Life as a Trump Ambassador

The former Ambassador to Mexico in the Trump Administration just retired and he wrote a pretty stinging rebuke as a New York Times op-ed.

Over the past three decades, successive American administrations have worked diligently to vanquish the anti-American DNA in Mexico. We were overcoming the suspicions that a history of invasion, territorial loss and imperial intent had bequeathed. That kind of trust is slow to build, and remarkably easy to destroy. It is being destroyed now.

Jamal Khashoggi’s final column…

The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices. We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education. Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.

Read the rest of Jamal Khashoggi’s final column.

How we actually drain the swamp…

During the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, he talked about wanting fix Washington and the establishment, which hasn’t been working for the American people. He was going to “drain the swamp.”

The reality is that he’s done the exact opposite. Because of his political naïveté, every parasitic political opportunist has latched on with the hope it’ll help them maintain and further rise to power (i.e Paul Manafort as a prime example).

There is one part of DC that is “draining the swamp” and that’s the Justice System (including the investigation by special counsel Bob Mueller.)

Congressman Chris Coons has been recently indicted on charges of insider trading. He helped nominate Trump at the Republican convention. He just suspended his campaign for re-election, which I’m sure will reduce his chances of getting re-elected. That’s draining the swamp.

Building companies that build bridges…

I love working on technology that helps people connect with one another and make the world a smaller place.

In his latest New York Times op-ed, Roger Cohen highlights AirBnb as helping to connect the world, regardless of your race or nationality. It’s a seemingly different story than nationalism, which seems to be hitting a fever pitch.

I wonder if we are looking in the wrong places to assess the state of the world. The twilight of an era, as in Vienna a little over a century ago, is always murky. With nationalism and xenophobia resurgent, examples of humanity’s basest instincts abound. They grab the headlines. At the same time, community and sharing, often across national borders, through digital platforms like Airbnb, BlaBlaCar and Facebook, expand. This is the world’s undercurrent.

Certainly makes you more hopeful.

We all need community.

In his most recent column, David Brooks highlighted a Baltimore-based non-profit Thread that provides a family-style community for underperforming school kids.

Thread has taken 415 academically underperforming students in Baltimore schools and built an extended family around them, with about 1,000 volunteers. Each student is given up to five volunteers, who perform the jobs that a family member would perform.

Each volunteer is coached by a more experienced volunteer, called the Head of Family. The Head of Family is coached by a Grandparent, who supports the Head. The Grandparents are coached by Community Managers, who are paid Thread staffers. Circling the whole system are Collaborators, who offer special expertise when called in — legal help, SAT tutoring, mental health counseling, etc.

America needs more organizations like Thread.

Exploring the World Through Beer

Beer is so fascinating. Every brewery in every city tells a different story with their beer. They attract and engage their audience, in a way that keeps them coming back.

While I don’t think I travel a ton, I definitely travel a fair amount. As I’ve traveled the country (and the world), it’s so fun to try the local beers, visit the breweries, and see local people. You really get an authentic sense for the local flavor.

Just today, we went to the popular fruit farm East of St Louis Eckerts. We went to the restaurant, which leverages a lot of the crops, to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. In their attached store, they were showcasing Main Street Brewing Company in downtown Belleville, IL. I grabbed a 6-pack of their 2-Hop IPA. It’s delicious. I’m drinking it now. I’m kind of bummed I didn’t also grab a 6 pack of their Blood Orange Radler. That was delicious as a sampler.

My wife and I were already talking about making a trip to Belleville to visit the brewery in person. I hear downtown Belleville is cute. We’ll take the kids and make it a trip.

During my last trip to New York City, I went to Brooklyn to meet a friend for dinner. I got to the neighboorhood early and had some time to kill. I wandered my way up to Brooklyn Brewery. This was super cool because Brooklyn Brewery is one of the godfathers of craft beer movement. Head Brewer Garrett Oliver is a beast of the food world. I tried an IPA that I hadn’t had before. I really wanted to try the Black Ops that I’d heard so much about but wasn’t in the mood for a 10% ABV imperial stout.

Prior to that, I was on a trip to visit my team in Denver. Our office is in a suburb. After a couple days of work in the office, I grabbed my team and we worked from 4 Noses Brewing Company. I had some delicious NE-style IPA’s, while we jammed out the last bit of our work.

Travel the country (and really the world) through beer. Find a brewery where you’re going. Stop by and drink it the area around you. Maybe say hello to the person sitting on a stool next to you.

World’s most experienced driver

I’m so excited for autonomous driving. I’m not a big driver. I don’t love it. I’d be happy to not drive ever again.

Plus, I’d love to skip the joy of teaching my kids to drive. It’d be amazing to have them just summon a self-driving car.

My understanding is that, in a world of self-driving cars, you need data. You need to train the car to be able to respond to every scenario.

Google’s self-driving unit Waymo has been logging a lot of miles.

Waymo’s fleet of self-driving vehicles are now logging 25,000 miles every day on public roads, Krafcik said.  He later tweeted out the stats along with a graphic. Waymo has 600 self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans on the road in 25 cities.

Compromised by Russia…

A Republican congressman and former CIA operative just penned an op-ed in the New York Times.

Over the course of my career as an undercover officer in the C.I.A., I saw Russian intelligence manipulate many people. I never thought I would see the day when an American president would be one of them.

When the president is likely albeit unknowingly compromised by Russia and parroting their propaganda, we need to be all the more skeptical about the information that we consume.