running short.

Source: Paul Ryan Sees His Wild Washington Journey Coming to An End – POLITICO Magazine

How Paul Ryan lost and Donald Trump won in the fight for the future of the GOP | CNNPolitics


Ryan had been hinting behind-the-scenes for months that he wasn’t going to be around all that much longer. Remember that he was cajoled into taking the job in 2015 following then-Speaker John Boehner’s resignation amid pressure from conservatives inside and out of Congress.

Ryan initially blanched at taking the job but stepped forward when it became apparent that there was simply no one else who could win a majority of the majority’s vote.

Nonetheless, his retirement will send shockwaves through a party already reeling in the face of what looks to be a growing Democratic wave headed its way in a few months time.

Ryan is the 40th Republican to announce a decision not to seek reelection as compared to just 19 for Democrats.

Source: How Paul Ryan lost and Donald Trump won in the fight for the future of the GOP – CNNPolitics

Zuckerberg got off lightly. Why are politicians so bad at asking questions? | The Guardian


As that Axios report observed: “Zuckerberg was well prepared, but he also benefited from redundant questioning that rarely included smart follow-ups.” Part of the problem was the clear ignorance, if not befuddlement, in the face of technology displayed by most of the senators, many of whom are of a ripe vintage.

At times Zuckerberg resembled the polite teenager who visits his grandparents, only to spend the afternoon showing them how to turn on the wifi.

But the wider problem is one shared by politicians of all ages, and not only when wrestling with tech. Again and again, a committee will have a key player accused of wrongdoing sit before them. Yet gifted with the chance to nail that player once and for all, they’ll watch him or her wriggle away, unscathed.

Witness the 2011 appearance of Rupert and James Murdoch before the Commons culture committee …

Source: Zuckerberg got off lightly. Why are politicians so bad at asking questions? | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian

Why hating Facebook won’t stop us from using it


While the site’s privacy troubles are recent, users have known about its other shortcomings for years. That Facebook can make us miserable is old news: so many research studies have concluded that it negatively affects our well-being, last year the company conducted its own such study and largely agreed.

“I’ve been impressed by the consistency with which the scientific literature has uncovered negative links,” said Ethan Kross, director of the Emotion and Self-Control Laboratory at the University of Michigan, whose oft-cited 2013 research concluded that Facebook use predicts a decline in users’ well-being.

So why are we all still using the service, really? What do the experts studying our behavior on Facebook have to say

Source: Commentary: Why hating Facebook won’t stop us from using it

Braced for air strikes on Syria, some airlines re-route flights


Some major airlines were re-routing flights on Wednesday after Europe’s air traffic control agency warned aircraft flying in the eastern Mediterranean to exercise caution due to possible air strikes into Syria.

Eurocontrol said in a notification published on Tuesday afternoon that air-to-ground and cruise missiles could be used over the following 72 hours and there was a possibility of intermittent disruption to radio navigation equipment.

Source: Braced for air strikes on Syria, some airlines re-route flights

This Pentagon Paper Explains Why the Trump Administration Is Reining In Tech Trade with China | Nextgov


The paper argues that China “is executing a multi-decade plan to transfer technology to increase the size and value-add of its economy…and decrease U.S. relevance globally.”

That plan involves some illegal measures, including industrial espionage and cyber theft, but also perfectly legal forced-joint ventures, acquisitions, and early-stage investment in startups.

When “the Chinese make an investment in an early stage company developing advanced technology, there is an opportunity cost to the U.S. since that company is potentially off-limits for purposes of working with the Defense Department,” it says.

Source: This Pentagon Paper Explains Why the Trump Administration Is Reining In Tech Trade with China – Nextgov