Recommentunde - War Is Hell - Week of Oct 6 2019

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The Recommentunde Newsletter

For the week that began October 6 2019

Small child in camouflage hoodie stairs at WAR IS HELL painted on exterior wall

Good day people!

It’s been a blur of a week for me in New York City. I crammed in all the meetings, pulled off a few events including interviewing the artist JR about his exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (see Instagram highlight), and saw myself in print in the Sunday New York Times!

I’m experimenting with how to share content with y’all, so I’ve built a Spotify playlist of recommended podcast episodes. I figure more of you use Spotify than the other playlist service I tried previously.

Thanks: to everyone who sent in their climate commitments. I’ll share them back out in a future newsletter; for recommending Recommentunde -- the best URL to share is; and for my Patrons who got a new episode of my patron-only podcast last week.

Last, I'm opening this week's issue with a photo I shot on Kenmare Street in Manhattan yesterday. I intended simply to capture the message on the wall when suddenly a small child stepped into my shot wearing a camouflage hoodie and stared at the wall as if to make the image more dramatic.

And now, for your regularly-scheduled content.

Quote of the week: “It’s a bit appalling that disparities in wealth have gotten so big that we need logarithms to describe them. But that’s the world we live in.” More in this Bloomberg piece.

Here’s a gif showing "how radically taxes on the wealthy have fallen over the past 70 years".

This past weekend, Elizabeth and I visited the Museum of the City of New York. One standout fact is just how much financial speculation and manipulation were part of the founding of New York City. We can see the modern-day effects in the housing crisis or, more recently, in this epic story of New Yorkers exporting their homegrown speculative financial schemes to rip apart the Chicago taxi industry.

Quick and good: Why Kamala Harris Uses Female Pronouns When She Talks About The Presidency.

I’m not militant about it, but I believe in the Oxford/Harvard comma, and this short video explains why the Oxford comma is right and necessary.

Some motivational news on climate (from Europe of course). First, there’s the ecology student who pushed the Royal Shakespeare Company to cut ties with BP. Next there’s the mayor of Paris moving aggressively to green her city.

And now, a Twitter thread on How not to interview two expert journalists about #MeToo.


On Wednesday October 16, I’m being honored by the City University of New York’s College of Technology, aka City Tech. This college serves largely lower income and immigrant students who are innovating in areas like robotics, health care, and new media. I’ve long believed that the future needs to be designed by more than a few folks from wealthy institutions in Northern California, and I encourage you to support City Tech by purchasing a ticket or getting your company to sponsor the event. At a minimum, learn more about the institution.

Best analysis of the Trump-Ukraine situation from a geo-political perspective: Ukraine’s Leader Has Jumped Into Trump’s Trap.

Best analysis of the Trump-Ukraine situation from a this-is-what-happens-when-a-person-isn’t-held-accountable-for-decades perspective: Trump's old ways colliding with new realities.

In related news, the greatest racial beneficiaries of Harvard’s admission’s policies are less academically qualified white students!

Weirdest story of the week about ASMR videos and role-playing YouTube boyfriends. I'm getting too old for this shit.

Because I like you: this tweet and its replies are filled with useful hotel hacks that make life better. Twitter: It’s not just for Nazis!

Finally, a lengthy NYT piece about a small town in rural Arkansas raises major questions about Trump’s appeal, the impact of Fox News, anti-tax extremism, and just what democracy is supposed to look like. I recommend it for the questions it raises rather than any answers it provides.


PS. Thanks for those who took the time to explain why it's worth watching Fleabag. We will pick up the series again and finish it off.