The Paul Ryan PowerPoint presentation about healthcare is excellent

Republicans attempting to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the American Health Care Act are taking a pummeling. Everyone from the American Medical Association and the AARP to the Tea Party Patriots have come down against it. House Speaker Paul Ryan took to PowerPoint to explain and defend the law, and his presentation technique was quite … Continued

The Insight Debate: Words vs. Numbers

Moderator: Welcome to the first Insight Debate of 2017. We’ll be hearing from two distinguished purveyors of knowledge, Words and Numbers. I’m Professor Insight, your moderator. Let’s begin. On my left, I’d like to introduce Words. Since the dawn of communication — and certainly since the dawn of written communication over 5000 years ago — words have … Continued

Harper’s magazine says I’m a bullshitter. Judge for yourself.

In the March 2017 issue of Harper’s Magazine, Nat Segnit calls me a hypocrite. Now that I’ve studied truth, lies, and bullshit, it’s clear to me that everybody is a hypocrite. So let’s see if he’s got a point. In an article called “Good Plain English: The Problem with Writing Manuals,” Segnit reviews six writing books, including Soul at … Continued

Amazon’s unwisely lets the nerds apologize for its AWS outage

Much of the Internet was down for three hours last week. Because of an outage at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud-based service that powers Internet companies, hundreds of services like Medium, Slack, Quora, Reddit, and Kickstarter stopped working or worked poorly. Amazon’s Web geeks then bungled the response, focusing on jargon rather than clarity and empathy. … Continued

Why American Express should shout about its bad news, not hide it

A frequent flyer friend recently received an email regarding the American Express Platinum credit card. It includes some unpleasant news, but unless you’re the type that reads every word of every email, you’d probably miss it. That’s a mistake, because burying the bad news creates a backlash, now that everyone spreads news on social media. Here’s the … Continued

The Uber lesson: behave like an asshole and people never forget

What’s Uber’s future? Consider these three principles: If you frequently and publicly behave like an asshole, people think that’s who you are. If you behave like an asshole with employees, contractors, regulators, competitors, and reporters, then you’ll be seen as an asshole, regardless of how nice you are to customers. It’s very hard to recover … Continued

Democratic response from Steve Beshear shows no audacity, no hope

Steve Beshear, a Democrat and former governor of Kentucky, presented the Democratic response to Trump’s speech to Congress. Where Trump delivered platitudes mixed with policy in front of Congress, Beshear gave us platitudes mixed with whining (in a diner). It probably didn’t help that Beshear doesn’t know who he is. Here’s his confused opener: I’m … Continued

The true meaning of the generalities in the Trump speech to Congress

Donald Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress was typical of such addresses. It was unusual for Trump in that it was clear, well-structured, and got most of the facts right — but like the average State of the Union, it was a mixed bag of gritty legislative proposals and pabulum. Let’s take a look at … Continued