John Kasich is back in the media spotlight this week, touting his campaign reflection, Two Paths: America Divided or United. He was in Cambridge on Wednesday, giving a talk at the Harvard Kennedy School and signing books at the Harvard COOP. Grace and I went early enough to get a picture and briefly chat with him.
The event organizers explicitly told us all that we weren’t supposed to talk or take pictures (“only from the line”), but as I suspected and saw for those ahead of us, Kasich wouldn’t have had it any other way.
When I first found out about this book about a month ago, I immediately pre-ordered it on Amazon. It finally arrived on Tuesday; I read the first three chapters before the book signing on Wednesday, and I just finished reading it last night. This eagerness probably doesn’t surprise many of you since my pro-Kasich blog post back during the primary season, but I was really curious to hear his perspective on the campaign from the inside. I also thought it’d be helpful to others to review it this early, hence why I made sure to finish it in time for my post this week. Read more of this post
[Trigger warning: Abortion.]
“Life begins at conception.” The classic refrain forms the cornerstone of the pro-life ethic, which at its best seeks to extend basic human rights to those who have the least power to claim them themselves, the unborn. The principle enjoys broad popularity when pollsters ask; YouGov found in 2015 that 52% of Americans believed it (as opposed to “when the fetus is able to live outside the womb” or “at birth”). There’s a certain elegance to it: Along the complex and awe-inspiring journey of human development, a natural starting point would be that first biological step.
But I don’t think that nearly that many people actually believe it.
To explain why, I’d like to describe some of the most surprising features of a world where we treated every fertilized egg as a human being worthy of the same rights as the rest of us, someone we could empathize with, a playable character in this video game of life. Under that ethic, how would we think, act and feel differently?
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Good Friday. The tragedy at the climax of the gospels that none of the characters come out of looking good. The somber holiday that brings us face-to-face with the ugliest parts of our common humanity.
I have long cherished this holiday as an opportunity to reflect on my own individual sins and sorrows, the ways that my own behavior reflects Judas or Pilate or Peter. But this year, I find myself noticing the communal aspects of the story, the ways that our collective behavior reflects that of the chief priests or the soldiers or the crowd.
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Last Thursday, I had the fortunate coincidence of being visited by two of my best friends from college, Timothy Johnson and Peter Ngo. They had both been to Boston back in June 2016 to serve as groomsmen in my wedding, but I hadn’t seen them since. Their trips were independent, but happened to overlap on Thursday, which also happened to be the best day for them to visit me and Grace.
With both of them visiting, along with Tim’s girlfriend Xiao, Grace and I decided to host them at our apartment and make a whole feast of Indian food. We had just recently learned how to make Chicken Tikka Masala, Palak Paneer, Aloo Gobi, and Chicken Tandoori, and we decided to serve all four to them, employing all three of them in the kitchen chopping vegetables and measuring spices.
John Shen, another college friend of ours (and Peter’s host) joined us as well, and he remarked after dinner that he was somewhat surprised that I had gotten excited about cooking. Reflecting, I realized that in the moment, cooking four dishes of Indian food, while more than usual, seemed like just a natural extension of the habits Grace and I had built up over the course of a year. We would actually go on to cook Pad Thai and bake bread for our board game group on Saturday and then turn around and make enchiladas for some of the Et Spiritus journal club team on Sunday. Cooking for three different groups of friends in four nights was certainly beyond our usual pace (and not exactly sustainable), but not by much. It’s worlds from where I was at the beginning of grad school.
So how did we get to this point? Let me walk through some of the factors and explain a bit of our philosophy behind cooking and hosting.
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