Monday, August 14, 2017
The Upper West Side's Power Couple hit the road yesterday, first stop Northampton, Massachusetts, in order to visit friends in the area. We had a lovely lunch today at the home of Barbara and Dean Alfange, with other friends dating back to my graduate school days. While such a gathering can be an occasion to lament the passing of time and the personal losses along the way, I reacted otherwise. I vividly remembered the good old days, ignoring the old part and delighting in how much and how well we shared.
Later, America's Favorite Epidemiologist got equal time when we had dinner with Shelley and Richard Holzman, her friends for many decades. We ate at Amanouz Cafe, 44 Main Street, Northampton, which features Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine. While this is a small, very casual joint, the cooking proved to be relatively authentic. I had chicken tagine, basically a chicken stew cooked in a traditional conical clay pot, including olives, zucchini, green peppers, red peppers, rice, potatoes, and lemon ($14.95), as good as it sounds.
Since we were in downtown Northampton, it was a two block stroll to Herrell's Ice Cream & Bakery, 8 Old South Street, for an extra treat. I had two scoops, coconut chocolate chip and the aptly named "More cookies than cream" and felt amply treated.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
We drove to Natick, Massachusetts to present ourselves at the most important Seventh Birthday Party held in North America today. Besides the general joviality, we enjoyed a dinner of pizza and chocolate cake.
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The high spirits of the celebration went a long way in helping us contend with the moral and intellectual vacuum that passes for presidential leadership. Answering questions about his "fair and balanced" initial response to the Charlottesville tragedy, the loser of the popular vote said, "Before I make a statement, I need the facts." Yeah, but what do you do with the facts then, fella?
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I was surprised by the survey that claimed that 83% of Bay Area renters plan to move out of the area, probably the most expensive real estate market in the country. https://sf.curbed.com/2017/8/1
When I turned to the Oakland Heartthrob, my source of Bay Area real estate expertise, he said for everyone who leaves, two more show up. Census data are a bit more conservative, but the market remains hot, hot.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
On the other hand, there is cool news from the ice cream front. Ample Hills Creamery, a source of excellent ice cream, is expanding and going national.
rticles/CAIiELnDuWjDuB4fUcKsB8 tSpvIqGQgEKhAIACoHCAow4uzwCjCF 3bsCMJrOrwM
It is moving from a 900 square foot facility to a 15,000 square foot plant. May their tribe increase proportionally.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
I am reading The Chosen, by Jerome Karabel, a detailed study of the admissions (and rejection) process at Harvard, Yale and Princeton in the 20th century. Since I am only halfway through the 557 pages of small print plus 116 pages of footnotes, I remain immersed in the "Jewish problem," the result of taking merit seriously. You don't know whether to laugh or cry when you read "that only seven students from the large and heavily Jewish Bronx High School of Science -- arguably the nation's most academically distinguished high school at the time -- entered Yale between 1950 and 1954. In contrast, Andover sent 275 students to New Haven during the same period."
Now that the Jews have gotten their disproportionately large seat at the table, it is Asian Americans who are sometimes denied the benefits of academic rigor, with the old arguments against the Jews retooled. http://www.newyorker.com/news/
news-desk/the-uncomfortable-tr uth-about-affirmative-action-a nd-asian-americans
Through all this is the tragic exclusion of African Americans from equal enjoyment of educational opportunity. The irony is that, while Princeton University barred enrollment of African Americans until the 1950s, its class of 2021 reports itself as 8% African American and 5% multi-racial (non-Hispanic). https://admission.princeton.edu/how-apply/admission-statistics
Meanwhile, the current first-year class at Stuyvesant High School, which never had institutional barriers to diversity, is 1% African American. At Princeton, which attempts a holistic approach to admissions, the "others" are 57% not "students of color" and 22% Asian Americans, while at Stuyvesant, relying solely on one written examination, they are mostly 20% white and 77% Asian Americans.
I am plagued by the issue of affirmative action. The "intangible qualities" of character, leadership, and well-roundedness that the Protestant establishment governing the Ivy League found lacking in Jewish applicants (examples drip off almost every page until the 1960s in Karabel's book), are often the current basis for increasing diversity of student bodies. In the latest, but certainly not the last, word on affirmative action, the United States Supreme Court held by a 5-4 vote that "[c]onsiderable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission." Fisher v. University of Texas, 579 U.S. ___ (2016). By the way, save the lamentations for Ms. Fisher, the white plaintiff. "The claim that race cost Fisher her spot at the University of Texas isn't really true."
The ugliest part of the affirmative action debate is the cynically ahistoric view of many conservatives, pretending that our racist past contributes no insights to the on-going quest for equality. "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in 2007, “is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." This pristine statement accompanied his decision that two urban school systems could not take account of the race of students, even in a small minority of cases, in order to prevent certain magnet schools from becoming racially isolated because of neighborhood housing patterns. Hey, the world began this morning and what's fair is fair.
Of course, fair was never fair. One year ago, I extolled Ira Katznelson's work, When Affirmative Action Was White (July 12, 2016). This weekend, Katznelson offered a brief summary in the New York Times, to the effect that a big, fat white thumb was on the scales when economic benefits were being doled out through much of the 20th century. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/12/opinion/sunday/making-affirmative-action-white-again.html?mcubz=1&_r=0
Friday, August 18, 2017
Jue Lan Club, a new restaurant, describes itself as "[a]rtistically minded and ultra-trendy, this famed Flatiron eatery is the place for elevated Chinese." That's enough to keep me away.
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Just in --- The South lost the Civil War.