The Real Campus Scourge – by Frank Bruni – NYT

“Across the country, college freshmen are settling into their new lives and grappling with something that doesn’t compete with protests and political correctness for the media’s attention, something that no one prepared them for, something that has nothing to do with being “snowflakes” and everything to do with being human.

They’re lonely.

In a sea of people, they find themselves adrift. The technology that keeps them connected to parents and high school friends only reminds them of their physical separation from just about everyone they know best. That estrangement can be a gateway to binge drinking and other self-destructive behavior. And it’s as likely to derail their ambitions as almost anything else.”

Thank you Frank Bruni for a great op-ed. Here is an good comment, only I don’t think it compliments Bruni enough before adding its helpful list of  tips for lonely college students.

OCPA

California 1 day ago

This article identifies the problem but doesn’t offer much in the way of practical advice. I worked for two different freshman orientation programs, for a combined total of four years, when I was an undergrad, and here are some practical tips for making a big school (mine was 30,000 students) or a small one feel less lonely:
– Sit in the same place in each of your classes each time you go. Introduce yourself to the people sitting nearby.
– Find out when and how to join on-campus clubs. My university had dozens of clubs and had a huge fair during the 2nd week of school where you could check out clubs. Join something. Show up to their activities. (You can also join an intramural sports team, a campus musical group, an amateur theater production, etc. etc. etc.)
– Go to parties in your dorm. Don’t drink too much. DO try to introduce yourself to several people at each event. “Hi, I’m NAME, I live on FLOOR NUMBER” is a fine start.
– Ask people who live near you in the dorms to go to the cafeteria with you.
– Find out about free stuff that happens on campus. Theater performances? The university symphony? Movie night? Interesting speakers? Go. It’s fine to go by yourself; even better if you invite someone you think you might want to be friends with.
– Leave the door of your dorm room open when you’re there. Be open to people wandering in to chat — or invite you to do things together.
– And ignore social media. Other people are lonely, too. It’s OK.

 

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On a Portland Train- the Battlefield of American Values – by Nicholas Kristof

“The three were as different as could be. One was a 23-year-old recent Reed College graduate who had a mane of long hair and was working as a consultant. Another was a 53-year-old Army veteran with the trimmest of haircuts and a record of service in Iraq and Afghanistan. The third was a 21-year-old poet and Portland State University student on his way to a job at a pizzeria. What united the three was decency.

When they intervened, the man harassing the girls pulled a knife and slashed the three men before fleeing. Rick Best, the veteran, died at the scene. Taliesin Namkai-Meche, the recent Reed graduate, was conscious as he waited for an ambulance. A good Samaritan took off her shirt to cover him; she recounted that some of his last words were: “I want everybody on the train to know, I love them.” He died soon after arriving at the hospital.

Thank you Nicholas Kristof.

Here is the top comment, which I support, accept for the correction of Kristof, which is silly. The commentator needs to learn he can add, without putting down:

Tom San Jose 1 day ago

I thank Mr. Kristof for this article. I would argue that what we are confronting now is not so much a battlefield of American values, but more, a battlefield of human values. And many, many more of us need to step to the fore, as did these three disparate heroes.

I also feel compelled to take exception to Mr. Kristoff’s characterization of America as “leaderless, with nastiness and bullying ascendant,…” The problem is very much that this country has a leader who is a fascist, and is moving society in that direction. I feel we must not talk falsely, the hour has gotten late, to paraphrase Bob Dylan. Trump must be recognized for what he is, and for what he is calling forward in this society – it is an unbearable ugliness, and I fear we have not seen the worst of it by a long shot.

To defeat this is going to require many, many more heroes – all of us need to step out of our comfort zones.

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947 Recommended

Jared Kushner’s Role Is Tested as Russia Case Grows – The New York Times

This is the article cited by David Brooks.
Because of the passage below, I remove my support for Keeping Kushner on the team, inspite of illegal communications with Russian agents.

“Mr. Kushner appears to be modifying his centrist stances. Instead of urging the president to keep the United States in the Paris climate accord, as he sought to months ago, he has come to believe the standards in the agreement need to be changed, a person close to him said.”

If he can’t stay loyal to the planet, let him go to jail.

The Politics of Clan: The Adventures of Jared Kushner – by David Brooks – NYT

“We don’t know everything about his meetings with the Russians, but we know that they, like so much other clan-like behavior, went against the formal system. We also know that they betray rookie naïveté on several levels — apparently trusting the Russians not to betray him, apparently not understanding that these conversations would be surveyed by the American intelligence services, possibly not understanding how alarming they would look to outsiders.

We seem to now be entering the paranoia phase of the Trump presidency, as insiders perceive that everybody else is out to get them. As The Times’s Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman and Sharon LaFraniere detailed in some amazing reporting, Kushner’s role in this White House may be in peril. This turmoil, for both Trump and Kushner, was inevitable”

Bravo David Brooks. You make me smarter, and more informed with depth.

Here is the first comment I read, and marvel at. This poetry is based on a very famous ballad, the Flying Cloud, starting, Oh my name is Edward Hollander. It was rewritten by Steve Goodman, as the Ballad of Penny Evans.

Larry Eisenberg is a trusted commenter Medford, Ma. 5 hours ago

with apologies to G and S

My name is Jared Kushner on intrigue I am intent
I Journey everywhere I always go where I am sent
The right hand man of Donald, a deal maker supreme
And I am his adviser on every squalid scheme
I deal with Russian diplomats as a matter of course
Just as I deal “with Frenchies who are active on the Bourse
Critics say I use back door channels just to make a buck,
they think the reason for my wealth is not savvy & pluck
And I can’t think why!

I am an active slumlord and evictions are my meat
To squeeze more cash from tenants I will not suffer defeat,
Repairs are never timely, each flat looks like a dump
I have the warm approval of my father-in-law, Trump.
I deal a lot with Russian Banks and lavish loans we’ve had.
They get good int’rest in return, it doesn’t make them sad,
And now I am the subject of an FBI witch hunt,
Publicity’s the reason, it’s a vile uncalled for stunt
And I can’t think why!

And I’m his wife Ivanka, I’m the daughter of the Don,
I live a Life in clover, unlike Butler’s Erewhon,
I have a line of products products which the Public doesn’t buy
And Daddy tweets malevolence with stores short on supply
I seem to run his businesses,in fact I never do
The Trust he built is phony he makes all decisions, too,
I act as an adviser yet my knowledge is so scant
I’d like to advance womankind but Daddy says I can’t
And I don’t know why!

Reply 751 Recommended

What Romantic Regime Are You In? – by David Brooks – The New York Times

“The dating market becomes a true market, where people carefully appraise each other, looking for red flags. The emphasis is on the prudential choice, selecting the right person who satisfies your desires. But somehow as people pragmatically “select” each other, marriage as an institution has gone into crisis. Marriage rates have plummeted at every age level. Most children born to women under 30 are born outside of wedlock. The choice mind-set seems to be self-defeating.

Even those of us who have had humbling experiences in this realm can look at those who seem to have this lifelong thing figured out and see a different set of attitudes and presuppositions, which you might call a Regime of Covenants. A covenant is not a choice, but a life-altering promise and all the binding the promise entails.

The Regime of Covenants acknowledges the fact that we don’t really choose our most important attachments the way you choose a toaster. In the flux of life you meet some breathtakingly amazing people, usually in the swirl of complex circumstances. There is a sense of being blown around by currents more astounding than you can predict and control. Mostly you’re bumblingly trying to figure out the right response to the moments you’re in.”

I enjoyed this piece. There is much to reflect on. The comments start out acerbic and brutal, and then melt into love poems by men and women who can attest to the joy of making 40 or 50 years of marriage with someone they grew to live with and love.

Dalai Lama: Behind Our Anxiety- the Fear of Being Unneeded – The New York Times

“In many ways, there has never been a better time to be alive. Violence plagues some corners of the world, and too many still live under the grip of tyrannical regimes. And although all the world’s major faiths teach love, compassion and tolerance, unthinkable violence is being perpetrated in the name of religion.And yet, fewer among us are poor, fewer are hungry, fewer children are dying, and more men and women can read than ever before. In many countries, recognition of women’s and minority rights is now the norm. There is still much work to do, of course, but there is hope and there is progress.

How strange, then, to see such anger and great discontent in some of the world’s richest nations. In the United States, Britain and across the European Continent, people are convulsed with political frustration and anxiety about the future. Refugees and migrants clamor for the chance to live in these safe, prosperous countries, but those who already live in those promised lands report great uneasiness about their own futures that seems to border on hopelessness.

Why? A small hint comes from interesting research about how people thrive. In one shocking experiment, researchers found that senior citizens who didn’t feel useful to others were nearly three times as likely to die prematurely as those who did feel useful. This speaks to a broader human truth: We all need to be needed.”

Source: Dalai Lama: Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded – The New York Times

This piece is lovely, and true. But it brings me know comfort. It is all about, and only about, human suffering and happiness. It is unfortunate that neither of these two men could teach the other about the suffering of our planet, the Antropocence, and the dangerous loss of bio-diverstiy due to a billion humans growing to 7.5 billion in the last 400 years. But this might be the greatest time ever to be alive, and reproducing at an unsustainable rate.

The Ultimate Protest Vote – by By SAÏD SAYRAFIEZADEH – The New York Times

“On Nov. 8 I will be going to the polls and voting, without hesitation or disinclination, for Hillary Clinton. But what a treacherous and unforgivable act this will be for my father, who will no doubt be supporting the only presidential candidate he believes has any chance of saving the United States from almost certain ruin: Alyson Kennedy.

You have probably never heard of Alyson Kennedy until now, and neither have you heard of her running mate, Osborne Hart, unless you happen to be a member of the Socialist Workers Party, as my father has been for the past 50 years, or you happen to have passed in recent months a folding table on a city street and been handed campaign literature explaining that “the only way forward is to organize independent working-class struggles that point toward overturning the dictatorship of capital.” This is the exact sentiment, word for word, that my family subscribed to when I was growing up, a sentiment that can be traced all the way back to Marx, and that held great power over me as a child, and that holds some power over me still, but that seems to hold no power over almost anyone else, including the working class.”

Source: The Ultimate Protest Vote – The New York Times

Who is this guy. I relate to his story, being a follower and disciple of Karl Marx myself, when I was about 16 to 18.

from Wikipedia:

“Saïd Sayrafiezadeh (born 1968)[1] is an American memoirist and fiction writer living in New York City. He won a 2010 Whiting Award for his memoir, When Skateboards Will Be Free. His short-story collection, Brief Encounters With the Enemy, was short-listed for the 2014 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for debut fiction. He serves on the board of directors for the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Background

Sayrafiezadeh was born in Brooklyn, New York, to an Iranian father and an American Jewish mother, both of whom were members of the Socialist Workers Party. He was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His maternal uncle is the novelist Mark Harris.[2] He lives in New York City.”

A Radical Alliance of Black and Green Could Save the World, By James Gustave Speth and J. Phillip Thompson III | The Nation

…. “Civil-rights activists were fond of saying that all human destiny is intertwined. What many indigenous philosophies teach is that the destiny of all life is intertwined. In 1977, the elders of the Iroquois Confederacy issued a remarkable statement, “Basic Call to Consciousness: Address to the Western World”: “The Hau de no sau nee, or the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, has existed on this land since the beginning of human memory…. Our essential message to the world is a basic call to consciousness. The destruction of the Native cultures and people is the same process which has destroyed and is destroying life on this planet. The technologies and social systems which have destroyed the animal and plant life are also destroying the Native people…. It is the people of the West, ultimately, who are the most oppressed and exploited. They are burdened by the weight of centuries of racism, sexism, and ignorance which has rendered their people insensitive to the true nature of their lives…. The people who are living on this planet need to break with the narrow concept of human liberation, and begin to see liberation as something which needs to be extended to the whole of the Natural World.” ”

Source: A Radical Alliance of Black and Green Could Save the World | The Nation

I’m Not Evil. I’m a Landlord. – The New York Times


“Cleveland Heights, Ohio — MATTHEW DESMOND, a Harvard sociology professor, moved into poor Milwaukee neighborhoods and wrote this year’s hottest ethnographic tome about it: “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.” While working on the book, he kept a journal. He wrote, “I feel dirty, collecting these stories and hardships like so many trophies.”
I collect stories and hardships, too — and rent. I’m a landlord. Eviction notices — I buy them by the carton from Ohio Legal Blank. I’ve probably evicted 100 people, two or three a year for 40 years. Two weeks ago I evicted a recovering, or not so recovering, drug addict. He was stealing from his wife, and she wanted him out, so I evicted him. When the locksmith changed the lock, I gave the wife but not the husband new keys.I’m familiar with the bailiffs and magistrates at municipal court. I carry a clip-on tie in my car so I look sharp — blue tie over a green shirt, the middle-school art-teacher look. I’m not a lawyer, but I know what “forcible entry and detainer” means. Eviction.I try to give my apartments a middle-class feel.”

Source: I’m Not Evil. I’m a Landlord. – The New York Times

Why Attitude Is More Important Than IQ – Forbes

“When it comes to success, it’s easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave the rest of us in the dust. But new research from Stanford University will change your mind (and your attitude).Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.”

Source: Why Attitude Is More Important Than IQ – Forbes