In this front-page article in The New York Times on September 20, Jesse Drucker and Danny Hakim describe what can only be seen as a major conflict of interest pattern between attorneys at major accounting firms and their service in the tax writing section of the Department of the Treasury. This has been going on for years and involves both parties. Lawyers with high rolling clients in the private sector get hired (at dramatically reduced salary) to serve in the government for months to years writing tax laws and corporate regulations that favor those same clients and then leave government to get rehired by their old firms (at much higher salaries) to advise the clients on how to take advantage of the very rules they themselves wrote.
Month: September 2021
Crispen Sartwell teaches philosophy at Dickinson College and wrote the attached op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on September 16. It is worth a read. The gist is this. There are many people on television and the internet telling you what you deserve despite the fact they don’t know you or what you have done to deserve whatever it is they are selling.
My long-time boss Dr. Margaret Kripke always reminded me to leave the party while you’re still having fun. Not only did she say it, she did it. She retired from her position as Chief Academic Officer totally successful and still enjoying her job. But it was time for her to do other things on her terms.
I wasn’t as clever and had to be pushed out as a vice president and eventually as a faculty member, although I did leave a year ahead of the date I needed to so that I too could do something on my terms.
At the urging of the Head Rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City, Angela Buchdahl (the first Asian-American rabbi ever, she was born in Seoul), and after her sermon on Kol Nidre evening, September 15 streamed live, I am going to try to understand those with whom I disagree. Rabbi Buchdahl framed her sermon around the old joke of there being two Jews, so three opinions. She pointed out it is not that Jews are inherently argumentative, although we do like to debate, it is that in a respectful debate, the opinions brought to the argument by the two opposing sides may, over time, coalesce into a new third opinion with which everyone can agree.
Contrary to what my conservative friends believe, I was a reluctant voter for Joe Biden in 2020. I thought he was too old, no longer sharp, and offered no new ideas for the challenges facing the country. What I did not foresee was how damaging a Biden Presidency was going to be. Now, I am afraid, I do. Given who he ran against, my only choice in 2020 should have been to stay home or simply not vote for President. Now it appears, the irreparable and inevitable has unfolded. This should give those conservative friends a great deal to gloat about, but I could not vote for a man as ethically compromised as Donald Trump and I should not have voted for one as arrogant and stubborn as Joe Biden.
Let’s say, as a hypothetical example, that you are the leader of a major economic power in a world full of chaos and confusion. Let’s say you have over a billion people to feed and are engaged in a struggle with a smaller, but slightly more powerful enemy power across the world with a very different governing philosophy than yours. Let’s say you want to find a way to dominate that smaller power by unleashing an unforeseen weapon that strikes at the most vulnerable aspect of your enemy. What might you do?
I specifically avoided any commentary about the twentieth anniversary of the attacks on this country before 9/11/21 because I had not really thought I had anything useful to say. But after having seen how the nation paid tribute, I wanted to integrate the coverage of that day by the major media outlets into my comments about how America is dealing with these events twenty years on.
Brett Stephens makes a good case in The New York Times on September 8, that Joe Biden is on the verge of giving America another failed presidency after the same could be said of Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush. What’s Biden’s problem? He was supposed to be the solution to the chaos of Donald Trump yet has proven to be anything but. As Stephens says of Biden, he’s “headstrong, but shaky, ambitious, but inept. He’s proud, inflexible, and thinks he’s much smarter than he really is.”
There are those who are predicting a near-term end to the covid crisis as everyone who might get infected gets infected with schools back in session and herd immunity is reached. This is wishful thinking at best. What is more likely is that our weak societal response to the threat of this new virus and its delta variant in the face of good vaccines will result in covid being with us forever in ever-more virulent novel forms. It is likely that we will have a new seasonal flu and that those who are fully vaccinated will, in the main, be protected from serious illness while the unvaccinated sicken, get hospitalized, and some die while spreading the disease to those unable to be vaccinated (under 12).
Ivermectin is not a benign drug and it is not for use in humans with viral diseases. For the most part it is a deworming agent for use in cattle. Its discovery did win a Nobel Prize in 2015, but again, that was for its treatment of parasitic diseases only. I remember having to spend six hours on the phone trying to get the FDA to approve its emergency use in a bone marrow transplant patient who had contracted strongyloides. It took all that time just to track someone in Washington down on a Saturday to gain the approval which a faculty member rightly sought help to acquire before he employed the drug in his patient.