Summary of “The First Responders”

Born in 1949 at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, Moon lived the first eight years of his life just south of Georgia’s capital city with his parents, Clinton and Elzora, and his younger sister, June.
Freedom House handled staffing for the fledgling ambulance service and recruited the first class of paramedics, including Vietnam veterans and men with criminal records.
In its first year, Freedom House responded to nearly 6,000 calls and was credited with saving more than 200 people from heart attacks, gunshot wounds, stabbings, and overdoses.
Twelve hours after donning the uniform, Moon was speeding through Pittsburgh’s streets in the front seat of a Freedom House ambulance as a voice on the dispatch radio sounded in his ear, firing off details about a man who’d overdosed on heroin and was lying unconscious in the street.
Behind the ambulance’s wheel was George McCary, who’d joined Freedom House in its earliest days-back in 1968, when his grandmother had threatened to kick him out of the house if he didn’t get a job.
Caroline’s first encounter with Freedom House was painful, too, laden with bias and suspicion.
“Twenty-five grand?” Moon spat the first time he heard that one.
“No one imagined the impact Freedom House would have. Generations of paramedics have carried on what we started. That’s our legacy,” Moon said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “More than having options, freedom is being true to yourself”

If we care about freedom more acutely than ever, perhaps it’s because we’re more and more attuned to the multitudes of ways in which our self-stewardship is undermined or hijacked for the uses and machinations of others – especially by corporations or institutions that don’t have our wellbeing at heart.
The problem with PAP is that it struggles to explain why having more options often fails to enhance freedom.
How is it possible that more options can be somehow constraining, if freedom is really about options?
First, some people without options don’t appear to need them in order to enjoy freedom worthy of the name.
This thought-experiment suggests that simply having more options doesn’t equate to more freedom: we would not be rendered more free via the introduction of hundreds more cereal brands or fewer shared secrets.
A second reason to be skeptical of the options-based account of freedom is that people with options don’t often recognise them as being truly live – so they don’t reap any real benefit from having them.
So if freedom is not a matter of multiple options, just what is it? In my view, freedom has more to do with how you conceive of yourself – and of how you arrive at that self-conception.
More specifically, you exercise your freedom most strongly when you reject or push back against a label or descriptor that others urge upon you – whether they do it gently or in the strongest possible terms.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The California Sunday Magazine”

During the Bush years, this rhetorical tic greased our path into the Iraq quagmire, of course, but it also helped shoehorn the country into its massive mortgage crisis: Bush’s “Ownership society” nudged millions of citizens into bad loans on the premise of “More freedom and more control over your own life.” Before that, he launched the USA Freedom Corps in 2002, followed by the so-called Freedom Agenda, his tectonic foreign-policy shift away from “[s]ixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East.”.
Eager to shed its establishment vibe, corporate America long ago co-opted the personal-freedom language of the ’60s. The CEO of Dreyer’s has equated ice cream with freedom, and skin-care professionals have linked freedom with the removal of unsightly neck bands.
The Scientologists put out the magazine Freedom, and the Valley Forge Freedom played hockey.
You may “Learn to beat the IRS” at Freedom Law School or live in any of more than a dozen places in the U.S. called Freedom.
Hum “Full Tank of Freedom” enough and you start wondering if commercials like these sell us a desire for freedom as much as anything.
Freedom is what’s been taken, and freedom is what they have left.
Arranged near her was a collection of hats doing just that, ostensibly focused on the Second Amendment but with broader overtones: Don’t tread on my freedom and Freedom isn’t free and Free men don’t need permission.
There is external freedom and there is internal freedom.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Personal Toll of Whistle-Blowing”

During his time at Freedom, Sewell had become convinced that the company was defrauding the government of hundreds of millions of dollars by carrying out a sophisticated set of scams targeted at a new program called Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage, the program that Sewell believed Freedom was abusing, is at the center of a growing number of fraud cases, some of which involve the biggest names in the health-insurance industry.
Most of the Sewell boys’ free time was devoted to sports: Sewell played baseball, basketball, and varsity soccer, and was a competitive swimmer, eventually qualifying for nationals.
According to Sewell, the internal philosophy at Freedom was to keep costs low, to move swiftly, and to be aggressive.
Inman told me that, when Sewell walked into the room, she thought, “This guy is weird. He’s tall, he’s awkward, he’s got this eye thing going on.” But, she continued, “It sort of added to the mad-scientist bit. He was so impossibly intelligent.” She was soon won over by his self-deprecating humor, and described him as a “Gentle giant.” Sewell told her that he believed Freedom was “Cherry-picking”-recruiting healthy enrollees who needed little or no medical care-in addition to lemon-dropping.
Inman warned Sewell that being a whistle-blower would take a personal toll.
Ortega approached Panara after a conference and confronted him with comments that Sewell had recorded-comments that, from their context, likely made it clear that Sewell was the government’s source.
In April of 2012, Freedom placed Sewell on administrative leave; in September, he submitted his “Involuntary resignation.” Later that fall, while he was at home looking for a new job, Sewell heard that his former employers were telling others in the industry to avoid working with him.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Boudica: how a widowed queen became a rebellious woman warrior”

In the 1st century CE, Boudica, warrior queen of the Iceni people, led an army of 100,000 to victory against the mighty Roman Empire.
The authors differ in their details, but agree that Boudica unified the Britons as never before and led a revolt against the Romans in 60/61 CE. Her story creates a parallel between different views of gender equality held by the Romans and the Britons, and the dichotomies of empire and colony, power and subjugation.
In the Roman accounts, Boudica fought for freedom from the Romans, a colonial oppressor she viewed as greedy and immoral.
An honorific epitaph for Boudica in Roman terms would have been composed following a formula based on a Roman understanding of normative gender roles: she would have been identified in relation to a man, noted for her success as a mother, and praised for her domestic virtues.
After suffering at the hands of the Romans, Boudica united the Britons and took her revenge.
While the Roman general Suetonius Paulinus was away in Wales, attacking the Druidic centre at Mona, Boudica formed her army.
Even the gods are on their side, so how could they lose? Despite her exhortation, the Romans win handily, and Boudica commits suicide rather than allow herself to be taken prisoner.
In her speeches, Boudica juxtaposes Roman avarice with British freedom.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is there a role for religion in international development?”

Though the terms of change and the very ideology of development have been fiercely contested, with critics going so far as to argue that development interventions might actually be the cause of persistent poverty and ecological damage, more than 60 years later, the adoption of the UN’s latest to-do list – the Sustainable Development Goals – attests to the continuing importance of development as an ideal political project, shared, at least in theory, by governments and nongovernmental organisations across the world.
Acknowledging this fact can prevent development ‘experts’ from becoming what the US development theorist Denis Goulet in 1980 described as myopic ‘one-eyed giants’ who ‘analyse, prescribe and act as if man can live by bread alone’.
While Sen, a self-declared ‘godless scientist’, is averse to granting religion a role in development, his work shifts development onto ethical grounds.
Development means ‘expanding the real freedoms people enjoy’ – these include basic capabilities such as being able to read and write, agency over the decisions that affect one’s life, and participation in civic and political matters.
Development aims to foster not just freedom, but also the exercise of one’s freedom.
In my research in the sacred Hindu city of Varanasi, I found that, while development has brought valued material progress for some, people also lament the accompanying loss of cherished ways of living and traditions, often rooted in religion.
The Catholic view of human flourishing performs an important task by requiring any approach to economic development to consider seriously the moral and non-economic consequences of development.
The process of reflection and critical deliberation is also key for Sen’s vision of development and human freedom.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Andrew Sullivan: Kanye West and the Question of Freedom”

Freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant; freedom to profit off a people in one moment and abandon them in the next; a Stand Your Ground freedom, freedom without responsibility, without hard memory; a Monticello without slavery, a Confederate freedom, the freedom of John C. Calhoun, not the freedom of Harriet Tubman, which calls you to risk your own; not the freedom of Nat Turner, which calls you to give even more, but a conqueror’s freedom, freedom of the strong built on antipathy or indifference to the weak, the freedom of rape buttons, pussy grabbers, and fuck you anyway, bitch; freedom of oil and invisible wars, the freedom of suburbs drawn with red lines, the white freedom of Calabasas.
I understand that the freedom enjoyed by a member of an unreflective majority is easier than the freedom of someone in a small minority, and nowhere in America is that truer than in the world of black and white.
That my own freedom was harder to achieve doesn’t make it any less precious, or sacrosanct.
There is no gay freedom or straight freedom, no black freedom or white freedom; merely freedom, a common dream, a universalizing, individual experience.
Notice that in Ta-Nehisi’s essay, two concepts – freedom and music – that have long been seen as universal, transcending class or race or gender or any form of identity toward an idea of the eternally human or even divine – are emphatically tribalized and brought decisively down to earth.
Freedom, in this worldview, does not and cannot unite Americans of all races; neither can music.
Because there is no category of simply human freedom possible in America, now or ever.
Nominated to work under a president who has demanded personal loyalty of his appointees, even in the FBI and Justice Department, and who has championed even worse forms of torture than Haspel presided over, she could have emphatically insisted that she would refuse an illegal and immoral order in the future, even if she did no such thing in the past.

The orginal article.

Summary of “One 30-page document contains everything you need to know about AI”

Congress’ complete lack of understanding when it comes things like the internet, cellphones, and technology in general is hilarious…for about a minute.
The Senate’s Zuckerberg hearing was the Congressional equivalent of your parents’ calls to IT, with Zuck throwing out buzzwords like “Data privacy” and “Artificial intelligence” to ensure no one would ask a legitimate follow up.
It was painfully clear that Congress’ understanding of AI doesn’t go very far beyond the general “Smart but scary robot computer” presented in mainstream movies and TV shows.
We’re at a crossroads when it comes to this sort of technology, and it has the potential to fundamentally change the world.
This is where “Privacy and Freedom of Expression In the Age of Artificial Intelligence” comes in.
Written by the members of Article 19, a global human rights organization dedicated to promoting freedom of expression, and Privacy International, an NGO focused on privacy, the paper explains basically everything an informed citizen should know about AI as it relates to democracy, in simple, easy-to-understand language.
It continues on to describe how AI affects freedom of expression and personal privacy, outlines the state of things currently, and provides suggestions as to where we should go from here.
Definitely pull it out on the subway or during your next existential crisis; the future will thank you.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Against guilty pleasures: Adorno on the crimes of pop culture”

The easy response to Adorno’s condemnation of popular culture is to dismiss Adorno as a snob.
In this version, Adorno’s arguments against popular culture contain no insight, only elitism, while popular culture pleases and gives a voice to ordinary people.
Adorno did not simply condemn popular culture; nor did he simply yearn for the rule of high culture.
Popular culture has lost its ability, Adorno claims, to create these integrated, unified wholes.
For Adorno, this is what’s wrong with pop culture.
For Adorno, a large part of the harm inflicted by popular culture is harm to our ability to act freely and spontaneously.
Popular culture, for Adorno, is not bad because it provides us with quick and accessible pleasure in a way that modern, demanding ‘high art’ does not.
For Adorno, some artworks are just better than others; and popular culture is, by and large, ‘trash’.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Jocko Willink On the Power of Discipline”

He has a new book out and its title caught my attention: Discipline Equals Freedom.
“If you want freedom, then you need to have disciplinethe more discipline you have in your life the more you’ll be able to do what you want. That’s not true initially; initially the discipline might be things you don’t want to do at the time, but the more you do things that you don’t want to do, the more you do the right things, the better off you’ll be and the more freedom you’ll have”.
Jocko’s examples of this idea in action mainly concerned personal development.
More discipline with your finances, for example, will eventually yield more financial freedom, while more discipline with time management will allow you to do more interesting things with your time.
The front office IT revolution granted the knowledge worker an amazing amount of apparent new freedom: email made communication with anyone about anything instantaneous; the world wide web put all information at their fingertips; the mobile revolution allowed them to take these promethean gifts with them everywhere.
As I discussed in my recent post on stagnant economic productivity, this apparent freedom is yielding mixed results.
The new economy does offer exciting new opportunities, but perhaps the most effective way to unlock this freedom in the long term is to be more disciplined in the short term, especially when it comes to your time and attention: to focus relentlessly on producing the things you know how to do best at the highest possible level of quality, while ignoring the attractive digital baubles that promise you conveniences and the potential of breakthrough connections and exposure.
As Jocko put it: “Do things you don’t want to dodo the right things,” and trust this discipline now will eventually generate the freedom you seek.

The orginal article.