Felicity Huffman shows how to apologize properly

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The actress Felicity Huffman just pleaded guilty to bribing college authorities to get her daughter into college Oliva Jade into USC. Then she apologized briefly and effectively. A true apology admits guilt and addresses the harm the apologizer caused to specific people. It isn’t “I’m sorry you were hurt,” it is “I’m sorry I hurt … Continued

Executive summary tips and why the Barr/Mueller summary is driving everyone nuts

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Don’t summarize: drive points home with highlights. That’s how you should summarize a long report. It’s also why no one is satisfied with Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. If you write, you have to write summaries. Think of a summary as a movie trailer: it gives you the general … Continued

My op-ed on Facebook for the Boston Globe

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Last week, the editors of the Boston Globe requested me to write an op-ed on Facebook and what needs to happen in the wake of its consistently poor behavior. Here’s a link to what they published, which will appear in Sunday’s “Ideas” section. (If you’re not a subscriber, you’ll have to provide your email address … Continued

Irony is dead at Trump for President, Inc.

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Tim Murtaugh, Director of Communications for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, sent a memo to TV producers regarding who they should put on TV. Imagine what would happen if we took this seriously? The text of Murtaugh’s memo to producers at networks like CNN is below. Memorandum To: Television Producers From: Tim Murtaugh Director of Communications, … Continued

Emergency!

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Is Donald Trump’s national emergency actually an emergency? Let’s take an unemotional look at that. Trump has declared a national emergency to get access to funds originally designated for other purposes so he can build his border wall. There are any number of analyses of whether this is legal, and certainly congressional Democrats and others … Continued

Some questions about the President’s American Artificial Intelligence Initiative

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President Trump announced the “American AI initiative” with an executive order. Like many such presidential pronouncements (and not just from Trump), it’s somehow both blustery and mushy. Let’s take it apart and see if it makes sense. In what follows, commentary is mine. Passages in bold italic are passive voice, weasel words, or other notably … Continued

Why does Trump just make stuff up in the State of the Union?

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Donald Trump’s State of the Union message sounded like a rational if self-serving laundry list of dozens of platitudes and programs — you know, just like every other president’s. Except for one thing: He invented facts that are easily proven false. Why? The rest of this post is based mostly on the fact checks in … Continued