SL 685

J. D. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, writes,

I’ve long worried whether I’ve become a part of this problem. For two years, I’d lived in Silicon Valley, surrounded by other highly educated transplants with seemingly perfect lives. It’s jarring to live in a world where every person feels his life will only get better when you came from a world where many rightfully believe that things have become worse. And I’ve suspected that this optimism blinds many in Silicon Valley to the real struggles in other parts of the country. So I decided to move home, to Ohio.

Ah, the affordable housing stock in Columbus. But, oh, the opioid epidemic. In fact, Vance is moving back to start an organization aimed at combatting the epidemic.

Andrew Sullivan says that the opioid epidemic is the new AIDS.

It occurred to me reading this reported essay by Christopher Caldwell that the opioid epidemic is the new AIDS in this respect. Its toll in one demographic  mostly white, working-class, and rural  vastly outweighs its impact among urbanites. For many of us in the elite, it’s quite possible to live our daily lives and have no connection to this devastation. And yet its ever-increasing scope, as you travel a few hours into rural America, is jaw-dropping: 52,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2015. That’s more deaths than the peak year for AIDS, which was 51,000 in 1995, before it fell in the next two years. The bulk of today’s human toll is related to opioid, heroin, and fentanyl abuse. And unlike AIDS in 1995, there’s no reason to think the worst is now over.

Dan Willingham, a UVA pyschology prof who specializes in education, has a daughter with a chromosomal disorder. He has some advice for parents whose kids gawk at his daugther.

Fun fact of the day, from the Atlantic:

According to a recent analysis of federal Department of Education data by Bloomberg, schools that beat performance expectations during March Madness receive a bump not only in public awareness, but also in the number of applications they receive.


SL 684

I’m weighing the pros and cons of walking to the express bus along the side of the highway to get into New York City for a charter school debate.

Con – Been out at meetings all week (tomorrow, too); it would be nice to communicate with my husband. Also, the rain splash factor will be high along the highway.

Pro – Might learn something new. I want to meet one of the participants.

I find utopian communities and hermits fascinating.

A close up look at DeVos’s Christian college.

Nobody wants your granny’s china tea cups anymore.

I adore Cormac McCarthy.

How Donald Trump eats his steak matters.

It’s Friday

Alright, the kids are on a broad spectrum antibiotic to battle strep throat plus a mysterious virus. They are both at school. I have an actual list of things to do today, instead of just putting out fires as they come up. I’m working on an article on this Supreme Court case. I even made it to the gym this morning, where I did a couple of miles while watching HGTV. Win!

I have some random bits and pieces of good things to share this morning.

I really loved this quote in Megan McArdle’s article about divorce.

But more recent research suggests a very different truth about happiness. As Daniel Gilbert argues in the brilliant book “Stumbling on Happiness,” unless our circumstances are truly unbearable, our brains will seek to find their natural level of happiness, like floodwater evening out across a plain. Whatever we are stuck with … whatever we commit to … we will find ways to make it work — and we will be just as happy with it as we would have been with any other outcome.

I’m fascinated by Ayelet Waldman’s LSD trips.

Two state legislatures are debated getting rid of tenure.  Well, most colleges have already gotten rid of tenure informally by hiring adjuncts in higher and higher numbers.

Do you believe that intelligence report on DT?

SL 682

I’m strangely fascinated by the diet and exercise regime of “The Rock.”

Cuomo proposes free tuition for middle and low-income students to CUNY and SUNY.

I haven’t tried Korean saunas yet, but here in Northern New Jersey, we’re immersed in Korean culture. Along with our Italian food, Jersey people devour Korean tacos, Korean barbecued beef and short rib, and bibimbap.

The early champions of 401Ks regret their decisions.

SL 681

Sad news about Carrie Fisher.

Do you like maps? I do! Do you like TV shows? I do! Here’s 50 of ’em for ya.

Jeremy S. sent me a link to Ross Douthat’s booklist for the Trump Era. Some I’ve read. Some I need to read. Douthat mentions a book by Mark Lilla. We never discussed Lilla’s November article for the NYT. (More here.) Note to self – write about Lilla.

So, I’ve been away from social media and newspapers for three days. We’ve been entaining in-laws and extended family for many days. Now that everyone has left, I am swimming in fun stuff right now with CNN blasting in the background. I’m in information heaven.

SL 680

Hi, gang! Here’s what people are yammering about my twitterfeed this morning:

Jacob Levy’s essay, “The Defense of Liberty Can’t Do Without Identity Politics”

TNC’s Essay, “My President Was Black” Also watching him on the Trevor Noah Show.

David Graham “The Bait and Switch President

I’m off to the hair salon. I need a trim and a little something-something to cover up the white hairs on top. Redheads go white, not grey.

Question of the Day: What will you do/won’t do to deal with the depressing effects of aging? Where have you drawn the line?