Sentence To Ponder

“. . . the former president has not only managed to squelch any dissent within his party but has persuaded most of the G.O.P. to make a gigantic bet: that the surest way to regain power is to embrace his pugilistic style, racial divisiveness and beyond-the-pale conspiracy theories rather than to court the suburban swing voters who cost the party the White House and who might be looking for substantive policies on the pandemic, the economy and other issues.”

Lisa Lerer in the New York Times.

Weekend Reading

  1. It is time to end the debate over school reopening.
  2. The autonomous vehicle industry has promised too much for too long, and has delivered too little.
  3. The Gates divorce is more than just tabloid fodder. A substantive alternative to my conjecture.
  4. Madly in love social influencers divorce. A quintessential fable for our times.
  5. What are no-vaxxers thinking? Excellent.
  6. Our pathetic herd immunity failure. A devastating right hook (pun intended) to Republicans from one of their own.
  7. You’re officially old if. . .

Why Bill And Melinda Are Calling It Quits

Melinda can’t take it anymore.

Instead of making his own lattes, Bill drives through Starbucks every damn day. Instead of walking public golf courses, he rents carts at private country clubs. Instead of parking his own car at those clubs, he uses valets. Instead of buying pre-owned cars that use regular gas, he buys new ones that require premium. Instead of investing in low cost index funds, he invests in expensive, actively managed mutual funds. Instead of making dinner at home, he frequents a diverse rotation of restaurants. Instead of having his bond funds in tax-free accounts, he has them in taxable ones. Instead of buying groceries in bulk at Costco, he makes repeated trips to Whole Foods. Instead of lifting and running with the boys, he uses a personal trainer. Instead of checking books out from the library, he buys hardbacks. Instead of mowing the lawn, he uses a “landscape service”.

It’s enough to drive any woman crazy.

Moment Of Truth

Whew, close call. I pulled in this morning on the bright pink gravel bike right in front of the construction crew replacing our deck. One kindly said it was more visible. I told them I didn’t know if I could pull it off, but figured I would probably be okay since hipsters have taken over gravel. Then they astutely said if I want to go full hipster, I need a fixed gear bike. Then we joked about beards and man buns so I didn’t just survive the dicey interaction, I flourished.

When I’m on Rosa, I can will myself to stop and take pictures.

Paragraph To Ponder

From Raffi Khatchadourian’s story in The New Yorker about the Chinese state’s crackdown in Xinjiang.

“Chen Quanguo’s predecessor had borrowed from his Tibet strategy, deploying two hundred thousand Party cadres in Xinjiang. Chen increased their numbers to a million, and urged them to go from house to house and grow ‘close to the masses, emotionally.’ Under a program called Becoming a Family, local party officials introduced them to indigenous households, declaring, ‘These are you new relatives.’ Cadres imposed themselves, stopping for meals; sometimes they were required to stay overnight. Terrified residents forced smiles, politely served them, engaged their questions, and even offered them their beds.”

We have no idea what a catastrophic loss of liberty entails.

Weekend Required Viewing and Reading

1. Viewing. American Insurrection. Dear righty friends who have made up your mind that political violence is the fault of radical lefties, in the interest of “equal time”, which counter-documentary do you want me to watch?

2. How the Super League fell apart. It’s too bad Europeans don’t take their football more seriously.

3. It’s not just young white liberals who are leaving religion.

4. Rethinking happiness during Covid.

5. In the wake of George Floyd, private schools brought in diversity consultants. Outrage ensued. Mark it up because if you sign up for my Multicultural Education course this fall, you’ll have to re-read it.

Please Help Me Understand

President Biden has proposed increasing the rate at which capital gains are taxed on anyone earning more than $1m a year. That’s .3% of people or 3 in 1,000.

Why are so many of the 99.7% of people for whom the tax increase is completely irrelevant so upset at the proposal?

What’s the principle at work? Millionaires are an aggrieved group who deserve a break from people of ordinary means?

Rethinking Apple’s New AirTags

I was joshing about buying AirTags. I continue to be amazed at Apple’s and other companies’ ability to convince hordes of people they “need” things they never knew they needed.

Granted, convenience is AirTag’s main selling point*, where did I leave my keys, but I’ve been mulling over possible security benefits of the tags.

Last summer The Good Wife and I got our kayaks stolen from our nearby beach. We probably could’ve caught the thieves red-handed if, via the hatches, we had attached AirTags to the inside of them.

Similarly, if you’re afraid of your bicycle or car being stolen, what about attaching a hidden AirTag to them? Maybe future iterations will be smaller and flatter.

One other security-related use. . .finding grandma. My 89 year old mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital twice this week. There were stretches where we didn’t know which hospital or whether she had been released. Basically, we lost her. Maybe it’s time to attach an AirTag to her belt loop.

*Don’t be surprised if status surpasses convenience as the primary selling point