One of the unexpected benefits of these last ten months spent basically nesting at home is all the time I’ve had for reading. Not traveling my normal 100-150 days a year has cleared a lot of time. There’s also been a lot less time watching sports, since I find it virtually impossible to get excited about what feel like sanitized, made-for-TV contests in empty stadia. Besides, there’s been something distasteful to me about these athletes getting tested multiple times a week when for so long everyday folks had difficulty finding places where they could find out if they were Covid-infected. So in an unintended form of protest I simply found myself watching sports less and having more time to read. I’ve always been an avid reader. As a kid I split my time between baseball biographies (“The Lew Burdette Story”) and American history.  For my bar mitzvah I was thrilled to receive two tomes that I cherished and still have: Encyclopedia of Jews in Sports and William Manchester’s account of the JFK assassination, Death of a President. I can easily call up the emotions I had as a young teen during a rare conversation with my otherwise distracted, engineering-oriented father...Read more


Maybe “surviving” is too strong a word. More like “enduring,” or “persisting” or just plain “having patience.” Back on May 24, 2020, when the New York Times devoted its entire front page and three inside pages to the names of the 100,000 Americans who had died from Covid-19, it seemed like a shock to be shown the extent of the national tragedy. Now, eight months later, the death toll has reached 400,000, which by my reckoning exceeds the number of our dead from World War One, World War two, the Korean War and the Vietnam Wars combined. It makes for an incredibly depressing exercise and a reminder of the slow-motion nightmare we have been through. Four years ago, when he became president, I warned my friends and colleagues about what we were in for. Some thought I was exaggerating and that our political institutions would provide the necessary guardrails. Others agreed he was unusual to an extreme but figured the adults in the room would contain him. For many liberal observers, it was all just part of a normal political cycle, the ebbs and flows, highs and low, which we had been through before and would go through again. I...Read more

Capitol Blues

First they turned the Capitol blue. Then they turned it red. As if 2020 had not been exhausting enough. I’m already tired of 2021. Between Tuesday night’s election, Wednesday’s riotous insurrection and the subsequent endless news cycle chronicling the fallout and pressure on the President, I feel like all we have done lately is watch TV while not quite being able to believe or process all we are seeing. One thing I am certain of. To those who say “This is not who we are;” it might not be who we want to be, but it’s what we have become of late. I can’t help but to think of Mike Pence. He was hiding out in a bunker in the basement of the Capitol Building Wednesday afternoon, having been interrupted from the solemn process of reading the results of the Electoral College affirming Joe Biden’s perfectly legal election as the 46th President of the United States. Within minutes he’s swept away for his own safety, hiding from any angry mob, and likely fearing for his life and for the lives of his Congressional colleagues – some of whom he was with at the moment. It must have flashed even through...Read more