...34567


The least of these – Ashland Daily Press

In Matthew 25: 31-46, Jesus talks about compassion for the least of these. He identifies them as the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned. He says that when time is fulfilled, the goats and sheep will be separated. The sheep are those who show compassion. The goats are those who do not. In the end, the goats will go away into eternal punishment (in today's language, they'd roast in Hell) but the sheep will enter into eternal life.

Jesus makes it very clear where he stands. Central to life in the Christian Church must be compassion for our fellow human beings. When I look at some of the people in our present U. S. Congress who are trying to pass a new health care bill that will hurt millions of poor, disabled, addicted, and elderly people, I wonder if they know that they are acting like a bunch of goats.

Oh, I'm sure some champion the notion of personal responsibility. While being responsible is a good thing, they say that if you are among the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the naked, the sick, or the imprisoned, it's your own fault. Yet this is not the message of Jesus. It's the philosophy of a mid-20th Century lady named Ayn Rand who thought that the talented few should be protected not the least of these. Its a notion that ought not be in the vocabulary of the Christian Church.

In my Christian bones, I believe that what is being contemplated in the new health bill is immoral. I wonder how our representatives in Congress would respond to the question: Are you a sheep or a goat?

Original post:

The least of these - Ashland Daily Press

The Continuing Scourge of Tenant Harassment: If You Don’t Like It, Move. – The Nonprofit Quarterly (registration)

June 12, 2017; Curbed New York

Tenancy at will is the property owners state of nature. Back in the Middle Ages, the landlord was literally the lord of the land. Landed nobility were the owners, employers, and civil magistrates. Todays landlord, schooled by the libertarian, free market philosophies of Adam Smith, John Locke, and Ayn Rand, uses the mantra, If you dont like it, move. Landlord harassment is todays way of making tenants dislike staying enough that they decide to move.

The website Curbed offers a story entitled New Yorks 10 worst landlords targeted by housing advocates to expose the predatory practices that are designed to force out rent stabilized tenants so that the investors can bring in tenants who are willing and able to pay a higher rent.

Techniques like making illegal rent increases, threats to call immigration or childrens services, seizing tenants belongings, adding fees for basic services in lieu of rent increases, and carrying out phony, sloppy, annoying, dangerous construction are all part of the harassment toolkit. While the ten worst landlords story focuses on the most egregious violators, the use of harassment techniques to force out rent-stabilized tenants is widespread, especially in communities undergoing rapid increase in property values due to gentrification.

Where tenants have acquired, usually by political action, some tenure rights, it is harder for landlords to exercise absolute authority. In New York City, for instance, where there are some restrictions on rent and some legal protections in court, tenants are less likely to be evicted cheaply and efficiently in order to make room for other (more lucrative) customers. Just last week, the New York Supreme Court upheld an initiative by Governor Cuomo that protects rent-regulated tenants from overcharges, harassment and intimidation by unscrupulous landlords. Governor Cuomo called the decision a victory for the more than 2 million rent-regulated tenants in the state.

Landlord harassment is not just a NYC problem. Passive aggressive disregard of tenant complaints may have been a factor in the Grenfell Towers tragedy. Feargus OSullivan writes in CityLab,

Redeveloping or remodeling public projects also means that boroughs and developers can squeeze out extra revenue by adding homes for the private marketaffordable homes that, while cheaper than market rates, still generate some income. In order to maximize these profits, theres pressure to remove as many poorer public housing tenants as possible, to make more room for market-rate apartments. Homes that previously had public tenants in them are left unfilled, while public tenants can be offered a flat fee to clear out and never return (in some cases without fully understanding that the money offered bars their right to return.)

Back in the U.S., private owners of federally subsidized properties already use non-legal harassment to remove undesirable tenants who are protected by the just cause provisions in the HUD lease. This month, tenants in a small senior property in Ohio were denied additional handicapped parking spaces and told by managements attorney that they were free to break their leases to move to a property with more handicapped spaces. After a meeting with the out-of-town owners of the property, tenants were surprised to find personal financial documents affixed to their unit doors, open for all to see. These tactics were initiated after tenants requested a meeting with the out-of-town owners to discuss handicapped spaces, slow response to a plumbing crisis over the Easter weekend, and verbal harassment by the on-site property manager.

If the U.S. Congress adopts President Trumps budget proposals, which would raise rents for subsidized tenants, more harassment may be on the way. There could be an incentive to rent to higher-income households by forcing out the oldest, most disabled, and least-self-sufficient tenants to make room. Tenants currently protected by just cause provisions in the HUD model lease could be harassed into moving voluntarily.

Where tenants have strong social networks, family members and social service providers can sometimes offset harassment. Just being present in the building during working hours can be a deterrent to abusive behavior. Accompanying a tenant to meetings to be a witness/advocate can help. Sometimes, however, low-level social service providers are themselves harassed by property managers when they try to be advocates. It is not unusual for property managers to complain to social agency employers when home service workers speak up for their clients.Spencer Wells

Since his retirement in 2013, Spencer volunteers as the Community Manager of the Rental Housing Information Network in Ohio. RHINO is an on line community of activists (service providers, public policy/program managers, tenant leaders and rental housing advocates) working on rental housing issues in Ohio. During his professional career, Spencer was a VISTA volunteer, a community worker at Garden Valley Neighborhood House, lead organizer and executive director of the Cleveland Tenants Organization, and tenant outreach director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO). Spencer served as a volunteer on several successful political campaigns in Ohio and on many non profit Boards of Trustees. In addition to managing RHINO network, Spencer has a big garden and small woodlot where he lives with his wife Janet and two spoiled cats.

Read the original here:

The Continuing Scourge of Tenant Harassment: If You Don't Like It, Move. - The Nonprofit Quarterly (registration)

This Classic Colonial Revival in Westchester Has Impressive Literary Ties – Mansion Global

Location: Mount Kisco, New York

Price: $1.999 million

Bennett Cerf is best known as the 20th-century powerhouse publisher who co-founded Modern Library and Random House in New York. His authors included William Faulkner, Eugene ONeill, John OHara, Ayn Rand, James Michener and Truman Capote.

Along with a Manhattan apartment, he and his wife, the actress Phyllis Fraser, maintained a 10-acre estate in suburban Westchester County for many years. Their former home, a classic Colonial Revival in Mount Kisco, is now on the market.

Cerf also wrote humor books and had a starring role as one of four panelists on the CBS weekly show Whats My Line? for most of the 1950s and 60s. Fraser was also a journalist and childrens book publisher. So friends and frequent houseguests were often literary or political luminaries or well-known stars from Hollywood and Broadway.

These house guests included the likes of Frank Sinatra, John F. Kennedy and Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss), according to Jessica Chan of William Pitt Julia B. Fee Sothebys International Realty.

More:A Seaside Nantucket Compound Moonlights as the Perfect Summer Getaway

Because he was married to an actress, the house was a central location for entertaining some really prominent people, Ms. Chan said. It was the center of the literary and entertainment worlds.

There is still an original brass plate on the front door that reads Cerf. The house is known as The Columns for its two-story columned veranda at the back. Old-timers also know it as the Cerf-Wagner estate because his widow married former New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. after Cerfs death in 1971 and they made it their part-time home until Wagner died in 1991.

The current owners bought the house from the Cerf family in 1993, Ms. Chan said.

Its such a huge house, almost like a compound, she said, mentioning that one Thanksgiving, the current owners had 25 overnight houseguests.

The interior has been renovated throughout, but they kept all of the original period characteristics of the house, Ms. Chan said. Its the best of both worlds.

More:A 19th-Century Princeton Home with Original Details Throughout

Original architectural features of the 1927 house include hardwood floors, high ceilings, a grand center-hall staircase, crown moldings and five working fireplaces.

All of the windows have been replaced, and plumbing and utilities updated, Ms. Chan said. The bathrooms have all been renovated, but they were done to look like the 1920s.

This house is a good balance of modern versus old, but its a move-in-ready house, she said. Some old houses need so much workthis one doesnt.

The Stats

The 5,789-square-foot house has eight bedrooms, seven full bathrooms and one half bath. It sits on 9.63 acres. There are also two guesthouses.

Guest House A is around 800 square feet with one bedroom, two bathrooms and a living room with kitchen, Ms. Chan said. Guest House B is smaller, a studio with a bathroom.

Both have been beautifully renovated, she said. Guest House A is the historical one where people like Frank Sinatra frequently stayed.

More:A Penthouse on Lake Como with A Musical History

Amenities

Amenities include a swimming pool, large flagstone patio, tennis court, two-hole golf course, greenhouse, rolling meadows, two ponds and frontage on the scenic Kisco River. There is also detached three-car garage.

Neighborhood Notes

Orchard Road is a dead-end road, filled with beautiful housesclassic Colonials, Tudorsthat were built in the 1920s, Ms. Chan said.

Its such a safe and quiet neighborhood, she said. This house is set back from the road so no one would even know its there.

More:History Breathes New Life into this Napa Property

Its just a 10-minute walk to the Metro-North train station in downtown Mount Kisco, she said, which has many restaurants and shops.

The property actually straddles two Westchester communities, with 6.1 acres in the town of New Castle and the rest in Mount Kisco. It is in the Chappaqua school district, one of Westchesters best.

Agent Name: Jessica Chan, William Pitt Julia B Fee Sothebys International Realty

View the full listing

Write to Listing of the Day

Follow Mansion Global:

Stay up to date with Mansion Global newsletters

Sign Up

Follow this link:

This Classic Colonial Revival in Westchester Has Impressive Literary Ties - Mansion Global

Lowell Thomas, the Original ‘Voice of America’ – The Weekly Standard

In my time at Jesus College, Oxford (1956-58), I must have passed Eric Kenningtons evocative bust of T.E. Lawrence scores of times. It stood in the college lodge, on Turl Street, and portrayed a famous alumnus who had led an early life as an archaeologist before he became a British officer and legendary leader of the World War I Arab revolt against Turkish rule.

What I knew only dimly was that a much-traveled American journalist named Lowell Thomaswho had briefly taught elocution at Princetonwas often credited with the creation of the Lawrence legend, a legend sensationally magnified a generation later by David Leans magnificent film. As viewers of that vivid movie know, Lawrence assumed the leadership of the Arabs under King Feisal. He affected Bedouin costume, becoming an accomplished desert fighter.

Lowell Thomas, for his part, appears in the movie under a pseudonym as a sassy, cynical reporter named Bentley who appears on the scene after General Sir Edmund Allenbys conquest of Damascus, and follows the Arab host on its primary errand: blowing up railroad tracks and slaughtering Turkish soldiers. Its final scenes show a Lawrence a bit crazed by the experience.

The case can be made, writes Mitchell Stephens here, that no individual before or since has dominated American journalism as did Lowell Thomas in the late 1930s and, in particular, the early 1940s. Thomas brought to his craft a resonant voice and a gift for clear exposition. His breakthrough in audio-visual presentation came after the wars end, in a dramatic magic lantern show that drew thousands in 1919 London, New York, and other cities. Though it originally headlined Allenbys exploits, the once obscure Lawrence was an enormous hit, and the program was retitled With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia.

Thomas and his era were well met. They developed together the first phase of radio news broadcasting, whose dominance was prolonged by the postponement of television manufacture by war priorities in World War II. Apart from voice and diction, it was Thomass lifelong wanderlust that was his trump card; and it is well capturedcaricatured may be the more precise termby the bumptious figure of Bentley in Lawrence of Arabia.

Thomass corporate sponsor on NBC radio was Sun Oil. He was paid directly by the sponsoring company, a journalistic practice that would now be deemed irregular and (according to this biography) exposed him to occasional commercial pressures. The author notes one instance when Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed his Four Freedoms and conservative critics such as Sen. Robert Taft and novelist Ayn Rand complained. In a letter of June 8, 1943, Thomas received a caution from his primary contact at Sun Oil, suggesting that he omit further mention of the Four Freedoms. That caution was reinforced by a friendly letter from J. Howard Pew, president of Sun Oil, congratulating Thomas on the popularity of his broadcasts but advising that Roosevelts Four Freedoms be recast in terms of free-enterprise doctrine.

Thomas also narrated the pioneering Movietone newsreels, a medium whose oratorical voice and noisy nationalism would today ring strange in the age of television, the ultimate cool medium.

But to return to the association that first won him fame, it is, perhaps, a question of who created whomwhether Lowell Thomas created Lawrence of Arabia or Lawrence created Lowell Thomas, the showman and broadcaster. The two chapters about Lawrence of Arabia, though they take up only 33 pages, are certainly the most vivid and interesting and the authors notes indicate that this isnt his first treatment of Lawrence.

Undoubtedly, however, Thomass desert rendezvous in November 1918 struck journalistic gold and established a professional trajectory that made him the voice of Americathe voice of and for the middle class and its developing thirst for a form of news more quickly satisfied than by newspapers and magazines. Stephenss claims for Lowell Thomas are reinforced by his globetrotting and his determination to penetrate exotic landseven Tibet, after the Communist takeover in China, to which he and his son trekked at the price (in Thomass case) of broken bones, to interview the isolated 14-year-old Dalai Lama.

Thomas left broadcasting too early to rival the mega-television successes of Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, Edward R. Murrow, and others. But his memory is not without its nostalgia. One who grew up in the classic age of radiothe era of the University of Chicago Roundtable, Quiz Kids, Kraft Music Hall, and The Bell Telephone Hour, and not least Arturo Toscaninis NBC Symphony, not to mention popular stars such as Jack Bennycannot resist adding that Thomass era was of an excellence no longer heard on commercial radio or television.

But was Lowell Thomas the voice of America? I must admit a failure of auditory memory. The later voices of Cronkite, Brinkley, Murrow, Eric Sevareid, and others echo in the memory. Even H.V. Kaltenbornanother oil-company-sponsored newscaster-commentator (and my fathers bte noire)retains his staccato echo. But the voice of America is fading out like a dim radio signal, at least for me. Perhaps Thomass voice, midwestern in origins, was destined to become the standard timbre of all electronic communicationand is now lost among all the others.

Edwin M. Yoder Jr. is the author, most recently, of Vacancy: A Judicial Misadventure.

Read this article:

Lowell Thomas, the Original 'Voice of America' - The Weekly Standard

BOB BARR: Goodbye reason, Hello violence – MDJOnline.com

When Richard Spencer, a controversial figure of the Alt-Right, was punched in the face during a television interview earlier this year, the left cheered the assault, and turned video of the attack into gleeful memes. The only good thing that happened (at Donald Trumps Inauguration) was when suit-owner and neo-Nazi Richard Spencer was socked in the head by the new masked hero of Gotham, wrote Jordan Sargent at Billboard Musics Spin.com. For a movement populated by pacifists and peaceniks, the lefts justification of the violence against Spencer came surprisingly easy.

Then, last Friday, when two protesters disrupted a disturbing production in Central Park of Shakespeares Julius Caesar in which a Trump look-alike is assassinated, the Right rushed to defend the hecklers actions. Opponents of the play also threatened other producers of Shakespeare summer plays (which were unrelated to the New York production), wishing them the worst possible life, hoped they all get sick and die and that they should be sent to ISIS to be killed with real knives. Apparently, it made no difference to conservative protesters that the offending play, disgusting as it might be, represents speech protected by the Constitution, or that only weeks before those same conservatives were criticizing U.C. Berkeley for shutting down offensive speakers.

Between two sides growing increasingly less rational in responding to all manner of political and social issues, last weeks shooting spree by a single, hate-filled individual against Republican congressmen and staff personnel came not so much as a shock as a sad commentary on the state of politics in America.

Following the attack on Republican members of Congress, pundits and politicians quickly rushed to blame hate and vitriol for the toxic environment in which an individual would be motivated to use violence for political purposes. This was the very same analysis offered to explain the attempted assassination of Democratic Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in 2011.

While there certainly is far too much incivility in todays political discourse, pinning political violence on inflammatory speech misses the forest for the trees. The root problem is not hate, or even emotion, but the abandonment of logic and reason as underpinnings of American society, which leaves only violence to fill the vacuum.

But it goes far deeper than politics. Everywhere you look today, from flying on planes, to ordering coffee, violence has supplanted rational behavior in our interpersonal dealings. A major factor underlying this phenomenon is social media, which inflates the self-importance of its users, and provides them convenient cover from having to actually explain their views on any particular issue. This process is made worse as social media encourages the use of over-the-top rhetoric, with people virtue signaling to others about how much they care, rather than using logical arguments that may be less passionate but more substantive.

Combine this phenomenon with the waning respect for constitutional rule of law, and we are left with groups on both sides of the ideological spectrum who believe their views are correct, their actions are justifiable if not moral, and that nothing else not logic, reason, or even the rule of law should stand in their way of achieving their perception of the public good. It is why leftist Antifa thugs use fascist tactics to shut down enemies they call fascist. It is why conservatives who decry speech suppression on college campuses defend shutting down public theater performances with which they disagree. And, it is why a man would think a killing spree of congressmen is a reasonable act when letters to the editor failed to elicit the response he desired.

Philosopher and renowned writer Ayn Rand, who witnessed first-hand the brutality of Communism, understood well this terrifying balance between reason and violence. There are only two means by which men can deal with one another, wrote Rand. Guns or logic. Force or persuasion. Those who know that they cannot win by means of logic, have always resorted to guns. We saw her prescient warning come true on a practice ball field in Alexandria just one week ago. There will be more.

Either we seize this moment of recognition, and consciously do all we can to return reason to center stage in Americas culture; or we enter what promises to be a very long, dark night the darkness of which Ronald Reagan spoke in 1964, and at which time he launched the twentieth centurys fight for the last best hope of man on earth. Thankfully back then we had Reagan to identify the problem and lead us out of the darkness, at least for a period of time; where might todays Ronald Reagan be found is not at all clear.

Bob Barr is a former federal prosecutor and a former Congressman. He represented Georgias 7th congressional district as a Republican from 1995 to 2003.

See the article here:

BOB BARR: Goodbye reason, Hello violence - MDJOnline.com

Paul Ryan conflicted by Jesus Christ and Ayn Rand — Norman Jensen – Madison.com

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, is an attractive political leader in many ways.

He's a bright, articulate, upbeat, youthful, energetic and fit native son who espouses strong social values -- sometimes. He seems to recognize poverty as a social problem that deserves federal help. He credits his Christian faith for that.

On the other hand, he leads a current national health care initiative that will severely reduce insurance for poor Wisconsinites. His motivation likely comes from his heroine Ayn Rand, a 20th century political philosopher who valued atheism, individualism, the virtues of selfishness and the folly of altruism.

Imagine the speakers conflict between the selfless altruism of Jesus Christ and the selfish individualism of Rand. His Randian self wants those who can support themselves to get off government support. His Christian self needs to support those unable to support themselves. Perhaps Jesus struggled with the same dilemma?

The great social policy problem for Ryan and the rest of us is knowing which people are truly incapable of supporting themselves. We tend to have opinions about those on government support without valid knowledge of their needs. For a Christian, getting it wrong leads to eternal damnation.

Norman Jensen, Madison

Read the original here:

Paul Ryan conflicted by Jesus Christ and Ayn Rand -- Norman Jensen - Madison.com

London Theater Review: Topical Drama ‘Terror’ – Variety

Stage trials are nothing new. Ayn Rand had a big Broadway hit with one back in 1935: Night of January 16was designed to put her philosophy, individualism, to the test. Ferdinand von Schirachs Terror, already a commercial success in Germany, does much the same: It tests the mettle of our morality with a very contemporary dilemma. In the wake of recent attacks it should feel essential. Instead, its largely academic.

Major Lars Koch (Ashley Zhangazha) of the German air force sits in a courtroom, a blank stare on his face, accused of 164 counts of murder. Eight months ago, he downed a hijacked passenger jet that was, in all likelihood, heading for a football stadium and its capacity crowd. In launching an air-to-air guided missile, disobeying orders to do so, he saved up to 70,000 lives. The law, however, states he must face trial for the lives his actions ended.

The question, broadly speaking, is whether it is ever justifiable to take one life in order to save others. Emma Fieldings prosecuting lawyer blithely argues that the constitutions owes each and every one of us our human dignity, only for the defense (an ardent Forbes Masson) to parry with the common sense argument: Koch committed the lesser evil; any of us would have done the same. Tanya Moodie presides over both with a firm judicial authority.

Von Schirach ensures the case is far from open and shut, carefully constructing a scenario that pulls in several directions at once. Details complicate the picture the indecision of Kochs commanding officers, the passengers struggling to get into the cockpit but so do emotions. Events are described with painstaking precision, right down to the four passengers sucked out of the blast holes. A dead mans wife describes collecting his shoe from the witness box. Were not just asked to decide between absolutism and relativism, but between action and consequences, intervention and inaction, individual and state.

Terror lets us into the legal system not just to witness the judicial process, but to experience it. We stand in the shoes of jurors, but no matter how seriously one takes the role, each of us, inevitably, falls short. Theres too much information to process, too much at stake to completely detach. Some details snag, others escape you. Its impossible not to tune into emotions to project remorse onto Zhangazhas steadfast certainty, to suspect the prosecution of welling up. How much are you swayed by rhetoric over facts? How much are you persuaded by a soft-spoken woman arguing against a brusque Scottish bloke? The decision, when it comes, comes from the gut, no more or less rational than the pilots pull on the trigger.

If anything, however, the conundrum is too carefully constructed, calibrated to hang in perfect balance. It makes a fun thought-experiment, a riddlesome mind game or an undergraduate ethics seminar, but, as effective theater, its hard to shake the artifice of it all. Youre constantly aware of Von Schirachs manipulating hand. The moment you step back, you see through it. Nothings really at stake here. We are, essentially, deliberating over hypothetical hypotheticals.

The ending the judgment, handed down by the audience blows it. This being a trial, our decision stands. The judge has to defer, and the verdict goes into law. Whether we find the defendant guilty or not, we are, in effect, congratulated on making the right decision. Terror never holds us to account. It never unpicks the ramifications of our verdict, nor examines what that might say about our society. After eight previews, every verdicts been the same: not guilty. Thats huge. It means accepting the idea of self-sacrifice, and that the law can be bent to the circumstances. Terror lets us off scot-free.

Lyric Hammersmith, London; 550 seats; 35 ($45) top. Opened,June 22, 2017reviewed June 20, 2016. Running time:1 HOURS, 55 MIN.

A Lyric Hammersmith production of a play in two acts by Ferdinand von Schirach.

Directed by Sean Holmes; Set design,Anna Fleische;translated by David Tushingham; lighting, Joshua Carr; sound, Nick Manning; costume design, Loren Elstein.

Ashley Zhangazaha, Emma Fielding, John Lightbody, Forbes Masson, Tanya Moodie, Shanaya Rafaat.

View original post here:

London Theater Review: Topical Drama 'Terror' - Variety

Travis Kalanick may have resigned as Uber’s CEO but he isn’t going away – Washington Post

With his resignation Tuesday from the chief executive officer job at Uber, Travis Kalanick joins the pantheon of company founders who've made the difficultmove beyond life as their company's CEO, even if temporarily. Some did it by choice: Howard Schultz, Ralph Lauren. Plenty of others didn't: American Apparel's Dov Charney. Men's Wearhouse's George Zimmer. And of course, way back in 1985, the example that must be included in every story aboutfounders leavingtheir companies: Apple's Steve Jobs.

However they may have left, whatmost sharein commonis a hard timeletting go. Many foundershave trouble givingtheir successors absolute authority. Schultz once wrote that it's like being a parent standing back and watching his children make their own choices.

Their DNA does not allow them to step back and be an independent board member, said Peter Crist, chairmanof the executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates. They still involve themselves. They still meddle. They still call someone three levels below and ask what's going on.

Management experts say that transitioncould be morechallengingfor Kalanick, who hasa reputation as an aggressive, win-at-all-costs chief executive who built a Hobbesian culture that's been under fire for unprofessional, frat house conductand allegations of widespread sexual harassment.

He has this competitive streak, said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management who wrote a book about the psychology of CEOs departing their companies. This is not a guy who's going to go softly into the night.

[When company founders fight back]

In addition to his personality, Kalanick's management style has been described as particularly hands-on, amicromanagerwho's gotten involved indetails as minor as a redesign ofthe company's logo.He had such a consolidated level of power that the first recommendation in the report by the law firm Covington and Burling on Uber's cultural reformsurged the company to reallocatesome of Kalanick'sresponsibilities.

Even after he took an unspecified leave of absence last week, Kalanick was reportedto have stayed in frequentcontact with executives,interviewing candidates for the manyvacancies onUber's executive team and dialing in with his thoughts.After director David Bonderman made a disparagingremarkabout women during a company meeting designed to address the company'scultural issues, Kalanick personally worked the phonesto get Bonderman off the board, according to a report in the New York Times.

The next CEO of Uberis going to do things differently, and Kalanickis going to have a hard time with that becauseof his emotional investment, said Kerry Sulcowicz, a psychiatrist and psychologist who advises boards and CEOs, including several running successful start-ups. For many CEOs, there's a high risk of succumbing to the temptation to meddle. Or worse: to actively undermine the new CEO by unconsciously behaving in a way that destroys whats most importantto him, as a way of proving to himself and the world that he was indeed irreplaceable.

It's also possible Kalanick could be emboldened by his equity stake. Because he and his allies retainso much voting power throughthe shares he owns, management experts say it makes sense that he remains on the board. You know the old joke gone, but not forgotten? said Charles Elson, the director of a corporate governance center at the University of Delaware. Hes gone but has too big a stake to be forgotten.

[Why Travis Kalanick didn't survive Uber]

The Uber investors who wrote the letter calling for Kalanick's resignation have called for two of three empty board seats to be held by truly independent directors, according to the New York Times, which woulddilute Kalanick's vote on the board. A company spokeswoman declined to comment further on what else the board might do.

Sometimes, having an involved former founder on the board is a positive, a connection to the company's origins and a font of institutional knowledge and vision. Schultz is widely seen to have revived a fading Starbucks when he took back the reins from asuccessor, hearingcomplaintsfrom employeesand recognizing the company had drifted from its roots. And founders such asBill Gates at Microsoft wereseenas constructive board members to their successors afterthey stepped out of theCEO's seat.

Butthere are plenty of times when a CEO, even by his own choice, leaves the top jobbut clashes with his or her successor.Ralph Lauren handed the CEO title to outsider Stefan Larsson, but the two couldn't agreeon creative direction and Larssonleft the company less than two years after he started. Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, who hadn't been CEO since 2005 but remained on the company's board until 2015, arguedwith a successor over things like putting Ayn Rand quotes on shopping bags and voted against company directors over the direction of the company.

[Yet another crisis for Uber: Six vacant executive jobs, and no active CEO]

When such changescome amid an emotional personal hardship as has happened to Kalanick, whose mother recently died in a boating accident the change can be complicated, Sonnenfeld said, unless the founder gets involved in something new.

I have seen this before where there's a personal tragedy, he said. [Former Nike CEO] Phil Knight stepped out after his son died, but he got a second wind, came back, and pulled the rug from beneath [successor] Bill Perez, who was doing a good job.

Kalanick's board presence could also give some recruits to the CEO job pause. While plenty would probablyjump at the opportunity to overhaul what has become themost disruptive and valuableSilicon Valley start-up of this era, others could look warily athow much Kalanick will stay involved.

Theyll swallow hard, close their eyes and theyll do it, said Crist, the executive recruiter. But it doesnt change the fact that his influence and personality are still going to be quite evident.

Read also:

'Now, it's on our watch:' A chat with the new Uber executive who believes the company can change

Why a toxic workplace is now a much bigger liability for companies

Like On Leadership? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

Read more:

Travis Kalanick may have resigned as Uber's CEO but he isn't going away - Washington Post

‘Fargo’ Season 3 finale recap: A mostly satisfying, but ambiguous ending – Baltimore Sun

Season 3 of Fargo came to a satisfying and poignant close with its finale episode, Somebody to Love. Justice is exacted, stories are told, death is doled and we get a frustratingly ambiguous, yet narratively inevitable ending.

The episode begins with Gloria Burgle submitting her resignation from the sheriff's department. Then we are taken to the IRS agent outlining the litany of transgressions the Stussy company has participated in.

Next, we see Emmit signing papers with Varga peering over his shoulder, making another deal with the devil, as it were.

The IRS agent gets a note from Burgle requesting to talk. Burgle accepts that the case is closed, but the IRS agent tells Burgle of the mass conspiracy he is close to cracking.

Dont move, Ill be right there, Burgle says enthusiastically, Wait, whats your address?

She then removes her resignation notice and takes off.

Nikki, meanwhile, is planning her revenge like a game of bridge. It is revealed that this shrewd woman has already picked up a little sign language.

After we see the title card, Emmit finishes signing V.M.s documents he is simply worn down.

Its perfectly natural, you see it all the time in the wild the smaller animal going limp in the jaws of the larger, Varga says. Food knows its food.

Varga fields a call from Nikki about the next meeting while Emmit eyes the gun in Meemos chest. He grabs the gun in a rage because he was called food. Varga distracts Emmit by giving a monologue about the evolution of technology and says the gun has a fingerprint scanner. He blasts his breath spray in Emmits eyes and Meemo blasts him with a fire poker.

Meemo and Varga go to meet up with Nikki. Their small army follows a Latino boy into an abandoned building, where they follow directions written on the ground up to the third floor. They are playing Nikkis game now. With each direction, they lose more men in their army.

Varga, the coward, hangs back in the elevator while the army checks out the storage hallway. They come to an open storage unit that reads: Leave the money, the drives are in unit 207.

Varga recieves a text from an unknown number that reads: IRS has the drivers. Get Out.

As Varga closes the elevator door on his men with a genuine look of fear on his face, a storage locker door opens. Meemo and the others are gunned down and Varga listens in horror. Nikki is waiting for him at the bottom of the elevator, but she finds an empty coat on the floor and the roof panel taken off. The weasel got away.

A bloodied Mr. Wrench comes down the adjacent elevator with the money, which Nikki gives him for his help. Nikki runs off in search of Emmit.

Speaking of Emmit, he wakes up to an empty house with a stamp stuck on his forehead. He throws the stamp, worth $10,000, on the floor and drives off. He arrives at his offices to find Ms. Goldfarb has taken over.

You work for Varga, all this time. Like a fire door that leads to another fire, Stussy says.

Its a twist that I do not care about at all. But Emmit is instructed to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because he is $300 million dollars in debt.

We then get an explanation from the IRS agent to Burgle of what Varga did to Stussy lots. He calls it a bleed out. Narwhal acquired Stussy, borrowed millions of dollars, then sold the company for a fraction of the price while it was drowning in debt. The money borrowed is pocketed by Varga and all working in his operation while Emmit has to take care of the debt.

This whole time it was easy to assume Varga was working for some kind of criminal organization laundering money, as Burgle said, but it turns out he is simply a shrewd, ruthless businessman. The only illegal action he took was that he didnt pay taxes; he put all of the money they borrowed into offshore accounts.

Burgle is called to the scene of the massacre Nikki enacted. Burgle, with the knowledge that Nikki is out for revenge, goes to warn Emmit.

Emmit, having a terrible day, continues his unlucky streak as his car breaks down on the side of the highway. Frustrated by his lack of service, as well as the death of his car, company and brother, Emmit smashes his phone on the ground.

Nikki rolls up in a truck with her shotgun in tow.

Are you as low as you can go? she asks.

Emmit thought he couldnt go lower when he turned himself in the day before, but it turned out that wasnt the case, so he is unable to answer her question. Nikki reminds Emmit before she blasts him that he has no one who loves him. Emmit then begs Nikki to shoot him. She starts to give Emmit the quote she got from the stranger at the bowling alley before, in the coincidence of all coincidences, a cop car rolls by to interrupt the line.

Its a long story, but at the end of it we all go home, Nikki says with misplaced optimism.

Emmit apparently changes his mind about wanting to die, as he is quick to whisper to the officer that Nikki has a gun. The officer tries to diffuse the situation and draws his firearm as Nikki creeps back toward her gun. Nikki grabs the shotgun and shots ring out, dropping the officer and Nikki to the floor, leaving Emmit still standing between them.

The officer was shot in the chest. Nikki was shot in the head. With our rogue warrior killed, it is up to Burgle to exact justice the legal way.

Burgle and her son sit on the trunk of her car licking popsicles. Burgle explains what happened to Ennis to her son.

Theres violence to knowing the world isnt what you want, Burgle said.

Its a short but sweet scene, in which Burgle espouses the value of teamwork and friendship as being guiding lights in an absurd, dark world.

Elsewhere, Emmit takes his new lease on life to his wife and immediately begins crying in her arms.

We then get a move very reminiscent of the first season as the show jumps five years later. Emmit has filed for bankruptcy and pleaded guilty to tax fraud. On probation, he was welcomed back to his family. Its very sweet he is praying with his family and everything is happy. Even a recovering Sy is there! I mean, we find out he might have $20 million hidden in an offshore account, but besides that, everything is on the up and up for Emmit Stussy.

Emmit looks over the pictures of his friends and family on the fridge He opens the fridge to get the salad, and the ever-loyal Mr. Wrench shoots him in the back of the head. Is it fair? Who knows. But, as Burgle said, not everything is.

Burgle, now working for the Department of Homeland Security, enters an interrogation room to none other than Varga, now under the name Daniel Rand and the guise of a salesman. The name may be a tribute to Ayn Rand, but I like to think it is an homage to Marvel superhero Iron Fist.

Oh that this was my salvation, a weary traveler I am, Varga says.

Varga gives Burgle a series of vague statements essentially amounting to, You havent got a thing on me. Gloria informs Varga of the Stussy murder.

It is a dangerous world for men of standing, Varga says. Human beings, you see have no inherent value other than the money they earn.

Burgle asks Varga if he killed Emmit. He refuses. Burgle informs Varga that he is going to prison on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit murder. She, meanwhile, will go home to her son and prepare for the state fair the next day.

Varga counters her story with one of his own: That a man will come in and tell him hes free to go. And he will leave.

Trust me. The future is certain. And when it comes you will know your place in the world, Varga says.

The lights go down on Varga, Burgle smiles, we see the door and the clock above it, and the episode ends.

The season of Fargo ends the way it began: two people in a room with differing stories, both believing theirs to be the truth. While at the beginning, the two people were debating over what already happened, now they are debating what is going to happen.

As Varga made clear: The past is unpredictable, but the future is certain.

This season finale was strong, as each character gets their own story wrapped neatly but not predictably into a bow.

Nikki is on a path of redemption, but on the way she kills a dutiful police officer, cutting that path short.

Emmit is on his own redemptive path but keeps a lot of his ill-gotten money to himself, so his is also cut short.

Burgle knows her place in the world and is confident that she has triumphed over the devil.

Varga believes he will escape and fade into the world yet again.

My only wish is that Varga got his comeuppance and, depending on how one interprets the show, whos to say he doesnt? His power, money and standing have been stripped from him and he might be headed to prison.

As is typical in Fargo and in many Coen brothers films, the mystical storylines and themes are left open for interpretation.

Season 3 of Fargo may not be the best of the series, but was inventive, took risks and definitely came close to the heights the previous two stories reached.

Read more:

'Fargo' Season 3 finale recap: A mostly satisfying, but ambiguous ending - Baltimore Sun

Ayn Rand | American author | Britannica.com

Alternative Title: Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum

Ayn Rand, original name Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum (born February 2, 1905, St. Petersburg, Russiadied March 6, 1982, New York, New York, U.S.), Russian-born American writer whose commercially successful novels promoting individualism and laissez-faire capitalism were influential among conservatives and libertarians and popular among generations of young people in the United States from the mid-20th century.

Her father, Zinovy Rosenbaum, was a prosperous pharmacist. After being tutored at home, Alissa Rosenbaum, the eldest of three children, was enrolled in a progressive school, where she excelled academically but was socially isolated. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, her fathers shop was confiscated by communist authorities, an event she deeply resented. As a student at Leningrad State University, she studied history and became acquainted with the works of Plato and Aristotle. After graduating in 1924, she enrolled in the State Institute for Cinematography, hoping to become a screenwriter.

The arrival of a letter from cousins in Chicago gave her an opportunity to leave the country on the pretext of gaining expertise that she could apply in the Soviet film industry. Upon her arrival in the United States in 1926, she changed her name to Ayn Rand. (The first name, which rhymes with pine, was inspired by the name of a Finnish writer, whom she never identified, and the surname she described as an abbreviation of Rosenbaum.) After six months in Chicago she moved to Hollywood, where a fortuitous encounter with the producer Cecil B. DeMille led to work as a movie extra and eventually to a job as a screenwriter. In 1929 she married the actor Frank OConnor. Soon hired as a filing clerk in the wardrobe department of RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., she rose to head of the department within a year, meanwhile writing stories, plays, and film scenarios in her spare time. She became an American citizen in 1931.

Rands first successful play, Night of January 16th (1933; originally titled Penthouse Legend), was a paean to individualism in the form of a courtroom drama. In 1934 she and OConnor moved to New York City so that she could oversee the plays production on Broadway. That year she also wrote Ideal, about a self-centred film star on the run from the law, first as a novel and then as a play. However, she shelved both versions. The play was not produced until 1989, and the novel was not published until 2015. Her first published novel, We the Living (1936), was a romantic tragedy in which Soviet totalitarianism epitomized the inherent evils of collectivism, which she understood as the subordination of individual interests to those of the state. A subsequent novella, Anthem (1938), portrayed a future collectivist dystopia in which the concept of the self and even the word I have been lost.

Rand spent more than seven years working on her first major work, The Fountainhead (1943), the story of a handsome architectural genius whose individualism and integrity are evinced in his principled dedication to his own happiness. The hero, Howard Roark, blows up a public housing project he had designed after it is altered against his wishes by government bureaucrats. On trial for his crime, he delivers a lengthy speech in his own defense in which he argues for individualism over collectivism and egoism over altruism (the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self). The jury votes unanimously to acquit him. Despite generally bad reviews, the book attracted readers through word of mouth and eventually became a best seller. Rand sold it to Warner Brothers studio and wrote the screenplay for the film, which was released in 1949.

Test Your Knowledge

Famous American Faces: Fact or Fiction?

Having returned to Los Angeles with OConnor to work on the script for The Fountainhead, Rand signed a contract to work six months a year as a screenwriter for the independent producer Hal Wallis. In 1945 she began sketches for her next novel, Atlas Shrugged (1957; film part 1, 2011, part 2, 2012, part 3, 2014), which is generally considered her masterpiece. The book depicts a future United States on the verge of economic collapse after years of collectivist misrule, under which productive and creative citizens (primarily industrialists, scientists, and artists) have been exploited to benefit an undeserving population of moochers and incompetents. The hero, John Galt, a handsome and supremely self-interested physicist and inventor, leads a band of elite producers and creators in a strike designed to deprive the economy of their leadership and thereby force the government to respect their economic freedom. From their redoubt in Colorado, Galts Gulch, they watch as the national economy and the collectivist social system are destroyed. As the elite emerge from the Gulch in the novels final scene, Galt raises his hand over the desolate earth andtrace[s] in space the sign of the dollar.

Britannica Lists & Quizzes

History Quiz

Literature & Language List

History Quiz

Arts & Culture List

Atlas Shrugged was notable for making explicit the philosophical assumptions that underlay The Fountainhead, which Rand described as only an overture to the later work. In an appendix to Atlas Shrugged, Rand described her systematic philosophy, which she called objectivism, as in essencethe concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

Although the book was attacked by critics from across the political spectrum for its perceived immorality and misanthropy and its overt hostility to religion (Rand was an atheist), it was an instant best seller. It was especially well received by business leaders, many of whom were impressed by its moral justification of capitalism and delighted to think of their occupations as noble and virtuous. Like The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged also appealed widely to young people through its extreme romanticism, its accessible and comprehensive philosophy, its rejection of traditional authority and convention, and its implicit invitation to the reader to join the ranks of the elite by modeling himself on the storys hero.

In 1950 Rand agreed to meet a young admirer, Nathan Blumenthal, on the basis of his several articulate fan letters. The two established an immediate rapport, and Blumenthal and his girlfriend, Barbara Weidman, became Rands friends as well as her intellectual followers. In 1951 the couple moved to New York, and Rand and OConnor soon followed. There the Brandens, as Nathan and Barbara called themselves after their marriage in 1953, introduced Rand to their friends and relatives, some of whom later attended regular meetings at Rands apartment for discussion and to read newly written chapters of Atlas Shrugged. The group, which called itself the Class of 43 (a reference to the publication date of The Fountainhead) or (ironically) the Collective, included Alan Greenspan, an economics consultant who would later head the presidents Council of Economic Advisers (197477) and serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve (19872006). Among members of the Collective Nathan Branden was unquestionably Rands favourite. She openly acknowledged him as her intellectual heir and formally designated him as such in the afterword of Atlas Shrugged, which she co-dedicated to him and to OConnor.

In the late 1950s, with Rands permission, Branden established a business designed to teach the basic principles of objectivism to sympathetic readers of Rands novels. The Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI), as it was later called, offered courses in objectivism in New York and distributed tape-recorded lectures by Branden to objectivist centers in various other cities. Despite its outward appearance as an educational institution, NBI did not permit its students to think critically about objectivism or to develop objectivist ideas in novel ways. Through the success of NBI, Branden would eventually become the public guardian of objectivist orthodoxy against innovation or unauthorized borrowing by objectivist sympathizers, especially among the growing student right. In 1962 Branden and Rand launched the monthly Objectivist Newsletter (renamed The Objectivist in 1966). Meanwhile, Rands fame grew apace with the brisk sales of her novels. She was invited to speak at numerous colleges and universities and was interviewed on television talk shows and on the news program 60 Minutes. Growing into her role as a public intellectual, she published her first work of nonfiction, For the New Intellectual, largely a collection of philosophical passages from her fiction, in 1961. The Virtue of Selfishness (1964) and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966) were drawn mostly from lectures and newsletter articles.

In 1968 Rand learned that Branden, with whom she had been having an intermittent affair (with their spouses knowledge) since 1954, was involved in a romantic relationship with a younger woman. Accusing him of betraying objectivist principles, she stripped him of his partnership in The Objectivist and demanded that he surrender control of NBI, which was soon dissolved. The closing of the institute freed various self-described objectivists to publicly develop their own interpretations of Rands philosophyall of which, however, she rejected as perversions or plagiarism of her ideas. She was especially incensed at the use of objectivist vocabulary by young libertarians, whom she accused of disregarding morality and flirting with anarchism. Meanwhile, Brandens status as Rands favourite disciple was assumed by Leonard Peikoff, an original member of the Collective whom she would eventually designate as her intellectual and legal heir.

In 1971 Rand ceased publication of The Objectivist and replaced it with the fortnightly Ayn Rand Letter, which appeared with increasing irregularity until 1976. In 1974 she underwent surgery for lung cancer. Although she recovered, she never again had the energy to pursue large-scale writing projects. In 1979 she published Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, a collection of philosophical articles originally written in 1967. She was working on an adaptation of Atlas Shrugged for a television miniserieseventually unrealizedwhen she died.

Rand was continually frustrated by her failure to gain acceptance among academic philosophers, most of whom dismissed (or were simply unaware of) her work. This neglect, which she attributed to collectivist bias and incompetence, was partly due to the fictional form in which the best-known statements of her philosophy appeared, which necessarily rendered them imprecise by professional standards. Other factors were her idiosyncratic interpretation of the history of Western philosophy, her tendency to rely, even in her nonfiction works, on broad ad hominem attacks, and her general unwillingness to tolerate disagreement with her views among those with whom she associated.

In 1986 Barbara Branden published a memoir, The Passion of Ayn Rand, that disclosed Rands affair with Nathan and revealed unflattering details of her relations with members of the Collective and others. Despite the resulting damage to her reputation, her novels continued to enjoy large sales, and she retained a loyal following among conservatives and libertarians, including some high-ranking members of the Ronald Reagan administration (the most notable being Greenspan). In the 1990s and 2000s her works undoubtedly contributed to the increased popularity of libertarianism in the United States, and from 2009 she was an iconic figure in the antigovernment Tea Party movement. It is for these specifically political influences, rather than for her contributions to literature or philosophy, that she is likely to be remembered by future generations.

Excerpt from:

Ayn Rand | American author | Britannica.com

Working toward graduation: 50 SPS students participate in credit recovery program – Stillwater News Press

While most students are busy enjoying their summer break, about 50 Stillwater Public Schools students chose to actively pursue credit recovery in English, math or social studies at Lincoln Academy.

Students, who range from incoming sophomores to soon-to-be graduates, had four weeks to retake a course or two they failed for one reason or another.

The self-paced program, which started May 30 and ends Thursday, allowed students to work through the coursework once credit at a time.

Katie Carlisle, 19, is thankful SPS provides this service for students.

It gives people an opportunity to redeem themselves, she said.

Carlisle failed Algebra II her senior year at Stillwater High, but was able to walk at graduation last month.

Students who are short two or fewer credits are allowed to walk at graduation, Trent Swanson, principal at Lincoln Academy said Tuesday. Two students that walked at graduation participated in credit recovery.

Carlisle will be taking her last Algebra II tests Wednesday.

If I pass the tests, Ill get my diploma, Carlisle said. If I dont pass, I dont know what Ill do.

She plans to continue her studies at Meridian Technology Center this fall where she is studying information technology.

One day she hopes to be a computer forensic investigator.

Also participating in the credit recovery program wash Nick Warne, 15, who was busy working on his last freshman English assignment on Tuesday.

He struggled with the course the first time around.

When the work got harder, I just slacked off, Warne said.

He is enjoying the format at Lincoln Academy.

I like to work at my own pace, Warne said.

Hes not sure if he will attend Stillwater High or Lincoln Academy next year for his sophomore year but he knows he wants to graduate.

Warne hopes to attend culinary school in Colorado and become a chef.

A huge dream of mine is to own my own restaurant, Warne said.

Warne and other students got help along the way from Aaron Frisby, a Lincoln Academy teacher.

I believe in self-paced learning, Frisby said. It is the way we do it here at Lincoln.

He said students read the novel Anthem, by Ayn Rand as a class and have recently been working on their writing.

Students attend class Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-noon and are offered a meal from the district each day. The are also given a weekend food bag courtesy of First United Methodist Church.

Swanson said the program is a great way to help students and that he has heard positive feedback from parents.

Im also appreciative of teachers for giving up time in the summer to help kids recover credits, Swanson said.

Twitter: @dbittonNP

Continue reading here:

Working toward graduation: 50 SPS students participate in credit recovery program - Stillwater News Press

If You Saw Uber’s CEO Testify Before the DC Council, His Downfall May Come as No Surprise – HuffPost

Travis Kalanick is out. The 40-year-old Uber CEO resigned Tuesday as the ride-hailing giant faces crises on multiple fronts and investors called for a change in leadership.

Kalanick, who co-founded Uber, will likely continue to be involved with the company due to his control over substantial voting shares. But Kalanick, and his rules-be-damned approach, will no longer be leading Uber, now valued at close to $70 billion.

For many Kalanicks sudden departure may come as a shock. But for those who watched him testify before the DC Council five years ago, the only wonder may be that he lasted this long.

It was September 2012, before Uber became so gargantuan. Back then, fighting off pesky regulators and councilmembers in a market like DC warranted a visit from the head honcho himself.

And when Kalanick showed up to testify before the Councils transportation committee, he was raring for a fight.

When then-Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham asked how Uber determined the number of drivers to contract with, Kalanick replied, How does the ice cream store know how much ice cream to get? He just figures it out and he buys some freakin ice cream.

Freakin ice cream aside, Graham, who passed away earlier this month, wanted to know how many vehicles Uber had on the road, a legitimate public safety concern. But Ubers then-35-year-old CEO refused to specify. Were in the hundreds, he said. Its not low hundreds and its not high hundreds.

Today there are almost certainly many more Uber vehicles clogging DCs streets, but how many more isnt clear. (DCs taxi commission, now renamed the Department of For-Hire Vehicles, is legislatively prohibited from collecting this information from private transportation companies like Uber.)

Back at the hearing, Kalanick continued interrupting at will, only now he was talking over Councilmember Mary Cheh, the committee chair.

Any attempt by the city to regulate Ubers variable pricing model, which can jump quickly, would be like communist Russia where there were long lines for toilet paper due to government controls, said Kalanick, who seemed to be channeling Ayn Rand. (Kalanick used to have as his Twitter avatar a picture of Rands The Fountainhead, which he previously described as one of my favorite books.)

It may be telling that Kalanick couldnt find it in himself to show respect for a woman heading up the very committee overseeing ride-sharing in DC. In subsequent years, a lack of respect for women has manifested itself throughout Kalanicks company.

Among the many examples: A female reporter whod written critically of Uber was tracked by the company through its God View tool. The medical records of a woman raped by an Uber driver in India were obtained by the company and shared among top executives including Kalanick; the victim, a resident of Texas, has sued Uber, Kalanick and two other executives who have also left the company (one was fired, the other quit after an investigation recommended his removal). These same executives took part in a company outing to a South Korean escort bar, prompting a female worker to speak out despite feeling pressured not to. Kalanick himself described how Uber had turned him into a chick magnet, saying, we call that Boob-er. Within the company itself there have been damning reports of sexual harassment, which recently led to over 20 firings.

To help counter this bro culture, Uber board member Arianna Huffington suggested having a greater female presence on the board. But thatd make it much more likely to be more talking, said fellow board member David Bonderman (who resigned later that day).

Bondermans comment came at the very meeting at which Uber released 13 pages of recommendations compiled by former Attorney General Eric Holder and his law firm, Covington & Burlington, which spent nearly four months investigating sexual harassment and other issues at Uber. (Uber has not released the full report.)

Ubers board said it was accepting all of Holders recommendations, which included reducing Kalanicks control over the company but did not call for his termination.

The sexism prevalent throughout Uber has received lots of media attention of late, and for good reason. Less discussed is the right-wing, anti-government ideology that fueled Kalanick and Uber, and which was on full display before the DC Council five years ago.

No single company or interest should have the power to use its wealth the way Uber does, said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

In city after city, Uber runs roughshod over local elected governments and law enforcement, according to a blistering report by Public Citizen.

Ubers willingness to break rules has been crucial to its explosive growth, which has greatly benefited its investors.

But even absent fantastic returns, some Uber investors may support the companys rules-be-damned approach.

Take, for example, Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, whos a major investor in Uber.* (Youd be forgiven for not knowing this since the Post regularly fails to disclose this clear conflict of interest.) Bezos, of course, has made his fortune as founder and CEO of Amazon, which has itself been accused of bullying competitors, cheating the government and mistreating workers. (Kalanick admires Amazon so much he mimicked the companys 14 core values by creating the same number for Uber, which include always be hustlin and toe stepping).

Another major Uber investor is Saudi Arabias Public Investment Fund. In addition to being as authoritarian a country as they come, Saudi Arabia prohibits women from driving. (This sexist ban benefits Uber which makes money off rides Saudi women depend on, many pointed out in an online campaign.)

Kalanick has done a good job of playing down these right-wing ties. Today, youre unlikely to see him giving a speech at, say, the Koch brothers-backed Heritage Foundation, as he did in December of 2011, the week he launched Uber here in DC.

Image is everything, and Kalanick understood that coming across as a right-winger could damage Ubers business model, which depends heavily on riders (and drivers) in left-leaning cities across the country and world.

This may explain why Kalanick hired ex-Obama officials and why he stepped down from Trumps economic advisory council in February.

The latter came as #DeleteUber took off. The online campaign was in response to Ubers announcement that it would hold off on surge pricing and keep prices low as New York cab drivers were striking at JFK airport in protest of Trumps travel ban. (Uber denies it was trying to undermine the strikers.)

While Uber has had success in pushing around struggling taxi drivers and local law enforcement, the company hasnt had as much luck with two bigger foes: Didi and Waymo.

Kalanick had big plans for Ubers expansion in China but it was not to be. After suffering staggering losses, Uber sold its China division to its Chinese competitor, Didi, receiving a stake in the company in return.

Uber also faces a potentially damaging situation back home in a lawsuit brought by Waymo, Googles driverless car division. Uber recently fired the former Waymo employee, Anthony Levandowski, whos accused of bringing Waymos trade secrets with him when he came to work for Uber. Despite the termination, Waymos suit against Uber continues and has the potential to be damaging.

For Uber, being at the forefront of driverless technology is crucial; if it isnt, then Uber is no longer a thing, said Kalanick. Thats because theres tremendous competitive advantage in getting rid of the other dude in the car, as Kalanick put it, referring to the struggling drivers whove turned him into a billionaire.

It will now fall to Ubers next CEO to deal with this lawsuit and the other crises Kalanick is leaving behind.

* NOTE: Jeff Bezos is presumably still an investor in Uber, although neither he, Amazon nor Uber responded to emails asking for confirmation of this. Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron did respond, but said, I have no insights into his [Bezos] personal investments. Previously it was the Posts policy to frequently disclose Bezos Uber investment when covering the ride-hailing company, but now the Post seldom does. Nevertheless, Baron said theres been no change in policy.

The Morning Email

Wake up to the day's most important news.

Read the original here:

If You Saw Uber's CEO Testify Before the DC Council, His Downfall May Come as No Surprise - HuffPost

Selfie by Will Storr review are the young really so self-obsessed? – The Guardian

Me, myself and I students take selfies. Photograph: Alamy

Self-love is a tricky issue, and the right amount of it has always depended on perspective. I have healthy self-esteem; youre a bit full of yourself; hes a total narcissist. But in a world where you can buy a stick to hold your phone at the approved distance to take a photograph of yourself, has it all gone a bit too far? And if so, how did that happen?

Will Storrs thoughtful and engaging book comes at the idea of the human selfs relationship with itself from many angles. Early on, he stays in a Scottish monastery and decides that spending ones time this way in the hope of heavenly reward constitutes a lifetime of self-obsession, which seems fair enough at least for these monks who dont do anything useful in the community, such as brewing beer.

Then he interviews a former East End villain called John, a bouncer who later found God. Violent aggression such as Johns, it has long been said, is somehow a product of low self-esteem. Instead, psychologists tell Storr that it is commonly a response to threatened egotism. This leads us to the central strand of his book, which is that high self-esteem per se is not actually all that desirable. As one scientist remarks: Actually people with high self-esteem are pretty insufferable. Which is unfortunate if true, because for decades it was official policy to increase it for everyone.

Storrs account begins in the 1960s, with the establishment in California of the Esalen Institute, a site of therapeutic hippy self-discovery founded by devotees of humanistic psychology, which more or less says that peoples hang-ups are caused by not being true to their authentic feelings. Storr visits the institute, which is still going today, and paints a wonderfully funny picture of how he is encouraged to give his grouchiness full reign, replying to a cheery Good morning! from another attendee with the line: Another day in twat paradise. For a time, this is wonderfully liberating. This was the me I feared the most, Storr writes. He was the lonely man, the angry man, the weirdo. He was the cunt. And, in that moment, I had a terrible realisation. I was loving being the cunt. The funny thing is, though, that the fun doesnt last, and it comes as a huge relief for the author to be nice to everyone again.

The young selfie-taking woman is clearly a victim of the culture she has grown up in, and not a horrible egotist

The problem with the idea of being your authentic self, Storr decides, is that you almost certainly dont have a single authentic self. And if it is true, as Aristotle reckoned, that you become what you habitually do, then encouraging people to be assholes is simply going to produce a lot of new assholes. That is what Storr reckons happened when promoting self-esteem got onto the official political agenda in the 1980s and 90s, both in the US and the UK. More self-esteem was said to be the key to improving educational performance and curing all kinds of social ills, from drug and alcohol abuse to welfare dependency and crime. Promoting self-esteem became central to educational policy. But in fact, the only reliable correlation between higher self-esteem and better outcomes is with exam results, and it turns out that as you might expect high self-esteem follows good exam results, rather than causing them.

Storr connects the Esalen Institute to wider socioeconomic shifts through the figure of Alan Greenspan: a devotee of Ayn Rands monstrous libertarianism, he visited Esalen and then became an influential architect of US economic policy. Thus was constructed what the author calls the neoliberal self, which is our modern cultural construction of what a person should ideally be: An extroverted, slim, beautiful, individualistic, optimistic, hard-working, socially aware yet high-self-esteeming global citizen with entrepreneurial guile and a selfie camera. Whats wrong with this? Well, If its true that we hold within us all the power we need to succeed, then it naturally follows that if we fail then its our fault and our fault alone. The neoliberal story of the self and its limitless potential is thoroughly antisocial.

And what about the internet? Storr provides some telling comedy vignettes from his stay in a house full of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. One young man runs an asteroid-mining company that has not, to date, mined any asteroids. Its never been tried, this pure libertarianism that Ayn Rand was promoting, he complains to Storr. What we need is a chance to give it a go. He wants to try it in space that sounds best for everyone.

Storr also interviews a young woman who takes selfies all day and posts them to Instagram with captions such as Hypnotising, mesmerising me. Her family background conforms to the theory Storr promotes that parental overpraise constantly telling a child he or she is wonderfully special and so forth predicts higher scores on tests for narcissism. This leads him to wonder whether all the various developments he has documented have led to the creation of an entire generation of narcissists.

This is tricky terrain. The word narcissist still carries a strong tone of moral disapproval, yet the young selfie-taking woman is evidently a victim of the culture she has grown up in rather than simply a horrible egotist. Storr is sympathetic to her, but its worth pointing out that the suggestion that an entire new generation of young people is selfish in unprecedented ways is the kind of thing that the grumpy middle-aged have been saying since time immemorial. And recently, quite a few of the young seem to have found time away from selfie-taking to vote for decidedly anti-neoliberal policies. So, although Storrs cultural history is fascinating and often persuasive, his diagnosis of where we are now might well be too pessimistic. Of course, I quite fancy myself for saying so.

Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What Its Doing to Us by Will Storr (Picador, 18.99). To order a copy for 16.14, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of 1.99.

Originally posted here:

Selfie by Will Storr review are the young really so self-obsessed? - The Guardian

Goodbye Reason, Hello Violence – Townhall

|

Posted: Jun 21, 2017 7:36 AM

When Richard Spencer, a controversial figure of the Alt-Right, was punched in the face during a television interview earlier this year, the Left cheered the assault, and turned video of the attack into gleeful memes. The only good thing that happened [at Donald Trumps Inauguration] was when suit-owner and neo-Nazi Richard Spencer was socked in the head by the new masked hero of Gotham, wrote Jordan Sargent at Billboard Musics Spin.com. For a movement populated by pacifists and peaceniks, the Lefts justification of the violence against Spencer came surprisingly easy.

Then, last Friday, when two protestors disrupted a disturbing production in Central Park of Shakespeares Julius Caesar in which a Trump look-alike is assassinated, the Right rushed to defend the hecklers actions. Opponents of the play also threatened other producers of Shakespeare summer plays (which were unrelated to the New York production), wishing them the worst possible life, hoped they all get sick and die and that they should be sent to ISIS to be killed with real knives. Apparently, it made no difference to conservative protestors that the offending play, disgusting as it might be, represents speech protected by the Constitution, or that only weeks before those same conservatives were criticizing U.C. Berkeley for shutting down offensive speakers.

Between two sides growing increasingly less rational in responding to all manner of political and social issues, last weeks shooting spree by a single, hate-filled individual against Republican congressmen and staff personnel came not so much as a shock as a sad commentary on the state of politics in America.

Following the attack on Republican members of Congress, pundits and politicians quickly rushed to blame hate and vitriol for the toxic environment in which an individual would be motivated to use violence for political purposes. This was the very same analysis offered to explain the attempted assassination of Democratic Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in 2011.

While there certainly is far too much incivility in todays political discourse, pinning political violence on inflammatory speech misses the forest for the trees. The root problem is not hate, or even emotion, but the abandonment of logic and reason as underpinnings of American society, which leaves only violence to fill the vacuum.

But it goes far deeper than politics. Everywhere you look today, from flying on planes, to ordering coffee, violence has supplanted rational behavior in our interpersonal dealings. A major factor underlying this phenomenon is social media, which inflates the self-importance of its users, and provides them convenient cover from having to actually explain their views on any particular issue. This process is made worse as social media encourages the use of over-the-top rhetoric, with people virtue signaling to others about how much they care, rather than using logical arguments that may be less passionate but more substantive.

Combine this phenomenon with the waning respect for constitutional rule of law, and we are left with groups on both sides of the ideological spectrum who believe their views are correct, their actions are justifiable if not moral, and that nothing else not logic, reason, or even the rule of law should stand in their way of achieving their perception of the public good. It is why Leftist Antifa thugs use fascist tactics to shut down enemies they call fascist. It is why conservatives who decry speech suppression on college campuses defend shutting down public theater performances with which they disagree. And, it is why a man would think a killing spree of congressmen is a reasonable act when letters to the editor failed to elicit the response he desired.

Philosopher and renowned writer Ayn Rand, who witnessed first-hand the brutality of Communism, understood well this terrifying balance between reason and violence. There are only two means by which men can deal with one another, wrote Rand. Guns or logic. Force or persuasion. Those who know that they cannot win by means of logic, have always resorted to guns. We saw her prescient warning come true on a practice ball field in Alexandria just one week ago. There will be more.

Either we seize this moment of recognition, and consciously do all we can to return reason to center stage in Americas culture; or we enter what promises to be a very long, dark night the darkness of which Ronald Reagan spoke in 1964, and at which time he launched the Twentieth Centurys fight for the last best hope of man on earth. Thankfully back then we had Reagan to identify the problem and lead us out of the darkness, at least for a period of time; where might todays Ronald Reagan be found is not at all clear.

Game Over: Handel Beats Ossoff In Georgia Special Election

Go here to see the original:

Goodbye Reason, Hello Violence - Townhall

Wayne LaPierre, Tomi Lahren, and a Rally Cry From Young Conservative Women – D Magazine

When I saw that the schedule promised an appearance by NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and a pajama party, I knew I had to check it out.

The Young Womens Leadership Summit, put on this year in Dallas by right-leaning nonprofit Turning Point USA, brings together high school- and college-aged conservative women from all over the country. This year, the invite-only conference drew more than 1,000 to the Hyatt Regency near DFW International Airport.

Its an interesting time to be a conservative young woman. I wondered who they followed on Twitter (spoiler: Ben Shapiro). I wanted to see what kind of young person would choose to spend a summer weekend in a hotel talking about politics. I wondered how they felt about supporting a president whod been criticized for being anti-women, who had once bragged about sexual assault. I wondered how they felt about the Womens March, and whether they worried about things like the gender wage gap and restricted abortion access. Most of all, I was curious if being a conservative woman meant ignoring womens issues.

When I arrived at the hotel last Thursday, the place was teeming with scores of bright, energetic young women. As they stood in line, they introduced themselves to each other and took endless rounds of selfies. They hovered around a plate of cake pops, reconnecting with friends theyd met at last years summit. They wore heels and blazers and skirts patterned with little Republican elephants. Their excitement was palpable.

I picked up my press credentials from Turning Points communications director. He showed me to the press corral at the back of the conference hall, gave me a program, and noted what I could and could not attend during the four-day summit. Most of the breakout sessions were closed. He wrote a 5 on my schedule by the college meet-and-greet to denote that I was allotted five minutes there.

Meanwhile, outside the main conference hall, the line for the meet-and-greet with Ben Shapiro (also known as Bae Shapiro among these ranks) snaked around the foyer. Organizations like the Ayn Rand Institute and pro-gun group Empowered were putting the finishing touches on their booths. As they waited in line, women took turns holding frames emblazoned with phrases like Future Senator and posing for photos along a red carpet-style backdrop. I sidled up in line and asked as many women as I could why theyd come to this summit. Some offered full names while others declined to identify themselves.

I think big government sucks, said Sonia, who attends the College of DuPage in Illinois. (At the time, I didnt realize just how often I was going to hear Sonias sentiment.)

Some had come to learn more about starting Turning Point chapters at their schools. Many envisioned a future in politics and wanted to make connections. Most were glad for the opportunity to be away from the liberal worlds of their college campuses and among other women with whom they agreed. Samantha, clad in blue pants, goes to Messiah College in Pennsylvania and is staunchly against abortion. My college campus is really liberal, and its hard to connect with people who have the same beliefs as me, she told me. There were five people at my college campus who went to the March for Life and like 50 who went to the Womens March.

My college campus is really liberal, and its hard to connect with people who have the same beliefs as me.

Some women wore their conservatism like a badge; some skewed a little more moderate. Some loved Trump; others merely supported him. One woman told me that she had first championed Rubio, then Cruz, then finally resigned herself to Trump. He really does want to make America great again, she said.

Soon it was time for the opening session, so I ventured back to the auditorium and slipped to the back of the press corral. Pop songs blasted overhead. Each seat came with a Big Govt Sucks poster, and as cameras swept over the crowd, the women waved their signs and cheered. Soon a confetti cannon burst and Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point, strode on stage. He thanked the headline sponsor (the NRA) and pointed out that there is no war on womenevidenced, he said, by all the conservative women in attendance. This weekend, he told the gathered crowd, There will be no safe spaces. He repeated it again, for the media.

I looked down at my schedule for this invite-only, women-only summit. The banquet keynote (Laura Ingraham, a few days shy of reports that shes being considered to hold the routine White House briefings) was off limits to the press. We were allowed five minutes in the lunch hall, seven minutes to witness the Krav Maga self-defense workshop, and zero minutes at the pajama party. Political commentator Tomi Lahren, clad in a jacket with shiny sleeves, was up first. She talked a bit about the difficulty of being a conservative and urged the gathered women to stand up for themselves.

The first female president, thats a big deal for all of us, she said. Id rather it not be Hillary ClintonId rather it not be a liar or a crook.

Lock her up! someone in the audience shouted.

We dont need to lock her up, shes at Whole Foods, shes hiking through the woods, Lahren said. Though I cant talkIm unemployed too, so Hillary and I are in the same boat.

When she opened the floor up to questions, no one mentioned her recent pro-choice remarks or departure from Glenn Becks media company.

Instead: I just wanna ask what were all thinking, one attendee said. Wheres your blazer from?

Lahren said she didnt remember, but pointed out her merchandise booth to the right of the stage.

I dont live my life based off the color of my skin, or my gender. Im an American, Im a Christian, I have my beliefs, and thats how I live.

As the speakers progressed, they speculated that one of the summit attendees might become the first woman president. There was also much discussion about the strength it requires to be conservative. And even though the recent shooting had some hopeful sense of bipartisanship, there was little of that reflected here. At the end of each speakers presentation, he or she answered a brief Q&A (with mostly questions like Coke or Pepsi?). The last question, though, was always about big government, and the response was always that it sucks.

Antonia Okafor, a Second Amendment activist, told the cheering crowd: Yes, Im a black woman, and I cling to my guns, my God, and my country! Ginni Thomas, a columnist for the Daily Caller, invited attendees whod faced discrimination for being a conservative to share their stories. A high schooler was blocked from starting a Young Americans for Freedom club at her school. A young professional wept on stage while describing how she was fired from her job when a co-worker discovered her political beliefs. Another woman wanted relationship advice.

So, my boyfriends a liberal, she began. The crowd erupted in a chorus of boos.

Get a new one, Thomas said.

The hapless young woman pressed on. Apparently she really liked the guy.

If you think she should find another guy, Thomas said, stand up.

Hundreds of women clamored to their feet.

Lara Trump, the presidents daughter-in-law, came across as genuine and personable. She told the crowd about her fear in moving to New York for culinary school and her pride in helping her father-in-law win North Carolina during the election. She explained that shes going to be part of his 2020 reelection campaign. Near the end of her talk the entire assemblage sang Happy Birthday to Donald Trump.

Wayne LaPierre talked about the recent congressional shooting, which involved a female Capitol police officer.

The surest way to stop a bad guy with a gunis a good woman with a gun, he said.

In between the speakers, the young women attended 45 minute breakouts. In the Using Digital Media to Amplify Your Voice session, the presenter gave tips on posts that do well on social media and how to use plugins to find peoples contact information. Of-the-moment topics were largely closed to press, including one titled What Does Conservative Healthcare Look Like? Ironic, considering the Senate has been debating its own bill in secret.

Afterwards, I talked to Estrella Gonzales, who attends the University of Texas at Arlington. Her mother was born in Mexico, and her family were laborers and former Democrats. I wondered how she reconciled her family history with the presidents immigration policies. She told me about how her grandfather, a field worker in South Texas, used to carry sandwiches for immigrants who stopped to ask for directions. One day her grandpa discovered that his co-worker had been robbed and murdered in the fields. She conceded that immigration policy requires some meet-in-the-middle, but stressed that the presidents negative comments about immigrants werent about all immigrants and that there are bad ones.

In the end, though, it came down to this: I dont live my life based off the color of my skin, or my gender, she told me. Im an American, Im a Christian, I have my beliefs, and thats how I live.

That summed up the views of most of the women I came across. To many, gender was just another thing, as Calli Norton, from West Virginia State University, put it. I dont think it means you have a leverage, or a disadvantage. I feel like were all on an equal playing field.

The attendees had strong feelings about abortion, religion, immigration reform, and, of course, the size of the government. They admired Ben Shapiros intelligence; they were inspired by Carly Fiorinas success. Many had well-thought-out opinions, and their futures seemed bright. But I found it interesting that women (at a gathering of women) didnt feel that being a woman had much to do with their world views.

As I was leaving on the second day, attendees were lining up to be photographed with NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. There I found Samantha, the pro-life advocate from Messiah College I had talked to earlier. She gushed about the speakers so far, all of whom shed enjoyed. When it was her turn to snap a photo with LaPierre, she smiled brightly. Then she held out her journal.

Shed been taking notes on every speaker, she explained. She asked LaPierre to sign beneath her notes on his speech.

Samanthaproud of you, his inscription read. Keep fighting.

Here is the original post:

Wayne LaPierre, Tomi Lahren, and a Rally Cry From Young Conservative Women - D Magazine

Both parties responsible for economic failings – Alpena News

When I was younger I once woke up to a bright light, and people around me saying, Dont duck on an uppercut.

I remember that when I discuss the illiterate economic policies by which Republicans and Democrats afflict society. Neoliberal economics was dubbed in the mid-30s by Milton Friedman as a purer form of Adam Smiths opinions. Originally promoted by Republicans as cheap sophistry with which to fleece the great unwashed, it was later adopted by the elite, backstabbing faction of the allegedly workers Democratic Party. It has manifested in the Chicago School, trickle down, voodoo, varieties of junk and supply side economics with the Laufer curve, etc.

Hiding out in contorted vocabulary, obfuscating left and right, the main idea is The Wealth of Nations is holy writ and the market a divinely inspired manifestation of the superior entitlement of rich over everybody else. Failure to recognize that assumption is jealous apostasy from those assigned by moral failing to keep society going through actual work. Devoid of empirical justification, the neoliberal cult thrives on a liturgy invoking the market, invisible hand, austerity, balanced budget, privatization, etc. The common good is a curse to neoliberals. Republican neoliberals who actually read consume approved selections from Adam Smith and Ayn Rand, while Democratic neoliberals read Adam Smith and Kafka. Democrats have substantially avoided Randian moral contamination, while Republicans have been seduced by it, and the education system is sufficiently sabotaged by knowledge aversion to keep people voting for both parties.

We now seem headed for a plague of privatization, selling societys assets at firesale prices to predators, removing protections from market manipulation by elite institutions, derecognizing labor rights, and another disaster candidate from corrupt DNC that opposes universal health care.

Another replay of 1929 and 2008? Duh. Dont duck on an uppercut.

Bob Greene CPC

Alpena

It is the valedictory season, the time for high school students to bid farewell to their lives as children. This ...

Remember when Donald Trumps campaign promise was better insurance at a lower price? So here is what is ...

Understanding autism leapt forward this year with University of Bristol's 14,500 person study in Scientific ...

I am personally very much opposed to the new changes to Alpena's downtown area. As both a Realtor, resident and ...

I was appalled and sick to my stomach to see that you would not only consider, but put into print in "our" ...

This past month we received food for our pantry from Alpena and Lacine's post offices. It was a great selection ...

Go here to see the original:

Both parties responsible for economic failings - Alpena News

NY Times, After ‘Corrections,’ Still Has Palin-Giffords ‘Targeting’ Myth in Scalise Shooting Editorial – NewsBusters (press release) (blog)


NewsBusters (press release) (blog)
NY Times, After 'Corrections,' Still Has Palin-Giffords 'Targeting' Myth in Scalise Shooting Editorial
NewsBusters (press release) (blog)
despite the New York Times' fondest desires, it turned out Loughner wasn't a conservative at all but a babbler of nonsense who adopted a mish-mash of views from both the left and the right and whose tastes in literature ran the gamut from Ayn Rand to ...

and more »

See more here:

NY Times, After 'Corrections,' Still Has Palin-Giffords 'Targeting' Myth in Scalise Shooting Editorial - NewsBusters (press release) (blog)

The Fountainhead: American Eclectic – Patheos (blog)

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 9

After months of hitting one dead end after another, Howard Roark finally gets a lucky break in his job hunt not that Ayn Rand ever acknowledged the existence of luck:

John Erik Snyte looked through Roarks sketches, flipped three of them aside, gathered the rest into an even pile, glanced again at the three, tossed them down one after another on top of the pile, with three sharp thuds, and said:

Remarkable. Radical, but remarkable. What are you doing tonight?

Why? asked Roark, stupefied.

Are you free? Mind starting in at once? Take your coat off, go to the drafting room, borrow tools from somebody and do me up a sketch for a department store were remodeling. Just a quick sketch, just a general idea, but I must have it tomorrow Can you stay?

Yes, said Roark, incredulously. I can work all night.

We never find out how Roark learned about John Erik Snyte the first time his name is spoken in the text is the first line of the passage I quoted above which is just a little strange. We saw last week that Roark had been unemployed so long and gotten so desperate, he was reapplying to firms that had already rejected him. How did Snyte come into this picture? From the evidence, his firm isnt brand-new.

Was he someone Roark had known about, but held in such contempt that he refused to interview there until he literally had nowhere else to turn? Or was Roark tipped off about a job opening there but by who, since he has no friends or colleagues?

An obvious answer is that he saw a help-wanted ad in the paper and thought the position might suit him, but were never told that if so. Its possible that Rand deliberately chose to omit this information, because she couldnt think of how to have Roark find out about the job opening in a way that didnt seem like a stroke of good luck.

As I said above, Rand was fiercely opposed to the idea that theres such a thing as luck or random chance, since that might call into question her view of the world as a perfect meritocracy. Having her hero stumble across a job opening that suits him, something that would have been easy to overlook or miss, wouldnt accord with her view of how the world works. (As possible evidence of this, I skipped a section where Roark comes across an editorial by an unfamiliar architect named Gordon L. Prescott, who claims to want fresh blood and originality; but when Roark goes to interview there, it turns out he just wants to build more copies of the Parthenon.)

Personally, my headcanon is that Henry Cameron told Roark to apply with Snyte, and then secretly sent the recommendation letter that Roark always refused to accept, figuring his protege was too stubborn for his own good. It does fit with a line where Snyte says about his new hire, saying, Thats just what Ive always needed a Cameron man, even though we never see Roark actually tell his new boss anything about his background. Did it ever occur to him to wonder how Snyte knew?

Heres how the text describes John Erik Snyte:

He considered Guy Francon an impractical idealist; he was not restrained by an Classic dogma; he was much more skillful and liberal: he built anything. He had no distaste for modern architecture and built cheerfully, when a rare client asked for it, bare boxes with flat roofs, which he called progressive; he built Roman mansions which he called fastidious; he built Gothic churches which he called spiritual. He saw no difference among any of them.

Snytes system is to hire five designers, each specializing in a different style, and to blend the best ideas from each of their sketches to create the final product. Roark is the modernistic designer in the room, although he dislikes being called that:

He met his fellow designers, the four other contestants, and learned that they were unofficially nicknamed in the drafting room as Classic, Gothic, Renaissance and Miscellaneous. He winced a little when he was addressed as Hey, Modernistic.

Roark takes individuality to comical heights. Hes so obstinate about it that he cant even stand to be described as part of a movement. Whatever he does, its important to him to believe that hes the only one doing it.

Of course, its impossible for every architect in the world to be a movement of one, with styles and aesthetic choices that are completely unlike anything else in the history of humanity. All culture is a mix of imitation and improvisation. We coin terms like Gothic or Modernist to describe broad trends and patterns that, yes, are influenced by the fashions of their era. This is as true for Roark or his real-life inspiration, Frank Lloyd Wright as it is for architects of the ancient past. But Ayn Rand conceived of herself as a special snowflake, someone who stood apart from the crowd, and she wrote her protagonists the same way.

Youd think that Snytes mix-and-match design scheme would infuriate Roark, since he hates anyone else altering his work with the ferocity of a Klan member opposing miscegenation. Instead, he grudgingly goes along with it:

Roark knew what to expect of his job. He would never see his work erected, only pieces of it, which he preferred not to see; but he would be free to design as he wished and he would have the experience of solving actual problems. It was less than he wanted and more than he could expect. He accepted it at that.

What explains this temporary outbreak of reasonable behavior? It seems that long months of unemployment have worn him down, to the point where hes actually angry with himself for feeling relief at getting a job:

Roark looked at the clean white sheet before him, his fist closed tightly about the thin stem of a pencil. He put the pencil down, and picked it up again, his thumb running softly up and down the smooth shaft; he saw that the pencil was trembling. He put it down quickly, and he felt anger at himself for the weakness of allowing this job to mean so much to him, for the sudden knowledge of what the months of idleness behind him had really meant.

Its difficult to tell what Rand intends us to make of this. Some commentaries, like this one from SparkNotes, call Snyte a supposedly progressive architect who is in fact the ultimate plagiarizer, but I dont buy that. I doubt even Ayn Rand could have believed that its plagiarism for a boss to use ideas from his employees.

I think this is the more accurate description of the fault were meant to find in him:

As a man willing to give the public anything it wants, no matter how vulgar or inane, Snyte represents conformity in yet another form.

Snyte is another illustration of Rands belief that selling what your customers want to buy is a sin in business. The proper attitude is to be like Howard Roark: tell your customers what theyre going to accept, rather than vice versa, and on no account consider their preferences or tastes. Her ideal businessman is someone who sticks so obstinately to this principle that hed rather go broke and hungry than accept money from someone who insists on having opinions of their own about what the end product should look like.

Other posts in this series:

Follow this link:

The Fountainhead: American Eclectic - Patheos (blog)

Tech Talk: Israel’s Fortune 500 companies – The Jerusalem Post


The Jerusalem Post
Tech Talk: Israel's Fortune 500 companies
The Jerusalem Post
The award was developed, according to Boaz Arad, executive director of Ayn Rand Center Israel, in recognition of the entrepreneurial spirit which creates wealth that improves our lives, and we wanted to recognize and show appreciation to those people ...

Follow this link:

Tech Talk: Israel's Fortune 500 companies - The Jerusalem Post

South Fayette educator and coach has the music in him – Observer-Reporter

By day, Rob Eldridge adopts the mantle of teacher and boys varsity soccer coach at South Fayette High School. By night, he morphs into a musician for Steelesque, which will release its latest CD, Toro Toro, at a bash set for 8 p.m. June 23 at Cefalos Banquet & Event Center in Carnegie.

Im absolutely a goal-oriented person, whether its developing a strong soccer program that is competing for WPIAL or state titles, or leading a group of musicians in creating art and producing a finished product that we can be proud of, Eldridge said.

As a songwriter, Rob Eldridge is no Bob Dylan, but he advises budding bards to put the ROLL in their rock. The South Fayette resident recommends reading, observing, living and learning to aspiring lyricists

An avid reader, Eldgridge enjoys historical fiction to fantasy. No one particular genre of literature, he said. He likes the classics. His favorite authors include Stephen King, Michael Crichton and Ayn Rand while his best book is The Fountainhead.

Ill read anything placed in front of me. If I get through the first couple of chapters, Ill pretty much read the whole thing.

A lot of my songs are from personal experiences and some are based on stories that I have read, he continued. Living every day also inspires me to be creative.

I like books and observing people. Going into the city and visiting museums and seeing the art, he added.

Hanging out with the master for a day also helped Eldridge. In 1994, he spent 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. with Dylan as his runner when the Nobel Prize winner appeared in Burlington, Vt.

It was surreal, Eldridge said of the experience. Of Dylan, he added, He was a kind man, small in stature but he had an aura that filled an arena.

While Eldridge hopes to fill Cefalos Banquet and Event Center in Carnegie on Jun 23 with fans to hear the release of his CD Toro Toro, he knows songwriting is no easy task.

There is no set recipe or ingredients, he said. Its about expression and interpretation. Writing on you own is a process that is lonely. You spend many hours and days with your song. Sometimes it talks back to you and tells you where it wants to go and other times it remains a puzzle unwilling to be solved.

Yet Eldridge is happy to be able to help solve issues for others and fuel their creative juices. As a teacher, who also happens to coach soccer, in a school district that appreciates the arts, he is grateful to work in a supportive environment.

Sports are important but the arts are too, he said. Our superintendent (Bille Rondinelli) champions the arts, and we are fortunate here at South Fayette that she is behind them and that we have her guidance and leadership to make sure that the arts are an important part of the education and that they dont go away like whats been happening at other places.

I have no illusions of being on a tour bus with U2, he added. Im happy to be an inspiration to young men and women at school and on the soccer field, and to be creative with my band and writing songs.

By Eleanor Bailey

I have a strong competitive spirit, and sometimes that needs to be calmed, he added. I do that by reading, songwriting and through my music. For me, its the yin and yang of life. It works well together.

Throughout his life, Eldridge weaved sports and music together successfully. A Vermont native, he started skiing at age 5. He began playing soccer at 7 and evolved into an All-American while excelling on the Johnson State College team that competed in national championships. While earning his masters degree in education, Eldridge helped coach the James Madison University mens soccer team.

At that Harrisonburg, Va., school, he met his wife, Kim. When she took the lacrosse coaching gig at Duquesne University, the Eldridge family moved to Pittsburgh, where Rob took the assistant coaching job with the Dukes mens soccer squad in 1996.

In addition, he joined the Beadling Soccer Club as a head coach, directing teams to multiple state championships and one regional title. From 2002-07, he served as Peters Township head coach, guiding the Indians to three section banners, one WPIAL championship and two district runner-up titles.

Since 2007, he has been at South Fayette, claiming several Coach of the Year laurels in consistently guiding the Lions to the district and state playoffs. The Lions won a WPIAL title in 2015.

Music has been with Eldridge every step of the way. Raised in a classical formal tradition, as his maternal grandparents, Elizabeth and Herbet Kenyon, were a concert pianist and opera singer, respectively, Eldridge taught himself how to play various instruments, including piano, bass and electric guitar, which he plays on stage. Never took formal lessons, he said.

Eldridge said he started playing because he had written songs he has more than 100 published pieces so he decided to learn the instruments to be in a position to write better what I wanted to sing.

While his mother, Roxy, is a classical vocalist, his father, Bob, introduced him to the sound he prefers and performs.

He exposed me to all the 60s, 70s and 80s music, Eldridge said. I caught the rock n roll bug from him. Hes an artist, painter and illustrator. He designed the cover for the release.

Toro Toro features six songs written by Eldridge. The CD was recorded by Mike Ofca from Innovation Studio in Steubenville, Ohio, and Eldridge at his in-home studio, dubbed Sonic Planet Studios.

Eldridge is the lead vocalist. He plays guitar, keys and banjo. His next-door-neighbor, Sam Baldigowski, excels on the mandolin and lap steel. Ron Castelluci (percussion and noise makers), Jerry Courtney (bass guitar and backing vocals), Eric Drake (lead guitar and back vocals) and Bruce Virtue (drums) complete the band, which Eldridge started three years ago in Pittsburgh.

Weve had a couple of different lineups, but its mostly made up of professionals and buddies, all accomplished musicians. I know they were auditioning me as much as I was auditioning them, Eldridge said of the players, most of whom hail from Weirton, W.Va.

Featuring a blend of genres, Eldridge described the CD as rock n roll with blues elements. The six-piece ensemble delivers the swagger of bands from days gone by while echoing its own influences. If it has a sound similar to British blues and the Rolling Stones, there is good reason: Mick Jagger and the boys are Eldridges favorite.

I only wish I could perform like Mick, he laughed. Usually I have a guitar around my shoulder, so I am unable to move around the way he does.

During his youth, Eldridge moved around a bit. He started with The Warehouse Band playing music from a range of bands like the Hollies, Stones, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Led Zeppelin, The Cult and Tom Petty. He moved on to the Voodoo Dolls, which included one member that currently plays bass for the Jersey Boys production in Las Vegas. The Voodoo Dolls covered more recent bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Janes Addiction and supported national acts like Govt Mule, the Jayhawks, Blue Rodeo and Edgar Winter. One of his biggest groups was the Spring Heeled Jacks.

Eldridges experiences have included encounters with Mick Taylor, who replaced founder Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones after he mysteriously drowned, along with Bob Dylan, Frankie Vallie and Govt Mule frontman Warren Haynes, who also played with the Allman Brothers and Phil Lesh and Friends.

I met a lot of awesome musicians, said Eldridge, and its been wonderful, but not my real desire.

As he aged, Eldridge said his goals changed. While he has released a solo record on vinyl that can be heard on Pandora and Spotify, written background music for independent films and documentaries, and provided soundtracks for a local outdoor adventure show produced by Joe Rossi of Peters Township, Eldridges main focus is his family.

He is a father to three sons. His eldest, Ray, plays football. Heading into his senior season, he already has 15 Division I scholarship offers.

Hes a self-made kid, good student, hard worker, said Eldridge. He did all the right things and followed Joe Rossis ground rules, and that had a big payoff.

Eldridges two other boys Gavin, a sophomore, and Chad, a freshman have followed in their fathers footsteps and play soccer.

I have been driven by raising my sons, Eldridge said.

Through his music, he is driven to expose others to the art of writing songs and performing. Eldridge says that there are other things he wants to do, but sharing is foremost on his list. While hes excited about his CD release and calls it a celebration and culmination of the process, he is pushing for other endeavors.

I have an opportunity to help other artists, he said. You know, it only takes one song.

Link:

South Fayette educator and coach has the music in him - Observer-Reporter


...34567