Disappointingly, 30 years ago, I wasn’t invited to this party. No grudge. Just hoping against hope I get invited to a few 2021 variations of it.
Which woulda been okay if McFarland hadn’t tied the player’s problems to African American football players more generally. Predictably, that’s when the shit hit the fan.
The (dis)United States is a wonderfully diverse conglomerate of 331 million individual identities. Does that mean we can never generalize, no, positive generalizations are fine. For example, if I say, “Elementary school teachers do amazing work and deserve, as much, or more respect, than any other group of educators.” I’m not going to get any blowback. It’s sweeping negative assumptions that everyone rightfully resists. No one ever wants to be “guilty by association”.
So here’s Getting Along With Others in a Pluralistic Society Rule #1, refrain from making negative generalizations about any group, even ones of which you are a member. Ask Cosby or McFarland, your insider status will not provide any sort of “benefit of the doubt”.
Andrew Hawkins, NFL alum, takes McFarland to school, literally. Hawkins Wikipedia “personal life” entry includes this sentence, “Hawkins graduated from Columbia University in 2017 with a master’s degree in sports management from the School of Professional Studies with a 4.0 GPA.” No surprise. This is a 4.0 return of serve.
3. Bluetits and Bluebells: Essex’s open water swimmers – a photo essay. Remember, I don’t write the headlines, I just share them.
5. The future of electric cars. This really good ‘free’ advice proves you don’t always get what you pay for.
“Donations would come from five tiers. For each tier, the mechanism is the same. People (or businesses on behalf of their people), donate money to get to the front of the Covid-19 vaccine line. There are limited available slots and getting the vaccine must be publicly documented so others can be motivated by these influential figures.
In the first tier, 100 of the wealthiest Americans each donate $100 million to be first in line for a vaccine, getting it within the first weeks of availability. This raises $10 billion.
In the second tier, 1,000 people each donate $10 million to get vaccinated within the first month. This raises another $10 billion.
You can see where this is going: The third tier requires a $1 million contribution for up to 10,000 people. The fourth, $100,000 for up to 100,000 people. The fifth and final tier requires a $25,000 donation from up to 400,000 people. Everyone participating in the program is vaccinated within the first two months of vaccine availability. The bigger the donation, the further toward the front one goes.
All told, this raises $50 billion for the cause by vaccinating just 511,000 people.”
Levine goes on to say he doesn’t “pretend to know the optimal ways to spend this money,” but knows there are a lot of places it can help, ultimately arguing “it can help get past the multitude of barriers to vaccine access, big and small, that exist in the U.S.”
Levine is a bold, clear-headed thinker, but damn, are we really ready to throw the towel in on the (dis)United States being a tax payer funded democracy that aspires to greater equality? Is social mobility so anemic we’re ready to officially acknowledge we’re more of an aristocracy than a democracy? Are people ready to drive on the Jeff Bezos Highway and live in Apple Incorporated affordable housing?
I’m definitely not ready to throw in the towel on our longstanding democratic ideals, but I can’t disagree with Levine about this:
“My proposal is neither conservative or liberal — or it can be portrayed as both. For conservatives, it is a free-market solution: People and businesses are making a choice on how they use their money. Liberals can view it as a wealth tax: People who can afford it pay for early access to a vaccine and, in doing so, pay for others to get vaccinated. I believe that the concept is inherently nonpolitical. Instead it is a solutions-oriented approach to concerns that have been raised about U.S. vaccination programs.”
Luo contrasts the early Christians’ courageous and inspiring collective witness during pandemics with the contemporary Church’s Covid-19 response.
“For years, the church in America has been in retreat, in cultural influence and in numbers. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, in 2019, sixty-five per cent of Americans identified as Christians, down twelve per cent from the previous decade; meanwhile, the numbers of the religiously unaffiliated have grown to twenty-six per cent. The co-opting of white evangelicalism by Republican politics helps to explain the confrontational attitude of conservative Christians, but so does the fear of many believers that they are losing their place in a secularizing America. A pluralistic society needs to insure that people of faith, as well as those without any faith, have a role in the public square. But the defiance of the church during the pandemic has come with a cost. The pandemic in 2020 has held a mirror to Christianity, just as the epidemics of antiquity did, but today’s reflection carries the potential to repulse rather than attract. Once the vaccine is widely distributed next year, the church, along with the rest of society, will begin to move on. Yet the world will not be as it was. Churches will have to reckon not only with whether their congregants will return in person, but with how much their collective witness––the term Christians use to describe their ability to point to Jesus in their lives––may have been diminished.”
I have a bunch of excuses for why I’ve let you down with a dearth of book recommendations this year.
I’ve been reading student papers. I’ve been reading periodicals. I’ve been distracted by the seeming end-of-the-world.
I didn’t say they were good excuses.
Today I’m finishing one of the best personal finance books I’ve read in a long time, The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness by Morgan Housel.
Housel, a true outlier in the personal finance universe, eschews technical descriptions of how to invest in exchange for key concepts. His insights are original and clearly worded. So much so, I will remember them for a long time, no small feat given my pea brain.
Housel convincingly argues that economic security and financial independence rests more on your heart than your head. If you’re someone who would never normally read a book about money, consider giving this one a whirl.
People are learning maybe ‘less is more’ isn’t a mindless cliché. Maybe less long distance travel, means more appreciation for one’s local ecology. Maybe less cluttered calendars and fewer obligatory activities, means more stillness and thinking and personal change. In that spirit, maybe less concern for outward appearances, means more self acceptance. And maybe less certainty about one’s health, means more appreciation for one’s health.
A pastor friend created this Christmas banner for his church this year. I hope he displays it for many more to come.
There’s an exception to every rule, as the Los Angeles Lakers’ new diamond encrusted championship ring, poignantly illustrates.
“In addition to jumps in running and cycling activity in the U.S., Strava also saw booms in walking, hiking, indoor cross-training activities such as yoga and weight lifting, and water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.
‘There was just so much uncertainty surrounding COVID […] it was great to see people deal with that by finding some sort of certainty and an everyday routine,’ Megan Roche, an ultra-runner and epidemiologist, told ESPN.
Women drove the increase in fitness — both in the U.S. and all over the world. Between April and September, women aged 18-29 saw a 45.2% increase in the median number of activities uploaded compared to a 27.3% increase by their male counterparts, the Strava data shows. Women were also biking more, logging a 72% increase in bike trips compared to 2019.”
Case in point, none other than one of my twenty-something daughters. Summer spent lake swimming. Migrated to the pool in the fall. Cycled with friends in the summer. All the while, she turned into a certifiable WALKING machine. 120 miles in November.
White House domestic policy adviser Brooke Rollins and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow are preparing to launch a nonprofit group to promote the president’s policies once he leaves office.
“The group, Rollins said, would promote the ‘legacy and consequences of this president’ and ensure ‘those ideas continue and are defended whether in one month or in four years from now.’”
What part of the legacy and consequences? The narcissism? The total disregard for the truth? The self-pitying and destruction of democratic traditions? The gross mismanagement of a devastating public health crisis? The demonizing of Democratic governors and mayors? The incessant talk of infrastructure? The dismantling of foreign alliances?
“’We’re really excited about it, we think it’s going to be a juggernaut,’” Rollins added.
Is juggernaut a fancy word for joke?