Ordinary World 4 Feb 2019

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[OW1] What We’ll Remember About Belichick and Brady’s Boring Super Bowl Win By Kevin Clark: “The Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 on Sunday in Atlanta to win their sixth Super Bowl in 18 years. The game served the same general function as the Star Wars prequels: It was not good, but it explained a lot. In the decades to come, no one will care that one of the Patriots’ Super Bowl appearances during this run was hopelessly boring. My educated guess is that we’ll eventually salvage this game as a football hipsters’ paradise: two defensive coaches in Bill Belichick and Wade Phillips using unpredictable schemes to absolutely wreck the opposing team’s offense in an era when that seemed impossible. In that regard, it will probably be studied for decades to come. In every other regard, it should never be shown on television again.”

[OW2] Will Anyone Save Black Colleges? By Adam Harris: “Black colleges—which were founded, primarily after the Civil War, to educate black people who were shut out of most higher education—have been underfunded for decades. That they are now overlooked for big donations in favor of wealthier schools seems like insult on top of injury. Of course, financial woes like those Bennett is dealing with aren’t limited to black colleges. Small liberal-arts institutions are struggling, too—and those troubles have led some schools to close or merge with other colleges in the past several years. According to Alvin Schexnider, a former chancellor of Winston-Salem State University who now operates a higher-education management-consulting firm, any institution that has a high tuition-discount rate, is located in a rural area, has fewer than 1,000 students, or has a small endowment will likely face existence-threatening struggles in the coming years.”

[OW3] Every Democrat Wants Ralph Northam Gone—Except Ralph Northam by Scott Nover: “Only one Democratic voice on the news programs offered a defense of Northam. Former Representative Jim Moran of Virginia told This Week’s George Stephanopoulos that Northam should not resign. “I hate to be on the other side of virtually all of my friends on this, but I do disagree with their judgment, because I think it is a rush to judgment,” Moran said. “Even if the worst case scenario is true … I think there is an issue of redemption.”Northam appears to be counting on Americans to see things Moran’s way—to believe that he at least deserves more time to explain himself. But for most of the governor’s peers in American politics, his time has already run out.”

[OW4] Bernie Sanders’ Internationalism – and His Tulsi Gabbard Problem by Charles Davis: “It is all, in a word, obscene, and incongruous with Bernie’s own self-stated internationalism. He is no savior either, with blind spots of his own on race and the war on terror, faults of which all should be aware. Still, he is a fundamentally decent human being?—?not an apologist for genocide. Yet there remains a question of judgment, raised when he endorses, in speech and with fellowships, those who are. The contrast is jarring: While he met with members of the White Helmets, volunteers who dig out the victims of U.S., Russian, and Syrian airstrikes. Gabbard has met and openly defended their killers, repeatedly expressing a desire for more of the airstrikes that kill them and other civilians. For this, she is rewarded with a featured speaking gig at Sanders Institute events and a glowing endorsement from Bernie’s 501(c)(4), one of the most conservative Democrats?—?someone who as a state lawmaker opposed civil unions and “homosexual extremist[s]”?—?rebranded as a bold liberal, an arrangement that’s already driving away the genuinely progressive from the Bernie machine.”

[OW5] Inside an Effort to Document Every Single Language on Earth by Evan Nicole Brown: “In 2014, three friends from Brooklyn founded a nonprofit they call Wikitongues. The idea was to create an open-access platform with the ambitious goal of documenting, in some way, every language in the world. In the last five years, the team has collected more than 435 of them via video submissions of native speakers. Though this digital oral history project has received significant support since its inception (as any free-use language resource should), Atlas Obscura decided to ask Daniel Bogre Udell, one of the founders (along with Frederico Andrade and Lindie Botes), a few questions about his relationship to the languages he’s been documenting. While some of Udell’s motivations are personal, it’s impossible to embark on an archival project of this scale without a real investment in people all over the world, and bringing attention to the future of at-risk tongues.”

[OW6] Why We Are Quitting RedState by Kimberly Ross and Andrea Ruth: “The message was clear: Tread lightly when it comes to criticizing Trump. Before that purge, RedState had a healthy mix of stories that were critical of Trump and supportive of him. Afterward, despite holding on to some Trump critics, the tenor of the site shifted. The leftover Trump critics wrote fewer entries and the hostility toward those who still did was palpable. We learned personally that writers who dare to examine President Trump or the MAGA mentality are purposely suppressed in private or even publicly criticized. In one case, one of us (Kimberly) wrote a piece that was critical of Trump supporters’ attempts to dismiss bomb threats as a liberal hoax. It was published but any references to it on Twitter or Facebook were deleted and done so repeatedly without explanation. Only after speaking up did she learn the piece wouldn’t get shared on social media, and instructions came down from Salem management to stop discussing the incident with colleagues.”

[OW7] ‘Mission success’: Navy’s first woman fighter pilot honored in Tennessee with historic all-female flyover by Ryan Wilusz: “As four of the most sophisticated Navy aircraft rumbled through the valley in Maynardville on Saturday above the grave of Capt. Rosemary Mariner, her husband, Tommy, looked to the sky — and the heavens — with one thought in his mind: “Mission success.” But it wasn’t an easy mission for Rosemary. It was one that required unwillingly shining her shoes and following protocol in order to get into flight school. After becoming the Navy’s first female fighter pilot, the mission involved challenging and breaking down barriers so other women could follow their dreams, too. Rosemary was laid to rest Saturday at age 65 surrounded by family, friends and just a handful of the military women she opened doors for — while yet more women flew high above them as the Navy held its first all-female flyover in her honor.”


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Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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One thought on “Ordinary World 4 Feb 2019

  1. OW1 – It was a really good game, but not interesting. But I disagree with the author that the game will have no rewatch value. I’d love to sit down with a clicker and watch that film.

    The article also got it half-right in praising Belichick and Brady. There was no MVP in the game, because all the best football was done on the sidelines. Certainly Brady didn’t put in an MVP-caliber performance. The Rams defense confined him, or at least stopped him from scoring. Four teams held the Patriots to 13 or fewer points this season; the other three won. And it is noteworthy that the Patriots “only” won 11 games in the regular season – this wasn’t as good a team as usual. The difference-maker was Bill Belichick.

    I have mixed feelings about him. He reminds me (and others – this isn’t an original thought on my part) of Nixon. He wins but doesn’t seem to get any joy out of it. He’s dedicated to perfection. Anything less is inadequate. But perfection itself isn’t satisfying, because it’s what you’re supposed to do. I guarantee you that today Belichick is replaying the game in his head, and he’s disappointed. Also, like Nixon, he’ll discard the rules if it’s to his advantage. Emotionally, it’s hard to root for the Patriots. But on the intellectual level, he turns slightly-above-average players into one of the all-time great sports dynasties, and that deserves respect.

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