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08 Jan 2024

Pay No Attention to This Money Substack

Former University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees Chairman Scott Bok penned an oped in the Philadelphia Inquirer arguing that wealthy donors should have limited influence in what happens at the schools they give money to. Bok’s piece set off a flurry of emails and calls between friends and acquaintances who attended such schools. The upshot of the […]

14 Dec 2023

Dean Wormer Goes Before Congress Substack

Last week, Harvard’s Claudine Gay, Penn’s Liz Magill and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth went before Congress to talk about free speech and antisemitism, imploded, and unwittingly declared war. It’s not a good thing for the presidents of prestigious universities to be unwitting. Unless, of course, they had their wits entirely about them, as I believe they […]

08 Dec 2023

Brave White House Interns Revolt! Substack

When I was 22, I stomped into the Oval Office one morning; I leaned on the Resolute Desk and said to President Reagan, “Ron. Buddy. You gotta go over to Berlin and tell the Gorbymeister (that’s what we called Gorbachev) to tear down that wall.” I stressed, “You may think I’m at the bottom of […]

17 Nov 2023

Weakness is Strength in Propaganda Wars Substack

I saw an Instagram post of a young woman tearing down posters of Israeli children whom Hamas had kidnapped. She was identified as an attorney who represented abused women and children. I shared it with a few friends, pointing out the irony of an advocate for the vulnerable tearing down reminders babies were being held […]

23 Oct 2023

Pity is Power in PR Wars Substack

When I began writing novels in the 1990s, I studied the different types of stories that have been told throughout history. One of the most famous models is “Overcoming the Monster.” Think Disney films and Jaws. A shark terrorizes a beach community, and a brave but unsure police chief sets out on a high-seas adventure where […]

04 Oct 2023

Everybody’s Talking Substack

The authorities finally arrested a suspect in the 1996 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur. Key evidence includes the suspect’s having admitted to his involvement in the murder over the years in his memoir, in discussions with associates, and on YouTube. These things are what are known in the sleuthing trade as clues. Two teenagers were […]

21 Sep 2023

When Bad Things Happen to Good Intentions Substack

Being kind and good is becoming a real problem. It’s not genuine kindness and goodness that’s causing all the trouble. It’s the smarmy desperation of high-profile people and institutions to be seen as wonderful that’s leading to futile and stupid gestures, to quote Animal House’s Prince of Smarm, Otter. Take Sam Bankman-Fried. A recent Bloomberg […]

12 Sep 2023

Before You Pick a Fight, Beware the Ghost in the Machine Substack

Almost every person or institution under fire believes they have a good story to tell. Those are the exact words they use, too. “Good story to tell.” It’s only natural because we are hardwired to think the best of ourselves and the groups we belong to. The challenge is that the outside world rarely thinks […]

29 Aug 2023

The Investment Startups Can’t Afford to Miss

Startups are undeniably the driving force behind the American economy’s growth and dynamism. They’ve fueled job creation, fostered innovation, attracted international capital, imbued a culture of entrepreneurship that promises continued economic resilience and adaptability in the future, and introduced products and services into our lives we can’t imagine living without. Startups chart a distinct course […]

24 Aug 2023

How Are You Engaging with Your Enthusiasts? Substack

Last weekend, I took my niece and nephew to Cedar Point, the greatest amusement park in the United States and perhaps the world. As someone born and bred in Northwest Ohio, this park is a source of immense pride and joy; as much as I love the City of Sandusky, it’s not often a town […]