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.

And the CIA Speaks Up…

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) isn’t really known for being an open and transparent organization.

When details of how the CIA knows that Russia interfered in the 2016 election show up in the New York Times, you know that the intelligence community is trying to send a message.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Incredible story. It’s worth a read.

Creating Political Change

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman in his latest column opines the state of President Trump and the Republican Party.

And what makes Trump even more powerful and problematic is that this president with no shame is combined with a party with no spine and a major network with no integrity

So… how do we create political change? Tom shares…

The only way to change this situation is not by hoping that the president develops some shame or that this version of the G.O.P. develops some spine. It is by Democrats winning the House, the Senate or both in the midterm elections.

Only by dealing an electoral defeat to this version of the G.O.P. in the midterms will we possibly get a healthy conservative party again (which we need) and curb Trump’s power.

Everything else is just words — and words without power change nothing.

We’re under attack by Russia

The Mueller investigation with the Justice Department indicted 12 Russians for hacking related to the 2016 election in the United States. The indictments went into incredible detail.

We NEED to take this seriously.

I was surprised that Donald Trump’s homeland security secretary even called this “a direct attack on our democracy.” Unfortunately, not many other voices have chimed in.

Russia wants to sow division in the United States and make us weaker in the process. They want to take our place as the most powerful country in the world.

Frankly, it seems like they’re making progress.

At least we’re talking…

The Trump administration is learning that pursuing North Korean denuclearization is going to be a slog.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just left North Korea after talks that he thought were productive. North Koreans had other thoughts

His rosy outlook was almost immediately rejected by North Korea’s foreign ministry, which called the U.S. attitude to the talks “regrettable” and accused the United States of making unilateral demands for denuclearization. Pompeo just hours earlier said the two sides engaged in “good-faith negotiations.”

At least, we’re talking. If we’re talking, we’re not immediately on the path to blowing each other up, which seemed imminent before.

Ronald Reagan on Trade Deficits

Republicans have departed so far from Reagan’s legacy.

Ever since that time, the American people have stayed true to our heritage by rejecting the siren song of protectionism. In recent years, the trade deficit led some misguided politicians to call for protectionism, warning that otherwise we would lose jobs. But they were wrong again. In fact, the United States not only didn’t lose jobs, we created more jobs than all the countries of Western Europe, Canada, and Japan combined. The record is clear that when America’s total trade has increased, American jobs have also increased. And when our total trade has declined, so have the number of jobs.