Friday, February 22, 2019

"You can dream the American Dream"

"But you sleep with the lights on and wake up with a scream."  -- Warren Zevon

In The New York Times Magazine Charles Duhigg includes a revealing description of his Harvard Business School classmates:

So it came as a bit of a shock, when I attended my 15th reunion last summer, to learn how many of my former classmates weren’t overjoyed by their professional lives — in fact, they were miserable. I heard about one fellow alum who had run a large hedge fund until being sued by investors (who also happened to be the fund manager’s relatives). Another person had risen to a senior role inside one of the nation’s most prestigious companies before being savagely pushed out by corporate politics. Another had learned in the maternity ward that her firm was being stolen by a conniving partner.

Those were extreme examples, of course. Most of us were living relatively normal, basically content lives. But even among my more sanguine classmates, there was a lingering sense of professional disappointment. They talked about missed promotions, disaffected children and billable hours in divorce court. They complained about jobs that were unfulfilling, tedious or just plain bad. One classmate described having to invest $5 million a day — which didn’t sound terrible, until he explained that if he put only $4 million to work on Monday, he had to scramble to place $6 million on Tuesday, and his co-workers were constantly undermining one another in search of the next promotion. It was insanely stressful work, done among people he didn’t particularly like.  He earned about $1.2 million a year and hated going to the office.

“I feel like I’m wasting my life,” he told me. “When I die, is anyone going to care that I earned an extra percentage point of return? My work feels totally meaningless.” He recognized the incredible privilege of his pay and status, but his anguish seemed genuine. “If you spend 12 hours a day doing work you hate, at some point it doesn’t matter what your paycheck says,” he told me.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

I pledge allegiance to the President of the University of Minnesota

A collection of former University of Minnesota administrators is urging the legislature to stay the course and resist the temptation to name women and minorities to the Board of Regents. Why? Because you can't trust just anyone to salute the president. What this university needs is a band of loyal soldiers who will back the president through every suicide scandal, gang rape scandal or sexual harassment scandal he might face. ("The colonel is coming after you.") 

Their letter to the Star Tribune reads as if it were written by alumni of the Nixon White House:

Over the past several decades the university has been embroiled in many issues. These or similar challenges will happen again. They are inevitable at such a large public institution engaged in many diverse and independent functions. What is important is that when they do occur, the regents, after discussion with the president, respect and support the president. 

Our president, right or wrong.  It has made America great again. It can do the same for Minnesota.

Will the U finally stop honoring its segregationists and anti-Semites?

A U task force has finally recommended renaming campus buildings named for segregationist presidents and an anti-Semitic dean who spied on Jewish students. The process has taken over 16 months, but it's not over yet, according to the Daily.

President Kaler and Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson will use the report’s contents to issue their own recommendations to the Board of Regents in March. The Board will ultimately vote on whether the buildings — and which buildings — will be renamed.

Bets are being taken for which building will be renamed Kaler Hall. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

A belated Valentine from Dick and Pat

“I am certainly not the Romeo type,” Dick Nixon admitted. But he loved nothing more than putting on a tie and slacks and taking a spring bicycle ride with Pat and Tricia.

Friday, February 8, 2019

New questions about ketamine at HCMC

Two days after the abrupt resignation of Jon Pryor, the CEO of Hennepin Healthcare, former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates has raised new questions about the use of ketamine by HCMC paramedics and Minneapolis police. While her work was cut short by the Minneapolis City Council, Yates has released a memo on its preliminary findings.

From the Star Tribune:

From July to September, the Atlanta-based firm where Yates works, King & Spalding, spent about 427 hours examining materials from 132 police encounters, including 122 hours of video, that took place from 2016 to 2018 and included the term “ketamine” in police reports, according to a letter from Yates. Some of the videos show people being uncooperative or aggressive toward the officers, many with signs of severe mental illness. In the majority of cases, the report said, officers acted professionally, even when dealing with difficult people.

Yet in a significant number of cases involving ketamine, the officers also diagnosed patients with “excited delirium syndrome,” according to the report. Excited delirium is a controversial term among medical authorities that describes a form of potentially fatal severe agitation, and its prevalence and even its existence are a matter of debate. The Yates report says that some patients did not always show obvious signs of such a high level of agitation, and investigators found no evidence that police were trained to identify the condition.

The report also notes the mention of ketamine in police reports grew from three in 2012 to 62 in 2017, citing numbers from a Minneapolis civil rights report.