Category Politics/Culture

What If The Blue Note Grill Can’t Survive the Coronavirus?

What’s going to happen to small businesses in the United States? The ones we frequent with regularity—or at least did until early March. The restaurants, bars, coffee shops, bookstores, shoestores, recreational outfitters, dry cleaners, florists, salons, spas. The places we take our kids to and tell our friends about, whose proprietors often become familiar to us, reliable and trustworthy, mainstays of most every community.

The Covid-19 disaster descended with such alarming force, catching a federal government that seemed to be almost willfully asleep at the wheel, that businesses had little time to prepare in any way for the cataclysm of sudden closure, Pfffft, zip it, unplug your registers, padlock the doors, furlough your employees, we’ll let you know when things can change.

Recent estimates from the U.S...

Read More

Our Love-Hate With Facebook in a Time of Plague

“May you live in interesting times” has been widely attributed to an ancient Chinese curse, though no reliable sources exist to verify that claim. Nevertheless, someone thought of and expressed the sentiment to someone else, and we owe that someone a measure of thanks as we live today through what, by any metric, meets, with absurd dark ease, the standard of “interesting times.”

I’ve found myself musing on the expression repeatedly in recent years and almost obsessively in recent weeks, as the coronavirus shoves virtually every other concern off the media wires and our own conversational threads with the people in our lives.

And as it happens, Facebook—criticized and reviled (often, with good reason) for its incursions on our privacy and cunning ability to coerce us into frittering our lives away watching endless cat and cute kid videos—has emerged as a primary conduit for those conversationa...

Read More

Four More Years: Why Bernie’s Anti-Capitalism Paves the Way for Trump

There was a revealing (and for Democrats, deeply foreboding) moment in Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate, quite apart from the shockingly bad, woefully unprepared, nearly moribund debut of Michael Bloomberg. It came when moderator Chuck Todd raised a question about a past Bernie Sanders statement from the fall, when he introduced a tax plan that his own economists said would reduce the fortunes of most billionaires by some two-thirds.

As reported in the New York Times, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos’s fortune would shrink from $160 billion to $43 billion under Sanders’s plan. (Elizabeth Warren’s plan would allow Bezos to retain about double that: $87 billion.)

Asked at the time whether he thought billionaires should exist in the United States, Sanders said, “I hope the day comes when they don’t.” 

Todd followed up on that Wednesday night in this exchange in which Sanders g...

Read More

Nancy Pelosi’s Loss of Form

Watching world-class sprinters run as fast as they do, your natural suspicion is that they are straining with every muscle, fists in balls pounding at the air, brows furrowed and veins in their neck ready to burst from the the sheer strain of racing at the 20+ miles per hour they do. But that’s not how it is at all. Instead, you see their palms completely open, brows smooth, and most improbably, cheeks bouncing back and forth against the sides of their face, all loosey goosey as the soft pliable flesh they are in their natural state.

The picture is one of a relaxed lope on a pleasant afternoon, which for sprinters, is a superhuman feat, when one really thinks about it.  Sprinters’ sculpted, muscle-bound bodies are finely wrought, explosive racing machines...

Read More

So much has been swirling around and through the Kobe Bryant tragedy.

The sheer awfulness of it for families and friends of all nine victims.

The veritable religious shrines and assembled crowds and profound eulogies lamenting Bryant’s passing in particular.

The careful inclusion by more sensitive and attuned observers of the eight other victims, whose lives were also lost, in an equal, if not more awful sense, especially given that three of them were mere teenagers, their whole lives still ahead of them, snuffed before so much more experience of joy and discovery—and even sorrows—could inject themselves into the lives that they were still forming.

The deep communal grief so freely expressed by those who knew him (and those who didn’t, but in this era of mass, ubiquitous, unrelenting media, thought they surely did).

Teammates, opponents, executives, coaches, grown men all, weeping in this era of the ...

Read More