This is tough, I like them both.
This is tough, I like them both.
I’m only halfway through the New York Times 10,000 word investigative report on Trump’s taxes.
So far, my favorite part is these seemingly innocuous paragraphs:
“To see what a successful business looks like, depreciation or not, look no further than one in Mr. Trump’s portfolio that he does not manage.
After plans for a Trump-branded mini-city on the Far West Side of Manhattan stalled in the 1990s, Mr. Trump’s stake was sold by his partner to Vornado Realty Trust. Mr. Trump objected to the sale in court, saying he had not been consulted, but he ended up with a 30 percent share of two valuable office buildings owned and operated by Vornado.
His share of the profits through the end of 2018 totaled $176.5 million, with depreciation factored in. He has never had to invest more money in the partnership, tax records show.”
One of Trump’s only successful business ventures was successful because he lost ownership of it. But the joke of course is on us because he’s doing to our country exactly what he’s done to the vast majority of his businesses.
Thursday, First Year Writing, The Morken Building 131, the first in-person class of the academic year. Students take turns summarizing their first papers about whether one needs, as a Stoic philosopher we read argues, a coherent philosophy of life and a “grand goal of living” to avoid squandering one’s life. They’re smart, so they push back at the suggestion one can neatly plan their life. They talk about some things being outside of our control, like viruses.
If not a coherent philosophy of life, what about guiding principles I wonder. And if so, which ones? They’re not quite ready for subtly, nuance, ambiguity, complexity. That’s why college is four years long. For now at least, I keep those thoughts to myself and just listen.
One student says her mother died in February. Not expecting that, I loose track of what follows, wondering how she died and what would it be like to lose your mom at 17 or 18. She says doing well in school doesn’t matter as much as it did previously.
The students, many who say they struggle with anxiety, have never enjoyed going to class more. Not because of the doofus facilitating things, because they’re famished for friendship. Flat out famished. They linger afterwards, partly to disinfect the tables, but mostly to extend our shared sense of normalcy as long as possible.
The student whose mother died walks up to the front to talk to me. Through my mask I thank her for having the courage to share that news and gently inquire about her mother’s passing. She tells me her mother chose “Death With Dignity” after a lifetime of being severely disabled. And she wanted me to know the paper was really challenging to write, but my sense was, not in a bad way, in an important way. I think it caused her to grieve her mother in a way she hadn’t. She ended up writing her mother a letter and using parts of it to begin her paper.
For those few moments, as her classmates slowly filed out of the room in small groups, she and I shared a human connection that superseded our teacher-student identities. I saw her and heard her in a way that’s utterly impossible on-line.
I am all in on the scientific consensus regarding masks, social distancing, maximizing time outdoors, and washing hands. I am comfortable enough returning to the classroom because my university has done an excellent job preparing for as safe as possible a return to in-person classes. I will not help politicize this public health crisis.
What follows is a non-partisan question, my reference point is the social-emotional health of young people.
If we don’t begin implementing “blended” or “hybrid” teaching methods soon, with at least some in-person instruction, what are the social and emotional costs to friendless students who are not being seen or heard in any kind of meaningful way?
Not normally a fan of Friedmans, but this is very good. “Trump’s Motto: Your Money or Your Life“. Still in a post-Warren funk, maybe I’m not fully appreciating Byedon. My enthusiasm for his candidacy has been based on one overarching thing. He’s not Trump.
“Imagine that your child is sick with a disease and you decide to take her to 100 different doctors to get multiple opinions — and 99 doctors give you the same diagnosis and prescribed treatment and one tells you that there’s nothing to worry about, that your child’s disease will ‘disappear … like a miracle, it will disappear.’
What parents in their right minds would follow the advice of the doctor with the one-out-of-100 diagnosis?
This, alas, is no hypothetical. This, alas, is actually the most important question facing voters in choosing our next president. Are you ready to trust your own child’s and the country’s health to the guy who holds the one-out-of-100 view on both climate change and Covid-19? He being Dr. Donald Trump, founder of Trump University, where he apparently earned a B.S. in B.S.
It is stunning to me how many conservatives want to go with the doctor with the one-out-of-100 diagnosis, since doing so is anything but conservative.”
Midway through week 3. In three words, a roller coaster.
Last night the graduate Sociology of Education seminar was a case study of incompetence. When exiting breakout groups I disconnected everyone from everything so we had to scramble to reconnect. For good measure, I added in some pedagogical incompetence by talking too much. One other student saw my blabbing and raised it, and I didn’t know what to do as his classmates, like dominoes, tuned him out one after another.
After class, I retraced my steps and realized the errors of my ways. And so today I was an online teaching rock star, turning off the waiting room, screen sharing, moving between small groups and large with aplomb. I damn well better win the prestigious “Most Improved Zoomer” award, Boomer Division.
I just unplugged from the First Year writers. I forgot to tell them they could jet after they were done peer editing, so they all returned to “office hours”. And they just wanted to hang out, which was cool. They’re a fun subset of the bad luck Covid Class, those 18-19 year olds who missed their high school graduations and have had to start college with electronic teaching hacks like me.
One of them had hilarious background images repeatedly rotating behind him last session. Today, another student did. How long until I lose complete control?
But their daring to be different provided much need levity. They’re not just funny, but resilient, still in good spirits despite “the invisible enemy which no one could’ve seen coming”. After shooting the breeze a bit, I had to tell them it was 72 degrees outside and sunny for one of the last times in a long time. I pleaded with them to “go outside and toss a frisbee.”
Thursday, we’re meeting in-person for the first time. Glory hallelujah.
According to Irin Carmon.
“Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.”
As one part of my history major, I studied Central and Latin American history in college. And there was one thing I could never figure out. Until this weekend.
I didn’t understand why, whenever a populist, land-reform promising political party gained control of political power, they never managed to follow through on their promises to upset the status quo, distribute power more fairly, and improve ordinary people’s lives.
Forty years later*, I realize it’s because the idealists’ hatred for their predecessors became so all encompassing it distracted them from the day-to-day work of building a brighter future.
The common good took a backseat to getting even with the bastards in the other party for the sometimes decades-long laundry list of political grievances including massive corruption, and in some cases, government sponsored death squads.
The political class in the (dis)United States thinks the (dis)United States is superior to any country to the south, so my reference is irrelevant. But it’s dead wrong, human nature doesn’t respect political boundaries. We are prone to the exact same desire to get revenge. I know that because I feel it in a more visceral way this weekend than ever before. Others do too, no doubt.
Consequently, we are on the precipice of a very similar downward spiral that’s seemingly inevitable when every political party assumes the worst of the other.
Listening to the Senate Majority Leader, the President, and other Republicans unprecedented, unapologetic politicizing of the Supreme Court convinces me that they care way more about their party’s interests than the country’s.
The Democrat’s refrain this week will be, “Never forget.” Democrats risk being overwhelmed by anger at the Republican’s historic hypocrisy. When they gain power, which they inevitably will sooner or later, they are likely to seek revenge. And when the Republicans regain it, which they inevitably will sooner or later, they will do the exact same.
Just like that, if it hasn’t already, the organizing principle of our politics will become revenge. Instead of looking to the future, we’ll be mired in the past. And our national debt will grow large; our natural environment will grow more inhospitable; our infrastructure will erode further; racial justice will remain more illusive; and more people will struggle to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing.
And I will take zero joy in being right.
*better late than never
I was trying to teach through my computer during Apple’s new ipadAir and Series 6 Watch event yesterday morning. But it was easy to catch up afterwards given the media’s affinity for AAPL.
How to explain this? I’m a card carrying Apple fanboi, but I’ve passed on the first five watches. Part of the explanation is the Garmin ones I’ve worn instead are so solid. But Garmin aside, I haven’t switched to the Apple Watch for one primary reason—inadequate battery life. Daily charging one more device? No gracias.
Incredibly, not a single media journalist that I’m aware of, not even John Gruber, said anything about the Six’s battery life. The single thing that matters most. Complete crickets.
A steady stream of words on the blood oxygen sensor, the brighter display, the new bands, the price, but not a word on the most important feature. That’s a serious tech journalism fail.
Dear Tim Apple, the sand in my hourglass is shrinking. Hurry up already because there’s no guarantee I’ll make it Watch X.