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government

Hobbes and the Ideal Citizen

Nov 5, 2019

What do citizens owe the state? What does the state owe its citizens?


Wikimedia Commons

This legislative session, California Governor Gavin Newsom had dozens of bills on his desk to consider signing into law. And the range of issues was wide, from police use of force, to water use, from vaccine exemptions to microchip implants in pets. Some he vetoed, others he signed. 

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

Governor Gavin Newsom, last week, signed AB5: that’s legislation that transforms the way workers are identified and get paid in California.

Holly J. McDede / KALW

After Stephon Clark was shot and killed by Sacramento police last year, state lawmakers proposed a bill to change the law around when officers can open fire. Activists rallied behind the bill. But when strictest stipulations of the bill were removed to win over law enforcement groups, some withdrew their support. Assembly Bill 392 has now passed the Senate Floor, and California's Governor is expected to sign it. 

Kyle Trefny

More than a dozen candidates to be president of the United States were in San Francisco over the weekend for the California Democratic Convention.

Eli Wirtschafter / KALW

On April 13, a Mercedes slammed into a family crossing the street in East Oakland. A 6-year-old and his mother were both killed. Another family member was critically injured. Foothill Boulevard, where it happened, is one of Oakland’s most dangerous streets for pedestrians.

Philosophy Talk: Authority and Resistance

Apr 19, 2019

What makes some forms of authority legitimate and others not?


Philosophy Talk: The Radical Democracy Movement

Mar 29, 2019

How can we create a democracy that doesn't end up oppressing minorities and dissenters?


Mercurywoodrose / Wikimedia Commons, used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Hayward has a new council member. She’s a millennial, a renter, and Afghan American. Aisha Wahab is a 31 year old IT consultant.

Courtesy of San Francisco Public Defender's Office

San Francisco's late public defender Jeff Adachi died unexpectedly after suffering an apparent heart attack in North Beach. 

Courtesty of Center for Youth Wellness

Govenor Gavin Newsom early last week announced a new position of state surgeon general. And it’s pretty much custom made for Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the high-profile San Francisco pediatrician he appointed to fill it.  

How changes to the Farm Bill could affect Bay Area food stamps

Apr 24, 2018
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr Creative Commons

 

 

The Farm Bill. It sounds like a bill that deals with … well, farming. But the Farm Bill that’s up for renewal and being debated in Congress right now actually deals with a lot more.

Is whistleblowing a matter of duty, or a matter of choice?


Philosophy Talk: Democracy in Crisis

Nov 14, 2017

Government shutdowns, gerrymandered voting districts, unfettered campaign spending -- are these the inevitable outcomes of our nation's founding principles?


Philosophy Talk: The Internet of Things

Oct 17, 2017

What will 'privacy' mean when every device we own and operate is collecting reams of data on us to share via the internet with corporations and governments?


Philosophy Talk: A World Without Work

Sep 22, 2017

Can we still lead productive, meaningful lives if the demand for human labor disappears?


  

Who's running the government under Donald Trump? That’s the question journalist John Nichols explores in his new book, Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America

Do we really need to be governed by a formal state, or is that merely something the state has convinced us we need?

Philosophy Talk: Habermas and Democracy

Jun 23, 2017

Could rational communication really be the foundation of democracy?   


Philosophy Talk: Machiavelli

May 2, 2017

Was Machiavelli an unscrupulous theorist and advisor, or one of the most widely misunderstood political philosophers ever?


"Online surveillance" by sajb1 used by CC license

How much information do you give away everyday?


Philosophy Talk: Weapons of Mass Destruction

Dec 9, 2016

What moral questions do weapons of mass destruction raise that ordinary weapons don't?


Philosophy Talk: Do religions deserve special status?

Sep 9, 2016
"Religion billboard" by Dave & Anna Douglass used under cc license

What special status, if any, should religion have in the eyes of the law? 


Philosophy Talk asks about Freedom and Free Enterprise

Feb 5, 2016

Is America's embrace of the free-enterprise system a practical matter – an effective way of organizing resources and the distribution of goods – or does it rest on deeper principles? 


Daily News Roundup for Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Jul 23, 2015
Treasure Island Development Authority

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news

City plans to transform Treasure Island with $50 million for public art // KQED

"In an art-themed version of the movie axiom, 'if you build it, they will come,' the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) hopes to draw locals and tourists alike to Treasure Island — and not just for its views.

Philosophy Talks asks: How does Propaganda work?

May 29, 2015

Governments and other political institutions employ propaganda to sway public opinion, instill ideas, and exert a degree of control over people. While totalitarian regimes have been known to do this explicitly, democratic governments often disguise their propaganda with persuasive rhetoric. So what exactly constitutes propaganda and how does it work? Does it always involve lies or falsehoods? Can propaganda ever be morally justified or is it a pernicious form of communication? John and Ken trade slogans with Jason Stanley from Yale University, author of How Propaganda Works. 

Democratic systems of government are supposed to reflect the interests of ordinary citizens, and not some shadowy political elite. But more and more, we see the influence of big money and special interest groups in so-called democratic politics, while income inequality and voter suppression grow. With millions convinced that politicians don’t speak for them, is there a "crisis of representation" in the US? Are these problems a result of political decay in our institutions, or is democracy in trouble everywhere?

Philosophy Talk asks: Who (else) has a right to your body?

Feb 6, 2015

Most countries allow their citizens to smoke cigarettes, get intoxicated, and eat unhealthy food – despite the harms that such behaviors may bring to the individual's health and to the social and economic interests of the state. Yet taking certain narcotics, selling one's organs, and driving without a seat-belt are often prohibited by law. Is this an arbitrary distinction, or is there a principled reason for these diverging attitudes? What can government legitimately prohibit its citizens from doing to their own bodies -- and what can it legitimately compel them to do?

Philosophy Talk asks what "Machiavellian" really means

Sep 19, 2014

Niccolò Machiavelli is best known for arguing that people in power should use deception, force, and manipulation if those tactics are necessary to achieve their ends. In an age of unscrupulous politics and ruthless business practice, shouldn't we be encouraging a move away from Machiavellian thinking? Then again, are we even sure that those "Machiavellian" views were really Machiavelli's? If not, what did he really think, and what might we learn from him?

Philosophy Talk surveys the New Surveillance Society

Jul 24, 2014

Recent revelations confirm what many already suspected: not only is Big Brother watching you, he is also potentially reading your emails, listening to your phone calls, mapping your personal networks, and tracking your every move. While many see whistleblowers as heroes, others see them as criminals who ought to be severely punished. So, how should we treat whistleblowers who break the law for moral or political ends? How do we adjudicate between national or corporate security and individual rights?

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