Mental Munchies                                                               Act                                                                            Contact Us

The Bridge is about real political conversation. 

We offer brief updates on our world, divided into easily digestible segments.  Our slices are written by people like you, who care about driving the conversation to a place where we can discover the best solutions.  We want our readers to feel empowered, confident and unified after finishing our newsletter. Help us establish a collective voice.

This is our team:

 

Kabir Moss

Editor-in-Chief / Columnist

Kabir is a quesadilla connoisseur and a fiend for basic cable space documentaries. Born and raised in Northern California but a graduate of Emerson College in Boston, he is still perplexed by the cost and quality of East Coast Mexican food.

As a subscriber to the five-year-undergraduate-plan, Kabir spent his first year at Africa University in Zimbabwe learning, among other things, how inflation works. After a year at AU, he transferred to Emerson’s journalism school and eventually graduated with a degree in Writing, Literature and Publishing. While at Emerson he was a four year member of the Emerson Men’s Basketball Team, generally seeing the floor in order to rebound and box out.

Post college, Kabir worked as an Associate Editor for Pearson Custom Library before moving to the Wisconsin’s Sergeant at Arms as a Senate Page and getting married to Olivia DiNucci. For the past three years he and his wife have been serving as a Peace Corps Volunteers in Essaouira, Morocco working with youth as well as Engineers Without Borders, enjoying an abundance of bread, tea, and tajines while generally struggling to learn Arabic.

After Peace Corps he plans to pursue investigative journalism, in some form or another.


Ian Vanness

Senior Editor / Structural Coordinator / Columnist

Ian thrives in the grey areas of life, particularly the space that rests between beginner, and expert. He is an amateur cook, baker and guitarist. His affinity for nuances serves as the foundation of his curiosity. He has an insatiable appetite for experiencing, exploration and discovery.

He is from Oxford, OH, where he attended Miami University and earned degrees in History, Geography and Black World Studies. This five year slacker was anything but a trailblazer in the classroom. Although, his time in college would ultimately prove fruitful, most of his collegiate career was spent studying Reggae and catching live music.

Post graduation, Ian taught in Thailand for two years where he developed a love for spicy food and traveling. Witnessing how others live and celebrate life has continued to fascinate him. He and his wife are currently Peace Corps Volunteers serving in rural Morocco. Their lives consist of watching documentaries, making sourdough bread and soaking up the generous hospitality of their Moroccan community.

His Peace Corps experience has encouraged him to engage in difficult conversations. He believes that once we begin to celebrate our differences, instead of arguing over them, we will overcome one of our greatest challenges to peace.


Christen Corcoran

Structural Coordinator / Columnist

Christen’s mom is often mad at her for sharing too many political posts on social media. Probably the rest of her friends too, but her mom is the only one willing to text her to get back to being productive. The joke's on her though because this millennial can multitask.

Christen grew up in an unexpectedly diverse community (thanks to Proctor and Gamble) in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. She got her undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University in International Relations and Diplomacy and German Language. During this time, she assisted with research on intersectionality of race and gender in the perception of violence. Christen has interned at the Ohio State House, Cincinnati City Hall in the Mayor’s office, and the DoS at the Hamburg Consulate, getting a flavor of day-to-day local, state and federal policy work. Before getting too glowed-up on the idea of going into politics, she gave fieldwork a try and joined the Peace Corps, serving in Morocco.  

With policy and development experiences under her belt, Christen decided to become a triple threat by refining her research skills at Jacobs University and University of Bremen’s joint Master’s program. Having special interests in torture, prison sociology, racial prejudice in law, North Korea, and whistleblowers in the context of the War on Terror; Christen was able to research these topics miraculously without falling into deep depression.  

Christen is currently finishing her MA in International Relations in Bremen, Germany where she is writing her thesis on structural discrimination and productive power of the criminal justice system. She is planning to work in the Human Rights/NGO sector, inchallah, and is applying for jobs now.  So, if you like what you see, slide into her DMs.


Anooj Bhandari

Columnist

Anooj is an alliteration loving activist, artist, and adventurist. He believes in decolonization and that most things are social constructs. His pun game is strong on his good days and he can usually be found wandering the streets asking for permission to hug people’s dogs and letting not a person go by without knowing how much he loves his own.

From Cleveland, Anooj’s roots find him proudly representing the South-Asian Diaspora. After being frustrated with an exploitive case study in Undergrad, Anooj found himself in a 48-hour period of irrational decision making which led him to drop his second major, apply for early graduation, and hit submit on an application to the Peace Corps, which brought him to Morocco. There, he worked with expressive arts education, gender development, and self worth, culminating in a unique education that featured red tape, frustration, but most all, a lot of beautiful people with a lot of amazing hearts and minds.

He is completing that fourth year he never did in undergrad by getting his Masters in Arts Politics and works a job in Social Justice Education. His main art mediums are physical theatre and poetry, though he is excitedly making his way into public installation work. He believes in destroying anti-blackness, sitting in confusion, and highlighting stories of the marginalized to express that bipartisanship is only a reflection of those who can afford to measure difference through criteria of sameness.


Jake Tonkel

Founder / Columnist

Jake constantly bores his friends while they are trying to watch football with irrelevant social and economic justice issues. The guy likes to argue and can’t get through a commercial without complaining about the company’s environmental footprint. His day job as a Biomedical Engineer has nothing to do with public policy or human rights so that’s why he co-founded The Bridge. Now Jake has no time for TV unless it’s starring Andy Samberg or those four nerdy guys that have something to do with the origin of the universe.

Part of the core of The Bridge is connected to a group of Peace Corps Morocco Volunteers, where Jake spent just over two years in a small village in the mountains outside Marrakech. Crazy times were had tracking down stolen tree saplings, drinking tea and making a lot of funny faces at neighborhood kids who laughed at his Arabic accent.

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area with a wacky mother who dragged him to his first Peace March at 15, we knew Jake wouldn’t turn out all that normal but we look past it. A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Jake’s minor focused on environmental sustainability from a political, economic and sociological perspective, something to take a break from all those equations his other classes had him doing.

Now a Biomedical R&D Engineer for a startup in Silicon Valley and a writer/producer for The Bridge, Jake is excited to scratch itches on both sides of his brain and yet scared how fast life moves stateside only being back from Morocco since May 2016.


Nick Taylor

Senior Conservative Columnist / Web Designer

Nick enjoys short walks to the beach and individual liberties. He was “The Conservative Voice” for the somewhat surprisingly award- winning “Collegian” newspaper while he attended Willamette University in "Salem, Oregon". He quit over disagreements with the editorial staff, took the job again a year later, then quit over disagreements with the editorial staff.

Over the last 10 years he has bounced back and forth between the political world and the restaurant industry. He briefly did very little work in the Oregon legislature after working on no fewer than four unsuccessful campaigns at every level from local to national. He prefers making sausages to making laws.

After college, he moved to Colorado where what was supposed to be a temporary restaurant job turned into an all- consuming three year endeavor prompting an extended vacation that has yet to end.

He has lived in Morocco, Croatia, Ireland, and he is currently living in Denmark where he cooks and writes.

His first book, "Anyone Can Write A Book (but that doesn't mean that you should)" is available on Amazon.

 

Mental Munchies

From time to time, we will stumble upon a book, movie, documentary, podcast, or some other media that we think is both helpful to understanding our current political climate, and worth your time. These are those items:

Christen's Suggestions:

‘Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four’ (2016):

If you were a fan of the recent trend of documentaries highlighting prejudices in the US criminal justice system (think Making a Murderer and Serial Season 1), this is for you . It that follows the struggle for exoneration of four Latina lesbians who were wrongfully convicted of gang rape against two young girls. IMDB

‘Fixing the System’ (2015):

This VICE special report on prisons originally aired on HBO. In July of 2015, Barack Obama became the first sitting president to ever visit a federal prison. VICE describes the documentary as “an in-depth look at all the interlocking pieces of the complicated criminal justice system, from prisoners and their families to the judiciary and community reformers”. See the trailer here.


Nick's Picks:

Debating Reform; Conflicting Perspectives on How to Fix the American Political System; Third Edition

This book looks at the American political system, department by department, agency by agency, focusing on the best ways to reform each individual institution. Each segment is written by an expert in that particular field. With an emphasis on positive reform without getting lost in partisan rhetoric or becoming beholden to ideology, this should be required reading for anybody who seeks substantial debate and conversation. Read more here.

The West Wing Weekly

Hosted by The West Wing's Joshua Malina, and Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder, this weekly podcast takes an episode-by-episode look at the best television show ever written: The West Wing. While the podcast does focus on a show that stopped airing a decade ago, the in-depth interviews and commentary tie into the politics of today. Check out their website for more information.


Kabir's Recommendations:

Just Mercy

Written by Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, about his experiences as a lawyer working to free wrongfully convicted and wrongfully sentenced inmates on death row in Alabama and around the nation. A beacon of justice in a stubborn and unjust system, the stories he tells are both deeply troubling and powerfully inspiring. 

The Shock Doctrine

Written by Journalist Naomi Klein on how the trauma of the Iraq invasion was being exploited to remake the country in the interest of foreign corporations. She calls it "disaster capitalism" and there it has a long history.  



 

The Century of the Self

This three-part BBC series focuses on the work of psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud as well as Freud’s nephew, the PR pioneer, Edward Bernays. The filmmaker, Adam Curtis, explains how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the crowd in an age of “mass democracy.”


Ian's Choices:

Code Switch

Hosted by Gene Demby and Shereen Merisol Meraji, NPR’s “Code Switch” is a weekly podcast that explores race, culture and identity in America.  Their insights, conversations and testimonies highlight different voices from underrepresented experiences of American life. Learn more here.

The Botany of Desire

The Botany of Desire tells the story of four plants evolutionary journey from the plants’ perspective.  Author, Michael Pollan, explains how the Apple, Potato, Tulip and Marijuana plant created a complementary relationship with humans in order to survive.  This narrative not only gives us valuable insight into our relationship with the environment, but it’s also an important reminder of how valuable perspective can be.  The Botany of Desire was first a written publication, but has since been created into a documentary. More here.


Jake's Proposals:

Immigration Battle (2015)

I can’t speak to House of Cards, however this film following around Representative Luis Gutierrez is the view inside the interworking of our government that most people never see and rarely gets news coverage. Competent discussion behind the scenes of what people may believe to be incompetent politicians trying to tackle the divisive issue of immigration reform.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman (2004 John Perkins)

For a first look at the way the world really works. US foreign policy in countries that don’t make the news and a peek inside the influence of the International Monetary Fund’s ability to shape a country’s ability to develop. If you’re new to criticizing the way “WE” shape global capitalism then pick this book up.

Atlas shrugged (1957 Ayn Rand)

Ran into a “self made” man who suggested I read the ever talked about and never relevant Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. So I did. Take this book critically and find how the crazy lady that the far right loves and no one else respects, disproves her own points by creating a fantasy world where all politicians are corrupt idiots (OK may not be that far from a Donald reality) and businesspeople want to actually pay for the real cost of a job well done instead of trying to keep worker pay and benefits as low as possible.

 

Act

These organizations will allow you to get involved and make a difference

New Era Colorado

New Era Colorado Foundation is an innovative vehicle for hands-on democracy. We engage, educate, and train a new generation of active citizens and young leaders in Colorado. Website.

DailyAction.org 

Phoning our legislators, as New York Times recently reported*, is an extremely effective way to make our voices heard. That’s where the Daily Action alerts come in. We follow the news cycles closely to determine where we can collectively make the greatest impact. The point of Daily Action alerts is to make civic engagement easy and logistically painless.All you have to do is text the word DAILY to the number 228466 (A-C-T-I-O-N). You’ll be prompted to enter your ZIP code and that’s it—you’re signed up. You will subsequently receive one text message every workday about an issue that we have determined to be urgent based on where you live. Website.

International Rescue Committee (IRC) 

This organization responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. You can either volunteer in various locations around the US or donate to this organization. Along with the ACLU, this organization is one of the leading voices against the executive order banning refugees. Website.

 

Contact Us

If you think we got the facts wrong or made a mistake, or you just want to check in and tell us that we are doing a good job, please fill in the form below. If your comment requires a reply, just say so, and one of us will get back to you. As always, your email address or any other private information will never be shared with a third party 


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