Sunday 4.2.2017 New York Times Digest


1. Trump Is President. Now Encrypt Your Email.

“Eight years of a broadly likable president lulled liberals into information-security complacency, even as Barack Obama expanded the executive branch’s surveillance powers — and made heavy use of them at home and abroad. We should have been paying closer attention to how much of our data and our communications were exposed to the government, especially after the Snowden leaks revealed the scale and extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance. After those same leaks revealed the involvement of major private technology companies in government spying efforts, we should have been more careful in our use of them.”

2. Tribes That Live Off Coal Hold Tight to Trump’s Promises

“Some of the largest tribes in the United States derive their budgets from the very fossil fuels that Mr. Trump has pledged to promote.”

3. Tracking the Yachts and Jets of the Mega-Rich

“New technology, specialized websites and an army of amateur plane-spotters and yacht-watchers around the world have made it easier than ever for anyone to pinpoint a billionaire’s yacht or jet anywhere in the world and track their movements.”

4. How Scared Should People on the Border Be?

“Will the president’s dream of a new and bigger wall change anything down here? Very likely not. Tunnels will be dug deeper. Cannons aimed higher. Ladders built taller. Coyotes will charge more. And most of the people building the wall will be Hispanic. In fact, dozens of the companies bidding for the contract are owned by Hispanics. Racism and self-loathing aside, ethics are the stuff of the comfortable: Down here, work is work.”

5. Who Needs Charters When You Have Public Schools Like These?

“Union shows what can be achieved when a public school system takes the time to invest in a culture of high expectations, recruit top-flight professionals and develop ties between schools and the community.”

6. Jerks and the Start-Ups They Ruin

“Bro C.E.O.s are better at raising money than making money. So why do venture capitalists keep investing in them? It may be because many of the venture capitalists are bros as well.”

7. Do Millennial Men Want Stay-at-Home Wives?

“Overall, Americans aged 18 to 34 are less comfortable than their elders with the idea of women holding roles historically held by men.”

8. Nico Muhly on Why Choral Music Is Slow Food for the Soul

“Nobody is meant to clap, and the music is not presented to an audience for approval; rather, it is meant to guide the mind out of the building into unseen heights and depths. It was not originally intended to happen at 7:30 at night for the pleasure of an audience coming from work, with just enough time for a rushed Chablis before the warning gong goes off, quickly checking ticket stubs and crawling over other patrons’ coats.”

9. Love Lessons From the (Very) First Couple

“They were the first to grapple with the central mystery of being alive: being unalone.”

10. With God on Their Side: How Evangelicals Entered American Politics

“One major question dominates FitzGerald’s treatment, and it is suggested by her subtitle. Why should the faithful try to shape America at all? To a strong believer, God’s kingdom is the one that matters, and it is not of this world; America, from such a perspective, is just a tiny speck in a vast world unknowable to us. Get right with the Lord, not the Republican Party.”

11. Don’t Do It: The Simple Solution to Clearing the To-Do List

“Now comes the pivot where the type-AAA female becomes an Everywoman, with advice on how to relax.”

12. Sonic Youth: Cultural Appropriations of Two Musical Hipsters

“Every time America listens to its music it comes to grips, whether we realize it or not, with the chapter of a story we haven’t wanted to hear for 150 years.”

13. Hitler’s Little Helper: A History of Rampant Drug Use Under the Nazis

“The beauty of Pervitin lay in the delightful feelings of euphoria, self-confidence and sharp mental focus it gave its users. It could also banish sleep for up to 48 hours or more. This made the drug especially useful during the invasion of Poland in September 1939 and then again in the rapid offensive by tanks through the Ardennes Mountains in May 1940.”

14. Letter of Recommendation: Life Magazine

“Reading Life in a bungalow in Medford, Mass., I beheld a world that was remote and alluring, places I would never see, parties I would never attend, millionaires and up-and-comers I would never know. It was how the mass of people lived, vicariously, following the fortunes of famous names in magazines; how they still live, overlooked, grinding away, not celebrated, not up-and-coming.”

15. Those Indecipherable Medical Bills? They’re One Reason Health Care Costs So Much.

“In other countries, when patients recover from a terrifying brain bleed — or, for that matter, when they battle cancer, or heal from a serious accident, or face down any other life-threatening health condition — they are allowed to spend their days focusing on getting better. Only in America do medical treatment and recovery coexist with a peculiar national dread: the struggle to figure out from the mounting pile of bills what portion of the fantastical charges you actually must pay. It is the sickness that eventually afflicts most every American.”

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