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PUSH Conference Report

The PUSH Conference opened yesterday at the Walker Art Museum here in Minneapolis. Jenni Wolfson is a remarkable person, a Scottish woman who gave a gripping monologue this morning, talking about her experiences as a former UN aid worker in Rwanda. I guess you would call this performance art, but it..

The PUSH Conference opened yesterday at the Walker Art Museum here in Minneapolis.

Jenni Wolfson is a remarkable person, a Scottish woman who gave a gripping monologue this morning, talking about her experiences as a former UN aid worker in Rwanda. I guess you would call this performance art, but it was far more powerful, a terrifying recollection of her time in this war-torn country. Really extraordinary listening, watching her recount the horror of living amid refugees, violence and a constant deluge of mortar shells. The latter point makes me think of the situation in Sderdot that I read about but don't really understand. Its impressive to think that, along with her work as an artist, Jenni currently serves as the interim director of the human rights organization WITNESS.

Nate Garvis from Target was the highlight of the afternoon. He offered an interesting, business-centric perspective. As head of public policy efforts at Target, his job responsibilities predicate on lobbying and influence. So, his talk was revealing as you tried to read between the lines to determine whether his views truly represent the mindset of one of the largest retailers in the country or simply a daring maverick in the organization. It was a bit of a game to parse his words. He described how the separate realms of public service, private sector and civil society are colliding in the new world order. In one such example, Nate revealed that Target is working with law enforcement in MN to use its inventory management software to track criminals. Kind of odd. Instead of tracking socks, Target is tracking felons. Something to think about next time you are browsing the big red aisles searching for a bottle of Method.

He also pointed out various other trends. The evolution of storytelling as primary societal narrative. The value of conspicuous consumerism, actually holding out Ethos Water as an example. Finally, Garvis highlighted the shift from Command and Control leadership models to a Listen and Respond model. What does it mean when one of the largest retailers in the US insists that insights and lessons manifest from down below, not top? How does it change buying policies, marketing strategies, etc? We talk about the same forces at GOOD. We are animated by our notion of GOOD as a member-driven community. Funny to hear one of the leading retailers in the world admitting to this as a source of influence and inspiration.

Clyde Prestowitz, head of the Economic Strategy Institute and a longtime member of Beltway establishment, spoke about global economic policies. I remember him from my time in the Clinton administration when he, as a Carter alum, was advocating a more protectionist perspective that mapped to our trade agenda. His views on competitiveness policy and energy independence have come back into vogue. In one startling admission, he confessed to being afraid of Google because "no one really understands what it does." INHO, Mark Haddon a fmr Labor MP and currently lead diplomatic correspondent for Al Jazeera, gave a more thoughtful answer, calling out the danger of all large MNCs who operate across borders yet lack of elected accountability and are motivated by rapacious self-interest. These twin forces can motivate them to pursue strategies that might not serve the public interest. He cited News Corp as an example, which seems like something of an understatement.

The day ended with an outdoor dinner/picnic at Minnehaha Falls, a marvelous outdoor park built around the natural beauty of the waterfall. Speakers mingled with attendees and volunteers, all communing around oysters and local beer. It was a low-key and really fun affair – no pretensions, just conversation. Unlike TED or Davos, PUSH feels much more "Midwest" – friendly, far more accessible, just more down-to-earth. The audience is more local, the tone less sanctimonious, the whole affair simply more intimate. An appropriate close to an interesting and provocative day.

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

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The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

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"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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